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Old February 18th, 2016, 10:45 PM   #1
Mithras
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Default Descriptions of the Suspects?

Hello, all.

Forgive a possibly naive question, but I've noticed that, amongst all the discussion of various suspects in the case, there is a distinct lack of physical description for many of these individuals. One one think such details would be useful in the ongoing investigations - at the very least for the in period suspects - but there seems to be a paucity of data.

Is there, perhaps any way of getting basic information about the physical appearances of the various suspects?

-Alex
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Old February 19th, 2016, 06:14 AM   #2
Howard Brown
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Jo reggelt Mithras !

Its off to work for me, but before I do....two men were right at or over 6 feet tall...which was considered tall at the time ( The average Brit was 5'6" ).
They would be D'Onston Stephenson and Francis Tumblety,
I'm sure other folks will add on to the thread shortly.....
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Old February 19th, 2016, 06:38 AM   #3
Jon Simons
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mithras View Post
Hello, all.

Forgive a possibly naive question, but I've noticed that, amongst all the discussion of various suspects in the case, there is a distinct lack of physical description for many of these individuals. One one think such details would be useful in the ongoing investigations - at the very least for the in period suspects - but there seems to be a paucity of data.

Is there, perhaps any way of getting basic information about the physical appearances of the various suspects?

-Alex
Hi Alex

Physical details can sometimes be gleaned from the contemporary press reports.

Which particular suspects are you interested in ?
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Old February 19th, 2016, 12:00 PM   #4
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Actually we have quite a bit of information on some suspects and nothing on others. In addition to what How said about heights of two, we have pictures of them as well as of M. J. Druitt and some others. There are newspaper sketches of some like Sadler and if one wants to indict Barnett, his picture is available. (The 'Illustrated Police News' sketches are, IMO, very unreliable.) There were attempts at the time to have suspect's illustrated, such as Packer's man.

We DO NOT have anything on Aaron Kosminski. There are several websites, and I think the information is collated here or at Casebook, that have pictures of the Kosminski family and they were very good looking people.

Another thing to consider in an age when people didn't have so many clothes, is to catalogue what various observed suspects were wearing. I have done this but it really didn't point anywhere. One suspect looked like a sailor, another like a clerk, etc.

I have also come to the opinion that Jack must have been an average appearing fellow. Otherwise he would have been caught. Therefore I reject an overly tall or overly well dressed man. I think we the reading public has been drawn far astray with writers' ideas that Jack was a gentleman, a Royal, an exceptional man with a mission.
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Old February 19th, 2016, 09:46 PM   #5
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Thank you all for the replies. Howard, that's hugely helpful on both men! No idea. Into the notes it goes!

I suppose what I'm trying to do, in answer to your question, Jon, is to try to reconcile what the Police claimed to be looking for with the various suspects who've been on offer. I realize that's perhaps a stab in the wrong direction, but it does help.

From the perspective of a board game designer, the reasons are a bit more practical: if I create a deduction game for a murder mystery in which there are virtually no hard pieces of evidence, a plethora of leads, and only a handful of clues, the only thing I really have to work with is physical data. How does one, for example, help an investigator distinguish between (completely random examples here), say, an Aaron Kosminsky and a Michael Ostrog, when photos don't exist of either?

Am I correct in my knowledge that, for the most part, the Police seem to have been looking for a male, of average or below average height, dark featured, possibly foreign, either noticeably burly or, on the other end of the spectrum, slight in appearance? Shabby genteel clothing? Again, I'm still educating myself, so if I'm wrong, I only ask your understanding.

Anna: I believe you may be right. It sounds very simple to say, but I was just saying to my wife the other night that I didn't think it would make any sense at all for an upper class serial killer prowling the streets of East End to dress as if he were -from- the upper class. I realize that not all murderers of the type are given to brilliance, but it would be tantamount to near miraculous if the man dressed in beaver hat, frock coat, and walking cane, carrying a little medical bag with him for good measure, and somehow managed to get away with it. Makes no sense to me. Even if he were upper class, if he had two brain cells to rub together, dressing down would seem to be the order of the day. Even if not for obfuscation, consider also the obsessive-compulsive nature of some (granted, just some) serial killers. How does one tolerate the grime and blood of such vicious work if one is wearing one's Sunday best?

I wonder if there is something to early accounts that claim suspects seen with the victims seemed to favor the wear of sailors, soldiers, and laborers.
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Old February 19th, 2016, 10:31 PM   #6
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I think there are a number of other thoughts those of us on this side of the pond don't readily understand. Beyond appearance there were accents and ways of speaking that denoted the class structure which we largely don't have here.

There is a picture of Ostrog. I think there are a couple, actually.

Francis Thompson is another interesting suspect to become familiar with.

There is a drawing purported to be Kosminski. I don't know the origin of that. He looks like a real villain in the drawing and I have an idea it was someone's creative work. Oh, there IS an asylum picture of Kosminski. it's here somewhere.

Awhile back someone posted a kind of video game about the case. It was an elimination thing involving Sherlock Holmes. Can't remember what thread it was on. It wasn't interactive. As I recall there was a question and some were eliminated, then another question... until a Jewish butcher or similar was named.

(Which reminds me, I am very impressed with a dissertation over on Casebook, by Scott Nelson, titled The Butcher's Row Suspect. Lots to think about in that piece.)
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Old February 19th, 2016, 10:46 PM   #7
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How does one, for example, help an investigator distinguish between (completely random examples here), say, an Aaron Kosminsky and a Michael Ostrog, when photos don't exist of either?
-Mithras-


Unfortunately, at this point in time, there is no available photograph of Aaron Kozminsky, in or out of an asylum.

There is a photograph of Ostrog....although he longer is a suspect. He was in jail in France at the time of the murders.

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