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Do I understand the causes of death in the confirmed Ripper victims correctly?

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  • Do I understand the causes of death in the confirmed Ripper victims correctly?

    I thought I had this down pat, and had taken notes as such, but I have recently read posts here and otherwise, as well as a handful of articles that make me question my understanding.

    To summarize, I was under the impression that the following was generally accepted as the methodology used by the Ripper in order to incapacitate his/her victims.

    1. That each victim was strangled, from the front, believed to have begun whilst she lifted her skirts or was otherwise taken by surprise.

    2. That then, and only then, was her throat cut, effectively terminating her life, likely after she had already been rendered unconscious.

    Further, that the following are generally agreed upon

    1. While the victims were slashed and mutilated, they were knot "knifed", or "slashed" to death.

    2. That the overwhelming consensus is that the victims were not strangled from behind.

    3. That, while there was a theory early on in the investigation that the victims had been at least partly rendered incapable by "poisoned" or "drugged" grapes, this was soon dismissed as the sole witness to make such a claim kept changing his story.

    4. That, due to the aforesaid methodology of assassination, blood spray and spatter would have been minimal.

    Do I generally have the basics correct? I'm seeing a lot of claims about them being "knifed to death", and "strangled from behind", among other things. Has something new come up, or am I on still fairly reasonable ground?

    Thanks,

    M.

  • #2
    Originally posted by Mithras View Post
    I thought I had this down pat, and had taken notes as such, but I have recently read posts here and otherwise, as well as a handful of articles that make me question my understanding.

    To summarize, I was under the impression that the following was generally accepted as the methodology used by the Ripper in order to incapacitate his/her victims.

    1. That each victim was strangled, from the front, believed to have begun whilst she lifted her skirts or was otherwise taken by surprise.

    2. That then, and only then, was her throat cut, effectively terminating her life, likely after she had already been rendered unconscious.

    Further, that the following are generally agreed upon

    1. While the victims were slashed and mutilated, they were knot "knifed", or "slashed" to death.

    2. That the overwhelming consensus is that the victims were not strangled from behind.

    3. That, while there was a theory early on in the investigation that the victims had been at least partly rendered incapable by "poisoned" or "drugged" grapes, this was soon dismissed as the sole witness to make such a claim kept changing his story.

    4. That, due to the aforesaid methodology of assassination, blood spray and spatter would have been minimal.

    Do I generally have the basics correct? I'm seeing a lot of claims about them being "knifed to death", and "strangled from behind", among other things. Has something new come up, or am I on still fairly reasonable ground?

    Thanks,

    M.
    Hi Alex

    My advice would be to look at each victim individually. Most of the answers we will seek may be found in the doctors scene of crime notes, post mortem notes and inquest testimony.


    Be wary of the many theories been touted by modern researchers. Much of the "info" they will offer is only their own theory based upon the doctors notes I refer to above.

    If I run briefly through your list: But don`t believe me, check out the primary sources:

    1) Although there appear to be signs of strangulation amongst the victims, the medics only spoke of Annie Chapman as showing signs of someone having interfered with her breathing.

    2) In the case of Alice McKenzie the doctors noted that she was held down when her throat was cut and saw no reason why she did not call out other than being in shock.

    the other 1-4 questions
    1) It appears the throat was cut first. Although an argument has recently been made that Nichols had her abdominal mutilations done before she had her throat cut. Me, I don`t think so. There appear to be some ambiguous press reports that may suggest this possibility.

    2) Yes, it doesn't look like they were strangled from behind. (See no. 1)

    3)It may have been a theory at the time but I believe the police and doctors did check for drugs. There is nothing to suggest this happened.
    Packer did mention grapes, but I don`t believe he ever suggested they were drugged.

    4) There are a few factors that would influence arterial spray, but in most cases the killer seemed to know how to control the spray. Check out the crime scene reports.

    Hope this helps

    Comment


    • #3
      First rule of Ripperology: There is no consensus on anything.

      I thought the bulk of the thought was the women were choked into submission from behind. At any rate the goal of the killer seemed to be to get the women on the ground where the throats could be cut with minimal blood spray and staining.

      In the C-5, canonical 5, any mutilations were post mortem though some have suggested Mary Kelly may have been cut a little before she died. In addition to this, arguments can be made about victims such as Emma Smith who survived an attack by a sadist or a sadistic gang, and subsequently died. Martha Tabram was stabbed to death and her throat wasn't cut as were the C-5.

      So the best thing, IMO, is to read and read and look for anything that catches your fancy or that others may have missed. If you haven't already, be sure to get your free subscription to 'Ripperologist' magazine which we get in our email. (Someone else here will provide the details, I am sure. I think the contact is Adam....) Get all the back copies and read every article. There are a lot of fantastic researchers and writers here who have delved into minute aspects of the case.

      It is so much more than any consensus. A recent 'Ripperologist' article comes to mind about how Druitt had some advantage in performing the murders because he was a cricket player. I mention this article as an example of how working outside any consensus may lead us to new answers. The tiny details may lead somewhere new. A consensus gives us a general idea. For example the women were not killed standing upright and blood didn't spray all over everything, including the killer. Beyond that it is very useful to see how everyone else interprets the basics.
      The wickedness of the world is the dream of the plague.~~Voynich Manuscript

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by Jon Simons View Post
        1) It appears the throat was cut first. Although an argument has recently been made that Nichols had her abdominal mutilations done before she had her throat cut. Me, I don`t think so. There appear to be some ambiguous press reports that may suggest this possibility.
        The one suggesting the "possibility" was Rees Ralph Llewellyn, who was the examining medico who undertook the autopsy. Contrary to the general picture among Ripperologists (who are of an ilk who will happily swop evidence for their own beliefs), it would seem Llewellyn stuck to his guns throughout, while the police seemingly tried to peddle the view that he had changed his mind.

        I for one think that the medico is the person best suited to know these things, so I am going with Llewellyn on this. But I can easily see how the contradictions will be confusing for anybody who asks advice. There is generally too much of it - and it´s too differing in character...
        "In these matters it is the little things that tell the tales" - Coroner Wynne Baxter during the Nichols inquest.

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by Jon Simons View Post
          Hi Alex

          My advice would be to look at each victim individually. Most of the answers we will seek may be found in the doctors scene of crime notes, post mortem notes and inquest testimony.


          Be wary of the many theories been touted by modern researchers. Much of the "info" they will offer is only their own theory based upon the doctors notes I refer to above.

          If I run briefly through your list: But don`t believe me, check out the primary sources:

          1) Although there appear to be signs of strangulation amongst the victims, the medics only spoke of Annie Chapman as showing signs of someone having interfered with her breathing.

          2) In the case of Alice McKenzie the doctors noted that she was held down when her throat was cut and saw no reason why she did not call out other than being in shock.

          the other 1-4 questions
          1) It appears the throat was cut first. Although an argument has recently been made that Nichols had her abdominal mutilations done before she had her throat cut. Me, I don`t think so. There appear to be some ambiguous press reports that may suggest this possibility.

          2) Yes, it doesn't look like they were strangled from behind. (See no. 1)

          3)It may have been a theory at the time but I believe the police and doctors did check for drugs. There is nothing to suggest this happened.
          Packer did mention grapes, but I don`t believe he ever suggested they were drugged.

          4) There are a few factors that would influence arterial spray, but in most cases the killer seemed to know how to control the spray. Check out the crime scene reports.

          Hope this helps

          A huge help. Thanks much, John.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by Christer Holmgren View Post
            The one suggesting the "possibility" was Rees Ralph Llewellyn, who was the examoining medico whi undertook the autopsy. Contrary to the general picture among Ripperologists (who are of an ilk who will happily swop evidence for their own beliefs), it would seem Llewellyn stuck to his guns throughout, while the police seemingly tried to peddle the view that he had changed his mind.

            I for one think that the medico is the person best suited to know these things, so I am going with Llewellyn on this. But I can easily see how the contradictions will be confusing for anybody who asks advice. There is generally too much of it - and it´s too differing in character...
            Advice taken and received, Christer. Thank you.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by Anna Morris View Post
              First rule of Ripperology: There is no consensus on anything.

              I thought the bulk of the thought was the women were choked into submission from behind. At any rate the goal of the killer seemed to be to get the women on the ground where the throats could be cut with minimal blood spray and staining.

              In the C-5, canonical 5, any mutilations were post mortem though some have suggested Mary Kelly may have been cut a little before she died. In addition to this, arguments can be made about victims such as Emma Smith who survived an attack by a sadist or a sadistic gang, and subsequently died. Martha Tabram was stabbed to death and her throat wasn't cut as were the C-5.

              So the best thing, IMO, is to read and read and look for anything that catches your fancy or that others may have missed. If you haven't already, be sure to get your free subscription to 'Ripperologist' magazine which we get in our email. (Someone else here will provide the details, I am sure. I think the contact is Adam....) Get all the back copies and read every article. There are a lot of fantastic researchers and writers here who have delved into minute aspects of the case.

              It is so much more than any consensus. A recent 'Ripperologist' article comes to mind about how Druitt had some advantage in performing the murders because he was a cricket player. I mention this article as an example of how working outside any consensus may lead us to new answers. The tiny details may lead somewhere new. A consensus gives us a general idea. For example the women were not killed standing upright and blood didn't spray all over everything, including the killer. Beyond that it is very useful to see how everyone else interprets the basics.

              So I'm learning! Thank you kindly, once again, Anna. It's interesting that so many books in the field (if we can call it that, can we?) seem to present themselves, not so much as the "only authoritative source" (I'm used to that in other areas of historical research), but rather, as the sort of "all you need to know about the case that is understood thus far."

              I will look into the Ripperologist subscription. Sounds like a very good way to spend my time. If anybody knows whom I could contact, I'd be most grateful. (If I discover it in the meanwhile myself, I'll see what I can do!)

              Comment


              • #8
                I'm the resident mess-up on getting some things right. Contact our fearless leader Howard and he'll direct you correctly to 'Ripperologist'. (I think we contact Adam, but if I make a mistake I'll be embarrassed. Someone kindly presented me a link at the time.)
                The wickedness of the world is the dream of the plague.~~Voynich Manuscript

                Comment


                • #9
                  Mithras:
                  Look in your email....
                  To Join JTR Forums :
                  Contact [email protected]

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Howard Brown View Post
                    Mithras:
                    Look in your email....
                    Dear me. It seems I'm becoming a god.

                    Thank you, Howard

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Mithras:

                      All people have to do is ask and there's dozens of people willing to help in whatever way they can.

                      To Join JTR Forums :
                      Contact [email protected]

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Heaven knows, Mithras, I'm no expert.

                        However, what I believe happened is that having got these unfortunate women reasonably at ease in his company, and in the locale he wanted, Jack led them to believe that he was a client who was ready for a 'three penny special'!

                        They would be (with the exception of Mary Kelly of course who was attacked lying in bed) standing close together against a wall or fence. There has been some debate about whether these women faced the wall or not. However, I think Jack and the woman were face to face. While they were raising their skirts he swiftly seized them by the chin or throat, strangling them into insensibility in a moment. (Marks and discolouration on the victims faces bear this out. For instance, Annie Chapman's tongue was swollen and protruding.)

                        Having prevented screaming or crying out he then lowered them onto the ground and quickly despatched them with a stroke across the throat from left to right, as the women's heads would be towards his left. Their throats were cut down to the spinal column but not stabbed. The abdominal mutilations did include stabs and jabs but were also performed quickly and after the victims' death, thank heavens! Eddowes's face was marred by cuts and scratches done with the point of a knife.

                        In Stride's case I do wonder whether Jack was walking behind her towards Dutfield yard gate and seized her tied neckerchief very tightly, choking her into unconsciousness that way. I also wonder whether Polly Nichols was a blitz attack without cosy conversation beforehand, as she is the only one of the canonical five to have been slain in an open street, quiet, deserted, but still a street.

                        Women like Annie Millwood have been proposed as victims of an inexperienced Rippet. That may be so, of course, don't know, but she was stabbed numerous times in the legs and lower body by a stranger with a clasp knife in February 1888.

                        Martha Tabram too may or may not have been an early victim. If she was then Jack changed his MO by the time of poor Mrs Nichols. There were at least twenty two stab wounds to the trunk of Martha's body. And two different weapons had been used.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Anna Morris View Post
                          First rule of Ripperology: There is no consensus on anything.

                          I thought the bulk of the thought was the women were choked into submission from behind. At any rate the goal of the killer seemed to be to get the women on the ground where the throats could be cut with minimal blood spray and staining.

                          In the C-5, canonical 5, any mutilations were post mortem though some have suggested Mary Kelly may have been cut a little before she died. In addition to this, arguments can be made about victims such as Emma Smith who survived an attack by a sadist or a sadistic gang, and subsequently died. Martha Tabram was stabbed to death and her throat wasn't cut as were the C-5.

                          So the best thing, IMO, is to read and read and look for anything that catches your fancy or that others may have missed. If you haven't already, be sure to get your free subscription to 'Ripperologist' magazine which we get in our email. (Someone else here will provide the details, I am sure. I think the contact is Adam....) Get all the back copies and read every article. There are a lot of fantastic researchers and writers here who have delved into minute aspects of the case.

                          It is so much more than any consensus. A recent 'Ripperologist' article comes to mind about how Druitt had some advantage in performing the murders because he was a cricket player. I mention this article as an example of how working outside any consensus may lead us to new answers. The tiny details may lead somewhere new. A consensus gives us a general idea. For example the women were not killed standing upright and blood didn't spray all over everything, including the killer. Beyond that it is very useful to see how everyone else interprets the basics.
                          Hi Mithras

                          Howard may have emailed you the details on how to subscribe to Ripperologist but if you didn't get that information and for the benefit of others, here is what you need to know --

                          Ripperologist magazine is published every two months, around 100 pages in each issue. To be added to the mailing list, email [email protected] and specify kindle or pdf version.

                          Following is the cover of our most recent issue.

                          Best regards

                          Chris

                          *****************

                          Christopher T. George
                          Co-organizer, RipperCon
                          Maryland Historical Society
                          Baltimore, April 8-10, 2016
                          http://rippercon.com/

                          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

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