How Jack the Ripper Worked
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Jack the Ripper's Victims
One of the reasons that the Jack the Ripper mystery endures is the uncertainty that surrounds his crimes. The most commonly held belief is that he murdered five women from Aug. 31 to Nov. 9, 1888. These are referred to as the Ripper murders (also called the canonical murders ) and are counted within 11 murders that took place around the same time, called the Whitechapel murders . Including the method of murder and post-mortem disfigurement, the canonical victims had a few things in common. All were prostitutes (or were known to accept propositions on occasion), most were middle-aged and all were either drunk or known alcoholics.
The reports of their murders read like chapters in a disturbing novel.
The manner with which he dispatched his victims contained clues. All but one woman was killed by strangulation. Once laid carefully on the ground, the Ripper cut the victims' throats, beginning with the side facing away from him. This effectively drained the blood from his victims before he began a ritual evisceration. Much of the organ removal was done cleanly. Altogether, the eviscerations and organ removals suggest the Ripper was a person with some form of anatomical or surgical training. The knife wounds inflicted also indicate that he was right-handed [source: Rumbelow ].
Mary Ann "Polly" Nichols : Polly Nichols, the first Ripper victim, was approximately 44 years old at the time of her demise. She was extremely poor (even by Whitechapel standards) and known to be fond of liquor. She was last seen alive around 2:38 a.m. on Aug. 31, 1888, and was found at about 3:45 a.m., lying in the narrow, poorly lit side street of Buck's Row in Whitechapel. She may have still been alive when first found, but died minutes later. She suffered an 8-inch (20-centimeter) laceration to her throat, which severed both major arteries on both sides of her neck. Nichols also incurred further incisions to her neck, as well as violent lacerations to her abdomen [source: Casebook ].
Annie Chapman : The second victim was an alcoholic 47-year-old widow who supported herself in part through prostitution after her husband's death. She was last seen alive at 5:30 a.m. outside an apartment at 29 Hanbury St. with a man described as "shabby genteel" on Saturday, Sept. 8, 1888 [source: Casebook ]. Within five minutes, another witness heard a woman's muffled cry of "No!" from the fence between his yard and 29 Hanbury St., followed by a thump against the fence [source: Casebook ]. Less than a half-hour later, a resident of 29 Hanbury found Chapman's body in the backyard of the apartment block [source: Casebook ]. Chapman was found with her feet pushed up toward her body, knees in the air and spread apart. Her throat was cut deeply from left to right, and her swollen tongue suggested that strangulation as the cause of death. Chapman's abdomen was incised and laid open; her intestines were removed and placed on her shoulder. A portion of her genitalia, as well as her uterus and bladder, were missing. The cleanliness of the incisions suggests the killer had some knowledge of anatomy [source: Casebook ].
Elizabeth Stride : The night she met Jack the Ripper, Stride was 45 and had been drinking earlier. Stride occasionally engaged in prostitution, but just before she died was witnessed refusing a proposition. She was last definitively seen on Sunday, Sept. 30, 1888, by a police officer walking his beat along Berner Street in Whitechapel at 12:35 a.m., talking to a man with a parcel wrapped in newspaper. About 25 minutes later, she was found in Dutfield's Yard, a dark alley off Berner Street. Her legs were pulled up toward her body — knees in the air — with a kerchief tied around her neck. Stride's throat was deeply cut on the left side, with a lesser incision on the right. The warmth of her body and lack of any mutilation suggested the Ripper may have been interrupted by the man who discovered the body [source: Casebook ].
Catherine Eddowes : A 46-year-old with kidney disease , Eddowes had been a heavy drinker for much of her life and was known as an intelligent, educated person. On the night of her murder, she was taken into police custody for public drunkenness and released just before 1:00 a.m. Eddowes was last seen alive at 1:35 a.m. by three men leaving a pub. She was speaking with a mustached man near Mitre Square, a small, enclosed area in Whitechapel. Ten minutes later, a constable found Eddowes' body in the square.
Like the Ripper's other victims, her throat was slit and her legs spread with her bent knees lifted off the ground. Eddowes was splayed open from her rectum up to her sternum. Her entrails were spread about her — intestines laid over her shoulder and under her arm. Eddowes' nose was cut off, and deep, violent incisions marked her eyelids and cheeks. The incision to her throat was determined as the cause of death. Most of her womb and her kidney had been removed and were missing. Altogether, the incisions and organ removal suggested to the coroner that the killer had human anatomical experience [source: Casebook ].
Mary Jane Kelly : Unlike the victims that preceded her, 25-year-old Kelly was young and considered attractive. Like the others, though, she was a prostitute and known to drink. She was the only canonical victim to be murdered indoors. With this privacy, the Ripper created his most gruesome work.
The police discounted two later alleged sightings and concluded that Kelly was last seen alive on Friday, Nov. 9 after 2:00 a.m., entering her apartment house, Miller Court, accompanied by a mustached man carrying a parcel. At 10:45 a.m., a rent collector entered Kelly's apartment and found her body. She was lying partially clothed in a nightgown, her feet pulled up toward her body, knees bent to either side with her legs spread in the now-familiar Ripper fashion. Kelly was arguably the most mutilated of all the Ripper victims; her face was virtually gone, having been slashed and stabbed repeatedly and some features entirely removed. Her throat was slashed so deeply and violently that even her vertebrae showed knife marks. Both of her breasts, as well as her organs and entrails, were placed in piles beneath her head and alongside her body. Slabs of flesh taken from her stomach and thighs were placed on the nightstand beside her bed. Part of her heart was missing, and there was evidence that an axe was used in the crime, along with the long, sharp knife the Ripper was known to use [source: Casebook ].
Some people believe the Ripper murdered more than just the canonical victims from August to November 1888. Female torsos were discovered in months and years following the Ripper murders, and one possible victim was murdered in New York City. There are several other victims whose injuries fit the Ripper's technique in some ways but aren't included in the canonical murders. The case of one butchered prostitute, Martha Tabram, has gained some acceptance as a possible sixth canonical murder. Tabram was also an alcoholic prostitute and was murdered on Aug. 7, 1888 — she would've been the Ripper's first victim. Tabram was found with her legs spread and 39 stab wounds concentrated heavily on her abdomen and groin [source: Casebook ].
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Quality London Jack The Ripper Walks
London’s original Aldgate East Jack the Ripper Tour departs at 7 pm from outside Exit 1 of Aldgate East Underground Station.
For details of how to reach the meeting point please visit our Meeting Point Information Page.
If you are running late and need to catch up with the tour, then please visit our Catch Up Directions page.
The tour costs £15 per person and lasts for approximately two hours.
A TRULY ATMOSPHERIC TOUR
We offer you a Jack the Ripper walk that follows a truly atmospheric route and which goes straight into the old, narrow alleyways where you will feel like you’ve been transported back to the mean streets of the Victorian East End. In addition, you will visit more murder sites and locations related to the Jack the Ripper murders than on other Jack the Ripper walks , and be guided in your experience by true experts on the subject.
Jack The Ripper Walk Highlights
All this and more awaits you…
- The historic old building where, a major suspect worked as a barber in the basement
- You will see the actual doorway on which Jack the Ripper may have scrawled a sinister message
- The dark and sinister alleyway along which the lady who many believe was Jack the Ripper’s victim walked with her killer in the early hours of 7th August 1888
- The pub where Mary Nichols, who many consider to have been the first victim of Jack the Ripper, drank away her “doss” money shortly before her body was discovered nearby in the early hours of 31st August 1888
- A warren of atmospheric old streets that have hardly changed since they formed the backcloth against which the Jack the Ripper saga was played out
- You will learn of the terrible aftermath of the murder of the second of Jack the Ripper’s victims, Annie Chapman, when one newspaper was forced to lament that “there may soon be murders from panic to add to murders from a lust for blood.”
- The soaring church tower that dominates its surroundings today just as it dominated its surroundings in 1888 when each one of Jack the Ripper’s victims would have looked up at it on a daily basis
- The pub in which the victims tried to forget the waking nightmare, perhaps even under the evil gaze of the ripper himself
- The former convent where the ripper’s last victim desperately sought shelter shortly before she was murdered in the street opposite
- The doorway where Jack the Ripper’s only clue was discovered
Allow us to set the scene…
It is the autumn of 1888, and a sinister serial killer is loose on the streets of London’s East End. At first he is known simply as ‘The Whitechapel Murderer’. But in time, thanks to a mysterious letter sent to a London news agency (a copy of which you will be shown in the course of the walk), he will become known as ‘Jack the Ripper,’ in which capacity his name will become famous throughout the world.
A Fascinating and Dramatic Tour
On this fascinatingly dramatic Jack the Ripper walk we will transport you back to that long ago era of gas lit terror and take you on a journey through the very streets where the infamous Whitechapel Murders occurred.
You’ll Join The Hunt
You will join the Victorian police as they race against time to stop Jack the Ripper before he can kill again. We will also explain the reasons why they found it so difficult to hunt him down.
Your Very Own CSI
Your journey will wend its way through a veritable warren of back alleyways where you will have the opportunity to peruse original documents, see actual police photographs of the crime scenes, and even of the poor victims themselves. You will sift through the evidence, eliminate suspect after fascinating suspect and hear the most up to date theories concerning the killer’s true identity.
The Night They Almost Caught Him
This lively and informative of Jack the Ripper walk will then cover the night of the double murder, the 30th of September 1888. This is the night when the police came closest to catching the ripper, and the night when Jack left his only clue behind.
We will discuss the importance of that clue and explain how it answers several questions about the murderer’s identity, and about the condition he would have been in as he fled through the very streets that you will walk through tonight.
Original Crime Scene Photographs
They say a picture is worth a thousand words, and so your experience will be enhanced with historic photographs of the streets through which you pass and the sites on which you stand as they were in 1888. This way you will get the full atmosphere of the area which you may not get on other Jack The Ripper Tours .
All in all, this is a truly atmospheric Jack the Ripper Tour through a part of London that few people venture in to.
But, as with many who have taken this fascinating walk, you will be pleased that you dared join us on a journey into the abyss as the twilight hours slowly envelope you in their eerie shadows.
Why Walking is best
The main reason to explore Jack the Ripper’s London on our Walks is that coaches and busses just cannot get into the narrow alleyways that formed the backcloth against which the Jack the Ripper mystery unfolded.
So, if you choose to explore Jack the Ripper’s London on a coach tour you really will miss out on some of the most historic and atmospheric streets and alleyways that are associated with the mystery.
Feel The Fear
From our first turn beneath a sinister little arch that leads in to a cobblestone thoroughfare, and on through a warren of backstreets, our clients are spirited back in time to places that have survived the march of time. Places that coach tours can only tell you about as they drive you through busy, well lit main roads, lined with modern office blocks.
Cocooned behind glass, those who explore Jack the Ripper’s London from coaches are divorced from the reality of what the area was like in 1888 when Jack the Ripper lurked in its shadows.
By contrast, on a London Walking Tour, you’re there at the scenes of the crimes. And, with the expert guidance that we provide, you become your very own CSI, able to sift the evidence, look at possible escape routes for the perpetrator of the crimes, and generally enjoy a more intriguing, interesting, rewarding experience. Indeed, such is the ambience of the old alleyways that we take you in to, it’ll be just like you’re hot on the trail of Jack the Ripper.
Straight to the Story
Because we start in the heart of the area where the Jack the Ripper Murders occurred we go straight into the creepy old alleyways in which the story unfolded.
Coach tours, by contrast might take upwards of forty minutes to an hour to get to Jack the Ripper’s streets. First of all, they have to stop off to pick up passengers from several hotels. Next they have to battle against the London rush hour traffic to get to the East End. Would you really enjoy sitting in a sweltering coach, as the driver inches his way through the rush hour and your guide tries to keep your interest with increasingly innate conversation?
With our Jack the Ripper London walks, you jump on the tube, get to the start of the tour in time for 7pm and, within moments of setting out you’re in the thick of it. Following the story chronologically, experiencing the places that actually relate to the story by standing at them, not hearing about them from a behind a coach window several streets away.
With us you’re not fuming on a sweltering, pollution belching coach. With us, if it’s a dark winter’s night you’re out there in the creepy alleys experiencing and appreciating their sinister ambience. If it’s a summer’s night, then you’re enjoying a pleasant, airy stroll appreciating the old buildings of the area that have survived from 1888.
An Expert Guide by Your Side
Plus, you can walk alongside our expert guides and discuss the story with them. You might have a pet theory. Great. Our guides love to chat about the mystery with our clients.
In short, what better way to spend an entertaining two hours than actually taking a gentle stroll through the very streets where the main events behind one of the world’s greatest whodunits were played out.
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London’s Number 1 Jack the Ripper Tour
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Over 120 years in the making - The gruesome tale of jack the ripper explodes for the first time into the 21st century...WITH RIPPER-VISION TM
RIPPER-VISION™ is a new approach to our Jack the Ripper walking tours. Top of the range handheld projectors which emblazon 5ft images upon the dark streets and alleyways of Whitechapel. As we walk the very route the Ripper would have taken, Ripper vision will practically transport you back to a time of gaslight and fog, a period of poverty, disease and silent footsteps in the shadows as the Ripper hunted his prey.
On our Whitechapel Jack the Ripper tour, you’ll see the city like never before with our RIPPER-VISION™ experience, comparing the London of years gone by to the modern metropolis you know and love today. Learn the trails that police officers of the day followed, peek into the lives of the Ripper’s unfortunate victims and query the minds of our knowledgeable tour guides. Not only are they experts on the world of Jack the Ripper, having written guides and books on London’s most gruesome murders but they are extremely well-informed on the local area.
Join London’s most popular Jack the Ripper tour every day and night of the week at 2:30 pm and 7.30 pm. Regarded as the best Ripper tour in London by Tripadvisor, we are the most up to date Jack the Ripper walking tour in the city. Don’t just listen to the mystery killer’s story, immerse yourself in it.
Private School Tours
Our Jack the Ripper Private School Tours are designed to complement the current curriculum and aide in history studies for students. During our walking tour, we focus on the Whitechapel of 1888, discussing the social conditions and the policing methods used in the hunt for Jack the Ripper, a fantastic look into the London of time’s past. An excellent learning opportunity for students interested in the dark history of the capital or who are keen to learn more about Britain’s most infamous serial killer. Ignite the spark of loving history and inspire the budding criminologists among your class.
Our tours are not only voted number one on TripAdvisor, but we have also been awarded the quality badge for learning experiences outside of the classroom. Private school tours can be carried out at any time that suits your group, on any day. Contact us now for the best prices in London and confirm your place on the capital’s best Jack the Ripper tour.
Private Group Tours
Experience your very own private Jack the Ripper tour with us. You set your preferred time and date and if you are staying nearby, we will even stop by to pick you up. We can stop off for a drink in one of the few original Victorian public houses that the Ripper and his victims would have passed by and stood in themselves all those decades ago. We are the only Jack the Ripper tour in London to offer such an experience!
Private tours are tailored to suit your requirements and preferences, including the option for us to organise dining before or after your tour and recommend all the best local places to visit. A private London Jack the Ripper tour with us is certainly an experience you’ll never forget!
Why Choose Us for Your London Jack the Ripper Walking Tour?
Jack the Ripper is one of London’s greatest unsolved mysteries and still today experts are working to uncover the truth behind the city’s grisliest time in history. Our guides are some of the best-versed and knowledgeable in the world of Jack the Ripper and are recognised authors on the topic. Not to mention, each of our guides is a dedicated member of the cloak and dagger theatrical club so you can be sure to experience a tour like never before.
Book the Best Jack the Ripper tour in London!
The very best in jack the ripper private tours.
Book your own private tour with us for London’s top Jack the Ripper walking experience. Walk the streets the infamous serial killer used to haunt, stop for a drink in one of the Ripper’s potential hang-outs and immerse yourself and your group in our exciting Jack the Ripper tour with RIPPER VISION™. We are the only Jack the Ripper tour group to offer these opportunities and you don’t want to miss out. Perfect for corporate groups, stag or hen parties, birthday parties or simply an excuse to get together with good company.
Jack the Ripper School Tours
An experience your students will never forget.
Take a school tour to remember with our Jack the Ripper private school tours, not only do we explore the area the infamous Ripper used to stalk, we explore the differences between 1888 London and the city of today. Delving into the details between historic and modern policing, how the killer was able to evade the hard-working bobbies on the beat and the social impact the murders had during the time. Ideal for history classes and criminology studies or simply as a reward for students who have an interest in the murky history of our sprawling capital.
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THE JACK THE RIPPER WALK
NOW YOU CAN WALK WITH HIM
- Every Night
- Aldgate East Station (Exit 1)
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In the autumn of 1888 a series of brutal murders in the East End of London lit a fire that sent shockwaves reverberating around the civilised world.
The murderer was never caught, but, at the height of the panic, a letter signed "Jack the Ripper" was received by a London news agency and the world's greatest criminal legend was born.
RELIVE THE TERROR AND FEEL THE PANIC
On this unique and highly original Jack the Ripper walking tour we spirit you back to that long ago era when terror lurked in the shadows and the whole of London walked in fear.
This is the only London Jack the Ripper Walk to take you through the very epicentre of the murders.
Within minutes of leaving Aldgate East underground Station you step beneath a sinister archway and catch your breath as the security of the 21st century falls away and you find yourself in a cobblestone alleyway that is just as it was in 1888.
It was here in August 1888 that what, at the time, was thought to be the first of the Jack the Ripper murder's took place and your guide will paint a vivid and chilling picture of that crime and the way in which it impacted on the area as a whole.
UNCHANGED STREETS AND DARK ALLEYS
From here on you follow in the footsteps of the Victorian police through some of the most atmospheric and least changed streets imaginable and picture them as they pursue the Ripper through one of the most crime ridden quarters of the Victorian Metropolis.
You will experience streets that still have the ambience of the 1880's; visit the sites of buildings that Jack the Ripper's victims would have gazed upon on a daily basis and get a true feel for the streets of London's East End, both at the time of the murders and today.
You will stand at the scene of each murder and contemplate the horror of each killing.
Your guide's commentary will bring the old streets to life as he people's the area with those who lived through the autumn of terror.
You will get the true measure of what it was like to inhabit these very streets when the ripper was at large and the people of the area looked nervously into the dark shadows, fearful that one flitting shadow, one sudden movement might spell the ripper's dreadful return.
OLD VICTORIAN PHOTOGRAPHS
In addition, our unique collection of contemporary photographs will help fill in the blanks for those buildings that have disappeared.
Imagine, standing on a particular spot and being able to study that exact location as it was at the time of the Jack the Ripper murders.
On some of the photographs you will see, not just the buildings, but also see the people who were living through the horrors of history's most infamous murder spree.
BE GUIDED BY THE EXPERTS
We are the only company to have guides who frequently lecture on the case all over the World and who are featured all the serious documentaries about the Whitechapel Murders.
Our guides carry out dedicated research into the Whitechapel Murders and, as a consequence, they have garnered a huge amount of respect in the field of ripper studies.
We have never wanted to do what so many companies do, employ actors and students, pay them the minimum wage and then sell our tours at rock bottom prices.
If that's what you want then we're honestly not the company for you.
We offer a quality tour, guided by acknowledged experts and, as a consequence, when you take our walk you'll be able enjoy a truly enlightening experience with a guide who is up to speed on all the latest developments in Ripperology.
So, we're not the cheapest company when it comes to Jack the Ripper tours, but we are most certainly the best and the most respected.
Three of our guides are best selling authors who, between them, have written ten acclaimed books on the case, and all our guides have appeared on all the television documentaries over the last few years.
Our clients really do appreciate this, and they constantly comment on the fact that they really felt that they were being taken around by someone who knew what they were talking about and who was able to answer question and discuss all aspects of the mystery.
And, thanks to our meticulous research, together with our determination to make this more of a voyage of discovery than a simple walking tour, you will gain a complete understanding of the full story of the world's most famous murder mystery in the very streets where it unfolded.
So, if you are the sort of person who enjoys a mystery, if you have ever wondered about the facts concerning the murders that shook Victorian society to its very core, and if you want an intelligent, thought-provoking tour that doesn't rely on gimmicks or hype to fire your imagination, then give our Jack the Ripper walk a try and discover for yourself that when it comes to this subject, as with all our walking tours, we really do work hard to offer you a welcome difference.
An experience not to be missed.
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Jack the Ripper Tour
The autumn of 1888 will forever be known in London as the Autumn of Terror. In London’s East End a serial killer stalked the streets , murdering prostitutes and mutilating their bodies, his name, Jack the Ripper!
Much has been written on the subject over the years, and separating fact from fiction has often been difficult. Many suspects have been identified, some plausible, others bizarre, and many downright ridiculous. Many conspiracy theories have been put forward, and countless books, films and television programs have been produced on the subject, each naming more and more suspects. Were the Royal Family involved? Was it a Freemason conspiracy? With nearly 100 suspects put forward to date, just who was this mysteries predator?
What do we actually know about Jack the Ripper? This tour will explore exactly that, we will sift through the evidence and eyewitness accounts; using the criminal, phycological and geographical profiling of the killer, to examine each suspect one by one.
We will visit the murder sites and explain each gruesome killing , we will re-trace the killers footsteps, and explore what life was like for the poor, living in the slums of London’s East End.
Join our expert guide from Aldgate East station, in the heart of the Ripper's killing ground , cutting out any unnecessary walking.
Every Friday at 7:00pm.
Aldgate East station exit 2 (Toynbee Hall Exit)
Look for the green umbrella!
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