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  • Mary Kelly's Right Arm

    This is a continual theme I have encountered and it's one that demonstrates how inaccuracies perpetuate and become 'fact'. I have encountered this error on all the JTR forums and tried to correct it when I can, but I just read this blog post from whitechapeljack.com and feel that a thread of its own is called for.
    whitechapeljack.com

    I am referring to the myth that Mary's right arm was either almost cut off or, in fact, totally removed from her body.

    In the blog post from Whitechapel Jack: (bold & italics mine)
    Kelly’s corpse was nude except for a chemise and lying in the middle of the bed that sat flush against the apartment wall. She was inclined slightly to the left side of the bed, and her head was resting on the left cheek. Her right arm had been partially disconnected from the torso; her legs were spread wide and placed at right angles.
    Kelly's right arm was NOT partially disconnected from her body. I was totally attached and the killer had made no attempt to remove the arm(s).

    This erroneous 'fact' stems from the single word that Dr Bond used in his autopsy report: (bold & italics mine)

    The body was lying naked in the middle of the bed, the shoulders flat, but the axis of the body inclined to the left side of the bed. The head was turned on the left cheek. The left arm was close to the body with the forearm flexed at a right angle & lying across the abdomen. the right arm was slightly abducted from the body & rested on the mattress, the elbow bent & the forearm supine with the fingers clenched. The legs were wide apart, the left thigh at right angles to the trunk & the right forming an obtuse angle with the pubes.
    Lay-people (non-medical) are included to infer that 'abducted' means 'removed' but this is CERTAINLY not the case. the word 'abducted' in this report (written by a seasoned medical professional) simply means 'moved away from the midline). These are exact medical words and phrases used by medical professionals to convey the exact meaning of what they write.
    https://teachmeanatomy.info/wp-conte...otation-CC.jpg

    Medical professionals are all taught the standard anatomical position of a body. We use words like midline, proximal, distal, medial, lateral, cephalic, caudal, axial, adduct, abduct, flexion, extension... and loads more.

    Abduct means moving away from the midline and Dr Bond meant exactly that when he wrote his report.
    LINK

    Mary's arm (both) was in no way removed or partially removed - or even attempted to be removed.
    Last edited by richardh; 11-19-2020, 02:22 PM.
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  • #2
    First time I am aware that there is/was a school of thought that she had an arm removed? Has it been used in some bonkers theory? JTR was an arm collector or something?

    Tristan

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    • #3
      Hi Richard,
      If this is a myth, it doesn't stem entirely from a misunderstanding of Bond's autopsy report. Some of the earlier press reports include this detail, whether correct or not. Eg Daily News 10 Nov;

      "Both thighs had been denuded of flesh, laying bare the bones, and the excised portions laid on the table. Some of the internal parts of the body had been taken away, while, in addition, one arm was almost severed from the trunk, and one hand thrust inside the empty cavity of the abdomen."

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      • #4
        Originally posted by Joshua Rogan View Post
        Hi Richard,
        If this is a myth, it doesn't stem entirely from a misunderstanding of Bond's autopsy report. Some of the earlier press reports include this detail, whether correct or not. Eg Daily News 10 Nov;

        "Both thighs had been denuded of flesh, laying bare the bones, and the excised portions laid on the table. Some of the internal parts of the body had been taken away, while, in addition, one arm was almost severed from the trunk, and one hand thrust inside the empty cavity of the abdomen."
        Indeed. Looks like the press was the first to make that incorrect assumption of the word 'abducted' and reported it thus.

        The fact of the matter is that there was no attempt to detach Mary's arm by the killer. Slashed and hacked, maybe, but that's it.
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        • #5
          Originally posted by richardh View Post

          Indeed. Looks like the press was the first to make that incorrect assumption of the word 'abducted' and reported it thus.

          The fact of the matter is that there was no attempt to detach Mary's arm by the killer. Slashed and hacked, maybe, but that's it.
          How would the press know that Bond had used the word 'abducted' in his report though?
          ,,`,, Debs ,,`,,

          I am not DJA. He's called Dave.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Debra A View Post

            How would the press know that Bond had used the word 'abducted' in his report though?
            I don't know. Maybe the autopsy report was available for the press? Maybe it was from an unreliable 'source' or a source who saw the report and also misinterpreted that word. But unless there is a reliable source that asserts to the arm being detached then all we have is Bond's report. And what Bond wrote in his report is that the arm abducted in the strict medical term.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by richardh View Post

              Indeed. Looks like the press was the first to make that incorrect assumption of the word 'abducted' and reported it thus.

              The fact of the matter is that there was no attempt to detach Mary's arm by the killer. Slashed and hacked, maybe, but that's it.
              Bond's autopsy report was dated 16th Nov. though this may have been the date of filing. The Daily News article is dated 10th Nov., the full report by Bond for Anderson was dated 10th Nov., though stamped (received?) 14th.
              The point being, Bond's report was not public knowledge on the 10th, and as far as we know it never became public knowledge.
              Regards, Jon S.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Wickerman View Post

                Bond's autopsy report was dated 16th Nov. though this may have been the date of filing. The Daily News article is dated 10th Nov., the full report by Bond for Anderson was dated 10th Nov., though stamped (received?) 14th.
                The point being, Bond's report was not public knowledge on the 10th, and as far as we know it never became public knowledge.
                Thanks Jon.
                ,,`,, Debs ,,`,,

                I am not DJA. He's called Dave.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Wickerman View Post

                  Bond's autopsy report was dated 16th Nov. though this may have been the date of filing. The Daily News article is dated 10th Nov., the full report by Bond for Anderson was dated 10th Nov., though stamped (received?) 14th.
                  The point being, Bond's report was not public knowledge on the 10th, and as far as we know it never became public knowledge.
                  Okay, So, out of interest, Wickerman, Debs, what side of the fence are you on that Mary's arm was indeed detached/partially detached from her trunk? The press and, I assume other unreliable sources state that her arm was off, but the attending dr and the carefully written report make absolutely no mention of this. The report even actually states:
                  "Both arms & forearms had extensive & jagged wounds."
                  yet makes no mention that one of them was severed! - surely that's something worth putting in the report using the same exact medical terminology that he used throughout the report? The only mention of 'removal' refers to the breasts.

                  At the inquest was anything mentioned that alluded to this severed limb?
                  Is there anything in official reports or from other trusted officials that lays mention to a dismembered right arm?

                  If so, please post the links and I might change my view
                  but...

                  I'll say it again and with 100% conviction that the right arm was fully attached to the truck and the killer made no attempt to remove it or any other limb.
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                  • #10
                    Let me pose a question.

                    Doesn’t anyone find Dr. Bond's use of the world 'slightly' at all strange?


                    Why ‘slightly’?

                    In reality, doesn't it look like Kelly's right arm is considerably angled away from her body to where it is touching the far edge of the mattress? Not quite a right angle, but 45 degrees at least. If Bond's report was unavailable, would any think of describing this position as 'slightly' abducted?

                    In short, what is he driving at? is he saying the arm is only slightly abducted at the shoulder, and what we are seeing is the arm awkwardly and radically rotated outward at the elbow? It is hard to see (in more ways than one) but it doesn’t really look like it.


                    Or is Dr. Bond actually suggesting that the shoulder is slightly dislocated?

                    Don’t doctors sometimes use the term ‘abducted’ when describing a dislocation of the shoulder?


                    I’ll answer my own question—yes.

                    This is from a description of dislocated shoulder injuries by Dr. Scott C. Sherman:


                    “Examination — An anteriorly dislocated shoulder causes the arm to be slightly abducted and externally rotated.”


                    Full link:

                    Shoulder dislocation and reduction - UpToDate

                    Conclusion: Kelly has been roughed-up and yanked around. The murderer has dislocated her shoulder.

                    Yes? No? Maybe? Absolutely not? Spot on?

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by richardh View Post

                      Okay, So, out of interest, Wickerman, Debs, what side of the fence are you on that Mary's arm was indeed detached/partially detached from her trunk? The press and, I assume other unreliable sources state that her arm was off, but the attending dr and the carefully written report make absolutely no mention of this. The report even actually states:
                      "Both arms & forearms had extensive & jagged wounds."
                      yet makes no mention that one of them was severed! - surely that's something worth putting in the report using the same exact medical terminology that he used throughout the report? The only mention of 'removal' refers to the breasts.

                      At the inquest was anything mentioned that alluded to this severed limb?
                      Is there anything in official reports or from other trusted officials that lays mention to a dismembered right arm?

                      If so, please post the links and I might change my view
                      but...

                      I'll say it again and with 100% conviction that the right arm was fully attached to the truck and the killer made no attempt to remove it or any other limb.
                      My opinion, for what it's worth, is that Bond probably did mean that the right arm was moved away from the mid line of the body but I am also interested in news reports that describe things not in Bond's report. especially if the source may have been someone at the scene, and this falls in to that category. It is unlikely IMHO that anyone got the idea MJK's right arm was severed because they misunderstood the term 'abducted' as you suggested and as Jon has demonstrated the report using this term just wouldn't have been available to anyone to misunderstand the word at that time. So I wonder, did someone see the arm for themselves and describe it as 'severed' to the press?

                      Recently there was discussion that Dr Phillips had been confused on details and misremembering when mentioning the division of the neck and attempt of disarticulation of the spine of Mary Jane Kelly when examining the Pinchin Street torso and was mixing it up with details of Annie Chapman but a newspaper report from November 1888 describes the same thing -

                      "One of the doctors who assisted in the post mortem examination of the body of Mary Jane Kelly, the last Whitechapel victim, has come to the conclusion that the murderer has no anatomical knowledge, since in taking the heart out he cut through the diaphragm instead of opening the sternum. The uterus it seems, too, is not missing, as was once stated, but the heart is. The doctor has also come to the conclusion that the murderer made an attempt to decapitate the victim."
                      Dundee Evening Telegraph Nov 17th 1888

                      Many different doctors attended the scene but we only have one report, that of Dr Bond and there have been many discussions in the past and article written on whether this was the primary or only report made. Perhaps one of the other doctors was the source of contrary information given to the press? Some of the press in Nov 1888 were given precise details of the method used to remove MJK's heart, allegedly by a doctor at the scene and none of this was made public at the inquest but we know now from Bond's report, missing for a long number of years, was exactly the way it had been removed.

                      So,.. I am not ready to dismiss anything outright yet.
                      Last edited by Debra A; 11-21-2020, 12:01 PM.
                      ,,`,, Debs ,,`,,

                      I am not DJA. He's called Dave.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by rjpalmer View Post
                        Let me pose a question.

                        Doesn’t anyone find Dr. Bond's use of the world 'slightly' at all strange?


                        Why ‘slightly’?

                        In reality, doesn't it look like Kelly's right arm is considerably angled away from her body to where it is touching the far edge of the mattress? Not quite a right angle, but 45 degrees at least. If Bond's report was unavailable, would any think of describing this position as 'slightly' abducted?

                        In short, what is he driving at? is he saying the arm is only slightly abducted at the shoulder, and what we are seeing is the arm awkwardly and radically rotated outward at the elbow? It is hard to see (in more ways than one) but it doesn’t really look like it.


                        Or is Dr. Bond actually suggesting that the shoulder is slightly dislocated?

                        Don’t doctors sometimes use the term ‘abducted’ when describing a dislocation of the shoulder?


                        I’ll answer my own question—yes.

                        This is from a description of dislocated shoulder injuries by Dr. Scott C. Sherman:


                        “Examination — An anteriorly dislocated shoulder causes the arm to be slightly abducted and externally rotated.”


                        Full link:

                        Shoulder dislocation and reduction - UpToDate

                        Conclusion: Kelly has been roughed-up and yanked around. The murderer has dislocated her shoulder.

                        Yes? No? Maybe? Absolutely not? Spot on?
                        Good post rj, Id say thats a fair guess. We know there was struggle with this victim, and we know he had a knife in one hand..why wouldnt the other be holding an available arm while she thrashed about a bit. My guess is this was a while after "oh-murder" was heard. When people nearby fell back asleep. I think it was slit the throat while she was dozing on her right side by the wall, she turns to the attack and tries to fight off more cutting. Which just gets her arms cut. The throat cut being first means she couldnt yell, so all the noise would really be bedsprings and the feet of the bed sliding a bit. Make it easier to not to pay any attention to.
                        Michael Richards

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                        • #13
                          In reality, doesn't it look like Kelly's right arm is considerably angled away from her body to where it is touching the far edge of the mattress? Not quite a right angle, but 45 degrees at least. If Bond's report was unavailable, would any think of describing this position as 'slightly' abducted?
                          Who said that her right arm is seen in MJK2? Where is it?

                          Slightly dislocated is like being slightly pregnant.
                          A dislocation that has relocated but damaged the shoulder capsule is called 'subluxation'.
                          A dislocated shoulder would separate (not abduct) from the scapula (glenoid junction) by an inch at the most - hardly noticeable in a supine and static body. The humeral head would then drop and move anterior/posterior and then be pulled back to the midline by the strong shoulder muscles. A visible shoulder dislocation looks like a 'drooped' shoulder.

                          The report means the humerus (arm above the shoulder) is abducted from the truck, not the shoulder.
                          If Bond thought/knew the shoulder was dislocated he would have said this in his reports.

                          "Don’t doctors sometimes use the term ‘abducted’ when describing a dislocation of the shoulder?"

                          No. They say things like 'anterior/posterior dislocation/subluxation' because 'abducted' in relation to shoulder dislocations is a wholly incorrect description. The arm can be abducted but the shoulder girdle cannot.

                          "Yes? No? Maybe? Absolutely not? Spot on?"

                          erm... No!
                          sorry.
                          Last edited by richardh; 11-21-2020, 12:17 PM.
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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by richardh View Post
                            "Don’t doctors sometimes use the term ‘abducted’ when describing a dislocation of the shoulder?"

                            No. They say things like 'anterior/posterior dislocation/subluxation' because 'abducted' in relation to shoulder dislocations is a wholly incorrect description.
                            Hi Richard -- Well, maybe so, maybe so, but Dr. Scott C. Sherman is a Professor of Emergency Medicine and he uses that exact phrase, 'slightly abducted' in describing what to look for in a dislocated shoulder injury. His exact words, not mine. And Dr. Sherman wrote it for publication, so I'm assuming he put some thought into it.

                            And who mentioned the second Kelly photograph? Look at the famous one. Does her arm look 'slightly' abducted from her trunk (I assume you mean trunk)? What is slight about? I'm not challenging your interpretation, but I'm just curious why anyone would describe this as 'slight'. It's somewhere between a 45 and 90 degree angle. How does one get their hand clear over to the edge of the mattress, with the body turned to the left, if the upper arm is only 'slightly' away from the body and the shoulder is flat, as described?

                            You don't find his use of the adjective at all strange?



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                            • #15
                              "Causes the ARM to be slightly abducted." Not the shoulder. But, to me, that is academic and not at all relevant because in both cases it simply means 'moved away from the truck' and not detached.

                              Regarding the 'famous photo,' I do mean the famous one when I call it MJK2. MJK1 (to me) is the photo taken of the outside of No13, MKJ2 is the 'famous photo' & MKJ3 is the one taken from the partition toward the internal door/window in No13. Sorry if I confused the issue.
                              So, if we are talking about the same photo (the famous one), Then I would debate if Mary's right arm can be seen in that photo at all. I can certainly see what you're talking about with regard to the 'dolphin head' shaped object and the continuation that does indeed look arm-shaped. But I feel that what we are looking at there is blood-soaked sheets/blankets/mess and not her arm.

                              If It IS her arm, then you are correct that it is not 'slightly' abducted from her body, but massively abducted. So yes, the use of that adjective would be strange - in fact incorrect.

                              Which is why I debate that what we are seeing there is actually her right arm.
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