History Channel’s ‘American Ripper’: Fact or Fiction?

“I was born with the devil in me. I could not help the fact that I was a murderer, no more than the poet can help the inspiration to sing — I was born with the “Evil One” standing as my sponsor beside the bed where I was ushered into the world, and he has been with me since.”

H.H. Holmes penned these words before he was hung in 1896. He was a basis for James Patrick March in American Horror Story: Hotel. His Chicago murder castle no longer stands, but the memory of its existence has left a stain on the city’s history, especially that of the World’s Fair in 1893. Those sadistic blueprints show the brutality and evil of one man. Holmes was America’s first serial killer, but was he also the infamous Jack the Ripper? Let’s check out the History Channel’s presentation of American Ripper.

Warning! There are spoilers from the show in this article. If you haven’t seen the show, read on at your own risk.

American Ripper follows Jeff Mudgett (great-great-grandson of Holmes) and Amaryllis Fox (ex-CIA analyst) as they travel and investigate the Jack the Ripper murders to prove without a doubt that Holmes was, in fact, Jack the Ripper. Mudgett and Fox make their way from Chicago to London to Indiana to New York, all in pursuit of evidence proving that Holmes was the infamous Jack the Ripper.

The series builds up and provides really good evidence to tie Holmes to the Ripper. However, there is no smoking gun. There is no forensic evidence proving that Holmes and the Ripper are the same man. Mudgett and Fox try to find a Holmes victim in the Chicago river and also look for the remaining bones of Holmes’ last victim, Howard Pitezel. At the site of the young boy’s murder, the pair does find bones. But the expert can’t pinpoint if they are from Howard Pitezel or if they’re just animal bones. That is where the show heads into a downward spiral; any evidence that is found can’t be collaborated by experts. There is a lot of circumstantial evidence, such as Holmes’ experience as surgeon. Scotland Yard believed that Jack the Ripper was actually an American doctor. Holmes left behind some of his possessions in Indiana that can be tied to him. Also, there is a gap in Holmes’ timeline occurring during the Whitechapel murders.

It is an interesting theory, and I am looking forward to more evidence to brought forth. However, there is just no proof to substantiate the claim. In the last episode, Mudgett gets a court order to dig Holmes up to prove that his ancestor put on the greatest con of all time: escaping his own execution. Do you think Holmes escaped the grave? Or that he was the infamous Jack the Ripper? Let us know in the comments below.

About Dani McKinney

Dani loves horror movies ever since she saw Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers with Danielle Harris. She loves vampires, her favorite movie is Interview with a Vampire. She reads constantly and mostly books about the supernatural and is also a paranormal investigator.

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