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Point To Ponder : 'Mad Jack' Hiron : A Hanbury Street Lodger

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  • Point To Ponder : 'Mad Jack' Hiron : A Hanbury Street Lodger

    Robert Hiron committed suicide in April of 1889.

    Hiron lived at 46 Hanbury Street as far back as 1881....Chris Scott finding him in the census back in 2008 and just this evening, Nina Brown found the street number. As you'll see in the article, Hiron was living in the neighborhood and working as a shoemaker.

    He lived across the street from Mrs. Richardson's house at 29 Hanbury Street.

    Makes me wonder what his sister meant by the murders preying on his mind for some time....and that before the murders there was nothing to account for his madness.
    Hate to say it, as I'm blase' about suspects and suspect theory, but just maybe he was accountable for his own madness, if you get my drift.

    I do not know if anyone has ever looked into Hiron's past or what's possible to look into....but I find it interesting.

    South Wales Echo
    April 27, 1889

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  • #2
    I think we would need to know a lot more about the man to come to many conclusions. He "wandered away" in November and he killed himself on Easter Monday. He was known as "Mad Jack". It takes awhile to gain a nickname. Is about five months long enough? My guess is he had a mental illness and obsessed on the murders. His family would choose to see the murders as the cause.

    It would be interesting to know more about him.
    The wickedness of the world is the dream of the plague.~~Voynich Manuscript


    • #3
      Thanks for the reply, Anna.

      I've seen that article at least 40 to 50 times in other newspapers ( which other long-time researchers have as well )...but what struck me this time was that I paid a little more attention to the remark the sister made about Hiron not manifesting any signs of mental instability before the crimes.

      Profilers mentions stressors which serve as launching pads for serial murderers to act out. Divorce, death, loss of income, etc. Druitt, for example, had experienced being booted out of Valentine's School...possibly for homosexual indiscretions or inattentiveness to his duties at school. Its been suggested he was influenced by a stress factor to commit suicide.

      Hiron, on the other hand, and prior to the murders, had no known stressors or at least, none his sister would attest to. I see no reason to believe his sister would hold back from letting the police know of pre-murder instability.

      Look at it this way....if you were my sister and I killed myself... would you bring up the effect the murders had on me which, according to you, started at the time of the murders....knowing full well I lived across the street from one murder scene ? To me, it would make the police interested in learning more about me.

      I don't want to smear his name by suggesting he was a murderer or even a suspect. What is noteworthy is that his erratic behavior coincided with the murders extending into 1889 as well as his departure from Whitechapel in November.
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      • #4
        How: Anything is possible and your ideas are as good as mine. My idea is that the man was to some degree mentally ill for quite some time and family either did not notice or were in denial. Until very recently strange behaviour was frequently just that. A nervous disposition. Hysteria if you were a woman. Bilious. Melancholy. Blue.

        It does not matter if the man manifested signs of instability perhaps from obsessing on the murders or from something more active. I would bet his mental health was degenerating before either possibility.

        Consider too the amounts of alcohol many were imbibing.

        This particular man had a trade but he was staying in rooming houses. That suggests he may not have been successful at his trade.

        It is possible he only saw his family when he was relatively well and the sister may not have known about times when he was unwell.

        Then we can read between the lines and think of the family's position. Suicide was--and still is to some extent--shameful and criminal. How much better to think and say, Brother never showed signs of mental instability until that devil Jack the Ripper made him do it. Some of the blame and shame gets passed to the murderous fiend, the very devil.

        It is also a way to say, mental illness doesn't run in our family but there was the one case of our sane brother who killed himself because of those terrible murders.

        Which is not to say the man did not brood on the murders. Perhaps he had known one or more of the victims. Perhaps he had unbidden urges in his mind that frightened him. Perhaps he brooded and drank and that added to instability. There are many possibilities.

        Concerning the sister's position, I can say from personal experience that people in modern times are very bad when it comes to suicide. In Victorian times there were still issues about if such a person could be buried in hallowed ground, etc. A dear friend of mine killed himself and well meaning people said he had been a really nice person and it was too bad that he would have to spend eternity in hell! This bit had a profound but positive effect on me until this day.

        Blaming JtR for the unexpected and inexplicable must have provided a level of comfort.
        The wickedness of the world is the dream of the plague.~~Voynich Manuscript


        • #5

          Very good points there...very good.
          I'll get back to you later on this...much obliged for the reply.
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