Jack the Ripper’s Whitechapel killings being brought to life on Twitter

PUBLISHED: 12:01 24 August 2013

Finding the body of Polly Nichols in Buck's-row

Finding the body of Polly Nichols in Buck's-row


Jack the Ripper’s brutal murders are being brought to life using social media – 125 years since his bloody rampage through the East End.

A team of historians are bringing the killings into the 20th century – fortunately not in a literal sense – to mark the anniversary of the Ripper’s strikes.

Mystery still surrounds the identity of the man who murdered at least five women on the streets of Whitechapel under cover of darkness in the late 19th century.

But curious Twitter users can now relive the horror through the @WChapelRealTime account, which went live today and will give real-time updates for four months, reflecting the period in which the murders shocked Victorian London.

A group of “Ripperologists” have accumulated material containing the gory details of Jack’s attacks in order to give people a taste of the terror the gripped the East End in 1888.

Steven Halliday, one of the devoted historians behind the project, told the BBC: “Jack the Ripper attracted more attention than any other criminal before that time.

“His crimes were so gruesome he disembodied his victims. But he was also never caught.

“His antics were horrific and a microcosm of the horrors of Victorian London. It was a lawless place, with great division in society.”

The vivid accounts are designed to educate and entertain in equal measure, organisers said. They also hope that by using Twitter to explore the case, it can engage young people in a subject they may previously have thought dull.

“Social media is what young people use nowadays. We hope this will engage them in history more,” said historian Jamie Wolfendale.

Tweets will feature hash tags of names of people involved in the case – from police investigating, to Jack’s helpless victims.

For more on the anniversary of Jack the Ripper’s brutal killings see our special 12 page supplement in next week’s paper.

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