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What Makes Aaron Kosminski a Viable Suspect?

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  • #16
    I think the author providing the likeliest picture of what went down in the Kosminski affair is Martin Fido, who instantly realized that whatever Kosminski was, he was no strong, stealthy killer, and who accordingly deducted that poor Aaron had been mistaken for somebody else: Aaron Cohen, a raving maniac.
    Of course, I don´t think either of these men was the Ripper, but I think Fido clarifies how loosely grounded the Kosminski ideas are and always were.
    That does not prevent that Harry may well be totally correct instating that out of the police suspects, Kosminski is perhaps the best. In a basket full of rotten apples, one apple is bound to be the least rotten one - but it may be inedible nevertheless.

    And all the while when we discuss this, ANOTHER man is accused of probably having been the Ripper on ANOTHER thread, on account of ANOTHER police bigwig having named him.

    And on it goes, with no hard evidence at all pointing in either man´s direction. In 2088, when most of us out here are all dead, there will perhaps be a bicentennial event, where Kos and Dru will still carry the banner as the top contenders. It´s a nightmarish thought, but Ripperology is Ripperology.

    If they will only have the insight to hold that bicentennial in 2073, things will look up.
    Last edited by Fisherman; 06-17-2019, 10:52 AM.

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    • #17
      There are much worse Ripper suspects than Kosminski. Lechmere for instance.

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      • #18
        Originally posted by harry View Post
        He was sent home to his family who thought he was?
        Yes. Bond thought so. Anderson thought so and Swanson probably thought so. Lacking hard evidence, the family held sway.

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        • #19
          And on it goes, with no hard evidence at all pointing in either man´s direction. In 2088, when most of us out here are all dead, there will perhaps be a bicentennial event, where Kos and Dru will still carry the banner as the top contenders. It´s a nightmarish thought, but Ripperology is Ripperology.
          Don't worry Fish there are still plenty of other witnesses left to accuse. Perhaps your annoyed that Macnaghten and Anderson mentioned suspects but even though the police had a man who had been alone with one of the victims in a dark, deserted street they still didn’t suspect him.
          Regards

          Herlock






          "Crime is common. Logic is rare. Therefore it is upon the logic rather than upon the crime that you should dwell.”

          Comment


          • #20
            Originally posted by Wickerman View Post
            I actually bought Robert's book (Scotland Yard's Prime Suspect) because it was a long awaited serious attempt to fill in so many blanks about this character. We do learn a great deal about Kozminski's background, but that could be done with many suspects.
            I wouldn't know any of that. Rob never sent me a complimentary copy of his book.

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            • #21
              Originally posted by Herlock Sholmes View Post

              Don't worry Fish there are still plenty of other witnesses left to accuse. Perhaps your annoyed that Macnaghten and Anderson mentioned suspects but even though the police had a man who had been alone with one of the victims in a dark, deserted street they still didn’t suspect him.
              If Kosminski and Druitt were suspected on as loose grounds as I believe they were, then yes, I am annoyed. It is a bit harder to get annoyed by how the police did not investigate Lechmere further - it was a given, more or less, going on how the police looked upon what they regarded "the criminal class". Lechmere did not belong to it, he did not answer to the description of what a killer should be, and so it was always to be expected that he would not become the focus of the investigation he should have been - and would have been today.

              There are other things to be annoyed about in Ripperology, of course. But life's too short.

              You are of course wrong about how there are many witnesses left to accuse. There are not, at least not if you are going to do it on factually sound grounds. But since that was more of a dig than anything else (which you will deny shortly), I can see where you are coming from.
              Last edited by Fisherman; 06-17-2019, 06:31 PM.

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              • #22
                Once the "he said, she said" business is cleared away and ACTUAL evidence is called for, Kosminski-ites and Druittists leave the stage in tin foil hats. Then again, since the "he said, she said" business has always been MORE evidence than what could be leveled against the average "suspect", there has traditionally been nothing wrong in saying that Kos and Dru were once among the best of the bunch.

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                • #23
                  Originally posted by Fisherman View Post
                  If Kosminski and Druitt were suspected on as loose grounds as I believe they were, then yes, I am annoyed. It is a bit harder to get annoyed by how the police did not investigate Lechmere further - it was a given, more or less, going on how the police looked upon what they regarded "the criminal class".
                  And Kosminski and Druitt did belong to the same "criminal class?"

                  If you're insinuating that the police would not have suspected a working class everyman, you know this is demonstrably false, right?

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                  • #24
                    Originally posted by Harry D View Post

                    And Kosminski and Druitt did belong to the same "criminal class?"

                    If you're insinuating that the police would not have suspected a working class everyman, you know this is demonstrably false, right?
                    When you have read up on criminal anthropology and its impact on the judicial system you are welcome back to debate. Meanwhile, I am perfectly aware that working class men were convicted of crime in Britain in the 1880:s - but rest assured that when they WERE, most banked on them belonging to that criminal class I am talking about.
                    As for Kosminski and Druitt, they both came under suspicion on account of ideas about them being insane. Insanity was something the police wanted badly on the menu for the killer. The kind of murderous insanity they believed in was referred to as an atavism. I'm sure you are familiar with the concept. You may want to look into how the police answered up to demands of searching the lunatic asylums for their man, if you think I am making things up.

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                    • #25
                      Putting it prosaically, the police were less inclined to suspect a genuine British working man with a family and kids than a man with a criminal record, a foreigner or a mentally challenged man. A combination of the three would be their favorite mixture. Which is, I suspect, why the "insanity" of Druitt, Kosminski and Ostrog is so emphasized in the Mac mem.
                      Then again, its much the same today. Its just that it was "scientifically" legitimate back then.

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                      • #26
                        Originally posted by Fisherman View Post

                        If Kosminski and Druitt were suspected on as loose grounds as I believe they were, then yes, I am annoyed. It is a bit harder to get annoyed by how the police did not investigate Lechmere further - it was a given, more or less, going on how the police looked upon what they regarded "the criminal class". Lechmere did not belong to it, he did not answer to the description of what a killer should be, and so it was always to be expected that he would not become the focus of the investigation he should have been - and would have been today.

                        There are other things to be annoyed about in Ripperology, of course. But life's too short.

                        You are of course wrong about how there are many witnesses left to accuse. There are not, at least not if you are going to do it on factually sound grounds. But since that was more of a dig than anything else (which you will deny shortly), I can see where you are coming from.
                        Nope, it was a dig

                        . it was a given, more or less, going on how the police looked upon what they regarded "the criminal class". Lechmere did not belong to it
                        And Druitt did??

                        Im afraid that the - Lechmere just wasn’t the police’s type - doesn’t really hold water.

                        Regards

                        Herlock






                        "Crime is common. Logic is rare. Therefore it is upon the logic rather than upon the crime that you should dwell.”

                        Comment


                        • #27
                          Originally posted by Herlock Sholmes View Post

                          Nope, it was a dig

                          Ah, good! I like it when people have the guts to admit such things. It is too rare.

                          And Druitt did??

                          You should read my post to Harry. Druitt was not under suspicion on account of being a representative of the criminal class, he was so on account of being supposedly insane, one of the three main elements looked for: Insanity- foreign extraction - membership of the criminal class.

                          Im afraid that the - Lechmere just wasn’t the police’s type - doesn’t really hold water.

                          To know if it holds water one must know how the victorian police reasoned and how they embraced the idea of criminal anthropology. What you do is to personally believe that it does not hold water, but that is because you are not well enough read up on the matter.

                          Is that a dig? I think not.

                          You see, when a crime is committed, the technical evidence on the site is what is used to sniff out the perp. Once there is no such technical evidence - or if it is insufficient - the police will turn to reasoning about the type of person who is likely to have committed the crime. In my view, this is where most of us fail to understand how the police was not just restricted by their technical shortcomings. They were steeped in a thinking that was very prejudiced against certain members of society, and that was where they expected their culprit to come from. Lechmere did not answer up to that picture, and so he WILL have been the wrong type, regardless of whether you think the suggestion holds water or not.

                          I set out looking into criminal anthropology when Monty, many years ago now, suggested that the British police were not affected by that kind of thinking (knowing quite well what you say holds no water would apply if they WERE), and that they were Bertillonists. The problem with that suggestion is that it turns out that Bertillon was a criminal anthropologist himself to a large degree.

                          As long as we reason from a contemporary view, I am very certain that we will not be able to understand the case in its entirety. It is not until we realize how far removed from us the Victorians we are that we can begin to understand certain vital aspects of it, if you ask me.

                          But I remember now, I don't hold water, do I?

                          PS. IF the police had been served Lechmere on an even more golden plate than was the case, and IF they had arrested him and sent him down for the murders, rest assured that they would judge him "insane", an insanity that was not outwardly visible but that grew inside him and turned him into a monster. And they would definitively take a look at his physical attributes too, trying to fit him in.


                          If it had instead been John Pizer who "found" Nichols, I personally think that he would not stand much of a chance to run through the legal fingers like water the way Lechmere did. In such a case, the judicial hands would probably have held a whole lot of water if you ask me. Think about it: A thick-necked Jew with stripy hair and as unsavoury an apparition as was described in the papers - there's the stuff of a Ripper!

                          ​​​​​​​Not.
                          Last edited by Fisherman; 06-17-2019, 08:00 PM.

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                          • #28
                            I think Fish has a point. The police were prisoners of there time and probably a bit biased-as in a normal Englishman couldn't have done it. Hence they were looking for insane men, foreigners Jews etc. And being generally inexperienced with serial killers discounted anyone who seemed like a normal witness also.
                            so yes I think they pretty much overlooked possible candidates like hutch, lech, Richardson.
                            "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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                            • #29
                              Originally posted by Abby Normal View Post
                              I think Fish has a point. The police were prisoners of there time and probably a bit biased-as in a normal Englishman couldn't have done it. Hence they were looking for insane men, foreigners Jews etc. And being generally inexperienced with serial killers discounted anyone who seemed like a normal witness also.
                              so yes I think they pretty much overlooked possible candidates like hutch, lech, Richardson.
                              Yes, either I have a point, or I am just hijacking the thread the way I always do.

                              Even the queen herself stated from Buckingham palace that whoever the monster was, he was at least not a Brit. I would like to see Elizabeth II try that one on for size today...

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                              • #30
                                Originally posted by Fisherman View Post

                                But I remember now, I don't hold water, do I?

                                PS. IF the police had been served Lechmere on an even more golden plate than was the case, and IF they had arrested him and sent him down for the murders, rest assured that they would judge him "insane", an insanity that was not outwardly visible but that grew inside him and turned him into a monster. And they would definitively take a look at his physical attributes too, trying to fit him in.


                                If it had instead been John Pizer who "found" Nichols, I personally think that he would not stand much of a chance to run through the legal fingers like water the way Lechmere did. In such a case, the judicial hands would probably have held a whole lot of water if you ask me. Think about it: A thick-necked Jew with stripy hair and as unsavoury an apparition as was described in the papers - there's the stuff of a Ripper!

                                ​​​​​​​Not.
                                To be totally honest Fish it never ceases to amaze me the lengths that you will go to to defend your suspect. Druitt did not become under suspicion because he was insane - this is a cop out. Druitt came under suspicion because Sir Melville Macnaghten was in receipt of evidence which led him to consider him a very likely suspect. He was also given information that Druitt’s own family suspected him. That what why Macnaghten mentioned him. You are seeking to minimise Macnaghten. To imply that he was either dishonest or gullible. Now of course Macnaghten could have been mistaken in his judgment or he could even have been given inaccurate information but you haven’t a smidgeon of evidence but your own opinion to show that Mac only named him just because he was insane.

                                Also when we talk about the prejudices of the era, prejudices that without doubt existed of course, what about the undoubted prejudice that - no English gentleman could have committed these murders. This was the most class conscious society imaginable and so to suggest that Macnaghten simply plucked Druitt (not only a gentleman but one that was related by marriage to one of his best friends) out of thin air, on the basis of his mental health, just to provide an alternative to Cutbush is stretching credibility to breaking point. Mac had the resources to have scoured the asylums and the records of dead criminals which would have provided him with a rich crop of potential false suspects to sacrifice. But no, he chooses a Barrister/Schoolteacher, from a very well-to-do family, with no history of violence or criminality. The most unlikely of suspects.

                                Saying that Lechmere wasn’t suspected because he wasn’t the right type is the equivalent of someone playing the race card when they’ve met with failure.
                                Regards

                                Herlock






                                "Crime is common. Logic is rare. Therefore it is upon the logic rather than upon the crime that you should dwell.”

                                Comment

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