G’day, my lord, and welcome the Tragedy Parasite Shoppe of Oddities and Curiosities! From the look of you, I can see that you’re a gentleman of particular interests, which is why I’m willing to show you one of our most rare, gruesome, and unnecessary artifacts. It’s the DNA-splattered shawl of Catherine Eddowes, one of Jack the Ripper’s victims, and—for a distinguished buyer like you, sir—I’m willing to be rid of it for the paltry price of $4.75 million.

Does that sound gross and disrespectful to a murder victim who died a horrifically brutal death nearly 127 years ago? Aye, sir! That be the point!

As Page Six reports:

Businessman and “armchair detective” Russell Edwards bought a bloody shawl worn by Catherine Eddowes — a victim of the London serial killer in 1888 — at auction in 2007, then tapped a molecular biologist to examine the garment for DNA to try to crack the case.

An exhaustive investigation solved a 126-year-old mystery, revealing — according to Edwards’ subsequent book, “Naming Jack the Ripper” — the culprit was Aaron Kosminski, a schizophrenic Polish immigrant who wound up dying in an insane asylum. The historic garment’s being sold by Moments in Time.

Catherine Eddowes died in the early morning of September 30, 1888. Hours before her death, she had been in police custody for public drunkenness and had her name recorded as “Nothing.” Soon after her release, her body was found mutilated in a poorly lit public square. Type her name into Google Image and you’ll encounter hundreds of shots of mutilated, dead women. Only a handful of the photos are her; the others are unlucky enough to be included by association.

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These days, Eddowes’ name is mostly unknown despite the fact that the site of her death is a major tourist attraction. Her shawl, available to be purchased by an extremely wealthy collector, is the ultimate souvenir.


Contact the author at madeleine@jezebel.com.

Image via Getty.

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