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"Confessions Of A Ripperologist"- 5Q With John Malcolm

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  • "Confessions Of A Ripperologist"- 5Q With John Malcolm

    Cover of Confessions of A Ripperologist by John Malcolm
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  • #2
    The next series of 5Q will once more be kindly handled by a top notch gentleman and Ripperologist, John Malcolm.

    Back in 2006, one the highlights of the Ripper Convention in Baltimore was receiving John's self-published book, Confessions of A Ripperologist"...only 100 were published and I was lucky to be given number 96 of the 100. I didn't ask John for it,nor did he try to sell it to me. He just handed it to me.

    Today at work I was thinking back to when I first read the O'Donnell Manuscript in 2006. I've read it twice. The first time I read it, I was looking for specifics. The second time I slugged through the O.D. I read it for different reasons. Even though I was reading the same tome, I was reading it the second time from another angle and noticed things that I had read but not truly absorbed the first time..

    So much for the O.D. I mention that because that's the way I have read "Confessions" by John...twice and with or for different reasons. The first time was to examine any particular theory John may have had in regard to Case solution. There were of course other things I picked up when I read it, but basically I was looking at it from a viewpoint of someone who didn't have a case solution theory ( myself ) and saw that John was an objective minded researcher/author, who felt that the least unlikely suspect in the crimes was Aaron Kosminski, but accepted that there is a better chance of answering those "nagging issues that buzz around noisily in our head" ( John's phrase) in regard to solving mini-mysteries within the Great Victorian Mystery than to a satisfactory solution to the WM at the point in time he put this wonderful book together.

    The most recent reading of John's book (today in fact) was as if I had scarcely read it the first time. I had asked John, always compliant with answering the call to assist in the 5Q on the Forums, if he would like to help out JTR Forums again. I asked him whether he had an area he would like me to ask him questions from and his response was in the "Ripper books" category.

    Since I have just re-read "Confessions" and since John had mentioned the subject of Ripper books, I don't think there's a better place to start than to focus on John's book and do a comprehensive questions/interview with Mr. Malcolm based on his first of a kind Ripper book, one that may be classified as a specialist book in its own unique way, which covers those areas of the Case that excite and often frustrate him just as many of us are thrilled or dejected by one area or the other of the WM Case in addition to covering many of the issues we discuss here and some from a unique perspective that should be shared and not confined only to those who are fortunate to have a copy of this work.

    That John's work was a limited edition is something that I truly hope will be taken into consideration by a reputable publisher and that we see John's "Confessions of A Ripperologist" made available to everyone in every nook and cranny of the Ripper community..and even amongst the civilians.

    On several points, such as the likely provenance of the Goulston Street Graffiti and the likelihood of Martha Tabram being a Ripper victim,rather than excluded from the canonical five, John and I are of kindred mind. Other issues, such as his perception of Emma Smith in relation to the Whitechapel Murderer and her murder being generally dismissed from the killer's list of victims is food for thought and just one of the questions I will form for John in this mini-series of questions. And yes, he is an "Andersonite".

    I don't have the time to begin the Q &A tonight, but I will proceed sending John questions shortly. I hope you will enjoy John's answers and hope as I do that somehow down the line,John's book is made available for one and all.
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    • #3
      Originally posted by How Brown View Post
      Back in 2006, one the highlights of the Ripper Convention in Baltimore was receiving John's self-published book, Confessions of A Ripperologist"...only 100 were published and I was lucky to be given number 96 of the 100. I didn't ask John for it,nor did he try to sell it to me. He just handed it to me.
      Now that's real interesting, because I brought my copy of #96 down to Baltimore, and it went missing after a night of techno rave and amyl nitrate with Odell and that Cleveland Butcher guy.

      Seriously, it's a gem of a book that deserves a wider audience.

      I will shut up now and let John speak.


      • #4
        I've just told John that I'll begin sending the questions today. I'm looking forward to the answers too, Sir Bob.
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        • #5
          Part One: Is This Really Necessary?

          1. Please describe how you first became interested in the Whitechapel Murders/Jack The Ripper...the how,the where, and specifically the "when" as far as your consuming interest began.

          2. There's a quote in the beginning of your book from John Douglas, the FBI profiler who wrote " The Cases That Haunt Us" which goes: " The search for Jack The Ripper's identity....has become a Rohrschach test that often reveals more about the beholder than the subject beheld".

          How much of what Mr. Douglas' quote applies to you personally? Please elaborate as much as you wish.

          3. You make an observation in the first section of the book in regard to those "parasitic entities" that have attached themselves to the all-too-willing host of commercial Ripperology. With or without naming names as far as who those entities are, can there be any good that comes from the presence of those entities in your view? Could someone profit from the parasites,as you see them, by becoming a more conscientious Ripperologist down the line...

          .......or is the presence of those entities a negative one all around?

          4. As of this point in time, what interest do you have in other criminal cases ? Must they have some tangential relation to the WM or are there cases outside the sphere of Ripperology which interest you?

          5. On the first page of the work, you mention that there are some researchers of late who have put considerable effort into their work for the community by which to further understand the WM. Please give a brief list of those researchers who you feel have been and continue to be worthy of recognition in 2009 and those areas they've impressed you in.
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          • #6
            Responses To Questions 1-5

            1. The first memory I have that I can recall where "Jack the Ripper" was on my mind was around 1988 when I was contemplating a costume for a Halloween party- at the time I doubt that I even realized he wasn't a total fantasy- but, as I had no idea what this character might have looked like, I chose the mild figure of Alex from "A Clockwork Orange" instead...of course there may be some irony there, but I was oblivious at the time. The next time "Jack the Ripper" came into my thoughts was after accidentally seeing the last part of some documentary, where the words "Mary Kelly, last victim of..." caught my attention. This was in 1993, as I'd just moved into a new (to me) house, which came with an old piano- I didn't play piano at the time, nor do I now- anyway, for some reason, the plight of Mary Kelly had some weird resonance (it was then I realized that the murders were a factual set of events) and I decided that I would improvise an instrumental bit and call it "Mary Kelly". Trying to be technically accurate, I wanted to be sure of the spelling of her surname (Kelly vs. Kelley), so I picked up a book on the subject (I can't remember which). Within two years I'd moved out of the house, read a handful of books about the murders and landed on Commercial Street. The song never happened.

            2. The "Rorschach" thing probably applies to me at least as much as anyone. There was some comment a while back on one of the message boards regarding some of the more recent Ripper books being "self-indulgent", which I took to be a negative classification, but one under which Confessions certainly falls. I don't think this is necessarily a bad thing, but of course in this case, this is self-indulgent thinking.

            3. I think here I was kind of calling out the Diary garbage more than anything else, which seemed to suck out lots of energy from the "Ripper" community that could have been put to better use. I suppose it could be looked at a couple of different ways as far as its value goes- it broadened the spectrum of interest, but in doing so also blurred the line between fact and fiction, cluttering up the field in general, to me unnecessarily. Thankfully, I think we've all learned some valuable lessons from this and other semi-fictional endeavors and we have become a little wiser. That said, I think these things invite more trouble than they are worth.

            4. Other serial killer cases interest me insofar as trying to make comparisons to the Whitechapel murders, but modern serial killers have been increasingly difficult to pin down as far as patterns of behavior are concerned- take for instance Ted Bundy- but in some cases, like that of Gary Ridgway, I believe there can be parallels drawn that can be strikingly familiar over the course of the historical studies of the phenomenon. The case of Andrew Goldstein, although never achieving the status of "serial killer", is an interesting one. He was a schizophrenic who eventually ended up throwing women in front of a train, who fell in and out of reality, randomly attacking at least 13 woman in a two year span. Besides these examples, the only true crime case that has really been an interest to me is that of Charles Manson and Company.

            5. Currently there are too many to mention, which bodes well for the future of Ripperology, but two people come to mind immediately when I think of those who have been contributing in a big way since I made those comments: Chris Phillips and Chris Scott- whether it be BMD records, census, workhouse, newspapers, etc., they deserve praise and we should feel very much indebted to them. In the last couple of years, Rob House has been very impressive with his work on the Jewish East End and Mike Covell is a madman with his Stephenson research.

            John Malcolm
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            • #7
              Part Two: Framing The Murders

              To be continued...
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              • #8
                John was supplied with 10 more questions...5 on Part One and 5 on Part Two.

                Stay tuned.
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                • #9
                  Before anyone asks John questions relative to his book or the answers he is generously providing...please wait until the first 15 questions are on this thread with 15 answers....and then I will set up a separate thread on this Forum for you to ask John your questions. Thank you in advance.
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                  • #10
                    Questions 6- 10 Part One: Is This Necessary?

                    1. How often do you feel that authors insinuate their assumptions,unconsciously or otherwise, in their works ? Is this a pattern or an anomaly limited to a handful of tomes ?

                    2. Your remark that " To follow one's instincts to the end is noble, but to deny or conceal wrong conclusions and by selling a book simply to recoup the emotional or financial losses incurred when undertaking such endeavors in not only selfish, its dishonest and disrespectful"

                    Without naming names and placing specific often have you seen this occur as it appears to be primarily in the area of suspect based Ripperology?

                    3. Unlike many American Ripperologists, you've been to Britain nearly 2 dozen times. In your visits, you've slept in the Ten Bells on a number of occasions ( either inebriated,I hope...and/or in sobriety). You also mention that you've tried to "absorb the ghosts of 1888" ( as you put it ). How high was your high gear imagination running on those evenings sleeping in the same haunt some of the victims drank in and perhaps Saucy Jacky himself ?

                    4. While you have praise,as all Ripperologists do, for Philip Sugden's the same time you refer to his "underlying slant that is cleverly and astutely masked by the author's shout of supreme objectivity and condemnation of subjectivity."
                    For me,its obvious that some of the "slant" is in regard to Sir Robert Anderson, who you declare that Sugden pummels as if the pummeling was based on a long held animus. Please expand on whether you feel that Sugden is slanted towards any other area of the Case in general or in one or two specific areas....or is it just Anderson.

                    5. You labeled the Maybrick Saga..."that provocative piece of shit". You comment on the "whopping contradiction" between the Diary and Dr. Bond's report on Mary Kelly's murder scene. Is this the prime reason or just one of several thatled you to conclude in the invalidity of the Maybrick Saga?
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                    • #11
                      Answers 6-10 Part One: Is This Necessary?

                      6. I think it's nearly impossible not to let your assumptions or opinions effect your work, and even the most honest writers are susceptible to allowing these to creep in to their books. For example, the Jack the Ripper A-Z, which, in my opinion is one of the best and most valuable books on the subject, has been called out on several occasions, and even The Ultimate Jack the Ripper Companion is not completely devoid of subtle insinuations. The vast majority, as should be expected, of the more obvious and more frequent examples are suspect-based books, which, to be persuasive, do it as a necessity. The anomalies are books such as Stephen Ryder's Public Reactions to Jack the Ripper, which, of course leaves little room for such things.

                      7. I think this might be a direct shot at Portrait of a Killer, because if Patricia Cornwell actually believes this case is closed, she is insane.

                      8. There probably aren't many things that could be more intense for a Ripperologist than to creep down the creaky stairs at the Ten Bells at 3am and sit in the empty bar (although the constant flow of traffic does hinder the effect). I had the great fortune of being able to stay there a half-dozen times or so and fortunately I've got lots of film, or else I probably would have forgotten the better half of it. Hammered all day, every day. Many, many life-changing moments. And so many good people.

                      9. I think the "slant" is caused, basically, by one single chapter- Caged in an Asylum: Aaron Kosminski. Here Sugden inexplicably departs from his lucid and matter-of-fact presentation and unleashes a ferocious attack on Sir Robert Anderson, systematically and unreservedly demolishing the "Polish Jew Theory", but relying heavily on blatantly hypothetical scenarios and questionable assumptions. His chapter on Severin Klosowski was kind to the George Chapman as suspect school of thought, but it was by no means heavily in favor. It's not simply because I disagree with his conclusions that I take such offense to his treatment of Anderson, but to me he went too far out of his way and employed dubious speculation. Otherwise, it sticks pretty closely to the facts; there is no arguing that this is one of the best narratives ever written on the subject, despite my reservations.

                      10. I think my hostility toward the Maybrick Saga has receded somewhat since I did the book, and I have to acknowledge that the mystery surrounding it is an intriguing sidelight to the Jack the Ripper story, but it has all but completely separated itself from the reality of the Whitechapel murders, thankfully. The discrepancy about the scene of Mary Kelly's murder is no doubt a (maybe unforeseen) clear indication of a fraud, but a more telling observation would be that there wasn't a single corroborative bit of information about the murders that was contained within the "diary" that could not be sourced. If it was an introduction to the case, I can see where it could be believable, but to anyone even remotely acquainted with the "facts", it should have been obvious after the first reading.
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                      • #12
                        Q & A For Part Two: Framing The Murders


                        11. Unique among modern Ripperologists,you feel that the study of the WM should
                        begin with Emma Smith's April 1888 murder. Often documentaries will skim over
                        Smith in the same way and to a greater degree than they do with Martha Tabram.
                        Do you have any thoughts on how we might include her in the list of Jack The
                        Ripper murders as well as under the all encompassing heading of Whitechapel

                        12. After the Stride murder, in a translated interview with The Star newspaper,
                        Israel Schwartz is claimed to have said that the Broad Shoulders Man appeared
                        "partially intoxicated". It isn't known in which language this interview
                        occurred as it may have been in Magyar or Yiddish or even some other Eastern
                        European language.

                        In Yiddish, the word for drunk is schiker or schikered...which could concievably
                        be misunderstood for meshuggeh... partially intoxicated....zu teil schiker...
                        could sound like zu teil meshuggeh with a little imagination.

                        Do you believe that there is any chance of the condition of the Stride Murderer
                        being misinterpreted as intoxicated when he may have as a long shot been in
                        reality a little disoriented or that he looked deranged? Often times those who
                        are deranged could be considered looking as if they are slightly intoxicated.

                        13. Few people in our community seem overly concerned with the feelings or
                        reaction to the Whitechapel Murderer and the influx of Jews in the 1880's among
                        the Anglo & Irish proletarian people from a Anglophilic or Irish-friendly point
                        of view.. Many will bend over backwards to retrospectively sympathize with the
                        Jews who came into London during the 1880's and try to explain away what I see
                        as the natural reaction to what people had every right to consider an invasion
                        of aliens in their midst foisted on them by the powers that existed within the
                        British Government. Because of the Leather Apron scare prior to the debut of
                        Jack The Ripper in early October, it seems natural to me at least that the
                        reactions of people in the East End towards Jews & Jack The Ripper would find
                        many East End native born males associating one with the other. Do you have
                        ideas or thoughts along this line? Do you feel that too much is made of
                        anti-Semitism in the East End ? After all,if it was that bad,then why would the
                        Jews continue to enter an area they were not welcomed in?

                        I also take issue with the concept of an anti-Semitic police force being less
                        than democratic towards Jews because they were Jews. Where does John Malcolm
                        stand on this concept or position?

                        14. On page 26 of your have the quote by John Douglas,the noted FBI
                        profiler, which states...

                        "It really gets to be a challenge when an offender is not administratively
                        considerate enough to confine his illicit activities to one jurisdiction.."

                        Do you feel that there is any chance that the Ripper wanted to get both City
                        and Met police departments involved on September 29th,1888 intentionally?

                        15. Before we proceed to the next chapter...please rank the victims according to
                        how you envision them within the Malcolm-Canonical list. Please give a definite
                        Ripper victim a 5 and a non-Ripper victim a 0. Then grade those who fit
                        somewhere in between either a 3 or a 2...with 3 being closer to an affirmation
                        of their candidature...and a 2 being a closer to a non-victim.


                        11. Even though technically the murder of Emma Smith will always be one of the "Whitechapel Murders", it will never fit properly in as a "Jack the Ripper" crime, for the most basic reason that "the Ripper" was given the nickname because of the throat-slashing and mutilations, which are completely absent in this case. It's the main reason that the murder of Martha Tabram can be dismissed also, only not quite as easily. I think that there has been a gradual increase over time within the Ripper community in accepting Tabram as a possible victim of Jack the Ripper, and from my point of view, the same should be with Smith, although I really don't see it happening any time soon. To me, there are just too many coincidences- type of victim, dates and times of attacks, locations, escalations in violence,and not least of all the apparent sexual nature- of course the last part is the most easily contested. Without some miraculous discovery of a lost confession, I must admit that there really is no way the first of the Whitechapel murders will ever be realistically placed within the accepted crimes of Jack the Ripper. I should say not that I believe strongly that Emma Smith should be included, but more accurately that I believe strongly that Emma Smith should not be excluded.

                        12. That's an interesting thing to think about...(first reading this question, I blurted out to my wife "what the f**k is Magyar?" She looked at me like I was slightly dense and then educated me.) It's interesting to note that the only mention of Schwartz being Hungarian is in the newspapers- and the discrepancies with these accounts to those in the police reports, especially the report of a knife being brandished, makes me feel a bit uncomfortable with the press report overall, but if you consider that Schwartz (according to the Star) claimed to have seen the man walking some distance in front of him, "partially intoxicated" would seem to be more likely, as I'm not sure how you might see someone as deranged from the way he was walking, but maybe, I guess. It makes me wonder how many Hungarian translators were available in such short notice. Makes me think that maybe Schwartz was Hungarian but speaking Yiddish? It's too bad only a summary report of Schwartz's police interview survives.

                        13. This sub-plot of the Ripper story has definitely not been given the attention that I believe it deserves and I agree that today we simplify all the intricacies and conclude: anti-Semitism: bad; refuge: good. I certainly have no argument to counter these observations, but you cannot boil down all anti-alien sentiment to anti-Semitism. There is no harm in emphasizing the difficulties encountered by the immigrant Jewish community, but I do agree that the perspective of the indigenous population that vocalized apprehension or concern has been somewhat neglected or even demonized as ignorant, "anti-alien" or "anti-Semitic", when in fact, there were legitimate concerns. I think the economic concerns were more valid than the political concerns. Much effort was put into whipping up fear and paranoia by the likes of Arnold White, et al, who may have masked their anti-Semitic feelings by promoting aggressive assimilation, and of course the Socialist/Anarchist issues were complicated because they crossed back and forth between social and economic boundaries, but no, I don't think that the feelings of resentment by the locals were unnatural- which, deservedly or not, would easily lead to a scapegoating of the immigrant Jewish community, and what better symbol than Jack the Ripper? I don't believe you could ever make too much of the questions of anti-Semitism in the East End. But being unwelcome and being persecuted are two different things entirely; having a (mostly) embracing Government provided something of a buffer that, despite the obvious local hostility, allowed the community a degree of protection that could not be provided in the countries its people were fleeing from. I don't believe that there ever existed a contingency of anti-Semitism within the police- surely there were those who would have been prejudice, but I don't think such a blight as an accusation of general anti-Semitism, or even indifference could ever be realistically leveled at the authorities, from the ground up. Otherwise, such controversial efforts as those of Sir Charles Warren to prevent a "pogrom" would have been pointless.

                        14. My feeling is that the murderer would not have been sophisticated enough to grasp the distinction between the Metropolitan and City forces, nor would he have cared either way. I don't believe that he was stupid though. If in fact he left the scene of Stride's murder unsatisfied, Aldgate would have been a much safer bet than Spitalfields or Whitechapel to find a victim and avoid suspicion, considering that up to that point it had been outside the previous "hunting ground", if only marginally- and, if it was a Jewish man, familiarity with the Great Synagogue or the Imperial Club would not be unhelpful in explaining his presence had he been stopped and questioned.

                        15. (Pre-WM attacks: Millwood: 2; Wilson: 1).
                        The Whitechapel murders:

                        Smith: 3; Tabram: 4 Nichols: 5; Chapman: 5; Stride: 5; Eddowes: 5; Kelly: 5; Mylett: 0; MacKenzie: 2+; Pinchin St. torso: 1; Coles: 1.
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                        • #13
                          Q & A For Part Three:

                          16.... In your view,as posited on page 52 of "Confessions" that... "the extreme unlikelihood of two (serial killers)operating simultaneously in the same heavily policed area at the same time would be a concidence that defies logic."

                          This observation was proffered in light of modern attempts to disassociate Stride and Kelly from the canon as well as contemporaneous statements,such as Macnaghten's "five and five only" declaration, a figure for the number of victims credited to the Ripper .

                          Please explain as concisely as possible...your alternative Smith-as-Ripper-victim scenario as IF you were ever to provide one at some point in time..

                          17...If you don't believe in two simulataneous serial killers being at work and Smith perhaps killed by someone other than the Ripper...then what is your theory on the Thames Torso murders ?

                          18. Gun to the head of John Malcolm: On a scale of 1 to 10, 10 being the most likely or good of a suspect is Broad Shoulders Man as the perpetrator of the Ripper-Whitechapel Murders ( including Tabram if you desire, but definitely the canonicals) ?

                          19. Have you ever considered Stride being killed by someone ( Kidney or anyone else ) as a result of a domestic ( victim known to killer ) murder? If so, what changed your view on this particular murder in the skein?

                          20. Page 64 of the Confessions discusses Abberline being taken off the WM Case in 1889. Your view, which is not necessarily your "final" opinion on the matter as to the reason for this is :

                          "Perhaps he was no longer needed back at his old haunts. If this is in fact accurate ( and there is no reason to believe otherwise), the only reason that lies naked before us is that someone in higher official places was confident enough that either the murderer was known or secured,without further legal pursuits being necessary, allowing Abberline, and his expert knowledge of the labyrinthine world of Whitechapel and its people to "move on". Otherwise it would be difficult to reconcile."

                          Two counterpoints that I,personally,without utilizing any other Ripperologist's theories as reference on the departure of Abberline to a different patch in 1889 would be that the magnitude of the new "case" that Abberline was sent off to was of a more serious nature to the establishment and/or the decision to make changes at the proverbial top ( as in baseball or soccer...when the team is doing poorly, a coach will invariably be fired despite the team's poor performance being none of his doing ) had more to do with placating the ever- hounding press & the public's fears by making a"window dressing" gesture. Moore,who took over for Abberline, was probably just as capable as the man he succeeded, therefore, it was not such a dramatic gesture in the scheme of things in the minds of the police, but possibly more so to us in 2009. In short,you cannot fire all the police officers.

                          One further counterpoint to your position...again,I understand that its just a subjective argument you've made in line with your general theory of the murders & case that in Scotland Yard files provided by Mr. Evans in the Ultimate ( and on this site on a Larkins thread), it appears that the case was still unsolved by the tone of the response to an E.K. Larkins letter sent to the Home Office by none other than Sir Robert Anderson in 1893. Whether you agree with my line of thinking or not and by all means exclude it from your you feel it is just as likely that Abberline's departure was based on higher priorities than a undisclosed, in fact, secret, solution to the which Abberline apparently never got wind of ?

                          The Answers:

                          16. While the difficulties in accepting Emma Smith as being one of the victims of the Whitechapel serial killer are manifest, the sexual nature of the crime seems a little to obvious to ignore. And though the term sexual is a very broad description, I'm not sure that I could imagine a more brutal and overt manifestation of a "sexual" crime. The main problem here when comparing this crime with the subsequent murders, is the fact that the other victims who were subjected to treatment that could be classified as sexual were subjected to it after death- although it is quite possible that Smith had been knocked or even choked into unconsciousness before the act. If I were to propose her inclusion I would probably stress these similarities and conclude that the perpetrator would have spent some time fantasizing about his deed and cultivating a more efficient method, explaining the long gap between murders. And he may have concluded that it might be easier to conceal a knife, which not only would have been a more effective weapon, it would make him feel a little safer leaving his stick at home.

                          17. The Torso murders, which I would suppose could or should include the Pinchin St. case, are much harder to explain away. It would certainly appear that these seemingly unconnected crimes would indicate that there were multiple, multiple-murderers operating in fairly close proximity But the circumstances of the torsos, etc., do not seem to evidence any sexual motivations. Also, the fact that the bodies were dismembered and disposed of under much different conditions would lead me to believe that the perpetrator or perpetrators of these crimes had other motivations. That's why when I stated "the extreme unlikelihood", I qualified it by saying sexual serial killers, mainly to make the distinction between the "Ripper" crimes and the Thames mysteries and to tie the murders of Eddowes and Kelly together. Other than that, even my extremely over-active imagination cannot concoct a reasonable explanation for the Torso murders.

                          18. I would give it a solid 8.

                          19. The purported history of violence between Stride and Kidney certainly calls for an immediate and closer inspection, and a circumstantial case could easily be made- but considering all the factors involved it really doesn't take long to see the implausibility of it. So although at first it seemed an attractive possibility, I never really gave it much of a chance. Not least because I find it very hard to believe that someone else would have been crazy enough to take such risks in light of the hysteria the previous murders had created. And way too much of a coincidence considering the murder of Eddowes (and no, I'm not forgetting the "other" attack that night, which was a coincidence). Of course as they say sometimes truth can be stranger than fiction, I wouldn't apply that here.

                          20. (First of all, I think it was a poor choice of words for me to use the term "legal" in describing the pursuits of the murderer, but I suppose you understood what I meant.) I think your second counterpoint in regards to my line of thinking is more likely- and I must admit that it had never occurred to me- but I'm not sure about the first. I'm assuming that you are talking about the Cleveland Street scandal? If so, wasn't it much later in the year? I find it unlikely that the police would have considered this anywhere near as important as the investigations of the Whitechapel murders, despite the potential repercussions for the "establishment". In your second counterpoint, it seems the furor over the murders had died down considerably by the time Abberline left, so I don't think there was much need for placating the press or the public. And as the extra patrols had been gradually reduced, I think the police would have been more than happy to ride the outgoing tide and let the murders fade into the past. Moore probably was equally capable, so yes, I may very well be reading too much into this. For your third counterpoint, I agree that within the correspondence between the police (Anderson especially) and the Home Office, it is very difficult to find any indication that the police were onto something. That said, it is obvious that there had been tension between the police and Home Office (at one point the H.O. -exactly who I can't recall at the moment- complained about the reticence of the C.I.D.), and I don't believe that, especially considering Anderson's dual dealings, it is beyond the realms of possibility that the police were trying to limit interference from the H.O., as with the press. There was obviously no love lost between Warren and the H.O. either. On a side note, and despite Abberline's later stories to the press regarding Klosowksi, I'm not so sure he (Abberline) would have been out of the loop if there was ever any secret shenanigans going on.
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                          • #14
                            Q & A Part Four

                            Q&A Part Four

                            Question 21:

                            On Page 97 ( going back to the third part for just a second) make the statement that , "I am not anti-Semitic". The comment is in regard
                            to your belief that the Ripper was quite possibly a Polish Jew.

                            Over the years & during your involvement in the Case and on a theoretical level, have you noticed the tendency on the part of individuals within our field to disassociate themselves from a possible percieved anti-Semitism simply because one believes in the plausibility of a Jewish Ripper and subsequently that they are somehow obligated to mention the fact they are not anti-Semitic? To me its a unique situation,since it does not appear in any other theoretical premise relative to one's theory as to the ethnic origin of Jack The Ripper.

                            Question 22;

                            Since the Confessions first appeared,there have been changes within the field and probably to your assessment of the Case as well. Limiting your answer to 5 responses, which 5 aspects of the Case have changed most dramatically since you first wrote the book...and the responses may cover any area of the Case you prefer to discuss.

                            Question 23:

                            You are not alone in your view that the Graffiti on Goulston Street may have been a clue and yet feel that it is likely that a Jew was Jack The Ripper. By "A Jew", I refer to the Anderson theory and not a random haphazard generalization.

                            How do you reconcile this condition? Is it merely your theorization in each separate issue to look at each separate issue individually....or could you concievably link the graffiti with a Polish Jew( Kosminski or whomever Anderson was actually referring to) ?

                            Question 24:

                            On page 114, you state that ( more or less) that modern theorists seemingly pick and choose what they wish from contemporaneous officials if it suits their particular theories..

                            I see an alternative to the "one side of the fence" that sticks to Anderson's declaration and which accepts the Hove Identification ( or wherever it occurred) ...and at the same time,I do propose that the identification may have occurred in a less than above board manner which might explain the glaring error in the Swanson Marginalia as well as other elements of this aspect of the Case. How do you view the Identification at this point in time? As a one sided affair with no need to explain anything or one with a middle ground that could concievably explain the significant error in the Swanson marginalia and the absence of corroboration from other top police officials as to the existence of an identification at all?

                            Question 25:

                            Finally....are there plans for a sequel to Confessions or perhaps another writing venture for John Malcolm.


                            Answers :
                            21. It's a strange phenomenon, and one I don't quite understand, that this is such a touchy subject. I'm not sure what compelled me to include that statement, which shouldn't have been necessary. I can't recall any authors who have made what I would consider a conscious effort to make that point clear, but on the other hand, it seems the matter is one frequently handled with kid gloves, superficially, or not at all. Of course an easy explanation for this would be that there are few who really see the relevance, especially if one is not too keen on the "Polish Jew Theory" to begin with (not necessarily having to do with ethnicity, etc., but more likely if one doesn't believe that the murderer was a part of that community). Believe it or not, I have seen at least one instance, recently, where the suggestion that Jack the Ripper was a Jew has been used for anti-Semitic propaganda- sad, but true. So I can see why someone might feel uncomfortable pursuing, in depth, this area and the "peculiar condition" (as 'Mentor' described it back in 1910) now, as was (if markedly different) then of the Jewish community. This is a situation that seems indeed unique.

                            22. Several things come to mind, most more subtle than radical; here are some in no particular order: #1- The marginalization of the wilder and more fantastic elements. It has become increasingly difficult to bring ridiculous theories to the party without the threat of being torn to shreds by the facts. #2- The field has broadened and been infused with new life by the ever-expanding interest, which is something that I had reservations about while I was writing the book. Although the "Red Tide" that I mentioned is now more like a tsunami, what I feared was becoming a circus has actually done the field of Ripper research a wealth of good. Some of the best books on the subject ever (or at least among my favorites)- for example Scotland Yard Investigates, Public Reactions to Jack the Ripper, The London of Jack the Ripper:Then and Now, Uncovering Jack the Ripper's London, to name a few, have been published since. There has been a handful of real stinkers, of course, but it's becoming easier to tell them apart. #3- Serious discussion about the Tabram murder and its possible inclusion to the "canon". #4- The exploration of Kosminski and the recognition of the importance of bringing the immigrant Jewish community out of the darkness. #5- Personally, the biggest change in my views has to be the fact that I had, for a long time, thought of David Cohen as the leading candidate for Anderson's suspect and/or the perpetrator of the Whitechapel murders. Although he still remains a very intriguing character in my eyes, the case against him, to me, has cooled considerably.

                            23. I think it is important to look at each particular incident or issue individually, but I think equally that every overlapping set of circumstances needs to be looked at as carefully- bearing in mind the separateness of each, as to not let one unduly influence judgment of the other, but allowing for the possibility that there might be relative connections. Of course if you believe in the validity of Anderson's suspect, which as of now I have no reason to doubt, and you believe the chalked message to have been written by the murderer then you have to find an explanation as to why a Jew would have written it. One argument I might make would be that the message may not have to make any sense at all, as, a rational mind would have to conclude, the murders themselves didn't have much basis in reason. Anyone capable of committing such horrific and irrational crimes could not possibly be considered sane, clinically or otherwise. Whether it be from a person with a diagnosable psychiatric condition or not, the message may have had a meaning only in the twisted mind of the one who may have written it. Other than that, it has always seemed like some kind of defiant antagonizing that went deeper than a simple anti-Semitic taunt, which, of course, for my purposes would be another useful explanation.

                            24. I'm surely guilty of picking and choosing when I'm trying to make a point, so in that respect, my criticisms of others who employ these tactics now ring a bit hollow. As far as the supposed witness/suspect identification goes, I find it incredible that people actually even entertain the thought that Anderson made it all up. If it wasn't for the lop-sided criticisms of Anderson's character, no one would be discussing if the identification really took place, but concentrating on why, who, when, etc. These are the questions we should be focussing on. I cannot accept Anderson's "definitely ascertained fact" on this witness identification alone, nor do I believe that this would have "proved" anything necessarily. The police had learned several important lessons, the Pizer fiasco not the least of them, so there would have been measures put in place to keep their activities away from the public eye. It took no time at all for the press hounds to track down such a potentially vital witness as Schwartz, another lesson. As of this day, we don't have a single complete file on a single suspect, and regardless of the haphazard or bulk destruction of files, this is no accident. Certain things were meant to remain protected and most of the sensitive material would be given particular attention. I believe the police as a whole were more clever than we will ever know. Anderson screwed up by saying "either too much or too little", and I think there is much more to the "not telling tales out of school" statement than we give credit. There is a myriad of unanswered questions, one important one being the question of procedure as far as the attempted identification goes. And this one thus far has escaped an acceptable answer. When you look at officials such as Anderson and Monro, they both served in official and civilian capacities (sometimes simultaneously) during their work for the Government/police, each circumstance accountable to different authorities, in different ways; and with Anderson's legal background and secret service experience, he was in a particularly advantageous position as far as being at least able to manipulate or subvert the "system" legally. Unfortunately, as with so many other issues, there are too many missing pieces which render it impossible for us to make a fair judgment of the entire episode. In this case, although it is obvious that I have an inexplicable confidence in Sir Robert Anderson, I think that we should make a concerted effort, not to choose sides, but to remove the fence entirely. Something we have to remember is that, somehow, whether we ever figure it out or not, there are or were explanations for all of this.

                            25. Instead of a proper sequel, I had begun a sort of re-write of "Confessions", which focused on Anderson, his "theory", and the immigrant Jewish community (basically gutting the anecdotal parts and random criticisms), but the more I wrote, the more I realized just how much more I need to learn before I can accurately assess these issues. Generally I'm lazy and disorganized, so I'm surrounded by well-intentioned, but unfinished projects. But there are a couple that are getting closer.
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                            • #15
                              This is the link to the e-book, Confessions Of A Ripperologist, by John Malcolm.

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