The Psychology behind the case of Jack The Ripper


Trigger Warning: Sensitive Information in the Article, might be disturbing to some Readers

Who is Jack the Ripper? Jack the Ripper was a man who murdered about 5 women in 1888 and turned out to be the biggest fear of the White Chapel district of London and later turned out to be one of the greatest fascinations and mysteries. History has experienced him but could never find the real identity of this serial killer. There are many opinions regarding his family history and one of them says that he had a dominating mother and a weak father and the lack of love and a proper caregiver might have made him a man with a lot of internalized anger and later he developed hate for women as a whole.

The first murder took place on Friday, August 31, 1888, the victim was Mary Ann Nichlos according to reports her throat was cut, and her abdomen was ripped open. This wild act continued for the next few months and the other victims were Annie Chapman, Elizabeth Stride, Catharine Eddowes, and Mary Jane Kelly. All of them were prostitutes and were killed similarly. These women were strangled until they died out of oxygen and then lowered down to cut their throats so that he could confirm their deaths. Then he would cut their organs and mutilate the genitals like an experienced surgeon as the organs were taken out perfectly without any damage. Reports show that there were no signs of sexual abuse in these bodies. 

Nobody could ever find the real Jack the Ripper, but we have several conspiracy theories regarding him. 

Is he a Psychopath?

Based on some of the shreds of evidence he is said to be a psychopath because he was clever enough not to leave any evidence of murder. Psychopaths are people who lack empathy and guilt and are people who might look well-behaved in society. Maybe this is the reason that nobody could ever find Jack the Ripper.

Is he a Sociopath?

Evidence shows that he was not only good at murdering but also good at breaking into places, and stalking people. Other characteristics that show signs of sociopathy include his method of killing and the way he left the body for exhibition. It is said that Jack the Ripper had a miserable childhood like most other sociopaths.

Read More: What’s the Difference Between a Psychopath and a Sociopath?

Was he Hypersexual?

Hypersexuality is a condition where people will experience a sudden increase in libido frequently and they will be preoccupied with sexual fantasy. This will usually be comorbid with other medical conditions, one of which is Bipolar disorder. Bipolar disorder is a mood disorder and it is said that the killer might have committed the crime during his maniac phase. The maniac phase will make people abnormally energetic and irritable and there will be a decreased need for sleep. All of these brutal murders took place early in the morning.


According to Scott A. Bonn who is an expert in Criminal Behavior, Jack the Ripper is a Polish Jew called David Cohen and he suffered from schizophrenia. (Psychology Today) Bonn said that the killer was disorganized, did not plan his killings, and left behind corpses as evidence for all to see He had homicidal tendencies and was a maniac as well. He was a maniac with homicidal tendencies and his murders were fuelled by hatred of women. David Cohen passed away in an asylum soon after the murders stopped, which is also something that makes Bonn claim that he is Jack the Ripper.


According to reports, he was a loner and all of his victims were women. He used the same method of removing the genitalia in every victim. Maybe this was his way of showing disregard towards women and hurting them was his way of expressing revenge. The killer left all the dead bodies naked and with their legs wide open and maybe he wanted to humiliate and disrespect these ladies by letting them be in that position. It is said that he had an abusive mother and some others say that he might have experienced a bad marriage as well.

Criminals and Mental Illness

There is no single factor that can lead to a mental health condition but multiple factors like psychological influences, biological factors, and environmental influences can together. A person with Schizophrenia will not have the ability to understand reality and will have hallucinations and delusion, many of the serial killers were diagnosed with this psychotic disorder. Many serial killers are said to have dysfunction in brain structure, genetic defects, and neurochemical imbalances. Many serial killers were also diagnosed with obsessive-compulsive disorder, conduct disorder, and autism spectrum disorder.

If scientists and researchers put in more time in understanding the psychological, social, and biological backgrounds of criminals, serial killers, and murderers this will help us a lot in expanding our knowledge about why they end up doing this. This way we can even recognize the criminal mindset within people at a very early stage and may reduce such activities by finding the right remedy to help these people. 

Reference +
  • Zlomislić, J. (2020, September 16). Jack the Ripper: A look at the mental health of the notorious serial killer. FFOS-repository.
  • Zhao, Y. (2023). Criminology: A general overview of the common mental disorders of serial killers. Journal of Education, Humanities and Social Sciences, 22, 716–721.
  • Team, R. (2020, February 17). Psychoanalysis of the Ripper – Jack the Ripper Tours. JackTheRipper.
  • Bonn, S. A., PhD. (2020, June 12). Unmasking Jack the Ripper more than 130 years after he vanished. Psychology Today.
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