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The Longcoat - A Modern Hoax

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  • The Longcoat - A Modern Hoax

    Thought I'd write a little about a hoax, which once featured on various message boards, including Casebook, and above all Wikipedia. Apologies if it's in the wrong subforum. Threw all this together in an hour or two, after searching about the subject for a few days, so also apologies for any mistakes.


    The Longcoat

    Thanks to the magic of the Internet Wayback Machine, the following Wikipedia entry has been preserved, frozen in time, from Christmas Eve 2005, December 24th: (Link to article)

    Originally posted by Wikipedia
    Långrocken, "the Longcoat", was the pseudonym given to a mysterious, unknown assailant who attacked and raped (or tried to rape) several women and girls in the Swedish city of Norrköping in the beginning of the year 1893.

    All the attacks happened after dark during the snowy winter months of early 1893, all over Norrköping. It is uncertain how many women were attacked, but the whole city, Sweden’s fourth biggest at the time, was alarmed. In attempts to capture Långrocken, as many as 18 undercover policemen dressed in women’s clothes patrolled the city, trying to lure him into their trap. Despite their efforts, the assailant was never caught and the attacks suddenly stopped in the spring.

    The identity of Långrocken remained unknown. He was compared to the contemporary Jack the Ripper of London, and some even believed it was Jack the Ripper himself. Other rumors said he was an escaped prisoner, or that the attacks were made by different men. Some said he was armed with knives and pistols, although none of the attacked women had been killed or wounded by such weapons.

    The story of Långrocken is mentioned in the autobiography of Ture Nerman, the Swedish Communist leader who grew up in Norrköping, and was only seven years old at the time. Nerman claims that a young female friend of his family was attacked, but escaped Långrocken.
    An interesting story, closely resembling Jack the Ripper, except less murderous. Especially the name, the Longcoat, closely matches... Leather Apron. Very catchy! Completely unsourced of course, except regarding the interesting use of Nerman's biography, which at first glance lends credence to the thought. I've not been able to find Nerman's biography online, but frankly, I think it was used here simply because it's not easily available to double-check. I hope to double-check it though, but until then, I'll 100% regard this as a hoax.

    On 8 December 2007, the article was deleted. The motivation was that it was possibly a hoax, but more relevant, that it was unsourced and not possible to verify. The full edit history can be viewed here, showing it was first created by the anonymous IP address "80.217.161.77" on 24 July 2005. The very simplistic original variant is found here.

    The IP address of the hoax creator is, according to many sites such as IPlocation.com, tied to a town in Stockholm County, Sweden. The person's edit history is interesting, running from April to September 2005. Edits primarily concern left-wing politics, from Swedish communists to Malcolm X, with a lot of focus on the previously mentioned Ture Nerman. Also music - such as this edit linking the left-wing band Nationalteatern to Jack the Ripper, via a song about him. An "anti-Stalinist" slant to the edits is very clear in general, as discussed here.

    The idea of Långrocken / the Longcoat gained some little attention from ripperologists. For example, a year after the article was published, the possible inclusion of Långrocken as a Jack the Ripper suspect in Wikipedia's list of such was discussed here.

    On 11 August 2005, Dan Norder posted on Casebook about Långrocken, having apparently found the now-deleted Wikipedia entry:

    Originally posted by Dan Norder
    Wikipedia has an entry on a mysterious individual nicknamed Långrocken. (See the article.)

    Swedish attacker of women in 1893, some thought he may have been Jack the Ripper... This sound familiar to anyone? (Paging Glenn and Helge...)

    "Longcoat" is an awesome name for a mysterious attacker of women, by the way.


    He got two replies, both from the Swedish journalist, artist and author Glenn G. Lauritz Andersson, who later in 2008 published his book Jack Uppskäraren:

    Originally posted by [FONT=Verdana,Helvetica,Arial,Times][SIZE=2][FONT=Verdana,Helvetica,Arial,Times][SIZE=2]Glenn G. Lauritz Andersson[/SIZE][/FONT][/SIZE][/FONT]
    Yes this is a very interesting case (I came across it some years ago but I haven't checked out the original files), and strangely enough NOT that well covered in Swedish crime history (and you can't find anything about him while googling on Swedish web pages).

    Yes, 'Longcoat' is a great name, and also 'Långrocken' has a great ring to it in Swedish.

    I had no idea that Norrköping was the fourth largest city in Sweden at the time, though. Things have certainly changed since 1893.
    Originally posted by Glenn G. Lauritz Andersson
    The problem is, you can't access old articles from the newspapers covering the Norrköping area online, so you have to travel to its local library or the closest university (Linköping, I guess) and check out the microfilms there for the relevant dates.

    Strangely enough, all searches regarding Långrocken comes up empty on Swedish websites.
    Andersson also discussed it briefly in 2008 on the Swedish history forum Skalman (here). In the same year he also participated in a longer discussion about it on the Swedish message boards Flashback (here), where in 2007-2008 many other forum members participated in discussing the "case" of Långrocken, and the possibility of finding evidence, often mentioning JTR.

    This comment by Andersson noted above from Casebook is actually very interesting: "The problem is, you can't access old articles from the newspapers covering the Norrköping area online, so you have to travel to its local library or the closest university (Linköping, I guess) and check out the microfilms there for the relevant dates." This was, indeed, very true back in 2005. This also reflects why the forum-goers of 2005-2008 weren't able to take a deeper look. Today we have, as seen elsewhere on this site, a lot of digitized newspapers. Not everything has been put online, and those that have been aren't perfect, but for the period 1892-01-01 to 1894-12-31 (i.e. the relevant year 1893, + / - 1 year), there is a total of 4,170 digitized issues of Norrköpings Tidningar (translated by Wikipedia as the Norrköping Times). None of these issues yield any results for the word "Långrocken", even when accounting for one or two characters being misdigitized. In fact, a very brief glance at the overall available historical newspapers show no relevant results whatsoever, beyond casual uses of the word to describe actual cloathing.

    Despite apparently not existing, and likely being made up by an anonymous Wikipedia editor from Stockholm County in 2005, Långrocken seems to have entered popular culture. The metal band "Aggressive Mutilator", which is a local Norrköping band, the town to which the hoax-myth is tied, released the tape and eponymous track Långrocken in 2014. I haven't listened to it, but it's reviewed here:

    Originally posted by Reviewer
    It was just a few days ago that I had to write a few words of criticism on AGGRESSIVE MUTILATOR and their latest demo “Curse Of The Outlaw”. The usually very fine ultra raw Black Thrash of the very productive Swedish duo was spoiled by a thin and too powerless production on that tape. But now the two busy guys are back again with their third output this year, another demo called “Långrocken” (Swedish for “long coat”), completely sung in their native language. And they are back on track, in a musical meaning. Of course the recording is still extremely raw and rude, since AGGRESSIVE MUTILATOR are again at war with technical and overproduced music. And there's still no sign of too much instrumental finesse in the four songs. The overall feeling on “Långrocken” pretty much reminds of DARKTHRONE, maybe due to the fact that the Swedish and Norwegian languages are closely related. But the musical approach of AGGRESSIVE MUTILATOR also changed a bit and now features a certain influence from the old days of NWOBHM glory. The opening 'Storängen' might not serve as the best example for this, it's a classical Black Thrash massacre in the best tradition of the duo. But check out 'Långrocken', which is already pretty melodic for an AGGRESSIVE MUTILATOR song. And 'Barbro Påle' comes along with finest old school NWOBHM breaks. The final mid-tempo based 'Vagnsberget' even is the most melodic song the dynamic duo did to date. Maybe you can see “Långrocken” as AGGRESSIVE MUTILATOR's nod to the work of DARKTHRONE. Or just do it like me: see it as a fuckin' good raw blackish Metal tape that nods before the elder gods of real Metal. You can get “Långrocken” at the Swedes bandcamp site: http://aggressivemutilator.bandcamp.com.
    The name and their town of origin can't be a coincidence, really.

    A final note: On 1 August 2014, Swedish National Television published an online article about "famous Wikipedia hoaxes" (here). In regards to Långrocken, the article simply comments after a brief description of the original claims: "But story wasn't true, and 'the Longcoat' has never existed."

    That's about all I've been able to, in a very brief period of time, glean about this made-up serial rapist hoax, once claimed to even be a Jack the Ripper suspect. It may very well be that some other ripperologist has researched this mess before, hence the previous disprovals of the whole thing, but I haven't been able to locate any longer text on it. Would appreciate any further comments on it, though. Thanks.

  • #2
    Very interesting, Anton. Thanks

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    • #3
      Yes indeed....nice job Anton !
      To Join JTR Forums :
      Contact Howard@jtrforums.com

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      • #4
        Thank you!

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