Errata, I share the humour in your anecdote, some pathologists survive their detachment through humour. The question of medical research ethics is not one I wish to debate, but suffice to say that my introduction you quoted was necessary to provide context to what followed.
The questions you pose are both provoking and insightful. Tissue resilience has important forensic implications and assailing mesenteric attachments can be a nightmare in the obese that is both time consuming and obstructive in feeling and discriminating organs. So much so that it can well go on the list of skill demand in respect to Chapman.
Briefly for those unfamiliar with skin histology. The outer layer of skin (the epidermis) is composed of layers of dead horn-like cells that are resistant to insults from the environment. Below the epidermis are collagenous fibres over a subcutaneous layer of fat cells. This subcutaneous structure is like a shock absorber that deforms under pressure, returning to its original condition once the pressure is released.
With moderate force focused at a knife point the epidermis will resist puncture by absorbing the force into the elastic fibres and the fat cushion. With increasing force the knife point can break through the epidermis meeting little resistance from tissues underneath.
With an incising knife edge, the force is spread over a wider area requiring greater force to cut the epidermis. If the knife is drawn across the epidermis the leading edge of the knife will pucker up small rolls of deformed skin. As force is increased these rolls will give way producing an irregular edge to the incision. The blunter the knife, the greater force required and the more jagged the incision becomes.
The thickness of epidermis and subcutaneous structure varies in different parts of the body. The skin of the neck is quite thin whereas the abdomen, particularly in the female, can have a deep subcutaneous fat layer. While the skin may be thin on the neck it is also loose and an incising knife can well drag skin forward ahead of the edge thus producing an irregular jagged incision. To overcome both loose skin and subcutaneous deformation it is usual to tighten the skin with the hand at the point of entry of the knife, thus allowing reduced force on the knife.
Mr Ripper was unlikely to be able to do this with any certitude, but stretching the neck by a throttle or jaw hold, or in the case of Stride, her scarf, could have facilitated the incision.
I’ll leave the fatty abdomen to the imagination but the visual removal of organs in such a case would probably be of little help in organ discrimination. It could have been a hopeless task in a tight time frame to feel the kidney in an obese victim.
I haven't much time at present to make a response to recent posts but will get back when I can. DG
I avoided this thread for quite some time because I have a rather weak stomach. But it turns out that the diagrams and insightful comments are very helpful in understanding the case. Thank you all very much for your efforts.
I just thought of something else, and have also proven that I have the most understanding fiance in the world, or the dumbest.
The facial bruises are in the wrong place for someone being choked. I tried this from in front, behind and on the ground. (thanks to my fiance/stunt victim) Only the most awkward method of pressing the heels of the hands into the windpipe while holding the jaw came close. The only thing that I did that would make those bruises was to tilt the head up for a throat cut by grasping the lower jaw. Now from the front, this was impossible because then you have to cut around your own arm. But from behind it works.
The other thing the experiment accomplished was explaining the two cuts some victims had. I suppose he could have meant to cut from ear to ear, got hung up on the trachea and so repositioned the knife. But the other thing that came out was that if I was behind my fiance holding his jaw up and cutting his throat, I could get to the middle before things got a bit awkward. But I had severed his major blood vessels, so know I have to try and keep him upright so I pulled my hand away from his jaw to reposition it to hold him up. Bless his little theatrical heart, he dropped in a mock swoon which dragged the spoon (mock knife) across his neck, jerking it out of my hand when it hung up on his ear. We replaced the spoon with a marker to see what happened, and if I cut his throat to the middle, and then pushed him off of the knife you get those exact cuts. If he turned on the way down, like if his legs were a little crossed or had one foot in front of the other the second cut moves. He assures me that the force applied by intent is much greater than the force applied by sliding down the blade. The same marks happened if I twisted his head toward me without dropping the knife.
This raises all new questions. A medical professional knows that you don't have to cut the throat from ear to ear. Cut the blood vessels or the trachea, and that's it. Anything else is for show. A shochet knows this as well. If the lesser cuts are hesitation marks or an attempt to make that wide a cut, then JtR is neither a doctor or a shochet. If those marks are from pushing someone off the blade, then he is not making the attempt to cut from ear to ear, and knows it to be unnecessary. Which requires either medical knowledge, or enough experience in throat slitting to have observed this. But then if the victim's throats were cut standing, where did the blood go? I used to have a peacoat, which made me wonder...
If a man is wearing a dark wool coat, and he cuts a woman's throat from behind and immediately twists her head towards the wound into either his shoulder or his chest, would the combination of the the pressure on the wound from the twisting and the absorbency of the coat mask any arterial spurt?
Any wagers as to whether or not my fiance is going to come to bed tonight?
Investigator on jagged wounds,"With an incising knife edge, the force is spread over a wider area requiring greater force to cut the epidermis. If the knife is drawn across the epidermis the leading edge of the knife will pucker up small rolls of deformed skin. As force is increased these rolls will give way producing an irregular edge to the incision. The blunter the knife, the greater force required and the more jagged the incision becomes."
Does that mean that Eddowes was attacked with a block of cheese? Dave
We are all born cute as a button and dumb as rocks. We grow out of cute fast!
Does that mean that Eddowes was attacked with a block of cheese? Dave
I"m not 100% sure we can rule that out.
I always thought Eddowes was the most telling crime, if only we knew how to read it. That abdominal wound is really bizarre. The only thing that made sense to me was kneeling at the bottom and starting at the top with a stab, and cut downward using only one hand. Every time you lose momentum you have to stab again. But then does he have a bum arm like John McCain? Was he doing something else with his other hand? Using a hook instead of a blade?
It was not mentioned in the inquests as far as I know, although we could use some knowledge of anatomy to say whether or not the hyoid bone was fractured. In order to fracture this bone we are really talking about choking as opposed to strangulation. Pressure or blunt force to the area of the larynx is usually enough to do the job. If the killer of course strangled lower down or put his force to the side, which would induce strangulation he would of course also miss the hyoid bone. The big difference is that strangulation would apply pressure to the veins of the neck resulting in quick loss of consciousness, whereas choking could take a while longer and the bodies would probably show the obvious signs of this.
A choke would of course involve anterior pressure on the trachea, and is often done with an arm around the neck, whilst a strangle would be easier with the hand, pressing from the sides, where the thumb and fingers would maintain opposing pressures. If you try this (on yourself plase ) with a hand around the neck, you will see it is relatively hard to apply a great deal of pressure to the trachea (which requires a higher amount of pressure than the blood vessels to become occluded), but you will notice that feeling of your head 'filling up' with blood - actually just prevention of the blood leaving the head.
Bear in mind that the pressure needed to block the airway is much more than needed for preventing venous flow, and so if the killer was simply looking to make the victims unconscious or did not realise that it take quite a while to strangle someone to death (as in this case the killer showed no knowledge of anatomy or physiology), it's probable the victims would have simply been rendered unconscious by strangulation, so I dare say the hyoid was probably not broken.
If a surgeon was to cut the rib cage open to perform a heart operation, then this would obviously require specialist tools, and time. However, as the post-mortem notes: 'The pericardium was open below and the heart absent. As another poster above mentions, this is possible by moving the stomach and liver, etc, and reaching the heart from below. The other thing to bear in mind is that there are very strong vessels coming from the heart, and it is quite easy to grab these from below (they are stronger leading to the est of the body than towards the head), and pull the heart.
The killer quite obviously must have done this, as there is not a great distance at all from the bottom of the rib cage to the bottom of the heart itself.
The only problem with these images is that they are of bodies which have been preserved with formaldehyde. There is another poster here with experience of the operating theatre who can back this up: In a live or freshly dead body, the organs are remarkable for being very neatly laids out inside. In fact to open a frsh body would present the killer with a very easy opportunity to find a small organ. After death and preservation, the characteristic colouring and elasticity of tissues disappears, and of couse dehydration affects them to a substantial degree.
Whilst all the structures are still accurately placed, the interior of a preserved body bares little resemblance to a live or freshly dead body, if we are talking mere appearance to the layman.
I thought I'd add a quick note on strangulation here for reference. A common thought is that strangulation decreases both blood flow and pressure to the brain. This is false. If you were to press the capallaries in your finger or palm, you would notice the lack of blood towards the tissue makes the flesh appear white. You will also notice if you have ever seen someone strangled (for instance in a martial arts class), that the victims face appears quite red.
In this case it is the veins rather than arteries being constricted. As the carotid arteries are so close to the heart, there is a great deal of pressure to overcome to restrict blood flow, as well as the position of the arteries themselves back behind the trachea and to the sides. This presents a real problem with any manual strangulation, so as to be near impossible. It is claimed that it takes small pressure to occlude the arteries (such as in the wikipedia article), however doing this would of course be prevented by their location and the opposing arterial pressure. Added to which you would really be targeting the trachea itself to place pressure on the arteries, which as we have discovered above is tricky with one hand, unless you are pushing back with quite some force while applying the grip.
On the other hand compression of the jugular veins, paricularly the anterior jugular is comparatively easy. Venous blood is under low pressure, and very easy to constrict, even for a moderately sized one such as this. This prevent blood return to the heart, increasing the pressure of the blood and inside the cranium, making it not lack of oxygen to the brain causing problems, but the inability of carbon dioxide to leave, thus reducing gaseous transfer.
This rise in pressure stimulates the carotid sinus, which leads to syncope in an attempt to lessen the pressure inside the head. This can happen fairly quickly (a matter of seconds), and in fact the speed at which even death occurs can depend on how responsive the carotid sinus is to the change in pressure. I'm not convinced about claims that sinus reflex death occurs in such cases, although it could in theory happen.
Could it be that Jack just choked them to become unconscious and then kill them? Everyone except Mary Kelly...
Here's Annie's wounds. They are a bit more easy to fathom out as the post mortem was well drafted, there is still a bit of guesswork, but it's probably pretty accurate. Sorry the text has broken up a bit.
Is it possible that he threw the intestines over her shoulder in a fast attempt to get to some other organ...like a dog digging for a bone. Just throw everything out of the way...
This raises all new questions. A medical professional knows that you don't have to cut the throat from ear to ear. Cut the blood vessels or the trachea, and that's it. Anything else is for show. A shochet knows this as well. If the lesser cuts are hesitation marks or an attempt to make that wide a cut, then JtR is neither a doctor or a shochet.
Actually the only way of cutting the arteries from the outside by slicing is also the cut the trachea. If you feel for your carotid pulse, you will push your fingers into the neck by the side of the trachea. To cut this while leaving the trachea unmakred during a slicing action is impossible.
A shochet will make a wide cut. The blade is always longer than the neck is wide. Shechita involves completely severing the trachea, carotid arteries and jugular veins in one movement to drain the blood.
Should be noted this is also the quickest way of killing someone by slicing the throat - I wouldn't imagine it would be much of a secret at the time either, as people would be familiar with tales of cut-throats, and of course given most people wouldn't be walking round with guns in the East End, there aren't man weapons to choose from apart from knives, which were plentiful.
Of course with a knife you have a choice of stabbing or slicing.
if mickey's a mouse, and pluto's a dog, whats goofy?