Thursday, 15 October 2020

catch me when you can mishter lusk

Post-marked on this date in 1888 along with a parcel reportedly containing a preserved human kidney and addressed to chairman of the Whitechapel Vigilance Committee (return address “From Hell”), the letter ostensibly from the individual responsible for a series of gruesome mutilations that terrorised London identified only as Jack the Ripper is one of the few pieces of correspondence surrounding the unsolved killings that are considered authentic—with the same reservations that it might be an attention-seeking hoax like the thousands of communications received by newspapers and the police.

Though seemingly of the same provenance and style as two previous missives, the “Dear Boss” letter—which established the by-line—and the Saucy Jack postcard which a journalist later recanted, having confessed to a colleague as having made them up to solidify the narrative and place it all under one heading, directed towards The Star of London and Central News Agency, this penultimate letter was never fully repudiated and subject to on going study and public fascination. The writer notes, “I send you half the Kidne I took from one women prasarved it for you tother piece I fried and ate it was very nice.  I may send you the bloody knife that took it out if you only wate a while longer.”