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  1. #1
    Senior Member Mal12345's Avatar
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    Default The Case Against Walter Sickert as Jack The Ripper

    Jack the Ripper finally identified with DNA evidence

    Due to a lack of general interest in investigating this topic on the original thread (linked above), I have decided to create a new thread. You may post to it if you like.

    In 1998, two FBI profilers named John Douglas and Roy Hazelwood appeared on a television program called The Secret Identity of Jack the Ripper. Working independently, they assessed the four prime suspects in the Ripper serial killer murders and assigned the blame for the murders to Polish Jewish immigrant Aaron Kosminsky.
    Sex, Lies, and Handwriting: A Top Expert Reveals the Secrets Hidden in Your ... - Michelle Dresbold - Google Books

    I don't know the details of their investigation. However, the method of profiling serial killers can easily be found at various websites. Let's see what they have to say and then compare it to Patricia Cornwell's ID'ing of the serial killer as Walter Sickert.

    In her book Portrait of a Serial Killer: Jack the Ripper (Case Closed), Ms. Cornwell has gone into depth regarding the life of Walter Sickert. Ms. Cornwell uses this as evidence to point to Sickert's guilt. But the most Ms. Cornwell proves is that Sickert may have been a sociopath. Sociopath or not, by using FBI profiling the evidence presented by Ms. Cornwell can be used to eliminate Sickert as a suspect.

    10 Most Common Traits of Potential Serial Killers - Listverse
    10. "According to the FBI’s statistics, the childhood homes of more than 70% of serial killers experienced problems related to substance abuse."
    - Walter Sickert's father often frequented local pubs.

    9. "It almost goes without saying that most serial killers were abused as children. According to the interviews and discussions that have been held with known serial killers, emotional abuse and neglect has been the form of abuse most of them (50%) suffered.They were humiliated often – and when parents meted out discipline, it was unfair, unpredictable, destructive and wicked."
    - Walter's mother doted on him, much the same way that mothers of beauty pageant children dote on them. He was her beautiful, clever, darling little boy, and she would dress him in a Little Lord Fauntleroy outfit. Was this emotionally damaging? Perhaps, but not enough to produce a serial killer.

    8. "Accessible research material tells us violent sexual events during childhood have serious adverse affects on an individual’s development. More than one known serial killer was forced to dress up as a girl as a form of punishment. The witnessing of violent sexual acts between family members and/or parents had some of the most damaging effects."
    - I don't believe that being dressed up as Little Lord Fauntleroy by a doting mother, who perhaps projected too many of her needs upon the child, counts as being dressed up as a girl as punishment. And he is not known to have witnessed any violent sexual acts between family members.

    7. "Even though bed-wetting in itself has been discredited as a predictor of later violent tendencies, it is speculated that it might be related to arson and animal cruelty in some way."
    - Speculative, and bed-wetting was not reported in Cornwell's childhood biography of Sickert.

    6. "Family members of future serial killers are usually out of step and at odds with each other. Their relationships are malfunctional [sic] and debilitating. These families also have a tendency to move around a lot, and the children are normally removed into shelters before they can turn 18."
    - Sickert was from a normal middle-class family and was not isolated from family members. They did not move around a lot. The only noteworthy incident in Cornwell's bio states that Sickert was removed from boarding school because he found the schoolmistress to be 'intolerable.'

    5. "Serial killers’ fantasies are often about control and violation. In fact, during research, it became evident that serial killers could remember NO positive fantasies they had as children. Some would fantasize about mutilating themselves or their genitals. They will even fantasize about their own traumas, over and over again – the difference being that in these fantasies they are the assailant."
    - We don't know what Sickert's early fantasies may have been like. But his first amateurish attempts at art consisted of crude drawings, many of which are, according to Cornwell, "clearly the efforts of the tentative but gifted hand of someone learning to sketch street scenes, buildings, and figures."

    4. "Most serial killers admitted that during their teenage years they avoided parties and other social events. They definitely never experimented as normal teenagers do with sexual activities among their peers, rather preferring masturbation and other auto-erotic activities such as pornography. In some cases there would be obsessive masturbation – as in the case of Andrei Chikatilo, who had awful scarring on his penis due to the aggression that accompanied his masturbation."
    - In most ways, this actually describes Aaron Kozminski, the Polish-Jewish immigrant now believed via DNA evidence to be the real Jack the Ripper. And it doesn't describe Walter Sickert at all.

    3. "From an early age, many serial killers are intensely interested in voyeurism and fetishism as well as other paraphilias. Many will start their deviancy as relatively harmless peeping-toms, before moving on to house-breaking, rape, and murder. Given that elements of bondage and dominance feature so strongly in most paraphilias, it is no surprise that this is often the route followed after adolescence.

"
    - Walter Sickert shows none of this in his life history.

    2. 
"Almost all serial killers – in fact, 99% of them – admitted that they started by acting out their violent fantasies on animals before graduating to human beings."
    - Is Walter Sickert in that 1% of serial killers who didn't start their 'careers' by practicing on animals? If Ms. Cornwell wishes to come to this forum and argue that he is in the 1% category, she is certainly free to do so.

    1. "70% of serial killers received extensive head injuries as children or adolescents, clearly showing the link between these types of injuries and serial murder. Some researchers believe that the pre-frontal cortex (the area involved in planning and judgement) does not function properly in psychopaths."
    - Ms. Cornwell mentions problems with a psychopath's "frontal lobe" - "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." Did Cornwell mean to say "pre-frontal cortex"? We'll never know. But there is no evidence of any such brain injury in Walter Sickert.

    Conclusion based on profiling - WALTER SICKERT WAS NOT JACK THE RIPPER.
    "Everyone has a plan till they get punched in the mouth." Mike Tyson
    “Culture?” says Paul McCartney. “This isn't culture. It's just a good laugh.”

  2. #2
    @.~*virinaĉo*~.@ Totenkindly's Avatar
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    Even just looking at these details, many of them are inverse-related and thus really don't have a bearing.

    For No 10, for example, perhaps 70% of serial killers' homes included some kind of substance abuse issues. But that is very different from saying 70% of substance abuse homes produce serial killers (for example). The percentage of homes where substance abuse is an issue that end up producing serial killers is very very low, so it doesn't mean much to say that someone's home had substance abuse issues if you're trying to decide if they are a serial killer. (I don't feel like looking up the statistics, but the outcome will probably be far more typical like Janet Woititz' traits of Adult Children of Alcoholics (ACoA).)
    "Hey Capa -- We're only stardust." ~ "Sunshine"

    “Pleasure to me is wonder—the unexplored, the unexpected, the thing that is hidden and the changeless thing that lurks behind superficial mutability. To trace the remote in the immediate; the eternal in the ephemeral; the past in the present; the infinite in the finite; these are to me the springs of delight and beauty.” ~ H.P. Lovecraft

  3. #3
    Senior Member Mal12345's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jennifer View Post
    Even just looking at these details, many of them are inverse-related and thus really don't have a bearing.

    For No 10, for example, perhaps 70% of serial killers' homes included some kind of substance abuse issues. But that is very different from saying 70% of substance abuse homes produce serial killers (for example). The percentage of homes where substance abuse is an issue that end up producing serial killers is very very low, so it doesn't mean much to say that someone's home had substance abuse issues if you're trying to decide if they are a serial killer. (I don't feel like looking up the statistics, but the outcome will probably be far more typical like Janet Woititz' traits of Adult Children of Alcoholics (ACoA).)
    Good point. But then, that's probably why it's at number 10 - the least viable piece of evidence for profiling a serial killer.
    "Everyone has a plan till they get punched in the mouth." Mike Tyson
    “Culture?” says Paul McCartney. “This isn't culture. It's just a good laugh.”

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    @.~*virinaĉo*~.@ Totenkindly's Avatar
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    Well, the same reasoning applies to some of the other points as well.
    "Hey Capa -- We're only stardust." ~ "Sunshine"

    “Pleasure to me is wonder—the unexplored, the unexpected, the thing that is hidden and the changeless thing that lurks behind superficial mutability. To trace the remote in the immediate; the eternal in the ephemeral; the past in the present; the infinite in the finite; these are to me the springs of delight and beauty.” ~ H.P. Lovecraft

  5. #5
    Senior Member Mal12345's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jennifer View Post
    Well, the same reasoning applies to some of the other points as well.
    The fact that 99% of serial killers start their careers torturing and killing animals is pretty damning. What do you have to say about that statistic?
    "Everyone has a plan till they get punched in the mouth." Mike Tyson
    “Culture?” says Paul McCartney. “This isn't culture. It's just a good laugh.”

  6. #6
    deplorable basketcase Tellenbach's Avatar
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    I checked out Cornwell's book and I hope to finish it by Friday. From what I've read so far (about 30 pages), Cornwell's case rests on the numerous Ripper letters (over 200 of them) and the violent imagery in Sickert's paintings. I think Cornwell succeeded in establishing Sickert as the author of at least 2 of the Ripper letters (partial match on mitochondrial DNA found in the stamps) and a watermark on some stationary that both Sickert and the Ripper letter writer used.

    I don't think Cornwell or anyone else has established that the actual killer wrote any of the letters. All of them were probably hoaxes. This is why I'm not going to be so hard on Cornwell. Sickert was involved in the Ripper case as a letter writer; he would've been thrilled to learn that someone like Cornwell got snookered by him.
    Senator Rand Paul is alive because of modern medicine and because his attacker punches like a girl.

  7. #7
    Senior Member Mal12345's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tellenbach View Post
    I checked out Cornwell's book and I hope to finish it by Friday. From what I've read so far (about 30 pages), Cornwell's case rests on the numerous Ripper letters (over 200 of them) and the violent imagery in Sickert's paintings. I think Cornwell succeeded in establishing Sickert as the author of at least 2 of the Ripper letters (partial match on mitochondrial DNA found in the stamps) and a watermark on some stationary that both Sickert and the Ripper letter writer used.

    I don't think Cornwell or anyone else has established that the actual killer wrote any of the letters. All of them were probably hoaxes. This is why I'm not going to be so hard on Cornwell. Sickert was involved in the Ripper case as a letter writer; he would've been thrilled to learn that someone like Cornwell got snookered by him.
    I've read about 1/5 of that book. It's laughable to me that Cornwell thought she was on to something that others hadn't thought of over the past 120 years before she wrote the book. But her case also involved studying Sichert's life, from which she found reasons to smear his character. She claims to have been influenced by an FBI profiler friend of hers, but she obviously didn't learn anything from him about profiling.
    "Everyone has a plan till they get punched in the mouth." Mike Tyson
    “Culture?” says Paul McCartney. “This isn't culture. It's just a good laugh.”

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    @.~*virinaĉo*~.@ Totenkindly's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mal12345 View Post
    The fact that 99% of serial killers start their careers torturing and killing animals is pretty damning. What do you have to say about that statistic?
    Since I didn't specify which points I had an issue with, why would you cherry pick one that involves an active choice to torture and murder other living creatures as equivalent with the one I was commenting on which is a far more common situation and has a passive influence on the individual?

    I think there's likely to be a much higher correlation between active behavior to torture and kill things as a child and torturing and killing things as an adult, versus someone who happened to just grow up in a home where there was some kind of substance abuse and where people typically do NOT grow up to be serial killers but instead suffer the impact of PTSD, emotional neglect, lack of relational programming that leads to relational difficulties, and similar substance abuse issues... i.e., self-esteem issues where any deficiency is directed at themselves versus externalized against others.
    "Hey Capa -- We're only stardust." ~ "Sunshine"

    “Pleasure to me is wonder—the unexplored, the unexpected, the thing that is hidden and the changeless thing that lurks behind superficial mutability. To trace the remote in the immediate; the eternal in the ephemeral; the past in the present; the infinite in the finite; these are to me the springs of delight and beauty.” ~ H.P. Lovecraft

  9. #9
    Senior Member Mal12345's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jennifer View Post
    Since I didn't specify which points I had an issue with, why would you cherry pick one that involves an active choice to torture and murder other living creatures as equivalent with the one I was commenting on which is a far more common situation and has a passive influence on the individual?

    I think there's likely to be a much higher correlation between active behavior to torture and kill things as a child and torturing and killing things as an adult, versus someone who happened to just grow up in a home where there was some kind of substance abuse and where people typically do NOT grow up to be serial killers but instead suffer the impact of PTSD, emotional neglect, lack of relational programming that leads to relational difficulties, and similar substance abuse issues... i.e., self-esteem issues where any deficiency is directed at themselves versus externalized against others.
    Why not employ the same logic to that 99% figure as you did to the 70% figure? For example, even if it's true that 99% of serial killers started out torturing animals, what percentage of those kids who torture animals grow up to be serial killers? Let's say the percentage is 1%. How would that affect the result of the profiling?

    I'm sure you're right, there is a higher correlation between torturing and small killing animals as a child and growing up to be a serial killer, versus just having a rough childhood and then growing up to be a serial killer.

    However, if you stopped looking at these aspects through a microscope, you would see that profiling does not offset the chances of this versus the chances of that, but considers all of them together. Taking out most of the percentages, you have a list that looks more like this:
    Dr. Phil.com - Advice - Fourteen Characteristics of a Serial Killer
    1. Over 90 percent of serial killers are male.

    2. They tend to be intelligent, with IQ's in the "bright normal" range.

    3. They do poorly in school, have trouble holding down jobs, and often work as unskilled laborers.

    4. They tend to come from markedly unstable families.

    5. As children, they are abandoned by their fathers and raised by domineering mothers.

    6. Their families often have criminal, psychiatric and alcoholic histories.

    7. They hate their fathers and mothers.

    8. They are commonly abused as children — psychologically, physically and sexually. Often the abuse is by a family member.

    9. Many serial killers spend time in institutions as children and have records of early psychiatric problems.

    10. They have high rates of suicide attempts.

    11. From an early age, many are intensely interested in voyeurism, fetishism, and sado-masochistic pornography.

    12. More than 60 percent of serial killers wet their beds beyond the age of 12.

    13. Many serial killers are fascinated with fire starting.

    14. They are involved with sadistic activity or tormenting small creatures.
    Source: Internal Association of Forensic Science, an article written by FBI Special Agent Robert K. Ressler
    "The Serial Killer," Harold Schechter

    Now let's cherry pick and examine characteristic #1 . While it may be true that 90% of all serial killers are male, the chances of a male growing up to be a serial killer are extremely tiny. Even if you take all fourteen factors into consideration, the chances may still be fairly small. But if you're profiling someone who may potentially be a serial killer, those chances matter not one whit. What matters is the percentage of those fourteen characteristics that are held by the suspected serial killer.
    "Everyone has a plan till they get punched in the mouth." Mike Tyson
    “Culture?” says Paul McCartney. “This isn't culture. It's just a good laugh.”

  10. #10
    @.~*virinaĉo*~.@ Totenkindly's Avatar
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    Before you waste more time dumping a lot of energy into this, let me state that I'm not even sure what we're discussing anymore. You've really unpacked a short general statement by me into some kind of discussion I no longer recognize.

    I'm not even sure where your first list came from anymore -- Cromwell (who I thought you disagreed with?) or listverse, or what exactly? And now you're quoting Dr. Phil? Or wait, Dr. Phil is quoting Ressler? (Who I have less faith in as a profiler, but he's still a professional at least.)

    I also have no idea whether 1% of the kids who torture animals as children grow up to be serial killers. What is the definition of torturing animals? Lots of boys torment animals, honestly, but they're usually just screwing around. And how many serial killers are actually active in the USA right now?

    Anyway, I don't care about Cromwell and her book, and pretty much volunteered all I was interested in volunteering back in my first post, to help your thread get up and running. If there was an actual through-line here, that would help, but you're just throwing lists at me now and I'm not that interested.
    "Hey Capa -- We're only stardust." ~ "Sunshine"

    “Pleasure to me is wonder—the unexplored, the unexpected, the thing that is hidden and the changeless thing that lurks behind superficial mutability. To trace the remote in the immediate; the eternal in the ephemeral; the past in the present; the infinite in the finite; these are to me the springs of delight and beauty.” ~ H.P. Lovecraft

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