While most people are familiar with London's Jack the Ripper, few are aware of the existence of his southern counterpart who matched him in stealth and carnage, and who had an entire city wracked with terror during the early 1900s. No one was certain who truly bore the Atlanta Ripper identity, but the appalling murder and mutilation of nearly 20 African American women hung heavy over everyone's head. Since much of the south was still gripped by racism and segregation, the killings weren't given the attention they deserved until the Ripper had already amassed a large number of victims and, finally, caused a city-wide panic that could no longer be ignored. The sad fact is that the culprit behind the unsolved Atlanta Ripper mystery fed off of the blatant disregard of the public to reap more victims and elude police.
The increased brutality of each slaying, the notes pinned to fireboxes across the city, and the befuddlement of justice all create a grisly and disturbing tapestry of Atlanta Ripper facts. Whether the Atlanta Ripper identity belonged to a conglomeration of different individuals or a single predator is still hotly contested, and over a century later the question still endures: Who was the Atlanta Ripper?