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Why Jack the Ripper Has NOT Been Identified

You can’t log onto the Internet this week without seeing the headline everywhere proclaiming that Jack the Ripper has been identified through DNA testing. A little critical thinking is required here, and as I haven’t seen much of that, I reckon I’ll take the reins. First I’ll give you the claim, then I’ll offer several reasons why you ought not to buy it.

The claim: a scarf belonging to one of the Ripper’s victims, Kate Eddowes, contained DNA that came from her blood and DNA that came from semen stains left by the Ripper. DNA testing has proven that the killer was Aaron Kosminski, a Polish barber. This was determined by testing DNA from the descendants of the victim, Katherine Eddowes, and DNA from the descendants of Kosminski.

And now, the debunking:

The DNA testing was not done using nuclear DNA, which is specific. Airtight specific. 99.9999999% specific. It was done via mitochondrial DNA testing, which is far, far less specific. Also, it has not yet been satisfactorily proven that the shawl in question even belonged to Eddowes, or that it was found at the crime scene.

Additionally, Kosminski doesn’t fit the physical description of the man believed at that time to be the Ripper. Nor does he fit the psychological profile. It seems he was a raving lunatic, yes, but he was regarded as a harmless one, according to the files kept on him from the asylums where he was housed. It also seems unlikely that someone so out of touch with reality could have planned and executed the Ripper’s crimes.

Police investigators of the time did name Kosminski as a suspect, but there is reason to suspect the name was confused with that of another suspect, Kaminski, and may have referred to a different man altogether. Reports written by police investigators contain inaccuracies regarding Kosminski.

Those putting forward this claim, that the Ripper has been identified, have a steep hill to climb. Sisyphusian steep. As it stands right now, this case would be thrown out of court with a scolding from any judge for having wasted his or her time with it. It is as flimsy as they come. The burden of proof is now on the claimants to convince us otherwise.

TheCheezman • March 20, 2019

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