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“When will they lern, Dear ol Boss?”
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“When will they lern, Dear ol Boss?”THE NAME “JACK THE RIPPER” first appeared in a series of communications in September 1888, the “Boss” concerned being that of the Central News Agency, to whom they were addressed.

The first verifiably genuine letter to have used the “Ripper” signature was dated 25 September and read as follows:

Dear Boss
I keep on hearing the police have caught me but they wont fix me just yet. I have laughed when they look so clever and talk about being on the right track. I am down on whores and shant quit ripping ripping them till I do get buckled. Grand work the last job was. I gave the lady no time to squeal. How can they catch me now. I love my work and want to start again. You will soon hear of me with my funny little games. I saved some of the red stuff in a ginger beer bottle over the last job to write with but it went thick like glue and I can’t use it. Red ink is fit enough I hope ha ha. The next job I do I shall clip the ears off and send to the police officers just for jolly wouldn’t you. Keep this letter till I do a bit more work, and then give it out straight. My knife is nice and sharp I want to get to work right away if I get a chance. Good luck.
Yours truly
Jack the Ripper
Don’t mind me giving the trade name

“When will they lern, Dear ol Boss?”The letter was received on 27 September. To seek help in identifying the writer it was published as a poster on 3 October and in newspapers the following day.

Also published was a postcard in the same hand dated 1 October which read:

I was not codding dear old Boss when I gave you the tip, you’ll hear about Saucy Jack’s work tomorrow double event this time number one squealed a bit couldn’t finish straight off. Had not got time to get ears for the police thanks for keeping last letter back till I got to work again.
Jack the Ripper

The card appeared to predict the double killing of Elizabeth Stride and Catherine Eddowes, but could have been posted after news of their murder was out. The likelihood is that, whether hoaxer or not, one person had written both communications.

Their publication unleashed a flood of copycat letters. However, one that the police took very seriously was received in a parcel by George Lusk, Chairman of the Whitechapel Vigilance Committee on 16 October. Enclosed was a human kidney, possibly that of Catherine Eddowes.

The letter read thus:
From hell
Mr Lusk
I send you half the Kidne I took from one woman prasarved it for you tother piece I fried and ate it was very nise I may send you the bloody knif that took it outif you only wate a whil longer
signed Catch me when you can
Mishter Lusk

The letter is similarly written to those in the “Dear Boss” series. Spelling such as “knif” and “whil” are signs that it may well have been written by an intelligent person trying to disguise the fact.

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