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The Real Mary Kelly - Wynne Weston-Davies

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  • Originally posted by Edward Stow View Post
    Harsh but true... but will anyone say this to the affable WWD when he attends the conference tomorrow...
    Hasn't WMD already got round that by saying that he's just presenting a theory though?

    Comment


    • In the podcast.
      Not in the newspaper serialisation, book, or presumably application for disinterment.
      Where does the theory line end and the fiction line start?

      But it is a good read - for those that shell out.

      Comment


      • I suppose it's what you might categorise as creative nonfiction?

        I think I read somewhere [might've been on Casebook] that it was 'faction'?

        I don't read fiction much, so I didn't know what that was - but I think I hate faction already.

        Without due clarification, it just looks like free licence to write whatever takes your fancy without qualification.

        No good.

        Comment


        • How Rippercast works...

          In regards to the questions posed to the "affable" Wynne Weston-Davies on the podcast, I'd like to make a couple of points. One, on the day of recording (9th of August), myself and Paul Begg were the only Ripperologists that I knew of to have read the book in its entirety. I had read it twice by show time. I had expressed my concerns to a few others privately that the book presents more evidence that Craig was a loon than EWD was a prostitute, but since no one else had read the whole book, they were very rightly withholding complete judgment. And as I said earlier, more discoveries were being made right up to the day of the interview. Secondly, the way that the podcast has operated since day one, its raison d'ĂȘtre if you will, is simply to give theorists an opportunity to discuss their theory with other Ripperologists in a hope that the spoken word format would lead to a better understanding of that guest's theory. Debate occurs and errors are pointed out, but it's always (nearly) done in a friendly manner. It is expected that by allowing guests to explain their theory in this way, the listener, bringing their own various levels of expertise, would be able to judge for themselves whether or not the theory they've heard has legs. We've done this with many such authors certain members of this community would laugh-off as writers of fiction. R. Michael Gordon, Trevor Marriott, Stan Russo, Andrew Cook, Tom Wescott, Stewart P. Evans, Simon Wood etc.

          My job is the host of the show. I do my best to navigate with the hopes that as many bases are covered in a reasonable time. If the show is not for you, then maybe another will come along more to your liking. And as far as wondering if someone will question Wynne Weston-Davies in Nottingham about the fictional nature of his book (a notion I happen to agree with) perhaps someone will have by now found the set of balls they lost before Salisbury when the same suggestion was made about Naming Jack the Ripper.

          JM

          Comment


          • The podcasts work because they are not a bear-pit. Tough questions can and are asked - as when Wynne was asked what evidence he had that EWD was lady's maid to the Marchioness and that she left her employ immediately after the death of the Marquess; Wynne admitted that this was reasoned speculation on his part - but the purpose has always seemed to me to give the guest a chance to talk about his theory and his thinking and his ideas. It's not for the likes of Robert and myself (in this case) to give him a rough time. If ever the podcast goes that way, I won't participate anymore.

            Comment


            • I am the one who made the comment about 'factional' as a genre of literature. Truman Capote's 'In Cold Blood' has forever been on the fiction shelves because he made up some dialogue and a few other things to make the story flow. Yet he practically lived with the case and the convicts for several years and his work was probably more accurate than many works that have come since. Back then, in the 60s, rules were strict.

              A lot of the true crime books almost have to be this way to be readable. Seldom does anyone know what a murderer said to his victim before he killed her. Dialogues and other details are made up. Ideas are strung together. I enjoyed and own Patricia Cornwall's book on Sickert. I picked out a few new ideas to think about. After digging into this forum I see more and more mistakes. I don't enjoy the book much anymore.

              From what I pick up I think WWD is on an honest quest. I am also aware that he comes from an artistic family of storytellers. I don't fault him for trying to make the pieces fit. There is reason to question whether or not EWD is MJK but when I try to make it all fit the whole idea keeps breaking down. In my gut I think they are two different women. I still plan to buy the book.

              Another problem is Craig was mentally off. God knows what he told his solicitor for the divorce papers or what the deletions meant. Maybe the solicitor was humouring him and did little but collect his fees and maybe that is why the papers were never served. What if EWD was not a prostitute but Craig thought so? What if an evil gossip told him a bunch of lies and he believed them? (I had a religiously judgmental aunt who would have been capable of something like that.) Mentally ill people know other mentally ill people. Maybe the information in the divorce papers is totally hatched up because mentally ill people were creating a story together in general day to day conversation. (Have you seen Elizabeth? Oh yeah...Monmouth Hotel...she spends all her free time there with men....uh, I forget...does Elizabeth have black hair or red hair...?)

              God knows what happened to Elizabeth but there were lots of ways to disappear in those days besides going to the East End and becoming a victim of JtR. Before strict passport requirements anyone could immigrate under any kind of name. If the intake people at Ellis Island or wherever couldn't spell your name they made it up. (Before reading about Bella Poolman I had never heard the name Poolman. Yet researching the name shows that anyone with an odd sounding surname starting with "P", coming to the US, was given the name Poolman. There are a lot of imitation Poolmans out west here, in Washington state.) I could imagine Elizabeth Weston-Davies could easily become Eliza Davis, David or Davey.

              If she didn't go to the US there was South Africa, Australia, Canada, etc., since the sun never set on the British Empire. Perhaps she preferred France without Craig.

              WWD seems to have given away a lot of the book in the previews. I found that interesting. I have an idea that his ultimate goal is DNA testing if MJK's remains can be exhumed. The whole process could make a very interesting new story.
              The wickedness of the world is the dream of the plague.~~Voynich Manuscript

              Comment


              • Hi Anna

                Sorry - I couldn't remember exactly where I saw the comment about the book being factional - thought it was on Casebook.

                I can where that approach might work; but the problems with it in a book that is being presented as factual are obvious - where are the lines drawn? It's difficult to tell without deconstructing the text.

                I don't see reason to doubt that WWD [and not WMD as I think I typoed earlier, tsk] is on an honest quest; but equally I don't think his creative nonfiction approach - or factional - helps very much in that respect.

                Re. EWD's prostitution - if we believe Craig, she was frequenting known brothels. 161 Drummond Street and 53 Tonbridge Street were both, apparently, brothels. The addresses in Holloway cited as by Craig as Mrs McLeod's houses/apartments seem all to have been streets with a low reputation. In all likelihood, I think, EWD was a professional prostitute during 1885 at the very least.

                Her relationship with the elusive baker Hobein may have been a different kind of prostitution, perhaps, as a more substantial relationship seems to have existed between them during the summer of 1885. If EWD was MJK her story suggests that, like many women without other means of support, she generally found a man to support her - perhaps we see that in her attachment to McBain/Blain? Many women preferred to live that way if and when they could, resorting to casual prostitution only when they had to.

                Comment


                • My question about whether any probing questions might be asked at the conference was made with one eye on the bru-ha-ha last year and all that entails.

                  Comment


                  • The trouble with the tales in the affidavit is that they are one sided and probably contain inaccuracies - particularly over names. It is too easy to extrapolate from them - to suit whatever narrative we might be drawn to.
                    For example with McBlain - I see a regular. Someone who was a regular customer of Elizabeth's. Quite possibly pre-dating the marriage. Such customers often get jealous of the prostitute's partner, regarding the prostitute as their girlfriend in some way. One of the most common ways in which a prostitute's 'cover story' (the bullshit she tells her partner to cover up for her activities) is blown is when an over clingy regular grasses her up.
                    To my mind this is what we see in the affidavit - probably.

                    Comment


                    • Originally posted by Edward Stow View Post
                      The trouble with the tales in the affidavit is that they are one sided and probably contain inaccuracies - particularly over names. It is too easy to extrapolate from them - to suit whatever narrative we might be drawn to.
                      For example with McBlain - I see a regular. Someone who was a regular customer of Elizabeth's. Quite possibly pre-dating the marriage. Such customers often get jealous of the prostitute's partner, regarding the prostitute as their girlfriend in some way. One of the most common ways in which a prostitute's 'cover story' (the bullshit she tells her partner to cover up for her activities) is blown is when an over clingy regular grasses her up.
                      To my mind this is what we see in the affidavit - probably.
                      Obvious that the tales in the affidavit contain inaccuracies Ed - there are inconsistances and amendments - pointing [probably] to a lack of knowledge on Craig's part - or that of his incompetent private enquiry agent perhaps. It is one-sided - but nonetheless, that's what we've got, since EWD was never served. I haven't decided what Craig's mental state was yet; but consider that if the whole thing had been a pack of lies invented by him in a fit of spiteful rage the truth would, generally, soon have come out. How was he to know that his wife wouldn't be served and deny his allegations?

                      Besides, he would have been wasting his money - expensive business, divorce. Only 529 of them on average per year in the 5 year period between 1884 and 1889. Divorce, although becoming more common following the 1857 Matrimonial Causes Act, was still something of a rarity.

                      I agree with you about McBlain Bain Hobein the Hovis Baker - a regular probably predating the marriage to Craig.

                      Comment


                      • In March of 1874, Henry McBlain left Quebec
                        for London to work as an assistant to John H.
                        O'Neill, special emigration agent for the Quebec
                        government. They had an office at 69 King William
                        Street.

                        McBlain was also a timber merchant and shipowner.

                        Robert John Maundrell worked as a clerk for a timber
                        merchant.

                        That much is fact.

                        This is speculation:

                        What if one of the Maundrells introduced EWD to
                        McBlain knowing of his previous experience in
                        emigration? What if EWD considered emigration as
                        a way to escape from the harassment of Craig and/or
                        his agent(s)? McBlain may not have been a punter at all,
                        but an advisor or someone who could hook her up with
                        contacts in the States or Canada to start a new life
                        far away from her batshit crazy husband.

                        Comment


                        • That sounds like an excellent synopsis for a factional book.

                          If I may be permitted to reflect - Craig has very speedily been promoted to the murky pantheon of 'official Ripperological' suspects - with a podcast devoted to him, the author invited to appear at the annual conference and a special section created in the suspect section of one of the leading on-line forums. And yet the Craig theory has very quickly effectively been shown to have no substance to it.
                          Interesting.

                          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5Qf6Sv3A9zs

                          Comment


                          • Originally posted by Edward Stow View Post
                            That sounds like an excellent synopsis for a factional book.

                            If I may be permitted to reflect - Craig has very speedily been promoted to the murky pantheon of 'official Ripperological' suspects - with a podcast devoted to him, the author invited to appear at the annual conference and a special section created in the suspect section of one of the leading on-line forums. And yet the Craig theory has very quickly effectively been shown to have no substance to it.
                            Interesting.

                            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5Qf6Sv3A9zs
                            Do you have a link to the podcast devoted to Francis Craig? If so I'd like to hear it.

                            JM

                            Comment


                            • The less we know about a person, the easier it is to fill the gaps with suspicion - more space for speculation. Further research might shed more light on Craig - then perhaps we'll be able to see more clearly whether he should be considered a viable suspect; or not.

                              Comment


                              • Originally posted by Edward Stow View Post
                                That sounds like an excellent synopsis for a factional book.

                                If I may be permitted to reflect - Craig has very speedily been promoted to the murky pantheon of 'official Ripperological' suspects - with a podcast devoted to him, the author invited to appear at the annual conference and a special section created in suspect section of one of the leading on-line forums. And yet the Craig theory has very quickly effectively been shown to have no substance to it.
                                Interesting.

                                https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5Qf6Sv3A9zs
                                Ed,

                                The author comes with ready-made credentials. He's the scion of a literary family and a top-notch medico to boot. He was never going to get the kicking that a scouse upstart like RE received.

                                Gary.

                                Comment

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