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  • Further Druitt Speculation

    Hello all

    It would seem that the life of Montague John Druitt leads itself to endless speculation. It is assumed by Sir Melville Macnaghten, that because Druitt apparently showed signs of mental instability and he committed suicide after the last canonical murder that he was Jack the Ripper. The fact that he was the son of a surgeon (though not a doctor himself, as Macnaghten seems to think) it is assumed that he had knowledge of surgery and anatomy, and that knew how to use a knife, a necessity for anyone to have committed these murders.

    Sir Melville himself leads us to believe he had information on the suspect that was destroyed. We can speculate on what that might have been. It is further speculated by people who have studied Druitt that he was let go from Mr Valentine's school at Blackheath for some infraction. Some people think this might have been homosexual behavior involving some of the boys at the school. But it could have been as innocuous as him not attending to his duties at the school at the expense of his other career, as a barrister.

    As stated earlier, because Druitt came from a family of doctors it is assumed that he had knowledge of anatomy and surgery. However, another way to look at this is that, for some reason, Druitt, though coming from a notable medical family, chose not to take that career path but chose teaching and the law instead. What gives? This choice could be significant. Could he have been repelled by the sight of blood or the idea of becoming a doctor? Or did he simply rebel from having to follow the career path taken by his father and other relatives? Or maybe he disliked the possible pressure his family put on him to take that path? Is it likely if that was the case that he would have used a knife to murder? Or could there have been a measure of self-loathing involved, using a knife despite himself? Thoughts, anyone?

    All the best

    Chris
    Christopher T. George, Lyricist & Co-Author, "Jack the Musical"
    https://www.facebook.com/JackTheMusical/ Hear sample song at https://tinyurl.com/y8h4envx.

    Organizer, RipperCon #JacktheRipper-#True Crime Conferences, April 2016 and 2018.
    Hear RipperCon 2016 & 2018 talks at http://www.casebook.org/podcast/.

  • #2
    Given his father's eminence in the field, I think it's possible that Druitt didn't want to compete with his father's reputation.
    "The Men who were not the Man who was not Jack the Ripper!"

    Comment


    • #3
      No, it's not 'speculation'.

      My theory is based on taking Macnaghten at his word that he did know what he was talking about -- and that is memoir is the source on this mystery.

      That his mistakes are either deliberate, or due to failing memory -- but not due to incorrect intelligence.

      Druitt was not homosexual, but enjoyed hurting, even killing women.

      The writings of Sims shows that Macnaghten did know, at least originally, that Druitt was a surgeon's son and that his mother had been in a madhouse, and that his family was trying to locate him when he b]vanished.

      Comment


      • #4
        Hi Jonathan,

        Interesting as always.

        Isn't there a paradox here? If Mac was carefully and craftily trying to hide the whole Druitt the Ripper thing by mixing fact with fiction, to spare the family and/or prevent them from taking legal action for the implied harbouring of their guilty relative, he could not have stopped anyone else who knew what he knew from blabbing if they had seen fit to do so. Fair enough, you might say, because at least his own back was covered. But my point is that he needn't have worried because nobody did blab, to the extent of naming the man, publicly or in any private writings that have come to light since -- except, that is, for Mac himself, when he committed Druitt's name to paper. Why in God's name did he do that? Ego? A personal need to have the ripper's name down somewhere?

        What I don't get, if various people - Druitt's people, the MP, the priest and Mac - knew, or were at least privately convinced of his guilt, is why Mac would have considered the pure, unfictionalised facts 'libellous' if they got out, via any source. If he genuinely believed the family were harbouring Druitt, knowing him to be the killer, would he seriously have expected them to sue, knowing everything there was to know would then come tumbling out? Granted, anyone making the allegations would have to make a damned fine case against Druitt, or the family would have won, but at what personal cost? No smoke without fire (which is precisely the reaction Mac's craftily written 'memo' gets!). The damage would be done, the cat out of the bag...

        ...unless of course, the reason for all Mac's pussyfooting around; his claims to have destroyed evidence; being the only one to put Druitt's name in writing and only where he did put it, so it would one day come out when it was safe to see the light, was that he knew - just as he claimed - that there was no shadow of proof, but the murky shadow of libel hanging over what was a best guess, when weighing up all his information -- but, if he were ever proved right, during his lifetime or way down the line, then he would be the man who had solved the mystery.

        So did he really crack it, never intending anyone to know, much less work everything out from what was left? Or has he fooled you into believing it?

        Love,

        Caz
        X
        I wish I were two puppies then I could play together - Storm Petersen

        Comment


        • #5
          Touche Caz!

          A brilliant rejoinder.

          The 1891 MP story, when Druitt is long dead, is fearful of the libel laws, and so are the awkwardly altered reproductions of that titibit, and so I think this is a factor in all the machinations over Druitt.

          But ultimately, libel aside, it comes down to this.

          Macnaghten was a nice guy.

          He sincerely believed that, of course Druitt was the Ripper!

          And he wanted the Yard, not himself, never himself -- though it was him who had found Druitt -- to take the credit for his identification.

          But being a nice person, as every source attests, Mac did not want the Druitt family to be smashed to pieces -- whether they could or would sue is immaterial.

          Once you factor in Sims as a source on Mac's thinking then it is obvious he is supplying 'substantial truth in fictitious form' about Druitt because he is not the type of person to give out so much information that a respectable family -- or the old scholars of Mr Druitt, eg. more respectables -- could be so callously traumatised.

          Everything about Mac's discreet m.o. argues the opposite, except the conventional wisdom that he could not recall, or never knew the correct details about Druitt. And that he then, willy nilly, totally out of character, stomped all over anybody connected to the Blackheath Jekyll.

          That it's just pure, dumb luck that Mac was not only callous but also incompetent, and so the profile he was disseminating to Sims was wrong and thus the Druitts remained fortuitously hidden.

          Is that really credible or likely??

          For Sims is supplying more and more information about the doctor suspect, obviously from Macnaghten, and this is very reckless as the family of this man -- who can never defend himself in a court of law -- is being humiliated in their circles.

          Escept that the Ripper had no family ... only chums. Wow!

          That's lucky.

          But what about his former patients?

          Oh, he had not been in practice for years, being so wealthy and so mad, and stuck in an asylum most of the time.

          Wow! That's lucky.

          What about his friends who will resognise him and be shocked to their marrow??

          Oh, that's right, they already knew. Wow! That's Lucky.

          And the police?

          I guess they look like prize chumps as they were pursuing a dead murderer for years and years. Didn't they arrest some hapless sailor for a Whitecjapel murder which 'Jack' could not have committed since he had been six feet under -- for years?

          A Sailor? Another murder? Years and years?

          What on earth are you talking about?

          The police were so efficient and on-the-ball that they were about to arrest the 'demented doctor' before he drowned himself.

          Was that because of information received from the alarmed chums?

          Certainly not! The police were already onto the doctor, even before the pals!

          The police knew that Kelly was the last murder, and their dragnet had practically pushed the fiend into the river, as inexorably as a hangman's noose around his neck!

          Wow! What luck!

          Everybody, everybody comes out a winner.

          Even Sims, who gets his scoop and his peculiar vanity stroked that he looked like the fiend [actually there is a potential resemblance between the young Sims and the school photos of Druitt, though the navalish beard is forever deflective]

          Forget libel, Macnaghten was just not going to be a bastard -- and arguably wasn't.

          But Druitt was the Ripper, after all, and he, Mac, was a police chief, after all, and so some kind of justice in the form of public kudos for the Yard should happen -- and did.

          The police had pursued a dodgy doctor in 1888 [another potential tabloid embarrassment] but by fusing him with the embarrassing too-late Druitt you conjure up a tale in which everybody is a winner and nobody a loser, not even the murderer who remains impenetrable.

          The railway murder of 1897 is very instructive here.

          In his memoirs Mac describes the victim, a woman on a train, as a person without an enemy in the world. In fact, she had a potential 'enemy' in the form of an embittered ex-fiancee whom she had dumped.

          This is very typical of the jaunty way Macnaghten always manipulates reality to make it come out the way he wants, in that Edwardian courtly way. He wants her to be a woman without an enemy to add poignancy to her shocking bludgeoning.

          In that murder he also hides a gentleman/barrister suspect -- who went to the madhouse -- in a vagabond/transient suspect, just like he hid Druitt in Tumblety, in my opinion.

          Therefore by personality and temperament Macnaghten was the wrong sort of senior policeman to be privately investigating a fellow gentleman, the Etonian on the hunt of a deceased Oxonian. What is more, an already tragic chappie and the potential victim of 'slander' by that blabbermouth swine Farqy!

          Yet according to the MP story, to be exposed to the whole story of the surgeon's son is to become a convert to its veracity -- without any other form of verification.

          This seemed to have also happened to Macnaghten.

          As soon as he heard the story he was convinced.

          A strong argument can now be mounted that Mac originally knew that Druitt was a 31 year old barrister who killed himself three weeks after the Kelly atrocity; that he had read the inquest report, or the press account of that report -- including the detail about the school sacking for 'serious trouble'.

          And yet he believed ...

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by Jonathan Hainsworth View Post
            He sincerely believed that, of course Druitt was the Ripper!
            Yes, Jonathan, I get that. I think he did.

            And he wanted the Yard, not himself, never himself -- though it was him who had found Druitt -- to take the credit for his identification.
            I don't get this - not at all. The Yard couldn't - and didn't - take any credit if it was Mac who found Druitt; only Mac who named him; and only Mac who declared himself convinced. Let's face it, he either didn't tell any of his colleagues exactly what had convinced him, or those in the know didn't share his conviction. That hardly bodes well for the Yard ever being in a position to identify the ripper as Druitt, never mind take any of the 'credit' for doing so. Or maybe I'm missing what you meant here?

            But being a nice person, as every source attests, Mac did not want the Druitt family to be smashed to pieces -- whether they could or would sue is immaterial.
            So again, what did he think he was doing, 'outing' Druitt by name, while claiming to have destroyed whatever evidence he personally had found so damning, which effectively left enough dirt lying around to smash the family to pieces when future generations got hold of it? How is that the action of a nice person?

            Mac was only as discreet as he had to be, to cover his own back. I'm not arguing that he didn't know the biographical facts about his pet suspect, or couldn't have found them out, it's quite possible that he did. But why do his 'mistakes' in a document not written for public consumption (which also fails to spell out his supposedly powerful secret reasons for believing in Druitt's guilt) necessarily reflect anything more complicated or profound than his own admission that - top line - this was his informed and educated surmise about a 'name' who was way beyond his day in court? Mac's priority seems to have been committing the man's real name to paper, because he was identifying by name three men considered more likely than Cutbush to have committed the murders, before making the vaguest of cases against each. If you think he had much more 'meat' on Druitt, but for some reason saw fit to hold it back, could he not have similarly seen fit to hold back the accurate details of the man's life?

            And the police?

            I guess they look like prize chumps as they were pursuing a dead murderer for years and years. Didn't they arrest some hapless sailor for a Whitecjapel murder which 'Jack' could not have committed since he had been six feet under -- for years?
            So how was naming Druitt in two documents and leaving them around to be pored over by future generations going to help Mac make the police look less like prize chumps, if they really had been looking for Jack in all the wrong places, for years and years after he had shuffled off? Again, isn't it only Mac who is allowing you to speculate that this is indeed what happened, by not having kept his own guesswork/conviction/whatever you want to call it to himself? It is a paradox - but it wouldn't be if Mac only thought he knew, and was honestly and decently acknowledging that this was only one view of when and why the murders ended, and how the killer escaped justice.

            What is all this talk about what 'the police' knew and how on-the-ball 'the police' were, and everyone coming out a winner? By your own account Mac was holding all the cards on Druitt and was not even prepared to show them to 'the police' (and if he did, they don't seem remotely impressed by his hand). So how do you go from there to Mac giving a fig about making 'the police' look like supercops who knew about Druitt all along and had practically forced him out of circulation and into the Thames? He was keeping the real goods to himself, wasn't he? Deliberately excluding 'the police' by claiming to have destroyed anything he once had on the drowned man, and saying "tough titty, not telling".

            But Druitt was the Ripper, after all, and he, Mac, was a police chief, after all, and so some kind of justice in the form of public kudos for the Yard should happen -- and did.
            Public kudos for the Yard? Courtesy of Mac? How? The 'public' have considered this one of the biggest murder mysteries of all time, right from August 1888 to today - and many thought, and still think, that 'the police' were all fools, each chasing his own arse and pinning a tail on a different jackass.

            Those who think 'the police' knew but made sure the murderer would remain 'impenetrable' are usually called "conspiracy theorists". But he wasn't made very impenetrable, was he, if Mac went and named the bugger. Oops.

            And bugger might be the operative word actually. You still have no idea why Mac or 'that blabbermouth Farqy' would ever have taken against 'one of their own' and believed he had it in him, without something pretty hard by way of evidence? What if they were both convinced he was not one of their own at all, but 'one of them', batting for 'the other side', and clearly a sexually insane woman hater? Wouldn't that alter your perception of natural bias somewhat?

            Yet according to the MP story, to be exposed to the whole story of the surgeon's son is to become a convert to its veracity -- without any other form of verification.

            This seemed to have also happened to Macnaghten.

            As soon as he heard the story he was convinced.
            Don't people generally manage to convince themselves of pretty much anything, if they want to believe it about someone?

            A strong argument can now be mounted that Mac originally knew that Druitt was a 31 year old barrister who killed himself three weeks after the Kelly atrocity; that he had read the inquest report, or the press account of that report -- including the detail about the school sacking for 'serious trouble'.

            And yet he believed ...
            We also know that many bright and decent people still believe - with all their heart - that Mike Barrett wrote a certain ripper confession, regardless of how much information they have about the man, the document and the events of the last (nearly) two decades.

            It means absolutely sod all I'm afraid.

            Love,

            Caz
            X
            I wish I were two puppies then I could play together - Storm Petersen

            Comment


            • #7
              Hi Caz and Jonathan

              Caz, I very much like your statement that people will convince themselves of pretty much anything. I wonder if Macnaghten's advancing Druitt as the answer to the case over the other two men named in his memo to the Home Office, was more of a trial balloon than anything, to give a prima facie answer to the case to deny that Scotland Yard were the nincompoops everybody assumed?

              It could be that Macnaghten "preferred" Druitt because the suspect's supposed insanity and his suicide at the right time gave an answer to the case -- but that in reality the Druitt family did not have clear proof that Monty was the killer and neither did Macnaghten. We can suppose that Macnaghten and Anderson had evidence that we don't know about, but it's hard to argue a negative.

              Chris
              Christopher T. George, Lyricist & Co-Author, "Jack the Musical"
              https://www.facebook.com/JackTheMusical/ Hear sample song at https://tinyurl.com/y8h4envx.

              Organizer, RipperCon #JacktheRipper-#True Crime Conferences, April 2016 and 2018.
              Hear RipperCon 2016 & 2018 talks at http://www.casebook.org/podcast/.

              Comment


              • #8
                I'm sorry, Caz, but you have missed what I am arguing.

                I wish I was better at it.

                Macnaghten had the Yard take credit via Sims, not via his own memoirs which claim singular posthumous credit -- but only years later.

                In the Edwardian era there was no Ripper mystery: the brilliant police had efficiently chased a doctor suspect to his suicide in a river. Case closed. He was Sims' double. The name is withheld for the obvious reasons.

                Druitt was thus impenetrable. It's not a conspiracy, just gentlemanly deceit by one gentleman.

                The memoirs also make it clear that the un-named Druitt was not a convenient suspect; that this idea was also part of the mythos.

                Abberline and Reid and Littlechild all challenged the idea that the 'doctor' was a suspect in 1888, and Macnaghten -- under his own name -- fessed up in 1914.

                In those memoirs an argument can be mounted that the 'serious trouble' which may have got Druitt fired whilst alive, is linked to Mac's mention of 'absences' in the memoir.

                I realise, now, that a great deal of the distorted understanding Macnaghten as a source stems from not factoring in that Sims is a portal into his thinking. That he manipulated this writer, and then debunked him on the Ripper.

                The fusion with the doctor father suited Macnaghten because there really was a contemporaneous, affluent, under-employed, middle-aged, family-less, friends-only, medical figure being pursued by police in 1888 -- as Littlechild exposes in his letter to Sims.

                The Railway murder case shows Mac's propensity for suspect fusion -- but was it deliberate or due to an over-rated memory

                That Druitt was hidden in the Edwardian era is a fact. He was. The question is by chance or was it deliberate?

                Comment


                • #9
                  Sorry for the belated response, Jonathan.

                  My guess is deliberate - but only because Mac knew there was no shadow of proof against this man and all was mere hunch and conjecture, based more on middle/upper class prejudice concerning mental illness and sexuality than any real intelligence about Druitt's nocturnal comings and goings in the second half of 1888.

                  If Druitt's own family really did suspect him, and especially if they had let their suspicions 'leak', they would have thought hard before suing anyone for saying so, given that this person would then be forced to reveal as many Druitt skeletons as possible to defend against the libel action, starting with everything they knew about the family's own suspicions!

                  Yet nobody in the know was prepared to publish and be damned for naming this dead man as the ripper, or even as a likely or possible ripper, and while Mac may have destroyed his own information he had no control over what his direct or indirect sources might do with theirs - unless you are suggesting a conspiracy of silence about it, a gentlemen's agreement to keep no written notes and only to go so far, but no further, when hinting at the truth. They certainly skirted round it, one even wrote a story about Blewitt (sp?), but to my mind this indicates that there was nothing tangible behind the stories, or to justify all the hints - not that a few individuals had the solution in their hands but collectively decided to play hide and seek with it.

                  I'm still not getting just how Mac's naming of Druitt on paper, while admitting he had no shadow of proof against him, fits in with your own conjecture. What was his purpose?

                  Love,

                  Caz
                  X
                  I wish I were two puppies then I could play together - Storm Petersen

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Chris G. View Post

                    Hello all

                    It would seem that the life of Montague John Druitt leads itself to endless speculation. It is assumed by Sir Melville Macnaghten, that because Druitt apparently showed signs of mental instability and he committed suicide after the last canonical murder that he was Jack the Ripper. The fact that he was the son of a surgeon (though not a doctor himself, as Macnaghten seems to think) it is assumed that he had knowledge of surgery and anatomy, and that knew how to use a knife, a necessity for anyone to have committed these murders.

                    Sir Melville himself leads us to believe he had information on the suspect that was destroyed. We can speculate on what that might have been. It is further speculated by people who have studied Druitt that he was let go from Mr Valentine's school at Blackheath for some infraction. Some people think this might have been homosexual behavior involving some of the boys at the school. But it could have been as innocuous as him not attending to his duties at the school at the expense of his other career, as a barrister.
                    Hello Caz et al.

                    We have the interesting law case involving Member of Parliament Henry Richard Farquharson in which in the 1892 election Farquharson libelled his opponent C. T. Gatty, and was forced to pay £5,000 in damages a year later, over allegations of sexual misbehavior by Gatty while at a public school -- the subject of Gatty vs Farquharson being a rumor that Gatty was dismissed as a pupil from Charterhouse School for "a grave offence" or "an offence against purity."

                    Is it conceivable that Farquharson latched onto Druitt because he thought the schoolmaster had similarly been involved in such behavior, and that he thought such a man might be capable of the murders. Much like Littlechild spoke of aberrant behavior by Tumblety (and Harry Thaw) being the type of thing the Ripper might be involved in as well as despatching prostitutes on the streets of London's East End?

                    Chris
                    Christopher T. George, Lyricist & Co-Author, "Jack the Musical"
                    https://www.facebook.com/JackTheMusical/ Hear sample song at https://tinyurl.com/y8h4envx.

                    Organizer, RipperCon #JacktheRipper-#True Crime Conferences, April 2016 and 2018.
                    Hear RipperCon 2016 & 2018 talks at http://www.casebook.org/podcast/.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Chris G. View Post
                      Hello Caz et al.

                      We have the interesting law case involving Member of Parliament Henry Richard Farquharson in which in the 1892 election Farquharson libelled his opponent C. T. Gatty, and was forced to pay £5,000 in damages a year later, over allegations of sexual misbehavior by Gatty while at a public school -- the subject of Gatty vs Farquharson being a rumor that Gatty was dismissed as a pupil from Charterhouse School for "a grave offence" or "an offence against purity."

                      Is it conceivable that Farquharson latched onto Druitt because he thought the schoolmaster had similarly been involved in such behavior, and that he thought such a man might be capable of the murders. Much like Littlechild spoke of aberrant behavior by Tumblety (and Harry Thaw) being the type of thing the Ripper might be involved in as well as despatching prostitutes on the streets of London's East End?

                      Chris
                      Hi Chris,

                      On the surface that looks very likely to me.

                      And there's the rub. We only have little snatches like this on the surface to go on. So if we don't know what, if anything, may have lurked at one time or another below that surface, we are stuck in a time warp with characters like Farquy and their brand of unsupportable "sexually insane" innuendo. The truth was neither here nor there; not being able to prove it meant a bill for five grand in damages. But right is right, and where there is no evidence to be had (or someone claims it has all been destroyed ), it can't just be dragged up from the depths, imagined or invented, to pad out and defend what would otherwise amount to malicious gossip.

                      Love,

                      Caz
                      X
                      I wish I were two puppies then I could play together - Storm Petersen

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Hi Caz

                        Thanks, Caz, glad you agree with me that there might be something in the parallel between Gatty/Farquharson and Druitt/Farquharson. I can think of another parallel with another case we know and love... Maybrick. That is, in the Victorian thinking of the day, because Mrs. Maybrick was known to have conducted an illicit affair, she must also have been capable of despatching Jim Maybrick by arsenic poisoning. It isn't logical reasoning but the high moral code -- or should we say hypocrisy? -- of the day, made such leaps of judgement resulting in miscarriages of justice.

                        Chris
                        Christopher T. George, Lyricist & Co-Author, "Jack the Musical"
                        https://www.facebook.com/JackTheMusical/ Hear sample song at https://tinyurl.com/y8h4envx.

                        Organizer, RipperCon #JacktheRipper-#True Crime Conferences, April 2016 and 2018.
                        Hear RipperCon 2016 & 2018 talks at http://www.casebook.org/podcast/.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Indeed, Chris. I didn't think of the Maybrick parallel, but you are right. The legal thinking should always have been based on evidence, science and cold hard logic. Instead it seems to have been fatally tainted up to the highest levels by prejudice, sexual discrimination and emotion. A wife cheating on her husband was regarded (and not just by men) as only a hair's breadth from murdering him in terms of the wickedness and betrayal. But the wife had to think herself lucky if her husband didn't bring home a sexual infection to give her in exchange for doing her marital duty. It was more occupational hazard than outrage.

                          Love,

                          Caz
                          X
                          I wish I were two puppies then I could play together - Storm Petersen

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            If Druitt's own family really did suspect him, and especially if they had let their suspicions 'leak', they would have thought hard before suing anyone for saying so, given that this person would then be forced to reveal as many Druitt skeletons as possible to defend against the libel action, starting with everything they knew about the family's own suspicions!
                            ---------Caz

                            Fantastic point Caz. Seriously, that is one hell of a point.
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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by How Brown View Post
                              If Druitt's own family really did suspect him, and especially if they had let their suspicions 'leak', they would have thought hard before suing anyone for saying so, given that this person would then be forced to reveal as many Druitt skeletons as possible to defend against the libel action, starting with everything they knew about the family's own suspicions!
                              ---------Caz

                              Fantastic point Caz. Seriously, that is one hell of a point.
                              Hi Caz

                              This is an interesting point, and reminds me somewhat of our recent discussion about the Goulston Street graffito vis a vis the people who lived in Wentworth Model Dwellings. That is because no one at the housing spoke out to say the inscription had been there before the night of the Double Event, should the silence of the Druitt family be seen as acknowledgement that the suspicions against Monty were true, or could it be that they didn't know what Macnaghten and others were saying about their lost kinsman? That the suspicions about Druitt were formed by others and not by the family at all?

                              Chris
                              Christopher T. George, Lyricist & Co-Author, "Jack the Musical"
                              https://www.facebook.com/JackTheMusical/ Hear sample song at https://tinyurl.com/y8h4envx.

                              Organizer, RipperCon #JacktheRipper-#True Crime Conferences, April 2016 and 2018.
                              Hear RipperCon 2016 & 2018 talks at http://www.casebook.org/podcast/.

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