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  #11  
Old 02-17-2015, 06:26 PM
Ausgirl Ausgirl is offline
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I've always thought that if a drug/substance was used, it'd have been chloroform. A possible argument for it found here: http://www.casebook.org/dissertation...oo-chloro.html

I've also often thought if JtR was not using any substances, relying instead on the blitz-attack method alone (sudden strangulation/head injury) there'd very likely be early attacks where a victim had either survived, or the death was messy and noisy, with a struggle involved. His MO as we see it in the set of JtR murders is pretty darned polished. I highly doubt he started out that way.
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  #12  
Old 02-19-2015, 11:25 PM
MacGuffin MacGuffin is offline
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Quote:
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I've always thought that if a drug/substance was used, it'd have been chloroform. A possible argument for it found here: http://www.casebook.org/dissertation...oo-chloro.html

I've also often thought if JtR was not using any substances, relying instead on the blitz-attack method alone (sudden strangulation/head injury) there'd very likely be early attacks where a victim had either survived, or the death was messy and noisy, with a struggle involved. His MO as we see it in the set of JtR murders is pretty darned polished. I highly doubt he started out that way.
The anesthetic use of chloroform is a bit more detailed, as it requires at least five minutes of continuous inhalation (or more, depending on body weight) to render an adult patient fully unconscious, and a steady chloroform drip on the application mask (or "soaked rag", if you will) the patient's inhaling from, to keep them unconscious.
As such, it's nearly impossible to subdue an adult with a chloroform soaked rag alone, and would definitely require other impairments/implements like alcohol, drugs, a bludgeon to the head, etc..

Now as a plot device for a hypothetical murder circa 1880's, it would be excellent, as the body eliminates most of the chloroform quickly via the lungs during exhalation. It's also processed by the liver, and small traces may be secreted in urine, but analytical detection of it's metabolites in tissue samples was basically non-existent prior to mass spectrometry.

As for JtR, he may have used what we across the pond refer to as a "choke hold", much the same as Gary Ridgeway did to his victims.
Ridgeway would come behind his victims after "services rendered", and gently embrace them from behind as if hugging them to maneuver into a choke hold, and I suspect JtR did it much the same way.
Most manual strangulation victims will have injuries like finger bruises/marks, crushed windpipes or fractured hyoid bones, all of which usually occur from a position of the murderer facing the victim during the choking attack.
In a choke hold, the murderer is behind the victim during the attack, using the crook of their arm to choke instead of their hands (which crush), and thus leave little bruising, and an undamaged hyoid bone.
In addition to cutting off airways, this type of hold also cuts off the blood flow at the carotids and/or jugulars, and can cause unconsciousness within several seconds, and subsequently death.

This could also explain the clenched fingers of Kelly and Stride, the protruding tongue of Chapman, the tongue laceration of Nichols, and the seeming lack of arterial blood spray/spatter at most of the murder scenes.
He may have done a quick blitz hit to stun them first, or the choke hold itself
was the blitz, but however he subdued them, it most probably caught them completely off guard.

I doubt that Whitechapel street prostitutes serviced their clients while lying on the filthy ground, but rather while standing, and by hiking their skirts up from behind to allow the client easier access, and quicker completion of said services. This would have made a choke hold easy and fast to perform, catching the victim unawares and unable to cry out, while rendering them unconscious in well under a minute, and near-death or dead in a couple of minutes. The quicker the victim lost consciousness, the quicker JtR could start (and possibly have more time for) the cutting.

Best regards,
MacGuffin
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  #13  
Old 02-20-2015, 10:19 AM
Errata Errata is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MacGuffin View Post
The anesthetic use of chloroform is a bit more detailed, as it requires at least five minutes of continuous inhalation (or more, depending on body weight) to render an adult patient fully unconscious, and a steady chloroform drip on the application mask (or "soaked rag", if you will) the patient's inhaling from, to keep them unconscious.
As such, it's nearly impossible to subdue an adult with a chloroform soaked rag alone, and would definitely require other impairments/implements like alcohol, drugs, a bludgeon to the head, etc..
Best regards,
MacGuffin
The anesthetic use of chloroform requires time. The quick and dirty use takes less. I had a friend dose me. It took about 10 seconds for chloroform to knock my knees out from under me. I was not unconscious by any stretch of the imagination, but being upright was right out the window. Which is really all a killer needs. Dazed and confused is just as good as out cold. Especially if they aren't big enough to actually restrain someone while killing them. Once I fell and the rag was gone, it took about 20 to 30 seconds to get my head clear. But my jugular could have been severed in that time, so I think it's fair to say chloroform would be useful. Just not for actual unconsciousness.
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  #14  
Old 02-20-2015, 11:10 AM
Ausgirl Ausgirl is offline
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Well, thanks to Errata being a braver soul than I, we can see chloroform -might- account for the utter silence and lack of signs of struggle. Which is eerie, when you think about it, the proximity of people to those locations.

MacGuffin, I tend to think very much the same way. Blitz attack, victim well and truly subdued and prone before the throat is cut. If they'd been standing or even leaning forward against a wall (for the skirt lifting stuff) there'd be blood absolutely everywhere.

Errata, did you get redness around your mouth, at all?
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  #15  
Old 02-20-2015, 06:56 PM
MacGuffin MacGuffin is offline
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The anesthetic use of chloroform requires time. The quick and dirty use takes less. I had a friend dose me. It took about 10 seconds for chloroform to knock my knees out from under me. I was not unconscious by any stretch of the imagination, but being upright was right out the window. Which is really all a killer needs. Dazed and confused is just as good as out cold. Especially if they aren't big enough to actually restrain someone while killing them. Once I fell and the rag was gone, it took about 20 to 30 seconds to get my head clear. But my jugular could have been severed in that time, so I think it's fair to say chloroform would be useful. Just not for actual unconsciousness.
You are a far braver soul than I, while I've caught a few strong whiffs of it while using it as a reagent, I don't think I'd ever let anyone try that experiment out on me.
Did you have any side effects like headache or nausea?
I remember a tech who spilled a few ounces, and she was in an unvented area, and leaning down close to the counter as she cleaned it up which caused her to experience a severe wave of nausea with some vomiting.

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MacGuffin
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  #16  
Old 02-20-2015, 07:55 PM
Errata Errata is offline
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So a friend of mine is a crime lab tech, and was doing experiments on different kinds of chloroform to catalog brands. And she tells me this, and I say "oh my god you totally need to chloroform me" and she laughs, and I tell her that I'm dead serious, and she knows me and the weird things I do (I use her lab to figure out knife cuts), so she thinks about it, and she was an RN is an earlier career and she tells me that if I get a note from doctor clearing me for it, she'll do it.

My doctor knows I'm crazy, he tells me not to take my benzos the night before, and don't die. And actually writes me a doctor's note to get chloroformed.

So I go to my friend, she sends me to a different lab and prepares the rag. She then comes in and tells me that were going to do it properly because "this is for science", and hooks me up to monitors. She also tells me that as the only person who has ever actually performed CPR, she won't be dosing me, and brings in a mutual friend to do the honors.

Let me just say this was not seamless. When she opens the jar with the rag, she falls over. She has asthma, and totally forgot. So we sealed it up real quick and she left the room. Then my buddy Mike grabs me and slaps the rag over my mouth and nose. First of all, it burned because it was still liquid at that point. It smells terrible, sickly sweet, like rotten meat. A little like Durian if you've ever had that. So I start retching. I had been trying to hold my breath, but once I started retching I was trying to gulp in air. Which made it worse. The smell was making me gag, but the stomach dropping nausea hit before the dizziness, and I'm trying to pry Mike arm off so I can throw up. I didn't even feel dizzy. I just dropped to my knees, and the whole world was just wrong. In a Dali/acid kinda way wrong. Like gravity just yanked, and I couldn't feel anything to catch myself, so I hit pretty hard. If I had fainted, Mike would have caught me. He was prepared for that. But I didn't. I dropped right through his arms. Mike didn't know whether to follow me to the ground or not, so he let go. I took in a huge breath of air and that's what set my stomach over the edge. But about 30 seconds later I was upright again, and within a minute I could get up, walk, all of it.

And I looked like a dead hooker clown with red marks against my slightly green face where Mikes fingers had been pressing into the skin. But I was nauseous for another two hours, and I had a three day headache. But the experience was nothing like I thought it would be. It's not a gas kind of passing out with the woozy and the sort of dive into blackness. The surface of the world got angry and threw me down in righteous rage. Suffice it to say I suddenly understand the Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas ether binge scene. I wasn't dizzy. I had no idea which way up, down, in, out, there was a second I thought I was staring into my own skull.

But it's worth noting that I wasn't quiet until the retching started. And that was not silent either. It works for a woman in an alley, but those movies where they do it within ten feet of some oblivious guy? No chance. The air hunger is scary, and there was definite whimpering. But because the rag was kept sealed in a jar, I had a stronger dose. Less evaporated. And poor mike spent about an hour leaning over a sink waiting to throw up from being so close to it. Pictures were taken. None will be posted, since for about half of them I apparently pulled my shirt over my head to make the earth shouting stop. And apparently I said that, so I was a little altered.

It's not something I'm willing to repeat. It's not a gentle process for all that it is outwardly gentle. It was nothing like falling asleep. I have never had a perception failure on that scale before, and I may have come out of the experience with stress activated synesthesia. So I did something dumb. And not for a good enough reason. Honestly I did it just to say I had. But it was terrifying. And if I really activated some latent synesthesia I'm going to be really pissed. And one of these days I'm going to get my friends fired.

Don't try it, is the upshot. I think my doctor signed off on it to teach me a lesson, and I gotta say, good for him. Because that was awful. That there is a photographic record makes it more awful. But I'm on a lot of medication, so my reactions were not 100% normal. But normal enough to say that Mike totally could have killed me. I was powerless to stop him. But Mike wasn't feeling too well either, so that's a bit of a problem.
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Old 02-20-2015, 08:18 PM
MacGuffin MacGuffin is offline
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I worked with it several times a month for nearly twenty years, and still can't forget that cloying sweet/sickly odor, but I was always careful when handling the stuff.
We mostly used it to make an O2 seal in some standards, so it went right from the small mouthed reagent bottle/jug, and 10-15 ml was poured into top off a standard filled volume metric flask.
I would never dream of pouring it into a wide mouthed container/jar, there'd be way too much fume volume emitted upon opening.
Even so, in just those few seconds it took to top off the standards the odor was overpoweringly nasty.
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  #18  
Old 02-21-2015, 12:31 PM
Errata Errata is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MacGuffin View Post
I worked with it several times a month for nearly twenty years, and still can't forget that cloying sweet/sickly odor, but I was always careful when handling the stuff.
We mostly used it to make an O2 seal in some standards, so it went right from the small mouthed reagent bottle/jug, and 10-15 ml was poured into top off a standard filled volume metric flask.
I would never dream of pouring it into a wide mouthed container/jar, there'd be way too much fume volume emitted upon opening.
Even so, in just those few seconds it took to top off the standards the odor was overpoweringly nasty.
It wasn't a jar full of chloroform. She had poured about a teaspoon or so on a a handkerchief, then put the handkerchief in a jar so it would keep until Mike showed up. But because it was in the jar it didn't evaporate. So there was a little cloud brewing when she opened it and she got a face full. I think she just didn't think past preparing it and then keeping it safe until Mike got there. The whole thing was irregular to say the least. And illegal as it happens, which is why I'm keeping her name out of it. But we were all terribly curious having grown up on Agatha Christie etc.

But thinking about the smell makes my gorge rise.
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Old 02-21-2015, 08:19 PM
Ausgirl Ausgirl is offline
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Errata, I can totally see you & I on a road trip, a mix between Fear & Loathing and Thelma & Louise, and probably a bit of Blair Witch thrown in for good measure. Thank you for that entertaining account. I'm glad you survived it!

Back to JtR though: can we surmise, based on all this, that if chloroform was used, given that some victims were discovered only minutes after the murder, we might expect to be found:

- redness/irritation around the mouth
- perhaps some aspirated vomit
- bruises indicating the killer had to grasp the victim tightly through initial struggles

And back to the original topic-question.. I doubt laudanum, for the time it would take to work. Unless the victims were slipped a mickey in a pub, or from a flask, and he waited for the woozies to kick in, perhaps while leading them to his desired locations.

Not out of the question, eh.
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  #20  
Old 02-25-2015, 12:05 PM
Michael W Richards Michael W Richards is offline
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There are techniques used in combat that can incapacitate quicker than any drug, within a second or two, and are virtually undetectable later. Since there were no traces of any kind of substance used to knock the women out found by the medical investigators, perhaps it would be wiser to only consider methods that do not leave a trace?

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