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Why is Dear Boss a Hoax to You?

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  • Why is Dear Boss a Hoax to You?

    If I was a "Dear Boss as hoaxed letter guy", the single most important reason I'd think it was hoaxed is because after the Leather Apron brouhaha...the press needed a name for the man they previously labelled "Leather Apron" to keep interest at fever pitch. Just an opinion.

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  • #2
    Originally posted by How Brown View Post
    If I was a "Dear Boss as hoaxed letter guy", the single most important reason I'd think it was hoaxed is because after the Leather Apron brouhaha...the press needed a name for the man they previously labelled "Leather Apron" to keep interest at fever pitch. Just an opinion.

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    No comment.

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    • #3
      In my opinion - yes. There is nothing in the letter that marks it out from any of the 1000's of hoax's received, other than it had a certain style to it.

      There is no information in the letter which could only be known to the killer, and for that reason I see no reason to promote it above any of the other hoax letters.

      __

      I also think that the same man would not have wriiten the "Dear Boss" letter and the "From Hell" letter (of course the writer of one letter could be capable of writing the other, but it just doesnt tie together) - and the evidence that supports the "From Hell" letter seems far stronger than the evidence for the "Dear Boss" / "Double Event" letters which I suspect were the products of the tabloids.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by Adam_Douglas View Post
        In my opinion - yes. There is nothing in the letter that marks it out from any of the 1000's of hoax's received, other than it had a certain style to it.

        There is no information in the letter which could only be known to the killer, and for that reason I see no reason to promote it above any of the other hoax letters.
        Hi Adam

        The 25 September 1888 "Dear Boss" letter is promoted because it was one of the earliest and most famous letters, and the fact that the police themselves put it on a broadside and a facsimile and transcriptions appeared in the press, which led to emulators.

        Originally posted by Adam_Douglas View Post

        I also think that the same man would not have wriiten the "Dear Boss" letter and the "From Hell" letter (of course the writer of one letter could be capable of writing the other, but it just doesnt tie together) - and the evidence that supports the "From Hell" letter seems far stronger than the evidence for the "Dear Boss" / "Double Event" letters which I suspect were the products of the tabloids.
        I don't see anything that would tie the Lusk "From Hell" letter to the original "Dear Boss" letter of 25 September. They strike me as being by two different individuals. Whether either might be actually from the killer is another question.

        It is often said that if one letter might be genuine it could be the Lusk letter and I would tend to agree with that argument but I would leave open the possibility that it might be equally a hoax.

        The question of the genuineness of the kidney--that is, whether it was the kidney that was removed from Catherine Eddowes' body--might be the key factor and there are a number of imponderables about that, beginning with the fact that information in the press about the kidney was incorrect which has led to a number of people who discuss the case onto the wrong track, i.e., the idea that it was definitely a "ginny kidney" from a person who had Bright's disease and that the length of string from the kidney exactly matched the remainder of string left in Eddowes, which is questionable.

        See "Another Look at the Lusk Kidney" by Christopher-Michael DiGrazia on Casebook: Jack the Ripper.

        Chris
        Christopher T. George, Lyricist & Co-Author, "Jack the Musical"
        https://www.facebook.com/JackTheMusical/ Hear sample song at https://tinyurl.com/y8h4envx.

        Organizer, RipperCon #JacktheRipper-#True Crime Conferences, April 2016 and 2018.
        Hear RipperCon 2016 & 2018 talks at http://www.casebook.org/podcast/.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by How Brown View Post
          If I was a "Dear Boss as hoaxed letter guy", the single most important reason I'd think it was hoaxed is because after the Leather Apron brouhaha...the press needed a name for the man they previously labelled "Leather Apron" to keep interest at fever pitch. Just an opinion.

          How about you?
          Hi Howard

          I think it is the melodramatic staginess of the Dear Boss letter of 25 September 1888 that makes it seem unlikely to have come from the killer. The writer comes across as a stereotype of a Cockney criminal type, albeit with the Americanism "Dear Boss" thrown in, with such phrases as "real fits" and "just for jolly" -- and yes you could be right that the prime reason for the letter was to give the killer a better and more catchy name:

          Yours truly
          Jack the Ripper


          Dont mind me giving the trade name


          -- which could imply that the police were correct in their suspicion that a journalist was responsible -- "the stained forefinger of a journalist" as Sir Melville Macnaghten put it in his autobiography:

          "In this ghastly production I have always thought I could discern the stained forefinger of a journalist -- indeed a year later I had shrewd suspicions as to the actual author! But whoever did pen the gruesome stuff, it is certain to my mind that it was not the mad miscreant who committed the murders." Sir Melville Leslie MacNaghten, Days of My Years, 1914.

          Chris
          Christopher T. George, Lyricist & Co-Author, "Jack the Musical"
          https://www.facebook.com/JackTheMusical/ Hear sample song at https://tinyurl.com/y8h4envx.

          Organizer, RipperCon #JacktheRipper-#True Crime Conferences, April 2016 and 2018.
          Hear RipperCon 2016 & 2018 talks at http://www.casebook.org/podcast/.

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          • #6
            Thanks for the replies,C.G...and before I forget,we all hope that Mrs. G is recuperating satisfactorily

            The more I think about both the Dear Boss and Lusk Letter...I have to admit doubt is creepin' in about their provenance....more so with the Lusk Letter.

            Not that it is "proof" that the Lusk Letter is false or a hoax...but I recently found an article in a Philadelphia Inquirer newspaper years before the WM, where University of Pennsylvania students were taking body parts and leaving them on the porches of people in the West Philadelphia neighborhood just for jolly. Its on the "News From Philadelphia" thread.

            In addition, the more I think objectively about the Victorian press and their efforts to keep the story on the front page ( where it belonged,no doubt), it struck me that no independently owned newspaper attempted to use their own "moniker" for the Whitechapel Murderer, but rather the "trade name" emanated from a news agency.

            I don't know what to make of this feeling at this moment...but it puzzles me that if the author of the letter was not an employee of say, The Daily Telegraph, as many think it didn't... it seems to me as though one of the journalists in light of the diminishment of the Leather Apron scare would have written something to scoop the other papers...competition being what it was.

            I suppose what I'm trying to say is that it seems less likely that Bulling or a member of a news agency,rather than an independently owned paper, would have invented the name "Jack The Ripper". Other than that, the Ripper may well have written it.

            I know this might sound like one of my usual convoluted posts or ideas, but there's something unusual in that since news agencies didn't compete in the sense that newspapers did...and with the less heated competitive spirit found existing between newspapers, that a member of an agency came up with it bugs me a little. No big deal. I could be way off...but I thought I would just add this.
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            • #7
              Hi Howard

              The particular fingering by the police of Thomas J. Bulling of the Central News Agency (CNA) as the person responsible for Dear Boss does not make sense for the very reason that one of the arguments used for thinking it might have been a journalist who was responsible for Dear Boss is, who but a journalist would know to send the letter to a news agency?

              This is what George R. Sims (Dagonet) thought:

              "The fact that the self-postcard-proclaimed assassin sent his imitation blood-besmeared communication to the Central News people opens up a wide field for theory. How many among you, my dear readers, would have hit upon the idea of 'the Central News' as a receptacle for your confidence? You might have sent your joke to the Telegraph, the Times, any morning or any evening paper, but I will lay long odds that it would never have occurred to communicate with a Press agency. Curious, is it not, that this maniac makes his communication to an agency which serves the entire Press? It is an idea which might occur to a Pressman perhaps; and even then it would probably only occur to someone connected with the editorial department of a newspaper, someone who knew what the Central News was, and the place it filled in the business of news supply. This proceeding on Jack's part betrays an inner knowledge of the newspaper world which is certainly surprising. Everything therefore points to the fact that the jokist is professionally connected with the Press. . . .

              "Murders and battles are the things to hurl the circulation of a newspaper sky high, and the Whitechapel lady-killer's essays in lightning surgery have become as a boon and a blessing to men of the Press, who were weary of concocting in the office letters on various subjects of domestic interest, and trying to make them look like genuine outside contributions. . . ."

              This line of reasoning means that it would seem more likely that a journalist other than someone at the CNA sent it, rather than the CNA sent it to themselves.

              Chris
              Christopher T. George, Lyricist & Co-Author, "Jack the Musical"
              https://www.facebook.com/JackTheMusical/ Hear sample song at https://tinyurl.com/y8h4envx.

              Organizer, RipperCon #JacktheRipper-#True Crime Conferences, April 2016 and 2018.
              Hear RipperCon 2016 & 2018 talks at http://www.casebook.org/podcast/.

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              • #8
                Never mind "Dear Boss"...

                You may recall from a little while back that I found a musical version of the "Openshaw" letter, or at least a hornpipe whose lyrics matched pretty closely the ditty at the end of it, details here. You'll note that the "Upper Denton Hornpipe" is attributed to Scotland, and perhaps also to Northumbria.

                Take a look at Bulling in the 1881 Census:

                1881 Census Return for 22 Penshurst Road, Hackney
                Elizabeth Bulling (Head), Widow, 63, b. St George East. Annuitant
                Thomas J Bulling (Son), Single, 34, b. St Luke, Chelsea. Manager, Telegraphic News Agency
                Alfred Bulling (Son), Single, 24, b. St Luke, Chelsea. Commercial clerk (Out of employment)
                Elizabeth Bulling (Daur), Single, 21, b. St Luke, Chelsea. No Occupation

                ...and now look at his neighbours:

                1881 Census Return for 24 Penshurst Road, Hackney
                John E Buchanan (Head), Married, 39, b. Scotland, Glasgow. Merchant
                Mary (Wife), Married, 43, b. Scotland, Leith
                Mary W S (Daur), 11, b. Northumberland, Newcastle. Scholar
                Margaret R (Daur), 10, b. Northumberland, Newcastle. Scholar
                Patrick (Son), 8, b. Scotland, Arbroath. Scholar
                Henrietta W (Daur), 5, b. Scotland, Arbroath. Scholar

                So, Bulling had Scottish neighbours who had lived in Northumberland, or Northumbria, where the "Openshaw Hornpipe" seems to have originated. It's probably coincidental, but it's tempting to speculate that Bulling was invited to a few knees-ups next door once in a while, where he might have learned a northern song or two

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                • #9
                  Dear C.G.

                  I remember reading the piece...or excerpts from it... you provided by Dagonet some time ago...but you know how our memory gets. Thanks for bringing this up.

                  You do understand what I meant in my post,correct? Its more likely that someone other than Bulling or a CNA employee would be connected to the fabrication of the "Dear Boss" than someone from within the CNA....just as Dagonet hints at.

                  Sammy,old bean...

                  Thats a good find and very worthwhile observation,sor. I don't know whether I have ever seen what you just mentioned provided before.



                  Good find Sam...as always... and thank you for sharing. Its worth considering,at least I think so....
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                  • #10
                    Howard,

                    With so much competition between papers in the day, there was always the possibility of story "burnout". Even without the apprehention of the Ripper. I notice this with alot of our Canadian papers, when a story of substantial magnitude plateaus out, especially if it has already caused sales to skyrocket, a paper will essentially re-write the story several times over the course of several weeks. Making it appear as if something new has transpired, when in fact, it has not. Basically a "supper warmed over". Any newpaper could have done the same by using a faux letter. The likes of which would reinvigorate life into a temporairly stale story, and get them through a "dry spell".

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                    • #11
                      Dust:

                      Having said all that...do you think that its suspicious that a newspaper didn't come up with a new moniker for the Whitechapel Murderer instead of an agency?

                      Please elaborate and thanks for the reply, Mr. Bowler Hat.
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                      • #12
                        Newspapers are nitorious for their creativity, personal slants and spins. So it's absolutely surprising, yes. Especially when you consider "Jack" was a rather common name back then. Then to forever link it to such an UNCOMMON character, who commited the most henious of deeds, seems like somewhat of a lacklustre attempt at creative genius. Remember. This isn't your run-of-the-mill, atypical drunk, violent Whitechapel perp. He's a risk taker, he's "creative", and functions with a M.O. in mind.

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                        • #13
                          Hello Howard and Dustin

                          Back in February 2000, I published an article in Ripperologist No 27 entitled, "Was 'Dear Boss' a Case of 'Devilling'?" I had obtained the idea for the article from a short story by John Galsworthy called "Conscience" about a newspaper office in which the editor tells a reporter to write a story supposedly written by one Georgie Glebe. The term "devilling" comes from the term "printer's devil".

                          I discussed the article on the Casebook boards back in 2003 in a thread in which we were discussing the possible origins of "Dear Boss". I conclude my post this way--

                          The implication then from this story by Galsworthy, who himself knew journalists and wrote journalism, was that this happened all the time, with journalists concocting articles supposedly written by people whose bylines appeared on the pieces. Is it much further to think that instead of concocting such an article, a journalist could get the idea of writing a letter supposedly from a killer?

                          Chris
                          Christopher T. George, Lyricist & Co-Author, "Jack the Musical"
                          https://www.facebook.com/JackTheMusical/ Hear sample song at https://tinyurl.com/y8h4envx.

                          Organizer, RipperCon #JacktheRipper-#True Crime Conferences, April 2016 and 2018.
                          Hear RipperCon 2016 & 2018 talks at http://www.casebook.org/podcast/.

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