Iconic Photos

Famous, Infamous and Iconic Photos

The Whitechapel Murders | Police Files

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MaryJaneKelly_Ripper_100

It is unclear how many he really killed: as few as five, as many as eleven. His methods were brutal — throats were slashed; organs eviscerated. For almost three years between 1888 and 1891, he terrorized, fascinated, and repulsed the Victorian London and the world beyond, before fading out of history as abruptly as he had entered it. Many a prominent Victorian was accused of being him, but the Whitechapel Murderer was never actually caught, although the abrupt end of his reign of terror suggested that it was interrupted by his death, incarceration, institutionalization, or deportation.

Unlike all other acknowledged victims of Jack the Ripper, Mary Jane Kelly was killed inside, in her apartment at Miller Court. Her face was mutilated — again something not found in four other ‘official’ Ripper victims. For those reasons, whether Mary Jane Kelly was an actual victim of Jack the Ripper has always been a topic of fervent debates.

On photographic front, too, Mary Jane was unique. Ripper murders unfolded just before Victorian innovations in criminology and forensic sciences were to reach their apogee, and missed fingerprint identification techniques by just a decade. However, all of Ripper’s victims were meticulously photographed in mortuary; Mary Jane was the only victim to be photographed in situ, as she was found on her bed, horribly mutilated. A second photo is more violent and not reproduced here. Had the above photo been in color, it would not have been reproduced here.  (The photographer is not known; other mortuary photos found here are allegedly taken by one Joseph Martin.)

Her apartment and most of East End London the killer frequented has been demolished — swept away in the series of slum clearances and reforms ironically spurred by the Ripper killings.

[See all the mortuary photos here. This post is part of a series I am trying out called, I can't belive there is a photo of that!]

Written by Alex Selwyn-Holmes

October 8, 2013 at 7:52 am

5 Responses

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  1. Very trendy area Brick Lane now. I was at an exhibition at the Truman Brewery round the corner just last week. There used to be a pub on the corner of Hanbury St called ‘Jack The Ripper’ but it has changed its name.

    Patrick Richmond Nicholas

    October 8, 2013 at 8:28 am

  2. Thank you, I will! :)

    Mariana

    October 9, 2013 at 1:18 am

  3. I”t is unclear how many he really killed: as few as five, as many as eleven. His methods were brutal — throats were slashed; organs eviscerated. For almost three years between 1888 and 1891, he terrorized, fascinated, and repulsed the Victorian London and the world beyond . . .”

    The fiver murders most frequently thought to have been committed by the Ripper all took place in 1888.

    NCC

    October 13, 2013 at 4:26 pm

  4. Reblogueó esto en Formas de representar.

    emilioamella

    October 13, 2013 at 11:36 pm


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