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The Legend Of Mary Jane Kelly

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  • According to the Star, Mrs Kennedy described her accoster as about 6ft tall;

    "Mrs. Kennedy has since supplemented the above statement by the following :-

    "On Wednesday evening, about eight o'clock, me and my sister were in the neighborhood of Bethnal-green-road when we were accosted by a very suspicious man about 40 years of age. He was about 6ft. high, and wore a short jacket, over which he had a long top-coat. He had a black moustache, and wore a billycock hat."

    Comment


    • Indeed it does, but the Morning Advertiser gives: 5' 7"
      The Irish Times gives: 5' 8".
      Yet The Evening News, St. James Gazette, and a couple of others do not give a height.
      Regards, Jon S.

      Comment


      • Linking Mary to the "Phoenix Park" murders goes back a good twenty years I think.
        I believe Nick Warren came up with a theory that even suggested that the knives used in the assination, some went missing and could possibly have been used in the ripper murders.

        Comment


        • I appreciate everyone's contributions thus far on this thread, particularly Wicks etc concerning who saw, what when and Debra's generous sharing of her Alice Carrol research.

          Just wondered if any one has anything to add to the OP regarding the unpicking of the legend.

          On the observation that only Barnett but no one else mentioned Kelly's husbands dramatic death?

          Why did the authorities make up such an unlikely cause of his death?

          Can anyone see any further holes in Kelly's backstory etc

          Martyn









          Comment


          • Originally posted by mpriestnall View Post
            I appreciate everyone's contributions thus far on this thread, particularly Wicks etc concerning who saw, what when and Debra's generous sharing of her Alice Carrol research.

            Just wondered if any one has anything to add to the OP regarding the unpicking of the legend.

            On the observation that only Barnett but no one else mentioned Kelly's husbands dramatic death?

            Why did the authorities make up such an unlikely cause of his death?

            Can anyone see any further holes in Kelly's backstory etc

            Martyn
            Hello Martyn.

            Does your use of 'Legend' presuppose some or all of those background stories are false?


            Regards, Jon S.

            Comment


            • Originally posted by Wickerman View Post

              Hello Martyn.

              Does your use of 'Legend' presuppose some or all of those background stories are false?

              I believe Kelly was born in England, probably London, of Irish or Welsh parents. Therefore any part of the backstory relating to Ireland or Wales is false.

              Anything of her history from 1886 to 1888, I'm willing to believe.

              Comment


              • Originally posted by mpriestnall View Post

                I believe Kelly was born in England, probably London, of Irish or Welsh parents. Therefore any part of the backstory relating to Ireland or Wales is false.

                Anything of her history from 1886 to 1888, I'm willing to believe.
                That's an awfully narrow window you have given yourself to peer through, but good luck.
                "When the legend becomes fact... print the legend"
                - The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (1962)

                Comment


                • Originally posted by mpriestnall View Post

                  I believe Kelly was born in England, probably London, of Irish or Welsh parents. Therefore any part of the backstory relating to Ireland or Wales is false.

                  Anything of her history from 1886 to 1888, I'm willing to believe.
                  Hi Martin,

                  Do you discount Mrs ‘Phoenix’s’ account of Kelly’s arrival in the East End?

                  Gary

                  Comment


                  • Agreeing with the above, I had noticed (in post 1, point 2) Martyn attributed ALL of Kelly's background to one source, Joe Barnet, but that was not strictly true.
                    Regards, Jon S.

                    Comment


                    • Originally posted by erobitha View Post

                      That's an awfully narrow window you have given yourself to peer through, but good luck.
                      Thanks, erobitha.

                      Comment


                      • Originally posted by MrBarnett View Post

                        Hi Martin,

                        Do you discount Mrs ‘Phoenix’s’ account of Kelly’s arrival in the East End?

                        Gary
                        Can you summarize her account for me? I have a point to make about her recent history in my next post.

                        Anyhow, I have no reasons to reject anything of the recent account from anyone, if they pertain to the last 2/3 years of Kelly's history.
                        Some of that history was corroborated by Barnett and Phoenix/Buki was it not? And didn't Phoenix and/or Buki also mention Kelly's Irish/Welsh ancestry in addition to other acquaintances of Kelly?

                        Those responsible for inventing and promulgating the legend would not have needed to invent Kelly's recent history as it wouldn't have been vitally needed to disguise her identity, if Kelly was a recent stranger to that part of London. It would, however, have been dangerous for them to do so because it would be readily undermined by her Whitechapel acquaintances.

                        Which brings me to another aspect of her backstory which is consistent with it being a "legend"...
                        Last edited by mpriestnall; 07-05-2021, 08:45 AM.

                        Comment


                        • Originally posted by mpriestnall View Post

                          Can you summarize her account for me? I have a point to make about her recent history in my next post.

                          Anyhow, I have no reasons to reject anything of the recent account from anyone, if they pertain to the last 2/3 years of Kelly's history.
                          Some of that history was corroborated by Barnett and Phoenix/Buki was it not? And didn't Phoenix and/or Buki also mention Kelly's Irish/Welsh ancestry in addition to other acquaintances of Kelly?

                          Those responsible for inventing and promulgating the legend would not have needed to invent Kelly's recent history as it wouldn't have been vitally needed to disguise her identity, if Kelly was a recent stranger to that part of London. It would, however, have been dangerous for them to do so because it would be readily undermined by her Whitechapel acquaintances.

                          Which brings me to another aspect of her backstory which is consistent with it being a "legend"...


                          Elizabeth Felix was the wife of Johannes Morgenstern’s brother, Adrianus.

                          On the evening of 11th November, she trekked all the way from her home in Bow Common Lane to Leman Street police station to make a statement as to the Miller’s Court victim’s identity.

                          She stated that about 3 years previously a woman answering the description of the victim had lived at her brother-in-law’s house in Breezer’s Hill, Pennington Street. She described Kelly as being aged 22 at the time, 5’ 7” tall and somewhat stout, with hair nearly to her waist, blue eyes and two missing teeth. At the time, the woman was using the name Mary Jane Kelly, but there was some uncertainty about her nationality. At times she claimed to be Welsh and having been ‘abandoned’ by her parents in Cardiff. At other times she claimed to be Irish. According to Mrs Felix, Kelly was a ‘decent and nice’ girl when sober, but quarrelsome and abusive when drunk. She had left Breezer’s Hill two years previously for the Commercial Road, and Mrs Felix had received reports of her operating as a prostitute in that area.

                          Comment


                          • Originally posted by MrBarnett View Post



                            Elizabeth Felix was the wife of Johannes Morgenstern’s brother, Adrianus.

                            On the evening of 11th November, she trekked all the way from her home in Bow Common Lane to Leman Street police station to make a statement as to the Miller’s Court victim’s identity.

                            She stated that about 3 years previously a woman answering the description of the victim had lived at her brother-in-law’s house in Breezer’s Hill, Pennington Street. She described Kelly as being aged 22 at the time, 5’ 7” tall and somewhat stout, with hair nearly to her waist, blue eyes and two missing teeth. At the time, the woman was using the name Mary Jane Kelly, but there was some uncertainty about her nationality. At times she claimed to be Welsh and having been ‘abandoned’ by her parents in Cardiff. At other times she claimed to be Irish. According to Mrs Felix, Kelly was a ‘decent and nice’ girl when sober, but quarrelsome and abusive when drunk. She had left Breezer’s Hill two years previously for the Commercial Road, and Mrs Felix had received reports of her operating as a prostitute in that area.
                            Thanks Mr B!

                            Comment


                            • A significant part of Kelly's backstory is missing, namely the part accounting for her arrival in London. Did she have some kind of employment offer awaiting her? Did she accompany an employer from Wales to London? Did she travel to London with her family or did she travel alone to London to meet up with family already in London? Whatever brought her to London would be have been of significance to Kelly's story, and therefore one would expect Kelly to have informed Barnett of these details. In contrast to details of her life in Wales, such as her time in Cardiff, however, we have no details whatsoever explaining her arrival in London. Why not?

                              These easy-to-investigate recent life details of Kelly's journey to London had to be omitted from the Kelly story because anyone investigating them, such as the journalists covering her murder, on trying to trace them, would have readily discovered they were invented details. Kelly's journey to London was omitted to protect the rest of Kelly's legend.

                              The missing details of Kelly's journey to London is thus consistent with her Barnett supplied backstory being a legend.
                              Last edited by mpriestnall; 07-05-2021, 10:21 AM.

                              Comment


                              • Originally posted by mpriestnall View Post

                                Thanks Mr B!
                                You’re welcome, Martyn.

                                Elizabeth Phoenix’s actions have always struck me as a bit odd. What could have motivated to reveal to the world that her brother-in-law was a Ratcliff Highway brothel keeper? Not explicitly, of course, but anyone putting 2 and 2 together could have figured it out.

                                Kelly’s time in the orbit of the ‘Breezer’s Hill Mob’ is what most interests me.

                                Comment

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