The sky was dark grey and menacing clouds hung low as we began the hunt for a killer. Jack the Ripper, although spotted many times, was never captured and as we walked through the empty back streets of London I could almost feel the ominous presence of the infamous murderer behind us.
Donald Rumbalow, our blue badge tour guide, was an expert (and even that might be an understatement). He was well researched and credible making this tour an incredible and unforgettable experience. There wasn’t one question this man couldn’t answer about the murders (except for who jack the ripper was of course). Donald has obviously devoted his life to this unsolvable mystery and has researched every little detail of these crimes. What I found most interesting was how he included the back story of all five victims. Donald is, simply put, a detective, and by profiling all the of women, his audience could grasp the whole picture. On this stormy London evening, I had no trouble feeling as if I stepped back into 1888. The tour was like an episode of CSI; the evidence told the story. Although this tour was for our entertainment, Rumbalow made you think for yourself rater than think his thoughts which I really appreciated.
While we were standing near the Goulston Street location of Jack’s famous message "The Juwes are the men who will not be blamed for nothing”, I started to ask my own questions. Jack seemed to only like one type of woman: old prostitutes. But why? Was he appalled by their occupation? Was he after them because they were an easy target nobody would miss? Did his mom leave him from a live on the streets? The answer is not clear but what is clear is how skilled of a murderer Jack truly was. He somehow silently killed 5 women, in public, with witnesses each time. The though of Catherine Eddows being strangled, then cut open with a police officer patrolling the area and an another officer living only feet away from the crime scene was enough to send chills down my spine, even 124 years later. The murder that affected me the most however was Victim #5, Mary Kelly. The tour was coming to an end but Jack the Ripper did not disappoint. He saved his most gruesome murder for last. Mary was killed in her own bed. Throat sliced open, organs pulled out and lower half of her body skinned... all while the neighbors were home. Its every woman’s worse nightmare, or at least mine.
These women found no justice, Jack the Ripper was able to walk the streets freely and live out a full life. But as we walked away from the dark ally in which the last murder occurred I couldn’t help but think a few more questions. Why did he stop? Why only 5 women? Were his murders getting too gruesome for himself? These are answers we will never know, but thats the beauty of mysteries, they will forever invoke your imagination. Stories with no clear ending are my favorite. They keep you guessing, and every time you revisit them you see something new.