An unidentified photograph purporting to show Jack the Ripper is set to be auctioned off in a Halloween-themed sale.
The 19th-century photo of a well-heeled Victorian gentleman sitting stiffly in an ornate setting contains a chilling inscription on the back.
“I must find a cure for that dreadful disease in (Whitechapel) area, and will keep my knife nice and sharp, will strike again when time is right, perhaps in New Year.”
The photo is being sold by Reeman Dansie of Colchester, England, and next to the inscription is a stamp of a photographer: Mr. Arthur Langton of Euston Road with the date December 15, ’86.
The auctioneers received the photo from a vendor whose late uncle had a keen interest in the Jack the Ripper legend and “read broadly around the subject.”
Who owned the photo before the vendor’s uncle is not known but his family descended from the Whitechapel area of London where Jack the Ripper murdered his victims.
However, “Ripper experts” have cast doubt on the authenticity of the print and believe it to be a fake. But, the auctioneers say they will “leave it to bidders to reach their own conclusions.”
Despite doubts over its genuineness, the photo is estimated to be sold between $607 and $1,215 (£500 and £1,000).
The auction can be viewed on Reeman Dansie’s website.
Who Was Jack the Ripper?
Despite numerous and ongoing attempts to identify London’s most notorious serial killer, the identity of Jack the Ripper has never been confirmed.
The Ripper attacked women working as prostitutes who lived in slums with the killer appearing to show some surgical knowledge as some of the victims’ internal organs were removed after their throats had been cut.
This summer, a former police volunteer named Hyam Hyams as Jack the Ripper after unearthing new medical evidence.
She believes that Hyams was responsible for the murders of at least six women in and around Whitechapel between August and November 1888.