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  • Torso Killer discussion from Millwood Thread


    Killers who dump parts "hither and thither" the way this killer did do not stand a chance to have their deeds go unnoticed. You realize this, apparently.

    Therefore, we should look at him as somebody who simply wanted to distance himself from the bodies, you say - get rid of the parts and get out of there.
    I'm saying that is by far the most common reason for this type of behaviour. Unless there is something strongly indicating otherwise (body parts being hung from trees in a public park is not someone just disposing of remains, they are displaying them. There is nothing, however, about the locations or disposal methods of the Torso Killer that looks like anything other than a desire to get rid of the evidence from his home location.


    How does that rhyme with descending into the deepest vaults of new Scotland Yard and put a torso there? Reasonably, he could have dumped the torso outside the building, if that was all he wanted to do. If there were people nearby, he could have stepped into the building and left the torso right inside the door. But he didn't - he travelled deep down into the remotest cellar vaults and left the torso there. In the police's new headquarters as it were.
    Again, you are thinking of other things he could have done and not considering what he did on it's own. Why hide the torso deep inside a building, where it won't be spotted right away and so its discovery will be delayed for some period of time, making it harder to to pinpoint what time period someone needs an alibi for? That's really a rhetorical question, but just to be clear, because deep in a vault in the remotest cellar would be a pretty good place to delay discovery for someone who might not want the body found for some time. It serves the very practical purpose of giving them the opportunity to establish an alibi. And given you believe they had access to transport, maybe they were heading out of London for a bit, so the longer the time between their being out of town and the eventual discovery of the torso, the safer they would be.

    But, if I'm trying to make a statement and ensure the body is discovered as you suggest, that's a pretty poor location and your alternatives would have been better choices.


    Remember what I said about coincidences a few posts back? I don't like them.
    i'm not sure what you think is a coincidence about hiding a body part in an out of the way location on a construction site?


    These dumpings were extremely risky in many cases. There were people sleeping in the vault beside the one where the Pinchin Street victim was found, for example. Why would he take that kind of a risk if he didn't have to?
    Because, he may not have known they were there when he entered? Because they weren't there at the time he left the torso and they arrived after him and chose the other vault because that was their normal place (which, if there were indications they used it, would indicate that he chose the vault less travelled, again, to delay not facilitate discovery)? Because carrying around a torso to dispose of was already a big enough risk and he wasn't going to just keep looking? Obviously, I don't know his exact reason, but in a few seconds it's easy to come up with non-sensational, boring, and practical explanations simply because there is nothing unusual about hiding a body.


    Questions like these must be answered, and I don't think you do that, I'm afraid.

    You say that the bodies were sectioned into smaller parts. Yes, once you cut a body up, the parts will be smaller than the body originally was. But the Pinchin Street torso was half a woman, a torso with the arms attached. That is no small part, and so it seems very clear that the killer was not into facilitating on that night. On other occasions, he cut the torsos into numerous sections.
    So, either we have a different killer, something you do not entertain, or on that occasion something different happened. He had access to a cart of some sort at that time seems to me to be the most probable difference, while the other smaller divisions could possibly indicate that some of the disposals required him to go on foot. That's certainly not a definite statement, it just means that there's nothing that allows us to narrow down the possibilities.


    This killer belongs to the third category of dismembers - the sick ones, who have an urge to cut bodies up. It is not about transportation and practicalities, it never is when you take the uterus out and bundle it up with the placenta and cord and wrap it all up in two large flaps of skin from the abdominal wall. It never is when you cut out hearts and lungs. This was an eviscerator, a man who FIRST cut from breastbone to pubes, opening up the abdominal cavity of the Rainham victim and Liz Jackson, BEFORE he proceeded to cut the torsos of them both in three sections. The sooner we see the relevance of this, the sooner we understand that these were not run of the mill dismemberment murders - he FIRST cut to eviscerate and to satisfy his urges, and only THEN did he proceed to divide the body up.
    I would caution about saying it never is about ... If, and I don't know this to actually be the case, but so far nothing precludes it, he has to dispose of at least some of the parts while travelling on foot, then completely removing the internal organs will make the parts being transported less, well, drippy. The internals can then be packaged separately for their disposal.

    And quite possibly the torso killer did have an urge to dismember bodies. Or, they had an urge to rape and murder, and then dismembered the bodies to get rid of them; or they were an illegal abortionist, who ended up having some patients die on him (Jackson was pregnant at the time of her death I believe), which also might point to why getting rid of uteri might be important.

    [/QUOTE]

    Here are two questions I wouldn't mind for you to have a go at:

    1. In the 1873 case, all the joints were skillfully and dexterously cut open, with clean cuts, and then the joints were divided. But at the thighs and shoulders, the limbs were sawn through. These joints are supposedly less complicated to cut open and disjoint than the knees and elbows, for example. So why did he do it this way? Why not saw them all off or disjoint them all? Ideas?

    [/QUOTE]

    Because he didn't? Maybe all he wanted to do was cut the arms and legs into smaller, easier to carry sections because he was going to get rid of them on foot? Maybe he didn't have a cart available for the larger sections, so he gets rid of what he can, when he can, how he can. It certainly doesn't fit with someone who is obsessed with careful, and artful, disjointing of bodies, but it does fit with someone trying to practically accomplish a goal of getting rid of a body. There is nothing in that to limit any possibilities, so to insist the only line of thinking is one that includes a grand plan of some sort, is choosing the least common explanation for common behaviours that have common explanations (and by common, I mean among serial killers - cutting up bodies for disposal is not the majority case, but it's not as rare as all that either).


    2. In the Pinchin Street case, there were three surfaces where body parts had been taken off, both of the limbs and the neck. The surfaces of the thigh cuts were blackened and dry, whereas the neck was red and moist. So the killer had evidently taken the legs off initially, and then he left the body lying for an extended amount of time, probably days, after which he cut the head off. What practical reason do you identify for this?
    He didn't have the means to dispose of the torso until well after disposing of the legs. He removed the head before disposing of the torso to hinder identification. He may have kept the heads as trophies, or he may have taken more care on concealing them, assuming they were the only means by which the victims could be readily identified.


    If you want a map of the findings of the dumped parts, there is a good one in Mei Trow´s otherwise not very good book "The Thames Torso Murders" from 2011.
    Last edited by Fisherman; Today, 10:25 AM.
    Not sure if I've seen that, but I'll have search when I get the chance.

    - Jeff

  • #2
    Since Jeff has moved the discussion here, I will give my answer to both him and Kattrup on this thread.

    I earlier listed a large collection of similarities inbetween the Ripper and the Torso series:

    Same town.

    Same time.

    Ripped from sternum to pelvis.

    Took out uteri.

    Took out hearts.

    Cut away abdominal walls in large flaps.

    Didn't use physical torture before killing the victims.

    Took rings from victims fingers.

    Were considered anatomical experts/surgeons by contemporary medicos.

    Killed prostitutes.

    If we want to entertain the idea that there were two eviscerating serial killers who both opted for doing these things, it follows that we must accept that these similarities were coincidental.

    Not one of them.

    Not some of them.

    ALL of them. Each and every one.

    I would argue that since there are no other examples of coexisting serial killers in the same geographical area with eviscerations on their agendas, that in itself is quite enough to weigh the scales down in favour of just one killer. And that is before we look at the specifics.

    A curiosity like cutting abdominal walls would on its own be quite enough to point unequivocally to a single killer. It plays in the same league as Charles Albrights gouging out the eyes from his victims. Add the rest and the case for one killer only becomes watertight.

    Kattrup points out that these things do not prove a link. Technically, that is correct. Practically, though, I have no doubt that the information would be enough to convict on in a capital case. And I am careful when it comes to such matters - I have frequently pointed out that if I was put in a jury in a capital case against Charles Lechmere, I would let him walk on account of how there is no decisive proof. I would, however, feel that I was allowing a guilty man to walk free - but that is what we need to do when the evidence is not strong enough.

    If I had the same task in deciding whether or not a single killer was responsible for both murder series in Victorian London, I would have no qualms in saying that this was so. The weight of the evidence is way too strong to enable us to reach any other conclusion. Any other suggestion must be regarded as a fluke possibility of the weirdest kind only.

    And speaking about flukes, I am told that the fact that the Torso killer dumped a torso in the cellar vaults of New Scotland Yard and a thigh in the garden of Percy Shelly, the descendant of Mary Shelley, who wrote Frankenstein´s Monster about a man sewn together with the help of body parts from dead people, were just that - flukes.

    This presents us with the same kind of problems as the long list of similarities inbetween the deeds: Should we accept any amount of flukes? The New Scotland Yard building was the heart of Londons police force. A killer who put a torso in the deepest and most hard-reached recesses of such a building will definitely look like somebody taunting the police. There were a million other buildings in London, so the specific choice of this one seems an extremely focused thing.

    But no - I am told it was a fluke only; it carries no importance. And I am of course told that I cannot prove that it did.

    Similarly, the killer could have thrown that thigh into any garden in London - there were tens of thousands to choose from. But for some reason, he threw it into a descendant of the bloodline who wrote about Frankensteins monster. Once we combine it with the knowledge about the New Scotland Yard building, we can see that we have TWO very specific addresses employed for the killers body parts.
    But no, I am told - it is once gain a mere fluke. And I am told - knee-jerk style - that I cannot prove that it wasn't a fluke.

    So it all boils down to the balance of probabilities.

    Is it probable that a dismemberment killer just happens to choose these two addresses? Stumbles over them? Is it probable that this was just a - sorry, two - flukes?

    Is it probable that the two series can have as many rare and odd inclusions, some of them rarer than hens teeth in murder cases, as the result of how a swarm of coincidences descended upon serial murder London in 1887-89?

    No, it is not probable. In fact, it never CAN be probable. The likelihood of a single killer is infinitely stronger than the major(est ever) fluke possibility of two killers.

    Kattrup has a long history of not liking what I say. He has his own remedy for it - he parrots the same thing over and over again: I am not saying what I say because of the facts, I am saying it because I have a theory to defend. Or so I am told.
    It is of course a useful tool if it can be pulled off - it paints a picture of me as deeply biased, unable to see clearly and always ready to make dishonest claims.

    Thankfully, it is never hard to show where Kattrup is wrong: This time he says that I only promote the 1873 Torso murder as belonging to the Torso series because it fits my theory with Charles Lechmere as the killer.
    He makes it sound as if I am the only one promoting this murder, and as if nobody who does not regard Lechmere as the killer would ever think that the 1873 murder belonged to the 1887-89 series.

    This of course is as ridiculous as it is untrue; it is not I who presented the 1873 murder as belonging to the series. On the contrary, it normally is counted into the series. And that owes to the similarities inbetween the murders. The 1873 murder was one where the cutting was dexterious and precise, just like in the 1887-89 series. The joints were opened up and disarticulated, just as the joints were in the 1887-89 series. The victim was killed and immediately cut up afterwards, just like in the 1887-89 series. It has therefore always been a case that has been looked upon as quite probably belonging to the torso series.

    So now we can see that Kattrup is unfair and incorrect. The reason I include this murder in the torso series is because of the similarities, generally recognized as quite telling by most Torso series students. And they are certainly not saying so on account of how Lechmere fits the bill, but instead on sound anatomical and medical grounds.

    Now that we know this, it applies that I am NOT being dishonest when I say that the 1873 case most probably belongs to the Torso series - I am making the same call as most other researchers and students of the case do. One of them is Mei Trow, who wrote a book on the Torso murders in which he included the 1873 case. Maybe Kattrup thinks he only did so because he favors Robert Mann as the killer?

    The crux of matters like these are that once we know that Kattrup is wrong, only two reasons for him saying what he says remains:

    He is suffering from a misconception - or he is deliberately trying to paint me out as biased and dishonest. If the former, it is nothing to brag about. If the latter, he has shot himself in the foot, leaving himself as a target for the exact same accusations he - wrongfully - leveled at me: bias and dishonesty.

    It would have been far more charitable and very, very true if he had instead said that I am very intrigued about how Lechmere fits the bill, as one of the very few. The inclusion of the Torso cases into Jack the Rippers tally, the 1873 case not forgotten, waves goodby to many, many of the so called hot contenders for the Ripper title:
    Aaron Kosminski, Montague Druitt, Jacob Levy, William Bury, Francis Tumblety, George Chapman....
    In Chapmans case, it is interesting to see how Michael Gordon in his book on the Torso murders as one of the few does not mention the 1873 murder. It stands to reason, since he promotes George Chapman as the killer. Chapman was 8 years old in 1873, and so he does not fit that bill. Gordon instead adds the 20:th century Salamanca Place murder, that fits neatly with Chapman - but that has no resemblance at all to the precise and careful cutting in the Torso series. The cutting in Salamanca Place was a shambles.
    In conclusion, if Kattrup had taken the that I seem overjoyed by how Lechmere fits the bill, I would have admitted that freely - I AM very pleased about it.

    It´s a bit like pulling teeth, promoting the idea of a joint killer in the series. People have their entrenched wiews to defend, regardless of those views involve suspects who go out the window with a joint killer or only the supposedly honorable idea that the killer will never be identified. But bad teeth MUST be pulled, and we are facing a future where more and more people will do their bit. Others already have, like the late Richard Whittington-Egan, who felt that it was obvious that there was just the one killer. Come June, a history professor will add his part in a new book, and being a history professor, he will attract much interest and quite probably a lot of disciples. And that is a good thing - old school Ripperology has stood in the way of sound thinking in the area for far too long. It will be refreshing to see it go. Uncritically accepting a dozen coincidences and three flukes is the wrong way to go about things.

    THREE flukes? Yes, the perceived fluke that the Pinchin Street torso was found in the very street where Lechmere grew up and where his mother lived on more than one address is what I am talking about. It further reinforces the link between the two series, and so it MUST of course have been another mere fluke...

    It seems that people also missed out on my hint about father-in-law lightermen. Arguably, nobody knew the currents and tides of the Thames better than the lightermen did. Like Thomas Bay Bostock, Charles Lechmeres father-in-law. What does THAT prove? Nothing? Or that there was a person close to Charles Lechmere from whom he could have acquired intimate knowledge about where things thrown in the river were likely to end up?

    I guess that the answer we give to that question depends very much on how open-minded and discerning we are, doing our Ripperology.

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by Fisherman View Post
      Since Jeff has moved the discussion here, I will give my answer to both him and Kattrup on this thread.
      Hi Fisherman. First let me thank you for a relatively toned-down post - even if you do call me unfair etc.


      Originally posted by Fisherman View Post

      I earlier listed a large collection of similarities inbetween the Ripper and the Torso series:

      Same town.

      Same time.

      Ripped from sternum to pelvis.

      Took out uteri.

      Took out hearts.

      Cut away abdominal walls in large flaps.

      Didn't use physical torture before killing the victims.

      Took rings from victims fingers.

      Were considered anatomical experts/surgeons by contemporary medicos.

      Killed prostitutes.

      If we want to entertain the idea that there were two eviscerating serial killers who both opted for doing these things, it follows that we must accept that these similarities were coincidental.

      Not one of them.

      Not some of them.

      ALL of them. Each and every one.
      Another thought could be that we would have to accept that many of the damages to the body mentioned above occur naturally as part of dismembering a body in order to dispose of it. So yes, we could easily accept that they were coincidental, because they occur in other murders and do not require any specific explanation.

      Originally posted by Fisherman View Post

      I would argue that since there are no other examples of coexisting serial killers in the same geographical area with eviscerations on their agendas, that in itself is quite enough to weigh the scales down in favour of just one killer. And that is before we look at the specifics.

      A curiosity like cutting abdominal walls would on its own be quite enough to point unequivocally to a single killer. It plays in the same league as Charles Albrights gouging out the eyes from his victims. Add the rest and the case for one killer only becomes watertight.
      It's not been proven that evisceration was on both killers' agenda, though. Also, how large is the "same" geographical area you're considering? Given that we don't know where the Torso killer's victims were killed, I mean.
      Originally posted by Fisherman View Post
      Kattrup points out that these things do not prove a link. Technically, that is correct. Practically, though, I have no doubt that the information would be enough to convict on in a capital case.
      What I aim to point is that "these things" are not proven. You're speculating about the above characteristics, they are not proven. Yes, it's proven (I concur) that rings were taken from the victims. But it's not proven that this implies anything, since everything else was also taken, and besides, taking jewelry from a murder victim was not surprising. So what I would seek to point out is that using your list of similarities as basis for any conclusions about the killer is premature. Concluding, for instance, that the killer is identical to Jack the Ripper. We don't know that, since the similarities you point out are theoretical.
      There's nothing wrong with pointing out these similarities and discussing them - it's when you start conjecturing on the basis of conjectures that I feel it is necessary to object.
      Originally posted by Fisherman View Post
      And I am careful when it comes to such matters - I have frequently pointed out that if I was put in a jury in a capital case against Charles Lechmere, I would let him walk on account of how there is no decisive proof. I would, however, feel that I was allowing a guilty man to walk free - but that is what we need to do when the evidence is not strong enough.

      If I had the same task in deciding whether or not a single killer was responsible for both murder series in Victorian London, I would have no qualms in saying that this was so. The weight of the evidence is way too strong to enable us to reach any other conclusion. Any other suggestion must be regarded as a fluke possibility of the weirdest kind only.
      Okay. Well, I certainly agree with letting Lechmere go And I don't believe there's any strong evidence that there was single killer.
      Originally posted by Fisherman View Post
      And speaking about flukes, I am told that the fact that the Torso killer dumped a torso in the cellar vaults of New Scotland Yard and a thigh in the garden of Percy Shelly, the descendant of Mary Shelley, who wrote Frankenstein´s Monster about a man sewn together with the help of body parts from dead people, were just that - flukes.

      This presents us with the same kind of problems as the long list of similarities inbetween the deeds: Should we accept any amount of flukes? The New Scotland Yard building was the heart of Londons police force. A killer who put a torso in the deepest and most hard-reached recesses of such a building will definitely look like somebody taunting the police. There were a million other buildings in London, so the specific choice of this one seems an extremely focused thing.
      The thing is that when one looks into it, there a lots of things and relationships that can be considered "flukes" and be imbued with some sort of meaning if we want them to. But they do not necessarily carry any meaning in themselves. For instance, the use of the name "Kelly" on a pawn ticket.
      Originally posted by Fisherman View Post
      But no - I am told it was a fluke only; it carries no importance. And I am of course told that I cannot prove that it did.
      I don't know what you're told, but what I would like to tell you is that you've offered no proof that it should be considered anything other than a fluke. You're merely assuming that the estate's relationship with Mary Shelley would be known to the murderer, that the novel Frankenstein would have meaning to the murderer and that he would choose that place to make a point instead of other places more directly related to Mary Shelley herself.
      Originally posted by Fisherman View Post
      Similarly, the killer could have thrown that thigh into any garden in London - there were tens of thousands to choose from. But for some reason, he threw it into a descendant of the bloodline who wrote about Frankensteins monster. Once we combine it with the knowledge about the New Scotland Yard building, we can see that we have TWO very specific addresses employed for the killers body parts.
      But no, I am told - it is once gain a mere fluke. And I am told - knee-jerk style - that I cannot prove that it wasn't a fluke.
      A similar response to the above: I do not think you've shown why we should consider it more than a fluke.
      Originally posted by Fisherman View Post
      So it all boils down to the balance of probabilities.

      Is it probable that a dismemberment killer just happens to choose these two addresses? Stumbles over them? Is it probable that this was just a - sorry, two - flukes?

      Is it probable that the two series can have as many rare and odd inclusions, some of them rarer than hens teeth in murder cases, as the result of how a swarm of coincidences descended upon serial murder London in 1887-89?

      No, it is not probable. In fact, it never CAN be probable. The likelihood of a single killer is infinitely stronger than the major(est ever) fluke possibility of two killers.
      Probability is not very interesting in history, because either something happened or it did not. Whether you consider something very probable is not really relevant because what matters is what actually happened. Sometimes we can know what happened, sometimes we can know what did not happen. And other times we cannot know either one.
      Originally posted by Fisherman View Post
      Kattrup has a long history of not liking what I say.
      I think this is a misunderstanding on your part, but I certainly understand how you might think so. I don't dislike what you say. I don't care if Lechmere was the torsoripper or not. I hope you're right because it would mean the case would be solved.
      What I do not like is your apparent lack of methodology and your apparent disdain for it. I think that some of your arguments are wrong, not because I dislike what you're trying to prove but because of how you try to prove it. You don't like a rigid application of strict methods - my theory is that you don't like it because it makes your own theories about Lechmere and the Torsoripper impossible to sustain - and I consider it absolutely essential. Therefore, we often disagree.

      Originally posted by Fisherman View Post
      He has his own remedy for it - he parrots the same thing over and over again: I am not saying what I say because of the facts, I am saying it because I have a theory to defend. Or so I am told.
      It is of course a useful tool if it can be pulled off - it paints a picture of me as deeply biased, unable to see clearly and always ready to make dishonest claims.

      Thankfully, it is never hard to show where Kattrup is wrong: This time he says that I only promote the 1873 Torso murder as belonging to the Torso series because it fits my theory with Charles Lechmere as the killer.
      He makes it sound as if I am the only one promoting this murder, and as if nobody who does not regard Lechmere as the killer would ever think that the 1873 murder belonged to the 1887-89 series.
      Well, what I questioned was your statement that you believed the killer to be in his mid-thirties in 1887-89. Since the discussion had its outset in the Rainham torso, and you mentioned 1887-89, I assumed we were in the context of those torso cases alone. I therefore asked what evidence was there from that period that the killer was at least in his mid-thirties?
      Originally posted by Fisherman View Post
      This of course is as ridiculous as it is untrue; it is not I who presented the 1873 murder as belonging to the series. On the contrary, it normally is counted into the series. And that owes to the similarities inbetween the murders. The 1873 murder was one where the cutting was dexterious and precise, just like in the 1887-89 series. The joints were opened up and disarticulated, just as the joints were in the 1887-89 series. The victim was killed and immediately cut up afterwards, just like in the 1887-89 series. It has therefore always been a case that has been looked upon as quite probably belonging to the torso series.
      Okay. Whether it is "normally" included in the tally is, I guess, depending on viewpoint.
      Originally posted by Fisherman View Post
      So now we can see that Kattrup is unfair and incorrect. The reason I include this murder in the torso series is because of the similarities, generally recognized as quite telling by most Torso series students. And they are certainly not saying so on account of how Lechmere fits the bill, but instead on sound anatomical and medical grounds.

      Now that we know this, it applies that I am NOT being dishonest when I say that the 1873 case most probably belongs to the Torso series - I am making the same call as most other researchers and students of the case do. One of them is Mei Trow, who wrote a book on the Torso murders in which he included the 1873 case. Maybe Kattrup thinks he only did so because he favors Robert Mann as the killer?
      Okay. I don't think I was being unfair and incorrect in simply asking what evidence from the torso cases of 1887-89 excludes a man younger than 35?
      Originally posted by Fisherman View Post

      The crux of matters like these are that once we know that Kattrup is wrong, only two reasons for him saying what he says remains:

      He is suffering from a misconception - or he is deliberately trying to paint me out as biased and dishonest. If the former, it is nothing to brag about. If the latter, he has shot himself in the foot, leaving himself as a target for the exact same accusations he - wrongfully - leveled at me: bias and dishonesty.

      It would have been far more charitable and very, very true if he had instead said that I am very intrigued about how Lechmere fits the bill, as one of the very few. The inclusion of the Torso cases into Jack the Rippers tally, the 1873 case not forgotten, waves goodby to many, many of the so called hot contenders for the Ripper title:
      Aaron Kosminski, Montague Druitt, Jacob Levy, William Bury, Francis Tumblety, George Chapman....
      In Chapmans case, it is interesting to see how Michael Gordon in his book on the Torso murders as one of the few does not mention the 1873 murder. It stands to reason, since he promotes George Chapman as the killer. Chapman was 8 years old in 1873, and so he does not fit that bill. Gordon instead adds the 20:th century Salamanca Place murder, that fits neatly with Chapman - but that has no resemblance at all to the precise and careful cutting in the Torso series. The cutting in Salamanca Place was a shambles.
      In conclusion, if Kattrup had taken the that I seem overjoyed by how Lechmere fits the bill, I would have admitted that freely - I AM very pleased about it.
      Okay. When you believe people to be wrong about their disagreement with you or their criticism of your arguments, I believe (in perfect honesty and without any wish to offend) that your posts would really benefit from choosing to focus on the first option you offer, namely that they're suffering from a misconception. The second, choosing to believe they disagree or criticise your arguments because they want to portray you as dishonest, does not to me personally seem to foster good relations with which to discuss mutual interests.

      Originally posted by Fisherman View Post
      It´s a bit like pulling teeth, promoting the idea of a joint killer in the series. People have their entrenched wiews to defend, regardless of those views involve suspects who go out the window with a joint killer or only the supposedly honorable idea that the killer will never be identified. But bad teeth MUST be pulled, and we are facing a future where more and more people will do their bit. Others already have, like the late Richard Whittington-Egan, who felt that it was obvious that there was just the one killer. Come June, a history professor will add his part in a new book, and being a history professor, he will attract much interest and quite probably a lot of disciples. And that is a good thing - old school Ripperology has stood in the way of sound thinking in the area for far too long. It will be refreshing to see it go. Uncritically accepting a dozen coincidences and three flukes is the wrong way to go about things.

      THREE flukes? Yes, the perceived fluke that the Pinchin Street torso was found in the very street where Lechmere grew up and where his mother lived on more than one address is what I am talking about. It further reinforces the link between the two series, and so it MUST of course have been another mere fluke...
      Like you, I hope for many new and well-argued insights that advance our understanding of the case.
      Originally posted by Fisherman View Post
      It seems that people also missed out on my hint about father-in-law lightermen. Arguably, nobody knew the currents and tides of the Thames better than the lightermen did. Like Thomas Bay Bostock, Charles Lechmeres father-in-law. What does THAT prove? Nothing? Or that there was a person close to Charles Lechmere from whom he could have acquired intimate knowledge about where things thrown in the river were likely to end up?

      I guess that the answer we give to that question depends very much on how open-minded and discerning we are, doing our Ripperology.
      I don't know if people missed it. But let me point out, in closing, that you're not proving anything. You're speculating. So Charles Lechmere's father in law was a lighterman. You believe lightermen were very knowledgeable about the currents and tides of the Thames and would know where flotsam would end up. Okay. So you should probably, first of all, work on justifying that belief. And then explain why one should consider that at all relevant to anything? Since there's no evidence that the body parts washed up anywhere in particular.

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by Kattrup View Post

        Hi Fisherman. First let me thank you for a relatively toned-down post - even if you do call me unfair etc.



        Another thought could be that we would have to accept that many of the damages to the body mentioned above occur naturally as part of dismembering a body in order to dispose of it. So yes, we could easily accept that they were coincidental, because they occur in other murders and do not require any specific explanation.

        It's not been proven that evisceration was on both killers' agenda, though. Also, how large is the "same" geographical area you're considering? Given that we don't know where the Torso killer's victims were killed, I mean.
        What I aim to point is that "these things" are not proven. You're speculating about the above characteristics, they are not proven. Yes, it's proven (I concur) that rings were taken from the victims. But it's not proven that this implies anything, since everything else was also taken, and besides, taking jewelry from a murder victim was not surprising. So what I would seek to point out is that using your list of similarities as basis for any conclusions about the killer is premature. Concluding, for instance, that the killer is identical to Jack the Ripper. We don't know that, since the similarities you point out are theoretical.
        There's nothing wrong with pointing out these similarities and discussing them - it's when you start conjecturing on the basis of conjectures that I feel it is necessary to object.

        Okay. Well, I certainly agree with letting Lechmere go And I don't believe there's any strong evidence that there was single killer.
        The thing is that when one looks into it, there a lots of things and relationships that can be considered "flukes" and be imbued with some sort of meaning if we want them to. But they do not necessarily carry any meaning in themselves. For instance, the use of the name "Kelly" on a pawn ticket.
        I don't know what you're told, but what I would like to tell you is that you've offered no proof that it should be considered anything other than a fluke. You're merely assuming that the estate's relationship with Mary Shelley would be known to the murderer, that the novel Frankenstein would have meaning to the murderer and that he would choose that place to make a point instead of other places more directly related to Mary Shelley herself.
        A similar response to the above: I do not think you've shown why we should consider it more than a fluke.
        Probability is not very interesting in history, because either something happened or it did not. Whether you consider something very probable is not really relevant because what matters is what actually happened. Sometimes we can know what happened, sometimes we can know what did not happen. And other times we cannot know either one.
        I think this is a misunderstanding on your part, but I certainly understand how you might think so. I don't dislike what you say. I don't care if Lechmere was the torsoripper or not. I hope you're right because it would mean the case would be solved.
        What I do not like is your apparent lack of methodology and your apparent disdain for it. I think that some of your arguments are wrong, not because I dislike what you're trying to prove but because of how you try to prove it. You don't like a rigid application of strict methods - my theory is that you don't like it because it makes your own theories about Lechmere and the Torsoripper impossible to sustain - and I consider it absolutely essential. Therefore, we often disagree.


        Well, what I questioned was your statement that you believed the killer to be in his mid-thirties in 1887-89. Since the discussion had its outset in the Rainham torso, and you mentioned 1887-89, I assumed we were in the context of those torso cases alone. I therefore asked what evidence was there from that period that the killer was at least in his mid-thirties?
        Okay. Whether it is "normally" included in the tally is, I guess, depending on viewpoint.
        Okay. I don't think I was being unfair and incorrect in simply asking what evidence from the torso cases of 1887-89 excludes a man younger than 35?
        Okay. When you believe people to be wrong about their disagreement with you or their criticism of your arguments, I believe (in perfect honesty and without any wish to offend) that your posts would really benefit from choosing to focus on the first option you offer, namely that they're suffering from a misconception. The second, choosing to believe they disagree or criticise your arguments because they want to portray you as dishonest, does not to me personally seem to foster good relations with which to discuss mutual interests.

        Like you, I hope for many new and well-argued insights that advance our understanding of the case.

        I don't know if people missed it. But let me point out, in closing, that you're not proving anything. You're speculating. So Charles Lechmere's father in law was a lighterman. You believe lightermen were very knowledgeable about the currents and tides of the Thames and would know where flotsam would end up. Okay. So you should probably, first of all, work on justifying that belief. And then explain why one should consider that at all relevant to anything? Since there's no evidence that the body parts washed up anywhere in particular.
        Hi fish
        great post. I would just add some more to your list of similarities as i think they are important. I know some of the things you listed touch on them but i think they need to be pointed out specifically:

        post mortem mutilators
        cutting instrument primary weapon
        ruse used to lure victims
        body part trophies kept/ taken away
        and last but not least..and to your point about flukes/coincidences.. both series end at the same time with pinchin and mckenzie.
        "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

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by Fisherman View Post
          Since Jeff has moved the discussion here, I will give my answer to both him and Kattrup on this thread.

          I earlier listed a large collection of similarities inbetween the Ripper and the Torso series:

          Same town.

          Same time.
          This isn't a coincidence, this is part of the selection criteria for comparing the two possible series.


          Ripped from sternum to pelvis.

          Took out uteri.

          Took out hearts.
          But left the uterus at the crime scene in Kelly's case and took it away in Chapman's and Eddowes' case. Only removed the heart in Kelly's case.

          None of the parts taken from any of the JtR crimes were ever located, while you have been arguing that the Torso Killer goes to great lengths to ensure the body parts are discovered by throwing them in the Thames, or putting, possibly burying, them in vaults deep in basements. JtR takes and, based upon what we know, appears to keep the bits he takes away, the Torso Killer scatters the bits he removes.


          Cut away abdominal walls in large flaps.
          Not with Nichols, not with Chapman, not with Eddowes, only with Kelly. While one could suggest this is because Kelly is the only indoor crime of the JtR series, and so the only time in which the time was available for this. However, the portions of legs recovered from the torso victims, however, showed no large defleshing of the legs, as per Kelly. Kelly showed no removal of the limbs, as per the torso victims.

          By picking and choosing from injuries inflicted on Kelly, given the extensive injuries inflicted upon her, it becomes far less surprising that you can find some in common when you start with the torso victims and then look to Kelly for matches and ignore the evidence when a match isn't found; the injuries that define the torso series, removal of head, legs, and often the arms, you don't find any of those in any of the JtR cases (although you do find the suggestion there might have been a failed attempt at decapitation with Chapman). The problem is, if you go the other way and look for injuries inflicted on Kelly, like defleshing of the thighs, that never occurs in the torso series.


          Didn't use physical torture before killing the victims.
          That is true as far as I have seen.


          Took rings from victims fingers.
          Theft of personal belongs is so common a behaviour, it would be more informative if it didn't occur, otherwise it's meaningless.


          Were considered anatomical experts/surgeons by contemporary medicos.
          Not in the JtR series. The majority of the medical opinion was that some anatomical knowledge appeared necessary, but that it was of the sort that would be had by a butcher, knacker, hunter, or anyone else used to cutting up animals. The medical opinion was not that the expertise of a surgeon was required for the JtR series.


          Killed prostitutes.
          Again, prostitutes are a high risk group for physical violence. In addition, given the torso victims were not all identified, we don't know this about all of those victims. It is an assumption, and not entirely unreasonable, but it is not a fact.


          If we want to entertain the idea that there were two eviscerating serial killers who both opted for doing these things, it follows that we must accept that these similarities were coincidental.

          Not one of them.

          Not some of them.

          ALL of them. Each and every one.
          A lot of them are non-informative, such as taking of rings, etc. They are the kind of "similarities" one would expect to find when comparing any two serial murder victims. It's not uncommon for the victims to be prostitutes, to have items stolen from them, and if you specifically choose to compare two series in the same city and years, it is not a coincidence that they occurred in the same time and location.

          Ignoring the very large differences, and only looking at the similarities, will of course make two things look similar. It has to.

          But there are very large differences:
          1) none of the JtR series was pregnant, while Elizabeth Jackson at least was (and close to term)
          2) the torso victims were neatly disarticulated, and heads were removed - none of the JtR victims had limbs removed and the killer failed in their attempt to remove Annie Chapman's head (and either failed with Kelly as well, or didn't bother - this is very different behaviour)
          3) the body parts removed from the JtR victims were never recovered - the parts of the torso victims were, and this latter part forms a large focus of your proposed motives for the torso killer that the parts were absolutely intended to be found, and were placed in places to ensure they would be, like the Thames, and burried in basement vaults.
          4) facial mutilations in the case of Eddowes and Kelly are brutal attacks on the face, while in one of the torso victims it appears to have been a skinning of the face.
          5) JtR killed in the streets, the torso killer must have had a location in which he performed his murder and dismemberment.
          6) when JtR had the time (Kelly), he also removed large portions of flesh from the thighs (and there were deep cuts and injuries on Eddowes upper legs and her genital region as well) while these types of injuries are missing in the torso victims.
          7) as we discussed elsewhere, there are pragmatic explanations for dismemberment of a body - it is something that killers will sometimes engage in simply to aid them in disposing of the evidence and not be their primary motive; the mutilations in the JtR case, however, do not afford themselves to such explanations, they can serve only to satisfy some desire within the killer.
          8) JtR left his victims where they were killed; the torso killer transported body-parts and left them in other locations.

          None of these differences should be overlooked or ignored, they act as counter-weights to the similarities.


          I would argue that since there are no other examples of coexisting serial killers in the same geographical area with eviscerations on their agendas, that in itself is quite enough to weigh the scales down in favour of just one killer. And that is before we look at the specifics.

          A curiosity like cutting abdominal walls would on its own be quite enough to point unequivocally to a single killer. It plays in the same league as Charles Albrights gouging out the eyes from his victims. Add the rest and the case for one killer only becomes watertight.
          I actually agree with your first point in many respects. I do think that because of the rarity of serial killing in the first place, that considering the possibility that two series are in fact related is always a good idea. But if you approach that comparison by 1) two at the same time is really rare 2) I'll look to find some similarities 3) I found some so they must be related, then you will always conclude there's only one.

          But, if there are two, and one is JtR who is hacking and destroying his victims, focused upon the abdomen, genitals, and face, then the removal of Kelly's flesh over her stomach region is just part of that general destruction - just like the removal of large bits of flesh from her thighs, and the extensive attack on her face.

          The torso killer, who also may be killing for some private fantasy reason, or may be covering up deaths that occur due to some other aspect of their behaviour (the illegal abortionist, for example - I'm not pushing this, just using it as an example). In the latter case (the "pragmatic dismemberment" idea), then removal of internal organs (uterus, hearts, lungs, etc) is not surprising. It means when transporting sections of the body, you do not have as much fluids dripping from the organs, and so the opening of the gut cavity by cutting the length of it has to bed done in the course of sectioning the body for disposal. The removal of heads, and limbs, and the sectioning of limbs and the trunk, all serve that same purpose. The discarding of these bits in waterways, vaults, and over random fences etc, all serve to aid in the getting rid of the evidence from the possession of a killer who has a body and doesn't want it found on his premises.

          While there are some similarities, there are some very major differences. Also, there are explanations associated with the injuries shown during the torso murders that suggest practical explanations (the scalping and face skinning are going beyond the call of duty here I admit, that's weird and disturbed, but given this was then thrown away seems to point in the direction of hindering identification should the head be found. And given that other faces were not located, it may be that this was the only victim where this occurred, which would suggest there's a link between that victim and the killer).

          In my view, the differences between the JtR series and the Torso series outweigh the similarities and I wouldn't link them based upon what is known at the moment. Linking two series (or even two crimes) is a theoretical claim, and given the theoretical interpretations of the two series easily allows for them to be separate, the claim that they are not separate is unwarranted; they might be, but the evidence doesn't lead one to that conclusion. However, should further evidence arise (not hypotheses, but actual evidence), then that weighing of the evidence would be revisited.

          Anyway, I'm not saying I'm right. Maybe JtR and the Torso Killer were one in the same, but maybe they weren't. My view of the evidence, which clearly differs from yours and that's fine, is that the evidence makes the former an unsupported hypothesis and so it is safer to stick with the latter (this is because, if you investigate two series separately, even if they were committed by the same individual, you are not mis-directing yourself but if you erroneously link two series, you may actively create your own stumbling blocks - i.e. clear someone of a crime in series 1 and you erroneously exonerate them for series 2).

          But, that's what makes dealing with incomplete puzzle pieces does, it leaves you guessing at much of the whole picture, and a guess is a guess, no better and no worse.

          - Jeff

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by JeffHamm
            Ignoring the very large differences, and only looking at the similarities, will of course make two things look similar
            Especially when even the similarities are contentious or generalised to the point of obscuring the details, e.g. "took out hearts". Really? The torso killer took out the heart and the lungs of one victim, which was almost certainly a "thorax-emptying" exercise, not specifically targeting the heart for removal. It was the latter which happened to Mary Kelly, whose lungs were left in place and, barring the torn-off lower part of one lobe, intact.
            Kind regards, Sam Flynn

            "Suche Nullen" (Nietzsche, Götzendämmerung, 1888)

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by Abby Normal View Post
              both series end at the same time with pinchin and mckenzie.
              For that to be true, we must believe that:

              1. McKenzie was a Ripper victim
              2. The Pinchin Street torso was deposited by the same perpetrator(s) as the West London torso dumps
              3. "The" Ripper and "the" Torso Killer were one and the same person

              It's all a bit circular, isn't it?
              Kind regards, Sam Flynn

              "Suche Nullen" (Nietzsche, Götzendämmerung, 1888)

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by JeffHamm
                Not sure if I've seen [Mei Trow's map], but I'll have search when I get the chance.
                Hello Jeff

                A couple of years back, I made a map of where the body parts were dumped or, more frequently, had drifted; note, however, that the Rainham torso would be waaaay off to the right, so it's not shown. Here's the map again, with the blue line, as I recall, representing the boundary of the Canonical Ripper murders.

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                Kind regards, Sam Flynn

                "Suche Nullen" (Nietzsche, Götzendämmerung, 1888)

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Sam Flynn View Post
                  Hello Jeff

                  A couple of years back, I made a map of where the body parts were dumped or, more frequently, had drifted; note, however, that the Rainham torso would be waaaay off to the right, so it's not shown. Here's the map again, with the blue line, as I recall, representing the boundary of the Canonical Ripper murders.
                  Thanks for that Sam. I'm assuming the locations along the Thames are for the most part, ones that have washed ashore? Given the Thames is tidal, they could drift either direction pending on incoming or outgoing tides. I would think a historic tide timetable would be useful to look around the time the parts were thought to have entered the water (if they were able to make such a determination). Anyway, on the basis that most of these have drifted from somewhere, it looks like a dispersal pattern, where locations concentrate relatively near where they were thrown in, and spread out as they've drifted further (not as many make it that far and wash ashore, before then). So it looks like they may have been tossed in from around the area I've circled in purple (or possibly the next bridge west), but this is just a guess as one needs to know the flow patterns of the specific river. The thing to do would be do dump marked items, of similar buoyancy, weight, etc, and determine how they disperse in the Thames under similar tide conditions (again, if they had a good idea of when the parts entered the water, then it's just a matter of looking up the tide around that time). Working out where the marked items end up would help narrow down where the body parts likely entered into the river. That location would be a good place to start considering where to then search for suspects.

                  - Jeff

                  Click image for larger version

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by JeffHamm View Post
                    So it looks like they may have been tossed in from around the area I've circled in purple, or possibly the next bridge west
                    I'd incline more to the latter, not least because some body parts were found on land in Battersea Park and in the garden of Shelley House, both of which are to the west of Vauxhall Bridge.
                    Kind regards, Sam Flynn

                    "Suche Nullen" (Nietzsche, Götzendämmerung, 1888)

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Sam Flynn View Post
                      For that to be true, we must believe that:

                      1. McKenzie was a Ripper victim
                      2. The Pinchin Street torso was deposited by the same perpetrator(s) as the West London torso dumps
                      3. "The" Ripper and "the" Torso Killer were one and the same person

                      It's all a bit circular, isn't it?
                      hi sam
                      no. just assumptions and similarities. Im assuming your 1 and 2. and 3 is just the conclusion based on the similarities.
                      "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

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Sam Flynn View Post
                        Hello Jeff

                        A couple of years back, I made a map of where the body parts were dumped or, more frequently, had drifted; note, however, that the Rainham torso would be waaaay off to the right, so it's not shown. Here's the map again, with the blue line, as I recall, representing the boundary of the Canonical Ripper murders.

                        Click image for larger version Name:	fetch?id=667187&d=1507543898.jpg Views:	0 Size:	103.6 KB ID:	702442
                        hi sam (and Ham)
                        thanks for posting-very interesting.
                        when my wife and I visited London a few years back we stayed at a hotel west of Hyde park and walked through it to get to Buckingham palace and then to Big Ben. didn't seem too far of a walk-20 minutes maybe? looking at the map-WC seems about twice that distance so not that far away, especially if you have access to a cart.

                        re the tide table-great idea Jeff! one could check when and which direction the tide is going, and since torsoman more than likely deposited at night(and hence the direction the tide is going at night)-that could help determine where he dumped from. But on the face of it I agree with sam, looks like he dumped around Battersea park and bridge there.
                        "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

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Abby Normal View Post
                          when my wife and I visited London a few years back we stayed at a hotel west of Hyde park and walked through it to get to Buckingham palace and then to Big Ben. didn't seem too far of a walk-20 minutes maybe?
                          I trust you weren't carrying large, oozing and incriminating chunks of body, Abby
                          especially if you have access to a cart
                          I'd have thought that it would have been essential. Besides, why no dump-sites out East (apart from the obvious one)? Why go to all the way from Whitechapel to Battersea/Chelsea, or vice-versa, when there were any number of dropping-off points in between?

                          Nah. Pinchin excepted, whoever dumped the torsos lived, hunted and killed somewhere in West London.
                          Kind regards, Sam Flynn

                          "Suche Nullen" (Nietzsche, Götzendämmerung, 1888)

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Sam Flynn View Post
                            I'd incline more to the latter, not least because some body parts were found on land in Battersea Park and in the garden of Shelley House, both of which are to the west of Vauxhall Bridge.
                            Yah, I should have included it when I was circling bridges in the first place. I left it out as I was trying to roughly divide the tide in either direction since I don't know which way it was going. Tide charts would help clarify which direction the majority of parts would have drifted. It gets problematic the longer the parts were in the water, because they can drift out on the initial tide, then drift back after it changes. Of course, it depends upon the flow of the river too, some will not deposite very much until very far from the deposit site and then everything washes up in one location due to some physical feature of the watercourse, which is what the dropping items is about, to try and map out how this particular river deposits items on the shore. Knowing that could easily change the drop location. This would be an interesting problem to work on, but it requires a data gathering exercise to crack it (not the case, just the estimation of drop point, which then might help provide a solution).

                            Since those locations span a number of different murders, it does suggest a common dropping point, which would indicate a common offender (making the same choice as to where to dispose of the parts). That, of course is qualified by barring the area between Vauxhall bridge and the next one to its west being a natural "collection zone" for the Thames, in which case, the clustering could result even if multiple offenders were depositing from different locations. Without knowing that, the common deposit site is just the conclusion you get to if you select one side of the assumption.

                            It's important to compare where you end up if you make the other choice, and if the two destinations are widely different, then it's time to stop guessing, but you know where to look for evidence.

                            For example, if the tides were found to be predominately flowing to the east, and given the bend at Vauxhall making it quite possible to be a collection point, then one might concentrate more on the bridge area in light blue (a few things washed ashore close to it, but as the river runs fairly straight, things drift away, then collect at the first bend, some making it past a bit, a few continuing.

                            But, if the tides were generally in the opposite direction, one would consider the bridge in dark blue for the same reason. As the flow patterns of the river will be different for incoming and outgoing tides, which side of the river, north or south, tends to collect more debris, on incoming and outgoing tides would be good to know - even if there isn't a marked difference that's important to actually know rather than guess at.

                            Unfortunately, modern day flow patterns in the Thames will be nothing like what they were in the 1880s, so all of this type of information cannot be collected now and be useful.

                            - Jeff
                            Attached Files
                            Last edited by JeffHamm; 02-28-2019, 07:19 PM.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              The obvious difference between leaving a body to be readily discovered, and, excluding Mary Kelly, making no attempt to prevent easy identification of the victim is the dividing line between the Torso murders and the alleged Ripper murders...and the other unsolved murders. The Torso person used the bodies for whatever purpose he had...likely just killing and dismembering, and when he was finished, he intentionally took away an easy identification of his victim. Yes, the parts would be found...not that he cared, because even today we cant be sure of any Torso id's.

                              The person who killed Mary Nichols and Annie Chapman demonstrated an ease with their bodies being discovered shortly after the murder, and did nothing to disfigure them to prevent an easy id. He cared only for his compulsions. The man who made Torsos, (over a number of years not months), took his victims apart and disposed of them so that they would not be found complete, so that their identifications.....and any connection he may have had with those victims would be hidden.

                              Not the same bloke at all.
                              Michael Richards

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