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The Paris Torso Mystery

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  • New Ford Shunt
    replied
    Charlie

    I've trawled the British newspapers and these are the torso cases I've found outside of the UK between 1850 and 1900. They don't include cases of mass dismemberment such as massacres or war-related atrocities.

    Two things should be borne in mind when looking at the list. Firstly, it's very difficult to accurately locate all cases when you are dealing with a search which includes the word 'dismemberment'. This is used in the English language at the time in terms of dismembering a country due to war, or dismembering the British Empire. Therefore I'm sure I've undoubtedly missed some cases. Secondly, the list is based on newspaper reporting so the names, locations etc. may well be incorrect.

    Interestingly, on the cases where we do know a motive, the bodies have been dismembered for disposal purposes, I don't think I've read of one case where there's a homicidal maniac cutting people into pieces and putting them on display - that's not to say there aren't cases like that of course. Anyway, here you go:

    Attached Files

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  • FrankO
    replied
    Oops, wrong thread again...

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  • FrankO
    replied
    Sorry, wrong thread...

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  • The Rookie Detective
    replied
    Originally posted by Charlie View Post
    Hi DR,

    Sorry for not responding quickly to messages; I'm really pressed for time at the moment. Regarding the possible series of Torso Killer-type crimes that occurred in Paris during those years, I currently only see the cases of Petit-Montrouge (August 1886) and Botzaris Street (October 1892). There may have been other cases of dismembered women before or after, but from what I recall, they were more defensive dismemberments where the victim could be identified, and the perpetrator arrested. I'll need to check the historical documents to be sure.

    In the cases of Montrouge and Botzaris, the police themselves compiled a report. As for a potential connection to the series of crimes in London, Judge Atthalin, handling the Montrouge case, seems to have never stopped considering it.

    I hope to provide more information soon. After reaching out to the curator of the Archives of the Paris Police Prefecture, it appears that he has found a document related to the dismembered woman case of August 1886. He just notified me this morning via email. Since the archives will be closed next week, I'll go in early January, hoping to obtain more details through this channel.
    Thank you for reply to my post

    Absolutely fascinating stuff Charlie, I find your post content very enlightening and refreshing.

    So we have August 1886 and October 1892.

    The 6 year time gap is intriguing because it highlights that the killer worked over a period of time and IF it was the same killer for both murders, then the killer didn't have to seemingly cram his kills into a single autumn.

    I must admit to have zero knowledge of the French language and I know very little of the history of Paris itself.

    It does make me wonder if there were any key significant infrastructure enhancements in Paris in August 86 and October 92 respectively.
    This is working on the assumption that the Paris Torso Killer was potentially a Navvy or civil engineer, and who may have worked in Paris AND London over as much as a 30 year time period.

    I know you're busy and so I really appreciate you taking the time to reply to me.

    Many thanks

    RD

    Leave a comment:


  • Charlie
    replied
    Hi DR,

    Sorry for not responding quickly to messages; I'm really pressed for time at the moment. Regarding the possible series of Torso Killer-type crimes that occurred in Paris during those years, I currently only see the cases of Petit-Montrouge (August 1886) and Botzaris Street (October 1892). There may have been other cases of dismembered women before or after, but from what I recall, they were more defensive dismemberments where the victim could be identified, and the perpetrator arrested. I'll need to check the historical documents to be sure.

    In the cases of Montrouge and Botzaris, the police themselves compiled a report. As for a potential connection to the series of crimes in London, Judge Atthalin, handling the Montrouge case, seems to have never stopped considering it.

    I hope to provide more information soon. After reaching out to the curator of the Archives of the Paris Police Prefecture, it appears that he has found a document related to the dismembered woman case of August 1886. He just notified me this morning via email. Since the archives will be closed next week, I'll go in early January, hoping to obtain more details through this channel.

    Leave a comment:


  • The Rookie Detective
    replied
    Charlie, are you able to confirm if the Parisian police believed there was a serial killer on the loose, and whether they believed there was a link overseas?

    Or were they of the opinion that there were multiple killers for each of the respective torso murders?

    More crucially, how many of the Paris Torso murders were classed as canonical, or official victims of a particular killer?

    The fact that the Paris Torso killer/killers were never captured, brings it more in line with other Torso murders outside of France.

    I know that you touched on it briefly earlier in the thread (before it was diverted off-topic by myself and others - my sincere apologies for that and I meant no disrespect to your excellent work on this thread)...but are you able to confirm how many of the Paris Torso victims were found close to either a Railway, River, Canal, or a recently constructed building? Or more specifically, any victims found under an archway?

    I believe that when a killer dumps parts of a body in a river, they are possibly trying to conceal the victim's identity and are not particularly concerned with where a body is found, as the river will increase the chances that body parts are washed away from the location at which they were initially dumped.
    Whereas, a killer who chooses to place/dump parts of a victim's body in public places, or on an area of land that will inevitably lead to the victim being found and/or identified, is a person who is more clinical and calculated in their level of psychopathy.

    The Paris killer would certainly appear to be the latter; and on that basis, I believe that the locations chosen by the PTK (Paris Torso Killer) have a deeper meaning to the case.


    Thoughts please?


    RD





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  • Fisherman
    replied
    Just saw this - I will use that thread forthwith.

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  • jmenges
    replied
    I moved recent posts here:


    JM

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  • jmenges
    replied
    Please take the discussion about Jack the Ripper and the Thames Torso Murders to another thread.
    Let’s keep this thread strictly about the Paris Torso Mystery.

    JM

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  • New Ford Shunt
    replied
    Guys, really? Come on, start another thread. Can't we keep this one on the Paris Torso Mystery?

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  • New Ford Shunt
    replied
    Originally posted by Charlie View Post

    Big thanks for paying attention to the various elements I've brought up in this thread, and congratulations on taking the time to investigate how the British press covered this Parisian mystery. Your questions call for clear and detailed answers. I won't have the immediate time to respond, but your message is truly motivating. I'm working on an article that will aim to be as comprehensive as possible about everything that is known about the case almost 140 years later. Your questions will help me emphasize certain points that may not be immediately clear to a British audience.

    For instance, I've always been surprised to note that in the cases of the Ripper and the Torso Killer, autopsies were conducted in various different morgues. In the Whitehall Mystery, Dr. Bond performs an autopsy on the trunk found at the Millbank Street morgue. However, I was appalled to read about the unsanitary conditions of some London morgues, especially that of Millbank Street.

    In Paris, all autopsies were carried out at the Morgue de Paris, located on the Île de la Cité, just behind Notre-Dame. This morgue had everything needed to receive corpses, conduct autopsies, and, in cases where identification was necessary, an exhibition hall. This hall was open to the public, and in the case of famous incidents, Parisians would queue up to view the corpse (yes, the French sometimes have rather macabre traditions!!!). Once the autopsy was performed, the body could be stored in the "dead room." Thus, the remains of the dismembered woman from Petit-Montrouge were kept at the morgue until October 1889 (the date of burial in the Parisian cemetery of Bagneux). They were preserved at -15 °C and remained in a perfect state of conservation.

    Click image for larger version

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    In 2, the exhibition room. In 3, the autopsy room.
    In 4, the morgue (where they could be stored in refrigeration units).



    Click image for larger version

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    The Paris Morgue seen from the outside.


    Click image for larger version

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    The exhibition room. On the sign, it is written:
    "People who recognize someone are asked to inform the guards."



    As for forensic doctors, they had acquired quite impressive expertise. Two of the three forensic doctors who conducted the autopsy of the dismembered woman were authorities in their fields:
    • Paul Camille Hippolyte Brouardel (1837-1906), author of the Forensic Medicine Courses at the Faculty of Medicine in Paris, a 14-volume work!!!
    • Charles-Albert Vibert (1854-1918), author of a famous Summary of Forensic Medicine.

    As soon as I have a few minutes, I'll try to revisit some of the other points you've raised.

    Thank you Charlie! Jonathan Menges has given me your email address so we can liaise through that too.

    This is a fascinating case. I'm just at the moment attempting to contextualise it withn a framework of dismemberment cases in general in Northern mainland Europe. I see no point in discussing the minutae of any of the torso murders in comparison to this one until the groundwork has been laid down firmly - and my French is pretty basic!

    Leave a comment:


  • Charlie
    replied
    Originally posted by New Ford Shunt View Post
    Getting back to the original post, I've done a bit of research on how the British newspapers reported on this and it would be interesting if you Charlie (or indeed anyone able to speak or read French) could cross-reference the information given to British readers and compare it to the French newspapers. I've also highlighted aspects I feel need further clarification or are of key importance to our understanding of this crime. For me, there is no point speculating on other crimes, be they related to the torso cases in London or the Whitechapel murders or any other cases in France or northern mainland Europe until we know more about the crime itself.
    Big thanks for paying attention to the various elements I've brought up in this thread, and congratulations on taking the time to investigate how the British press covered this Parisian mystery. Your questions call for clear and detailed answers. I won't have the immediate time to respond, but your message is truly motivating. I'm working on an article that will aim to be as comprehensive as possible about everything that is known about the case almost 140 years later. Your questions will help me emphasize certain points that may not be immediately clear to a British audience.

    For instance, I've always been surprised to note that in the cases of the Ripper and the Torso Killer, autopsies were conducted in various different morgues. In the Whitehall Mystery, Dr. Bond performs an autopsy on the trunk found at the Millbank Street morgue. However, I was appalled to read about the unsanitary conditions of some London morgues, especially that of Millbank Street.

    In Paris, all autopsies were carried out at the Morgue de Paris, located on the Île de la Cité, just behind Notre-Dame. This morgue had everything needed to receive corpses, conduct autopsies, and, in cases where identification was necessary, an exhibition hall. This hall was open to the public, and in the case of famous incidents, Parisians would queue up to view the corpse (yes, the French sometimes have rather macabre traditions!!!). Once the autopsy was performed, the body could be stored in the "dead room." Thus, the remains of the dismembered woman from Petit-Montrouge were kept at the morgue until October 1889 (the date of burial in the Parisian cemetery of Bagneux). They were preserved at -15 °C and remained in a perfect state of conservation.

    Click image for larger version

Name:	morgue_de_paris1.jpg
Views:	302
Size:	187.6 KB
ID:	827913
    In 2, the exhibition room. In 3, the autopsy room.
    In 4, the morgue (where they could be stored in refrigeration units).



    Click image for larger version

Name:	CISA0667.jpg
Views:	269
Size:	61.8 KB
ID:	827914
    The Paris Morgue seen from the outside.


    Click image for larger version

Name:	morgue-paris-cadavres-exposes.jpg
Views:	283
Size:	154.7 KB
ID:	827915

    The exhibition room. On the sign, it is written:
    "People who recognize someone are asked to inform the guards."



    As for forensic doctors, they had acquired quite impressive expertise. Two of the three forensic doctors who conducted the autopsy of the dismembered woman were authorities in their fields:
    • Paul Camille Hippolyte Brouardel (1837-1906), author of the Forensic Medicine Courses at the Faculty of Medicine in Paris, a 14-volume work!!!
    • Charles-Albert Vibert (1854-1918), author of a famous Summary of Forensic Medicine.

    As soon as I have a few minutes, I'll try to revisit some of the other points you've raised.

    Leave a comment:


  • Fisherman
    replied
    Originally posted by Elamarna View Post

    It's not often that I agree with Christer, but here he is basically correct.
    However, it is clear that the police spoke to the Purkiss at Essex Whalf and Mrs Green immediately, but that was very limited, and could not be called a genuine door to door investigation.

    It was indeed only on Baxters instruction that a proper door to door was carried out.

    Steve
    I tend to think I am quite often correct when you disagree with me too…

    But thank you for chiming in!

    Leave a comment:


  • Elamarna
    replied
    Originally posted by Fisherman View Post

    I hope you are not saying that the door to door investigation of Bucks Row came before coroner Baxter told inspector Spratling to see to it, the way you have done before? I have provided evidence that the initial door to door investigation entailed streets around Bucks Row, were incomplete and did seemingly not entail Bucks Row itself, as you may remember.

    And if the Bucks Row door to door investigation did not come until after Baxter told Spratling to get it done, then it does point to the police being lax about their work.

    Just wanted to put this out there, although it is a bit off topic.
    It's not often that I agree with Christer, but here he is basically correct.
    However, it is clear that the police spoke to the Purkiss at Essex Whalf and Mrs Green immediately, but that was very limited, and could not be called a genuine door to door investigation.

    It was indeed only on Baxters instruction that a proper door to door was carried out.

    Steve
    Last edited by Elamarna; 12-20-2023, 09:59 AM.

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  • Fisherman
    replied
    Originally posted by Fiver View Post

    Period police lacked many modern tools, but they weren't the complete idiots that the newspapers claimed, either.

    In the Nichols murder, witnesses who worked together were interviewed separately. Witnesses were called on to identify other witnesses at the inquest. The surrounding areas were searched. Door to door interviews were ordered for Bucks Row and surrounding streets.

    So unless evidence appears showing that Faircloth's alibi was false, I'd assume his alibi is true.
    I hope you are not saying that the door to door investigation of Bucks Row came before coroner Baxter told inspector Spratling to see to it, the way you have done before? I have provided evidence that the initial door to door investigation entailed streets around Bucks Row, were incomplete and did seemingly not entail Bucks Row itself, as you may remember.

    And if the Bucks Row door to door investigation did not come until after Baxter told Spratling to get it done, then it does point to the police being lax about their work.

    Just wanted to put this out there, although it is a bit off topic.
    Last edited by Fisherman; 12-20-2023, 08:53 AM.

    Leave a comment:

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