This weekend is kind of a strange anniversary "“ it was August 31, many years ago (OK, it was 1888 if we're being precise) that Jack the Ripper took his first known victim. Since then copycat killers have sprouted up all over the world, each with their own similar nicknames. I thought we would look at a few of them today"¦ and a few that aren't killers at all, but have used the "Jack the *ipper" name to amusing effects. I'll intersperse the two so you don't get too bogged down.
1. Jack the Stripper was the man behind the London "nude murders" of 1964 and 1965. Like Jack the Ripper, the Stripper targeted prostitutes. He killed somewhere between six and eight victims by one of three methods (asphyxiation, strangulation or drowning) and stripped all of their corpses down to nothing but stockings. He was never caught, but the killings just seemed to stop on their own anyway"¦ just like Jack the Ripper's.
2. Jack the Dipper, on the other hand, is "Killer ice cream at a price that won't leave you bleeding." You can find it in the town of Sylva, North Carolina. You can get a t-shirt, but they don't carry out the theme nearly as well as I would have hoped.
3. The DÃ¼sseldorf Ripper, AKA the Vampire of DÃ¼sseldorf. In 1929, Peter KÃ¼rten terrorized Germany. He was indiscriminate in his killings "“ women, men and children were all fair game to him. He didn't really have a particular method of killing, either "“ he used everything from hammers to scissors to knives. His downfall was in May of 1930, when one of his victims escaped and went to the police. He was eventually captured and sentenced to death via guillotine. Wikipedia says his head was dissected, mummified and sold to Ripley's Believe It or Not! in the Wisconsin Dells, but I can't find anything to verify that. Anyone know?
4. Jack the Nipper is an awesome video game"¦ on the off chance that you still appreciate the 1986 graphics from the Commodore systems of yore.
This Jack is decidedly less evil than his namesake "“ his crimes are more of the smashing-expensive-cases-and-terrorizing-cats variety. Jack is a little kid who roams around town getting into trouble, but if he gets caught, he gets a smack on the butt. Then he pees his diaper and gets a rash. You only have five diapers to go through, so you can only get caught so many times. Oh, Jack!!
5. The Yorkshire Ripper. Peter Sutcliffe (AKA Peter Coonan) murdered 13 women in a five-year span in the "˜70s. He killed quite a few prostitutes, but not all of his victims were "employed" in that field, which really alarmed the public. Despite a description from some of his surviving victims, a bootprint, tire tracks and a positive I.D. on the make of his car, and even nine interviews with the police, Sutcliffe was not definitively connected to the crimes until 1981, when police stopped him for having fake license plates on his car. He also happened to have a prostitute with him. He's still in prison to this day, and he's not very popular with the other inmates "“ since 1983 he has been attacked by multiple people with objects including a coffee jar, a pen, the flex from a pair of headphones and a bread knife.
6. Jack Tripper is, well, John Ritter. He was the lucky dude from Three's Company who lived with a house full of girls.
7. The Blackout Ripper was another Londoner "“ this one killed four women in as many days in 1942. He has also been connected to a couple of killings during air raids in 1941. His short but merciless spree was stopped when he was interrupted during an attack and left his gas mask case behind "“ the numbers on the case identified him as a Leading Aircraftman in the Royal Air Force.
8. Jack the Tripper is another havoc-wreaking little kid. In a book by Gene Baretta, something sinister is happening at Dizzie Day Elementary School"¦ prostitutes are turning up dead and horribly mutilated on the playground.
I kid, I kid. Someone is obviously tripping people at school, causing them to lose their homework. It's a serious problem, and the whole town is freaking out trying to nab the suspect. All they know is that he wears boots"¦ hmm"¦ could it be the disgruntled kid wearing a flannel and Doc Martens? (Disclaimer: I used to be a disgruntled kid wearing flannel and Doc Martens).
9. The French Ripper or the South-East Ripper is like something out of a scary movie "“ he was known for the scars on his face, his accordion and the white rabbit-fur hat that he always accessorized with. They should have known he had a few screws loose when he shot a servant four times in 1893 because she didn't love him. She survived and he tried to kill himself, but only ended up paralyzing one side of his face (hence the scars).
He was released from the hospital in 1894 and spent the next few years killing. He liked to go after shepherds who were tending to their flocks all by themselves in fields. When he was caught, he pretty much confessed immediately and said he was insane because he was given a quack cure as a child after he was bitten by a rabid dog. Then he said that God told him to do it. It didn't really help his cause: he was guillotined in 1898.
10. Jack the Zipper. Yes, thanks to Kenneth Cole, we've come all the way from horrible serial killers to stylish, leather messenger bags for men. For the low price of $99.98, you could own the soft bag with magnetic snap closure, zippered main pouch, exterior horizontal-zip pouch, two slip-in pockets under the flap and an adjustable shoulder strap.