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"Murder Mag" - a mate of the first victim and a police witness to the Kelly murder?

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  • "Murder Mag" - a mate of the first victim and a police witness to the Kelly murder?

    This is an extraordinary farrago of a story!
    It is from a much longer article which I am transcribing but this sections tells of an extraordinary woman nicknamed "Murder Mag" (although the first mention of her calls her Murderer Mag!) She was allegedly a close friend of the "first woman killed" but the article does not specify who is meant by that. Mag then wholly or partly loses her reason and becomes obsessed by the murders as you will read.
    Even more bizarre, the writer details a theory of Mag's to which he appears to give some credence that one murder was witnessed by a police constable who was too terrified to do anything about it. The description suggests a garbled version of the Kelly murder, and, indeed could not apply to any other in the series, in my opinion.
    The location of the lodging house where the writer meets Mag is not specified but is described as "within a block or two of the scene of the first Ripper murder." A detailed description is given which will be in the full article when I post it.
    Make what you will of this bizarre tale.
    I will post the whole article when done.


    Logansport Reporter

    20 June 1895

    From "Night in Darkest Hell: Edward Marshall Describes a Trip Through Whitechapel"

    It was in this lodging house that we met "Murderer Mag." She gained her name from the fact that since the very first of the Ripper murders she has devoted her life to the crude study of the crimes. The first woman killed was her mate, and the crime may have turned her mind. At any rate whenever she has had money enough to pay the miserable rental which would secure the place she has made it a practice to live, for at least a month each in the rooms in which the murders were committed, and to haunt the accursed spots on which the street butcheries took place. She can talk of nothing else and details with a horrid relish the minutest gossip of the bloody killings. It is her theory that the murders were done by a sailor who went on a long voyage after he finished his first series and will come back before long to begin a second. She hailed the news of the recent Butler Street murder with a kind of glee, assuming instantly that her prophecy had come true. But after she had gone posthaste to the scene of the crime and examined its gruesome details, she sorrowfully announced that she was wrong, and that the crime had been by less skilful hands than Jack's. Mag is one of the character's of Whitechapel - horribly in keeping with the place. She followed us when we visited one or two of the murder rooms and her explanations could not be suppressed. She is probably tight in one theory which the police cry out against, viz. that one of the murders was actually witnessed by a constable who was too badly frightened to interfere with the murderer after he had finished. The crime was done in a room opening off a small courtyard at the end of a short blind alley. This court is not more than twelve by sixteen feet in size, and a constable was surely standing in it while the murder and its following horrors were going on. Add to this fact the others that the man could not have done his work without a light, and that the window of the room was curtainless and the proof that the cowardly constable seem complete. But, after all, it is scarcely fair to expect a man who works for thirty shillings a week to risk his life in an encounter with such a desperate cut-throat as Whitechapel's historic murderer must have been.
    On the scene of one of the sidewalk murders a tiny cockney was swinging on a chain hanging from the tail of a truck. He observed us with indifference, but when he saw Murder(sic) Mag he scurried away into one of the hole like doorways, as might a frightened rat. She was too horrible for even a case hardened Whitechapel gamin to gaze on with complacency.

  • #2
    Below is the crucial description of the murder allegedly witnessed by a terrified police constable:
    Attached Files

    Comment


    • #3
      That's so sweet, I truly enjoy such kind of stuff.
      Already put it in my special file...

      Amitiés,
      David

      Comment


      • #4
        Here is the full article
        The fact that it ends in "to be continued" and there is mention in the text of other articles means I will be looking for more by this author
        Chris



        Logansport Reporter

        20 June 1895

        Night in Darkest Hell:
        Edward Marshall Describes a Trip Through Whitechapel


        The other night I rode into hell on the top of an omnibus. I entered through Oldgate (sic) and met a guide – an ex Scotland Yard detective – at the corner of Leman Street and Whitechapel Road. The hell was London’s Whitechapel district, which was once probably the most thoroughly vicious area in the world, and it is still probably the most depraved. Leman Street and Commercial Road meet Whitechapel Road together, and the three thoroughfares make a junction that is not equalled in London. Thirty thousand wretched women roam the district, and these corners are its most prominent spot. Jack the Ripper probably loitered in their whereabouts as he selected his victims from the miserable procession that is ever passing them. That his example made its impress on the neighbourhood in a way other than frightening the women is shown by the fact that two women have been killed in somewhat similar ways not far from his old haunts since I have been in London. This was told to me by reliable persons, and I visited the scene of one of the murders on Butler Street before the crime was twenty four hours old. Yet not a word has appeared in the London papers about the murders. The police here are fond of keeping their own counsel.
        We went first to a Whitechapel lodging house, within a block or two of the scene of the first Ripper murder. It is one of the few of the old style left. Since Jack’s flashing knife attracted the attention of the world to this district and its conditions, most of the lodging houses which formerly accommodated men and women indiscriminately have been forced to confine their business to one sex. But in a half dozen or so of the places the old custom is still permitted, on the ground that the homeless are as likely to be husband and wife as to be single and that they must have places to sleep. The police watched these lodging houses with even closer attention than they devote to the others, however, and see to it that their patrons are not young. The result is such a collection of tottering wrecks of manhood and toothless, crooning hags as Dante might have drawn ideas for his “Inferno” from.
        Picture a long, low room, half filled with benches and narrow tables. At one side a great glow of coals in a mammoth brazier, over which such of the human outcasts as can find refuse food to eat are cooking it. Probably a hundred people are in the place, which is clouded by the output of many tobacco pipes, and fouled by the smell and smoke which come from a bone which some clumsy fingers have dropped irreclaimably into the bed of coals. Combined with the reeking odor of burning flesh and bone is the reeking odor of the hundred squalid human beings.
        A hundred human beings, and among them not one hint of youth or beauty; not one person which is clean; not one person whose clothes are other than in the last stages of dilapidation and decay; not one face unmarked by the vicious lines of depraved age, or the vacuous imbecility with which kind time sometimes wipes away the traces of a bestial life. No collection of young criminals could be half so horrible as is this gathering of time tossed scum. Sum up the ages of the crowd and you will reach an average of half a century. Five hundred years of horror lurk in the muddled memories in this room and look out from blear eyes at the inquisitive visitor. Nothing good, nothing pure, nothing innocent, nothing that is not utterly and irredeemably vile is here. It is not a pleasant place to visit.
        It was in this lodging house that we met "Murderer Mag." She gained her name from the fact that since the very first of the Ripper murders she has devoted her life to the crude study of the crimes. The first woman killed was her mate, and the crime may have turned her mind. At any rate whenever she has had money enough to pay the miserable rental which would secure the place she has made it a practice to live, for at least a month each in the rooms in which the murders were committed, and to haunt the accursed spots on which the street butcheries took place. She can talk of nothing else and details with a horrid relish the minutest gossip of the bloody killings. It is her theory that the murders were done by a sailor who went on a long voyage after he finished his first series and will come back before long to begin a second. She hailed the news of the recent Butler Street murder with a kind of glee, assuming instantly that her prophecy had come true. But after she had gone posthaste to the scene of the crime and examined its gruesome details, she sorrowfully announced that she was wrong, and that the crime had been by less skilful hands than Jack's. Mag is one of the character's of Whitechapel - horribly in keeping with the place. She followed us when we visited one or two of the murder rooms and her explanations could not be suppressed. She is probably tight in one theory which the police cry out against, viz. that one of the murders was actually witnessed by a constable who was too badly frightened to interfere with the murderer after he had finished. The crime was done in a room opening off a small courtyard at the end of a short blind alley. This court is not more than twelve by sixteen feet in size, and a constable was surely standing in it while the murder and its following horrors were going on. Add to this fact the others that the man could not have done his work without a light, and that the window of the room was curtainless and the proof that the cowardly constable seem complete. But, after all, it is scarcely fair to expect a man who works for thirty shillings a week to risk his life in an encounter with such a desperate cut-throat as Whitechapel's historic murderer must have been.
        On the scene of one of the sidewalk murders a tiny cockney was swinging on a chain hanging from the tail of a truck. He observed us with indifference, but when he saw Murder(sic) Mag he scurried away into one of the hole like doorways, as might a frightened rat. She was too horrible for even a case hardened Whitechapel gamin to gaze on with complacency.
        I refer thus at length to the Jack the Ripper murders because they marked an era in this strange district. For many years it had been allowed to act as a sinkhole, into which the worst of London’s moral sewage drained, there to fester in its own decay, unheeded by the other sections of the city, practically unknown to any but the police, and only disturbed by them when some particularly flagrant offense forced them to momentarily probe the depths. London officialdom had gone on the theory that a certain percentage of humanity must necessarily sink to this degraded level, and was rather proud that the refuse was concentrated in one locality.
        But the Ripper murders – frightful climax of this neglect – were so ghastly in their nature and persistent in their recurrence, that the attention of not only all London but of all the world was focused on the neighbourhood, and the authorities were forced to such action as I have described in previous letters. The number of police was quadrupled down there, and with such speed as was possible destruction of the old slum environment was begun. Nearly every one of the old narrow streets on which the murders were committed has been torn out and widened, with both sides built up in substantial and sanitary “artisans’ dwellings” to take the place of the old time rookeries, and the lodging houses, hitherto permitted to conduct their business as they pleased, have been placed under strict regulations, rigidly enforced. This has resulted in a one sided reform. The actual criminal classes – the thugs, highway robbers, room thieves and like persons – have been to a great extent driven out or compelled to mend their ways. Thus Whitechapel now is probably freer from that manner of offense than the Fourth ward of New York. But, as this is the case throughout London, vice – as distinguished from crime – had not been interfered with. No effort has been made here or elsewhere in the city to drive depraved women from the streets. The public houses have been conducted in a way which would not be tolerated for one moment in any American city with which I am familiar, and, so far as I have been able to discover, modesty and virtue are unknown quantities in Whitechapel.
        Womanhood is without the safeguards of either law or custom. A woman anywhere in England gets little enough consideration; in Whitechapel she gets none. She drinks quite as freely as does the man, and attends the public house as often and as regularly. It is by no means uncommon to find women predominating in the bar-room crowds down there, and the hard working matron is quite as numerously in evidence as the woman of the streets. Indeed, they rub shoulders constantly, and this rubbing has so far worn away the moral class distinction that the mother of daughters who drops into the pub for a social glass of bitter beer, taking her whole brood with her, in no way resents the presence of the frail sisterhood, nor objects to her daughters’ observations of the miserable spectacle.

        TO BE CONTINUED

        Comment


        • #5
          The article had 2 illustrations which are below:
          Attached Files

          Comment


          • #6
            I would have thought that if any policeman had stumbled across jack at his work and decided discretion the better part of valor, it would have been Watkins in Mitre Square.
            If I had turned a darkened corner, saw what was remaining of poor Cathy Eddowes, then noticed a bloke with a large bloody knife looking in my direction, I probably would have said, "Ok, Jack! I've seen nothing. Bye, bye!" And beat a hasty retreat as fast as my legs would take me.
            Best wishes,
            Sean.

            Comment


            • #7
              Sean,

              He wouldn't attack you. Why do you think he killed only women? There must have been a reason right? Because he lacked the curage to kill men, and probally because of his sexual orientation .

              But, more than likely, he would run, rather than stand and fight.


              I would try to capture the bastard.
              Washington Irving:

              "To a homeless man, who has no spot on this wide world which he can truly call his own, there is a momentary feeling of something like independence and territorial consequence, when, after a weary day's travel, he kicks off his boots, thrusts his feet into slippers, and stretches himself before an inn fire. Let the world without go as it may; let kingdoms rise and fall, so long as he has the wherewithal to pay his bills, he is, for the time being, the very monarch of all he surveys. The arm chair in his throne; the poker his sceptre, and the little parlour of some twelve feet square, his undisputed empire. "

              Stratford-on-Avon

              Comment


              • #8
                On re-reading the passage about the alleged police witness I realised my eyes had jumped a line in two places and there were some omissions. Here is the correct version of the passage in question:

                She is probably right in one theory which the police cry out against, viz. that one of the murders was actually witnessed by a constable who was too badly frightened to interfere with its commission or to attempt to capture the murderer after he had finished. The crime was done in a room opening off a small courtyard at the end of a short blind alley. This court is not more than twelve by sixteen feet in size, and a constable was surely standing in it while the murder and its following horrors were going on. Add to this fact the others that the man could not have done his work without a light, and that the window of the room was curtainless and the proof that the crime was actually witnessed by that cowardly constable seems complete. But, after all, it is scarcely fair to expect a man who works for thirty shillings a week to risk his life in an encounter with such a desperate cut-throat as Whitechapel's historic murderer must have been.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Hi Corey.
                  What I wrote was tongue in cheek, and not in any way a serious suggestion about what may or may not have happened if anyone had interupted the Ripper.
                  I agree that in all likelyhood the killer would have run if he had been witnessed by someone better able to defend themselves than a poor half drunken, middle-aged woman. The Ripper was a coward who could only attack the weakest and most pitiful, and, speaking for myself, I would have shot him dead without a second thought if I had lived in that time and wittnessed one of his crimes.
                  To return to the actual claim of Meg's - didn't a resedent in Miller's Court hear footsteps that she thought might be those of a policeman leaving the Court at the time of the murder?
                  Who knows...Maybe Meg had it right all those long years ago...
                  Best wishes,
                  Sean.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Hello Sean,

                    I believe you are referring to Mrs. Cox, who said she couldn't sleep and continuously hears the comings and goings of various men. Whether one may have been a policeman is not known. Whether "Mags'" story is credible or not has to be weighed against the contempt that her kind seemed to have for law enforcement at that time.

                    Chris,

                    Great piece; not just for the "Murder Mag" story, but the author's descrition of the lodging house. He seemed to be truely shocked at what he saw. He was probably used to bathing at least once a week.
                    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


                    • #11
                      Thanks for sharing Chris.

                      Mags is destined to become a suspect now!!
                      Best regards,
                      Adam


                      "They assumed Kelly was the last... they assumed wrong" - Me

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        There has been some suggestions somwhere that murder mag and pearly poll where one and the same person

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Thanks Chris for a very interesting find.
                          I rather think that this person nicknamed "Mag" was "Margaret Hayes" or "Margaret Hames"who was with Emma Smith on the night of her murder .Both had travelled up to Limehouse,presumably to solicit. The last time Margaret Hayes saw Emma Smith before her attack was when she saw her friend Emma talking to a man dressed in dark clothes with a white scarf at the corner of Burdett Street and Farrance Street, close to the East India Dock Road / West India Dock Road docklands area where ,presumably they were hoping to meet sailors coming off ships.
                          After returning to their lodging house in George Street,Spitalfields ,Margaret soon learned of the vicious attack on her friend,which included a cut to her ear and face as well as the attack on her reproductive areas which caused her death.She then accompanied Emma to the hospital with the deputy lodging house keeper and another woman.
                          Margaret had herself been attacked in the street just before Christmas 1887 and had had to spend two weeks in hospital as a result.

                          I also think the reporter who is a bit busy " sensationalising" her story simply got it wrong about the PC who she says actually "saw" one of the murders taking place "in a room".I think it most likely she was talking about the City [beat] PC Watkins who shone his torch onto Catherine Eddowes,in a "dark corner" of Mitre Square, only minutes after her murder in Mitre Square.Its just possible too that this is the "City PC" who Macnaghten claims may have caught a glimpse of the killer in MItre Square.

                          We must not forget the police file on the Whitechapel series of murders actually opened in April 1888 following Emma Smith"s death and closed just after Frances Coles was found murdered on February 13th 1891.
                          Look forward toanything further you may dig up on this Chris,
                          Norma

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Poor Watkins, always blamed.
                            Must say he looks sly and spineless...

                            Amitiés all,
                            David

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Pearly Poll, Margaret Hayes, or someone else entirely?

                              Natalie's suggestion is an excellent one. Since both 'Mag' and Margaret suspected sailors, that would be a major point in favor of identifying 'Mag' with Hayes. In Pearly Poll's favor is the fact that Tabram was more generally considered the first of Jack's victims as opposed to Smith. Also, Pearly Poll knew Annie Chapman and speculated that the killer of Tabram and Chapman lived near Buck's Row, thus providing a link between Tabram-Nichols-Chapman. Such a theory sounds like something our 'Murder Mag' might come up with and also shows that Poll maintained a strong interest in the murders long after her viewing of the soldiers.

                              Yours truly,

                              Tom Wescott

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