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  • Dr. H. M. Speechly

    Hello All. The following is an excerpt from "The Autobiography of Dr. H M Speechly." He interned at the London Hospital during the WCM. (He may have worked under Dr. Treves.)

    Cheers.
    LC

    “In 1887 (sic) one of the most tragic scares took place especially amongst Jewish women who were never victimized. I refer to the Jack the Ripper murders brutally performed on prostitutes. So frightened were the Jewish women that they would not come out after 8 p.m. for their usual visits to the Casualty Room. I remember well the first grossly mutilated corpse arriving late at night, followed during the next few weeks by several more. The criminal was never caught that year. I have seen it stated somewhere that not very long afterwards a similar series of undetected murders took place in New Jersey, U.S.A.; also that the undetected murderer proved to be a Polish ex-druggist named Severino Klosowsi (alias Geo. Chapman) who conducted a public house in South London in England. This man married no less than three wives between 1897 and 1902 and poisoned them with antimony. He was executed in London on September 7, 1903. Whether he was the real Jack the Ripper I cannot say.”

  • #2
    Garbled, inaccurate, and evidently relying on hearsay.

    I don't know when he publsihed this, but I'd hazard a guess many years later and after Chapman had come to his attention, so the whole memory has been skewed by that.

    Interesting as an example of how memory can play tricks, but IMHO essentially worthless.

    Phil

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    • #3
      H M S

      Hello Phil. Thanks.

      He was near 80. But he likely was at the hospital when the WCM occurred.

      Cheers.
      LC

      Comment


      • #4
        But that doesn't mean he saw anything at first hand. Despite what he says, the bodies were not taken to the London Hospital, so there is no reason he should have seen them with his own eyes.

        There must have been a million people in the "east End" who could have told as much as this man did.

        I will grant that he MIGHT have had contacts, as a doctor, which would have given him access to the mortuaries: but that is unproven and would need to be demonstrated.

        Phil

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        • #5
          as I recall

          Hello Phil. Thanks.

          Yes, it could all be:

          1. prevarication

          or

          2. VERY faulty memory

          For #2, he does get the year wrong.

          Faulty memory could be said of many after the fact reminiscences.

          Cheers.
          LC

          Comment


          • #6
            Faulty memory could be said of many after the fact reminiscences.

            I agree, Lynn, but there is surely a difference between the faulty memory of a by-stander and the faulty memory of someone intimately involved with the case.

            Take Swanson as an example. There could be instances of faulty memory in the marginalia - sequence of events, dating, small details. That would be understandable if he were writing from memory some years after the events he describes.

            BUT, he was summarising, being highly succinct and assuming his own background knowledge. It is also possible that if we had access to the more complete information (files) and insider knowledge that he had, we might find HIM correct and us at fault. [NOTE: I am not seeking to defend DSS here, just seeking to elucidate a difference.]

            None of that would be true of your doctor. Any of us seeking to report well-known events of (say) 30 years ago - where we have not been directly involved - say something like the Falklands War - might get dates (even the year); names; explanations of why it happened and the consequences; mixed up. UNLESS we have some personal peg against which to recollect. I see nothing of that in the doctor's reminiscences. He was simply in the area at the time of well-known events and finds something to pad out his recollections.

            I am sure he believed what he wrote - but it is all demonstrably wrong where we know the facts.

            I am, however, intrigued by one point - he highlights Jewish women, in particular as afraid and not going out. Did not Anderson suggest that his measures kept women off the streets to an extent (I could be wrong here). So while the doctor's restriction of the group might be in error, he might be recalling something that happened. Probably nonsense, I haven't time to check my books.

            Phil

            Comment


            • #7
              prostitutes

              Hello Phil. Thanks.

              I think SRA referred to prostitutes.

              Cheers.
              LC

              Comment


              • #8
                I agree, but both MIGHT have been thinking of the same phenomenon, and both may have been wrong.

                Phil

                Comment


                • #9
                  yup

                  Hello Phil. Thanks.

                  "both may have been wrong."

                  Of course.

                  Cheers.
                  LC

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Phil H View Post
                    But that doesn't mean he saw anything at first hand. Despite what he says, the bodies were not taken to the London Hospital, so there is no reason he should have seen them with his own eyes.

                    Phil
                    She didn't arrive as a corpse, of course, but Emma Smith was taken to the London Hospital, and could be fairly described as having been mutilated.
                    "It is a capital mistake to theorise before one has data. Insensibly one begins twisting facts to suit theories instead of theories to suit facts." Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (as Sherlock Holmes).

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      True - but I don't think it is her that the doctor was referring to.

                      "I remember well the first grossly mutilated corpse arriving late at night, followed during the next few weeks by several more. "

                      Emma did not arrive as a corpse.

                      Phil

                      Comment

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