I happened to be looking at a map of the murder locations, posted by Robert House in order to illustrate one of his dissertations. He indicated that the sites of the killings were within the area of a circle. Here is his map.
Then it suddenly struck me that the dots on the map look like the night sky in the fall in the Northern Hemisphere, facing Northeast. The Milky Way runs right through this part of the sky, although you can't see that so well on the star map, below. Maybe that's what made me think of it--the fact that Whitechapel Road runs through the "murder map". In one of the Ripper letters, the writer says he was in the Minories. Isn't that near where Catherine Eddowes was murdered? Anyway, the Eddowes site, to the far left, would correspond to the tail star of Ursa Minor, Polaris. The relationship of the two sites of Kelly and Chapman seem to correspond to two stars in Cassiopeiae. The next star, to the south of them in that group would represent Martha Tabram. Far down in that line is Elizabeth Stride, represented by the star Mirphak. Way over to the west is the star, Mirach, which is Polly Nichols.
I realize that this doesn't change anything or add anything to the body of knowledge about the brutal slayings of these poor women. All it means is that we astronomy buffs sometimes view things in odd ways. But maybe the ladies wouldn't have minded being seen as stars along the Milky Way rather than just as pathetic victims.
However, this could get weirder still. The star that I assigned to Polly Nichols, Mirach, is in the constellation, Andromeda, which, in this old drawing is represented thus:
Mirach, in antiquity, was sometimes referred to as the "belly", written "Ventrale" in Latin, from its former position in the figure [of Andromeda], although now it is on the left hip. A quote from the Edwards book, page 52:
“Mary Ann was lying on her back, her head facing in an easterly direction...her open hands were palm upwards and her legs were laid out and slightly apart...the abdomen had a long jagged cut which ran from the bottom of the ribs down to the groin, and there were a number of cuts and stabs to the lower abdomen...”
This is even older--Andromeda as depicted in "Urania's Mirror", a set of constellation cards published in London c. 1825, showing the constellation from the inside of the celestial sphere. Perhaps it inspired the later drawing.
Last edited by Aldebaran : 07-21-2016 at 01:13 PM.
Interesting, Paul, and thanks. This writer seems not to have known of anyone seeing a heavenly configuration in the murder map--so I am different there. To quote Norder:
"The main argument against these theories is that the process of selecting sites beforehand would add an extra layer of complexity in trying to successfully pull off these already rather audacious murders. It's one thing to simply place a dead body in a specific location, but it's a whole other thing to not only kill them there but also to gut them out in the open where someone could wander along at any moment. Many authors have commented on the amount of sheer luck or cleverness the killer had to have possessed, but to do it all with a master geographic plan in mind would be just that much more difficult. Of course that doesn't make it impossible."
No, it doesn't, and the murders were no less audacious, even reckless, had the sites been merely random. If the killer had a predetermined pattern, that did not necessarily reduce him to prowling a certain street, awaiting a victim. A couple of streets in either direction would not much alter the plan. He could move. But, the Whitechapel district being so crowded, the chance that some woman of the type the Ripper sought coming along was pretty good.
BTW, responding to you gives me the opportunity of correcting a stupid miswriting in my first post in this thread. I wrote that the Nichols site was to the west when it is obviously to the east. Also, the image on that astronomical card [other examples can be seen online in the set] is very daring for the first half of the 19th Century. A bared breast, legs apart and skirt pulled up--that could have made quite an impression on a young lad who was given a set of these cards.
Mary Kelly was murdered early in November. According to my star map, her site corresponds to the lower bright star in Cassiopeiae. That's about it. After that, if the killer wanted to follow the brightest stars in a pattern, he would have to make a new pattern. Any configuration of the brightest stars in the seasonal heavens is complex. It is hardly the same as seeing a "cross" there. That the Ripper murder sites fit so well to the star pattern during the season in which the killings took place would be quite a marvelous coincidence--if that is what it was.
Aldebaran--c'est moi-- shows up in the winter sky.
Last edited by Aldebaran : 07-24-2016 at 09:44 AM.