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Conclusions
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Conclusions
“You can state most emphatically that Scotland Yard is really no wiser on the subject than it was fifteen years ago. ”
Chief Inspector Frederick Abberline, Pall Mall Gazette, 1903


THE WICKEDNESS of the deeds, the dark circumstances in which they were committed and, above all, the fact that the killer was never caught have guaranteed that Jack the Ripper would enter the realm of legend.

Since the time of the murders, discussion on the Ripper’s identity has never flagged. Perhaps the chief fascination is that so little is known about what type of person he was. There was no obvious motive for the killings, and the fact that prostitutes habitually accosted men and took them to dark, secluded places would have made any murderer’s job relatively easy. “Ripperologists” also disagree about which of the Whitechapel murders were the work of the Ripper himself. Some say as few as four, but the figure could well have been as high as eight.

Despite the fact that thousands of relevant documents have disappeared or been destroyed, each year sees some new slant on the mystery. Although much material is blighted by error and exaggeration, surprisingly valuable work is still done. For example, Macnaghten’s thoughts took until 1959 to emerge from family notebooks, and the interesting details on Kaminsky only came to light in 1987. Of the Whitechapel murders, two things are certain – that Jack the Ripper is dead, but that the debate about who he was and what he did is very much alive.

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