Royal Nonsense

The media has a long history of reporting connections between Jack the Ripper and the monarchy. This week they surpassed their previous gullibility by claiming that Megan Markle is a descendant of Jack. As he was never identified this is impossible to verify yet several outlets stated it as fact.

The story comes from Jeff Mudgett, a descendant of the serial killer H.H.Holmes who, it is alleged, crossed the Atlantic to commit the Whitechapel murders. In my recent book, which looked at 333 Jack the Ripper suspects, I found that the case against Holmes depended on unproven statements made by Mudgett. The only external support is some handwriting analysis but that is questionable because there is no evidence that the killer wrote the letters attributed to him. They have also been linked by other handwriting experts to different suspects and Mudgett initially stated that Holmes did not write them.

There used to be standards in journalism. Stories would be checked for facts and ignored if they could not be substantiated or published with supporting evidence. Nowadays they are regurgitated without questioning by editors who then wonder why their circulation is falling.

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