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How do Britons in general feel about Jack the Ripper?

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  • How do Britons in general feel about Jack the Ripper?

    I was just wondering how the majority of Britons in the U.K. feel about the JTR legend? Do most of them embrace it, or do most of them feel it is a blemish on U.K history? For example, in 2006, I read the Ripper was voted the worst Briton in U.K History. Similarly, here in America, we have legends and tales that we would rather just as soon forget. (For example, in our country, most people honor Christopher Columbus as a great explorer and pioneer in American colonization, but if you ask the native American population, you'll hear stories of how Columbus was a mass murderer and enslaved their people). So, how do most Britons who are not Ripperologists view JTR? An interesting mystery of 19th century England, or a repugnant tale that glorifies the murder of women?

    Hit me back.

  • #2
    Hello JtRSickert

    First of all, we are talking about something that occurred in 1888. There are plenty of new crimes and problems to be concerned about. So I would say that the general Briton does not care about Jack the Ripper if they think about him at all. At this remove in date, if people know about him, it is about someone of legendary status, like Robin Hood or Dick Turpin or Sweeney Todd. Not quite real. A manifestation of evil, known more from movie screens than as an actual living, breathing human being. Jack the Ripper joins Batman and Flash Gordon, Iron Man and Star Wars as being more something one would see on the screen than is real in the lives of the British general public, I think. I do look forward to the opinions of others on this matter.

    All the best

    Christopher T. George, Lyricist & Co-Author, "Jack the Musical" Hear sample song at

    Organizer, RipperCon #JacktheRipper-#True Crime Conferences, April 2016 and 2018.
    Hear RipperCon 2016 & 2018 talks at


    • #3
      Yes, partly mythical, and that increases the other image that I suspect people have of him : that he was a cut above (sorry!) the ordinary killer - more clever, more vicious, more daring, more insane or whatever. Else, whence his notoriety and the fact that he's never been identified? JTR as an ordinary little man who did his crimes and escaped by sheer good luck, would be bottom of most people's suspect lists, I should think.


      • #4
        He's a benchmark in a lot of ways. An archetypal urban myth. An echo of a lost London. A ferocious mystery .. and so on. He just is.


        • #5
          I have spoke to a few people over the years at lectures, archival centres and even in the street.

          One old lady told me that when she was younger her parents would put the fear of god into them and inform them that Jack would come for them if they were naughty!

          Another old lady reliably informed me that the Royals did it. She knew this because she had seen it on a film!

          I have also been informed that Jack was a social reformer, in that his actions brought about change like no other!

          My wife is fed up of him.


          • #6
            Without asking I would say most young people probably have heard the name or phrase "Jack the Ripper" but the vast majority know nothing about him.
            Another thing is people are very now orientated. Things that happened over ten years ago are not even thought off never mind over 100 years ago.


            • #7
              Hi String

              Here in the UK JTR has been on the GCSE history syllabus for the last few years. I agree with you, though - history is coming more and more to be about what happened comparatively recently.


              • #8
                There are quiet a few people on Facebook in groups proclaiming their love for Jack the Ripper, there is also a group called "Jack the Ripper- Mysterious Murderer of the 18th Century" I actually wrote on their wall, Wow, Jack was around in the 18th Century too? I thought he walked the streets of Whitechapel and surrounding locales in 1888 ie the 19th Century! No one bothered to reply.

                The amount of people that I talk too, not just on Facebook, Twitter, or Myspace, but on other forums all have a blinkered view of Jack. These people usually see Jack through Maybrick, Royal, Masonic, Tabloid, tinted glasses, and usually have preconcieved, albeit faulty, notions of what Jack did, and why. Many have formulated threories based on books they have written, usually suspect based, and some have formulated their own theories based on the suspect based books. When you speak to these people, you usually find that very few have ever read Stewart P. Evans, Martin Fido, Paul Begg, Donald Rumbelow, or Keith Skinner's books, but have instead picked up one of the suspect books and stuck to their guns.

                One of the nicest converstations I ever had about the Ripper was based on the FBI Profile of the Ripper, which featured in books such as Dark Dreams, Profiling Violent Crimes, and The Cases that Haunt Us. I had a long discussion about a suspect, I won't mention who, who was featured in one of the aforementioned books, and how the primary sources on this suspect did not match with the "facts" thrown about to show that his candiacy matched that the profile.

                Whenever I chat with people online about Jack on other forums, I try to cite sources so that they may, if they wish, seek out other sources of information.

                I think that the majority of people who claim to know about Jack, know very little, me being one of them, and it's just a matter of education and reading more about him.

                In terms of Jack being one of the worst Britons, I would argue against the fact. I think the likes of Ian Huntley, Harold Shipman, Fred and Rosmarie West, The Moors Murderers, the Suffolk Strangler, Jack the Stripper, and the Yorkshire Ripper are up there with "him" not to mention a number of Royals, and Politicians who have graced us with their presence over the years.


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Robert Linford View Post
                  Hi String

                  Here in the UK JTR has been on the GCSE history syllabus for the last few years. I agree with you, though - history is coming more and more to be about what happened comparatively recently.
                  Far better than when I was at school all had was a long list of Kings and Queens to learn.


                  • #10
                    When they conducted that internet poll 5 years ago that chose the Ripper as "Worst Briton", I voted nearly 900 times ( I spent a day and a half doing so ) and can proudly say I had a part in getting the Ripper recognized as the worst of 'em all. If one took a look at the margin of victory, they'd see Jack won by just a couple of hundred votes. If I had not voted at all, Jack would not have won that poll. Its as simple as that.

                    True, there are other bad Britons...and it was really none of my business voting for another nation's worst villain....but c'mon...none of these others come remotely close to our villain. Never did and never will.

                    No one ever even thought of a website devoted to studying the Wests or Reg Christie...or these other creeps.

                    Can you imagine,amigos....the Ultimate Sourcebook of Rosemary West or A to Z of The Blackout Ripper ?
                    I sure as hell can't.
                    To Join JTR Forums :


                    • #11


                      • #12
                        JtR rarely gets a mention here

                        My friend piped up the other day and stated that he thinks it was "that Royal bloke"

                        It made me wonder if the general opinion is that nobody can contest any theory as nobody knows who he was - they don't consider that there is evidence AGAINST a lot of the well known candidates so they choose their favourite and stick to it

                        A good subject for a book for the general public would be who is NOT the Ripper, giving the evidence against candidates such as Clarence, Sickert, Donston etc

                        My ears pricked up the other day when I heard someone mention Jack the Ripper but he was talking about a strain of cannabis!