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From Hell (Lusk) Letter likely Fake

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  • From Hell (Lusk) Letter likely Fake

    Hello, and sorry the the dreadful title. I do apologize for it, but I could not for the life of me figure out a good title.

    I don't understand how people believe this letter to be from the real "Jack", if they also believe he possessed any medical knowledge. Clearly, I would assume that someone who has gone through medical training must understand basic grammar principles. And misspelling words is something everyone has done, but a medical student(of any caliber) would certainly know how to spell the word kidney.

    As for how this "From Hell" author obtained the kidney, I believe in multiple theories. From reading online, this forum, and other texts; the ability to get your hands on a kidney in Victorian times was rather easy. Medical students and the black market buyers could most likely get their hands on one.

  • #2
    I can reconcile that this letter is a possibility because I think the question of JtR having "medical knowledge" of a learned sort is a far more open question, not at all decided. It was also asked and answered at inquest (and speculated on from 1888 til now) that Jack could have had only the sort of rudimentary knowledge required to take the organs via working as a slaughterer or something along those lines.

    Or, it's possible he simply cut, tore and took out organs from "down there" whatever they may have been-womb, uterus, upper portion of vagina etc. He may have had no more skill than I do in this regard.

    For my own part I feel that the ease of getting a human kidney has perhaps been exaggerated. Especially a ginny one, only a portion, in the set amount of time after a recently-murdered woman had her ginny kidney removed. To perpetrate a hoax of that sort would take a lot of effort, actually-unless one simply had the "prasaerved" item to hand as one had removed it oneself a few days earlier.

    Add to that that it wasn't preserved as autopsy/medical specimens would normally have been. For a human kidney to go missing from a body before properly prepared for autopsy/dissection would have meant someone with something to lose(a job, or sent down from studies) would have gone to risky trouble for--what? A stupid prank?

    Writing only a letter to the police, newspapers or to Mr. Lusk to stir up trouble, for circulation boosting or for "fun" is one thing. To go to the effort to obtain, box up & send a piece of human kidney with one's letter just to better serve a hoax is quite another. And if it were a hoax from a nespaperman or a student or such, why on earth wouldn't they have signed "the trade name"? "Jack the Ripper" would have left nothing to doubt or chance. An ambitious hoaxer would have aped the Dear Boss letters, seems to me.

    Unless the sender of "from Hell" was someone who didn't think of themselves as needing to cite someone else's invented character name. Unless, perhaps, they simply were the actual killer.

    Not entirely convinced that he did write it, mind you, just ruminating on the possibility.

    Comment


    • #3
      I think the combination of medical knowledge and the wrong spelling of the word "kidney" does not need to be a contradiction. What about a foreigner?
      I am doing my PhD in science but I am sure that I have (still) problems with some of the even basic principles of the English grammar.

      That does not mean that I think that Jack was a foreigner or sent the Lusk Letter. I just wanted to show the possibilities.

      Best regards,
      Frank

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      • #4
        Zero, are you aware that you spelt calibre incorrectly?

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        • #5
          Originally posted by JennyL View Post
          Unless the sender of "from Hell" was someone who didn't think of themselves as needing to cite someone else's invented character name. Unless, perhaps, they simply were the actual killer.
          You make some very good points in your posts, and your statement I quoted it is something to think about.

          From Frank:
          What about a foreigner?
          I am doing my PhD in science but I am sure that I have (still) problems with some of the even basic principles of the English grammar.
          That is probably the best possibility I have heard. I was very narrow minded to not even consider that. Great point.

          From thegaff:

          Zero, are you aware that you spelt calibre incorrectly?
          No, thank you for bringing that to my attention sir.

          Comment


          • #6
            While the subject has been brought up (and since it happens that in the interim since writing the above I had the "Letters" rippercast on while doing dishes last night, and was chagrined to hear that all my most admired Ripperologists regard the Lusk missive a likely load of old cobblers), I'd like to pose this question:

            Here and there it's been asserted that medical school pranks by students using human tissue in the LVP were "common".

            I'd be interested to know how common, and where it was shown to be true, if so?

            And if it were truly "relatively easy" to obtain a human kidney or other innards...then why on earth didn't any other of the hundreds of hoaxers do just that--send along a piece of god knows what offal to any one of the principals in the papers? Lusk, Abberline, anyone?

            Has anyone any stories of evidence of a single other "prank" of this kind being done by a sender at the time? Given the high incidence of what seem obvious copycats who wrote letters quoting "Jack" and repeating over and over certain inspiring phrases from "the killer", why did none of them seek to ape the infamous Lusk kidney with something they dredged up-even if it were only fish guts?

            Comment


            • #7
              Frank, excellent point. I had never thought of it or come across it before but maybe the author of the Lusk letter was a foreigner - perhaps a linguistic expert could shed some light on this?

              Jenny, again a very good point. I have never heard of any such pranks documented. It is a simple case of someone forming an argument out of nothing. A typical case of "I am right, so prove me wrong".

              Zero, I wasn't being an arse for nothing. I noticed you were making a point about spelling and then I noticed you spelt the word incorrecty and you also are an intelligent person so why could not an intelligent person in the 19th century have little or no grasp of spelling. I do not for one moment believe this cold murderer was someone with a solid education and the alternative in 19th century England was a little different to today.

              I am of the strong opinion that the Lusk letter is the only genuine letter. Everything about it is genuine. Timing, circumstances, addressee, package, stylistics, knowledge, but most of all the way it seemed to be writtn in a style with nothing to prove unlike every other letter. This is why it is different. At the same time it was playful. Read very deeply into the line "I will send you the knife" and you will realise that this is a man that knows he can get away with it because it is someone who is very much "on the ball". He is not someone wandering the streets zombie-like looking for the next victim but rather somone who knows exactly what he is doing. I am starting to come to the conclusion that perhaps that it is a man who is so calculated that he is able to orchestrate two murders in the same night only 45 minutes apart.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by JennyL View Post
                And if it were truly "relatively easy" to obtain a human kidney or other innards...then why on earth didn't any other of the hundreds of hoaxers do just that--send along a piece of god knows what offal to any one of the principals in the papers?
                As I pointed out earlier, Jen, Lusk was unfortunate enough to have had his home address splashed all over the press - on more than one occasion, and in many papers - not long before he received From Hell. As to "god knows what offal"... that's precisely what I believe Lusk received, in that it's quite possible that it came from a pig - the human and pig kidney are rather similar in structure. I did some research a while back that suggested that scientific papers/books detailing the specific microscopic differences between the human and pig kidney didn't appear until well into the 20th Century.
                Kind regards, Sam Flynn

                "Suche Nullen" (Nietzsche, Götzendämmerung, 1888)

                Comment


                • #9
                  Many thanks for the details, Sam! Listening to all of you discussing this on Rippercast I was wondering just that-what were the differences in human vs. animal organs, just how much could a surgeon have been able to tell in '88 etc. Fascinating.

                  Another overall question that I was pondering thanks to this kidney issue: were there not any other things mailed to the authorities "from the ripper" that we know of? Did no one else really think this prank kidney(if it was indeed that) was a swell if nasty trick, toss god knows what into a packet and send it on to the papers or the police? Given the lack of any mention of such items I'd guess that none were received-or if received were so patently phony that they never rated mention.

                  Not meaning to travel too far afield from the topic here, just wondering.

                  As for "From Hell": I still would be more inclined to rule it a hoax if whoever made the effort to get the offal had also aped the Saucy Jacky style, even if he couldn't quite manage it-this man made none. Of course it's also possible that a crank with poor literacy might have pranked Lusk as well, but it just seems less likely a working man would have bothered with this rigamarole-getting kidney, wrapping kidney, writing letter, mailing it. The drunks and goofballs of that class seem to have hardly managed more than declarations in pubs and on the streets; the letters I've perused all seem to be from people with somewhat more apparent education than Lusk's friend(some are damned fine artists, too. One of the "portrait" sketches would do a story artist proud at my studio!).

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by thegaff View Post
                    Zero, I wasn't being an arse for nothing. I noticed you were making a point about spelling and then I noticed you spelt the word incorrecty and you also are an intelligent person so why could not an intelligent person in the 19th century have little or no grasp of spelling. I do not for one moment believe this cold murderer was someone with a solid education and the alternative in 19th century England was a little different to today.
                    Understandable, I believe my main problem with this letter in question; is that I do not want to believe the "Ripper" was an uneducated man. However with the new point of view(from above poster) I now believe he could have been a foreigner.

                    Originally posted by Sam Flynn View Post
                    As I pointed out earlier, Jen, Lusk was unfortunate enough to have had his home address splashed all over the press - on more than one occasion, and in many papers - not long before he received From Hell. As to "god knows what offal"... that's precisely what I believe Lusk received, in that it's quite possible that it came from a pig - the human and pig kidney are rather similar in structure. I did some research a while back that suggested that scientific papers/books detailing the specific microscopic differences between the human and pig kidney didn't appear until well into the 20th Century.
                    This is very interesting information.

                    I just wish the police file keeping procedure had been more professional. I would love to see all the letters. I imagine the "Ripper" would have either been angry at the fakes or delighted at the fans/misdirection of the police. If he was angry, I imagine he would have written his own letter.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Lusk had received other letters prior to to recieving the 'From hell' letter, however non with a kidney.

                      Lusks friend, Aarons, felt it was a sheeps kidney. However he noted Lusks agitation and suggested they get it checked out firstly by fellow committee members then the local GP...who wasnt in. However it was checked, as we know, eventually. Must have been surprising when it was confirmed as human.

                      As for foriegn lilt, the use of 'h' on 'whil' and 'Mishter' is an dramatic Irish touch. However Ive personally gone down the intentional mis-spelling route. 'Knif' for example should surely be spelt 'nife' if you are unintentionally getting it wrong.

                      Monty




                      Author of Capturing Jack the Ripper.

                      http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/aw/d/1445621622

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Very good point, Monty.
                        From my own experience I can say that it would rather be 'nife' or even 'naif' than 'knife'.

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                        • #13
                          Monty:

                          "'Knif' for example should surely be spelt 'nife' if you are unintentionally getting it wrong."

                          Basically, yes; but having spent half an hour watching over my eleven-year old girl doing her spelling homework yesterday, I feel certain that the strangest combinations of letters can arise from the best of wills...

                          The best,
                          Fisherman

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            From Hell and Poor Annie

                            Hello. I've posted this PDF elsewhere on the threads. Although I do not regard the "From Hell" letter as "Jack's" work, I am struck by the similarity of these 2 letters with regard to spacing, slope, slant, and letter formation (note the long "y's", "f's", and "g's").

                            Were these written by the same hoaxer? If so, the spelling in one can have a bearing on understanding the spelling of the other.

                            LC
                            Attached Files

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by lynn cates View Post
                              Were these written by the same hoaxer?
                              In my nonprofessional opinion, I would say no. I find too many other letters different, of course I have not study handwriting.

                              If the Ripper did send any letters, who is to say he didn't mask his real handwriting or write multiple letters all with different style handwriting.

                              Comment

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