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Oct.15, 1888 Med Article: Madness, Tumblety & Organ Theft Theories

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  • Oct.15, 1888 Med Article: Madness, Tumblety & Organ Theft Theories

    Here is an October 15, 1888 American medical journal article that I found very interesting, so I thought I'd share it with you.
    (I'm not sure if this article has been posted in the past; my apologies if it has.)
    It appeared in the October 15, 1888 edition of 'The Medical Times', a semi-monthly journal.

    The article was published during the midst of the Whitechapel Murders, 2 weeks after the murders of Elizabeth Stride & Catherine Eddowes and
    over 3 weeks before the murder of Mary Kelly. It mentions Forbes Winslow and states that "eight women" had been murdered to date, though unfortunately it does not list the names of those victims.

    It discusses rage-induced "madness" as a motive for the murders and critiques current (October 1888) theories regarding the removal of female organs from the victims.

    Though it does so without naming names, probably for legal reasons, this article makes also clear reference to Dr. Tumblety.
    I'm no Tumblety expert, but I found it particularly interesting that Tumblety was mentioned in an article discussing the Ripper Murders over 3 weeks before his November 7, 1888 arrest.

    Towards the bottom there is an odd bit about Yellow Fever and "cleanliness" which seems to signal the end of the Whitechapel Murders discussion, but if you read on, in the very last sentence the journal states that it was "informed that the person who offered $100 each for uteri is a Philadelphia gynecologist who was in London last summer".

    It does not name the informant, nor is there is any mention of Coroner Baxter.

    -Any thoughts?

    Best regards, Archaic

    Note: The ' Tait ' mentioned in this article is Dr. Robert Lawson Tait. He was a well-known specialist in Ovariotomy (the surgical removal of the ovaries) and authored books upon the pathology and treatment of diseases afflicting women.
    Attached Files

  • #2

    It may well have been published here before, but I have not seen it, and to me it is very interesting indeed, especially the reference to the $100 uteri collector from Philadelphia. I have wondered about the name of that person for a long time.

    Well done, nice find!

    best wishes

    Chelsea FC. TRUE BLUE. 💙

    Justice for the 96 = achieved
    Accountability? ....


    • #3
      Hi, Phil; thanks.

      I forgot to mention that if anybody would like me to post this article transcribed into regular text format, I'd be happy to do so.
      I have it all ready to go.

      Best regards, Archaic


      • #4
        This is an excellent find, Archy, and fuel for discussion. Good work!
        Last edited by Celesta; 12-12-2009, 02:33 AM.
        "What our ancestors would really be thinking, if they were alive today, is: "Why is it so dark in here?"" From Pyramids by Sir Terry Pratchett, a British National Treasure.



        • #5
          I don't remember having ever seen this article posted before. Interesting find. The fact that the unknown medical man was from Philadelphia is known. It can be found in Samuel Hudson's Leather Apron; or The Horrors of Whitechapel, printed in 1888. Chris George also wrote an article about this, although I don't remember if he used Hudson as his source.

          One thing. I'm not sure where Tumblety fits into this let alone a "clear reference."



          • #6
            Thank you, Cel.

            Hi, Wolf.

            I took the following sentence to be a reference to Tumblety: "This is no more absurd than the theory which attributes the murders to an American who is collecting specimens for a museum."

            Was there another American rumored to have been attempting to collect specimens of female organs? If so perhaps I read too much into that sentence.

            Do you happen to know where I can find Chris's article about the "Philadelphia gynaecologist"?

            Is he still suspected of being Tumblety?

            Thanks and best regards, Archaic


            • #7
              first class article Archaic..


              • #8
                My opinion is that it would do us all a lot of good to sit under those 'powerful electric lights' for a while, for perhaps they would banish the false connectors that allow the human brain to dwell on such things.
                There is absolutely no reference to Tumblety in this article, and no good grounds to think there is.
                Tumblety cured organs, he didn't steal them, and he made such a bad job of curing organs that you would not have wanted one after he had finished with 'em.


                • #9
                  A couple of years ago, before the board crashed, there was a discussion of this story. An article, I believe from the Times, explained this as a misunderstanding and listed the name of the American Medical Man - it was not Tumblety




                  • #10
                    re: Pre-Existing Rumours?

                    Well, you are certainly entitled to your opinion, AP.

                    I don't happen to believe that Tumblety stole organs, and the article itself speaks quite sarcastically of such "theories", going so far as to use the word "absurd" and coming up with an outrageous example involving Dr. Tait in order to make their point.

                    > Perhaps what really happened is that these dark rumors about medical men trying to obtain female organ specimens were swirling around before Tumblety was even in the picture, and maybe he had absolutely nothing to do with them. Then after he abruptly skipped town he suddenly became a person of interest, and those pre-existing rumors were conveniently applied to him?

                    I still think it's a pretty interesting article even if you don't.

                    Best regards, Archaic


                    • #11
                      A.P, Tim,Wolf,...

                      Philadelphia was the font from whence tens of thousands of bogus degrees emanated in the late 1870's and into the 1880's.


                      This thread above, which refers to John Buchanan, whose case was prosecuted against by my Great grandfather, might be an avenue for further examination for those here.

                      Like you Wolf & A.P., I see no "clear reference" to Tumblety either. None at all in fact in light of the 60,000 bogus degrees disseminated not only England, but the European continent and the United States.

                      In fact, the phrasing of the segment.... " We have yet to hear of the theory advanced...." appears to be written with a degree of sarcasm just as the statement originally mentioned by Coroner Baxter in London appears to be treated with as well.

                      Tumblety had digs in Philadelphia on 3rd and Chestnut in the downtown area....7 blocks from where Buchanan operated out of....well before 1887.
                      Last edited by Howard Brown; 12-12-2009, 05:27 AM. Reason: Wrong street


                      • #12
                        This thread has information on Tumblety in Philadelphia




                        • #13
                          The article appeared in the British Medical Journal on Sept 29th 1888, predating the American Medical Journal, but mentioned only "An American"

                          I also have several examples of this in the Hull Press from the same period, but cannot find them in the files! Anyway, here is the British Medical Journal article from Sept 29th 1888.
                          Attached Files
                          Regards Mike


                          • #14
                            Here is a short snippet from the Hull News, dated Saturday October 6th 1888, and again citing the British Medical Journal as the source,
                            Attached Files
                            Regards Mike


                            • #15
                              Mike :

                              This guy Tait may have been good with the gynecology..but he opted for a female perpetrator in the WM.

                              In the February 14th,1891 Western Mail, he describes how a woman would be more likely to pull a series of murders off.