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  • Druitt/Bluitt

    On "The American Doctor" thread, SPE mentioned the following :

    "I feel that Macnaghten did not give Sims Druitt's full name but referred to him as 'Dr D' and that Sims was interested to find out exactly who 'Dr D' (i.e. Druitt) was. Hence Sims query to Littlechild regarding 'Dr D'. I stress, though, that is just my opinion. The Druitt family was a wealthy family of lawyers and doctors and were still prominent in 1913 so I am sure that Macnaghten would still not want the name leaked - and Sims was a journalist after all."

    I'm sure several people, not all, people are aware that last year, an article or story was found during a Google search...containing the name "Bluitt" with what appears to be a fairly convincing, thinly veiled reference to Montagu Druitt. I cannot remember the contents of the article at present...but can try (this morning) to find it to illustrate what I'm talking about.

    With that in mind and with SPE's underlined suggestion/statement in mind....I'm wondering how Druitt's name was found out...and transformed into "Bluitt"...if that is the case.

    I'd like to know what SPE...and anyone else thinks since what SPE suggests may well be true.

    However, the question would be, if SPE is correct, how did Druitt's name become known to others ( the individual who wrote the article, which was a light hearted piece if I remember correctly ) if the "Bluitt" reference did refer to Druitt ?

    Hope thats not too confusing.
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  • #2
    Frank Richardson

    Originally posted by How Brown View Post
    On "The American Doctor" thread, SPE mentioned the following :
    "I feel that Macnaghten did not give Sims Druitt's full name but referred to him as 'Dr D' and that Sims was interested to find out exactly who 'Dr D' (i.e. Druitt) was. Hence Sims query to Littlechild regarding 'Dr D'. I stress, though, that is just my opinion. The Druitt family was a wealthy family of lawyers and doctors and were still prominent in 1913 so I am sure that Macnaghten would still not want the name leaked - and Sims was a journalist after all."
    I'm sure several people, not all, people are aware that last year, an article or story was found during a Google search...containing the name "Bluitt" with what appears to be a fairly convincing, thinly veiled reference to Montagu Druitt. I cannot remember the contents of the article at present...but can try (this morning) to find it to illustrate what I'm talking about.
    With that in mind and with SPE's underlined suggestion/statement in mind....I'm wondering how Druitt's name was found out...and transformed into "Bluitt"...if that is the case.
    I'd like to know what SPE...and anyone else thinks since what SPE suggests may well be true.
    However, the question would be, if SPE is correct, how did Druitt's name become known to others ( the individual who wrote the article, which was a light hearted piece if I remember correctly ) if the "Bluitt" reference did refer to Druitt ?
    Hope thats not too confusing.
    The Bluitt reference was discovered by Chris Phillips who started a thread on the Casebook site about it on 20 September 2009.

    It was from a comic novel The Worst Man In The World by Frank Richardson published in 1908. The relevant passage, pp. 58-59 read -
    "Murder is practised solely by the barbarous or the insane. What art could thrive with such exponents? Doctor Bluitt, whose fantastic ability was so strikingly exhibited in his admirable series of Whitechapel murders, flung himself raving into the Thames. If only he had been sane, he, I fondly fancy, might have founded a school. What the art requires is a sane Doctor Bluitt."

    Given that Richardson was also a barrister, and that Druitt was a barrister and teacher who 'flung himself' into the Thames, this appears to indicate that Richardson was privy to the rumours concerning Druitt.

    Comment


    • #3
      Thanks for jolting my memory, SPE.

      "Given that Richardson was also a barrister, and that Druitt was a barrister and teacher who 'flung himself' into the Thames, this appears to indicate that Richardson was privy to the rumours concerning Druitt."

      I wonder how these rumors included Druitt being involved in the Whitechapel Murders...since numerous people committed suicide in London.
      Does it sound to you as if the rumors began and were disseminated from someone inside the police heirarchy ?

      Or is there some other way it did ( such as the rumor originating from a non-police, but familial source ) ?
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      • #4
        'Dr Bluitt' is another example, I think, of Macnaghten's behind-the-scenes machinations, with clubby insiders, over Druitt's identity as the fiend.

        The writer Richardson, minor compared to Sims, even juxtaposes 'Bluitt' with the idea of a 'school'.

        Just a coincidence, or a cheeky wink from the in-the-know gentlmen who actually knew that a game was being played? [It echoes the coincidence in Mac's memoir's preface in which cricket is juxtaposed with the Ripper.]

        'Bluitt' also suggests to me that Stewart Evans is perhaps mistaken in thinking that Sims did not know Druitt's name.

        If Richardson knew it. then it is hard to ceonceive that the famous and influential Sims, Mac's pal at that, would not know.

        I think Sims wrote abiut 'Dr D' to Littlechild, not to gain information, but to show that 1) he had some sense of propriety and 2) that he knew the biggest secret at Scotland Yard, not realising that it was just Mac's pet theory.

        Littlechild found this so pompous -- and ludicrous he believed -- that he initiated a reply in which he would debunk 'Dr D' in favour of the genuine, not mythical, middle-aged, under-employed medico investigated as a Ripper suspect in 1888, in fact actually put in a cell briefly: 'Dr T'.

        Stewart Evans also writes that Richardson would have to be careful to avoid tangling with the libel laws with the Druitts of the 1900's.

        I agree 100%

        That's why Druitt's name is noy only changed, but also his vocation and when he drowned in the Thames.

        The irony being that this may not have been a big deal to Macnaghten. As in, if you want to brag to cronies, and even have the public learn the essential [and unwanted] core of the Ripper's profile -- an English, Gentile, Gentleman -- you would have to change a few details to avoid a libel trap.

        On the Casebook is this famous source on Mac's retirement.

        The bold is mine.


        Washington Post (Washington, D.C.)
        4 June 1913


        FATE OF JACK THE RIPPER
        Retiring British Official Says Once Famous Criminal Committed Suicide
        London Cable to the New York Tribune
        The fact that "Jack the Ripper", the man who terrorized the East End of London by the murder of seven women during 1888, committed suicide, is now confirmed by Sir Melville Macnaughten, head of the criminal investigation department of Scotland Yard, who retired on Saturday after 24 years' service.
        Sir Melville says: "It is one of the greatest regrets of my life that "Jack the Ripper" committed suicide six months before I joined the force.
        That remarkable man was one of the most fascinating of criminals. Of course, he was a maniac, but I have a very clear idea as to who he was and how he committed suicide, but that, with other secrets, will never be revealed by me."


        And this was posted by Chris Scott, also on the other site.

        Pittsburgh Press
        6 July 1913

        Following out his observation regarding the necessity of the ideal detective "keeping his mouth shut," Macnaughton (sic) carried into retirement with him knowledge of the identity of perhaps the greatest criminal of the age, Jack the Ripper, who terrorized Whitechapel in 1888 by the fiendish mutilation and murder of seven women.
        "He was a maniac, of course, but not the man whom the world generally suspected," said Sir Melville. "He committed suicide six months before I entered the department, and it is the one great regret of my career that I wasn't on the force when it all happened. My knowledge of his identity and the circumstances of his suicide came to me subsequently. As no good purpose could be served by publicity, I destroyed before I left Scotland Yard every scrap of paper bearing on the case. No one else will ever know who the criminal was - nor my reasons for keeping silent."


        Macnaghten is about as austere in what he reveals about Druitt, as he will be in his memoirs -- the ones he assured people he would not write.

        So much here to disentangle, assuming they are accurate to Macnaghten's true comments -- and they may not be:

        - Macnaghten seems to have said in 1913 that he regretted being too late for the Ripper in 1888.

        In his memoirs he makes it sound as if this was made up by some unreliable hack.

        - Macnaghten says that the un-named Druitt committed suicide around Dec 1st of 1888.

        Actually, this is correct.

        Druitt killed himself in early December, not within hours of the Kelly murder, and Macnaghten started at CID on June ist 1889.

        Did Macnaghten regret saying this because it was so different from what he had been saying to Sims, showing him a version of his Report which claimed that 'Dr Druitt' killed himself on November 9th or 1oth, and the body fished out on Dec 3rd 1888?

        In the memoir chapter on the fiend, the date of his death -- Nov 10th 1888 -- is one of the few details explicity mentioned, and it's wrong [and lazily hedged with '... on or about ...']

        Is this why Macnaghten had to undermine what a journliast had correctly written? So he dismissed him as 'enterprizing'?

        - Mac claims that he has kept it all to himself, kept his mouth shut, revealed the name to nobody.

        How about the 'Drowned Doctor', and 'Dr D', and 'Dr Bluitt'?


        The second version of this 1913 story is very tantalizing.

        Macnaghten supposedly admits something actually known only to him; that Druitt's identity was only learned about 'subsequently'. He could just mean when he joined the Force, but that's awfully close to 'some years after' which opens the chapter in his book, except here he is close to admitting that the information came to him, not to the police.

        Macnaghten also says that the profile the world has believed in is wrong.

        Does he mean Anderon's incarcerated Jew, or Forbes Winslow's prognostications?

        Or, does he mean the 'Drowned Doctor' of Griffiths and Sims, which we know must come from himself.

        Is he clearing the decks for his own memoir in which he will begin to debunk the suspect profile he set in motion -- because this document would be under his own name?

        Anyhow, Macnaghten's showing a 'Home Office Report' to Grifths and Sims -- and Richardson? -- puts the lie to his innocent claim of wanting to avoid publicity, as 'nothing good' could come from it.

        But he had courted publicity for the un-named Druitt, though not for himself.

        Even all this would be essntially true, if he knew full well that 'Dr D' was heavily fictitious.

        That would -- mostly -- match keeping secrets and revealing something of his chief suspect, but not too much that something bad could come from it like a libel suit.

        Comment


        • #5
          "The Worst Man in the World" by Frank Richardson is on Google Books but with very limited previews, not the full copy.
          Apart from the "Bluitt" reference on pages 58/9 I found this limited reference on page 146:
          "... his masterpiece in Miller's Court had flung himself, raving into the Thames, so Sir Rupert, hopelessly insane, was now seized with homicidal mania."
          What the beginning of this sentence is I do not know.
          If anyone has the book I'd be very interested to know the missing part...

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by Chris Scott View Post
            "The Worst Man in the World" by Frank Richardson is on Google Books but with very limited previews, not the full copy.
            Apart from the "Bluitt" reference on pages 58/9 I found this limited reference on page 146:
            "... his masterpiece in Miller's Court had flung himself, raving into the Thames, so Sir Rupert, hopelessly insane, was now seized with homicidal mania."
            What the beginning of this sentence is I do not know.
            If anyone has the book I'd be very interested to know the missing part...

            Hi Chris,
            Here's the beginning of the sentence:

            "Clearly the chords of sanity had snapped. Even as the medical man who will for ever be known as Jack the Ripper after the curious fantasies of his masterpiece in Miller's Court..."

            Comment


            • #7
              many thanks for that Debs
              Very helpful - and very quick:-)

              Comment


              • #8
                Thanks to Debs,JH and Chris for kick starting this thread back up.
                A lot of people, especially new members, may not be aware of the find by Chris Phillips from one year ago on this matter.
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                • #9
                  To How

                  Thanks.

                  It's a funny old mystery.

                  On the one hand, we have the name of the suspect, Montague John Druitt.

                  He certainly existed, and he fits the broad outline supplied by Macnaghten, even by Richardson: an English, Gentile Gentleman.

                  We have, in Sir Melville Macnaghten, an excellent source for the credibility of this Ripper suspect because he was a distinguished police administrator, he had no public axe to grind about the case [until 1913 he had never publicly mentioned it], and in his memoirs was prepared to admit that the fiend was unknown to the investigators at the time of his manaical reign of terror [in a stroke arguably rendering all other police memoirs redundant, because they would not necessarily be privy to this belated private information].

                  On the other hand, far from being 'case closed', Macnaghten seems to have little accurate information about Druitt and therefore this brings into question if he ever did; if he ever knew what, or even whom, he was talking about?

                  It's the question.

                  Because, if he did know, then Anderson/Swanson/Kosminski begin to cicrle the plug-hole.

                  For the 'Anderson's Suspect' theory to work, Macnaghten -- who rejected Kosminski by name -- must remain where conventional wisdom now places him: a significant yet befuddled enthusiast who was never as certain about Druitt as Anderson was about his Polish Jew -- in fact, was it even Druitt he was even fumbling around about?

                  Macnaghten must remain a minor figure, who in complete, bureaucratic honesty and yet with remarkable incompetence [alas no notebook!] put together a flawed Report in 1894 which seems to have gone nowhere.

                  Later on, perhaps sick of being pestered by fellow gentlemen like Griffiths and Sims, he granted them access to the so-called 'orginal' draft of that failed Report -- which was riddled with even more errors!

                  Dear, oh dear.

                  It's a miracle Mac made it to be Assistant Commissioner, or was he somebody's nephew -- as apparently Cutbush was not?!

                  Oh dear, another Mac shambles?

                  Even the obvious enmity between Anderson and Macnaghten must be denied, or downplayed, as it suggests that the competing Ripper suspects might be motivated by personal reasons.

                  Dangerous idea are afoot, so you who want to keep it nice and clean and simple, when the scraps we are left are anything but.

                  For example, Macnaghten may have so despised Anderson that he elevated a minor suspect in Druitt to undermine the Polish Jew 'fact' -- to undermine Anderson.

                  Yet such schoolboyish shenanigans from the eternal Etonian would still secure the primacy of Anderson and Kosminski.

                  But it would also open a door which might swing the other way too.

                  You see it might mean that Anderson chose Kosminski -- if it was Aaron Kosminski, to play this parlour game -- not for professional reasons [after all there was never going to be a prosecution] but rather to undermine Macnaghten's finding the fiend -- 'laying the ghost' -- over two years after the Kelly murder, and very soon after the Coles murder.

                  Macnaghten claims that Kosminski was a minor suspect in the official report, in the unofficial report and in his memoirs he is not even worth mentioning at all even to dismiss him.

                  What if Macnaghten is right?

                  What if he is correct about Kosminski being a nothing 'suspect' -- why then did Anderson choose him?

                  Notice that Macnaghten several times mentions the named and un-named Druitt and Kosminski [via Grittish and Sims too] whereas Anderson never, ever even alludes to the existence of the un-named Druitt. In his 1914 memoirs Macnaghten paid him the reverse compliment of mentiniong neither Anderson nor Kosminski -- they both cease to exist.

                  Are we seriously to believe that this enmity played no part whatsoever in their conclusions as to the identity of the fiend?

                  Are we seriously to believe that there was no enmity of any signficiance?

                  I think that the identification of the 'West of England MP' as Henry Farquharson completely upends the now-calcified conventional wisdom about Macnaghten, and why he chose Druitt -- and it was Druitt of course.

                  Here was a a source which predated Macnaghten, and was just as certain, and was just as toffy.

                  Whether Macnaghten, within a few years began to misremember bits of Druitt [his father was a doctor, but was he one too? Damn my lack of a notebook!] or whether he began to fudge, then to openly deceive to shield the Yard from a libel trap, is interesting but almost beside the point.

                  Druitt's guilt, right or wrong, began with a member or members of his family, the terrible 'belief' leaked to an MP and near-neighbour becoming his 'doctrine', and then fell into the lap of a police chief who was obsessed with the case and who on the first occasion he ever committed his own name to the mystery made no bones about his belief in the un-named druitt's guilt.

                  The 'son of a surgeon', who will evolve within a generation into the semi-fictional 'Dr Bluitt', was still orginally Montie Druitt, whom initially a police chief was arguably briefed about by a person who did have accurate information about this person.

                  The detour which Druitt's identity took is not as important as that the 1891 MP's story matches Macnaghten's 1913 comments and 1914 memoirs.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Frank Collins Richardson

                    In view of Jonathan's ongoing fascination with Druitt I was reminded of the connection with the subject of this thread, the novelist and barrister Frank Collins Richardson.

                    Richardson's references to Jack the Ripper in his 1908 novel The Worst Man in the World continue to intrigue me, especially as Richardson was also a barrister and also committed suicide (by throat cutting his chambers). It seems he had some 'inside' information which coincided with Macnaghten's pronouncements.

                    Below are the references cited in his book.

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                    • #11
                      Pages 216-217

                      Here are pages 216-217 of the book.

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                      • #12
                        Pages 220-223

                        Pages 220-223 -

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                        • #13
                          The Worst Man In The World

                          The Worst Man In The World by Frank Richardson, London, Eveleigh Nash, 1908. Red cloth, black titles, gilt lettering on spine, 269 pages, + 36 pp publisher's ads.

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                          • #14
                            Frank Collins Richardson

                            Frank Collins Richardson was born in 1870 and educated at Marlborough and Christ Church, Oxford. He entered the Inner Temple and was called to the Bar. He admitted that he was a failure at law and took to writing his King's Counsel, a novel, in 1902. He wrote about a dozen other books and his peculiar subject of humour was the subject of whiskers.

                            He was found dead (aged 46), his throat cut, in his chambers in Albemarle Street, Piccadilly on August 1, 1917. An inquest was held by the Westminster Coroner, Ingleby Oddie, on August 3, 1917 and evidence was given by his sister and ex-valet which showed he was given to 'alcoholic excess' and of late had been depressed. He had a cataract of one eye and feared that it would affect the other and he would go blind. Besides being a barrister and novelist he was a company director and the two companies he was connected with were stated to be doing well. The jury returned a verdict of suicide whilst of unsound mind.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Thanks Stewart.

                              My interpratation of the significance of this source is this:

                              The people who knew the Druitts would recognise their late member who had topped himself in the Thames twenty or so years before, if he was described as a young barrister who killed himself about a month after the most ghastly murder.

                              But they would not recognise Montie if he was described as a middle-aged doctor who killed himself in early November 1888.

                              I do not believe that Macnaghten, a discreet, reticent and affable officer, would have told anybody Montague Druitt's actual name if he thought it would leak to the public -- even in this rhyming form.

                              Unless ... Mac already knew that the authentic name would be cocooned by fictitious details. Mac told Sims even more details about 'Dr D' (super-affluent, an asylum vet, an orphan, concerned pals, the subject of a fast-closing police dragnet) all fictional exaggerations of the real figure, rendering Druitt unrecoverable -- and he was not recovered.

                              I think that since Richardson, a minor comic writer, knew Druit's name it came from Sims, a much, much more famous and better connected writer (eg. Mac's pal) and self-ordained 'criminologist' -- and somewhat indiscreet.

                              Mac anticipated this failing in his name-dropping chum.

                              I think that Sims used the 'Dr D' abbreviation in 1913 not because he did not know the [alleged] Ripper's full name, but because he was being discreet -- though in a very pompous and condescending way towards Littlechild, no less than the ex-head of the forerunner to Special Branch!

                              The latter's devastating reply, saying that 'Dr T' was the true mad medico suspect of 1888 arrested by police, also pointedly used Tumblety's full surname.

                              I think that 'Dr Bluitt' also shows that it was common knowledge among the upper bourgeoisie that the fiend was one of their own, like it or lump it, but what they did not know was his true vocation -- in this case a fellow barrister.

                              Macnaghten's 1914 memoirs tried to 'cut this knot' of his own making, but he did it so opaquely that it was missed then, and is mostly missed now. If only he had asserted clearly that the Ripper was not a doctor, and not just asserted that he had not been sectioned and was not the subject of a super-efficient dragnet ...

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