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Go Back   Casebook Forums > Ripper Discussions > Letters and Communications > From Hell (Lusk) Letter

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  #21  
Old 04-19-2008, 10:26 AM
Doctor X Doctor X is offline
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Originally Posted by Vigilantee View Post
We know its human, we can at least credit the examiners with that much professionalism.
Can we? The problem is we do not know the condition of the kidney. "Microscopic examination" means . . . what? Did they section it? Stain it? Or did he just look at it under a low power microscope and say, "yup! Human!"?

Now, to be fair, I think one should speculate it was human unless someone can show that an improperly preserved kidney could appear as a human kidney with glomerulonephritis.

And . . . whilst we speculate . . . since it is described as half of a kidney with a trimmed renal artery, could it be a stolen specimen stuck in spirits for a bit?

Who knows?

This reminds me of any mythic reconstruction--you have to start with some assumptions, and the argument is about as solid as the assumptions.

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Of course if we could come up with some case for it being Eddowes kidney, given he above topics we can then deduce the letters from a poor immigrant, probably a Russian Jew, about 5'6 who keeps a parrot as a pet
Raven!!

RAVEN!!!

Yours truly,

--J.D.
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  #22  
Old 04-19-2008, 11:11 AM
Glenn Lauritz Andersson Glenn Lauritz Andersson is offline
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The kidney had been preserved in wine - not medical spirit - but Swanson concluded in his report that such a kidney could easily be 'obtained from any dead person upon whom a post mortem had been made'.
I am no medical expert and certainly have no experience how to establish the origin of a kidney, but all medical men involved came to the conclusion that it was human. Some of them even went as far as establishing that it was from a human adult or full grown human being. I have no idea how they came to this conclusion but it is a very specified statement.
Openshaw, however, admitted that he could not determine if it was from a woman or a male. And since it had been preserved in wine, he couldn't established how long it's been since it was removed from the body.

Personally I agree with people like Lusk and Swanson that it probably was a hoax by a medical student - several other letters clearly showed that seemingly ordinary and respectable people could go to great lengths and display quite morbid tendencies, just for the sake of the thrill and without any necessary motive. The feeling and excitement of being a part of the police investigation is generally 'motive' enough, plus that some gets the chance to fulfill their inner macabre fantasies. Many of the so called Ripper letters are quite bizarre and morbid, some are laughable while some are more disturbing (if we exclude the kidney many are in their content even more bizarre and revolting than the From hell letter).

The only thing that I really might find compelling and interesting is the fact, that - during a time when most people were very much ispired and taken by the new exciting name Jack the Ripper (and copied ech other and things in the press) - this letter writer chooses to NOT sign the letter Jack the Ripper or give himself another taunting trade name. What he (or she) does, is running his own race and completely doing his own thing.
However, it is no evidence of that the letter might be genuine, only that it's an interesting detail.

As for the spelling mistakes, one must note that although many indicates an Irish (or attempt of Irish) accent, a couple of very difficult words to spell if you have insufficient writing skills - like 'signed' - are correctly spelled. While some spelling errors and the word 'Tother' (possibly a merge of 'the' and 'other') seems constructed and a bit 'over the top'.
But again - we will never know.

All the best
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  #23  
Old 04-19-2008, 12:30 PM
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Originally Posted by Glenn Lauritz Andersson View Post
I am no medical expert and certainly have no experience how to establish the origin of a kidney, but all medical men involved came to the conclusion that it was human.
You check the serial number. [Stop that!--Ed.]

Right . . . sorry. . . .

Anyways, I am not--without seeing the damn thing--going to contradict Openshaw's opinion or that of Reed. So theirs is the "default" position in my opinion. If they took sections and examined it accordingly, they could determine that probably pretty well. "Adult" probably came from the size of the kidney.

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And since it had been preserved in wine, he couldn't established how long it's been since it was removed from the body.
I think that is a critical point. Alcohol you drink is not bactericidal nor bacteriostatic--in fact, the whisky you drink is not high enough in alcohol. You need greater than 95% to my recollection, but do not quote me. Red wine does seem to retard bacterial growth. Anyways, the point is it is hard to "date" the kidney given what is known. Openshaw certainly could not do it, and he saw the damn thing.

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Personally I agree with people like Lusk and Swanson that it probably was a hoax by a medical student - several other letters clearly showed that seemingly ordinary and respectable people could go to great lengths and display quite morbid tendencies, . . .
You know . . . I tend to lean that way. I really am on the fence, but the fact the artery was trimmed up and NO MORE LETTERS with bits 'n pieces followed strikes me as just too coincidental.

Yours truly,

--J.D.
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  #24  
Old 04-19-2008, 12:44 PM
Sam Flynn Sam Flynn is offline
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I think that is a critical point. Alcohol you drink is not bactericidal nor bacteriostatic--in fact, the whisky you drink is not high enough in alcohol. You need greater than 95% to my recollection, but do not quote me. Red wine does seem to retard bacterial growth.
Hi JD/Glenn,

The kidney had apparently been preserved in spirits of wine (i.e. rectified ethanol - circa 95%) as opposed to Chateauneuf du Pape.
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  #25  
Old 04-19-2008, 01:00 PM
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Originally Posted by Sam Flynn View Post
The kidney had apparently been preserved in spirits of wine (i.e. rectified ethanol - circa 95%) as opposed to Chateauneuf du Pape.
Ah . . . beddy INtahwesting!

Yet another great theory dash'd upon the rocks of reality. . . .

Any idea how common it would be? In other words "who" could obtain it?

--J.D.
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  #26  
Old 04-19-2008, 01:10 PM
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Oh . . . and thanks to the 27 posters for NOT jumping down my throat when I posted a "correction" above that the letter does not say "from Hell." I looked too quickly at the letter.

Do . . . not . . . post under the influence. . . .

--J.D.
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  #27  
Old 04-19-2008, 01:17 PM
Glenn Lauritz Andersson Glenn Lauritz Andersson is offline
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Originally Posted by Sam Flynn View Post
Hi JD/Glenn,

The kidney had apparently been preserved in spirits of wine (i.e. rectified ethanol - circa 95%) as opposed to Chateauneuf du Pape.
What? Bloody hell (pardon my expression), it seems I have misunderstood that all along due to a language issue. Thanks for that, Sam.
However, feels nice to finally be able to enjoy my Italian red Amarone or Ripasso wines without having Eddowes' kidney popping up in my head...


All the best
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  #28  
Old 04-19-2008, 01:19 PM
Glenn Lauritz Andersson Glenn Lauritz Andersson is offline
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Originally Posted by Doctor X View Post


Oh . . . and thanks to the 27 posters for NOT jumping down my throat when I posted a "correction" above that the letter does not say "from Hell." I looked too quickly at the letter.

Do . . . not . . . post under the influence. . . .

--J.D.
Actually, I was at the point of commenting that at first, mostly because I wanted to be clear about what you meant or if I misunderstood you, but I erased it from the post. I assumed it was a mistake on your part.
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  #29  
Old 04-19-2008, 01:24 PM
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Yeah . . . do not know what the hell I was drinking. . . .

I still think--actually looking at the damn thing properly!--that it is part of a "taunt" as in the killer is a demon from Hell rather than a comment on the writer's emotional state.

Yours embarrassingly,

--J.D.
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  #30  
Old 04-19-2008, 02:01 PM
Sam Flynn Sam Flynn is offline
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Hi JD,
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Originally Posted by Doctor X View Post
Any idea how common it would be? In other words "who" could obtain it?
Spirits of wine seems to have been fairly ubiquitous in Victorian Britain, seemingly only costing a few pennies per bottle. Trawling through the Times between 1840 and 1890, I found that it had many and varied applications.

It was used by practitioners of such humble professions as stick-makers in making varnish. You may recall that Israel Lipski used cheap brandy for the same purpose.

Tin cases, filled with spirits of wine, were used by explorers as portable "cookers" to warm their food. Metal rods or bamboo poles bearing a wad of cotton-wool or similar material, impregnated with spirits of wine, were used as "tapers" to light chandeliers in theatres and concert-halls.

In 1858, some 211,352 gallons of "spirits of wine or pure alcohol" were sold in Britain "for home consumption". That probably means "not exported", by the way - God forbid that it was quaffed around the dinner table!

That's not to say it didn't have its domestic applications - spirits of wine was used in making tinctures of opium, camphor, peppermint (etc) and other weird and wonderful home remedies. The substance was also applied in cleaning and polishing domestic furniture and paintings.

It's clear that the stuff was available to, and commonly used by, more than just doctors and medical students.
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