Friday, May 19, 2006

Jack the Ripper Revisited ... Possibly

Last August I traveled around Europe. Some of you probably read all about that trip on this very blog. Anyway, on our first night in London, PositiveMode, PositiveMode's friend Mark, and I went on a "Jack the Ripper" tour of London. At the time, I didn't really write much about it because I was somewhat bitter (see post here). However, it turned out to be one of the more fun things we did, only because of the extreme ridulousness of the whole thing.

I know I've alluded to this before, but, you see, no one knows anything at all about Jack the Ripper. Basically, the only hard facts they have are as follows: a few people died in a certain area of London a long time ago and someone killed them. So, when those are your only facts, it's quite difficult to give an informative tour. If you couple that with the fact that the scenes of all the murders are now either parking garages or alleys between office buildings, you can only imagine the ridiculousness of this tour. Basically, we walked through alleys in London, looking at various parking garages and dumpsters while some struggling actor told us who Jack the Ripper may or may not have been. He could have been a doctor, or lawyer, or random drunk. He could have been an anti-Semite or he could have been a rabbi. He might have killed one person or fifteen. You get the idea. No one knows anything about this person ... it would be like going on an Easter Bunny tour and looking at his favorite hangouts.

Of course, the best theory (if you even want to call them that, they're more like random guesses) that we heard was that "Jack" was actually "Jill", i.e., the killer was a woman. That one really cemented the idea that no one has any idea who this Ripper really was. Well, what do I find on The Australian today? This headline: "DNA Hints at Jill the Ripper." Now, of course, I thought there would be conclusive evidence for a prominent news source to print (upload?) such a headline, but, like everything else Jack the Ripper related, it is entirely speculation. From the article:

JACK the Ripper could well be a Jill.

In a bid to crack the identity of one of the greatest murder mysteries of all time, technology developed in Australia has tested 118-year-old DNA the notorious serial killer may have left behind and built a partial female profile. Scientist Ian Findlay today said the partial profile had been created from saliva possibly from the Ripper on the back of stamps on the envelopes of letters sent to London police.

"It's possible the Ripper could be female but the results are inconclusive," said Prof Findlay, who is the chief scientific officer at the Gribbles Molecular Science forensic lab. He said because the samples were so old, very small and poorly preserved, only a partial profile was built that "didn't reach forensic standards" nor identified an individual.

I've highlighted the appropriate words for you. Basically, they tested the DNA on some old stamps and found no evidence. However, it could be from Jack the Ripper, who could be a woman. Thanks. Very helpful. It's also possible that I'm Jack the Ripper. There just as much conclusive evidence.

Anyway, that's my Jack the Ripper story and rant for the day. Like the expensive prices in Iceland, Jack the Ripper is a frequent topic of this blog, so get used to it. Sorry, but these things fascinate me.

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