Bloodstained Trails: Was H.H. Holmes Jack the Ripper?


Allie Perry, Global News Editor

Serial killers have always fascinated the public. With Halloween quickly approaching it’s these mysteries that become even more haunting. And one that to this day causes controversy with theorists is the case the began in London. Even students here at HHS have heard of the dreadful tale.  “We all know the story of the Infamous Jack the Ripper,” student Taylor Beil says. “I heard about him in movies and stories of course, but I didn’t know his identity was still unknown.”  Yes, dear Readers, it is still unknown.

Jack the Ripper was a vicious serial killer who murdered his way through London in 1888. He murder five women, all but one who were prostitutes, and left them horribly mutilated. What makes the murders even more interesting is the fact that they were committed over the course of only four months, and to this day no one knows the true identity of Jack the Ripper.  There are speculations of course, but the limitations of 19th century investigative techniques prevented true identification.

Another serial killer who has fascinated the public for hundreds of years is  H. H. Holmes and his Infamous murder castle where nine known victims were executed between the years of 1891-94. Holmes was a very intelligent man who studied  medicine for a year. With personal money, Holmes built a three story hotel right on the busy streets of Chicago. To most, this grand hotel was an exquisite spot, and the perfect place for travelers to rest their feet. . But behind that facade, this “hotel” functioned as the perfect trap for unsuspecting victims. The hotel boasted a complex series of rooms and hidden passages, many of which were sound proof. He made it impossible for people to navigate their way and far too easy for many to get lost. Holmes would experiment on his guests and mutilate them beyond recognition. It is estimated that Holmes may have killed 200 people in his murder castle. Senior Chelsea elaborated on her knowledge of the case. “I think it’s horrible what happened. I can’t believe someone could premeditate something like that.”

Now both of these killers are as fascinating as they are disturbing; however, they seem completely unconnected by anything other than sociopathic tendencies.  Recently though, new evidence has been found that could shed some light on both these fascinating tales. Both H.H. Holmes and Jack the Ripper murders happened in the same year. Great-great grandson of H.H. Holmes, recently claimed to have inherited Holmes’s journals.  In these journals Holmes states that he took a four- month trip to London during the same exact time of the Ripper murders. This is the first solid evidence that has ever been uncovered that could possibly explain the identity of Jack the Ripper. The History Channel has recently done an eight- part series about the new and growing amount of evidence. With more and more evidence piling up, as investigators now test older, but preserved, DNA samples from both cases, it is possible that America’s first serial killer could also have been London’s infamous Ripper.