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Go Back   Casebook Forums > Ripper Discussions > Police Officials and Procedures > Littlechild, Chief Inspector John George

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  #11  
Old 11-19-2011, 12:16 AM
Scott Nelson Scott Nelson is offline
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It should be noted that a high resolution scan of the letter indicates that Littlechild's signature (no question as to its authenticity) is in the same shade of ink as the annotations and the two added sentences at the end of the letter.

I wondered at one time if Sims (with his editor's hand) was the one responsible for the inked additions, but apparently this is not the case.
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  #12  
Old 11-19-2011, 04:39 AM
Jonathan H Jonathan H is offline
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To Mike

As you know, Mike, I think that the famous, widely-read, George Sims got in touch with Littlechild because he was trying to confirm a story he had been propagating (on Macnaghten's behalf) since 1899; that the fiend was an affluent, reclusive, English Gentile, unemployed for years, a middle-aged asylum veteran who was strongly suspected by his friends and the Yard -- though independently of each other -- of being 'Jack the Ripper'.

This doctor, who was Sims' physical doppelganger, during one of his periodic incarcerations had been diagnosed as suffering from a 'peculiar mania', he confessed that he wanted to kill and main harlots.

After being out of the madhouse for a year, and without family or patients, the invalided, idle, ex-physician -- a ticking bomb -- fulfilled his dark compulsion in Whitechapel, and before his frantic pals and the super-efficient police could nab him and put him under restraint again -- from where he should never have been released harrumphs Sims -- the likely killer was found a month-old corpse in the Thames.

The final atorcity in Miller's Court had blasted his mind, leaving the ex-doctor nothing more than a gibbering husk, yet with just enough wherewithal to stagger to the Thames river and throw himself in: 'a shrieking, raving fiend' (a confession in deed rather than word).

This tale reached its apotheosis in 1907 for 'Lloyds Weekly' magazine, and in that seminal article about the 'Drowned Doctor' tale, Sims also wrote that the alternative theory among those in-the-know was not the Polish Jew suspect (as he had been out and about for a long time after the Kelly murder) but a young, eccentric, American medical student -- who also could not be the fiend because he was alive years after the murders, and thus failed the 'awful glut' litmus test'.

But something, perhaps, was giving Sims second thoughts by 1913, and he cast his net about looking for further confirmation for a tale we know now is half-true and half-fiction.

But which bits were which?

Jack Littlechild, understandable perplexed about 'Dr D' as he could know nothing about a too-late suspect such as Druitt unless Mac confided in him -- and presumably he didn't -- assumed this must a be a self-servingly garbled version of the affluent, semi-employed, middle-aged 'Dr T' who was arrested by Scotland Yard and who had friends who helped bail him out.

Sims must have used what he thought was a trump card in his correspondence with Littlechild; that his information partly came from Major Griffiths who had access to the 'Home Office Report' by the Commissioner -- which Littlechild mistakenly thinks means Anderson.

In 1903 this allegedly definitive 'Report' had worked -- so Sims believed -- to quash the absurd notions of a retired field detective, Abberline, who dared question Sims over the veracity of his 'drowned doctor' claims.

But this time it was a retired police chief who had headed the Irish Dept. and knew and remebered where all the bodies were buried

Knowing nothing of Mac's machinations over the past two decades, Littlechild assumes this is an Anderson con job, and he pointedly does what Anderson would not do in his 1910 memoirs: name the chief suspect and name the reporter who hoaxed the 'Dear Boss' letter.

I think this is also Littlechild's way of hinting to Sims that he is a reporter who has also been somewhat hustled.

And if Sims wants to use the Tumblety scoop, the real suicided doctor chief suspect, then go ahead (I suspect Mac very smoothly reassured Sims, counter-claiming that it was Littlechild who was wrong; that the latter was mis-remembering which doctor was the important suspect).

What I find fascinating is that both Sims and Littlechild do not realize that they are both right and both wrong; that each has half the puzzle, and are sharing these halves, but missing that the suicided doctor is a semi-mythical fusion, and a deflection, and has nothing to do with Anderson -- though he too may have thought that Sims' suspect was a garbled version of Tumblety, the less said about the better.

In his memoirs the following year, Macnaghten dropped both the 'doctor' and 'drowned' elements, which cost him the full understanding of people then -- and now -- that he was fessing up to having solved the mystery 'some years after' the murderer had taken his own life.
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  #13  
Old 11-19-2011, 08:58 AM
mklhawley mklhawley is offline
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Hi Jonathan,

It would be very intriguing to be a fly on the wall when Simms spoke to Mac after reading the Littlechild letter. Simms' later published article certainly conforms to this.

Mike
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  #14  
Old 11-19-2011, 01:00 PM
Jonathan H Jonathan H is offline
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To Mike

Yes, Sims in 1915 and in 1917 shows the 'drowned doctor' mythos very much intact.

In the 1915 piece, interestingly, Sims mentions 'Blackheath' for the one and only time.

Was that a bone thrown by Mac to Tatcho?

I also cannot help but notice that Littlechild writing that Tumblety was 'believed' to have taken his own life, after absconding to France, is a much, much more satisfying tale -- from the police point of view -- than the real one.

The truth was that Tumblety was investigated in Canada by Inspector Andrews, who wandered into the buzz-saw of the trans-Atlantic Parnell imbroglio. This trip proved fruitless. Tumblety gave an interview in 1889 in which he scathingly disaparaged the 'dyspeptic' English cops. He died in a St. Louis nursing home, peacefully and affluent, in 1903.

Whereas, Littlehild is telling Sims that: we had him on file, we watched him, we arrested him, we charged him and we broke him!

Sure, he jumped his bail but he [prrobably] killed himself in France (perhaps by drowning?) and so that is some kind of justice.

I think Littlchild is being sincere about somebody 'believing' that he took his own life. Because he knows that if Sims is really interested then he might research Tumblety, and if insincere would know that the well-connected celebrity-writer would easily learn that Tumblety died of natural causes fifteen years later (of course, for Sims chatting with Macnaghten was the only research after 1899).
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  #15  
Old 11-19-2011, 08:12 PM
mklhawley mklhawley is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jonathan H View Post
Whereas, Littlehild is telling Sims that: we had him on file, we watched him, we arrested him, we charged him and we broke him!
...as evidenced by the New York World reporters description of Tumblety's demeanor during the Feb '89 interview and his comments.

I'm still intrigued by two points:

1) Simms must have considered Littlechild an authority on ripper suspects for Simms to ask for his two cents, even after he was convinced of the 'drowned doctor' mythos.

2) Littlechild remembered Tumblety after 25 years 'amoungst' all countless suspects; including accurate details.

Sincerely,
Mike
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  #16  
Old 11-20-2011, 05:01 PM
curious4 curious4 is offline
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Greetings again,

Tumblety is, on the face of it, an unlikely suspect. He would have towered over most of the population of the East End, and if not his height, his moustache would have made him conspicuous. He would even, perhaps, have had difficulty in getting through the narrow alleys - unless, of course, he negotiated with his whiskers, like a cat.

Best regards,
C4
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  #17  
Old 11-20-2011, 06:04 PM
mklhawley mklhawley is offline
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Originally Posted by curious4 View Post
Greetings again,

Tumblety is, on the face of it, an unlikely suspect. He would have towered over most of the population of the East End, and if not his height, his moustache would have made him conspicuous. He would even, perhaps, have had difficulty in getting through the narrow alleys - unless, of course, he negotiated with his whiskers, like a cat.

Best regards,
C4
Hi C4,

This is actually way off the mark. When they say the average height was 5 fo 8 inches, not everyone was that height. Height would have fit the usual bell curve with many people over 6 feet. Also, it was at a time when wearing hats was the norm. Check out any photo of the Whitechapel streets. To say someone the height of Tumblety would have towered over everyone is simple wrong. Also, it was the norm to wear facial hair in the Victorian Era. Tumbletly probably would have been more noticable if his did not have a mustache. It being big? Check out the photo of Tumblety on the front of Riordan's book. The mustache contoured his face.

Tumblety himself stated when he was walking the streets of the Whitechapel district during the time of the murders he dress as to not bring attention to himself. He would have never said that if he could not blend in.

To discount Tumblety as a suspect because of modern-day bias and misconception is simply foolhearty.

Sincerely,

Mike

Last edited by mklhawley : 11-20-2011 at 06:08 PM.
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  #18  
Old 11-21-2011, 11:27 AM
Jonathan H Jonathan H is offline
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To Mike

You wrote an excellent article, with alchemy as a sub-theme, didn't you, as there is that primary source, a press article, from 1888 about [an un-named] 'American herb doctor from New York' being investigated by the police (it's in Evans and Rumbelow, 2006).

In that article is mentioned somebody else promoting the outlandish idea that the fiend is a deranged alchemist, and so on (sorry, not in front of me).

Sims mentions this detail in his claims about the alternate theory at Scotland Yard (which allegedly is not the Polish Jew), about a young, weirdo American suspect, one alive, and well, long after the murders.

This is arguably a composite figure, of which Dr. Tumblety is one element (other aspects of 'Dr. T' are in the 'drowned doctor').

What intrigues me is what I believe to be Macnaghten's extraordinary memory in recalling that 1888 article, or something like it, which mentions Tumblety alongside the outlandish deranged-alchemy angle. and this ends up in his pal Sims' 1907 article -- in what I have argued is a 'scrambled egg' of Druitt fused with Tumblety.

'The other theory in support of which I have some curious information, puts the crime down to a young American medical student who was in London during the whole time of the murders, and who, according to statements of certain highly-respectable people who knew him, made on two occasions an endeavour to obtain a certain internal organ, which for his purpose had to be removed from, as he put it, '"the almost living body."'

I am not saying that Tumblety necessarily had any interest in some kind of bizarro organ-alchemy, just that Mac's mind cast a wide net over many sources, and could retrieve all sorts of tiny bits and pieces -- as the particular, propaganda opportunity demanded.
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  #19  
Old 11-22-2011, 01:32 AM
Jonathan H Jonathan H is offline
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To Mike

See how Littlechild has used the same word to describe these two received bits of information. Is this the shadow of Macnaghten?

'It was believed he committed suicide but certain it is that from this time the 'Ripper' murders came to an end.

'With regard to the term 'Jack the Ripper' it was generally believed at the Yard that Tom Bullen of the Central News was the originator, but it is probable Moore, who was his chief, was the inventor.'


In his 1914 memoirs, Macnaghten claimed that he was the one who identified the hoaxer:

'On 27th September a letter was received at a well-known News Agency, addressed to the " Boss." It was written in red ink, and purported to give the details of the murders which had been committed.

It was signed, " Jack the Ripper." This document was sent to Scotland Yard, and (in my opinion most unwisely) was reproduced, and copies of same affixed to various police stations, thus giving it an official imprimatur. In this ghastly production I have always thought I could discern the stained forefinger of the journalist indeed, a year later, I had shrewd suspicions as to the actual author!


Littrlchild writing that the murders came to an end, which coincided with the removal of a chief suspect, is also very much Mac's paradigm, though actually based on the inconvenient timing of Druitt's suicide -- the 'other' sucided doctor.
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  #20  
Old 11-22-2011, 04:01 PM
curious4 curious4 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mklhawley View Post
Hi C4,

This is actually way off the mark. When they say the average height was 5 fo 8 inches, not everyone was that height. Height would have fit the usual bell curve with many people over 6 feet. Also, it was at a time when wearing hats was the norm. Check out any photo of the Whitechapel streets. To say someone the height of Tumblety would have towered over everyone is simple wrong. Also, it was the norm to wear facial hair in the Victorian Era. Tumbletly probably would have been more noticable if his did not have a mustache. It being big? Check out the photo of Tumblety on the front of Riordan's book. The mustache contoured his face.

Tumblety himself stated when he was walking the streets of the Whitechapel district during the time of the murders he dress as to not bring attention to himself. He would have never said that if he could not blend in.

To discount Tumblety as a suspect because of modern-day bias and misconception is simply foolhearty.

Sincerely,

Mike
Dear Mike,

Have twice ttried to reply to you but the server seems to have taken against me! Will try again later.
C4
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