9. The press had its own list of suspects
Beginning during the Ripper investigations in the Autumn of 1888, amateurs and members of the press openly speculated over the identity of Jack the Ripper. Even Her Majesty Queen Victoria expressed an opinion on the matter, believing the killer to be a worker on the cattle boats which regularly traded with France. While Abberline and the police officials working with him attempted to keep their suspects to themselves, leaks led to their being identified and convicted in the press and the court of public opinion. A cryptic sign referring to “Juwes”, found near the scene of one of the murders, led to widespread antisemitic activity in the warrens of Whitechapel. Several of the suspects were also of Eastern European ancestry, and assumed to be Jews in press reports. Although the Ripper murders ceased in November, fear and panic continued to fester in the slums.
The press presented suspects to the public with varying degrees of sensationalism, urging the police to take action even after the latter had dismissed the person involved as the murderer. Hundreds of letters sent to the press, and forwarded to the police, were claims of the writer being Jack the Ripper. While many claimed it via the mail, none came forward to either reporters or police officers. The press repeatedly claimed to have identified the true killer, and continued to do so for many years since the killings. Such claims continue in the 21st century, in newspapers, magazines, and books. Some are outlandish, some ignore facts which are at odds with the writer’s hypothesis. Others simply created new “facts” which support their position. The mystery remains unsolved, each new resolution disputed by others. No consensus over the identity of the Ripper has ever been reached.