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5 Questions With : PART 2: Chris Scott

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  • Tom_Wescott
    replied
    Originally posted by Chris Scott
    This raises the question of what the police attitude was to the Vigilance Committe and what level of information they shared with them. Would members of the committe have been privy to more confidential police information than the general ublic?
    The original committee headed by Lusk and Aarons appear to have worked well with the police and there certainly appears to have been exchanges of information. However, Bachert's committee appears, from what I've read, to have been little more than himself and a few of his personal friends, in a venture to collect money and further Bachert's political career.

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  • Chris Scott
    replied
    Hi How
    Thanks for your message.
    How much time have you spent ( a rough estimate ) over the years looking for photographs through the various archives ?
    Actually not very much - although I have posted a few bits and pieces to the East End Photographs thread on Casebook, and although I very much enjoy seeing old pics of the area, hunting down new gems of the photographic variety is not one of the areas I gravitate to. This area of research is very well served by Rob Clack, Philip Hutchinson et al. and I applaud their dedication and generosity in posting what they find.
    Are there, to you knowledge, files which have not been made accessible, but will, ( similar to the Broadmoor files which were made available either in 2008 or 2009 ) which might be of use to researchers in the years ahead?
    Not in the conspiracy theory sense of material being deliberately withheld by "the authorities" as part of a cover up. I do not subscribe to any of the Ripper related conspiracy scenarios. There is some material which some researchers might like to see which will probably never come to light officially but this would mainly relate to characters with a Royal connection such as Albert Victor or William Gull. The majority of documents in the UK are subject to various time periods (from 30 years upwards) before they are publicly accessible. For example, census data is closed for 100 years after the date of the census, but material in the Royal Archives at Windsor is not subject to any such period but is permanently closed. Thus, for example, Royal wills are never published. But I understand that the archivists at Windsor are very helpful and will assist genuine researchers wherever possible.
    But I firmly believe that there is material of at least great interest (even if not necessarily case breaking implications) available in official archives. Examples of this in which I was peripherally involved were the acquisition by Rob Clack of the asylum records of Joseph Fleming/James Evans and the similar work recently by Lynn Cates on the records of Jacob Isenschmid. There were images of Isenschmid and it is not beyond the bounds of possibility that misfiled or misidentified images of major figures in the case - Fleming, perhaps, or maybe even Kosminski - may be out there somewhere waiting to be found.
    Far more unpredictable is material of interest and/or importance that may reside in private family records. I can state categorically that there is material out of there regarding one of the major suspects and his family which has not been made public at the request of the family involved. They want nothing whatever to do with the Ripper "bandwagon" (the word used by one family member) and their wishes must be respected in this. I personally was approached with material regarding Mary Kelly - the so called "Mary Kelly in Tottenham" story - which the provider of the information was only willing for me to post to Casebook on the strict proviso that they were not in any way identified. Again that had to be respected.
    I hope these thoughts help
    Chris Scott

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  • Howard Brown
    replied
    Question For Chris:

    How much time have you spent ( a rough estimate ) over the years looking for photographs through the various archives ?

    One more quickie:

    Are there, to you knowledge, files which have not been made accessible, but will, ( similar to the Broadmoor files which were made available either in 2008 or 2009 ) which might be of use to researchers in the years ahead?

    Thanks once more,CS.

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  • Chris Scott
    replied
    Hi How
    The books I use most often are the A-Z, Ultimate Sourcebook, Sugden
    They are indispensable

    Hi Cris
    many thanks for the comments - much appreciated
    Chris S

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  • Cris Malone
    replied
    Originally posted by Chris Scott
    I neither favour nor disapprove of any type of research per se but am of the opinion that any direction of investigation can only be judged by its results and the evidence on which those are based.
    That statement should be etched in stone somewhere. I knew I liked you for more that just your fine research.

    Unfortunately we work within a field which has seen more than a few flights of fantasy, sensation seeking and even cases of outright invention and myth making. These do not make life any easier but place even more requirements upon the quality of the work of researchers.
    Amen to that.

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  • Howard Brown
    replied
    Question For Chris :

    Which books that specialize in aspects of the Case do you use often for research ideas ? Not that ones you may not use are lesser in significance, but just those that you refer to often.

    Thank you.

    Leave a comment:


  • Chris Scott
    replied
    Hi Tom
    Personally I doubt that Backert could be taken seriously as a suspect but I would place him more in the category of Matthew Packer in that he got a kick out of ingratiating himself into the case. Having said that, Backert was unusual in that he was, from a civilian point of view, fairly centrally placed in that he ended up as chairman of the Vigilance Committee.
    This raises the question of what the police attitude was to the Vigilance Committe and what level of information they shared with them. Would members of the committe have been privy to more confidential police information than the general ublic?
    Also, unlike Packer, his involvement was not a "one off" but involved a series of incidents over a considerable period of time. In some events he was a more or less passive recipient of information - in the number of letters he received and the scrawl on the outide of his house, for example. In others, he played a more active role, such as the incident with the man in the Three Tuns and the whole episode of the woman who approached him with a version of the Lodger story.

    He does seem to have been an inveterate attention seeker - when not in the area of the Whitechapel murders, in his whole career with the unemployed meetings on Tower Hill and elsewhere.

    He also acquired a sizeable criminal career - some of the charges he faced ranging from forging money (of which if I remember right he was acquitted) to stealing food items. And he also had a few run ins with authority figures such as coroners and magistrates.
    There are still unanswered questions, especially about his later life. In the 1890s (I forget date) he is quoted in an altercation with a judge as saying that he planned to go to America, and it was thought at one time that this was what had happened, as there appeared to be no trace of him in the 1901 census.
    However, I found him under the surname of Beckert in 1901 still in the UK, living with his married sister. But after that the trail goes cold...

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  • Tom_Wescott
    replied
    Hi again, Chris. Great stuff on this thread. Regarding another favorite character of yours - Albert Bachert. I think it's fair to say that you're responsible for the lion's share info unearthed on Bachert in the last 10 years, which I am grateful for, because I find him quite intriguing as well, and the more we look at him, the more complex he becomes. I am curious to know what your gut tells you about him. Do you think of him as a possible Ripper?

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  • Chris Scott
    replied
    Hi Guys and thanks for the messages.
    ShawnaK,
    the statements about Kelly are almost all problematic to some degree
    I usually divide statements about her into two broad groups:
    1) Those which give allegedly impartial info about her and situation e.g. the name by which she was known, her relationship with Barnett, receipt of letters etc. i.e. data that would be learned by seeing and not being told
    2) Those statements which derive, directly or indirectly, from stories told by Kelly herself. Obviously almost all family details would come from this type.
    However, some alleged facts are not as clearly placed. For example, Barnett says that Kelly's father came looking for her (presumably from Wales) when she was living in or near Pennington Street. As Barnett did not know Kelly at that time, this allegation obviously comes from material that Kelly had told to Barnett. However, he also alleged that one of her brothers visited her on at least one occasion but it is not clear if Kelly had told him about this or if this had happened after Barnett came to know her.
    This may sound like nit picking but, in my opinion, is important for one to assess the possible usefulness of any given statement.
    The bottom line, unfortunately, is that any statement that derives ultimately from alleged facts related by Kelly herself has to be viewed with great caution.
    By far the longest and most coherent account of Kelly and her background come, not surprisingly, from Barnett as her live-in partner. Some aspects of this which bear on Kelly are stated in unequivocal terms. He says, for example, that Kelly was her maiden name and she was legally married at or about the age of 16. However, in other aspects of his testimony he sounds much less certain. In three successive statements, he gives the surname of her alleged husband as:
    Davis or Davies
    He cannot remember
    Definitely Davies
    Lastly, in Barnett's defence, one has to bear in mind the following points:
    If, like me, you believe that Barnett had no hand in Kelly's death, his mental state, in view of the horrific state of the murder and the press circus attending it, can only be guessed at
    It seems apparent that Barnett was mercilessly hounded by the press for he gave a number of interviews. A number of articles begin, effectively, with "we tracked Barnett down..." or "we found Barnett in a public house..."
    He must have had to recount the Kelly story over and over again to the police, press and queries from neighbours and friends. I think a number of errors and inconsistencies in existing versions are understandable.
    In terms purely of census searches, the only really useful allegations are those on the name of parents and siblings and the alleged number of family members and their place of origin. However, all these have so far led nowhere.
    Superficially, the most useful SHOULD be those for which an official record should exist e.g. her legal marriage. Again this has drawn a blank. Unfortunately, the number of possible explanations for this are multiple:
    Kelly never married
    Kelly and Davies were "common law" partners and never underwent a marriage ceremony
    Her husband was not named Davies, Davis or any permutation thereof
    Her name was not Mary Jane Kelly
    We must also remember one other assertion about which Barnett was adamant, which has not been extensively researched. The more "fancy" version of her name - "Marie Jeanette" - is often explained as an affectation possibly adopted when she went to France. But Barnett is adamant in more than one place that this is the REAL form of her name and it is indeed the form of the name given on her death certificate. Why did the coroner and/or registrar accept this as the "real" form of her name when all other witnesses refer to her as the plainer Mary Jane?
    Phil, I neither favour nor disapprove of any type of research per se but am of the opinion that any direction of investigation can only be judged by its results and the evidence on which those are based. Unfortunately we work within a field which has seen more than a few flights of fantasy, sensation seeking and even cases of outright invention and myth making. These do not make life any easier but place even more requirements upon the quality of the work of researchers.
    Thanks for you kind comments, Phil.
    Chris Scott

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  • Phil Carter
    replied
    Hello Chris,

    Sorry for the duplication, edited herewith

    best wishes

    Phil

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  • Phil Carter
    replied
    Hello Chris,

    You may strongly disagree with their interpretations or their theories, but thank God for them, say I!
    In a world that has become stiflingly over regulated, over sensitive, afraid to offend anyone, tediously homogenised, packaged and obsessed with image and appearance - let us preserve at least one small corner where substance and individuality are still valued and nurtured - I feel better for that!
    Hello Chris,

    In reference to this, do I gather you applaud expansion within the field of Ripperology as the "stifled-ness and over regulated-ness" as you so aptly put it, seems to disfavour the more adventurous?

    best wishes as always.

    (and MANY thanks for all you encouragement and help every time I contact you!)

    Phil

    Leave a comment:


  • ShawnaK
    Guest replied
    Hello, Chris. I find Mary Kelly as intriguing as Jack the Ripper and I was wondering how you sort through the witness testimony.

    Which statements about Kelly's life are you more likely to use or to find more useful in the search for Mary in the census records?

    Do you give any one clue more status than another based on believability or helpfulness in the search? (e.g. father named John vs seven brothers, colliery vs. Davies)

    I personally think she could have exaggerated about the brothers for self-protection.

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  • Howard Brown
    replied
    Thanks very much Chris.

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  • Chris Scott
    replied
    Briefly...or unless you care to elaborate...please provide a few examples of previously held beliefs (or a position that you once maintained) in regard to either a suspect.....an event....or an aspect of the Case that you do not adhere to now in 2010. As many as you see fit to reply to,Chris.
    As my interest in the case is evidence based and not suspect based, I actually have very few if any "beliefs" in the case.
    However, there are inevitably some areas of interpretation that seem to greatly exercise some people but which I personally do not get that entrenched about.
    Some areas are notoriously controversial such as exactly who WAS Anderson's witness, what is the provenance and significance of the September 17th letter... and what about the Diary?
    To say that I do not have a "belief" does not mean that I do not have an opinion. That may sound like a contradiction but what I mean is that on some matters I hold an opinion based on current knowledge but that could well change in the light of new discoveries coming to light. Opinions work of the basis of the balance of probability in the light of currently available information, belief implies a deeply held conviction that may not be entirely based on evidence.
    As an example, when the then available details of the Diary became available it was my opinion that the balance of probability suggested that the item was a modern (i.e. post 1988) production. I have not seen or read anything since which has caused me to change that opinion.
    Sometimes an item of information comes to light that can clarify or eliminate a line of inquiry. An example of this would be the imprisonment of Ostrog in France in 1888. This does not preclude anyone, including me, wanting to study the man and why he was cited as a possible suspect but of course it is a mortal blow to his status as a serious suspect.
    Hope this helps
    Chris

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  • Howard Brown
    replied
    Question for the Good Senor...

    Briefly...or unless you care to elaborate...please provide a few examples of previously held beliefs (or a position that you once maintained) in regard to either a suspect.....an event....or an aspect of the Case that you do not adhere to now in 2010. As many as you see fit to reply to,Chris.

    Thanks

    Leave a comment:

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