A longstanding mystery surrounding letters purportedly penned by infamous serial killer Jack the Ripper may have been solved by a forensic linguist in England.
The notorious miscreant of Whitechapel literally made a name for himself after sending a handful of letters to newspapers detailing his crimes and calling himself ‘Jack the Ripper.’ Publication of the unsettling missives, in turn, spawned a series of hoaxes and fake Ripper letters that eventually numbered over two hundred. As one can imagine, this has caused considerable controversy in the Ripper research community when it comes to which letters may have been genuine. And now, it seems, one aspect of this mystery may have finally been solved thanks to the work of forensic linguist Dr. Andrea Nini of the University of Manchester.
Taking a look at two of the earliest letters written at the time, including the first missive to contain the Ripper name, Nini determined that they were written by the same person. This conclusion was derived from a number of subtle similarities found in the texts of the two pieces of writing. Nini also raised the intriguing possibility that a third letter, previously dismissed as a publicity stunt from an English newspaper, may have also been penned by the same author. While the findings may not answer to the question of who Jack the Ripper was, the study seems to, at least, clear up some confusion surrounding one of the more vexing clues to the case.
Source: University of Manchester