Hats of Horror: Jack the Ripper

Hats of Horror: Jack the Ripper

Let's talk about Jack the Ripper.

The story begins in the impoverished neighborhood of Whitechapel in London, England. From 1888 to 1891, a mysterious serial killer began gruesomely killing and mutilating young women.

Elizabeth Long was one of the last people to see one of his victims alive. She claims to have seen Annie Chapman talking to a man at 5:30 a.m. According to Ms. Long, he had a "shabby-genteel" appearance and wore a dark overcoat and a deerstalker hat. If you're not familiar with the term "genteel," it means refined. Respectable. Of nobility. Sorta gives a new meaning to the term, "Gentlemen Jack," doesn't it?

The peculiar thing about her description is the stranger's hat. Deerstalker hats were typically worn by the upper class, who hunted for sport. At the end of the summer, the wealthy would head to their countryside estates for hunting parties. So what was a man wearing a deerstalker hat doing in the impoverished East End of London?

Is this a clue to Jack the Ripper's identity? Was Jack a wealthy aristocratic hunter who fancied hunting of a different kind, drawn to the shadows by his grisly compulsion? We'll probably never know his true identity, but the clue of his hat tells us that he was most likely a "gentleman of the noble class."