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  • Dr Lacassagne, Vacher, Jack the Ripper,

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/science/8...-Dr-Death.html

  • #2
    Mike:

    Nice article, thanks.
    It brings up the question, since Vacher was apprehended,tried,sentenced,and executed, whether he would have been as infamous ( far larger amount of attributable murders by the hand of the Frenchman ) as the Saucy One... I think not...for at least five reasons.
    The escape,anonymity,and the risks the Ripper took were 3/5ths of the equation....the fourth being the common language the British shared with North Americans, Antipodeans and the fifth, the urban setting.

    Looks like a book worth purchasing,Mike. Probably some comparisons made within it regarding these two killers.
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    • #3
      Here's another story on the same topic....

      19th century crime story reveals cautionary press tale

      Washington Times-Herald
      Sunday, March 6, 2011




      Augustine Mortureux sets out on a Sunday morning in May 1895 to visit her sick sister. The 17-year-old walks from her family farm near Dijon, France, along a carriageway through a forest. She encounters other walkers, cyclists, a lumberjack and a serial killer.

      Passersby later discover Mortureux's partially clothed body with a massive stab wound in her neck. She is the third of Joseph Vacher’s 11 known victims – most are adolescent boys and girls – in a spree surpassing the violence of London's Jack the Ripper.

      But villagers near Dijon, then unaware of Vacher, instead focus suspicion on a wealthy landowner, writes journalist Douglas Starr in his book, “The Killer of Little Shepherds,” published last fall. Eugene Grenier and others rushed to the crime scene to see what happened, and some believe Grenier found his way there too easily.

      Two warring newspapers in Dijon incite the public, writes Starr, acting as "an echo chamber for every rumor from every person with a grudge against Grenier.” He spends 45 days in jail as authorities investigate. On the day of his release, a mob chases him from town.

      The episode is a small part of Starr's true-crime story, which simultaneously follows Vacher's path of terror and the development of forensic science in late 19th century Europe. It is a stark warning about media and the cacophony of information – sometimes unreliable – following a big news event. It is especially relevant to a modern public bombarded by print, television and digital outlets.

      In the time of Vacher’s spree, mass-distribution newspapers bought for a penny or two are littering France, Britain and the United States, thanks to new press freedom laws and printing technology. But, writes Starr, the period that also introduces the telegraph, passenger train travel and movies does not benefit everyone equally.

      A large portion of society is destitute. The rural French countryside is still isolated. Crime is rampant.

      Into this age slips Vacher, an army sergeant first known to have lashed out in violence at age 23, when he shot a woman who did not return his affection and turned the gun on himself. Both survived, and Vacher spent time in two asylums before being deemed cured and released in April 1894.

      Thus begins his vagabond journey and gruesome trail of death.

      Vacher seizes upon unsuspecting adolescents outside small cities and remote villages; several victims are shepherds. He chokes and stabs them before raping or mutilating their bodies. He eventually confesses to 11 murders, including that of an elderly woman, but investigators suspect him in dozens more.

      His spree is preceded by the ascent of Dr. Alexandre Lacassagne, a professor at the University of Lyon and father of modern criminal medicine. Lacassagne works much like his fictional contemporary, Sherlock Holmes, in identifying bodies and discerning cause of death. Lacassagne’s work, of course, is more rigorous and time consuming than that of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s character.

      "In all of France there could not have been two men more different than Joseph Vacher and Alexandre Lacassagne," writes Starr. Their paths cross after Vacher is arrested for assaulting a woman collecting pinecones with her children, an attack fended off by her husband. He is led to a magistrate investigating a murder who notices similarities in crimes reported elsewhere.

      As the magistrate builds a case against Vacher, Lacassagne and two colleagues spend months studying the killer and his crimes before determining him competent for trial.

      Starr’s compelling, if gruesome, narrative draws on his extensive research of French-language newspapers, official documents, transcripts and Vacher's own letters. He poses difficult questions still debated 100 years later: Is criminal behavior ordained by genetics or, as Lacassagne believed, external factors? Who is mentally fit to face punishment?

      Starr, who co-directs the Center for Science and Medical Journalism at Boston University, simultaneously offers another history lesson.

      The “penny press” thrives in the late 19th century. Competition is fierce, writes Starr, “with millions of semi-educated readers and Darwinian competition for space on the newsstand.”

      Newspapers use headlines and the melodrama of crime to lure readers. Their stories and illustrations often blur fact and suggestion. They lavish coverage on Vacher and his crimes, sending reporters to the far reaches of France to describe places where he killed. Newspapers from Europe and the United States covered his trial in October 1898.

      The penny press’ methods seem somewhat crude, especially since the advent of modern journalism practice and the insistence of editors and reporters on gathering – and double-checking – facts. Indeed, newspapers now are more like Lacassagne in their approach.

      But the penny press’ modern equivalent is not found in print. It is the bloom of blogs, websites and talk shows that deal as much in opinion and theatrics as fact. Readers and viewers – not always discerning – are susceptible to disinformation.

      So it was in 1895 as a mob moves on Eugene Grenier, a man wrongly accused of murder. Furthermore, writes Starr, correcting the record isn’t much of a priority for the penny press.

      Grenier, having moved 25 miles away, later describes a retraction published by one of the Dijon newspapers after Vacher was discovered to be the killer. The competing newspaper was not as magnanimous, publishing a story about Vacher's confessions – on Page 3 – but only after Grenier presented coverage of the trial from other newspapers.

      "When I tell people my story, they are so astonished they think I invented it,” Grenier is quoted as saying. “But no!! It is real! My wrinkled forehead and white hair bear witness."
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      • #4
        By accident, searching for something else, I came across the following pdf which appears to be the whole book about Vacher. The pictures section includes the shot of his guillotined head so be warned --

        Douglas P. Starr, The Killer of Little Shepherds: A True Crime Story and the Birth of Forensic Science. First Edition.

        Go to http://ptchanculto.binhoster.com/boo...0Shepherds.pdf
        Christopher T. George, Lyricist & Co-Author, "Jack the Musical"
        https://www.facebook.com/JackTheMusical/ Hear sample song at https://tinyurl.com/y8h4envx.

        Organizer, RipperCon #JacktheRipper-#True Crime Conferences, April 2016 and 2018.
        Hear RipperCon 2016 & 2018 talks at http://www.casebook.org/podcast/.

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        • #5
          My anti virus says that page has been involved in online scams.

          Nice try anyway, big man.
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          • #6
            Okay, thanks for the warning. I am running an anti-virus scan just in case my system might have picked up something nasty.
            Christopher T. George, Lyricist & Co-Author, "Jack the Musical"
            https://www.facebook.com/JackTheMusical/ Hear sample song at https://tinyurl.com/y8h4envx.

            Organizer, RipperCon #JacktheRipper-#True Crime Conferences, April 2016 and 2018.
            Hear RipperCon 2016 & 2018 talks at http://www.casebook.org/podcast/.

            Comment


            • #7
              I read the killer of little shepherds. Why isn't Vacher a Jack the Ripper suspect. He was 19 years old at the time. This plus the fact that he disemboweled his victims just like Mary Kelly and he was only a train or steamship away from Whitechapel. He had compulsions to murder at age 14 so it is not hard to believe that Vacher started on this impulse when he was 19. Constable Barrett's description of the soldier he had seen neer Martha Tabram's murder fits Vachers description perfectly. That plus Emma smith said that one of her attackers was 18 or 19. Vacher seems like the most likely suspect if not JTR himself. He was in fact a ripper.

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              • #8
                He's not a Ripper suspect for the very good reasons....one, that he was 18 years old at the time of the Kelly murder and, more importantly, there is no evidence of him ever leaving France.

                Here is the 327 page book by Lacassagne :

                http://gallica.bnf.fr/ark:/12148/bpt6k77016g/f10.image

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                • #9
                  There are photos of Whitechapel Murder victims in the book.
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                  • #10
                    I assume there is no English translation which is a pity. Would be a good read.

                    I cannot discount Vacher as a suspect because of age. He had compulsion to murder at 14. He became a soldier at age 17.

                    I cannot believe that he never left France at that time. As far as I know, there are no records saying he didn't leave France.

                    Vacher use to look at his fellow soldiers throats and mumble, "Look at the blood flowing."

                    His so called first victim looked like an animal had attacked her. The same can be said of Mary Kelly.

                    Being 18 at the time would give him the agilty, speed and energy to so quickly attack his victims and run.

                    Be aware that the Whitechapel murderer was never caught, and so we have no absolute description or paradigm to work from other then the murders themselves which bore Vachers signiture. That is enough to suspect him.

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                    • #11
                      Interesting 6 minute interview with Douglas Starr regarding Vacher :

                      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ck2ASf77N5Y

                      Des crimes presque parfaits

                      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gZT8k1E6VbM

                      Joseph Vacher : Le 1er Tueur en Série Français

                      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ss91KH5Cb7A
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                      • #12
                        The Killer Of Little Shepherds ( Douglas Starr, 2011 )

                        http://www.amazon.com/dp/B004K1E4XE/...kindle_ext_tmb



                        Judge Emile Fourquet, who Starr states created a criminal profile of Vacher

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                        • #13
                          Hello Darrel
                          Originally posted by DarrelX View Post
                          I cannot discount Vacher as a suspect because of age. He had compulsion to murder at 14. He became a soldier at age 17.

                          I cannot believe that he never left France at that time.
                          Why should that be, necessarily? Apart from the well-off, intrepid migrants or political refugees, overseas travel was hardly commonplace among the 19th Century working classes, and this remained the case until the latter half of the 20th Century.
                          Kind regards, Sam Flynn

                          "Suche Nullen"
                          (F. Nietzsche)

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                          • #14
                            Vacher, unless someone can show otherwise, lived on the farm, in poverty, with his family until he joined the French military.
                            Someone desparately seeking to extricate himself from rural poverty wouldn't make a bee line for urban poverty, a condition of which Whitechapel was world renowned for...in my opinion.
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                            • #15
                              Clip from a film I can't locate in full yet....The Judge & The Assassin ( 1976 )

                              https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y0F_2Jo8Rx8
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