Kaitlyn's Korner: Jack the Ripper tales - The Lookout - LCC's Independent Student Newspaper Since 1959
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Kaitlyn's Korner: Jack the Ripper tales

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The Lookout Associate Editor/Photo Editor Kaitlyn Delaney

Kaitlyn Delaney

By Kaitlyn Delaney
Associate Editor/Photo Editor

For those who enjoy true crime, the names H.H. Holmes and Jack the Ripper are probably very familiar. But one thing that doesn’t seem to be talked about all that much is the theory that they were in fact, the same person.

Before the true rise of H.H. Holmes in 1892 with his aptly named “murder castle,” the mysterious Jack the Ripper wreaked havoc across London. Jack the Ripper was believed to be the person behind the surgically precise deaths of five women.

In order to understand the theory and why it could work, there are some things that you need to know about H.H. Holmes. Before settling down in Chicago, Holmes, whose real name was Herman Webster Mudgett, went to medical school right here in Michigan, at the University of Michigan.

During his time in college, he ran a scheme where he would dig up freshly buried bodies from cemeteries, clean them up, and sell them to medical facilities as cadavers. After college, he moved his scheming to the city of Chicago. There, the process of building the soon-to-be murder castle began.

Right after the building was complete, but before the opening, there was a time when Holmes was unaccounted for within the city. Records found later showed he took a ship in 1888 to England.

During the time of the Ripper murders, there are records of an American doctor trying to sell bodies as cadavers to English universities. The method of murder that was needed for the five unfortunate women was so precise and quick, it could only have been done by someone with medical training.

If that’s not enough of a coincidence, there was graphologist who analyzed both papers written by Jack the Ripper taunting London authorities, and papers written by Holmes while he was imprisoned waiting to be hanged in 1896. They came to the conclusion that both papers had been written by the same person.

If you want to learn more about the theory, the series “American Ripper” is free on the History channel. And the great-great grandson of Holmes himself, Jeff Mudget, is one of the lead investigators into whether there is any merit to the theory. He also has a book, “Bloodstains,” that is available.



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