Was Bram Stoker’s Dracula based on Jack the Ripper?

Jack the Ripper is thought to have killed at least five young women in Whitechapel, East London, between September and November 1888, but was never caught.

Numerous individuals have been accused of being the serial killer.

At the time, police suspected the Ripper must have been a butcher, due to the way his victims were killed and the fact they were discovered near to the dockyards, where meat was brought into the city.

There are several alleged links between the killer and royals. First is Sir William Gull, the royal physician. Many have accused him of helping get rid of the alleged prostitutes’ bodies, while others claim he was the Ripper himself.

A page from the Illustrated Police News page covering the murders of Jack the Ripper

A book has named Queen Victoria’s surgeon Sir John Williams as the infamous killer. He had a surgery in Whitechapel at the time.

Another theory links the murders with Queen Victoria’s grandson, Prince Albert Victor, the Duke of Clarence.

At one point, cotton merchant James Maybrick was the number one suspect, following the publication of some of his diary which appeared to suggest he was the killer.

Some believe the diary to be a forgery, although no one has been able to suggest who forged it.

Another suspect is Francis Tumblety, a convicted criminal in the area at the time.

Tumblety was born in Ireland to parents James and Margaret Tumuelty – whose name was spelled differently on their tombstones – alongside 10 brothers and sisters, and he immigrated to New York.

He returned to London on many occasions and historical researchers Stewart Evans and Paul Gainey found evidence to point to him being the killer.

They found that Tumblety had lived for a time at a boarding house in Whitechapel during the murderous rampage of Jack the Ripper.

He was arrested on November 7, 1888, for unrelated crimes, and while released on bail Tumblety fled to France under a false name, before returning to the US. 

Other suspects include Montague John Druitt, a Dorset-born barrister. He killed himself in the Thames seven weeks after the last murder.

George Chapman, otherwise known as Severyn Kłosowski, is also a suspect after he poisoned three of his wives and was hanged in 1903.

Jack the Ripper is thought to have killed at least five young women in Whitechapel, East London, between September and November 1888

Jack the Ripper is thought to have killed at least five young women in Whitechapel, East London, between September and November 1888

Another suspected by police was Aaron Kosminski. He was admitted to Colney Hatch Lunatic Asylum and died there.

Dr Thomas Neill Cream poisoned four London prostitutes with strychnine and was hanged in 1892.

Some of the more bizarre links include Lewis Carroll, author of the Alice in Wonderland books, who taught at Christ Church until 1881 – which was at the forefront of the Ripper murder scenery.

Winston Churchill’s father – Lord Randolph Churchill – has also been named as a potential suspect.

Crime writer Patricia Cornwell believes she has ‘cracked’ the case by unearthing evidence that confirms Walter Sickert, an influential artist, as the prime suspect. Her theories have not been generally accepted.

Author William J Perring raised the possibility that Jack the Ripper might actually be ‘Julia’ – a Salvation Army soldier.

In The Seduction Of Mary Kelly, his novel about the life and times of the final victim, he suggests Jack the Ripper was in fact a woman.

Police discovering the body of one of Jack the Ripper's victims, probably Catherine Eddowes

Police discovering the body of one of Jack the Ripper’s victims, probably Catherine Eddowes

In February 2019, it was suggested that Jack the Ripper may have been a sinister Dutch sailor who murdered two ex-wives in his homeland and bludgeoned to death two other women in Belgium.

Crime historian Dr Jan Bondeson has named Hendrik de Jong as a prime suspect for the most notorious set of unsolved murders in history.

At the time of the Whitechapel murders, de Jong is believed to have worked as a steward on board a ship which made frequent trips from Rotterdam to London, providing him with the perfect means of getting out of the country after his heinous crimes.

He later murdered two of his ex-wives in his native Netherlands in 1893 and bludgeoned to death two women above a pub before attempting to set their bodies on fire in Belgium in 1898.

The victims:

Mary Ann Nichols was disembowled on Buck’s Row.

Annie Chapman’s uterus was removed at 29 Hanbury St.

Elizabeth Stride’s throat was cut at Duffield’s Yard, Berner St.

Catherine Eddowes’s uterus and kidney were removed and her cheeks torn on Mitre Square.

Mary Jane Kelly was completely mutilated and her heart was removed at 13 Miller’s Court.