Thanks to modern forensic science, the true identity of Jack the Ripper, the serial killer responsible for at least five grisly murders in Whitechapel in East London during the autumn of 1888 has finally been revealed.

DNA evidence has now shown beyond reasonable doubt that Polish immigrant Aaron Kosminski was Jack the Ripper.

A shawl found by the body of Catherine Eddowes, one of the Ripper’s victims, has been analysed and found to contain DNA from her blood as well as DNA from the killer.

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“The only negative thing about murder is, when you kill someone they can no longer suffer…”

- Varg Vikernes, who is Norway’s most infamous killer. Vikernes murdered his friend and fellow band-member in 1993 after they had an argument over a girl. He stabbed him and then tossed his blood-stained clothes into a nearby river.

Prior to the murders, he was a known arsonist who had a favourite target: Churches. It’s estimated that he burnt down 8 churches because he “hated Christianity”.

Due to Norway’s lenient prison system, Varg is now a free man after serving only 12 years of a life sentence. Whilst incarcerated, he was allowed to write books and even record two albums, which were a huge success.

Methods of Murder

In numerous murder cases it is possible to determine the method by which teh murder has been carried out, but in other cases the method may be less clear or goes underreported. There are countless ways for an individual to carry out a homicide, but the major categories can be broken down as follows:

  • Use of one’s body as a weapon
  • Cutting and sharp, pointed instruments
  • Handguns
  • Long guns
  • Poisoning
  • Striking instruments
  • Asphyxiation by airborne chemicals or particles
  • Asphyxiation by ligature
  • Drowning by force
  • Arson
  • Injection of a lethal drug
  • Bombing

Psychology through K-dramas

Labeling Theory

Introduced by Becker, Lemert, and Tannebaum, the theory states that society’s influence on a subject directs their outcome. A person given a label over time will take on the characteristics of that label.

As stated by Lee Joon Young, a person called pretty from birth will believe they are pretty. A person called stupid from birth will believe they are stupid. A person who is called a monster/criminal from birth will believe they are a monster/criminal.

Becker states, “ Social groups create deviance by applying those rules to particular people and labeling them as outsiders…deviance is not a quality of the act the person commits, but rather a consequence of the application by others of rules and sanctions to an offender,”(Maddan & Marshall, 2009, p 254).

The theory basically states that free will is given up as soon as a label is place on a person, allowing for determinism to take over. 


Maddan, S., & Marshall,I. (2009), Labeling and symbolic interaction theories. In J Miller (Ed.), 21st Century criminology: A reference handbook. (p. 253-262). Thousand Oaks: SAGE Publications, Inc. doi: 10.4135/9781412971997.n29

Trying to discover Jack the Ripper‘s identity remains one of criminology’s enduring puzzles. Several potential suspects exist, and have existed since the murders were committed. But the relatively primitive police work of the day and the loss of physical evidence over time means the mystery may never be solved.

Whether the killer was a member of the royal family, as one popular theory has it, or a surgeon with a grudge, at least two things are certain: Jack was skilled with a knife and certainly a sexual psychopath. All the Ripper’s victims had their throats cut and all were sexually mutilated: the unfortunate Ms. Kelly worst of all. When discovered by her landlord’s rent collector, she was barely recognizable as a human being.

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“I want to be a good person, but I’m just not…” - Ted Bundy

Most serial killers have no control over their homicidal impulses. Ted Bundy, for example, could recognise that what he was doing was completely wrong, but his strong desires fueled by his psychopathic nature overcame any shadows of conscience and he ultimately lost control of his perverted desires. In a later interview, Bundy stated that he “just wanted to kill!”

phestudiesAutumn Study Challenge

Day 2: Why are you studying this topic?

I actually had a choice in choosing my assignment topic, which was a much harder decision to make than I thought it would be.

For this essay, I had to choose two studies that attempt to answer the same research question using one or more of the main theoretical frameworks that orient environmental criminology (namely the opportunity theories: routine activities theory, rational choice theory, and crime a pattern theory) and compare and contrast them.

One of the readings for last week was an article written by three authors, two of which come from my university. They used an agent-based model to test whether the simulation produced results that are consistent with routine activities theory, rational choice theory and crime pattern theory. They created and ran a simulation of burglary to test the core concepts of the aforementioned theories and found that the criminal agents in the model acted exactly as these theories say they should.

I find that incredibly interesting because it’s a relatively new piece of technology and software and has huge implications in terms of theory evolution, research practice, policy making and prevention and intervention.

I’m incredibly anxious about writing this essay because it’s my first one for my post grad degree and I’m really scared I’m going to mess it up. At least it’s an interesting topic :)

Also, using theorganisedstudent‘s Essay Planning printable.

In criminal trials in the United States, prosecuting attorneys are supposed to turn over to the defense any evidence that might pertain to a defendant’s guilt or innocence. Not to do so is illegal and is defined as misconduct. Scholars have noted that cases involving serious crimes, such as rape and murder, are more likely to result in erroneous convictions than other kinds of cases.
  • Random Guy:So, what do you like to do for fun?
  • My Awkward Self:Oh you know, research the differences between sociopaths and psychopaths while I also research different personality and mood disorders to the wee hours of the morning.
  • Random Guy:So you're not down to fuck?
  • My Awkward Self:Nah