Jack the Ripper Unmasked or DNA Contaminated?

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Jack the Ripper Aaron Kosminski

Jack the Ripper who terrorized the streets of East End, London over 125 years ago has finally been unmasked or was the DNA sample used for testing contaminated? Though many speculations have arisen over the decades of who this prostitute killer could be, it is the first time that DNA is revealing the true identity of the infamous Jack the Ripper.

According to British author and hobby detective, Russell Edwards released his new book on the weekend entitled, “Naming Jack the Ripper.” Edwards has claimed, along with molecular biologist, Jari Louhelainen that the 126-year-old mystery has finally been solved and this time with indisputable DNA evidence to prove it. However, many are asking if the DNA testing is reliable considering the circumstances surrounding the DNA samples Edwards and Louhelainen had used.

After Edwards became slightly obsessed with the Jack the Ripper case and began investigating it on his spare time, it was no wonder that when Edwards heard about one particular shawl going up for auction, the British author was compelled to get his hands on it, and so Edwards did.

The story of the shawl is what brings everything into question on if the DNA results are definitively conclusive. The shawl was found by one of Ripper’s victims, Catherine Eddowes. The story goes that a police officer had removed the shawl from the crime scene and gave it to his wife. Upon seeing the blood stains on the shawl, the wife was understandably upset and is said to have locked the shawl up in a box. The shawl was then said to have been passed down generation to generation without ever being washed and finally fell into the hands of Edwards.

Jack the Ripper Aaron Kosminski
Aaron Kosminski

There was blood and semen found on the shawl which was tested to reveal Jack the Ripper as Aaron Kosminski. Kosminski was a 23-year-old Jewish/Polish immigrant at the time of the murders and has been at the top of the suspect list for the longest time. Edwards and Louhelainen has now confirmed that Kosminski’s DNA proves that he is in fact, Jack the Ripper.

Yet not everyone believes that the DNA results are conclusive considering that the shawl was handled by so many for so many years. According to the Times of London, a Jack the Ripper convention and tour guide, Richard Cobb says that Kosminski had likely taken up with prostitutes in the East End and that any number of people’s DNA could be on that shawl, including his own. “If I examined the shawl,” Cobb told the Times of London, “I’d probably find links to 150 other men in the area.”

Jack the Ripper has been unmasked as Aaron Kosminski though many are saying that the shawl is indeed contaminated and that DNA testing cannot be conclusive. Kosminski and his family made their way to England in 1881 trying to flee persecution from Russian authorities. Kosminski was eventually committed to an insane asylum. Kosminski died of gangrene complications. Either way, Kosminski’s DNA was found on the shawl, tested against descendants of his though one cannot disregard that the shawl itself was contaminated.

By Derik L. Bradshaw

Sources:

CBS News
Smithsonian
Fox News

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