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  • #16
    Many Thanks

    Many thanks for that Jonathan, interesting and appreciated.


    • #17
      Thanks very much for sharing these scans, Stewart


      • #18
        It is strange how it is stated like a well known fact that the Ripper was a medical man who committed suicide

        Is there any connection with the papers left with Sir Edward Bradford by the vicar who professed to know the Ripper's identity via the confessional and to have given substantial truth in fictitious form?


        • #19
          To Nemo

          It's not strange.

          George Sims was famous and widely read. He said it was a drowned doctor, and with his top contacts, this became the conventional wisdom of his era.

          The public even knew what the fiend looked like -- he looked just like Sims, when the latter was younger and thinner (incredibly, this is true).

          I think you are conflating two sources, or two alleged sources involving priests and confessions by killers?

          Of the two, the 1899 Vicar tale is in my opinion -- and I'm alone here -- the missing piece of the jigsaw as to why the Druitts, M.P. Farquharson, the 'good many people' he blabbed to, and Sir Melville Macnaghten were pretty much convinced of Montie's guilt from just hearing the tale.

          Because Montague Druitt was a tormented figure who had confessed to a priest between the Kelly atrocity and his own self-murder.

          The unsolicited article by the un-named Vicar was sent to 'The Daily Mail' and was bizarrely called 'The Whitechurch Murders: Solution to a London Mystery' which they declined to publish because the writer would not identify what was fact and what was fiction.

          Tantalizingly, Montie's first cousin the Rev. Charles Druitt, later himself a Vicar and deceased by 1900, worked in a parish named 'Whitchurch'. When the Vicar of 1899 said that the article he had sent was 'substantial truth under ficititous form' he may have meant only the title of the piece, not the content which, though meager, matches Druitt.

          And if even if that is all correct, they may have all misunderstood a vivid delusion on the part of Druitt which had no basis in reality (I do not think Macnaghten could be so easily fooled).

          The 'North Country Vicar' was one of the sources I analysed in my recent essay 'A Pair of Jacks' for 'The New Independent Review' (Thanks

          My essential thesis was that George Sims, a Mac mouthpiece, rudely (and inaccurately) rejects the 1899 Vicar's story because the real fiend had no time to confess anything to anybody, because after what he had done to Kelly he was reduced to a shrieking, imbecilic husk -- with just enough energy to stagger to the Thames (all the way to Chiswick?? Without being noticed by anybody?).

          In fact, the Vicar is correct about Druitt -- if that is to whom he is referring-- as Montie had a comfortable three weeks to confess and then commit suicide.

          In effect, two Rippers who were both 'substantial truth in fictitious form' were competing with each other, though the public only knew that the cleric was being honest about mixing fact and fiction to hide his deceased suspect.

          But that is exactly what Macnaghten-Griffiths-Sims were doing too, and not admitting it (the writers probably did not know).

          And of course the version Macnaghten was propagating, via cronies, to the public was much, much better for the Yard's rep: we nearly caught him but he took his own life, the swine.

          I also argued that Macnaghten does provide a fictitious version of the slam dunk confession by, from 1902, having Sims write that the 'doctor' had confided to physicians about his maniacal desires, before he was ludicrously released onto the streets by a penny-pinching state to do exactly what he threatened to do: kill and mutilate harlots.

          An objection to this theory is that Macnaghten makes no such claim in his memoirs, a source about which I make so much.

          Yet the critical evidence, that the un-named Druitt killed himself 'on or about Nov. 10th ...' is arguably the compression of the true story (with the river detail dropped because hitched to this tale of murder-self-murder within hours of each other it was patently silly).

          That truth was much messier and potentially much more shocking to Edwardian sensibilities (Druitt was playing cricket and advocating in court in those weeks) which Macnaghten kept veiled, but the thematic meaning of the events of those weeks was retained in the compressed, melodramatic version: a tormented figure who 'confessed' by his subsequent self-destruction.


          • #20
            Thanks Jonathon

            It's gradually sinking in (no pun intended)

            Do you think the drowned doctor suspect represented one of, if not the, most controversial theory as to the Ripper's identity - similar to the Royal conspiracy today?


            • #21
              To Nemo

              no, I don't.

              I think neither are controversial.

              George Sims' Drowned Doctor solution was accepted in the Edwardian Era because it was propagated by Sims, and he had top police contacts. Though an unwanted solution in that the fiend was 'one of us' and not one of 'them', from the better classes point of view.

              Nevertheless, the tale fit snugly -- deliberately so, I argue -- into a culture in which the novella and play 'Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde' was a cautionary classic.

              A messier tale had been cleaned up by Macnaghten, with 'Jack' as Jekyll, although in his 1914 memoirs he gave us a partial glimpse of the (from the Yard's point of view) embarrassing truth of a too-late suspect; the police chasing a dead man.

              In 1973 and 1976, the Royal Conspiracy 'theory' was immediately rejected by historians and by responsible culture-setters. In that sense it was not 'controversial.' It immediately took up stubborn residence in pop culture, which was appropriate since it was fiction -- and bad fiction at that.


              • #22
                Thanks again Jonathon

                That wouldn't be Whitchurch in Shropshire where Rev Charles Druitt was would it?

                I'm intrigued by the apparent cover-up of the Ripper's identity due to considerations of his family, something that may have occurred with William Grant/Grainger, a very much alive suspect at the time, but who was stated to have been imprisoned under an alias and who had died in prison at some point


                • #23
                  Sorry, I should have searched first

                  I see Rev Druitt was at the Whitchurch Canonicorum looking after the shrine to St Candida in Dorset


                  • #24
                    To Nemo

                    Sorry, I did not meant to suggest before that the middle-aged 'Drowned Doctor', revealed finally in 1959 to be a drowned, young barrister and named by Tom Cullen in 1965, was not controversial now.

                    And is it that controversial when the mainstream are unaware of the drowned not-a-doctor conundrum, and the Ripper 'community' still maintains a nearly unanimous consensus that Druitt is a minor suspect -- as Macnaghten had asserted in an official document of state -- and is only trumpeted as the likely fiend by a single researcher/writer?

                    I do not believe that Scotland Yard, and Sir Robert Anderson, engaged in any conscious deceit whatsoever, or that there was an institutional conspiracy to hide Druitt's identity, say for the sake of his 'good' family.

                    I think this is entirely a discreet shell game played by Macnaghten, without the knowledge of his colleagues and cronies.

                    For example, he could have sent the official version of his 'Report' in 1894, but mothballed it instead. In that document he had taken two entirely innocent figures -- whom he 'exonerates' in the alternate version disseminated to the public -- and manipulated the data to make them look like Ripper suspect according to the 'awful glut' litmus test; incarcerated soon after the Kelly murder.

                    Fro Mac to insinuate Aaron Kosminski, who was out and about in early 1891 just like Cutbush, and Ostrog, incarcerated at the time of the murders, and redact the hapless pair into a faux investigation, as unlikely but likelier suspects than Cutbush, was a diabolical thing to do -- and in a document of state.

                    But he did not send it.

                    We do not know if he would have even sent this version, if such a report had been requested by his political masters.


                    • #25
                      To Nemo

                      Yes, Reverend Charles Druitt, later a Vicar, of a parish with a name tantalizingly similar to the fictional title of the 1899 Vicar's extraordinary tale.

                      My provisional theory goes like this:

                      A tormented Druitt confessed to a priest, parhaps Charles his cousin, after the Millers Ct. horror, and wanted the truth about what he had done to come out in ten years.

                      But then, knowing that the clock was now ticking for him to be sectioned- just like mother -- he planned his suicide to look like he had absconded abroad. This failed as his body floated back to the surface a month later, whilst his brother William was frantically searching for him.

                      William Druitt found blood-stained clothes in Montie's digs, and learned that he had been sacked for being 'absent' at night (nights which tallied with the murders). William was briefed either by his cousin, or a non-family priest, about the confession and the Druitts, or some in-the-know members of the family drew the covered wagons around themselves.

                      But there may have been a split about Montie's dying wish about the truth being told in a decade. Due to this tension the truth leaked out along the Tory grapevine in Feb. 1891, picked up by the breathtakingly indiscreet MP Henry Farquharson. This brought in fellow Old Etonian, Macnaghten who met with the politician, and then the family, or just William, or just Charles. He shut the story down, and kept the whole thing to himself.

                      In July of that year Druitt's estate became available to the family, a factor perhaps in their reticence as the tabloids could have made much that an affluent Ripper's money should go to the poor, or some other shrill tabloid demagoguery.

                      Macnaghten knew that in a few years Charles, or a non-family priest, was going to honour Montie's last wish but that the tale would be veiled, or at least incomplete: 'substantial truth under ficitious form'.

                      No mention would be made of Montie's sucide, for example.

                      Knowing that the story was going to come out either in late 1898, or early 1899, coinciding with Druitt's burial, Macnaghten concocted a tale which would also be substantial truth in fictitious form, but which would make the Yard look a whole lot better. In 1898 he deployed first Griffiths and then Sims, in Jan 1899, in a literary pincer to neutralise the scoop.

                      This 1899 tale was not told by the priest himself, but by a fellow clergyman-buffer. When Sims comes to denounce this story he compresses the two clerics into one figure who is hearing the dying lunatic's dying and yet false confession -- because the real killer allegedly had no opportunity, and no mental wherewithall, to confess anything to anybody ('... a shrieking, raving fiend': Sims, 1907).

                      Except thst of course the mad doctor's self-murder, supposedly within hours of Kelly, is the equivalent of a 'confession'; eg. a confession by deed, not word.

                      A reporter was sent to interview the Vicar and I think the latter wanted to stick up for the murderer, who was not right in his head as he suffered from 'epileptic mania'. So the stubborn Vicar added that 'Jack' went to the East End initially to help fallen women, who then became his victims. Thus the suspect neither worked nor lived in that part of the city, and it echoes Rev. Barnett's campaign to inspire Oxonians to 'answer the call to the east' to help the poor.

                      Montague Druitt was an Oxonian.

                      The Vicar also added that the killer had 'at one time been a surgeon'.

                      My guess is that this is not an attempt to deflect the truth, like Macnaghten-Grffiths-Sims. Rather that this Vicar knew that his Ripper was the same one as Maor Griffiths: the drowned doctor. But that the Vicar also knew that the deceased had been a barrister? So, from ignorance, he assumed that Montie must have been a doctor too, before he changed professions.

                      The Vicar was trying to defend the late Druitt by saying, look he went there to help and he had been a healer like Our Lord but he was himself the victim of a terrible, incurable mental and physical illness (in his memoris, Mac alludes to the 'Protean' Druitt having 'a diseased body' as well as mind).

                      Charles Druitt dies in 1900. The Vicar's tale gained no traction whatsoever the year before, and was forgotten (it plays no part in any secondary sources of which I am familiar).

                      Thus the coast was now clear for Macnaghten to add more fictional details to Sims' profile, but ones which were inspired by the real figure of Druitt (eg. a confession to priest after Kelly, became a confession, of sorts, to physicians in a madhouse before Kelly).

                      Most tellingly, Sims adopted the Vicar's theme of the Ripper as ex-physician.

                      From 1902, the Ripper becomes the drowned unemployed doctor, who has not seen patients, or performed surgery for years and years. He had indeed been at one time a surgeon, as the Vicar had said, but no longer.

                      Macnaghten was a cricket fanatic, and so he keeps 'Dr D'(in real life a county cricketer) well away from such pastimes by making the killer, via Sims, into a semi-invalid recluse, and so affaluent he does not need to work at all -- like some kind of Bond villain (or like Dr. Henry Jekyll, or like Dr. Tumblety).


                      • #26
                        Thanks very much for that clear explanation Jonathon - most interesting

                        Druitt's father being a surgeon, and an obstetrician at that, plays a large part in Montague being thought of as at least medically inclined if not medically trained in some fashion IMO

                        I for one think Druitt is still a strong Ripper suspect

                        Can I ask please, what evidence (circumstantial or otherwise) you base the notion the Druitt wanted to give the impression he had gone abroad?


                        • #27
                          To Nemo

                          That his cricket club sacked him for being AWOL, allegedly abroad.

                          Then they reversed themselves with respectful condolences when his body turned up.

                          That whatever message he left behind did not initially strike anybody as a suicide note, not until he was fished from the Thames. Just that Montie did not want to go like mother, as if agitated that he knew he was about to be sectioned, I argue because he had confessed to priest who have even been a family member, or not

                          Obviously, I disagree with you about Druitt being a surgeon's son having any significance as to belief in his guilt.

                          Though once Macnaghten turned him into a doctor, then this was used against the semi-fictitious version of Druitt.

                          Eg. this is [Mac via] Sims in 1907:

                          'The mutilations were in all the cases, except one in which probably the murderer was interrupted, ghastly and revolting, and in one case an internal organ had been removed in a manner which showed almost beyond the shadow of a doubt that the miscreant was a person of anatomical knowledge.

                          Maniacal as was the fury with which he hacked and ripped his unhappy victims, the instance in which he skillfully removed and carried away with him this internal organ must be borne in mind when discussing the identity of the monster.'

                          Something else to consider is that I think Macnaghten knew that Ostrog, who had rudely stolen from his beloved Eton, was innocent of the Whitechapel crimes -- and of being 'habitually cruel to women' and of 'carrying surgical knives'.

                          Ostrog was not really a 'mad, Russian doctor' as that phrase suggests, nor was he an homicidal maniac.

                          I dissent from the conventional wisdom that Macnaghten was 'mistaken'; that this all yet another example of his atrocious memory.

                          Actually, Mac kept tabs on Ostrog's comings and goings for years. He arguably knew that the Russian thief was in a French prison/asylum at the time of the murders, a fact which he turned into the following for Sims in the same 1907 piece:

                          'The second man was a Russian doctor, a man of vile character, who had been in various prisons in his own country and ours. The Russian doctor who at the time of the murders was in Whitechapel, but in hiding as it afterwards transpired, was in the habit of carrying surgical knives about with him. He suffered from a dangerous form of insanity, and when inquiries were afterwards set on foot he was found to be in a criminal lunatic asylum abroad. He was a vile and terrible person, capable of any atrocity.'

                          If you knew that Ostrog was abroad allegedly soon after the murders, how could you not know that he was really in French confinement during the same crimes?

                          I do not think that an efficient, hands-on administrator and Ripepr obesessive could not know.

                          Ostrog appears nowhere else in the extant record, albeit an incomplete one, as a Ripper suspect -- because he never was one.

                          When Mac wrote a few years later to an English asylum about him, he did not warn the relevant medico authorities that they might have a dangerous murderer in their midst.

                          Because he knew they didn't.

                          In his memoirs, Mac drops Ostrog (and 'Kosminski') altogether. They are, at least according to this primary source, nothing.

                          Secondary sources, like Sudgen -- whom I believe found Ostrog's French asylum alibi -- far from exposing Mac's inaccuracy have, arguably, vindicated his 1914 omission/opinion.


                          • #28

                            Originally posted by Jonathan Hainsworth
                            For example, he could have sent the official version of his 'Report' in 1894, but mothballed it instead. In that document he had taken two entirely innocent figures -- whom he 'exonerates' in the alternate version disseminated to the public -- and manipulated the data to make them look like Ripper suspect according to the 'awful glut' litmus test; incarcerated soon after the Kelly murder.
                            But he did not send it.
                            We do not know if he would have even sent this version, if such a report had been requested by his political masters.
                            I really do not understand this reasoning.

                            How did Macnaghten 'mothball' his 'report'? Who were his 'political masters' who would have requested 'such a report'?


                            • #29
                              To Stewart

                              I don't understand -- specifically -- what you don't understand, in terms of what you have asked about?

                              Apart from your specific questions, can I infer that the rest of what I have written is not only comprehensible and plausible, or only the former and not the latter?


                              • #30

                                Originally posted by Jonathan Hainsworth
                                To Stewart
                                I don't understand -- specifically -- what you don't understand, in terms of what you have asked about?
                                Apart from your specific questions, can I infer that the rest of what I have written is not only comprehensible and plausible, or only the former and not the latter?
                                You may infer that the rest of what you wrote was comprehensible but I would not go so far as to say it was plausible.

                                Macnaghten's 1894 report was an internal police memorandum. Macnaghten reported only to Anderson and Bradford (not to any 'political master'). So where do you presume 'he could have sent the official version of his 'Report' in 1894'?

                                As I have pointed out the past, the evidence suggests that the memo was submitted to Bradford (probably via Anderson) and would have been 'sent' nowhere else by Macnaghten. Bradford did any sending that might be required.

                                What evidence do you have that the memo was 'mothballed' by Macnaghten and what do you mean by 'mothballed'?