MURDER AND ENLIGHTENMENT: JACK THE RIPPER WITH MYSTICAL POWERS. A Whitechapel Story.
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In the parcel was the body of a baby girl; she had been strangled with white tape that had been tied twice around her neck and knotted under her left ear.
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The police would soon find that her horrific injuries would form a sinister pattern. Dyer had been plying her trade as a baby farmer for some 30 years: she advertised in the local newspapers for foster children, offering to look after them for a fee. This was a common practice in Victorian England, and most baby farmers honoured their commitment to parents but some neglected their young charges, drugging them and leaving them to waste away, whilst pocketing the proceeds. Dyer took this one step further, and strangled them.
Further searches of the River Thames at Caversham yielded six more infant corpses. The trial took place at the Old Bailey on 18 May, where Dyer was charged with the wilful murder of Doris Marmon, the five-month-old daughter of barmaid, Evelina Marmon. A single mother, Evelina had advertised in the Bristol Times for a nurse to care for her child, whilst she continued working. In the same publication a Mrs Harding had placed an advertisement for fostering. Amelia Dyer, 57, was convicted, and hanged at Newgate on 10 June The only traces left in Caversham of these forgotten infants were crosses engraved on the wooden handrail of the Clappers bridge, which is no longer there.
Her three-year-old son and his younger brother were playing in the fresh air where she could keep an eye on them. My grandmother noticed that the woman was carrying a carpet bag, which appeared to be quite heavy. Thinking nothing of it, grandma finished the weeding before taking the boys indoors to prepare dinner for her husband, who would soon be home from his work as a builder. What my grandmother did not know was that the carpet bag held the bodies of two murdered babies, along with some bricks for added weight.
The woman was Mrs Amelia Dyer. She took a bus to Paddington before boarding a train. From Reading station she walked to a secluded spot she knew well at Caversham Lock. Here she forced the bag between the railings and into the Thames. Three days earlier, unbeknown to Mrs Dyer, a package had been retrieved from the same stretch of river by a bargeman. It contained the body of a little girl, later identified as Helena Fry. The tiny corpse was securely wrapped in paper, which had attached to it a label from Temple Meads station, Bristol. There was faint writing on the paper and with the help of a microscope the police deciphered a name — Mrs Thomas — and a Reading address.
Thomas was one of many aliases used by Dyer as a baby farmer — and murderer. Born in Bristol in , Dyer, whose mentally ill mother had died when she was ten, trained first as a corset-maker and then as a nurse. Following the death of her husband in , and left with a young daughter, she turned to baby farming as a more lucrative and convenient means to earn a living as a single mother.
A decade later a doctor, alarmed at the number of death certificates he had issued for babies who had died under her roof, alerted the authorities. Dyer pleaded guilty to neglecting one of the recently deceased children and was sentenced to six months hard labour. As the birth of children out of wedlock carried such a stigma, there was no shortage of mothers eager to make a private and confidential arrangement for the safe-guarding of their illegitimate offspring. Dyer advertised her services in several newspapers, presenting herself in a variety of ways.
One young woman, Evelina Edith Marmon, who wrote to Dyer, at that time calling herself Mrs Harding, received this reply regarding her daughter, Doris:. Dear Madam, In reference to your letter of adoption of a child, I beg to say that I shall be glad to have a dear little baby girl, one that I can bring up and call my own.
First, I must tell you that we are plain, homely people in fairly good circumstances. I have a good and comfortable home. We are out in the country and sometimes I am alone a great deal. Myself and husband are dearly fond of children. I have no child of my own. We belong to the Church of England … I hope to hear from you again.
Evelina queried the cost for taking Doris. She will be no further expense to her family. I am sure she ought to be a pretty child. An arrangement was duly made and Dyer travelled to the Midlands to collect the baby. The young mother wrapped Doris in a shawl, kissed her goodbye and handed her to her new guardian.
She had no more tape, so untied that used to kill Doris to dispose of Harry in the same way. After the body of Helena Fry was discovered in Caversham Lock, the river was dredged there and the bag containing the bodies of Doris and Harry was recovered. Evelina had the unimaginable task of identifying her daughter just 11 days after handing her over to Dyer. When she opened the door they raided the place. Although no bodies were found, the stench of rotting corpses was overwhelming.
They found pawn tickets for baby clothes, dressmaking tape, telegrams regarding adoption arrangements, receipts for advertisements and letters from mothers enquiring about the well-being of their children. It took the jury less than five minutes to return a guilty verdict and Dyer was hanged at Newgate Prison on June 10th. The police concluded that in the previous few months at least 20 children had been murdered by Dyer.
It is not known exactly how many babies she killed in total but it has been suggested it could be as many as When my grandmother learned of the gruesome acts that had taken place next door, she was very upset. She loved babies and had a further six herself, although three of her children died in infancy. She gave birth to her last child, Myrtle, my mother, in , when she was 47 years old.
My mother told me the story of Amelia Dyer when I was a schoolgirl collecting family stories for a project. I remember leaning over and touching her dress and then telling my teacher the extraordinary tale handed down the generations about that day in Female murderers become doubly aberrant exceptions in this culture, unable to access the role of transcendental agency since, as Simone de Beauvoir made clear in , only men are allowed to be transcendent, while women are immanent. Celebrity obsessed society to which the figure of the murderer appeals.
Natural Born Celebrities, Was not until 19th c. Sade — law of nature — nothing that nature is capable of carrying out killings etc can be considered wrong or unnatural if practiced by human beings. Shaped the figure of the murderer n the cultural imaginary for centuries to come and across geographical boundaries. The stories projected onto the figure of jack, include of course, speculative stories about his identity, framed in discourses that are both of their time and recognisable.
The Ripper case also served as a hook on which to hang a story central to the 19th c. This led to increased hostility toward Jewish immigrants, acerbated by the allusion to an alleged Talmudic injunction that a jewish man who had sex with a Christian woman should subsequently want to kill her.
The fact that the location of the Ripper murderers was the cosmopolitan, largely Jewish, and extremely poor milieu of Whitechapel served to reinforce the belief that the socially deprived and the ethic other posed an ineffable threat to the middle class. Acknowledges that he has steadily refused to acknowledge the effect upon the mind of the associated ideas of objects; he has considered solely their pictorial value as opposed to their ordinary emotional quality.
But their names are not definitions of them, or, indeed, anything but the loosest kind of labels that make it possible for us to handle them, that prevent us from mislaying them, or sending them to the wrong address. In each case the resonance of the image shifts with the title. The cue the audience in peculiar ways. Traffic at a standstill, theatre performances interrupted to announce the acquittal. Is it not possible that this woman, who had descended to the lowest depths of prostitution, should have become acquainted with some man who proved to be a maniac seeking for his prey?
They fed an existing appetite for sensational stories while contributing to an attitude of social detachment. By , London boasted twenty-eight morning and nine evening papers. On the other, the sheer proliferation of its stories emphasises the heterogeneity, the ultimate unknowability, of activities that take place locally but invisibly, and among strangers. Because they were popular and cheap they seemed accessible and democratic. The trial was a media sensation as Smith was a middle-class woman who never deviated from the norms of gender and sexuality.
And, in fact, there are even some passages in the novel which appear to be nearly direct quotations from newspaper reports of the trial of Miss Smith - The novel interrogates the constitution of plausibility and coherence, suggesting what these owe to subjective apprehensions of reality - press accounts of the smith trial likened it to sensationalist novels. Cells from the inside of their mouths sloughed off into their saliva and were sealed in adhesive until DNA scientists apprehended the genetic markers with tweezers, sterile water, and cotton swabs.
Genetic locations from this DNA sequence were found on other Sickert items, such as coveralls he wore when he painted. The DNA in all but the single-donor Ripper stamp is mixed with other genetic sequence profiles from other people. This is neither surprising nor damning. The DNA evidence is the oldest ever tested in a criminal case. This is only the beginning. We aren t finished with our DNA testing and other types of forensic analyses. These could go on for years as the technology advances at an exponential rate. There is other physical evidence as well.
Forensic scientists as well as art, paper, and lettering experts found the following: a Ripper letter written on artists paper; watermarks on paper used in. Ripper letters that match watermarks on paper used by Walter Sickert; Ripper letters written with the waxy-soft crayonlike ground used in lithography; Ripper letters with paint or ink applied with a paintbrush. A microscopic exam revealed that the "dried blood" on Ripper letters is consistent with the oil-and-wax mixtures used in etching ground, and under ultraviolet light it fluoresced milky white, which is also consistent with etching ground.
Art experts say that sketches in Ripper letters are professional and are consistent with Walter Sickert s art works and technique. As an interesting aside, a blood-detection test conducted on the blood-like etching ground smeared and painted on Ripper letters came up as inconclusive - which is very unusual.
Two possible explanations are as follows: It could be a reaction to microscopic particles of copper, since in this type of testing copper could cause inconclusive results or a false positive; or it could be the presence of blood mixed with the brown etching ground. Handwriting quirks and the position of the Ripper s hand when he wrote his taunting, violent letters lurk in other Ripper writings that are disguised. These same quirks and hand positions lurk in Sickert s erratic handwriting as well.
Paper of letters the Ripper sent to the Metropolitan Police precisely matches paper of a letter the Ripper sent to the City of London Police - even though the handwriting is different. It is evident that Sickert was right-handed, but video footage taken of him when he was in his 70s shows he was quite adept at using his left hand. Lettering expert Sally Bower believes that in some Ripper letters the writing was disguised by a right-handed person writing with his left hand. It is obvious that the actual Ripper wrote far more of the Ripper letters than he has ever been credited with.
In fact, I believe he wrote most of them. In fact, Walter Sickert wrote most of them. Even when his skilled artistic hands altered his writing, his arrogance and characteristic language cannot help but assert themselves. No doubt there will always be skeptics and critics tainted by self-interest who will refuse to accept that Sickert was a serial killer, a damaged, diabolical man driven by megalomania and hate. There will be those who will argue that it s all coincidence. And to call coincidence after coincidence after coincidence a coincidence is just plain stupid.
For the art lover on a budget, a penny would buy admission into all sorts of exhibits in the squalid East End; for the better off, a shilling would pay for a peek at the masterpieces of Corot, Diaz, and Rousseau in the high-priced galleries on New Bond Street. Tramcars were free - at least those running to Whitechapel, the city s crowded clothing district where costermongers, merchants, and money changers loudly hawked their goods and services seven days a week while ragged children prowled the fetid streets for food and a chance to trick a stranger out of a coin.
Whitechapel was home to "the people of the dustbin," as many good Victorians called the desperate wretches who lived there.
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For a few farthings, a visitor could watch street acrobatics, performing dogs, and freak shows, or get drunk. Or he could solicit sex from a prostitute - or "unfortunate" - of whom there were thousands. One of them was Martha Tabran. She was about forty and separated from a furniture warehouse packer named Henry Samuel Tabran, who had walked out of her life because of her heavy drinking. He was decent enough to give her a weekly allowance of twelve shillings until he heard she was living with another man, a carpenter named Henry Turner.
But Turner eventually lost patience with Martha s drinking habits and had left her two or three weeks ago. The last time he saw her alive was two nights earlier, on Saturday, August 4th - the same night Sickert was making sketches at Gatti s music hall near the Strand. Turner handed Martha a few coins, which she wasted on drink. For centuries, many people believed women turned to prostitution because they suffered from a genetic defect that caused them to enjoy sex for the sake of sex.
There were several types of immoral or wanton women, some worse than others. Although concubines, mistresses, and good wenches were not to be praised, the greatest sinner was the whore. A whore was a whore by choice and was not about to retire from her "wicked and abominable course of life," Thomas Heywoode lamented in his history of women. The solar center of a woman s universe was her uterus, and monthly menstrual cycles precipitated great storms of disorders - throbbing lust, hysteria, and insanity.
Women were a lower order and incapable of rational, abstract thinking, a view with which Walter Sickert concurred. He was quite eager to assert that women were incapable of understanding art, that they were interested in it only when it "ministers to their vanity" or elevates them "in those social classifications they study so anxiously. Women were a different "race. Sex was to be enjoyed by women for the sole reason that physiologically, an orgasm was thought to be essential for the secretion of the fluids necessary for conception.
To experience the "thrill" while unmarried or by oneself was perverse and a serious threat to sanity, salvation, and health. Some nineteenth-century English physicians cured masturbation with clitorectomies. It was wicked. It was barbaric. Christian men and women had heard the stories. Way back in the days of Herodotus, Egyptian females were so aberrant and blasphemous, they dared to mock God by giving themselves up to raging lust and flaunting the pleasures of the flesh. In those primitive days, satisfying lust for money was desirable, not shameful.
A voracious sexual appetite was good, not evil. When a beautiful young woman died, there was nothing wrong with hot-blooded males enjoying her body until it was getting a bit ripe and ready for the embalmer. Such stories were not repeated in polite company, but the decent nineteenth-century families of Sickert s day knew that the Bible had not a single nice thing to say about strumpets.
The notion that only guiltless people cast the first stone was forgotten. That was plain enough when crowds swelled to watch a public beheading or hanging. Somewhere along the way the belief that the sins of the father will be visited on the children got translated into the belief that the sins of the mother will be revisited among the children. Thomas Heywoode wrote that a woman s "vertue once violated brings infamy and dishonour. Quackery perpetuated by physicians stated as medical fact that the "thrill" was essential to a woman s becoming pregnant.
If a raped woman got pregnant, then she had experienced an orgasm during the sexual encounter, and intercourse could not have been against her will. If a raped woman did not become pregnant, she could not have had an orgasm, indicating her claims of violation might be the truth. Men of the nineteenth century were very much preoccupied with the female orgasm. The "thrill" was so important, one has to wonder how often it was faked. That would be a good trick to learn then barrenness could be blamed on the male. If a woman could not have an orgasm and was honest about it, her condition might be diagnosed as female impotence.
A thorough examination by a doctor was needed, and the simple treatment of digital manipulation of the clitoris and breasts was often sufficient in determining whether the patient was impotent. If the nipples hardened during the examination, the prognosis was promising. If the patient experienced the "thrill," the husband would be most pleased to know that his wife was healthy. London s Unfortunates, as prostitutes were called by the press, police, and the public, did not drift along the cold, dirty, dark streets in search of the "thrill," despite the belief of many Victorians that prostitutes wanted to be prostitutes because of their insatiable sexual appetites.
If they would give up their evil ways and turn to God, they would be blessed with bread and shelter. God took care of His own, so the Salvation Army said when its women volunteers braved the East End slums and handed out little cakes and promises from the Lord. Unfortunates such as Martha Tabran would gratefully take the cake and then take to the streets. Without a man to support her, a woman had scant means of keeping herself or her children alive. Employment - if a woman could find it - meant working six twelve-hour days making coats in sweatshops for the equivalent of twenty-five cents a week.
If she was lucky, it meant earning seventy-five cents a week for seven fourteen-hour days gluing together match boxes. Most of the wages went to greedy slumlords, and sometimes the only food came from mother and children searching the streets or picking through garbage for festering fruit and vegetables. Sailors from foreign ships anchored at the nearby docks, military men, and the upper-class male clandestinely on the prowl made it all too easy for a desperate woman to rent out her body for a few coins until it became as dilapidated as the vermin-infested ruins where the people of the East End dwelled.
Malnutrition, alcoholism, and physical abuse reduced a woman to shambles quickly, and the Unfortunate slid lower in the pecking order. She sought out the darkest, most remote streets, stairwells, and courtyards, both she and her client usually falling-down drunk.
Alcohol was the easiest way to not be present, and a disproportionate number of people of "The Abyss," as writer Jack London called the East End, were alcoholics. Probably all Unfortunates were. They were diseased and old beyond their years, cast out by husbands and children, and unable to accept Christian charity because it did not include drink. These pitiful women frequented public houses - pubs - and asked men to treat them to drinks.
Business usually followed. No matter the weather, Unfortunates haunted the night like nocturnal animals, in wait for any man, no matter how rough or disgusting, who might be enticed into parting with pennies for pleasure. Preferably, sex was performed standing up, with the prostitute gathering her many layers of clothing and lifting them out of the way, her back to her client. If she was lucky, he was too drunk to know that his penis was being inserted between her thighs and not into any orifice.
Martha Tabran fell behind in her rent after Henry Turner walked out on her. Her whereabouts since aren t clear, but one might guess she was in and out of common lodging houses, or if she had a choice between a bed and a drink, she most likely took the drink and dozed in doorways, in parks, and on the street, continually chased off by the police.
Martha spent the nights of August 4th and 5th in a common lodging house on Dorset Street, just south of a music hall on Commercial Street. The weather had been unpleasant all day, overcast and unsettled as the temperature continued to drop to an unseasonable fifty-two degrees. Afternoon fog was followed by a thick mist that obscured the new moon and was forecast to last until seven o clock the next morning.
But the two women were used to unpleasant conditions and might have been miserably uncomfortable but rarely vulnerable to hypothermia. It was the habit of Unfortunates to walk about in everything they owned. If one did not have a permanent residence, to leave belongings in a lodging house was to lose them to a thief. The late hour was lively and alcohol flowed freely as Londoners stretched out what was left of their day off from labor. Most plays and musicals had begun at and would have let out by now, and many theatergoers and other adventurers in horse-drawn taxis and on foot braved the mist-shrouded streets in search of refreshment and other entertainment.
Visibility in the East End was poor under the best conditions. Gaslights were few and spaced far apart. They gave out smudges of illumination, and shadows were impenetrable. It was the world of the Unfortunate, a continuum of sleeping away days and getting up to drink before venturing out into another numbing night of sordid and dangerous employment.
Fog made no difference unless the pollution was especially high and the acrid air stung the eyes and lungs. At least when it was foggy, one didn t have to notice whether a client was pleasant in appearance or even see his face. Nothing about the client mattered anyway, unless he was inclined to take a personal interest in an Unfortunate and supply her with room and food.
Then he was of consequence, but virtually no client was of consequence when one was past her prime, dirty, dressed like a pauper, and scarred or missing teeth. Martha Tabran preferred to dissolve into the mist and get it over with for a farthing, another drink, and maybe another farthing and a bed. The events leading to her murder are well documented and considered reliable unless one is inclined to feel, as I do, that the recollections of a hard-drinking prostitute named Pearly Poll might.
If she didn t outright lie when she was interviewed by the police and later when she testified at the coroner s inquest on August 23rd, she was probably confused and suffering from alcohol-induced amnesia. Pearly Poll was frightened. She told police she was so upset that she might just drown herself in the Thames. During the inquest, Pearly Poll was reminded several times that she was under oath as she testified that on August 6th, at P. The couples went their separate ways at Pearly Poll told the coroner and jurors that she went up Angel Court with the "corporal," while Martha headed toward George Yard with the "private," and that both soldiers wore white bands around their caps.
The last time Pearly Poll saw Martha and the private, they were walking toward the dilapidated tenement housing of George Yard Buildings on Commercial Street, in the dark heart of East End slums. Pearly Poll claimed nothing out of the ordinary happened while she had been with Martha that night. Their encounter with the soldiers had been pleasant enough. There had been no fighting or arguments, nothing at all that might have set off even the faintest alarm in either Pearly Poll or Martha, who certainly had seen it all and had survived the streets a long time for good reason.
Pearly Poll claimed to know nothing about what happened to Martha after P. She wouldn t put it past those boys in blue to listen to her story and then send her to prison as "a scapegoat for five thousand of her class. The City was not under the jurisdiction of the Metropolitan Police. For a wily, street-smart prostitute to place herself outside the legal reach of the Metropolitan Police was to encourage the constables and investigators to avoid turning the case into a complicated, competitive multijurisdictional investigation.
The City of London - better known as "the Square Mile" - is an ornery oddity that can be traced back to 1 A. The City remains a city unto itself with its own municipal services and government, including its own police force, which today serves a resident population of 6, - a number that swells to more than a quarter of a million during business hours.
Historically, the City has never been interested in the concerns of the greater London area unless one of its problems somehow impacts the City s autonomy or quality of life. The City has always been a stubborn, wealthy oasis in the midst of a spreading metropolis, and when people refer to London, they usually mean the Great Metropolis. The existence of the City remains unknown to many a tourist. I don t know if Pearly Poll really took her client into the deserted city to avoid the Metropolitan Police or for any other reason.
She might not have gone near the City, but instead conducted her business quickly, collected her meager fee, and went off to the nearest public house or returned to Dorset Street to find a bed. At A. He appeared to belong to one of the regiments of footguards who wore white bands around their caps. Barrett estimated that the soldier, a private, was between the ages of twenty-two and twenty-six, and five foot nine or ten.
The young man in his neat uniform had a fair complexion and a small, dark-brown mustache turned up at the ends,. The soldier told Constable Barrett that he was "waiting for a chum who had gone with a girl. Mahoney of George Yard Buildings passed the landing where Martha s body was later found and heard nothing of note and saw no sign of anyone. Martha had not been murdered yet. Perhaps she was nearby in the shadows, waiting for the constable to resume his patrol so she could resume business with the soldier.
Perhaps the soldier had nothing to do with Martha at all and is simply a source of confusion. Whatever the truth, it is evident that Police Constable Barrett s attention was piqued by a soldier alone in the street at A. The identities of that soldier and any other soldiers associated with Pearly Poll and Martha the night of August 6th and early morning of the 7th remain unknown.
Pearly Poll, Barrett, and other witnesses who had noticed Martha on the street were never able to positively identify any soldiers in the guard room at the Tower of London or in Wellington Barracks. Every man who seemed even remotely familiar had a believable alibi. A search through the belongings of soldiers produced no evidence, including blood. Martha Tabran s killer would have been bloody. Chief Inspector Donald Swanson of Scotland Yard s Criminal Investigation Department CID acknowledged in his special report that there was no reason to think that Martha Tabran had been with anybody but the soldier she had walked off with before midnight, although it was possible, due to the "lapse of time," that she might have been with another client.
She might have been with several. The puzzle of the "private" seen with Martha at and the "private" seen by P. Barrett at A. Maybe he did it. Maybe he really was a soldier. Or maybe he was a killer disguised as a soldier. What a brilliant bit of trickery that would have been. There were plenty of soldiers out on bank holiday night, and cruising for prostitutes was not an uncommon activity among military men.
It may seem a stretch to consider that Jack the Ripper might have donned a soldier s uniform and pasted on a fake mustache to commit his first murder, but this would not be the last time a mysterious man in uniform would be connected with a murder in London s East End. Walter Sickert was familiar with uniforms. Later, during World War I when he was painting battle scenes, he would admit to being especially "enchanted" by French ones. As Mr. Nemo, the actor, his most critically acclaimed performance was in , when he played a French soldier in Shakespeare s Henry V.
At some point between and , Sickert completed a painting he titled It All Comes from Sticking to a Soldier - the painting that depicts music-hall performer Ada Lundberg singing as she is surrounded by leering men. Sickert s interest in things military never waned throughout his life, and it was his habit to ask the Red Cross for the uniforms of soldiers who were disabled or dying.
His motive, he said, was to outfit models for his military sketches and paintings. At one time, an acquaintance recalled, Sickert s studio was piled with uniforms and rifles. He asked a friend to help him "borrow some uniforms from Belgians in hospital. One has a kind of distaste for using misfortunes to further one s own ends. He admitted more than once to his "purely selfish practice of life. It is surprising that the possibility of a Ripper who wore disguises hasn t been emphasized more or explored as a likely scenario, one that would surely help explain why he seemed to vanish without a trace after his crimes.
A Ripper using disguises would also explain the variety of descriptions witnesses gave of the men supposedly last seen with the victims. The use of disguises by violent offenders is not uncommon. Men who dressed as police, soldiers, maintenance workers, deliverymen, servicemen, paramedics, and even clowns have been convicted of violent serial crimes, including sexual homicides.
A disguise is a simple and effective way to gain access and lure the victim without resistance or suspicion, and to get away with robbery, rape, or murder. Disguises allow the perpetrator to return to the scene of the crime and watch the investigative drama or to attend the victim s funeral. A psychopath intent on murder uses any means to con a victim out of life. Eliciting trust before the kill is part of the psychopath s script, and this requires acting, whether the person has ever stepped foot on a stage or not.
When one has seen a psychopath s victims, alive or dead, it is hard to call such an offender a person. To begin to understand Jack the Ripper one must understand psychopaths, and to understand is not necessarily to accept. What these people do is foreign to every fantasy and feeling most of us have ever experienced. All people have the capacity for evil, but psychopaths are not like all of us. The psychiatric community defines psychopathy as an antisocial behavioral disorder, more dominant in males than females and statistically five times more likely to occur in the male offspring of a father suffering from the disorder.
Symptoms of psychopathy, according to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, include stealing, lying, substance abuse, financial irresponsibility, an inability to deal with boredom, cruelty, running away from home, promiscuity, fighting, lack of remorse. Psychopaths are uniquely different from one another in very much the same way that individuals differ from one another.
A psychopath might be promiscuous and lie but be financially responsible. A psychopath might fight and be promiscuous but not steal, might torture animals but not abuse alcohol or drugs, might torture people and not animals. A psychopath might commit multiple murders but not be promiscuous. The combinations of antisocial behaviors are countless, but the most distinctive and profound characteristic of all psychopaths is that they do not feel remorse. They have no concept of guilt. They do not have a conscience. I had heard and read about a vicious killer named John Royster months before I actually saw him in person during his murder trial in New York City in the winter of I was shocked by how polite and gentle he seemed.
His pleasant looks, neat clothes, slight build, and the braces on his teeth jolted me as his handcuffs were removed and he was seated at his defense counsel s table. Had I met Royster in Central Park and seen him flash his silver smile at me as I jogged by, I would not have felt the slightest breath of fear. From June 4 through June 11, , John Royster destroyed the lives of four women by grabbing them from behind, throwing them to the ground, and repeatedly smashing their heads against pavement, concrete, and cobblestone until he thought they were dead.
He was cool and calculating enough to put down his knapsack and take off his coat before each assault. As his victims lay bleeding on the ground, battered beyond recognition, he raped them if he could. Then he calmly gathered up his belongings and left the scene. Bashing a woman s head to mush was sexually exciting to him, and he admitted to the police that he felt no remorse.
In the late s, this sort of antisocial behavioral disorder - an insipid phrase - was diagnosed as "moral insanity," which ironically is a defense that recently has been tried in court. In his book on criminology, Arthur MacDonald defined what we would call a psychopath as a "pure.
As a rule, pure murderers begin to show "traces of a murderous tendency" when they are children. Psychopaths can be male or female, child or adult. They are not always violent but they are always dangerous, because they have no respect for rules and no regard for any life but their own. Psychopaths have an x-factor unfamiliar if not incomprehensible to most of us, and at this writing no one is certain whether this x-factor is genetic, pathological due to a head injury, for example , or caused by a spiritual depravity beyond our limited understanding.
Ongoing research into the criminal brain is beginning to suggest that a psychopath s gray matter is not necessarily normal. The frontal lobe is the master control for civilized human behavior and is located, as its name implies, in the frontal part of the brain. Lesions, such as tumors or damage from a head injury, can turn a well-behaved person into a stranger with poor self-control and aggressive or violent tendencies. In the mids, severe antisocial behavior was remedied by the notorious prefrontal lobotomy, a procedure accomplished by surgery or by hammering an ice pick through the roof of an eye orbit to shear the wiring that connects the frontal part of the brain to the rest of it.
The psychopathic brain, however, cannot be wholly accounted for by traumatic childhoods and brain lesions. Studies using PET scans positron emission tomography , which show images of the living brain at work, reveal that there is noticeably less neural activity in a psychopath s frontal lobe than there is in a "normal" person s. This suggests that the inhibitions and constraints that keep most of us from engaging in violent acts or giving in to murderous impulses do not register in the frontal lobe of the psychopathic brain.
Thoughts and situations that would give most of us pause, cause distress or fear, and inhibit cruel, violent, or illegal impulses don t register in the psychopath s frontal lobe. That it is wrong to steal, rape, assault, lie, or do anything else that degrades, cheats, and dehumanizes others does not compute with the psychopath.
The World Health Organization WHO now classifies "dissocial personality disorder" or antisocial personality disorder or sociopathy as a disease. Call it what you will, but psychopaths do not exhibit normal human feelings and are a small percentage of the population who are responsible for a large percentage of crime. These people are extraordinarily cunning and lead double lives. Those closest to them usually have no idea that behind the charming mask there is a monster who does not reveal himself until - as the Ripper did - right before he attacks.
Psychopaths are incapable of love. When they show what appears to be regret, sadness, or sorrow, these expressions are manipulative and originate from their own needs and not out of any genuine consideration for another creature. Psychopaths are often attractive, charismatic, and above average in intelligence.
While they are given to impulse, they are organized in the planning and execution of their crimes. There is no cure. They cannot be rehabilitated or "preserved from criminal misadventure," as Francis Gallon, the father of fingerprint classification, wrote in A psychopath often stalks his victims before contact, all the while engaging in violent fantasies.
Psychopaths may go through dry runs to practice their modus operandi MO as they meticulously plan their actions in a manner that will insure success and evasion. Rehearsals can go on for years before the violent opening night, but no amount of practice or attention to strategy can guarantee that the performance will be flawless. Mistakes happen, especially on opening night, and when Jack the Ripper committed his first murder, he made an amateurish mistake.
jack the ripper (PROMO)
Her turf may not have been the killing ground he had in mind. Maybe something else happened that he did not anticipate, such as an insult, a taunt. Prostitutes, especially intoxicated old veterans, were not the sort to be sensitive, and all Martha had to do was reach between his legs and say, "Where is it, love? More than a century after the event, I can t re-create what actually happened in that pitch-black, fetid stairwell, but the killer got enraged. He lost control. To stab someone thirty-nine times is overkill, and a frenzied overkill is usually prompted by an event or a word that sets off the killer in an unanticipated way.
This observation neither suggests nor assumes that Martha s killer did not premeditate murder and fully intend to commit one, whether it was Martha Tabran s or whoever else happened to come along that night or early morning.
When he accompanied Martha to the stairwell, he intended to stab her to death. He brought a strong, sharp knife or dagger to the scene, and he left with it. He may have been disguised as a soldier. He knew how to come and go undetected and to be careful about leaving obvious evidence - a lost button, a cap, a pencil. The two most personal forms of homicide are stabbing and strangulation. Both require the assailant to have physical contact with the victim. Shootings are less personal.
Bashing in a person s head, especially from behind, is less personal. Stabbing someone dozens of times is very personal. When cases like that come into the morgue, the police and the medical examiner routinely assume that the victim and assailant knew each other. It is unlikely that Martha knew her killer, but she elicited a very personal reaction from him when she did or said something that didn t follow his script.
She may have resisted him. Martha was known for having fits and being quite difficult when she was drunk, and she had been drinking rum and ale earlier with Pearly Poll. Residents of George Yard Buildings later stated that they heard "nothing" at the early hour of Martha s death, but their testimony doesn t count for much when one considers the exhausted, inebriated condition of impoverished people who were accustomed to drunken behavior, scuffles, and violent domestic fights.
It was best not to get involved. One could get hurt or in trouble with the police. He was a cab driver, and bank holidays were always busy and kept him out late. He must have been tired.
He may even have unwound with a few pints after dropping off his last fare. As he passed the first-floor landing, he noticed "something" on the ground that might have been a body, but he didn t examine it and went to bed. The creed of the East End, as Victorian economistand social reformer Beatrice Webb put it, was don t "meddle" with the neighbors. Crow later explained in his testimony at the inquest that it was not uncommon to see drunks unconscious in the East End. No doubt he saw them all the time. It seems no one realized that the "something" on the landing was a dead body until A.
Reeves was heading out of the building and noticed a woman lying on her back in a pool of blood. Her clothes were disarrayed, as if she had been in a struggle, Reeves recalled, but he saw no footprints on the staircase, nor did he find a knife or any other type of weapon. He said he did not touch the body but immediately located Police Constable Barrett, who sent for Dr.
The time of the doctor s arrival wasn t given, but when he looked at the body, the lighting could not have been good. He deduced at the scene that the victim, whose identity would remain unknown for days, had been dead for approximately three hours. She was "36 years old," the doctor divined, and "very well nourished," meaning she was overweight. This detail is significant, because virtually all of the Ripper s victims, including other murdered women the police discounted as having been slain by him, were either very thin or fat.
With rare exceptions, they were in their late thirties or early forties. Walter Sickert preferred female studio models obese or emaciated, and the lower their social class and the uglier they were, the better. This is evident from his frequent references to women as "skeletal" or "the thinnest of the thin like a little eel" and in the big women with wide hips and grotesquely pendulous breasts that he repeatedly depicts in his art.
Other people could have the "chorus girls," Sickert once wrote, but leave him the "hags. He often remarked that any woman who wasn t too fat or too thin was boring, and in a letter he wrote to his American friends Ethel Sands and Ann Hudson, he voiced delight over his latest models and how "thrilled" he was by the "sumptuous poverty of their class. When she was murdered, she was wearing a green skirt, a brown petticoat, a long black jacket, a black bonnet, and sidespring boots - "all old," according to the police.
Although victims of serial murder often share some trait that is significant to the killer, this does not imply that a violent psychopath is unbending in what sort of person he targets. Why Jack the Ripper focused on Martha Tabran instead of some other prostitute of similar description can t be known, unless the explanation is as pedestrian as opportunity. Whatever his reason, he should have learned a valuable lesson from his frenzied murder of Martha Tabran: To lose control and stab a victim thirty-nine times was to cause a bloody mess.
Even if he didn t track blood on the landing or elsewhere - assuming witnesses were accurate in their description of the crime scene - he would have had blood on his hands, his clothes, and the tops of his boots or shoes, making evasion more difficult. And for an educated man like Sickert, who knew that diseases were not caused by miasma but by germs, finding himself spattered and soaked with a prostitute s blood was likely to have been disgusting. Martha Tabran s cause of death should have been exsanguination due to multiple stab wounds.
There was no suitable mortuary in the East End, and Dr. Killeen performed the postmortem examination at a nearby dead house or shed. He attributed a single wound to the heart as "sufficient to cause death. But people have been known to survive after being stabbed in the heart with knives, ice picks, and other instruments.
What causes the heart to stop pumping is not the wound, but the leakage of blood that fills the pericardium or sac that surrounds the heart. Knowing whether Martha s pericardial sac was filled with blood would not only assuage a medical curiosity, it might also give a hint as to how long she survived as she bled from other stab wounds.
Every detail helps the dead speak, and Dr. Killeen s descriptions tell us so little that we don t know if the weapon was double- or single-edged. We don t know what the angle of trajectory was, which would help position the killer in relation to Martha at the time of each injury.
Was she standing or lying down? Were any of the wounds large or irregular, which would be consistent with the weapon twisting as it was withdrawn because the victim was still moving? Did the weapon have a guard - often mistakenly called a hilt swords have hilts? Knife guards leave contusions - bruises or abrasions on the skin. Reconstructing how a victim died and determining the type of weapon used begin to paint a portrait of the killer.
Details hint at his intent, emotions, activity, fantasies, and even his occupation or profession. The height of the killer can also be conjectured. Martha was five foot three. If the killer was taller than she and the two of them were standing when he began stabbing her, then one would expect her initial wounds to be high up on her body and angled down.
If both of them were standing, it would have been difficult for him to stab her in the stomach and genitals, unless he was very short. Most likely, those injuries would have been inflicted when she was on the ground. Killeen assumed the killer was very strong. Adrenaline and rage are terrifically energizing and can produce a great deal of strength.
But the Ripper didn t need superhuman strength. If his weapon was pointed, strong, and sharp, he didn t need much power to penetrate skin, organs, and even bone. Killeen also mistakenly assumed that a wound penetrating the sternum or "chest bone" could not have been inflicted by a "knife. Even if he was, the image of a man simultaneously stabbing Martha with a dagger in one hand and a knife in the other in darkness is bizarre and absurd, and chances are good he would have stabbed himself a few times. What is known of the medical evidence does not point to an ambidextrous assault.
Martha s left lung was penetrated in five places. The heart, which is on the left side of the body, was stabbed once. A right-handed person is more likely to inflict injuries to the left side of the body if the victim is facing him. A penetration of the sternum does not merit the emphasis Dr. Killeen gave it. A sharp-pointed knife can penetrate bone, including the skull. In a case that occurred in Germany decades before the Ripper began his spree, a man murdered his wife by stabbing her through the sternum, and later confided to the forensic examiner that the "table knife" penetrated the bone as easily as if it were "butter.
Killeen s belief that two weapons were used in Martha Tabran s murder was buttressed by a difference in the size of the stab wounds. However, this discrepancy can be accounted for if the blade was wider at the guard than it was at the tip. Stab wounds can be different widths depending on their depth, the twisting of the blade, and the elasticity of the tissue or the part of the body being penetrated. It is hard to ascertain what Dr. Killeen meant by a knife or a dagger, but a knife usually refers to a single-edged blade while a dagger is narrow and double-edged and has a pointed tip.
The terms knife and dagger are often used as synonyms, as are the terms revolver and pistol. As I was researching the Ripper cases, I explored the types of cutting instruments that might have been available to him. The variety and availability is bewildering, if not depressing. British travelers to Asia returned home with all sorts of souvenirs, some better suited than others for.
The Indian pesh kabz is a fine example of a weapon that could leave wounds of several different widths, depending on their depth. The strong steel blade of this "dagger," as it was called, could create an array of wounds that would perplex any medical examiner, even now. The curved blade is almost an inch and a half wide at the ivory handle, and becomes double-edged two-thirds of the way up when it begins to taper off to a point as thin as a needle.
The one I bought from an antiques dealer was made in and including its sheath would easily fit in one s waistband, boot, or deep coat pocket - or up a sleeve. The curved blade of the Oriental dagger called a djambia circa would also leave wounds of different widths, although the entire blade is double-edged. The Victorians enjoyed an abundance of beautiful weapons that were made for killing human beings and were cavalierly collected during travels abroad or bought for a bargain at bazaars.
In one day, I discovered the following Victorian weapons at a London antiques fair and at the homes of two antiques dealers in Sussex: daggers, kukris, a dagger stick disguised to look like a polished tree branch, daggers disguised to look like canes, tiny six-shot revolvers designed to fit neatly into a gentleman s vest pocket or a lady s purse, "cut throat razors," Bowie-type knives, swords, rifles, and beautifully decorated truncheons, including a "Life Preserver" that is weighted with lead.
When Jack the Ripper cruised for weapons, he was blessed with an embarrassment of riches. No weapon was ever recovered in Martha Tabran s murder, and since Dr. Killeen s autopsy report seems to be missing - as are many records related to the Jack the Ripper case - all I had to go on were the sketchy details of the inquest. Of course I cannot determine with absolute certainty the weapon that took Martha s life, but I can speculate: Based on the frenzied attack and subsequent wounds, it may very well have been what the Victorians called a dagger - or a weapon with a strong blade, a sharp point, and a substantial handle designed to stab without the risk of the perpetrator s losing his grip and cutting himself.
If it is true that there were no defense injuries, such as cuts or bruises on Martha s hands or arms, their absence suggests she did not put up much of a struggle, even if her clothing was "disarrayed. In criminal cases of that era, clothing was important mainly for purposes of identifying the victim.
It wasn t necessarily examined for tears, cuts, seminal fluid, or any other type of evidence. After the victim was identified, the clothing was usually tossed out the dead-house door into an alleyway. As the Ripper s victim count went up, some socially minded people thought it might be a good idea to collect the clothing of the dead and donate it to paupers. In , little was known about the behavior of blood. It has a character all its own and a behavior that dutifully abides by the laws of physics.
It isn t like any other liquid, and when it is pumping at a high pressure through a person s arteries, it is not going to simply drip or slowly drain when one of those arteries is cut. At Martha s crime scene inside the stairwell, a high arterial spatter pattern on a wall would indicate that the stab wound to her neck severed an artery and occurred while she was standing and still had a blood pressure. An arterial pattern peaks and dips in rhythm with the heart and would also indicate whether a victim was on the ground when an artery was cut. The examination of the pattern helps establish the sequence of events during the attack.
Casebook: Jack the Ripper - Jack the Ripper: Person or Persons Unknown (E-Book)
If a major artery is severed and there is no arterial spatter, in all likelihood other injuries have already just about extinguished the victim s life. The stabbing and cutting wounds to Martha Tabran s genitals indicate a sexual component to the crime. Yet if it is true - as it seems to have been in all of the alleged Ripper murders - that there was no indication of "connection," as the Victorians called intercourse, then this is a pattern that should have been treated very seriously, but wasn t.
I am not sure how a "connection" was determined. The problem with a prostitute is she may have "connected" numerous times in one night, and rarely if ever cleaned off the many levels of civilization she carried on her body. Furthermore, body fluids could not be tested for blood type or DNA, nor was there any attempt to distinguish between human and animal blood in criminal investigations.
Had there been evidence of recent sexual activity, the seminal fluid would have been of no forensic value. However, a consistent absence of seminal fluid or evidence of attempted intercourse - as is true in every Ripper murder - suggests that the killer did not engage in sexual activity with the victim before or after death. This pattern is not unheard of but it is uncommon with violent psychopaths, who may rape as they kill, climax as their victims die, or masturbate over the bodies after death.
The lack of seminal fluid in the Ripper lust-murders is consistent with the supposition that Sickert was incapable of sex. By modern standards, Martha Tabran s murder was investigated so poorly that it could hardly be called an investigation at all. Her murder did not excite the police or the press. There was virtually no public mention of her brutal slaying until the first inquest hearing on August 10th. There was little follow-up as time passed. Martha Tabran wasn t important to anyone in particular. It was assumed, as we used to say when I worked in the morgue, that she simply died the way she lived.
Her murder was savage, but it was not seen as the initial attack of an evil force that had invaded the Great Metropolis. Martha was a filthy worn-out whore and deliberately placed herself at great risk by the life she chose to live. She willingly plied a trade that required her to elude the police as much as her murderer did, it was pointed out in the press. It was hard to feel much pity for the likes of her, and public sentiment then was really no different from what it is now: The victim is to blame. Excuses in modern courtrooms are just as disheartening and infuriating.
If she hadn t dressed that way; if he hadn t driven into that part of town; if she didn t go to bars looking for a man; I told her not to go jogging in that area of the park; what do you expect when you let your child walk home alone from the bus stop? As my mentor Dr. Marcella Fierro, chief medical examiner of Virginia, says, "A woman has a right to walk around naked and not be raped or murdered. One of England s most important artists wasn t English.
As a child, Walter was thoroughly German. Sickert s mother was called "Nelly"; his younger sister, Helena, was called "Nellie"; and Sickert s first wife, Ellen Cobden, was called "Nelly. Walter was the firstborn of six children - five boys and one girl. Remarkably, it appears that not one of them would ever have children.
Each child apparently had a curdled chemistry, except, perhaps, Oswald Valentine, a successful salesman about whom, it seems, nothing else is known. Robert would become a recluse and die from injuries sustained when he was hit by a lorry. Leonard always seemed strangely detached from reality and would die after a long battle with substance abuse. Bernhard was a failed painter and suffered from depression and alcoholism. The Sickerts only daughter, Helena, had a brilliant mind and a fiery spirit, but a body that failed her all of her life.
She was the only member of the family who seemed interested in humanitarian causes and other people. She would explain in her autobiography that early suffering made her compassionate and gave her sensitivity toward others. She was sent off to a harsh boarding school where she ate terrible food and was humiliated by the other girls because she was sickly and clumsy. The males in her home made her believe she was ugly. She was inferior because she wasn t a boy. Walter was the third generation of artists.
Walter s father, Oswald, was a talented painter and graphic artist who could make neither a name for himself nor a living. An old photograph shows him with a long bushy beard and cold eyes that glint of anger. Along with most of the Sickert family, details about him have faded like a poorly made daguerreotype. A search of records came up with a small collection of his writings and art that are included with his son s papers at Islington Public Libraries.
Oswald s handwritten high German had to be translated into low German and then English, a process that took about six months and produced only sixty. But what could be made out gave me a glimpse of an extraordinarily strong-willed, complex, and talented man who wrote music, plays, and poetry. His gift of words and his theatrical flair made him a favorite for giving speeches at weddings, carnivals, and other social events. He was active politically during the Danish-German War of and traveled quite a lot to different cities, encouraging the working men to pull together for a united Germany.
It is also up to those of you who deal with the workers, to the larger tradesmen, factory owners, among you, it is up to you to care for the honest worker. He could also compose beautiful music and poetic verses full of tenderness and love. He could create cartoonlike artwork that reveals a cruel and fiendish sense of fun. Pages of his diaries show that when Oswald wasn t sketching, he was wandering, a practice imitated by his eldest son.
Oswald was always on the move, so much so that one wonders when he got his work done. His walks might consume the better part of the day, or perhaps he was on a train somewhere until late at night. A cursory sampling of his activities reveals a man who could scarcely sit still and constantly did what he pleased. The diary pages are incomplete and undated, but his words portray him as a self-absorbed, moody, restless man. Thursday, he took a look "at the new road along the railroad" and walked "along the harbor to the Nordertor [North Gate]" and across a field "to the ditch and home.
He met up with a group of people, ate dinner with them, and at P. Saturday: "Went for a walk by myself through the city. The watchman is asleep! Shall I nudge him out of love for humanity and tell him what the bell has tolled [or what trouble he is in for]. O no, let him slumber. Maybe he dreams that he has me, let him hold on to this illusion. Nor could he or his mother have been unaware of Oswald s frequent visits to beer gardens and pubs - to his being "plied with punch.
I sleep during my leisure hours, of which I have plenty. And Oswald could not earn a living. Without his wife s money the family would not have survived. Perhaps it is no coincidence that in a Punch and Judy script. Oswald wrote probably in the early s , the sadistic puppet-husband Punch is spending the family money on booze and cares nothing for his wife and infant son:.
Punch appears in the box : Ah yes, I believe you don t know me. This also used to be my father s name, and my grandfather s, too. I like nice clothes. I am married by the way.
- The Devil’s Architect;
- LOUIS NOWRA (Australian Playwrights Monograph Series).
- SHERLOCKIAN STORY SUMMARIES;
- The Empire (His Majestys New World Book 6)?
- Jack The Ripper: The Final Solution Crime Documentary [Full ];
- Oral and Manuscript Culture in the Bible: Studies on the Media Texture of the New Testament--Explorative Hermeneutics (Biblical Performance Criticism Book 7).
I have a wife and a child. But that doesn t mean anything. Even this early in the morning, this awful man has drunk brandy! Oh, what an unhappy woman I am. All earnings are spent on spirits. I have no bread for the children If Walter Sickert got his carelessness with money and his restlessness from his father, he got his charm and good looks from his mother. He may have been handed a few of her less attractive attributes as well.
The story of Mrs.