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Double Event 5Q With : N E M O

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  • Double Event 5Q With : N E M O

    Many thanks to Nemo for taking the time and effort in responding to this Double Event 5Q ( 5 Questions twice...)
    1. Please give us your opinion as to which three areas of communication (Internet,documentaries,library trawling,blogs, etc...) you feel will be the most likely that Ripperologists will pursue in the next 20 years. Not necessarily in order either.

    In a search for the identity of the Ripper, as well as general Victorian studies, undoubtedly, most people's study, research and communication will be via a PC (or mobile phone nowadays!) and the internet. Coming across anything new or undiscovered will be reliant on institutions, libraries, genealogists and the like, putting further information into a digital format and online. However, significant and relevant information may also be retrieved from relatively unknown books that may turn up on the Gothenburg Project or Google books for example.
    At the moment, due to some errors in optical character recognition (scanning a document as a picture and automatically recognising the letters to turn into digital text) there may be some obscure reference which has remained undiscovered due to simple spelling mistakes, in a person's name for example. So there’s nothing to say that some significant clue isn’t already out there in the Ethernet waiting to be recognized for what it is by an observant Ripper researcher
    I'd like to think that personal communication and dialogue between Ripperologists would increase, in which case, email, conference calls, Skype etc would be utilised to their full extent.
    I have a personal interest in the use of game technology where a crime scene or other location would be loaded as a multiplayer game setting. This could include animated characters acting out the roles of the people involved in the case. Interested Ripperologists could all join in the “game” at the same time and walk around while being able to talk and discuss aspects with each other. Due to the large capacity available in modern game engines, the whole of Whitechapel and surrounding areas could be created with great attention to detail. So there may be some very useful 3D technology and applications that appear in the next few years that will be of use to Ripperologists
    I think for the practical, foot-slogging researchers, though there is still much left to find in the UK, foreign archives, including papers produced in England in foreign languages, may be the only large, potentially fruitful, untapped resource left in the next 20 years.
    The hope is always there for some relevant and significant archives to be extant from government or private sources both in the UK and abroad. "Abroad" could be the USA, Austria, France, Russia, Australia and more. Multilingual researchers could make a huge impact on the Ripper case via their endeavours
    Any Ripperologist's primary resource must always be contemporary documentation and what little evidence exists. I'm sure future Ripperology will still essentially be discussion and theories based on evidence and documentation already known to us today. Therefore, the message boards and other websites, existing publications such as the Ripperologist magazine, SPE's vast collection of related original documents and publications, etc will always be of interest and be accessed by newcomers and old hands alike
    2. What is your opinion of the story John Richardson ( of Hanbury Street fame) provided ?
    Does any of it smack of someone attempting to achieve their 15 minutes of fame or do you believe there is nothing really to dispute within his testimony ?

    The claim to have sat on the step seems to me to be a later addition to his story. He initially stated that he opened the door and glanced to his right and then went off to work which seems very natural.
    I feel that somebody must have stated that in doing so, he couldn't have been sure that the body was not there, after which he seems to have added that he sat on the step and he could vouch that the body definitely wasn't there
    Wanting 15minutes of fame is a possible reason for him to embellish his story in such a manner. It's a bit better a story than "Was the body there when you went in the yard?" , "Errr....I don't know, I didn't really look..."
    Another reason might have been that he had basically admitted to being the last person to be in the rear yard prior to the body being discovered. Not only that, but I think he may have admitted to having had a knife on him before realising that that there may be an insinuation that he himself may have been the murderer.
    During further questioning, he may have said that the reason he had a knife was to cut leather from his boot which he said he did. Alternatively, he said the knife he had was not fit for purpose, being a butter knife (!) so he actually cut leather from his boot later at the market. It sounds a bit unclear and concocted to me. Denial of the body being there would be a refutation of him having any involvement in the crime
    I have to give Dr Phillips credit as an experienced medical man and his opinion seems to be, regardless of the actual time of death, that the body must have been there when Richardson popped his head into the yard
    Of course, in this case, Mrs Long's description would not be of the Ripper, who did not look like a dark foreigner and say "Will you" etc So some quite significant assumptions about who the Ripper was, what he may have looked like, and how he approached his victims, is destroyed.
    Cadosche did not hear a Ripper victim say "No!", be attacked, and fall against the fence in silence. The Ripper did not calmly and callously mutilate his victim with people moving about close by and in earshot. He was, in all likelihood, off the street, at the rear of a house in which every occupant was asleep, in darkness, with a possibly weak and compliant victim
    Quite significantly, it possibly destroys some of the fallacies in regard to the Ripper being a very quick and silent worker, making a bloodstained escape through populated streets, when in fact he could have killed Chapman much earlier in the morning, perhaps even in the region of 3-4am, working in darkness, and could have had upwards of half an hour with his victim, who may or may not have uttered a sound which went unheard or unrecognized for what it was.
    3. What local repositories are you able to trawl if necessary and are they satisfactory ones ?

    I admit I have made little use so far of local resources. I have some potentially great Victorian historical resources available in my county, it being the location of the birth of the Industrial Revolution. I keep kicking myself for not having accessed the local newspaper archives yet, which are very extensive. The Shrewsbury Chronicle is one of the oldest, longest running newspapers and played a big part in the sensationalisation of crime as in the case of William Palmer, the Rugeley Poisoner. I'm sure there must be a lot to find in there in regard to the Whitechapel murders and beyond. It might be nice aside to find a little extra on the minor character, Philip Gad Cornish, who was from the county
    I therefore can't really vouch for the museum or library services or availability of resources such as Microfiche archives etc I have asked a few questions via email to the museum services in the past but never received a reply. That may be a reflection on their services or my email, not sure which...
    4. On a scale of 1 to 10....10 being the would you rate the story Pearly Poll offered on the night in question with Martha Tabram ?

    Poll actually seems quite honest to me ( shock!) so I'll rate it an 8. You don't often see the LVP women and girls admitting what they are up to so openly. She was quite forward in stating how the night progressed and how she left Tabram and went off with the soldier "up the alley" so I can see little to fault up to that point.
    Identifying soldiers later is a totally different matter. She would not want to be known as a "grass" or "nark". She probably did not suspect the soldiers of being involved, but even if she did, she may have wanted and expected the soldiers to receive justice on the street at some future date rather than handing them in to the police. There is a possibility that Poll was totally fabricating her story for some trivial reason such as wanting to see the body or similar, but I'd like to give Poll some benefit of the doubt
    I get the impression of her as some simple soul who got caught up in a major police investigation and wanted to extricate herself from that ASAP
    5. What was the most coincidental event that has happened to you thus far as a researcher...such as you and someone else coming across the same story at the same time...or someone setting up a thread on something you were intending to set up...that sort of thing.

    This happens so many times, I don’t think I could put my finger on any particular one. I am often reading about some aspect of the case or lesser known personality when a thread pops up about that very subject. You yourself provide numerous articles which coincidentally add to my current research and send me off at tangents.
    Recently, I was pursuing a line of thought which culminated in a Ripper suspect being involved with the Mile End Vigilance committee when practically simultaneously, Le Grande came to the fore as a suspect, so I’m looking into that a bit further at the moment
    6. Over the last calendar year, is there one person mentioned in the literature as a viable suspect that has attracted your attention...and if so, why ?

    Not really Howard. I have a very open mind in regard to suspects, and if any one stood out more than the others, then I would certainly look into that person in great depth. I have not seen anything so far that points convincingly toward any one suspect and am as happy contemplating Charles Ludwig as I am someone like Kosminski
    When considering that all the Whitechapel murders may not have been by the same hand, some of the minor, discounted, contemporary suspects could well be responsible for one or more of the crimes, especially the Tabram killing.
    I personally followed one train of thought and arrived at JD Lampard, again a minor suspect, but one who I would like to see further information on if available, mainly in the interests of completism rather than any significant reason. This suspect was an anatomist type of person who acted strangely and was reported by a third party as being a good suspect for the murders
    Rather than any singular suspect capturing my attention, I have been considering the accomplice and copycat theories in more detail than previously
    There is a lot more contemporary reference to the Ripper having an accomplice than you might first think
    I’ve always thought a gang theory quite plausible or at least a duo acting in tandem, perhaps one “overseer” and one man capable of doing the actual killing in that manner, for reasons unknown (at this point in time)
    I don’t really disregard any theory until proven impossible or any suspect until proven innocent

    7. What areas of the Case do you see researchers focusing on in the future...within articles or in documentaries ?

    I'd like to think we will see something new in documentaries, though I suspect there is still plenty of life in re-hashing old stuff to the general public for sensationalist purposes. Most of the modern Ripper documentaries are at minimum over dramatic and sometimes downright embarrassing. It makes me wonder about the quality of reporting on other historical programmes I like to watch. It is a serious subject after all which seems plagued by a lot of (usually well-meaning) pseudo-experts. Ripper programmes seem to be in the same category of production as those about UFOs or the Loch Ness monster.
    We can hopefully expect more quality material from articles which I think will continue to expand on the history of personalities involved in the original case. In-depth psychoanalysis of the Ripper crimes and geographic and psychological profiling of suspects may be of interest and gain from advances in understanding and technology
    I’m certain that there will be a number of articles commenting on Ripperologists and the history of Ripperology itself, as a phenomenon. I suspect a large part of such commentaries will be negative.
    8. Almost every Ripperologist has one special area of interest whether discussing or reading posts or articles on said material.
    Which one don't you find as interesting as the next person ?

    I find all parts extremely interesting and am happy to read and attempt to digest information on a wide variety of inter-related subjects. However, there are areas which I would not attempt to research myself and rely on others to do so for me. Such areas would be genealogy, geography, or photography
    I also get a bit lost in all the political characters and their associations so I tend to rely on other people’s knowledge and opinions to inform me on those subjects
    It's a bit rare to find me reading anything fictional, so films, opera's, novels and the like don't usually interest me unless they are at the forefront of their genre
    In the main, I tend to concentrate on the crime scene minutiae as they are the only real clues that I think we have. Every move of the Ripper’s hand and body, the locations and the timing are extremely significant. Practically every civilian witness statement is open to question, and also those by the police Sometimes I distrust every single eye witness to the point of completely discounting them all.

    9. You've been given a grant to produce a Ripper film with the help of Chris Scott, Paul Begg , SPE and Colin Roberts. What is the one aspect of your film that you would focus on and possibly improve upon that has yet to be done before ?

    Wow! with that line up I'd make the documentary about the guys themselves, and get to know a little more of their personal interests, how the Ripper fits in their life, and their methods and resources for research. I don’t think I could condense it into one major point
    It's quite a subjective question as would the finished result be aimed toward public consumption, for the Ripper community, or to please my own personal interests?
    For public consumption, I think I would inevitably be influenced by the personalities involved and end up making a programme about some of the lesser known suspects identified by Chris' work. Paul and SPE would be the authoritative commentators and SPE would provide some relevant literature no doubt. I would very much like to see Colin and his map-work have a wider audience so his work would illustrate the area of the time, geographic profiling of some of the suspects and the like. What I would be attempting to do would be to introduce some of the much lesser known personalities connected with the case
    As for something "yet to be done before" - a documentary with just the known facts would be nice, rather than some of the fantasies I've seen before. The only things we definitely have that point toward the personality and identity of the Ripper are the victims he chose, the injuries he inflicted and the time and locations he inflicted them. Such a documentary would necessarily concentrate in detail on the injuries to the victims which would not be for general public consumption.
    10. Is there anything within the literature...or perhaps absent from the literature....that suggests any sort of conspiracy on the part of the collective police force ?

    No. Unless you count the “conspiracy” to appear knowledgeable with regard to the Ripper’s identity
    The only thing I can identify as anything anywhere near a reasonable conspiracy theory is obviously the Thomas Cutbush cover-up story which is debatable. There’s a great difference in objecting to discussions of the Ripper being a policeman for political reasons for example, and covering up a known fact that he was a policeman, if indeed he was.
    The investigation of the Fenians was necessarily one of spying, secrets and subterfuge which coupled with the Ripper mystery can give the air of conspiracy I think, but there is nothing in the rumours in my opinion.
    There may have been an underlying conspiracy to get rid of Charles Warren and otherwise affect the future running of the police force, which is reflected in the press, though I’m not sure that is an indication of how the “collective police force” felt about him or their job
    I’m sure the police in general were trying their utmost to catch the miscreant and would have been happy to publish his identity if known – which it wasn’t.
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  • #2
    Interested in Nemo's comments about John Richardson. It has been the cause of much debate this week as we built the door way and step to exact measurements and recreated the scene.

    At first glance it seems almost impossible that Richardson missed the body and I felt sure we had solved the mystery. Once the body is superimposed 'he must have seen it'

    This was very satisfying till that old dog Begg made an interesting observation.

    While the actor was cutting the boot the door in our model swung closed against the actor giving him No view of the yard what so ever. And while the model was created from a photograph of the door wide open, we simply have no way of knowing how the door behaved in 1888.

    So back to the drawing board I'm afraid 'No Definitive answer'

    Interesting article. Thanks guys.

    YOurs Jeff


    • #3
      Thanks for the comment Jeff

      I think there is a contemporary reference that states that the door closed on it's own

      I don't think he went into the yard at all but him sitting with the door trying to close upon him is a possibility

      A good test would have been how far he would have had to open the door to enable him to see the body if he only stood on the top step


      • #4
        Originally posted by Nemo View Post
        Thanks for the comment Jeff

        I think there is a contemporary reference that states that the door closed on it's own

        I don't think he went into the yard at all but him sitting with the door trying to close upon him is a possibility

        A good test would have been how far he would have had to open the door to enable him to see the body if he only stood on the top step
        You mean Richardson's POV?

        We didn't film that but its a good idea and we still have the door.

        I will run the idea past Sean Cole and Jake and see what they say, it might still be possible to acheive.

        Thanks for that Nemo

        YOurs Jeff


        • #5
          No problem Jeff

          I'd like to see Richardson's POV in the scenario where he opened the door just enough to see the lock on the cellar to his right, in which case I don't think he would have seen the body to his left

          I am thinking from such a position on the top step, he would have to open the door extremely widely to gain a view of the area to the left of the bottom step in the yard




          • #6
            Originally posted by Nemo View Post
            No problem Jeff

            I'd like to see Richardson's POV in the scenario where he opened the door just enough to see the lock on the cellar to his right, in which case I don't think he would have seen the body to his left

            I am thinking from such a position on the top step, he would have to open the door extremely widely to gain a view of the area to the left of the bottom step in the yard


            OK, I'll run this past Sean Cole. I know he's very interested in this subject.

            My personal feelings are that taken with Cadoshe and Mrs Long, Dr Philips must have been mistaken.

            But I agree it is crucial to how we view the killer.

            If this is a man taking extreme chances, as the man witnessed by Schwartz and the fact that Harvey was probably in the square while Eddows was being mutilated, then I feel we have to be dealing with a psychotic killer.

            If the killer has more time and is more cautious I think a psychopathic killer more likely.

            But I agree the case is far from proved in either direction. Do you remember the source about the door closing in 1888? We may be able to use that?

            If it goes ahead I will give you a credit.

            Yours Jeff


            • #7

              Chapman inquest of Richardson as reported in the Times of 11 Sept 88.

              'After cutting the piece of leather off his boot he tied up his boot (indicating to me he had removed it - Neil) and went out of the house. He did not close the back door as it closed itself.'

              I though you were fully aware of this as we discussed it in the early hours of Saturday morning.

              I remember thinking thats very astute of you because not many people pick up on that.



              • #8
                To be honest I hadnt realized the door closed by itself.

                Sean Cole had planned a shot of Richardson checking the lock in the back yard.

                I over ruled him and had Richardson check it by opening the door and peering out, which was always my understanding, and Sean was not to happy as I ruined his shot.

                If the door closed against Richardson why he was cutting his boot, as Begg pointed out, then this would have affected his view of the body.

                I have contacted Sean about an extra shot taking in this information and will await responce.

                We ran this point via Don Rumblow also and he seemed to think Dr Philips must have been mistaken but clearly it is open to interpretation.

                I think it an important observation and one that should be commented upon.

                Yours Jeff


                • #9
                  No Jeff,

                  You are correct.

                  Richardson stated clearly he just looked at the cellar door to see if it was secure. I assume he held the back door ajar as he did so.

                  He also stated he didnt step into the yard.

                  So you were correct to overrule Sean.



                  • #10
                    I think Sean has different glasses on. He's trying to give max view of Jakes models. But I will see if we can talk him into another shot

                    I did however think that Dons point was pretty spot on.

                    If Cadoshe heard people in the back yard and it wasn't Chapman and Jack..

                    then how come they didn't see the body or raise the alarm?

                    I still think Dr Philips was wrong

                    but Definitive must be correct

                    Catch ya later



                    • #11
                      I agree Jeff.

                      I think Don makes a most excellent arguement for Chapman not being there at 4:30 am, nigh on perfect infact.

                      The important witnesses really are the ones Cadoshe had heard.



                      • #12
                        Hi Jeff & Monty

                        As I understand it, the spoken word "No" heard by Cadosche could not be definitely attributed to someone in the yard of No. 29 so he could only place a "bump" type of noise coming from there a short time later, which appeared to him to be similar to when a piece of wood or packing case was leant against the fence

                        Neither of these sounds confirm anything about what was going on in the yard of No. 29

                        IF any noises were heard then they could well have been produced by the couple seen outside by Mrs Long and even then the couple do not necessarily have had to have entered the yard of No. 29

                        The crucial testimony is Richardson's whose statement that he went into the yard at 4:50 may have been affected and encouraged by his knowing that Cadosche was claiming to have heard sounds about 30 mins later

                        If he had entered the yard to cut leather from his boot then I agree it would have been an extraordinary circumstance for him not to have noticed the body, but I don't believe that was the case

                        If he stood at the top, opened the door casually to glance at the cellar to the right, and then left the scene, there is a good chance he would not notice Chapman lying there IMO, which is what he stated initially


                        • #13
                          What Richardson did or did not see is only half the issue as far as I'm concerned. A couple of feet behind the back door was a disemboweled body. If Chapman's body had been there when Richardson opened the door, he could have smelled it. A cut up human body leaves a pungent odor. Yes, bad smells were all over the district; but I'm thinking Richardson would have at least taken note of this had it been present.


                          Another fine interview by the way. I enjoyed reading it.


                          • #14
                            Hey Mr Mac, good to read you.

                            Hope things are progressing well.

                            I had the massive pleasure of sitting in on Don Rumbelows talking head for Jeffs doc.

                            In the studio with Don and myself was Jeff, Laura, Paul the techno guy and Paul Begg.

                            I listened to a fascinating conversation between Don, Jeff and Mr Begg regarding Richardson. The question of smell arose. Where the was no disagreement that a foul odour would have been present the query arose on if it would have been 'masked' by the odour fron Mrs Richardsons equally foul smelling cats meat.

                            Would her son have noticed the smell?

                            I have no idea if a recently eviscerated corpse would produce a differing smell to rotting cats meat.

                            Like I say, though the topic was unsavory, I couldnt help feeling priviliged to eitnessing such and interesting debate between these learned men.

                            Some guys get all the luck huh?



                            • #15
                              That's certainly a consideration RJM

                              However, by that time the body may have been there upwards of an hour so any immediately released smells would have dissipated

                              The morning being cold may also have reduced the odours

                              The body was also quite a bit forward of the door so would not be directly beneath his nose as it were

                              Add that to the previous speculation that Richardson probably just popped his head round the door and glanced to the right before closing the door, and there arises the distinct possibility that smells and odours would not be detected

                              Again, if he had sat on the steps then there would be a more than good chance of him espying the body or smelling it