The Ripper Project. Modern science solving mysteries of history
The American journal of forensic medicine and pathology. 1989 Jun; 10(2): 164-71.
Modern scientific techniques may be applied to solve historical--even ancient--mysteries. Many such mysteries have been studied by forensic scientists, including anthropologists. One example is the recent examination of the artifacts and grave sites at the Little Bighorn in Montana, the scene of the battle between General George A. Custer's troops and the Northern Plains Indian tribes. Similarly, skeleton remains of the Indian tribes of the Pre-Columbian and Columbian periods have been studied to answer many questions regarding life and death in those early civilizations. The Ripper Project began as a research activity of the Milton Helpern International Center for the Forensic Sciences at Wichita State University Wichita, Kansas, in 1981, after the concept had been discussed in a night session during the annual meeting of the American Academy of Forensic Sciences in Los Angeles. These century-old serial murders of five prostitutes--The Whitechapel Murders--in London in 1888 were discussed in great detail from the standpoints of the forensic pathologist, the forensic psychiatrist, the criminalist, the forensic historian, and the forensic dentist. The information gained during this phase of the project plus the advances made possible by the development of criminal personality profiling by the FBI led to the present status of this project, which was recently discussed in a live telecast, and which is the subject of this article.