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The openshaw and from hell letters

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  • The openshaw and from hell letters

    Were these written by the same person you think? I noticed there are spelling mistakes on both of them and the writing seems the same to me. I could be wrong, but has anyone seen both of these letters and compared the two? If you have, do you think they are written by the same hand?

  • #2
    Hi jon,

    The handwriting in both letters is considerably different. Also, the tone of both letters seems dissimilar. The From Hell letter was sent with a more direct message that seeemd to be unemotional but meant to be shocking. Openshaw's letter seems to be more mocking in tone; it even has lyrics to an Irish song (although altered) at the bottom of the letter. Of the two of them, the latter is probably more than likely a hoax. However, that does not mean the writer of both was not one and the same person. I personally believe the writer of some of the letters may have altered his handwriting (either willfully or involunatarily, like during a psychotic mood swing) that made it difficult to compare handwriting samples. It is also equally possible that both letters were, in fact, from the killer.
    I won't make any deals. I've resigned. I will not be pushed, filed, stamped, indexed, briefed,de-briefed, or numbered!

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    • #3
      Jon,

      Dont know if you have seen this letter. It has handwriting similar to the Openshaw letter.
      Attached Files
      Last edited by corey123; 01-04-2010, 09:03 PM.
      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

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      • #4
        Hi Corey,

        no similarity at all - and I have better eyes than Hutch.

        Amitiés
        David

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        • #5
          David,

          I hope you do have better eyes than old Hutchy.

          but I do see some similaritys.

          None in the openshaw with from hell, but the openshaw and the one I posted above.
          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

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          • #6
            other than sloppiness, I see no similarities whatsover between the letter above and the Openshaw letter.

            I also see no similarities between either of those two and the From Hell letter. the only real similarity is that the Openshaw letter and From Hell letter both appear to be written using Irish slang words and some phonetic spelling. but the dangling letter in From Hell stab down, usually to points. whereas the dangling parts of letter in the Openshaw swoop around.

            how the "ou" attach to "you" and "your" in the From Hell and Openshaw are vaguely similar, but not enough for me to think they were written by the same person.

            the words beginning with "t" in the Openshaw letter and the one above are different. and "bloody" and "bloomin" are different.

            My amateur opinion would be that none of the 3 were written by the same person.

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            • #7
              Written by a woman, in my amateur opinion.

              As an expert, I'd say Toppy's sister.
              From Romford.

              Amitiés all,
              David

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              • #8
                Just throwing this out there, and not saying I necessarily believe it. Anyone for the theory that known prolific letter writer Walter Sickert- who was NOT Jack the Ripper- was responsible for a lot of the letters (including possibly some of the ones mentioned here) as a means to amuse himself, and that his skills as an artist enabled him to alter the style between them?

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                • #9
                  Hi Kensei,

                  There isn't the single evidence of his supposed "fascination" in 1888.
                  That we know.

                  Amitiés,
                  David

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                  • #10
                    Hi Jon & all,

                    My view is that they weren't written by the same hand. I don’t see any similarity in both letters - not in the handwriting, not in the tone and not in the number and type of errors.

                    The handwriting of the Openshaw letter seems fabricated:
                    - the words aren’t written in a general even (un)neatness
                    - the words aren’t written in the same size
                    - a lot of words are not written horizontal, some end higher than they begin, other end lower than they begin.

                    The ‘From Hell letter’ is much more evenly written, with the individual letters closer together.

                    The ‘From Hell’ letter’ is very to-the-point (it has a goal), while the ‘Openshaw letter’ seems to have been written just to mock, which is even accentuated by the lyric. In general the latter is much more similar to the ‘Dear Boss letter’ and ‘Saucy Jack card’ in that respect.

                    While only 9 errors in 57 words were made in the FH letter (=16%), 21 error in 83 words were made in the ‘OS letter’ (= 25%). Plus, while in the FH letter errors like ‘prasarved’, ‘nise’ and ‘wate’ are understandable, as perhaps are ‘Sor’ and ‘Mishter’, in my view errors like ‘hoperate’ ‘ospitle’, ‘dror’, ‘throte’, ‘innerds’, ‘devle’, ‘ mikerscope’ and ‘scalpul’ are a bit over the top in the OS letter.

                    All the best,
                    Frank
                    "You can rob me, you can starve me and you can beat me and you can kill me. Just don't bore me."
                    Clint Eastwood as Gunny in "Heartbreak Ridge"

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                    • #11
                      A thought

                      Originally posted by jonwilson View Post
                      Were these written by the same person you think? I noticed there are spelling mistakes on both of them and the writing seems the same to me. I could be wrong, but has anyone seen both of these letters and compared the two? If you have, do you think they are written by the same hand?
                      While researching Lusk and his role for my novel I read in Paul Begg's Jack the Ripper the text of the post card and from Hell letters sent to Lusk. It appears to me that the punctuation and speeling mistakes are not unintentional in the two messages. For example, the way knife is spelled inthe From Hell letter Someone who was illiterate or spelling phonetically would likely spell knife "nife" rather than knif as the letter does. I believe this also applies to people speaking English as a second tongue as well as those who cannot read. I see in the two missives an attempt to divert suspicion and make it appear that someone (possibly Irish) is the author rather than someone who is literate in English. I can't comment on the authenticity of the letters. they well may have been hoaxes along with the rest of the letters but have we considered that the post card and letter were an attempt to divert Lusk's and the police's attention elsewhere?
                      Neil "Those who forget History are doomed to repeat it." - Santayana

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                      • #12
                        Hi all,

                        Both the 'From Hell' letter and 'Openshaw' letter seem to have had companion missives, but they were not each other. In the case of 'From hell', it was the 'Box of toys' postcard, received by Lusk two days prior to 'From Hell' hell. It starts, 'Say Boss, you seem rare frightened...' This refers no doubt to an incident reported in the press (and given front page coverage by the Penny Illustrated News on 10/13) whereby Lusk's house was visited by a strange man who subsequently found him in a pub and creeped him out. The men of the WVC and the reporter from the Evening News who saw both letters side by side said they were in the same hand. Unfortunately, no facsimile of the 'Box of Toys' postcard exists for us to compare.

                        In the case of the Openshaw letter, another letter had been received prior (I can't recall the date) that reads 'HAVE YOU SEEN THE DEVIL' in pasted letters. Unless we are to suppose such a unique phrase appeared coincidentally in two 'Ripper' letters, we might assume both this letter and the 'Openshaw' letter were from the same source.

                        Yours truly,

                        Tom Wescott

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