Jack the Ripper’s Identity Discovered?

Jack the Ripper
While regarded in modern times as almost a bit of Victoriana kitsch and a ghoulish horror legend, the so-called “Jack the Ripper” murders were indeed a very real, and very disturbing series of crimes.

Crimes that have gone unsolved for over a century.

That is, until now. Or so says the, by his own description, “armchair detective” who claims to have gotten to the bottom of the mother of all unsolved cases.

If you don’t know, the 1888 “Jack the Ripper” killings targeted mostly prostitutes, in the impoverished, Whitechapel section of London. At least five women — and very possibly more — are believed to have been killed by a single, unidentified killer.

We’ll spare you the more graphic details of the murders, but those are easily researched if you’re so inclined to seek them out. The grisly nature of the killings and the killer’s successful evasion of capture — and a catchy name for the anonymous killer, originating from a false confession letter — all led to “Jack the Ripper” becoming the stuff of legend.

In 2007, Russell Edwards acquired a shawl associated with one of the Jack the Ripper murders, apparently stained with blood. Based on tests of this garment, Edwards is certain to have solved these crimes once and for all.

“I’ve got the only piece of forensic evidence in the whole history of the case,” Edwards said. “I’ve spent 14 years working on it, and we have definitively solved the mystery of who Jack the Ripper was.”

Who was he? Well, according to Edwards he was Aaron Kosminski, a 23-year old Polish immigrant. Edwards insists that he was “definitely, categorically and absolutely” Jack the Ripper. “Only non-believers that want to perpetuate the myth will doubt. This is it now – we have unmasked him.”

Kosminski was a frequent asylum inmate, who died while in a sanitarium in 1919.

Edwards has been investigating the killings in his spare time for years. In 2007 he purchased the unwashed, blood-stained shawl found by the body of Catherine Eddowes, one of the Ripper’s victims. Once acquired, he enlisted the help of an expert in molecular biology, who subjected the piece to DNA testing (against samples from one from one of Kosminski’s descendants, and others).

Of course Edward has also written a book, called Naming Jack the Ripper, which comes out on September 9th. In it he details his research and his journey on the road to this apparent discovery.

We’ve created a Kosminski/Jack the Ripper PeekYou profile, which you can access by clicking his name above. From it — using numerous links to tons of media all throughout the Web — you can learn both about the murders and the man who might have been responsible.

And here, we see Malcolm McDowell as H.G. Wells and David Warner as Jack the Ripper, but in late-70s San Francisco, in the terrific 1979 movie Time After Time (which, if you see it, will have this whole description making sense).