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David O'Flaherty
Inspector
Username: Oberlin

Post Number: 235
Registered: 2-2003
Posted on Sunday, February 29, 2004 - 2:34 am:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Here's a story about a misidentification of the body of Catherine Eddowes that I find so staggeringly coincidental, I thought it might be of interest to some of you. From The Star, 2 October 1888:

"A WOMAN FROM ROTHERHITHE,
accompanied by her son-in-law and another man, called at the Bishopsgate-street Police-station yesterday to get permission to see the body. She had read a description of the murdered woman and feared it was her sister. Her attention had been particularly attracted by the statement that the letters P. C. were tattooed upon the left forearm arm in blue ink. The woman said she had for many years lost sight of her sister, who was
living she understood, with a man named Kelly, in a street leading from Bishopsgate. This sister had had T. C. tattooed upon her arm by her
husband, whose initials they were. Kelly was the name, it will be remembered, which figured on one of the pawntickets supposed to belong to the deceased. The party were taken to the mortuary, and recognised the body as that of the relation they were in search of. The woman said she knew it from the forehead (the only part of the face that was recognisable) as well as from the marks on the arms, and also from some peculiarity of the body. There seemed to be no doubt of the identification, and an officer went with the visitors to make inquiries at the place where the missing woman was said to have lived. The door of the house was opened by the woman herself. Her
sister nearly fainted at the sight. The officer brought the news back to the police station, where his story was barely credited, so positive had the woman been in her identification. This is the only occasion thus far that any one has thought they recognised the body, and the authorities are very doubtful if it is ever to be identified."


It seems incredible to me that there was another woman living in Whitechapel who so closely matched Catherine Eddowes. The false identification is so close, that I've sometimes wondered if this was some kind of hoax.

Dave
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Dan Norder
Unregistered guest
Posted on Wednesday, March 03, 2004 - 11:11 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

David wrote:
"It seems incredible to me that there was another woman living in Whitechapel who so closely matched Catherine Eddowes. "

Eh. Between the mutilations, the nasty things that death does to a body normally, the likely frequency of tattos with initials, and so forth, this doesn't really surprise me. I wouldn't rule out a hoax (either by the supposed relative or the paper -- it was the heyday of yellow journalism, afterall), but I don't think the story is unbelievable.

I've read stories of funerals where the bodies were accidentally switched and then the makeup, posing, etc. applied and some families didn't even notice that it wasn't their relative in the coffin. In at least one case they never would have known anything was wrong and until after the burial when the other funeral party wondered who was in their relative's coffin.
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David O'Flaherty
Inspector
Username: Oberlin

Post Number: 238
Registered: 2-2003
Posted on Thursday, March 04, 2004 - 8:49 am:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Eh, I shouldn't post when I've been drinking. But it's not the physical resemblance that caught my eye--it was the particular initials of T.C.(although maybe it was P.C.), and that the woman was living with a guy named Kelly, etc.

I was thinking of the shed story.

Cheers,
Dave
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David O'Flaherty
Inspector
Username: Oberlin

Post Number: 239
Registered: 2-2003
Posted on Thursday, March 04, 2004 - 8:31 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Hi, Dan

Sorry if I was a little abrupt with my post from this morning--not only should I not post when I've been drinking, I should also not post first thing in the morning :-)

You brought up some reasonable points. For what it's worth, this case of mistaken identity doesn't appear in the police documents (as presented in JtR Companion). I also thought about a hoax on the part of the family, but as far as a hoax on the part of The Star, I'm not sure about that. Your point about yellow journalism holds, of course, but The Star doesn't seem to have been using the murders to sell newspapers. Alexander Chisholm has done some interesting breakdowns on some of the editions, and on this day, 2 October, the murders only occupied about a third of the paper's content (although it was still the largest single story). The next day, Oct. 3 (which deals with Kelly's identification of Eddowes), coverage was even less. This was only several days out from The Double Event.

Anyway, I take your point. Lots of people had initials tattooed on them (although I still think it's curious it should be these particular initials). And the dead don't look like themselves. But, taking the story at face value for a moment, I still think it's weird that there was another woman with T.C. tattooed on her arm, hanging out with a guy named Kelly, and living near Bishopsgate. Also interesting is that the T.C. tattoo was put there by the woman's husband, which was also the case with Eddowes (although this hadn't been learned of yet, because John Kelly had not yet made his identification, and wouldn't until later that night, unless I'm mistaken).

Sorry for the ramble. I'm working on very little sleep :-)

Dave
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Dan Norder
Unregistered guest
Posted on Saturday, March 06, 2004 - 5:28 am:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

David, not a biggee. I get your point too. If it's true, it's an interesting coincidence... although I don't know how out there it is compared to other stories. Ack, most news services these days have a special category for weird stories like that and they get filled up every day (or at least every weekday, those aren't as updated on the weekends).
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Caroline Anne Morris
Chief Inspector
Username: Caz

Post Number: 838
Registered: 2-2003
Posted on Wednesday, March 10, 2004 - 6:34 am:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Just had a thought.

Could Jack have seen the T C on Eddowes, telling him she was another man's property? Perhaps this inspired him to try to leave his own mark - on her face - in order to transfer ownership rights to himself, since he was helping himself to this other man's goodies.

Ironic to think that in taking over the 'property' he was taking 'nothing' (the name Eddowes gave herself that night) and leaving nothing for the previous 'owner'.

Doubly tragic when you think about it.

Poor Kate.

Love,

Caz


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David O'Flaherty
Inspector
Username: Oberlin

Post Number: 245
Registered: 2-2003
Posted on Wednesday, March 10, 2004 - 9:16 am:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Hi, Caz

Interesting thought, but looking at the crime scene sketch of Eddowes, it looks like her arms were completely covered to the wrists.

Cheers,
Dave

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