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Author Topic: Jack the Ripper identified
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Scotland Yard has taken possession of a policeman’s memoirs which names the serial killer.

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,29389-2269526,00.html

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Seaboe Muffinchucker
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This isn't even a new theory! It's in at least two of the books on JtR that I own; discredited in one, simply noted in the other.

Seaboe

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Lil' Molly
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It was also mentioned in a documentary of Jack the Ripper I watched last year. If I remember correctly, they even showed pictures of the margin notes on the screen.

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Quttaus
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Who's gets your vote for being Jack, Seaboe? (If any of the suspects do, that is.) I found the case for Joseph Barnett to be interesting.

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candycane from strangers
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I had a feeling this would be about Kosminski. Meh, he's old news, I've read his name in plenty of Ripper things as well.

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Seaboe Muffinchucker
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quote:
Originally posted by Quttaus:
Who's gets your vote for being Jack, Seaboe? (If any of the suspects do, that is.) I found the case for Joseph Barnett to be interesting.

I don't really think any of the candidates are completely convincing, actually.

I can say flat out that I think that mystery writer (I've forgotten her name--she writes about the Florida Forensic Dr.) is crazy, though. Her candidate is about as likely as the Prince, IMO.

Seaboe

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Quttaus
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Do you mean Patricia Cornwell?

Yeah, that stuff about Sickertt was a bunch of crap. Too bad she had to cut up that painting while making a fool of herself, too. She should stick to writing novels.

Hopefully it will teach people to be careful about betting their reputation on a theory, though.

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Lainie
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quote:
Originally posted by Seaboe Muffinchucker:
I can say flat out that I think that mystery writer (I've forgotten her name--she writes about the Florida Forensic Dr.) is crazy, though. Her candidate is about as likely as the Prince, IMO.

Seaboe

Actually, I think the Kay Scarpetta stories are set in Virginia. But yes, Patricia Cornwell is crazy -- and her Jack the Ripper theories are only part of it. I'd agree with Quttaus, but I don't think her novels are readable anymore, either.

Another former Cornwell fan and I started joking -- about 7 years ago -- that Cornwell, like the serial killers she writes about, is decompensating.

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Quttaus
I Saw Three Shipments


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Out of curiosity, what else did Cornwell do that was crazy, Lainie?

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Lainie
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Having done some more research, I think I'll have to retract that statement. I was recalling some stories about her involvement in the divorce of former FBI agent Eugene Bennett and his wife, Margo Bennett, with whom Cornwell had an affair. However, my recollection of those stories may be incorrect. According to Wikipedia, she didn't so much act crazy as get involved with some possibly crazy people, specifically the Bennetts.

She has had a famously troubled personal life, and has arguably made some very bad choices (which you can read all about at the above link), but that doesn't mean she's crazy or a bad person, and it's not my place to judge her anyhow. My bad.

I have found the Kay Scarpetta character quite unlikable in the more recent novels, though, which was originally the source of the "decompensating" joke.

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Mrs. Chicopea
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I haven't really read all the varying theories about this, but am I the only one who saw the reasoning ( at least what was presented in the article) to be a bit racist? It sounded like he basically summed it up as, "He was a Jew(the witness) protecting a Jew."

I may be misreading this...it's late for me and my DD seems to be boycotting sleep.

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Lawgiver
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I agree with Seaboe, this isn't a new theory at all. He has been discredited in anything I have read also. I think James Maybrick is one of the few promising suspects , but, holes in the story big enough to drive a tank through. I dont think it is any known suspect, and I dont think we will ever know.


For the record, a fantastic book on JTR is Phillip Sugdens Complete Jack the Ripper. If you can only read one, that would be it.

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Winter Morning
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Casebook: Jack the Ripper is a wonderful site that concerns itself with everything to do with the Whitechapel murders. There are scans of the Ripper letters, there are lists of possible suspects, information about the victims - basically everything you need to play armchair detective. I've wasted hours there.

Did you know that Charles Lutwidge Dodgson has been at times considered suspect?

Morning
Go ask Alice.

Note: Some images are disturbing and graphic, but they aren't on the main page.

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Quttaus
I Saw Three Shipments


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Yea, let me second what Lawgiver said, Sugden's book is the best ever written on the subject. The site Morning mentions is very good also, I go there all the time.

Never got around to the book on Carroll, but it looks like pretty goofy stuff. Out of the ones Ive read, I think Shirley Harrison has to be the worst, though.

Chicopea, London that time had a lot of racial unrest going on (in particular, anti-Semitism was rife) which at least partially explains the detectives comments.

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Mrs. Chicopea
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quote:
Originally posted by Quttaus:
Chicopea, London that time had a lot of racial unrest going on (in particular, anti-Semitism was rife) which at least partially explains the detectives comments.

Well, I suppose that was sort of my point. I haven't read the theory surrounding this individual, so I was wondering if much of it was based on racist feelings toward Jews, know what I mean? I'll be checking into one of the "good books" mentioned here.

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GrandMal de Caesar
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You can understand Cornwell's interest though--like the other snopesters, I have been long fascinated by the murders. The first time I saw a photo of the Mary Kelly murder scene, it gave me nightmares, literally. Solving the mystery is, pardon the expression, a holy grail for mystery-lovers.

Jews were a favorite scapegoat at the time although,those holding to the Prince as Ripper theory suggest that the graffiti chalked on the one alleyway was a reference to the Masons (talk about a group that can't get away from conspiracy theorists) and not an anti-Semetic remark or comment.

I'd sooner expect JFK's killing to be solved, and I have really, really, really given up on that one. [fish]

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Cleetus Awrightus-Awreetus
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Alan Moore's 'From Hell' is a fascinating document of the history of the Ripper. His growing disillusionment with the whole ripper industry is detailed in the extensive appendices. The epilogue (Dance of The Gull Catchers) is truly wonderful.

"Likewise, each new book provides fresh details, finer crennelations of the subject's edge. Its area, however, can't extend past the initial circle: Autumn, 1888, Whitechapel ... Koch's Snowflake: gaze upon it, Ripperologists, and shiver."

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Quttaus
I Saw Three Shipments


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quote:
Originally posted by GrandMal de Caesar:
You can understand Cornwell's interest though--like the other snopesters, I have been long fascinated by the murders. The first time I saw a photo of the Mary Kelly murder scene, it gave me nightmares, literally. Solving the mystery is, pardon the expression, a holy grail for mystery-lovers.

Jews were a favorite scapegoat at the time although,those holding to the Prince as Ripper theory suggest that the graffiti chalked on the one alleyway was a reference to the Masons (talk about a group that can't get away from conspiracy theorists) and not an anti-Semetic remark or comment.

I'd sooner expect JFK's killing to be solved, and I have really, really, really given up on that one. [fish]

I dunno, though. A few Ripperologists have been trying to bring modern technology (like DNA testing) to bear on the murders....who knows what they might find? Phillip Sugden made the point that we probably know more about Jack now then they did in 1888.

I hear what you say about the Masons, though. Seems like you cant have a conspiracy theory without them. Even funnier to me, since my uncle used to be one.

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Seaboe Muffinchucker
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What do you suggest they run their DNA tests on?

Most of the physical evidence remaining has been handled by so many people I don't think those tests would produce any meaningful information.

We don't know who he was, and we never will.

Seaboe

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GrandMal de Caesar
I Saw Three Shipments


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Quattus:

Just one uncle a Mason? I'll see your one and raise you a great grandfather, grandfather, two uncles and a couple of cousins. I joke about the conspiracies, but who knows, [/secret handshake/ password/quick fandango/] isn't telling.

I think I agree that modern behavioral science might help us, but given the attitudes and practices of the primary investigators, what we know is still not much.

DNA might be an interesting tool, but what about contamination as a factor. Victorian English folk bought mummies from Egypt and then had unwrapping parties. Rational investigation was still getting underway.

Isn't the mystery the main thing? If someone had been tried, convicted, and hanged for the Whitechapel murders, would there be this cottage industry around them? It's like Judge Crater, or Jimmy Hoffa in the US. We all love mysteries!

I am waiting for the urban legend that has the FBI moving a barn and digging up the site on information that the Teamster president's remains are there. After they pay to rebuild the barn on a different site, the owner puts a in-ground swimming pool in the hole they conveniently left.
[Wink]

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Lawgiver
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quote:
Originally posted by Seaboe Muffinchucker:
What do you suggest they run their DNA tests on?

Most of the physical evidence remaining has been handled by so many people I don't think those tests would produce any meaningful information.

We don't know who he was, and we never will.

Seaboe

Patricia Cornwell got a hold of one of the Ripper letters and used the back of the stamp for DNA. However, the letter she used is a known hoax, even though she insist it was a genuine letter. All she was basically was able to prove was that Walter Sickert "may" have been one of about 40,000 Britons who wrote a hoax letter. JMO.

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Quttaus
I Saw Three Shipments


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quote:
Originally posted by GrandMal de Caesar:
Quattus:

Just one uncle a Mason? I'll see your one and raise you a great grandfather, grandfather, two uncles and a couple of cousins. I joke about the conspiracies, but who knows, [/secret handshake/ password/quick fandango/] isn't telling.
[Wink]

Wow...thats a lotta Masons [Eek!]
Do you ever read these conspiracy theories about Masons, then sit back and try to imagine your family member as part of some evil hidden cabal? For the life of me, I can't help but smile imagining my uncle that way.

As for Cornwell, she apparently got enough of Sickert's DNA from his possessions to run a mitochondrial (sp?) DNA comparison with what she got off the back of the stamp. Lawgiver is right in that the link to Sickert is pretty tenuous, but its a start.

Plus, remember the official documents (like autopsy reports) that vanished from the files not long after the murders, only to be returned to Scotland Yard in 1988.

Lastly, if they can do this with DNA testing, again, who knows what might happen?

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Ophiuchus
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So now that they finally identified a suspect, will they arrest him and bring him in for questioning? ^^;
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Llewtrah
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I thought the case against Tumblety was a strong one. At his death, his possessions included a ring that matched the description of a ring taken from a Ripper victim. He also had an unhealthy interest in procuring wombs and a grudge against women. I recall seeing a documentary about historical JtR correspondence that pointed at Tumblety.

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Seaboe Muffinchucker
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quote:
Originally posted by Llewtrah:
I thought the case against Tumblety was a strong one. At his death, his possessions included a ring that matched the description of a ring taken from a Ripper victim. He also had an unhealthy interest in procuring wombs and a grudge against women. I recall seeing a documentary about historical JtR correspondence that pointed at Tumblety.

Whereas I don't think either of those pieces of evidence is very strong. The ring as described was a cheap piece of junk that was probably similar to just about half the other cheap rings available in the markets, and there is still a lot of debate concerning what anatomical knowledge Jack had (i.e., whether he really knew what he was doing).

Seaboe

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Quttaus
I Saw Three Shipments


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Not to mention Tumblety was in his 50's at the time of the murders, multiple witness descriptions point to a man in his late 20's or early 30's.

Is there still debate going on, Seaboe? The general consensus seems to be that Jack would have had considerable anatomical knowledge (removing a kidney from the front of the body, for example).

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Seaboe Muffinchucker
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quote:
Originally posted by Quttaus:
Is there still debate going on, Seaboe? The general consensus seems to be that Jack would have had considerable anatomical knowledge (removing a kidney from the front of the body, for example).

It depends on what you read. In one of the books that reprints the autopsy reports, you can see that even at the time some of the doctors thought he was showing anatomical knowledge and others thought he was slashing not quite at random (it was always the lower abdomen, after all) and grabbing what he could.

Since they didn't agree then, I don't see how modern interpreters can agree now--bacause it all comes down to who you believe.

Seaboe

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Quttaus
I Saw Three Shipments


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Point taken. But while digging through some of my books, I found this:

quote:
...we know that although the doctors and surgeons who examined one or more of the 'canonical' victims.....disagreed about the extent of the murderer's expertise almost all attested to some degree of knowledge or skill. The sole dissentient was Dr. Bond.
(snip)
quote:
Drs. Phillips and Brown....thought they could detect a great deal of expertise, both anatomical knowledge and surgical skill, in the mutilations
(Cite: The Complete History of Jack the Ripper , by Phillip Sugden , pp. 369-71)

One objection to Dr. Bond's conclusions is that he got much of his info on the first four murders from notes taken by the attending surgeons.

Not to mention, practicing surgeon/Ripperologist Nick Warren has written about how difficult it would be for an unskilled person to perform some of the operations the Ripper did (Eddows' kidney, Chapmans' uterus, and so forth).

There's more, but...you get my drift, I'm sure.

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Seaboe Muffinchucker
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But see, Mr. Warren is starting from the assumption that the Ripper was deliberately going after that kidney etc. as opposed to taking advantage of circumstances (in other words, he specifically wanted Eddows' kidney as opposed to some other internal organ). The amount of skill necessary in view of that assumption is different from the skill necessary if he just slashed her open and then went after whatever organ struck his fancy.

It's a matter of not seeing the forest for the trees, to me.

Seaboe

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Education is not the filling of a hard drive, but the lighting of a bulb. -- Yeats via Esprise Me

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Quttaus
I Saw Three Shipments


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Lord knows, there are plenty of authors in Ripperology who are like that.

In this case, though, look at this piece of testimony from Eddows' inquest:

quote:
Mr. Crawford: You have spoken of the extraction of the left kidney. Would it require great skill and knowledge to remove it?
Dr. Brown: It would require a great deal of knowledge as to its position to remove it> It is easily overlooked. It is covered by a membrane.

(Source: The complete Jack the Ripper , by Donald Rumbelow , pg. 61)

Remember also, that Jack was "working" in very low light and at great speed, which would have made it doubly difficult.

I would think that, under those circumstances, there would have been many other organs that would have been easier to see and extract. Unless he wanted the kidney specifically, for some reason.

Dr. Baxter made similar observations in the Chapman murder.

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The Rubber Chicken
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quote:
Patricia Cornwell got a hold of one of the Ripper letters and used the back of the stamp for DNA. However, the letter she used is a known hoax, even though she insist it was a genuine letter. All she was basically was able to prove was that Walter Sickert "may" have been one of about 40,000 Britons who wrote a hoax letter. JMO.
Yeah, that was one of the many things that killed me about Cornwell's book: at the beginning she makes the claim that, contrary to what most Ripperologists believe, the vast majority of the Ripper letters are real. Why? She never really says. She just thinks they were real. Well okay, she postulates a bunch of crap about all the places Sickert could have been to mail the letters from the hundreds of different locations, but as I am sure you know, it is flat-out speculation. And not even good speculation at that.

There is always the possibility that Jack the Ripper was simply one of the thousands of destitute people living in Whitechapel, and that the police never considered the right suspect.

Just curious, but what about the possibility that none of the Ripper suspects were actually the Ripper, and that he may be a completely unknown person who has been lost to history. Any thoughts?

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Richard W
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I hardly know anything about this, but Marcel Berlins in his column in The Guardian last week (19/07/06) reckons it was somebody called Montague Druitt.

"Official" yelled last week's headline (Second item in the column)

quote:
He is not a new name; he has been a prominent suspect all along. Consider the following. His father was a surgeon, from whom he could have picked up the basic skills of cutting up a body. There are indications that he was sexually disturbed, and he thought he was going mad. He may have had access to lodgings in the Minories, a street in the City of London not far from Spitalfields, the scene of the horrors. Sir Melville MacNaghten, the eminent Scotland Yard detective who analysed the case in 1894, thought he had done it. His barristers' chambers were just two doors down from those of the recent Lord Chancellor, Derry Irvine (OK, that doesn't prove much). Significantly, Druitt committed suicide by throwing himself in the Thames in December 1888, a month after the sixth Ripper murder. There were no others after his death.
Is that at all likely, do people reckon?
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The Rubber Chicken
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Druitt, if I recall correctly, was a favorite among Ripperologists for a long while, but fell out of favor recently. But that is just going by memory, so the complete opposite could be true [Big Grin]

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Andrew of Ware, England
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Druitt was a well-known cricketer of the time. 'The Cricketer' magazine had an article on him about twenty or thirty years ago (sorry I can't remember the exact issue). The article mentioned about him being a 'Jack the Ripper' suspect. The authors made out a 'good' case for him, especially the fact that he drowned shortly after the final murder. Cricinfo is a bit more cautious. Quote:
quote:
Druitt was found drowned in the Thames at Chiswick on 31 December 1888. His death is recorded as having occured on 4 December 1888, but recent studies suggest several days earlier. In 1894 he was named as a "Jack the Ripper" suspect by Sir Melville Macnaghten, Chief Constable CID, although there is little if any evidence to support this. In fact, his cricket matches in 1888 are sometimes used in his defence, like the match on 8 September, which started just eight hours after one of the "Jack the Ripper" murders.
From memory that 8th September cricket match was at Blackheath - easily reachable within eight hours (even allowing for having to get changed, etc) and could provide a suitable alibi.

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Seaboe Muffinchucker
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quote:
Originally posted by The Rubber Chicken:
There is always the possibility that Jack the Ripper was simply one of the thousands of destitute people living in Whitechapel, and that the police never considered the right suspect.

Just curious, but what about the possibility that none of the Ripper suspects were actually the Ripper, and that he may be a completely unknown person who has been lost to history. Any thoughts?

We don't know who he was; we never will. The murders are interesting because they apparently represent a change in how serial murders were perceived (and, possibly, how they worked). They aren't particularly interesting from a detection point of view, IMO.

Seaboe

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