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Francis Hermans - Update - Solid evidence of him being in vicinity of torso murders.

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  • MrBarnett
    replied
    Originally posted by Astatine211 View Post

    The Swedish church where Elizabeth Stride commonly went for financial support was only a few hundred metres away as well.
    Yes, it was. The street to the left of the SH was Betts Street, at one time possibly the most notorious in the area. The next street W was Princes (later Swedenborg) Street which led into the square where the Swedish church was located.

    This end of the Highway was the East End’s premier red light district in the 1880s.

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  • Astatine211
    replied
    Originally posted by MrBarnett View Post
    Click image for larger version

Name:	6E684D87-2F33-47E9-B182-36E1F893707A.jpeg
Views:	414
Size:	39.7 KB
ID:	751328 Thanks for that, A!

    I’m very intrigued by the reference to the Ratcliff Highway. This is a photo of the Seaman’s Rest in the Highway. I’ve got a better one somewhere.

    A few years after Emmeline married Frank this was Mary Kelly’s patch.

    The Swedish church where Elizabeth Stride commonly went for financial support was only a few hundred metres away as well.

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  • Al Bundy's Eyes
    replied
    Originally posted by Dupin View Post
    Yes London is a place you can get away with many things, especially if you have a garden like Nielsen had.
    A year ago half a mile from me a barbecue was causing a lot of smoke.
    In London you would normally shut your windows and complain to the dog.
    But one neighbour sent her young son to find out who was doing what.
    He climbed a high wall surrounding the small back garden to be horrified by the sight of neighbours barbecuing the remains of their french au pair that they told everyone had gone home.
    If not for that, they might well have not ended up in the Old Bailey dock.
    Hope I haven't spoiled your tea.
    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-44238521

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  • MrBarnett
    replied
    The smell of boiling horseflesh was considered a significant ‘nuisance’ in Victorian London. That’s why the activity was heavily regulated. ;-)

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  • rjpalmer
    replied
    Originally posted by Fisherman View Post
    Landru did, people felt the smell but he was able to go on for the longest time.
    Landru killed some of his victims in a villa in the middle of a field outside of the village of Gambais, far from Paris. Not exactly the same thing as disposing of a body in a crowded district in London.

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  • Dupin
    replied
    Yes London is a place you can get away with many things, especially if you have a garden like Nielsen had.
    A year ago half a mile from me a barbecue was causing a lot of smoke.
    In London you would normally shut your windows and complain to the dog.
    But one neighbour sent her young son to find out who was doing what.
    He climbed a high wall surrounding the small back garden to be horrified by the sight of neighbours barbecuing the remains of their french au pair that they told everyone had gone home.
    If not for that, they might well have not ended up in the Old Bailey dock.
    Hope I haven't spoiled your tea.

    Leave a comment:


  • Fisherman
    replied
    Originally posted by rjpalmer View Post

    But that's a rather obtuse objection, Fish, isn't it?

    In a crowded area like Central London, you can't burn a body without alerting the neighbors--provided you even have access to a private fireplace.

    In Salt Lake, Hermans had access to a church furnace. Judging by the photo in Post #90, the next building was some distance away. Yet, even inside the church in Salt Lake, the stench was bad enough that a neighbor complained.

    It would be very difficult to get away with such a rash and disgusting act in residential Central London.

    In other words, when in Rome, do as the Romans. You are suggesting it was Hermans 'preference' to burn bodies, but I would humbly suggest it was simply what was expedient in these particular circumstances. Given other circumstances, he may have dumped the body in the river or buried the body at a building site, so as not to draw undue attention.

    I'm not willing to ascribe some sort of morbid psychology to what can be readily explained by the 'practical' aspects of a particular crime, appalling as his actions may have been.
    It is a difference and it should be noted as one. Of course, any dismemberment killer who had formerly not burnt his victims could do so, for whatever reason. But that does not detract from how the difference is there.
    You say "When in Rome, do as the Romans". Did the Roman dismemberment killers poison their victims? Or did they whack them over the temple/cut their throats? Do you know?
    There are many differences involved here, all of them being against Hermans being the Torso killer. We can of course say "But he COULD have done that, could he not?", but that would be looking away from the differences for no good reason at all, I feel.
    As for how no Londoner would have gotten away with burning victims, I could use the same argument: He COULD have done so. Landru did, people felt the smell but he was able to go on for the longest time. And Dennis Nielsen burnt his victims, many of them. In London. Itīs a weird world.

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  • rjpalmer
    replied
    Originally posted by Fisherman View Post
    Turning his victims to ash does not seem to have been any preference at all in his case.
    But that's a rather obtuse objection, Fish, isn't it?

    In a crowded area like Central London, you can't burn a body without alerting the neighbors--provided you even have access to a private fireplace.

    In Salt Lake, Hermans had access to a church furnace. Judging by the photo in Post #90, the next building was some distance away. Yet, even inside the church in Salt Lake, the stench was bad enough that a neighbor complained.

    It would be very difficult to get away with such a rash and disgusting act in residential Central London.

    In other words, when in Rome, do as the Romans. You are suggesting it was Hermans 'preference' to burn bodies, but I would humbly suggest it was simply what was expedient in these particular circumstances. Given other circumstances, he may have dumped the body in the river or buried the body at a building site, so as not to draw undue attention.

    I'm not willing to ascribe some sort of morbid psychology to what can be readily explained by the 'practical' aspects of a particular crime, appalling as his actions may have been.

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  • Abby Normal
    replied
    Originally posted by Fisherman View Post

    Well, we canīt have that, can we? Letīs hope it arrives as promised!
    thanks fish. looking forward to it!

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  • Fisherman
    replied
    Originally posted by Abby Normal View Post

    hey fish
    i was wondering whenyou were going to jump in here! lol.

    well they found razors and knives in the furnace so theres a clue to how they were taken apart perhaps.

    Any dismemberment requires some sort of sharp implement to get the job done, right? In Hermans case, no finetoothed saw played a role. In the Torso murders, it was always used, from 1873 and forward. So that looks like a radical difference to me.

    you make good points but the only thing ill say is whats more similar? torsoman to the ripper or torsoman to pastor bluebeard?

    Torsoman to the Ripper. There is nothing in that coupling that urges us to drop the idea as long as we accept that a killer may dismember in some cases and not in others, depending on the circumstances. With Hermans, we must accept him going from prostitute killings to domestic ones, from swift death followed by immediate dismemberment to posioning his victims to death and only thereafter dismembering them, from leaving the body parts on display to incinerating them and hiding them away and so on. Its much more of a stretch to me.

    do you see the point im trying to make?

    Yes, your point is that two dismemberment killers must be more alike - or at least as alike - as an eviscerator/mutilator and a dismemberment killer. But that point is much dissolved by how the Ripper tried to decapitate (= an effort to dismember) and how the Torso killer mutilated and eviscerated.
    It is only on the surface of things that the two dismemberers look like people of the same ilk, if you ask me. Hermans was a Landru type, the Torso killer was nothing of the sort.


    if me and you are going to say the similarities outweigh the differences between torsoman and the ripper, then we cant turn around and say the differences outweigh the similarities between two dismemberers!

    Of course not! Two dismemberers in the same geographical area and in time frames that may connect must be regarded as possibly being one and the same, just like how two eviscerators under the same circumstances must be looked upon in the same way. However, eviscerations are rarer than dismemberments and the time frame consistency between the Ripper and the Torso killer is much greater than what is the case for Hermans visavi the Torso killer. He participates in the race, but he can never win it as it stands. Not in my view, at least.

    anyway i do see the points you are making but im going to wait and see what else turns up on Pastor Bluebeard. it looks like he may be off geographically for torsoman but lets see what the researchers come up with.

    That sounds like a wise strategy. I would also like to learn more about Hermans, not least about how he did his cutting.

    btw still waiting for your book! grrrrr. it better be here by Friday or heads are gonna roll! pun intended
    Well, we canīt have that, can we? Letīs hope it arrives as promised!
    Last edited by Fisherman; 02-18-2021, 09:36 AM.

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  • Abby Normal
    replied
    Originally posted by Fisherman View Post
    Having taken a look at this thread, Iīd say that Francis Hermans is quite an interesting character. What I would not say is that he is a very likely contender for the role of the Thames Torso killer, although I would like to have more information on a few parameters before I can be more certain of it.

    What we seem to have here is the kind of dismemberment killer that the Victorians were aware of: the kind who tried to hide a crime by way of dismemberment. The Torso killer seems to me to be an aggressive dismemberer - a man whose motivation was the deeds themselves, a man who liked cutting into flesh.

    In the dismemberment cases, Hermans seems to have followed the schedule poisoning to death - dismemberment - burning the remains, and that is not at all very much alike the Torso killer who dismembered in very quick succession after the murder - presumably because his murders were all about aquiring a body to cut into and take apart (if that reminds you of another Victorian killer, I congratulate you on your clear-sightedness).

    The Torso killer was apparently not into hiding what he had done - instead he put it on display all over London, the way narcissistic killers regularly do. Turning his victims to ash does not seem to have been any preference at all in his case.

    Abby makes the remark that Hermans parcelled up the body parts, just like the Torso man did. But why would Hermans do that? Why not just tuck the parts into the fire? What possible use could packaging the parts in cloth and paper have to him?

    Any guess?

    Exactly - it seems he wanted the fire to be as powerful as possible in order to clear away the evidence as thoroughly as he could - and that makes his packaging of the body parts another business altogether when compared to the Torso killers packages.

    We must also weigh in that although we do not have the identities of the Torso killers victims in more than one case, that case is one where a prostitute lost her life. In Hermansī case, we have people in his close company dying, wives, mistresses and their kids. Domestic affairs, therefore.

    One murder series of a domestic character where there was a will to hide the victims and where they were not killed swiftly and immediately afterwards dismembered, and another series where the victims seem to have been prostitutes, where the parts were not hidden away but instead allowed to float ashore along the banks of the Thames and where the victims seem to have been killed by having their throats cut (as witnessed about by Phillips in the Pinchin Street case) and thereafter typically dismembered immediately afterwards.

    To me, the two series are very different.

    The articles speak of Hermans "hacking" the bodies to pieces in the tub, but I would like to know just how roughly or cleanly they were taken apart.
    hey fish
    i was wondering whenyou were going to jump in here! lol.

    well they found razors and knives in the furnace so theres a clue to how they were taken apart perhaps.
    you make good points but the only thing ill say is whats more similar? torsoman to the ripper or torsoman to pastor bluebeard?
    do you see the point im trying to make?
    if me and you are going to say the similarities outweigh the differences between torsoman and the ripper, then we cant turn around and say the differences outweigh the similarities between two dismemberers!
    anyway i do see the points you are making but im going to wait and see what else turns up on Pastor Bluebeard. it looks like he may be off geographically for torsoman but lets see what the researchers come up with.

    btw still waiting for your book! grrrrr. it better be here by Friday or heads are gonna roll! pun intended

    Leave a comment:


  • Fisherman
    replied
    Having taken a look at this thread, Iīd say that Francis Hermans is quite an interesting character. What I would not say is that he is a very likely contender for the role of the Thames Torso killer, although I would like to have more information on a few parameters before I can be more certain of it.

    What we seem to have here is the kind of dismemberment killer that the Victorians were aware of: the kind who tried to hide a crime by way of dismemberment. The Torso killer seems to me to be an aggressive dismemberer - a man whose motivation was the deeds themselves, a man who liked cutting into flesh.

    In the dismemberment cases, Hermans seems to have followed the schedule poisoning to death - dismemberment - burning the remains, and that is not at all very much alike the Torso killer who dismembered in very quick succession after the murder - presumably because his murders were all about aquiring a body to cut into and take apart (if that reminds you of another Victorian killer, I congratulate you on your clear-sightedness).

    The Torso killer was apparently not into hiding what he had done - instead he put it on display all over London, the way narcissistic killers regularly do. Turning his victims to ash does not seem to have been any preference at all in his case.

    Abby makes the remark that Hermans parcelled up the body parts, just like the Torso man did. But why would Hermans do that? Why not just tuck the parts into the fire? What possible use could packaging the parts in cloth and paper have to him?

    Any guess?

    Exactly - it seems he wanted the fire to be as powerful as possible in order to clear away the evidence as thoroughly as he could - and that makes his packaging of the body parts another business altogether when compared to the Torso killers packages.

    We must also weigh in that although we do not have the identities of the Torso killers victims in more than one case, that case is one where a prostitute lost her life. In Hermansī case, we have people in his close company dying, wives, mistresses and their kids. Domestic affairs, therefore.

    One murder series of a domestic character where there was a will to hide the victims and where they were not killed swiftly and immediately afterwards dismembered, and another series where the victims seem to have been prostitutes, where the parts were not hidden away but instead allowed to float ashore along the banks of the Thames and where the victims seem to have been killed by having their throats cut (as witnessed about by Phillips in the Pinchin Street case) and thereafter typically dismembered immediately afterwards.

    To me, the two series are very different.

    The articles speak of Hermans "hacking" the bodies to pieces in the tub, but I would like to know just how roughly or cleanly they were taken apart.
    Last edited by Fisherman; 02-17-2021, 08:22 PM.

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  • Kattrup
    replied
    Originally posted by rjpalmer View Post
    Here's one for Kattrup.

    It was reported in Salt Lake in May 1902 that Hermans may have been hiding out in Copenhagen.
    Thanks RJ I'll look into it

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  • rjpalmer
    replied
    Here's one for Kattrup.

    It was reported in Salt Lake in May 1902 that Hermans may have been hiding out in Copenhagen.

    Click image for larger version

Name:	May 1902.JPG
Views:	254
Size:	59.5 KB
ID:	751357

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  • Astatine211
    replied
    Originally posted by MrBarnett View Post

    How do we know he was in Le Havre in December, 1887 or in Glasgow in November, 1889?
    I assumed he was there due to Samuel supposedly being born there in December 1887 and it being mentioned him and his wife lived in Glasgow before he murdered her but there are a number of conflicting sources so it could easily not be 100% accurate.

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