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  • Ripper Imponderables

    Here's a few to start with. Add your own and see if anyone has any answers.

    1. Why were there no photographs taken of the outdoor crime scenes?
    2. Why were there no photographs taken of the victims (except MJK) as they lay?
    3. Why didn't Warren have the GSG photographed before its erasure?
    4. Why is a photograph of Abberline so difficult to come by when so many exist for so many lesser officers?

  • #2
    Originally posted by admin View Post
    Here's a few to start with. Add your own and see if anyone has any answers.

    1. Why were there no photographs taken of the outdoor crime scenes?
    2. Why were there no photographs taken of the victims (except MJK) as they lay?
    3. Why didn't Warren have the GSG photographed before its erasure?
    4. Why is a photograph of Abberline so difficult to come by when so many exist for so many lesser officers?
    Hi Tim

    In regard to the photographing of the crime scenes, we are talking about a period in which crime scene photography was rarely if ever done. The MJK crime scene was different in that the body was still in situ in daytime so daylight could be used, to an extent, to record the scene. Note that by contrast, Eddowes was sketched where she lay. The other thing to note is that the photographer, Joseph Martin, was a contractor for the police, and had to transport his equipment to wherever he did the photography. There was no official police photographer on the police payroll. Most times it appears that Martin was called in to photograph the corpse in the mortuary rather than to go to the crime scene.

    I won't address the GSG since the question is kind of moot in that the inscription was destroyed before a photographer was called in.

    As for the lack of a photograph of Abberline, it possibly comes down to, for one thing, that he and his wife didn't have children. There probably were photographs of Abberline and his wife together and individually, though these probably got lost or were destroyed when he died. The possibility does remain, of course, that he might be one of the figures photographed among the group photographs of policemen of the day, as has been hypothesized, but he has not yet been positively identified in any such group.

    Best regards

    Chris
    Christopher T. George, Lyricist & Co-Author, "Jack the Musical"
    https://www.facebook.com/JackTheMusical/ Hear sample song at https://tinyurl.com/y8h4envx.

    Organizer, RipperCon #JacktheRipper-#True Crime Conferences, April 2016 and 2018.
    Hear RipperCon 2016 & 2018 talks at http://www.casebook.org/podcast/.

    Comment


    • #3
      Tim,

      To echo Chris, there was absolutely no appreciation at the time for any forensic value from a photograph of a murder scene. Even today, the main value of such photographs is to forestall any attempts by defense counsel to claim "evidence" was removed or planted by the police.

      Moreover, the difficulty of such photos would have argued against, especially when police proceedure dictated removing a body as quickly as possible to a mortuary. Kelly was somewhat different as there was daylight, there was a long wait for the dogs to arrive and the sheer brutality of the mutilations may have caused the authorities to seek a visual record.

      The GSG would, likewise, have posed severe problems. The writing was small and on glazed brick, which would have meant using flash powder would have yielded less than marginal images. They would have had to wait until their was sufficient daylight--and that they did not want to do.

      Chris makes an excellent point about the Abberlines leaving no family. A while back I had an only-child cousin die. His wife predeceased him and they had no children. I came into possession of a large box of photographs of him, his parents and his wife. I kept a couple of him, just as a record, one of his dad in lacrosse gear, and chucked the many hundred others. Sad, but there was no one who would care. Could well have been the same with the many fewer Abberline's death left behind.

      Don.

      Comment


      • #4
        Photography

        What must be remembered is that photography was much more difficult and involved in those days. The equipment was cumbersome and unwieldy and relied on a stand and, in poor light, magnesium powder. Also a professional photographer was required.

        I think that they were beginning to realise the value of having a visual record of a crime scene, as they went to the trouble of having Foster make the in situ drawings of the body of Catherine Eddowes in Mitre Square, both in close-up and a panoramic view.

        Comment


        • #5
          Ah, feedback.

          I do appreciate the primitive state of photography in 1888, but, at least beginning with Annie Chapman, it should have been obvious that these were extraordinary crimes that called for extraordinary measures - like victim/crime scene photography. So many questions that could have had answers.

          In a perfect world, Warren would have maybe erased the 'Juwes' and left the rest intact and shielded until it could have been photographed, after which the remainder could have been erased. I see no excuse except for the panicked bumbling of a police official.

          An excellent point about the Abberline family, but were there no official photographs taken that should have survived? The photos of Warren, Anderson, and others sure look like official photos to me, and not family album material. Would Abberline have similarly been considered photo-worthy or not?

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          • #6
            5. Why was there never any search of the backyard of 29 Hanbury Street, including the privy?
            6. Why was there never any mention of bloody footprints inside May Kelly's hovel? Does this mean that there were none or does it mean that they were just considered unimportant?

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Chris G. View Post
              As for the lack of a photograph of Abberline, it possibly comes down to, for one thing, that he and his wife didn't have children. There probably were photographs of Abberline and his wife together and individually, though these probably got lost or were destroyed when he died.
              Has anyone ever poked around the archives of the Pinkertons ? There might be a photo there.

              Comment


              • #8
                Why didn't the authorities at the time realize how ravenous we'd be for even the barest scrap of evidence and take better care of their paperwork ?

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by admin View Post
                  5. Why was there never any search of the backyard of 29 Hanbury Street, including the privy?
                  6. Why was there never any mention of bloody footprints inside May Kelly's hovel? Does this mean that there were none or does it mean that they were just considered unimportant?
                  5. There most certainly would have been. They didn't find anything.

                  6. There were no bloodied footprints. Nor at the Eddowes scene, which is remarkable.

                  I think the suspicious man seen sleeping on the stairs of 29 Hanbury St. one month before Chapman's killing ("waiting to do a doss" was his reply to Mrs. Richardson or whomever) was likely the Ripper and he was the one who led Chapman into the backyard.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Hey all,

                    Yes, as Scott said, there would have been a search made of the backyard of 29 Hanbury Street - hence why the piece of leather apron and what not was checked out and cleared of having anything to do with the murder/JTR.

                    That the crime scenes (except for MJK) weren't photographed except for MJK is reasonable enough considering the reasons given by other posters above, but that they didn't photograph the Goulston Street Graffito, especially when it was 5 AM or after already by the time it was washed off and daylight wasn't far off, was, IMO, what you could safely term an "error". Not that I think the Ripper wrote it anyway, but it certainly would have solved a few discrepancies about it....

                    Cheers,
                    Adam.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Scott, do you know of any source that positively states that the privy at 29 Hanbury was searched? It would make sense that it was, but I've never seen a word in print about it.

                      Bloody footprints remain one of the prime mysteries to me. As you say, surely there must have been some, but I've never seen a word on them mentioned either.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Chris G. View Post
                        As for the lack of a photograph of Abberline, it possibly comes down to, for one thing, that he and his wife didn't have children. There probably were photographs of Abberline and his wife together and individually, though these probably got lost or were destroyed when he died.
                        Originally posted by SirRobertAnderson View Post
                        Has anyone ever poked around the archives of the Pinkertons ? There might be a photo there.
                        Indeed, enquiries have been made to find out whether a photograph of Abberline might exist in the Pinkerton files, given that Abberline worked for the detective agency in Monte Carlo during the 1890's after retiring from Scotland Yard. So far no luck.

                        All the best

                        Chris
                        Christopher T. George, Lyricist & Co-Author, "Jack the Musical"
                        https://www.facebook.com/JackTheMusical/ Hear sample song at https://tinyurl.com/y8h4envx.

                        Organizer, RipperCon #JacktheRipper-#True Crime Conferences, April 2016 and 2018.
                        Hear RipperCon 2016 & 2018 talks at http://www.casebook.org/podcast/.

                        Comment

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