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Bury and the GSG

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  • Bury and the GSG

    It seems to me there are four possible connection points between Bury and the Goulston Street graffito. Points 1 through 3 require an assumption that Bury chalked the messages at Princes Street (while this cannot be proven, it does seem to be a reasonable possibility).

    1. chalked message

    2. youthful hand

    3. flamboyantly misspelled word

    4. psychopathic "blaming of others"

    With respect to point 4, one of the plausible explanations of the GSG that has been advanced by others is that the Ripper blamed "the Jews" for interrupting his murder of Stride before he had finished with her. It was therefore "their fault" that he had to murder Eddowes so that he could perform some mutilations and have his fulfilling evening. This type of blaming of others for one's own misdeeds is one of the chief characteristics of the psychopath as defined by modern psychology and psychiatry.

    As Macpherson noted, we have specific evidence that Bury possessed this trait. In the letter that Bury gave to Reverend Gough in which he confessed to the murder of his wife, he wrote, "I admit that it was by my own hands that my wife Ellen Bury met with her death...But I solemnly state before God as a dying man that I had no intention of doing so before the deed was done. I have communicated to you my motive for the crime but as it concerns so closely the character of my wife, I do not wish you to make it known publicly" (The Trial of Jack the Ripper, p. 102). In other words, it was "her fault" that he had to kill her.

    There is of course no proof that Bury wrote the GSG, but all it takes is two reasonable speculations (that Bury wrote the Princes Street messages and that the psychopathic explanation of the GSG is correct) to construct the list of four points above, which together would form a very powerful link between Bury and the GSG.
    “When a major serial killer case is finally solved and all the paperwork completed, police are sometimes amazed at how obvious the killer was and how they were unable to see what was right before their noses.” —Robert D. Keppel and William J. Birnes, The Psychology of Serial Killer Investigations

    William Bury, Victorian Murderer
    http://www.williambury.org

  • #2
    I think it's highly likely that the chalk messages in Princes Street were written by Bury. I find the messages in Princes Street intriguing. In fact I'm surprised they are rarely mentioned on these forums. Linking the GSG and the chalked messages in Princes Street is an interesting line of thinking.

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    • #3
      Originally posted by John Wheat View Post
      I think it's highly likely that the chalk messages in Princes Street were written by Bury. I find the messages in Princes Street intriguing. In fact I'm surprised they are rarely mentioned on these forums. Linking the GSG and the chalked messages in Princes Street is an interesting line of thinking.
      It is an interesting line of thinking; I was also fascinated by the PSG and its provinance. Is there a sample of it anywhere or is it another scribble in a policeman's notebook?

      However, ultimately this is just another subject that we could endlessly debate, because I can't see any way of us linking the two graffiti.

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by Iain Wilson View Post
        It is an interesting line of thinking; I was also fascinated by the PSG and its provinance. Is there a sample of it anywhere or is it another scribble in a policeman's notebook?

        However, ultimately this is just another subject that we could endlessly debate, because I can't see any way of us linking the two graffiti.
        The chalkings are reproduced in post 91 of the "Assessing the Case Against" thread here. I don't have Beadle's 2009 book handy, but if I remember correctly, I think he argues for Ellen being the author. This seems highly unlikely to me. She was barely literate and it's hard to believe she would scrawl her message to the world in two different hands. I think they had to have been written either by schoolboys or by Bury himself, who his sister-in-law testified could write in "several hands."
        “When a major serial killer case is finally solved and all the paperwork completed, police are sometimes amazed at how obvious the killer was and how they were unable to see what was right before their noses.” —Robert D. Keppel and William J. Birnes, The Psychology of Serial Killer Investigations

        William Bury, Victorian Murderer
        http://www.williambury.org

        Comment


        • #5
          Yeah; from what I recall about Ellen she was barely literate and, misspellings aside, she is not a likely candidate for the PSG.

          Bury remains the most likely candidate (if he was the murderer maybe he missed the notoriety he enjoed in London?) unless of course some locals, knowing the Burys had travelled from Whitechapel, were having a joke at their expense. Are there any accounts of local rumours that he was the Ripper (it's been a while since I've read my Bury books)? Maybe it's as simple as some local kids delighting in laughing at "that wired guy from down south"?

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by Iain Wilson View Post
            Yeah; from what I recall about Ellen she was barely literate and, misspellings aside, she is not a likely candidate for the PSG.

            Bury remains the most likely candidate (if he was the murderer maybe he missed the notoriety he enjoed in London?) unless of course some locals, knowing the Burys had travelled from Whitechapel, were having a joke at their expense. Are there any accounts of local rumours that he was the Ripper (it's been a while since I've read my Bury books)? Maybe it's as simple as some local kids delighting in laughing at "that wired guy from down south"?
            Oh, I'm sure word got around about their having come from the East End. For example, we have the report of the neighbor asking Ellen about JTR along with her famous reply of "Jack the Ripper is quiet now." And if schoolboys chalked the messages, it was no doubt some horseplay related to their having come from the East End.

            It's worth mentioning that the messages were in two different spots at the back of the residence. If schoolboys wrote them, we are not looking at a scenario where they were standing side-by-side, each scribbling their own message. One was at the turn of the stairwell leading down to the back door, while the other was on the back door itself. They weren't far apart, but it seems a little odd that schoolboys would plan them out like this, or write them in sequence like this, so that one would write the first one at the turn, and then further along the other one would write something on the back door.

            If on the other hand Bury chalked the messages to scare people off after Ellen's murder, you can see what he was doing. Give them an initial fright at the turn of the stair, and if that didn't work, give them something even more ominous on the back door itself. I think it's very possible to view these messages as Bury's creepy two-part warning system. "Stay away."
            “When a major serial killer case is finally solved and all the paperwork completed, police are sometimes amazed at how obvious the killer was and how they were unable to see what was right before their noses.” —Robert D. Keppel and William J. Birnes, The Psychology of Serial Killer Investigations

            William Bury, Victorian Murderer
            http://www.williambury.org

            Comment


            • #7
              The chalked messages were probably written by Bury. I'm wondering what his motivation to write them would be. Are they some sought of confession? Was he trying to scare Ellen Bury? Was he trying to scare other people?

              Comment


              • #8
                Quite possibly. Or, it could be a form of attention seeking. A lot of serial killers crave the attention that their crimes bring - perhaps with the heat off in Dundee he wanted to bring back a little bit of the noterity that he had "enjoyed" down south?

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by John Wheat View Post
                  The chalked messages were probably written by Bury. I'm wondering what his motivation to write them would be. Are they some sought of confession? Was he trying to scare Ellen Bury? Was he trying to scare other people?
                  What I've suggested in another thread is that this was possibly one of several measures he took in an effort to keep people away from the residence after Ellen's murder (the others being that he began to lock the front door when it had been kept unlocked before, and that he began to keep the rear blinds drawn all the time). If he had her body in there, he wouldn't have wanted anyone to get close to the residence. While the chalking of the messages might seem like an extreme measure, Bury was not a normal guy, and if he had heard kids laughing or goofing around out back at some point, that might have been enough to stir him into trying to scare them off with something creepy like this.
                  “When a major serial killer case is finally solved and all the paperwork completed, police are sometimes amazed at how obvious the killer was and how they were unable to see what was right before their noses.” —Robert D. Keppel and William J. Birnes, The Psychology of Serial Killer Investigations

                  William Bury, Victorian Murderer
                  http://www.williambury.org

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Iain Wilson View Post
                    Are there any accounts of local rumours that he was the Ripper (it's been a while since I've read my Bury books)?
                    Iain, it occurred to me that I neglected to respond to this specific question. I might be mistaken (and if I am, someone please correct me), but I don't think there is a record of rumors that he was the Ripper prior to Ellen's murder (certainly after her murder, the rumors began flying all over the place).

                    As I've said, it was known to people that they were from the East End. When the Burys first arrived in Dundee, they stayed at a place on Union Street before eventually moving on to the Princes Street address. An incident occurred at the Union Street place that I suppose could have provided an impetus to a rumor of that sort prior to Ellen's murder. Bury had been haggling with his landlady over the rent, and he apparently gave her such a wicked look that the landlady decided to thereafter stay away from him -- she sent her daughter to attend to the Burys instead. Not exactly a shining moment of courage on her part!
                    “When a major serial killer case is finally solved and all the paperwork completed, police are sometimes amazed at how obvious the killer was and how they were unable to see what was right before their noses.” —Robert D. Keppel and William J. Birnes, The Psychology of Serial Killer Investigations

                    William Bury, Victorian Murderer
                    http://www.williambury.org

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      I wanted to make an additional comment about the authorship issue. I think that if the two chalkings at Princes Street were unconnected in content, this would certainly encourage the view that they were written by two different people (schoolboys). But the two texts actually form a single coherent narrative. If you approached the back of the residence, the first text you would have encountered, at the turn of the stairwell, was that Jack the Ripper was in the cellar lying ahead. The next text you would have encountered, at the back door itself, was that he was right behind that door. So this is a progression within a single narrative. While it's possible that two schoolboys collaborated to create a single narrative, I think the existence of a single narrative perhaps nudges us at least a little bit in the direction of a single author. And since the two texts are in different hands, it would be reasonable to suggest that Several-Hands Bury was that author.
                      “When a major serial killer case is finally solved and all the paperwork completed, police are sometimes amazed at how obvious the killer was and how they were unable to see what was right before their noses.” —Robert D. Keppel and William J. Birnes, The Psychology of Serial Killer Investigations

                      William Bury, Victorian Murderer
                      http://www.williambury.org

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        The chances that a random naughty Dundee schoolboy scrawled the chalk messages are low in my opinion.

                        Would this naughty schoolboy know that the occupant of 113 Princes Street was Bury and that he had lived near Whitechapel? Considering Bury had only lived at the address for a few weeks, it is highly unlikely.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by johns View Post
                          The chances that a random naughty Dundee schoolboy scrawled the chalk messages are low in my opinion.

                          Would this naughty schoolboy know that the occupant of 113 Princes Street was Bury and that he had lived near Whitechapel? Considering Bury had only lived at the address for a few weeks, it is highly unlikely.
                          The closer we can move Bury to the PSG, the closer we can move him to the GSG because of the points of similarity between them. As others have noted, to ask us to accept that a schoolboy wrote the GSG is to ask us to accept not only a remarkable coincidence in space (that the message "just happened to be there" next to the piece of apron), but also a remarkable coincidence in time (that it "just happened to be there" during the very brief interval in which a message of that character could have survived in such a location). That's asking us to accept a remarkable coincidence on not one but two different levels. I'm not buying it. I think the much more likely explanation is that the killer wrote the GSG, especially given the content of the message and the "Jewish circumstances" of the Stride murder earlier that night.
                          “When a major serial killer case is finally solved and all the paperwork completed, police are sometimes amazed at how obvious the killer was and how they were unable to see what was right before their noses.” —Robert D. Keppel and William J. Birnes, The Psychology of Serial Killer Investigations

                          William Bury, Victorian Murderer
                          http://www.williambury.org

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Personally, I've never been entirely convinced that Jack the Ripper wrote the Goulston graffiti.

                            As far as I understand, graffiti was fairly common in the late 19th century as it is now in certain parts of urban areas, and I think that the piece of apron ended up where some graffiti just happened to be.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by johns View Post
                              Personally, I've never been entirely convinced that Jack the Ripper wrote the Goulston graffiti.

                              As far as I understand, graffiti was fairly common in the late 19th century as it is now in certain parts of urban areas, and I think that the piece of apron ended up where some graffiti just happened to be.
                              I think it's reasonable to expect that the Jewish residents would have very promptly wiped the graffito away after having seen it. What that would mean, then, is that a schoolboy would have had to chalk it on the very night that the killer was there, too.

                              That kind of coincidence would be quite remarkable, the two of them both headed to the same place on the same night within a matter of hours and perhaps minutes of each other. Why should we reach for this kind of coincidence? We already know the killer was there, the presence of the piece of apron tells us as much. Why should we attempt to bring someone else to this obscure doorway on the very same night when the person who we know was there could have written it?

                              In Bury we have a major suspect who was known to disguise his handwriting, and who, if he indeed chalked the PSG, seems to have been perfectly capable of chalking something in a schoolboy hand. I agree with you to the extent that we cannot rule out a schoolboy for the GSG, but with Bury as our suspect, there is no need for us to ask for this kind of remarkable coincidence and what seems to me a much less likely explanation of what occurred there.
                              “When a major serial killer case is finally solved and all the paperwork completed, police are sometimes amazed at how obvious the killer was and how they were unable to see what was right before their noses.” —Robert D. Keppel and William J. Birnes, The Psychology of Serial Killer Investigations

                              William Bury, Victorian Murderer
                              http://www.williambury.org

                              Comment

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