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From Hell: Is IT important only for the kidney?

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  • #31
    Originally posted by Howard Brown
    Stephen, all

    Just a thought but if you feel From Hell is legitimate ( I'm not arguing whether it is or isn't).....then you probably don't feel a Jewish/Continental man was the killer, correct ?
    Well i'm about 90% on it being legit, but my top two suspects (currently) are Cohen and Levy so ... i'm not sure haha.

    I know it comes across as more colloquial, but I don't think that means much necessarily - if the killer didn't speak English as his first language, he would have a lot of poor English and probably pick up colloquialisms too.

    I do see the point though.


    • #32
      In my haste to post that, I should have said recent immigrant Jews ( Like Kozminski ) not assimilated Jews like Pizer.

      Pizer, theoretically, could have written the From Hell letter being more attuned to British culture than a recent immigrant would have been.


      • #33
        Originally posted by Sam Flynn
        That little nugget of info only comes down to us via secondary and, in my opinion, rather questionable sources, David. In some contemporary accounts, it was claimed that it was the "ginny" kidney of a 45 year-old woman... which is dubious to say the least. The consumption of gin doesn't alter the appearance of a kidney, and you really can't tell a person's age to any degree of precision, even with an intact specimen. Determining the person's sex would have been nigh-on impossible, as male and female kidneys vary widely in size, and there's a degree of overlap: some male kidneys are smaller than women's, and some women's are larger than the typical male's. Furthermore, chromosomal sex typing wouldn't be discovered for almost 20 years, so we can rule out tests for any "XX" chromosomes present in the cells. Aside from questionable, and sometimes conflicting, contemporary accounts, we have the the hugely unreliable memoirs of Major Henry Smith, writing many years later, and clearly intent on puffing up his involvement in the case.

        There were even contemporary experts who cast serious doubt on whether the kidney was even human, as in this report from 20th October 1888:
        Thanks for that, it certainly adds a bit of doubt to my mind, i'll grant you that.

        I would say that I still believe it to be genuine, but that's dulled it a bit.


        • #34
          An interesting thing that came, tangentially, from what Sam sent me there was that it had never occurred to me to check the date 'From Hell' was sent.

          The doctors seemed to think the kidney was preserved for about 10 days before it was sent.

          Thinking about it, while it's nothing huge, I think it supports the veracity of the letter and kidney being genuine a little.

          The idea that it was a hoax/prank from a medical student or similar is viable, but if it's true that it had been preserved for around 10 days, it makes the window of opportunity to perpetrate it a bit smaller. I don't know if i'm explaining this well, but it would have to be a fresh kidney around the time of the murder.

          I'm sure there were plenty of kidney samples available, but i'm not sure how frequently fresh samples were available.