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Fact check: Is Jack the Rippers face really immortalized on a cane?

Jack the Ripper was an infamous serial killer who terrorized London in 1888. His identity has never been discovered, but he is believed to have murdered five or more prostitutes within a span of four months. Due to his heinous acts and mysterious identity, Jack the Ripper has become one of the most notorious killers in history. 

In this article, we will explore some of the theories about who Jack the Ripper was, as well as a lesser-known fact: that he may have had his face carved into a cane!

Who was Jack the Ripper?

One of the most popular theories on who Jack the Ripper may have been is “The Royal Conspiracy Theory”; this suggests that Prince Albert Victor (a grandson of Queen Victoria) committed the murders and was then protected by members of high society due to his royal status. Other theories suggest that Jack could have been an unaccompanied foreign sailor, or even a midwife from Whitechapel, as some letters sent to newspapers at the time seemed to be written using female terms such as “yours truly”. 

Some thought local slum doctor Frederick Gordon Brown could’ve been behind it all while others still pondered on the possibility Jewish butcher known only by the name ‘Israel Schwartz’ having something to do with bloody slayings in the streets of East End.

Jack the Ripper’s victims

The exact victims of Jack the Ripper are unknown, but there are five victims that can be definitely attributed to the killer known as “the Canonical Five”. These women were all prostitutes who worked and lived in the slums of East London, specifically in the area of Whitechapel. 

The Canonical Five victims of Jack the Ripper are Mary Ann Nichols, Annie Chapman, Elizabeth Stride, Catherine Eddowes, and Mary Jane Kelly. 

Nichols’s body was found on Friday, Aug. 31, 1888, with her throat severed and her lower abdomen partly ripped open. A week later, on Saturday, Sept. 8, Annie Chapman’s body was discovered with her throat severed. Unlike Nichols, Chapman’s abdomen was opened entirely. A strip of skin was laid on one shoulder with her small intestines placed on the other. Upon further investigation, it was discovered that her uterus and bladder were removed from her body, never to be found. 

Unlike Nichols, however, there was a witness who saw Chapman alive prior to her death, talking to a man with dark hair and a genteel appearance. 

On Sept. 30, there were two victims in one night: Elizabeth Stride and Catherine Eddowes. Many consider this to be especially bold on the part of Jack the Ripper as the crimes took place fairly close to each other and in a short amount of time. 

Mary Jane Kelly was definitely the worst out of all the canonical victims. Her throat was severed “down to the spine”. Her face was hacked beyond all recognition. Her abdomen was almost empty of organs. She was also missing her heart.

Kelly’s body was also posed with her uterus, kidneys, and one of her breasts placed underneath her head. Her other organs were placed on the bedside table. Kelly is considered to be the final official victim of Jack the Ripper.

Jack the Ripper and the mysterious carved face

Perhaps one most interesting aspects entire case is the legend surrounding an item called ‘cane’ – allegedly given away by Thomas Cutbush (apprehended suspect, upon his arrest 1891). It supposedly featured an intricately carved face that assumed partial likeness to Jack himself; though none ever confirmed whether actually true or not.

Ultimately, despite numerous possible clues and investigations that have taken place since the mid-19th century, the mystery surrounding identity remains unsolved. So long as the perpetrator’s true motives remain unknown, there will always be new theories popping up claiming certain individuals are responsible for these tragic deaths. 

Whatever the answer may be, however, the world will always remember these victims; those 5 poor women whose lives were taken without remorse nor warning – simply because of the misfortune of crossing paths with Jack The Ripper!

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