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'Ripper' letters which disavow or don't acknowledge the 'Ripper' sobriquet

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  • 'Ripper' letters which disavow or don't acknowledge the 'Ripper' sobriquet

    A vast majority of the crank letters sent after the 'Dear Boss' letter of 25 September 1888 used the 'Jack The Ripper' title to identify its author. This is useful, as the preponderance of evidence suggests that 'Dear Boss' was authored by Tom Bullen of the Central News. Accordingly, the Whitechapel murderer likely didn't regard himself as 'Jack The Ripper'.

    However, there were several letters which made no reference to that title, most famously the
    'From Hell' letter of October 16 and October 29th's letter to Dr. Openshaw.

    There were several other letters which did not include the 'Ripper' pen name, and one (to my knowledge) actively disavowing it. I find these letters much more interesting and plausible than any signed by 'Jack', and I'd like a list available of them. Here's every one found in Letters From Hell, transcribed as given in the book (I am also excluding any letters with a 'Dear Boss' salutation):


    "Sep 24 1888

    Dear sir
    I do wish to give myself up I am in misery with nightmare I am the man who committed all these murders in the last six months my name is so [silhouette of coffin] and so I am a horse slauterer and work at Name [blocked out] address [blocked out] I have found the woman I wanted that is chapman and I done what I called slautered her but if any one comes I will surrender but I am not going to walk to the station by myself so I am yours truly

    [second page] keep the Boro road clear or I might take a trip up there
    photo [silhouette of a knife] knife
    this is the knife that I done these murders with it is a small handle with a long blade sharpe both sides"


    "Oct 1st 1888

    MR STAR
    as you take greate interest in the Murders I am the one that did it wouldent you like to see me but you shant just yet I mean to do some more yet I have done 6 I am going to do 14 More then go back to america the next time i shall do 3 in one night I dont live a thousand miles from the spot not in a common lodging house
    Yours in luck

    THE BUTCHER."


    "Friday Oct 5/10/8

    A WARNING
    At midnight - a woman will be murdered at the High Level St.
    Be on your guard
    Leather - Apron"


    "10/11/88
    WELL YOU SEE I'VE KEPT MY WORD, AND DONE FOR THE ONE I SAID I WOULD. I SUPPOSE YOU TOOK NO NOTICE OF WHAT I SAID. THOSE OTHER LETTERS WERE NOT WRITTEN BY ME AT ALL AND HAS SOME ONE HAS BEEN KIND ENOUGH TO GIVE ME THE NAME OF "JACK THE RIPPER" I'LL ACCEPT IT AND ACT UP TO IT. LOOK OUT FOR THE NEXT
    P.S. YOU CAN'T TRACE ME BY THIS WRITING SO ITS NO USE ON THE POLICE STATIONS"


    22 October 1888

    "One of the two women I told you about is a Chelsea girl and the other a Battersea girl. I had to over come great difficulties in bringing the bodies where I hid them. I am now in Battersea.
    Good bye ta ta."


    28 November 1888

    "(This letter is written on the inside of an opened up envelope)
    (Top flap)
    kilburn
    lodging
    house

    Gentlemen
    this is the first note you have ever had from the real man. but that dont matter for i am not yet done my number is sixteen in this country six i have done and the rest I mean to do if it is to hot in the east I will come to the west I went in the hide park the other night and found some nice little dears but it was to light from the moon to do business but you will hear
    [left flap]
    of one there
    praps
    before you
    get this
    they have had
    me and i will
    have them

    [right flap]
    Yours
    [?]
    the black
    brunswick
    boy"


    "(This letter is undated, addressed to James Fraser of the City police.)

    [missing] Fraser [drawing of heart] hart [drawing of face] poor annie [drawing of rings] rings I have those in
    my Possession
    good luck
    You may trouble as long as you like for I mean doing my work I mean pollishing 10 more off before I stop the game. So I dont care a dam for you or any body else. I mean doing it. I aint a maniac as you say I am to dam clever for you Written from who you would like to know [drawing of knife] my knife"


    For myself, I do find the September 24th letter intriguing (if for no other reason than that it was sent before 'Dear Boss' made Ripper-writing a thing), as well as the October 11th letter, which is the only I've seen that suggests that the murderer didn't invent the title of 'Jack The Ripper' himself, although I suppose that the 28 November letter does so implicitly. My own personal judgment is that, if any of the letters are authentic, it's one of these three for those reasons, plus the 'From Hell' and Openshaw letters.

    Are there any I've missed?
    Last edited by Defective Detective; 11-30-2015, 12:52 AM.

  • #2
    I tend to agree that if any letters are genuine they probably don't have JtR, unless he DID write the 1st one.

    From Hell and Openshaw have me flip flopping.
    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
      Originally posted by GUT View Post
      I tend to agree that if any letters are genuine they probably don't have JtR, unless he DID write the 1st one.

      From Hell and Openshaw have me flip flopping.
      By "the first one", do you mean 'Dear Boss' (the first letter to use 'Jack The Ripper'), or the 24 September letter, which to my knowledge is the very first letter written to claim responsibility for any of the Whitechapel murders?

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by Defective Detective View Post
        By "the first one", do you mean 'Dear Boss' (the first letter to use 'Jack The Ripper'), or the 24 September letter, which to my knowledge is the very first letter written to claim responsibility for any of the Whitechapel murders?
        The 1st using the name.
        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
          Originally posted by Defective Detective View Post
          as well as the October 11th letter
          10/11/88 is 10 November 1888, not 11 October.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by David Orsam View Post
            10/11/88 is 10 November 1888, not 11 October.


            Ah, haha, quite. >.>

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by GUT View Post
              From Hell and Openshaw have me flip flopping.
              Reckon From Hell and Old Boss were fair dinkum.
              Last edited by DJA; 11-30-2015, 05:56 PM. Reason: fair added.
              My name is Dave. You cannot reach me through Debs email account

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by DJA View Post
                Reckon From Hell and Old Boss were fair dinkum.
                My personal opinion is that 'From Hell' is much more likely to be an authentic communication from the killer than 'Dear Boss', for the given reason.

                That said, some of these others strike me as almost equally plausible, "10/11/88" in particular. Of course, some of the more likely letters are mutually exclusive - if "10/11/88" is authentic, for instance, then 'From Hell' cannot be, as its author explicitly denied writing "THOSE OTHER LETTERS".

                A useful exercise - and one which I'm really not qualified myself to undertake, being only middlingly familiar with the case and the letters altogether - would be to go through each letter that's superficially plausible - if the letter claims sixteen murders to date, as some do, then it probably isn't - and decide which letters, if any, are not mutually exclusive. For example, "10/11/88", if authentic, precludes any of the other letters, as does the 28 November letter written on the envelope ("this is the first note you have ever had from the real man").

                Then we can look at which letters probably came from the same hand. 'From Hell' and the Openshaw letter were probably composed by the same individual, owing to similarity of handwriting and subject matter and its being addressed to someone examining the portion of liver sent out with 'From Hell', although there is some controversy over this.

                I've looked closely at the available resources, and nobody actually seems to have undertaken a systematic examination of the known Ripper letters with a view to winnowing down the possibly authentic communications. Largely this seems to be because researchers either disregard the very possibility of a communicant murderer (as do most contemporary researchers) or uncritically accept the majority as authentic (as was the case with many Ripperologists some decades ago, before the sheer number of letters was commonly known, or as Patricia Cornwell has latterly).

                Myself, I think it's probable that the killer didn't write anything, but I don't feel nearly so confident in saying that as most of us. Certainly I think the existence of a letter claiming responsibility for Annie Chapman's murder a day before 'Dear Boss' set off a firestorm of crank letters, the "done what I called slautered her" letter of 24 September, has never been adequately explained or even popularized. To my mind, that letter ought to get much more attention than 'Dear Boss' has. But I don't believe that letter has ever been subjected to a thorough forensic examination (seeing if there's anything under the inked-out portions, for example). I think it got short shrift even on the Rippercast episode about the letters.

                If anyone actually were interested in analyzing some of the more plausible letters, let me know.
                Last edited by Defective Detective; 11-30-2015, 06:57 PM.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Some here are looking through a mikerscope a smidge differently.
                  My name is Dave. You cannot reach me through Debs email account

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    All of the letters listed shown here seem contrived to me. The September 24th one starts out ok, but ends with the threat of more killing after already having said he was done with it. It's as if the letter writer is covering all bases, so to speak and also seems contrived.

                    Mike
                    huh?

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by The Good Michael View Post
                      All of the letters listed shown here seem contrived to me. The September 24th one starts out ok, but ends with the threat of more killing after already having said he was done with it. It's as if the letter writer is covering all bases, so to speak and also seems contrived.

                      Mike
                      Some of them certainly are - "A WARNING" and its threat to a murder on the High Level Street which never happened.

                      But the September 24 letter doesn't bother me in this respect. Its author said he'd only surrender if "anyone comes" - presumably to escort him to a police station. "I have found the woman I wanted that is chapman" would suggest a preselected target, after which the murders would presumably cease, but if that's the case, why take responsibility for apparently unrelated murders over the "last six months"?

                      Generally I am more skeptical of letters that say "I've done [x], [y] more and I'm done" than otherwise. September 24 and "10/11/88" have the advantage, for me, of avoiding this format.
                      Last edited by Defective Detective; 11-30-2015, 07:17 PM.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        I'm sceptical of all really, except for the 'From Hell' letter, which to me has a different tone to the others. It suggests cannibalism for a start, which we know some modern day serial killers do indulge in. Victorian detectives were perhaps ignorant of that particular habit.

                        Also the author of 'From Hell' doesn't really sign his communication. It's as if he's repudiating the nickname Jack the Ripper, the name the Press have given him. That's something I imagine the killer doing.

                        Of course the authenticity of 'From Hell' rests on that piece of kidney being from Eddowes.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Rosella View Post
                          Also the author of 'From Hell' doesn't really sign his communication. It's as if he's repudiating the nickname Jack the Ripper, the name the Press have given him. That's something I imagine the killer doing.
                          "AND HAS SOME ONE HAS BEEN KIND ENOUGH TO GIVE ME THE NAME OF "JACK THE RIPPER" I'LL ACCEPT IT AND ACT UP TO IT"

                          Of course the authenticity of 'From Hell' rests on that piece of kidney being from Eddowes.
                          "From Hell" wasn't the only ostensible communication to come with a cold cut. Another letter, which I'm still looking for in Letters From Hell, was evidently sent out with a bit of dried liver.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Here we are. Page 142 hardcover:

                            Another brief 'Jack The Ripper' mention came on 6 May 1893 when a short article appeared in the East London Observer. Entitled 'Jack The Ripper Once More', the piece stated that the Detective Department at Scotland Yard was engaged in making enquiries about another letter received on the previous Monday by Mr Mead, a magistrate of the Thames Police Court, which was signed 'Jack The Ripper'. The letter stated that the 'Ripper' had again arrived in London and would directly resume operations. It bore the outline of a coffin drawn with blood or red ink, and in a piece of tissue paper was a fragment of dried liver.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Yes, but according to Dr Openshaw of the London Hospital, the piece of kidney Lusk received had been preserved in spirits of wine, not the sort of liquid an ordinary householder would have in those days. Bit different to a dried old bit of offal, and a pretty elaborate (and nasty) practical joke for medical students, for instance, to play.

                              However,
                              Inspector McWilliam told the Home Office (6th November) that 'the result of the combined medical opinion they (the City Police) have taken upon it is that it is the kidney of a human adult, not charged with a fluid, as it would have been in the case of a body handed over for purposes of dissection in a hospital, but rather as it would be in a case where it was taken from the body not so destined.

                              So, unless the report on the kidney by Dr Gordon Brown, the City Police Surgeon, turns up, the jury is out on the kidney, and therefore the 'From Hell' letter. The question remains though, where did the Lusk kidney come from?

                              Peter Sutcliffe, the Yorkshire Ripper killer, apparently loathed his nickname. These men have gigantic egos.

                              Comment

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