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An authorship analysis of the Jack the Ripper letters (Andrea Nini, 2018)

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  • An authorship analysis of the Jack the Ripper letters (Andrea Nini, 2018)

    Andrea Nini
    Linguistics and English Language, University of Manchester, UK

    Digital Scholarship in the Humanities
    Published: 25 January 2018


    Abstract

    The Whitechapel murders that terrorized London in 1888 are still remembered to this day, thanks to the legend of its unapprehended perpetrator, Jack the Ripper. In addition to the gruesomeness of the murders, the name and the persona of the killer have been popularized by the over 200 letters signed as ‘Jack the Ripper’ that have been received following the murders. The most supported theory on the authorship of these letters is that some of the earliest key texts were written by journalists to sell more newspapers and that the same person is responsible for writing the two most iconic earliest letters. The present article reports on an authorship clustering/verification analysis of the Jack the Ripper letters with a view to detect the presence of one writer for the earliest and most historically important texts. After compiling the ‘Jack the Ripper Corpus’ consisting of the 209 letters linked to the case, a cluster analysis of the letters is carried out using the Jaccard distance of word 2-grams. The quantitative results and the discovery of certain shared distinctive lexicogrammatical structures support the hypothesis that the two most iconic texts responsible for the creation of the persona of Jack the Ripper were written by the same person. In addition, there is also evidence that a link exists between these texts and another of the key texts in the case, the Moab and Midian letter.


    This should be the link to the full text...
    https://academic.oup.com/dsh/advance...4-001465e0f65f

    JM

  • #2
    Originally posted by jmenges View Post
    Andrea Nini
    Linguistics and English Language, University of Manchester, UK

    Digital Scholarship in the Humanities
    Published: 25 January 2018


    Abstract

    The Whitechapel murders that terrorized London in 1888 are still remembered to this day, thanks to the legend of its unapprehended perpetrator, Jack the Ripper. In addition to the gruesomeness of the murders, the name and the persona of the killer have been popularized by the over 200 letters signed as ‘Jack the Ripper’ that have been received following the murders. The most supported theory on the authorship of these letters is that some of the earliest key texts were written by journalists to sell more newspapers and that the same person is responsible for writing the two most iconic earliest letters. The present article reports on an authorship clustering/verification analysis of the Jack the Ripper letters with a view to detect the presence of one writer for the earliest and most historically important texts. After compiling the ‘Jack the Ripper Corpus’ consisting of the 209 letters linked to the case, a cluster analysis of the letters is carried out using the Jaccard distance of word 2-grams. The quantitative results and the discovery of certain shared distinctive lexicogrammatical structures support the hypothesis that the two most iconic texts responsible for the creation of the persona of Jack the Ripper were written by the same person. In addition, there is also evidence that a link exists between these texts and another of the key texts in the case, the Moab and Midian letter.


    This should be the link to the full text...
    https://academic.oup.com/dsh/advance...4-001465e0f65f

    JM

    Thanks it will take a while to digest, but some serious work, seems to be getting rare lately.
    G U T

    There are two ways to be fooled, one is to believe what isn't true, the other is to refuse to believe that which is true.

    Comment


    • #3
      Ditto that GUT.
      Thanks for the link JM.
      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


      • #4
        Interesting conclusions too
        G U T

        There are two ways to be fooled, one is to believe what isn't true, the other is to refuse to believe that which is true.

        Comment


        • #5
          Wow, this is a complex academic analysis! I agree, the conclusion is extremely interesting. Here's a link to the author: https://www.research.manchester.ac.u...drea.nini.html
          Last edited by John G; 01-30-2018, 01:10 AM.

          Comment


          • #6
            Fascinating. Thanks, Jon
            Kind regards, Sam Flynn

            "Suche Nullen" (Nietzsche, Götzendämmerung, 1888)

            Comment


            • #7
              Extremely interesting, highly recommended

              Comment


              • #8
                His PhD thesis is worth a read.

                Sherlock Holmes fan
                My name is Dave. You cannot reach me through Debs email account

                Comment


                • #9
                  I’ll have a read of this as soon as I get a bit of spare time but I have to admit to something. Over the years if anyone had asked me if I felt that any of the ‘ripper’ letters were genuine I’d have said that the ‘Moab and Midian’ one is the one that rings true for me. No certainties here of course. It’s just.....
                  Regards

                  Herlock






                  "Crime is common. Logic is rare. Therefore it is upon the logic rather than upon the crime that you should dwell.”

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by jmenges View Post
                    Andrea Nini
                    Linguistics and English Language, University of Manchester, UK

                    Digital Scholarship in the Humanities
                    Published: 25 January 2018


                    Abstract

                    The Whitechapel murders that terrorized London in 1888 are still remembered to this day, thanks to the legend of its unapprehended perpetrator, Jack the Ripper. In addition to the gruesomeness of the murders, the name and the persona of the killer have been popularized by the over 200 letters signed as ‘Jack the Ripper’ that have been received following the murders. The most supported theory on the authorship of these letters is that some of the earliest key texts were written by journalists to sell more newspapers and that the same person is responsible for writing the two most iconic earliest letters. The present article reports on an authorship clustering/verification analysis of the Jack the Ripper letters with a view to detect the presence of one writer for the earliest and most historically important texts. After compiling the ‘Jack the Ripper Corpus’ consisting of the 209 letters linked to the case, a cluster analysis of the letters is carried out using the Jaccard distance of word 2-grams. The quantitative results and the discovery of certain shared distinctive lexicogrammatical structures support the hypothesis that the two most iconic texts responsible for the creation of the persona of Jack the Ripper were written by the same person. In addition, there is also evidence that a link exists between these texts and another of the key texts in the case, the Moab and Midian letter.


                    This should be the link to the full text...
                    https://academic.oup.com/dsh/advance...4-001465e0f65f

                    JM
                    wow thanks for posting. I didn't have time to read the whole thing but I did skim and read the conclusion. so basically its just that the dear boss and saucy jack were written by the same person with possibly the moab one also?

                    Any other major finding or anything new?

                    also, did it compare the 1896 winters coming letter? this letter is the last document in the WC file and ive always thought that it might have been from the same writer as Dear boss/saucy jack as did the police at the time.
                    "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

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Abby Normal View Post
                      wow thanks for posting. I didn't have time to read the whole thing but I did skim and read the conclusion. so basically its just that the dear boss and saucy jack were written by the same person with possibly the moab one also?

                      Any other major finding or anything new?

                      also, did it compare the 1896 winters coming letter? this letter is the last document in the WC file and ive always thought that it might have been from the same writer as Dear boss/saucy jack as did the police at the time.
                      My reading is that they limited it to those received prior to the first letters becoming widespread, to reduce the possibility of copy-cat.
                      G U T

                      There are two ways to be fooled, one is to believe what isn't true, the other is to refuse to believe that which is true.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Quote


                        the present analysis will pay special attention to those early texts that were received not later than the 1 October 1888, before the content of the ‘Dear Boss’ and ‘Saucy Jacky’ was popularized by the police and the media and therefore hoaxers could have knowledge of it.
                        G U T

                        There are two ways to be fooled, one is to believe what isn't true, the other is to refuse to believe that which is true.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          I read this last night.

                          Agree with GUT, they paid special attention to the "pre publication letters" i.e. all letters purported to have been sent by the killer PRIOR to Dear Boss and Saucy being published by the Press that are on file and recorded in 'Letters From Hell', Evans & Skinner.

                          This group comprised of 4 letters - including Dear Boss and Saucy Jack and apparently excluding the (probable modern fake) "17 September letter".

                          The second group is the "post publication" letters compromising all other letters on file. This included the 1896 letter.

                          All the letters are grouped in Fig.3 of the paper.

                          The conclusion was that the Moab and Midian letter was most probably written by the same person who wrote Dear Boss and Saucy - see Table 2 in the paper for an interesting visual analysis.

                          BTW in case anyone is wondering - the "threat letter to an unknown witness" postmarked 8/10/88 is the first label in pink titled JR 081088 directly below "Dear Boss" i.e the green group that also contains "Moab & Midian" in Fg. 3 of the paper.

                          If anyone wants to see how their "favourite" letter rated have a look at Fig 3. and DL the supplementary data file within the paper which identifies the letter and the label name used.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by phantom View Post
                            I read this last night.

                            Agree with GUT, they paid special attention to the "pre publication letters" i.e. all letters purported to have been sent by the killer PRIOR to Dear Boss and Saucy being published by the Press that are on file and recorded in 'Letters From Hell', Evans & Skinner.

                            This group comprised of 4 letters - including Dear Boss and Saucy Jack and apparently excluding the (probable modern fake) "17 September letter".

                            The second group is the "post publication" letters compromising all other letters on file. This included the 1896 letter.

                            All the letters are grouped in Fig.3 of the paper.

                            The conclusion was that the Moab and Midian letter was most probably written by the same person who wrote Dear Boss and Saucy - see Table 2 in the paper for an interesting visual analysis.

                            BTW in case anyone is wondering - the "threat letter to an unknown witness" postmarked 8/10/88 is the first label in pink titled JR 081088 directly below "Dear Boss" i.e the green group that also contains "Moab & Midian" in Fg. 3 of the paper.

                            If anyone wants to see how their "favourite" letter rated have a look at Fig 3. and DL the supplementary data file within the paper which identifies the letter and the label name used.
                            hi Phantom
                            I cant find anything there about the 1896 winters coming letter.what does it say about that one?
                            "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

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              I've read the Introduction and skimmed some of the rest, and it seems to be very scholarly indeed. I will try to read it over the weekend,, as I have been interested in the so-called Ripper Letters and the public fascination with the case for some time now. Thank you for the link to the article.
                              Pat D. https://forum.casebook.org/core/imag...rt/reading.gif
                              ---------------
                              Von Konigswald: Jack the Ripper plays shuffleboard. -- Happy Birthday, Wanda June by Kurt Vonnegut, c.1970.
                              ---------------

                              Comment

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