In the late 1800s, notorious serial killer Jack the Ripper stalked the Whitechapel region of eastern London. He laid waste to an alleged 5 people before his spree of homicides stopped. Throughout horror lore, he sparked the raging flames that burned the fear of the anonymous killer into the hearts of the general populace. He was the prototypical mass murderer.

What if I were to tell you that he was a mere protégé? That one of history’s most infamous serial killers had an inspiration? Well, he did. Nearly 100 years earlier, there lived a rumored priest in the village of Torrijos, Spain. He didn’t have a name. It was reported that he was raised in one of the establos, or barns. The church took him in and taught him everything he knew. His exact identity, however, was not known. Many boys in villages all across Spain were taken from the streets and raised by the curas of the church.

On March 15, 1798, there was a murder in the village. The victim was a woman named Antoña Penzón. Her headless body was found by the Mesnaderos(Fully armed knights). They searched for her head, but didn’t have to look far. In a cementerio (cemetery), her head was found impaled on a crudely constructed cross. In the wood, this was etched:

Sea con Dios.

Roughly translated, it means this:

Be with God.

Close to fifty people were slain in this fashion. The slogan from his first victim repeated itself on the makeshift graves. This earned the unknown killer the nickname El Decapitador Juan, or John the Decapitator. The king, or Rey, never found the killer. One day the killing spree just stopped. But how does this prove Jack the Ripper had any knowledge of the Torrijos murders? Mary Ann Nichols was Jack the Ripper’s first victim. She was killed on the 31st of August, 1888. Just above her collarbone rested an inscription. Below a cross with a filled circle on top read:

Sea con Dios.