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Were they poisoned before hand?

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  • Were they poisoned before hand?

    Other than the last victim, who I'm not entirely certain wasn't the victim of a copy cat or made to look as such, all of them died without signs of a struggle. Apparently, one of them died so quickly that she was still holding something in her hand, though that may just be a circumstance of the notorious "death grip". I imagine a paralytic or a combination of sedative and alcohol, maybe even the use of a poison like hemlock, were used. Maybe, he wanted to make sure they wouldn't struggle, escape or call attention to him. Being his first forays into his devilish work, and obviously being competently intelligent and lucid, maybe even well educated, it would make sense that he'd take such precautions. If so, then maybe Mary Kelly was his first, and last known, victim of a bolder, more confident, precaution free Ripper.

    I've only just started studying this extraordinarily sensationalized case of human evil. If I could be pointed to any pre-existing threads that touch upon this possible mode of operation or any others that explore how he managed to make his victims so complacent, then I'd be very grateful! Of course, I would welcome any constructive discourse on the subject right here in the thread, but I am not looking for heated arguments. This is simply a pursuit of knowledge and truth, whatever little there maybe after a century has passed.

    Thanks in advance!

  • #2
    Heck of an initial post, Aunrael.

    None of the victims showed any signs of poisoning ( May I suggest checking the Inquest Forum on the main page.. )...but you aren't the first to give the possibility a stab ( No pun intended ).

    It isn't a bad idea, by any means....but as far as the medical men at the time knew, they weren't disabled by any stimulants or poisons.
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    • #3
      Welcome Aunrael:

      The possibility they were sedated can't be ruled out I don't think. Thanks for opening that up.

      I did mention a while back that poison testing was one of the few elements of forensics that was available in 1888 but I think it was just the Marsh Test for arsenic and possibly a few other heavy metals. If there were tests for other types of poisons that were available at the time of the murders, I haven't heard about them. If I'm correct, the possibility of sedation would have to remain conjecture. Little doubt they were already somewhat sedated with alcohol.

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      • #4
        Hi Aunrael and welcome

        I'm not trying to be satirical here, but I should have thought that poisoning the women would have one obvious drawback : if you were walking with a woman whom you'd just poisoned, you never knew when the poison would take effect. The upshot would be, at any moment you might be forced to pick up and carry the incapacitated woman to a suitably dark deserted spot, or even worse, helpful passers-by might enquire what's wrong with her and offer assistance. On the other hand, if you are already at the place where you plan to kill her, you will have to spend time in her presence while the poison takes effect, and you'll probably be seen with her. And in any case, she wouldn't want to hang around with you. Once at the murder spot her one aim would be to earn her fourpence and then go off in search of a bed or a pub.

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        • #5
          Thanks for the very welcoming and encouraging replies!


          @Robert: I imagine with enough charm, and the promise of enough coin, a bit of conversation could give the fifteen twenty minutes for an intoxicant/poison/combination? to kick in; even sooner if she accepts what she thinks is snuff.

          Life as a prostitute would quickly teach them how to survive on the streets. However, a handsome, charming man, maybe well off, could be a danger they'd never had to consider before. Then again, maybe he was someone they all knew and liked; a local butcher whose lust and guilt turned to hatred. Such is the province of fantasy, though, rather then the pursuit of understanding!

          The possibilities are very broad-ended, so we can't rely on should-haves and might-have-dones. Even though a hardened street walker would likely act the way you've described, humanity is rarely predictable on any walk of life.



          Couldn't resist!

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          • #6

            Robert: I imagine with enough charm, and the promise of enough coin, a bit of conversation could give the fifteen twenty minutes for an intoxicant/poison/combination? to kick in; even sooner if she accepts what she thinks is snuff.--
            Aunrael
            In line with your comments, Aunrael :
            No one came forward and said they saw Nichols 15 to 20 minutes before she was murdered....and I don't recall whether she was examined for drugs,poisons, or other medicants.
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            • #7
              Hi Aunrael

              Originally posted by Howard Brown View Post
              Robert: I imagine with enough charm, and the promise of enough coin, a bit of conversation could give the fifteen twenty minutes for an intoxicant/poison/combination? to kick in; even sooner if she accepts what she thinks is snuff.--Aunrael
              In line with your comments, Aunrael :
              No one came forward and said they saw Nichols 15 to 20 minutes before she was murdered....and I don't recall whether she was examined for drugs,poisons, or other medicants.
              Hi How
              We know Dr Llewellyn checked Nichols mouth as he saw her tongue was lacerated, apparently choloform and ether if used can usually be detected around the mouth as burns and blisters so they're pretty unlikely. Her stomach contents were examined as well, though he only mentioned smelling for alcohol.

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              • #8
                Dear Lucky :
                Thanks for the correction ! I dropped the ball on that one.
                I should have just stuck to drugs being checked, regarding Polly.
                Good call buddy.
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                • #9
                  Hi How
                  yeah I know you knew, it was for Aunrael benefit really!!

                  Hi Aunrael

                  You might want to have a look at Dr Cream , if you're not already familiar with the case.

                  Best Wishes

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                  • #10
                    And, in the case of Eddowes, there certainly wouldn't have been enough time to administer the poison and hope that it would take effect in that small window of opportunity he had before PC Watkins would enter Mitre Square on his regular beat.

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                    • #11
                      Thanks for the great info! It's amazing to get a glimpse at the amassed details of this case. I'm pretty well satisfied that he did not rely on intoxicants/poisons, though they doesn't seem to be 100% ruled out in all cases.

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