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5 Questions With : SAM GAFFORD

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  • 5 Questions With : SAM GAFFORD

    He was part of the group that started Casebook Productions which resulted in RIPPER NOTES and the American Ripper Convention...He also contributed several articles to the Casebook website of which only the Royal Conspiracy article is still up... He was very active in Ripper studies at that time and spent a lot of time talking in the chats with folks like Dave Yost, Stephen Ryder, Christopher George and such...


    Here they are and here he is:
    ________________________

    1. Since your departure from Ripper Notes, have you been involved in any research or activities within the field of Ripperology ?

    Well, it’s been awhile since RIPPER NOTES. Since then, I’ve tried to keep up with a lot of the major books that are released but haven’t really been involved in any research of my own. But, when you’re a Ripperologist, you’re a Ripperologist for life! LOL
    One thing that I am currently working on is a novel that takes place in Whitechapel during the murders and revolves around the case. The novel starts out as a standard mystery story but takes a decidedly horrific and mystical turn. It stars Victorian writer Arthur Machen as one of the heroes but is narrated by one of his friends. I’m about 150 pages into it and the first murder just occurred! At this rate, it will probably end up being about 500 pages and I hope to finish it this year. It was my goal to portray the case in the most accurate way possible. I want this to be a novel that any Ripperologist can read and say, “well, he got all his facts right!” LOL


    2. Which Ripper related books have you read recently that have impressed you ? It doesn't matter if it was 5 years ago...ANY books.

    Ah, let’s see. The Sugden book is obviously the highlight of the field. It is the book that I wish I could have written! After reading that, I sincerely felt that there was nothing else to write. Imagine my surprise when new books keep coming out! I am constantly amazed by the amount of excellent scholarship in the field and still find myself stunned at the amount of things I do NOT know.
    And, of course, I read all the Maybrick books and Cornwell’s book. I love to read the JTR: A-Z (particularly when doing novel research! LOL). Every once in a while I re-read Stephen Knight’s FINAL SOLUTION because I just enjoy the story so much. I absolutely ADORE Alan Moore and Eddie Campbell’s FROM HELL and feel that it is probably the best fictional adaption of the case. I liked Begg’s JACK THE RIPPER: THE FACTS and always have a connection to Rumbelow’s book as it was the first I ever read.



    3. If your arm was twisted hard enough, do you think you would be interested in attending the 2008 RipCon in Knoxville Tennessee, organized by individuals from the staff of Ripper Notes?

    I would LOVE to attend the convention! It’s more a matter of getting myself there! I was fortunate enough to have a paper I wrote read at the very first US Ripper Conference (which I was unable to attend in person) and it would be a major thrill for me to actually attend the Knoxville convention.


    4. Whats your position...right here and right now...on the Maybrick Saga,sor ?

    LOL. Well, let me just say that I think it’s a really great STORY! I honestly don’t think that this is the correct solution but it makes for one heck of a yarn. I sincerely believe, as Rumbelow stated, that when Jack the Ripper stands up at the end of the universe, everyone will go, “who’s he?” I don’t think that, even at this point in time, truly know who he was.


    5. If you had one individual you would like to see more researchers investigate, which one would that be...and if its not too much trouble, why ?

    Well, as I just said above, I don’t think that the real Jack is even a suspect at this time. I tend to think that we should be looking towards a Kosminski like suspect if not Kosminski himself. The reason being that my personal feeling is that Jack was not a rational or ‘organized’ murderer. My belief is that he was psychologically unhinged (no surprise, eh?) and was probably only a step or two away from a raving maniac. I don’t believe any of the conspiracy type theories (despite having written the article on the Royal Conspiracy which I’m happy to see is still on the Casebook website) or the famous suspects. I certainly don’t believe for a moment that Lewis Carroll, Prince Eddy, Sickert (any of them), Stephens or Maybrick was the killer. I tend to agree with Stephen Douglas’ profile of Jack which would eliminate most of these suspects. They’re just too ‘sane’ to have been the killer and I believe that Jack would have had a great deal of difficulty passing for ‘normal’ in general society. By this point in time, I feel that we will never know Jack’s identity for sure barring the miraculous discovery of hard evidence. In the meantime, I feel we should look harder at suspects who are more ‘unhinged’ than the popular gang.
    To Join JTR Forums :
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  • #2
    Originally posted by How Brown View Post

    I would LOVE to attend the convention! It’s more a matter of getting myself there! I was fortunate enough to have a paper I wrote read at the very first US Ripper Conference (which I was unable to attend in person) and it would be a major thrill for me to actually attend the Knoxville convention.
    We would love to see you there, Sam. Let me know if you have any questions.

    ripperconference@gmail.com

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    • #3
      I'd certainly love to attend if I could. Imagine a weekend discussing Jack! However, as I live in Rhode Island, a trip to TN isn't a little thing. I'd have to seriously consider the costs involved before making a decision. If I can swing, I certainly will. I, of course, offer my services to the convention in any capacity they could use either as speaker or room monitor! LOL

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      • #4
        Sam, I'm with you all the way on the Maybrick STORY. I doubt we'll ever know conclusively who Jack really was, and perhaps if we did it would take all the sting out of forums like this.

        I'll be eargerly looking forward to your new book. Do you have a working title yet?

        Best regards

        Brian

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        • #5
          I'd certainly love to attend if I could. Imagine a weekend discussing Jack! However, as I live in Rhode Island, a trip to TN isn't a little thing. I'd have to seriously consider the costs involved before making a decision. If I can swing, I certainly will. I, of course, offer my services to the convention in any capacity they could use either as speaker or room monitor!

          Thats what I did when I was there in 2006 Sam...I hadda keep an eye out for septugener...septicgeneric...ah balls !...old people who kept bebopping in and out of the hall the convention was in...interrupting the speeches and making noise about Medicare and who was a better President, Buchanan or Garfield, and stuff from their generation.

          I came real close to going to the knuckles with this one old woman ( not that old, around 85, probably a 50 inch reach with gloves on) who thought she could still toss her hands up...you know the type, the mouthy,4 foot 10 types, with the blue hair and a lot to say...until I offered her out for a fair one. She saw I had some decent back up, so she chickened out. Stan and Sir Bob had to hold me back from that one. Doing door security can get hairy at times.
          To Join JTR Forums :
          Contact Howard@jtrforums.com

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          • #6
            Sam Gafford is THE man!

            Hi. This was great reading. Finally, someone who knows what he's talking about and doesn't support any nonsense theories. I'll show my ignorance here and ask who Stephen Douglas is and where can i read his profile about JTR.

            Bye

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            • #7
              Thanks for all the responses! It's nice to see the interest!

              As for the novel I'm working on, the working title is THE WHITE PEOPLE which, if you're familiar with the works of Arthur Machen, should set off some bells. It's an interesting blend of fiction and fact as well as blending in Machen's themes. My goal is to have the first draft finished by November of this year and bring it with me to Crime Bake in Massachusetts in late November.

              As for Stephen Douglas, I'm afraid that I misremembered the name of John Douglas, the retired FBI agent who developed criminal profiling. During a 1988 TV special, Douglas and his panel concluded that Jack was a white male, probably mid 30s with a history of mental disease. He was probably from the lower working class and would be a loner without any strong emotional relationships. I'm working primarily from memory but they felt that none of the suspects truly fit the profile but, if pressed, they would have leaned towards Kozminski (sp?).


              Jack's identity in my novel is nothing like that! LOL

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              • #8
                Sam,

                I remember seeing that TV programme. It generated a lot of interest, and I personally found it intriguing. I seem to remember being a litle disappointed that they focussed only on the 'known suspects' and failed to actually elaborate or hypothesise on any potential alternatives. That said however, it wa a brilliant piece of television work, and a thoroughly enthralling programme. At one point I thought they might come down in favour of Joe Barnett but in the end, as you say, they favoured Kozminsky.

                I wish you success with your novel, and eagerly await details of it's publication.

                Coincidentally, Jack's identity in my novel is nothing like that profile either.
                Best regards

                Brian

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                • #9
                  Brian:

                  I saw that program ( The Secret Identity of JTR...with Peter Ustinov ) as well.

                  The suspect list included PAV,Gull,Kosminski,Druitt and D'onston.

                  I thought the presentation of D'onston's possible complicity was the best....but as you know only 12 percent of the voters felt as I did.

                  That was then and this is now, as they say
                  To Join JTR Forums :
                  Contact Howard@jtrforums.com

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                  • #10
                    I'm glad someone else watched it How. I recently picked up a copy of an old video of a Channel 4 video, called 'The Whitechapel Murders (Jack the Ripper, The First American Serial Killer)', produced by Stephen White and written and presented by David Jessel. Of course it 'identifies' Tumblety as Jack, but it make for quite a good video presentation. Have you seen that one? (Made by channel 4 Television 1996)

                    Brian

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