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Cutbush : "Canvassed For A Directory"

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    Howard Brown
    Registrar

  • Howard Brown
    replied
    Thank you, sir.

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  • Paul
    Registered User

  • Paul
    replied
    Hi Howard,
    No, I'm not disputing Macnaghten. Just trying to recall the details and to add the story about Cutbush pushing that elderly fellow down the stairs. The 1881 census lists Cutbush's occupation as a commercial clerk. Perhaps the company for whom he worked as a canvasser didn't know about the stairs incident - probably it couldn't be proved, or discussed because of libel? Cutbush was suspected of being Jack the Ripper, or thought he was.

    Paul

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  • Howard Brown
    Registrar

  • Howard Brown
    replied
    Paul:

    Thank you for that update.
    It's a heck of a thought to contemplate. That he was hired in that frame of mind as a rep of the Directory firm.

    When you mentioned you weren't sure he was hired in that capacity, are you disputing Macnaghten's remark in the Memoranda ?

    (From Casebook) :
    Confidential

    The case referred to in the sensational story told in 'The Sun' in its issue of 13th inst, & following dates, is that of Thomas Cutbush who was arraigned at the London County Sessions in April 1891 on a charge of maliciously wounding Florence Grace Johnson, and attempting to wound Isabella Fraser Anderson in Kennington. He was found to be insane, and sentenced to be detained during Her Majesty's Pleasure.

    This Cutbush, who lived with his mother and aunt at 14 Albert Street, Kennington, escaped from the Lambeth Infirmary, (after he had been detained only a few hours, as a lunatic) at noon on 5th March 1891. He was rearrested on 9th idem. A few weeks before this, several cases of stabbing, or jabbing, from behind had occurred in the vicinity, and a man named Colicott was arrested, but subsequently discharged owing to faulty identification. The cuts in the girl's dresses made by Colicott were quite different to the cut(s) made by Cutbush (when he wounded Miss Johnson) who was no doubt influenced by a wild desire of morbid imitation. Cutbush's antecedents were enquired into by C.Insp (now Supt.) Chris by Inspector Hale, and by P.S. McCarthy C.I.D. -- (the last named officer had been specially employed in Whitechapel at the time of the murders there,) -- and it was ascertained that he was born, and had lived, in Kennington all his life. His father died when he was quite young and he was always a 'spoilt' child. He had been employed as a clerk and traveller in the Tea trade at the Minories, and subsequently cavassed for a Directory in the East End, during which time he bore a good character. He apparently contracted syphilis about 1888, and, -- since that time, -- led an idle and useless life


    Thanks !

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  • Paul
    Registered User

  • Paul
    replied
    As best I recall, he was employed as a clerk and a traveller at a tea merchant’s near the Minories. It was whilst employed there or elsewhere in the Minories that in July 1888 the Sun newspaper claimed that Cutbush threw an elderly employee downstairs. The man was unconscious for several weeks and it was not until he regained consciousness that the truth was discovered and Cutbush was fired. I think he took the canvassing job after this incident, but some sources also say his mental issues already existed by 1888. I'm not sur whether he canvassed for 'a' directory or for something called the Directory.

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  • Robert Linford
    Researcher Extraordinaire

  • Robert Linford
    replied
    Hi How




    As far as I recall, we don't know when he was canvassing. It may have been 1888, but could have been earlier.

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  • Howard Brown
    Registrar

  • Howard Brown
    replied
    Bob:

    Thank you.
    I thought (incorrectly) that this canvassing gig was closer in time to 1888 than 1881.
    Appreciated.

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  • Sean Crundall
    Registered User

  • Sean Crundall
    replied
    Originally posted by Robert Linford View Post
    Don't forget that Thomas was born in 1865. He was listed as a commercial clerk in the 1881 census. Plenty of time for him to have done normal work before mental illness set in.
    Hi Robert,

    Well noted!

    Best wishes,

    Sean.

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  • Sean Crundall
    Registered User

  • Sean Crundall
    replied
    Originally posted by Anna Morris View Post
    Mental illnesses take many different forms and they can come and go. I don't know a lot about Cutbush but he was in trouble for stabbing women's backsides. Maybe he was obsessive-compulsive, seemingly normal except when he could not control his impulses. (I do not mean the Jeckyll and Hyde transformations that some suggested for JtR.)

    I would suppose if a job required meeting people and getting them to subscribe, the employers would have looked for a person with a good personality who could persuade people to buy. If a prospective employee was not noticeably mental I would suppose his positive qualities would be most of what was considered.

    If we look at actual serial killers, some of them had jobs or activities that involved dealing with the public. Consider the picture of John Wayne Gacy with First Lady Rosalyn Carter.
    Hi Anna,

    Psychopathology is a very complex area of discussion: even the professionals' can't agree! And I'm no expert in this field!

    Society contains, and always has contained, deranged individuals bent on committing (for a multitude of motives) murder(s) who are, we're often told, more a danger to themselves than to others, but who may or may not (potentially) also be a danger to others! Sometimes they may appear to be obviously ill, at other times not.

    I've always felt that the M'Naghten Rules (1843) are deeply flawed as they don't take into account the psychcopath/sociopath pathology. Such people are generally described as having personality disorders and usually end up in prison instead of a secure hospital.

    If an individual plans and commits a murder, and has the presence of mind to cover his/her tracks, and is aware that what they've done is morally wrong, are they sane or mad? I certainly don't know the answer to that. Does the concept of pure evil exist? Perhaps it does. It's a conundrum I've wrestled with for years and I still don't have a defining answer.

    My best wishes,

    Sean.

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  • Howard Brown
    Registrar

  • Howard Brown
    replied
    Anna:

    That's true.

    However, its my impression and I could be wrong that Cutbush's antics began after this stint as canvasser...and not during. Gacy had a career of crime going back before settling in Chicago.

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  • Robert Linford
    Researcher Extraordinaire

  • Robert Linford
    replied
    Don't forget that Thomas was born in 1865. He was listed as a commercial clerk in the 1881 census. Plenty of time for him to have done normal work before mental illness set in.

    Leave a comment:

  • Anna Morris
    Registered User

  • Anna Morris
    replied
    Mental illnesses take many different forms and they can come and go. I don't know a lot about Cutbush but he was in trouble for stabbing women's backsides. Maybe he was obsessive-compulsive, seemingly normal except when he could not control his impulses. (I do not mean the Jeckyll and Hyde transformations that some suggested for JtR.)

    I would suppose if a job required meeting people and getting them to subscribe, the employers would have looked for a person with a good personality who could persuade people to buy. If a prospective employee was not noticeably mental I would suppose his positive qualities would be most of what was considered.

    If we look at actual serial killers, some of them had jobs or activities that involved dealing with the public. Consider the picture of John Wayne Gacy with First Lady Rosalyn Carter.

    Leave a comment:

  • Sean Crundall
    Registered User

  • Sean Crundall
    replied
    Originally posted by Howard Brown View Post
    It does seem unlikely that any such company would have employed a visibly disturbed man.
    -Sean Crundall-

    That was my original thought when I was asked about that this morning, Sean....anyone hired to a representative position where money and a firm's success and reputation are involved is a step above the norm.

    So...it also brings up another issue. After this stint as a canvasser....it seems he descended into his subsequent madness awfully fast, doesn't it ?
    How,

    I think you're spot on! Money and reputation would surely have been uppermost in the company's mind when it came to selecting their canvassers, especially if the directory was a long-established one such as Kelly's.

    Mental illness can be rapid in its onslaught.

    Was Cutbush mentally ill when he was canvassing? It's possible, but unlikely. If he was he was able to conceal it, at least in the short term.

    My very best wishes,

    Sean.

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  • Howard Brown
    Registrar

  • Howard Brown
    replied
    It does seem unlikely that any such company would have employed a visibly disturbed man.
    -Sean Crundall-

    That was my original thought when I was asked about that this morning, Sean....anyone hired to a representative position where money and a firm's success and reputation are involved is a step above the norm.

    So...it also brings up another issue. After this stint as a canvasser....it seems he descended into his subsequent madness awfully fast, doesn't it ?

    Leave a comment:

  • Sean Crundall
    Registered User

  • Sean Crundall
    replied
    Originally posted by Howard Brown View Post
    Thanks Sean...much appreciated.

    Seems Cutbush was either able to control himself at that time or this job occurred before his mental issues surfaced.
    Hi How,

    I'd certainly think so given he'd have had to interact with potential clients.

    Such an occupation was likely a thankless one and involved a lot of leg work for meagre gains.

    It does seem unlikely that any such company would have employed a visibly disturbed man.

    My best wishes,

    Sean.

    Leave a comment:

  • Howard Brown
    Registrar

  • Howard Brown
    replied
    Thanks Sean...much appreciated.

    Seems Cutbush was either able to control himself at that time or this job occurred before his mental issues surfaced.

    Leave a comment:

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