Jack The Ripper (Compendium Thread)

What do you think is the most likely ?

  • The Ripper was a Freemason?

    Votes: 6 10.0%
  • The Ripper had medical knowledge?

    Votes: 8 13.3%
  • It was Maybrick?

    Votes: 4 6.7%
  • The Ripper was 'of the same class' as his victims?

    Votes: 7 11.7%
  • The Ripper was foreign?

    Votes: 2 3.3%
  • It was Druitt?

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

    Votes: 15 25.0%
  • It was a woman?

    Votes: 2 3.3%
  • Another?

    Votes: 16 26.7%

  • Total voters
    60

DrPaulLee

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I am *highly* sceptical of the pre-mortem photos of the victims (Chapman excluded)...in particular Kelly.
 

DrPaulLee

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Can anyone remember the first time it was mentioned that Kelly's eyes were photographed in the belief that they still retained the image of the last thing that she saw?
 

EnolaGaia

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Can anyone remember the first time it was mentioned that Kelly's eyes were photographed in the belief that they still retained the image of the last thing that she saw?

NOTE: The pseudoscience related to eyes retaining a deceased's last visual image was optography:

Eyes As Witness (Final Retinal Image Retained; Optography)
https://forums.forteana.org/index.p...inal-retinal-image-retained-optography.66460/

This Ripper-related site's webpage about optography includes the following (without citation of any source / reference):

However, the police are known to have tried it in several murder cases, and, in the case of the Whitechapel murders there were press reports that the eyes of the second victim, Annie Chapman, had been photographed; and Walter Dew, one of the first officers to attend the scene of the murder of Mary Kelly, stated in his memoirs that optography had been used in the “forlorn hope” of identifying the perpetrator of the crime.
https://www.jack-the-ripper-tour.com/generalnews/photographing-the-eyes/
 

EnolaGaia

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The Wikipedia article on optography provides source references for the items mentioned above. This seems to push the date of the earliest documented Kelly optography claim back to the 1930s.
In 1888, London police officer Walter Dew—later known for catching the murderer Dr Crippen—recalled optography being attempted on Mary Jane Kelly in what he called a "forlorn hope" of catching her suspected killer, Jack the Ripper.[3] Ripperologist James Stewart-Gordon believed the technique was attempted on Annie Chapman as well.[4]

[3] Dew, Walter (1938). I Caught Crippen.
[4] Stewart-Gordon, James: "The Enduring Mystery of Jack the Ripper", Reader's Digest, June 1973.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Optography
 

Mythopoeika

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I've heard of this from fictional accounts, but I don't think there's any real retinal persistence to speak of.
It's not as if it's like phosphor burn that used to be common on monochrome computer monitors back in the day.
If retinal burn-in does occur, it would be as a result of a prolonged exposure to strong light, with the image not moving or changing. It wouldn't capture anything fleeting, such as a murderer's face.
 

DrPaulLee

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Thanks!
I've now had a chance to peruse some of my books on the case and I can't find it in any of the recent ones (I've skimmed through the accounts of the Kelly case as this is the one I remembered optography being associated with).
I recall it being mentioned in books from many decades ago but now there's nothing. I suppose it's been superseded by decent research rather than regurgitated rumours!
 

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Must admit I'm really enjoying Hallie Rubenhold's "The Five - The Untold Lives of the Women Killed by Jack the Ripper". It's a really interesting insight to the women's lives and quite a feat of research. Surprising how much has been uncovered about the women's lives. Currently have got upto Elizabeth Stride, who is just leaving Sweden for the UK. There's no evidence several of the women even were prostitutes and the terrifying descent they all (so far) had, from "respectable" lives to being alcoholics roaming the streets - is really well captured. It does feel like finally putting some personality on the women killed, rather than focussing solely on their killer and the writer doesn't linger at all on the actual murders, just tells their life stories leading upto that point.

Have listened to a couple of podcasts re Sutcliffe in recent months where the podcasters are no longer using the "Yorkshire Ripper" name and won't even refer to him by anything other than his initials, and this also seems in that spirit.

Book was recommended to me by an ex copper online friend from another forum.
The stories of the woman murdered are probably much more interesting than the scum bag that killed them… probably someone local non descript who was a psychopath who was treated badly as a kid etc
 

Yithian

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Tabram was stabbed 39 times. l would be slow to link her to JTR on the strength of just one of those wounds.

I find it easier to believe that she was the victim of a frenzy/overkill assault, quite possibly by a punter who was unable to “perform” due to overconsumption of alcohol. Tabram - no stranger to the bottle herself - makes a disparaging remark along the lines of “Call yourself a man?”, and the suspect, disinhibited by the booze, pulls a knife and vents his rage. Ugly, but regrettably not unknown.

maximus otter

And yet this possible anger/frenzy/rage does not wake people sleeping a matter of twelve feet away.

One wonders about levels of nocturnal ambient noise around the scene of the crime. I'm inclined to think it would have been pretty quiet by the implied time of death, but I don't have any information about the metropolitan bustle in that neighbourhood.

I'm still finding that hard to accept.
 

DrPaulLee

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While going through the Kelly case yesterday, I read up on her neighbours who lived above her and didn't hear a thing. It's implied that her next door neighbours didn't hear a peep either and the walls were paper thin.
One of them heard Kelly singing in the early hours of the morning and was going to complain but their spouse talked them out of it. A decision they later regretted as they might have prevented the murder.
 

Ghost In The Machine

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The stories of the woman murdered are probably much more interesting than the scum bag that killed them… probably someone local non descript who was a psychopath who was treated badly as a kid etc
They really are. One of them wrote those true-life murder penny dreadfuls/songsheets and hawked them on the streets. You couldn't make it up.
 

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While going through the Kelly case yesterday, I read up on her neighbours who lived above her and didn't hear a thing. It's implied that her next door neighbours didn't hear a peep either and the walls were paper thin.
One of them heard Kelly singing in the early hours of the morning and was going to complain but their spouse talked them out of it. A decision they later regretted as they might have prevented the murder.
As her window was broken and the door could be opened by someone just reaching in, I suspect Jack was someone who knew her, or the room. He'd have waited til she fell asleep, let himself in, and probably killed her in her sleep - hence no noise.
 

Cochise

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I've always been uncertain about what of the evidence about Kelly's death to believe. It seems to me quite likely that there is a backstory the police were unaware of. Although they may have suspected something, given for example the oddities around Hutchinson's testimony.

I'm not talking any wacko royal conspiracy, something much more low level and sordid. A bit of mild local blackmail or some unusual methods of paying the rent, that kind of thing. Possibly an undisclosed family connection.

I don't think Blotchy Man gets enough attention.
 

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I've always been uncertain about what of the evidence about Kelly's death to believe. It seems to me quite likely that there is a backstory the police were unaware of. Although they may have suspected something, given for example the oddities around Hutchinson's testimony.

I'm not talking any wacko royal conspiracy, something much more low level and sordid. A bit of mild local blackmail or some unusual methods of paying the rent, that kind of thing. Possibly an undisclosed family connection.

I don't think Blotchy Man gets enough attention.
Who is 'Blotchy Man'?
 

Cochise

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Could 'Blotchy Man' have done his business with Mary Kelly, and then left?
Leaving her alone for Jack to walk in?
Yes, of course. But he could also have killed her. It's impossible at this distance to tell which accounts were reliable, but there is some reason to consider the witnesses to the Kelly timeline as even more dubious than most. Whether or not Hutchinson's account is genuine has been open to much debate, for example.

The Casebook JTR site is a good resource, but some things on there have been so debated to death (and without changing anyone's mind) that all it's done for me over the years is convince me that almost everything both contemporary and since spoken about the Ripper is unverifiable. Apart from the fact that several (anything from 3 to 8) women were killed horribly.
 

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I've read that one of the men (Aaron Kosminski?) was identified absolutely as being seen with one of the women prior to her death, but that in the end this witness refused to come forward in court and accuse him, as the suspect was Jewish, and so was the witness.
Could that be true, or is it just another rumor?
 

Cochise

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I've read that one of the men (Aaron Kosminski?) was identified absolutely as being seen with one of the women prior to her death, but that in the end this witness refused to come forward in court and accuse him, as the suspect was Jewish, and so was the witness.
Could that be true, or is it just another rumor?
Just another story. I won't downgrade it to 'rumour' as it might have been someone's genuine perception, but there is no corroboration.
 

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Just another story. I won't downgrade it to 'rumour' as it might have been someone's genuine perception, but there is no corroboration.
As a cultural issue, it is possible.

If a crime can be solved "in house" by a Beth Din (Literally "House of Judgement") which would be comprised of three learned men, then it should be.

But it relates far more to civil cases i.e. someone in litigation against someone else for non-payment of rent or a dispute about a fence between properties, than anything serious that the police would need to be involved in.

Murder would be a police matter.
 

Cochise

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As a cultural issue, it is possible.

If a crime can be solved "in house" by a Beth Din (Literally "House of Judgement") which would be comprised of three learned men, then it should be.

But it relates far more to civil cases i.e. someone in litigation against someone else for non-payment of rent or a dispute about a fence between properties, than anything serious that the police would need to be involved in.

Murder would be a police matter.
I'm not questioning the basic concept that a Jewish person might not wish to testify against a fellow Jew. In this case 'allegedly' because the person would have been hanged.

IIRC - because I really don't want to go researching the case again, I wasted too much of my life on it many years ago - the story was from one of the police involved, way after the event, and it was to do with the equally controversial attempt to identify the killer at the police 'Seaside Home'.

Even accepting the tale at face value, it was the policeman's opinion (at a time of what we would now call institutionalised anti-Semitism) that the witness refused to confirm the identification because of the shared religion - it is equally likely the witness simply wasn't sure and didn't want to risk the suspect being hanged on the basis of an uncertain identification.

But there are bigger problems - the whole 'seaside home' identification has no independent evidence to support it ever occurred, we aren't even sure what or where the seaside home was. Which witness we are talking about is unknown, and it's questionable whether ANY of the witnesses actually saw JTR in the first place. Plus none of the police involved support each other in their reminiscences, apart from a much later note from Swanson that partially supports Macnaghten.

People build huge air castles in great detail about statements like these. But in order to build any theory you have to nail to the mast your belief in certain of the police and certain of the witnesses while discounting the others and there is no - for me - rational basis for doing so - no independent corroboration, no physical evidence.

I spent far too many hours when I could have been doing something more productive trying to make sense of all this and in the end concluded it was an exercise in futility. Almost everything you can put forward is contradicted by something else.

FWIW my tentative conclusions were that JTR did in fact kill the canonical 5 plus Tabram, that the Lusk letter was the only one that might be genuine, and that the murderer lived locally, did not stand out, and likely was not any of those identified then or since, although a small number of the numerous named suspects I have marked as 'possible but no more'.
 

Victory

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FWIW my tentative conclusions were that JTR did in fact kill the canonical 5 plus Tabram, that the Lusk letter was the only one that might be genuine, and that the murderer lived locally, did not stand out, and likely was not any of those identified then or since, although a small number of the numerous named suspects I have marked as 'possible but no more'.


All salient points.
And very much so as to the reliability of the "witness."

I agree about Martha Tabram.

Nonetheless, I think the case is worth reading about if one accepts that it will be an exploration of late Victorian London...the geography, psychogeography, religious demographics, gender roles, police techniques and the the press.

On those terms, it was not waste of time.
 

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FWIW my tentative conclusions were that JTR did in fact kill the canonical 5 plus Tabram, that the Lusk letter was the only one that might be genuine, and that the murderer lived locally, did not stand out, and likely was not any of those identified then or since, although a small number of the numerous named suspects I have marked as 'possible but no more'.

All salient points.
And very much so as to the reliability of the "witness."

I agree about Martha Tabram.

Nonetheless, I think the case is worth reading about if one accepts that it will be an exploration of late Victorian London...the geography, psychogeography, religious demographics, gender roles, police techniques and the press.

On those terms, it was not à waste of time.

+1 to both of these positions.
I began my exploration decades ago, mainly through Sugden. After devouring much material on the case, I came to the conclusion that is not possible to definitively name the perpetrator with currently available information.

But as @Victory points out, by delving deeply into reliable sources, it has given me an understanding of where much of the modern Anglo-influenced world comes from, in terms of social development and attitudes, ideas of charity and relief, as well as policing, social justice and more.

In that way, the shadow of JTR falls long over many situations that still plague us today, from the idea that the poor are responsible for their own situation, to victim blaming, misogyny and stygmatising of sex workers.

It is awful to think that more than 130 years on, we have not resolved those issues.

And yet, every time some new nugget emerges, it still brings that frisson of excitement to think that there might eventually be a name, a face, a resolution.
 

Cochise

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+1 to both of these positions.
I began my exploration decades ago, mainly through Sugden. After devouring much material on the case, I came to the conclusion that is not possible to definitively name the perpetrator with currently available information.

But as @Victory points out, by delving deeply into reliable sources, it has given me an understanding of where much of the modern Anglo-influenced world comes from, in terms of social development and attitudes, ideas of charity and relief, as well as policing, social justice and more.

In that way, the shadow of JTR falls long over many situations that still plague us today, from the idea that the poor are responsible for their own situation, to victim blaming, misogyny and stygmatising of sex workers.

It is awful to think that more than 130 years on, we have not resolved those issues.

And yet, every time some new nugget emerges, it still brings that frisson of excitement to think that there might eventually be a name, a face, a resolution.
I've always (well, since grammar school) been interested in Victorian social and economic history, rather than political history. If looking into JTR encourages people to become interested in that wider history, all well and good, since as you say so much of our current social structure has its roots in societal change in Victorian times, plus of course the effects of the two world wars.

Unfortunately change doesn't necessarily solve problems, just move them around.

As far as my decision to walk away from researching JTR, that was partly because of the contradictions of the case, but also because too many of the 'ripperologists' are so entrenched in their opinions there is no reasoned debate to be had. I stopped contributing on the forum because of the personal abuse I received for daring to question certain opinions.
 
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