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The Community's Collective Wisdom "Scotland Yard was really no wiser on the subject than it was 15 years ago.."-F.G.Abberline,1903. The question is...are we ?

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Old May 17th, 2014, 03:48 PM   #21
Howard Brown
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I wrote this factual study of the Ripper case, now issued for the third time, as an antidote to the sensational identity theories and irresponsible journalism then in print. Its success demonstrates that many readers share my own fascination for the past and believe, with me, that real events that happened to real people can be far more absorbing than anything to be found in fiction.
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Old May 17th, 2014, 03:49 PM   #22
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The Victorian murderer who slew a handful of women in London’s East End has become a worldwide symbol of terror, his fame celebrated in story and song, on the stage and on film, in art and in opera, his tale told in languages as diverse as English and Russian, Spanish and Swedish, German and Japanese. Robert Bloch, the American author of Psycho, has said that Jack the Ripper belongs to the world as surely as Shakespeare. It is not an undue exaggeration.
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Old May 17th, 2014, 03:59 PM   #23
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The Ripper heralded the rise of the modern sexual serial killer. He was not the earliest such offender. But he was the first of international repute and the one that first burned the problem of the random killer into police and popular consciousness.
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Old May 17th, 2014, 04:02 PM   #24
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I'll pause for a while so folks can read the previous posts and respond, if they want to.
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Old May 17th, 2014, 05:35 PM   #25
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Hi How

What he left us, in my very humble opinion, is a unique historical account of the Whitechapel Murders, using without discernable bias, all the real evidence which was then available.

The fact that the book also serves as an invaluable starter to JtR study is an added bonus...

Down the years I've bought so many books about and around the subject...out of all these there are half a dozen I shall always treasure above all others, (and I emphasise in no particular order), firstly Mr Sugdens, secondly the Sourcebook, thirdly CSI Whitechapel, fourthly Helena's excellent work on Chapman, fifthly Tom's Bank Holiday Murders...and the sixth... I'll keep to myself for now...

All the best

Dave
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Old May 17th, 2014, 07:16 PM   #26
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It is this that lies at the root of our enduring fascination with the case. Good mysteries become obsessive. A century ago Percival Lowell spent a fortune in building the Lowell Observatory in Arizona specifically to find the canals of Mars. In the 1960s Tim Dinsdale, monster hunter extraordinaire, abandoned his career as an aeronautical engineer to search the waters of Loch Ness. And, driven by similar irresistible urges to know the truth, amateur sleuths in at least three continents still seek final proof of the identity of Jack the Ripper.
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Old May 18th, 2014, 07:39 AM   #27
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The whole subject is now a minefield to the unwary. Even true crime experts venture there at their peril. ‘No new books will tell us anything more than we already know’. This was the confident claim of Brian Marriner, reviewing the Ripper case in his valuable book, A Century of Sex Killers. Unfortunately, Marriner’s account of the murders, brief as it is, proceeds to repeat a number of old canards.3 And where an author as knowledgeable as this stumbles, one is tempted to caution the general reader, approaching the groaning shelf of Ripper books for dependable information, with those famous words from Dante: ‘Abandon hope, ye who enter here!’ There are several reasons for the lamentable state of Ripper studies.


One has been the tendency of writers to draw the bulk of their primary source material from newspaper reports and later reminiscences of police officers and others. This practice should not have survived the 1970s, when police and Home Office records on the Ripper case were first opened to the public, but it continues because of the relative accessibility of newspapers and memoirs. Every sizeable library has its microfilm backfile of The Times, and published memoirs are readily available through interlibrary loan services. Unfortunately, as sources of factual information on the crimes and police investigations, they are simply not reliable.
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Old May 18th, 2014, 07:49 AM   #28
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At the time of Jack the Ripper it was not the policy of the CID to disclose to the press details about unsolved crimes or their
inquiries respecting them. Reporters were not even permitted to enter premises in which such a crime had been committed. Naturally, they resented it. ‘The police authorities observe a reticence which has now apparently become systematic, and any information procured is obtained in spite of them,’ carped one. ‘However much or little they know, the police devote themselves energetically to the task of preventing other people from knowing anything,’ fumed another. The purpose of the police precautions will be discussed later. Primarily it was to prevent villains being forewarned as to what the CID knew and might do. But at present the rationale behind the policy concerns us less than the effects of its application upon newsmen. It placed them in an impossible predicament. For they were confronted at the height of the Ripper scare by a massive public clamour for information and possessed few legitimate means of satisfying it. Gathering news at that time was a particularly frustrating business. Sometimes, by following detectives or hanging about police stations, reporters were able to identify and interview important witnesses. We will have cause to thank them when we encounter Israel Schwartz and George Hutchinson. But more often press reports were cobbled together out of hearsay, rumour and gossip, picked up at street together out of hearsay, rumour and gossip, picked up at street corners and in pubs or lodging houses.
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Old May 18th, 2014, 10:41 AM   #29
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...There is an important distinction between the methods of the historian and the archetypal Ripperologist. The historian sets out to recover the facts by patient research and the rigorous evaluation of primary sources, and his conclusions follow upon the evidence he has uncovered and studied. The Ripperologist works in the reverse order. First he decides who he wants Jack the Ripper to be. And then he plunders the sources for anything that will invest his candidate with a veneer of credibility. In doing so, inevitably, he perverts, if not suppresses, evidence that conflicts with his theory, and in the worst instances he has not scrupled to buttress his case with "evidence" that has completely been invented. The historian seeks truth. The Ripperologist is too often only intent upon selling a theory and his business is confidence trickery.
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Old May 18th, 2014, 10:46 AM   #30
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Howard Brown View Post
Personally, I'm not so sure the underlined sentence is accurate....fwiw


Unfortunately, given the circumstances, the police failure was all too predictable. The murderer was a stranger to his victims so inquiries into their social relationships yielded no clue to his identity or motive, and in 1888 modern aids to detection like fingerprinting, DNA testing and psychological profiling were unknown or undeveloped.
Likely to have been a stranger, I think, but not necessarily. He could have known one or more, or have been a previous customer of one or more.
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