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"I know more about it than you." : Mrs Paumier's Statement

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  • "I know more about it than you." : Mrs Paumier's Statement

    I can't recall any recent discussion of this most intriguing statement, as reported in the Pall Mall Gazette.

    This man might have been no one of interest, but at the height of the ‘Ripper’ scare, it seems unlikely to me for an individual to go around with a black bag and make himself appear connected to the murders. They were detaining people for much less than this.

    And while this description certainly doesn't match GH's AM, Mrs. Paumier does describe a toff, as do her acquaintances who were met with an equally sinister statement in the vicinity of Dorset Street.



    Pall Mall Gazette
    November 10th 1888


    An Extraordinary Statement

    A Mrs Paumier, a young woman who sells roasted chestnuts at the corner of Widegate-street, a narrow thoroughfare about two minutes' walk from the scene of the murder, told a reporter yesterday afternoon a story which appears to afford a clue to the murderer. She said that about 12 o'clock that morning a man dressed like a gentleman came to her, and said, "I suppose you have heard about the murder in Dorset-street?" She replied that she had, whereupon the man grinned, and said, "I know more about it than you." He then stared into her face and went down Sandy's-row, another narrow thoroughfare which cuts across Widegate-street. When he had got some way off, however, he looked back as if to see whether she was watching him, and then vanished. Mrs Paumier said the man had a black moustache, was about 5ft. 6in. high, and wore a black silk hat, a black coat, and speckled trousers. He also carried a black shiny bag about a foot in depth and a foot and a half in length.

    Mrs Paumier stated further that the same man accosted three young women whom she knows on Thursday night, and they chaffed him and asked what he had in the bag, and he replied, "Something that the ladies don't like." One of the three young women she named, Sarah Roney, a girl about twenty, states that she was with two other girls on Thursday night in Brushfield-street, which is near Dorset-street, when a man wearing a tall hat and a black coat, carrying a black bag, come up to her and said, "Will you come with me?" She told him she would not, and asked him what he had in the bag, and he said, "Something the ladies don't like." He then walked away.

  • #2
    Im not sure if she is just another fame seeker...a black silk top hat??? Hmm I thought someone like that would be set upon in the east end...and as for the bag...I dont feel thats really not another fantasy too...

    Reminds me a bit of that grape seller Packer, or Hutchinson who gave that glorified description...

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    • #3
      Mrs Paumier simply met the very first Ripper troll.

      Actually, the way he looked back to see what she was doing almost suggests a sociological experiment. There were people who went to pubs and wrote down scraps of conversation etc in a pseudo-scientific attempt to understand the working classes, but I thought that came later on, in the early 20th century.

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      • #4
        LOL Ripper Troll!

        I dont believe what she said...I think she may have done what you said, heard the gossip from the area, as everyone MUST have been talking about it and so she came up with the idea...

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        • #5
          What strikes me about Mrs Paumier's and Roney's tales is that they really do share elements with Hutchinson's and "Mrs Kennedy's" story (which is covered by the same edition of the PMG, as well as other papers on the 10th Nov), perhaps all of them having their origin in Sarah Lewis's police statement of the day before. Working on the assumption that "Kennedy" and Sarah Lewis are one and the same:

          Sarah Lewis describes "pepper & salt" trousers, similarly Paumier describes them as "speckled" - not much difference there.

          Sarah Lewis says she was in the company of another woman when she was accosted by this weirdo on Wednesday night, and Sarah Roney says she was with two other women when she was accosted by the weirdo on Thursday night.

          All three accounts have the weirdo conversing with the women, and all three have him carrying a shiny black bag. All three also have him wearing a tall hat and sporting a black moustache. Lewis adds the additional details of a "pale complexion" by the time of the inquest - she also describes her man as wearing a long, dark coat with a dark jacket underneath.

          In each case, the man speaks to the women and makes a "knowing" or sinister statement - "I know more about [the murder] than you" (Paumier); "Something the ladies don't like [in my bag]" (Roney); "What are you afraid of?" (Lewis).

          Now, compare the descriptions of this odd-bod with Hutchinson's "Astrakhan Man". Gentlemanly appearance, aged 30s, height 5'6", pale complexion, dark moustache, long dark coat with a dark jacket underneath. As if that's not enough, Astrakhan Man also engages his woman in conversation, drops a "knowing" sentence into the mix ("You will be alright for what I have told you") and carries the by-now essential accessory of a shiny, dark bag.

          It's worth recalling that Hutchinson's statements were made after most of these details would have been made known via the press, and almost certainly talked about in the streets and pubs of Spitalfields.

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          • #6
            Great post, Sam.

            I think that it is odd that Mrs. Paumier's and Ms. Roney's statements get so little attention as they do jibe with Sarah Lewis's own remarks.

            Perhaps those saying "the weirdo" was a Ripper troll are right; I doubt we will ever know for certain. Interesting that he seemed to approach groups of women, which would be a poor M.O. for the actual Ripper.

            My suspicion here is that we are seeing the source material for Hutch's suspect!

            Originally posted by Sam Flynn View Post

            Sarah Lewis describes "pepper & salt" trousers, similarly Paumier describes them as "speckled" - not much difference there.

            Sarah Lewis says she was in the company of another woman when she was accosted by this weirdo on Wednesday night, and Sarah Roney says she was with two other women when she was accosted by the weirdo on Thursday night.

            All three accounts have the weirdo conversing with the women, and all three have him carrying a shiny black bag. All three also have him wearing a tall hat and sporting a black moustache. Lewis adds the additional details of a "pale complexion" by the time of the inquest - she also describes her man as wearing a long, dark coat with a dark jacket underneath.

            In each case, the man speaks to the women and makes a "knowing" or sinister statement - "I know more about [the murder] than you" (Paumier); "Something the ladies don't like [in my bag]" (Roney); "What are you afraid of?" (Lewis).

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by SirRobertAnderson View Post
              Interesting that he seemed to approach groups of women, which would be a poor M.O. for the actual Ripper.
              Good observation, Robert - never occurred to me before. What makes things even more bizarre, in terms of Lewis's story, is that this chap allegedly asked only one of the women to accompany him. What "Ripper" would speak directly to more than one witness, and ostensibly allow one of them to go free to tell the tale?

              There are all the signs of some seriously fevered imaginations in all this

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Sam Flynn View Post
                Good observation, Robert - never occurred to me before. What makes things even more bizarre, in terms of Lewis's story, is that this chap allegedly asked only one of the women to accompany him. What "Ripper" would speak directly to more than one witness, and ostensibly allow one of them to go free to tell the tale?

                There are all the signs of some seriously fevered imaginations in all this
                A Ripper wouldn't speak directly in a "knowing manner" to a number of witnesses but a publicity seeker would.

                Chris
                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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                • #9
                  But we know of loads of people claiming to be the Ripper at the time...lunatics, fantastists, those just wanting to be executed/imprisoned....thats all that seems to be going on here IMHO

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Currerbell View Post
                    But we know of loads of people claiming to be the Ripper at the time...lunatics, fantastists, those just wanting to be executed/imprisoned....thats all that seems to be going on here IMHO
                    ... that, and witnesses picking elaborating upon what they heard in the streets and/or read in the papers, Bell. I don't trust Sarah Lewis's testimony - she comes across as a right gossip in her police, press and inquest statements. I suspect that Lewis lies at the root of all this, with Mrs Paumier and Sarah Roney appropriating parts of her story, and Hutchinson taking the essence of all three accounts to new heights of hyperbole.

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                    • #11
                      Hyperbole indeed...

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Currerbell View Post
                        ...a black silk top hat??? Hmm I thought someone like that would be set upon in the east end....
                        I used to think that too Currerbell, but reading descriptions of Ludwig at the time he was roaming around Whitehapel and the East End, he too in some accounts is said to have worn a tall silk hat and he was noticed by the locals for standing out, being an extremely well dressed man in the company of a prostitute (later wanted for pulling a knife on her and then a man at a Whitechapel coffee stall)

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                        • #13
                          It reminded me of the beginning of Jack Londons book People of the Abyss where he is not welcomed in the east end due to his clothes, manner and money...there seemed a strict line between east and west

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Sam Flynn View Post
                            I suspect that Lewis lies at the root of all this, with Mrs Paumier and Sarah Roney appropriating parts of her story, and Hutchinson taking the essence of all three accounts to new heights of hyperbole.
                            Or....there is an element of truth to all of these descriptions, and a toff was walking around the vicinity of Dorset Street acting in a suspicious manner. Not an unreasonable supposition unless all these people are lying.

                            The interesting question to me is if GH took Paumier's story and elaborated on it, why didn't he just run with her and Roney's description ? There really was nothing to be gained by deviating from their basic description.

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by SirRobertAnderson View Post
                              The interesting question to me is if GH took Paumier's story and elaborated on it, why didn't he just run with her and Roney's description ? There really was nothing to be gained by deviating from their basic description.
                              He scarcely deviates, though, Rob:

                              Appearance - "gentlemanly" (check)
                              Age - 30s (check)
                              Height - 5' 6" (spot on)
                              Complexion - pale (check)*
                              Moustache - dark (check)*
                              Top garments - dark, long coat with waistcoat under (check)
                              Speech - "knowing" phrase (check)
                              Accessories - shiny bag/parcel (check)

                              * these attributes Hutchinson notoriously "gets wrong" between police and press descriptions

                              Apart from the above, Hutchinson only adds further, peripheral detail - viz., the astrakhan trim, the spats and sundry items of jewellery. The only real deviation of significance I can recall would be in terms of the hat - whereas the women describe a tall hat, Hutchinson's man has a felt hat turned down in the middle (whatever that means). But then, I dare say that a man capable of being thus attired would own more than one item of headgear!

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