The Double Event, 1888

On this day in 1888, the murders of not one, but two, prostitutes were committed in the impoverished Whitechapel area of London.  It is widely accepted that a single serial serial killer popularly known as Jack the Ripper committed these murders and the murders of three other Whitechapel prostitutes. Together, the victims of these murders are known as the canonical five. September 30th is the only day on which two Whitechapel murders were committed, hence it became known as the “double event.”

The “double event” victims, Elizabeth Stride and Catherine Eddowes, were killed and mutilated early in the morning. Stride’s body was discovered first at 1 a.m. in Dutfield’s yard, while Eddowes’ body was found 45 minutes later at Mitre Sqaure. Furthermore, part of Eddowes’ bloody apron was found at the entrance to a building in Goulston Street, Whitechapel. Near the apron was graffito that said:

The Juwes are

The men That

Will not

be Blamed

For nothing.

It is not known if the text, which became known as the Goulston Street Graffito, was written by the killer or if he merely dropped the apron piece under it. In any case, the graffito seemed to suggest a Jewish perpetrator. Fearing anti-Semitic backlash,  Police Commissioner Charles Warren ordered the graffito to be removed.

I think that Jack the Ripper holds a certain fascination with the public because he is shrouded in mystery. After all, the Whitechapel Murderer was never caught. For all we know, “Jack the Ripper” could have been “Jill the Ripper” or multiple people committing murders in Whitechapel. But that’s what is fun about historical mysteries; we don’t have all the details so we fill in the gaps on our own, and make the story whatever we want it to be.

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