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The True Face of Francis Thompson.

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  • #16
    Originally posted by GUT View Post
    And you can't love someone without having SEX?
    Dear gods, and if not a paedo, it must be remembered that the man was a poet. They can crap on for verses about the perfection of a flower, without wanting to stick their willy in it.

    I think Thompson was completely disillusioned and disgusted with the world around him, and for all we know this "love" of an innocent child might very well have been expressed in the tradition of chivalry, idealised romance unsullied by notions of sex. Something pure, in a world of filth, which includes the poet himself.

    Personally, I think he sounds a bit creepy with it, though. But does it show him to be a killer? Do ANY of his creative works?

    Nope. They do not. Because poets write about things they do not have, things they will never really do, things have never seen and will never actually see. It's called "imagery", and all poets, even the ones who try very hard not to, employ it.

    Comment


    • #17
      Of course it could have been taken as art, and that's almost certainly what it was.

      But if a serial killer were also a poet, I think the chances are that his poems would contain at least obscure references to his crimes. And if the urge to confess was strong enough, he might go further.

      Thompson wrote a story about a poet who sacrifices his lover to the gods in exchange for an increase in his poetic abilities.

      It's a rather strange tale that a third of the way through switches to a first person confession of the murder of a woman in a dimly lit chamber. The killing takes place at midnight and the victim cries out 'Oh, my god ' at the point of death and opens her eyes. For me it has strong echoes of Millers Court, although some of the detail doesn't quite fit.

      Given Thompson's presence in the East End in 1888, I think it's likely this tale was at least influenced by the murder of Mary Kelly.

      Comment


      • #18
        Originally posted by MrBarnett View Post
        In one of Thompson's essays he outlines the development of humanity as, man, woman, child and doll, with doll the most perfect.

        And he confesses to an infatuation with one of his sister's dolls when he was a boy. He describes her as his puppet love and says that even now he has only to hear her name and 'the Past touches me with a rigid agglomeration of small china fingers.'

        He is a very interesting character, and I am grateful to Richard for bringing him to my attention. I'd heard of him before and had read The Hound of Heaven, but I had no idea how strange a character he was.

        However, as a candidate for JTR, I'm not convinced. To me he comes across as a rather effete individual with a paedo streak whose physical strength had been wrecked by years of opium addiction and living on the streets. I just don't see him as having the desire or the physical strength to overpower and disembowel grown women.
        These are entirely my own words but I think you're not convinced that Thompson is even a candidate. It's not because he has a history of arson and mutilation, was rejected by a prostitute who vanished from the streets, carried a knife, was likely living in Providence row, had surgical skill, and wrote dreadful things about the very class of women who were killed. It was because he was a girly poet and a pedophile whose arms and legs were thin.
        Author of

        "Jack the Ripper, The Works of Francis Thompson"

        http://www.francisjthompson.com/

        Comment


        • #19
          I have written several poems and short stories involving the concept of dismemberment. Some of the poems are very angry ones indeed, and are directly inspired by an ex-boyfriend.

          Recently, a body turned up in my local river, male and cut into pieces.

          Should I be a suspect? I do own a meat cleaver and all.

          Comment


          • #20
            I -really- hope no-one turns up dead with a beehive stuffed down his throat.

            Comment


            • #21
              Originally posted by MrBarnett View Post
              Of course it could have been taken as art, and that's almost certainly what it was.

              But if a serial killer were also a poet, I think the chances are that his poems would contain at least obscure references to his crimes. And if the urge to confess was strong enough, he might go further.

              Thompson wrote a story about a poet who sacrifices his lover to the gods in exchange for an increase in his poetic abilities.

              It's a rather strange tale that a third of the way through switches to a first person confession of the murder of a woman in a dimly lit chamber. The killing takes place at midnight and the victim cries out 'Oh, my god ' at the point of death and opens her eyes. For me it has strong echoes of Millers Court, although some of the detail doesn't quite fit.

              Given Thompson's presence in the East End in 1888, I think it's likely this tale was at least influenced by the murder of Mary Kelly.
              Even if it is just likely his story was only influenced by these dreadful murders, it means Thompson was happy to make money from these murders, even before the 1st anniversary of Kelly’s death. His story was first distributed by a firm called Simpkin, Marshall and Co. They also dealt with other written works for Wilfrid Meynell. Out of all the hundreds of publishing houses in London, the first grab for money on the Ripper murders was by Simpkin, Marshall and Co. This was with the story ‘The Curse Upon Mitre Square: A.D. 1530 – 1888’. By a John Francis Brewer, concentrated on a specific Ripper murder too, that of Catherine Eddowes. It was published during the Ripper murders in October 1888.

              Not all written adaptions of the Ripper murders had failed to maintain an audience. ‘The Lodger’, by Marie Belloc Lowndes was released by the Methuen publishing house which was founded a year after the Jack the Ripper murders. Out of the hundreds of publishing houses in London, they also released Thompson’s “Selected Poems” in 1908. It included a biographical note by Wilfrid Meynell. He would later become sometime manager of the firm. Unlike Simpkin, Marshall and Co, which required a carriage ride. Methuen Publishing had their offices at 36 Essex Street, London. On the same street, four doors down from his publishing house at number 44. Here was where Thompson had first let his first submission drop into the Meynell clan's mailbox for their literary magazine in February 1887.
              Author of

              "Jack the Ripper, The Works of Francis Thompson"

              http://www.francisjthompson.com/

              Comment


              • #22
                Richard,

                I was going to ask if you knew when Finis Coronat Opus was written/published.

                As you know, the 'confession' in the story takes place three years after the killing and the number three is significantly the number of times the cathedral bell tolls at midnight, the number of thrusts of the poniard and the number of times the victim cries out 'Oh, my god.'

                While on a country walk the killer (Thompson/Florian?) finds a leaf with caterpillar damage that forms the number 3 and he takes that as an omen that retribution for the murder will come on the third anniversary of the deed.


                MrB

                Comment


                • #23
                  Ausgirl,

                  No one is rejecting the idea that poets often write from their imagination. But they also often write from personal experience.

                  I would imagine that if your local police force discovered you wandering the streets at night near where those dismembered bodies where found carrying a meat cleaver and a manuscript of one of your angry poems describing the dismemberment of a former boyfriend, they would probably want to ask you one or two questions.

                  MrB

                  Comment


                  • #24
                    Originally posted by MrBarnett View Post
                    Richard,

                    I was going to ask if you knew when Finis Coronat Opus was written/published.

                    As you know, the 'confession' in the story takes place three years after the killing and the number three is significantly the number of times the cathedral bell tolls at midnight, the number of thrusts of the poniard and the number of times the victim cries out 'Oh, my god.'

                    While on a country walk the killer (Thompson/Florian?) finds a leaf with caterpillar damage that forms the number 3 and he takes that as an omen that retribution for the murder will come on the third anniversary of the deed.


                    MrB
                    You certainly know your Thompson. Here is some background on it. Francis Thompson's only published tale was written in autumn 1889. His short story, which is called “Finis Coronat Opus”, (Latin for the “End Crowning Work”) was set in a future kingdom, during autumn. It is narrated by a poet, named Florentian who wanting to be crowned the city's chief poet, holds a pagan sacrifice and stabs a woman to death. It has these words,

                    'If confession indeed give ease, I who am deprived of all other confession, may yet find some appeasement in confessing to this paper...I make the post-mortem examine of my crime.'
                    Author of

                    "Jack the Ripper, The Works of Francis Thompson"

                    http://www.francisjthompson.com/

                    Comment


                    • #25
                      Richard,

                      Your posts here got me interested in the man and I managed to get hold of a three volume set of his works in a second hand bookshop on the Dorset coast.

                      Interestingly, the bookseller claims to know the man who owns the original MS of The Hound of Heaven. He described it as 'a journal'. I wonder what else it contains?

                      For me, one of the strange things about Finis Coronat Opus is the way it suddenly switches into the first person at the point of the confession.

                      MrB

                      Comment


                      • #26
                        Originally posted by MrBarnett View Post
                        Richard,

                        Your posts here got me interested in the man and I managed to get hold of a three volume set of his works in a second hand bookshop on the Dorset coast.

                        Interestingly, the bookseller claims to know the man who owns the original MS of The Hound of Heaven. He described it as 'a journal'. I wonder what else it contains?

                        For me, one of the strange things about Finis Coronat Opus is the way it suddenly switches into the first person at the point of the confession.

                        MrB
                        As an English teacher I can say that this change of perspective, from 3rd to 1st person is discouraged in a short story unless it relevant to the plot. The man who owns the original MS of the hound of heaven is most likely a descendent of Wilfrid Meynell's Thompson's literary air. On his deathbed he left his works, including 'Hound of Heaven' to the Meynells. The will was made about 12 hours before he died, by Caleb Saleeby, Husband of Monica Meynell and son-in-law of Thompson’s publisher, Wilfrid Meynell. I said.

                        ‘Nov. 12 1907

                        I leave absolutely my literary copyright and papers. Including my manuscripts of published and unpublished poems. To Wilfrid Meynell of 4 Granville Place Mans. W.’


                        A photo of Thompson's will.

                        A close up of Francis Thompson's signature.
                        Author of

                        "Jack the Ripper, The Works of Francis Thompson"

                        http://www.francisjthompson.com/

                        Comment


                        • #27
                          Originally posted by GUT View Post
                          Richard a reference to a child doesn't necessarily mean a child n the sense we use the term today, I have seen many letters [late 1800s early 1900s] referring to the dear child who was indeed the writer's fiancee, often I grant when there was a largish age gap.
                          Just a quick follow up. Walsh’s 'Strange Harp, Strange Symphony. The Life of Francis Thompson.' tells that the child of which he confessed, ‘we have fallen in love with each other… I haven’t slept for two nights’ was no more than 6 years old. This was in 1890 when Thompson was aged 30.
                          Last edited by Richard Patterson; 03-01-2015, 04:37 AM.
                          Author of

                          "Jack the Ripper, The Works of Francis Thompson"

                          http://www.francisjthompson.com/

                          Comment


                          • #28
                            Originally posted by MrBarnett View Post
                            Ausgirl,

                            No one is rejecting the idea that poets often write from their imagination. But they also often write from personal experience.

                            I would imagine that if your local police force discovered you wandering the streets at night near where those dismembered bodies where found carrying a meat cleaver and a manuscript of one of your angry poems describing the dismemberment of a former boyfriend, they would probably want to ask you one or two questions.

                            MrB
                            As well they should, Mr. B. Here's the problem though: events as you just described didn't happen to Thompson. In fact, he was never looked at by the police at all, was he?

                            Which is odd, when you think about it. Thompson would've stuck out like a sore thumb what with being a posh bloke in the worst of the worst East End streets, known to have studied surgery, known to carry a blade, known to be on drugs, and banging out hate-speech about whores ten to the dozen while he's at it.

                            Why he wasn't frogmarched to Scotland Yard quick smart is beyond me. Unless he went under the radar completely, for some reason. Like being, say, nowhere within coo-ee of Whitechapel at the time.

                            The point I was making (to briefly return to the point ) is: poems can well and truly be 'based' in reality and at the same time have very little to do with it.

                            Now Thompson might have jumped the gun on Sexton and Plath where 'confessional' poetry is concerned, and might indeed have been using poetry as a murder journal. But wasn't exactly the same thing claimed just recently by Cornwell, regarding Walter Sickert and his paintings, and wasn't that theory absolutely rubbished into the ground by all and sundry here -- because Pat Cornwell offered up -precisely- the same quality of 'evidence' as is being provided here.

                            Looking further into the parallels there, Cornwell also claims her suspect was hanging about in the Ripper's hunting grounds during the period of the murders. And (I believe, according to updates) offers a deal more proof if it than simply stating "he MIGHT have been" in the area during the murders, as well.

                            Which for me, aside from poems offered as substantial "proof" of guilt, is the major sticking-point in this particular theory (now all that saint's days rubbish has been put to bed, anyway).

                            What offers the Thompson theory any credibility at all are hard, concrete facts which don't need additional vast creative flair on the theorist's part in order for him to sell them: a/ he knew, without doubt, how to find organs and find them quickly, under stress; b/ he carried a sharp instrument habitually; and c/ he really was down on prostitutes (along with every else in the East End, apparently) and perhaps can be shown to have had motive, which is more than can be said for several other much-discussed suspects.

                            But all this other embellishment actually weakens the case against him, because -until some concrete facts of a similar vein show up - it's incredibly weak and completely arguable. Ridiculously so.
                            Last edited by Ausgirl; 03-01-2015, 08:48 AM.

                            Comment


                            • #29
                              Originally posted by Ausgirl View Post
                              As well they should, Mr. B. Here's the problem though: events as you just described didn't happen to Thompson. In fact, he was never looked at by the police at all, was he?

                              Which is odd, when you think about it. Thompson would've stuck out like a sore thumb what with being a posh bloke in the worst of the worst East End streets, known to have studied surgery, known to carry a blade, known to be on drugs, and banging out hate-speech about whores ten to the dozen while he's at it.

                              Why he wasn't frogmarched to Scotland Yard quick smart is beyond me. Unless he went under the radar completely, for some reason. Like being, say, nowhere within coo-ee of Whitechapel at the time.

                              The point I was making (to briefly return to the point ) is: poems can well and truly be 'based' in reality and at the same time have very little to do with it.

                              Now Thompson might have jumped the gun on Sexton and Plath where 'confessional' poetry is concerned, and might indeed have been using poetry as a murder journal. But wasn't exactly the same thing claimed just recently by Cornwell, regarding Walter Sickert and his paintings, and wasn't that theory absolutely rubbished into the ground by all and sundry here -- because Pat Cornwell offered up -precisely- the same quality of 'evidence' as is being provided here.

                              Looking further into the parallels there, Cornwell also claims her suspect was hanging about in the Ripper's hunting grounds during the period of the murders. And (I believe, according to updates) offers a deal more proof if it than simply stating "he MIGHT have been" in the area during the murders, as well.

                              Which for me, aside from poems offered as substantial "proof" of guilt, is the major sticking-point in this particular theory (now all that saint's days rubbish has been put to bed, anyway).

                              What offers the Thompson theory any credibility at all are hard, concrete facts which don't need additional vast creative flair on the theorist's part in order for him to sell them: a/ he knew, without doubt, how to find organs and find them quickly, under stress; b/ he carried a sharp instrument habitually; and c/ he really was down on prostitutes (along with every else in the East End, apparently) and perhaps can be shown to have had motive, which is more than can be said for several other much-discussed suspects.

                              But all this other embellishment actually weakens the case against him, because -until some concrete facts of a similar vein show up - it's incredibly weak and completely arguable. Ridiculously so.
                              Why do you think I am talking about his poems? On this thread I have not tried to deconstruct his poems to prove he was the Ripper. I have simply shown the content of his private correspondence. His professional work as a poet is not something I am considering.
                              Author of

                              "Jack the Ripper, The Works of Francis Thompson"

                              http://www.francisjthompson.com/

                              Comment


                              • #30
                                Originally posted by Richard Patterson View Post
                                Why do you think I am talking about his poems? On this thread I have not tried to deconstruct his poems to prove he was the Ripper. I have simply shown the content of his private correspondence. His professional work as a poet is not something I am considering.
                                Because:

                                Originally posted by Richard Patterson View Post
                                Amongst the poems he had first sent them was ‘the Nightmare of the Witch Babies’ which was very explicate in its talk of cutting women up with a knife. The Meynell’s son, Everard, then just a child wrote of his mother's Alice Meynell's opinion,

                                'Told by A.M at 21 Philimore Place, Mother read in bed the dirty ms of Paganism and along with it some witch-opium poems which she detested.'

                                Here are sections of this poem which features a lusty knight hunting down woman and ripping their stomachs open with a knife, to look for their ‘witch’ babies in their womb, (This is a short version of the poem, I am happy to supply the full version)

                                'Two witch-babies,
                                Ha! Ha!...
                                A lusty knight,
                                Ha! Ha!
                                Rode upon the land…
                                What is it sees he?
                                There he saw a maiden
                                Fairest fair,…
                                'Swiftly he followed her
                                Ha! Ha!
                                Eagerly he followed her
                                Ho! Ho!
                                Lo, she corrupted
                                Ho! Ho!
                                Comes there a Death
                                And its paunch [stomach] was rent
                                Like a brasted [bursting] drum;
                                And the blubbered fat
                                From its belly doth come
                                It was a stream ran bloodily
                                Under the wall
                                O Stream, you cannot run too red…
                                It was a stream ran bloodily
                                Under the wall.
                                With a sickening ooze-Hell made it so!
                                Two witch babies, Ho! Ho! Ho!'

                                Nobody would have accepted that these literary folk were so naive as to take it all as art.
                                .....and like claims you've made on other threads.

                                Comment

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