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  • Contemporary Suspects

    What part do you think racism and social tensions played in the failure to identify the Whitechapel murderer(s) at the time?

    I wonder if witness descriptions which included 'foreign looking' were tied to the notion that an Englishman couldn't have committed the crimes. Did the prevailing social tensions elevate the idea the killer was Jewish (despite the 'Lipski' shout suggesting the opposite) or at least foreign? Does this explain why a number of letters purported to be from the killer were written in bad English, as if to suggest the writer was foreign? Does this explain why people we might consider to be of interest were not investigated at the time (Lechmere for example)? Did this bias contribute to doctors' opinions concerning the medical skills of the murderer? And so on?

    What lessons can be learned today from the way social context and political pressure impacted the investigation (the rise in anti immigration and antisemitism today, for example, seem very similar to what was happening then)?

  • #2
    Would I be correct in saying that we know of the "Lipsky" shout from Swanson's report to the home office? The Star report just mentions BS man shouting at Pipe man, so that element wouldn't have applied at the time.
    Of the handful of names mentioned at the time, the majority are foreign. Admittedly the population of the East end was largely immigrant, yet the victims not so. ( Exception being Stride. More proof of non C5 status?)
    Maybe the Police did investigate Lechmere, Richardson, Barnett etc but the data's lost, but what remains certainly suggests they were interested in "foreign" and Jews.
    Which opens up the whole "leather apron" distraction.
    Your evening of swing has been cancelled.

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    • #3
      I do think the authorities were scared there would be riots, as in any time of mass migration. I personally dont believe any of the letters were written by Jack. Wasn't Hutchinson was told to change his witness statement from seeing Mary Jane with someone Jewish to foreign ? ...I think the police could not arrest without proof that was their problem.

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      • #4
        Since all the English authors with English suspects have to explain away the mutilations with Black Magic, Freemasonry, medical experimentation, or some form of surrealist artistic license, I think that kettle of worms also existed at the time. The sentiments would have been different if the MO was more straight forward.

        Although I don't like witnesses and I don't like it that Hutchinson had to fill out a questionnaire, I still would pick him as a witness if anyone and would look at anyone that "looked" foreign or Jewish or could pass for foreign or Jewish or fit the stereotype. The Gorilla Man Earl Leonard Nelson passed for Italian and there's no reason not to look for someone who looked Italian in that case. But there might be some confusion with someone looking a certain way and "being" a certain way.

        I never believed the "Blending In" theory but now I think there might be some merit to that mainstream stance if the UNSUB chose the neighborhood as a comfort zone because he fit in physiognomically or at least stereo-typically if not truly ethnically, if that makes sense.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Paddy View Post
          I do think the authorities were scared there would be riots, as in any time of mass migration. I personally dont believe any of the letters were written by Jack. Wasn't Hutchinson was told to change his witness statement from seeing Mary Jane with someone Jewish to foreign ? ...I think the police could not arrest without proof that was their problem.
          Clearly most, if not all, the letters purporting to be from the murderer were not written by him. Nevertheless, a large number were written to give the impression of someone with English as a second language. Add that to accounts of a foreign or jewish looking suspect and you get a clear picture of prejudice or bias affecting certainly the general public's view of who committed the murder. I wonder how much this affected the police investigation and whether this led the police not to follow up on suspects who we might consider should have been investigated.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by etenguy View Post
            What part do you think racism and social tensions played in the failure to identify the Whitechapel murderer(s) at the time?

            I wonder if witness descriptions which included 'foreign looking' were tied to the notion that an Englishman couldn't have committed the crimes. Did the prevailing social tensions elevate the idea the killer was Jewish (despite the 'Lipski' shout suggesting the opposite) or at least foreign? Does this explain why a number of letters purported to be from the killer were written in bad English, as if to suggest the writer was foreign? Does this explain why people we might consider to be of interest were not investigated at the time (Lechmere for example)? Did this bias contribute to doctors' opinions concerning the medical skills of the murderer? And so on?

            What lessons can be learned today from the way social context and political pressure impacted the investigation (the rise in anti immigration and antisemitism today, for example, seem very similar to what was happening then)?
            well andersons crazy jew theory set off a wild goose chase that continues to this day.
            "Is all that we see or seem
            but a dream within a dream?"

            -Edgar Allan Poe


            "...the man and the peaked cap he is said to have worn
            quite tallies with the descriptions I got of him."

            -Frederick G. Abberline

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