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September 21, 2021 4 mins

In late 1888, five women were brutally murdered in a slum neighbourhood of London. The violent killer earned himself a nickname - Jack the Ripper. But everything you think you know about the murders and those murdered women is wrong.

In a new 15-part series, historian Hallie Rubenhold tells you the real story of those victims and how they came to be in the path of a serial killer - completely overturning the Ripper story we've been told up until now.

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Episode Transcript

Available transcripts are automatically generated. Complete accuracy is not guaranteed.
Speaker 1 (00:15):
Pushkin. It's a bad habit we have we tell the
tale of the murderer and not the murdered. The clock

(00:36):
on Whitechapel Church was striking half past two when Ellen
Holland watched her friend Polly Nichols sway off into the darkness.
Polly was drunk, penniless and broken. She was inconsequential in
the minds of most people she met, but she was
about to cross paths was someone who would give her

(00:58):
a grisly, unenviable place in history. In the autumn of
eighteen eighty eight, Polly and four other women were rutally
killed in a slum neighborhood of London. Their unsolved murders
were so violent, so cruel, that their killer earned a
nickname that has still known the world over. I'm down

(01:22):
on halls and are shawnt quick ripping them Jack the Ripper?
But in the greatest cold case in history, few of
us have stopped to question the basic facts. One fact
that you know about Chactor Ripper. They never got caught

(01:42):
and who did he kill? Prostitutes? I'm Hallie rubbin Hold.
As a historian interested in the stories of women, I'd
assume the lives of the five victims had been thoroughly
researched long ago. I was wrong when I dug into

(02:03):
the records. I began to reveal rich and interesting lives.
Most of the time nomen leave if they're being beaten
to a pulb or he put out an eye, lives
blighted by problems and prejudices. Most women today would recognize.
There wasn't a great deal of sympathy for alcoholics, so
one had to sign a temperance pledge saying I will

(02:25):
not drink. If only it were so simple. I identified
with the women, sympathized with the tough life choices they made,
and admired their determination. She gets on a boat and
comes to England. She seeks wider horizons. I came to
know them and like them. She wants more than she's
being born into. But I also discovered something else, something new,

(02:48):
something troubling. It was just so obvious to me the
very first time I looked at this file. How could
we have gotten this this wrong for this many years?
And something that chips away at the foundations of the
ripper myth nam. Sure, all of you here today, do
you know that Jack's victims were ladies of the night,
weren't they They were forced to choose the myth still
served up by two a guy to visitors who flocked

(03:10):
the murder scenes each evening and ladies. You might be thinking, well,
I'd never think that work ever, but didn't. Okay, Well, sadly,
the answer is yes, Polly, Annie, Elizabeth, Catherine, and Mary
Jane were not killed while selling sex. It was other,
no less troubling factors that put them in the path

(03:33):
of their murderer. In this podcast, I'll tell you how
I know that and why it still matters very much
even today. Halley has upset the world of rippology by
her general attitude towards ripparologists. I'll also explain why my
research has enraged so many people who claim to be

(03:53):
experts in the Ripper case. The attacks have just been
relentless and malicious, But actually I think they just don't
really want other people talking about the murdered women and
challenging their views in any way. If you want to
know how we got the Ripper story so wrong, what
those mistakes tell us about ourselves, and why putting the

(04:15):
record straight make some people so very angry, join me,
Hallie Ribbin Hold for bad Women The Ripper Retold starting
October fifth, wherever you get your podcasts,
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