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JTR & A Significant Other: Discussion

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  • JTR & A Significant Other: Discussion

    Over the past weekend, I watched a program with Nina which featured the wife of Gary Ridgeway, the Green River Killer... on the valuable Internet tool, You Tube.

    I bring up the following ideas which some of you are aware of already, since I for one used to feel opposed to one or two of the ideas in this piece...particularly that the Ripper wouldn't have been able to coexist with a spouse that knew of his handiwork...or that members of his family, if indeed he had a family, would allow him to live with them and not turn him in. I am in the middle now after some changes brought about by perusing documentaries and listing spouses in denial.
     
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cwOySbfH_lI

    Judith Ridgeway, married to the monster who terrorized Washington for well over a decade...was a wife to Ridgeway for 16 years and was, by her account, completely oblivious to her husband's other side...a side sans mask that saw him not only kill at least 44 women prior to their 1985 marriage, but 4 more during their relationship...a relationship that according to Judith wasn't anything unusual in the sense we may consider it to have been. Until she found condoms in her automobile, she believed Ridgeway's excuses for his night time absences..which were usually work related. Their middle class lifestyle seemed to be satisfying to Mrs. Ridgeway.The Ridgeways, despite the assumptions some may have considering the sorts of women Gary murdered almost at will, lived in what can only be described the American Dream.

    I mention Judith Ridgeway because in her, I see a disturbing parallel to another wife of a serial killer, Julie Baumeister. Julie's husband,Herb, was a prolific homosexual serial killer from Indiana who committed suicide while on the run for his crime obviously preventing Baumeister to be brought to justice.

    Julie appeared on a program entitled, The Secret Life of A Serial Killer, on A&E,hosted by Bill Kurtis a few years back. Julie recalled her college days where she met her husband,marrying him in 1971 and producing two children from the union...as well as the ups and downs in terms of common financial struggles...struggles that most of us have to be sure at times...and came across as a sincere woman...whose life, like that of Judy Ridgeway, would be completely turned inside out by their husband's deeds.


    One thing that I noticed as well as a few others had when we watched the A&E program was her claim that she had no idea that her husband had homosexual tendencies. I remember chuckling when I first heard that because its the first thing I thought of when I saw him and heard his voice and so did some other people I know. Baumeister had been diagnosed with schizophrenia early in his life...and according to one source did not receive treatment after being diagnosed as suffering with that mental illness. I for one find it hard to fathom how Julie could be oblivious to that pre-marital condition and fact over the course of the nearly 30 years they were acquainted....especially since she did eventually file for divorce in 1996 after having had enough of the increasing mood swings her husband would display at home. Herb Baumeister, you may recall, buried at least 11 men on his own property...remains of one would be found by one of the children on the estate.



    One side note worth mentioning here. Baumeister, who prepared a suicide note before shooting himself in the head, didn't mention the crimes he committed within the note,simple citing marital and financial woes as the motivation for his suicide. Baumeister had been a success in business,establishing a chain of retail stores in Indiana. Ridgeway,on the other hand, seemed to relish discussing his murders after he was arrested and although he can claim he is relieved his skein is over, it appears to some outsiders that his relief is due more to his ability to now be able to gloat over them, much like another serial killer, Arthur Shawcross has done on documentaries in the past.


    Like Judy Ridgeway, Julie Baumeister seems to be completely open and honest in regard to her late husband's bizarre proclivities....and one finds themselves being sympathetic to the women naturally and sincerely. I think few will disagree that they came off as beleagured spouses who appear to share some guilt for their husband's crimes by association...yet unlike their husbands , who20will have eternal infamy and notoriety for20their crimes, both Julie & Judy seek a sanctuary of sorts .. an anonymous post marital afterlife if you will...free from the onus and notoriety they might be at times be considered part and parcel to due to their decisions to wed men they honestly loved and cared for, despite being professedly unaware of the crimes and exponential damage the two monsters provided countless people in Indiana and Washington.


    I could probably find other examples of wives of serial killers who would be near mirror images of these two ladies, now in the 60's. As serial killers recieve more attention in Western society, we'll have more examples of wives coming forward to discuss their spouses' deeds openly which will give forensic scientists an even better chance of determining20the warning signs that these two ladies overlooked during their combined marital years...., an astounding half century of living with a serial killer without cognizance of that very fact..


    This latter fact...that these two ladies lived with, had their ups and downs, had their good times and bad, and yet were as unaware of the actual crimes as were the police departments who spent millions of dollars in trying to put a halt to these rather diverse serial killers ( One, a homosexual married to a woman and who produced offspring....the other, a hetero who focused specifically on the same) is alarming to say the least. Its true that ther e is a steady stream of male/female partners in crime who not only assist but encourage the other half to act out anti-social behavior,even to the extent of serial killing.

    For it may be possible that the two women,despite the immediate reaction I had when perusing the documentaries, one recent and the other years ago, as countless partners in matrimony are known to do, lived in denial of the warning signs their husbands might have displayed and would have been detected by those otherwise not held to the vows of marriage and bonds of love. Would an objective individual have been able to percieve the flaws in these two men that are so manifestly obvious to others now that they have been put to the grave or the prison cell ?

    Love, in its own way, is a denial as much as a commitment. The problem is that both may crossover and obscure truths easily noticed if seen when interdependence plays a part in a couple's life.

    How does our Case tie in with the above, you might be asking ?

    For one thing, the concept that the Whitechapel Murderer may have had a significant other all the while he was conducting his Reign of Terror over the East End and garnering attention, not only in the English speaking and British dominated 19th Century, but world wide is one thing to keep in mind.


    Many within our highly perceptive and imaginative community feel that its highly likely, if not definite in their view, that Jack The Ripper had a home life, a regular job, possibly children, and perhaps people in his social circle to discuss the ongoing crimes in the community with. We know Ridgeway did just that even at work....we know that Baumeister's wife was well aware of the crisis in the homosexual quarters of Indianapolis and its not a stretch by any means to imagine discussion over the dozen or so attibutable murders, if indeed not more, being conducted in the Baumeister home.


    In a relationship where the husband is the breadwinner, its often been the case where a wife will subordinate herself to idiosyncrasies her husband manifests and aberrant behavior her husband w ill engage in from time to time.. I know from my experience, living in a one breadwinner home, that my own father's drinking was tolerated in large part and to a great extent due to the fact that he was the breadwinner. Had my mother been a breadwinner outside the home and less dependant on the income my father brought home, it may have been a different story altogether as far as the 20 year career of self destruction through alcohol her husband brought on to himself.


    Putting the Ripper into the frame in all of this is quite easy,to my way of thinking. I don't see much difficulty, theoretically speaking, in a working class man being able to engage and indulge in aberrant or criminal behavior outside the home as long as there is bread on the table and a modicum of support for the children.

    Of course, it would be easier to facilitate crimes the nature of which the Ripper committed had there been a compliant wife living in denial that her other half was in any way involved with anything other than bringing home the bacon.

    Perhaps just like Julie and Judy?
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  • #2
    Hey Howard,

    If this guy did, in fact, have a wife/child, don't you think there might be some form of manifestation of his bizarre behavior at home? I personally find it hard to think that this killer would not exhibit some changes in his personality and wouldn't go unnoticed by hiswife. By mid-October, almost every newspaper in London (and around the world) were telling people to keep a look out for suspicious characters. Also, if you remember, many families in the East End were crowded together, sharing space with lots of other families in lodge dwellings. I just don't see this guy being a "Ted Bundy" of his time (handsome, sociable, family-man) or a guy with a Jekyll/Hyde complex. My opinion is that I don't think he could've had a normal relationship with a woman. He probably only maybe visited an occasonal prostitute until his violent fantasies began to take over. But, that's just my opinion.

    Comment


    • #3
      Maybe Archaic or String or Sir Bob would like to answer that, JT....because I've personally seen too much these past three days of just the opposite.

      I respect what you are saying and in fact felt like somewhat strongly that way up until recently. I also think that its possible that an Irishman's family could harbor an Irish Ripper or even a Jew's family could harbor him a little more strongly than before. Just my opinion, of course.
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      Comment


      • #4
        I think that a married man living in 1888 would have had a great deal more privacy as regards how he spent his free time, where he went, and what he did than does a modern man. Modern marriages strive for equality, and a wife feels she has a right to know where her husband goes and what he does. (And vice-versa, of course.) There is no longer a rigid socially-imposed divide between male and female "places", activities and interests.

        This wasn't the case in 1888. A man might go out in the evening and say he was "going to his club", and it would never occur to him to take his wife- she would have been denied entry anyway. A respectable woman couldn't go very many places in the evening, even if her husband accompanied her. She certainly couldn't go to the East End.

        It was considered normal and proper for a man to lead a private life which was kept separate from his "home life" with his wife and family. The husband might go to his club for a while and then on to a music hall, restaurant, brothel, etc. It was socially acceptable for husbands to hide certain behaviors from their wives, because men & women were seen as being fundamentally different.

        An LVP married man's friends would be much more willing to cover for him if they thought he was having an affair or keeping a mistress, because that type of behavior was seen as acceptable so long as some very basic "proprieties" were observed- such as "sparing the wife's feelings" by keeping her in the dark. Look how many men actually had secret 'second families', usually with lower-class women; that's virtually unthinkable today.

        I believe it's entirely possible that Jack the Ripper was a married man. If his wife suspected anything she probably suspected that he spent time at theaters and music halls with his male friends and the type of woman she wouldn't care to know, and she didn't ask too many questions.

        Comment


        • #5
          http://www.jtrforums.com/showthread.php?t=79

          http://www.jtrforums.com/showthread.php?t=4819

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by Archaic View Post
            A respectable woman couldn't go very many places in the evening, even if her husband accompanied her. She certainly couldn't go to the East End.
            Hi Archy,

            I agree with everything you say except the above bit. I'm sure you didn't mean to imply that there were no respectable married women living, working, shopping in the markets, or going to the theatres and music halls in the East End.

            I'm just a bit wary of anything that helps to feed the "never the twain shall meet" myth, of an electric fence that kept the East End low lifes from straying into respectable City dweller territory, while the dirt and smells repelled anyone higher up the food chain from going anywhere near Dog Shi* Alley.

            Hi How,

            Christie, Sutcliffe, Shipman, Wright - all had wives or partners, although Christie's infinitely better half probably had to be bumped off because she started getting suspicious.

            Love,

            Caz
            X
            I wish I were two puppies then I could play together - Storm Petersen

            Comment


            • #7
              Thanks for that Caz...and I'm sure there are many others to place on the thread...
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              • #8
                Here is a case from Hull, my old next door neighbour in fact, and dates back to the early 00's.

                I can't remember his name, but he and his wife moved in to the house next to ours, and he was working in construction on the Deep project. Anyway, he went out one night to score some drugs and paid 5.00 for a small block of dope. The dealer wouldn't hand over the drugs and tried running with the money, so my neighbour stabbed him, killing him. He returned home, hid the knife, washed the clothes then burned them in the rear yard. His wife knew nothing of it, until he started acting weird, but she would not tell. He then threatened to kill her, so she called the police.

                I awoke one morning to find my mother in the dining room surrounded by armed police in full combat gear. They stormed the house next door, and arrested him. She testified and was given protection, leaving Hull that day, we have not seen them since.

                She was brave and wise and did the noble thing, but how many wives and/or girlfriends wouldn't?

                There are shows on tv, or at least used to be, showing "Gangsters Wives" where they discuss the ill gotten gains of their significant others!

                Comment


                • #9
                  While the site was down, a bunch of us were kicking this idea around and I found the story of this lovely man from Texas.

                  Obviously not a SK.....but check out his wife's role in all this. Best part was he later tried to put a hit on her.

                  Last Words

                  "Jane, you know damn well I did not molest that kid of yours. You are murdering me and I feel sorry for you. Get in church and get saved. I really don't know what else to tell you."

                  William Chappell, executed in Texas on Nov. 20, 2002


                  Texas Execution Information Center
                  William Chappell

                  William Wesley Chappell, 66, was executed by lethal injection on 20 November 2002 in Huntsville, Texas for the murder of three people.

                  William Chappell was 45 when he met Jane Sitton. She was 17, had an 18-month old daughter, Elizabeth, and was working as a waitress at a restaurant across the street from Chappell's boat shop. They dated for about two years. One evening in May 1984, Sitton's half-brother, Geoffrey Lindsey, and Elizabeth, then 3, were watching TV together when a kissing scene came on. "That's what me and Bill do," Elizabeth blurted out. Geoffrey told his mother, Martha Lindsey, who contacted authorities.

                  Chappell was put on trial in May 1987 for indecency with a child. Sitton testified that Chappell used to beat her and threatened to kill her unless she allowed him to molest Elizabeth. Geoffrey and Martha Lindsey and other family members also testified against him. Chappell was convicted and sentenced to five years in prison, but was released on bond pending appeal.

                  After the trial, Chappell confronted the Sitton/Lindsey family outside the courtroom. He told Martha, "This is not over yet," and that he would "get her for that." Chappell also told his wife, Sally Hayes, that he did not molest Jane's daughter and that he wanted to "do away" with that family.

                  In January 1988, Chappell and Hayes drove to the home where Martha Lindsey resided with her husband, Elbert Sitton, and Jane. Chappell brought some jugs of gasoline. Hayes let Chappell out and drove around for about 15 minutes, then picked him up after he signaled with his flashlight. Chappell told Hayes that he set fire to the house. The house, however, suffered little damage and none of the occupants were injured.

                  After the fire, Jane Sitton decided to move out of the home. Alexandra Heath, her half-sister and Martha Lindsey's daughter, took her room.

                  In February 1988, Chappell and Hayes purchased some gun equipment, including some materials for fashioning a silencer. They bought a pair of walkie-talkies in March.

                  On 3 May 1988, Chappell, then 51, and Hayes drove to the Sitton home. Chappell was wearing dark clothes, a ski mask, and gloves. He carried a bag containing two guns, the silencer, clips of ammunition, a crowbar, wire cutters, and one of the walkie-talkies. He got out of the van and Hayes drove around. Chappell then entered the Sitton home and shot Martha Lindsey, 50, Elbert Sitton, 71, and Alexandra Heath, 27, multiple times with a 9mm pistol. About 15 to 20 minutes later, Chappell contacted Hayes by walkie-talkie and she picked him up. He told her that he "shot Jane, her mother, and her daddy." He also said that he took some money to make it look like a robbery.

                  Believing her to be Jane, Chappell shot Heath several times while she lay in bed. She died at the scene. Martha Lindsey died two days later. Elbert Sitton died after two months in the hospital. He told the emergency room doctor that his attacker was the same man who raped his granddaughter.

                  While Chappell was in jail awaiting trial for capital murder, he arranged bond for another inmate and hired him to kill his wife/accomplice, Sally Hayes. Instead of carrying out the plan, however, the inmate reported the plot to authorities. Hayes testified against Chappell in exchange for a probated sentence.

                  An acquaintance of Chappell's testified that he and Chappell had been involved together in a fraud scheme whereby he left his van in a parking lot, gave Chappell the keys, and reported the van as stolen. This was the van that was used in the murders. The man testified that it reappeared at his property on the day of the murders, and he believed that Chappell was trying to frame him for the crime.

                  A jury convicted Chappell in November 1989 of the capital offense of murdering Alexandra Heath in the course of burglary. The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals reversed the conviction in February 1993 because of an error during jury selection. He was brought to trial again in October 1993, but the judge declared a mistrial before the jury was sworn in because another death row inmate, Ricky Lee Green, confessed to the slayings. Prosecutors contended that Green's confession was part of a plot that he and Chappell worked out together. Green was executed in 1997 for a different conviction.

                  Chappell was tried again, and in October 1996, another jury convicted him of capital murder and sentenced him to death. The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals affirmed this conviction and sentence in October 1999. All of his subsequent appeals in state and federal court were denied.

                  "My request is that y'all get yourselves in church, because y'all are killing me," Chappell said in his last statement. "Pray for your souls, because you need to." He said that he was innocent of the triple murder, that other people had confessed to it, and that additional DNA testing should have been performed. "I didn't do it. It's not in my nature," he said. Speaking to Jane Sitton, who watched through a window, he said, "Jane, you know damn well I didn't molest that damn daughter of yours." At 6:10 p.m., after the two minutes allotted for his last statement had elapsed, the lethal injection was started. Chappell was repeating that he was being murdered and that his victims' witnesses should ask for salvation when the drugs took effect. He gasped twice and went silent. He was pronounced dead at 6:17 p.m.

                  At 66, Chappell was the oldest person to be executed by the state of Texas since it began performing executions in 1924. (Before then, each Texas county carried out its own executions.)

                  By David Carson. Posted on 21 November 2002.
                  Sources: Texas Department of Criminal Justice, Texas Attorney General's office, Associated Press, Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Huntsville Item.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Caroline Morris View Post
                    Originally posted by Archaic View Post
                    A respectable woman couldn't go very many places in the evening, even if her husband accompanied her. She certainly couldn't go to the East End.
                    I'm sure you didn't mean to imply that there were no respectable married women living, working, shopping in the markets, or going to the theatres and music halls in the East End.

                    I'm just a bit wary of anything that helps to feed the "never the twain shall meet" myth, of an electric fence that kept the East End low lifes from straying into respectable City dweller territory, while the dirt and smells repelled anyone higher up the food chain from going anywhere near Dog Shi* Alley.
                    "respectable"

                    It is indeed the case that those who are able to command society's 'respect', are not necessarily those who are worthy of commanding such 'respect'. The terms 'affluence' and 'respectability' should not be considered synonymous - anymore so than should the terms 'local' and 'East Ender' be considered synonymous, in the context of the mystery of 'Jack the Ripper'.

                    Nevertheless, I will use statistical data from the first of Charles Booth's three surveys, "Labour and Life of the People: London"; Williams and Norgate, 1889-1891 (two volumes + appendix), to estimate the number of "respectable" persons living in London's 'East End' during the so-called 'Autumn of Terror'.

                    Shoreditch Registration District / Poor Law Parish:
                    - The Parish of St. Leonard Shoreditch

                    - Total Population (1891 Census): 124,009
                    - Total Population (Charles Booth 1889 Estimate): 121,161
                    - Percentage of Total Population Living Below the 'Line of Poverty' (Charles Booth 1889 Estimate): 40.20%
                    - Percentage of Total Population Living Above the 'Line of Poverty' (Charles Booth 1889 Estimate): 59.80%

                    Bethnal Green Registration District / Poor Law Parish:
                    - The Parish of St. Matthew Bethnal Green

                    - Total Population (1891 Census): 129,132
                    - Total Population (Charles Booth 1889 Estimate): 127,641
                    - Percentage of Total Population Living Below the 'Line of Poverty' (Charles Booth 1889 Estimate): 44.70%
                    - Percentage of Total Population Living Above the 'Line of Poverty' (Charles Booth 1889 Estimate): 55.30%

                    Whitechapel Registration District / Poor Law Union:
                    - The Liberty of Norton Folgate
                    - The Old Artillery Ground
                    - The Parish of Christ Church Spitalfields
                    - The Hamlet of Mile End New Town
                    - The Parish of Holy Trinity ('Minories')
                    - The Parish of St. Mary Whitechapel (portion within the County of Middlesex, -1889 / County of London, 1889-1965)
                    - The Liberty of Her Majesty's Tower of London
                    --- The Liberty of the Tower
                    --- The Precinct of Old Tower Without
                    --- The Tower
                    - The Precinct of St. Katharine
                    - The Parish of St. Botolph without Aldgate (portion within the County of Middlesex, -1889 / County of London, 1889-1965)

                    - Total Population (1891 Census): 74,462
                    - Total Population (Charles Booth 1889 Estimate): 73,518
                    - Percentage of Total Population Living Below the 'Line of Poverty' (Charles Booth 1889 Estimate): 39.20%
                    - Percentage of Total Population Living Above the 'Line of Poverty' (Charles Booth 1889 Estimate): 60.80%

                    Mile End Old Town Registration District / Poor Law Parish:
                    - The Hamlet of Mile End Old Town

                    - Total Population (1891 Census): 107,592
                    - Total Population (Charles Booth 1889 Estimate): 110,321
                    - Percentage of Total Population Living Below the 'Line of Poverty' (Charles Booth 1889 Estimate): 26.20%
                    - Percentage of Total Population Living Above the 'Line of Poverty' (Charles Booth 1889 Estimate): 73.80%

                    St. George in the East Registration District / Poor Law Parish:
                    - The Parish of St. George in the East

                    - Total Population (1891 Census): 45,795
                    - Total Population (Charles Booth 1889 Estimate): 47,578
                    - Percentage of Total Population Living Below the 'Line of Poverty' (Charles Booth 1889 Estimate): 48.80%
                    - Percentage of Total Population Living Above the 'Line of Poverty' (Charles Booth 1889 Estimate): 51.20%

                    Stepney Registration District / Poor Law Union:
                    - The Parish of St. John of Wapping
                    - The Parish of St. Paul Shadwell
                    - The Hamlet of Ratcliff
                    - The Parish of St. Anne Limehouse

                    - Total Population (1891 Census): 57,376
                    - Total Population (Charles Booth 1889 Estimate): 62,063
                    - Percentage of Total Population Living Below the 'Line of Poverty' (Charles Booth 1889 Estimate): 38.10%
                    - Percentage of Total Population Living Above the 'Line of Poverty' (Charles Booth 1889 Estimate): 61.90%


                    Poplar Registration District / Poor Law Union:
                    - The Parish of St. Mary Stratford Bow
                    - The Parish of Bromley St. Leonard
                    - The Parish of All Saints Poplar

                    - Total Population (1891 Census): 166,748
                    - Total Population (Charles Booth 1889 Estimate): 166,393
                    - Percentage of Total Population Living Below the 'Line of Poverty' (Charles Booth 1889 Estimate): 36.50%
                    - Percentage of Total Population Living Above the 'Line of Poverty' (Charles Booth 1889 Estimate): 63.50%

                    London's 'East End'***:

                    - Total Population (1891 Census): 705,114
                    - Total Population (Charles Booth 1889 Estimate): 708,675
                    - Percentage of Total Population Living Below the 'Line of Poverty' (Charles Booth 1889 Estimate): 38.00%
                    - Percentage of Total Population Living Above the 'Line of Poverty' (Charles Booth 1889 Estimate): 62.00%

                    *** The most likely composition of London's 'East End', in the 1880's/1890's.

                    Other areas that could conceivably have been considered part of the 'East End', during that period:

                    - The Parish of St. Botolph without Bishopsgate (City of London)
                    - The Parish of St. Botolph without Aldgate (portion within the City of London)
                    - The Parish of St. Mary Whitechapel (portion within the City of London)
                    - The Parish of St. John at Hackney
                    - The Parish of (All Saints) West Ham (County of Essex)

                    Rounding Down: It can be reasonably estimated that approximately 420,000 "respectable" persons (i.e. 60.00% of 700,000) resided in London's 'East End', in the autumn of 1888.

                    Assuming a more detailed perspective of the 'Whitechapel' area; …

                    Whitechapel Registration District / Poor Law Union:
                    - The Liberty of Norton Folgate
                    - The Old Artillery Ground
                    - The Parish of Christ Church Spitalfields
                    - The Hamlet of Mile End New Town
                    - The Parish of Holy Trinity ('Minories')
                    - The Parish of St. Mary Whitechapel (portion within the County of Middlesex, -1889 / County of London, 1889-1965)
                    - The Liberty of Her Majesty's Tower of London
                    --- The Liberty of the Tower
                    --- The Precinct of Old Tower Without
                    --- The Tower
                    - The Precinct of St. Katharine
                    - The Parish of St. Botolph without Aldgate (portion within the County of Middlesex, -1889 / County of London, 1889-1965)

                    - Total Population (1891 Census): 74,462
                    - Total Population (Charles Booth 1889 Estimate): 73,518
                    - Estimated Percentage; Class 'A' ('vicious' (i.e. vice-ridden), 'semi-criminal'): 3.3%
                    - Estimated Percentage; Class 'B' ('very poor'): 8.9%
                    - Estimated Percentage; Class 'C' ('poor' - irregular income): 10.7%
                    - Estimated Percentage; Class 'D' ('poor' - regular but inadequate income): 16.3%
                    - (Total Percentage; Below the 'Line of Poverty': 39.2%)
                    - Estimated Percentage; Class 'E' ('above the line of poverty' - regular 'standard' income): 43.3%
                    - Estimated Percentage; Class 'F' ('highly skilled labour'): 11.3%
                    - Estimated Percentage; Class 'G' ('lower middle-class'): 4.4%
                    - Estimated Percentage; Class 'H' ('upper middle-class'): 1.8%

                    … it can be gathered that perhaps as many as ~3,200 notably "respectable" persons and ~1,300 very "respectable" persons resided specifically in the 'Whitechapel' area, in 1888.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Colin, many thanks for this.

                      Interesting that in every district there were more people above the poverty line than below, some considerably more.

                      As you say, it depends on one's definition of 'respectable'. My own in this instance would be 'decent and well-behaved', while there is only one definition in my Chambers that refers to financial status and that is: 'fairly well-to-do'.

                      The other definitions that could reasonably apply here are: 'worthy of respect'; 'passable'; 'reputable'; 'seemly'; 'presentable'; 'of good social standing' (marked as obsolete today, but no doubt it applied in the LVP).

                      So nearly every definition would in all probability have applied to the majority of Eastenders in 1888.

                      Love,

                      Caz
                      X
                      I wish I were two puppies then I could play together - Storm Petersen

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        The Social Relativity of "Respectability"

                        Hi, guys. I guess I should clarify that when I mentioned the East End I was thinking more about the "slumming" and "unsavory" type of activities that a more middle-to-upper class Ripper would have indulged in in his spare time. Many of the various theaters & music halls were notorious for the large numbers of prostitutes that blatantly trolled them looking for customers, not to mention the 'suspect virtue' of the actresses and dancers themselves.

                        I was just thinking that can't believe the Ripper only went to Whitechapel on the occasions that he killed; he must have been very comfortable in that milieu & have known the local streets incredibly well to get away with his murders, and I doubt he took his wife when he went out on these excursions. (Although it's not impossible that he took her along sometimes; maybe to have occasionally done so would given him an additional "thrill". But it would have greatly restricted where he could go, what he could do, and who he could speak to.)

                        And Colin, I totally agree with what you say about "Respectability" being a relative term. When I used it as regards a possible middle or upper middle class "Ripper wife", I was visualizing it from within her own frame of reference. There would be many places in London she would refuse to go, because she would think it improper & unseemly based upon the standards of her own "social peers".

                        In Victorian times there seems to exist this phenomena of "social relativity" whereby at every level of the socio-economic ladder, there was a tendency to see the individuals ones considered "beneath" oneself socially and economically to be somehow "less respectable" than oneself.

                        I personally believe that many of the poor people living in Whitechapel had higher personal standards of morality than many in the upper classes.

                        Whenever I read a Ripper witness transcript or newspaper report describing a witness I'm always struck by the fact that some phrase like "of a respectable appearance" is included in one of the opening sentences. In this case the term "respectability" arises from a snap judgment based upon a person's external appearance, which may have absolutely NOTHING to do with that individual's honesty, reliability, and personal morality.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Archaic View Post
                          I doubt he took his wife when he went out on these excursions.
                          I suppose it all boils down to how complicit a Mrs. Ripper would have been. I'm not talking about active participation, but I could see a scenario where a pair of religious zealots might think they were doing the Lord's work.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Archaic View Post
                            Whenever I read a Ripper witness transcript or newspaper report describing a witness I'm always struck by the fact that some phrase like "of a respectable appearance" is included in one of the opening sentences. In this case the term "respectability" arises from a snap judgment based upon a person's external appearance, which may have absolutely NOTHING to do with that individual's honesty, reliability, and personal morality.
                            That's a good point, Archy.

                            But maybe it was more for the benefit of the readers who were not familiar with the area themselves, to reassure them that not every witness was automatically going to be untrustworthy pond life. Noting the reasonably clean and tidy appearance of a witness may have been an attempt in that direction. But trying to read the readership's mind doesn't always work and the Sun boobed spectacularly in the opposite direction when they misjudged their readership in 1989 and called the Liverpool fans who died at Hillsborough lowlife scum, and tried to claim that the disaster was caused by bad behaviour on their part before the game.

                            It's always more about perception than reality. And the perception persists that nobody of any morals would have been seen dead in the late Victorian East End after dark. Not all those actresses and dancers would have been of easy virtue, but it was certainly the perception at the time of people who thought themselves a cut above - men and women. Female performers had to work very hard to change that perception of them slowly over time.

                            Love,

                            Caz
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                            I wish I were two puppies then I could play together - Storm Petersen

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                            • #15
                              Married Killers & Married Child-Molesters

                              Getting back to Howard's original subject of "Significant Others", I've been thinking about the incredibly high number of cases in which married men (or women, as the case may be) are able to get away with
                              the sexual abuse of children for years and years without being detected by their spouse or anyone else.

                              This is even true in cases of incest.

                              I've gained some knowledge of this sad fact because over the years a number of friends and acquaintances have confided in me that these things went on in their own family. Usually a father or an uncle was the culprit and the victim was the daughter, niece or cousin. In some cases it when on for many years.

                              I know of one case where a man sexually abused his daughter her whole life until she reached the age of about 18, when she fell in love with a boy at school, got pregnant and got engaged to him... She defied her father's indecent advances for the first time and finally told her mother. Her father killed himself, and then the family found out that he had also been sexually abusing children on the soccer team he coached! He knew the extent of his crimes was about to be uncovered, so he committed suicide... But he had successfully deceived his wife, son, relatives, neighbors, friends, and all the parents of the kids on the soccer team for many years.

                              It's mind-boggling to think this could occur at all, much less be an ongoing crime spanning years,
                              but I think it illustrates how incredibly skillful certain individuals are at manipulating, controlling and deceiving others.

                              > And if they can get away with this behavior for years while their victims are alive, think how easily they could get away with it if their victims were dead.

                              We all know that Forensic Science was in its infancy at the time of the Ripper Crimes.
                              I think the Ripper might very well have been a married man, and not only would this fact not have hampered him, it would actually have provided him with a good "cover" in that he simply didn't fit the expected profile of the 'low-life wandering maniac' that was popular at the time...

                              Just like all these so-called "fine upstanding family men" didn't fit anyone's expected profile
                              of the sick child-molesting pervert.

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