Dear Boss letter

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Jack the Ripper letters
"Dear Boss" letter
"Saucy Jacky" postcard
"From Hell" letter
Openshaw letter

The "Dear Boss" letter was a message allegedly written by the notorious Victorian serial killer known as Jack the Ripper. It was postmarked and received on 27 September 1888, by the Central News Agency of London. It was forwarded to Scotland Yard on 29 September.[1]

The message, like most alleged Ripper letters that followed, contains spelling and punctuation errors. It reads:

Initially this letter was considered to be just one of many hoaxes, but when the body of Catherine Eddowes was found with one earlobe severed on 30 September, the writer's promise to "clip the ladys ears off" attracted attention. The Metropolitan Police published handbills with facsimiles of it and the Saucy Jacky postcard (which had referred to the earlier message and was received before the first became public knowledge) hoping someone would recognize the handwriting, but nothing came of this effort. Many newspapers also reprinted the text in whole or in part. These two messages gained worldwide notoriety after their publication. It was the first time the "Jack the Ripper" name had been used to refer to the killer, and the term captured the imagination of the public. Soon hundreds of other letters claiming to be from "Jack the Ripper" were received, most copying key phrases from these letters.[1]

After the murders, police officials stated that they believed this letter and the postcard were hoaxes by a local journalist. These suspicions were not well publicized, and the idea that the killer had sent messages taunting the police became one of the enduring legends of the Ripper case. Modern scholars are divided on which, if any, of the letters should be considered genuine, but the "Dear Boss" letter is one of three named most frequently as potentially having been written by the killer. A number of authors try to advance their theories by comparing handwriting samples of their suspects to the writing found in this letter.[1]

Like many items related to the Ripper case, the "Dear Boss" letter disappeared from the police files not long after the investigation ended. It may have been kept as a souvenir by one of the investigating officers.[citation needed] It was returned anonymously to the Metropolitan Police in 1987, whereupon Scotland Yard recalled all the documents from their file from the Public Record Office, now The National Archives, at Kew. The return of the documents was announced in 1988.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Sugden, Philip (2002). The Complete History of Jack the Ripper. New York: Carroll & Graf. pp. 260–270. ISBN 0-7867-0932-4. 
  2. ^ Casebook: Jack the Ripper article on the Ripper letters

Sources[edit]