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Batman 04-11-2015 05:40 AM

Here is something interesting.

In 1788, the London Monster was a picquerist who went around London pricking women with knife, pin or needle, often in a sexual way.

Macnaughton on Cutbush - It seems, then, highly improbable that the murderer would have suddenly stopped in November '88, and been content to recommence operations by merely prodding a girl behind some 2 years and 4 months afterwards.

Keppel on JtR listed piquerism as a unique and rare feature of JtR.

Robert 04-11-2015 05:49 AM

Cutbush recommenced operations in a fit of picque.

GUT 04-11-2015 04:28 PM

And a full 100 years before Jack???

Errata 04-11-2015 07:21 PM

Jack wasn't a picquerist.

Batman 04-12-2015 12:41 PM


Originally Posted by Errata (Post 336727)
Jack wasn't a picquerist.

I sort of like Keppel's take on this. It makes sense to me. Maybe you have something to add Errata? :)

Mayerling 04-12-2015 12:54 PM

Jan Bonderson wrote a book on the 1788 case, and accounts of it are in "The Newgate Calendar" and one account was written by William Roughead in his book "Bad Companions". There was an arrest and trial of one Renwick or Rhynwick Willams, who was found guilty and spent time in jail, but there is still some question about whether he did the "Punctures in Pickadilly" as Roughead termed the incident. And Roughead noted that it resembled the more horrific incidents in Whitechapel a century later.


John G 04-12-2015 01:29 PM


Originally Posted by Batman (Post 336802)
I sort of like Keppel's take on this. It makes sense to me. Maybe you have something to add Errata? :)

I am of the same opinion. To my knowledge Keppel's conclusions on this matter have never been challenged by an authoritative source in any respected peer-reviewed publication so, for me, they remain definitive.

Errata 04-12-2015 02:35 PM


Originally Posted by Batman (Post 336802)
I sort of like Keppel's take on this. It makes sense to me. Maybe you have something to add Errata? :)

A lot actually, but not a lot in terms of "I'm right and someone else is wrong" but more along the lines of "this is actually extremely difficult, and anyone knowingly refusing to address the inherent problems in this little controversy is being dishonest." And it turns out a lot of people don't know, and pronounce with certainty, and without realizing it they just made their life very hard.

Picquerism is a clinical term. And as such any definition of the word comes from shrinks, not criminologists. But it's not that easy. And it's not that common a diagnosis. So to illustrate some problems we are going to use Sadism, because picquerism is a form of sadism. The clinical definition of Sadism is that a person cannot perform sexually without cause pain or harm to their partner. Because most people don't put up with that, a sadist is essentially left only with unwilling partners. Sexual dysfunction causes problems outside of the bedroom, textbook paraphilia. And I sure that definition jives with what you know, mostly. Here's where it starts to slide. Anyone not a shrink or not familiar with the inner workings of paraphilias could be forgiven for assuming that some guy who likes to spank his partners is a sadist. Spanking causes pain right? It's actually completely different.It's not the pain the man is after. Thats a side effect that can be useful to him. What he wants is control and obedience. And he gets off on spanking because it is the one punishment everyone recognizes. It's humiliating, it hurts, and everyone recognizes it as the cost of doing something wrong. Someone with a spanking fetish believes that most control a man can have over a woman (or whatever gender variances) is when he has her turned over his knee and is spanking her. It's not the pain. Many of those with a spanking fetish use tools to either increase or decrease the pain. Is a spanker a Sadist? Maybe. The two can go together, just like someone with Bipolar Disorder can also have an anxiety disorder. But it's not the same thing. Spanking is not inherently sadistic. The two get off on different things.

Which is why we now have dominants and submissives as opposed to sadists and masochists. Dominance and submissiveness is about control and consent. True sadism can never be consented to. Not without breaking a ton of laws, making sadism a paraphilia and dominance merely kink.

So what the hell is Picquerism? It's a form of sadism. Just like spanking can be, real beatings always are, burning is usually sadistic though not always, whipping usually is but not always. It's complicated because it's not about the action, it's about the motive. Picquerists want to cause pain, it's the part they get off on. They use needles, pins, nails, bamboo splinters whatever because they don't want to kill, though people do die from this. They also derive great pleasure from dealing serious pain anonymously. Most picquerists today operate in shopping malls. They can stab someone without them knowing. They are no so into blood, which sounds strange but this is a very disturbing art form. If the victim starts gushing blood then you did it wrong. You might get caught. And even those who indulge in the most extreme forms of this still mostly use small instruments, but stakes might be used as well. What all Picquerists have in common is that it is the pain of the act of stabbing that gets them off. Not the blood, not the victims, not even the act of piercing skin. It's the infliction of pain. This is very rare, and it is more often an act they perform on themselves than on others.

But then criminology has a different definition. It's anyone who gets off on piercing flesh. Pin, axes, makes no difference. It also includes people who get off on spilling blood (which is actually hemofetishism), and people who like opening up other people ( which can actually be one of maybe five paraphilias). These are clinical terms for medical problems. The more broad the definition, the more useless it is. About 1/10 of the population would qualify for the criminal definition, and only 1 in 30 actually have paraphilias. It's an attempt to explain what is mostly unexplainable. Why killers get off on stabbing people. But there is no single reason common to all.

And the funny thing is, even the problems with simply defining picquerism isn't the problem. In truth you don't need it to know that Jack was not a picquerist. All you need to know is the definition and frequency of behavior of any paraphiliac. The paraphilia is screwing up their lives so they think about it all the time. But thy can't think about the negative without dwelling on the positive. The average paraphiliac who does not require consenting partners engages in their dysfunctional behavior, whatever it is, at least once a week. And you average paraphiliac has more than one dysfunctional behavior. The average is three. Usually very closely related to each other, but sometimes there is a wild hair. So there is usually the core behavior. And then there is what they do in order to not engage in that behavior, something lesser but in the same vein, sometimes solitary in nature. And then there is the middle behavior. The compromise behavior that is still illegal, problematic, humiliating, etc. but not as bad as the core fantasy. So a necrophiliac might masturbate with an iced hand, and have sex with drunk and unconscious women, all in order to not have sex with a corpse. At least once a week.

Jack's problem was not one that could be dealt with by himself. There are about a dozen things he could be, and none of them don't involve victimizing innocent people in the substitute behaviors. So he is still victimizing women when he is not killing.Probably several times a week. Because thats what out of control paraphiliacs do. And even if he managed to stop killing, he never stopped offending. He couldn't. The appropriate therapy didn't exist back then, and who was he going to turn to to help him substitute behaviors? If Jack had a paraphilia, he offended until the day he died. And he offended likely since he became sexually mature. But Jack didn't. Jack had control. Paraphiliacs don't. There are any number of ways he could have mitigated his obsession, but not to the point where someone didn't die, someone didn't report him, or he killed himself.

We all know that serial killers can stop. Can just walk away. But violent paraphiliacs cannot. Jack could not have been a paraphiliac, therefore he could not have been a picquerist. Doesn't mean something wasn't desperately off about him, but apparently his sex life was not making him kill.

John G 04-13-2015 04:15 AM

Hello Eratta,

I would agree that JtR wasn't a sadist- espeically if your definition of sadism is an interest in pain, rather than, say, domination- but I don't believe that any definition of picquerism necessarily implies any such thing. Thus, Dr Anil Aggrawani, in his book Necrophilia: Forensic and Medico-legal Aspects, 2011, gives us this definition of lust murders:

"Lust murders are homicides in which the offender stabs, cuts, pierces, or mutilates the sexual regions or organs of the victim's body. The sexual mutilation of the victim may include evisceration, also includes activities such as posing and propping of the body, the insertion of objects into the body cavities..."

Now this definition clearly corresponds to Keppel's. Moreover, Dr Aggrawani has specifically defined picquerism as: "sexual gratification through penetration of another person, most commonly by stabbing or cutting the body with sharp objects": see Aggrawani, 2009. It is submitted that this definition is also consistent with Keppel.

However, it must be conceded that "picquerism is currently an ill-defined concept. The DSM, for example, doesn't codify the "condition" but lists it under "paraphilia NOS (Not Otherwise Specified), whereas the ICD doesn't recognize the condition at all.

Unfortunately, as Batman has pointed out, psychology is not a "hard" science. There is no bio-medical proof for the existence of the vast majority of psychological conditions, which is why labelling theory is such an attractive proposition for many, including myself.

Even schizophrenia is an ill-defined condition, and the DSM V has now removed all sub-categories for schizophrenia because of "their limited diagnostic stability, low reliability and poor validity". In fact, I prefer the social defeat hypothesis myself.

As for the clinical concept of paraphilia, perhaps that also needs to be thrown into the nearest waste paper basket: see Ogas, 2012:

John G 04-13-2015 04:50 AM

I seem to have made a spelling error in my last post, which should, of course, be addressed "Hello Errata". Apologies for the mistake, spelling was never really a strong point of mine!

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