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  • The 'Moab & Midian' Letter

    Hello all,

    To avoid misdirecting the flow of another thread, I'm moving over a couple of posts from myself and Chris George to start the talk fresh here. I'm surprised there's not a thread about this letter already.

    For those not aware, the 'Moab & Midian' letter is the alleged third communication from the 'Dear Boss' author. Like the original letter and its sister postcard, it was 'received' by the Central News Agency and forwarded to the police.

    Unlike the original two missives, Tom Bulling only forwarded the envelope the letter came in, and strangely hand-copied the text of the letter for the police, inexplicably chosing not to hand over the actual letter.

    I have personally always found this to be a very strange and odd move. And in light of the fact that certain officials found cause to later suspect Bulling of originating the 'Jack the Ripper' letters, I suspect it might have been the 'Moab & Midian' debacle which ignited this fuse of suspicion.

    However, while I believe that Bulling did, in fact, hoax the 'Moab & Midian' letter to keep the business alive, I also see in his actions reasons to believe he was not involved in the original letter and postcard. For instance, if one were trying to copy a by then well known handwriting, it would be a much easier task to labor on a mere envelope than to try to keep the game up for a lengthy letter. To my mind, this is likely why Bulling turned over only an envelope to the police to 'prove' it was from the same hand as the 'Dear Boss' letter.

    Next, I will post some thoughts from Chris George on the matter.

    Yours truly,

    Tom Wescott

    P.S. I'm a bit under the weather, and it's probably coming through in my writing, so please forgive.

  • #2
    MOVED FROM THREAD 'Swanson Said Dear Boss Letter Writer Was Known?'

    FROM CHRIS GEORGE:

    Hi Tom

    You know, Tom, I rather think the opposite, and that the "Moab and Midian" letter adds extra complexities and some rather strange psychology not present in the original Dear Boss letter and postcard where the writer comes across more as a street-smart small time crook with a simple and joshing tone.

    If the coppers (i.e, Anderson/Swanson, Macnaghten, and Littlechild) were right and Bulling and the Central News Agency were responsible With "Dear Boss", why would they complicate matters? They had got away with it. It doesn't quite make sense.

    I think the Moab and Midian letter throws a monkey wrench into the works and makes it less plausible Bulling and colleagues actually were responsible for Dear Boss.

    Best regards

    Chris

    Comment


    • #3
      Do you know the contents of the letter, what it said et cetera?

      Comment


      • #4
        Hi MP,

        Yes, and I would have liked to have posted a copy of the letter with more details pertaining to it, however I am without any notes or books, so what I wrote was from memory.

        Yours truly,

        Tom Wescott

        Comment


        • #5
          Dear Mr Williamson

          At 5 minutes to 9 oclock tonight we received the following letter the envelope of which I enclose by which you will see it is in the same hadwriting as the previous communications

          "5 Oct 1888

          Dear Friend

          In the name of God hear me I swear I did not kill the female whose body was found at Whitehall. If she was an honest woman I will hunt down and destroy her murderer. If she ['was an honest woman' deleted] was a whore God will bless the hand that slew her, for the women of of [sic] Moab and Midian shall die and their blood shall mingle with the dust. I never harm any others or the Divine power that protects and helps me in my grand work would quit for ever. Do as I do and the light of glory shall shine upon you. I must get to work tomorrow treble event this time yes yes three must be ripped. will send you a bit of face by post I promise this dear old Boss. The police now reckon my work a practical joke well well Jacky's a very practical joker ha ha ha Keep this back till three are wiped out and you can show the cold meat

          Yours truly
          Jack the Ripper"

          Yours truly
          T.J. Bulling

          Comment


          • #6
            Thoroughly interesting stuff.

            Assuming that was written by the original Dear Boss author, then wow, I never pegged that particular person (who I believe to be a hoaxer) to go down the religious route with his/her Jack the Ripper character.

            Cheers for sharing!

            Comment


            • #7
              Thanks, Jonathan, and Tom for your posts on this matter.

              As we know, the Moab and Midian letter is the one in which Tom Bulling copied the letter out in his own hand, for some reason making a transcription of it to send to Mr. Williamson at Scotland Yard (see Evans and Skinner, Jack the Ripper: Letters from Hell). Some people see in Bulling's handwriting a similarity between the writing in the Dear Boss letter of 25 September 1888 and the transcribed Moab and Midian letter. I don't. Oh okay, there is some vague similarity between the copperplatish script of the first Dear Boss missive and Bulling's rather more fluent writing but that's only superficial.

              To my mind, the 25 September Dear Boss letter seems to be written more in the cramped style of a clerk--and the petty crook flipness of the writing is cramped as well when you think about it.

              Besides which if you had written Dear Boss wouldn't you be pointing directly to yourself as the person responsible for writing a crank letter and leave yourself open to prosecution??? It's another thing that doesn't quite make sense about the Moab and Midian letter and points away from Bulling and the CNA rather than at them.

              All the best

              Chris
              Christopher T. George
              Organizer, RipperCon #JacktheRipper-#True Crime Conference
              just held in Baltimore, April 7-8, 2018.
              For information about RipperCon, go to http://rippercon.com/
              RipperCon 2018 talks can now be heard at http://www.casebook.org/podcast/

              Comment


              • #8
                Hi All,

                The most interesting thing about this 5th October letter is that the author, signing himself JtR, writes, "The police now reckon my work a practical joke, well Jacky's a very practical [practical underlined three times] joker ha ha ha . . ."

                I don't think anyone at the time considered the murders of four women a practical joke, so it is possible that the author was talking about his letters to Central News.

                If so, why on October 5th would he think the police considered them a hoax when only the previous day his "Dear Boss" letter and "Saucy Jacky" postcard had been plastered all over London on Metropolitan Police posters in the vain hope of someone recognising the handwriting?

                My memory's a bit rusty here, but I think the first official murmur of the JtR correspondence being a hoax came from Charles Warren on about 10th October.

                So maybe the Moab and Midian author had inside knowledge.

                Regards,

                Simon
                Never believe anything until it has been officially denied.

                Comment


                • #9
                  'At the close of his service in the City temple yesterday morning, Dr. Parker referred at length to the East end murders... This quick murder of women, however, was nothing compared to the slow murder that was going on every day. Compared with many who were cruel deliberately, the perpetration of these East end crimes was gentleness - mercy itself...The Devil laughed at the sacrifice. As to denouncing the criminal, better ask how far they were responsible for his creation ...'

                  Does one not see the spirit of Dr Parker's thoughts on the East End Murders in this 'Mob & Mindy' letter?
                  Dr. Parker was of course Thomas Cutbush's preacher and friend, booked in by the defence at THC's non-trial to give an alibi and character reference.
                  How the devil laughed at the sacrifice, eh?
                  And Simon, I think you to be right, he did have inside information.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    You think Dr. Parker wroter this (and perhaps the Dear Boss and Saucy Jacky letters) with reference to and/or on behalf of Cutbush? Good theory, especially the religious aspect, for a story. No offence.

                    Realistically, I'd say the 'Jack the Ripper' letter trilogy was probably written by the same person, but by a definite hoaxer. You can tell they're fake by the broken promises made in them; fair enough quite a large part of Eddowes' ear was sliced off (at least that's what it looks like in her mortuary photos), but I think it's a safe bet to assume that that was coincidental. Plus the ear wasn't mailed to the police (though I guess you could explain that away by the killer getting sidetracked by his 'work' on the body).

                    I don't know enough about Bulling to form an opinion as to whether or not I think he could've been the hoaxer, but one thing's almost for sure, or at least from my perspective, a somewhat educated man (or woman, who knows) wrote the Moab & Midian (and Dear Boss) letter(s). It's very literate apart from a few minor grammatical 'errors', but if whoever was writting these got interrupted when jotting the stuff down, it could explain why they tend to lack proper grammar about halfway through to the end of the letters.

                    Though I am intrigued as to why the author went down the religious route with Jack the Ripper (the author's character, not the actual killer/Whitechapel Murderer). Until M&M, he was, like what's been said already, a street-smart bloke with a macabre sense of humour. Was there speculation after the Double Event that these murders may have been the work of a religious man that could've influenced the author to include the God stuff? I ain't got a slightest clue as to what a Moab or Midian is, but are those connected to anything Jewish? Perhaps the writer got 'inspired' by the GSG.
                    Last edited by Mascara & Paranoia; 03-12-2009, 06:03 PM.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      JMenges, thanks for providing the text. You are a gentleman and a scholar.

                      Chris,

                      It seems we both agree Bulling hoaxing the M&M letter rather points AWAY from him as a suspect in the 'Dear Boss/Saucy jacky' missives. But his behavior in this manner WAS suspicious and it must have raised eyebrows. Flash forward years later when Bulling goes nuts on alcohol and (allegedly) starts telling reporters on Fleet Street that HE was responsible for the Ripper letters. I could see this happening, since he's likely responsible for at least one. But a has-been boasting his involvement in a sensational case to upstart reporters and choosing to embellish a little is not so surprising. But it might convince someone like Anderson that he was their guy for the invention of Jack the Ripper.

                      AP,

                      It seems that Parker - like so many preachers and politicos of the time - simply used the Ripper to further his personal agenda. I don't see how this points to Cutbush as the author of this or any other Ripper letter. However, I'm intrigued to learn your further arguments in favor of Cutbush as a Ripper letter writer. I thought you dismissed the Ripper letters as unrelated hoaxes in your book, although I admit it's been a long time since I've read it.

                      Yours truly,

                      Tom Wescott

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Tom_Wescott View Post

                        Chris,

                        It seems we both agree Bulling hoaxing the M&M letter rather points AWAY from him as a suspect in the 'Dear Boss/Saucy jacky' missives. But his behavior in this manner WAS suspicious and it must have raised eyebrows. Flash forward years later when Bulling goes nuts on alcohol and (allegedly) starts telling reporters on Fleet Street that HE was responsible for the Ripper letters. I could see this happening, since he's likely responsible for at least one. But a has-been boasting his involvement in a sensational case to upstart reporters and choosing to embellish a little is not so surprising. But it might convince someone like Anderson that he was their guy for the invention of Jack the Ripper.
                        Hi Tom

                        Either your thinking has advanced from what you wrote in your article, "Thomas Bulling and the Myth of the London Journalist" published in Ripperologist No. 34, and available here at Casebook or you misremember what you quoted from R. Thurston Hopkins's 1935 book titled Life and Death at The Old Bailey where you don't go as far as saying that the drunken loquacious hack described by the author was Bulling. In fact, it could have been another journalist conceivably, couldn't it, as you appear to imply by hedging your bets in your article and not saying Bulling was being described by Hopkins.

                        Tom, in that article, you wrote:

                        "In the chapter Shadowing the Shadow of a Murderer Hopkins has this to say about the origin of the Whitechapel murderer's nom de plume:

                        "'But, first of all, who christened the phantom killer with the terrible soubriquet of Jack the Ripper? That is a small mystery in itself. Possibly Scotland Yard gave the name to the press and public. At that time the police post-bag bulged with hundreds of anonymous letters from all kinds of cranks and half-witted persons, who sought to criticise or hoax the officers engaged in following up the murders... it was in a letter, received by a well-known News Agency and forwarded to the Yard, that the name first appeared. The Criminal Investigation Department looked upon this letter as a 'clue' and possibly a message from the actual murderer... It was perhaps a fortunate thing that the handwriting of this famous letter was perhaps not identified, for it would have led to the arrest of a harmless Fleet Street journalist.

                        "'This poor fellow had a breakdown and became a whimsical figure in Fleet Street, only befriended by the staff of newspapers and printing works. He would creep about the dark courts waving his hands furiously in the air, would utter stentorian 'Ha, ha, ha's,' and then, meeting some pal, would button-hole him and pour into his ear all the 'inner-story' of the East End murders. Many old Fleet Streeters had very shrewd suspicions that this irresponsible fellow wrote the famous Jack the Ripper letter, and even Sir Melville L. Macnaghten, Chief of the Criminal Investigation Department, had his eye on him.'

                        "Was this man Bulling? While Littlechild's description of Bulling is that of a hard working and hard drinking man of integrity with many friends, Hopkins describes a 'post-breakdown' figure, whimsical, lonely, and talkative. Without knowing anything of Thomas Bulling's fate, it is difficult to know whether he fits Hopkins' description of the unnamed journalist or not." [Emphasis Mine.]

                        All the best

                        Chris
                        Christopher T. George
                        Organizer, RipperCon #JacktheRipper-#True Crime Conference
                        just held in Baltimore, April 7-8, 2018.
                        For information about RipperCon, go to http://rippercon.com/
                        RipperCon 2018 talks can now be heard at http://www.casebook.org/podcast/

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Call it a reconsideration, if you like, Tom.
                          Regarding the Rev Parker... I feel he was a little bit more than someone jumping on the bandwagon, for he was a force to be reckoned with in London social circles, and amongst his followers were some of the highest in the land as well as some of the lowest.
                          But it is his close and personal relationship to Thomas Cutbush that intrigues me enormously, an almost cultish relationship by all accounts, with the Rev Parker willing to provide an alibi for the crimes against women that THC was charged with. Serious charges, if THC was guilty of them - as most believe he was - and then perhaps a serious perjury on the Rev's part as well.
                          One treads with care in such a swamp.
                          Had Dr Parker provided his pupil with an alibi on a previous occasion?
                          Was the fact that Dr Parker was out of London in the Autumn of 1888 the fuel that lit the fire.
                          For Thomas was all alone, with his books and his letters, and the fire in his belly could not be quenched by early morning visits to the Temple where he worshipped at the altar of Dr Parker.
                          The soldier without his commander would put his words into action and print, and then bathe in the glory when his master returned.
                          'Do as I do and the light of glory shall shine upon you.'

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Chris,

                            I'm not sure of your point. I didn't mention the M&M letter in my essay, and I don't believe I've mentioned Hopkins on this thread (although I alluded to him). Have you found 'proof' for sure that Hopkins was talking about Bulling? He probably was, given that Bulling was apparently the favored suspect at Scotland Yard, and Hopkins mentions Macnaghten.

                            I'm not sure what you're going after here, but thanks for remembering that ancient essay of mine.

                            Yours truly,

                            Tom Wescott

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              AP,

                              This Rev. Parker is new to me. Is there already an active thread about him? If not, you should start one.

                              Yours truly,

                              Tom Wescott

                              Comment

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