B2 High-Intermediate 12 Folder Collection
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It's getting to that time in the night where nobody is out on the streets unless they're
either up to no good or on their way home.
But here you are, standing in the streets of London's East End, shivering from the
cold.
No self-respecting young lady would be doing this – but you're not a self-respecting
young lady by most people's standards.
You're a lady of the night, forced to make a living by selling your body to strange men.
It's a dangerous career at the best of times, putting yourself at the mercy of strangers
night after night.
But now things are more perilous than ever thanks to the notorious Jack the Ripper, a
killer who mutilates the bodies of his victims in gruesome ways.
He's responsible for the deaths of at least four other young prostitutes in the area,
but still hasn't been caught.
Society turns a blind eye when the victims are women like you.
That's when you hear the clunky noise of footsteps behind you.
It's that time again.
You take a deep breath and brace yourself to turn around and approach him as seductively
as you can.
Hopefully he's a nice one…
But instead of seeing a regular sleazy gentleman looking for some fun, in front of you stands
an insane-looking figure with a blade in his hand.
You try to run, but he's faster and pulls you to the ground.
And the last thing you ever see is an ugly face grinning at you manically.
But who is he?
Jack the Ripper was an infamous criminal who went on a murder spree in 1888.
His numerous victims were all female prostitutes from the Whitechapel district of London's
East End, a poor and crime-ridden area.
And he didn't just kill his victims – he mutilated their bodies, removed their internal
organs, and left them behind in alleyways.
But despite his high profile, little is known about Jack the Ripper, and historians still
don't agree on his identity.
Although he sent numerous letters directly to the London Metropolitan Police taunting
them about what he'd do next, they never could figure out who he was, and his killing
spree seemed to come to an end before they could find him.
The mystery has spurred plenty of speculation.
There have been over 500 suspects, from all walks of life.
But one of the most surprising people implicated is Prince Albert Victor – the grandson of
Queen Victoria herself, the monarch of England at the time.
Could an heir to the throne really be responsible for such heinous crimes?
It might sound ridiculous, but if the rumors going around about the Prince at the time
are true, he may have had some dirty secrets he needed to cover up…
The stories about Prince Albert Victor certainly paint him as an interesting character.
Some say he struggled in school, was deaf, or had a learning disability.
But most juicy of all is the allegation he was gay, which was a pretty big deal back
in the nineteenth century – not least because it was illegal.
He never married either, but more on that later.
In 1889, police closed down a male brothel in London and allegedly discovered one of
the clients had a connection to the young Prince.
There was another strange rumor that he caught syphilis from a prostitute in the West Indies,
which brings us to the first theory about Prince Albert being Jack the Ripper.
After catching syphilis, the disease was said to spread to his brain and make him insane.
Since a prostitute had given him the infection that was ruining his life, he became determined
to seek his revenge on all prostitutes in the world.
And thus, Jack the Ripper was born.
Unfortunately, there are two major reasons why this theory probably isn't true.
Firstly, there's no evidence he actually did have syphilis, or even went to a brothel.
Secondly, he wasn't even in London when the Jack the Ripper murders were happening.
The Royal Family kept excellent records of the activities of its members even back then,
and the documents prove Albert was traveling outside of London at the time.
Of course, they would say that, wouldn't they?
But if you're not quite convinced, there's another major theory regarding the involvement
of the Prince in the Jack the Ripper killings…
Remember how I said Albert never married?
Well, rumor has it he fell in love with a young shop girl by the name of Annie Crook.
Knowing his family would never approve of him marrying a commoner like her, they married
in secret and even had a child.
But one day, the Royal Family found out.
The Queen and other major royals were horrified at the scandal and knew they'd have to go
the extra mile to put things right.
So, they did what any loving family who wanted the best for their child would do.
They hired agents to dispose of the wife, the baby, and anyone else who got in the way.
One day, agents raided the house of Annie Crook and her daughter.
A doctor took Annie to a mental institution and brutalized her to the point where she
forgot the whole incident had even taken place.
She was certified as insane and locked away forever.
But Annie and Albert's daughter, Alice Crook, wasn't with her at the time of the raid
– she'd been left with a good friend of her mother, who just so happened to be a prostitute.
Nobody knew where young Alice Crook was, but the friend who was looking after her decided
for some reason that the best thing to do in that situation was to blackmail the government.
Stick it to the man, you commoner with zero connections or money!
I'm sure the amazing justice system will work in your favor!
As a result, the Royal authorities took things one step further and killed both the friend
herself and her friends, in case they decided to try anything.
Jack the Ripper was simply a clever cover-up to explain the killings to the public.
So, in this version Prince Albert wasn't committing the murders himself – he was
just directly responsible for everyone else being killed.
If you've been keeping up, you're probably wondering what happened to the daughter, Alice
Crook.
Was she murdered too?
No – the doctor Sir William Gull took her into his custody and cared for her, so she
eventually grew up to live a normal life and lived happily ever after.
Oh no, wait – it didn't go quite like that.
One day, a man came out claiming to be the grandson of Alice Crook, making him the great-grandson
of Prince Albert.
And this is where it gets weird – he claimed his grandfather was the doctor who declared
Annie Crook as clinically insane.
Kind of messed up, but okay.
There's some evidence this could plausibly be true.
We know Annie Crook was a real woman who ended up getting institutionalized, and a clairvoyant
gave a description of Jack the Ripper similar to that of the doctor who played a key role
in this all.
But that's about it.
Let's be honest now, it's not exactly the strongest evidence.
Besides, there are some serious reasons to doubt this story.
There's no proof the women murdered actually had any link to Prince Albert Victor.
Besides, the man who leaked the story about Alice Crook being his grandmother ended up
admitting the whole thing was a hoax later down the line.
Well, thank god about that, because it would be really weird if she actually had a child
with that creepy doctor.
But it raises the question – who was Jack the Ripper?
One of the major suspects is a Victorian painter called Walter Sickert.
The evidence implicating him is basically his own art.
He made some weird stuff, like creepy paintings of women that looked like autopsies of victims,
and he even named one of his paintings 'Jack the Ripper's bedroom.'
An American crime novelist became convinced he was the real Jack the Ripper and tried
to prove the case.
And guess who just so happened to be one of his models?
It was only Annie Crook, the supposed romantic interest of Prince Albert Victor himself!
This is where things get pretty confusing.
But if you thought that was strange enough, wait until you hear the next suspect: Lewis
Carroll.
Yep, Lewis Carroll as in the author of Alice Wonderland and numerous other successful children's
books.
Why on earth would anyone suspect him?
Well, the evidence is certainly a bit of a… reach.
It seemed like someone out there really wanted him to be guilty, and managed to find some
anagrams in one of his children's books that were claimed to be subliminal messages
about Jack the Ripper.
And that's it.
A few hyper-forced anagrams.
I think I'll let Lewis off the case.
If, you're not quite sold, then here's another suspect: Dr Thomas Neill Cream.
Unlike the other guys, he actually admitted to being Jack the Ripper.
Unfortunately, he only uttered his confession when he was a few moments away from death…
Dr Thomas Neill Cream was a physician sentenced to be hanged for an unrelated murder.
We don't know much about him, but his executioner claimed that the last words the doctor uttered
before dying were a confession he was Jack the Ripper.
Naturally, nobody had a chance to question him on it, and there's absolutely zero evidence
suggesting he might have been involved.
In fact, he was in prison for the time of all the murders.
So, was he the mastermind behind Jack the Ripper pulling all the strings behind prison
bars?
Or just the ultimate troll who wanted to inject some mayhem before dying?
Our penultimate suspect is Mary 'Jill the Ripper' Pearcey.
That's right, a woman – here at The Infographics Show we're not sexist, we know women can
kill people too!
Another convicted murderer, she was accused of murdering her lover's wife.
And why do people suspect her of being Jack the Ripper?
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle – as in, the author of the Sherlock Holmes books – suggested
a woman could easily have been Jack the Ripper by pretending that she was a midwife who needed
to carry around bloody garments.
And I guess Mary fit the bill for him because she was the only convicted female murderer
at that time.
I mean, I'm not saying it's not true, but…
Before you switch off, let me present to you the final suspect.
Somebody who many people actually suspect is Jack the Ripper, and for good reason: there's
some solid evidence to prove it.
A man called Aaron Kosminski arrived in England in 1881 after fleeing from Poland.
He lived in Mile End Old Town, close to the area where the Jack the Ripper carried out
his murderers.
We don't know much about Aaron, but he was one of the key suspects in investigations
at the time, and he eventually died in an asylum.
He certainly ticks a lot of boxes for a potential serial killer.
But the next part of the story doesn't start until more than one century later, when the
shawl of one of Jack the Ripper's victims was purchased at an auction in Suffolk in
2007.
I'll stop right there, because you probably have a lot of questions.
How did the shawl turn up in the auction?
Well, it turns out that the acting Sergeant at the scene of the death did what any trained
professional would do when confronted with the only piece of forensic evidence in the
entire Jack the Ripper escalade.
He thought his wife would appreciate the gift and took it back for her.
Maybe it was their wedding anniversary and he hadn't had time to nip to the shop for
flowers…
As you'd expect, his wife was horrified at the blood-stained shawl and never wore
it.
But still the item wasn't returned to the police station – instead, it was passed
through the family for generations until it eventually showed up for the auction in 2007.
And then a man saw it for sale and thought it would make a nice present for his wife.
Nah, just kidding, the guy who won the bidding actually wanted to try and figure out who
Jack the Ripper was.
He went beast mode and hired his own personal molecular biology expert to help him figure
out who the DNA belonged to.
Of course, there were no samples of the suspects at the time, so it was never going to be an
easy task.
But pioneering techniques saw the use of genetic tests on the shawl to match samples to living
relatives of the subjects.
Three and a half years later, results showed that the DNA of a living relative of Kosminsk
were on the shawl.
Even better, tests studying the appearance of the DNA suggested the killer had brown
hair and eyes – this matched the one reliable witness statement the police had collected
of Jack the Ripper.
Well, at least the police managed to do something productive other than steal clothes from murdered
women.
In the eyes of the armchair detective who bought the shawl, the case had been solved.
Prince Albert, Lewis Carroll, and that weird painter weren't Jack the Ripper.
Aaron Kominski was.
Some have doubted his claims, saying the shawl has been touched by many people over the years
and can't be used reliably as evidence.
But all in all, it seems like a fair assumption.
The Royal Family might not have been behind the Jack the Ripper murders, but they're
still a strange bunch.
If you don't believe me, check out our videos about why growing up as a British Royal sucks
and when royal inbreeding went wrong.
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Is Jack The Ripper Part Of The Royal Family

12 Folder Collection
Summer published on July 31, 2020
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