The stories of London’s infamous serial killer Jack the Ripper have long haunted the nation, with historians and crime experts pointing to a range of suspects including a doctor, bootmaker and even a Royal. However, 130 years since the first killing the case still remains unsolved. This summer the London Dungeon is exploring the theory that the reason the killer was never caught was because Jack was in fact a woman… could it have been ‘Jackie the Ripper?’
The London Dungeon has told the mysterious story of Jack the Ripper to its curious guests for over 30 years. But in a bold move and to mark 130 years since Jack the Ripper’s first victim was taken, The London Dungeon is changing its resident ‘Jack’ to a ‘Jackie’, with a female actress taking the lead of the killer character for a limited time only.
Following the first Ripper killing on 31st August 1888, Police were tasked with finding the killer of the first victim Mary Ann Nichols. Her murder initially confused police as they struggled to find a motive but following an additional four victims who suffered the same fate, known collectively as the ‘canonical five’, there was reason to believe the murders were committed by the same feared suspect. Police were at their busiest, searching for the killer for months whilst being taunted by a range of letters signed by ’Jack the Ripper’, leading police to believe that the killer was male.
Even without modern day technology Chief Inspector of the Metropolitan Police in 1888 George Abberline recorded a range statements from witnesses who claimed they saw someone wearing final victim, Mary Jane Kelly’s clothing as they left the murder scene, however the theory was never investigated any further, leaving the killer to disappear into the east end streets.
According to his book ‘The Hand of a Woman’ John Morris supports the theory that Jack the Ripper was female, claiming that ‘the idea that Jack the Ripper was a female should not be overlooked.’
Morris investigated potential suspects that were ignored by investigators and the press, putting infertile doctor’s assistant Lizzie Williams at the forefront of his suspicion. ‘Four of the five Ripper victims had their uterus removed, with the fifth showing signs of an attempted removal. Lizzie Williams was unable to have children of her own, and it’s believed this spurned hatred towards prostitute’s, who were able to become pregnant so easily. It is also widely believed that her husband was involved with the fifth victim, Mary Jane Kelly, which further encouraged her murderous intentions.’
The London Dungeon’s resident ‘Ripperologist’ Richard Quincey is also intrigued by the theory: “Jack the Ripper has baffled both the police and public for many years, because the killer has never been identified. The air of mystery continues to play on our curiosity, with a range of theories behind the attacks never investigated due to the limited resources that the police had in the year 1800s. The claim that the Ripper was a female is an interesting view, and one that was never investigated with evidence such as sightings of someone walking away from the murder scene in a victim’s clothes to support this. It’s one of London’s biggest mysteries and one that we may never know the truth of, however the story of the infamous killer will continue to live on.’
Andrew Walker, General Manager at Merlin Entertainments echoed the sentiment by saying, ‘This theory makes you look at the Ripper story in a completely new way and this is definitely something we’d like to reflect within the attraction which is why we have taken our Jack the Ripper show and turned it on its head. This I believe will surprise and shock our audiences, just as much as this revelation shocks and surprises those with an interest in the Ripper story.’
Visit the exclusive Jackie the Ripper Show at The London Dungeon for a limited time only 13th - 31st August.