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  #1  
Old 03-28-2018, 11:12 AM
Mayerling Mayerling is offline
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Default But for the murder that day....

I have a general question to ask everyone on this board regarding the murders. It may have crossed your minds that plenty of things happen around the world every moment of every day - but what are the main things of a spectacular or notorious nature that happen on a given day.

In this case, on the days of all the murders.

Put another way. Say on November 10, 1888 Mary Jane Kelly was alive and well and looking for her next client for the money for her next meal. Say on Nov. 8 to 9, nobody had been murdered. What would have been the sensational story of that day in London?

Now the reason I ask this has to do with a bit of chance research I just stumbled on. I was looking into the subject of famous bridges. One was the Brooklyn Bridge. In 1885, an athletic instructor named Robert Odlum was killed diving off the bridge as a stunt. The following year Steve Brodie supposedly dived off the bridge but survived, and due to the reports of the act spread by Brodie and his chums, and one in particular in the New York Times, he was credited with doing the jump successfully (he'd built a career on this for the rest of his life - it is now generally questioned if he ever dived off the bridge). A month after, in May 1886, a young man (a typesetter for the Police Gazette) named Larry Donavan jumped off the bridge before witnesses, landed in the East River, and survived and swam away. Today he is considered the first man to successfully achieve the stunt, not Brodie.

This may seem all secondary to us today - after all, what has jumping off the Brooklyn Bridge in 1886 have to do with the murders in Whitechapel in 1888? By itself nothing. But it is the figure of Larry Donavan that caught my attention. Except for some problems with the authorities about risking his neck and causing a public disturbance, he did begin a daredevil reputation regarding making impressive dives off various bridges in the U.S. and Canada (the Niagara Suspension Bridge was one of them). He hoped to make a career and income from being a daredevil, but the returns were frequently smaller than he expected. As a result, in 1888 Donavan returned to England to see if his career might improve by daring actions. For example he jumped off London Bridge but this led to his arrest there. He was also stopped from a chance to jump off Tower Bridge. Later he was allowed to jump from Waterloo Bridge (it was lower than the others). Then came two controversial jumps at the Clifton Suspension Bridge. By August 1888, Donavan was in serious financial straits. While out drinking on August 6, 1888 he was talking to some men who suggested he try jumping off Hungerford Bridge in London. To avoid police interference (like he had at Clifton Suspension Bridge), it was suggestion that he do the jump early in the morning. So on August 7, 1888, at 2:00 A.M., Donavan jumped into the Thames from the Hungerford Bridge. He did hit the water, but soon nobody could see him. Later they found his body - he had drowned because he was swept away by the heavy currents at that time. The author of the Wikipedia entry for Donavan (where I found all this) explained that this last jump was done on the spur of the moment for the cash offered at that time - the other jumps had been better planned (including having rescue boats ready nearby to help Donavan if he needed help).

Now, at 2:00 A.M., Martha Tabram was seen accompanied by her male client headed for the George Yards. Somewhere between 2:00 A.M. and 3:30 A.M. she was murdered. Of course, on August 7, 1888 the size of the Whitechapel Murders had not really been taken into anything like the story's eventual size as it would be by November 10, 1888. But Tabram's murder probably knocked the death of the daredevil Donavan off the main feature of local sensational news.

Last edited by Mayerling : 03-28-2018 at 11:39 AM.
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  #2  
Old 03-28-2018, 12:56 PM
DirectorDave DirectorDave is offline
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Brilliant read Mayerling, thanks for posting.

You have discovered a kind of alternate double event here of two people making the wrong choice for cash within a short time of each other. One had moved to London to ply his trade from a overseas land. Both losing their lives.

Larry sounds a bit like Philippe Petit who done the rope walk over the twin towers.
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Old 03-28-2018, 03:15 PM
Mayerling Mayerling is offline
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Brilliant read Mayerling, thanks for posting.

You have discovered a kind of alternate double event here of two people making the wrong choice for cash within a short time of each other. One had moved to London to ply his trade from a overseas land. Both losing their lives.

Larry sounds a bit like Philippe Petit who done the rope walk over the twin towers.
Thanks Dave,

The point is what happened on those other days from August through November 1888, of a sensational nature in London - what were the local events that were jostled out of first place in the attention of the public. They may have nothing to do with each other - but what if two of them seem to parallel each other by circumstances? Then maybe a connection can be seen. But first we have to find out what occurred on those five days.

Jeff
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Old 03-28-2018, 05:10 PM
Joshua Rogan Joshua Rogan is online now
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Interesting, Jeff....are you thinking that the murders were enacted simply to keep something else off the front pages?
Or that Monty Druitt saw one of Donovan's stunts and thought "I bet I could do that"?
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Old 03-28-2018, 05:34 PM
Mayerling Mayerling is offline
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Interesting, Jeff....are you thinking that the murders were enacted simply to keep something else off the front pages?
Or that Monty Druitt saw one of Donovan's stunts and thought "I bet I could do that"?
Hi Josh,

I'm not second guessing anything. At this point one has to check the newspapers to see if there were any robberies, any other killings, any other stunts of a dangerous nature, that might have been the local lead story of those dates, but were bumped down to second lead story. It certainly looks like a potentially interesting field of review, especially in finding the twin tragedies of Donovan and Tabram occurring within minutes of each other. But they may still not be fully linked.

There is a story by G. K. Chesterton, in his stories of "Father Brown", his priest detective, "The Sign of the Broken Sword". Chesterton's tale, in part, seems to be tweaking the British public nose at how the ill-fated death of a heroic general (sort of like "Chinese" Gordon) can be built up to a national obsession that may not be deserved. I would recommend reading the story to see what I mean. But it begins with Father Brown and his friend the reformed thief "Flambeau" taking a walk, and Brown asking, "How do you hide a tree?" Flambeau says, "In a forest!" "Then", asks Brown, "How do you hide a dead body?". The answer is, in a forest of dead bodies (i.e., a battlefield). The concept here may be similar - hide a potential scandal or crime by a hideous crime - one of a series of them. But first make sure of the facts: what happened on those other dates of a sensational nature, and if they possibly resemble each other or are linked.

Jeff
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Old 03-28-2018, 06:07 PM
jerryd jerryd is offline
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Originally Posted by Mayerling View Post
Hi Josh,

I'm not second guessing anything. At this point one has to check the newspapers to see if there were any robberies, any other killings, any other stunts of a dangerous nature, that might have been the local lead story of those dates, but were bumped down to second lead story. It certainly looks like a potentially interesting field of review, especially in finding the twin tragedies of Donovan and Tabram occurring within minutes of each other. But they may still not be fully linked.

There is a story by G. K. Chesterton, in his stories of "Father Brown", his priest detective, "The Sign of the Broken Sword". Chesterton's tale, in part, seems to be tweaking the British public nose at how the ill-fated death of a heroic general (sort of like "Chinese" Gordon) can be built up to a national obsession that may not be deserved. I would recommend reading the story to see what I mean. But it begins with Father Brown and his friend the reformed thief "Flambeau" taking a walk, and Brown asking, "How do you hide a tree?" Flambeau says, "In a forest!" "Then", asks Brown, "How do you hide a dead body?". The answer is, in a forest of dead bodies (i.e., a battlefield). The concept here may be similar - hide a potential scandal or crime by a hideous crime - one of a series of them. But first make sure of the facts: what happened on those other dates of a sensational nature, and if they possibly resemble each other or are linked.

Jeff
Hi Jeff,

Interesting line of thinking. Two things come to mind. The Cleveland Street Scandal which coincided with the Whitechapel murders and the torso series. Specifically, the Whitehall Mystery in the torso series, which came to a head two days after the double event of Stride and Eddowes.
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Old 03-28-2018, 06:23 PM
c.d. c.d. is offline
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Maybe I am not understanding this correctly but it seems only to be a matter of what story has precedence not that only one story can be run at a time and another story is simply not mentioned. A story that runs on page 2 of the newspaper is still a story.

c.d.
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Old 03-28-2018, 06:36 PM
c.d. c.d. is offline
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The other thing to remember is that the newspapers were in business to sell newspapers. So if the editors had to decide do we run story "X" or story "Y" on the front page wouldn't that decision be heavily influenced by which story they thought would sell the most newspapers? Human nature being what it is I would strongly suspect that a gruesome murder story would get the nod.

c.d.
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Old 03-29-2018, 12:18 AM
Mayerling Mayerling is offline
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The other thing to remember is that the newspapers were in business to sell newspapers. So if the editors had to decide do we run story "X" or story "Y" on the front page wouldn't that decision be heavily influenced by which story they thought would sell the most newspapers? Human nature being what it is I would strongly suspect that a gruesome murder story would get the nod.

c.d.
Hi c.d.,

Both your points are valid, but keep in mind the effect of a story being shifted to page 2 or even further into the newspaper because of the horrible crime that has been committed. Some very odd things sometimes occur. In 1902, there was a dreadful disaster on the island of Martinique in the Caribbean, when Mount Pelee erupted and destroyed a local city, killing some 30,000 inhabitants. Normally that would be the lead feature in the newspaper of the day - just too terrible to hide. But in the newspapers of May 8, 1902 in New York City, the main feature was the shooting murder of novelist and historiographer Paul Leicester Ford in his Madison Avenue mansion's study, by his brother Malcolm Ford, a well known champion amateur athlete of the 1880s and 1890s, and the editor of an early magazine regarding automobiles and racing. It was the culmination of a family squabble between the brothers (also involving their other brother Worthington Chauncey Ford) over money probably owed Malcolm from his mother's estate, and witheld because Paul and Worthington felt Malcolm left the family down by not pursuing a "scholarly" career (like they did). Malcolm immediately after shooting Paul, killed himself before Paul died.

This murder and suicide did not hide the Mt. Pelee eruption, but the public was far more interested (at least in New York City) in the Ford tragedy, not the mass loss of life in a French colonial department.

Jeff
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Old 03-29-2018, 12:24 AM
Mayerling Mayerling is offline
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Hi Jeff,

Interesting line of thinking. Two things come to mind. The Cleveland Street Scandal which coincided with the Whitechapel murders and the torso series. Specifically, the Whitehall Mystery in the torso series, which came to a head two days after the double event of Stride and Eddowes.
Hi Jerry,

Actually you could also consider how briefly the Ripper's shadow cast a pall on later sensational cases. I think it was the Alice McKenzie Case (admittedly a questionable "Ripper Murder", but many thought and think it was), had to share the spotlight briefly with the arrest and trial of Florence Maybrick, and the Scottish, "Isle of Arran" murder of Edwin Rose by John Watson Laurie (who had been hiding for nearly a week with a massive manhunt after him). See, except when we link similar crimes (the Torso killer and the Whitechapel killer operating at nearly the same time, and both gruesomely), we tend to ignore the way the newspapers are treating the same stories. Especially when they explode at the same time.

Jeff

Last edited by Mayerling : 03-29-2018 at 12:26 AM.
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