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Why Did Simms Write to Him?

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  • Why Did Simms Write to Him?

    Greetings all,

    I have a question. Why did journalist G R Simms, a man who knew these Scotland Yard officials first hand, write a letter to Chief Inspector Littlechild of all people about the Ripper case?

    Sincerely,

    Mike
    The Ripper's Haunts/JtR Suspect Dr. Francis Tumblety (Sunbury Press)
    http://www.michaelLhawley.com

  • #2
    Here's the Littlechild letter: http://www.casebook.org/official_doc.../lcletter.html
    The Ripper's Haunts/JtR Suspect Dr. Francis Tumblety (Sunbury Press)
    http://www.michaelLhawley.com

    Comment


    • #3
      suggestion

      Hello Mike. Could it be that he was merely on a fact finding mission? It is odd, however, that GRS chose a Special Branch lad.

      I see what you mean.

      Cheers.
      LC

      Comment


      • #4
        Hi Lynn,

        My thoughts exactly. Also, note Littlechild's last line:

        Now pardon me -- it is finished. Except that I knew Major Griffiths for many years. He probably got his information from Anderson who only 'thought he knew'.

        It seems to me that he is telling Simms his opinion on the murders carries just as much weight as Anderson's, a man we know to have been directly involved. It clearly suggests that he believed he was privy to everything Anderson was.

        Sincerely,
        Mike
        The Ripper's Haunts/JtR Suspect Dr. Francis Tumblety (Sunbury Press)
        http://www.michaelLhawley.com

        Comment


        • #5
          Hello Mike,

          I find that last line intruiging. I see it as an Anderson put down and a Griffiths put down. Littlechild must have known that Sims was a public provider for the drowned doctor theory anyway. Seems to me he is clearing up both stories in one letter.. and saying.. both are rubbish.

          best wishes

          Phil
          Chelsea FC. TRUE BLUE. 💙


          Justice for the 96 = achieved
          Accountability? ....

          Comment


          • #6
            "Be off with you then."

            Hello Mike and Phil. Yes, and the coda seems to be, "Now run along and play."

            Cheers.
            LC

            Comment


            • #7
              Here's another question: Why did Littlechild send back to Sims a short, typewritten letter full of handwritten corrections and a couple of added sentences (by pen) at the bottom? Why didn't Littlechild simply retype the letter?

              Did his secretary (wife?) suddenly quit on him?

              Comment


              • #8
                It seems to me, from the reply, that Sims had written to Littlechild to ask, among other things, if he knew the identity of someone called Dr D, as that is the first thing that Littlechild mentions. He is being polite but seems to be saying 'Stop bothering me'.
                allisvanityandvexationofspirit

                Comment


                • #9
                  Sims letter

                  Hello all,

                  I do have a few reservations about the Littlechild letter. A personal letter typed? And addressed to "Dear Sir", not as you would expect, "Dear Sims", or "Dear Mr. Sims". Also the use of "got" at the time and the expression "fired out" - an american slang term first used in the late 1880s, but would Littlechild have used it?

                  No doubt these can all be explained, but I would have liked to have seen a photocopy of the letter, not just a transcription, in order to see the lay-out of the letter. Is there one anywhere?

                  Best regards,
                  C4

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    What is also interesting is that he revisits Tumblety later after he changed the subject. Notice the later statement,

                    “It is very strange how those given to 'Contrary sexual instinct' and 'degenerates' are given to cruelty…”

                    Littlechild is clearly revisiting Tumblety and connecting his type of person to cruelty. Was he explaining why Scotland Yard took him seriously as a suspect or more seriously than Druitt or was he explaining why he personally believed Tumblety could be the killer?

                    Sincerely,

                    Mike
                    The Ripper's Haunts/JtR Suspect Dr. Francis Tumblety (Sunbury Press)
                    http://www.michaelLhawley.com

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      It should be noted that a high resolution scan of the letter indicates that Littlechild's signature (no question as to its authenticity) is in the same shade of ink as the annotations and the two added sentences at the end of the letter.

                      I wondered at one time if Sims (with his editor's hand) was the one responsible for the inked additions, but apparently this is not the case.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        To Mike

                        As you know, Mike, I think that the famous, widely-read, George Sims got in touch with Littlechild because he was trying to confirm a story he had been propagating (on Macnaghten's behalf) since 1899; that the fiend was an affluent, reclusive, English Gentile, unemployed for years, a middle-aged asylum veteran who was strongly suspected by his friends and the Yard -- though independently of each other -- of being 'Jack the Ripper'.

                        This doctor, who was Sims' physical doppelganger, during one of his periodic incarcerations had been diagnosed as suffering from a 'peculiar mania', he confessed that he wanted to kill and main harlots.

                        After being out of the madhouse for a year, and without family or patients, the invalided, idle, ex-physician -- a ticking bomb -- fulfilled his dark compulsion in Whitechapel, and before his frantic pals and the super-efficient police could nab him and put him under restraint again -- from where he should never have been released harrumphs Sims -- the likely killer was found a month-old corpse in the Thames.

                        The final atorcity in Miller's Court had blasted his mind, leaving the ex-doctor nothing more than a gibbering husk, yet with just enough wherewithal to stagger to the Thames river and throw himself in: 'a shrieking, raving fiend' (a confession in deed rather than word).

                        This tale reached its apotheosis in 1907 for 'Lloyds Weekly' magazine, and in that seminal article about the 'Drowned Doctor' tale, Sims also wrote that the alternative theory among those in-the-know was not the Polish Jew suspect (as he had been out and about for a long time after the Kelly murder) but a young, eccentric, American medical student -- who also could not be the fiend because he was alive years after the murders, and thus failed the 'awful glut' litmus test'.

                        But something, perhaps, was giving Sims second thoughts by 1913, and he cast his net about looking for further confirmation for a tale we know now is half-true and half-fiction.

                        But which bits were which?

                        Jack Littlechild, understandable perplexed about 'Dr D' as he could know nothing about a too-late suspect such as Druitt unless Mac confided in him -- and presumably he didn't -- assumed this must a be a self-servingly garbled version of the affluent, semi-employed, middle-aged 'Dr T' who was arrested by Scotland Yard and who had friends who helped bail him out.

                        Sims must have used what he thought was a trump card in his correspondence with Littlechild; that his information partly came from Major Griffiths who had access to the 'Home Office Report' by the Commissioner -- which Littlechild mistakenly thinks means Anderson.

                        In 1903 this allegedly definitive 'Report' had worked -- so Sims believed -- to quash the absurd notions of a retired field detective, Abberline, who dared question Sims over the veracity of his 'drowned doctor' claims.

                        But this time it was a retired police chief who had headed the Irish Dept. and knew and remebered where all the bodies were buried

                        Knowing nothing of Mac's machinations over the past two decades, Littlechild assumes this is an Anderson con job, and he pointedly does what Anderson would not do in his 1910 memoirs: name the chief suspect and name the reporter who hoaxed the 'Dear Boss' letter.

                        I think this is also Littlechild's way of hinting to Sims that he is a reporter who has also been somewhat hustled.

                        And if Sims wants to use the Tumblety scoop, the real suicided doctor chief suspect, then go ahead (I suspect Mac very smoothly reassured Sims, counter-claiming that it was Littlechild who was wrong; that the latter was mis-remembering which doctor was the important suspect).

                        What I find fascinating is that both Sims and Littlechild do not realize that they are both right and both wrong; that each has half the puzzle, and are sharing these halves, but missing that the suicided doctor is a semi-mythical fusion, and a deflection, and has nothing to do with Anderson -- though he too may have thought that Sims' suspect was a garbled version of Tumblety, the less said about the better.

                        In his memoirs the following year, Macnaghten dropped both the 'doctor' and 'drowned' elements, which cost him the full understanding of people then -- and now -- that he was fessing up to having solved the mystery 'some years after' the murderer had taken his own life.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Hi Jonathan,

                          It would be very intriguing to be a fly on the wall when Simms spoke to Mac after reading the Littlechild letter. Simms' later published article certainly conforms to this.

                          Mike
                          The Ripper's Haunts/JtR Suspect Dr. Francis Tumblety (Sunbury Press)
                          http://www.michaelLhawley.com

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            To Mike

                            Yes, Sims in 1915 and in 1917 shows the 'drowned doctor' mythos very much intact.

                            In the 1915 piece, interestingly, Sims mentions 'Blackheath' for the one and only time.

                            Was that a bone thrown by Mac to Tatcho?

                            I also cannot help but notice that Littlechild writing that Tumblety was 'believed' to have taken his own life, after absconding to France, is a much, much more satisfying tale -- from the police point of view -- than the real one.

                            The truth was that Tumblety was investigated in Canada by Inspector Andrews, who wandered into the buzz-saw of the trans-Atlantic Parnell imbroglio. This trip proved fruitless. Tumblety gave an interview in 1889 in which he scathingly disaparaged the 'dyspeptic' English cops. He died in a St. Louis nursing home, peacefully and affluent, in 1903.

                            Whereas, Littlehild is telling Sims that: we had him on file, we watched him, we arrested him, we charged him and we broke him!

                            Sure, he jumped his bail but he [prrobably] killed himself in France (perhaps by drowning?) and so that is some kind of justice.

                            I think Littlchild is being sincere about somebody 'believing' that he took his own life. Because he knows that if Sims is really interested then he might research Tumblety, and if insincere would know that the well-connected celebrity-writer would easily learn that Tumblety died of natural causes fifteen years later (of course, for Sims chatting with Macnaghten was the only research after 1899).

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Jonathan H View Post
                              Whereas, Littlehild is telling Sims that: we had him on file, we watched him, we arrested him, we charged him and we broke him!
                              ...as evidenced by the New York World reporters description of Tumblety's demeanor during the Feb '89 interview and his comments.

                              I'm still intrigued by two points:

                              1) Simms must have considered Littlechild an authority on ripper suspects for Simms to ask for his two cents, even after he was convinced of the 'drowned doctor' mythos.

                              2) Littlechild remembered Tumblety after 25 years 'amoungst' all countless suspects; including accurate details.

                              Sincerely,
                              Mike
                              The Ripper's Haunts/JtR Suspect Dr. Francis Tumblety (Sunbury Press)
                              http://www.michaelLhawley.com

                              Comment

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