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Baxter's influence on Ripper lore

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  • #16
    Originally posted by Sam Flynn View Post
    Indeed, Phillips never mentioned clumsy butchery, but his description of the wounds might indicate otherwise. Chapman's colon was partially cut, and the killer only succeeded in removing a portion of her bladder. Add to that the asymmetric portions of flesh - three flaps! - by which her abdomen was opened, and things don't appear quite as neat as Baxter's "no meaningless cuts" might indicate. If anything, the killer made a more "competent" job of eviscerating Eddowes in Mitre Square; neat(ish) single incision down the midline, removal of kidney and uterus whilst leaving the bladder entirely unharmed.
    Hi Gareth,
    Well in general, I agree. I believe that if this was the work of a serial murderer, an Ed Gein type person could easily pull this off - a self taught laymen with an obsession that turned into gruesome activity. Of course, we have the benefit of hindsight now, don't we?

    At the time of the Chapman murder, there was no precedent to fall back on for analysis. That murder was the precedent and they were trying to make logical sense out of the motive. Thus, Phillips determined that the motive was to obtain the uterus and Baxter fleshed it out with his Burke and Hare theory along with the extemporaneous cuts being a ruse. I doubt either Phillips or Baxter had even read Krafft-Ebbing as Bond most certainly had done. And we can see, as the the series continued and Baxter's theory unraveled, why Bond was called in by Anderson to assist.

    Even with the Eddowes murder, we see both Phillips and Baxter believing that a copycat was involved rather than admitting that the prognosis about Chapman could be all wrong. Pride will do that to people...and in Baxter's case, one's very job may be on the line. Hell, most folks around here dig in their heels instead of admitting they may be wrong, even after their case becomes untenable. And we still see people locked into the anatomical knowledge/skill debate because of what I believe is a misreading of the evidence and a lack of understanding how the case developed. Having a suspect who fits the bill in one way or the other doesn't help much either.

    Ironically (and this is just my opinion based on what later transpired) Phillips may have recanted on his considerable anatomical knowledge assumption when he witnessed the carnage at Miller's Court. While he gave no more press interviews after the one on Sept. 26 at the Working Lads Institute, (I believe the claim by the Star following the Mylett case was a fabrication) his assistant, Percy Clark certainly did.

    In a 1910 exclusive with the ELO Clark stated that despite earlier beliefs that the murderer may have possessed great knowledge or skill that was later found not to be the case. Just as his mentor, he did not believe all of the murders were necessarily committed by the same hand, because also just like his former boss, he thought a deranged copycat could be motivated. But he almost certainly linked Chapman and Kelly, even going so far as to show a photo of the latter's murder scene to the reporter. There's no reason to think that Phillips did not share these same assertions. He had to notice Kelly's abdominal flaps removed in much the same way as Chapman's and of course the uterus was extracted too. But by now, it had to be obvious that something much more deranged was involved...and Clark spells that out here too.

    It's almost like Ripperology has kept poor ol' Phillips in a Chapman murder time warp without even the hope or intelligence to maybe evolve a little as the series progressed.
    Last edited by Hunter; 11-09-2017, 10:33 AM.
    Best Wishes,
    Hunter
    ____________________________________________

    When evidence is not to be had, theories abound. Even the most plausible of them do not carry conviction- London Times Nov. 10.1888

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    • #17
      Originally posted by Hunter View Post
      At the time of the Chapman murder, there was no precedent to fall back on for analysis.
      That is an important point, Hunter. Even an experienced police surgeon like Phillips is unlikely to have seen anything like Chapman's murder before. If so, the novelty of the situation might have led him to be rather more impressed than he might otherwise have been - at least in terms of the killer's anatomical knowledge.
      Last edited by Sam Flynn; 11-09-2017, 11:13 AM.
      Kind regards, Sam Flynn

      "Suche Nullen" (Nietzsche, Götzendämmerung, 1888)

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      • #18
        Of course, the thing to keep in mind here is not whether the Chapman murder evidenced skill on behalf of the killer - it is whether PHILLIPS thought and claimed it did.

        These are two different questions.

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        • #19
          Methinks I've wasted my time here.
          Hey... what's new?
          Best Wishes,
          Hunter
          ____________________________________________

          When evidence is not to be had, theories abound. Even the most plausible of them do not carry conviction- London Times Nov. 10.1888

          Comment


          • #20
            Originally posted by Hunter View Post
            Methinks I've wasted my time here.
            Hey... what's new?
            no you haven't. trust me. : )
            "Is all that we see or seem
            but a dream within a dream?"

            -Edgar Allan Poe


            "...the man and the peaked cap he is said to have worn
            quite tallies with the descriptions I got of him."

            -Frederick G. Abberline

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            • #21
              Originally posted by Fisherman View Post
              Well, what I am saying is what you allow for - things may well have been left out by the Morning Advertiser too, just as we know that other papers did.
              We know from the sources that Phillips was impressed by the abdominal flap cutting and even more impressed of the incisions performed to excise the uterus.
              If, as you say, Baxter took his cue from Phillips when saying that there were no meaningless cuts, then we are left with a killer who according to Phillips cut totally deliberately throughout and who showed anatomical insights with every cut, the pinnacle being the cut/s that excised the uterus.

              Personally, I think such a thing could very well lead a medico to conclude that the killer was medically skilled, not least since he adds some words about how he thinks that the killer would have evinced even greater skill if he had not been in haste.

              The inference becomes one of an anatomically skilled man who only gave a less skilled impression on account of doing a super-quick hysterectomy.
              Both Chapman and Eddowes were cut around the navel.

              Jack was a skilled and experienced operator.
              My name is Dave. You cannot reach me through Debs email account

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              • #22
                Originally posted by Fisherman View Post
                .

                The fact that the colon was cut and the bladder halved could nevertheless have been the result of meaningful cutting, if the killer was simply intent on getting the uterus. I am no medico myself, but I suppose that Phillips may have reasoned that these cuts were accepted by the killer as part of the process to cut the uterus out as quickly as possible. It was not as if he had to be wary about not damaging the body.

                This is my thinking too Fisherman, acceptable collateral damage because this time out he wanted to complete what he started in Bucks Row. the backyard was better, but some 17 people lived in that house and there were windows surrounding the yard that looked into the yard. This was not going to be a cake walk. Some damage on the way to the goal was acceptable under those circumstances.

                Now Eddowes killer traced around her navel, he tried to cut off her nose and likely in the process cut her cheeks, he sectioned her colon so that feces was spilled, he put that section between her body and arm, he cut and tore her apron,...seems to me that there was a lot done that was totally unnecessary and not geared towards obtaining anything specific. This guy felt he had time to make these superfluous moves. Based on that assumption, I don't think Lawende saw her with her killer. If he did there was only around 9 minutes available to get her into the square and then do all these things.

                I also do think that the police surrounding that immediate area had it, in effect, cordoned off. It might have been in conjunction with a tip that the Post Office was going to be robbed.
                Last edited by Michael W Richards; 12-11-2017, 05:51 AM.
                Michael Richards

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                • #23
                  Originally posted by Michael W Richards View Post
                  Now Eddowes killer traced around her navel
                  As did Chapman's killer.

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                  • #24
                    Originally posted by Joshua Rogan View Post
                    As did Chapman's killer.
                    I think that he cut out a flap of flesh which included the navel, but that might not quite be the same as tracing around it, bearing in mind that he also removed two other flaps of flesh which he left at the scene. What distinguishes the Eddowes murder is the long wound down the midline of her abdomen, which dodges around the navel before continuing on its course.
                    Kind regards, Sam Flynn

                    "Suche Nullen" (Nietzsche, Götzendämmerung, 1888)

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                    • #25
                      Originally posted by Sam Flynn View Post
                      I think that he cut out a flap of flesh which included the navel, but that might not quite be the same as tracing around it, bearing in mind that he also removed two other flaps of flesh which he left at the scene. What distinguishes the Eddowes murder is the long wound down the midline of her abdomen, which dodges around the navel before continuing on its course.
                      Thanks for that Sam, sometimes I make a statement assuming that most everyone here is on the same page and has read many of the same books/articles/dissertations. Its why I have this habit, Im sure annoying to some, of making a statement sometimes without the supporting documentation. Bad habit, but they do die hard, dont they my friend?

                      The tracing of the navel was unique in the Eddowes case, and like some of the many other things that didnt need to be done in order for him to obtain a kidney and partial uterus, it was a waste of valuable time,... objectively speaking. Double entendre is fun too.
                      Michael Richards

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                      • #26
                        Originally posted by Joshua Rogan View Post
                        As did Chapman's killer.
                        Agreed.
                        My name is Dave. You cannot reach me through Debs email account

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                        • #27
                          Originally posted by Sam Flynn View Post
                          I think that he cut out a flap of flesh which included the navel, but that might not quite be the same as tracing around it, bearing in mind that he also removed two other flaps of flesh which he left at the scene.
                          Thanks Sam. The point I was trying to make is that, whether or not the wounds were inflicted in the same manner, logically it takes less time to partially cut around the navel than to entirely cut around the navel.

                          What distinguishes the Eddowes murder is the long wound down the midline of her abdomen, which dodges around the navel before continuing on its course.
                          Unfortunately, I don't think the other case reports are detailed enough to conclude that this was unique to Eddowes, only that it was uniquely mentioned (and illustrated).

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                          • #28
                            Originally posted by Michael W Richards View Post
                            Thanks for that Sam, sometimes I make a statement assuming that most everyone here is on the same page and has read many of the same books/articles/dissertations. Its why I have this habit, Im sure annoying to some, of making a statement sometimes without the supporting documentation.
                            I wasn't disputing your statement Michael, only the conclusions you seem to draw from it.

                            The tracing of the navel was unique in the Eddowes case, and like some of the many other things that didnt need to be done in order for him to obtain a kidney and partial uterus, it was a waste of valuable time,... objectively speaking. Double entendre is fun too.
                            There are plenty of cuts in the Chapman case that "didn't need to be done" and so could be said to be "a waste of valuable time": Eddowes and Stride (and possibly Kelly) ended up just as dead with only a single cut to the throat; The same (and further) extractions were performed on Eddowes as on Chapman without the need to cut away any flaps of skin, let alone four.
                            Maybe the killer used the time he saved to perform the facial mutilations?

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                            • #29
                              Originally posted by Joshua Rogan View Post
                              Maybe the killer used the time he saved to perform the facial mutilations?
                              They'd only have taken a few seconds to complete. My guess is that, having adopted the three flap approach at Hanbury Street, the killer surmised - correctly - that a single, long cut would take up less time. Perhaps he also had a better idea of where the abdominal organs really were, after having gained the experience of removing Chapman's uterus and bladder, and that most of the abdominal organs would be accessible if he opened up his next victim with a single, large slash, without having to go to the trouble of cutting out a panel of flesh in three flaps.

                              In short, I believe that, feeling pressed for time at Mitre Square, he adopted a "slash and grab" method rather than a more laborious three-flap dissection. Furthermore, it's possible that the approach decided upon in Mitre Square was partly informed by the experience he'd gained during the Chapman murder.
                              Kind regards, Sam Flynn

                              "Suche Nullen" (Nietzsche, Götzendämmerung, 1888)

                              Comment


                              • #30
                                Originally posted by Sam Flynn View Post
                                In short, I believe that, feeling pressed for time at Mitre Square, he adopted a "slash and grab" method rather than a more laborious three-flap dissection. Furthermore, it's possible that the approach decided upon in Mitre Square was partly informed by the experience he'd gained during the Chapman murder.
                                I don't have any problem with a killer who learns, adapts and improvises as he goes along. That said, descriptions of the wounds to Nichols' abdomen are very similar to those inflicted upon Eddowes. So it's not too much of a stretch to think that the cuts to Chapman and Kelly would have followed the same pattern, at least initially.

                                For what it's worth, Dr Phillips' inquest testimony Morning Advertiser 20th Sept;
                                "the abdominal wall had been removed in three parts.......On adjusting these three flaps it was evident that a portion surrounding and constituting the navel was wanting."

                                Although pure speculation, it's possible (or at least not inconsistent with the description) that the navel was initially on a tongue of skin, as with Eddowes, which the killer then cut off for whatever reason. But as I said earlier, the lack of details about the cuts means we'll never know.

                                To return to the theme of the thread, it's thanks to Baxter's insistence on hearing Phillips' evidence that we know even this much. Although his theory that it was all about the uterus is somewhat doubtful, not least because of the missing navel.

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