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Who Was the Body in the Thames?

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    Caroline Brown
    Author

  • Caroline Brown
    replied
    Hi All,

    Thanks to Debs, we do now have an earlier drowned man to play with - recovered from the water on November 24th, but no estimated date for when he went in - and wearing black and white check trousers, no less. Could this be another way of describing 'pepper and salt' trousers?

    And when I wondered in my first post to this thread if the Dr. D mentioned by Sims could have referred to the earlier drowned man, I never dreamed that one would actually turn up with the letter D tattooed on his arm! That's quite some coincidence.

    He was ‘unknown’ at the time of reporting, so I suppose it’s quite possible that there was speculation about D’s possible involvement in the murders, especially among those who considered Kelly to be the last of the series. I’m not sure a little detail like a tattoo would get in the way if anyone was determined enough to have a suicidal foreign medical maniac for Jack. It’s certainly intriguing. And of course, not actually being a doctor did no harm to Druitt’s chances of becoming a major suspect, so would it really matter whether DDD (Drowned Dr. D) mark 1 was a doc or a sushi chef?

    Originally posted by Adam Went View Post
    Caz:

    Monty had been carrying on with his legal work throughout his time at Mr. Valentine's, and indeed, when he was called to the bar in 1885 and rented chambers at King's Bench Walk, George Valentine was still a permanent resident at his school. It was not until the following year, 1886, that he ceased to be there full time, and thus Monty was often left in charge - so clearly, despite his increasing focus on his legal career, Valentine saw it was unnecessary to post somebody else in place of Druitt, or stay on more frequently at the school himself. Whatever Druitt's condition might have been by the latter part of 1888, in 1886, it's fairly obvious that there was nothing to suspect that he was spiralling downhill in any way, or was not giving the attention to his work at the school which was required.

    It could even have been that after working for Valentine for several years, he had become a favoured member of staff and his slight lapses due to his other work were somewhat overlooked for the sake of keeping him on - if, however, when the end of term in November 1888 came, something was found which was a massive no-no - like alcohol or pornography in the possession of some of the students - this would have been looked upon more unfavourably and a dismissal would have been unfortunate but necessary. It surely has to be the most plausible explanation for why the dismissal coincided exactly with the end of the term.
    Originally posted by Adam Went View Post
    The key point again though is that Druitt’s dismissal/leaving of the school didn’t occur until the very end of the term – if he had been displaying sights of slipping into insanity and completely bizarre behaviour, it’s not the sort of thing that George Valentine would be saying “Not to worry, you can stick around until the end of the term and leave then.”

    In fact, the only actual shred of evidence which lends itself to the idea that Druitt’s mind was on the way out was his very own suicide note! In every other way, outwardly at least, he continued a normal, routine life as he had done for several years previously throughout the latter half of 1888.
    Hi Adam,

    None of this argues against my suggestion that by the autumn term of 1888 Druitt’s mind could well have been less on his school commitments and more on either his legal work or a growing sense of unease about his mental condition - or both. His suicide note (quite apart from the family history of mental instability and his subsequent plunge into the icy waters of the Thames) is surely more than a ‘shred of evidence’ that his mind was ‘on the way out’, unless you have stronger evidence that someone else wrote it, or invented it, or that he was mentally as sound as a bell when he died. Valentine would have regarded it as ‘serious trouble’ for his school if Druitt was no longer willing or able, for whatever reason, to perform his duties to the required standard. But until he could appoint a replacement, Druitt would have been better than nothing, which would explain why he was retained and paid until the end of term.

    Pornography is another possibility, but I don’t like the coincidence of it only rearing its ugly head at the end of term. We have to work with what we’ve got: ‘serious trouble’ but apparently not serious enough for instant dismissal unless it only came to light when everyone was leaving for the Christmas hols. (By the way, has the last day of term been established, as it does seem rather early? These days, I don't think even the posh schools break up until about a week or two before Christmas.)

    Alcohol a ‘massive no-no’? Don’t think so, Adam. This was London in 1888 remember. If they’d made it illegal for minors to drink beer they’d have probably gone thirsty. Clean drinking water was a rarity and milk wasn’t much better. Obviously if Druitt got the boys rat-arsed on rough gin it would be a different matter, but there’s not even a hint of that sort. Pupils and their parents might not have blabbed publicly about pornography, but wouldn’t the word soon have spread if a master was getting the boys drunk at the school?

    Love,

    Caz
    X

    Leave a comment:

  • Chris G.
    Registered User

  • Chris G.
    replied
    Originally posted by Dave James View Post
    Hi all,

    I'm glad to see that there is a lot of considered response to our post. But, I think that the main point is being missed.

    Whilst the secondary point was the exoneration of Druitt, the main point was to determine where the original story of the body in the river came from. There is a lot of 'evidence' to support an early telling of of this story, so, where did it originate?

    We have hypothesised a transference of guilt for not solving the murders into, possibly, an unknown body, possibly, found in the river, possibly, soon after the last murder, possibly a 'Russian' medical student with all the attributes needed for a 'sexual maniac' killer. Or, at least, just a mad medical student!
    All the early stories place this just after the last murder - even MM refers back to this story, before he even invented Druitt!

    But, what I feel we are not addressing is the origin of the story - where did it come from? It seems to me that this story had some kind of currency from day one, and would seem to have been oft repeated, culminating in MM naming Druitt.

    So, where do we go from here?
    Hi Dave

    We have to be careful that we are not either accepting a theory that was not based on fact but was rather just an idea of the Ripper's end, or transferring back in time the later ideas of a Ripper who killed himself right after the murders based on the Druitt story or some other drowned man.

    I have a sense that is what is indeed happening, and there is no drowned man who exactly or nearly corresponds with the date of the Kelly murder, let alone a drowned Russian doctor, which sounds too good to be true and a concoction of later tales rather than being the truth.

    As I stated earlier, it "sounds right" that the murderer killed himself immediately after the last murder, and it was one of the "facts" that Macnaghten initially uses in the memorandum, that the man was sexually insane, he disposes of himself after that murder, he was a surgeon or the son of a surgeon, and his family believe he was the killer.... Case Closed. There really doesn't have to have been an earlier drowned man other than the vague idea of that being a possible end for the killer.

    All the best

    Chris

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  • Adam Went
    Researcher

  • Adam Went
    replied
    How:

    Just quickly, I don’t think SRA’s suspicions were in response to anything (or anyone, like Macnaghten, for that matter) – Kosminski was and is a far better candidate for the Ripper than Druitt. I think for Macnaghten it was a case of his joining the force in 1889 and trying to succeed where the others have failed – imagine, he joins the force, solves the Ripper case, how big of a feather in the cap is that?! Only problem is that in the process he drags a number of stories and people into his theory, perhaps hears things from second and third hand sources, then blends them all into one big massive piece of non-sensical rubbish – that being the memorandum. Because we must remember that it was not just Druitt he made errors about, it was Kosminski and Ostrog as well.

    Chris:

    The key point again though is that Druitt’s dismissal/leaving of the school didn’t occur until the very end of the term – if he had been displaying sights of slipping into insanity and completely bizarre behaviour, it’s not the sort of thing that George Valentine would be saying “Not to worry, you can stick around until the end of the term and leave then.”

    In fact, the only actual shred of evidence which lends itself to the idea that Druitt’s mind was on the way out was his very own suicide note! In every other way, outwardly at least, he continued a normal, routine life as he had done for several years previously throughout the latter half of 1888.

    Cheers,
    Adam.

    Leave a comment:

  • Howard Brown
    Registrar

  • Howard Brown
    replied
    Dave:

    My apologies, because I was the culprit in detouring the thread.

    I think it's necessary to know the approximate time when Macnaghten first heard the tale of the drowned man,DJ....hopefully in time, someone will be able to determine that. The newspapers which mentioned the theory in February of '91 are fine...but I'd wager MM heard of it in 1890,maybe before.
    Who knows to what extent MM went to to ascertain the exact time of Druitt's death if his written belief is that he drowned in November ?
    If Macnaghten learned of the story...say in 1890 or a stretch of time after the beginning of 1889..whenever,pick a date...it's not inconceivable that he was told incorrectly that Druitt drowned in November...let's say November 10th... and simply ran with it along with the Farquharson theorization.
    Hope this helps and again,sorry for the derailing amigo.......

    Leave a comment:

  • Dave James
    Researcher

  • Dave James
    replied
    Hi all,

    I'm glad to see that there is a lot of considered response to our post. But, I think that the main point is being missed.

    Whilst the secondary point was the exoneration of Druitt, the main point was to determine where the original story of the body in the river came from. There is a lot of 'evidence' to support an early telling of of this story, so, where did it originate?

    We have hypothesised a transference of guilt for not solving the murders into, possibly, an unknown body, possibly, found in the river, possibly, soon after the last murder, possibly a 'Russian' medical student with all the attributes needed for a 'sexual maniac' killer. Or, at least, just a mad medical student!
    All the early stories place this just after the last murder - even MM refers back to this story, before he even invented Druitt!

    But, what I feel we are not addressing is the origin of the story - where did it come from? It seems to me that this story had some kind of currency from day one, and would seem to have been oft repeated, culminating in MM naming Druitt.

    So, where do we go from here?

    Leave a comment:

  • Howard Brown
    Registrar

  • Howard Brown
    replied
    Dear CG:

    Expect something in your p.m box tomorrow pardner.

    As to your question....
    My "idea", which is all it is and nothing more...was that Anderson might have taken it upon himself to "one up" Macnaghten with his preferred suspect....but in no way was the ethnicity of either man an issue. I sincerely and seriously doubt that Anderson at any time would be unprofessional to the extent if it meant fitting someone up because of what they were...not who...but what,as in race or ethnicity.
    I could see one official pressing the case for "their" suspect as opposed to another official's if the matter of obtaining a verdict in court was out of the question.

    Leave a comment:

  • Chris G.
    Registered User

  • Chris G.
    replied
    Originally posted by Adam Went View Post
    Hi How, all:

    The insinuation made against the suspect was that he committed suicide immediately after the Miller's Court murder, as that was the final brain snap - essentially, he must have marched straight down to the Thames more or less, in a state of total insanity, and finished himself off there and then.

    Yet we know that the facts are that this does not describe Druitt. We know he continued to work at Mr. Valentine's school until the end of November, 3 weeks after Mary Kelly's death - we also know that he continued to function in his roles with Blackheath sporting clubs until mid-December, two weeks after he had vanished and well over a month since the Miller's Court murder - this is completely at odds with what the suspicion against the killer was!! There is no escaping that, it's not as if Druitt disappeared on the 10th of November, and that is why another suicide is the most likely scenario, and unfortunately Macnaghten's failing, entangled memory dragged his name into it.

    How can Druitt be considered a viable suspect if the man who committed suicide in the Thames after the Miller's Court murder was not Druitt in the first place!?

    Cheers,
    Adam.
    Hello Adam

    With all due respect, although the idea that the drowned man killed himself right after the Kelly murder has appeal, if we buy the notion that the killer was a nutter, I am not sure that it takes Druitt out of the frame if the murderer was in fact Druitt, a man who killed himself some three weeks later. The killer, if it was indeed Druitt, could have obsessed about what he had done for those three weeks, his work at Mr. Valentine's school possibly deteriorating in interval, leading to his dismissal, such that he decided to kill himself.

    Originally posted by How Brown View Post
    AW:

    With nowhere else to put this, and since I know how you've been making an effort to deconstruct the Druitt-as-Ripper saga...has it occurred to you that the effort by SRA to establish the Polish Jewish suspect was his reaction or response to this issue with the timing of Druitt's drowning/suicide/murder/death ? Sorry for the interruption to the thread.
    Hello Howard

    Are you saying that Anderson preferred the Kosminski or Jewish candidacy because he didn't want the killer to be, if we view things through the lens that Jonathan Hainsworth uses, a jolly old Englishman and a gentile like himself?

    All the best

    Chris

    Dear CG:

    Due to the site problems with post times...I'll leave my answer to your question here.

    My "idea", which is all it is and nothing more...was that Anderson might have taken it upon himself to "one up" Macnaghten with his preferred suspect....but in no way was the ethnicity of either man an issue. I sincerely and seriously doubt that Anderson at any time would be unprofessional to the extent if it meant fitting someone up because of what they were...not who...but what,as in race or ethnicity.
    I could see one official pressing the case for "their" suspect as opposed to another's if the matter of obtaining a verdict in court was out of the question.

    Leave a comment:

  • Howard Brown
    Registrar

  • Howard Brown
    replied
    AW:

    With nowhere else to put this, and since I know how you've been making an effort to deconstruct the Druitt-as-Ripper saga...has it occurred to you that the effort by SRA to establish the Polish Jewish suspect was his reaction or response to this issue with the timing of Druitt's drowning/suicide/murder/death ? Sorry for the interruption to the thread.

    Leave a comment:

  • Adam Went
    Researcher

  • Adam Went
    replied
    Hi How, all:

    The insinuation made against the suspect was that he committed suicide immediately after the Miller's Court murder, as that was the final brain snap - essentially, he must have marched straight down to the Thames more or less, in a state of total insanity, and finished himself off there and then.

    Yet we know that the facts are that this does not describe Druitt. We know he continued to work at Mr. Valentine's school until the end of November, 3 weeks after Mary Kelly's death - we also know that he continued to function in his roles with Blackheath sporting clubs until mid-December, two weeks after he had vanished and well over a month since the Miller's Court murder - this is completely at odds with what the suspicion against the killer was!! There is no escaping that, it's not as if Druitt disappeared on the 10th of November, and that is why another suicide is the most likely scenario, and unfortunately Macnaghten's failing, entangled memory dragged his name into it.

    How can Druitt be considered a viable suspect if the man who committed suicide in the Thames after the Miller's Court murder was not Druitt in the first place!?

    Cheers,
    Adam.

    Leave a comment:

  • Dave James
    Researcher

  • Dave James
    replied
    Hi Chris,

    I'm currently reading Alex Butterworth's 'The World That Never Was', and in it he mentions a Metropolitan police internal journal called 'Moonshine'.

    Do you know anything about this mag? Has any of it survived?

    Leave a comment:

  • Chris G.
    Registered User

  • Chris G.
    replied
    Hi Dave

    From the beginning the Ripper case was partly truth and grim bloody murder and mutilation but also partly fantasy and make-believe. We can see this in the episode regarding Leather Apron, whether the idea of a blood-thirsty Jewish artisan had its origins as a police theory of the case or was a theory concocted by the press, as seems likely. The case became almost immediately part melodrama and part an actual ongoing series of crimes. The introduction of the Ripper letters, again whether written by the murderer which might be doubtful or written on behalf of the murderer by the press or other busybodies, also lends a melodramatic aspect to the story. The theories as to why the murders were committed and as to what became of the Ripper are equally partly myth and fantasy. Thus we have the insane doctor theory, the ideas such as the one that he did the murders because a prostitute had infected him with syphilis, or that he did away with himself because the murders had driven him mad.

    Chris

    Leave a comment:

  • Dave James
    Researcher

  • Dave James
    replied
    Hi all,

    Chris, re your assessment of MM, this quote from D O M L says it all:

    "Crime and Criminals had a weird fascination for me at a very early age. I used always to take away the sixpenny catalogues and study them deeply, with the result that I really remember the details of the murders committed by J. Blomfield Rush, the Mannings, Courvoisier, Palmer, the Rugeley poisoner, and their contemporaries, better than those of many of the cases which came before me at the Yard in quite recent years."

    Debs, great find! It's stories like this that could be the basis. It doesn't really matter if it was a Russian doctor or a Japanese sushi chef, as long as there is a body to transfer the guilt to. It's the Victorian 'it has to be a foreigner to commit a crime so horrible, but if he is English, he has to be mad and suicidal.'

    How, you make a good point. Personally, I don't think JtR did kill himself, but as Chris pointed out, suicide is convenient. But remember:

    What people believe prevails over the truth. - SOPHOCLES

    Leave a comment:

  • Howard Brown
    Registrar

  • Howard Brown
    replied
    Leave it to you to find something encouraging Debs ! Nice find.
    The tattoo ( despite the initial "D" ! ) gives me the impression that this fellow wasn't a doctor.
    In any event, that's a very nice find Debs...and thanks for putting it on the boards.

    XX
    HB

    Leave a comment:

  • Debra Arif
    Registered User

  • Debra Arif
    replied
    Hi Dave, all

    “…about a decade ago, when I was editing a police paper, I remember seeing in one of our exchanges – a London police journal – a short article, in which the writer stared that immediately after the last of the “Ripper” murders the body of a man which answered to the description of the supposed criminal was found floating in the river off Wapping Old Stairs,
    I did come acrss one death, at Wapping in Nov 88 but haven't much detail at present
    Lloyd's November 25th 1888
    Click image for larger version

Name:	lloyds nov 25 wapping.JPG
Views:	1
Size:	28.6 KB
ID:	551009

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  • Howard Brown
    Registrar

  • Howard Brown
    replied
    November 9th ( after the Kelly murder) until December 3rd is a hell of a long time for someone of whom it is claimed to have lost his marbles after committing that murder and then snuffing himself...to first contemplate and then perform self destruction...at least I think so.
    I believe the claim would have infinitely more validity had the man, any man, committed suicide as it is suggested...after the murder.
    But Druitt obviously...lived 3 1/2 weeks afterwards.

    What prevented Druitt from carrying out a suicide after the Eddowes murder ? Between the Eddowes and Kelly murders is a six week gap. Up until that point in time, it was the worst of the lot...or at least as bad as Chapman's, if you get my drift....

    Leave a comment:

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