26 September 1889
Nothing in the annals of modern crime is at once so mysterious and so fiendish as the series of murders that have been committed in the slum Whitechapel district of London. In all there have now been found twelve bodies of murdered women and there is no clew to the slayer. Nine of the twelve bodies were found in Whitechapel. The women belong to the lowest outcast class. To one of the corpses a note was pinned saying that the murderer would desist when he had killed fifteen women.
Of the ghastly twelve bodies eight were disembowelled and mutilated in a peculiar manner, all the same way. The unknown person who committed these crimes is nicknamed Jack the Ripper. The four other dead women found in Whitechapel were killed by another hand, it is believed, since they were mutilated in a different manner, the heads and limbs being cut off and only the trunk left. It is simply inexplicable that in one of the most thickly populated districts of London, lighted all night and patrolled by police, with a detective force supposed to be equal to any in the world, the heads of four murdered women could be cut off and carried away and successfully concealed.
The whole case reminds one of Poe's story of the mysterious Paris murders. The Whitechapel killings began April 9, 1888, and have been shocking civilization at intervals ever since. One supposition is that the original Ripper is a ferocious lunatic with some fancied grudge at the unfortunate class of women named. But his work is too systematic and long continued for that. A horrible circumstance attending this series of crimes is that other wretches the world over read of it and attempt to imitate it. There seems a contagion about it.