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  • A Criminal Romance

    Question...

    Melville Macnaghten was educated at Eton and this incident occurred during the year after he left the school.

    Has this angle ever been pursued ( It might sound like a silly question, but I honestly don't recall if it has been mentioned or suggested )...that this theft by Ostrog at his alma mater might be, in some way, the reason Macnaghten mentioned this shady character in the 1894 report along with Kozminski & Druitt ?

    Birmingham Daily Post
    October 2, 1873
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  • #2
    Quote How Brown:
    Has this angle ever been pursued (It might sound like a silly question, but I honestly don't recall if it has been mentioned or suggested)...that this theft by Ostrog at his alma mater might be, in some way, the reason Macnaghten mentioned this shady character in the 1894 report along with Kozminski & Druitt?

    I'm pretty sure I've read this somewhere on the other site, How. Possibly in one of the relevant dissertations. Still, the MO described in the MM doesn't fit with Ostrog. “And if it doesn't fit, we must acquit“ (Ostrog, but we have to explain Macnaghten)...
    Best regards,
    Maria

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    • #3
      To How

      Yes, it has been suggested before that the inclusion of Ostrog is because of Eton, and because Macnaghten loved his days at that school more than any other period of his life (it forms the largest chapter in his 1914 memoirs) and so the Old Etonian kept tabs on this roach -- and then used him in the two versions of his 'Report' in 1894 and 1898.

      Nick Connell wrote this excellent piece, just toying with the idea of Eton as the partial inspiration for Macnaghten's interest in Ostrog.

      http://www.casebook.org/dissertation...strogeton.html

      Here is the ending:

      'Possibly the reason for Macnaghten's inclusion of Ostrog as a prominent suspect was because of the location rather than the nature of the crimes. Eton old boy Macnaghten once said of the college, "to know Eton is to love her, and that love lasts as long as life itself' 10. Would Macnaghten's subjectivity on matters concerning Eton make him believe that Ostrog was, "a vile and terrible person, capable of any atrocity"?'

      In my recent, final piece on Macnaghten, 'A Pair of "Jacks"', for 'The New Independent Review' I went much further, arguing that Ostrog was never a Ripper suspect, at all, not even to Macnaghbten.

      That his inclusion on the list was due to needing a list to camoflougee that Druitt was the only suspect, after 1891.

      Furthermore, that Ostrog had been semi-fictionalsied into a Russian doctor and some sort of would-be murderer. Mac knew about him from the start as he was there, as an Old Etonian, captaining a cricket team at Eton on Ostrog's first thieving 'adventure'.

      In late 1894, apparently it became clear to Scotland Yard that Ostrog had been incarcerated in a French jail, the psych ward, during the time of the murders.

      Yet in 1898 Macanghetn showed his 'draft' or backdated rewrite of his 'Home Office Report' tto Major Griffiths, or communicated this information to the latter verbally.

      Mac knew he was innocent yet he allowed Ostrog tto be publicly accused of the Whitechapel crimes..

      But ... what Mac had actually done was create a fictional Ostrog (eg. a real physician rather than thief-con man; habitually cruel to women; a carrier of surgical knives; dangerously homicidal) who would not be recognised even by Ostrog!

      We see an echo of the real figure's alibi in the guff which Mac fed Sims in 1907:

      '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.'

      I argued that the description of Ostrog as vile and atrocious is quite sincere by Mac via Sims, in violating his beloved alma mater.

      In an exquisite -- if somewhat adolescent act of [private] revenge -- Macnaghten slandered Ostrog, as a Ripper suspect, though in fictional form.

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      • #4
        To How

        So, I arguing that when Macnaghten briefed Major Griffiths in 1898 about the three alleged top suspects he had known, by late 1894, that Ostrog had been cleared -- he was imprisoned in France at the time of the murders.

        Yet, it didn't matter to Macnaghten because Ostrog was never a serious Ripper suspect and his profile had been fictionalized (and Mac knew the name was not going to be published)

        Michael Ostrog, the defiler of Mac's beloved Eton, would not have recognised himself in the Griffiths/Sims' profile as he was not Russian, not a doctor, not habitually cruel to women, did not carry surgical knives, and was not investigated for being a homicidal lunatic.

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        • #5
          Here's 'The Police Gazette' from Friday 2 November 1888. First published in 'The Ultimate Sourcebook'

          01The Police Gazette Friday 2 November 1888.jpg
          02The Police Gazette Friday 2 November 1888.jpg

          No mention of being suspected as Jack the Ripper but no reason why he should be mentioned as 'a dangerous man'

          Rob

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          • #6
            To How

            I have not got Paul Begg's '--the Facts' in front of me, but he mentions that Macnaghten wrote to an asylum in which Ostrog was sectioned, or had been in, and so on, about 1891 I think.

            Mac never mentions, in his letter, that this inmate was suspected by police of being dangerous -- of perhaps even being the Ripper.

            Of course not, because he wasn't.

            Mac's memoirs dispense with him entirely.

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            • #7
              To Rob Clark

              Yeah, he's a 'dangerous' loonie -- to your wallet.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Jonathan Hainsworth View Post
                To Rob Clark
                Don't work for Jeff do you? He can't spell my name right either.

                Originally posted by Jonathan Hainsworth View Post
                Yeah, he's a 'dangerous' loonie -- to your wallet.
                Perhaps you would like to point out where I said he was a " 'dangerous' loonie"? This what I said, and I'll put it in big letters (sorry I can't make the letters look like crayons so you can read it better).

                ...but no reason why he should be mentioned as 'a dangerous man'

                Rob

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                • #9
                  Michael Ostrog, the defiler of Mac's beloved Eton, would not have recognised himself in the Griffiths/Sims' profile as he was not Russian, not a doctor, not habitually cruel to women, did not carry surgical knives, and was not investigated for being a homicidal lunatic.- Jon Hainsworth

                  Dear JH:

                  I would think that the ethnicity ( Polish or Russian... ) would not be a big difference, nor the inquiries made to his state of mind as the article Rob Clack kindly provided does mention that he was considered dangerous...and finally, that he was working under the alias of a doctor...a.k.a. Dr. Grant.

                  So, IMHO...I think he would have recognized that he fit some of the criteria in that profile.

                  Ostrog was one of the six districts on the Russo/Austrian frontier in 1867 ( Pall Mall Gazette, April 10, 1867 ).

                  The following comes from the PMG ( same article as the thread starter ).
                  I would think the police in 1872 had cause to believe Ostrog/Grant/Ashley would resist apprehension to the point of committing violence on any would be captor.
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                  • #10
                    Notice Ostrog is a pistol packin' Pole in this Belfastian article....

                    Carrying an eight chambered revolver spells 'armed n' dangerous' to me.

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                    October 3, 1873
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                    • #11
                      Pall Mall Gazette
                      October 4, 1873
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                      • #12
                        One can also understand how the people who formed the 1888 notice in the Police Gazette that Rob Clack shared might come to the conclusion that he was not only dangerous but mentally unstable.
                        In this article, you'll read that he attempted suicide by sticking his head into a bucket of water.

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                        October 9, 1873
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                        • #13
                          Convict 1698

                          Many thanks to Tom Wescott and Maria Birbili for kindling some interest in me regarding Ostrog.
                          Nina tells me that Ostrog was in the American press at the same time of this Etonian affair and often.
                          There was a lot of fanfare for a five pound theft.



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                          • #14
                            Live and learn.
                            One of the things I must admit turned me off to researching Ostrog in the past ( Something I would suggest no one do especially anyone who desires to be as well-rounded as possible in this field ) were remarks that he was "only a thief" and that Mr. Sugden or Ogan located him in a French jail at the time of the crimes.
                            However, out of those three names in the Macnaghten report of 1894, the only one we can say with certainty that displayed violence, had a criminal past, and had been perceived as mentally imbalanced at least, if not more, prior to the murders was Ostrog. This goes without saying to many researchers within the field and civilians alike.
                            How could he fit within the Whitechapel Murders framework ? Your guess is as good as mine.
                            I suspect it might be along the same lines of how someone could fit Tumblety into the investigation, if they ( as Littlechild apparently did around the time ) believed the latter's homosexuality didn't exclude them from suspicion. Ostrog's background, as career criminal, overwhelmingly pecuniary crimes, didn't exclude him from suspicion. Ostrog, like Tumblety, was someone we could consider a high profile criminal or typically associated with some misdeeds in the contemporary press.

                            What do you think ?

                            Feel free to add your remarks anywhere on the thread, while I continue loading the thread.

                            Thank you.
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                            • #15
                              How, if you happen to locate any newspaper mentions of any crimes or misdemeanors committed by Ostrog under the con name Dr. Grant I'd be endlessly grateful, cuz I haven't seen him arrested or anything under that con name (“Dr. Grant“) so far, that con name is normally only mentioned in passing. Perhaps Ostrog used that con name when he stole a microscope from the London Hospital in the 1900s, but “Dr. Grant“ is already mentioned in the 1888 London Police Gazette notice. Ostrog often impersonated a doctor, in Paris too.
                              I've found another hint that could justify Ostrog's mixup with Le Grand: According to Sugden (p. 427 and p. 524) in 1865 Ostrog turned up in Gloucestershire as an alleged Swede doctor under the con name of Knut Ostin, and he spoke fluent German in the occasion. Sugden found documentation for this in the Gloucestershire Record Office.

                              Rob, I guess Office number 22550 in the London Police Gazette notice refers to a probation office? I'm about to email you about the evidence that the London police found out that Ostrog was in Paris only in the summer of 1894, as claimed (but not documented) by Sugden.

                              Originally posted by Jonathan Hainsworth View Post
                              when Macnaghten briefed Major Griffiths in 1898 about the three alleged top suspects he had known, by late 1894, that Ostrog had been cleared -- he was imprisoned in France at the time of the murders.
                              According to Sugden (p. XXI, but he doesn't document his claim), the British police knew nothing of Ostrog's French whereabouts until the summer of 1894, which is several months after Macnaghten had already produced his MM.
                              Originally posted by Jonathan Hainsworth View Post
                              I have not got Paul Begg's '--the Facts' in front of me, but he mentions that Macnaghten wrote to an asylum in which Ostrog was sectioned, or had been in, and so on, about 1891 I think.
                              Mac never mentions, in his letter, that this inmate was suspected by police of being dangerous -- of perhaps even being the Ripper.I have not got Paul Begg's '--the Facts' in front of me, but he mentions that Macnaghten wrote to an asylum in which Ostrog was sectioned, or had been in, and so on, about 1891 I think. Mac never mentions, in his letter, that this inmate was suspected by police of being dangerous -- of perhaps even being the Ripper.
                              Yes, this has its provenance in Sugden, who quotes (p. XVIII) a couple sentences from the letter Macnaghten's to the Banstead Hospital superintendent, where Ostrog was incarcerated. Rob and I have looked everywhere at the LMA, but the letter in question is NOT there anymore (the librarians believe that it was discarded), and Rob is looking for it through a different avenue.
                              In the letter Macnaghten expressed suspicions that Ostrog was feigning insanity, and Sugden (p. XXI) mentions an earlier doctor's report where this charade is corroborated. Due to the fact that the entire content of the letter Macnaghten's to Banstead is not available, we don't know if Macnaghten's interest in Ostrog was based on suspicions of him being violent or simply due to the Eton/alma matter thing. Personally I see the London Police Gazette notice as a hint that he might have briefly been a Ripper suspect from 1888 to 1894.
                              Best regards,
                              Maria

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