October 15 - 1888 - "Jack the Ripper" Sends the "From Hell" Letter
Jack the Ripper is the most famous, most discussed, and most obsessed over serial killer in history. Although his crimes, slashing the throats and then mutilating prostitutes, were gruesome and shocking enough, the speculation about who Jack the Ripper was and why he did what he did have been the animating features of Ripperology. The "From Hell" Letter sealed this interest as something more than simple fascination over crime. The third letter sent by someone believed to be the killer, the "From Hell" letter was different. It was borderline illiterate and displayed signs of pyschosis, but also disturbingly contained a kidney, supposedly from murder victim Catherine Eddowes. Despite one more murder and a lack of arrests, Jack the Ripper would continue to hold a significant amount of sway in cultural memory.