Is This Real? Jack the Ripper ID'd

Discussion in 'OFF-Topic / Misc.' started by B-17engineer, Sep 7, 2014.

  1. B-17engineer

    B-17engineer Active Member

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    Jack The Ripper 'Identified By DNA Breakthrough' As Aaron Kominski

    Not sure what to make of it
     
  2. Marcel

    Marcel Well-Known Member

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    Wouldn't make much of it. It's mostly sensational press. I'm a molecular biologist (I work with DNA) and I read the scientific literature. A project like this would have generated articles if it had any scientific value. Did not see any. A scientist would not have gone to the popular press first, so I think it's a fake.
     
  3. Siddley

    Siddley Active Member

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  4. GrauGeist

    GrauGeist Well-Known Member

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    I was under the impression that the victims of the Ripper weren't just "slashed", but killed and violated with surgical precision.
     
  5. Lucky13

    Lucky13 Forum Mascot

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    Hey..... Look who it is, Mr. Cute as a Button! :lol:
     
  6. stona

    stona Well-Known Member

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    I'm not sure that 'surgical precision' would be exact. They were butchered by someone with some knowledge of anatomy though where Kosminski (and it's unclear if Aaron is the one mentioned in police records) obtained this is unclear. One of the autopsy reports (Annie Chapman) expressed the opinion that the butchery was the work 'of an expert -- of one, at least, who had such knowledge of anatomical or pathological examinations as to be enabled to secure the pelvic organs with one sweep of the knife, which must therefore must have at least 5 or 6 inches in length, probably more.' It's fair to say that the other reports don't make the expert assessment very convincing, though the police were interested in butchers and slaughtermen at the time.
    There was a large Jewish population in East London at this time, many had fled the Pale of Settlement following the 1881-83 pogroms a mere five years earlier. Kosminski was not a unique name.

    Marcel will be interested to know that Dr Jari Louhelainen's analyses of the mitochondrial DNA found on the shawl, allegedly belonging to Eddowes and removed from the scene of her murder, have not been submitted for peer review. This makes them somewhat speculative (and I'm being polite).
    The provenance of the shawl is also debateable.

    I think that the jury is still out and will probably remain so for ever, but I haven't read the book.

    Cheers

    Steve
     
  7. Marcel

    Marcel Well-Known Member

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    Hmm, interesting. Apparently they used M-VAC to get the DNA. One of the problems with DNA is usually that it's breaks in little pieces with the slightest friction (shearing). This becomes a huge problem, especially with ancient DNA. DNA will already shear by itself over the years. One of the problems they had when analysing is that the genomic DNA in the nucleus was already gone. This is the part that of which 50% comes from the mother and 50% from the father and there is only one copy of it in a cell. This means there is never much available in a sample. What many people don't know is that in reality, a mother gives just a little bit more DNA to her offspring than than the father. This DNA is not located in the nucleus, but in the cytoplasm around it. It's also available in many more copies in the same cell. Most of it is located in the mitochondria, which is the energy plant of the cell. It takes much longer than the nucleus DNA to break down and is therefore the choice to use when DNA has been degraded much as there is much more chance to have some usable pieces of mtDNA around. As mtDNA (mitochondrial DNA) only comes from the mother, they had to find a person who is from an unbroken female descendent line from the murderer's mother. They apparently found a female who is a descendent of Kosminski's sister.
    So that's the story. Technically it sounds all right for me, at least at first glance. But the information is too thin to say it's true.
    The techniques can easily be learned if you have a little knowledge and can google a bit, so a story can be made up. I'm a doubting, because you don't really hear anything from the scientist involved. You only read a claim, but no substance to back it up. We all know journalists always interpret results to get the best story. I know these techniques never give you a 100% certainty, so I guess they just didn't find any evidence that the theory was not correct, which of course doesn't mean that the theory is true.
    But I'm only speculating. Let's just say that the info is too thin and and the conclusion probably preliminary. For me that makes it just sensational journalism and I will review my stance in this when they write a nice article in Nature or similar.
     
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  8. mikewint

    mikewint Well-Known Member

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    #8 mikewint, Sep 7, 2014
    Last edited: Sep 7, 2014
    In 1910 Sir Robert Anderson, Assistant Commissioner throughout the murders, wrote: “I will merely add that the only person who had ever had a good view of the murderer unhesitatingly identified the suspect the instant he was confronted with him; but he refused to give evidence against him"
    Swanson explains that this was "…Because the suspect was also a Jew… and the witness would be the means by which the murderer was hanged, which he did not wish to be left on his mind.."
    He goes on to say that, following this identification, the suspect was returned to his brother’s house in Whitechapel where the City Police kept him under constant surveillance. A short time later this suspect was taken to Stepney Workhouse and from there he was sent to Colney Hatch lunatic asylum where, according to Swanson, he died shortly afterwards.
    Swanson, apparently knew little about Kosminski’s fate, as Kosminski didn’t, as Swanson claimed, die shortly after being admitted to Colney Hatch asylum. In fact he lived for many years, transferring to Leavesden Asylum in 1894, where he died in 1919.
    Throughout the entire period of his confinement Aaron Kosminski was never classed as homicidal, and it is specifically stated in his records, that he was not a danger to others.
    Some of his notes state that he was excitable, but the only mention of his being violent was that he once grabbed a chair and made to strike an attendant with it.
    Anderson and Swanson were the two highest ranking officers with direct responsibility for the Ripper investigation, and they were both in a position to know the evidence against all the suspects. Yet, unless they are referring to a different Kosminski, or there is more information about him that has yet to come to light, there is little evidence to link Aaron Kosminski to the Jack the Ripper murders.
    Aaron Kosminski was, a feeble minded imbecile, who had begun displaying signs of insanity at some stage in the late 1880’s. He believed that a higher power spoke to him, and controlled his actions, and claimed to know the movements of all mankind. He refused to wash and would not accept food from others, preferring instead to eat from the gutter.
    At the time there was speculation that the killer demonstrated some amount of medical and/or anatomical knowledge. To this end the police began looking into the activities of several medical students who had spent time in asylums. However, this line of enquiry drew a blank as the movements of these students were accounted for and they were ruled out of involvement in the crimes.
    Others disagreed and thought his abilities were little more than those of a butcher or slaughter man. The police, therefore, carried out extensive enquiries amongst the numerous local butchers and slaughter houses. But, yet again, nothing came of their investigations as all the alibis checked out thus eliminating those interviewed as suspects.
     
  9. Capt. Vick

    Capt. Vick Well-Known Member

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    I wonder if the ripper murders became more "surgical" as they went on, as if he was learning...
     
  10. mikewint

    mikewint Well-Known Member

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    #10 mikewint, Sep 7, 2014
    Last edited: Sep 8, 2014
    Jim, classically there are 5 accepted Ripper victims:
    1. Mary Nichols - Throat slashed to the point of almost removing the head and her dress was raised above her waist. When found she was still warm. In the morgue it was discovered that 5 teeth had been removed and her abdomen had been slashed, 1 deep downward cut and 3 or 4 horizontal cuts.
    2. Annie Chapman - Throat deeply shashed. Abdomen slashed open. Intestines removed and placed on her shoulder. Bladder, Uterus, and most of the vagina removed with one slash without injuring surroundind tissues and taken away by the killer.
    3. Elizabeth Stride - Throat deeply slashed. The Ripper was interrupted by the arrival of a horse drawn cart and had no time to inflict any other injury. The Ripper continued his hunt and found-
    4. Catherine Eddowes - Throat deeply slashed. Face mutilated with right ear cut off. Abdomed slashed open, intestines removed and placed on her shoulder. Liver slashed. One kidney removed along with her uterus. Both taken away by the killer.
    5. Mary Jane Kelly - She had taken the Ripper home to her single room and as such was the only victim found inside. The Ripper had a long uninterupted time to work on her and her injuries were massive. From Dr. Bond's post mortum report:
    The legs were wide apart, the left thigh at right angles to the trunk the right forming an obtuse angle with the pubes. The whole of the surface of the abdomen thighs was removed the abdominal Cavity emptied of its viscera.
    The breasts were cut off, the arms mutilated by several jagged wounds the face hacked beyond recognition of the features. The tissues of the neck were severed all round down to the bone.
    The viscera were found in various parts viz: the uterus Kidneys with one breast under the head, the other breast by the Rt foot, the Liver between the feet, the intestines by the right side the spleen by the left side of the body.
    The flaps removed from the abdomen and thighs were on a table. The bed clothing at the right corner was saturated with blood, on the floor beneath was a pool of blood covering about 2 feet square...The face was gashed in all directions the nose cheeks, eyebrows and ears being partly removed. The lips were blanched cut by several incisions running obliquely down to the chin. There were also numerous cuts extending irregularly across all the features.
     
  11. GrauGeist

    GrauGeist Well-Known Member

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    Whoever the Ripper was, they sure as eff had some issues...

    While removing or damaging the women's genetalia could be indicitave of sexual frustration, the mutilation of the face goes well beyond that.
     
  12. DerAdlerIstGelandet

    DerAdlerIstGelandet Der Crew Chief
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    I saw an interesting documentary on JTR, where they said they believe he was a German sailor named Carl Feigenbaum and may have murdered people in New York as well.
     
  13. stona

    stona Well-Known Member

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    There were other suspects too. At least on other had a transatlantic connection, used to explain the sudden cessation of the murders in London. Another drowned himself at about the time the murders ended. Hardly conclusive evidence :)
    Cheers
    Steve
     
  14. stona

    stona Well-Known Member

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    There were other suspects too. At least on other had a transatlantic connection, used to explain the sudden cessation of the murders in London. Another drowned himself at about the time the murders ended. Hardly conclusive evidence :)
    Cheers
    Steve
     
  15. B-17engineer

    B-17engineer Active Member

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    The attacking of the face is pretty confusing. Since the attacks seemed random. Usually attacking the face or overkill shows theres some connection to the victim. Its such an intriguing case.
     
  16. Marcel

    Marcel Well-Known Member

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    Saw some post mortem pics of the victims. Very gruesome images. The guy must have been totally nuts. But as he could evade capture for so long, I guess he wasn't stupid. Looks like it should rule out Kosminski, who is described as being an imbecile. Doesn't seem like he would have had the brains to stay out of reach for the police.
    It's also a case where journalism showed is worst. Some of the letters and postcards from Jack seem to have been send by journalists, just to get a story. Nothing ever changed in that regard, has been the same since.
     
  17. B-17engineer

    B-17engineer Active Member

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    The "From Hell" letter is very intriguing. Leads to believe the killer was not very educated based on the spelling or could be trying to fool the media to think they were an imbecile.
     
  18. Marcel

    Marcel Well-Known Member

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    #18 Marcel, Sep 8, 2014
    Last edited: Sep 8, 2014
    The from hell letter is generally believed to be a hoax and so have been all the letters and postcards.

    For the ones interested, some more background on the technique.
    I've been reading up on mitochondrial dna. I usually deal with genomic DNA of plants, so my knowledge has become a little outdated ( DNA science is the most rapid changing science at the moment ). Mitochondria have fewer repair mechanisms than genomic DNA, which means it has a higher rate of mutation. It appears that there are 2 regions in mitochondria where most mutations occur, designated HV1 and HV2.
    From the sketchy info I have, I've found that the researcher found a special allele (=variation at certain region of the DNA) in the DNA called T1a1. This variantion is commonly found in Jewish people of Russian decent. This could point to Kosminski, who was a Jew from an Eastern European country. But it's not conclusive evidence as at least one other suspect was from Russia (Michael Ostrog).

    Hmm, I learned at bit about forensics, Interesting :)

    Oh and to put everything into perspective, a few years ago, another suspect definately identified being the murderer after analysing mitochondrial DNA, one called Walter Sicket.
     
  19. stona

    stona Well-Known Member

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    A tape recording sent to the police searching for the Yorkshire Ripper was taken to be genuine. It sent the investigation off on a tangent and at the very least wasted a lot of police time. In the mean time the real murderer, Peter Sutcliffe, murdered another three women. John Humble, who sent the tape had a strong Wearside accent, he was from Sunderland, which directed the enquiry to the North East of England. Humble was much later caught and sentenced to eight years prison for perverting the course of justice.
    It just goes to show that some things never change.
    Steve
     
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  20. Siddley

    Siddley Active Member

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    Wearside Jack - I remember that voice on the news broadcasts really well.

    I was arrested as a suspect in the first ever UK murders to be solved by DNA profiling, that's something I won't forget in a hurry either :D
     
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