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Does "Sexually Insane" Mean Homosexual?

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  • #61
    I was going to suggest that Stewart

    I was thinking if his sexual deviancy had something to do with his dismissal, it might have been a penchant for spanking or flagellation, which he may have exhibited at the school in some manner

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    • #62
      Originally posted by SPE View Post
      I think that it is the very imprecise and 'delicate' prose of Macnaghten that really confuses the issue and leaves his words open to more than one interpretation.

      If we look at Littlechild's words, significantly of the same vintage as Macnaghten's (1913), then we may see a different interpretation is possible. In respect of homosexual acts Littlechild cites two cases of high-profile apparent bi-sexuals, Oscar Wilde and Harry Thaw. Littlechild states, 'It is very strange how those given to "Contrary sexual instinct" and degenerates" are given to cruelty, even Wilde liked to be punched about.' In respect of Thaw he stated the case of Thaw indulging in sadistic cruelty on a hotel call boy whom Thaw had strip, strapped to the bed and thrashed (drawing blood), afterwards making the boy get into a bath containing salty water.

      It could be thus hypothesised that Druitt's dismissal from Valentine's school for 'serious trouble' may have been such acts with a schoolboy(s) and that Macnaghten had been told the exact nature of his dismissal. This question might be resolved, one way or the other, one day, if Valentine's papers are found and if they mention the matter.
      Hi Stewart,
      I have to say that I don't think Macnaghten confuses the issue at all, really, but is quite clear in what he is trying to say, which, as already said, was to make clear to readers for whom he believed it was an alien concept, that some murders lack the traditional motives, and that people who over-indulge in sexual "vices" develop a mania for blood.

      Littlechild attributes such a blood lust to bi-sexuals. Macnaghten cites as a historic example the debauched Nero, to whom Seutonius attributes all manner of bi-sexual perversions and obscenities. However, you can say better than I whether Neil Cream was bi-sexual or homosexual, and I assume the sexuality of the unidentified Camden Town murderer wasn't known at all, so I am concluding that “motiveless” murder was not thought to be a peccadillo reserved for homosexuals, but could be the outcome of many or all aberrant sexual behaviour. Thus "sexual maniac" is not a euphemism for homosexual.

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      • #63
        'Sexually Inasane'

        Originally posted by Paul View Post
        Hi Stewart,
        I have to say that I don't think Macnaghten confuses the issue at all, really, but is quite clear in what he is trying to say, which, as already said, was to make clear to readers for whom he believed it was an alien concept, that some murders lack the traditional motives, and that people who over-indulge in sexual "vices" develop a mania for blood.
        Littlechild attributes such a blood lust to bi-sexuals. Macnaghten cites as a historic example the debauched Nero, to whom Seutonius attributes all manner of bi-sexual perversions and obscenities. However, you can say better than I whether Neil Cream was bi-sexual or homosexual, and I assume the sexuality of the unidentified Camden Town murderer wasn't known at all, so I am concluding that “motiveless” murder was not thought to be a peccadillo reserved for homosexuals, but could be the outcome of many or all aberrant sexual behaviour. Thus "sexual maniac" is not a euphemism for homosexual.
        Hi Paul, the 'sexually insane' phrase was used in the Macnaghten report (memorandum) of 1894 whereas in his 1914 book, a full twenty years later, Macnaghten states, 'The man of course, was a sexual maniac...' and, in his chapter on 'Motiveless Murders', he describes Cream and the Camden town murderer as 'sexual maniacs' and enlarges on the 'Protean forms' that such madness takes.

        He further comments that 'an excessive indulgence in vice leads, in certain cases, to a craving for blood.' Thus he suggests that 'Nero was probably a sexual maniac', and, as you cite, 'Eastern potentates in all ages, who loved to see slaves slaughtered' etc. Macnaghten was writing with a full twenty years of experience, reading and thinking on sexual mania behind him, since his 1894 comments. And whilst not citing a specific case of homosexual 'killing for blood lust' he did state that such mania took 'Protean' (many different) forms. So I do not see that homosexual sadism can be ruled out of the equation when assessing what he meant by 'sexually insane' in 1894.

        Of course he believed that such murder would be an alien concept to his general readers, he said as much, believing that only professionals such as lawyers, doctors and police officers, who actually encountered it, would realise that 'sexual mania' even existed. Personally I think that he would be wrong there, given all the publicity such killers as Vacher (and the Ripper for that matter) had been given in the press in past years.

        But all I have argued here, is that when Macnaghten alluded to Druitt being 'sexually insane' in 1894 there must be a possibility that he was referring to sadistic homosexual activity at his school. That's all, a possibility. We have no proof either way. I don't think that I (or anyone else) have suggested that motiveless murder was, or was thought to be, confined to homosexuals. Such a suggestion, of course, would be silly.

        Nor have I suggested, nor do I think, that 'sexual maniac' was a 'euphemism for homosexual', that again would be silly and patently wrong. I do, however, think that his use of the softer description 'sexually insane' in 1894 could relate, as I have said, to certain homosexual activity. And I cited Littlechild's remarks on such aberrant behaviour as Littlechild was Macnaghten's contemporary, a police officer, and also interested in such matters.

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        • #64
          So far, I've only found modern references to being sexually insane, and practically all are referring to an insatiability such as promiscuity, hypersexuality, satyriasis or nymphomania as well as compulsive masturbation, but not homosexuality per se, though one writer referred to Alan Turing as sexually insane to denote the attitude of the law toward homosexuals at the time (1950's)

          Turing was convicted of homosexuality and underwent chemical castration in preference to imprisonment, later committing suicide

          Comment


          • #65
            Modern References

            Originally posted by Nemo View Post
            So far, I've only found modern references to being sexually insane, and practically all are referring to an insatiability such as promiscuity, hypersexuality, satyriasis or nymphomania as well as compulsive masturbation, but not homosexuality per se, though one writer referred to Alan Turing as sexually insane to denote the attitude of the law toward homosexuals at the time (1950's)

            Turing was convicted of homosexuality and underwent chemical castration in preference to imprisonment, later committing suicide
            Yes, I don't think that modern references are going to help us much. It's all down to Macnaghten's wording and whether or not he would refer to it in such a way.

            Comment


            • #66
              Originally posted by SPE View Post
              Hi Paul, the 'sexually insane' phrase was used in the Macnaghten report (memorandum) of 1894 whereas in his 1914 book, a full twenty years later, Macnaghten states, 'The man of course, was a sexual maniac...' and, in his chapter on 'Motiveless Murders', he describes Cream and the Camden town murderer as 'sexual maniacs' and enlarges on the 'Protean forms' that such madness takes.

              He further comments that 'an excessive indulgence in vice leads, in certain cases, to a craving for blood.' Thus he suggests that 'Nero was probably a sexual maniac', and, as you cite, 'Eastern potentates in all ages, who loved to see slaves slaughtered' etc. Macnaghten was writing with a full twenty years of experience, reading and thinking on sexual mania behind him, since his 1894 comments. And whilst not citing a specific case of homosexual 'killing for blood lust' he did state that such mania took 'Protean' (many different) forms. So I do not see that homosexual sadism can be ruled out of the equation when assessing what he meant by 'sexually insane' in 1894.

              Of course he believed that such murder would be an alien concept to his general readers, he said as much, believing that only professionals such as lawyers, doctors and police officers, who actually encountered it, would realise that 'sexual mania' even existed. Personally I think that he would be wrong there, given all the publicity such killers as Vacher (and the Ripper for that matter) had been given in the press in past years.

              But all I have argued here, is that when Macnaghten alluded to Druitt being 'sexually insane' in 1894 there must be a possibility that he was referring to sadistic homosexual activity at his school. That's all, a possibility. We have no proof either way. I don't think that I (or anyone else) have suggested that motiveless murder was, or was thought to be, confined to homosexuals. Such a suggestion, of course, would be silly.

              Nor have I suggested, nor do I think, that 'sexual maniac' was a 'euphemism for homosexual', that again would be silly and patently wrong. I do, however, think that his use of the softer description 'sexually insane' in 1894 could relate, as I have said, to certain homosexual activity. And I cited Littlechild's remarks on such aberrant behaviour as Littlechild was Macnaghten's contemporary, a police officer, and also interested in such matters.
              Hi Stewart,
              I didn't say you'd suggested any of those things, nor did I or do I discount the possibility that Macnaghten meant homosexual sadism.

              All I am saying is that whilst Macnaghten attributed the cause of sexual mania to an over-indulgence in sexual "vices" which no doubt included homosexual sadism, "sexual maniac" did not specify any vice in particular, as it couldn't have done since the unidentified Camden Town killer, whose vices Macnaghten could not have known, was cited as one.

              The subject of this thread is whether "sexually insane" meant homosexual. I'm saying that it didn't. I am not saying that Druitt wasn't, or that he was, just that the term didn't mean he was.

              Bedtime!

              Paul

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              • #67
                Possibility

                Originally posted by Paul View Post
                Hi Stewart,
                I didn't say you'd suggested any of those things, nor did I or do I discount the possibility that Macnaghten meant homosexual sadism.
                All I am saying is that whilst Macnaghten attributed the cause of sexual mania to an over-indulgence in sexual "vices" which no doubt included homosexual sadism, "sexual maniac" did not specify any vice in particular, as it couldn't have done since the unidentified Camden Town killer, whose vices Macnaghten could not have known, was cited as one.
                The subject of this thread is whether "sexually insane" meant homosexual. I'm saying that it didn't. I am not saying that Druitt wasn't, or that he was, just that the term didn't mean he was.
                Bedtime!
                Paul
                Hi Paul,

                All I was saying is that I feel there is an argument for allowing the possibility that when Macnaghten used the phrase 'sexually insane' in 1894 he could have meant that some homosexual act was involved. I am no more emphatic than that, but I don't totally dismiss it.

                We have both stated our opinion on this one and others will, presumably, draw their own conclusions. It certainly would be nice to know the reason for Druitt's dismissal and there must be a real possibility that further information on that may come to light. We have a photograph of Valentine from the family and they are supposed to own some of his papers.

                Apropos of the Camden Town murder, I think there was a strong feeling that Robert Wood was actually guilty.

                Nighty-night, sleep tight.

                Comment


                • #68
                  "I am no more emphatic than that, but I don't totally dismiss it."

                  I agree with this. In my opinion, it may mean some form of homosexually "deviant" behavior (in the Victorian sense), but it might also mean any form of sexually deviant behavior, including fetishism, sadism, masochism, "satyriasis", etc.

                  Hello Paul,
                  Again, I do not agree that "sexual insanity" meant killing for pleasure, however if you broaden this definition to include sadism generally (as you suggested) then I think this may have been Macnaghten's meaning, since sexual sadism would have been understood as sexual insanity in this era. I think we are left simply not knowing what exactly was meant by the term unfortunately.

                  Nemo,

                  "So far, I've only found modern references to being sexually insane, and practically all are referring to an insatiability such as promiscuity, hypersexuality, satyriasis or nymphomania as well as compulsive masturbation, but not homosexuality per se..."

                  As I pointed out earlier, Oscar Wilde asked that his sentence be commuted "on the grounds that he was not criminal, but a man suffering from sexual insanity." I do not unfortunately have access to Wilde's letters, so I can only post the following snippet which I found online:

                  http://www.oscholars.com/TO/Appendix...y/Robbins.html

                  "These words mimic, in a very different tone, another letter which Wilde wrote in prison, this time to the Home Secretary. This second letter is humble, scientific and legalistic. Wilde asked for his sentence to be commuted on the grounds that he was not criminal, but a man suffering from sexual insanity. He borrows the register of contemporary sociology and criminology, and insists (as Ackroyd’s Wilde does with satirical intent) that he is a case study, not an evil man. His crimes are ‘diseases to be cured by a physician rather than crimes to be punished by a judge’ (Selected Letters, 142)."

                  Rob House

                  Comment


                  • #69
                    Originally posted by Chris Scott View Post
                    A perennial point that surfaces from time to time has appeared again in the "Druitt, cricket and other statistics" which, in my opinion, deserves its own thread. This is the thorny problem of what exactly is meant by the phrase "sexually insane" as applied to Druitt?
                    Let us remind ourselves of what was written in the the Macnaghten memorandum, where the phrase in question occurs.
                    (1) A Mr M. J. Druitt, said to be a doctor & of good family -- who disappeared at the time of the Miller's Court murder, & whose body (which was said to have been upwards of a month in the water) was found in the Thames on 31st December -- or about 7 weeks after that murder. He was sexually insane and from private information I have little doubt but that his own family believed him to have been the murderer.
                    Now, the much discussed question is this:
                    Does Macnaghten mean by this phrase that Druitt was, or was believed to be, homosexual?
                    Although male homosexuality was at this period completely illegal, (the Oscar Wilde trials occurred the very year after the Macnaghten memo was written) and would very probably be described at the time as unnatural and a perversion, was the phrase "sexually insane" an accepted euphemism for homsexuality?
                    Very pertinent to this is a supplementary question. Is there any other known contemporary or near contemporary instance of the phrase "sexually insane" being unequivocally used to indicate homosexuality?
                    The issue is important in that it has produced ramifications. The much discussed reason for Druitt's "serious trouble" and his apparently precipitate dismissal from Valentine's school, has been often explained as inappropriate conduct with his pupils. But on this aspect two important points need to be stressed:
                    1) There is not ONE SHRED of evidence to support this interpretation of events and there are other perfectly viable alternatives.
                    2) The mention of Druitt being sexually insane, and this phrase being interpreted as his being homosexual, would seem to suggest that in the interpretation of events involving his pupils, that there could be some causal link between homosexuality and child molestation. All evidence suggests that there is no such link and the vast majority of child molesters would be classified as heterosexual.
                    The interpretation that Druitt was homosexual seems to have entered the Ripper mythos and I have seen numerous instances where it is stated as though a given and proven fact. In fact, of course, it is nothing of the sort. There is NO evidence of any sort regarding Druitt's sexuality.
                    The point I think of most interest is that of any other known instance where the phrase "sexually insane" is used to definitely indicate homosexuality.
                    In view of the interest sparked by the new discovery that Druitt played in a cricket match in Dorset on 30 August 1888, perhaps it's worth resurrecting this thread started by Chris Scott in 2011 about the meaning of "sexually insane" as used by Sir Melville Macnaghten in his memorandum mentioning Druitt, Macnaghten wrote in the Aberconway version that "it was alleged that he was sexually insane" and in the official version that "He was sexually insane":
                    https://jtrforums.com/resources/OfficialOrder.html

                    Strangely, it seems that Chris started the thread but never posted on it after starting it. But Rob House provided some references here and Cris Malone some more here . Paul Begg pointed to Macnaghten's use of the term "sexual maniac", meaning "men who killed for the joy of killing", but Rob made the good point that if Druitt was known to have killed it would be recorded elsewhere, and even if Druitt was only alleged to have killed other people Macnaghten would surely have given details. Stewart Evans pointed out that elsewhere Macnaghten said that sexual mania could take "Protean [i.e. various] forms".

                    But no doubt more evidence from the period about the usage will be available online now than it was a decade ago.

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