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  #11  
Old 06-01-2016, 02:33 AM
Elamarna Elamarna is offline
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Originally Posted by Kattrup View Post
Trying to avoid to further derail the thread on body snatching, I thought I'd post some further remarks about the principles of historical inquiry, as pertains to the MJK mutilations.

As is seen in the other thread, Fisherman advanced the idea that Kelly's eyelids were cut off. This apparently fits with some other torso-related evidence, lending credence to the theory that JtR was also the Torso Killer.

I don't have much interest in or knowledge about the Thames torso mysteries. Whether eyelids were cut off or not in those cases is irrelevant to me.

However, were MJK's eyelids cut off? No.

Bond's post mortem report on MJK is pretty clear about the mutilations. It is from 1888, and even though it is most likely missing some pages, it is detailed and informative.

Bond's assistant during the MJK case was Dr. Hebbert. In 1894, Hebbert (who kept notes and, it has been argued, wrote out Bond's post mortem report on Kelly) sent details of the Kelly-case to Francis Harris, who included them in a textbook called A System of Legal Medicine.

Now, when researching MJK's murder and trying to establish whether her eyelids were removed, which of these two sources should be consulted?

In writing history, the guiding principle is that the earlier source is better. For instance, this principle is why (barring other compelling arguments) we prefer a 7th century transcript of the Bible to a 12th century one, if we're trying to establish a text close to the original.

Likewise, if we want to know whether MJK's eyelids were removed, the 1888 report will be more reliable than the 1894 textbook.

Let's see if the principle holds water with a few examples:
1888 states:The face was gashed in all directions, the nose, cheeks, eyebrows, and ears being partly removed. The lips were blanched and cut by several incisions...
1894 states: The eyebrows, eyelids, ears, nose, lips and chin had been cut off, and the face gashed by numerous knife-cuts.

1888 specifically states that the nose, cheeks, eyebrows and ears were partly removed, and that the lips were not removed at all.

1894, however, claims the nose, eyebrows and lips were completely cut off, together with other parts that 1888 does not mention.

1888 states: The right thigh was denuded in front to the bone
1894 states: The skin and much of the muscular tissue, not, however, exposing the bone, had been slashed away from the anterior
aspect of the thighs as far as the knees [my bolding, Kattrup]

1888 claims cut to the bone, 1894 claims NOT cut to the bone.


Conclusion: the 1894 source differs from the earlier source significantly.



Time factor aside, there are other considerations why Bond's report would always be preferred when discussing MJK's mutilations: the report was prepared by an expert eyewitness, who personally witnessed what he wrote about. The report was prepared in a formal manner, as part of his official duties, and submitted to his superiors for approval. It was not written for the public, but for expert readers trained and experienced in investigating crime, several of whom would have had occasion to see MJK themselves.


The textbook, on the other hand, has a completely different context
.

It is not written by an eyewitness, it is most likely not a primary source (this cannot be definitely determined without further research, I believe), being even in the most optimistic of scenarios a text only based on notes supplied by an eyewitness.

The chapter in which the MJK case appears concerns the matter of identifying the sex of skeletons or extremely mutilated bodies. The author brings up MJK as an example of a corpse mutilated to such a degree that it could conceivably have been difficult to determine if man or woman.

Thus the text follows a pattern of exaggerating the mutilations, to make the example fit the text.

The description therefore begins "In the particular illustrative instance..."

The example is specifically stated to be illustrative of the principle mentioned earlier in the text: "Indeed, there may be cases where the whole body has been so badly mutilated that it is by the preparation of the skeleton alone that an idea of the sex may be formed. "

This is again why the author accentuates the ambiguity caused by the mutilations:


For clarity, I am not saying that the author claimed that it was difficult to determine the sex. But the purpose of the text is to argue for the possible difficulty of doing so in extreme cases.


Conclusion: Francis Harris' textbook from 1894 is most likely excellent in many ways.
As a source for the mutilations of MJK, it is, however inferior to Bond's report.
Anyone using it as a basis for his or her conclusions about MJK's wounds, as Fisherman does when he states that MJK's eyelids were cut off, is wrong.


When researching a particular point, event or piece of information, the earlier primary source is better. That does not mean that all relevant primary sources are close in time to what we want to know - for instance, the Littlechild letter (1913) or Macnaghten Memoranda (1894) can still be relevant if we're researching the events of 1888.
Kattrup

I think that is a very well presented argument for:


a. Bonds report being more relevant than the text book, which it appears was not an eyewitness account anyway, at best based on possible notes of the 1888 case.

It is of course possible that those notes were tailor written by Hebbert for the actual purpose in the book, and need not have been that accurate, therefore, only giving a general overview.



b. The two reports showing a very significant difference in the wounds, the differences to the thigh being the most informative as to the accuracy of the later report.


steve

Last edited by Elamarna : 06-01-2016 at 02:36 AM.
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  #12  
Old 06-01-2016, 02:40 AM
Debra A Debra A is offline
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I must add that not being trained in correct historical methodolgy it is tempting for me to think that Hebbert actually took his 88 notes with him when he went to work in the US as all the cases he provided details of were 87/88/89. He was in the US before 1895 as we have him commenting in a press interview on the mental state of a man named Gilbert (in his capacity as someone who once worked at Bethlam)accused of murdering and mutilating a young girl. In that interview, Hebbert says that he saw 'nine' of the Whitechapel victims who were mutilated and the mutilations in those case were 'sexual' in nature, which he did not see in the young girls murder. We know Hebbert didn't see all the Whitechapel victims mutilations but it makes sense that he is including the four torsos in those nine cases.
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  #13  
Old 06-01-2016, 03:05 AM
Phil Carter Phil Carter is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Debra A View Post
I must add that not being trained in correct historical methodolgy it is tempting for me to think that Hebbert actually took his 88 notes with him when he went to work in the US as all the cases he provided details of were 87/88/89. He was in the US before 1895 as we have him commenting in a press interview on the mental state of a man named Gilbert (in his capacity as someone who once worked at Bethlam)accused of murdering and mutilating a young girl. In that interview, Hebbert says that he saw 'nine' of the Whitechapel victims who were mutilated and the mutilations in those case were 'sexual' in nature, which he did not see in the young girls murder. We know Hebbert didn't see all the Whitechapel victims mutilations but it makes sense that he is including the four torsos in those nine cases.
Hello Debs,

I would in part agree..but when it comes to the figure of 9 victims..I would add that other sources, police/official/doctors have no general agreement on this figure. The C5 in itself is highly debateable..and the mere inclusion in the 9 of McKenzie and Tabram being likely..leaving 2 torso victims only.
We cannot, of course, be sure of anything, and your surmise is certainly a possibility. Granted.

I admit that for me personally, the biggest wish I have is that the original set of papers, from the Kelly autopsy, one day surface. I believe it eould help an awful lot in our understanding of things re. the wounds and marks on Kelly.
As stated before by others, there are significant differences in the known reports. This, like quantity of victims etc, clouds the murky waters further imo.


Phil
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  #14  
Old 06-01-2016, 03:10 AM
Elamarna Elamarna is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Debra A View Post
I must add that not being trained in correct historical methodolgy it is tempting for me to think that Hebbert actually took his 88 notes with him when he went to work in the US as all the cases he provided details of were 87/88/89. He was in the US before 1895 as we have him commenting in a press interview on the mental state of a man named Gilbert (in his capacity as someone who once worked at Bethlam)accused of murdering and mutilating a young girl. In that interview, Hebbert says that he saw 'nine' of the Whitechapel victims who were mutilated and the mutilations in those case were 'sexual' in nature, which he did not see in the young girls murder. We know Hebbert didn't see all the Whitechapel victims mutilations but it makes sense that he is including the four torsos in those nine cases.
Tempting idea Debra, however you may find that a hard position to maintain ( not that you are, I fully understand it is just a possible suggestion)n unless Hebbert made some clear link himself.

Have to say the idea that he may have tailored his notes for the purpose of the book, which I suggested earlier almost as an after thought does seem very tempting to me.
If there was no Need to be 100% that would xplan the differences,

Indeed Kattrup pointed out:

"The example is specifically stated to be illustrative of the principle mentioned earlier in the text: "Indeed, there may be cases where the whole body has been so badly mutilated that it is by the preparation of the skeleton alone that an idea of the sex may be formed. ""


and my suggestion would fit with that purpose.


Debra, from the information you have supplied it does seem clear that the reports in the text book on the Torso's are a completely different animal from the report on MJK.

regards


Steve
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Old 06-01-2016, 03:30 AM
Phil Carter Phil Carter is offline
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It must also be noted that in the case of Stride, it is highly unlikely that this could be described as a "sexual" murder.

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  #16  
Old 06-01-2016, 03:39 AM
Elamarna Elamarna is offline
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Originally Posted by Phil Carter View Post
It must also be noted that in the case of Stride, it is highly unlikely that this could be described as a "sexual" murder.

Phil
Hi Phil

While I agree with that statement; guess, and I am certainly playing devils advocate here, it could be argued that if the kill was disturbed, and if it was the same killer as the others, then it could be plausibly argued that the motive was sexual.

Steve
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  #17  
Old 06-01-2016, 04:10 AM
Debra A Debra A is offline
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Originally Posted by Phil Carter View Post
It must also be noted that in the case of Stride, it is highly unlikely that this could be described as a "sexual" murder.

Phil
Phil,he probably didn't include, Stride. He talks of the 'six' [not nine, that was a slip by me in my last post!] victims in terms of observations of their'mutilations' showing a sexual motive. He was speaking in 1895 in the US, shortly after the details of victims described as 'Whitechapel' victims (which in reality is the four torso cases and the references to MJK and Mylett) in Harris's book were published.
In the 1895 article located by Robert Linford he tells the reporter that he saw six victims, all mutilated but we know he saw only Kelly, the 4 torso cases and McKenzie. He could have seen pictures of Eddowes mutilations when Bond was asked to look at previous cases but we know that is the only case photographed but it's not certain which combination of those 7 cases he believed were linked in that case.

It isn't really relevant who Hebbert thought were linked as victims or the variation with other sources, I used it as an illustration to show that Hebbert was actually in the US around the time of the publication of a SOLM was all.
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Old 06-01-2016, 04:18 AM
Debra A Debra A is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Elamarna View Post
Tempting idea Debra, however you may find that a hard position to maintain ( not that you are, I fully understand it is just a possible suggestion)n unless Hebbert made some clear link himself.

Have to say the idea that he may have tailored his notes for the purpose of the book, which I suggested earlier almost as an after thought does seem very tempting to me.
If there was no Need to be 100% that would xplan the differences,

Indeed Kattrup pointed out:

"The example is specifically stated to be illustrative of the principle mentioned earlier in the text: "Indeed, there may be cases where the whole body has been so badly mutilated that it is by the preparation of the skeleton alone that an idea of the sex may be formed. ""


and my suggestion would fit with that purpose.


Debra, from the information you have supplied it does seem clear that the reports in the text book on the Torso's are a completely different animal from the report on MJK.

regards


Steve
Steve, I might also suggest that inclusion of the other Whitechapel cases, from memory or notes, may have been used as a 'sweetner' by Hebbert to secure US publication of his work on identification of the dead using the torso cases as illustration. The details of MJK's injuries were something not generally in print anywhere.
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Old 06-01-2016, 05:13 AM
Fisherman Fisherman is offline
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And what does he say?

He says that the Hebbert book contains some of the missing details from Bonds report on Kelly. How about that...!

He says that it is obvious that there are parts missing from Bonds report, like for exemple the cause of death, no conclusions, no listing of the weight and condition of the organs. One or more pages is missing, according to Ryan.

As for Hebberts book with its contens about Kelly, Mylett and the torso murders, he says that the provenance is beyond dispute, and he adds that the Kelly report was taken down in dictation. And he adds that Hebbert was there in situ in Millers Court 13 and in the autopsy room.

All in all very much points in favur of the eyelid passage being on the money. And claiming that Bond would have mentioned it becomes a bit rich of there is material missing - like perhaps the eyelid bit and a comment on the state of the eyes.
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Old 06-01-2016, 05:16 AM
Fisherman Fisherman is offline
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Originally Posted by Debra A View Post
Phil,he probably didn't include, Stride. He talks of the 'six' [not nine, that was a slip by me in my last post!] victims in terms of observations of their'mutilations' showing a sexual motive. He was speaking in 1895 in the US, shortly after the details of victims described as 'Whitechapel' victims (which in reality is the four torso cases and the references to MJK and Mylett) in Harris's book were published.
In the 1895 article located by Robert Linford he tells the reporter that he saw six victims, all mutilated but we know he saw only Kelly, the 4 torso cases and McKenzie. He could have seen pictures of Eddowes mutilations when Bond was asked to look at previous cases but we know that is the only case photographed but it's not certain which combination of those 7 cases he believed were linked in that case.

It isn't really relevant who Hebbert thought were linked as victims or the variation with other sources, I used it as an illustration to show that Hebbert was actually in the US around the time of the publication of a SOLM was all.
You should be more sensitive, Debra - they got really nervous there...
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