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Guest Stephen Turner
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Guest Stephen Turner

Open question... Did "Jack" actually send any of the letters bearing his name.

If so, Which....

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Guest Stephen Turner

Here's the letter sent to Mr George Lusk Chairman of the Whitechapel vigilance committee.

" From Hell, Mr Lusk sor, I send you half the kidne I took from one woman prasarved it for you tother piece I fried and ate it was very nise I may send you the bloody knif that took it out if you only wate a whil longer. Catch me when you can Mishter Lusk."

Take particular notice of the spelling mistakes, these, I believe are very revealing.

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Guest Stephen Turner

For contrast lets examine the " Saucy jacky" postcard,recieved at the Central news agency, 1st Oct, 1888.

"I wasnt codding dear old Boss when I gave you the tip. Youll hear about suacy Jackys work tomorrow double event this time number one squealed a bit couldnt finish straight off. Had not time to get ears for police thanks for keeping last letter back( Dear Boss) till I got to work again. Jack the Ripper.

Same faux jokey style, different hand, and where are those spelling mistakes?

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For contrast lets examine the " Saucy jacky" postcard,recieved at the Central news agency, 1st Oct, 1888.

"I wasnt codding dear old Boss when I gave you the tip. Youll hear about suacy Jackys work tomorrow double event this time number one squealed a bit couldnt finish straight off. Had not time to get ears for police thanks for keeping last letter back( Dear Boss) till I got to work again.  Jack the Ripper.

Same faux jokey style, different hand, and where are those spelling mistakes?

Hi Stephen

The Dear Boss letter dated 25 September 1888 and by extension the Saucy Jack postcard, evidently by the same hand, do not appear to be by the same person who wrote the "From Hell" (Lusk) letter which was sent with the half a kidney allegedly from fourth canonical victim Catherine Eddowes and received by George Lusk, head of the Whitechapel Vigilance Committee on 16 October 1888. I think there is a fair case to be made that, given the neat clerkish hand in the first Dear Boss letter, that it could have been a journalist's prank to keep interest in the case stirred up, and, not inconsequently, invent a name that would keep the public's interest on the case -- though they probably could not have anticipated that the famous name "Jack the Ripper" would keep the the public riveted on the case for over a century!

Stephen, I don't know whether you know that Ripper theorist Thomas Wescott and I have hypothesized that the Lusk letter and the Openshaw letter, shown below, dated October 29, sent to Dr. Thomas Horrocks Openshaw, the pathologist at teh London Hospital delegated to examine the half a kidney, might have been by the same hand. I have seen similarities between the handwriting on the Openshaw letter's envelope and the writing of suspect Roslyn D'Onston Stephenson who was a patient at that time in the very same London Hospital to which the letter was delivered!

Tom Wescott has made a case that D'Onston's knowledge of folk lore could account for the rhyme at the bottom of Openshaw letter: "'O have you seen the devle with his mikerscope and scalpul a lookin at a kidney with a slide cocked up', which comes from a folk tale known as "Duffy and the Devil" -- the mispellings and dialect very much mirror the mispellings and dialect in the "From Hell" letter, even if the latter seems to use Irishisms and Openshaw to use Cockney dialect.

Two other things to note are that 1) the Openshaw envelope is written straightforwardly with no messing about, "The London Hospital" and not "orspital" as in the letter, and 2) that though "From Hell" as so often pointed out is not signed "Jack the Ripper", as if that supports its greater likelihood to be genuine (along with the possibility that the half a kidney really was from Eddowes), but that the Openshaw letter, if in fact written by the same person is signed "Jack the Ripper."

By the way, Stephen, you may like to know, if you are not aware of it, that the new, July issue of Ripperologist will have a focus on possible links between the writing of Bram Stoker's Dracula and the Jack the Ripper case.

All my best

Chris George

mepo3_3157_150.jpg

For reference, see Jack the Ripper Letters on the Casebook: Jack the Ripper website as well as the fine book, Jack the Ripper Letters from Hell by Stewart P. Evans and Keith Skinner (Sutton, 2001), and Thomas Wescott's essay "An Inspiration 'From Hell'.".

Edited by Christopher T. George
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Guest Stephen Turner

Hi Chris, thanks for the reply,some great information as usual. I was as usual posting for the "Newcomer's" to the case, so, with this in mind can I ask you what handwriting sample you use for comparison,was it the letter Stephenson sent to the City of London Police on 16th Oct 1888,in which he advises them about the word JUWES. Regards , Steve.

ps I promise to post on Mr Bury in the near future, looking foward to reading my next copy of the Ripperologist ;)

Edited by Stephen Turner
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Hi Stephen

Indeed yes I am talking about the letter D'Onston sent to the police on 16 October offering his services to the City Police. As you will know, the "From Hell" letter makes the statement that the writer had "prasarved" the half a kidney and then fried and ate it (I am starting to feel hungry... it's almost lunch time here!!!). In his letter of 16 October D'Onston makes the strange statement that he would as the police to "preserve" his letter until he was well enough to visit them.

Yes I think you will enjoy the July issue of Ripperologist. I am sure it will create a lot of interest. We are now also putting together the September issue which will, in time for the Brighton convention in October, have new pictures and information related to Coroner Wynne Baxter.

I will look forward with anticipation to your post on William Bury.

All the best

Chris

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Guest Stephen Turner

THE R, D'ONSTON STEPHENSON LETTER..

The London Hospital.

Sir,

Having read Sir Charles Warren's circular in yesterdays papers that " It is not known that there is any dialect or language in which the word jews is spelt JUWES" I beg to inform you that the word written by the murderer does exist in a European langague, though it was not JUWES.

Try it in script- Thus,

The juwes. etc.

Now place a dot over the third upstroke ( which dot was naturally overlooked by lantern light) and we get, plainly, The JUIVES which, I need not tell you, is the French word for Jew's.

The murderer unconsciously reverted, for a moment, to his native language.

Pardon my presuming to suggest that there are three parts shown ( two another probably) by the inscription.

1, The man was a Frenchman.

2,He had resided a long time in England, to write so correctly, Frenchmen being notoriously, the worst linguists in the World.

3, he had frequented the east end for years, to have acquired, as in the sentences written,a purely east end idiom.

4, It is "probable" ( not certain) that he is a Jew hater: though he may only have written it to throw a false scent.

May I request an acknowledgement that this letter has safely reached you,& that it is PRESERVED(My Caps) until I am well enough to do myself the honour to call upon you personally.

I am Sir,

Yr obedt Servant

Roslyn D'O Stephenson.

PS I can tell you from a French book, a use made of the organ in question-" De une femme prostituee",which has not yet been suggested, if you think it worth while.

R.D'O.S.

Oh, BTW,Chris I hope you had some onion gravy and mash with that liver. :lol:

Edited by Stephen Turner
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Guest Stephen Turner

For those who like to get "Up close and personal" The ripper letters are available at

Public records office, Ruskin Ave, Kew. File, MEPO 3/142. Good hunting

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Guest Stephen Turner

What newcomers to the case may not realise, is just how many letters purporting to be from JTR were sent. Between Sept 1888, and April 1891, nearly 300 were recieved by various people and organisations, indeed,as late as 1896 the police are still being targeted by hoaxers claiming to be the Whitechapel fiend. Many of these letters are in the style of the "Dear Boss" missive. For example, phrases used in the first 30 letters include " Jack the ripper"19 times, Dear Boss 14, "Ripping/Rip 9, "My knife"8, "Work/Job"7, " Shant Quit"5, "Ha Ha"5, "Funny little games"3. This repetition terms/phrases and jokey/taunting style, runs like a river though the letters.

Ref " Letters from hell" Stewart Evans & Keith Skinner.

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