View Full Version : Some details about the murder of Fairy Fay - 11 Nov 1888
06-27-2010, 07:58 PM
I have seen many instances where an alleged murder occurring in 1887, the putative first Ripper murder, is included in lists of the Ripper's crimes. This is usually dated to Christmas week 1887, sometimes more precisely to Boxing Day of that year. Usually these lists say that the unnamed victim was found on the corner of Osborn and Wentworth Streets, which has led me and many others to assume that the whole issue was a garbled and misreported reference to the murder of Emma Smith in April 1888.
I have never seen any more alleged details for this 1887 murder - however the passage below claims to give some. This passage claims that the murder occurred in October 1887 in the immediate vicinity of Bishopsgate and outlines some alleged details about the victim.
The nickname "Fairy Fay" is not, of course, included as that was a later invention.
New York Tribune
11 Nov. 1888
The history of the reign of horror which now paralyzes all London with a panic of fear reaches back for a year. The mutilator's first success was achieved early in the month of October 1887, when in the dark hours of the morning the frightfully lacerated body of a woman was found lying in the passageway of a narrow alley in the immediate vicinity of Bishopsgate Street, East. The victim was an elderly woman, gin-soaked, degraded and lost. No one appeared to be aware of her real name; her friends, if any, had long ago disappeared. She stood alone among her kind, a homeless, shameless wanderer. Nobody cared about her, nobody made the least effort to find out why she was murdered, or to discover her murderer. They regarded it as the most natural and fitting kind of death under the circumstances, shovelled her body underground, and forgot the case within two days.
06-27-2010, 09:38 PM
One quick comment :
In your experience while examining newspaper accounts, have you ever seen an instance of someone within the police department(s) disavowing, discounting, or dismissing the alleged/actual 1887 murder in one the lists of murders which often accompanied an article ? I can't recall one off hand.
06-27-2010, 09:39 PM
I realise that you are not claiming anything especially for this news report, in a newspaper published an ocean away from London over a year after the alleged event, but surely it is pure hokum to claim that there was a "frightfully lacerated body of a woman was found lying in the passageway of a narrow alley in the immediate vicinity of Bishopsgate Street, East" in October 1887 that was not counted among the famous murder series and was somehow unacknowledged. Rather this is probably a prime example of why we should be suspicious of the information given in news reports. But you know that.
06-27-2010, 09:59 PM
Indeed I have never seen an account from the time dismissing the alleged 1887 murder
Hi Chris G
I don't, as you say, place any credence in this or any other account of a first murder in 1887. This one interested me becuase it is out of the ordinary in that it claims to actually give some details, however spurious, of the 1887 murder.
I remain convinced that the alleged 1887 murder was a garbled version of the murder of Emma Elizabeth Smith. I have never been able to trace the source of this 1887 murder but it first appeared in mid september 1888
The question of the 'Christmas 1887 victim' was addressed in The Man Who Hunted Jack the Ripper, and I am happy that this is the answer. The name of 'Fairy Fay', of course, did not come along until 1950.
06-28-2010, 08:57 AM
The explanation you posted seems to me eminently plausible and is certainly the most likely scenario I have seen.
As I said in my original post, most versions which include the 1887 murder (most of which are chronological lists of alleged Ripper killings) state that the 1887 killing occurred in December of that year, some more specifically say Christmas week and some, most specific, say Boxing Day.
The extract I posted placed the killing in early October and I have seen one account which dated the 1887 killing to August of that year.
Many thanks for your post Stewart
12-15-2010, 03:40 PM
I was surprised to see a Christmas 1887 victim being discussed by a member of parliament (Mr Pickersgill) in a Parliamentary debate on November 14th 1888.
12-15-2010, 06:53 PM
Very good find Debs !
That an MP would mention the alleged victim ( not that name,which SPE has mentioned as surfacing in 1950) says to me that it was not a story confined to rank and file East Enders.
Once again...very nicely done Debs !:sad:
12-15-2010, 07:15 PM
Thank, How. I wondered if even the M.P.s were working from the papers?!
You or Chris may be able to answer a little query of mine; How many times have you come across the 'Christmas murder' and 'Easter murder' [of Emma Smith] mentioned in the same newspaper lists of Whitechapel victims?
Apart from the PMG, who were adamant that these were two separate victims (even going as far as saying that many of the newspapers had got the details of these two murders mixed up) I personally haven't found many that list both, most seem to have an either/or listing. Is this your experience?
12-15-2010, 07:34 PM
In my experience, its been one or the other. I had not thought of that,but as with you, thats my impression too.
As I mentioned to Chris on a thread, the erroneous lists, ( meaning...that names and/or dates and sometimes both were incorrect ) outnumbered the year end lists or random lists that were accurate.
12-15-2010, 07:54 PM
That's definitely my experience too, How.
So if this M.P. was working from the newspaper accounts he must have hit upon the rarer ones that list both murders?
12-15-2010, 08:03 PM
So if this M.P. was working from the newspaper accounts---Debs
'Tis possible Debs...although he may have read one of each...one with the mention of the Christmas '87 murder and one of Smith's murder...and when discussing it in Parliament remembered both.
12-15-2010, 08:46 PM
This is a typical list that I encounter.
Elkhart Daily Review
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