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Ms Rubenhold Wants a Ripper Tour Mural

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  • #16
    What if we were considering a man whom the police, his wife and his mates down the pub were all on record as saying was a burglar - would we ignore that evidence because he’d never been prosecuted?
    Last edited by MrBarnett; 02-14-2020, 01:14 AM.

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    • #17
      The question of whether or not these women were prostitutes seems very agenda driven. If we assume for the sake of argument that they had never even remotely engaged in prostitution and were as pure as the driven snow it would tell us what exactly? That they were not Ripper victims?

      c.d.

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      • #18
        Originally posted by c.d. View Post
        The question of whether or not these women were prostitutes seems very agenda driven. If we assume for the sake of argument that they had never even remotely engaged in prostitution and were as pure as the driven snow it would tell us what exactly? That they were not Ripper victims?

        c.d.
        According to Ms Rubenhold, we are wedded to the idea of JTR being a killer of prostitutes. She has suggested that the reason for that is that we have sexual fantasies about the Ripper killing ‘whores’ (her term).

        BTW, ‘we’ = Ripperologists in general.


        Last edited by MrBarnett; 02-14-2020, 01:57 AM.

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        • #19
          Originally posted by c.d. View Post
          The question of whether or not these women were prostitutes seems very agenda driven. If we assume for the sake of argument that they had never even remotely engaged in prostitution and were as pure as the driven snow it would tell us what exactly? That they were not Ripper victims?

          c.d.
          We know from reading the book what agenda the author is driving with. But for our sake, if they weren't...what would it tell us? That the murders were a part of some bizarre series of scenarios in which the women were meeting with a man-without telling anyone- late at night in backyards, empty squares, deserted streets and entranceways to communicate some other type of business.
          Like a blackmail scheme?



          JM

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          • #20
            Originally posted by jmenges View Post

            We know from reading the book what agenda the author is driving with. But for our sake, if they weren't...what would it tell us? That the murders were a part of some bizarre series of scenarios in which the women were meeting with a man-without telling anyone- late at night in backyards, empty squares, deserted streets and entranceways to communicate some other type of business.
            Like a blackmail scheme?



            JM
            Hallie does not accept the evidence of any witness who did not personally know the victim in question.
            Last edited by MrBarnett; 02-14-2020, 03:31 AM.

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            • #21
              From what we have, I don't think any of the C5 victims, save Mary, would be classified as "prostitutes by profession." Barnett does seem to indicate that Mary had returned to prostitution to cover the bills. Exchanging sex for money, however, was unfortunately a common necessity of the day for many destitute women living in Whitechappel. Inferring the victims may have been engaged in prostitution at the time of their deaths is not quite the same thing as inferring they were prostitutes by profession. It is, of course, an inference. We know that Nichols and Chapman, for example, were in need of doss money, and both set out late at night to obtain it, confident that they would (Nichols herself said she had eared it a few times, but had spent it on drink). How they intended to earn it, and why they expressed confidence that they would, is something that we do not know but have to infer based upon what we know of the time and place. I don't think it's a stretch to suggest they may have, like many women had to at the time, engaged in causal prostitution at such times. JtR wouldn't care if his victim was a full-time or part-time or only occasionally engaged in such activity, though whether he was driven by a desire to rid the world of prostitutes per se or rather simply knew they were an easy victim to acquire is of course unknown. Eddowes, we know had no money, but somehow ended up drunk enough to spend time in gaol for a bit, and when released headed towards Houndsditch, which would take her to St. Bart's church, a known location where prostitutes (causal and otherwise) would gather to find trade (also, she was arrested for being drunk near by). If the Church Passage Couple was indeed her and JtR, their actions (her hand on his chest, apparently close to each other) would also be consistent. Again, it may not have been something she regularly resorted to, but the times were cruel and there were few options. Stride, though she had been arrested when younger, appears to have dressed herself up nicely, which would increase her chance to find a customer, but also could point towards a meeting with a lover.

              So, I would on one level agree that, no, by the police definition given, the victims were not "prostitutes by profession", but to ignore the very real possibility that they were engaged in prostitution when they were killed does, I think, a disservice to their memories by denying recognition of the harshness of society against them at the time.

              - Jeff

              Comment


              • #22
                FYI, this is Hallie’s recent blog on the Waterstones booksellers’ website:

                ” Hallie Rubenhold on her Battle with the Ripperologists

                Posted on 3rd February 2020 by Mark Skinner

                The Five, Hallie Rubenhold's magisterial revisionist history of the victims of Jack the Ripper, has received both critical plaudits - scooping the Baillie Gifford Prize for Non-Fiction last November - and popular success. But there has been one section of the public that has always been implacably opposed to Rubenhold's argument: those men who pride themselves on their Ripper expertise, otherwise known as the Ripperologists. In this exclusive essay, Hallie Rubenhold details the abuse and invective she has suffered at the hands of these people and tries to deconstruct why their hatred has been so marked.







                Authors never know how the world will receive their books. There is always an agonising period shortly after the new work appears on the shelves when we await with bated breath, and not a little dread, the verdict of the critics. Until recently, none of my books – two novels and two works of non-fiction – had been deemed especially controversial. They were born, introduced to the public, read, discussed, and, for the most part, readers were kind to them. Then there came The Five.




                I can’t say that I didn’t expect some dissent when I decided to tackle a subject with a connection to Jack the Ripper. However, I hadn’t anticipated just how much fury The Five would ignite, nor how early it would begin.




                From the outset, a number of so-called Ripperologists took offence at the book’s claims that it was the first full-length biography to examine the five canonical victims as a subject divorced from the story of their killer. Apart from a small booklet containing fifty-seven pages of text, nothing else on the subject existed, but somehow, I’d already got off on the wrong foot. Bit by bit, as we inched nearer to publication day, matters began to escalate. In the summer of 2018, I was hounded on social media for claiming I had discovered that there was no evidence to support the popular belief that Jack the Ripper was a killer of ‘prostitutes.’ I was told by Ripperologists that I should ‘behave professionally’ and ‘stop airing [my] opinions as fact’ before my book came out and my ‘evidence’ could ‘be assessed’ by them. Then it got worse. Photographs of me taken surreptitiously while I was giving a lecture appeared on a Ripperology Facebook page, along with encouragements to post disparaging and sexual commentary. A thread appeared on a forum site I belonged to which ripped me and my yet-unpublished book apart in the most personal and grotesque way. It is now over three hundred pages long.




                When The Five was finally published, things exploded. I received abusive messages, I was denounced as a liar and accused of hiding and ignoring ‘facts’, as well as doctoring and redacting documents. One man, who shall always be remembered by the hashtag #ReadthebookTrevor, trolled me incessantly over the course of forty-eight hours. Unfortunately for him, his sexist rant coincided with International Women’s Day, and was not embraced warmly in the Twittersphere. While it was encouraging to feel championed by the public, the invective kept flowing. Perhaps the lowest point was the two-hour podcast recorded by a group of Ripperologists who tore apart The Five chapter by chapter, before finally comparing me to the Holocaust denier David Irving.




                What on earth was it about Jack the Ripper that got people so hot and bothered?




                Over the months, I’ve been forced to ponder this ridiculous question and it took me some time to make sense of it. I realize now that by writing a book about Polly Nichols, Annie Chapman, Elizabeth Stride, Kate Eddowes and Mary Jane Kelly which had nothing to do with their killer, I had completely disrupted the Ripper narrative. This narrative means a great deal to many people. Some have invested decades of their lives in trying to identify the killer, others have built an identity for themselves around being a Ripperologist. Not only am I an outsider (and a woman), but fundamentally, The Five challenges the very validity of the pursuit of Ripperology.




                Ripperology likes to deal in what it cites as ‘facts’, but in researching The Five, I soon learned that these ‘facts’ are derived from a deeply problematic body of evidence. The witness statements, which supposedly document the final movements of the victims, are, with few exceptions, all unverifiable. In the introduction to The Five, I clearly explain that I have excluded statements from witnesses who never knew the victims personally, who could not vouch for their identity. So much of what is reported came from those who believed they had seen one of the victims down a dark street, or possibly heard something said in passing. Not only can none of this be confirmed, but research over the past 131 years has radically changed what we know about the perceptions of witnesses. We’ve learned a great deal about how psychology and environmental factors alter perceptions. We simply can’t lay aside advances in our scientific knowledge when dealing with material from 1888.




                ‘Facts’ are also not what appear in the era’s newspapers. The witness statements on which much of Ripperology relies do not come from actual documents, but newspaper reports. In many cases, there is no definitive source for what was said, and if something was said it was reprinted in multiple different and contradictory ways. Neither can ‘facts’ consist of hastily scribbled or summarised police notes, steeped in the era’s prejudice. All documents require interrogation. In writing a history, my duty was to sift through what had been considered evidence by other authors, weigh its merits and examine its contexts. I learned that there simply is not enough viable evidence in existence to draw any conclusions about the identity of the killer, nor will there ever be. Jack the Ripper’s identity is irrelevant, and for some people that ‘fact’ is just too disturbing.”



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                • #23
                  Originally posted by jmenges View Post

                  We know from reading the book what agenda the author is driving with. But for our sake, if they weren't...what would it tell us? That the murders were a part of some bizarre series of scenarios in which the women were meeting with a man-without telling anyone- late at night in backyards, empty squares, deserted streets and entranceways to communicate some other type of business.
                  Like a blackmail scheme?



                  JM
                  I think there are some theories out and on here that would have us believe that, that was entirely the case!

                  Tristan

                  Comment


                  • #24
                    Originally posted by MrBarnett View Post

                    According to Ms Rubenhold, we are wedded to the idea of JTR being a killer of prostitutes. She has suggested that the reason for that is that we have sexual fantasies about the Ripper killing ‘whores’ (her term).

                    BTW, ‘we’ = Ripperologists in general.

                    I don't think the killer would have been that discerning. I am sure he would have killed any woman, regardless of her profession if he could have convinced them to accompany him down a dark alley. I believe that was an issue with the Yorkshire Ripper to start of with. The police and psychologists all seemed convinced that he was specifically targeting prostitutes, it so turned out to be entirely not the case, when women who were not prostitutes were murdered.

                    Tristan

                    Comment


                    • #25
                      Originally posted by John Malcolm View Post
                      I'm tempted to give it a go. With back up from some Ripperologists who are among the "fairer sex" (!!!), of course.
                      I think that you would be ideal for the job John. Perhaps with Debra Arif, Caz (maybe a long list of female ripperologists) etc. She’s controlling the narrative at the moment and people are assuming that she’s correct in everything she says. And if some have made abusive comments (I don’t use social media so I don’t know) then we need to make it clear that it’s not our view.
                      Regards

                      Herlock




                      “ Herlock is the cleverest man that I’ve ever met.” - Stephen Hawking.
                      “ I wish that I could have achieved half as much as Herlock.”- Neil Armstrong.
                      “ What a voice Herlock has.” - Luciano Pavarotti.
                      “ I wish that I could dump Harry for Herlock.” - Meghan Markle.
                      “ I know that it’s not good to be jealous but I just can’t help it.” - John Holmes.

                      Comment


                      • #26
                        Originally posted by JeffHamm View Post
                        From what we have, I don't think any of the C5 victims, save Mary, would be classified as "prostitutes by profession." Barnett does seem to indicate that Mary had returned to prostitution to cover the bills. Exchanging sex for money, however, was unfortunately a common necessity of the day for many destitute women living in Whitechappel. Inferring the victims may have been engaged in prostitution at the time of their deaths is not quite the same thing as inferring they were prostitutes by profession. It is, of course, an inference. We know that Nichols and Chapman, for example, were in need of doss money, and both set out late at night to obtain it, confident that they would (Nichols herself said she had eared it a few times, but had spent it on drink). How they intended to earn it, and why they expressed confidence that they would, is something that we do not know but have to infer based upon what we know of the time and place. I don't think it's a stretch to suggest they may have, like many women had to at the time, engaged in causal prostitution at such times. JtR wouldn't care if his victim was a full-time or part-time or only occasionally engaged in such activity, though whether he was driven by a desire to rid the world of prostitutes per se or rather simply knew they were an easy victim to acquire is of course unknown. Eddowes, we know had no money, but somehow ended up drunk enough to spend time in gaol for a bit, and when released headed towards Houndsditch, which would take her to St. Bart's church, a known location where prostitutes (causal and otherwise) would gather to find trade (also, she was arrested for being drunk near by). If the Church Passage Couple was indeed her and JtR, their actions (her hand on his chest, apparently close to each other) would also be consistent. Again, it may not have been something she regularly resorted to, but the times were cruel and there were few options. Stride, though she had been arrested when younger, appears to have dressed herself up nicely, which would increase her chance to find a customer, but also could point towards a meeting with a lover.

                        So, I would on one level agree that, no, by the police definition given, the victims were not "prostitutes by profession", but to ignore the very real possibility that they were engaged in prostitution when they were killed does, I think, a disservice to their memories by denying recognition of the harshness of society against them at the time.

                        - Jeff
                        Rubenhold addresses this rather weakly by saying that, given the absence of any evidence that any of them were, as you say "prostitutes by profession", to claiming they participated in "casual prostitution" (or as Mark Ripper called it "subsistence prostitution") one is using "a blanket term cast over the ambiguities of the women's lives that is steeped in moral judgment. It ascribes guilt by association: because a woman was poor and an alcoholic, because she left her children, because she had committed adultery, because she had children out of wedlock, because she lived in a lodging house, because she was out late at night, because she was out late at night [and her list goes on and on] This line of reasoning also explains why Polly, Annie and Kate's homelessness was entirely overlooked as a factor in their murders; a "houseless creature" and a "prostitute" by their moral failings were one and the same. There were many reasons why an impoverished working-class woman may have been outdoors during the hours of darkness, and not all of them were as obvious as street soliciting. Those without homes or families, those who drank heavily, and those who were dispossessed did not lead lives that adhered to conventional rules. No one knew or cared about where they went, and for this reason, rather than for a sexual motive, they would have appealed to a killer."

                        So if as Jeff said, that "they may have, like many women had to at the time, engaged in causal prostitution", according to the author, with no absolute unarguable evidence then it is a sex bias to even suggest it.

                        Of course, where Polly, Annie and Kate lodged was not overlooked at all. The history of where they lodged was related in the police reports in detail and their fellow lodgers were interviewed.

                        As for no one caring where they went, we have statements from witnesses that clearly indicate that both Polly and Annie were going out to earn enough money to pay for a bed.

                        JM

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                        • #27
                          Originally posted by jmenges View Post

                          Rubenhold addresses this rather weakly by saying that, given the absence of any evidence that any of them were, as you say "prostitutes by profession", to claiming they participated in "casual prostitution" (or as Mark Ripper called it "subsistence prostitution") one is using "a blanket term cast over the ambiguities of the women's lives that is steeped in moral judgment. It ascribes guilt by association: because a woman was poor and an alcoholic, because she left her children, because she had committed adultery, because she had children out of wedlock, because she lived in a lodging house, because she was out late at night, because she was out late at night [and her list goes on and on] This line of reasoning also explains why Polly, Annie and Kate's homelessness was entirely overlooked as a factor in their murders; a "houseless creature" and a "prostitute" by their moral failings were one and the same. There were many reasons why an impoverished working-class woman may have been outdoors during the hours of darkness, and not all of them were as obvious as street soliciting. Those without homes or families, those who drank heavily, and those who were dispossessed did not lead lives that adhered to conventional rules. No one knew or cared about where they went, and for this reason, rather than for a sexual motive, they would have appealed to a killer."

                          So if as Jeff said, that "they may have, like many women had to at the time, engaged in causal prostitution", according to the author, with no absolute unarguable evidence then it is a sex bias to even suggest it.

                          Of course, where Polly, Annie and Kate lodged was not overlooked at all. The history of where they lodged was related in the police reports in detail and their fellow lodgers were interviewed.

                          As for no one caring where they went, we have statements from witnesses that clearly indicate that both Polly and Annie were going out to earn enough money to pay for a bed.

                          JM
                          Biases do, of course, exist and do influence the interpretations we all make. However, I don't think it can be argued in this situation that bias alone leads to the suggestion Polly and Annie in particular, and probably Eddowes and Stride as well, were resorting to prostitution. As you say, we have statements indicating that Polly and Annie both said they were going out to earn their doss money. Polly even indicated her confidence to do so by mentioning her "jolly bonnet". Neither of them packed up wares to take to sell, it was past midnight, so there would be no place open to look for casual work, witness testimonies politely swerve but don't deny they did engage in such activities, and so forth. The locations of the murders would be suited for such a transaction. Potential sightings of Annie and overeard bits of conversation, at least, are consistent (though not conclusive) with such activities. So, to insist that engaging in prostitution is an unfounded interpretation and only a result of a bias based upon casting a moral judgement upon the victim, I would suggest is incorrect. Simply stating that this appears to be what they were doing at the time they encountered JtR does not in anyway include a moral judgement, except that imposed by the counter-argument. It's inserting a moral judgement into the statement that was not there to begin with, and then arguing that inserted moral judgement is a bias. I've yet to see anyone come close to suggesting that any of the victims deserved to be a victim because of their drinking, poverty, or how they may have had to earn money for a bed. In fact, most comment on how they were victims because of how society had cast such judgements, leaving them open to severe hardships and increased risks. I've yet to see anyone describe the victims, unless quoting contemporary sources (i.e. of "low character" is a moral judgement), in negative terms as people. They had difficulties, such as alcoholism, which lead to poor decisions (Polly said she had earned her doss money a few times, but had spent it on drink), but that is the nature of alcoholism, to deny that is a bias in my view.

                          A well researched book into the lives of the victims would be very informative, and would also help to provide a better understanding of life at that time. Rehashing the details of the crimes themselves would add little to what has already been provided. But the only reason most people will read about the lives of these women is because they were victims of JtR. Even if her book doesn't go into the crimes, she too is making sales off the deaths of these women, whether or not she recognizes that. As long as people don't expect it to be a book about the murders, though, then it should be an interesting read. And disagreeing with her interpretations is fine, it's no different from deciding that a book claiming that "X was JtR" is based upon a bunch of incorrect facts, or wild speculations, or invalid inferences. Her claim the victims were found when asleep is refutable (clearly, Eddowes was not asleep in Mitre Square as PC Watkins had just patrolled it), but nobody is required to agree with her, but that doesn't mean one shouldn't consider her suggestions before deciding if they are acceptable or not.

                          - Jeff

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