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Willy Clarkson - The Wigmaker of Wellington Street - a New Theory on Jack the Ripper

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  • #46
    Originally posted by MrBarnett View Post

    I should qualify that. I can see him, perhaps, putting his son in a cab and sending him off to Schneider’s cap factory, say, to collect or pay for something, but that he would be allowed to ‘roam freely’ carrying money or valuable goods through the East End really doesn’t ring true.
    Yes, I will find the bio pages and send them to you - I am just working on something right now for my job so I can't get to my files on this right now.

    As for his roaming freely, it seems to be that Clarkson Sr. was either ill or distracted during the last years of his life, and his sister Maria attempted to organize the business but was not very good at it. There is at least one letter I have from 1877 (when Clarkson Jr was 15-16 so a little later) in which a customer complains about both Clarkson Sr. and Ms. Berry (his wife) being non-responsive and directing queries straight to Clarkson Jr. Which would make sense in 1877 as Clarkson Jr. had taken over by then. In that regard, he was capable of running a business at 14, and made it grow, so he was a smart kid, and probably street smart, too. So, in these circumstances, I think Clarkson Jr. was a tough kid from an early age, and because his father was sick or otherwise not paying attention, I don't think it's so unlikely. I did picture a messenger bike kind of situation, but you're right, cabs could have been used. The "roamed freely" is definitely my language and my feel of the situation, but maybe roam and free are too strong of words, I don't know. I'll own that and at this point at least, I don't have any reason to dismiss it out of hand.

    Comment


    • #47
      Originally posted by MrBarnett View Post

      Hi Paul,

      The video tells us the wig was found at the Stride murder site. We are also told that Stride was known to have defrauded a number of people to obtain charity.

      Gary
      The former comes from "The Wig-making Clarksons", page 107 (Stride's name is mentioned) and "The Strange Life of Willy Clarkson," page 148 (Berner Street is referenced). The reporter in The People references the double-murder night, so I can see how he might have been in error in reporting the name

      The reference to Elizabeth Stride and falsely seeking money based on claims she was a survivor from the Princess Alice shipwreck comes from Jack the Ripper: The Facts, by Paul Begg, pp. 294- 297.

      Comment


      • #48
        Just to clarify what Mike said about the genealogy : Glover married Elizabeth Shaw, the sister of "Jennie's" mother. "Jennie" was Jane Elizabeth Bowen, and lived as such with her aunt Elizabeth and her uncle-by-marriage Albert Glover from at least 1871 to 1891, before marrying Walter Cole. The large Bowen family continued living in the east end.

        Comment


        • #49
          Originally posted by MrBarnett View Post
          We are told that Willy had ‘freely roamed’ the East End as a child. Is there any evidence to support that? All I’ve seen so far is a link to an anecdote about him frequenting Liverpool Street Station, which isn’t actually in the East End, as an adult.

          At 14 he returned from school in Paris to take over his father’s business. So at what age is it imagined that he was ‘freely roaming’ the dangerous streets of Whitechapel, Spitalfields and St George’s?
          Ok, so I am sure I am going to miss deadlines and wind up desolate and in 1880s East End myself now, but I have been focused on this. Here's what I have.


          So, in the Wig-Making Clarksons, p. 68, the author recounts a story in which Clarkson Jr. was used as a messenger in 1868, when he was 6 or 7; and he likely would have continued that role until he went to school in France. I looked up in the Wig-Making Clarksons, and the author's thought is that Clarkson Jr. would have gone to France sometime after May 1871 and probably not until early 1872, the reason being the Franco-Prussian war, which started in July 1870 and ended in May 1871 and because some of Clarkson Jr.'s siblings died during this period, there was likely a period family bereavement, meaning that he was probably delayed until 1872. The biographer hypothesizes that Clarkson only went to school at all because of the Elementary Education Bill, which was passed around July 1870. So, he was probably a messenger from around 6 or 7 until he left for France in 1872, around 11. He returned to the UK in 1875 at the age of 14, and though he took over the business, he was still likely attending messenger tasks as his father had not yet died. I'm having trouble finding the East End references but I will find them; I just can't find the reference in my notes directing me to the source.



          Comment


          • #50
            Originally posted by pwilliamgrimm View Post

            The former comes from "The Wig-making Clarksons", page 107 (Stride's name is mentioned) and "The Strange Life of Willy Clarkson," page 148 (Berner Street is referenced). The reporter in The People references the double-murder night, so I can see how he might have been in error in reporting the name

            The reference to Elizabeth Stride and falsely seeking money based on claims she was a survivor from the Princess Alice shipwreck comes from Jack the Ripper: The Facts, by Paul Begg, pp. 294- 297.
            Also, I re-read The People article and I don't see a reference to Eddowes. I see a reference to the double murder and that Clarkson's wig was found on Berner Street, which is where Elizabeth Stride was killed.

            Comment


            • #51
              Mike,

              You state as a fact:

              ‘Clarkson had lifelong familiarity with anatomy and surgery because his grandfather was a barber-surgeon.’

              Leaving aside whether his grandfather actually was a barber-surgeon, or whether a barber-surgeon of his grandfather’s generation would have had knowledge of anatomy and surgery, there is the inconvenient fact that Peter Clarkson died 30 years before his grandson Willy was born. How could Willy have obtained such a ‘lifelong familiarity’ from a grandfather he never knew?

              Gary

              Comment


              • #52
                Hi Gary: Yes, that has occurred to me, that exact point. I am struggling with this right now. I think I have an explanation for this, but I am not quite ready to articulate it and it requires further research. I received a response to one of my queries to a very well qualified History of Medicine professor and he had some thoughts that gave me some encouragement on the barber surgeon side; but you have hit the nail on the head: If I can't get past this 30 year gap, the distant history of a barber surgeon in the family is not in itself very meaningful. But I think there may be a way to resolve this. If there is not, I think the theory is significantly weakened. But I'm going to see where this path to resolve the exact question you present goes before I decide how the theory as a whole stands with these significant new data points.

                Comment


                • #53
                  Originally posted by pwilliamgrimm View Post
                  Hi Gary: Yes, that has occurred to me, that exact point. I am struggling with this right now. I think I have an explanation for this, but I am not quite ready to articulate it and it requires further research. I received a response to one of my queries to a very well qualified History of Medicine professor and he had some thoughts that gave me some encouragement on the barber surgeon side; but you have hit the nail on the head: If I can't get past this 30 year gap, the distant history of a barber surgeon in the family is not in itself very meaningful. But I think there may be a way to resolve this. If there is not, I think the theory is significantly weakened. But I'm going to see where this path to resolve the exact question you present goes before I decide how the theory as a whole stands with these significant new data points.
                  Let us know when you resolve this conundrum and when you find the source for the 6-11-year old Willy having been let loose in the East End.

                  Comment


                  • #54
                    Originally posted by pwilliamgrimm View Post
                    Hi all:

                    I was researching a different subject and came upon the name Willy Clarkson, a famed British wig-maker of the Victorian era. I followed that path and unexpectedly compiled evidence that demonstrates Clarkson had the motive, expertise and opportunity to commit the Whitechapel Murders. I put this together in a documentary that is about 30 minutes long and proffers that the evidence is sufficient to conclude that Willy Clarkson was the individual known as Jack the Ripper.

                    I hope you take the time to watch it, and agree, disagree or spew disdain on me for making it. I enjoyed the process and look forward to all feedback, good and bad, and whether anyone has thoughts as to why Willy Clarkson shouldn't be added to the list of credible suspects, and really the most credible suspect.

                    Here is the link.

                    Thanks a lot!

                    P. William Grimm

                    Sorry if I'm late with my reply.

                    When a 'new' suspect is introduced through a video, there's this tendency to either reject him or accept him without providing a rigorous analysis. These are some questions which I hope will contribute to such an analysis.

                    I tend to agree with you when you mention that many convictions have been obtained thanks to circumstantial evidence. Probably more than with direct evidence or testimonies all together. However, the thing with circumstantial evidence is that it has to satisfy three criteria: relevance, exclusivity and independence.

                    Relevance basically means that the evidence contributes to explain the motives, the means and the opportunity a suspect might have had. The problem we often face is that Ripperology historians, as most historians do, rely upon a test we could define as the reasonable relevancy test while criminologists rely upon a test of relevancy that goes beyond a reasonable doubt.

                    Exclusivity means that the evidence presented applies only on the concerned suspect's case. With most Ripper suspects this criterion is ignored.

                    Independence means whether a source repeats or not information from another source or is inferred from an original source.

                    One of the basic common law rulings regarding circumstantial evidence comes from Regina v Exall And Others where Justice Pollock CB gave the jury the following instructions: ‘It has been said that circumstantial evidence is to be considered as a chain, and each piece of evidence as a link in the chain, but that is not so, for then, if any one link broke, the chain would fall. It is more like the case of a rope composed of several cords. One strand of the cord might be insufficient to sustain the weight, but three stranded together may be quite of sufficient strength.’

                    The British 1872 Evidence act introduced many tests evidence needs to go through such as the relevancy, consistency, state of mind and hearsay tests. The basic questions behind these tests call upon reliability and the extent of which they may be attested. The Exall ruling still stands today in UK but strictly concerns parallel strands of evidence. When arguments resulting from circumstantial evidence are used to produce a second generation of circumstantial evidence, the chain of evidence rule applies. In other words, an inference based on an inference cannot support a conviction. If one link breaks, all links following the broken one can then be rejected.

                    Now given what I said above and when I look at the Clarkson theory, we are facing serious problems of reliability to be tested under the above rules. Let us consider the concept of mosaic evidence you refer to be similar to Pollock's strand of evidence and examen some of these strands.

                    Firstly, we are in the presence of uncorroborated words written by Greenwall, who said that we are to take for granted words spoken by Clarkson, which corresponds to an inference based on a sort of unsupported claim or to use a more legal term, on hearsay. We know how courts handle hearsay.

                    You mentioned that Harry Greenwall, completed the book and converted it to a biography. Did he simply complete it or did he edit the content to such an extent it would better support the title he gave, "The Strange Life of Willy Clarkson"? Could coloring certain facts with strangeness instead of simply presenting them as they were have been Greenwall's intention? We don't know. Do we have any reliable corroboration of Clarkson's strangeness? Even if Greenwall said that Clarkson was a reliable source for his wig story, does it mean it was true?

                    If Clarkson wanted to protect his business, why did he proceed with extensive body mutilations on his victims? Is there any reliable evidence showing someone wanting to destroy his reputation? Why would he have killed them instead of relying upon hired murderers?

                    As for the cleanly cut and bloody apron, pretending it could have been done by Clarkson because he was trained in fabric work is purely speculative as any other suspect who knew how to use a knife could also have done it. How then does it meet the exclusivity test mentioned above? Was the apron made of muslin and pretend it was left behind and could only have come from theatrical set backgrounds or luxury clothing? Muslin was not as rare as the video indicates, high-quality muslin from Bengal, yes but not the cheap sheer cotton sold bay the British and Scotish manufactures as muslin in UK back then. What kind of muslin are we talking about?

                    When it comes to surgical instruments, we must be aware that barbers were also often considered as surgeons during the 19th century. Now at the time Clarkson's grand father was a barber, most likely at the beginning of the 19th century, there were two kinds of surgeons: licensed surgeons and barber-surgeons, the latter having skills usually limited to basic procedures such as bloodletting, which required a few instruments only. Is there any source indicating that Clarkson had a complete set of surgical instruments as a licensed surgeon would have owned or have we been only told that his grand-father had some?

                    When the video defines Hobbs as Clarkson's long time criminal partner, didn't the narrator forget what he said about Clarkson never being charged for the same crimes? How and when did he turn into a crime partner?

                    The video is full of 'what ifs'' and 'perhaps' having nothing to do with circumstantial evidence. So the pieces of mosaic you offer needs a lot grout before being a significant piece of evidence any criminal court would accept unless the questions I humbly submitted are answered.

                    Comment


                    • #55
                      Thank you very much for your serious and thoughtful comments and questions. I respond as follows.

                      1. As to your discussion of circumstantial evidence, I don't think it's necessary for me to get into the niceties of how I may disagree slightly with your characterization, because I largely agree. I would just try to simplify it a bit and say that circumstantial evidence is a reliable fact from which a credible inference can reasonably be made to indirectly establish a contested material fact. Relevant evidence is that evidence which tends to prove or disprove the existence or non-existence of a material fact. The points of exclusivity and independence don't make 100% sense to me, but I presume they are from a British perspective, while my training in the law is mostly in the US. I think a good analogy in the US would be the "best evidence" rule - that one should consider the best evidence available, and exclude evidence which is secondary to it. So, a birth certificate is better than a family bible, perhaps, but a family bible would be admitted as evidence should a birth certificate not be available. And, yes, certainly much of the biography of Willy Clarkson would be considered hearsay in a US court of law, but even hearsay - an out of court statement offered for the truth of the matter asserted - is admissible in a US court of law if it meets certain exceptions, such as an admission against interest. Much of Greenwall's book doesn't meet that standard, but I would argue that the Berner Street wig story does, because it tends to implicate Clarkson in a murder. But that is all mostly academic, because we are not in a criminal court of law, but rather analyzing an historical crime in an effort to determine whether this particular theory is based upon a reliable foundation. I believe it is, though it would not likely survive scrutiny in a criminal court of law by a beyond a reasonable doubt standard, though it could possibly make it to a jury by a preponderance of the evidence standard, most likely with certain inferences permitted and others excluded. It is not quite right to say that "what ifs" and "perhaps" have nothing to do with circumstantial evidence - this is the language of inference (and speculation, admittedly, too) and I did make certain to make it clear that much of this is not direct evidence, but inferences from circumstantial evidence.

                      2. As for Greenwall's reliability, he was a special correspondent to a variety of newspapers during the first half of the 20th century, and wrote several books. The reviews were mixed and some of his writings were controversial, but generally he was viewed positively. It seems unlikely that, while he may have engaged in gossip, he simply made things up from whole cloth. In particular, the Berner Street wig story was previously recounted in a 1932 article. Greenwall does not seem hesitant to cast doubt upon Clarkson's various stories, and goes out of his way to pick out particular stories he did not consider credible. The ones I focused on seemed to be acccepted by Greenwall. He could have been wrong, of course, but it seems that he was trying to figure out the truth from the embellished. There are many newspaper articles describing Clarkson's eccentricities, and he wrote several articles which seem to further support this. There is another book that describes a trip to Clarkson's studios, and his oddness was noted further.

                      3. As to why Clarkson would have acted in such a brutal way, the film sets forth the theory that it was intended to intimidate other informers. As to why he wouldn't have hired a murdered, that is a major arc of the film, which presents evidence and infers that Clarkson did just that in the case of William Terriss in 1897 - i.e., he learned to distance himself from his crimes, and became very adept at hiding his tracks.

                      4. As for muslin, the research I conducted was clear that it was used for the purposes I set forth in the film. I specifically looked for other purposes because my initial thought was that it could have been a simple kerchief made of the fabric. I could not find any reference to this, though I can't say I dug very deeply into the question. Even assuming the muslin fabric was not a souvenir or calling-card, which is entirely possible and maybe even likely, that would not diminish the case against Clarkson - it would simply render that piece of evidence non-credible. I frankly considered keeping it out all together, but because I found much evidence that Clarkson was a souvenir collector; that there was another piece of fabric found (the apron); and my research indicated that muslin cloth would not likely be found on working class persons, but was rather used for theatrical backgrounds and finer clothes; I decided it was relevant and kept it in. I think that was the right decision.

                      5. As for Clarkson's grandfather, which Gary did an excellent job of researching, I now believe Greenwall got it wrong, which led me in the wrong direction. It now seems unlikely that either Clarkson's maternal or paternal grandfather was a surgeon, though it is possible as barber surgeons during this period, as they were fading away into obscurity, would have had more than one occupation, and a tailor could have been a barber as well, but advertised the higher-class tailor occupation. But I no longer think that is what occurred here, and am revising the documentary accordingly. I now believe that the surgeon that Clarkson described to Greenwall, was a reference to Clarkson's paternal great-grandfather, William Berry. William Berry was a surgeon and apothecary in the late 1700s through around 1810, when advertisements for his services and his bilious (indigestion) remedies seem to have ceased. While, as Gary pointed out, there is a long period between Berry's time as a surgeon (ending around 1810) and Willy Clarkson's birth (1861), academics have assured me that, at this time, family heirlooms like the tools of a surgeon, barber surgeon and/or an apothecary would have been maintained by a family for decades. It's a niche point but I am going to find some reference books to support this point - some have been recommended to me. Clarkson was not only a wig-maker and costumier but advertised he also manufactured his own grease paint and powders, which suggests that he may have had an apothecary background as well. I am in contact with both the Worshipful Society of Apothecaries and the Royal College of Surgeons to try and get some more confirmation on this track. I think the surgeon issue, though, has become a bit of a distraction, because Clarkson would also certainly have had access to barber shears, which at the time were about 6-7 inches in length and would have also served as a possible weapon. I am modifying the documentary to include both of these possibilities.

                      6. As for Hobbs and Clarkson, I previously posted in this thread a newspaper article that supports Clarkson's involvement in the 1897 blackmailing of Hari Singh. I am revising the documentary to include this article, as it seems to be a point of contention. There is also evidence that Clarkson and Hobbs knew one another since 1866 and worked and lived closely together; and that other people were involved in the blackmailing scheme but could not be located - Hobbs was perhaps no snitch. Additionally, period newspaper articles show that Hobbs and Clarkson worked together on the arson of several of Clarkson's buildings, further indicating that these two men worked in crime together. Again, you are correct that so many years later, direct evidence is scant; but circumstantial evidence - newspaper articles, sworn testimony, - allow an inference of a lifelong connection that ran afoul of the law.

                      Anyways, thank you again for all the time you took to respond thoughtfully and critically to the theory in the film. I would be happy to be convinced that Clarkson was not culpable for the Whitechapel murders, but based on the evidence and inferences proffered in the film, which will be shortly revised, I continue to find the theory viable and, indeed, compelling.

                      Thanks again!

                      Comment


                      • #56
                        William Berry was presumably Clarkson’s maternal rather than paternal grandfather. I’ll look him up.

                        I thought part of your theory was that the skills of a barber-surgeon had been handed directly to Clarkson. As for the tools, did you really need to consult academics to learn that valuable tools were often handed down from one generation to the next?

                        There was much cheap muslin around that, particularly if second-hand or scrap, wasn’t beyond the reach of a working-class person.

                        I read a review of Greenwall’s book that was very scathing about his accuracy.




                        Comment


                        • #57
                          According to Charles Berry’s christening record, William Berry was a printer. Charles would follow in his father’s occupational footsteps.

                          Comment


                          • #58
                            Originally posted by pwilliamgrimm View Post
                            Thank you very much for your serious and thoughtful comments and questions. I respond as follows.

                            1. As to your discussion of circumstantial evidence, I don't think it's necessary for me to get into the niceties of how I may disagree slightly with your characterization, because I largely agree. I would just try to simplify it a bit and say that circumstantial evidence is a reliable fact from which a credible inference can reasonably be made to indirectly establish a contested material fact. Relevant evidence is that evidence which tends to prove or disprove the existence or non-existence of a material fact. The points of exclusivity and independence don't make 100% sense to me, but I presume they are from a British perspective, while my training in the law is mostly in the US. I think a good analogy in the US would be the "best evidence" rule - that one should consider the best evidence available, and exclude evidence which is secondary to it. So, a birth certificate is better than a family bible, perhaps, but a family bible would be admitted as evidence should a birth certificate not be available. And, yes, certainly much of the biography of Willy Clarkson would be considered hearsay in a US court of law, but even hearsay - an out of court statement offered for the truth of the matter asserted - is admissible in a US court of law if it meets certain exceptions, such as an admission against interest. Much of Greenwall's book doesn't meet that standard, but I would argue that the Berner Street wig story does, because it tends to implicate Clarkson in a murder. But that is all mostly academic, because we are not in a criminal court of law, but rather analyzing an historical crime in an effort to determine whether this particular theory is based upon a reliable foundation. I believe it is, though it would not likely survive scrutiny in a criminal court of law by a beyond a reasonable doubt standard, though it could possibly make it to a jury by a preponderance of the evidence standard, most likely with certain inferences permitted and others excluded. It is not quite right to say that "what ifs" and "perhaps" have nothing to do with circumstantial evidence - this is the language of inference (and speculation, admittedly, too) and I did make certain to make it clear that much of this is not direct evidence, but inferences from circumstantial evidence.

                            2. As for Greenwall's reliability, he was a special correspondent to a variety of newspapers during the first half of the 20th century, and wrote several books. The reviews were mixed and some of his writings were controversial, but generally he was viewed positively. It seems unlikely that, while he may have engaged in gossip, he simply made things up from whole cloth. In particular, the Berner Street wig story was previously recounted in a 1932 article. Greenwall does not seem hesitant to cast doubt upon Clarkson's various stories, and goes out of his way to pick out particular stories he did not consider credible. The ones I focused on seemed to be acccepted by Greenwall. He could have been wrong, of course, but it seems that he was trying to figure out the truth from the embellished. There are many newspaper articles describing Clarkson's eccentricities, and he wrote several articles which seem to further support this. There is another book that describes a trip to Clarkson's studios, and his oddness was noted further.

                            3. As to why Clarkson would have acted in such a brutal way, the film sets forth the theory that it was intended to intimidate other informers. As to why he wouldn't have hired a murdered, that is a major arc of the film, which presents evidence and infers that Clarkson did just that in the case of William Terriss in 1897 - i.e., he learned to distance himself from his crimes, and became very adept at hiding his tracks.

                            4. As for muslin, the research I conducted was clear that it was used for the purposes I set forth in the film. I specifically looked for other purposes because my initial thought was that it could have been a simple kerchief made of the fabric. I could not find any reference to this, though I can't say I dug very deeply into the question. Even assuming the muslin fabric was not a souvenir or calling-card, which is entirely possible and maybe even likely, that would not diminish the case against Clarkson - it would simply render that piece of evidence non-credible. I frankly considered keeping it out all together, but because I found much evidence that Clarkson was a souvenir collector; that there was another piece of fabric found (the apron); and my research indicated that muslin cloth would not likely be found on working class persons, but was rather used for theatrical backgrounds and finer clothes; I decided it was relevant and kept it in. I think that was the right decision.

                            5. As for Clarkson's grandfather, which Gary did an excellent job of researching, I now believe Greenwall got it wrong, which led me in the wrong direction. It now seems unlikely that either Clarkson's maternal or paternal grandfather was a surgeon, though it is possible as barber surgeons during this period, as they were fading away into obscurity, would have had more than one occupation, and a tailor could have been a barber as well, but advertised the higher-class tailor occupation. But I no longer think that is what occurred here, and am revising the documentary accordingly. I now believe that the surgeon that Clarkson described to Greenwall, was a reference to Clarkson's paternal great-grandfather, William Berry. William Berry was a surgeon and apothecary in the late 1700s through around 1810, when advertisements for his services and his bilious (indigestion) remedies seem to have ceased. While, as Gary pointed out, there is a long period between Berry's time as a surgeon (ending around 1810) and Willy Clarkson's birth (1861), academics have assured me that, at this time, family heirlooms like the tools of a surgeon, barber surgeon and/or an apothecary would have been maintained by a family for decades. It's a niche point but I am going to find some reference books to support this point - some have been recommended to me. Clarkson was not only a wig-maker and costumier but advertised he also manufactured his own grease paint and powders, which suggests that he may have had an apothecary background as well. I am in contact with both the Worshipful Society of Apothecaries and the Royal College of Surgeons to try and get some more confirmation on this track. I think the surgeon issue, though, has become a bit of a distraction, because Clarkson would also certainly have had access to barber shears, which at the time were about 6-7 inches in length and would have also served as a possible weapon. I am modifying the documentary to include both of these possibilities.

                            6. As for Hobbs and Clarkson, I previously posted in this thread a newspaper article that supports Clarkson's involvement in the 1897 blackmailing of Hari Singh. I am revising the documentary to include this article, as it seems to be a point of contention. There is also evidence that Clarkson and Hobbs knew one another since 1866 and worked and lived closely together; and that other people were involved in the blackmailing scheme but could not be located - Hobbs was perhaps no snitch. Additionally, period newspaper articles show that Hobbs and Clarkson worked together on the arson of several of Clarkson's buildings, further indicating that these two men worked in crime together. Again, you are correct that so many years later, direct evidence is scant; but circumstantial evidence - newspaper articles, sworn testimony, - allow an inference of a lifelong connection that ran afoul of the law.

                            Anyways, thank you again for all the time you took to respond thoughtfully and critically to the theory in the film. I would be happy to be convinced that Clarkson was not culpable for the Whitechapel murders, but based on the evidence and inferences proffered in the film, which will be shortly revised, I continue to find the theory viable and, indeed, compelling.

                            Thanks again!

                            I thank you also for your reply. I must point out that the purpose of my comments is not aimed at dismissing Clarkson but to suggest great caution by addressing the questions I offered. My comments reflect those I made at last year's Baltimore RipCon covering Francis Tumblety and could easily be adapted to any other JTR suspect.

                            1. Circumstantial evidence
                            I may be wrong, but I think you understand the difference between the interpretation standards in historiology and criminology. Historians will consider the reliability of evidence using a reasonable relevancy rule while criminologists will use the 'beyond a reasonable doubt' rule. This different way of considering a JTR case has often created some confusion. The confusion is even more present when we add to that the standards used in psychology. So we must avoid switching from one set of rules to another. In any case, inferences and speculations from circumstantial evidence still have to pass one of the two standards mentioned above which doesn't seem quite obvious in the video.

                            At last year's Baltimore RipCon conference, I pointed out in my presentation how much circumstantial evidence rulings may differ from one common law court to another and through time. For example, in the US, courts haves accepted some thirty exceptions to the inadmissibility of hearsay while in the UK, most of the exceptions are included in statutory provisions. We must also remember that the JTR case is a London criminal case and should be examined under the prevailing court rules of the period. BTW relevance, exclusivity and independence are criteria frequently used by historians and criminologist in circumstantial evidence tests while the best evidence rule stricly concerns secondary evidence versus primary evidence such as original documents, objects compared to copies or descriptions of a document or objects.

                            2. Greenwall's reliability
                            I'm not saying that Greenwall is unreliable. What we don't know is the extent of his completion and possible edition of Clarkson's words hence the need to have reliable corroboration sources. I'll give one example of how a simple edit may change the interpretation of a few words. You probably heard of the words of Luc's gospel (ch 24,v 6) 'he is not here, but has risen'. These words are the translation of a Greek version (οὐκ ἔστιν ὧδε, ἀλλὰ ἠγέρθη). The actual original words were 'ἠγέρθη οὐκ ἔστιν ὧδε' which gave the following latin translation, 'resurexit non est hic' done by the Catholic church in the early centuries. The sentence didn't contain the word 'but' (ἀλλὰ ) and had no spaces between the words nor punctuation which didn't exist back then. It could have been read out as 'resurexit non' (he didn't resurect) 'est hic' (he is here) or 'resurexit' (he resurected) 'non est hic' (he is not here) To avoid the controversy, the Catholic church needed to support the resurrection thesis and inverted parts of the sentence and added a comma! A comparison between Clarkson's original words before Greenwall 'completed' the book and the final version would certainly contribute in establishing his credibility which would fall within the 'best evidence' rule.

                            IMHO, Clarkson's strangeness, eccentricity and oddness is not that much an issue. However, using it to infer that he could be a) a murderer, b) the Ripper is risky and requires to be looked into much deeper. Profiling or character definition might be an interesting and potential avenue but should at least pass historology's reasonable relevancy standard if not the 'beyond reasonable' doubt test.

                            3. Clarkson's asserted brutality.
                            Before committing their first murders serial killers don't necessarily offer a reliable pattern of escalating violence. So let's assume Clarkson was actually the Ripper. I have no problem in accepting the idea that from one day to another, he could have had a non-violent public life and a suddenly become a secret brutal killer. The problem is that if he was as smart as he seemed to have been, killing to protect his business and reputation was only one of many options he had. I would tend to examen the other options he could have relied upon and see why they should be dismissed.

                            4. Muslin fabric.
                            Unless you have sources indicating that the muslin you are referring to was high quality instead of the commonly found sheer cotton muslin, I respectfully have to disagree with when you respond that "muslin cloth would not likely be found on working class persons, but was rather used for theatrical backgrounds and finer clothes".

                            5. Surgical instruments
                            There's nothing unreasonable in saying that Clarkson could have kept the barber-surgeon tools his great grand father could have owned as other families would have kept belongings of their predecessors. You will easily find out that in the end of the 18th century or beginning of the 19th century, they were rather rudimentary contrary to those licensed surgeons had. They wouldn't fit the descriptions given by the physicians who examined the Ripper victims. Using blades of the kind of scissors of a wigmaker had would seem to be a more logical solution. It would fall under the 'means' kind of evidence.

                            6. Clarkson and Hobbs
                            Although the newspaper article that supports Clarkson's involvement in the 1897 blackmailing of Hari Singh is a primary source, it's an opinion expressed by its author and not a piece of material evidence. The mere fact that Clarkson was never charged for this blackmail or even mentioned doesn't make him guilty by association. I doubt it would be considered by historians or criminologists as evidence. Even if some newspaper articles showed that Hobbs and Clarkson worked together on the arson of several of Clarkson's buildings, we cannot conclude that he was involved in the Whitechapel murders, unless we accept any insinuation as evidence.

                            I hope my comments will help you out.
                            Cheers,
                            Hercule













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                            • #59
                              Hercule:

                              Thank you once again for your well-considered thoughts and comments. I lived in Baltimore for years, but unfortunately not in the city at the time of your talk, I would have enjoyed it, I'm sure.

                              I understand and acknowledge your points, respectfully. I continue my research with your comments in mind.

                              Best,

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                              • #60
                                Originally posted by pwilliamgrimm View Post
                                Hercule:

                                Thank you once again for your well-considered thoughts and comments. I lived in Baltimore for years, but unfortunately not in the city at the time of your talk, I would have enjoyed it, I'm sure.

                                I understand and acknowledge your points, respectfully. I continue my research with your comments in mind.

                                Best,

                                Even if my presentation covered Tumblety, the main concern I had was how we should approach suspects. You will find the text of my presentation by following this link: https://forum.casebook.org/forum/rip...lety#post11155

                                I wish you the best of luck.

                                Cheers,
                                Hercule
                                Last edited by Hercule Poirot; 09-09-2019, 10:29 PM.

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