The term “ripperology” was coined by Colin Wilson in the 1970s. Professionals and amateurs who study the Jack the Ripper case and associated mysteries are known as a “ripperologists.” Jack the Ripper is the more infamous murder case of all time and it dates back to Britain in 1888.
The murderer had apparently written a series of letters that were sent to the police department or local media outlets. Hundreds of letters were received, but many or all of them were thought to be fake. This case remained unsolved for over 100 years, which raised the question if the case will ever be solved. I believe the answer is, probably not.
Murder mysteries have always evoked my curiosity. Having an over active mind does not serve me well when reading or watching a mystery. My adrenalin starts pumping and my heart beats rapidly.
From the Nancy Drew mystery books and movies, to all the various CSI TV. series; there has been this timeless interest in solving mysteries. Whether this interest is due to the fact that a mystery is an amusing puzzle to solve, a large population of people feed into the mystery genre of TV, movies, books and more.
For the mysteries such as Jack the Ripper, that ultimately will never be solved, science forever changed the way police solved crimes, with DNA testing. Science has the ability to place people at a murder based off their genetics.
DNA testing was first used in the US in 1987, and has been used since then. The case that started the boom on DNA testing being used in the courts was the infamous O.J. Simpson trials. Up until this case, DNA tests were not well known. Since then, it has become one of the most influential practices in proving individuals guilty or not guilty for a wide variety of crimes.
Recently new information surfaced for the Jack the Ripper Case. Apparently a shawl that had been worn by one of the victims was discovered. Keep in mind this shawl is around 127 years old. It was said that a police officer asked to take the shawl home to give his wife. With new evidence coming into light, there will be a spark added to the flame for the ripperology community.
It was a different time then, clothing had to be tailor-made and there was no mass produced clothing. People wore what they could get and a shawl would have been an uncommon article of clothing. Even then, the wife did not want a blood-stained shawl. The wife was said not to have washed the shawl, and then to have packed it into storage. It then became a family heirloom that was recently sold to Ripper enthusiast, Russell Edwards.
I am not sure if evidence that is over 127 years old can be untainted if not stored properly. Apparently it can. Edwards had DNA testing done to the shawl to confirm it did in fact belong to the victim, using a blood sample from her current female living descendent. Also on the shawl was male DNA, which Edwards claimed to belong to the murderer.
It is amazing that so long after the event happened that science can still give us a piece to this ever ending story. In my opinion, we need to start putting DNA testing in more recent cases. Often times the police station will keep the evidence on file, to refer to at a later date.
There are many people paying for crimes they did not do right now. I know it would be expensive to do, but innocent until proven guilty is our country’s motto, right? For all of the living inmates asking for an appeal claiming to be innocent, they need to be given the benefit of the doubt. Especially if their case was solved before DNA testing.
DNA testing is a powerful tool that can be used to prove people’s innocent or guilty verdict. If DNA testing can be used to help solve a 127-year-old case, why can we not go back and solve cases more recent then over 100 years old? Personally, I think this technology should be used to go back and solve old cases. Unsolved or not.