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Jack the Abused Child?

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  • Jack the Abused Child?

    Excerpted from Murder Most Foul:

    Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.
    - Proverbs 22:6

    And, of course, the reverse of the proverb is also true. For an illustration, we need look no further than the tragic childhood of Henry Lee Lucas:

    ¡§Henry, his brother, and at times his father, were witness to his mother¡¦s sexual escapades with whatever "customer" was present at the time. At times his mother would insist that Henry and his brother watch her having sex, to the point where she would punish them if they attempted to leave or look away.¡¨19

    A similar example of the probable effect of a bad environment in the creation of a serial killer is that of Peter Kurten, who grew up in a one-room apartment where his father would beat and essentially rape Peter's mother in front of their 10+ children.

    The environment in which a child is raised is, of course, tremendously important in shaping the child¡¦s future as an adult. Although aberrations do occur, as in the case of Jeffrey Dahmer, most others follow a fairly predictable path in the journey from child to adult. A child raised in a specific environment will, most likely, mirror that environment as an adult. Thus, the child raised in a dysfunctional environment may largely be expected to be dysfunctional himself. The author personally knows a young man, a prison inmate in Texas, who was raised in a family in which incest was commonly practiced at all levels. When he reached adulthood, the end results were all too predictable ¡V he has been incarcerated for sexual assault. The dysfunction can become second nature, regardless of what it is, as witnessed by the recent events at a family-owned crematorium in Georgia. There, the man who was in operation of the facility had, as a child, always been around death and decay. Dead bodies and rotting corpses had apparently been everyday objects in his youth, and, as an adult, he kept hundreds of corpses in various stages of dissolution, even going so far as to take digital photographs of them to store on his computer for later review. Even more unusual was the total lack of any evidence of necrophilia; it was apparently never a factor in his actions. He simply liked having the dead around him, because they had always been around him.

    Killers, and serial killers in particular, have often had emotional problems with their parents, especially their mothers, that seem to have caused critical and destructive personality changes later in life:

    ¡§Men are what their mothers made them.¡¨
    - Ralph Waldo Emerson

    When a too-young boy is seduced or raped by a woman ¡V and it has happened ¡V or exposed to sexual activities too soon in life, he may grow up hating sex and those women who promote it. Naturally, what women promote sex more than prostitutes?

    ¡§A prostitute was found murdered. During the investigation the defendant stated that his mother had been a prostitute, and during his childhood he had frequently witnessed her in the company of male partners. Following this, he had developed a deep hatred for women and desired only to inflict pain upon them.¡¨14

    Criminal history also indicates that if the mother¡¦s own attitude about sex is abnormal, the chances are that the son¡¦s will be abnormal as well:

    ¡§Ed Gein had an twisted relationship with his mother in which he viewed her as a angelic saint-like deity/goddess. She would force the view of "sex and women are the devils work" and kept him at home as much as possible. Ed basically committed his ghoulish deeds in order to "deal" with his suppressed sexuality and interest in women and also his "hatred" toward them because of his mother's anti-sexual views.¡¨19

    Rumbelow writes of social conditions in London¡¦s East End at the time of the Whitechapel Murders, conditions that the Ripper himself may very well have experienced as a child. The excellent introductory section ¡¥Outcast London¡¦ of Rumbelow¡¦s book paints a stark picture of what life may have been like for our young master Jacky:

    ¡§Here is a mother who turns her children into the street in the early evening because she lets her room for immoral purposes until long after midnight, when the poor little wretches creep back again if they have not found some miserable shelter elsewhere.¡¨9

    Combine crushing poverty, an alcoholic and abusive ¡V or absentee - father, and a prostituting mother, possibly a sadistic one such as Henry Lee Lucas had, and it would have been a sure recipe for creating violent dysfunction and emotional problems, possibly even resulting in a psychopath or sociopath. So likely is this occurrence of events and so attractive is their premise, that many Ripperologists are convinced that it must be so. One chatter visiting The JTR Chatroom during one of the recent structured chat sessions guaranteed everyone present that the Ripper¡¦s mother had been a prostitute ¡V period ¡V in spite of there being absolutely no known evidence of such whatsoever. For him, it simply had to be that way, and we were all wasting our time discussing other possibilities, suspects, and motives.

    A bad environment could certainly manifest itself in numerous ways other than discussed thus far. Who knows the ultimate effect that it would have upon a child, other than to be terribly detrimental in some fashion? Following is discussion in this vein:
    This <the paragraph following> is from Peter Constantine's translation of The Undiscovered Chekhov, Forty-Three New Stories. It was previously published as part of a Chekhov letter to his publisher, Suvorin. I think it gives an insight into the life of the lower classes at the end of the nineteenth century and the hard life that they had, the sort of conditions that could well have bred the Whitechapel murderer. While Chekhov's ending is a noble one, we might imagine another outcome where the man who comes out of this background was a man like the Ripper:
    - Christopher George10

    "What the aristocrat writers get for free from nature, intellectuals of lower birth have to pay for with their youth. Write a story of how a young man, the son of a serf, a former shopboy, choirboy, schoolboy, and student, brought up to respect rank, to kiss priests' hands, and worship the thoughts of others, thankful for every piece of bread, whipped time and again, having to go give lessons without galoshes, brawling, torturing animals, loving to eat at rich relatives' houses, needlessly hypocritical before God and man, merely from a sense of his own insignificance. Write a story about how this young man squeezes the serf out of himself, drop by drop, and how waking up one bright morning, this young man feels that in his veins there no longer flows the blood of a slave, but the blood of a real man."
    - Anton Chekhov

    Conclusion ¡V if the Ripper were a product of his environment, he would have not hesitated to kill, probably being limited only by time. His other motives for mutilation and leaving of the victims in public could have been as follows:

    „h Jack the Mad Man
    „h Jack the Jill-Hater
    „h Jack the Jolly Man
    „h Jack the Human-being Stalker
    „h Jack the Anarchist
    „h Jack the Blind Man

    Public Display

    „h Jack the Practical Man
    „h Jack the Egotist
    „h Jack the Obsessed
    „h Jack the Anarchist
    „h Jack the Litterbug
    „h Jack the Godfather


    1. Badal, James In the Wake of the Butcher

    2. Bloch, Robert Yours Truly, Jack the Ripper

    3. Crime SuspenStories, The Giggling Killer
    EC Publications

    4. Doyle, Sir Arthur Conan The Complete Sherlock Holmes
    5. Futrelle, Jacques The Thinking Machine
    6. Jesse, F. Tennyson Murder and its Motives
    7. King, C. Daly The Curious Mr. Tarrant
    8. Maples, William Dead Men Do Tell Tales
    9. Rumbelow, Donald The Complete Jack the Ripper
    10. Ryder, Stephen
    11. Scott, George A History of Torture
    12. Sledge, Eugene With the Old Breed: At Peleliu and Okinawa
    13. Smithsonian Magazine, The Shadow of a Gunman from World War II
    September 1993

    14. Spitz. Werner, Medicolegal Investigation of Death, Second
    and Fisher, Russell Edition

    15. Styron William The Confessions of Nat Turner

    16. Sugden, Philip The Complete History of Jack the Ripper

    17. Ubelaker, Douglas Bones: A Forensic Detective’s Casebook

    18. von Krafft-Ebing, Richard Psychopathia Sexualis













  • #2
    That's a very interesting view. However, prostitutes are usually poor. Poor people have no or little education. So how did Jack learn about human anatomy?

    I think the lower classes should be discarded and people should start looking into the rich and educated classes. Preferrably the group with medical knowledge such as doctors, surgeons and the like.



    • #3
      Even people performing "menial" tasks in medical related fields or facilities, will eventually pick up a cursory amount of education regarding human anatomy. Sometimes even more so. I know of at least one American rock musician, whom worked as a morgue assisstant before making it big, and signing to a multi-million dollar contract. His tasks were considered menial (moving bodies, janatorial duties), yet his study of anatomy would indicate he was much more schooled than his duties would indicate him to be.


      • #4
        That makes me wonder whether morgue assistants came from poor classes. Aren't they part of the "working class"?

        I have a fair knowlegde of human anatomy, but I couldn't pull of what JTR pulled off - definitely not in that time span and with that (lack of) lighting. Even the doctors who did the post mortems admitted they would have a hard time to pull it off. So what makes you think a morgue assistant could do just that?

        It's still not really convincing to me I'm afraid...



        • #5
          Practice, Birgitte, practice. Surely JTR prepared for this series of crimes in other respects.


          • #6
            Okay, then I have a next question: How can you practise endlessly until you get it right without raising suspicion? And even more importantly: without being disturbed?

            I'm still not convinced...



            • #7
              I detailed this hypothesis in the Ripper Notes article 'The Buck's Row Flyer' in 2001. I will find it in my archives and post it in here. In short, it speculates that a hospital morgue attendant would have the time, the privacy, and the means to do whatever he wanted in this regard. Bodies he would be in charge of were those which either were unclaimed and headed for Potter's Field, or which had already undergone a post-mortem examination. Thus, if he were to do a little dissection on his own, who would know or care? And he need not worry about being disturbed, particularly at night. Note that Army and Marine Corps medics in WWII became so proficient at what they did that they could work in total darkness without particular handicap.

              Conan Doyle discusses this kind of scenario involving hospital morgue attendants in several of his short stories, such as The Brown Hand.

              Please note, however, that I am not saying that this is how it was or must have been, only how it could have been.


              • #8
                Okay, so that is possible for morgue attendants then. But then the question remains whether people from the slums (because that's what this theory is all about) can become morgue attendant.

                As I wondered in a previous post: isn't that a different class (the working class) and can people from lower classes work themselves up to a higher class?

                I'm not familiar with the Victorian class system, but usually one couldn't get out of whatever class one was born in. This would imply that people from East London didn't have a chance to escape their fate.



                • #9
                  Well, he need not have come from the slums, but that is where London Hospital was located, in the east end of the East End.

                  However, few requirements for this position other than a strong stomach would be necessary, and it is doubtful that many others would actively seek such employment. It was not much more than a watchman over the dead, and no particular skills were required. This was not a professional position, as would be a doctor, nurse, or assistant, and practically anyone could have qualified. No doubt the pay was low and the conditions grim, but what better situation for a Ripper wannabe to find himself in?


                  • #10
                    Some would consider a morgue assistant's tasks to be "menial". As to whether someone from the "lower classes" could acquire such a job in England, I cannot say for sure, as I do not live there. But I can assure you, that the man I mentioned previously was one such a man, and had absolutely NO training when he took the job.
                    As to whether a morgue assissant could do the tasks performed by the Ripper, one must take into account a person's degree of skill, and ability to learn something indirectly. I have had to do this several times in my own life, and sometimes, the mere act of listening or watching (even covertly) allows the mind to absorb much of what it needs to get the job done. Case in point: I learned more just watching my English wrestling coach compete for a year, then I did during high school, in 2 years of actual competition myself. So it IS possible.
                    As for someone practicing the process of organ removal, as pointed out by WTM, a morgue assistant would have the ability and the means to practice on actual subjects. But even if he chose not to, he could practice on animals of some degree of size. Because in theory, the size and texture of our innards, are somewhat similar to those of animals.


                    • #11

                      Birgitte: The application of certain techniques over and over for years and sometimes in less time than a normal apprenticeship would require,cause people to develop an osmotic ability. For example, I can change a 36 foot razor sharp blade on a machine saw,in the dark,blindfolded,and drunk.....and it requires a certain dexterity or you will lose a finger or be severely cut.... Not because I am special,but because "it comes with the territory".....I agree 105 percent ( is that possible? ) with Birgitte. We need to focus on a member of the non-prole class.....and I agree with Tim( thanks for reprinting the great,Bucks Row Flyer) about the proximity of London Hospital...also at 105 percent.
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