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Jack the Ripper is a pseudonym given to an unidentified serial killer (or killers) active in the largely impoverished Whitechapel

area and adjacent districts of London, England in the latter half of 1888. The name is taken from a letter to the Central News Agency by someone claiming to be the murderer, published at the time of the killings.

The legends surrounding the Ripper murders have become a combination of genuine historical research, conspiracy theory and folklore. The lack of a confirmed identity for the killer has allowed Ripperologists - the term used within the field for the authors, historians and amateur detectives who study the case - to accuse a wide variety of individuals of being the Ripper. Newspapers, whose circulation had been growing during this era, bestowed widespread and enduring notoriety on the killer owing to the savagery of the attacks and the failure of the police in their attempts to capture the Ripper, sometimes missing the murderer at his crime scenes by mere minutes.

Victims were women earning income as casual prostitutes. Typical Ripper murders were perpetrated in a public or semi-public place; the victims throat was cut, after which the body was mutilated. Some believe that the victims were first strangled in order to silence them. The removal of internal organs from some victims has led to the proposal that the killer possessed anatomical or surgical knowledge or skill.

The number and names of the Rippers victims are the subject of much debate. The canonical five are a subset of the eleven victims listed in the police file documenting what were called the Whitechapel murders.