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greg_parker
greg_parker
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Jack the Ripper Empty Jack the Ripper

Thu 21 Jan 2021, 12:32 am
Anyone? Or do I have to send out for the three Greatest Detectives in all of FantasyLand?

_________________
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The Cold War ran on bullshit.
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"So what’s an independent-minded populist like me to do? I’ve had to grovel in promoting myself on social media, even begging for Amazon reviews and Goodreads ratings, to no avail." 
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alex_wilson
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Jack the Ripper Empty Re: Jack the Ripper

Thu 21 Jan 2021, 3:29 am
Where to start?

The fog shrouded streets and the dingy alleys of London's East End..the dull flicker of the gaslight on the cobblestones, the heavy tread of footsteps vanish into the night; lost amidst the noise of the great city settling down for the night..

The Whitechapel Murders themselves have been submerged beneath nearly 150 years of  Gothic horror. The intoxicating allure of dark deeds in high places...

The line between fact and fiction almost as blurry and indistinct as the lines that seperated the dismal crime ridden slums and " rookeries" from the respectable dwellings of the working class tradesmen and artisans.

Since the days of Londinium, if not before London has always been a melting pot. Flemish weavers, Huguenot refugees, German mercenaries..by the 1880s, with London, the biggest wealthiest city on earth, a sinful Babylon at the heart of the British Empire ( the murders took place in the shadow of the East and West Indian Docks, arteries stretching to Gibraltar and the Suez Canal out to the vast Eastern possessions, the Jewel in the Imperial Crown, indeed thanks to Indian Rebellion and the passage of the India Act in 1870 India was a crown possession and the Queen now a Queen Empress) the East End,; cramped, squalid and overcrowded ( to much to the horror of Gaitskell and the mid Victorian social reformers) was home to the latest in a long line of migrants; Jews, escaping the Pogroms of Tsarist Russia, the Irish, the economy never really recovered from the devastating Potato Famine and a large transient population, living in the Common Lodging Houses that were considered a particular blight ( double beds for 8d, single for 4d, or a night slumped over a rope for 2)

Poverty, mass immigration, prostitution, violent crime, alcoholism... the curses of the post industrial age..

Whitechapel was considered the very worst area in the city; streets like the notorious Dorset Street were regarded by the Metropolitan police as virtual no go areas.

This was the backdrop for the murders that became infamous as the Jack the Ripper murders( although the officially they were known as the Whitechapel Murders.)
In the late summer/ autumn of 1888 an unknown serial killer brutally murdered at least five victims( the so called canonical Ripper victims.. the official records contain information regarding 9 murders; Emma Smith in 1887 to Frances Coles in 1892)

Some historians doubt the " canonicity" of Elizabeth Stride, first of the two murders, known as the Double Event, committed on 30th/31st September.
While others include Martha Tabram.

Martha Tabram, a middle aged chronic alcoholic, supported by a meagre pittance allowed by her estranged husband and believed to be a casual prostitute, a member of the very lowliest stratum of class obsessed late Victorian Britain, was found on the landing of a squalid tenement in St George's Yard.

She had been stabbed over 40 times, with what Dr Bagster Phillips believed was a bayonet.

She had been last seen at about 1145 in the company of fellow prostitute, a picturesque local character, Pearly Poll, and two young guardsmen. Later identified by Pearly Poll as " Skipper" , a corporal and a private.

They seperate , for business reasons, the Victorian press, even the self styled " radical press" employed prim euphemisms, suitable for a Church of England vicar's breakfast table , and Martha and the private, both very drunk, stagger off into the mild summer night...

Thus we read about " unfortunates" making " connexions"...

Martha is not seen again until the following morning, 7 the August 1888, the night after the Autumn bank holiday, when she was found lying face upwards, with her legs slightly apart, in the dingy corner of a rundown tenement landing.

Pearly Poll proceeded to exasperate the Metropolitan police, failing to turn up for identity parades; then picking out soldiers seemingly at random.

Many students of the crimes, " Ripperologists" (!), believe Martha was the Whitechapel murderers first victim.
Pointing to the similar modus operandi. Noting that most serial killers commit crimes before embarking on their signature spree...

If it's ok with you all maybe we could discuss the individual cases seperately, before moving on to the various suspects/ controversies.

My own opinion is depressingly mundane. No deranged Royal Dukes, misogynistic slouch hatted Americans, demented Freemasons acting out ancient rituals...no doctors, black magicians...no sinister top hatted figures emerging from a shiny coach pulled by coal black horses carrying Gladstone bags... seducing some poor intoxicated girl , before leading them into some quiet spot ..the last thing she ever sees is the flash of the blade..

It was probably a local, someone who was able to blend in, slip unnoticed into the early morning crowds... the East End was full of slaughterhouses after all. Someone familiar with the area; who could easily loose themselves in the warren of poorly lit closes and alleyways that honeycombed the East End.
Whoever he was the killer had an almost uncanny ability to melt away,

The only logical solution ( without venturing into the realm of woo and psuedo history) is that he wasn't seen because nobody noticed him. He was able to merge into the background...

Although there are problems with each of them the MacNaughten memorandum, the Swanson marginalia in his copy of Sir Robert Anderson's autobiography, all seem to hint at a likely suspect.

If not " Aaron Kosminski" then someone who fits his profile.

Someone who lived locally ( in Aaron's case in Sion Square with his sister Betsy) Someone who was probably traumatized by his early experiences ( he was born in the shtehls of Imperial Russia , thus probably witnessed violence( possibly sexual, his elder sisters, who he may well have shared a bed with in the cramped family dwelling, were most likely raped by the marauding Cossacks or Black Hundreds) This of course is pure speculation, but not unreasonable speculation)
Aaron's occupation was recorded as " barber", a " feldsher" employed by the Imperial Army was taught rudimentary surgical techniques.
He arrives in London with his family ( minus the father seemingly) sometime after 1876

He was recorded as " being insane from many years of solitary
vices" and was often seen scrabbling around in the gutter for scraps of food, believing he was being poisoned. He described auditory hallucinations and believed " some divine power" guided mankind through him
He was admitted to Colney Hatch asylum not long after Mary Jane Kelly's murder; for attacking his sister Betsy with a knife 

Interestingly Walter Dew, a City CID officer( Catherine Eddowes murder was on the City of London police's territory, bringing them into the investigation), speaks of participating in the surveillance of a suspect, watching him at his workplace ( Aaron's brother in law Wolf owned a small coffee shop/ tobacconist) Dew alleges that the suspect knew he was being watched.
This might explain the gap between Sept 31st and Nov 7th...

Mary Jane Kelly was also, unique amongst the Ripper victims, murdered inside, not on the street.
November 7th incidentally was also the Lord Mayor's Parade, when all police would be required to control the crowds.
It's not too much of a stretch to imagine " Aaron" or the suspect, taking advantage of this brief reprieve to slip out and indulge in one last orgy of savagery.
Amongst the many controversies surrounding Mary's horrendous demise is the time of death.
ItsI quite possible she was killed in the morning, around 10am...
As witnesses , including neighbour Carrie Maxwell, report seeing her alive that morning. Carrie allegedly seeing her throwing up, claiming that she had " the horrors of drink upon her"

In his marginalia Swanson ( who was a key figure in the investigation, liaison with Sir Charles Warren, and certain Home Office figures and Scotland Yard. Inspector Abberline and later Inspector Reid led the ground level investigation , (H Division)) specifically names Kosminski as the suspect. Claiming he was identified by a witness( probably Lawende) at the rather obscure location of the Metropolitan police seaside rest home . The witness allegedly wouldn't swear to him" thus condemning another New to gentile justice) Swanson goes on to say the suspect died soon after in Colney Hatch. Aaron did indeed die in Colney Hatch. But not until 1916.

The first of the canonical five was Mary Ann Nichols's( nee Walker) 
She was found on the morning of the 31st August 1888 with her throat cut( nearly severing her head) and with mild abdominal mutilations in Bucks Row, a dismal nondescript thoroughfare.


Like four of the five canonical Ripper victims she was a middle aged (45) alcoholic who drifted between Lodging Houses and the Casual Ward of the Workhouse.
Divorced and estranged from her children, Polly eked out a squalid existence, more subsistence, probably resorting to prostitution at times.

Earlier that year she had reconnected with her father, moving in with him she began working as a maid for the Cowdrey family in the West end; however the allure of her old life apparently proved too great. She absconded with a couple of pounds worth of clothes and vanished back into the East End...

On the night of the 31st August 1888 Polly was last seen, half drunk outside Mrs Ringer's public house( the Ten Bells) it was around 1.30 and she hadn't the few coppers she needed to pay for her doss...

It didn't bother her ." See what a jolly bonnet iveI got" she laughed, you can imagine her striking a pose under the gaslight before tottering off into the night...
She was next seen at around 4.45 lying on her back in Bucks Row. Outside a warehouse and across from the local boardschool

Carman Charles Cross who found her, originally thought she was drunk, but stopping hurriedly to examine the body( he was rushing to work and prone bodies of over imbibers, sleeping off the previous night's excesses was a far from uncommon sight) he noticed her throat was cut ..he claimed at the inquest to have felt a " slight pulse" and a "movement in the breast"

He called to another workman Robert Paul, who ran to get PC Mizen, who had just passed that way( it was part of his regular beat) 10/15 minutes before, seeing nothing. He stayed with the body , sending PC Neil for assistance.

The occupants of Bucks Row, a few grimy cottages were wedged in amongst the rather dilapidated warehouses, including the nightwatchmen swore they saw and heard nothing.
When the body was moved( carried off in a plain wooden shell to the makeshift mortuary, located at the Working Lad's Institute, incidentally the mortuary photos are pitiful echoes of desperate lives. Troubled women all but cast out on the street by the stern faced hypocrites , those bewhiskered frock coated paragons who wrote letters to the editor of the Times extolling Christian virtues. Victorian morality was and is the most gross perversion of the message of the Jewish philosopher/ preacher know to history as Jesus Christ, although our fundamentalist American cousins run them a close second) the lack of blood was noted; leading some to speculate that Polly was murdered elsewhere and dumped here. 

The press immediately linked Polly's death with the death's of Martha Tabram and Emma Smith, stirring up a mild controversy that wouldn't really explode into the grotesque social phenomena it became, and is remembered as, until the next murder.

P.S. the Duke of Clearance aka Prince Albert Victor was cleared of any involvement, not that there was anything really to clear him off, nearly 50 years ago when some enterprising researcher/ establishment stooge checked the Royal circular.

_________________
A fez! A fez! My kingdom for a fez!!
The last words of King Richard HARVEY Plantagenet III 
Bosworth Field 1485

Is that a doppelganger in your pocket or are you just pleased to see me?
Artist, poet, polymath, cancer research prodigies Judyth Vary Baker's  first words to Lee HARVEY Oswald. New Orleans April 1963

For every HARVEY there must be an equal and opposite LEE
Professor Sandy Isaac Newton Laverne Shirley Fonzie Larsen's 
Famous 1st Law of Doppelganging

" Certain Conspiracy Theories allow stupid people to feel intelligent"
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alex_wilson
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Jack the Ripper Empty Re: Jack the Ripper

Fri 22 Jan 2021, 2:35 am
It was after the next murder that the ghoulish circus, led by the mass circulation downmarket tabloids ( notably The Star) really kicked off.

Revealing a nasty undercurrent of anti semitism and nativism..
" These awful murders must have been committed by a foreigner!! No Englishman could possibly do degrade themselves" became a popular refrain.

Even amongst the so called educated classes.

The aftermath of this murder saw the emergence of the first real suspects and the first nickname.
The " mad butcher" Isenschmidt and more notoriously Josef Pizer aka Leather Apron.

For a couple of weeks the streets echoed with that name, the ubiquitous paper boys racing through the crowded streets.." Leather Apron!! Leather Apron"

Pizer , fearing for his life, turned himself in and was duly cleared, thanks to an unimpeachable alibi.
He successfully sued the Star for defamation.

An unsavoury character; pimp and blackmailer, he was certainly not the Whitechapel murderer. 

The second canonical victim was 48 year old Annie Chapman. Known as Dark Annie or Annie Sivvey, due to her relationship with a sieve maker.

Born Annie Smith, just three years into Queen Victoria's reign, Annie's life would follow , what would come to be a depressingly familiar downward spiral for the Ripper victims.

Marrying a coachman John Chapman, they lived a solid unremarkable life , by outward appearances a respectable working class couple. The very epitome of clean living sober mid Victorian domesticity.
Their wedding photo emerged several years ago, when Annie's great granddaughter sent it to a flabbergasted researcher. The first, and to date, the only known photo of a Ripper victim.

John and Annie  :her seated, her crinoline flounces billowing around her, and with  him standing, leaning against a carved pillar; gazing out with a steady self confident expression. 

The embodiment of Victorian values; as much the product of their age as a supersized maskless Trumpista in a MAGA hat or a delicate pansexual snowflake snug in a fluffy onesie and a sense of smugness and entitlement...this is MY safe place!! I think you are wrong therefore you are wrong!

Dark haired and homely, Annie looks slightly uneasily towards the camera.

Living first in Windsor then in a West end mews apartment, where John served as coachman for a nobleman, they had three or four children ( the records are somewhat vague; one, if not two children suffered from some form of learning disability while another, a daughter, apparently joined a circus in France as a performer)

Both husband and wife drank heavily , Annie developing a particular fondness for rum.
They seperate and Annie, surviving on the pittance her husband allowed her, soon gravitates towards the East End.
Described as small( 5 foot) and petite she scrapes by as a charwoman, or else hawks trinkets on the street.
She lives with " a pensioner" , Edward Stanley for a while, sharing digs at Crossinghams Lodging House ,  but mostly she seems to drift.
Trapped in a squalid cycle of gutrot booze and common Lodging Houses, with occasional forays into the dreaded Workhouse...a grim establishment, little more than a prison for the helpless and vulnerable to be punished by a society that had pity for neither.

Never has the power of money been so starkly highlighted.
For in Victorian London enough wealth could discreetly mask all forms of depravity behind the heavy velvet draped of outward respectability..

While the harsh rays of societal approbation could easily permeate the transparent rags of the poor ..

The Ripper murders expose the fundamental hypocrisy of the Victorian society.
It's obsession with class and it's atavistic hatred of the poor and the dispossessed.

For all the tightly buttoned repressiveness, the horror, indeed revulsion of sexuality, the Labouchie Amendment that made even homosexual acts between consenting adults a crime, the brothels, of both sexes, and all manner of proclivities boomed...it was reckoned that in the East End alone over 15000 women were engaged in some form of prostitution.
The majority perhaps being entrapped and seduced by lavish promises... Hogarth's searing commentary on Georgian society: A Whore's Progress, that records a fresh young country lasses descent into pox ridden lassitude, a gouty shrivelled hag by her mid 20s....was still every bit as relevant.

Despite the Cleveland Street Scandal, with it's corrupt undertones and none too subtle hints of scandalous goings on in high places, one's morals were, by and large, measured according to one's social class.

The press, grovellingly deferential , categorically refused to print the stories recounting the salacious escapades of The Prince of Wales, as he burped, trotted  frotted and gorged his way round the country houses and fashionable salons of the country.

Despite his mother's fierce hatred of all forms of vice and moral turpitude ( haunted bymemories of her unseemly assortment of corpulent uncles, infamous for all sorts of extravagant debaucheries... including her sinister uncle Ernst, who reputedly indulged in vices so abominable, up to and including murder and necrophilia, that they made the members of the notorious Hellfire Club wretch) after her sainted Albert's premature death, brought on, it was claimed by the news of Bertie( as he was known) dalliance with Nellie Clifton, a famous actress his brother officers had smuggled into barracks when the young Prince was in Dublin, attached to a highly fashionable regiment ,)she seemed to adopt the persona of a gruff no nonsense Highland matriarch, London Society was awash in vice and depravity...

Poor Annie was desperately  ill, depressed and worn out. Timothy Cross, deputy of Crossinghams, describes her slumped by the large fire in the communal kitchen..

She had just been in the infirmary at the Workhouse she said, producing a couple of chalky tablets wrapped in a scrap of paper ( a piece of envelope she picked up from the floor)

" It's no use Tim" she sighed" I'll have to pull myself together or I won't have me doss money"

Inmates could sit in the kitchen, even use the rudimentary cooking utensils supplied,but at 1am, if they didn't have their does money they were turned out onto the street.
To fend for themselves.

Annie, who was seriously ill, probably in the early stages of a terminal liver disease, still bruised from the fight she'd had with a character Harry the Hawker, over a couple of pence and a piece of soap, wrapped in a ragged old shawl, wobbled out into the bleak London night.
" Don't let my bed Tim " she called as she disappeared under the grimy light...

Her friend Emily Birrell, who'd given her a few pence earlier for a cup of tea ( spent on beer probably) watched the tiny figure..plump and bedraggled, meander down Little Paternoster Row, reeling and weaving as if half drunk, looking for a punter to get her 4d doss money..

A small plump ungainly figure...all alone in the world, with nothing more than the old worn dirty clothes on her back..

Emily watched as she turned the corner and vanished.

Into the fog of history.

Or perhaps not quite.

A Mrs Elizabeth Long, heading to market, claims she saw Annie , standing talking to a man, described as " shabby genteel" , dark and swarthy, a foreigner ( a Jew) in other words..
As she passed them, heading along Hanbury Street, just as she heard the nearby Brewery clock strike 5.30, she heard the man ask " Will you?"
Annie answered with a laconic " Yes"

Mrs Long went on her way, paying no more attention to the couple...as she recounted at the inquest, blushing very slightly, it was common to see couples " at all hours"

Mrs Long's apparent sighting of Annie with her presumed killer, outside the front door of No 29 Hanbury Street is highly controversial.

Because of the later testimonies of John Richardson and Albert Cadosch.
Richardson, who helped run a packing case making business, lived at No 29, a typically dilapidated overcrowded East End tenement; whole families crammed together in sparsely furnished near squalour.

The bottom floors were used as business premises; a grandmother and grandson selling catsmeat and sleeping on the premises.

Richardson  claimed he got up about 5 15, and after a perfunctory cup of tea, he went out to the back " garden" really an enclosed muddy space with a shed, surrounded by a wooden fence and overlooked by the back windows of the opposite building.

You can imagine the thin grey wisps of dawn struggling their way through the dingy maze of streets..

It was just getting light as Richardson sat down on the back steps, on the top step in fact. Producing a blunt table knife he'd picked up , presumably in his digs, he sat for a few minutes cutting a piece of leather off his boot.

He saw no one.
The back yard was empty.

Just before, or just after, Albert Cadosch a labourer, who lived at No 27 got up to use the toilet. Suffering from a chronic bladder complaint he went twice, in quick succession.

Both times leaning up against the back fence.

The second time, just as he finished, he heard a low groan, a a muffled voice whimpering " No don't" then a soft thump...as if someone, or something fell against the fence.
Like Mrs Long he paid no attention to the noise...

These three witnesses, seemingly mutually contradictory..Richardson was sitting on the backstroke around the same time Mrs Long passed by, and what of Cadosch?
And all the other potential witnesses?

Annie Chapman was found around 15 minutes after Mrs Long claimed to see her.
Lying on the ground in the backyard of No 29, to the left of the steps,

She had been butchered. Her throat practically torn out, she'd been disembowelled, her intestines and viscera left by her head.
Her legs were pulled up and her abdomen exposed.

A horrific sight.

By a tap, at the bottom of the yard, there was a leather Apron hanging up.
This and the coins supposedly found " arranged " by Annie's head, and the two worthless brass rings that had been torn from her fingers, created the first of many rabbit holes and dead ends that would come to plague the case.

I'll leave it there, the police response and the public ( and the presses) initial reactions gave birth to a lot of the myths that permeate the case to this day.
Including the name...

They deserve a separate post. As does the bungling attempts to solve the case...

_________________
A fez! A fez! My kingdom for a fez!!
The last words of King Richard HARVEY Plantagenet III 
Bosworth Field 1485

Is that a doppelganger in your pocket or are you just pleased to see me?
Artist, poet, polymath, cancer research prodigies Judyth Vary Baker's  first words to Lee HARVEY Oswald. New Orleans April 1963

For every HARVEY there must be an equal and opposite LEE
Professor Sandy Isaac Newton Laverne Shirley Fonzie Larsen's 
Famous 1st Law of Doppelganging

" Certain Conspiracy Theories allow stupid people to feel intelligent"
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Jack the Ripper Empty Re: Jack the Ripper

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