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The Lodger(s) Discussion of the various "Lodgers" mentioned throughout the study of the Whitechapel Murders.

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Old December 6th, 2007, 10:41 PM   #1
Jason Ellis
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Default Gavin Bromley's Lodger revisited: A working hypothesis.

Okay, this is a bit gaspy...
After his article in Ripperologist 'Is There An Echo In The House' (sorry if I got the title wrong, but I'm in a hurry), it would seem the subject of the mystery lodger is closed in favour of a German shirt-leaver.
However I'm not convinced the subject is closed.
Here is an alternate hypothesis that I think would explain the same facts:
1. JTR is the lodger. Maybe he's not meant to be there (another lodger having paid in advance but been away); or maybe he's been there for long enough to have the other lodgers on his side. (Of those two, I favour the second. Lodging houses often developed quite close family-like bonds. Around Whitechapel there were already strong cultural antipathies toward police/authorities, so maybe the lodgers may have been behind JTR, whom they believed to be innocent.)
2. Up to the 30th, JTR has Mrs Kuer convinced that his comings and goings are innocuous. He also convinces her and other lodger/s that he is being targeted by authorities for other reasons. As he dresses well and behaves nicely toward her she has come to trust him. But when he gives her the shirt on the morning of the 30th/1st Oct. and then disappears, she voices her disquiet to a neighbour, who convinces her to go to the police.
3. Mrs Kuer wants to believe her lodger, but he hasn't been back, and so she does go to the police, but comes to regret it after JTR contacts her and contrives a story that she prefers to believe, or that her other boarders convince her to believe. This explains the changes in the story over time.
4. Perhaps with the complicity of the other lodger/s, either JTR or Mrs Kuer provide an innocuous German to pick up the shirt and claim to have left it in the first place. This innocuous German has solid alibis and therefore escapes suspicion, and is eventually let out when police can't link him to JTR and can't disprove his story.
5. Even if Mrs Kuer connected the dots long afterward and saw that her ex-lodger had changed his name, it would be too late, as events across the Atlantic and the stoppage of murders in Whitechapel made the whole issue one to be swept under the mat.
6. Why did JTR (if he was the lodger and if the lodger existed) go back for his shirt? Come to think of it, why did he give her his shirt anyway? I would say he gave it to her because at that point he believed he was about to be caught anyway, having just been seeing murdering the woman before Eddowes. (In fact, I believe that on the night of the 30th Sep our man was spotted in the act on Berner St by a witness who knew him... I'll have to post my evidence/argument for that later, as I'm out of time here.) However as time passed and he realised he wasn't going to be caught just yet, he wanted the shirt back. If early reports that he was said to be a tailor (albeit ladies tailor) are right then he needed the shirt back to return it to its unwitting owner.
7. Thus in this scenario JTR is a tailor of men's apparel who lodges temporarily with Mrs Kuer and maintains (to hide any possibility of connecting his borrowed clothing with actual owners) that he tailors ladies' wear. His fellow lodgers and, to a certain extent, Mrs Kuer, believe in him and are willing to go to some lengths to keep him safe. However if later they have a change of heart, circumstances tend to suggest that JTR had fled to America, and this possibility would stop them from acting further.
Hope this makes sense, apologies if it's far fetched.
PS I think JTR is Israel Schwartz, that he was seen by a fellow Jewish man on 30th, that he cowed that witness into submission by threats that if JTR was caught the witness would be implicated (hence 'Lipski' is a direct warning of what could happen to the witness; and the graffito 'The Juwes are men who would not be blamed for nothing' does exactly the same thing: in pluralising 'Jew' the Ripper wants to say that the witness is going to be implicated too if he doesn't shut up...) As a tactic, it certainly worked. As for Israel Schwartz not being able to speak English, what better way to distract police from making a connection between him and the well-spoken, gentlemanly (but 'foreign') JTR seen by witnesses than to pretend he can't speak the language? This ruse also gives him plenty of time to think up answers to questions he doesn't like.
How am I doing, Ripperologists?
Jason Ellis
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Old April 20th, 2008, 08:49 AM   #2
Howard Brown
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bump up of a 4 month old thread...
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