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  • Michael Banks
    replied
    Originally posted by Robert Linford View Post
    Doyle never even mentioned the murders in his Holmes stories, did he? I mean, he didn't have Watson entering Room 13 and saying "Madam, you have been cruelly used."
    Not unless I missed it Robert

    Regards
    Michael

    Leave a comment:


  • Michael Banks
    replied
    Originally posted by Chris G. View Post
    Hi Michael

    I haven't read the book but agree that Conan Doyle as a candidate for Jack the Ripper is a nonstarter.

    That having been said, and I don't know if the author mentions this or else somebody in this thread may have brought it up, Doyle did write in his story "The Adventure of the Speckled Band" --

    "When a doctor does go wrong he is the first of criminals. He has the nerve and he has the knowledge."

    Best regards

    Chris
    Hi Chris,

    I respect any man who knows his Holmes

    The book is awful. Doyle was no Dr. Grimesby Roylott of Stoke Moran ( or Stock Moron as the subtitles say in the 1980's Russian Holmes series).

    It's really hard to understand why someone would write such a book $$$$$

    Regards
    Michael

    Leave a comment:


  • Robert Linford
    replied
    Doyle never even mentioned the murders in his Holmes stories, did he? I mean, he didn't have Watson entering Room 13 and saying "Madam, you have been cruelly used."

    Leave a comment:


  • Chris G.
    replied
    Originally posted by Michael Banks View Post
    It's way too late to join or resurrect this thread but....as a massive Doyle/Holmes fan and collector I can honestly say, and I really don't care about being called biased, that the 'Doyle was the ripper' book was undoubtedly the most unutterable, execrable, dishonest, hateful pile of excrement that I've ever had the misfortune (or downright stupidity) of reading. The author should be locked in a cell with the idiot that accused Van Gogh.
    Few individuals lives are so well known, so well researched, so pored over than Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's. We have hundreds of his letters easily available and the opinions of those that knew him. There is nothing anywhere that even hints at anything other than Doyle being a very decent, generous, kind and honourable man.

    Of course you could say that I'm biased because I have such a high regard for him (nothing wrong with that) but I am being honest. The book is utterly without foundation and a worthless and vindictive character assassination purely for financial gain.

    Goodnight all
    Michael

    Hi Michael

    I haven't read the book but agree that Conan Doyle as a candidate for Jack the Ripper is a nonstarter.

    That having been said, and I don't know if the author mentions this or else somebody in this thread may have brought it up, Doyle did write in his story "The Adventure of the Speckled Band" --

    "When a doctor does go wrong he is the first of criminals. He has the nerve and he has the knowledge."

    Best regards

    Chris

    Leave a comment:


  • Michael Banks
    replied
    It's way too late to join or resurrect this thread but....as a massive Doyle/Holmes fan and collector I can honestly say, and I really don't care about being called biased, that the 'Doyle was the ripper' book was undoubtedly the most unutterable, execrable, dishonest, hateful pile of excrement that I've ever had the misfortune (or downright stupidity) of reading. The author should be locked in a cell with the idiot that accused Van Gogh.
    Few individuals lives are so well known, so well researched, so pored over than Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's. We have hundreds of his letters easily available and the opinions of those that knew him. There is nothing anywhere that even hints at anything other than Doyle being a very decent, generous, kind and honourable man.

    Of course you could say that I'm biased because I have such a high regard for him (nothing wrong with that) but I am being honest. The book is utterly without foundation and a worthless and vindictive character assassination purely for financial gain.

    Goodnight all
    Michael

    Leave a comment:


  • Anna Morris
    replied
    Wow! Look at that itinerary. He was busy! A friend of mine who is a successful businessman has always commented, concerning serial killers, "How do they every get enough time to kill people, cover it up, dispose of bodies, etc.?

    He has a point. Every known serial killer I can think of spent quite a bit of time doing things like stalking, perusing pornography, using drugs and alcohol, etc. No reason a SK couldn't have a hectic, informative trip to the continent with his pregnant wife, but all in all it doesn't sound much like something a SK would enjoy that much IMO.

    Leave a comment:


  • Curryong
    replied
    Doyle turned out for the Portsmouth Football Club, for which he played full forward on the 13th, 27th October and on the Ist of November 1888. He was an enthusiastic sportsman in his youth and played cricket in the summer and football in the winter. So he doesn't appear to have travelled much beyond Southsea in October.

    Leave a comment:


  • Curryong
    replied
    Conan Doyle was devoted to his mother, whom he called Mam.He wrote to her regularly. This is part of his letter to her on November 14th 1888.

    Dear Mam,

    Only just got back from Paris today and as you may imagine, found any number of things to do, to say nothing of the fact that I am advertised to give a lecture on Meredith next Tuesday and have not written one word of it. Our little trip was a success. Nem and rhe mother paid for Lottie, so I had only to pay for myself. We were very comfortable. Saw over Versailles, Le petit Trianon, Louvre, Pantheon, Luxembourg, Tour D'Eiffel, Musee Grevin, Le Cirque Nouvelle, 'The Hugenots' at the Grand Opera, Panorame de Bastille, Panorame du Gravelotte etc, etc. Feel much the better for the run....got a good idea for a story at the Louvre....' also ACD mentions shopping and getting his mother a bracelet at the Palais Royal.

    Now, in those days a Channel crossing would have been by steam packet and taken some hours there and back.Also, all the things mentioned above, especially the Grand Opera visit, wouldnt have been rushed. Versailles and Le Petit Trianon would have taken half a day alone, by horse and carriage.The 14th November was a Wednesday. The Doyles probably left for France at least five days to a week before. ACD travelled with two of his sisters, one of whom had been staying with Arthur and his wife in Southsea since September.

    As we all know, Mary Kelly was killed in the early hours of Friday 9th November. If Conan Doyle was Jack, that would have necessitated cleaning himself up, getting on an early train for Portsmouth, then changing for Southsea, arriving back there ready for Paris. Do-able but hardly likely.

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  • Anna Morris
    replied
    Is there any way to place Doyle in or away from Whitechapel at the important times? Was he absolutely known to be some place else during ANY of the murders?

    We always wonder why there were no murders in October. Where was Doyle? Was he ill, travelling, engaged in a project?

    There may be no answers to these questions but as more and more newspapers become available new things can sometimes be learned.

    We recently had a spirited discussion here about whether or not the residents of Whitechapel cooperated with the police.

    Personally I don't think Jack killed every single woman he interacted with. Because I believe this I feel it is unlikely that Jack was extraordinary in any way. I believe he was not taller than average, better looking than average, better dressed than average. I believe he spoke English and was not a foreigner, Jewish or otherwise. One other thing we in America tend to overlook is that England has various accents pertaining to classes of people. I believe Jack spoke in a manner that wasn't extremely unusual to the East End.

    I believe if he had any of these extraordinary attributes, that women would have commented about a creepy guy (chap or bloke) who accosted them. (For instance Sarah Lewis and/or Mrs. Kennedy had an interesting story about a creep who wanted to go into a dark place with one woman but not two.)

    Leave a comment:


  • Curryong
    replied
    In what I said about Christie there was no insistence. I said 'may' , 'might' and 'IMO'.

    There are always possibilities, but, there has to be some evidence tying Doyle to Whitechapel/Spitalfields in the autumn of 1888 or before, as well as some physical or mental traits that he would make a viable serial killer in order to have a discussion of him as a serious candidate. Otherwise we are dealing with thistle down, just blowing in the wind.

    Gabriel, just take another look at the last reported sightings of Annie Chapman, Kate Eddowes, Liz Stride and Mary Kelly alive, including the males they were seen with. There are question marks around those sightings, yes, but is there anyone who was seen with these women who resembled Doyle's height and weight ? There are some interesting points about Stride's last hour especially, before she went into Dutfield's Yard.

    Leave a comment:


  • Gabriel Withington
    replied
    Curryong,

    You are more than welcome to your own opinion, however I feel like your bias is very clear. You simply don't believe that Doyle would have committed the crimes and so you are refusing to consider it as a possibility. I am of the opinion that regardless of how much of his life exists on the surface, there is still a tremendous amount that lurks below the surface. And the idea that he must have been seen at the time of the murder, that it must have been reported to the police and that we must have documentation of it just doesn't hold water for me. I feel that it seems far more productive to focus on the evidence that we do have rather than the evidence that we don't and also to accept the possibility that just because there isn't known evidence of a certain type, we can't definitively rule out a possibility.

    Similarly with Christie, you are insisting on the most favorable interpretation of the facts. I certainly wasn't implying that every person who has ever studied the criminal mind has gone on to become a serial killer. Or even commit a crime. However, if you view it as possible that Agatha Christie had a nervous breakdown and engaged in behavior which was very out of character from what you assume you know about her, why is the same not possible of Arthur Conan Doyle?

    Leave a comment:


  • Magpie
    replied
    Originally posted by Curryong View Post
    Why did Hornung get a gig? Because of Raffles or being Doyle's brother in law?
    Pretty much. That play I was a reading and watching Raffles a lot at the time

    Leave a comment:


  • Curryong
    replied
    I don't in fact set Conan Doyle up on a pedestal. Although I enjoyed the Holmes stories when I read them I haven't done so for years. I haven't thought about Doyle for decades either. (By the way, I believe Bell was gracefully returning Doyle's compliment that he was the origin for Holmes, that's all.)

    I do not believe that Doyle was obsessive about Jack at all, or he would have written a book featuring Holmes vs the Ripper. He just mentions these killings in a little anecdote in his memoirs, I believe. You have to remember that by the 1920's Doyle's interests had changed largely to spiritualist matters and there were many sensational cases that had occupied the public's mind since the 18880's, Crippen, Seddon, Thompson-Bywaters, Armstrong etc.

    With the JTR case a suspect's character is important as is their lifestyle before, during and in the years after 1888 (when it is known, which is not the case with several of the working class suspects). Doyle's life as a husband, father, public-spirited citizen during the course of a long life is therefore of importance.

    At a time when most male slum dwellers were 5ft 6ins to 5ft 8ins a man standing over six feet high would inevitably have been noticed. I'm well aware of the disadvantages police suffered in gathering information in a pre-computer age. However, there is as much evidence of people writing to the police with suggestions and speaking to police on the beat about various suspicious males as there is for your contention that this was an alienated community. Whitechapel/Spitalfields was a very mixed area encompassing everyone from doctors and solicitors, petty bourgeoisie like small shopkeepers and skilled artisans to market porters and street traders to common lodging house dwellers who were one step from starvation. They weren't all 'People of the Abyss'.

    As far as Christie is concerned, it is unclear what her mental state was at the time of her disappearance. The complete breakdown of her marriage due to Archie Christie's infidelity occurred just after the death of Christie's mother, to whom she was devoted.

    Having read her latest biography I feel that Agatha might well have been suffering from a nervous breakdown at the time of the disappearance and blanked much of what she did out. She may have wished Archie Christie to suffer humiliation and the suspicion of others after the great hurt he caused her.

    However, she would not, IMO, have allowed him to be charged with her murder, much less stand trial. That is a very far cry from planning murder or executing it as you believe Conan Doyle may have done.

    The Star (the origin of my quote) was a radical newspaper, East End based and very much pro the common people and against the privileged elite.

    Various groups like the Whitechapel Vigilance Committee and young men from Toynbee Hall etc were formed to assist the police as of course there was a recognition that the police could not be everywhere at once. There was nothing sinister about them and they were not anti-police.

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  • Gabriel Withington
    replied
    Originally posted by Curryong View Post
    Why do you think the police wouldn't listen to slum dwellers or that these inhabitants wouldn't talk to the police? The police on the beat were themselves mostly drawn from the working class. It would be like talking to like.
    I think this because this is a typical response to the police by the most destitute of society throughout the history of police. Going door to door looking under people's beds is hardly listening to people and hardly the way to garner cooperation or make people feel respected.

    You also seem to be forgetting that even with the advantage of a century of experience dealing with panic inducing crime sprees, modern police still fail miserably at this. The DC Snipers tried reaching out to police tip lines multiple times and were ignored because of the sheer volume of tips. Without the aid of computers and digital communication or any precedent for the scale of the investigation, they were simply unable to collate the tips they did collect and it doesn't take long for further interviews to seem pointless. I'm not saying that they couldn't have solved the case but unless I'm very mistaken, they did not and this almost certainly played a factor.

    Even today, we struggle to see our way clearly through all of the evidence and opinions from that time which persist and it seems quite likely that a considerable amount has been lost. Also, if the police were concealing the identity of the killer out of corruption, cooperation or sheer embarrassment, it is quite possible that key pieces of evidence where intentionally removed. I suspect this is actually the case and the disappearance of the letters believed to be from the killer seem to support this. So even if the police did have an accurate description of the real killer, we shouldn't rule out the possibility that we do not.

    And the response to the killings from the community seem to refute your assertion that the people who lived in those neighborhoods trusted the police to solve the case. Extra-police groups patrolling the streets and amateur gum shoes investigating both suggest that there was little faith in the part of the people that the police could solve the case. If it was simply a matter of the police asking the right person the right question then, yes, perhaps there would be no problem gaining cooperation. But you are assuming that anyone who saw something relevant was either questioned by the police or else sought them out and were listened to. Particularly with how wide a net the police threw with rounding up suspects, it seems quite likely that there was a fair amount of resentment towards how the case was handled.

    As to your newspaper quote, I'm afraid that you may have stumbled on to one of those instances commonly referred to as propaganda. It is not unusual for newspapers to gloss over the opinions of the lower class particularly when it conflicts with the agenda of law enforcement during a crime spree induced panic.

    Leave a comment:


  • Gabriel Withington
    replied
    Curryong,

    I understand your appreciation for Doyle and do think that there is much about him that is worth revering. However, I feel like you are putting him on a pedestal in ways that don't even allow you to consider the idea. How many murderers have been outed only to have the neighbors go "oh, he was such a quiet, nice man and I'm completely shocked he would do such a thing"? The expectation that the hallmarks of a killer should be plainly visible in any context is something which simply doesn't hold water. If it did, then surely we would know the identity of JTR because somebody must have known them.

    Also, much is being made about eye witness accounts and the fact that none of the victims were ever seen with someone who matched Doyle's description doesn't seem to hold any significance. Not only are eye witnesses notoriously unreliable but to expect someone who took such pains to conceal their identity, it shouldn't be particularly surprising that there wouldn't be a sore thumb standing out for so long. It also seems worth noting that the London police not only have the advantage of eyewitness accounts but a significant battery of surveillance cameras throughout the city and yet my impression is that not only do some crimes need considerable investigation but there rate for solving them is still below 100%.

    I'm not sure how it is that you see me confusing the author and his character either. However, if I am it hardly seems that I am the only one. It is widely accepted that Sherlock Holmes is based on a mentor of Doyle's from Edinburgh named Joseph Bell. At the same time, Bell wrote to Doyle saying "You are yourself Sherlock Holmes and well you know it". If the inspiration for the character who knew Doyle well couldn't tell the difference, then how are we supposed to?

    And I may give the book you referenced a read. I find it particularly interesting that he was continuing to defend the midwife theory so long after the killings. Perhaps he makes an incredibly compelling argument that nobody seems to be aware of but to my mind, something like that probably would have been best to just let go. However, I find a memoir as being a fairly dubious thing to base a character reference on for something like this. Not only do people tend to struggle to see their own faults but when it comes to memoirs, they tend to go out of their way to hide them.

    But if he were more than just an author and also a killer, it stands to reason that he had great skills in hiding his darker side. While some serial killers seem unable to fit into society, others are highly charismatic and veritable chameleons. And considering the great breadth of his knowledge and activities, the idea that he was skilled at compartmentalizing his thinking on subjects is highly likely. Which is something he talks about in various ways within the Sherlock stories, with mental skills like his "mind palace" which is based on a very real discipline, while those stories hold little about either Freemasonry or metaphysics. The idea that we could look in any one place and see the entirety of who Doyle was seems to be plainly mistaken.

    While I've been attempting to avoid moralizing or vilifying, in part specifically because of who I am accusing, it does seem worth stopping to ponder the implications. Is it possible that as a young man Arthur Conan Doyle was able to commit a series of horrific murders, then stop and become a great humanitarian and beloved author who would hit his children for disrespecting women? And hypothetically, of course that's possible. The challenge with this and any other candidate is sifting through a huge mass of information both from the case and the suspect's life to determine what is probable and what is impossible. However, accepting the possibility requires maintaining an open mind on the subject throughout the inquiry. If it is Doyle, Carroll or Queen Victoria, being able to see that will require allowing our perceptions of that person to shift dramatically. If we are unwilling to do that, then it stands to reason that the only candidates that will seem plausible are those that we know next to nothing about.

    And with regards to Agatha Christie, I'm not sure if you've picked a very good straw man for your argument. While Christie may not have displayed homicidal tendencies, it hardly seems fair to say that her thinking from her writing failed to spill over into her own life. There is a fairly famous incident involving her disappearance at a time and in a manner which is strongly indicative of an attempt to frame either her husband or his lover of her murder. She never produced a satisfactory explanation for the events and more sympathetic opinions write it off as a fugue state, however even if that were the case it would suggest that she had a mental break where she fell into thinking like a criminal mastermind from her writing. But the mainstream opinion is that she was in fact in command of her faculties and was in fact attempting to frame someone for a crime which is criminal behavior in and of itself. We don't need to go through all the crimes committed by crime writers but it would seem that they aren't that difficult to find.

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