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Submitting the Dear Boss envelope for DNA testing

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  • Submitting the Dear Boss envelope for DNA testing

    Currently the envelope for the Dear Boss letter is in the national archives. The envelope has a lilac one penny stamp on it and an envelope flap. Either behind the stamp or on the envelope flap could be the DNA of Jack the Ripper.

    Submitting this envelope would be a simple way to make a potential breakthrough in the identity of JtR. Either if the DNA matched Fred Best or Thomas Bulling we would conclusively prove the name Jack the Ripper was a creation of the press.

    This link gives great insight in how this envelope could provide us with answers and how the testing would be done: https://www.totheletterdna.com/envelopes-faqs

    It's currently 5:45am but later I might contact the National Archives or the MET Archives and inquire if there would be any possibility of achieving this.

    This shouldn't be difficult to do, nothing controversial like exhumation and would even involve the letter itself just the envelope. Yet this could also be one of the best bets of making a solid breakthrough in the case.

  • #2
    Great idea.

    No need to dig anyone up.

    Family DNA matches should suffice.

    Prolly worth leaving it until well after Easter when their workload is back to normal.

    If you are looking for suspects,Thomas Openshaw took over as Curator of the London Hospital's Pathology Museum in 1887.
    In that respect,he became the Boss of the previous curator.
    Here is mikerscope of the previous curator ....... Click image for larger version  Name:	HGS Mikerscope.jpg Views:	0 Size:	54.7 KB ID:	754852
    Last edited by DJA; 04-03-2021, 05:20 AM.

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    • #3
      Don’t want the be a negative Nelly here but I am certain Patricia Cornwell tried the same thing and got nowhere. The chances of any usable DNA on this after such a long time is well, highly improbable.
      "When the legend becomes fact... print the legend"
      - The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (1962)

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      • #4
        You are wrong,again.

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        • #5
          At best you prove person x posted the letter, as most believe the letters fake where does that leave us....
          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.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by DJA View Post
            You are wrong,again.
            Thanks for yor deep insight.

            With regards to the specific 'Dear Boss' envelope I was mistaken about it being that specific one that was tested under Cornwell's commissioned testing. She did however, conclude the lamination of the letter she tested had degraded any DNA traces. My guess is it will do the same for all the others too which were laminated.

            If the envelope was laminated then de-laminated for the purposes if mDNA testing, there is every liklihood the DNA will be too degraded.

            Go to 4m 20s
            Last edited by erobitha; 04-03-2021, 09:33 AM.
            "When the legend becomes fact... print the legend"
            - The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (1962)

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            • #7
              Luckily enough,King Richard III was not laminated back in 1485

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              • #8
                Originally posted by DJA View Post
                Luckily enough,King Richard III was not laminated back in 1485
                It's hard to laminate a curved object.
                Thems the Vagaries.....

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                • #9
                  Meh. Blowtorch and shrinkwrap.

                  Prolly used tar back then.

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                  • #10
                    Every time it was handled there's DNA left behind, it'll take them another hundred years to sort out all the DNA that'll be on it.
                    Regards, Jon S.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Wickerman View Post
                      Every time it was handled there's DNA left behind, it'll take them another hundred years to sort out all the DNA that'll be on it.
                      If there's DNA on the back of the stamp it should be an uncontaminated sample and it will be directly from the author when they licked it. Since DNA forensics weren't around in 1888 it's unlikely the sender of the letter would've worried about licking their own stamps.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by erobitha View Post

                        If the envelope was laminated then de-laminated for the purposes if mDNA testing, there is every liklihood the DNA will be too degraded.
                        Lamination is of deep concern to me too. I did however find a photo of the Dear Boss envelope in the archives taken in 2006 which showed it in a protective plastic bag rather than laminated so hopefully there's a small chance it never was.

                        The Openshaw letter was tested in the early 2000s and since then DNA testing has progressed massively and much smaller samples can be recovered to make a complete profile so I'm hoping there's also a chance with the new technology and methods developed over the last couple of years a result might be yielded.

                        ​​​​​​​Even if inquiring is ultimately unsuccessful which is very likely I still feel it's worth a shot as there's no harm in asking.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Astatine211 View Post

                          If there's DNA on the back of the stamp it should be an uncontaminated sample and it will be directly from the author when they licked it. Since DNA forensics weren't around in 1888 it's unlikely the sender of the letter would've worried about licking their own stamps.
                          Fair enough, but lets assume the sender left their DNA on the back of the stamp. What is the best they can hope to come up with?, some modern descendant, five generations removed? Assuming they test the population of the UK afterwards?
                          Do you believe the sender was the Ripper?
                          Last edited by Wickerman; 04-04-2021, 02:01 AM.
                          Regards, Jon S.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Wickerman View Post

                            Fair enough, but lets assume the sender left their DNA on the back of the stamp. What is the best they can hope to come up with?, some modern descendant, five generations removed? Assuming they test the population of the UK afterwards?
                            Do you believe the sender was the Ripper?
                            The remains of King Richard III, who died in 1485, were identified by comparing his mtDNA with that of two matrilineal descendants of his sister who were alive in 2013, 527 years after he died.

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Wickerman View Post

                              Fair enough, but lets assume the sender left their DNA on the back of the stamp. What is the best they can hope to come up with?, some modern descendant, five generations removed? Assuming they test the population of the UK afterwards?
                              Do you believe the sender was the Ripper?
                              If complete DNA could successfully be extracted it would be entered into a DNA database like GEDmatch or a similar alternative. If we're lucky it could come back with a match to a modern descendant. As you said it would most likely be a distant relative especially with the amount of time that's past. It would then be a daunting process of trying to trace that person's ancestors back in time until we had all the relatives possible who were in London at the time the letters were sent. This could either be easy, say if the match had a complete family tree or had been tracking ancestors on Ancestry already and might be willing to share it, or extremely difficult, certain DNA can have many false positives or the match might be in a different country with a extremely common surname. At any point in the process we could hit a brick wall or dead end.

                              I think the sender could easily be a hoax but there's still a chance it could be the Ripper. What I believe is to establish the author of the Dear Boss and Saucy Jack postcard is an important part of the overall case. Without these two correspondences Jack the Ripper would likely be know as the Whitechapel Murderer and the identity that is Jack the Ripper wouldn't be what it is. Handwriting analysis (whilst very unreliable) does suggest that the Dear Boss letter and Saucy Jack postcard are written by the same hand. IMO after evaluating every Ripper correspondence there are 5 (6 if you include GSG) that are of relevance to the case.

                              Police at the time of the murders believed the Saucy Jack, Dear Boss and From Hell letters were the only three genuine ones. Regardless of whether they are legitimate or hoaxes the Saucy Jack postcard and Dear Boss letter created the identity of Jack the Ripper. The author could easily be Thomas Bulling or Fred Best but we already have two possibilities of potential journalists who claimed to have written them and it couldn't have been both. The From Hell letter is likely lost forever and the Saucy Jack postcard has no stamp so there's no place the sender could've left saliva on it. That leaves the Dear Boss envelope as the only avenue to attempt.

                              ​​​​​​Outside of these three, two other letters which I believe have significance to the case are the 2nd November 1888 letter to Yarmouth police from 14 Dorset Street due to it being sent from Dorset Street a week before MJK murder, the other links to Yarmouth in the case and the possible code about the pubs in Whitechapel when discussing the Yarmouth piers. I have been unable to track the letter and I am unsure if it has survived.

                              The other letter was the one sent to Mrs McCarthy on 12th November 1888. The significance of this one was a threat to scare her from testifying at an inquest. This is the only time something like this occurred in the case and due to John McCarthy's importance to the MJK murder it makes you wonder why someone would want to stop her from being a witness. I believe this letter did have an envelope with a stamp and is currently in the national archives. At some point in the future I think it might be worth seeing if this one could yield any DNA.

                              Last thing I want to say about the Dear Boss letter is even today I still see people mainly unfamiliar with the case or very new to it use the Saucy Jack / Dear Boss letter as a source of theories or speculation. When I was new to the case one of the first thing I did was read the three main letters. To clarify once and for all if they're hoaxes and even discovering the true author behind an important aspect of the case is worthwhile to me.

                              Another thing is even if we don't get a complete DNA profile and partial one from degraded DNA can still be used to compare and exclude with complete DNA. We could in theory try comparing partial DNA with relatives of suspects if they are interested to see if there's an match or none. Maybe we would even find an ancestor of Thomas Bulling or Fred Best to see if either would match the partial DNA.

                              I know it's a longshot, but I feel longshots are our best bet at solving this case.

                              Astatine ​​​​​​​

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