Just to take a general point first. The killings (except the last) were done in semi-darkness, on the ground, in just a few minutes. To do complex things like extracting a kidney or a uterus in that time and under those circumstances takes exceptional skill and anatomical knowledge. Even George Bagster Phillips said that he doubted that he could have extracted Annie Chapman’s uterus in less than quarter of an hour and that a surgeon might have taken ‘the best part of an hour.’ The point that he could do it faster than most surgeons no doubt reflected the fact that he had nearly 30 years’ experience of carrying out autopsies.
For the benefit of anyone that hasn't had both hands inside a human abdomen before, simply getting at either the kidney or the uterus is incredibly difficult. You might know roughly where they are but the problem is you have a mass of slippery, writhing intestines in the way and as much as you try to push them aside, the more they flop back into the middle and down into the pelvis which is where you need to be if you wish to get at the uterus.
What you have to do is a manoeuvre known to surgeons, anatomists and pathologists as mobilisation of the small bowel. This involves making a slit in the root of the mesentery which lies behind the bowels and this then enables you to lift the small intestines out of the abdomen and gives you a clearer field. Jack did this in the case of Chapman and Eddowes (hence the bowels being draped over the right shoulders). Dividing the root of the mesentery single handed is very difficult since you are operating one handed and blind. Usually an assistant wound be using both hands to retract the guts so that the operator can get a clearer view of it.
That's probably enough for one post - see what I mean about needing a few hours?
Thanks for this. It's good to see a post on this subject from an expert. So, your argument is that he was an expert surgeon.
So Where do we go from here then?
What does it mean in terms of known suspects. It would rule everyone out except I Beleive perhaps chapman?
Is it Puckridge, tumblety, royal conspiracy?
What's your idea then who it was specifically?
What does this have to do with the witnesses and the suspects they described?
Most describe suspects dressed not or perhaps not as old as someone with 30 years surgical experience.
Would not someone with this background be dressed in a wealthy appearance?
Has this expert surgeon taken a turn for the worse mentally or financially?
Is he dressing down, in disguise?
Is he actually after all the classic image of a ripper with top hat and Gladstone bag?
how does it fit in with peripheral evidence like the dear boss letters
"they say I'm a doctor now haha"?
Or the story of the American doctor looking for uteri for sale from London's medical establishments?
if you Beleive the ripper was an expert surgeon please follow up and give us your ideas on how it fits in with everything else.
__________________ "Is all that we see or seem
but a dream within a dream?"
-Edgar Allan Poe
"...the man and the peaked cap he is said to have worn
quite tallies with the descriptions I got of him."
-Frederick G. Abberline
A lot of different terms are flying around, and I think some distinction is in order.
Was Jack a butcher (in style if not by occupation)? Absolutely. Butchers are as neat and precise as surgeons. A butcher's shop does not look like a meat grinder exploded. Animals are rendered into their component parts with very little waste. Not dissimilar to Jack.
Did he have anatomical knowledge? Was he familiar with the structure of the human body? He was. I could do what he did. I'm not a doctor, not a surgeon, I have a wicked tremor, but I certainly know enough to do what he did. Not because I've studied it or seen it, but my dad's an OB/GYN. I myself have a uterus, and I figured it was only fair to know where it is. I've also seen all the little charts and models in the doctor's office. I took basic anatomy in High School. I could do this easy. And I'm only perhaps slightly more educated than any random group of people. If Jack had no knowledge at all, he would have taken bladders. The bladder is in generally the right place, and looks like a balloon, so why wouldn't it hold a baby?
Does he have anatomical experience? Has he rooted around in innards before as a profession or hobby? Probably not. Not many people have that kind of access to bodies without actually being a medical professional. I also don't think he would have removed the uterus in blocks if he had experience. He would have known where the connections were and could have taken it out without other bits.
Did he have surgical (or butcher) experience? Did he cut open bodies for a living, did he manipulate organs or render them on a regular basis? No he didn't. He did not open the abdomen in the most efficient way. Not by a long shot. He cut up the liver trying to get the kidney out, And I actually think he severed the colon while removing the uterus, which is kind of a rookie mistake. A surgeon could not do what Jack did because surgeons are trained to preserve surrounding tissue. It's in their muscle memory. A surgeon would have simply performed a hysterectomy on a corpse. A surgeon could easily remove the uterus without taking chunks of the bladder. As it happens, a uterus is a fairly unique organ. It is dense, it is curved backward, it's connected to a bunch of different things, it's like nothing else in the body. Once you get your hands on it, stripping the connections and removing should be easy for a surgeon.
When pressed, when stressed, we do what we've always done. A surgeon freaking out and trying to rush doesn't turn into a yeti with a blade. His cuts may be less precise, but he doesn't suddenly try to get in a body in some new and exciting way with maybe 10 minutes in which to work. He makes surgeons cuts. Sloppy surgeons cuts, but a surgeon would never open someone in such a way as to make it look like the corpse has hacked open by a woodsman after a grandmother. A butcher makes butchers cuts. Butchers do make that long abdominal cut, but they are very used to dealing with the organs inside in a neat and precise manner. Frankly, a butcher would simply remove the intestines, not loosen them enough to toss them out of the way. It's not faster to throw the guts over the shoulder. To be blunt, once you get a good cut in they tear out pretty easily. The only people who made that kind of cut, and it's still not exactly the same, are sport hunters. Hunters open a carcass and just evacuate everything in the cavity. They general can only identify two or three organs because generally the don't use the organs. But the knife style used on say, a deer carcass is actually pretty similar to what was done to these women. Butcher don't rip down like that. Surgeons certainly don't. But hunters do, and I think the anatomical knowledge of a trophy hunter is what we are looking at. Not an actual trophy hunter, but someone with that knowledge.
But Jack wasn't a surgeon, and he wasn't a butcher. If he was practiced in getting into a body, it's because he had done it enough times previously that he had a method that worked for him. Where he got that practice is up for debate, but the skill upgrade between Nichols and Chapman was meteoric. There have to be other bodies. There have to be.
The early bird might get the worm, but the second mouse gets the cheese.
Sound post. My only real problem with it is the dealing in absolutes. He could've been a surgeon or butcher. It's possible. I think surgeon less so though. Just my opinion of course. Who's to say a butcher would function the same with a human as an animal? There is no or less need for care presumably. For a surgeon cutting up people is work. For a butcher there may be a distinction. If that makes any sense.
Thanks for the opinion. Are you a surgeon? I completely agree with Errata on the point she could've executed these murders. As could I or anyone else who had the desire and fervour to do so. Although I tend to lean more towards someone who already had a history/habit of cutting things up.
Good points, Errata.
Why would an expert surgeon have used two different methods to gain access to the internal organs ?
(Roughly the same method in the Chapman and Kelly cases, a completely different one with Eddowes).
I shall respond to the thread title which, I take it, is its raison d'etre.
First, should one distinguish:
1. surgical skill
2. anatomical skill
3. anatomical knowledge?
The first might refer to the skill one evinces as a surgeon. It likely subsumes the other two.
The second might be thought of as how much skill one has in knowing how to treat body organs. (Perhaps your example will suffice here.)
The last might refer merely to the level of knowledge one might acquire during a first year university course in anatomy/physiology. (So, I could rightly lay claim to this last level.)
But you will notice that #1 is the highest level. For, in addition to items 2 & 3, it also seems to include the ability to make proper incisions.
Now, different doctors in the post-mortems had different takes on the various victims. For instance, whoever, mutilated Kate seems to have attained #3, but perhaps not the rest. "MJK's" killer may also be added here.
On the other hand, Polly and Annie's slayer seems to have been at least skilful with a knife.
As you can see, it is difficult to make a pronouncement on all cases given the great differences of skill/knowledge shown.
Last edited by lynn cates : 07-12-2013 at 06:39 PM.