The Jack the Ripper Letters

 

A special thank you to the Jack the Ripper Casebook at http://www.casebook.org for being an excellent source of information. Also the tremendous Last Podcast on the Left Series on Jack the Ripper helped inspire me to tackle “Saucy Jack.” Check out these great sites.

A dapper gentleman walks along the cobbled streets of Victorian London, he seems somewhat out of place in this area of the great town. Whitechapel is widely considered to be the absolute worst part of the city, a place where whores, johns, fish merchants, sailors, and beggars all mingle and work to merely stay alive surrounded by the filth. Contrasting with the abject filth is the dapper gentleman, walking throughout the crowded streets and alleys of Whitechapel, tipping his hat as he passes by storefronts and pubs, looking for his entertainment for the night. London is on edge, there have been two murders in the past month that have disgusted even the most disgusting of Whitechapel residents; it seems that a monster of the night has taken a liking to the streetwalker of the town, and the beast has an insatiable thirst to explore.

As the milky, pre-dawn hours of September 30, 1888, beckoned, light shone forth and bathed two grizzly sites in the light. In the pitch darkness of the previous hour, it seems that the monster had found what he was looking for. Two murder scenes, two completely different circumstances. One woman, Elizabeth Stride, was found in an alley with her throat slit, a clean, surgical cut, just like the two victims in August, but the monster didn’t have time to play. A sound, maybe a passing carriage, had stopped his fun, and as Stride lay there breathing her last, the dapper monster began prowling for another, someone that could satisfy his desires.

The monster lurks away, taking the back alleys that he has grown to know over the past few months, looking for another girl, another woman plying her trade. He finds her, just like all the others, down on her luck, looking for enough money to feed herself for the next 24 hours, or maybe find a bed. Catherine Eddowes sees the dapper man and thinks this may be her ticket, well-dressed men don’t come calling on the women of Whitechapel often, they usually get paid a meager sum for some sailor to hump them for a minute or two. This man looked different like he had means, an upbringing, and she was eager to strike the conversation. If Eddowes thought about the two highly publicized murders of prostitutes in the previous month as she began her discussion, it naturally didn’t deter her. She took the gentleman by the hand, and in an alley, he pulled her close. Just like with the previous three, the monster struck without warning, a quick, precise, and lethal cut across the throat, severing the artery and leaving poor Catherine victim number four.

Catherine’s fate was worse though than the other three, you see the monster had time to act on his desires, there was no one around and the night was still thick and dark. He began cutting her open and exploring the corpse of the poor woman, eventually taking out multiple organs and leaving the intestines of the poor soul laying across her shoulder. The people of Whitechapel found the two separate crime scenes and the populace immediately connected them to the two earlier “Leather Apron” killings of the previous month. Except for Stride, the M.O. was identical, throat slit, organs are taken, body mutilated. The story was already front-page news, but over the next few days the murders went from local problem to world-wide news, and to this day the obsession of thousands of true crime fans around the world, because you see, the monster picked up his pen and began to write…

The first letter was actually received two days before the double murder, but the author asked that the message is held until something bigger could happen. The big event inevitably, and it was soon published throughout the papers. Known as the “Dear Boss Letter.” Thanks again to casebook.org for the transcription:

dear boss

Dear Boss,
I keep on hearing the police have caught me but they wont fix me just yet. I have laughed when they look so clever and talk about being on the right track. That joke about Leather Apron gave me real fits. I am down on whores and I shant quit ripping them till I do get buckled. Grand work the last job was. I gave the lady no time to squeal. How can they catch me now. I love my work and want to start again. You will soon hear of me with my funny little games. I saved some of the proper red stuff in a ginger beer bottle over the last job to write with but it went thick like glue and I cant use it. Red ink is fit enough I hope ha. ha. The next job I do I shall clip the ladys ears off and send to the police officers just for jolly wouldn’t you. Keep this letter back till I do a bit more work, then give it out straight. My knife’s so nice and sharp I want to get to work right away if I get a chance. Good Luck.

Yours truly
Jack the Ripper

Dont mind me giving the trade name

PS Wasnt good enough to post this before I got all the red ink off my hands curse it No luck yet. They say I’m a doctor now. ha ha

There it was, the branding that the case needed for it to take off and become and world-wide story, the monster had a name, a self-styled whore killer by the name of Jack the Ripper. Many letters began flooding into police precincts and newspapers, but most serious researchers believe that only three were possibly written by the killer, Dear Boss, and the next two.

The day after the double murder, a small, chilling, postcard was delivered that bragged of what the author called, “the event.” The chilling aspect of this postcard, and what leads many to believe it was truly written by the killer is that fact that the news and details of the double murder had not been published yet. Known simply as “The Saucy Jack Postcard”, it reads:

I was not codding dear old Boss when I gave you the tip, you’ll hear about Saucy Jacky’s work tomorrow double event this time number one squealed a bit couldn’t finish straight off. ha not the time to get ears for police. thanks for keeping last letter back till I got to work again.

Jack the Ripper

The third and final true Ripper letter is, to me, the most haunting, the “From Hell”message is terrifying and has gone down through the ages as one of the most twisted and diabolical pieces of correspondence ever written:

from hell
From hell.

Mr. Lusk,
Sor
I send you half the Kidne I took from one woman and prasarved it for you tother piece I fried and ate it was very nise. I may send you the bloody knif that took it out if you only wate a whil longer

signed
Catch me when you can Mishter Lusk

True to his word, the author sent a human kidney to the leader of the Whitechapel vigilance committee. Tests were run on the kidney and determined that it was indeed human. As quickly as the letters and killings started, they were over before the end of the year. One more terrible and gruesome murder was performed by the monster, but he disappeared forever after that, leaving the world wondering if Saucy Jack indeed wrote from Hell and he had merely returned home.

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