How the Johnny Depp Movie 'From Hell' Inspired One Man to Allegedly Solve the Jack the Ripper Murders

How the Johnny Depp Movie 'From Hell' Inspired One Man to Allegedly Solve the Jack the Ripper Murders

Sep 08, 2014

From Hell Johnny Depp Heather Graham

At their best, movies can be inspiring – they awaken things in us and make us want to be better people or do bigger things with our lives. That being said, I can’t recall the last time a Hollywood film inspired someone to go out and solve one of the biggest murder mysteries of all time.

This is what happened after Russell Edwards sat down to watch the Hughes brothers' 2001 film From Hell. The feature, which was based on Alan Moore’s wildly popular graphic novel, features Johnny Depp as a detective with an opium problem who teams up with Heather Graham to solve the mystery behind the Whitechapel murders in London way back in 1888. Those unsolved crimes have captivated amateur sleuths for 126 years and given rise to the legend of Jack the Ripper – arguably the most infamous serial killer of all time.

Edwards, who has a book due out tomorrow, claims to have cracked the Ripper case once and for all.

“When my involvement in the 126-year-old case began, I was just another armchair detective, interested enough to conduct my own extensive research after watching the Johnny Depp film From Hell in 2001. It piqued my curiosity about the 1888 killings when five – possibly more – prostitutes were butchered in London’s East End.”

That viewing led to Edwards eventually acquiring a shawl that was reportedly taken from the Catherine Eddowes crime scene. After some mitochondrial DNA testing, and comparisons between living descendants of Eddowes and suspect Aaron Kosminski, Edwards is convinced that the case is solved. Other Ripperologists aren’t quite so ready to file this one under case closed, though.

Issues with the shawl’s lineage abound, the DNA testing hasn’t been peer reviewed, and some are cynical that the whole thing is a ploy to help sell Edwards’ new book Naming Jack the Ripper. Whatever the case may be, Kosminski has long been a popular suspect for the crimes – and this latest development is likely to spark another bout of Ripper mania amongst the general public.

What do you guys think? Has one of history’s greatest mysteries finally been solved? Do you even want to know who the real Ripper was at this point, or is it more fun to imagine a bloodthirsty bogeyman than put a face alongside the name?

[via The Daily Mail]

 

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