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Why did the White Chapel murders attract so much attention in 1888?

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Introduction

Nadia Randazzo Q2. Why did the White Chapel murders attract so much attention in 1888? The Whitechapel murders gripped a worldwide audience in 1888 as people waited in fear and curiosity for the next attack or capture of the elusive Jack. The time and setting was perfect for causing a sensation as the East End was already bubbling in dissatisfaction with their conditions. The Whitechapel murders were the boiling point and brought the East End from ignored, dirty, misbehaving little brother of the West End to having the support of the Queen for improvement who wrote to the Prime Minister saying "very decisive measures must be taken" this opinion would no doubt have been aided by the letter sent to her from prostitutes in the East End pleading with her to end their "sad and degraded lives". Hence, the murders provided the vessel of communication and awareness between those with the least power, but most poverty, and the ignorant or indifferent superiors of the country. ...read more.

Middle

The media made no hesitation in hyping the whole situation that was already distressing enough as Jack's Victims were left terribly mutilated. The murders got progressively more horrific, all except Stride who just had her throat cut which leads to the assumption that he was disturbed whilst killing her. The four others had their abdomen hacked, Annie Chapman the second victim was found with her intestines pulled out onto her shoulder and Doctor George Philips who was carrying out the post mortem states "two thirds of the bladder, had been entirely removed, no trace of these parts could be found... obviously the work was that of an expert", leading the police to conclude that he took trophies and which led to the belief of Jack being a doctor. At a later date another, Doctor Bond, disagrees "no skill at all not even that of a butcher" We cannot be sure which of these opinions to trust but either way it made no difference to community anxiety as the technique was still savage. ...read more.

Conclusion

The published speculations were often in the form of letters whether from the public with their opinions or from the supposed killer. Undoubtedly the majority of these were hoaxes but so little other information was forthcoming that people took them more seriously than they might have otherwise. A perfect example of this is that the title 'Jack the Ripper' actually stemmed from one of the letters. Police and public alike - as they had practically the same resources- dissected the supposed letters from Jack e.g. noticing on one the Irish syntax, and then being able to add their own theories to the labyrinth. Thus with the myriad of rumours coming from all directions it is no wonder that Jack was soon believed to be Jewish, a doctor, a butcher or even an American cowboy, and even less surprising that the public, apart from being interested out of fear also looked to it like the alternative to a soap, just some morbid entertainment. ...read more.

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