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  • Confused! (Nothing new there!)

    I've just been re-reading Martin Fido's The Crimes, Detection and Death of Jack the Ripper, and I'm puzzled by something he says.

    He thinks that Ada Wilson might have been an early victim of the Ripper who had the good fortune to survive the attack. He seems to base his reasoning on two facts: (1) Wilson suffered 2 stab wounds to the throat, and we know that throat-cutting was part of Jack's repertoire, and (2) that Wilson (and possibly witness Rose Bierman) gave a description of the attacker which closely matched (?) those of the "actual" Ripper. (Given the varied descriptions and our inability to know which if any of them was actually Jack, that makes no sense to me--the description would match hundreds if not thousands of young men in the area!) As Fido puts it:

    "As far as this description goes, it is similar to those later given of a man or men seen with or near Ripper victims shortly before their deaths, and it is by no means impossible that Ada Wilson was the first target of the East End's multiple murderer."

    Certainly it is "by no means impossible", but then why not include other early "possible" victims, such as Annie Millwood, stabbed numerous times in the legs and "the lower part of the body"--probably a Victorian euphemism for the genital area? Why could this not have been an early, inexperienced assault by the Ripper? To me it makes Millwood at least as plausible a candidate as Wilson. As for the part stating "...it is similar to those later given of a man or men seen with or near Ripper victims shortly before their deaths..." Huh? We don't even know that any of these men had anything to do with the Ripper, and in fact the descriptions vary wildly!

    What puzzles me even more is that while Fido seems willing to consider Wilson a "possible" Ripper victim, he's much more dismissive of Martha Tabram. He apparently buys Pearly Poll's story of her and Martha's assignations with soldiers without question. He says:


    "It was quite possible that Martha had been killed by her soldier customer: prostitutes are always at risk from their clients. And most of Martha's wounds could have been inflicted by a bayonet."

    But Tabram's wounds--whatever the weapon--seem far more consistent with the Ripper's MO than Wilson's. And we only have Pearly Poll's extremely dubious testimony anyway--like many of the women who crop up in the Ripper saga she was not known for her transparent honesty!

    I respect Martin Fido's status as a Ripperologist, but I cannot follow this line of reasoning.

    Anyone out there who can help clarify this for me?? Maybe I'm just missing something blatantly obvious but I really am puzzled!
    "It's either the river or the Ripper for me."~~anonymous 'unfortunate', London 1888

  • #2
    I wonder why the police didn't re-interview Ada once it became apparent there was a serial killer about doing the same sort of thing.

    Comment


    • #3
      Confused

      Originally posted by Mrs. Fiddymont View Post
      I've just been re-reading Martin Fido's The Crimes, Detection and Death of Jack the Ripper, and I'm puzzled by something he says.

      He thinks that Ada Wilson might have been an early victim of the Ripper who had the good fortune to survive the attack. He seems to base his reasoning on two facts: (1) Wilson suffered 2 stab wounds to the throat, and we know that throat-cutting was part of Jack's repertoire, and (2) that Wilson (and possibly witness Rose Bierman) gave a description of the attacker which closely matched (?) those of the "actual" Ripper. (Given the varied descriptions and our inability to know which if any of them was actually Jack, that makes no sense to me--the description would match hundreds if not thousands of young men in the area!) As Fido puts it:

      "As far as this description goes, it is similar to those later given of a man or men seen with or near Ripper victims shortly before their deaths, and it is by no means impossible that Ada Wilson was the first target of the East End's multiple murderer."

      Certainly it is "by no means impossible", but then why not include other early "possible" victims, such as Annie Millwood, stabbed numerous times in the legs and "the lower part of the body"--probably a Victorian euphemism for the genital area? Why could this not have been an early, inexperienced assault by the Ripper? To me it makes Millwood at least as plausible a candidate as Wilson. As for the part stating "...it is similar to those later given of a man or men seen with or near Ripper victims shortly before their deaths..." Huh? We don't even know that any of these men had anything to do with the Ripper, and in fact the descriptions vary wildly!

      What puzzles me even more is that while Fido seems willing to consider Wilson a "possible" Ripper victim, he's much more dismissive of Martha Tabram. He apparently buys Pearly Poll's story of her and Martha's assignations with soldiers without question. He says:


      "It was quite possible that Martha had been killed by her soldier customer: prostitutes are always at risk from their clients. And most of Martha's wounds could have been inflicted by a bayonet."

      But Tabram's wounds--whatever the weapon--seem far more consistent with the Ripper's MO than Wilson's. And we only have Pearly Poll's extremely dubious testimony anyway--like many of the women who crop up in the Ripper saga she was not known for her transparent honesty!

      I respect Martin Fido's status as a Ripperologist, but I cannot follow this line of reasoning.

      Anyone out there who can help clarify this for me?? Maybe I'm just missing something blatantly obvious but I really am puzzled!
      Hello Mrs F,

      That's the problem (and the fun) of ripperology, nobody ever agrees with anyone else. I can recommend "Jack the Ripper - an encyclopedia" by John J Eddleston. Gives all the facts and attempts to set right all the mistakes and myths - and does so very well I think. (Did find a couple of mistakes though).

      Best wishes,
      C4

      Comment


      • #4
        I don't know which edition of Martin's book you have.

        However, as you may be aware, he had to rewrite large chunks of it at a late stage to accommodate his Kosminski/Kaminski/Cohen material. That COULD have affected some of the arguments. He was, as i recall, working against the clock.

        Have you checked out some of Martin's more recent posts on here and in Ripperologist, where he rexamines his theory etc? His book (which I seem to remember buying in 1987) is now quite old.

        it is similar to those later given of a man or men seen with or near Ripper victims shortly before their deaths..." Huh? We don't even know that any of these men had anything to do with the Ripper, and in fact the descriptions vary wildly!

        Martin does post on Casebook so may comment himself, but while I agree we cannot be SURE these witnesses saw "Jack" it is at least a possibility. I assume that the witnesses include Mrs Long/Darrell; Schwatrz and Lawende and co. Some sort of composite description has conventionally been possible from those statements. [I don't agree it, but that is the situation, I believe.]

        Phil

        Comment


        • #5
          I must admit that I think that Martha Tabram is a more likely victim than most earlier attacks, but as we know most serial killers build up to there crimes and I think that both Ada Wilson and Martha Tabram were both ripper victims.

          With regards to Pearly Poll I think her testimony is very shacky and full of holes as mentioned in Tom Wescotts book but may not I don't think it can be totally discounted. Annie Millwood I'm not so sure about being a ripper victim. I conclude that she very well be an early attempt by the ripper and definatly needs more investigating.

          I think there early victims, which I'm sure there are, outside of the canonical five should be investigated.

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