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  • Person(s) Searching for Mary Kelly

    I read somewhere - perhaps in several sources - but with over 20 JTR books in my collection, can’t find the specifics again - that someone was asking about in Whitechapel as to the whereabouts of Mary Kelly in the weeks leading up to her killing.
    Is this so?
    And if so, did this person seem to know her - what she looked like, etc. - or was she likely a stranger to him?
    Can anyone here point me in the right direction?
    Thank you.

  • #2
    The only part that rings a bell for me is something I read years ago, if I haven't misremembered it.
    That (I think) one witness claimed her father came to London looking for her.




    I just came across the reference for this.


    "......but drifted from the West-end to the East-end, where she took lodgings in Pennington-street. Her father came from Wales, and tried to find her there; but, hearing from her companions that he was looking for her, Marie kept out of the way."
    Star, 12 Nov. 1888.
    Regards, Jon S.
    "
    The theory that the murderer is a lunatic is dispelled by the opinion given to the police by an expert in the treatment of lunacy patients......."If he's insane
    " observed the medical authority, "he's a good deal sharper than those who are not".
    Reynolds Newspaper, 4 Nov. 1888.

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    • #3
      Good on you for remembering that, Jon.....thanks
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      • #4
        Hi, Patrick. Wicker Man has provided the source. I find this alleged episode of Mary's supposed father's visit to be very interesting but sadly there isn't anything else to work from.

        Was it her father or someone from her past, perhaps even the "gentleman" who had taken her to France?

        I have a suspicion her family was contacted at the time of her death and that some of them may even have gone to London or been there in the first place. My reason for thinking this is because it was said in a news report that some of her family was coming for the funeral. That does not mean much necessarily but the day of her funeral was changed with a day or so delay so she could be buried as a Roman Catholic. There was a C of E burial planned originally. (In those days before refrigeration, the earliest possible burial would certainly have been the most desirable.) Now WHO was close enough or important enough in Mary's life that he/she/they would insist on a RC funeral? So, I keep it in the back of my mind that her family may have been known at that time.
        The wickedness of the world is the dream of the plague.~~Voynich Manuscript

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        • #5
          MJK is untraceable because she was never there to find.

          Her history is what is known in intelligence circles as a legend, a fictitious back-story.

          Comment


          • #6
            I wonder if MJK could have entered into/been sold into prostitution as a very young girl? Maybe her back story was made up for her or maybe she invented it. Much of her time in London seemed to be tied into organized prostitution but she seemed to have freed herself to live in Millers Court with Joe. I think too that there is a possibility that she was so savagely destroyed because she had offended or threatened someone in the underworld. Maybe JtR did not kill her. Perhaps an unknown assassin took the opportunity to imitate and do it so horribly that an indelible message was left for any girl who would defy the organization.

            She was desperate for money yet McCarthy allowed her to run up a high bill. Was she able, periodically, to obtain larger amounts to settle bills?

            It always seemed strange to me that Mrs. Phoenix/Felix went so quickly to the police and also talked to the press. If she had not done we would know less than we do. Since she was connected to the Morgensterns I have an idea she wanted a sanitized story to get out first before police or press started digging.
            The wickedness of the world is the dream of the plague.~~Voynich Manuscript

            Comment


            • #7
              I tried looking to see if a John Kelly used the Salvation Army Family Finding Services to find Mary Jane Kelly when I found out that Family Finding is for finding missing members of your family.

              This included Missing Persons ads in the War Cry.

              The SA Heritage Centre couldn't find anything close to Mary Kelly. At least for that time frame, 85 and 86.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Simon Wood View Post
                MJK is untraceable because she was never there to find.

                Her history is what is known in intelligence circles as a legend, a fictitious back-story.

                That hasn't been proven, has it Simon? Isn't that what people are trying to establish?

                Comment


                • #9
                  Well, one challenge is that every Irish parent seems to have named their children either Michael, Patrick, Anne, Catherine, or Mary.

                  She would have been easier to trace had her name been 'Jane Doe.'

                  That said, with all the leads to follow up, I find it difficult to believe that Scotland Yard wouldn't have been able to eventually trace her antecedents. They were brilliant at such tasks. And in later years, all the police commentators continued to call her 'Mary Kelly,' so unless there was a suppressed scandal, I am willing to believe that that was her real name. We would have heard about it otherwise. Which unfortunately doesn't, in itself, disprove Simon's suggestion.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by R. J. Palmer View Post
                    Well, one challenge is that every Irish parent seems to have named their children either Michael, Patrick, Anne, Catherine, or Mary.

                    She would have been easier to trace had her name been 'Jane Doe.'

                    That said, with all the leads to follow up, I find it difficult to believe that Scotland Yard wouldn't have been able to eventually trace her antecedents. They were brilliant at such tasks. And in later years, all the police commentators continued to call her 'Mary Kelly,' so unless there was a suppressed scandal, I am willing to believe that that was her real name. We would have heard about it otherwise. Which unfortunately doesn't, in itself, disprove Simon's suggestion.
                    I am convinced that the conundrum of Mary Kelly's origins and life story will never be solved. As you say, Roger, the name is too common an Irish name.

                    The famous name is where the investigation into her background begins and ends.

                    Mary Jane Kelly, if that was really her name, infamously slaughtered in Miller's Court, Spitalfields, on 9 November, 1888 is both the best known and, lamentably, the most unknowable victim of Jack the Ripper.
                    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


                    • #11
                      Hi Paul,

                      Hope you're well.

                      People have been trying to establish that MJK was a real live flesh and blood person, an Elizabeth Gaskell heroine who climbed her way up from Limerick to the plush life of West End brothels, only to fall, gravitate to Whitechapel, and meet her end at the hands of JtR.

                      It's a near-perfect story arc.

                      The best researchers in the business cannot pin her down in Limerick, Wales or London. Everybody leaves a trail—look how much we have managed to discover about Nichols, Chapman, Stride and Eddowes.

                      But not MJK. This is because, unlike the others, she was not hiding in plain sight.

                      Trying to find her is a fool's errand. As I said, she's not there to find.

                      It might help if we stopped thinking of the victim in Room 13 as Mary Jane Kelly—it only clouds the issue—and made better use of our time and talents by investigating the handful of people who claimed to know the victim as such.

                      There will be a link, and eventually we will find it, even if it means pulling down the house of cards that is Jack the Ripper.

                      Regards,

                      Simon

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        We have not been able to trace through every Mary/Mary Jane/Marie Kelly/Kelley through to the end of her life. For example, Debra found a Bridget Kelly who really seemed like she could be MJK but she immigrated to America and died in New York. Bridget had a sister Mary Kelly and we have no idea what happened to her.

                        A day or so before MJK's funeral the press said some of her family would shortly arrive. Maybe they did. I have considered it important that the funeral was delayed by one day so it would be a RC funeral, not C of E. I have wondered who demanded that since rapid burial would have been the best in this case. But then, maybe the sexton who paid for the funeral, required it.

                        I used to think the short inquest on the case had to do with cover up but research here has convinced me that was probably proper. On the other hand, press reportage dropped off steeply by mid-November, 1888 and I find that curious. I don't think the British press has ever been quite as free as in the U.S.

                        Why did no one in the press ever trace out the "French lady" in the West End or the "gentleman" who took Mary to France? Might these leads impinge on the upper classes?

                        Perhaps another way to narrow the list of possible Mary Kellies would be to eliminate every one that went to America at any time. Even if they returned to the UK, there is NOTHING in MJK's story that indicates she ever even thought about going to America.

                        One other item has recently gotten my attention. Mrs. Phoenix said Mary said she was 22 years old in approximately 1885-86. Mrs. P. estimated Mary should be about 25 at time of death. Mary told Barnett she was 22 early in 1887. At some point the press reported that Mary's age at death was finally known for sure and that it was 24, though it had previously been said to be 25 and that people said she looked much older. Who provided the "correct" age? If it is correct, her birthday must fall sometime between when Barnett met her and when she died.

                        If the age is incorrect then there are even more Mary Kellies to look at. I asked somewhere here if there was anything special about age 22 because it appeared she used that for too many years--or maybe not. I suppose if she was involved in cross channel prostitution it would have been advisable for her to be at least 21. The next step after that adventure would be 22, whether or not she was. But people said she looked older so 24 is a good middle ground.
                        The wickedness of the world is the dream of the plague.~~Voynich Manuscript

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by R. J. Palmer View Post
                          Well, one challenge is that every Irish parent seems to have named their children either Michael, Patrick, Anne, Catherine, or Mary.

                          She would have been easier to trace had her name been 'Jane Doe.'

                          That said, with all the leads to follow up, I find it difficult to believe that Scotland Yard wouldn't have been able to eventually trace her antecedents. They were brilliant at such tasks. And in later years, all the police commentators continued to call her 'Mary Kelly,' so unless there was a suppressed scandal, I am willing to believe that that was her real name. We would have heard about it otherwise. Which unfortunately doesn't, in itself, disprove Simon's suggestion.

                          I believe the same as you, that there was probably nothing sinister about Mary Kelly, and as you stated that could have been her real name. There is no evidence to show that she personally ever used an alias, and those in close contact with her only knew her as Mary Kelly.


                          But Ripperology is such that for some it is hard to accept the obvious.


                          www.trevormarriott.co.uk

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Simon Wood View Post

                            . . . People have been trying to establish that MJK was a real live flesh and blood person, . . .
                            Greetings, Simon.

                            Very nice to debate you once again! As I implied in my last post in this thread, it's not even clear that Mary Jane Kelly was the true name of the woman who lived at 13 Miller's Court. She might have chosen the name for the very reason that it is a common Irish name.

                            In other words, whomever is trying to trace her origins and background might well be chasing a chimera.

                            The women who worked as prostitutes in the East End were all about deception and pretence, as are prostitutes today, of course. It was an act to make themselves appear more attractive to their customers. And who can blame them? They were the lowest of the low. They would do anything to "one up" rival whores on the streets of Whitechapel. Vide fourth canonical victim Elizabeth Stride telling everyone that her family perished on the Princess Alice disaster on the Thames!
                            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


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Simon Wood View Post
                              Hi Paul,

                              Hope you're well.

                              People have been trying to establish that MJK was a real live flesh and blood person, an Elizabeth Gaskell heroine who climbed her way up from Limerick to the plush life of West End brothels, only to fall, gravitate to Whitechapel, and meet her end at the hands of JtR.

                              It's a near-perfect story arc.

                              The best researchers in the business cannot pin her down in Limerick, Wales or London. Everybody leaves a trail—look how much we have managed to discover about Nichols, Chapman, Stride and Eddowes.

                              But not MJK. This is because, unlike the others, she was not hiding in plain sight.

                              Trying to find her is a fool's errand. As I said, she's not there to find.

                              It might help if we stopped thinking of the victim in Room 13 as Mary Jane Kelly—it only clouds the issue—and made better use of our time and talents by investigating the handful of people who claimed to know the victim as such.

                              There will be a link, and eventually we will find it, even if it means pulling down the house of cards that is Jack the Ripper.

                              Regards,

                              Simon

                              Hi Simon

                              As you know I keep an open mind

                              Let me raise some ideas based on what you infer

                              McCarthy was involved with the Fenians, his lets were occupied by Fenians and his address was used as a Fenian mailbox

                              McCarthy was also an informant for Special Branch

                              Mary Kelly was either working for McCarthy to gather information from those Fenians renting Mcarthys lets or directly with Special Branch.

                              Mary Kellys cover was blown, and she was killed by McCarthy, or one of his workers, or by the Fenians and her murder made to look like A Ripper murder, which is probably what did happen.

                              All that needs to be done is to prove it, but how are we to prove it. It is just another speculative theory.

                              www.trevormarriott.co.uk

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