Jack The Ripper (Compendium Thread)

What do you think is the most likely ?

  • The Ripper was a Freemason?

    Votes: 2 8.0%
  • The Ripper had medical knowledge?

    Votes: 2 8.0%
  • It was Maybrick?

    Votes: 1 4.0%
  • The Ripper was 'of the same class' as his victims?

    Votes: 5 20.0%
  • The Ripper was foreign?

    Votes: 1 4.0%
  • It was Druitt?

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • None of the suspects yet put forward?

    Votes: 7 28.0%
  • It was a woman?

    Votes: 1 4.0%
  • Another?

    Votes: 6 24.0%

  • Total voters
    25
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From my post (#1780):

If you altered the author’s name to A. Scargill and changed every reference to JTR/Maybrick to M. Thatcher, the book would make almost as much sense.

The review plastered across the cover states “A bloody good read”. The review is from the Guardian

Shocker.”...
I don't think opinions were quite as partisan as this implies; Robinson's book got some pretty good reviews (if, usually, with provisos) across a fair share of the spectrum. The Telegraph, for instance - hardly a repository of left-wing thought - describes the book, rather po-facedly (and rather out-Guardianing the Guardian) as performing a most valuable moral service. I very much doubt that even the most right wing of authors would deny that chronic social injustice played its part in the killings – Robinson’s error, to my mind, is to write as if no-one else has ever worked this out.

That said, I have some sympathy with Craig Brown's review in the Mail (although, if the paperback blurb is accurate there were more favourable reviews elsewhere in that paper):

It is a strange, mind-boggling mixture of pedantry and craziness in which Robinson’s attempts to set out his extraordinarily complex argument in sober, rational terms are continually undermined by sugar-rushes of sudden mad invective.

I wouldn't actually argue with that, but I'm not sure it makes the book any less worthy, or any more unhinged, than about 95% of the Ripper canon. It's also a damn sight more exhaustive, interesting and entertaining than many.

On another matter, I am about to re-read Tom Westcott's The Bank Holiday Murders - which examines the cases of Martha Tabram and Emma Smith, both of whom, depending on your attachment to the 'canonical five', may, or may not, have been early victims of the Ripper. I read it some time back, but don't think I gave it the attention it deserved. (On a complete aside - should you need any confirmation of the stupidity of some readers, look at the two one star reviews of this book on Amazon.)
 

Yithian

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On another matter, I am about to re-read Tom Westcott's The Bank Holiday Murders - which examines the cases of Martha Tabram and Emma Smith, both of whom, depending on your attachment to the 'canonical five', may, or may not, have been early victims of the Ripper. I read it some time back, but don't think I gave it the attention it deserved. (On a complete aside - should you need any confirmation of the stupidity of some readers, look at the two one star reviews of this book on Amazon.)
I have very little knowledge of the non-canon murders. Do any of the more knowledgable members here think there is a chance they were linked to the main "Ripper" murders? Also, forgive my ignorance, but are there any potentially credible reports of Ripper activity after Mary Kelly's murder?
 

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I have very little knowledge of the non-canon murders. Do any of the more knowledgable members here think there is a chance they were linked to the main "Ripper" murders? Also, forgive my ignorance, but are there any potentially credible reports of Ripper activity after Mary Kelly's murder?
Yes, and yes (but only potentially).

In my opinion there's a credible argument that Tabram was the first of the Ripper's victims, before he had established a consistent modus operandi. Much of the key similarities have been lost in the farcical events that followed her death. A constable named Thomas Barrett challenged a soldier hanging around George Yard at 2 a.m. on the night of the killing and managed to identify his regiment, rank and lack of decoration, but at a subsequent line-up he identified only Grenadier Guardsmen with alibis.

Mary Ann Connelly AKA 'Pearly Poll', Tabram's companion on the night she died, was also fairly useless. She agreed to a view a line-up of Guardsman and was confident that she would know the two men she and Tabram had liaised with before they parted, but then she vanished for two days. When she turned up again and the line-up finally did take place, she failed to identify the men, but then dropped the fact that the two men had white cap badges: Coldstream Guards, not the Grenadier Guards garrisoning the Tower. A second line-up saw her pick two more men (one of them the wrong rank), each with a solid alibi. The impression gained by the police is that she was enjoying the attention and taking the p***.

There are conceivable victims after Kelly, but only conceivable, not likely.

On the move and on a phone, but will try to dig out details later.

Edit: the three non-cannonical 'possibles' pre-Tabram were Annie Millwood, Ada Wilson and Emma Elizabeth Smith. I'm hazy in the recollection, but I think only the last looks even conceivable. She was attacked just 100 yards from where Tabram would later be (George Yard), also on a Bank Holiday night and supported herself (at least partially) by prostitution. The problem is that she claimed to have been set upon by a gang (she survived long enough to be taken to hospital) and her extensive wounds were attributed to a blunt weapon or weapons, not a blade. She was also (it pains me to write) penetrated vaginally with a blunt object, and it was the peritonitis that resulted which caused her death. Drunk b******s seem more likely than a serial-killer in training.

Seems a long shot for a link to Tabram and the subsequent slayings. None at the time made the connection.
 
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Yithian

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Yes, and yes (but only potentially).

In my opinion there's a credible argument that Tabram was the first of the Ripper's victims, before he had established a consistent modus operandi. Much of the key similarities have been lost in the farcical investigation that followed her death. A constable named Thomas Barrett challenged a soldier hanging around George Yard at 2 a.m. on the night of the killing and managed to identify his regiment, rank and lack of decoration, but at a subsequent line-up he identified only Grenadier Guardsmen with alibis.

Mary Ann Connelly AKA 'Pearly Poll', Tabram's companion on the night she died, was also fairly useless. She agreed to a view a line-up of Guardsman and was confident that she would know the two men she and Tabram had liaised with before they parted, but then she vanished for two days. When she turned up again and the line-up finally did take place, she failed to identify the men, but then dropped the fact that the two men had white cap badges: Coldstream Guards, not the Grenadier Guards garrisoning the Tower. A second line-up saw her pick two more men (one of them the wrong rank), each with a solid alibi. The impression gained by the police is that she was enjoying the attention and taking the p***.

There are conceivable victims after Kelly, but only conceivable, not likely.

On the move and on a phone, but will try to dig out details later.

Edit: the three non-cannonical 'possibles' pre-Tabram were Annie Millwood, Ada Wilson and Emma Elizabeth Smith. I'm hazy in the recollection, but I think only the last looks even conceivable. She was attacked just 100 yards from where Tabram would later be (George Yard), also on a Bank Holiday night and supported herself (at least partially) by prostitution. The problem is that she claimed to have been set upon by a gang (she survived long enough to be taken to hospital) and her extensive wounds were attributed to a blunt weapon or weapons, not a blade. She was also (it pains me to write) penetrated vaginally with a blunt object, and it was the peritonitis that resulted which caused her death. Drunk b******s seem more likely than a serial-killer in training.

Seems a long shot for a link to Tabram and the subsequent slayings. None at the time made the connection.
I got lost in my own rambling there and did what I was accusing others of having done: getting distracted by the non-witness witnesses and the games of soldiers!

The points of similarity with the later murders that I failed to list are:-
  • The murder took place in close proximity to a large number of homes in a cramped tenement, yet no sound was heard from the victim and nobody awoke. The superintendent (caretaker) of George Yard buildings, Francis Hewitt, measured the distance from where the body was discovered to where he and his wife slept as just twelve feet. The killer throttled his victim and was very efficient and stifling her cries. Whether this was down to experience or raw strength, we do not know.
  • The logical counter-argument, that Tabram was killed elsewhere and deposited on the first-floor landing is precluded by the absence of blood from any of her thirty-nine stab wounds; she appears to have been murdered where she was found.
  • Contemporary press accounts spoke of the savagery and ferocity of the attack and the victim as having been 'butchered'. The list of wound locations is varied and unpleasant--indicative of a fierce attack. Like with the cannonical victims, this led to the establishment of a local vigilance committee to put minds at some small rest.
  • The non-doctor, Reeves, who found the body said that the victim's pose denoted intercourse had taken place; the doctor, Killeen, did not support this--we have no reason to think the killer had sex with Tabram.
  • The 'bayonet' that hinted at a soldier is likely a red-herring. Only one newspaper account carries the detail, another suggesting only a 'strong instrument' was used for the single wound to the breast bone that did not resemble the other thirty-eight. I would suggest leading questioning by a journalist. There is a description of Dr Killeen's views, but no direct quotation, and, besides, bayonets were on sale to non-soldiers. Most of the damage was done with a knife. While it is true that there was no especial focus on wounding or opening the abdomen and no attempt at purposeful mutilation, this would be consistent with the increased barbarity of attacks in serial killings.
  • The fact that a soldier might have been responsible was re-inforced by Constable Barrett having seen one in the vicinity at 2 a.m. (he said he was waiting for a mate who had gone of with a girl--a prostitute) and Pearly Poll having attested that Martha Tabram went off with a Private soldier as she did his corporal pal. All of this is beside the point. The two couples parted company at 23:45 and Poll lavished 30-40 mins attention on her client; Elizabeth Mahoney and her husband Joseph passed the future scene of the murder at about 01:40 on their way home to No. 47, but Elizabeth went out almost at once and returned home about ten minutes later after purchasing food. Neither of them saw anything. Alfred Crow (a cab-driver) came home to No. 35 at 03:30 and saw a figure lying on the first-floor landing, but assumed a vagrant and did not investigate (this was extremely likely to be the victim). John Reeves at No. 37 finally discovered the body on his way out to work at about 04:45 and Dr Killeen, first to examine the body at around 05:30, suggested that the victim had been dead for three hours. All this gives a time for the attack as between 01:50 and 03:30 (one newspaper says a resident returned home at 02:00 and saw nothing, but detail is lacking), ample time for Tabram to have finished with her soldier, acquired another client elsewhere and returned to the secluded spot for a second tryst.
  • The press being the press, this point is but weak: contemporary journalists explicitly linked the killings of Tabram and Polly Nichols--the same 'lunatic' was widely supposed to have been responsible.
I'd like to stress that none of this is the result of my own analysis; it's all culled from Fido and Sugden and presented here in abbreviated form for easy digestion--I wholeheartedly recommend their books on the case. Sugden, incidentally, concludes that Martha Tabram and Liz Stride were 'probably' Ripper victims. He discounts the difference in style of attack (no disemboweling) as irrelevant given that a) she may well have been the first to die, and b) serial killers have been known to do this. He further notes that Abberline, Anderson, Reid and Dew, contemporary figures far more immersed in the case than we could be, counted Tabram as a 'Ripper' victim, and suspects in the later cases were accordingly questioned about their movements on the night of her death. He posits that Ada Wilson could have been the first attack victim (non-fatal--of which there could have been others), and then Tabram the first murder.
 
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Experts dealing with known serial killers generally state that the killer
had built up their level of crime before reaching their peak. It's very likely
Mary Ann Nichols probably wasn't the first or last to be attacked or killed by Jack.

On another note, during the documentary fronted by ex US cop Ed Norris (only just seen this, sorry)
that investigated the possibility that James Kelly could have gone to America and carried on killing,
it mentions Kelly working as an apprentice upholsterer using a particular knife
to rip out old fabric before new fabric was fitted. On a JTR forum someone in the trade
says a Ripper may be the name given to someone in this role.

If correct, the line "your truly, Jack the Ripper, don't mind me giving the trade name"
in the Dear Boss letter, could be Kelly giving a massive clue to his identity

A google search shows a "Ripper" being linked to fish markets though.
Anyone know any more on this? Should we be looking at fishmongers!?
 
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