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5 Questions With Christer Holmgren

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  • 5 Questions With Christer Holmgren

    The Forums thanks Christer for his input !

    1. How popular, in terms of the number of people who study serial murder and crime, are the Whitechapel Murders in Sweden ?

    There is a long tradition of ripperology in Sweden, and to some extent that will owe to one of the victims being a Swede originally. As you will be aware, the first comprehensive full coverage book on the Ripper, written by a Swede, went on sale only a couple of years ago. The author was of course Glenn Andersson, a good friend of mine, living in Helsingborg just like I am. As my recent article in Sydsvenskan was published two weeks ago, it became apparent to me that there is a good lot of interest out there – many people were interested and wanted to know more, so I have opened up a a lot of promising marketing possibilities for Sugden, Evans, Rumbelow and other authors that I have been recommending.

    2. Which of the canonical victims are you less certain of as being connected to the same killer ?

    Stride. It will have to be her, mainly since the physical outcome of that attack was so different from the others. A cut neck was something that people did suffer every now and then, but Stride did not receive the evisceration calling card that was the real giveaway when it comes to the Ripper – or so we tend to think it was, at least. She was also killed at a time that seemingly set her aside from the others, and in a place that deviated – and there were observations made by different people over a period of time that could imply that Stride was in contact with the same man for an extended period of time that night.

    3. Do you think Alice Mackenzie was a Ripper victim ?

    I think she may well have been, yes. Letīs remember that how she is looked upon today is the result of many years of erosion, in a sense. Itīs a lot like how mountains and shores are eroded; some bits and pieces go away quickly while others have something that makes them hang on for the longest time. With Mackenzie, there were people judging her a Ripper victim when she was killed, whereas others did not. And the onsetting waves of Ripperology have eroded away much of the former group, leaving today's newcomers to the case to think she was not killed by Jack.

    4. What witness or witnesses do you think other researchers underestimate ?

    Jonas Mizen. We have a man found by a murder victim stating that PC Mizen was wrong, whereas he himself was right - and the coroner, the jury and generations of ripperologists swallow it..?
    Maybe most people would have expected me to answer Charles Allen Lechmere on this issue, but I donīt think he should be regarded primarily as a witness, but instead as a suspect in his own right.

    5. If you were Home Secretary for a week back in October 1888 and had the power/authority to issue rewards or pardons, would you have ?

    That depends. If I was truly Home Secretary back then, I think the pressure on me to do so would have been tremendeous. And two sets of morals clashed: the moral of wanting to catch the Ripper at any (reward) cost, as per the public, and the moral of not having things like these ruled by money, as per the governing levels of society.
    If I was to settle the question in retrospect, then no – it would have done no good. No money would have bought them the Ripper, if I am correct.

    6. We know that there were pretty tough neighborhoods in London during the late Victorian about in Stockholm ? Were there comparable neighborhoods to some of the tougher ones in London?

    Any large city will have itīs shady areas, and that would have gone for Stockholm too. Just like in London, the docks and the harbourside were not very healthy surroundings to visit if you wanted to stay safe. Generally speaking, though, the late Victorian days were a period of poverty in Sweden, and we normally speak of a criminality back then very much led on by basic needs. People stole to be able to eat and warm themselves. That picture lasted well into the early 20:th century, and it was not until the 1950:s that crime directed towards wealth instead of survival started to rise dramatically. Many people look upon Sweden as a land of resources and wealth, but it was not until after the second world war that my country started to flourish.

    Christer Holmgren
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  • #2
    I was curious about the general awareness in Sweden and Scandinavia of the Mad Trapper of Rat River case.

    Myth Merchant films exhumed the body but DNA could not prove the identity of this Rambo of the Arctic.


    • #3
      What general awareness, Sanfran ...? I have never heard a word about this case before, and I suspect that will go for most Swedes and Scandinavians.

      Tough guy, that Albert Johnson, though. Thanks for bringing him to my attention!

      The best,
      "In these matters it is the little things that tell the tales" - Coroner Wynne Baxter during the Nichols inquest.


      • #4
        You're very welcome. The Mad Trapper was always my favorite break from JtR.

        Plus, there are "shades of Whitechapel", at least with Mary Kelly and the attempt to identify her with only a death photo and rumors.

        Here is an old thread from this forum.


        • #5
          Thanks for that, Sanfran!

          "In these matters it is the little things that tell the tales" - Coroner Wynne Baxter during the Nichols inquest.