It's one of life's little oddities that so much mythology and indeed an entire industry has survived for so long around the acts of a man who made himself famous by playing around in the guts of women. You don't see Peter Sutcliffe getting this much attention or a franchise. Maybe in a hundred years...
Now Australian scientists are preparing to finally and definitively unmask the identity of the original Ripper... maybe.
Scientist Ian Findlay will use the new test on saliva the notorious serial killer would have left behind if he licked the stamps on the envelopes of letters he sent to London police. Prof Findlay's method, called Cell Track-ID, is able to extract and compile a DNA fingerprint from a single cell or strand of hair up to 160 years old. Hair believed to be from Catherine Eddowes – one of at least five prostitutes Jack the Ripper is known to have butchered in London's East End during his reign of terror in 1888 – will also be tested.
Even if they do put a name to the maniac it's very doubtful that it will put an end to the allure of the entertaining Ripper walks (one of the best nights out we've ever had with random American tourists), drinks in the Ten Bells and a new movie, TV series and book popping out every few years.
Our favourite slice of Ripper fiction you ask? Well while we love the depth of such works of genius as Alan Moore's From Hell (the graphic novel and not the film) our out and out bestest Ripper moment is Time After Time. The one with HG Wells (dashingly played by Malcolm McDowell) setting off to the far flung future of 1972 to track down David Warner's Ripper who as you'd expect is having the time of his life in San Francisco... absolute classic.
Of course now that the Ausies have access to Ripper DNA our main concern is that it'll only take one overly enthusiastic scientist to get carried away and before you can say 'Ripper, mate!' they'll have cloned a few hundred of the lunatics and built a Thoracic Park around them.