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Jack The Ripper: Murderer Or Superhero?

As Halloween approaches, we once again consider the world’s most famous serial killer – and the connection with Beyoncé

Written by . Published on October 17th 2011.


Jack The Ripper: Murderer Or Superhero?

WHAT better way to get in the mood for Halloween than to have a little think about east London’s very own skeleton in the closet: Jack The Ripper. For those you of you who don’t know (seriously what planet are you from?) Jack the Ripper was never officially caught, never brought to justice and never truly identified. For this reason, his crimes, his victims and even his name have been repeatedly molded and reshaped into mythology on account of the hundreds of books and films that have been released over the last century. Such materials haven’t merely come about for entertainment purposes, but have gained popularity and fame through appearing to fully dramatize and understand the sickening events that took place between August and November in Whitechapel, 1888.

What if Jack the Ripper adopted a persona at night as a way of helping the city’s degenerates get back on track? Like Beyoncé, he might have created an alternative persona as a way of being charismatically influential on young girls who had gone a bit off the rails.

There are a ridiculous number of theories floating around regarding the story of Jack the Ripper, so much so that he has become just that: a story. What people appear to have lost sight of is that these murders actually happened, this man actually existed. And for the sake of old Hallows Eve, I’m going to familiarize us all with the case-turned-myth, in an attempt to show that a normal(ish) girl can begin to understand the presumed lunacy of a serial killer. 

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I’ll begin by summarizing the story. Jack the Ripper, which is a pseudonym of course, was probably an ordinary guy on the outside. Most cases conclude that he most likely lived in Whitechapel, worked during the week and maybe even had a wife and children. He stalked around east London during the darkest hours of the night, seeking out prostitutes, drunks and people who were estranged from their families, severing their carotid arteries and, at times, removing their vital organs. Some were unrecognizable after the facial, abdominal and genital mutilation he carried out. It sounds twisted I know, but think of him as a kind of Clark Kent or Bruce Wane figure. A subverted superhero if you like. Average member of the public by day, alter ego by night. The truth of the matter is, many legends, renowned speakers and performers will claim to adopt an alternative persona as a way of doing their job. For example, when Beyoncé tells herself that she really is Sasha Fierce before she goes on stage. That is where their charisma and charm comes from – an act of self-trickery, a guise. But can we really link the mind of a brutal serial killer to the awe-inspiring Beyoncé? Bare with me.

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What if Jack the Ripper adopted a persona at night as a way of helping the city’s degenerates get back on track? What if he was actually trying to help those five prostitutes that he ended up mutilating? Like Beyoncé, he might have created an alternative persona as a way of being charismatically influential on young girls who had gone a bit off the rails. His alter ego might have gotten too powerful and overly zealous with moral preaching. Think ‘All the Single Ladies’ gone wrong: Beyoncé performs to individual girls as if her life depends on it and she gets carried away. During an electrifying dance performance, she starts trying to beat the evil out of an unresponsive prostitute with her robotic arm, and before she knows it, the girl is nothing but a mutilated corpse and Beyoncé can’t remember a thing. The more difficult the girl is to convert to a life of morality, the more unrecognizable her body is when Beyoncé is through with her. It’s as simple as that. It would certainly explain why some of Jack the Ripper’s victims ended up in worse shape than others. 

Comparing Jack the Ripper to Beyoncé sounds ludicrous I know, but in actual fact, there are people out there who believe the Ripper might well have been female. DNA samples that were taken from the licked envelopes of letters addressed to the police from the murderer have led investigators to question the killer’s sexuality. Most of the letters were considered to be hoaxes but a handful were kept under suspicion as genuine letters from the killer. The DNA results were largely inconclusive and yet a partial profile was constructed based on the data, a profile that did not rule out that the killer could have been female.

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Also, the Ripper’s fifth victim, Mary Kelly, was reportedly ‘seen’ by witnesses after her death. Frederick Abberline, the detective who led the investigation, believed that this could well have been the killer running off in Kelly’s clothes. He believed that Jack the Ripper could indeed be a woman. Mary Pearcey was the only female suspect related to the Jack the Ripper case. She was found guilty of murdering her lover’s wife, carrying out the same sort of ‘modus operandi’ as the Ripper. However, this would indicate that the Ripper acted out of jealously, hatred, and spite.

For all we know, the Ripper travelled around east London visiting hundreds of prostitutes in the night. He might have accidently killed five and saved ninety-five in the process, influencing them to keep his identity concealed after he singlehandedly saved them from a life of misery. The superhero keeps his disguise and the savior is so eternally grateful that she would rather die than disclose his real name and face. Impossible? We’ll let you decide.

More Information

For a chilling insight to the story of Jack the Ripper, don’t forget to check out the show dedicated to the brutal killings at the London Dungeon. Also, Visit London is putting on Haunted London Tours throughout Halloween, one of which follows the tracks of the Ripper himself. The tour runs on Sundays, Wednesdays and Fridays, starting at 7pm in Rush Green.

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9 comments so far, continue the conversation, write a comment.

Isabella JacksonOctober 17th 2011.

Never before read such utter drivel; is this an opinion piece or based on historical documents?

1 Response: Reply To This...
Corin JacksonOctober 17th 2011.

A lighthearted combination of both! It's true, there are so many accounts of the Jack the Ripper story that it has the inevitability of becoming slightly dull. Hence the reason for this slightly farfetched take on the case. There are so many Jack the Ripper perspectives; for all we know, none are more true than this.

AnonymousOctober 18th 2011.

Very interesting interpretation and a very enjoyable read. It's not very often you see modern thought processes applied to historical accounts. Sorry Isabella Jackson but the author is very clear that this is an opinion piece, I'm suprised you have managed to get Internet in your parents basement in order to make your totally unecessary comment. I'm very much looking forward to your next article Corin.

Nick EastOctober 18th 2011.

I agree with the previous comment, it's thoroughly entertaining and refreshing to read a piece on a so often told, dare I say, story? Especially one that uses popular culture and not the safe, boring and many times repeated theories of surgeons, butchers or members of the royal family. Anything that gives us the chance to take out our imaginations, dust them off and use them has got to be a good thing, wouldn't you agree, Isabella? Good on you, Corin, I too look forward to reading more from you soon.

Isabella JacksonOctober 19th 2011.

Oh, how very grown-up. A negative comment receives the usual response (not from the author). I was clearly wrong as I believed this site to encourage opinion in the same way as the sister sites. By the way, we don't have basements in the UK 'Anon', we have cellars ;)

Emma SymonnsOctober 19th 2011.

Surely everyone has been able to show their opinion from what I can see!

AnonymousOctober 25th 2011.

Not at all! My comment wasn't posted. Have you not heard about their rules? Only one mild negative comment is allowed to be posted per ten articles to give a favourable view of its writers and material. Pathetic I know.

Mark Garner, The PublisherOctober 25th 2011.

Anon, my Editors across all the confidentials follow my rules, which is that all rants are posted, and all comments are welcome. Apart from bullying, rudeness or plain stupidity. Those aside, the reasons why the Confidentials are well read is partly due to this policy. Should you ever feel you are being unfairly dealt with, email me markg at cpub.co.uk

Casey the EditorOctober 25th 2011.

Anon, I can confirm that Mark is 100% correct. I welcome an open forum and I encourage everyone to speak their mind intelligently. The rants are moderated to a point as some people feel this is a place for bullying and I will not allow that. I'd be happy to discuss all our policies with you if you like, feel free to email me at your convenience.

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