The real identity of Jack the Ripper is arguably the most famous unsolved case of all time. He was an unidentified English serial killer that preyed on poor, destitute women who worked as prostitutes around the slums of London's East End, specifically in the Whitechapel district.
And while he was only active for ten short weeks, with only five official victims attributed to him, Jack's crimes - and Jack himself - would have a significant impact on the 20th century and beyond. He gave the world a glimpse of humanity's very dark and horrible side, capable of inflicting pain and death by the most gruesome methods.
In the late 19th century, East London and specifically the Whitechapel district, was an impoverished section of the city, riddled with disease, crime, murder and death. Many women were forced into prostitution to survive and often left unprotected from beatings and murder. However, in 1888, a string of gruesome killings shocked London and, eventually, the rest of the world.
From August 31 to November 10, five women, Mary Ann Nichols, Annie Chapman, Elizabeth Stride, Catherine Eddowes and Mary Jane Kelly - also known as the "Canonical Five" victims - were found murdered - and mutilated. They were prostitutes and had their throats stabbed, abdomens cut open and reproductive organs either stabbed or sections of the bladder, vagina and uterus removed and taken, potentially as souvenirs.
The mutilations got worse with every murder that his last victim, Mary Jane Kelly, was almost unrecognizable due to the extreme stabbing and evisceration he inflicted.
The public was understandably in a state of panic. The police were left clueless because there didn't seem to be any motive for the killings. However, they were sure that one man committed the crime due to the similarities of the killings.
An extensive manhunt followed, but he was never caught. Almost everyone was a suspect, the butcher, the baker and candlestick maker - and even the grandson of Queen Victoria, Prince Albert Victor. But none of them was ever proven guilty.
So who was Jack the Ripper? And why did the murders suddenly stop, with the Ripper disappearing seemingly into thin air? There were so many unanswered questions about this case back in 1888, and today, 134 years later, there are still no answers.
His mystery endures because the unknown truth of his identity tantalizes and draws us in. Not knowing who he is leaves everyone open to speculation. Jack the Ripper was a real – and frightening human being. At the same time, he will remain anonymous, forever an elusive shadow just beyond our reach.
Directed by: David Wångstedt