Announcement

Collapse
No announcement yet.

5Q With....David Monaghan

Collapse
X
 
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • 5Q With....David Monaghan

    The Forums thanks David Monaghan, the author of "Jack The Ripper's Secret Confession,"...(Constable) for his effort and answers at knifepoint...to assist in the Five Questions Forum.
    Thank you sir.

    **************************
    1. Give us some insight, if you would, on your interest in the Whitechapel Murders...when it all started...how you perceived the Case prior to presenting "Walter" in your book Secret Confessions....and perhaps some of your early conclusions as to the identity of the Ripper.

    As a child I was caught up in the Ripper fervor around Stephen Knight's Final Solution. I stayed up calculating the potential age of Jack the Ripper in 1976, scaring myself with the thought he could be still alive - if he was the oldest man in the world. And he could come and get me. If he happened to have moved to suburban Sydney, Australia. What effected me was the clarity of Stephen's Knight's writing. The book is well plotted. It is a historically intriguing introduction to an exotic universe of Masonic obscurity and royal debauchery. As a child concepts of historical accuracy held no interest for me. I read Knight alternatively with such book as Erik von Daniken's Chariot's of the Gods and Kylie Onstott's pornographic Mandingo series about slave breeding plantations. My young mind was fried in this shameless puree of pop and perverted history. Whatever the questions of scholarship I love them. They were entertaining conceptual history, all more or less unprovable either way, with the added bonus of having of varying degrees of disrespectability. As I grew older, I was influenced by more respected fare. I read Truman Capote's In Cold Blood. Slaughter of a Kansas farm family made real by masterful writing. The horror of murder woven with the tragedy of killers caught in the trap of their own circumstance. Capote made a deep impression on me. My understanding of crime was still as a literary entertainment. If I had been pressed I would say I used to think MJ Druitt was Jack the Ripper, but now knew Sir William Gull had been the assassin on orders of the monarchy and an evil cabal. It would take several decades for me to re-assess my thinking.

    2. The photograph of Mary Kelly in Millers Court had a profound impact on me over a decade ago. Your book's content has made an impact on me in a different way within just a few days specifically because of the information regarding the role of women in the bordellos in the East End and their presence in the Vice Industry ( not just merely underlings, but at the top of the heap ).
    As someone who reads a lot of stories and newspaper accounts from the LVP, I was stunned to learn that women played a larger role than I had considered before reading your work.
    What was it like for you researching the East End's history in the areas of vice and prostitution ? Was it an eye-opener for you or did you come from a background where you were aware of much of what you provide in the book ?

    The women for me are the story of Jack the Ripper. In my early teens I romanticized of the notion of Jack the Ripper. I had never seen London, and had no concept of the East End. I moved to the City in 1990. On one of the first nights I was in the city, I found myself in streets that were familiar to me around Commercial Street. I recall eating an Indian meal and watching a women in a tiger print fur coat selling herself one the same street the Ripper's victim's had worked in 1888. I then watched in horror as a Ripper Tour passed by, with its loud host telling of the murder of prostitutes on this spot. I suddenly became ashamed of my interest in Jack the Ripper. I realized I had empathy for the suffering of the women he had killed. A decade later I was living in the Old Commercial Street police station, then converted to flats. The streets were surrounded by prostitutes, both young and old, as they had been in 1888. You would see the working girls on Commercial Street, and be on nodding acquaintance with them. One of the girls called Bonnie disappeared. She later found to have been murdered. Her “missing” poster remained in my local grocery store for months after. It was an ache to me. A failing of the whole of the community to have had these sister's and daughter's exposed to such danger by a political system that would rather pillory than protect them. Britain remains one of the few countries in Europe without regulated and legal brothels where women can work in relative safety. Girls are still driven in the streets and men still kill them. I came to see that the law of the day had a big role in what went down on the streets of Whitechapel - now and in 1888.

    3. Do you find some sense of egalitarianism present in the realm of Vice in the LVP and in particular, the East End ? Were women as equally likely to be at the head of cadres responsible for prostitution as men or is that a rash assumption ? Or...were women found in greater number at the top of the sordid pile ?

    When we usually discuss the gender issues of the LVP, it seems that the prevailing sentiment is that Britain was a "male dominated society" with women being subjected to second class status across the board.

    The idea that Britain was "male dominated" in 1888 overlooks that England was rocked by parallel sexual revolutions that year. No Ripper history I had read had considered the link between the violence against women of 1888 and the vicious "Skeleton Wars" preceding it. These were riots fought between the Salvation Army's activists protesting vice and tied prostitution, and pub owners and brothel keepers wanting to keep women in the status quo. Today there is misunderstanding about the Salvation Army in Victorian London. Though now either overlooked or derided, the Salvationists were a progressive social force running counter to ideas of Britain as a male dominated society. The Salvation Army was run by Catherine Booth in equality with her husband William. The Methodist splinter group was born in Whitechapel and promoted women to key roles in its faux-military hierarchy. Booth's Salvationists turned lobbying against exploitation of street prostitutes into one of their draw cards. In the space of four years from 1883, Whitechapel was changed by the Salvationists. The gentlemen sex tourists had been used to trawling unjudged. But a moral backlash lead by the Salvationist Army activists put reformed prostitutes in uniform and on soap boxes throughout Whitechapel, shouting of the sins of such men. Such was their success, William and Catherine Booth took over The Eagle at the bottom of City Road, the most notorious sex house east of the City. They turned it over to anti-vice crusade. Catherine Booth opened the Rescue Home in Hanbury Street to save child prostitutes, a few feet from where Annie Chapman’s body would be found. The Salvationists were no anti-prostitute, but seeking to convert them to work against men out to harm women. The Skeletons were an underground movement which plotted to attack Salvationists for doing so. Far from being in a position of domination, prostitute frequenting men in 1888 were feeling hunted. This extra-ordinary war between the sexes was the background to the Whitechapel murders.



    There was an equality of misery on Whitechapel’s streets. The details about the lives of London prostitutes in Walter's My Secret Life throws light on this. For instance, Walter has an obsession with a "dress lodger". This was a form of enslaved prostitution prevalent in London's West End. A girl would be lured into cheap accommodation, and "given" an expensive dress. She would be pressured into prostitution to pay for her lodgings. The beautiful dress would lure punters on the street, and an older women would follow the girl to make sure she returned to the lodgings with a paying client. If the girl ran away, the police would be called to report the girl for stealing the dress. The dress lodger would be caught and returned to her controllers by the police. This entrapment into prostitution with the help of law is shocking enough. The situation where one desperate women exploits another was all too common. One of the great horrors of Walter's diary is his glee in manipulating already degraded prostitutes into recruit children for him to sexually abuse in the craze of "Defloration mania". The evidence within My Secret Life is that women were as likely than men to control prostitutes.

    4. Give us your opinion of the efforts expended by the Met Police in dealing with the Autumn of Terror....and if you were suddenly found sitting in Charles Warren's chair....what, if anything, would you have done differently ?

    To understand the reaction of the police in the Autumn of Terror, you must understand what the actions and secret agendas of the police were in the years leading up to 1888. Just 36 months before, the Metropolitan Police had pursued and jailed Pall Mall Gazette editor WT Stead for exposing London's child prostitutes users. Stead's chief informant was Rebecca Jarrett, who had lived in the Salvation Army's Rescue Home in Hanbury Street, Whitechapel, before she agreed to go undercover and exposing the selling of children for sex in 1885. Under instruction by a parliament that included such notorious prostitute users as Sir Charles Dilke, the Metropolitan Police choose the kill the messenger after a the public outcry to the revelations. They chose to prosecute WT Stead over the "purchase" of the 14 year old Eliza Armstrong. Stead's revelation of a rich and sadistic child rapist "the London Minotaur" stalking London's prostitutes did not change police focus. It comes as no surprise that the murders of street prostitutes provoked no passionate inquiry when one understands how politicized policing was in 1888 that year. Warren had already jailed whistle blowing prostitute Rebecca Jarrett for speaking out. To head a real police hunt that would retread the steps of Stead's investigation into prostitute abusers would show the political corruption of the 1885 Armstrong trial. Warren was frozen by the politics. Should his men have found a "London Minotaur" to be the real Ripper, careers would roll. But there was far greater set of secrets. All of the most senior Ripper investigators were by first priority secret policemen investigating the Fenians, the nascent terror groups bombing and killing for the cause of Irish home rule. Warren, Macnaughten, and Anderson had far greater priorities than the knife murder of several East End women. In 1888, London policing was still in the thrall of another set of knife killers - The Phoenix Park assassin of May 6 1882 who sliced up Lord Frederick Cavendish and Thomas Henry Burke in Dublin in broad daylight. Cavendish was the new Chief Secretary for Ireland, and Burke the most senior Irish civil servant. By 1888, the killing had been used as a smear Charles Parnell, the head of the crucial party of Irish MPs in Parliament. At the heart of that smear was Sir Robert Anderson. The Parnell Commission was the big story of 1888. The commission could reveal the corruption of Anderson, a policemen dabbling in anti-Irish Home Rule politicking. The Parnell Commission bubbled through the killings of the Whitechapel murders. Whatever we now recall, events around the Parnell Commission were more pressing on the minds of the senior metropolitan police than the Whitechapel street deaths. My view is that the depth of political compromise and breadth of corruption of key Ripper investigator - with the exception of James Munro - is yet to be fully revealed. Many files are still secret. Men such as Anderson, Warren and MacNaughten had no deep interest in solving sex crimes among London outcasts. Their jobs were won and careers shaped by political deals cut in places loftier than Whitechapel's pavements. I am sure this view will win me no fans from researchers I admire such as Stewart Evans. But it is my belief that studying the views of Victorian police to find Jack the Ripper will not bear fruit. While it is pretty much accepted Anderson was a racist anti-semite, what is little understood is his and others darker roles as agents of disinformation in a political war swirling around agitation for Irish independence at the time of the Whitechapel killings. The role of Francis Tumblety – an Irish-American in London - is a key cross over where the Ripper murders become smokescreen for political policing. That side of the policing story is the one I find most mysterious and potentially richest in understanding the policing of the Ripper crimes.

    5. You have the distinction of being the co-author of a suspect-based Ripper book which promotes a 67 year old man as the Ripper. You didn't beat anyone over the head with your views and for a suspect based book, I am enjoying the material albeit not buying the suggestion that "Walter" was the Ripper. Unlike some efforts which we find in regard to the presentation of a suspect in a book .... you really have downplayed "Walter" as a suspect and have not distorted facts to suit some agenda. The mistakes about D'Onston are forgivable since I'm sure those minor gaffes will be repeated down the line by someone else. It is also the first time I have ever seen anyone say D'Onston was too young to be the Ripper which I thought was amusing.
    Since you presented the theory that this individual "Walter" was the Ripper....would you care to give us a timeline as to how the belief developed....how you got your hands on the million word tome...and other areas of research leading into your book.

    Answer: What lead me to Walter was my realization the Ripper Royal theorists were not only wrong, but cruelly ignoring the reality of the crimes as acts of sexual sadism. After the 1970s, the plague of "serial killing" in the US lead to new psychological efforts by the FBI to understand sex crimes. Though much has since been seen to be simplistic and overplayed, the theories of such men as Robert Ressler on the sexually charged rhythms of trawling serial killers made more sense to me in understanding the Ripper crimes than the rapidly unraveling theories built around Joseph Sickert's tales. I'd come across the Walter books in 1995 while researching a general historical documentary on sex in Victorian England. But when I sat with the books in the British Library, the vastness of the word count, and the mind numbing repetitious perversity soon blinded me to the themes that weave across Walter’s million word memoir. I took to extracting information from the Wordsworth Editions of My Secret Life - not realizing at the time they had been redacted. But what I had noticed the extra-ordinary scene where Walter describes knowing the identity of a severed corpse found in the Thames in 1889, one of the Thames torso series that was filed by police with the Whitechapel Murders. I sat on the connection for some years, while working on other projects about murder - a series on the killers Fred and Rose West, a documentary about HH Holmes, the corpse seller and serial killer of 1890s Chicago. An urge to re-investigate Walter came from my new understanding of serial sex killers like West, and Holmes, When I began my new look, digitized versions of My Secret Life were available. I could now thematically explore the masterwork of Victorian prostitution. My hunt for the word "blood" brought up the true nature of the Walter's obsession - making women and girls bleed. This was a horrible moment of realization for me. Walter's books, prized as erotica, was a chronology of sexual sadism against prostitutes and young girls. Stalker, rapist, knife wielder, prostitute obsessive. Walter names Mary Davies, married name of the "final victim" as one of his lovers. He boasts of a discovered corpses as his former prostitute lover. This guy has got to be worth putting in the frame as Jack the Ripper.
    To Join JTR Forums :
    Contact [email protected]

  • #2
    Originally posted by How Brown View Post
    The Salvationists were no anti-prostitute, but seeking to convert them to work against men out to harm women. The Skeletons were an underground movement which plotted to attack Salvationists for doing so. Far from being in a position of domination, prostitute frequenting men in 1888 were feeling hunted. This extra-ordinary war between the sexes was the background to the Whitechapel murders.
    Fascinating.

    Thanks for participating and congrats on writing one of the best Ripper books of recent years.

    Comment


    • #3
      Bob,all...

      Just to clarify, David Monaghan was being quoted in the previous post, not I.

      By the way, I found an article in late '88 or early '89 regarding a cadre of converted destitute women in the Spitalfields area, one of which was quoted as saying "Thank God for Jack The Ripper, because without him we wouldn't all be here today !"...or words very similar to that effect.
      To Join JTR Forums :
      Contact [email protected]

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by How Brown View Post
        Bob,all...

        Just to clarify, David Monaghan was being quoted in the previous post, not I.
        Unintended consequence of the quote function !

        Comment


        • #5
          Yes indeed... great interview.

          I think David is on target about what was really on the minds of some top officials that fall.
          Best Wishes,
          Cris Malone
          ______________________________________________
          "Objectivity comes from how the evidence is treated, not the nature of the evidence itself. Historians can be just as objective as any scientist."

          Comment


          • #6
            "But there was far greater set of secrets. All of the most senior Ripper investigators were by first priority secret policemen investigating the Fenians, the nascent terror groups bombing and killing for the cause of Irish home rule. Warren, Macnaughten, and Anderson had far greater priorities than the knife murder of several East End women. In 1888, London policing was still in the thrall of another set of knife killers - The Phoenix Park assassin of May 6 1882 who sliced up Lord Frederick Cavendish and Thomas Henry Burke in Dublin in broad daylight. Cavendish was the new Chief Secretary for Ireland, and Burke the most senior Irish civil servant. By 1888, the killing had been used as a smear Charles Parnell, the head of the crucial party of Irish MPs in Parliament. At the heart of that smear was Sir Robert Anderson. The Parnell Commission was the big story of 1888. The commission could reveal the corruption of Anderson, a policemen dabbling in anti-Irish Home Rule politicking. The Parnell Commission bubbled through the killings of the Whitechapel murders. Whatever we now recall, events around the Parnell Commission were more pressing on the minds of the senior metropolitan police than the Whitechapel street deaths. My view is that the depth of political compromise and breadth of corruption of key Ripper investigator - with the exception of James Munro - is yet to be fully revealed."

            I was very pleased to read this particular excerpt from the interview. Its something I have espoused myself fairly often, although less eloquently.

            There may be some of the foiled plot against Balfour to factor in there as well. Seems like some countries and cities on the continent come up now and again in the Ripper lit,...Paris..Austria...Switzerland...one wonders if the choice of a rest stop for Sir Bob was purely for the view of the Alps.

            Thats one aspect of the cases that always interested me, the timing of his departure and the fact he had to be summoned back.

            Best regards


            Comment


            • #7
              Again, a question arises...

              Originally posted by Cris Malone View Post
              Yes indeed... great interview.

              I think David is on target about what was really on the minds of some top officials that fall.
              Hello Cris, Mike, all,


              Sadly Cris, Mike, any mention that Anderson or any other person had other (hidden) agenda nearly always leads to the word conspiracy. This word has dubious links withing Ripperology. It causes certain factions to react with complete disdain.

              I have always maintained, for many many years, the use of the word "smokescreen" being the more preferable. I note that DM uses this word in his interview. DM mentions Fenianism, uprising socialists and anarchists. He mentions where the police had their backgrounds and this, with these comments, link to another book at present out on the market, written partly by Tom Slemen.

              The reason for this subject coming up more and more is the slow realisation (for some) that something more than the murders of a handful of women was going on in the East End at the time. I, amongst many others, have maintained, for a long time now, that unless people realise the social and political atmosphere that envelopes and surrounds the whole time period, in the same area, we are at a stalemate. Because it IS involved and wrapped up in the Whitechapel murders.

              It is impossible to ignore the fact that specialist policemen were drafted in to deal with the "situation". The files that DM mentions are NOT only files witheld by Scotland Yard pertaining to the Whiterchapel murder problem either. Many were/are. Want one classic example of this are the files that were witheld for many years by Scotland Yard? No? Don't believe it? Read on...

              Here is an example of such.. A plot was hatched for a bombing. Anarchists in Walsall were making the bomb. In January 1892, Melville arrested the Walsall man as he arrived in London and soon arrested the others.

              Who was behind the whole set-up? There were rumours of a black book which detailed the Special Branch. But first it was under the 30 years secret act and then it supposed to be destroyed during the Second World War.

              Where have you heard these tired old excuses before? Read on...

              In 2002 a Special Branch officer 'rediscoverd' contents revealing that a teacher from a anarchist school was paid by Melville, was the man behind it. The so-called book was three vast ledgers and each line and cross-referenced letters sent or received by Special Branch listed . Even then you had to sign a document to reveal nothing of the contents.

              Mr Alex Butterworth who wrote the book 'The World That Never Was' insisted on the Freedom of Information act being used. The Metropolitan Police prevented him for three years. The Information Commissioner finally agreed for documents to be realized.

              The Met appealed, the Information Tribunal heard testimony from three senior counter-terrorist officers and the ruling was that the names should be kept secret to avoid future informers being put off. The documents turned out to be a sea of black ink which could have been a historical evidence.

              To protect informers is a very good reason but we are talking here about documents over a century old.
              Another reason for secrecy would be Melville involvement with the Russian Okhrana. In 1893 Melville became chief inspector of Special Branch.

              The plain fact of the matter is that Special Branch hold themselves above the law when it comes to release of material. Even if it is 120 years old. Even if the Law of the UK says that under the Freedom Of Information Act the files can be seen. Then the names are black-inked out, BEFORE full viewing is finally "allowed". These papers/books are of historical value. Yet still, to this day, certain sections of Special Branch insist that THEY ALONE should decide over papers old enough to have been cleared and not falling foul of terrorist connections today.

              Please, do not get me wrong. Sure, everything is far easier if one looks at a picture without a smokescreen. But believe me, smokescreens happen, all the time. And the Special Branch were at it like nine pins then as they are now. There is no earthly logical reason to withold these files.

              Of course, we that say they should be seen and they contain names useful to our historical research, are labled by some with the word "conspiracy"...

              Cover-ups happen. And MUCH has been surpressed in the LVP to do with everything happening in the East End. Special Branch specialist anti-Fenian policemen INCLUDED. Anti-anarchists policemen included. And all the time, a series of murders are going on in the same area, involving the SAME policemen....

              Homer Simpson... "doh!!!"

              I don't know the answer... but I will not ignore it or brush it away under the word "conspiracy". I think broader than that. I see possibilities whilst others choose to denounce before investigation.

              Thank you DM for a fine, open interview. It echos the thoughts of many.

              best wishes

              Phil
              from 1905...to 19.05..it was written in the stars

              Comment


              • #8
                I believe I should clarify something.

                David said-
                ' All of the most senior Ripper investigators were by first priority secret policemen investigating the Fenians, the nascent terror groups bombing and killing for the cause of Irish home rule. Warren, Macnaughten, and Anderson had far greater priorities than the knife murder of several East End women.'

                What this meant to me is just that... The senoir police officials had other priorities going into the fall of 1888. That the 'Ripper Murder's' happened, and that they created the public backlash that they did, was a surprise to Scotland Yard and the Home Office as well. Even though Anderson had to fill Monro's position as head of CID, his mind was on uprisings that may happen, which is suggested in the letter that Warren sent to him upon Anderson's request for 'leave', and I think the Parnell Commision weighed heavily on his mind as well. I believe that the WM were an unpleasent surprise that they had to deal with on top of what they expected. The events weren't initially connected in any way other than that.

                David said - 'The role of Francis Tumblety – an Irish-American in London - is a key cross over where the Ripper murders become smokescreen for political policing. That side of the policing story is the one I find most mysterious and potentially richest in understanding the policing of the Ripper crimes'

                This is possible. But Tumblety's homosexual activities could have been the catalyst as well... or a combination thereof. However, this does not suggest that anyone in high places was involved in the murders directly in order to obtain some political end and I didn't see David suggesting that. They happened. The officials were caught off-guard with the public firestorm and had to deal with the political ramifications as a result. If they did try to link someone like Tumblety with both the murders and Fenian connections... it was a miserable failure. If not, they would have gone public with it as it would have benifited them in both cases.

                In other words, my opinion is that any connection to the WM and the political wranglings at the time were by accident; not by design. That some officials may have used these murders to 'weed out' certain undesirables does not change the real evidence that the murders were commited independently by person or persons unknown with an entirely different agenda.
                Best Wishes,
                Cris Malone
                ______________________________________________
                "Objectivity comes from how the evidence is treated, not the nature of the evidence itself. Historians can be just as objective as any scientist."

                Comment


                • #9
                  Hi again,

                  Although it is certainly within your power to choose what you would like to believe Chris with respect to the many, many investigative comments and memos that suggest that the Ripper crimes were assumed to be linked with socio-political movements and organizations, it should be noted that they do in fact exist, they were quotes, and as the respondent pointed out....virtually every senior officer on the Ripper cases shared a background of infiltration and investigation dealing with socio-political organizations in the East End.

                  In fact,....was any one investigator assigned based primarily on his past success with murder investigations?

                  Best regards

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    That there weren't that many murders in London which needed more than 48 hours to clear up is a factor thats important to know, Mike. The overwhelming majority of murders ( from reading about them in the papers ) that officials from Dolly Williamson ( the oldest policeman) to the newer officers in 1888 were involved with in any way did not require the laborious efforts that the WM did.

                    Abberline, for example, had a case in the late 1870's and one in the 1880's....again, from reading the newspapers and there may be others Nina and I overlooked. I would think that virtually all of the officers involved in the WM were as good as it got in terms of experience, savvy, and talent. There weren't any precedents in terms of the sort of murders that the WM were for those officers to gain experience from.
                    To Join JTR Forums :
                    Contact [email protected]

                    Comment

                    Working...
                    X