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Ripper victims were caught sleeping?

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  • Ripper victims were caught sleeping?

    While it has always been assumed the five confirmed victims of the mysterious serial killer were soliciting when they were killed, Dr Hallie Rubenhold has said that they were all sleeping, and most of them were rough sleeping.

    Apparently this Ripper "expert" has come out with a book claiming it's unfair to suggest Jack's victims were streetwalkers and that they must have been sleeping while attacked. I haven't seen mention of this on Casebook, but I don't monitor the forum that regularly. Just wondering if this book is a joke or for real.

    Dr. John
    "We reach. We grasp. And what is left at the end? A shadow."
    Sherlock Holmes, The Retired Colourman

  • #2
    I guess the question would be where exactly were they sleeping? Certainly not in a doss house. Excluding Kelly in her room it is hard to believe a single woman would sleep out on the streets by herself. Didn't people especially single women try to sleep in groups for protection?



    • #3
      The book is probably not worth the price, whatever that is, especially when he can't even get the basics right.
      Regards, Jon S.


      • #4
        Kelly may have been sleeping, Tabram too for that matter, the other I can’t see them picking where they were found to have a kip.
        G U T

        There are two ways to be fooled, one is to believe what isn't true, the other is to refuse to believe that which is true.


        • #5
          Yes, I thought it must be a joke, but read what a New York Times critic wrote: “Deeply researched and powerfully told, The Five unearths the truth behind the Victorian Age's most sensational crime: the 1888 murder spree of Jack the Ripper. Hallie Rubenhold reaches beyond 130 years' worth of lurid headlines and misleading reports to humanize the victims and explore their lives—and tragic, untimely deaths. The Five is a coruscating gem of a book, as necessary as it is compelling.”

          I imagine Annie Chapman must have felt lucky to have found a nice private spot to snooze in that empty backyard on Hanbury Street, conveniently next to the steps! And imagine Jack's delight at his good fortune to wander into that yard and happen upon her. Amazon has several other reviews praising this author for her research, likely none of whom is a Casebook member.

          Dr. John
          "We reach. We grasp. And what is left at the end? A shadow."
          Sherlock Holmes, The Retired Colourman


          • #6
            It's the New York Times. I'd love to ask the reviewer who characterizes this book as "necessary" what other books they've read on the topic to arrive at that judgement. Dollars to doughnuts the reviewer knows nothing whatsoever about the murders, or the Late Victorian Period, save that it was an "unenlightened time", in sharp contrast to the 21st century east coast literary scene.
            - Ginger


            • #7

              The theory is ludicrous enough that I'm tempted to buy the book, just to see what evidence she adduces to support it. I won't, though, as I don't believe in ecouraging such people.

              Tabram, IIRC, had a closed head injury consistent with her having had her head rammed hard against the wall. I suppose it's marginally possible that the murderer(s) found her asleep on the landing, she awakened whilst being stabbed (as one would), and they whacked her head into the wall to quiet her, but I don't really believe it.

              Nichols - I really don't believe she'd lay herself down on the footpath to sleep, when a few minutes perserverance would have found a more sheltered spot.

              Chapman - definitely not. 29 Hanbury was apparently known for people sleeping in the hallway. Why on earth would the poor woman opt to sleep in that damp, filthy back yard instead? I can believe that maybe she was sleeping in the hallway, when Jack came through (possibly to use the outhouse, or to sleep himself), and he just dealt with her as a target of opportunity, luring her into the back yard.

              Stride and Eddowes - the two are generally accepted as having been seen awake by witnesses a few minutes before their deaths. And with Stride again, the alleyway was "muddy" (probably a euphemism for horse poop) and she had gone to some pains to be clean and neatly groomed that night, even wearing a corsage.

              Kelly - it's possible, perhaps even likely. I hope so, really.
              - Ginger


              • #8
                The book is called The Five and it's written by Hallie Rubenhold and has been causing a bit of a furore for nearly 18-months because she states that no work has been done on the victims'' lives, that there is no evidence that Nichols, Chapman and Eddowes were prostitutes, and that they were sleeping when murdered. Rubenhold has blocked most of her critics from reading her Twitter feeds. There has been much discussion of her book and theories on JTR Forums and Facebook. Her book is important because Rubenhold sets the lives in context, but it's felt that there are some quite serious misrepresentations, omissions and source manipulation. It has been widely reviewed in the press this past week, most of the reviews emphasising that no work has been done on the lives of the victims, one newspaper claiming that nobody had even bothered to find out the victim's names. This impression can only have come from Rubenhold.


                • #9
                  well I don't buy they weren't prostitutes or they were all killed while sleeping, but I think a case could be made for stride and Kelly not actively soliciting that night and that perhaps tabram, Nichols and Kelly were sleeping/dozing/ passed out drunk when the ripper attacked them.
                  "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


                  • #10
                    I have Rubenhold's book about Georgian Prostitutes coming via Inter Library loan. I was curious to see what folks thought about her Canonical Victims book.. She, herself claims to have found new info on the Victims. I wish the people reviewing would do more research. Hopefully at least they actually read the book. I'll read it. I have longed for a book that focuses on the Victims and their stories.

                    Also Tabram was not a Canonical Victim. I see quite a few posts including her in what looks to me is rebuttals, which isn't fair as Rubenholds book does not include Tabram. Martha Tabram was probably not thoroughly researched by Rubenhold.

                    As for whether the Victims were sleeping or not. I'll leave that up you all. I bet they slept rough at least once or twice though. I would rather sleep rough then in one of those Work Houses if I was in their shoes and didn't have my Doss $$

                    I'll probably read the book. I wish there were more books that focused on the Victims and left JTR out. The Canonical Victims we can actually get to know. Jack we can't really ever really know. JTR himself is mostly guesses or theories at the end of the day. Leave him in the shadows and illuminate the victims struggles and triumphs, I say.


                    • #11
                      The Five is about the canonical victims so it doesn't mention Tabram. Her purpose was to set the lives in context, so don't anticipate much new information, just more details about the things we already know. The victims did sleep rough - it was quite common (Itchy Park, Alice McKenzie, for example), but it's up to you if you think Stride chose to lie down and sleep in the wet and muddy gutter of a passage, or Eddowes gave up a nice warm police cell to sleep on a hard pavement, or Chapman chose to sleep in the yard of 29 Hanbury Street rather than in a corridor or on the stairs. There is another book about the victims coming from Pen and Sword towards the end of the year. It could be better, but it won't get the same hype and it won't get made into a TV series either.


                      • #12
                        There will be a Rippercast review of the book soon after publication!


                        • #13
                          Hi Paul,

                          There is a Ripper Cast recording of Rubenhold's talk with The Whitechapel Society. That is what got me interested in her books. I would love for Rubenhold to be interviewed by Ripper Cast but I doubt if this would happen anytime soon, but Trevor Marriot was interviewed right after his contentious book was published so maybe there is hope. It will probably be when I am interested in something else and not following Rippercast. I tend to binge on those and not listen regularly.

                          As for the Victims sleeping when they were attacked? Well, you would know more then I. I do wonder if JTR might of attacked at least one or two victims while they slept or catnapped? Perhaps he blitzed them. Yes it is that old argument.

                          Cordially SE
                          Last edited by Semper_Eadem; 02-19-2019, 04:16 PM.


                          • #14
                            I've listened to the Rippercast Rubenhold talk. In fact, I'd purchased a ticket and intended to attend, but another appointment prevented me from going. I believe Rubenhold was invited to appear on the show but she made some excuse. I'm not wholly against the idea that the victims could have been sleeping, I just can't see any of them (Kelly excepted) going to sleep where they were found. People slept rough but usually sought shelter, if only a shop doorway or, like McKenzie, among some barrows and carts. And it's also difficult to imagine how the murderer stumbled across them. Bucks Row was a bit off the beaten track, why would the murderer have gone into the backyard of Hanbury Street, why would he have looked into the darkness of the alley? Most people don't seem to give the idea credence.


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by PaulB View Post
                              I believe Rubenhold was invited to appear on the show but she made some excuse.
                              She was invited onto the podcast 6 months ago and agreed to join me for a one-on-one interview. Since then she has shown herself to be unwilling to engage in any rational discussion about, not only her nap theory, but her numerous outlandish public statements about Ripperologists. So given that I will not be having her as a guest on the show. We will do a panel discussion on her book instead.

                              Trevor Marriot was interviewed right after his contentious book was published so maybe there is hope.
                              Unlike Rubenhold, Trevor Marriott has never shied away from debating his views with anyone so I give credit him for that.