American Ripper - Netflix
In American Ripper, Jeff Mudgett sets out to prove that his ancestor, American serial killer H.H. Holmes, and Jack The Ripper were the same man; Mudgett partners with ex-CIA analyst Amaryllis Fox to launch an investigation, using modern science and methodologies.
Runtime: 60 minutes
American Ripper - Jack the Ripper - Netflix
Jack the Ripper is the best-known name for an unidentified serial killer generally believed to have been active in the largely impoverished areas in and around the Whitechapel district of London in 1888. In both the criminal case files and contemporary journalistic accounts, the killer was called the Whitechapel Murderer and Leather Apron. Attacks ascribed to Jack the Ripper typically involved female prostitutes who lived and worked in the slums of the East End of London whose throats were cut prior to abdominal mutilations. The removal of internal organs from at least three of the victims led to proposals that their killer had some anatomical or surgical knowledge. Rumours that the murders were connected intensified in September and October 1888, and letters were received by media outlets and Scotland Yard from a writer or writers purporting to be the murderer. The name “Jack the Ripper” originated in a letter written by someone claiming to be the murderer that was disseminated in the media. The letter is widely believed to have been a hoax and may have been written by journalists in an attempt to heighten interest in the story and increase their newspapers' circulation. The “From Hell” letter received by George Lusk of the Whitechapel Vigilance Committee came with half of a preserved human kidney, purportedly taken from one of the victims. The public came increasingly to believe in a single serial killer known as “Jack the Ripper”, mainly because of the extraordinarily brutal nature of the murders, and because of media treatment of the events. Extensive newspaper coverage bestowed widespread and enduring international notoriety on the Ripper, and the legend solidified. A police investigation into a series of eleven brutal killings in Whitechapel up to 1891 was unable to connect all the killings conclusively to the murders of 1888. Five victims—Mary Ann Nichols, Annie Chapman, Elizabeth Stride, Catherine Eddowes, and Mary Jane Kelly—are known as the “canonical five” and their murders between 31 August and 9 November 1888 are often considered the most likely to be linked. The murders were never solved, and the legends surrounding them became a combination of genuine historical research, folklore, and pseudohistory. The term “ripperology” was coined to describe the study and analysis of the Ripper cases. There are now over one hundred hypotheses about the Ripper's identity, and the murders have inspired many works of fiction.
American Ripper - Letters - Netflix
Over the course of the Ripper murders, the police, newspapers, and others received hundreds of letters regarding the case. Some were well-intentioned offers of advice for catching the killer, but the vast majority were useless. Hundreds of letters claimed to have been written by the killer himself, and three of these in particular are prominent: the “Dear Boss” letter, the “Saucy Jacky” postcard and the “From Hell” letter. The “Dear Boss” letter, dated 25 September, was postmarked 27 September 1888. It was received that day by the Central News Agency, and was forwarded to Scotland Yard on 29 September. Initially it was considered a hoax, but when Eddowes was found three days after the letter's postmark with one ear partially cut off, the letter's promise to “clip the ladys (sic) ears off” gained attention. Eddowes' ear appears to have been nicked by the killer incidentally during his attack, and the letter writer's threat to send the ears to the police was never carried out. The name “Jack the Ripper” was first used in this letter by the signatory and gained worldwide notoriety after its publication. Most of the letters that followed copied this letter's tone. Some sources claim that another letter dated 17 September 1888 was the first to use the name “Jack the Ripper”, but most experts believe that this was a fake inserted into police records in the 20th century.
The “Saucy Jacky” postcard was postmarked 1 October 1888 and was received the same day by the Central News Agency. The handwriting was similar to the “Dear Boss” letter. It mentions that two victims were killed very close to one another: “double event this time”, which was thought to refer to the murders of Stride and Eddowes. It has been argued that the letter was posted before the murders were publicised, making it unlikely that a crank would have such knowledge of the crime, but it was postmarked more than 24 hours after the killings took place, long after details were known and being published by journalists and talked about by residents of the area. The “From Hell” letter was received by George Lusk, leader of the Whitechapel Vigilance Committee, on 16 October 1888. The handwriting and style is unlike that of the “Dear Boss” letter and “Saucy Jacky” postcard. The letter came with a small box in which Lusk discovered half of a kidney, preserved in “spirits of wine” (ethanol). Eddowes' left kidney had been removed by the killer. The writer claimed that he “fried and ate” the missing kidney half. There is disagreement over the kidney; some contend that it belonged to Eddowes, while others argue that it was a macabre practical joke. The kidney was examined by Dr Thomas Openshaw of the London Hospital, who determined that it was human and from the left side, but (contrary to false newspaper reports) he could not determine any other biological characteristics. Openshaw subsequently also received a letter signed “Jack the Ripper”. Scotland Yard published facsimiles of the “Dear Boss” letter and the postcard on 3 October, in the ultimately vain hope that someone would recognise the handwriting. Charles Warren explained in a letter to Godfrey Lushington, Permanent Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department: “I think the whole thing a hoax but of course we are bound to try & ascertain the writer in any case.” On 7 October 1888, George R. Sims in the Sunday newspaper Referee implied scathingly that the letter was written by a journalist “to hurl the circulation of a newspaper sky high”. Police officials later claimed to have identified a specific journalist as the author of both the “Dear Boss” letter and the postcard. The journalist was identified as Tom Bullen in a letter from Chief Inspector John Littlechild to George R. Sims dated 23 September 1913. A journalist called Fred Best reportedly confessed in 1931 that he and a colleague at The Star had written the letters signed “Jack the Ripper” to heighten interest in the murders and “keep the business alive”.
American Ripper - References - Netflix