Francis Thompson

topic posted Fri, June 18, 2004 - 4:25 AM by  Chris
I was just looking at a web site advertising a book that claims Francis Thompson, the Victorian poet, was Jack. Anyone else heard of this story? And what do you think of it.

Apparently he is the only suspect who can match most of the descriptions of people seen near the victims, etc.

Also, he wrote some poems, and a story, that are said to bear some similarities to the events.
"The Ballad of the Witch Babies" and "Finit Coronet Opus."

Like most of the theories, I think its a little far fetched or unlikely to believe that because someone writes a story about killing a woman, that they could actually have done the deed. But it is interesting nonetheless.
posted by:
SF Bay Area
  • Re: Francis Thompson

    Sat, June 19, 2004 - 12:22 PM
    Yeah it's kind of like blaming the painter Walter Sickert of being Jack (which is UTTER hogwash).

    It kind of reminds me of the people who believe in reincarnation who claim to have been someone famous in their "previous life". You rarely hear them say that in their previous life they were some backwoods yahoo from bumfuck West Virginia who used to like to sodomize horses. It's always "I was Napolean" or I was "Queen Elizabeth".

    People want some "fantastic" explanation for the Jack the Ripper murders like a famous person did it or there was some kind of a conspiracy involved in the murders. The truth most likely is that some cockney yahoo whose mother didn't show him enough positive attention when he was a boy decided to kill prostitutes to get back at his mother. On one or two occasions he probably came close to being caught but managed to escape mostly due to dumb luck and maybe slightly above average intelligence and a little forethought. The murders most likely ended because he was thrown in the looney bin or got locked up in prison for some other crime.
    • K
      offline 21

      Re: Francis Thompson

      Sat, June 19, 2004 - 2:51 PM
      Why does the yahoo have to be from West Virginia, Jeff? There are yahoos in every state, unfortunately. :-) You're right that no one is ever some schmuck who died of the plague, they were always royalty. Yeah, right.

      What do you think of the theory that Jack was a Eastern European Jew? The murders took place in and around a large nieghborhood of Jews who had moved to England to escape the pogroms in Russia and Eastern Europe. Like you though, I do tend to go for the simplest possible explanation.
      • Re: Francis Thompson

        Sun, June 20, 2004 - 9:45 AM
        You're right, yahoos ARE everywhere...There are quite a few in my neck of the woods! :)

        I am actually skeptical of the Eastern European Jew theory of Jack for the same reason that I am skeptical of Jack being committed to a mental asylum (which the theory goes is why the killings stopped in 1888), or Jack being from the upper class. In the summer of 1888 EVERYONE was on a hair trigger looking for ANYTHING out of the ordinary. There were a lot of incidents in which innocent people were accussed and even attacked for being thought to be Jack just because they may have acted in a slightly unusal manner.

        Because of the prevailing anti-semitism of the time Jewish people were still seen as outsiders with strange customs by many native English people especially in the poor working class. And most Jews had emigrated to England in the last 20 years from Eastern Europe. Therefore if Jack were an Eastern European Jew he most likely had a pronounced accent. This would have made him stick out to most people (including to prostitutes). I think for Jack to get away with these murders he would have been a local boy who didn't stand out in any obvious way. He may have been thought of as a little strange by those who knew him and maybe even someone who occasionally engaged in petty crimes. But the locals who knew him probably wouldn't have suspected him of doing anything remotely as serious as murder.

        I believe all or most of the murders took place in Spitalfields, Whitechapel. The reason for this being that this is where a lot of prostitutes did business. The fact that there are a lot of Jews in this area I believe to be coincedental. Just my opinion.
        • Unsu...

          Re: Francis Thompson

          Thu, July 22, 2004 - 2:25 AM
          I agree with your theory on the fact that it had to be a local man...thats why the two men I feel were most likey the killer were James Kelley and Joeseph Barnett. Who knows maybe they did it together.
  • Unsu...

    Re: Francis Thompson

    Wed, July 21, 2004 - 4:51 PM
    You could take almost any poet, writer , painter from 1888 and a few years after and see how there work must have been influanced by the Ripper murders. Today Jay Leno gets on stage and makes jokes about current events, that doesn't mean he knows a real lick about it. People are influanced by thier current surroundings...A lot of gifted people have been influanced by Jack it doesn't make them Jack.
    • Re: Francis Thompson

      Thu, July 22, 2004 - 8:09 PM
      Barnett certainly fits certain characteristics of the killer. Mainly that he was the boyfriend of Mary Kelly and did not like the fact the she often prostituted herself. And they had a big fight a couple of weeks before her murder.

      However the man lived almost another 40 YEARS after the Ripper murders which makes him an unlikely candidate in my opinion. If I had to choose from the lists of known suspects it would be George Hutchinson. He too was a local, gave a dubious witness account regarding Mary Kelly on the day she was murdered, and seems to have disappeared off the face of the Earth after the Ripper murders. However I think most likely that the murderer was NONE of the suspects we currently know about.

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