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Go Back   Casebook Forums > Ripper Discussions > Motive, Method and Madness

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Old 07-14-2016, 02:51 PM
Joshua Rogan Joshua Rogan is offline
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Default A New Light On The Crimes

I've just come across this interesting theory on the killer's motive, suggested in the IPN 20th October 1888;

"The Vienna correspondent of the Standard states that Dr. Bloch, a member of the Austrian Reichsrath for the Galician constituency of Kokomea, has called his attention to certain facts which may throw a new light on the Whitechapel murders, and perhaps afford some assistance in tracing the murderer. In various German criminal codes of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, as also in statutes of a more recent date, punishments are prescribed for the mutilation of female corpses with the object of making from the uterus and other organs the so-called "diebalichter" or "schlafslichter", respectively "thieves' candles" or "soporific candles." According to an old superstition, still rife in various parts of Germany, the light from such candles will throw those upon whom it falls into the deepest slumbers, and they may, consequently, become a valuable instrument to those of the thieving profession. Hence arose their name. In regard to these "schlafslichter," quite a literature might be cited. They are referred to by Ave Lallement in his "Das Deutsche Gaunerthum" published in Leipzig in 1858; by Loffler, in "Die Mangelhafte Justiz" by Thiele, and numerous others. They also played an important part in the trials of robber bands at Odenwald and in Westphalia, in the years 1812 and 1841 respectively. The "schlafslichter" were heard of, too, at the trial of the notorious German robber, Theodor Unger, surnamed "the handsome Charley," who was executed at Magdeburg in 1810. It was on that occasion discovered that a regular manufactory had been established by gangs of thieves for the production of such candles. That this superstition has survived among German thieves to the present day was proved by a case tried at Biala, in Galicia, as recently as 1875. In this the body of a woman had been found mutilated in precisely the same way as were the victims of the Whitechapel murderer. At that trial, as at one which took place subsequently at Zeszow, which is also in Galicia, and in which the accused were a certain Ritter and his wife, the prevalence among thieves of superstition was alluded to by the Public Prosecutor. In the Ritter case, however, the Court preferred harping on another alleged superstition of a ritual character among the Jews of Galicia, which, however, was shown to be a pure invention of the Judenhettzer. Dr. Bloch, who for ten years was a rabbi in Galicia and has made the superstitions of that province his special study, affirms that the "thieves' candle" superstition still exists among robbers of every confession and, as he believes, also of every nationality. He considers, however, that it prevails most among German thieves. Among other German laws where the crime in question is dealt with, the "Code Theresiana," chap. xxii., clause 59, may be referred to."

This sounds very much like the Hand of Glory, which was also alleged to be used by thieves to send people to sleep, and was said to be a candle made from the hand and fat of an executed man.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hand_of_Glory

No mention of women's internal organs, though.
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Old 07-14-2016, 04:31 PM
Errata Errata is offline
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I have family from Galicia and I have heard stories of the magic thieves candle (including a tale where my Grandfather and Great Uncle escaped the Nazis with the use of one. Highly fictionalized account) though I was clearly never told as a child what that actually consisted of.

This is just another example of how fairy tales are seriously not kid's material
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Old 07-14-2016, 05:13 PM
Joshua Rogan Joshua Rogan is offline
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Well, it's good to know these candles can be used for good, if one helped your relatives, instead of the usual burglary. What an interesting family you belong to.

Maybe one of these was actually used by Jack to render his victims unconscious?
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Old 07-14-2016, 05:32 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Joshua Rogan View Post
Well, it's good to know these candles can be used for good, if one helped your relatives, instead of the usual burglary. What an interesting family you belong to.

Maybe one of these was actually used by Jack to render his victims unconscious?
Crazy maybe. My Grandfather and his brother left Galizia in 1932, so well ahead of the Nazis. I have no idea why they said it was Nazis, but it wasn't. It was a problem with a Christian girl with a daddy with a shotgun.
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