The Writing on the Wall

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This past Sunday, I felt honored to be part of the recording of Rippercast
with host Jonathan Menges and a quite varied array of guests, including
David Lindblad, host of his own radio podcast, who is a long-time student
of the Ripper case but not a published expert, Robert McLaughlin, author
of The First Jack the Ripper Victim Photographs, researcher Mike
Covell of Hull, Yorkshire, UK, along with Martin Fido, veteran Ripper expert
and co-author of The Complete Jack the Ripper A to Z with Paul Begg
and Keith Skinner.

The episode, no. 51, is a wide-ranging discussion of various aspects of
the Ripper case given the apt title “The Blind Man’s Buff” given that the
police of the day were all at sea about the case, without a clue to the
identity of the killer, as well satirized in the magazines of the time.

Blind Man's Buff larger

“Blind Man’s Buff,” a caricature for Punch, or the London Charivari, by
Tenniel, one of a number of wonderful satirical cartoons he did for Punch
See “John Tenniel & Jack the Ripper.”

****************

One of the topics that we discussed during the chat was the controversial
and much-debated “graffito” found in a tenement doorway to Wentworth Model
Dwellings in Goulston Street in the early morning of 30 September 1888
within minutes after fourth canonical Ripper victim Catherine Eddowes
had been found murdered and grievously mutilated in a dark corner of Mitre
Square, Aldgate.  As we noted in Rippercast, the doorway is some streets
east of Mitre Square, which is City of London police territory, while
Goulston St. is Metropolitan Police territory, the City-administered part
being more or less in the ancient limits of the original city within the
Roman/medieval walls of the community and a bit beyond those walls.
The words were found near one of the rare true clues in the case, a piece
of the apron worn by Eddowes that the killer had cut from her corpse and
that exhibited both her blood and fecal matter.

The words were controversially expunged from the wall on the orders of Met
Police Commissioner Sir Charles Warren, without first being photographed.
As per a transcription made by the Met, they read as follows:

Goulston Street Graffito smaller

It was noted recently in a posting on the Casebook message boards here
by Neil Bell that the transcription by City Police detective Halse reads at
variance to the version in the Met files shown above, viz, “The Juwes
are not the men that will be blamed for nothing”. Bell noted he personally
prefers to trust Halse’s version.

Martin Fido made the point in Rippercast that both versions contain
the Cockney double negative.  Personally, I think whichever one chooses
the “message” doesn’t make much sense and so doesn’t seem to convey much.
Are the Jews being blamed? Or are they not being blamed?  Let’s forget
the Royal Conspiracy theory, probably bogus, that Warren asked for the words
to be erased from the wall because he was a Freemason and they referred
to the three “Juwes” of Solomon’s Temple.  Of course, you are free to
believe that was what occurred.  But it seems more likely that as he said at
the time, the police commissioner ordered the words removed because he
was afraid of an anti-semitic riot. Indeed, within a few hours of the discovery
Jewish merchants would congregate there for the famous “Petticoat Lane”
market that continues to this day–although the traders now are
likely to be from Bangladesh rather than Jewish.  In truth, there’d
been unrest in the East End before the murders over the murder of a land-
lady by a Jewish umbrella maker, Israel Lipski, who was executed in 1887,
and Warren himself had broken up the socialist gathering in Trafalgar
Square in November 1887, so he legitimately was afraid of a similar fracas.
Fido remarked that the graffito could have been left by someone who felt
they had been cheated by a Jewish tradesman.  A legitimate theory, I feel,
because we might never know for certain if the words were left by the
killer.
 Israel Lipski

Israel Lipski

Let me mention to you a little anecdote.  A few evenings ago, I was
arriving home by cab from my work in Washington, D.C., to my Baltimore
apartment building near Johns Hopkins.  I get a cab from Penn Station up
North Charles Street to my home.  The fare is usually around eight bucks
or so and I always like to tip the cabbie a dollar.  Now, because it was
starting to rain heavily, I was wrestling to get my umbrella ready,
along with struggling with all my bags of papers, books, mags,
music, lunchbag, etc.  You can picture the scene.  The driver was, as is
often the case here, of Arab or East African extraction.  Well, I got nine
dollars out of my wallet, four ones and a five, thought I handed the sum
to him and told him it included his tip, then got ready to exit into the
downpour.  He said to me, “Sir, this is only four dollars!” I was astounded,
blurted out, “Didn’t I just hand you nine dollars?”  We then both noticed
that the five dollar bill was still in my hand. The joke was on me. . .
but you can see how these things can happen.  I might well have been
convinced the man tried to cheat me, when he did not.  As in 1888 in
the East End of London. . . and similarly in the United States in 2012!

Do you think the graffito is the real thing?  What are your thoughts?
What do you think it means?  Was it written by the killer or was it
just a stray piece of graffiti unrelated to the case?  Hmmmmm?

Petticoat Lane

Earlier Nineteenth Century View of Petticoat Lane Market, Spitalfields, London

The Ripper’s Knife

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Donald Rumbelow Jack the Ripper Knife 

“Jack the Ripper” knife owned by Donald Rumbelow that featured in the
2008 Museum of the Docklands exhibit.

There is a lot of debate about the type of knife that the Whitechapel
murderer used.  In November I flew up to Toronto to be part of a new
documentary that will be aired tonight on the OLN network at 9:30 pm
as part of the “Deals from the Dark Side” series with Steve Santini.
(could anyone record it for me as I am a poor Statesider!).  At the
Kingston Museum of Health Care on a cool but non-snowy day, I met
Steve and his companion by a table laden with sharp surgical knives.
The scene was a bit chilling, if you will, not just because of the knives
but because both Steve and his friend are biker guys.  See his photo.
At any rate, our discussion was about a knife that Steve was at that
moment considering purchasing.  It was a period knife but NOT a knife
that might have been used by a medical doctor, I thought.  I told
Steve that nonetheless I considered it conceivable that the knife
could have done the mutilations to the Ripper victims.  Indeed, it
was put to me one time by a poster on the Casebook message boards
that a razor could have done the mutilations attributed to the killer.

Karyo Magellan Ripper Neck Cuts

“Ripper” Neck cuts to Annie Chapman. 
Copyright Karyo Magellan.

**********************

My theory is a surgical knife did the cuts. Indeed, I had
with me, from my own collection, a modern Tiemann amputation knife,
with a razor-sharp blade, that with the handle measures around 16
inches long.  To me, that is the type of knife that likely did the
damage.  At the museum, they had period Tiemann surgical knives.

Students of the Ripper case will know, however, that there is some
debate about the murder of third canonical victim Elizabeth Stride,
the first woman killed on the morning of the Double Event, Sunday,
30 September 1888.  The medical testimony is that a short knife was
used on her.  Of course she is the one “Ripper” victim who only had
her throat cut and who did not have abdominal cuts, the explanation
usually being that the killer was interrupted by the pony and cart
of socialist club member Louis Diemschutz arriving in Dutfield’s
Yard where the murder occurred.  This is the traditional explanation
of the lack of mutilations to Stride — that the killer then went
on to satiate his need to mutilate by killing and mutilating the
fourth canonical victim and second prostitute killed that night, Kate
Eddowes.  But I feel this is misleading, because if he used a long
knife on all the victims other than Stride, it’s likely that he
would have used a long knife on her throat and then used that same
knife on her abdomen, if he’d had the time.  So the throat cut plus
the medical testimony at the inquest are simply highly misleading.

If you are able to watch it, see the episode tonight of “Deals from
the Dark Side.”  See you there, my friends!

Keep an eye on YouTube for the episode of “Deals from the Dark Side” about the Ripper knife. Prior episodes of the show have been posted there, e.g., http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zmLGO78ZKyY&feature=related.  Also check out Steve Santini’s website “Medieval Torture: Dark Deeds in the Dark Ages”.    Warning!  Not for the faint of heart.
Steve Santini
Steve Santini

Those Forced Ha Ha’s

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As the U.S. Republican presidential race heats up, the media has been
taking notice of the sincerity — or lack of it – of the candidate’s laughs.  A
report by CNN’s Jeanne Moos has singled out the forced nature of the ha ha’s
particularly those of ex-Massachusetts governor and corporate CEO Mitt
Romney and former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich of Georgia.  See
http://www.cnn.com/video/#/video/politics/2012/01/10/pkg-moos-fake-laughs.cnn
She noted it most when the candidates are under attack or feel uncomfortable, and
particularly that Mitt Romney’s ha ha was “almost like a nervous tick.”
Of course, in the Jack the Ripper case, the “Dear Boss” letter received by
the Central News Agency and dated 25 September 1888 is famous for the
ha ha’s seen both in the body of the letter and in the pencil postscript.

“. . . I saved some of the proper red stuff in a ginger beer bottle over the
last job to write with but it went thick like glue and I cant use it. Red ink
is fit enough I hope ha. ha.  …  They say I’m a doctor now.  ha ha

In both instances, the ha ha is underlined for emphasis:

Dear Boss ha ha

To me, despite it being the most well known and notorious Ripper letter,
“Dear Boss” is perhaps the most stagy and artificial of the lot, written
as it is in that petty criminal language with its smirking attitude but
composed in precise and careful script.  It somehow doesn’t look
right as having been written by the same man who was ruthlesslessly
slaughtering prostitutes on the streets of Whitechapel, despatching
them with a swift cut to the throat and then, in most cases, ripping
open their abdomens and doing other disfigurements.  Dear Boss is
calculated like the crimes, but in quite another way.  So I think a good
case can be made that Dear Boss and the Saucy Jacky postcard, which
followed, clearly written in the same hand and with a similar joshing
and cheeky attitude, are both journalistic hoaxes meant to hype up the
public’s interest in the Whitechapel murders.  Good for business, as it
were.

But getting back to those ha ha’s and the Republican race here in the
United States, crime novelist Patricia Cornwell is probably the writer
on the case who has made the most of the question of the ha ha’s.  She
pointed out that suspect expressionist artist Walter Sickert’s mentor
James McNeill Whistler was fond of using ha ha, as if that might have
put Sickert in the frame for being the Ripper. 

Cornwell believes ha ha to be a “peculiarly American laugh”. She suggests that
Sickert, if he was the killer and the writer of Dear Boss, was mimicking his
role model Whistler’s annoying laugh.  As with so much about the Jack the
Ripper case, we can believe what we want to believe.  Start your own theory.

Further Reading

Patricia Cornwell, Jack the Ripper: Portrait of a Killer – Case Closed.
New York: Penguin Putnam, 2002. 

Stewart P. Evans and Keith Skinner, Jack the Ripper: Letters from Hell.
Stroud, Gloucestershire: Sutton Publishing, 2001.

“Points To Ponder - Opinion On Authenticity Of The Ripper As Author Of Dear
Boss” at JtR Forums at http://www.jtrforums.com/showthread.php?t=14151 

 “Ripper Letters” at http://www.casebook.org/ripper_letters/ 

A Bit of Graffiti and a Few Letters

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Last night, in Barnes and Noble in Union Station, Washington, D.C., I
picked up Poetry magazine’s Centennial issue and a copy of The Civil
War Monitor
, Winter 2011, Vol. 2, No. 1.   

I confess, I’m not really “into” the American Civil War. As you might
be aware, when not fighting in the trenches of Whitechapel (ha ha), my
favored war is the War of 1812 between the United States and Great Britain.
It happens of course to be the Bicentennial of that war when the celebrated
lyrics of “The Star-Spangled Banner” were written, but, ah, alas and alack
it’s also the Sesquicentennial (150th anniv.) of the Civil War, so that much
better-known conflict aka “War Between the States” so familiar (thank
you, Ken Burns!!!) is tragically stealing the thunder from “our war.”  Ugh.

I picked up the issue of the Civil War mag because it had a picture or General
George Armstrong Custer on the front, him with the flowing locks and cavalier
swagger, the cover article being “Custer: The Rise and Fall of the Boy General”
by Glenn W. LaFantasie (great name!) but there was also a teaser at the top of
the cover for something on “The Devil and Robert E. Lee”, whatever that might
turn out to be.  Of course, I was intrigued, not the least because I am due
to give a talk this spring in Manassas, Virginia, on Lee’s papa, General “Light
Horse Harry” Lee, a Federalist and opponent of the Madison administration’s
mad decision to go to war in 1812, and a man who was tortured by a pro-war
mob in Baltimore in the summer of 1812.  Intrigued by the teaser for the Lee
article, I turned to page 18, and got a surprise.  The 2-page photo spread was
about graffiti found in a Mathew Brady photograph of Robert E. Lee after his
April 1865 surrender at Appomattox.  Lee stands outside his Richmond mansion.
On a brick by the door, someone has chalked the word “DEVIL.” Check it out
on line at http://issuu.com/civilwarmonitor/docs/cwm_win_2011_lowres_trimmed
 

The chalked word was probably scrawled by a Union soldier and stands as a
statement of hatred against the former Confederate commander.  But of course
it also brings to mind the controversial graffito found in Goulston Street on
the night of the Double Event, 30 September 1888: “The Juwes are the men that
Will not be Blamed for nothing
.” See below. Words some refuse to believe were
scrawled by the Whitechapel murderer but that coincidentally were found above
a bloody swathe of white apron cut from the corpse of fourth canonical victim
Catherine Eddowes, killed over an hour earlier in Mitre Square, Aldgate.
In any case, it is possible that whether written by the killer or not, the
words are a statement about the people who lived inside the tenement at that
location, Wentworth Model Dwellings, who were known to be immigrant Jews, just
as the word scrawled on Lee’s house was a statement about him by some foe. We
might also recall the words “Jack the Ripper” scrawled on murderer William
Bury’s Dundee house. In all three instances, they were words one must believe
written with bad intent, a statement of hatred against the person(s) inside. 

The words famously washed from the brick wall of the tenement on the orders
of Sir Charles Warren but without being photographed (!) looked as follows:Police transcription of the Goulston Street Graffito

Police transcription of the famous “Goulston Street graffito”

As with the graffito, we don’t know for sure if any of the “Jack the Ripper
letters” were written by the murderer.  Various theorists have found some
similarities between their chosen suspect’s handwriting and the hand of the
writer of some of those letters.  Most famously, perhaps, Patricia Cornwell
in her Jack the Ripper: Portrait of a Killer – Case Closed, in which she
found similarities between some “Ripper” letters and correspondence by the
expressionist artist Walter Sickert (1860-1942).  Having been interested in
the topic of the Ripper letters since I became involved in researching the
Whitechapel murders in the early 1990’s, I already knew that there were
hundreds of Ripper letters, written in many different hands and on many types
of paper plus other medium.  I thought her theory was a non-starter.  Of
course, Ms. Cornwell’s theory is that Sickert was a play-actor who could
disguise his handwriting.  When I spoke to her when she was in Washington
for an appearance at Lisner Auditorium, George Washington Univ., in 2001 and
I called in to the Diane Rehm radio show, she actually made the statement that
she believed that 90% of the Jack the Ripper letters were written by Sickert!
The redoubtable and highly recommended book Jack the Ripper: Letters from
Hell
by Stewart P. Evans and Keith Skinner will give anyone new to the case
a full idea of the sheer range of letters received by the authorities. An eye opener.

Patricia Cornwell

Patricia Cornwell 

So therefore whether the graffito or letters were written by the killer is highly prob-
lematical.  I have often expressed the view that the only message the killer might
have left was in the murders themselves.
  At least we know he was responsible
for the crimes, even if he never wrote a letter or wrote that chalk graffiti.

What is true about the letters though is that they are a famous part of the
case.  Just as integral to the public’s view of the case as that the crimes took
place in the notorious fog or the probably equally erroneous conception that
the killer wore a top hat and a cape.  Blame Hollywood for all those ideas.
The letters create the idea that the killer was a clever trickster.  Indeed, if
they were not from the killer, they warped the investigation into the case.
There is a good case to be made that the letters might have been written
by a journalist to keep interest in case going, and of course sell more news-
papers.

The problem is that the police made a basic mistake after the first Dear
Boss letter written 25 September 1888 was received, along with the “Saucy
Jacky” postcard that arrived hard on its heels, both around the time of
the Double Event.  That is, they put the image of the two missives on a
broadside asking if anyone recognized the handwriting.  This opened the
way for every Tom, Dick, and Harry, to jump on the bandwagon and claim
their little piece of fame by emulating the original Ripper letters that
bragged about the murders.  Possibly Sickert was one of those who wrote
such letters to the authorities.  It has long been thought he had a
certain fascination with the case.  So he may have meddled in the case
just as others likely did.  But that does not make him the killer, does it?

Despite the claims of former Assistant Commissioner of Scotland Yard Sir
Robert Anderson in his memoirs of 1910 and retired Chief Constable Sir
Melville Macnaghten in his of 1914 that it was known that the writer of the
letters was as one of them put it “an enterprising London journalist” the
police actions in 1888 give the lie to the claim that it was definitely
known that a journalist was responsible.  In fact the “enterprising
journalist” explanation proved an easy answer for those retirees to
smugly claim, in retrospect, they were really in control of the situation,
and that they knew all along that the letters were hoaxes. Now, Dear Boss
might indeed have been a journalistic invention, just as “Leather Apron”
may have been, but whether it was the accused Thomas Bulling and Charles
Moore of the Central News Agency who did it, as former Chief Inspector
John George Littlechild claimed in a letter of 1913, the proof that they
did it is lacking.  In fact, if Bulling and/or Moore provably authored
Dear Boss, isn’t it reasonable to suppose they would have been prosecuted
for interfering with the case?

A number of students of case continue to think that of any of the letters,
the “From Hell” (Lusk) letter, the one that came with the half a kidney
supposedly from fourth canonical victim Catherine Eddowes, is the one
most like to have been sent is most plausible as being the killer.  Why is
that?  Is it the scary way it is written?  Or is it because it came with
the half a kidney?  Analysis of the information we have about the kidney,
as Christopher-Michael DiGrazia wrote in “Another Look at the Lusk Kidney,”
his dissertation here on Casebook, shows that the original information on
the kidney published in the press was erroneous.  It would appear to me
that the “From Hell” letter continues to receive some of its cachet of
plausibility because of the lingering idea, conceivably false, that the
piece of kidney could have been from Eddowes.  The hoax letters continue
to befuddle and mislead the investigation even today.

Further Reading

Patricia Cornwell, Jack the Ripper: Portrait of a Killer – Case Closed.
New York: Penguin Putnam, 2002.

Christopher-Michael DiGrazia, “Another Look at the Lusk Kidney,” available
at http://www.casebook.org/dissertations/dst-cmdlusk.html

Stewart P. Evans and Keith Skinner, Jack the Ripper: Letters from Hell.
Stroud, Gloucestershire: Sutton Publishing, 2001.

“Points To Ponder - Opinion On Authenticity Of The Ripper As Author Of Dear
Boss” at JtR Forums at http://www.jtrforums.com/showthread.php?t=14151 

“Ripper Letters” at http://www.casebook.org/ripper_letters/ 

Richard Walter and an Alleged “Secret” Letter of 1888 at Scotland Yard

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Richard Walter 

Richard Walter of the Vidocq Society

**************** 

In the latest issue of Ripperologist (Dec 2011, no. 123) I report what Vidocq
Society member & profiler Richard Walter said at the recent Drexel University
Conference on Jack the Ripper about a supposed secret letter of 1888 kept, he
says, in the vault of Scotland Yard that he says concerns Montague John Druitt
and Prince Albert Victor (PAV).  Is there anything to his claim that such a letter
was received by the Yard in 1888 and that it implicates Druitt, who killed him-
self by drowning in the Thames in December 1888, some weeks after the murder
and mutilation of Mary Jane Kelly, the 5th canonical victim, in Miller’s Court,
Spitalfields?  From what we can gather, Walter was told the information about
the sealed letter, said to be from Druitt’s uncle,  along with a story about
an affair between the Prince and Druitt, by a highly placed source at Scotland
Yard but he refused to divulge the name of his source.

In the aftermath of the Drexel event, due to the revelation and in the face
of Walter’s refusal to name his source, I was part of a veritable blizzard of
emails that flew back and forth across the Atlantic between myself and the
three authors of the authoritative The Complete Jack the Ripper A to Z,
Paul Begg, Martin Fido, and Keith Skinner, plus Ripperologist Executive
Editor Adam Wood, as I wrestled with how to report this information in the
“Rip.”  Fido was a fellow speaker at Drexel and he heard the claims made
by Walter in the opening session on Friday, October 28 and was also party
to discussions with Walter during the weekend, as was myself, JtRForums.com
site owner Howard Brown and Canadian Ken Whiteway (”The Grave Maurice”
on the message boards).  We heard a colorful and bizarre story in which we
that ran that PAV and Druitt met as members of the Cambridge Apostles,
the supposed secret society, and fell in love, but that later PAV broke off
the relationship and turned to prostitutes.  Druitt committed the murders
to revenge himself on the prostitutes that had given PAV syphilis.  Then,
depressed after the murders, he tried to drown himself but failed to do
so because of his athletic build.  As most will know, Montie Druitt was
an avid cricketer; according to Walter, it was Druitt’s strong build that
saved him from drowning.  However, later, by now in a weak condition,
according to Walter, he was persuaded to drown himself a second time
because of the stain of the murders on the Druitt family and the Royals.

It was the double drowning that made me think all this might be fantasy.
And Martin Fido told Walter at Drexel that the Cambridge Apostles story
could not be true.  The Apostles, according to Fido, are more of a debating
society than a true secret society.  Besides which, Druitt was an Oxford
student not a Cambridge man.  As such, he’d never have been admitted
to the Apostles.  And, Fido said, PAV was too dim to be in the Apostles. So
the whole story was a nonstarter.  Neither could the story be true that
Walter told that PAV took Druitt to meet Queen Victoria.  This also
sounds wrong to me, let alone the story of a letter sealed in the vaults
for one hundred years with instructions that it not be opened till 1988.
Of course, the Metropolitan Police has ostensibly handed over all of
the letters and other files to the British National Archives that it had
from the Whitechapel murders.  Moreover, it doesn’t sound right that a
letter from a relative of Druitt could say anything about an affair with
a Royal let alone an heir to the throne, and nor about PAV contracting
syphilis from prostitutes.  Druitt’s uncle may have been a physician, as
Walter said, but a commoner would not in that day have put that sort of
thing in writing.

And yet someone apparently told Richard Walter this story.  Walter spoke
at Drexel of having “privilege” with the Metropolitan Police, and he has
apparently done work for the Met as a profiler.  Somebody well placed at
the Met, it seems, told him this story.  It sounds all too fantastic,
and yet Walter told it as if he believed it, but then later in an email
to me backed off and said he had no interest in the case.  This after
telling the tittle tattle with evident relish both in the opening session
at Drexel and then to several of us in the opening day reception and in
conversation with Martin Fido.  One other thing, Walter spoke to Fido
about John Grieve, Deputy Asst. Commissioner at the Yard now retired.
He said that Grieve misled Patricia Cornwell about the painter Walter
Sickert re the possibility that Sickert could have been the Ripper.
This titbit was discussed in the blizzard of emails crossing the Atlantic
between myself, the A to Z authors and Adam Wood, because Skinner
has been working with Ms. Cornwell on a new edition of her book, or at
least helping continue her research into Sickert, whom she apparently
now believes was at least guilty of definitely writing “Ripper” letters.
Skinner’s view was that it was unlikely that Grieve intentionally tried
to mislead Cornwell, and it was just that Grieve’s mention of the painter
intrigued her and she picked up the ball and ran with it.  Skinner has
also tried to ascertain how far back Richard Walter might have heard
the story that he told.  Drexel conference organizer Prof Fred Abbate
was told the same story by Walter some months before the October
28-29, 2011 event, and when we asked Abbate how long Walter might
have held his views about Druitt and PAV he said “some months” though
it might seem as if it is more like years, and maybe many years since his
informant is apparently now retired.  When in conversation with myself,
Howard Brown and Ken Whiteway, Walter was asked if he would publish
what he knew about the case, he replied that he had no intention to do so,
and that the person from whom he had received the information had
retired, inferring that was a reason not to publish the story.

So we might say that if there is a secret letter in the vaults of
Scotland Yard – which might or might not be the “family info”
Sir Melville Macnaghten wrote that told about the culpability
of Druitt for the crimes – the information about the letter and the
story about Druitt and Prince Albert Victor was told by an
unknown source at Scotland Yard now believed to be retired
.  Wow.

We are inclined to think all this is a fable and that Richard Walter was
misled somehow… or else maybe somebody at Scotland Yard was telling
tales out of school????  Paul Begg remarked that it is the sort of thing
that “seriously muddies the waters.”  There has been more than enough
rubbish written over the years since 1888 about the Jack the Ripper case!

The Lodger: From Page to Stage to Screen

Alfred Hitchcock, Ivor Novello, Jack the Ripper, London, Marie Belloc Lowndes, The Lodger, Uncategorized, silent motion pictures, stage and screen, theater 3 Comments »

 Marie Belloc Lowndes


 

Marie Belloc Lowndes (1868–1947)

Marie Belloc Lowndes published her first version of The Lodger
about a Ripper-like killer named “The Avenger”,  as a short story in
McClure’s Magazine in 1911. By 1913 she made it a full-length novel.
It  is clear that the ’orrible murders were taking place in Whitechapel;
the link to the Ripper is unmistakeable.

Mr and Mrs Bunting suspect that their lodger, Mr Sleuth, is “The Avenger.” 
But whether Sleuth really is the murderer is unclear: the story focuses
on the Buntings’ possibly unfounded terror rather than the crimes.   

The novel was adapted for the stage as a comedy entitled Who Is He? by
by prolific writer Horace Annesley Vachell (1861–1955). It played at the
Haymarket Theatre in London in 1916 with Howard Ainley in the title role. 

In January 1917, the play was done in New York with Lionel Atwill as
the lead. It received mixed reviews when it opened on 8 January 1917 at
the Maxine Elliott Theatre. The critic in the New York Times felt that
Atwill played the role in a “hammer-and-tongs” fashion little suited for
what he termed “such slight stuff” as The Lodger.

Overall, the critic declared the show to be “highly amusing” and that
Beryl Mercer as Mrs Bunting outshone the lead actor.  He said she was
“enormously laughable as the tender-hearted but suspicious landlady.”
It closed after 56 performances. Atwill would go on to enjoy a long
career playing roles in B-movies.

Ten years later, the play was brought to the big screen by Alfred Hitchock
in his first major film, using the same title as Belloc Lowndes’ novel, The
Lodger: A Story of the London Fog
. The significance of the subtitle is that
it gives the notion that the crimes were committed in London’s notorious fog,
which Ripperologists know is nonsense, don’t we?  In any case, the idea of
London’s stereotypical fog only added to the myth of Jack the Ripper.

Hitchcock’s version of The Lodger was the 1927 silent classic starring Ivor
Novello. He played the role in enigmatic fashion, alarming the Buntings
while charming their blond daughter, Daisy. As with Hitchcock’s handling
of Cary Grant later in Suspicion and To Catch a Thief, the director toyed
with the audience and hinted at a dark side to the character, although
Novello’s character would turn out a good guy on the trail of the killer.

Hitchcock said, “I had seen a play called Who Is He? based on Mrs. Belloc
Lowndes’ novel The Lodger. The action was set in a house that took in
roomers and the landlady wondered whether her new boarder was Jack the
Ripper or not. I treated it very simply, purely from her point of view.”
He disliked the later talkie versions of The Lodger made by other
directors, because they made the story too complicated. 

Sources

Marie Belloc Lowndes, “The Lodger,” in McClure’s Magazine, Volume 36, January 1911, pp. 266–77.

Marie Belloc Lowndes, The Lodger. London: Methuen, 1913. 

Mark Whitehead and Miriam Rivett, Jack the Ripper. Harpenden, Hertfordshire: Pocket Essentials, 2006, p. 67

Denis Meikle, Jack the Ripper: The Murders and the Movies. Richmond, Surrey: Reynolds and Hearn Ltd., 2002, pp. 44–49.

Gary Coville and Patrick Lucanio, Jack the Ripper: His Life and Crimes in Popular Entertainment. Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland, 1999, p. 24.

 “‘The Lodger’ Proves Highly Amusing,” New York Times, January 9, 1917.Ivor Novello in Hitchcock’s silent classic film The Lodger (1927) Ivor Novello in Hitchcock's The Lodger

Jack the Ripper Through a Wider Lens Conference, Philadelphia, October 28-29, 2011

Uncategorized 1 Comment »

Jack the Ripper Through a Wider Lens
Conference Agenda

Friday, October 28: The Conference Opening Session

3:30 to 5:30 PM Greetings from the Co-chairs

Opening Panel: “Shadow and Substance: The Pursuit of the Serial Killer”
Richard Walter, Katherine Brown, John Maxwell

6:00 to 7:00 PM The Provost’s Welcoming Reception

Saturday, October 29:

8:00 to 9:00 AM Full Breakfast

9:00 to 10:30 AM Panel 1: Images of Jack the Ripper
▪ Christopher T. George, “Early Theatrical Depictions of Jack the Ripper”
▪ John Curra, “Seriality, Sexuality and Murder: Jack the Ripper as a Folk Devil”
▪ Carla E. Anderton, “Our Continued Fascination with the Ripper”

10:30 to 10:45 AM Morning Break

10:45 AM to 12:15 PM
Panel 2: The Ripper Investigation: Police, Life Stories and Dead Souls
▪ Martin Fido, “The Policing of the Ripper Crimes”
▪ Craig Monk, “Optograms, Autobiography and the Image of Jack the Ripper”
▪ Jean Hantman, “The Serial Killer in Everyday Life”

12:45 to 2:00 PM Lunch
Luncheon Talk:”The Ripper Case in Broader Historical Perspective”
Professor Drew D. Gray, Northampton University

2:00 to 3:30 PM
Panel 3: The Ripper and “Outsider” Issues and Themes
▪ Richard Conti, “Perceptions of Insanity in Victorian England and the Hunt for Jack the Ripper”
▪ Deirdre McMahon, “The Condition of Women and the Ripper Case”
▪ David Sterritt, “The Ripper, the Avenger, the Outsider”

3:30 to 3:45 PM Afternoon Break

3:45 to 5:15 PM
Panel 4: Media Narratives: Mystery, Murder, and the Ripper
▪ Mikita Brottman, “Fiction as Scalpel: My Obsession with From Hell”
▪ Cordelia Frances Biddle, “Writing about Murder and Mayhem in 19th Century Philadelphia”
▪ Matthew Kaulfold, “The Ripper in Four Colors”

5:30 to 7:00 PM Closing Reception

http://drexel.edu/honors/conferences/jtr/

Jack the Ripper in Wax

Jack the Ripper, Jews, Liverpool, London, Uncategorized, Victorian Period, Whitechapel Murders 1 Comment »

The Star, Largest Circulation of Any Evening Paper in the Kingdom.
LONDON. SATURDAY, 17 NOVEMBER, 1888.

Revenged on “Jack the Ripper.”

At Liverpool yesterday a young man named Bramwell was charged with damaging a wax
figure at an exhibition. Mr. Raffles asked what the figure was, and he was informed
that it was the figure of “Jack the Ripper.” Bramwell had only landed in Liverpool
two days previously from Canada, and on seeing the figure at the exhibition he
expressed a determination to smash it. - He was ordered to pay the damage and costs.

Perhaps surprisingly, attacks on waxworks, a popular type of period entertainment,
were not that rare.  Five years earlier in Liverpool a waxworks tableau of the 1881
murders in Phoenix Park, Dublin was attacked and destroyed by several “Invincibles”
making a political statement.  The men responsible were tried before the same Mr.
Raffles who heard the case of the man who attacked the figure of the Ripper in 1888.

The incident took place on 16 June 1883 at Allsopp’s Waxworks Exhibition, 51 Lime
Street, apparently the same place where the 1888 attack on the figure of Jack the
Ripper took place, and led to the prosecution of Phillip John Wollohan, Joseph
M’Ginn and William Flannigan.

At the height of the Ripper murders, there was even a small waxworks exhibition in
Whitechapel itself showing the victims of the murders.

East London Observer
Saturday, 15 September 1888.

The vendors of a doggerel ditty meant at first to describe the details of the
Buck’s-row tragedy, but slightly and ingeniously altered in order to include
that of Hanbury-street, reaped a rich harvest of coppers, but by no means so
large as that obtained by the proprietor of a small waxworks concern in the
Whitechapel-road, who, by daubing a few streaks of red paint over three sadly
mutilated figures that have done duty on many previous occasions, and by
exhibiting three horrible-looking pictures outside his establishment, con-
trived to induce several hundreds of the gullible public to pay their pennies
and witness the “George-yard, Buck’s-row and ‘Anbury-street wictims.” But his
triumph was short-lived, for a police-inspector, with some respect for decency,
had the pictures hauled down, and left the waxworks proprietor using the whole
of his h-less (?) and ungrammatical, if strong, vocabulary against the police
in general, and that police inspector in particular.

The Irish Times
Dublin, Ireland
11 September 1888

SCENE AT A WAXWORKS

There is a waxworks show to which admission can be obtained for one penny, in the
Whitechapel road, near the Working Lad’s Institute. During the past few days a
highly-coloured representation of the George Yard and Buck’s Row murders - painted
on canvas - have been hung in front of the building, in addition to which there
were placards notifying that life size wax models of the murdered women could be
seen within. The pictures have caused large crowds to assemble on the pavement in
front of the shop. This morning, however, another picture was added to the rest.
It was a representation of the murder in Hanbury street. The prominent feature of
the picture was that they were plentifully besmeared with red paint - this of
course representing wounds and blood. Notices were also posted up that a life-
size waxwork figure of Annie “Sivens” [sic] could be seen within. After the
inquest at the Working Lad’s Institute had been adjourned a large crowd seized
them and tore them down. Considerable confusion followed, and order was only
restored by the appearance of an inspector of police and two constables. A man
attired in workman’s clothes and who appeared to be somewhat the worse for drink
then addressed the crowd. He said - “I suppose you are all Englishmen and women
here; then do you think it right that that picture (continued the orator, pointing
to the one representing the murder in Hanbury street) should be exhibited in the
public streets before the poor woman’s body is hardly cold.” Cries of “No, no, we
don’t” greeted this remark, and another scene of excitement followed. The crowd,
however, was quickly dispersed by the police before the showman’s property was
further damaged.

City P.C. George H. Hutt, Police Poet, and the Issue of Horse Cruelty

Animal cruelty, Horses, Jack the Ripper, Jews, London, Poetry, Uncategorized, Victorian Period, Whitechapel Murders 7 Comments »

George H. Hutt, known as “The Police Poet” was the gaoler of Bishopsgate Police Station within the area patroled by the City of London Police. As such, in the early morning hours of 30 September 1888, he let the shortly to be fourth Jack the Ripper victim Catherine Eddowes out of gaol before she was murdered in Mitre Square, Aldgate.

Hutt is known to have written numerous letters to the press, including one condemning the anti-semitism that grew out of the Ripper crimes, the East End of London at the time having a large immigrant Jewish population, and rumors circulated that the Ripper could have been a Jew.  He appears to have been an unusually compassionate man with regard for the dignity of both human beings and animals.

Hutt wrote a poem called “Saved by a Dog” about a dog who saved a woman cook’s life in Leeds in 1893 and another poem about the marriage of Princess Victoria Mary (May) of Teck and George, Duke of York (the future George V) that same year, for which he received an acknowledgement from the Royal family.

Lloyd’s Weekly Newspaper
Sunday, May 28, 1893


In the pages of Ripperologist we have been running a series on City of London policemen of the Jack the Ripper period written by those excellent researchers Rob Clack and Neil Bell. George H. Hutt is one of the London coppers that they have covered. He joined the City Police in 1879. He left the City Police in 1889 and then served as a constable for Smithfield Meat Market.

I recently came across another poem by P.C. Hutt which further shows the humaneness of the man:

 A HORSE’S LETTER to Ex-Police Constable 365 John Pegg

Dear Mr. Pegg, you’ve proved our friend,
No one can deny,
By oft detecting cruelty
While others pass it by.

Your life has been devoted to
The ailments of my race,
And when the tongue was devoid of speech,
Yours kindly took its place.

Before we had your kindly aid
Our pleading proved in vain,
And often with a heavy load
We’ve struggled on in pain.

While drivers in their ignorance
Have vowed that we did shirk,
And though we have been weak and ill
Have urged on to work.

‘Tis you and only such as you
Who mark the mute appeal,
Of us poor helpless quadrupeds
When indisposed we feel.

I’ve had the horrid toothache, Pegg,
And fast I could not go,
But as a medicine received
A cruel, stinging blow.

Again I’ve stood hour after hour
Till corns have made me kick,
And blamed for vicious temper been
Belaboured with a stick.

Sometimes a drunkard held the reins,
And muddled, did not think
That I as well as he required
A cool refreshing drink.

He loitered, tippling on the way,
Till working hours were past,
Then homeward thrashed me, and all night
Left me, unclean, to fast.

But dear old Pegg, you found it out,
And when ’twas brought to light,
You had the rascal punished well,
While Sangster set me right.

Now nearly thirty years you’ve been
An agent of the law,
And through your tact oft saved us pain
By finding out the flaw.

Ans though we are but helpless brutes,
Without the power of speech,
Yet in our gratefulness, dear Pegg,
A moral we can teach.

So horses, mules, and asses, too,
Their wishes to you give
By neighing “Honhy, honhy, hon!”
Which means “Long may you live.”

May those who have the care of us
With your kind acts agree,
Then animals of every class
Will better treated be.

George H. Hutt

The poem references P.C. John Pegg, “Who, during his 29 years of service in the City of London Police Force obtained 1,300 Convictions for Cruelty to Horses, etc.”  The “Sangster” that is mentioned is the veterinarian Thomas Sangster, M.R.C.V.S., who died on November 28, 1893. Following is an excerpt from an article on horse cruelty cases in which both Pegg and Sangster involved, as reported in the Illustrated Police News of September 23, 1882.

 Illustrated Police News Sept 23 1882

.

 .

.

Victorian Cab Stand 

It is conceivable that P.C. Hutt may have been partly inspired to write his “Horse’s Letter” by a similar literary effort by Reverend Dr. Thomas De Witt Talmage (1832–1902), the American Presbyterian preacher and social campaigner. For more on Rev. De Witt Talmage see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thomas_De_Witt_Talmage
 
The book by Rev. De Witt Talmage, Around the Tea-Table (Philadelphia: Cowperthwait & Company, 1874) contains a chapter called “A Horse’s Letter” (pp 88-90) written by “Charley Bucephalus” from “Brooklyn Livery Stables, January 20, 1874.” The Brooklyn horse’s letter seems to have appeared in newspapers worldwide, e.g., see National Library of New Zealand site on Papers Past > Bruce Herald (New Zealand) > 25 Huitanguru 1876 > Page 3 > A Horse’s Letter at http://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/cgi-bin/paperspast?a=d&d=BH18760225.2.6&l=mi&e=——-10–1—-2-all

Thus, it could be as with his poem about the hero dog in Leeds who saved the woman cook’s life, George Hutt was partly thinking of this earlier “Horse’s Letter” in composing his poem.  Talmage’s composition also touches on the topic of cruelty to horses.

A Horse’s Letter.
(From the Christian Age)

My dear gentlemen and ladies,— I am aware that this is the first time a horse has ever taken upon himself to address any member of the human family. True, a second cousin of our household once addressed Balaam, but his voice for public speaking was so poor that he got unmercifully whacked, and never tried it again. We have endured in silence all the outrages of many thousands of years, but feel it now time to make remonstrance.

Recent attentions have made us aware of our worth. During the epizootic epidemic, we had at our stables innumerable calls from doctors, and judges, and clergymen. Everybody asked about our health. Groomsmen bathed our throats, and sat up with us nights, and furnished us with pocket-handkerchiefs. For the first time in years we had quiet Sundays. We overheard a conversation that made us think that the commerce and the fashion of the world waited the news from the stable. Telegraphs announced our condition across the land and under the sea, and we came to believe that this world was originally made for the horse, and man for his groom.

But things are going back again where they were. Yesterday I was driven fifteen miles, jerked in the mouth, struck on the back, watered when I was too warm, and instead of the six quarts of oats that my driver ordered for me, I got two. Last week I was driven to a wedding, and heard music, and quick feet, and laughter, that made the chandeliers rattle, while I stood unblanketed in the cold. Sometimes the doctor hires me, and I stand at twenty doors waiting for invalids to rehearse all their pains. Then the minister hires me, and I have to stay till Mrs Tittle-Tattle has time to tell the dominie all the disagreeable things of the parish.

The other night, after our owner had gone home, and the ostlers were asleep, we held an indignation meeting in our livery-stable. “Old Sorrel” presided, and there was a long line of vice-presidents and secretaries, mottled bays, and dappled grays, and chestnuts, and Shetland, and Arabian ponies. “Charlie,” one of the old inhabitants of the stable, began a speech, amid great stamping on the part of the audience. But he soon broke down for lack of wind. For five years he had been suffering with the “heaves.” Then “Pompey,” a venerable nag, took his place, and though he had nothing to say, he held out his spavined leg, which dramatic posture excited the utmost enthusiasm of the audience. “Fanny Shetland,” the property of a lady, tried to damage the meeting by saying that horses had no wrongs. She said: “Just look at my embroidered blanket. I never go out when the weather is bad. Everybody who comes near pats me on the shoulder. What can be more beautiful than going out in a sunshiny afternoon to make an excursion through the park, amid the clatter of the hoofs of the stallions? I walk, or pace, or canter, or gallop, as I choose. Think of the beautiful life we lead, with the prospect, after our easy work is done, of going up and joining Elijah’s horses of fire.”

Next I took the floor, and said that I was born in a warm, snug Pennsylvania barn; was on my father’s side, descended from Bucephalus; on my mother’s side, from a steed that Queen Elizabeth rode in a steeple-chase. My youth was passed in clover pastures, and under trusses of sweet-smelling hay. I flung my heels in glee at the farmer when he came to catch me. But on a dark day I was overdriven, and my joints stiffened, and my fortunes went down, and my whole family was sold. My brother, with head down and sprung in the knees, pulls the street-car. My sister makes her living on the towpath, hearing the canal boys swear. My aunt died of the epizootic. My uncle — blind, and afflicted, with the bots, the ring-bone, and the spring-halt — wanders about the common, trying to persuade someone to shoot him. And here I stand, old and sick, to cry out against the wrongs of horses — the saddles that gall, the spurs that prick, the snaffles that pinch, the loads that kill.

At this, a vicious-looking nag, with mane half pulled out, and a “watch-eye,” and feet “interfering,” and a tail from which had been subtracted enough hair to make six “waterfalls,” squealed out the suggestion that it was time for a rebellion, and she moved that we take the field, and that all those that could kick should kick, and that all those that could bite should bite, and that all those who could bolt should bolt, and all those who could run away should run away; and that thus we fill the land with broken waggons, and smashed heads, and teach our oppressors that the day of retribution has come, and that our down-trodden race will no more be trifled with.

When this resolution was put to the vote, not one said “Aye,” but all cried “Nay! nay!” and for the space of half an hour kept on neighing. Instead of this harsh measure, it was voted that, by the hand of Henry Bergh, President of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, I whould write this letter of remonstrance.

My dear gentlemen and ladies, remember that we, like yourselves, have moods, and cannot always be frisky and cheerful. You do not slap your grandmother in the face because, this morning, she does not feel so well as usual; why then do you slash us? Before you pound us, ask whether we have been up late the night before, or had our meals at irregular hours, or whether our spirits have been depressed by being kicked by a drunken ostler. We have only about ten or twelve years in which to enjoy ourselves, and then we go out to be shot into nothingness. Take care of us while you may. Job’s horse was “clothed with thunder,” but all we ask is a plain blanket. When we are sick, put us in a horsepital. Do not strike us when we stumble or scare. Suppose you were in the harness and I were in the waggon, I had the whip and you the traces, what an ardent advocate you would be for kindness to the irrational creation! Do not let the blacksmith, drive the nail into the quick when he shoes me, or burn my fetlocks with a hot file. Do not mistake the “dead-eye” that nature put on my foreleg for a wart to be exterminated. Do not cut off my tail short in fly-time. Keep the North wind out of our stables. Care for us at some other time than during the epizoptics, so that we may see your kindness is not selfish. My dear friends, our interests are mutual. I am a silent partner in your business. Under my sound hoof is the diamond of national prosperity. Beyond my nostril the world’s progress may not go. With thrift, and wealth, and comfort, I daily race neck and neck. Be kind to me, if you want me to be useful to you. And near be the day when the red horse of war shall be hocked and impotent, and the pale horse of death shall be hurled back on his haunches, but the white horse of peace, and joy, and triumph shall pass on, its rider with face like the sun, all nations following!

Your most obedient, servant, Charley Bucephalus.

Heartbreaking stuff!  We can readily see how caring people at the time such as the policemen George Hutt and John Pegg could become disturbed at such mistreatment of horses, who literally carried the burden of the economic and social life of people in the late Victorian period.It is emblematic of P.C. George Hutt that he seems to have cared equally for the poor of the East End, for the Jews who lived in the neighborhood, and for the working horses of the capital.For more on P.C. Hutt, read the excellent article by Neil Bell and Rob Clack that appeared in Ripperologist 110, January 2010.  You might consider taking out a subscription, too. George Hutt in Ripperologist 110 January 2010

Early American Commentators on the Ripper Case

Jack the Ripper, Uncategorized, Victorian Period, Whitechapel Murders 2 Comments »

Although the crimes of Jack the Ripper occurred in the East End of London, they caused such a sensation when they were reported in newspapers worldwide that there were a number of non-British-based commentators on the murders.  Some American medical men and police officials expressed their opinions on the case to U.S. newspapers.

Dr. Howard Atwood KellyDr. Howard Atwood Kelly 

Dr. Howard Atwood Kelly

 

Dr. Howard Atwood Kelly (1858–1943), pioneer obstetrician and gynecologist and one of the “Four Doctors” in a portrait by John Singer Sargent of the founding physicians of Johns Hopkins Hospital, wrote to the Medical News in a letter published in the issue of 13 October 1888. Kelly, at the time of the murders, an Associate Professor of Obstetrics at the University of Pennsylvania, put the murders down to sexual perversion.   Dr. Kelly wrote:

 “The great liability to error on the part of the officers of the law, in the investigation of such cases as the present, lies in the fact that they are misled in their effort to appreciate the motive, and invariably attribute it to an ordinary criminal instinct. Such, however, is not the case, and it is as impossible for a sound healthy man to conceive the nature of the impulse which impels the paederest, or other sexual pervert, as it would be to conceive a new color.”

After giving a list of examples of sexual perversities throughout history, Dr. Kelly wrote:

“A desire to murder without any apparent motive, a desire which practises its cruelties invariably upon women, and that of a certain class; added to this the mutilation of the genitals of the corpse, and, in at least on instance, the peculiar practice of slitting open the belly and drawing out the entrails.”

Dr. Kelly went on to give the following piece of advice to the investigators:

 “It would be of importance to search the corpses, when freshly found, for evidence of violation of this kind, although such is not necessary to establish the truth of the supposition. Sexual perverts of this character never begin by the commission of crimes of such frightful atrocity, but yielding to impulses to do slight injury to their victims, find, as time goes on, that it is necessary to practise greater and greater cruelties, to arouse their desires and gratify passion, until a stage like the present is reached. Such has with probability been the history of the present murderer.” 

Although a number of modern observers of the Ripper crimes, notably Colin Wilson, have also attributed a sexual motive to the murders, it is also true that the doctors who worked on the case found no evidence of “connection”—that is, of semen in or on the bodies of the Ripper victims.

  

Dr. William A. Hammond

 

Dr. William A. Hammond as U.S. Surgeon General.

 

Another American commentator on the crimes was the New York “alienist” Dr. William A. Hammond (1828–1900), a former Civil War U.S. Surgeon General. In an article that appeared in the Atlanta Constitution on 5 October 1888, datelined the day before from New York City, we are told that “Dr. William A. Hammond, the insanity expert of this city, says the Whitechapel murders are committed by a homicidal maniac who is like a tiger in his nature.”

 

Rather than go for the sexual motive that Dr. Kelly thought was behind the murders, Hammond thought that insanity was the reason for the murders. He believed that the London police were making a mistake in “looking for a repulsive, uncouth butcher, dripping with blood and hiding in the cellars about Whitechapel.”

 

Hammond’s ideas were also reported in the Bismarck Daily Tribune of North Dakota, of 11 October 1888, where we learn that Hammond believed that “the probabilities are many to one that the perpetrator is a decorous and soft spoken gentleman, living an apparently virtuous life, a man whose closest acquaintances do not suspect [him] of crime.”

 

In the same issue of the Bismarck newspaper, Chief Inspector Thomas A. Byrnes of the New York City detective force said he agreed with the opinions of Dr. Hammond.  He insisted that the New York police could have caught the man by using the women as decoys.

  

Chief Inspector Thomas F. Byrnes 

 

Chief Inspector Thomas A. Byrnes of the New York City Police.   

 

Byrnes went on to stay: “We have no such autocratic powers as the London police, but if a crime is so plainly localised in one particular district, as in the case of these London murders, we would most assuredly arrest the perpetrator in short order.”  Elsewhere Byrnes is said to have boasted that if someone committed such murders in New York, his men would have him “in the jug in 36 hours.”

 

Byrnes was decidedly more reticent to criticize his British counterparts in an interview published in the Boston Daily Globe on 13 November 1888:

 “In my position as inspector of police and in charge of the detective force of this city I would say that, if we ever had in New York the misfortune of meeting such outrages, or any similar to those which were perpetrated at Whitechapel, I would consider it an act of great imprudence for me to advertise what schemes I should resort to or what action I should undertake with the detective force of this city for the purpose of apprehending and prosecuting the person who committed the offences. Such a course would be precisely what the offender would want. It is not my province or wish to criticise the action, or lack of action, in others who have already a similar position elsewhere, always presuming that they do the very best they can under the circumstances. It is easier always to condemn others than it is to succeed in their special line of work, and appreciating the difficulties that surround the London police in this dilemma, I have no desire or intention of sitting in judgment upon them.”  

This seems to be rather a turnaround by the opinionated Irish-born New York detective. 

 

And perhaps he was right to be cautious to criticize for when he had his very own “Ripper” crime on the night of 23–24 April 1891 with the murder and mutilation of Carrie Brown aka “Old Shakespeare” in a hotel room in the seaport section of Brooklyn, the case proved to be not easy to solve.

 

Although a man named Ameer Bin Ali, a French-speaking Algerian known as “Frenchy”, ultimately was tried and convicted of the murder and mutilation of Carrie Brown, the trial was later shown to be a sham.  After Ameer Bin Ali was released in 1902 after eleven years in Sing Sing, crusading journalists including Jacob Riis and Charles Edward Russell convinced Governor Benjamin Odell that the blood evidence used in the suspect’s trial had been tampered with. The governor officially declared Ameer Ben Ali to be “innocent of the Carrie Brown murder.” The murder remains unsolved and various Ripper suspects, including George Chapman aka Severin Klosowski, who lived for a time in New Jersey, and Dr. Francis Tumblety, who ran his herb doctor business out of an office in Brooklyn, have been proposed as Brown’s killer.

 

References

 

“Carrie Brown: Jack the Ripper in America—Part 2” on Murder by Gaslight Blog

http://murderbygasslight.blogspot.com/2010/05/carrie-brown-jack-ripper-in-america.html

 

Christopher T. George, “A Man of Large Opinions: Dr William A. Hammond and Jack the Ripper,” Ripperologist No. 48, August 2003, pp 23–25.

 

William A. Hammond, “Madness and Murder,” North American Review, Vol 147, December 1888, pp 626–38. An extract from Dr. Hammond’s “Murder and Madness” is available at http://www.casebook.org/victorian_london/murdermadness.html

 

“Philadelphia Gynecologist’s Oct. 13, 1888 Letter To Medical News” on Casebook: Jack the Ripper message boards at http://forum.casebook.org/showthread.php?p=111411

 

“Howard A. Kelly, Assoc. Prof. Obst., Univ. of Penna., Correspondence. The Whitechapel Murders. The Medical News, October 13, 1888” in Casebook Press Reports section at http://www.casebook.org/press_reports/medical_news/mednews881013.html

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