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5Q With : John Malcolm January 19, 2015

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  • 5Q With : John Malcolm January 19, 2015

    Thanks very much, John !

    1. What's your opinion of the latest few solutions to the Case? Referring to the DNA/Shawl story...and the Charles Lechmere-as-Ripper theory?

    The DNA/Shawl story was a non-starter from the beginning. From the first time I caught wind of the author's premise, I assumed it was just a cheap stunt- the red flags were blinding. It was weird to me that the story inspired more discussion about Aaron K. as a suspect than Jack the Ripper and the Case for Scotland Yard's Prime Suspect did. It goes to show how easily common sense can be obscured when headlines that a supposedly reputable science and attached scientist are involved. It's impressive how the extra-smart among us could technically debunk this latest hoax, but it was unnecessary, as the outcome was a no-brainer. Needless to say, even with a heavy dose of magic fairy dust, the most positive scientific result still would have fallen far short of "proving" much of anything. As for the Lechmere/Cross thing, it would take a supposition that the police were stupid and this "suspect" was a daring genius. If we were to forget everything we know about other suspects and the police, there might be an interesting potential case against him. But for this man to be in the public spotlight of an inquest and then get right back at it to me sounds unlikely. The research into these peripheral characters is welcome, fascinating and to be admired, but Lechmere/ Cross as "Jack the Ripper"...I doubt it.


    2. Does the DNA/Shawl story adversely affect the Kozminski-as-Ripper foundation?


    I don't think it affects the case against this suspect at all. Initially it brought attention to the idea that Kozminski might have been a murderer, but it doesn't change anything about what we know about him or the "Polish Jew Theory". What we know of this episode can be looked at as a cautionary tale. Exploiting the murders is nothing new, and attaching a well-known suspect to a "scientific" approach might seem like a good recipe for success in the field of Ripperology. Doesn't seem like the case here. But to all of those who have shrugged off Robert Anderson and his "theory", you can breathe a sigh of relief...you're still right. For now, anyway.

    3. Opinion regarding The Bank Holiday Murders?


    I totally enjoyed the book. It was honest, to the point and thought-provoking. Although it goes beyond my imagination suggesting a conspiracy amongst somewhat powerful people of questionable character, there are quite a few things I learned and I would recommend it, especially for those who think they've heard it all before.

    4. Any trends on the boards that you've been interested in lately?

    To be honest, my attention span has been greatly diminished, so most trends escape me. The discussions lately about private asylums
    keep my attention though.

    5. What areas of research would you like to see more effort put into.

    I think cross-referencing criminal and medical records as well as new inquiries regarding hospitals/asylums/convalescent homes might provide potentially fruitful paths of research. For me, some more in-depth probing of the immigrant community and it's relationships with locals and the authorities would be something that might be inspiring. Of course it's where I think it most likely that new clues might emerge, but that's just my pro-Anderson obsession!

    6. What's your opinion of Ripperologist Magazine over the last year...selecting at least one article or column which was of special interest.....

    Unfortunately there are many more articles that I haven't read compared to the ones I have. When it was a printed magazine I usually read it cover-to-cover. I'm still resisting the 21st century to some extent (for no good reason), so I still spend more time with books than I do with the computer. That being said, it's always loaded with great stuff- so much so that every issue has something for everyone and every time I go back to previous issues, I find gold. Top notch writers and production. I'm not sure I could narrow my favorite articles down to one, but two that immediately come to mind are the one Jon Simons wrote on Alice McKenzie (in #138?) and Adam Wood's "Sherlock Holmes and the Case of the Polish Jew" in the December issue.

    7. He's been gone for almost a year...give us your view on what Chris Scott meant to the field.

    The word "pioneer" pops into my head, appropriately or not. I've only had a handful of exchanges with Chris over the years, and I always found him humble, honest and well-grounded. His contributions have been invaluable. Going back to Ripperologist, I think my favorite issue from 2014 was #137 (April), which included two earlier articles he had written as well as a very nice tribute, which says it all. His Press Trawls, articles, his books "Will the Real Mary Kelly...?" and "The Ripper in Ramsgate", as well as the less talked about e-book "Jack the Ripper: A Cast of Thousands" will be appreciated by generations of Ripperologists to come.
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  • #2
    right

    Hello John.

    "It's impressive how the extra-smart among us could technically debunk this latest hoax, but it was unnecessary, as the outcome was a no-brainer. Needless to say, even with a heavy dose of magic fairy dust, the most positive scientific result still would have fallen far short of "proving" much of anything."

    Hear, hear.

    Cheers.
    LC

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