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

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  #1  
Old 03-25-2013, 12:04 PM
Chriswald Chriswald is offline
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Default Was the Ripper German?

Hello there,

I always found it peculiar that the author of the From-Hell-Letter used the phrase "Catch me WHEN you can". Isn't the right english Version "Catch me IF you can"? Or are there any varieties? I'm asking, because I am german myself and may be mistaken.

You have to know that "if" is translated into the word "wenn" in German, which is pronounced like the english word "when". So it would make sense to me, that this mistake could be easily made by a german-speaking author. What do you think?

Greetings

Chriswald
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  #2  
Old 03-25-2013, 03:54 PM
Robert Robert is offline
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Hi Chriswald and welcome

I think an argument against your point, is that the writer actually says just before the "catch me when you can," "if you only wate a whil longer" - so he would be making a mistake just after he failed to make a mistake.
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Old 03-25-2013, 06:28 PM
Bridewell Bridewell is offline
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A good point, Chris. Ich kann auch ein Bisschen Deutsch, und das habe ich selbst nie bemerkt. Robert's observation about the writer's earlier correct use of 'if' is difficult to overcome though.

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  #4  
Old 03-25-2013, 06:43 PM
Phil H Phil H is offline
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But

"Catch me IF you can"; and

"Catch me WHEN you can":

Are both grammatical and senible English constructions and both make sense. One is about possibility, the other is about TIME.

BUT the second phrase already referred to - "if you only wate a whil longer" - is also about TIME and thus seems to confirm the latter reading.

Phil
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Old 03-25-2013, 09:58 PM
Chriswald Chriswald is offline
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You're right "Catch me WHEN you can" ist a grammatical construction, but ist it really a common expression? Even in connection with the use of "if you only wate a whil longer"? In Germany we only know the expression "Fang mich, WENN du kannst!". Maybe I'm a little stubborn but for me it would fit just too well: The many wrong spellings, the use of the word "when" instead of "if" (which is a very common mistake among Germans who are not used to speak English) and many witnesses described him as "foreign looking"...
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Old 03-25-2013, 10:38 PM
Phil H Phil H is offline
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There are also indications in the correspondence that the writer wants people to believe he's Irish.

They can't all be right!!

And people tend to say what they mean even if it is slightly unusual grammatically!!

Phil
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Old 03-25-2013, 11:00 PM
Sherlock Holmes Sherlock Holmes is offline
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I am conducting research in to this case as I have done for years. The only German suspect I have come across is one Carl Fagenbauhn (apologies for the spelling). He was a German Midshipman who was making frequent trips between Germany, the dutch isles and London. Is he in your highly valued opinion a credible suspect. If not why not?

Mr Holmes
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Old 03-25-2013, 11:06 PM
Phil H Phil H is offline
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Is he not the suspect Trevor Marriot wrote a book about?

If so, I think you'll find that Trevor himself has now dropped him.

Phil
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Old 03-26-2013, 02:43 PM
Bridewell Bridewell is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Phil H View Post
Is he not the suspect Trevor Marriot wrote a book about?

If so, I think you'll find that Trevor himself has now dropped him.

Phil
He is indeed Trevor's preferred suspect in "Jack the Ripper - The 21st Century Investigation". If Trevor's moved on from Feigenbaum it would be interesting to know why.
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  #10  
Old 03-26-2013, 02:54 PM
Bridewell Bridewell is offline
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Default Mishter

Getting back to the Lusk Letter, I've always wondered why he addresses Lusk as "Mishter". It's a wrong spelling, obviously, but not even a phonetic one. Does anyone know if Lusk had a speech impediment which the writer might have been mocking?

On balance, I don't think there's much in the letter to suggest that the writer was German, although Chriswald is entirely correct in saying that 'if' in English translates as 'wenn' in German. I think the 'Catch me when you can' reference is just an idiosyncratic variation of the usual wording. Alternatively the writer is implying that Lusk has missed (or will miss) an opportunity to apprehend him.
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