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The Lusk Letter Analyzed

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  • The Lusk Letter Analyzed

  • #2
    Mailed 125 years ago tomorrow I believe.


    • #3
      Not much of an analysis is it?

      Some things about this letter that stand out to me are that the writer making quite a statement that it comes "from Hell", yet uses a lower case "h" for the word "Hell"

      I'm not sure the expression t'other denotes an Irish writer, or an attempt to make readers think the writer was Irish

      Rather, t'other sounds to me like someone from the North of England speaking

      Using the words "Sor" and "Mishter" appear a feeble attempt at making the writer sound Irish if that is the intention but with that in mind it might be significant that these words appear at the beginning and end of the writing

      The writer makes out that he preserved the half kidney, taken from "one woman", specifically for Lusk and the offer to send the knife in the future appears to make Lusk an important personality to the Ripper

      However, there is no implied threat to Lusk in the letter, instead it suggests an open ended challenge for Lusk to catch the writer/killer

      To me, the main intention of the letter is to establish what the Ripper was doing with the removed organs, giving the two reasons of wanting to post them to certain parties, and also to eat them

      There are attempts at making some of the letters appear quite elaborate, like the common copperplate writing, and the writer includes some silent letters such as the n in "knif", and the h in "whil" yet the letter on the whole gives the appearance of the writer being someone quite uneducated

      There are a number of reasons why the letter doesn't appear to have been written by the same person who wrote the Openshaw letter, though there are some similarities in the overall appearance of the writing


      • #4
        I was about to post on the Lusk letter a few days ago-

        I was going to try and convince you all that the "O" in "Sor" was in fact a "U" makining it "Sur", and then I was going to dazzle you with the fact this slight change altered the accent of the letter from "Irish" to "Scots".

        I hit a slight barrier when I realised that "Tuther" was in fact "Tother" - It was at this point I realised that "Tother" was actually a shorting of "The Other".

        Look I had done a comparison chart and everything..

        Not to be dissuaded i simply put it down to the author of the letter not being able to spell "Tother" - just like myself.

        Just as I was about to hit "Post" I looked up and realised i had forgotten one major thing....the title "From Hell". It had been there all along but my brain didn't register it, the "O" in from hell is exactly the same as my "U" in both "Sur" and "Tuther".

        I wasted a good hour on that, it would have no doubt been highly embarrassing and I'm glad you all didn't find out.


        • #5
          It was still worth pondering over Belladonna, thanks for posting the pix

          I think I'm right in saying most people consider it to say "Sor" but some think it might just say "Sir"

          The dots are on the "i"s in the rest of the letter

          Overall, I think it's questionable whether the writer was Irish, or not Irish but intended the reader to think him Irish

          The Openshaw letter appears to have a bit of a London slant to it - "bloomin'", "ospitle" and "cusses" of coppers for example


          • #6
            It says 'Sir', not 'Sor'. That's why the 'O' isn't a complete loop as it is otherwised used in the letter.

            Yours truly,

            Tom Wescott


            • #7
              I agree 100% with Tom on this....that it reads "Sir", not "Sor".


              • #8
                The "o" isn't closed in t'other and all the other "i"s have a dot, so I think it's debatable whether it says Sor or Sir


                • #9
                  Its Sor,

                  Look at the letter 'I' elsewhere.



                  • #10
                    After my epiphany I am convinced it is "Sor".

                    If it's not sor I think we have to change the title of this letter to the "Frim hell" letter.


                    • #11
                      The non-closing of the "o" in "Sor" and "From hell" as well as the untidy, blotted nature of the writing could be a good indication that the writer was drunk when they wrote it, which might fit in with the writer having been a prankster rather than a cold-hearted killer.

                      Christopher T. George, Lyricist & Co-Author, "Jack the Musical"
             Hear sample song at

                      Organizer, RipperCon #JacktheRipper-#True Crime Conferences, April 2016 and 2018.
                      Hear RipperCon 2016 & 2018 talks at


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Chris G.
                        The non-closing of the "o" in "Sor" and "From hell" as well as the untidy, blotted nature of the writing could be a good indication that the writer was drunk when they wrote it, which might fit in with the writer having been a prankster rather than a cold-hearted killer.

                        Or that he had the tother half of the kidnae with with a nice chianti


                        • #13
                          I see a certain humour in this letter - the idea that Lusk was waiting desperately for the bloody knife. A bit like the police wanting Kate's ears.


                          • #14
                            What strikes me every time I see the Lusk letter is how English, or at least British, it is. In spite of the writer's illiteracy, which I don't believe is feigned at all, (ink blots, spelling mistakes, words sliding into each other,) there is no sign of foreign phrasing at all.

                            There's even a weird sort of copybook flavour about it. A man vaguely remembering his schooldays and lessons on how to compose a letter. Right heading--put the address (from hell) Left heading--to the recipient Mr Lusk then, as in a business letter, Sir (or Sor.)

                            Mr, with the r written up high against the M is common in Victorian English and was taught that way in school. (I've seen dozens of examples. (Education in Victoria's reign is one of my strange hobbies.)

                            I also believe our letter writer enjoyed going to 'penny gaffs' and seeing stage Irishmen. He's clearly throwing out false clues with his 'Sor' and 'Mishter'. I don't think he cares about the appearance of this letter at all, and I agree that he was probably having a drinking session when he wrote it.


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Curryong
                              Education in Victoria's reign is one of my strange hobbies.
                              Not as strange as some of us around here, and one which should stand you in good (WT) stead to contribute to our discussions. Welcome to the forum
                              Kind regards, Sam Flynn

                              "Suche Nullen"
                              (F. Nietzsche)