The infamous serial killer “Jack The Ripper” has baffled the world for more than a century. He was blamed for killing nearly a dozen women in Whitechapel in 1888. Because no one was ever positively identified, efforts continue nearly 130 years later to try to figure out just who the Ripper truly was.
Numerous suspects have been suggested over the years, but then largely dismissed. But now, the Daily Mail reports that an English teacher could have put to rest the identity of Jack the Ripper once and for all.
Twenty years of research has led 45-year-old Richard Patterson of Preston, Lancashire to believe that the man known as Jack was actually named Francis Thompson. According to Patterson, Thompson was a well-respected writer during the time of the Whitechapel murders.
So how does a poet suddenly become a serial murder suspect? Richard claims that although Francis may have been well-regarded for his writing, he also had something of a dark side and troubled background.
— Daily Express (@Daily_Express) November 4, 2015
Francis Thompson moved to London from Lancashire in 1885, three years before the Whitechapel murders took place. It was his hope to become a famous writer. Instead, he was “living rough in the streets” and coping with an addiction to opium. It’s believed he was given shelter by a local prostitute, who would soon form a romantic relationship with Thompson — the only one he’s thought to have had. When the prostitute dumped Francis, this is when Richard theorized he “snapped” and began killing, violently taking out his rejection on other sex workers.
The idea that Francis could be Jack the Ripper should run off the rails when a particular detail about the grisly murders emerges: The confirmed Ripper victims were all slashed and disemboweled with what was considered surgical precision for the time. This led many during the era of Jack the Ripper and the years since to assume the killer had to be a medical expert.
Well, it turns out that despite his reputation as a poet, Francis did possess some medical-related skills, having trained as a doctor. Patterson says of Thompson,
“‘Thompson kept a dissecting knife under his coat,” said Patterson,”and he was taught a rare surgical procedure that was found in the mutilations of more than one of the Ripper victims. He helped with surgery and is known to have cut up heaps and heaps of cadavers while a student.'”
Richard also points to Thompson’s writings, which he said hinted at his blood-lust and desire to kill women to ease his internal agony.
“Soon before and soon after the murders, he wrote about killing female prostitutes with knives.”
If Francis Thompson, who died in 1907 at the age of 47, is the real Jack the Ripper, then one has to ask why he suddenly stop killing? It is often the nature of serial killers to continue to pile up innocent victims until they are captured or killed by law enforcement. Rare is the serial killer who suddenly stops for no reason; rare and terrifying.
Perhaps Richard Patterson will have an answer in his book, Francis Thompson – A Ripper Suspect. The Huffington Post UK mentions that Patterson also released writings in 1998 alleging Thompson could be the infamous killer. Still, mentioning that Thompson is but one of many suspects is fitting, since it’s the truth. There have been quite a few claims over the years that the mystery of Jack the Ripper was solved at last.
Francis Thompson was never questioned in connection to the Ripper murders and so was never really a suspect. What’s written here definitely makes him one of the more interesting suspects to be linked to the terrifying Jack the Ripper killings. If true, it would not only answer “who” Jack was, but explain how his victims were killed and why they were chosen. However, given that this is just a suggestion coming nearly 130 years after the Whitechapel killings, it will very likely remain speculation indefinitely.
— HuffPost UK (@HuffPostUK) November 5, 2015
Do you think Francis Thompson was Jack the Ripper? Do you think Jack the Ripper will ever be positively identified? Please share your thoughts and theories below!
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