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Which Murders Did Dr. Philips Consider Linked?

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  • Which Murders Did Dr. Philips Consider Linked?

    After the Alice McKenzie murder, George Bagster Philips stated his general opinion concerning the murders:
    After careful and long deliberation I cannot satisfy myself on purely anatomical & professional grounds that the Perpetrator of all the "WhChl.murders" is one man.
    First of all, looking for this quote online shows a version with "one man" transcribed as "our man". This of course changes the meaning entirely, reducing his statement to one concerning solely the murderer of McKenzie. I'm not sure where this second version comes from, but there's no doubt it's erroneous.

    Secondly, what does Philips then actually mean - which murders is he including in "all the Whitechapel murders" and which of those would he consider the work of "one man"?

    Philips examined:

    Annie Chapman
    Elizabeth Stride
    Catherine Eddowes
    Mary Jane Kelly
    Alice McKenzie
    Pinchin st. torso
    Frances Coles

    At the Stride inquest, he was asked if there was any similarity to the Chapman case - "There is a great dissimilarity." or "There is very great dissimiliarity between the two"


    After the Rose Mylett-murder, the Star speculated about Philips' theory:
    Originally posted by The Star, 24th december 1888
    WHAT DR. PHILLIPS THINKS is a matter of direct and most important bearing upon the question because Dr. Phillips, of course, knows more of the medical bearings of the murders than any other man. So The Star man called upon the doctor at his surgery in Spital-square. Dr. Phillips was disinclined to express any opinion on the matter to a newspaper man, but from another source our reporter ascertained that Dr. Phillips, as soon as he knew of the Poplar discovery, expressed the opinion that it was

    THE WORK OF THE SAME MAN. He also recalled at once the fact of the strangulation in the Hanbury-street case. With respect to the other murders Dr. Phillips points out that the retraction of the skin following immediately upon severance of the throat would immediately destroy the marks of the cord supposing it to have been first used. But there is also another and a most important point of resemblance which Dr. Phillips is understood to perceive. He has always maintained the opinion that the murderer was a man of considerable surgical knowledge. In this belief the Poplar case confirms him. "The murderer," he says, "must be a man who had

    STUDIED THE THEORY OF STRANGULATION, for he evidently knew where to place the cord so as to immediately bring his victim under control. It would be necessary to place the cord in the right place. It would be a very lucky stroke for a man at the first attempt to hit upon the proper place."
    Here, then, we arrive at this. That in the opinion of the man who is best qualified to judge the Poplar murderer and the Whitechapel murderer are one and the same man
    But of course Philips, by The Star's own admission, did not actually give his opinion, meaning the above is merely someone else's guess at his thinking.


    During the inquest about the Pinchin St. case, Philips compared the torso with MJK and was not convinced they were connected:
    I have not noticed any sufficient similarity to convince me it was the person who committed both mutilations, but the division of the neck and attempt to disarticulate the bones of the spine are very similar to that which was effected in this case.
    Regarding Philips' view on Frances Coles, Arnold stated "from the examination he has made of the wound, the posture and appearances of the body etc. he does not connect this with the series of previous murders"


    So Stride was dissimilar to Chapman, Pinchin was dissimilar to MJK, Coles was not connected to other cases at all.


    Are there any sources about his thoughts on Eddowes or MJK compared to the others?

    As mentioned, Philips formulated his opinion about several murderers in his report after the McKenzie murder. But does that mean he did or he did not consider McKenzie's murderer responsible for one or more of the others?

    What did the McKenzie case make clear to him that enabled him to form the opinion about some murders being connected, but not all?


    What would be the Ripper's tally according to Philips - Chapman, Eddowes, MJK?

  • #2
    Eddowes

    Hello Kattrup. Thanks for posting this.


    Initially, the medicos ruled out Kate from the list. In fact, Howard has elsewhere posted a snippet which indicates as much.



    This may be why Baxter made his "possibly the work of an imitator" remark vis-a-vis Eddowes.


    Cheers.
    LC

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by Lynn Cates View Post
      Hello Kattrup. Thanks for posting this.


      Initially, the medicos ruled out Kate from the list. In fact, Howard has elsewhere posted a snippet which indicates as much.



      This may be why Baxter made his "possibly the work of an imitator" remark vis-a-vis Eddowes.


      Cheers.
      LC
      I wonder where that posting would be? This is the first I have read of contemporary investigators questioning Eddowes as different. There were so many differences in the murders of both Stride and Eddowes. I can understand why some say that Liz was victim of a domestic situation but surely Eddowes follows the pattern established with Annie Chapman? If I did not think that I would feel much stronger about the Double Event possibly being done by a copycat and social malcontent who pointed the finger toward Jews, socialists and immigrants. (Maybe it would be worthwhile to reread the bombing plot case that centered in Mitre Square. I can't remember the year but it was close to 1888.)
      The wickedness of the world is the dream of the plague.~~Voynich Manuscript

      Comment


      • #4
        Anna,
        There was a press interview with Dr. Brown (can't remember the publication offhand) where he supposedly stated that Phillips, who assisted in the Eddowes post-mortem, believed Eddowes may have been murdered by someone different from who killed Chapman. It should be remembered that both he and Baxter were embroiled in the medical knowledge controversy at the time. Instead of admitting that this theory may have been misguided, Baxter (and maybe Phillips too) doubled down on his theory. Eddowes' uterus was not extricated fully intact, which negated its use as a medical specimen.

        Kattrup,

        I think you caught it, but I'm reasonably certain that the Star interview during the Mylett investigation never happened. It was likely if they showed up at 2 Spital Square the door was slammed in their face. Phillips pretty much went silent after his controversial press interview after Baxter's summation at the end of the Chapman inquest where Phillips had just arrived from the Jane Beadmore investigation and had not heard Baxter's speech.


        In a 1910 ELO interview, Phillips' former assistant, Percy Clark, reinterated that he believed not all of the women fell to the same hand and it would be reasonable to assume this was Phillips' opinion as well. Of the victims that Phillips examined (which does not include Nichols) Chapman and Kelly were apparently linked. Eddowes may have been added, even if that was a changed opinion, as Clark mentions 3 victims.
        Best Wishes,
        Cris Malone
        ______________________________________________
        "Objectivity comes from how the evidence is treated, not the nature of the evidence itself. Historians can be just as objective as any scientist."

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by Cris Malone View Post
          Eddowes may have been added, even if that was a changed opinion, as Clark mentions 3 victims.
          Of those examined by Phillips, none of them but Eddowes can seriously compare with Chapman and Kelly. These, I'd suggest, would be by far the more likely members of the Phillips/Clark "Canonical Three".
          Kind regards, Sam Flynn

          "Suche Nullen"
          (F. Nietzsche)

          Comment


          • #6
            I tend to agree, Gareth. It is likely that the Kelly murder caused Phillips to reevaluate his earlier anatomical/medical knowledge thesis. The evidence is in Clark's interview where he pretty much agrees with Bond's assessment. Kelly's murder changed things tremendously. After all those years, Clark still had a photo of the Kelly murder scene.
            Best Wishes,
            Cris Malone
            ______________________________________________
            "Objectivity comes from how the evidence is treated, not the nature of the evidence itself. Historians can be just as objective as any scientist."

            Comment


            • #7
              Maybe the quality of Jack's work varied because he was various levels of drunk when he killed. The murders of Annie and Kate both showed some level of expertise, for instance a uterus removed flawlessly and a kidney excised. Whoever killed Mary did not show the skills of a butcher.
              The wickedness of the world is the dream of the plague.~~Voynich Manuscript

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Anna Morris View Post
                The murders of Annie and Kate both showed some level of expertise, for instance a uterus removed flawlessly and a kidney excised.
                I wouldn't say it was flawless. Chapman's uterus was removed well below the cervix, taking some of the vagina with it, but at the expense of two thirds of her bladder and a nicked colon. Eddowes' bladder survived intact, but the cut to remove the uterus was higher up.
                Kind regards, Sam Flynn

                "Suche Nullen"
                (F. Nietzsche)

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Anna Morris View Post
                  Maybe the quality of Jack's work varied because he was various levels of drunk when he killed. The murders of Annie and Kate both showed some level of expertise, for instance a uterus removed flawlessly and a kidney excised. Whoever killed Mary did not show the skills of a butcher.
                  It is possible that sobriety ( or lack of) had something to do with the varience in some of the murders. There could be other factors as well. Eddowes' diminutive size and layers of tight clothing could have changed the way the incisions were made on her. Without knowing who did any of this we will always be guessing. There were inconsistencies in other murder series where we did eventually know who did them and their explanations for what they did are equally inconsistent.

                  Back to Phillips:
                  Debs brought up something on another thread that showed a presumption Phillips made as to a woman being a prostitute by her perceived frequency of intercourse. This is classic George Bagster Phillips. Everything was black or white with him, with few gray areas. He saw everything in a literal, logical sense. He even admitted as much in his McKenzie report that he didn't take in other possible factors that may point to a one man theory. He drew his conclusions totally from his own observations and what that direct physical evidence showed him. He was not prone to speculate beyond that.

                  Recall that when Phillips was asked about how long it would take to perform the mutilations on Annie Chapman, he offered how long it would take HIM to do it -- even if in a hurry a good fifteen minutes. Of course, he wasn't the one who did it. If they had asked, say, a hunter who has field dressed game, he would say three to five minutes tops.

                  Phillips based his anatomical skill assumption regarding Chapman, not only on the way the uterus was excised (which was flawed but logical to Phillips) but also on the way the abdominal incisions were made. That part was left out of all but one newspaper. It reminded him of an inverted "Y" incision common in the autopsy room at the time. As we know, Wynn Baxter took it and ran with it in his soon-to-be anatomical specimen thesis. It made sense; it was logical. They had no conception at that time of a psychopathic or psychotic serial killer.

                  Unlike Bond, Phillips never wrote an article in a medical journal or imagined anything beyond what was most simplistic from direct observation. I doubt that Krafft-Ebing's book was ever in Bagster Phillips' library. As far as human nature was concerned he had a conservative, almost puritanical outlook. His conclusions regarding the torso victim Debs brought out exemplifies that.

                  Phillips was born the son of an ironmonger (hardware store owner) who lived by modest means. His sphere of influence was largly his tight knit family which were very devout in their religion. His middle name was from his paternal grandfather and he married his first cousin. This is not that unusual but make of it what you will. The Phillips's never had children.

                  But I have strayed off course a bit.

                  One problem with Phillips is what Ripperologists have mistakenly presumed about him and his anatomical knowledge statement. It's almost as if it's frozen in time at the Chapman inquest and that was that. This is mostly because of two kinds of theorists: suspect theorists who need the anatomical/medical knowledge aspect to link their suspect or minimalists who think several murderers were at large during the series. But truth is, Dr Phillips probably changed his assessment after the Kelly murder. And it would have been logical for him to do so.

                  One thing Phillips's McKenzie report shows us is that he was very thorough. The similarities in the removal of the abdominal flaps from both Chapman and Kelly would not have gone unnoticed. And yet, it was obvious that whatever he had ascertained about the killer in the Chapman case didn't apply to the absolute carnage he saw with Kelly. But, if Clark is given creedence, they were still killed by the same assassin.
                  Best Wishes,
                  Cris Malone
                  ______________________________________________
                  "Objectivity comes from how the evidence is treated, not the nature of the evidence itself. Historians can be just as objective as any scientist."

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    in and out

                    Hello Anna. Thanks.


                    Hope Howard can find that?


                    Incidentally, look at Baxter at the Stride inquest. He rules Stride IN; but Eddowes OUT.


                    Cheers.
                    LC

                    Comment

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