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  • Her eyes?

    Am I the only one who was surprised to learn that MJK's eyes actually survived the ordeal? It's probably due to the graininess of the picture but whenever I look at it I can never make out MJK's eyes, I always just assume they've been mutilated like the rest of her face.

  • #2
    Originally posted by Harry D View Post
    Am I the only one who was surprised to learn that MJK's eyes actually survived the ordeal? It's probably due to the graininess of the picture but whenever I look at it I can never make out MJK's eyes, I always just assume they've been mutilated like the rest of her face.
    Hi Harry

    I have said in the past that perhaps the eyes were left deliberately, as Barnett could only ID Kelly by her eyes & ears. I can't think why someone would obliterate every feature and leave out one of the most important features unless it was done as a grotesque 'posing' of the body or deliberate.

    You can't see the eyes in the pic, but I think the eyelids were slit, to make to the eyes visible.

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    • #3
      I believe that I read that the police had the eyes of at least one of the victims photographed, supposedly in the belief that after death, the human eye retained the last image it saw!
      Sounds crazy that it would actually happen, but weren't seances etc very much in vogue amongst polite society in Victorian times?
      http://www.casebook.org/forum/messages/4924/5366.html
      Anyway, if that was the general thinking, might it not also have something to do with the reason for leaving the eyes?
      Alan

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      • #4
        Photography was still regarded as fairly new technology in the 1880's, and people weren't quite sure about all its possibilities. Ever since mid-century there had been assertions that the last image a dead person saw before death would be captured and remain on the surface of the pupil/iris for a certain amount of time.

        Of course we now know that it's absolute rubbish but in the 19th century they weren't so sure. IF, and it's a big if, a photograph was taken of Mary Kelly's eyes to see if any reflection remained, that was the reason why.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Harry D View Post
          Am I the only one who was surprised to learn that MJK's eyes actually survived the ordeal? It's probably due to the graininess of the picture but whenever I look at it I can never make out MJK's eyes, I always just assume they've been mutilated like the rest of her face.
          I think the identification was done after the photos, when the blood was wiped out of the eyes. Even if the lids were intact and shut, they would have opened them for such an identification. She did not have many distinguishing characteristics left.

          But her eyelids were mutilated. I just don't think the eyeballs were. I think her eyes were simply caked in blood in the photos
          The early bird might get the worm, but the second mouse gets the cheese.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Natasha View Post
            Hi Harry

            I have said in the past that perhaps the eyes were left deliberately, as Barnett could only ID Kelly by her eyes & ears. I can't think why someone would obliterate every feature and leave out one of the most important features unless it was done as a grotesque 'posing' of the body or deliberate.

            You can't see the eyes in the pic, but I think the eyelids were slit, to make to the eyes visible.
            What about trying to hide the true identity of the murdered person?

            A positive identification by eyes and ears alone given the state of the face and head unsafe and unreliable I would suggest.

            Its another question mark hanging over ID issue in this mystery, we already had one questionable ID issue previous with regards to the piece of apron produced in court where police officers were shown a piece of white apron, and said yes it was the one she was wearing the night she was killed.

            The facial mutilations in this murder make it so different from the other murders and put this with all the other differences in the murder suggest she was not killed by the same hand as the rest.

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            • #7
              Barnett said 'ear and eyes' but her identification probably went further than that. McCarthy identified her, and she was quite tall for the time with long, probably red or strawberry blonde hair, so I doubt if a mistake was made. I don't see Mary Kelly surviving Millers Court to raise the offspring of the Royal Family as per the film From Hell!

              I gave the autopsy reports of all of the murders to a surgeon I worked with at the time, and he was convinced that Mary Kelly was not killed by the person who mutilated the other mutilated victims. It is possible that there was an attempt to hide her identity for reasons we can only guess at.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by markmorey5 View Post
                Barnett said 'ear and eyes' but her identification probably went further than that.
                Her ears were mutilated so not suitable feature for recognition.

                Other versions of Barnett's testimony replace 'ear' with 'hair' (hair and eyes), and that as everybody knew was her most distinguishing feature.
                Naturally the clothes found in the room would aid in identification as she would have had very few like most Unfortunates.
                Regards, Jon S.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by markmorey5 View Post
                  I gave the autopsy reports of all of the murders to a surgeon I worked with at the time, and he was convinced that Mary Kelly was not killed by the person who mutilated the other mutilated victims. It is possible that there was an attempt to hide her identity for reasons we can only guess at.
                  But we'd already seen from the Eddowes murder that the Ripper was starting to dabble in facial mutilations. Wouldn't MJK's complete disfigurement follow the escalation of the murders?

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Wickerman View Post
                    Her ears were mutilated so not suitable feature for recognition.

                    Other versions of Barnett's testimony replace 'ear' with 'hair' (hair and eyes), and that as everybody knew was her most distinguishing feature.
                    Naturally the clothes found in the room would aid in identification as she would have had very few like most Unfortunates.
                    My research indicates that the phrase 'ear and eyes' was said at the official inquest and reported in two newspapers before the inquest notes were published, so we have three independant sources for the words Barnett said (inquest notes and two newspapers, both of which had reporters present). So ear and eyes it was, and perhaps she had a distinguishing feature on her ear or ears which survived the mutilation.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Harry D View Post
                      But we'd already seen from the Eddowes murder that the Ripper was starting to dabble in facial mutilations. Wouldn't MJK's complete disfigurement follow the escalation of the murders?
                      I repeat that I gave the autopsy reports of all of the murders to a surgeon I worked with at the time, and he was convinced that Mary Kelly was not killed by the person who mutilated the other mutilated victims.

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                      • #12
                        There were the remains of burned clothing in the grate, weren't there, (including a bonnet), supposedly used to build a great fire? Kelly's clothing was found on a chair, so perhaps whatever clothing was put on the fire was Mary's friend Julia's, plus other bits and pieces.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by markmorey5 View Post
                          I repeat that I gave the autopsy reports of all of the murders to a surgeon I worked with at the time, and he was convinced that Mary Kelly was not killed by the person who mutilated the other mutilated victims.
                          On what basis? I'd genuinely like to know. If the killer was trying to hide MJK's identity, his task patently failed. Why not decapitate the victim, in that case? It's not like the killer didn't have the expediency to do so.

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                          • #14
                            If we recall the photo's of Andrew Borden stretched out on the couch, all the axe blows were to the face. There were no blows to the body, but no-one would entertain the idea that this was due to the killer trying to hide his identity.
                            Regards, Jon S.

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Harry D View Post
                              On what basis? I'd genuinely like to know. If the killer was trying to hide MJK's identity, his task patently failed. Why not decapitate the victim, in that case? It's not like the killer didn't have the expediency to do so.
                              I repeat yet again that I gave the autopsy reports of all of the murders to a surgeon I worked with at the time, and he was convinced that Mary Kelly was not killed by the person who mutilated the other mutilated victims. I'm not sure what relevance there is in the comment comment regarding mutilations to the face and hiding of identity. My surgeon made no specific comment on that to me about hiding of identity. I thought there may have been an attempt to hide her identity for reasons unknown, but this is pure speculation.

                              My interest in the matter is that Mary Kelly was probably killed by someone else, and the facial mutilations should be seen in the context of the work of another killer compared to the other victims.

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