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Tumbelty & His Better Half

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  • Tumbelty & His Better Half

    One of the elements of the Tumbelty Story that has rarely been discussed ( unless I missed 'em ) has been the issue of whether or not Tumbelty actually was married at one time since no evidence has ever been produced to prove such a claim.

    The Colonel Dunham story which can be found on page 195-196 of "The Lodger" by Evans and Gainey gives us the basis for what the authors claim is "an explanation for his loathing of women"...

    To me...and this is not an attempt to refute or diminish Tumbelty's candidature as a viable suspect or that he was the Ripper....the story that Tumbelty relates to Dunham is an attempt to explain away his homosexuality without actually admitting to being a homosexual.

    Years ago,when I played coach who was my age and a homosexual ( a pretty damned tough dude as well...I had seen him fight on a few occasions with other guys )....hosted a party at his house for all 20 guys on our team after we made the playoffs ( winning 11 out of our last 12 games and making the playoffs by one point. Yours truly got the game winner in the clincher...)

    At the party, it became obvious that there were no girls or "better halfs" present. We all reveled in our fairly astonishing season-ending victory and were sudsing it up in style...wolfing down roast beef sandwiches and steaks and of course numerous kegs o' beer.

    One of the guys on the team asked Jack ( our coach's name,honest to God ) why there were no girls in the house....and in addition,referred to previous gigs at Jack's house that were always bereft of women and were always get-togethers with nothing but,men....and coyily alluded to the not-so-secret common knowledge that Jack was gay...something I do not think he knew was so well-known.

    Jack's response ( and this is my recollection from 30 years ago,so its not exactly,but close enough to what he said...) was that he had had parties at his house with women present,but that the women/girls were distractions to the purpose of those gigs...which was,a lotta guys talking about hockey or hanging out talking about "guy stuff". "Guy stuff" to healthy guys is talking about girls,of course.

    Me and the two other guys who were barely hanging on to sobriety all looked at each other...having been told from different,yet equally reliable sources,that Jack was not exactly telling the whole story. Jack didn't loath women....he just had no interest in playing koochie-koo with them like the rest of the guys did. In addition...none of us could ever remember( later on when we were a little less ripped....) Jack having any party with girls and we were the only clique he hung out with.

    Jack never made moves on guys he felt would spill the beans on him as to his sexual preference. He was a pretty good guy and a very astute coach. The only "flaw" he had or rather the element in his character which separated him from the rest of us was that he simply did not have any interest in females. He wasn't rude to them or discourteous. He wasn't belligerent to them openly...he simply did not want them around him in his social circle if he could help it.

    Now....this story above is identical to what I think Tumbelty's story about his "wife" is all about. Tumbelty has this imaginary wife-story ( already concocted and ever at the ready to spring on any nosey or curious questioner ) to explain why women are persona non grata at his home or within his social circle.

    Tumbelty doesn't have any real animosity or disdain for women,but claims to have a dislike for women ( which Dunham says.."Then he gave up all womankind") which covers all of the bases...and all the different packages women come in with this imaginary story of being married to a woman he "discovers" is a little loose and flirtatious. The article found by R.J.Palmer recently was the basis of this little commentary,since within the article R.J. found,we see Tumbelty,again at the ready,providing the reading audience an excerpt from some ancient and superannuated old biddy praising Tumbelty in the form of a poem.

    What do you think,folks? Does this scenario hold water? Have you ever considered this?

    Thank you.
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  • #2
    On the subject of the coach. It may be that he was gay but I can see an additional possibility to not asking women to be at those get-togethers.

    Think of a works do. Can be stifling and uncomfortable when people invite their partners. You can't talk about 'in' jokes or be yourself. You have to bring the outsiders into the conversation. Perhaps the coach liked to be the centre of attention.


    • #3
      I've seen the old 8mm film footage of Howard's hockey goal in that big game. His team was up 4-2 late in the 3rd period when his opponents pulled their goalie for an extra attacker. Howard was able to skate in alone on an empty net, but his slapshot missed the mark. Fortunately, the puck caromed off the boards right back to him which enabled him to kick-skate the puck into the net without the ref detecting it.

      Littlechild and McGarry spoke of Tumblety's feelings toward women. Those two men were probably accurate with their assessment. I think Conover and the NY World were sort of exploiting a misogynist theme.

      It seems to me that the NY World was expecting that Tumblety's situation in late 1888 would materialize into something bigger than how it actually ended up. The NY World seemed to feed the fire by printing the uteri jars account and Tumblety's failed "marriage" story. But when nothing came of it, they turned their attitude around in 1889 and became advocates for Tumblety.


      • #4
        Haven't you got any easier questions than that one, How?
        I take on board what you say, but one also has to consider that many gay men do in fact worship female icons, like Monroe, or in the present day Kylie Minogue.
        My own good woman is a very forceful and larger than life blonde, and gays just love her to bits. When we visit the local gay nightclub, which isn't very often, she is mobbed by the crowd, while I sit in a corner nursing a bruised ego and large brandy.

        Tumblety was a larger than life sort of character and personality, and I think he would have enjoyed the company of women who were living on the edge of life, like prostitutes and show girls, and I do remember one early newspaper report that I found about him where it declared that he left many a broken heart behind him when he left town, amongst the society girls.
        Being gay doesn't mean you hate women... not a bit of it.


        • #5

          What should be interesting to note is that judging from Tumblety's apparent sexual proclivities at this stage of his life, the area in London where he would have been most able to suit those needs was the West End.

          This obvious conclusion seems to be lost on many researchers,not to mention any theoretical implications that may be derived from that.


          • #6
            Thanks for the replies so far...they're much appreciated.

            Dear A.P.

            I understood it when you mentioned how being a homosexual doesn't mean you "dislike" women. Thats a given and I'd wager homosexual men "like" women as much,if not more,than heterosexual men. At least homosexual men don't go beating up on women. In fact,a woman is probably "safer" in the company of a homosexual man than a heterosexual one on average.

            But what I was trying to point out is that despite Tumbelty probably liking women as individuals...he has this story...and an "explanatory" one at present when pressed or queried about the absence of a "better half" in his social circle or as a partner.

            Good point, Stan about the West End...real good point pardner.
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            • #7
              It would be interesting to know exactly where in London did Tumblety's four acts of gross indecency take place during 1888.

              It was reported that the 'doctor' had an office on the Whitechapel Road in the mid-1880's, and he also had a penchant for staying at fashionable lodgings. I could see how these gross indecency acts could have occurred in either the West End or the East End.


              • #8
                Hi Joe,

                According to Stewart Evans "The Ultimate JTR Sourcebook," Tumbelty appears to have been bailed by Mr. Hanney, the magistrate of Marlborough Street Police Court. Marlborough Street was/is in the west end of London, quite close to Regent Street and Oxford Street. It would most probably have been that Tumbelty and the other men involved were caught "in the act"; they would then have appeared at the nearest police court.

                I think I have got this correct, but if not perhaps Grey Hunter will correct me.



                • #9
                  Thanks John,

                  I knew the Marlborough Street Police Court was where Tumblety was bailed, and I'd have to agree with your thinking. It would seem proper that at least one of the four victims in this indecent assault matter was victimized near Marlborough Street by Tumblety.

                  Upon further review, it has now been established that Howard's winning hockey goal was actually the result of a superb individual effort on his part. He split the two defensemen like an old craftsman and back-handed the puck into the net after faking out the goalie.

                  I had to type that correction or face a Civil Lawsuit!


                  • #10
                    Hi Joe,

                    Of course there may not have been a victim, the four men involved could all have been consenting, but it would still have been a crime. Although we cannot be sure my guess is that they may all have been caught in a public convenience doing a George Michael.

                    As for Howard's spectaclur hockey goal I cannot really comment other than that splitting two defence men and back handing the puck sounds to me almost, if not gross, indecency.



                    • #11
                      One would expect, from the information we know about the area at the time, that the type of sexual pleasure Tumblety engaged in needed to be more clandestine than what occurred in back alleys in the East End.

                      Therefore, the logical conclusion seems to be that his sexual proclivities would have taken place in the West End.

                      Therefore, the point I was making, which no one seems to really care about, is that Tumblety, as a result of this logical pattern of deductive analysis, would have not only been a visitor to the West End of London, but also a figure that was well known in that same region.

                      The reason why I state that Tumblety would have been a well known figure is an obvious deduction from what is known about Tumblety's character.


                      • #12
                        Therefore, the point I was making, which no one seems to really care about---Stan

                        I care...and I agree with you.

                        I don't believe the hoopla about Tumbelty being a misogynist-in-practice. There's a lotta misogynistic men in the world who don't go so far as to rip up females in the streets or backyards of the U.K. or U.S. Even fewer of these misogynists are gay men,which Tumbelty definitely was.

                        I agree that Tumbelty would have been more at home exclusively in the West End...unless there's a male brothel we haven't heard of in the East End and that he may have....may have...frequented.

                        For me...and this is just me...even with the Littlechild Letter alluding to Tumbelty in the manner that it does....the motive ( misogyny ) is pretty weak if at all credible.
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                        • #13

                          unless there's a male brothel we haven't heard of in the East End

                          Hmmm, it would be quite strange if among the large East End population there were not a number of pederasts. Now, a brothel might stretch it, but it would be surprising if there was not a street or whatever in the area that was known as the place to pick up a rent boy al fresco so to speak. Just as the female prostitutes tended to gather in certain areas. So it is possible Tumblety got satisfaction in the East End.



                          • #14
                            Hi Stan,

                            I agree with you that Tumbelty would have been well known in the west end, indeed I think he would have been well known all most anywhere he went. But anyone visiting a brothel or any other place for illicit homosexual pleasure would surely have been as discreet as possible?

                            Re-reading the information in Stewart Evans book it seems that Tumbelty and the others involved were scheduled to appear at the Central Criminal Court for the session commencing 10th. December 1888. I believe that Old Bailey records are slowly being published on line, and if so perhaps we shall one day be able to read what happened to the co-accused.



                            • #15
                              You've got a nice little thread here, Howard.

                              This may or may not fit in with the discussion, but here it comes anyway!

                              The taunting remarks Tumblety made during his January 1889 interview about how he is a frequenter of the finest London clubs was no "news bulletin" at all. I've had numerous articles published over the years that stated that this Ripper suspect was not only connected to the West End, but that he had infiltrated at least one Pall Mall club. It has been my contention that the heart of the Whitechapel Mysteries loudly beats in the West End. A Knighted Parliament Member drew this very same conclusion within 24 hours after the George Yard murder. I'd say that Colonel Hughes-Hallett was accurate with his statement:

                              (The Ripper) must be found at his home, in his club, in the fashionable thoroughfares of the West End.

                              It's important not to cling to any concept that suggests: "Since Tumblety was associated with the West End, then he would have been out of his environment in Whitechapel, thus he would not have been capable of committing these killings."

                              During his interview Tumblety admitted that he would "go about (London) a great deal until every part of it became familiar to me." He mingled in the slums after nightfall all of his life. I remember finding and posting this comment from the Nov 22, 1888 Chicago Tribune:

                              (Tumblety) liked the slums, notwithstanding the fact that he always had plenty of money, and could have entered, if he had been inclined, into good society."

                              The doctor would not have been disoriented at all while walking through the slums of Whitechapel.

                              Hughes-Hallett had taken an understandable approach on Aug 8, 1888....If you want to try to catch the Ripper in the act, then go to the East End slums with a loaded revolver. But if you want to find the base of his operation, you'll need to expand your search to the West End. Specifically, the Colonel mentioned the West End apartments as well as a Pall Mall club. The Colonel declared that the Ripper would embark from a West End club around midnight to commence his nocturnal revel.


                              I never read anything about charges having been brought against Doughty, Brice, Fisher, and Crowley. Instead, each man was treated as a victim of Tumblety's assaults which took place on four different dates. I suppose it's possible that a deal could have been made with these guys. You know..."We won't press charges against you four if you guys agree to testify against Tumblety. He is the man we want convicted." Good luck in trying to obtain the old court records. That would be super to see.