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Hutchinson, George- YOUR MEMORY TEST

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  • Sally
    replied
    Hi Fish

    An interesting response. I just wanted to pick up on your last point:-

    I think that the reasonable thing to argue is that if he had heard about the murder on Friday noon, then it would not be as reasonable to suggest that he mixed up the days. Which is why I think that he probably did NOT hear about it until some time after - time enough to create a window for doing the mistake I think he did.
    I agree entirely that this is a logical train of thought - but I have to say I think it unlikely that he wouldn't have heard of it by the end of the Friday at the latest. I think to imagine that the very great majority of Londoners hadn't heard about it by then would be to underestimate the impact and shock of the event.

    In order to accommodate his not hearing about the murder until much later I think we have to resort to pure conjecture - which is fine, but that's all it can be.

    We've been through this before though!

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  • Fisherman
    replied
    Sally:

    "I still contend that we are more likely to remember the day on which the event occurred simply because it occurred in the first place."

    I donīt disagree. An important event will probably - to varying degrees - "rub off" in this manner.

    "In the case of Hutchinson, your requirements are that he is wrong about which night he walked back from Romford. This in itself has nothing to do with Kelly. "

    Spot on.

    "Why should he forget the day? Its a long walk."

    We donīt know that he cared about what day it was at all. If he did not go down there in a specific errand, knit to a specific day (in which case he could STILL have gone the wrong day!), then who can say what importance he attached to the weekday as such? If any day would do for that walk (perhaps to look for job), then any day it was.

    "there is also a continuous narrative provided by Hutchinson from his going to Romford, walking back, meeting Kelly, seeing Astrocan Man, and returning to his lodgings the next morning."

    Yes, indeed. But if he faultily became convinced that it was a Thursday/Friday experience, then he would sort things in under that same umbrella unless something surfaced that told him that he was wrong.

    "we are also asking him to have been unaware of the Friday being the Lord Mayor's Show and unaware that his long term friend Kelly had become the latest victim of the Whitechapel Fiend. "

    Yes - and this is where your argument takes a little more flight. As such, I think that the reasonable thing to argue is that if he had heard about the murder on Friday noon, then it would not be as reasonable to suggest that he mixed up the days. Which is why I think that he probably did NOT hear about it until some time after - time enough to create a window for doing the mistake I think he did.

    Letīs also not forget that he was three days late in coming forward, and that in itself seems to point to him not having had the opportunity - or knowledge - to come forward immediately. If he was an honest man, with intentions to help, then he would reasonably have gone to the police on Friday noon IF he had been in the know. But he did not. So we are left with the two opportunities that he was either not honest, or he WAS honest and had some sort of useful reason for his delay. And yes, we have implications in the press (but not in police reports) saying that there was a reluctance to accept the delay - but that may have been speculations (reasonable ones) by journalists, or a smokescreen provided by an embarrassed police force, unwilling to give away that they had not been able to establish the date-mixing from the outset. And we also have Dew, and he goes to show that the only police that commented on Hutch afterwards, did so believing that Hutch WAS completely honest.

    The best,
    Fisherman
    Last edited by Fisherman; 06-10-2011, 12:11 PM.

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  • Sally
    replied
    Fish

    You will vividly remember the crash because of itīs significance, but the significance does not lie in which day of the week it happened.

    If you agree with this, then that will be a very significant thing. But will that significance manifest itself in your remembering that we actually agreed on something - or in your recalling that it happened on a Friday? And will you remember what you have for lunch today more accurately because of our agreement? I think not. You may disagree, though, and casually forget that you did so on a Friday ...
    My agreeing with you is not so significant - I do sometimes, even if not so often regarding Hutchinson! But thank you for another amusing and eloquent post.

    Now then -

    Does the significance lie in which day of the week an event occurs? I think technically, no, the significance lies in the event itself.

    But, I still contend that we are more likely to remember the day on which the event occurred simply because it occurred in the first place.

    In the case of Hutchinson, your requirements are that he is wrong about which night he walked back from Romford. This in itself has nothing to do with Kelly. Why should he forget the day? Its a long walk. We don't know if his going to Romford was unusual or not. It could have been a one-off, in which case why wouldn't he have been able to fix the day? He might have gone down every Thursday. If that was the case (hypothetically) we wouldn't expect him to mistake the day, would we? There are too many unknowns, I think, for us to make any assumptions there.

    As has already been pointed out, there is also a continuous narrative provided by Hutchinson from his going to Romford, walking back, meeting Kelly, seeing Astrocan Man, and returning to his lodgings the next morning. So we are not just asking for him to have mistaken the day on which he went to Romford, but also the night he was unable to go to his lodgings, and the morning on which he returned.

    On top of that, we are also asking him to have been unaware of the Friday being the Lord Mayor's Show and unaware that his long term friend Kelly had become the latest victim of the Whitechapel Fiend.

    I see what you're saying, Fish, I do - and yes, I'm sure people mistake the day all the time. If I have a boring week at work I'm sure I don't always remember on which day I had a conversation with a colleague, or when I wrote a report, etc.

    But I think there is a big difference between the ordinary and the extraordinary; and my view, from my own experience - which is all I have - is that the extraordinary stands out a good deal more.

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  • Fisherman
    replied
    Sarah Lee:

    "It's just occurred to me that last week was a Bank Holiday, so the rubbish collection was actually a day later on Tuesday.
    If I'd suspected Mike of doing something nefarious I would have had no hesitation in giving a statement to the police, secure in my "knowledge" that it was Monday evening that I'd witnessed his unusual behaviour. And if the day of bin collection wasn't so easily proven, I'd have been completely confident in my recollection!!!"

    And thatīs how it goes! This sort of mistake is so trivial, and it happens to most of us every now and then. And if we add a vagabonding lifestyle and sleep deprivation to the mix, it does absolutely nothing to help us in our recollections.

    Itīs good, Sarah, to have you showing just how common and undramatic a thing this is, for when I say so, I always get the reaction that it would have been something extremely exotic and totally out of the ordinary. What your example further shows us, is that the detail of a Bank Holiday, something out of the ordinary, did not guarantee a correct assessment at all.

    All the best,
    Fisherman

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  • Fisherman
    replied
    Sally:

    "Seriously, I think most people would remember. It's not the sort of thing you forget, is it? "

    The car crash - no. The date - quite possibly. The implications of a car crash are not "Wow, to think this happened on a Thursday!", they are "Good grief, Iīm scared!", "Damn it, there goes a thousand pounds!" and such things.

    You will vividly remember the crash because of itīs significance, but the significance does not lie in which day of the week it happened.

    If you agree with this, then that will be a very significant thing. But will that significance manifest itself in your remembering that we actually agreed on something - or in your recalling that it happened on a Friday? And will you remember what you have for lunch today more accurately because of our agreement? I think not. You may disagree, though, and casually forget that you did so on a Friday ...

    The best,
    Fisherman

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  • Sally
    replied
    An extraordinary event as such is certainly easier to remember than the ordinary day, no doubt about it. But do we always take notice of the day that event happens?

    If we, say, crash with a car, we will certainly remember that we have done so. But how many people register what day it happened?
    Most people? Seriously, I think most people would remember. It's not the sort of thing you forget, is it?

    Well, maybe after several years you might forget which day of the week it was. I was in a car crash when I was in my early 20's. It wasn't serious - though it could have been - car was a write off. I remember the circumstances very well. I remember why I was in the car, the context, who I was with, the colour of the van that hit us, having to be cut out by the firemen, losing my earrings in the hospital, and so on - I can even remember what they looked like and how long I'd had them.

    I actually don't remember the day of the week, now. It was midweek - if I had to guess I'd say it was a Tuesday - and that's the best I can do.

    But it was over a decade ago.

    If it had happened three days, weeks, months, or possibly even years ago I think I would have remembered.

    I only have my own experience and what people have told me to go on, but that's how it seems to me.

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  • SarahLee
    replied
    Originally posted by Fisherman View Post
    I think you are right here too. I think he FELT sure that he had witnessed this on Friday morning, and that was what made him go to the police. If he had wawered, thinking "or was it Thursday?", he would perhaps have been less inclined to go. So obviously, he FELT sure about it!
    And I think I just proved your point . . .

    Originally posted by SarahLee View Post
    Now I know that last Monday I had a chat with Mike from next door. I know that it was Monday because Monday is "bin day" and he was bringing his Wheelie Bin in when I saw him.
    It's just occurred to me that last week was a Bank Holiday, so the rubbish collection was actually a day later on Tuesday.
    If I'd suspected Mike of doing something nefarious I would have had no hesitation in giving a statement to the police, secure in my "knowledge" that it was Monday evening that I'd witnessed his unusual behaviour. And if the day of bin collection wasn't so easily proven, I'd have been completely confident in my recollection!!!

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  • Fisherman
    replied
    Sally:

    "that only means that an extraordinary event would have been etched in the memory in really big letters. "

    An extraordinary event as such is certainly easier to remember than the ordinary day, no doubt about it. But do we always take notice of the day that event happens?

    If we, say, crash with a car, we will certainly remember that we have done so. But how many people register what day it happened?

    Looking at it the other way around, is the chance bigger that we recall what we had for lunch on the day we crashed the car than it is on any other day? I am not sure of that in any way. In fact, I think that the impact on our minds of the crash itself may to some extent block out the more everyday features of such a day.

    The bottom line is that I realize that we remember extraordinary events as such - but that does not mean that we necessarily keep track of what exact day they happened or what happened in relatively close time relation to it.

    Hatchett:

    "there is a fundemental difference in what we are talking about here which you seem to always ignore."

    I do?

    "This was a case where a man went to the Police and told his story about things that he was sure of."

    Well, if we accept that he was truthful, then yes - you are absolutely correct.

    "If he wasnt sure he wouldnt have gone."

    I think you are right here too. I think he FELT sure that he had witnessed this on Friday morning, and that was what made him go to the police. If he had wawered, thinking "or was it Thursday?", he would perhaps have been less inclined to go. So obviously, he FELT sure about it!
    And that, Hatchett, is where my working experiences DO apply - for they show us very clearly that people may feel absolutely sure that they have the correct date - but this is not always the case! Those who call me up and say "That article was in the paper last Wednesday" are SURE that they are right. They are so sure of it that they even doubt and question me when I tell them, after having consulted our archive, that it was on Tuesday.
    Another magnitude, yes, but the exact same thing!

    "You have also consider the risks he was taking in putting himself into the ring of fire."

    Honest people invariably, more or less, go to the police with testimony like this. They do not consider themselves potential suspects - they KNOW that they are blameless. The idea of getting blamed does not occur to them, normally.

    "Your line of work is irrelvent."

    Im afraid not, Hatchett. Your claim that it is bears that hallmark itself, though.

    Versa:

    "... someone must (have) brought the subject up and somehow worked backwards with him to prove him wrong."

    Yes. And? Is that not EXACTLY what we see evidenced in the Star and the Echo - the police DID talk to Hutchinson, and DID satisfy themselves that he was out on the dates! Thatīs why his story was discredited! And thatīs why the man himself was NOT - as witnessed about by Dew.

    "...at which point it would of been obvious to him that he had the wrong dates too."

    I donīt think it ever DID become obvious to Hutchinson. I think he remained steadfast in his conviction, just like Maxwell did, in spite of HER also being obviously wrong - just like Dew says. And the police would not have wasted precious time quibbling with Hutchinson over it - what did they have to gain? If they were convinced, then they were convinced, and letīs get on with it!

    Sarah Lee:

    "there were several non-routine events that would have fixed that particular evening (early morning) in Hutchinson's mind, but that's by no means proof that there couldn't be a mix-up with the days of other fairly routine occurrences that happened around them."

    EXACTLY so - the two sets of events are not connected as such, and the more trivial stuff will easily get mixed up with the trivial stuff of all them other days!

    "... if it was that important, after dwelling on it and racking my brain I could probably come up with reasons to convince myself that it was one day or the other. Would I be correct? I honestly don't know, but the way the mind works once I'd worked it through I'd probably believe that I was right."

    Amen and Hallelujah, Sarah! - that is my take on it too. And maybe it applied to Hutchinsons ways and maybe it didnīt - but the possibility that it did is certainly there!

    All the best,
    Fisherman
    Last edited by Fisherman; 06-10-2011, 12:08 AM.

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  • SarahLee
    replied
    My 2p for what it's worth . . . yes, there were several non-routine events that would have fixed that particular evening (early morning) in Hutchinson's mind, but that's by no means proof that there couldn't be a mix-up with the days of other fairly routine occurrences that happened around them.

    And as far as I can ascertain, we don't know whether his walking that particular area at around that time in the morning was a regular routine . . . nor do we know how frequently he may have come across an acquaintance or even specifically encountered Mary if it was a regular stomping ground. My point being that it may not have been an exceptional enough happening to really cement itself in his mind for that particular time.

    To put it into perspective, my very own memory test . . .

    Every night I walk the dog at around the same time and I occasionally bump into a neighbour.
    Now I know that last Monday I had a chat with Mike from next door. I know that it was Monday because Monday is "bin day" and he was bringing his Wheelie Bin in when I saw him.
    Last Thursday I know that I had a lot of work to do in the evening, so that was the night that I took the dog for a run on the green instead of our usual long walk and I bumped into Emma and her kids playing down there.

    However, one night this week I bumped into Kate who lives opposite. She was packing some boxes in her garage. The event sticks vividly in my mind because we had a long conversation - her and her husband are going through a messy divorce and she's been trying to sell the house. I can recall most of our conversation word for word because she was very emotional. I can even give a detailed description of what she was wearing. I remember thinking that her clothes looked loose as if she'd lost weight and thought that the stress must be getting to her.

    Despite all of that, I'm struggling to recall whether that was Monday night or Tuesday night.

    I have specific non-routine reference points for both evenings. Monday was my cousin's birthday so I had a long phone call with her. Tuesday we ate take-out, our regular Chinese doesn't open on a Tuesday so we had to order from a different place . . . but since I don't particularly connect either of these events with talking to Kate they don't help me.

    Now hypothetically, if last night or even today I heard about Kate disappearing or something else awful happening to her initially I'd be really hard pressed to recall when the last time I saw her actually was. However, if it was that important, after dwelling on it and racking my brain I could probably come up with reasons to convince myself that it was one day or the other. Would I be correct? I honestly don't know, but the way the mind works once I'd worked it through I'd probably believe that I was right.

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  • babybird67
    replied
    Originally posted by Versa View Post
    Personally I think that's a poor comparison, this man (Hutch) went to the police with the sole intention of giving a statement... Given the details in his statement he must of spent some time reconstructing the 2 days events and getting them right to such a degree that he felt confident in going to the police.

    He didn't just 'have a chat with someone' where he was specifically recalling a series of events.
    What's more, in his versions of the events, he specified not only the date he saw Mary, but the day of the week. Not something somebody does if they are at all confused about the timing of something.

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  • Versa
    replied
    Originally posted by Fisherman View Post
    How many people who have been out on dates have you met, that have confidently stated that they were out on the dates? Sort of "I am going to meet my mum tomorrow, but I really wonīt do it, since I am out on the dates. To tell you the truth, it is the day AFTER tomorrow".
    Personally I think that's a poor comparison, this man (Hutch) went to the police with the sole intention of giving a statement... Given the details in his statement he must of spent some time reconstructing the 2 days events and getting them right to such a degree that he felt confident in going to the police and someone must of brought the subject up and somehow worked backwards with him to prove him wrong, at which point it would of been obvious to him that he had the wrong dates too.

    He didn't just 'have a chat with someone' where he was specifically recalling a series of events.
    Last edited by Versa; 06-09-2011, 11:30 PM.

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  • Hatchett
    replied
    Hello Fish,

    In your line of work that maybe so. But there is a fundemental difference in what we are talking about here which you seem to always ignore.

    This wasnt a case where someone was appraoched and interviewed. This was a case where a man went to the Police and told his story about things that he was sure of. If he wasnt sure he wouldnt have gone. You have also consider the risks he was taking in putting himself into the ring of fire. He then made a detailed police statement that he signed.

    Your line of work is irrelvent.

    Best wishes.

    Leave a comment:


  • Sally
    replied
    Phil

    Hi Phil

    I think one of the reasons some of us could reconstruct from memory what happened over the past few days is routine. That may not work for everyone - but know my memory. recollection of facts etc is heavily based on a mental "pigeon-hole" system.
    I agree that routine - to an extent - can help to reconstruct memory, yes - I think that's obvious. But I think it only becomes necessary to rely on the constants in life for recall if you don't recall spontaneously.

    I can say I travelled to work by bus (I do that every day), but I might have trouble recalling whether I had a longer/shorter wait than usual at the stop on a particular day. I usually stop off for a coffee mid-way to work, but I would not guarantee i could say which of the Costa Coffee team served me on Monday? (It would be a guess).
    If you have very repetitive routines, I would expect that they could actually hinder recall rather than aid it in some instances. If you stop off for coffee on the way to work every day, how do you distinguish one coffee-stopping event from another? It would be useless as an aid to memory because of that. Which leads me on to your next point.

    I am unsure whether someone with a less structured life would be helped or hindered by the fact that each day was different?
    I have a 'less structured' life. I work around the country and am frequently away from home. I don't think it makes my memory better or worse. I don't have a diary. I do forget what has happened in detail after about 10 days, I'd say. Perhaps that's normal?

    On weeks when I am 'in office' (and not in some random hotel, like I am now) I have to say I find the days tend to merge into each other.

    I think a life when each day was similar - even if that similarity involved trying for a day's work; queueing up outside the workhouse; trying to get your doss money together - would be harder to recall in detail for the reasons stated above.

    But that only means that an extraordinary event would have been etched in the memory in really big letters. Hutchinson, if you believe him, had several 'non-routine' events to fix his memory. It was only three days, not three years.

    Cheers Phil
    Phil[/QUOTE]

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  • Fisherman
    replied
    Hatchett:

    "Your argument is only valid if Hutchinson himself said that he couldnt remember."

    This is plain silly, Iīm afraid. Of course Hutchinson did not say that he was out on the dates. How many people who have been out on dates have you met, that have confidently stated that they were out on the dates? Sort of "I am going to meet my mum tomorrow, but I really wonīt do it, since I am out on the dates. To tell you the truth, it is the day AFTER tomorrow". How common is that, Hatchett?

    This is not how it works, is it? People who are wrong on the dates actually BELIEVE that they are right.

    In my line of work, many, many people call me and make inquiries about newspaper articles we have had in the paper. Some of them say "It was Wednesday last", and I look at that date, only to find that it was Tuesday. It is a very, very, very, very easy mistake to make and a very, very, very, very common one too. But often enough, the ones who call tell me "No, that canīt be right, Iīm sure it was on Wednesday"! They are that certain of something I can easily prove wrong!

    My argument is perfectly valid if Hutchinson went to the police BELIEVING that he had seen Kelly on Friday morning, whereas in reality, it was Thursday morning. THAT is when my argument applies, and NOT only if Hutchinson himself was aware that he was out on the dates.

    Geez - how HARD can it be?

    The best,
    Fisherman

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  • Phil H
    replied
    He gave a police statement of things that he could remember.

    Or made up!!

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