Jack The Ripper
Dark implications, words like Jekyll and Hyde and vampire, can be attributed to any number of serial killers. They are words that evoke fear and elicit images of secret rampages in the minds of those who view the sinister biographical details of the likes of men like Jack the Ripper. Although Jack the Ripper's number of actual killings does not meet the FBI standard of six in order for an established pattern to be verified, his crimes fit most of the other parameters associated with serial killing. Therefore, for the purposes of this paper, Jack the Ripper is regarded as a serial killer. Many regard Jack the Ripper as one of the first "large metropolis" serial killers and certainly the first one focused on extensively in the popular press of the day (casebook.org). Jack the Ripper can be classified as a serial killer due to the following factors, which typifies the attributes of serial killers: their modus operendi, and the peculiar nature of their psychic processes.
There are limitations on what we can know about Jack the Ripper since it is speculative as to who he really was. To this day competing theories as to his actual identity abound. But, given his M.O., a great deal about him can be inferred, and this correlates well with the set of parameters that define a serial killer. Evans and Gainey quote Professor Hervey Cleckley on the subject of the salient points of the psychotic personality. These points include:
- Superficial charm
- No visible signs of irrational thinking
- Lack of nervousness
- Absence of remorse
- Poor judgement
- Egocentricity to a pathological degree
- Emotional flatness, i.e. dampened affect with respect to situations that produce in more normal people feelings of excitement, anxiety, or fear
All of these were probably aspects of Jack the Ripper's personality; the brutality of the mutilations, the cannibalism that he indulged in, and his totemic taking of trophies from his victims in order to relive the murder in his imagination, all confirm a diagnosis of psychopathology (casebook.org). And there were those who saw Jack the Ripper with his victims before their murder and noted the relaxed, friendly conversation between perpetrator and victim; this too would be consonant with the diagnosis.
Offender profiling has been a part of modern criminal investigations at least since 1888, when a Dr. Thomas Bond described the likely suspect in a series of mysteries murders of women around the Whitechapel area of London as, among other things, very strong, average looking and "respectably dressed". These statements, which constituted an attempt to describe the unknown offender who would become more widely known as "Jack the Ripper" based on the nature of his crimes, probably constitute part of the first recorded offender profile. Indeed, aside from the inclusion of certain diagnostic categories, Dr. Bond's description is a telling insight, given the fact that despite intensive investigations by offender profilers and other criminal specialists the identity of Jack the Ripper remains unknown.
Below are the names and authors of six books that you can use:
- Jack the Ripper: the complete casebook... By Donald Rumbelow.
- Jack the Ripper: first American serial killer... By Stewart P. Evans.
- Murder and Madness: the secret life of Jack the Ripper... By David Abrahamsen.
- Jack the Ripper: 100 years of Investigation... By Terence Sharkey.
- Portrait of a Killer: Jack the Ripper--case closed... By Patricia Cornwell.
- Ripper Legacy: The Life and Death of Jack the Ripper... By Martin Howells and Keith Skinner.,