No announcement yet.

Days of my years

  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Days of my years

    Hello all,

    I found this site that may be of interest. It is the complete "Days of my years"

    best wishes

    Chelsea FC. TRUE BLUE. 💙

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

  • #2

    Hello Phil. You have my undying gratitude!

    A veteran ripperologist informed me (within the last month) that the chapter on "laying the ghost of Jack the Ripper" contains the real story of who the culprit was.

    The best.


    • #3
      Originally posted by lynn cates View Post
      Hello Phil. You have my undying gratitude!

      A veteran ripperologist informed me (within the last month) that the chapter on "laying the ghost of Jack the Ripper" contains the real story of who the culprit was.

      The best.
      Hello LC,

      I reckon you must have been at my egg nog

      best wishes

      Chelsea FC. TRUE BLUE. 💙

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


      • #4
        There is a contemporaneous review of Mac's Memoirs posted on the other Ripper site, found by 'How Brown':

        'Secrets of Scotland Yard Are Made Public' from the San Jose Mercury News, Dec 29th 1914.

        The review is by a W. Hamilton Rhodes.

        This puff piece of course does not attempt to compare Mac's memoirs with Anderson's, or any sort of in-depth Ripper analysis -- as to be expected.

        But it does provide confirmation of certain aspects of Macnaghten and his book -- the only document about the Ripper by him for public consumption.

        Hamilton acutely describes Mac's literary style as breezy and vivacious, which perfectly sums up both the book and the man.

        That this Victorian Gentleman [really a premature Edwardian] represented the last of a breed of top cop; the glorified amateur.

        But at least, Hamilton writes, Macnaghten was hard-working, knew the criminals, and possessed a remarkable memory for names and faces. This is depsite a limited education, missing the point, I think, that Macnaghten had the confidence of an Old Etonian and did not need to be an Oxbridge grad to prove anything.

        That he was also a self-styled Super-Cop, according to Hamilton, who was so strong -- and physically courageous -- that he could by himself eject 'welchers' from racecourses.

        Hamilton does a straight summary of Mac's chapter on the Ripper. Though adding nothing new, this writer clearly sees what Macnaghten is getting at; that the police were haplessly chasing a phantom as late as 1891, when the real murderer had topped himself years before -- soon after the Kelly murder.

        Many modern researchers consistently miss this overarching point by the former Commissioner, perhaps because it collides so markedly with the thrust of both versions of his 1894 Report -- which heavily imply that Druitt was, instead, a suspect known to police in 1888 -- two mercurial documents unavailable for analysis until decades later.

        One could argue that this public account is the one Macnaghten wanted to be definitive, about the fiend, rather than some bureaucratic and media hocus-pocus he pulled behind the scenes.

        How this glamorous smoothie, Scotland Yard's 'boy wonder', must have rankled with the more prudish and pious, reclusive and dull, and college-educated/intellectual Anderson.


        • #5
          More from Mac's Memoirs on 'Jack'

          Here are bits and pieces which do get seen much because they are not in the chapter dealing with the Whitechapel murders: Chapter IV : Laying the Ghost of Jack the Ripper, and therefore not accessible on this site.

          The Preface:

          '... A contented mind is a continual feast, and one should always be prepared to accept the bitters of life along with the sweets. It was said once by an enterprising journalist that I only owned up to two disappointments, the first being that, although I played in several trial matches, I was turned out of the Eton Eleven before the Harrow match, and the second that I became a detective officer six months after the so-called "Jack the Ripper' committed suicide, and "never had a go at that fascinating individual". But the readers--if they take the trouble to peruse the following pages--will be able to judge for themselves as to my "days", and how they have been spent ...'

          [Anderson in his memoirs also describes the reporter who made up the "Dear Boss" letter as 'enterprising' -- and there it means a liar. Therefore Macnaghten seems to be saying that although, yes, he was six months to late -- which is almost correct to the day of Druitt's suicide -- he still 'had a go' at this murderer?! Chapter IV solves this paradox: he laid to rest Jack's ghost posthumously by identifying him 'some years after']

          Chapter X
          Motiveless Murders

          [Mac first mentions the Lambeth Poisoning Case and then the Camden Town Murder]

          ' ... Both of these murders were committed by sexual maniacs,--by men who killed for the joy of killing,--but their types were wholly different.

          As I have said before, when writing of the Whitechapel Murders, such madness takes Protean forms. Very few people, except barristers, doctors, and police officers, realise that such a thing as sexual mania exists ... (p. 100)

          ... Students of history, however, are aware that an excessive indulgence in vice leads, in certain cases, to a craving for blood. Nero was probably a sexual maniac. Many Eastern potentates in all ages, who loved to see slaves slaughtered or wild beats tearing each other to pieces, have been similarly affected. The disease is not as rare as you imagine. As you walk in the London streets you may, and do, not infrequently jostle against a potential murderer of the so-called Jack the Ripper type. The subject is not a pleasant one, but to those who study the depths of human nature it is intensely interesting.' (p. 101)

          'It has been widely published that on the scaffold Neil Cream exclaimed, "I am Jack the---" just as the bolt was drawn.

          Apart from the fact that no man in the last stage of furious madness, as the perpetrator of the Dorset Street horror must have been, could have lived to embark on a totally different series of atrocities, there is a perfect alibi.

          During the whole period covered by the Ripper's crimes Neil cream was in prison on the other side of the Atlantic.' (p. 114)

          Chapter XIII
          The Muswell Hill and Stepney Murders

          'No light was vouchsafed to us, and after two or three weeks it seemed as if the Muswell Hill ,murder was going to climb on the shelf of undiscovered crimes alongside Jack the Ripper and the Cafe Royal case of eighteen months before.' (p. 139)


          • #6
            Lost Document?

            An interesting discussion has begun on the other site about what lost document you would like to access.

            Chris Scott wants to see a copy of the 'private information' which informed Sir Melville that Montague's family 'believed' he was the Ripper, if such a document ever existed.

            Another poster challenges whether Mac knew anything accurate about Montie, or had access to anything accurate.

            This is fair enough -- but arguably redundant.

            Henry Farquharson knew the Druitts, and was easily accessible to Mac.

            It is extremely unlikely that Macnaghten would inadvertently get wrong the suspect's age and profession, yet get right , in 'Aberconway', the comparatively trivial detail that his water-logged corpse was found with a season rail pass (in the official evrsion ebver sent, Mac leaves himself wriggle-room that Druitt was not a doctor after all).

            If he accessed PC Moulson's report on the retrieval of the body he would have seen that Druitt bobbed up in Chiswick. potentially too far to stagger from Whitechapel to drown himself on the same night.

            Furthermore, we know that elements of the Druitt tale are being consciously reshaped because Griffiths changed 'family' into 'friends'. This alteration was maintained by Sims , and Mac even added the correct detail that the 'friends' (eg. a friend and a brother) were trying to find their missing pal-sibling -- which they were.

            Mac's neglected memoir does not confirm that Druitt was a middle-aged doctor, which he wasn't, and pointedly steps back from the 'Protean' maniac killing himself 'the same evening' (the MP's error) in the immediatel aftermath of the 'awful glut' in Dorset St -- which he didn't.

            In my opinion there was no lost document containing the 'private information'; it was contained only in Mac's head. He reassured surviving Druitts upon his retirement that he had destroyed all his papers on the suspect, but it was untrue -- as usual. It also strongly implies that they were his papers, not the state's, to do with as he liked.

            Ironically, I believe that Chris Scott in finding, or first publishing the 1899 North Country Vicar story of a fiend who killed himself 'soon after' Kelly and who was 'at one time a surgeon' (the cousin of the deflective line: 'said to be a doctor ...') located the gist of the 'private information' that William told Sir Melville in 1891.

            As in, my brother confessed to a priest and then killed himself. Montie's shocking account checks out as real and not delusional. He made the priest agree to tell the truth in ten years, but we are going to veil the story somewhat to protect ourselves by having another cleric deliver the story to the press -- with no names except his.

            Macnaghten therefore learned the [likely] identity of the Ripper, that he was a 'ghost' who could now be 'laid' to rest, but that it was also not a welcome solution -- eg. one acutely embarassing to the Yard -- which this affable, publicity-sensitive administrator could keep a lid on indefinitely. It was going to spill out again, as it already had, no doubt unintentionally, in Dorset in Feb 1891. Hence his decision to reveal and yet conceal Druitt for public consumption ahead of the Vicar's deadline -- which worked.

            Mac committed nothing to paper until 1894 when 'The Sun' forced his hand. He scrambled to get something into the official record about 'police' suspecting Druitt -- eg. while alive, a sly misdirection -- but having no hard evidence with which to arrest him, despite family 'belief' in his guilt as he was a 'sexual maniac'. Sir Melville, alone at Scotland Yard knowing the 'secret information ... which came my way' (1913) was trying to have his cake and eat it too. This awkward paradox in the official version was never tested by other officers of the state, but it sure was with the public, via his credulous literary chums and they're being told that the very different 'Aberconway' version was definitive, official and conclusive.

            Mostly the public bought into the neat, Yard-friendly 'drowned doctor' version, lited somewhat from Dr Tumblety and dr Jekyll, but field detectives scoffed at it and so did a retired chief, Littlechild, to Sims in 1913, and so did William Le Queux.

            I believe that Chris Scott found a critical, missing jigsaw piece which helped [provisionally] solve the mystery, or rather help us understand why Mac at least thought he had, though I realise that the researcher himself does not agree -- at all -- with this revisionist interpretation of the Vicar source.


            • #7

              The fair and reasonable Chris George here in his latest post agrees with my fellow Aussie, Adam Went, that if Melville Macnaghten had the same information in 1891 as MP Henry Farquharson, then it is 'peculiar' that he added the suspects 'Kosminski' and Michael Ostrog to his 1894 memorandum -- if he was supposedly so sure about Druitt?

              That such singular certainty must have emerged later, eg. when his memory was failing him even more?

              Yet those three suspects are full of inaccuracies (I would call it 'sexing-up') and therefore this makes this police chief an unreliable, hyperbolic primary source.

              On the surface the old paradigm seems logical and sensible. But when you look close and measure the 'memo' against other sources by Macnaghtem and on his behalf, then it becomes much less convincing theory (too often put forward as a 'definitely ascertained fact').

              Also what is done here is to mix togetrehr two very different evrsions of the same document as if they are interchangeable. they are not and were used by Macnaghten quite differently.

              The official version, in which Druitt is one of a trio of minor, hearsay suspects, was never sent or seen by anybody -- certainly not at the Home Office.

              Yet in that version Macnaghten put on the official if dormant record that Druitt might not have been a doctor (he wasn't) but that he was definitely a sexual maniac 'believed' by his own family to have been the murederer.

              In the sexed-up, official-unofficial 'Aberconway' version, seen and disseminated by Griffiths and Sims, 'Dr. Druitt' returns to what he was with Farquharson and the family -- he is the probable Ripper. The other two suspects are virtually exonerated by Macnaghten in his first salvo against Anderson and his version of the Polish Jew's suspect status (who had tartly asserted the Pole's primacy to the same author, Griffiths, in 1895).

              It's peculiar' but explainable. Macnaghten did not want Scotland Yard to be hostage to Druitt alone if the story surfaced again in Dorset. He did not want the Home Office to see the choice as between Cutbush and Druitt because it would beg the question as to why the second suspect was not arrested.

              Both versions of the Report conceal from the reader -- and the experienced crime writers fell for this misdirection completely -- that Druitt was not not arrested because of a lack of evidence, but because he was long deceased.

              That was the embarrassing element which was buried (as was 'Kosminski' being sectioned so late, or that Ostrog was in French asylum).

              Ultimate it comes down to the 1891 MP story compared with the only document under Mac's name about the case for public consumption:

              11 February 1891, 'The Bristol Times and Mirror':

              I give a curious story for what it is worth. There is a West of England member who in private declares that he has solved the mystery of 'Jack the Ripper.' His theory - and he repeats it with so much emphasis that it might almost be called his doctrine - is that 'Jack the Ripper' committed suicide on the night of his last murder. I can't give details, for fear of a libel action; but the story is so circumstantial that a good many people believe it. He states that a man with blood-stained clothes committed suicide on the night of the last murder, and he asserts that the man was the son of a surgeon, who suffered from homicidal mania. I do not know what the police think of the story, but I believe that before long a clean breast will be made, and that the accusation will be sifted thoroughly.


              Feb 18th 1891, 'The York Herald' and 'The Yorkshire Herald':

              'The member of Parliament who recently declared that 'Jack the Ripper' had killed himself on the evening of the last murder, adheres to his opinion. Even assuming that the man Saddler [sic] is able to prove his innocence of the murder of Frances Coles, he maintains that the latest crime cannot be the work of the author of the previous series of atrocities, and this view of the matter is steadily growing among those who do not see that there is any good reason to suppose that 'Jack the Ripper' is dead. So far as Saddler is concerned, there is a strong feeling that the evidence will have to be very much strengthened against him by next Tuesday, if he is to be committed for trial. His manner in the Thames Police-court was consistent with any theory.'

              Which matches:

              1914, Sir Melville Macnaghten, 'Days of My Years'


              ' ... Although, as I shall endeavour to show in this chapter, the Whitechapel murderer, in all probability, put an end to himself soon after the Dorset Street affair in November i888, certain facts, pointing to this conclusion, were not in possession of the police till some years after I became a detective officer.

              ' ... On the morning of 9th November, Mary Jeanette Kelly, a comparatively young woman of some twenty-five years of age, and said to have been possessed of considerable. personal attractions, was found murdered in a room in Miller's Court, Dorset Street. ... he committed suicide ; otherwise the murders would not have ceased. The man, of course, was a sexual maniac, but such madness takes Protean forms, as will be shown later on in other cases. ... Not infrequently the maniac possesses a diseased body, and this was probably so in the case of the Whitechapel murderer. ... he committed suicide on or about the 10th of November 1888 ...'

              Where it does not match is the timing of the suicide; Macnaghten stretches that to a day and a night, at least, after the final murder -- which is closer to the true record about Montague Druitt than what Mac's fellow Old Etonian, Farquharson, knew in 1891.

              This elongation destroys the alleged incriminating conjunction the MP was peddling, and destroys the 'shrieking, raving fiend' story (Sims, 1907) of the murderer immediately staggering to the river Sims had assured his readers that the killer could not last 'a single day' after what he did to Kelly, and yet Mac has him lasting longer than that).

              The Mac Reports were unknown and anonymous, and it is arguably a mistake to the point of an ahistorical distortion to ignore the memoirs (the de-facto third version of his Report but the only under his own name for the public) as it is not what the source wanted and it is, regarding his 'conclusion' about his 'probable' Ripper, error free.


              • #8
                Hi Jonathan

                I am not saying that Sir Melville Macnaghten's memory was failing him. That suspicion might be said more of Sir Robert Anderson conceivably rather more than Macnaghten. Rather, I am saying that Macnaghten is making much of not very much, a suspect who happened to die at precisely the right time to have been the Ripper and to have done those "five murders only" that Macnaghten insists that the Ripper committed.

                I also think that, as I have stated before, Anderson and Macnaghten are both playing the exact same game, putting something in their memoirs that will make Scotland Yard look better, by claiming that someone at the Yard knew the truth about the killer behind the crimes so that the investigation did not appear to be quite the abject failure that it was.

                All the best

                Christopher T. George
                Organizer, RipperCon #JacktheRipper-#True Crime Conference
                just held in Baltimore, April 7-8, 2018.
                For information about RipperCon, go to
                RipperCon 2018 talks can now be heard at


                • #9
                  That link won't work for me ... I keep getting "problem loading page".
                  Helena Wojtczak BSc (Hons) FRHistS.

                  Author of 'Jack the Ripper at Last? George Chapman, the Southwark Poisoner'. Click this link : -


                  • #10
                    "I believe that Chris Scott found a critical, missing jigsaw piece which helped [provisionally] solve the mystery, or rather help us understand why Mac at least thought he had, though I realise that the researcher himself does not agree -- at all -- with this revisionist interpretation of the Vicar source."

                    Hi Jonathan
                    First I hope all is well with you and the family. Many thanks for your kind comments :-)
                    I don't disagree (or agree!) with any interpretation of the "private info" question as I am completely open minded (or undecided!) as to whether this "info" ever actually existed at all and, if so, what form it took and how MM came to hear of it.
                    The possibility the private info was a garbled form of the Vicar's confession story is, to my mind, no more nor less likely than the possibility that "The east End Murder - I Knew Him" was a misreported version of a newspaper article.
                    All the best


                    • #11

                      In youth parlance does that qualify as being (dis-) owned?

                      LOL (and that ain't love)



                      • #12
                        To Chris George

                        My misunderstanding.

                        But on the point you and others still make about how the general timing of Druitt's suicide is the main, perhaps only, reason Mac latched onto the drowned barrister as a suspect, you have it the wrong way round.

                        Macnaghten believed that McKenzie and Coles could be Ripper victims, and there was no reason for the police to believe the fiend had stopped for good, let alone died (those later murders also 'exonerated' Tumbelty).

                        It was being handed the long deceased Druitt as Jack in 1891 which made Mac realise that the police had been fruitlessly chasing a phantom for years, whose 'ghost' he could now 'lay' to rest -- though not until 1891 for he alone at the Yard carried this knowledge, this probable solution.

                        For the timing of Druitt's self-murder was extremely inconvenient, as was the MP's revelation; just as the cops were fitting up some sailor as the tabloids could make it appear.

                        Completely different from Anderson's egocentric 'fairy tales' (Sims, 1910)Macnaghten's memoir conceded that Scotland Yard had no idea as to the Ripper's true identity -- until 'some years after' -- and that he only stopped because he imploded, not because of any official investigation. That is a humiliating admission, institutionally speaking, but a candid Mac makes it nonetheless -- partly to discredit Anderson on this subject.

                        Macnaghten changed 'family' into 'friends' and a surgeon's son into a middle-aged doctor, and thus it can be shown he reshaped the data about Druitt depending on the audience and the circumstances.

                        There are many who have been at this 'mystery' for decades who will never internalise this notion, I presume because it is too painful.

                        To Chris Scott

                        Fair enough, my mistake.

                        For me 2008 is the year when the last available pieces fell into place, not the details but the oevrall shape of the tale: the private information initially came from Farquharason and Montie confessed to a priest. the lattr source may just be a coincidence, but you found it and it brought me, at least, peace of mind (except here of course.)


                        • #13
                          Hi Jonathan
                          Not necessarily your mistake, buddy:-)
                          It has certainly been known in the past for me not to make my own attitude towards an article or finding quite clear...
                          The main reason is that always it is the search itself that gives me the buzz - I usually leave the analysis, the discussion (and the arguing!) to other people...
                          I hope all is well and good to hear from you again
                          Chris Scott


                          • #14
                            Is Mac a primary source?

                            On the other thread the 'Diary' Cultists are in their usual lather about anybody daring to question the Holy book, and have challenged me to produce any primary sources for other suspects -- excluding police memoirs.

                            This attempt at the suppression of sources of course shows that whatever they think they are doing it has nothing to do with standard historical methodology (it never does with the tiresomely doctrinaire).

                            And there is the usual blowback about daring to give them as good as they give everybody else; the usual arrogant attempt at intimidation as if they're position is hegemonic when it is little more than the fringe of a fringe.

                            Primary sources refer to material or artefacts that come from the time being studied. An eyewitness to an event only interviewed fifty years later is still a primary source. An historian must weigh their testimony against other sources, and against the limitations crsated inevitably by the passage of time thus causing honest mistakes, and/or the contamination of memory by other sources, and/or whether the account is self-serving (perhaps deservedly so?) Secondary sources are ones which do not come from the time being studied but are about that event or period, for example works by historians.

                            Sir Melville Macnaghten is a primary source about the all of the Whitechapel murders because he was there at the time.

                            But if the focus is specficially the Scotland Yard investigation into the 1888 murders then he is a secondary source -- albeit one with excellent access to the immedaite living and documented primary sources -- as he did not join the Force (not by choice) until the middle of 1889.

                            What has been missed or misunderstood in most secondary sources like Evans and Sudgen and Fido about this subject -- Paul Begg and R J Palmer are the exceptions among these excellent writers -- is that Sir Melville revealed in his memoirs what is obvious from all the primary sources about the Whitechapel murders between 1888 and 1891.

                            That Druitt was an entirely posthumous suspect.

                            This is confirmed in Mac's memoirs of 1914 and by the two 'West of England' MP articles, which further show that Druitt was first suspected by his own people in Droset where he had been born and grown up.

                            In other words the notion that Sir Melville was 'too late' to investigate the Ripper is true only in the sense that the murderer was long deceased. He was there to investigate Druitt 'some years after' he had fatally imploded.

                            From other soucres we learn that Mac had an elephantine memory, smooth social skills, liked to be hand-son with notorious cases and had excellent entree to the MP as they were from the same class, and the same old exclusive boys' school.

                            It offends common sense that Mac would not have at the evry lest consulted the newsppaer accounts of Druitt's death. sure enough further analysis of of his writings by him, or on his behalf, reveal that he knew that the olderbrother was searching frntically for his missing sibling and that Montie did not kill himself immediately after he killed Kelly.

                            Or, you can argue a different line based on Sir Robert Anderson and Donald Swanson as primary sources who had in 'Kosminski' a much more likely suspect to be the fiend than a Blackheath barrister -- who may have become historionically delusional.

                            Anderson and Swanson are the administrative and operational sources on the case from 1888 to 1895.

                            Plus Macnaghten can be shown to be talking out of both sides of his mouth about the Ripper, and was the anonymous orchestrator of the institionally self-serving 'drowned doctor' mythos. He always comes out of it looking very good (except to some modern 'Ripperologists' who have trashed his successful carrer and reputation).

                            He is therefore, arguably, an unreliable [early secondary] source whose limitations far outweigh his values.

                            I do not agree with this line of argument but accept that it is legit.

                            Or you can make a case for Dr Tumblety being the chief suspect of 1888 (though he may not have retained that status for long, and arguably did not) as primary sources by Anderson and Littlechild, and UK and American newspapers so attest.

                            There is nothing by the Ripper police on Maybrick because he was not a ssupect then and arguably should not be one now -- not on the basis of a source whoe provenace is seklf-servingly dubious, with handwriting that is a non-match, and content that is influenced more by secondary rather than primary sources.

                            Memeoirs like all primary sources are a mixture of values and limitations, and should never be just thrown into the trash.

                            Not if you are interested in history?


                            • #15
                              Just a clarification about that last post.

                              In rereading 'The Lodger', a terrific book that also contains some of the first in-depth, eye-opening material by George Sims, I see that Evans and Gainey did theorise that Druitt was an entirely posthumous suspect.

                              My disagreement with those authors was over another aspect of Macnaghten over the meaning of the 'Balfour' element which I -- alone -- think is Browne's literal misunderstanding of the last lines in Mac's chapter on the Ripper in his 1914 memoirs.

                              But that controversy is for another thread.

                              I do agree with those authors in their characterization of the Mac Report as a 'sop' to the Home Office, though never sent by Mac. Rather the public were exposed, four years later, to the 'Aberconway' version as if this version was his true opinion of [the un-named] Druitt's probable culpability.