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Go Back   Casebook Forums > Ripper Discussions > Letters and Communications > General Letters or Communications

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  #21  
Old 01-21-2014, 08:13 PM
GUT GUT is offline
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G'Day again Tom

But as I read it that was exactly what Michael was saying at post 14, that it was disputed that it was from a woman with Kidney disease.
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  #22  
Old 01-21-2014, 08:28 PM
Tom_Wescott Tom_Wescott is offline
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Originally Posted by GUT View Post
G'Day again Tom

But as I read it that was exactly what Michael was saying at post 14, that it was disputed that it was from a woman with Kidney disease.
That should be disputed. Because I don't think they could tell a female from a male kidney. Other than saying that, I'll say that not every poster with a lot of posts to their name actually knows what they're talking about.

Yours truly,

Tom Wescott
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  #23  
Old 01-21-2014, 08:34 PM
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G'Day Tom

Drs have assured me that specialists would be able to tell male from female, and probably do so in '88, but I accept that some may disagree.
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  #24  
Old 01-21-2014, 08:46 PM
Tom_Wescott Tom_Wescott is offline
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G'Day Tom

Drs have assured me that specialists would be able to tell male from female, and probably do so in '88, but I accept that some may disagree.
When you say "specialists" I assume you mean modern medical professionals? They may not have a clue about the London medicos of 1888. There was I believe all of two microscopes in the whole city at that time. And it was the most powerful city on earth. Perhaps you're right though. Since I know who sent the letter, I'd love to know if I actually found the Ripper...and to know that I'd need to know if the kidney was Eddowes'. But I'll never know that. However, more details to swing it one way or the other would be most welcome.

Yours truly,

Tom Wescott
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  #25  
Old 01-21-2014, 08:53 PM
GUT GUT is offline
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G'Day Tom

You KNOW who sent the letter?
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  #26  
Old 01-22-2014, 01:57 AM
Stewart P Evans Stewart P Evans is offline
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Default 'The Lusk Kidney'

Dr Openshaw, according to The Star, stated that he was of the opinion that 'it was half of a left human kidney. He couldn't say, however, whether it was that of a woman, nor how long ago it had been removed from the body, as it had been preserved in spirits. It is believed that the 'revolting parcel' is not from the murderer but is merely a medical student's practical joke.'

Inspector James McWilliam, head of the City Police detectives, stated that Dr. Reed, of Mile End Road, and Dr. Openshaw, both 'expressed the opinion that it was a portion of the kidney of a human being.' He further stated, 'The kidney has been examined by Dr. Gordon-Brown who is of opinion that it is human.' McWilliam, in summary, stated, 'It might turn out after all, to be the act of a Medical Student who would have no difficulty in obtaining the organ in question.'

Chief Inspector Swanson also noted, '...the result of the combined medical opinion they have taken upon it is that it is the kidney of a human adult; not charged with a fluid, as it would have been in the case of a body handed over for purposes of dissection to an hospital, but rather as it would be in a case where it was taken from the body not so destined. In other words similar kidneys might & could be obtained from any dead person upon whom a post mortem had been made from any cause by students or dissecting room porter.'

Dr. Frederick Gordon Brown was interviewed regarding his opinion on the section of kidney, and he stated, 'So far as I can form an opinion, I do not see any substantial reason why this portion of kidney should not be the portion of the one taken from the murdered woman. I cannot say that it is the left kidney. It must have been cut previously to its being immersed in the spirit which exercised a hardening process. It certainly had not been in spirit for more than a week. As has been stated, there is no portion of the renal artery adhering to it, it having been trimmed up, so, consequently, there could be no correspondence established between the portion of the body from which it was cut. As it exhibits no trace of decomposition, when we consider the length of time that has elapsed since the commission of the murder, we come to the conclusion that the probability is slight of its being a portion of the murdered woman of Mitre Square.'

Much nonsense has been, and still is, propagated concerning this episode and certain points should be internalized.

(1) The half-kidney was pronounced to be human, but not that it was from a female. It was not even certain that it was a left kidney.

(2) No medical man gave the opinion that it was diseased, this is an assumption, and one that has never been proven. Also there is no real evidence that Eddowes' remaining kidney was diseased.

(3) The official opinion indicates a tendency to the belief that the episode was a hoax and that the section of kidney had been obtained by a medical student from a corpse.

(4) To indicate the state of medical analysis in 1888 we merely have to realize that they could not even distinguish whether blood was human or animal, but merely that it was 'mammalian'.
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  #27  
Old 01-22-2014, 02:26 AM
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G'Day Stewart

Eastern Post and City Chronicle of 20 October

Dr Openshaw was reported to have pronounced the kidney a "ginny kidney" - that is, one coming from someone who was a heavy drinker - as well as being from a woman approximately 45 years old.

Police Commissioner Major Sir Henry Smith.

I made over the kidney to the police surgeon, instructing him to consult with the most eminent men in the Profession, and to send me a report without delay. I give the substance of it. The renal artery is about three inches long. Two inches remained in the corpse, one inch was attached to the kidney. The kidney left in the corpse was in an advanced state of Bright's Disease; the kidney sent me was in an exactly similar state. But what was of far more importance, Mr Sutton, one of the senior surgeons at the London Hospital, whom Gordon Brown asked to meet him and another surgeon in consultation, and who was one of the greatest authorities living on the kidney and its diseases, said he would pledge his reputation that the kidney submitted to them had been put in spirits within a few hours of its removal from the body thus effec-ually disposing of all hoaxes in connection with it.

If you want to take issue with the Star or Smith that I may understand but to state categorically that:

No medical man gave the opinion that it was diseased, this is an assumption, and one that has never been proven. Also there is no real evidence that Eddowes' remaining kidney was diseased.

I simply can't as there is contemporaneous evidence that they may have.
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  #28  
Old 01-22-2014, 03:17 AM
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John Bennett John Bennett is offline
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From the Ripper Wiki entry (which I wrote):

The initial reports on Dr. Openshaw's findings were highly misleading. According to a press interview with Vigilance Committee member Joseph Aarons:

On his return Mr. Reed said that Dr. Openshaw, at the Pathological Museum, stated that the kidney belonged to a female, that it was part of the left kidney, and that the woman had been in the habit of drinking. He should think that the person had died about the same time the Mitre-square murder was committed. (Evening News, 19th October 1888)


The doctor examined it, and pronounced it to be a portion of a human kidney - a "ginny" kidney, that is to say, one that had belonged to a person who had drunk heavily. He was further of opinion that it was the organ of a woman of about 45 years of age, and that it had been taken from the body within the last three weeks. It will be within public recollection that the left kidney was missing from the woman Eddowes, who was murdered and mutilated in Mitre-square. (The Times, 19th October 1888)

However, interviewed in the press the following day, Dr. Openshaw refuted nearly all the claims attributed to him:

Dr. Openshaw told a Star reporter to-day that after having examined the piece of kidney under the microscope he was of opinion that it was half of a left human kidney. He couldn't say, however, whether it was that of a woman, nor how long ago it had been removed from the body, as it had been preserved in spirits.(The Star, 19th October 1888).

JB
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  #29  
Old 01-22-2014, 03:23 AM
GUT GUT is offline
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G'Day JB

So we are, are we not, back to the same question have, and will, come up against in this case forever and a day. Which account is to be believed?

Why should one paper be more or less accepted than the other? ie the Star, The Post, The evening News.
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  #30  
Old 01-22-2014, 04:21 AM
Stewart P Evans Stewart P Evans is offline
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The response was as I expected. This argument was made many, many, years ago and I thought we had seen the last of it.

As Phil Sugden stated in his book, 'Interviewed the same day for the Star, though, Openshaw himself repudiated most of what had been published: 'Dr Openshaw told a Star reporter today that after having examined the piece of kidney under the microscope he was of opinion that it was half of a left human kidney. He couldn't say, however, whether it was that of a woman, nor how long ago it had been removed from the body, as it had been preserved in spirits.'

Suffice to say, in support of the contention that Openshaw made no mention of a 'ginny kidney' is the report of Inspector McWilliam, dated October 27th 1888, summarizing the Eddowes evidence, in which he merely states, 'He [Lusk] accordingly took it to Mr. Reed, 56 Mile End Road, & subsequently to Dr. Openshaw of the London Hospital, both of whom expressed the opinion that it was a portion of the kidney of a human being.'

Chief Inspector Swanson wrote his report on 6th November 1888 and stated in it, '...submitted it for examination eventually to Dr. Openshaw curator of London Hospital Museum who pronounced it to be a human kidney. The kidney was at once handed over to the City Police, and the result of the combined medical opinion they have taken upon it, is, that it is the kidney of a human adult, not charged with a fluid, etc., ...'

Major Smith's 1910 remarks from his error-strewn account of the murders need not detain us and should be dismissed as unfounded. So -

(1) There is no evidence to show that piece of kidney could be 'sexed', but merely that it was human.

(2) There is no evidence whatsoever produced (nor any method known) that could show the age of the donor. I also seem to recall, several years ago, a highly qualified medical opinion on these boards that alcohol had no visible detrimental affect on the kidney.

(3) The renal artery argument proposed by Smith was actually dismissed by Dr. Gordon Brown himself, who stated that the artery had been 'trimmed off' the piece of kidney, ergo no correspondence could be shown.

(4) Many years ago efforts were made to try and trace any involvement of a 'Mr. Sutton', as claimed by Smith, and none could be found. Also the contemporary police evidence disposes of Smith's contention anyway.

Now if individuals wish to ignore all that I have shown and accept dubious, conflicting, press reports and fanciful memoir accounts written over twenty years later, so be it. That is up to them. I suggest that a study of the interpretation of historical data might be useful. It's fine to quote press reports. Totally believing in them is another matter.
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Last edited by Stewart P Evans : 01-22-2014 at 04:27 AM.
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