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Rippercussions : Public Reaction to the Ripper Murders in the Victorian Press
Lisa Johnstone

'Jack the Ripper' is one of the most renowned serial killers in history, preserved in our memories mostly through fictious accounts which put various theories - some more farfetched than others - to the test, about who 'Jack' was and why he committed such violent murders. The story of the Ripper, Deborah Cameron writes, 'is packaged as a bit of harmless fun: only a spoilsport would be tactless enough to point out it is a story of misogyny and sadism.'1 It is all too easy to forget the true origins of this 'story', that it began in the slum streets of London and ended in its newspapers, real events with real people. These news stories tells us much about Victorian culture in the 1880s, and how the Ripper coverage came to, deliberately or not, challenge many of their ideologies.

Jack the Ripper - a grim sobriquet that became a catch-on mostly due to the press - was not the first serial killer, but he was certainly the most sensationalised. The 'killings were the first case of sex crime in the sense that we understand it today',2 although they weren't viewed as such in 1888; in the euphemistic world of Victorian London, any sexual motives the killer may have had were simply too hideous to bear contemplation. Instead, the killings raised discussion of other relevant social concerns of the day, such as the conditions of the poor, the housing crisis, rising crime, and women's role in society. These debates mostly began in, and were encouraged by, the era of new journalism which took off after the 1830s, when changes in the economy, industry, and technology allowed a wider circulation and increased frequency of news-sharing. Dailies and penny newspapers appeared quite rapidly, becoming more gossipy and with more emphasis on illustrations rather than text ('dumbing down'), in order, I'd imagine, to appeal to a wider audience of varying classes. Supernatural gothic fiction, a holdover from the late eighteenth- and early nineteenth-century, was declining in popularity as the public demanded 'realistic sensation', which contained true-to-life characters - who they could identify with - doing exciting things, to raise its readers out of the boring grind of daily life. 3 Before the year of 1888 was over, Jack the Ripper had joined the ranks of 'realistic sensation' - following in the footsteps of Thomas Prest's Sweeney Todd: the Demon Barber of Fleet Street - in Brewer's The Curse of Mitre Square 1550-1888. Several other works, fiction and non-fiction, were to follow in 1889, and to date thousands of retellings of the Ripper tale exist, in comics, books and films.4 These stories possess a completeness which the news reports of 1888 couldn't match: such fictions (or fictionalised accounts) have a coherent narrative, a beginning, middle, and end, usually with an identifiable and punishable perpetrator. But if 'the Ripper story had a beginning, reporters and the police disagreed over who was his first victim. And if this narrative had a series of middles, it lacked a clear ending.'5 The killer - nameless, faceless, seemingly motiveless - defied all attempts at being put into an understandable order, and this lack of a comprehensible and complete story ('Something terrible's happened! … Oh, but it's over now.') gave the public no way of thinking clearly about their fears; the Ripper became the boogeyman, so elusive, so mysterious, so alien that he could hardly be seen as human. With no precedent for this kind of gruesome behaviour, members of the press turned to comparisons with the literary, finding some form of understanding in the prose of, ironically, the Gothic novel that the Victorians had so recently given up for realistic sensation. It would seem they got more realistic sensation then they bargained for.

This ordered narrative is how news is normally presented, as it makes it easier to digest. But life is rarely neat, and this illusion of reality created by the press deals in perceptions only.6 In news reportage, there are three factors: 1) an event occurs, 2) witnesses relate their version of events to reporters, 3) reporters relate events as they see them to us, the readers. A twisting of the facts can happen, on the part of witnesses and reporters, either as a result of a genuine mistake or a deliberate lie. The latter can either take place to allow the liar to feel more important, or to get someone in (or out) of trouble; this last also applies to reporters, who often put a spin on a story for political reasons. But the point is that the viewing of events is based on perception, and the perception that the London newspapers chose to give their public was one of scaremongering and sensation. The most popular news stories of the day were those involving a mixture of sex and death - the two concepts that humanity is obsessed with - or some form of unusual/unnatural death.7 Such news was hoped to induce

'what D.A. Miller had called a "somatic experience" by jangling the nerves, making the flesh creep, and tingling the spine. Sensationalism was thus associated with distinctly physical and emotional responses, and if readers did not feel any of these sensations, then the writer had clearly failed in his mission to provoke or excite.'8

It seems the Victorians could do with horror what they felt they couldn't do with sex: in Miller's phrasing, 'Sensation is felt to occupy a natural site outside meaning, as though in the breathless body signification expired.'9 It seems then that such a sensation is comparable with 'breathless' orgasm; the popular appeal of 'sensational' news is that of catharsis, by imaging our worst fears, our sense of being alive is reaffirmed, in much the same way as people have sex after attending funerals - to assure themselves that while that person is dead, we're very much alive, thank god. And with their mixture of sex and death, such sensational news stories are reminiscent of Victorian pornography or, slightly toned down, Victorian 'shilling shocker' romance stories. In melodrama, there existed 'the erotic triangle of upper-class male villain, passive plebeian hero or grieving father, and passive, victimized heroine.'10 Gothic literature could go one better, and bestow the villain with strange inhuman powers, and it was here that the London press found the best comparisons with Jack the Ripper.

With such 'shocking' murders 'so distinctly outside the range of ordinary human experience', to find anything remotely comparable reporters had to search 'the ghastliest efforts of fiction', such as Thomas De Quincey's works, for their 'delight in the details of butchery' and Poe's Murders in the Rue Morgue.11 The killer could be 'a murderous lunatic […] like another Hyde'12 or 'a cruel Frankenstein'.13 Inherent in the comparisons with Rue Morgue and R.L Stevenson's Hyde is the implication that the murderer is a step back down the evolutionary ladder, 'half beast, half man',14 an animalistic subhuman (i.e. Poe's killer ape in Rue Morgue). In the comparisons to Hyde, Frankenstein, and De Quincey's 'butchery', we see the anti-medical fears of the 'mad doctor', under the old standby of 'There are some things man was never meant to see'. There was much protest from women about vivisection, surgery was still fairly new, and autopsies were still considered by some to be profane. The press assured its readers that the killer's 'anatomical knowledge carried him out of the category of a common criminal',15 which led to speculations such as

'Possibly the culprit is an army doctor suffering from sunstroke. He has seen the horrible play [Jekyll and Hyde], lives in […] a decent square or terrace, dressed well. Goes out about 10 P.M. straight to Whitechapel. Commits deed. Home again to breakfast. Wash, brush-up, sleep. Himself again--Dr. Hyde. Meantime, everybody scouring the scene of the tragedy for the usual type of a murderer.'16

This illustrates the popular belief that the murderer had to be a either a gentleman doctor killing without being aware of it, or a 'man monster',17 an incurable lunatic.18 'Even if he is insane, he knows how to kill swiftly and silently',19 Curtis tells us; many papers of the day made mention of the 'inexplicable', mysterious circumstances surrounding these crimes and the 'diabolical astuteness' the killer showed in escaping.20 Gradually the Ripper came to be viewed not only as subhuman but as superhuman also, fleet-footed and wily as Spring-Heeled Jack. A drawing from The Illustrated Police News21 shows Mary Kelly outside her lodging-house, 'OPENING THE DOOR TO ADMIT DEATH!' as the Ripper leers behind her with a grinning skull instead of a face; one hand carries what looks like a roll of medical tools, the other hand strokes his mandible thoughtfully.

So the killer didn't have a face - but by 27th September 1888, he most definitely had a voice. The now infamous 'Dear Boss' letter was posted to the Central News Agency, and although it wasn't the first Ripper letter - and certainly wouldn't be the last - it and its 'brother', a postcard received on 1st October, are the most well known and are considered to possibly be from the actual killer. Whether they were or not was irrelevant to the press, who, under the pretence that publishing the letters would cause members of the public to recognise the handwriting, ran several stories on these letters. This was more than enough to spark widespread public reaction, although it wasn't the reaction the police had hoped for; over the course of two years over two hundred letters were sent to police, members of the press, and ordinary men and women. Such letters were sent as jokes, to gain notoriety, and often, to take revenge on enemies by terrifying them into believing that they were to be the Ripper's next victim. And it was the Dear Boss letters which gave the killer this 'trade name', as he put it, which was far catchier than the previous 'Leather Apron' or 'The Whitechapel Killer'. An 'everyman' name, it reinforced the notion that 'Saucy Jack', as he called himself, could be any person on the street. However, some phrases in the Dear Boss letters, such as 'I shant quit' and 'the police […] won't fix me just yet' seemed to contain many Americanisms, according to popular opinion.22 This added to the xenophobic feel that infused the entire case: the suspicion of Jews - the first major suspect being Jewish John Pizer, known as 'Leather Apron' - the supposed anti-Semitic Ripper graffiti 'The Juwes are not the men who will not be blamed for nothing', the fact that Mary Kelly, the last victim, was Irish, and so on. Victorian Londoners had become increasingly disturbed by the influx of foreign immigrants into the city, partly in light of recent 'international terrorism'23 and partly due to the inherent xenophobia that the English seem to possess. Londoners were desperate to believe that the killer was not English, as only a less-civilised foreigner could commit such awful acts and, as the Ripper letters demonstrated, be so remorseless. The killer had a voice at last, but certainly not a repentant, regretful one,24 and the public was horrified by (and perhaps a little envious of) this macabre man and his 'mocking persona' that displayed a complete carefree lack of conscience.25

Ordinarily, there are 'several deafening silences in the texts of murder news.' Not only is the victim 'silenced forever', but the perpetrator, once caught, either lies copiously or bites his tongue. Reporters and readers rush to fill these silences with 'speculation and fantasy',26 and I imagine many of them felt slightly relieved when they could take a break and let Jack the Ripper speak into the void.

Many were not, however, and the Star in particular disapproved of the Daily Telegraph's decision to publish facsimiles of the Dear Boss letters, on the grounds they are 'ghastly but very silly' written by 'one of those foolish but bad people' seeking 'unholy notoriety'.27 Punch, Or the London Charivari complained that 'the public may be to a certain extent indebted for the horrible crimes in Whitechapel […] imagine the effect of these gigantic pictures of violence and assassination by knife and pistol on the morbid imagination of unbalanced minds.'28 Punch also printed an illustration which featured a gleeful devil-figure pasting 'sensational' posters advertising the Ripper case and the latest penny dreadfuls, of 'horrible subject and hideous hue' to all the walls in London.29 On 2nd October, French newspaper Le Petit Journal smugly commented that 'the English have no decency left; they are the ignoble exploiters of human flesh',30 and some 'late- Victorian men of letters saw little difference between sensationalism and vulgarity'.31 Some 'silences' in texts were imposed to restrain such vulgarity; often large pieces of information were missing from reportage, and the Victorians were famous for their 'sexual euphemization'32 when describing rapes ('outrages' or 'assaults') or their vagueness when describing the extent of injuries to the 'abdomen' or 'stomach' (i.e. the sexual organs) of the Ripper victims. William Stead, editor of the Pall Mall Gazette, occasionally expressed 'some qualms' about the sensational material he printed;33 Stead being the author of the highly influential 1885 exposé on child prostitution entitled The Maiden Tribute of Modern Babylon. He followed in the footsteps of Andrew Mearns's The Bitter Cry of Outcast London (1883), and George R. Sims would follow both Mearns and Stead with his exposé How the Poor Live (1889). Mearns and Stead succeeded in making issues of the poor and prostitution matters of public debate; Stead especially, who turned the Pall Mall Gazette from a gentleman's magazine to a moral and social forum.34 'Men and Women's clubs' sprung up in the 1880s and such debates, no doubt inspired by the topic of the week's papers, were central to them; finally, women were able to have their say. But rational discourses on sex, says Judith Walkowitz, were undermined by the underlying issue of prostitution.35

Stead created the idea of the 'sadistic aristocratic villain' (to use Josephine Butler's phrase) menacing the 'unfortunates' (prostitutes), and he named him as the 'Minotaur', devouring young maidens in the Labyrinth that is London.36 Some papers blamed the victims themselves: 'wives of respectable men', 'their terrible downward course into vice' is caused by 'their own misdoing.'37 But attitudes were changing, and, surprisingly, the newspapers contained many articles and letters that were sympathetic to the poor. In a letter sent to the Pall Mall Gazette, Cuninghame Graham states 'had the victims been titled profligates instead of poor prostitutes that a pretty stir would have been made',38 while the East London Advertiser informed its readers that '[t]he unfortunate had souls as well as the great.'39 Some went as far as to say that 'the real criminal is the vicious bourgeois system which, based on class injustice, condemns thousands to poverty, vice and crime, manufactures criminals, and then punishes them!'40 Yet others took the cynical view that there was little difference between the rich and poor, in a kind of despair for humanity in general, with its cruel nature - 'The scum is brutal, the refined [are] vicious'41 - which led to that awful dead-alive matter-of-fact tone in most Victorian newspapers, which Thomas Boyle explored thoroughly in his book Black Swine in the Sewers of Hampstead.

While such generous views towards the poor did, in some respects, extend to prostitutes, they were still thought ill of. Ralph Thicknesse commented that while prostitution produced 'grave social evils', the sex was not 'evil in itself'. So while a prostitute's services were 'useful', they were not 'immoral'.42 Yet at the same time, we have the Contagious Diseases Act and the 'imperative of sexual desire for men'43 coupled with the baffling double standard that vilifies the 'supply' while ignoring the issue of 'demand'. Women spoke out against marriage, a topic which fuelled much debate in the press, taking inspiration from an article by Mona Caird who wrote that 'if women could gain economic independence so that they did not feel compelled to enter into mercenary marriages;'44 that is, not having to become a prostitute to make money. The marriage debate coexisted with the Ripper coverage - which may as well have been subtitled The Prostitute Debate - for four weeks, until eventually, the killings took up all of the papers. On 19th September, Stead printed an editorial in PMG entitled MURDER AS AN ADVERTISEMENT, which claimed the killer was murdering the poor in order to educate the upper-classes about the suffering in the slums.45 Hell of a way to do it - but Stead seems to be forgetting that these were not just poor, not just women, but prostitutes, and by killing them, he is saying something very loudly about women and their position in society. Perhaps the Ripper was an educated man, responding to the Stead's exposé, the recent feminist uprising and their antivivisectionist protests, or maybe he was just some random lunatic. An illustration - which I find quite amusing - in The Illustrated Police News shows four thoroughly 'modern' women 'READY FOR THE WHITECHAPEL FIEND. WOMEN SECRETLY ARMED' to the teeth, bearing knives and guns with the proper expression of vacuous disquiet on their faces; as if they have these deadly weapons, but no idea how to use them - naturally. It somehow manages to convey the smug implication that if these well-meaning but innately stupid women did get attacked by the Ripper, they'd be dead in two seconds, gun or no gun.

Although there were, on two occasions, gaps of several weeks between the Ripper murders, the press had no trouble keeping the story 'alive', due to the almost episodic nature of the saga, with new inquests, theories, and letters from the public - what George Buckle, editor of the Times, called 'the most valuable "free copy" in the world'.46 Meanwhile, the papers showed a rise in 'suspicious incidents'47 - possible Ripper-related attacks, since any man who now harassed a woman on the street could be Jack himself - although 'the amount of reporting of sexual crimes' had increased since Stead's Maiden Tribute, 'mirroring in part the actual increase in charges against men for sexual assault', but Stead, who was an arrogant, headstrong man, tried to make every sexual assault case less about gender and more about class problems.48 Yet reports of 'economic' related crimes - i.e. burglary, mugging, etc. - went up during the Ripper murders. The East End News reported that while the police had been occupied with the killing at Mitre Square, 'the Aldgate post office was entered and ransacked […] under the very noses of the "guardians of peace and order."'49 Much of the blame was thrown at the police, from members of the press and general public; on 10th November, the Star published an article citing Sir Charles Warren, police commissioner as 'clumsy, wilful' and 'ignorant',50 while many letters to editors suggested more effective methods of police organisation, such as a policeman dressing up as a female prostitute to lure the Ripper or, more sensibly, that a policeman remain on one beat, getting to know that area of the city well, as a 'policeman who knows his beat […] is worth three who do not'.51 Papers such as Graphic and Punch expressed similar thoughts in their illustrations. In one entitled 'Blind-man's Buff', four sniggering criminals circle a blindfolded policeman as he staggers about, arms outstretched.52 Another shows two members of the 'criminal class' discussing how the 'Per-leeze' (Police) are a 'fine body of men', but luckily there's so 'bloomin' few' of them.53 The reaction of the general public was to either form voluntary groups who patrolled Whitechapel on the lookout for suspicious men, or to form lynch mobs who would pursue any male with the cry of 'Jack the Ripper!'

Some however, blamed all the trouble on the lack of light. Many areas of London had inadequate gaslighting, and Whitechapel was no exception. The Ripper case sparked public outcry for improved lighting - if not gas than electric - because, as one letter-writer warns,

'dark passages lend themselves to evil deeds. It would not be unwise, and it certainly would be a humane outlay, if some of the unproductive expenditure of the rich were used to make the streets of the poor as light and as clean as the streets of the City.'54

The East End became almost a separate city in its own right, 'a festering sore' on the 'greatness' of London.55 The East Ender was not one of 'the respectable poor'56 from the City; he was the boogeyman in the night, living in a city of both actual and metaphorical darkness welling up from the underground, the margins of society, that simultaneously masked and created degradation and criminality - a darkness which, without gaslight, was far too large to banish or ignore.57 In the minds of the upper-class, that degradation threatened to spill over into the rest of London. The East End was 'the hell of poverty. Like an enormous black, motionless, giant Kraken, the poverty of London lies there in lurking silence and encircles with its mighty tentacles the life and wealth of the City and of the West End.'58

The flâneur, the well-bred gentleman stroller, is almost the opposite to Stead's Minotaur. One explores while the other hunts, yet both inhabit a maze. Reverend Sidney Godolphin Osbourne, in a letter to the Times, describes the East End as a 'warren of foul alleys';59 and it was. Located on the fringes of the City, Whitechapel was being rapidly enclosed and cut off by new railway lines and canals as the east crept west to meet the City. This created countless winding streets and dead-end alleyways with no escape.60 It was 'terra incognita'61 and now posed a danger to the hapless flâneur, whose 'prerogative [was] to move speedily as urban explorers across the divided social spaces of the nineteenth-century city, to see the city whole, and thereby construct their identity in relation to that diversity.'62 But as Poe's The Man in the Crowd proclaimed, behind any face in the street could lurk a criminal. 'New social actors' were being created in the ever-growing landscape of London, and the difficulty in telling people of different classes apart made many a flâneur unsafe; there were many cases of 'mistaken identity' with 'respectable' women being stopped by police who mistook them for prostitutes, and suspicious-looking gentlemen accused of being one of the 'criminal class'.63 And now the flâneur could hardly walk without being confronted by 'women of the street' or drunken criminals, and should he ever feel a need to explore the hellish East End in order to 'construct his identity', he might never be seen again. After all, Jack the Ripper was out there, and he could be anyone in the crowd - anyone at all.

L. Perry Curtis has said, of the letters written to the newspaper editors, that they 'revealed much more about the writers than the crimes.'64 This is applicable in a wider scale to all the newspaper coverage itself in 1888. The various theories, suggestions, and opinions that were printed reveal a great deal about the culture of Victorian London, 'of what Raymond Williams called "structures of feeling" and "the informing spirit of a whole way of life."'65 In short, the Ripper coverage reflected society's fears and ideologies - but perhaps it also it also reflected them back to society, and some were maybe shocked at what they saw in themselves. I think it's not unreasonable to suggest the Ripper murders raised some buried issues, and were possibly instrumental in getting society to take notice - and action. Yes, women are still fighting for equality, the poor are still fighting for money from those better off, police are still inadequate, crime and prostitution are still rampant - although thankfully we now all have adequate electric lighting. Many of the above issues are modern hot debates, and everyone from protest groups to the government66 are trying to improve these situations. Whatever atrocities Jack the Ripper committed, he got society talking, which perhaps says a great deal more about us then it does about him.


Citations are arranged alphabetically by author.


Boyle, Thomas. Black Swine in the Sewers of Hampstead: Beneath the Surface of Victorian Sensationalism. London, Toronto, Sydney: Hodder and Stoughton, 1990

Curtis, L. Perry, Jr. Jack the Ripper and the London Press. London and New Haven: Yale University Press, 2001

Evans, Stewart P. & Skinner Keith. Jack the Ripper: Letters from Hell. London: Sutton Publishing, 2001

Fishman, William J. East End 1888: A year in a London borough among the labouring poor. London: Duckworth, 1988

Haining, Peter (ed). The Penny Dreadful - Or, Strange, Horrid & Sensational Tales! London: Victor Gollancz, 1975

Palmer, Alan Warwick. The East End: Four Centuries of London Life. London: John Murray, 1989

Poe, Edgar Allan. The Fall of the House of Usher and Other Writings. London: Penguin Books, 1986

Rumbelow, Donald. The Complete Jack the Ripper (Revised edition). London: Penguin Books, 1988

Steadman Jones, Gareth. Outcast London: A Study in the Relationship Between Classes in Victorian Society. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1971

Tucker, Herbert F. (ed). A Companion to Victorian Literature and Culture. Massachusetts: Blackwell Publishers, 1999

Walkowitz, Judith R. City of Dreadful Delight: Narratives of Sexual Danger in Late-Victorian London. London: Virago, 1998

Internet Resources

'Jack the Ripper - Chat with London England's Infamous Whitechapel Serial Killer!' (Accessed 19th March 2003) Triumph PC. Available at:

'Jack the Ripper' 13th March 2003 (Accessed 22nd March 2003) Wikipedia. Available at:

Chesterton, G.K. 'A Defense of Penny Dreadfuls' (Accessed 20th March 2003) Chesterton Library. Available at:

Haggard, Robert F. 'Jack the Ripper as the Threat of Outcast London' 1993 (Accessed 20th March 2003) Department of History, University of Virginia. Available at: h ttp:// E H/ EH35/haggard1.html

Rider, Stephen P. (ed) 'Alderley and Wilmslow Advertiser - 12 October 1888' (Accessed 21st March 2003) Casebook: Jack the Ripper. Available at:

Rider, Stephen P. (ed) 'East End News - 11 September 1888' (Accessed 21st March 2003) Casebook: Jack the Ripper. Available at:

Rider, Stephen P. (ed) 'East End News - 5 October 1888' (Accessed 21st March 2003) Casebook: Jack the Ripper. Available at:

Rider, Stephen P. (ed) 'East London Advertiser - 8 September 1888' (Accessed 21st March 2003) Casebook: Jack the Ripper. Available at:

Rider, Stephen P. (ed) 'East London Advertiser - 15 September 1888' (Accessed 21st March 2003) Casebook: Jack the Ripper. Available at:

Rider, Stephen P. (ed) 'East London Advertiser - 22 September 1888' (Accessed 21st March 2003) Casebook: Jack the Ripper. Available at:

Rider, Stephen P. (ed) 'East London Advertiser - 6 October 1888' (Accessed 21st March 2003) Casebook: Jack the Ripper. Available at:

Rider, Stephen P. (ed) 'Pall Mall Gazette - 10 September 1888' (Accessed 21st March 2003) Casebook: Jack the Ripper. Available at:

Rider, Stephen P. (ed) 'Pall Mall Gazette - 5 October 1888' (Accessed 21st March 2003) Casebook: Jack the Ripper. Available at:

Rider, Stephen P. (ed) 'Punch - 15 September 1888' (Accessed 21st March 2003) Casebook: Jack the Ripper. Available at:

Rider, Stephen P. (ed) 'Punch - 22 September 1888' (Accessed 21st March 2003) Casebook: Jack the Ripper. Available at:

Rider, Stephen P. (ed) 'Punch - 29 September 1888' (Accessed 21st March 2003) Casebook: Jack the Ripper. Available at:

Rider, Stephen P. (ed) 'Punch - 13 October 1888' (Accessed 21st March 2003) Casebook: Jack the Ripper. Available at:

Rider, Stephen P. (ed) 'Star - 8 September 1888' (Accessed 21st March 2003) Casebook: Jack the Ripper. Available at:

Rider, Stephen P. (ed) 'Times [London] - 10 September 1888' (Accessed 21st March 2003) Casebook: Jack the Ripper. Available at:[london]/ lt880910.html

Rider, Stephen P. (ed) 'Times [London] - 18 September 1888' (Accessed 21st March 2003) Casebook: Jack the Ripper. Available at:[london]/ lt880918.html

Rider, Stephen P. (ed) 'Times [London] - 19 September 1888' (Accessed 21st March 2003) Casebook: Jack the Ripper. Available at:[london]/ lt880919.html

Rider, Stephen P. (ed) 'Times [London] - 27 September 1888' (Accessed 21st March 2003) Casebook: Jack the Ripper. Available at:[london]/ lt880927.html

Segerdal, Alastair. 'Jack the Radical' April 1996. (Accessed 20th Match 2003) Liberty Haven. Available at:

Sels, Kim. 'The Maiden Tribute of Modern Babylon: A Manipulation of Desire' (Accessed 21st March 2003) Available at:


  1. Quoted in L. Perry Curtis, Jr., Jack the Ripper and the London Press, 264
  2. Colin Wilson, in the Introduction for Donald Rumbelow, The Complete Jack the Ripper, 1
  3. Realistic sensation and Gothic sensation strike me as being the soap operas of their day, and the difference between the two is much like the different between 'real' soaps such as Eastenders or Home & Away and 'supernatural' soaps like Charmed or Buffy.
  4. The most recent being From Hell (2001), a movie based on the graphic novel of the same title, which attempts to mesh at least five different Ripper theories into one narrative.
  5. Curtis, 16
  6. Curtis, 53
  7. Thomas Boyle, Black Swine in the Sewers of Hampstead, pp.12-3
  8. Curtis, 80
  9. D.A. Miller, The Novel and the Police, quoted in Curtis, 303
  10. Judith R. Walkowitz, City of Dreadful Delight, 86
  11. Rider, Stephen P. (ed), 'Times [London] - 10 September 1888',[london]/lt880910.html
  12. Rider, Stephen P. (ed), 'East London Advertiser - 8 September 1888',
  13. Rider, Stephen P. (ed), 'Alderley and Wilmslow Advertiser' - 12 October 1888',
  14. Rider, Stephen P. (ed), 'Star - 8 September 1888',
  15. Rider, Stephen P. (ed), 'Times [London] - 27 September 1888',
  16. Rider, Stephen P. (ed), 'Pall Mall Gazette - 3 October 1888',
  17. Rider, Stephen P. (ed), 'East London Advertiser - 15 September 1888',
  18. W.T. Stead, editor of the PMG, was the first to suggest that the killer was of a higher class (PMG, 10 September 1888)
  19. Curtis, 51
  20. Rider, Stephen P. (ed), 'East London Advertiser - 6 October 1888',
  21. Date is unknown, but the illustration itself can be found in Rumbelow, 291
  22. Evans, 19
  23. Walkowitz, 25
  24. Which, interestingly, was the tone of the first (anonymous) letter sent to Sir Charles Warren at Scotland Yard on 25th September 1888, that arrived just before the 'Dear Boss' letter.
  25. Stewart P. Evans and Keith Skinner, Jack the Ripper: Letters From Hell, 169
  26. Curtis, 6
  27. Star (4 October 1888), quoted in Evans, 32
  28. Rider, Stephen P. (ed), 'Punch - 15 September 1888',
  29. Rider, Stephen P. (ed), 'Punch - 13 October 1888',
  30. Quoted in Curtis, 140
  31. Curtis, 65
  32. Alan Hunt, quoted in Curtis, 93
  33. Curtis, 81
  34. Walkowitz, 95
  35. Walkowitz, 159
  36. Walkowitz, 97
  37. Graphic (6 October 1888), quoted from Curtis, 153
  38. Rider, Stephen P. (ed), 'Pall Mall Gazette - 5 October 1888',
  39. Rider, Stephen P. (ed), 'East London Advertiser - 22 September 1888',
  40. From the newspaper Justice (date unknown), quoted in William J. Fisherman, East End 1888, 226
  41. Margaret Harkness (under the pseudonym John Law), writing in 1889. Quoted in Fishman, 6
  42. Quoted in Walkowitz, 160
  43. Walkowitz, pp.22-3
  44. Walkowitz, 167
  45. Curtis, 135
  46. Quoted in Curtis, 241
  47. Rider, Stephen P. (ed), 'East End News - 11 September 1888',
  48. Walkowitz, 125
  49. Rider, Stephen P. (ed), 'East End News - 5 October 1888',
  50. Quoted from Curtis, 192
  51. Rider, Stephen P. (ed), 'The Times [London] - 18th September 1888',[london]/lt880918.html
  52. Rider, Stephen P. (ed), 'Punch - 22 September 1888',
  53. Rider, Stephen P. (ed), 'Punch - 13 October 1888',
  54. Rider, Stephen P. (ed), 'Times [London] - 19 September 1888',[london]/lt880919.html
  55. Evans, 1
  56. From The Nineteenth Century XXIV (1888), quoted in Fishman, 1
  57. The 29 September 1888 issue of Punch featured an illustration of the Ripper as a knife- wielding phantom, accompanying a 'poem' about the slum state of the East End, entitled The Nemesis of Neglect. Available at
  58. J.H. Mackay, The Anarchists, quoted in Fishman, 1
  59. Rider, Stephen P. (ed), 'Time [London] - 18 September 1888',[london]/lt880918.html
  60. Fishman, 2
  61. Curtis, 33
  62. Walkowitz, 11
  63. Walkowitz, pp.41-52
  64. Curtis, 239
  65. Quoted in Curtis, 15
  66. Or so they say …

Related pages:
  Lisa Johnstone
       Dissertations: Rippercussions: Public Reaction to the Ripper Murders in ... 

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