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  • A problem with the Saucy Jacky postcard

    Last night, after being inspired by conversations on another thread, I decided to take another look at Dear Boss Postcard and letter. Whilst perusing over the Saucy Jacky postcard, I suddenly came across something about the text that did not agree with me. I’m not sure if this has been mentioned before, and you’ll have to forgive me if it has, but I would like to share it with you nevertheless.

    My problem with the S J postcard lies in this line: You’ll hear about saucy Jacky’s work tomorrow.

    As we all know, the Saucy Jacky postcard was sent to The Central News Agency. We also know that the line ‘you’ll hear about saucy Jacky’s work tomorrow’ is widely regarded to refer to the information that was published in the newspapers of the 1st of October. Indeed, Phillip Sugden himself wrote, in his excellent book ‘The Complete History of Jack the Ripper’ , that he believed the communication must have been sent on the 30th of September due to this line.


    My problem, however, is this: Why would someone write to ‘The Central News Agency’ on the 30th of September telling them that they’ll discover the news about the killings in a newspaper the following day? Am I the only one that finds that line and incredibly stupid thing to write? Especially when you consider that his decision to send the postcard to them in the first place must have been based on the fact that he’d get a wide distribution in the field of NEWS. So why write that? Why does he feel that it necessary for him to explain to the CNA where they can hear about his crimes? They are The Central News Agency, for God’s sake! If they do not know what will appear in the newspapers, then who will? By the time he sent that postcard, the CNA would have had virtually a whole day to hear about a set of murders that, by this time, most people in not just Whitechapel but the whole of London would have heard about!


    Let us not forget that this is the same Central News Agency that apparently had news of the death of General Gordon and the fall of Khartoum a full 12 hours before anyone else did. As such, it would seem that the CNA needed no help in the general area of gathering and distributing breaking news. In that case, Why would someone believe that this huge news-orientated organisation would need him to point out exactly where they might find the facts? It just doesn’t make sense. The line almost makes that part of the postcard read: Dear Central News Agency. Just thought I’d let you know that you’ll find out about two murders I’ve committed in a newspaper to which you’ve probably supplied the information too anyway. Not to mention a set of murders that you’ve had a whole day to find out about and that you probably know the details of, inside out, already. Still, thought I‘d let you know out of courtesy.


    The more I read this line, the more I cannot understand why someone would write it – especially when you consider it in the context of the current understanding of its meaning. I do, however, have a very simple solution that would explain it. And it is a solution that, if agreed on, would clear up the whole mystery of whether the DB postcard (and, indeed, the DB letter) was sent by the killer or not. Imagine this scenario if you will:


    Let’s just say that the writer of the postcard was indeed the killer. What if, when he wrote the line ‘you’ll hear about saucy Jacky’s work tomorrow’, our killer wasn’t referring to the newspapers of the 1st of October but was referring to the news that would break on the morning of the 30th of September instead? Imagine also that he wrote the postcard not long after the murders had been committed, i.e. in the early hours of Sunday morning. If he was writing to The Central News Agency about information which still would not yet be widely known until the later hours of the morning of the 30th, then we have a line that makes much more sense.


    Remember: our killer would quite possibly have been wandering around during the later hours of Saturday the 29th of September as well, so to him, the late hours of the 29th and the early hours of the morning of the 30th would have seemed the same to him. He would most probably have still counted them as the evening and, therefore, ‘tomorrow’ would have represented the latter part of the morning of the 30th, i.e. when it was light.


    For instance, if I stay up late one night and don’t go to bed until one or two o’clock the next morning, I still count that as the night-time – even though it technically isn’t. The morning to me starts when I awake after my sleep. I believe this would have held true for the killer.

    The problem of the postcard being dated the 1st of October can be explained away by the fact that the book 'Jack the Ripper: Letters from Hell' states - on the subject of collection times - that, and I quote:

    'On Sundays all post offices in the London district were closed, with the exception of those open for receipt and despatch of telegrams during stated times.'

    It then goes on to say:

    'Letters posted on Sundays in pillar-boxes within the London limits, and in some nearer suburbs, were collected early on Monday morning in time for the general day mails, and for the first London district delivery.'

    Therefore, the postcard could very well have remained dormant in a local post box until it was collected and delivered on the Monday. This would also hold true if the postcard was a preemtive missive and sent before the killings were committed.


    Then again, maybe the killer himself could possibly have delayed the posting for some reason. Perhaps because he wanted to wait until the aftermath of the murders had calmed down; maybe he only felt safe posting it on the later part of Sunday. By that time, the text of the document could not have been altered, but it would still have been relevant. I doubt whether that would have bothered the killer too much, anyway. On the other hand, maybe there was an entirely different reason. I do not know.


    The fact remains, however, that whatever the reason behind the delay, the way the text reads in the S J postcard means that it does not fit in with the popular idea that the writer was referring to the information that would appear in the newspapers of the 1st of October. It fits in much more with the idea that the writer is talking about the morning of the 30th of September and the news that would break thereon. This means it was written not that long after the murders had been committed and thus almost certainly written by the killer, not a hoaxer.


    Kind regards,

    Tempus

  • #2
    Cook book

    Hello Tempus. Thanks for starting this thread. Some interesting thoughts here.

    "They are The Central News Agency, for Godís sake!"

    Yes, the idea that someone (like Bulling) send DB and SJ to CNA for the purpose of promoting sales is not coherent. For example, when CNA received DB it was examined and "filed away." In a couple days, it was sent to the police with a disclaimer--We treated it as a joke. Neither of which strategy is best to promote sales.

    However, if one accepts Professor Cook's thesis that Parke/Dam/Best from "The Star" wrote it, then the mystery vanishes. THEY profited from the story even whilst inveighing against it. If correct, a master stroke of psychology.

    If you get the chance, have a go at Cook's book. Real eye opener.

    Cheers.
    LC

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by Lynn Cates View Post
      Hello Tempus. Thanks for starting this thread. Some interesting thoughts here.

      "They are The Central News Agency, for God’s sake!"

      Yes, the idea that someone (like Bulling) send DB and SJ to CNA for the purpose of promoting sales is not coherent. For example, when CNA received DB it was examined and "filed away." In a couple days, it was sent to the police with a disclaimer--We treated it as a joke. Neither of which strategy is best to promote sales.

      However, if one accepts Professor Cook's thesis that Parke/Dam/Best from "The Star" wrote it, then the mystery vanishes. THEY profited from the story even whilst inveighing against it. If correct, a master stroke of psychology.

      If you get the chance, have a go at Cook's book. Real eye opener.

      Cheers.
      LC

      Hi Lynn.

      Thanks. I will have a look.

      The problem still remains, though, that even if someone from the Star wrote it, why write that line anyway? It is clearly a mistake if it refers to the news of October the first. The Star would know that the CNA, and indeed most people, would already be aware of the crimes by that time. And, if they had any sense, they would realise that any murderer they were pretending to be would also know that the CNA and most people would know. So why bother writing it?

      Kind regards,


      Tempus

      Comment


      • #4
        The old credit taking ploy.

        Hello Tempus. Thanks.

        On the hypothesis that the same group were responsible for the DB, then could not the SJ be merely a "credit taking ploy"?

        Cheers.
        LC

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by Lynn Cates View Post
          Hello Tempus. Thanks.

          On the hypothesis that the same group were responsible for the DB, then could not the SJ be merely a "credit taking ploy"?

          Cheers.
          LC
          Hi Lynn.


          The trouble is, what credit did they get? Non, as far as I can see. The credit would only have surrounded the line I have just mentioned, i.e, you'll here about it in MY paper tomorrow. The credit then is purely for the self.

          Add to this fact that the Lloyd's Weekly Newspaper had printed a special editon on Sunday the 30th of September, which included news of the killings, and you wonder why a journalist from the Star would even think to write that his newspaper would be the first to relay the information.


          Kind regards,


          Tempus

          Comment


          • #6
            interest

            Hello Tempus. Thanks.

            "you wonder why a journalist from the Star would even think to write that his newspaper would be the first to relay the information."

            Well, of course they were not first. But perhaps it was because it gives a "face" to the criminal and thus promotes interest, that the story was conceived? We know that the "Ripper killings" sparked interest and that many papers were sold as a result.

            Cheers.
            LC

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by Lynn Cates View Post
              Hello Tempus. Thanks.

              "you wonder why a journalist from the Star would even think to write that his newspaper would be the first to relay the information."

              Well, of course they were not first. But perhaps it was because it gives a "face" to the criminal and thus promotes interest, that the story was conceived? We know that the "Ripper killings" sparked interest and that many papers were sold as a result.

              Cheers.
              LC

              Surely the murderer had already been given a face with the DB letter(?).

              Again, Lynn, I just do not see the necessity to write this line. There is no need for it. The content and handwriting of the postcard are sufficient enough to prove it is from the same sender as the DB letter. That gives the killer more than a face. Why bother to add a stupid line like that, unless you were referring to the morning of the 30th?


              Kind regards,


              Tempus.

              Comment


              • #8
                endorsement

                Hello Tempus. Thanks.

                But if the conjecture is correct, DB was a more or less lucky hit. The SJ put "Jack" into perspective. It also "endorsed' the DB.

                If you look closely, there is a major difference in the signatures of these two missives--it regards slope. Perhaps significant, perhaps not. Of course, if there were 2 or 3 at "The Star" colluding . . . ?

                Cheers.
                LC

                Comment


                • #9
                  Tempus. Just sticking my oar in here for a second.............The saucy Jacky letter says. ' Youíll hear about saucy Jackyís work tomorrow.' and not' Youíll read about saucy Jackyís work tomorrow.'

                  A big difference I think.

                  Regards,

                  Paul

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Paul Butler View Post
                    Tempus. Just sticking my oar in here for a second.............The saucy Jacky letter says. ' You’ll hear about saucy Jacky’s work tomorrow.' and not' You’ll read about saucy Jacky’s work tomorrow.'

                    A big difference I think.

                    Regards,

                    Paul

                    Hi Paul.


                    That actually proves my point even more, because they would have heard about the murders a long time before they would have read about them. That means the line is even more likely to refer to the morning of the 30th than the newspaper reports of October the first.

                    The point I am making Paul is that for a murderer (or pressman, for that matter) to send a communication to the 'Central News Agency', knowing full well what they do, and then proceed to tell them that they will find out details of a murder in a newspaper the following day just doesn't make sense. Surely you are teaching grandma how to suck eggs, aren't you?

                    That is why I am saying that this line only makes sense if you are applying it to the morning of the 30th, i.e when the news became widespread.


                    Kind regards,


                    Tempus

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Lynn Cates View Post
                      Hello Tempus. Thanks.

                      But if the conjecture is correct, DB was a more or less lucky hit. The SJ put "Jack" into perspective. It also "endorsed' the DB.

                      If you look closely, there is a major difference in the signatures of these two missives--it regards slope. Perhaps significant, perhaps not. Of course, if there were 2 or 3 at "The Star" colluding . . . ?

                      Cheers.
                      LC

                      Hi Lynn.



                      The DB letter was a lucky hit only if you believe that a journalist sent it - which, incidentally, there is absolutely no evidence for. In fact, in the case of Best, the evidence firmly points away from him having written the DB letter and postcard.

                      The signature on the SJ postcard is the same as that on the DB letter. The difference occurs in the fact that the handwriting of the SJ postcard is more akin to the postscript of the Dear Boss letter than the main text. The suggestion that it was also written using a different writing implement could be a factor as well. The SJ postcard is more untidy still, though, and this may be down to the fact that it was written directly after the murders were commited, in a hasty manner.



                      Kind regards,


                      Tempus

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Tempus.

                        I'm certainly not disagreeing with you, other than than to say that the author of Saucy Jacky, whom I also believe was the author of Dear Boss, is not suggesting that Central News will read about the next days events in a newspaper, but will hear about it by some means or other, which of course could still be via the newspapers.

                        I'm not at all convinced that either missive was penned by any 'enterprising journalist' either.

                        Regards,

                        Paul

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Paul Butler View Post
                          Tempus.

                          I'm certainly not disagreeing with you, other than than to say that the author of Saucy Jacky, whom I also believe was the author of Dear Boss, is not suggesting that Central News will read about the next days events in a newspaper, but will hear about it by some means or other, which of course could still be via the newspapers.

                          I'm not at all convinced that either missive was penned by any 'enterprising journalist' either.

                          Regards,

                          Paul

                          Hi Paul.


                          I completely agree with what you say about the word 'hear'. But it is still teaching grandma to suck eggs. For me, there is absolutely no way that that line can refer to the newspapers of the first. And your observation that it says 'hear' and not 'read' only proves this further in my mind.



                          Kind regards,


                          Tempus.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            match

                            Hello Tempus. Thanks.

                            "In fact, in the case of Best, the evidence firmly points away from him having written the DB letter and postcard."

                            Which evidence? Cook's graphologist gave it a perfect match.

                            Cheers.
                            LC

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Tempus omnia revelat View Post
                              Hi Paul.


                              I completely agree with what you say about the word 'hear'. But it is still teaching grandma to suck eggs. For me, there is absolutely no way that that line can refer to the newspapers of the first. And your observation that it says 'hear' and not 'read' only proves this further in my mind.



                              Kind regards,


                              Tempus.
                              Hi Tempus, Paul, and Lynn

                              The point is that no matter who wrote Dear Boss and Saucy Jack, the letter is meant to be read as having been written in the all-knowing, hectoring and joshing tone of someone posing as the killer. I don't think that the writer of Saucy Jack necessarily means that people would read about the crimes in the newspaper... yes that could have partly been the implication, although word of mouth in East London was more likely and more instant, before any newspaper could print it.

                              Best regards

                              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/.

                              Comment

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