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Casebook: Jack the Ripper - Message Boards » Suspects » Sickert, Walter » Patricia Cornwell's book » Archive through February 24, 2004 « Previous Next »

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David O'Flaherty
Inspector
Username: Oberlin

Post Number: 213
Registered: 2-2003
Posted on Tuesday, January 20, 2004 - 7:15 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Hey, Bluefox

Has someone here criticized Patricia Cornwell for being a lesbian? Because if they have, it's against board policy. Myself, I like lesbians (and not for any peeping-tom purposes). They're good people, and one special group in Chicago were very kind to me during my Lost Weekend days.

Instead of relying upon some phony insight you think you have into the inner workings of posters here, why don't you speak to the issue at hand--how does having faked a couple of letters make Walter Sickert Jack the Ripper?

Bluefox, what does it mean when Patricia Cornwell criticizes Ripperologists for their interest in the case when she's on her book tour giving lectures to people who are interested in the case? I suspect that's one of the things that has pissed people off, not her lesbianism--which I could give a hoot about.

I love your judgemental rant against judging people, you're a true Cornwell fanboy/fangirl. And by the way, if there's no hard evidence against any suspect (which I agree with), then how can you claim Sickert was the Ripper?

Email me, please, so I may properly give you hell in private.

Dave

(Message edited by oberlin on January 20, 2004)
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Alan Sharp
Inspector
Username: Ash

Post Number: 364
Registered: 9-2003
Posted on Wednesday, January 21, 2004 - 5:23 am:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Is Cornball a lesbian? I thought she was married? I have never been interested enough to bother about her sexuality one way or the other. However, and this probably proves my mysogeny, I absolutely agree with Ally that whenever I find out someone is a lesbian, my usual reaction is not one of disgust, but rather is "can I watch?"
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Sarah Long
Inspector
Username: Sarah

Post Number: 488
Registered: 11-2003
Posted on Wednesday, January 21, 2004 - 7:31 am:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I didn't know she was a lesbian either.

Do you know what would be good, if Patsy came on here herself. She wouldn't have the courage, but I would love to see her try to convince us lot that her "evidence" proves her case. I personally would love to see Ally give her a good going over.

Sarah
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Ally
Inspector
Username: Ally

Post Number: 178
Registered: 4-2003
Posted on Wednesday, January 21, 2004 - 9:10 am:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

As if she ever would. Patsy would never enter into a no holds barred debate over her supposed evidence. The problem is that when anyone questions her, they are just too nice. They don't say--Pats, that's an outright fabrication. You are making this stuff up, you are presenting theory as proven fact. No they all have to sniffle around her because she won't do it any other way. I know for certain that she bowed out of one interview when she found out there would be knowledgeable others there as well.

I think she did an interview in England with an audience that contained some knowns, but I bet they were nice too.

She'd cut her own throat before letting someone like me interview her though. Maybe we should start a petition--let Ally interview. That would be a fun way to while away 2 minutes. :-)
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Christian Jaud
Detective Sergeant
Username: Chrisjd

Post Number: 73
Registered: 2-2003
Posted on Wednesday, January 21, 2004 - 9:40 am:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I'm damn sure she is on board, secretely or passively.
Or at least she was, until she had enough.
:-))

That's one of the differences to most of the really dedicated writers, however you may think of them or their theories: They appear here with their books and take a stand.
She however discovered a topic, hopped on, made money and hopped off again.

Christian
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Sarah Long
Inspector
Username: Sarah

Post Number: 491
Registered: 11-2003
Posted on Wednesday, January 21, 2004 - 10:18 am:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

You know Christian, you may be right. I wonder if thebluefox goes by the name of Patricia. S/he seemed to be singing her praises and actually said Sickert WAS the Ripper! Could be!!
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Monty
Chief Inspector
Username: Monty

Post Number: 668
Registered: 3-2003
Posted on Wednesday, January 21, 2004 - 12:17 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Guys,

It matters not that she comes from Lesbia...wherever that is.

It matters not that she has got it oh so wrong.

It matters not that she has wasted 6 million pounds that could have aided a hospital or such like.

It matters not that she has stated 'case closed'..yes I have forgiven her for that...just.

It does matter that she will not make herself available to those that would really, and I mean really grill her to the max.....expose her as an incompetent factual author (heck, her fiction may be good but man her factual stuff just blows) and, quite rightly confirm what we know about her book.

Cowardice and $$$.

I know you're reading this....I can see you Patricia.

Sick & Perverted Monty
:-)

Other than that she is an ok gal !!
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Richard Brian Nunweek
Chief Inspector
Username: Richardn

Post Number: 599
Registered: 2-2003
Posted on Wednesday, January 21, 2004 - 2:44 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Hi.
I should say that I have the utmost respect for Patricia Cornwell, her novels [ non fiction[ are excellent, and she has a huge following.
She is a excellent writer, and deserves her success.
However I must add, that I do believe she , entered the land of the Ripper, rather tonque in cheek, proberly in order to gain commercial success, without knowing the possible consequences, of such an endeavour, she does make a resonable case against Sickett, although eccentric behaviour shown by him does not make him a brutal killer.
I Feel that recent threads which indicate sexual overtones , should be left out , for obvious reasons. there is no need for remarks of that nature.
Yes Patricia , does tend to jump on commercial bandwagons, Princess Diana for example. but who can blame her , she is a successful writer, that wishes to carry on her success.
I Do however feel , that she proberly regrets, visiting scotland yard, and taking up the subject of 'Jack The Ripper'
Richard.
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Cath
Unregistered guest
Posted on Wednesday, January 21, 2004 - 3:35 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

If anything after reading Patricia Cornwall's book, I noticed that she did the one thing that you never do during a forensic investigation. Name a suspect and then make up the evidence to support your claim.

Don't get me wrong, it would have been a brilliant book if she had presented it in other terms as a work of fiction but to pass it off under the tag "case closed" is either absurd sensationalism, or she actually has gotten to the point where she believes her own press.
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Edward Freeman
Unregistered guest
Posted on Wednesday, January 21, 2004 - 2:04 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Hello Bluefox,
Look, I'm not interested in whether Cornwell is Lesbian, feminist or American unless those things affect her judgement. Perhaps in this case they have. What concerns me is the truth of her claims and the evidence to support them. As far as I am aware Cornwell has found no hard evidence to link Sickert to any of the crime scenes or any of the murders. All that she has proved to me is that Sickert had an interest or fascination with the case and he may have written one or more of the letters. On such a flimsy premise she claims to have conclusively solved the case. It shows contempt for criminologists like Colin Wilson, Martin Fido and others who have studied the case for 30-40 years and who know far more about the case than she does. With her book she has slandered and perhaps permanently ruined the reputation of one of this country's most admired and respected artists, someone who now does not have anyone to stand up and defend his reputation. You say yourself that it is not possible to find hard evidence in this case, it is simply conjecture and speculation. So what if she is wrong?
From what I've read Sickert does not fit the description of eye-witnesses who claim to have seen Jack the Ripper. I find the idea of Sickert roaming Whitechapel looking for whores to slash quite ludicrous.
She seems to have written her book on a kind of crusade to prove that Sickert was an evil, misogynistic killer and in that sense her feminist beliefs and her arrogance may have affected her judgement. I regard her book as the worst kind of sensationalist, publicity-seeking hack journalism.
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Neil K. MacMillan
Sergeant
Username: Wordsmith

Post Number: 46
Registered: 3-2003
Posted on Wednesday, January 21, 2004 - 4:44 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

My haven't we all been busy! I would think that we, on these boards, would be above the sort of denigration that I'm seeing toward Ms Cornwell.
I don't agree with her theories or her choice of suspect but her sexual orientation, nationality etc. have nothing to do with that. I disagree with her because I believe her evidence is scant and her methodology flawed. I don't care why. It is of no matter to the germaine questions we, as Ripperologists, are asking and seeking answers for. Let's get on withthe business of investyigating Jack, shall we? Kindest regards, Neil
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Ally
Inspector
Username: Ally

Post Number: 189
Registered: 4-2003
Posted on Thursday, January 22, 2004 - 6:18 am:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Neil,

I am going to be polite (difficult for me and I hope you appreciate the effort) and merely state that if you will take a scroll up, you will see that the people who are "denigrating" Ms. Cornball were not the ones who brought her sexuality into it. It was her so-called supporter and we are doing nothing more than denying that her sexuality has anything to do with it; it is her methodology that we dislike.

Rather exactly like you did yourself.

Best Wishes,

Ally
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Neil K. MacMillan
Sergeant
Username: Wordsmith

Post Number: 48
Registered: 3-2003
Posted on Thursday, January 22, 2004 - 3:15 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

AllY:
Your politeness is appreciaited. I must have missed the initial post mentioning her sexuality. From your post I see we're on the same page. My post wasn't meant to aggrivate anyone and if it did so, may I offer my humble and abject apologies. Kindest regards, Neil
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Ally
Inspector
Username: Ally

Post Number: 203
Registered: 4-2003
Posted on Thursday, January 22, 2004 - 4:21 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Hey Neil,

I was mostly spoofing on the politeness thing. Having been accused of gross rudeness lately, I am just taking pains to point out my politeness.

You know, on the rare occasions that it occurs.
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Michael Raney
Sergeant
Username: Mikey559

Post Number: 40
Registered: 9-2003
Posted on Friday, January 23, 2004 - 4:29 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Ally, here it is 24 hours later and you're still being polite. I'm scared! When the nasty gets unleashed it's gonna be a big release!

Mikey

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Michael Raney
Sergeant
Username: Mikey559

Post Number: 41
Registered: 9-2003
Posted on Friday, January 23, 2004 - 4:32 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

In my humble opinion Cornwells book should be taken as a work of fiction that hopefully provokes some interest in and thought about this remarkable mystery.

Mikey
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Dan Norder
Unregistered guest
Posted on Wednesday, January 21, 2004 - 8:44 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Sarah wrote:
"I believe the kidney was human as I'm sure the doctors must have known basic human anatomy."

More assumptions...

What exactly separates an animal kidney from a human one without modern tests? Size? What if you get an animal roughly the right size? Like, say, a pig? Are you so sure these doctors would be able to tell instead of just assuming it was human because of the context?

Unless we have a good solid reason for understanding why they said it was human (a report stating some microscopic feature that would make it different from an animal) I don't think we can trust them to have gotten it right. They got so much other stuff wrong, and this one is trickier than it seems at first, so could very easily be yet another thing the doctors botched.

(And I'm not even bothering a response to bluefaux or whatever the name was, as he or she had nothing to say that hadn't already been picked apart as worthless countless times before.)
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RosemaryO'Ryan
Unregistered guest
Posted on Thursday, January 22, 2004 - 5:36 am:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Hi All,

Not having read any of Ms.Cornwell's books I honestly cannot comment on her writings...fiction or otherwise.
However, having seen Ms. Cornwell present the outline of the Sickert theory in a BBC documentary
sometime ago I was nonplussed when on reviewing an old BBC film of Sickert (c1920)she exclaimed,
"There! Right there! Did you see...that GLINT OF EVIL!".
That's enough of Ms. Cornwell forensic methodology, thank you.
Rosey :-)
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Edmund Tartooth
Unregistered guest
Posted on Saturday, January 24, 2004 - 8:35 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Dear All

Until Ms Cornwalls book came along I had lost interest in the Jack the Ripper case. I cannot give a reason why on that particular day I decided to start reading about the Ripper again. I had plenty of other reading to do.

What I can say is that Ms Cornwall's book was a ripping good read, I read three quarters of the book at one sitting.

It re ignited my interest in the Ripper Case. Why is the Jack the Ripper case still of such great interest compared to say the crimes of Bundy etc. I think there are a whole load of reasons for this. From the murder by gas light, Shaw's "Social Reformer" to the ushering in the 20th century.

As to Ms Cornwalls sexuality, does it matter when she can write so well?
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Ally
Inspector
Username: Ally

Post Number: 242
Registered: 4-2003
Posted on Sunday, January 25, 2004 - 9:28 am:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Hi there Edmund,

While I agree that anything that gets new people interested in the case is moderately worthy, I have to disagree on the issue of Cornwell writing well. I am not doing this to be picky.."Oh anything that woman writes is trash!". I used to read Cornwell rather faithfully, I think From Potter's Field was a great book, truly fantastic. I stopped reading her several years ago though because her plots became recycled and her prose became...prosaic. How many serial killers can one woman have obsessed with her, how many lovers can she lose to murder and still maintain believablity, how many pages of text does it take to describe a motel bathroom, really? I really did used to like her fiction but it's all become so bland and uninteresting.

Maybe one day she'll try her hand at non-fiction.
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Tom Ackerman
Unregistered guest
Posted on Tuesday, February 24, 2004 - 6:17 am:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I am constantly amazed at the number of people vocally attacking Patricia Cornwell's book. Not only do they simplify the case she makes they also forget that no case so strong has been made against any other suspect. The vehemence of Cornwell critics I can only attribute to her outspoken certainty in her conclusions as well as the desire of many people that the murders remain a mystery. Cornwell has done the most thorough investigation to date, as well as the most modern. Many more defenseless dead Brits have had their names connected with the Ripper crimes on far less evidence. I find her neither sensationalistic nor misinformed, and most of her critics' couter-arguments are themselves rebutted in her book. It's true most of the evidence is circumstantial, but she compiles a mountain of the stuff. Though not proving beyond a shadow of a doubt his guilt, she certainly makes him appear most likely. His connection to the letters seems indisputable.
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Ally
Inspector
Username: Ally

Post Number: 301
Registered: 4-2003
Posted on Tuesday, February 24, 2004 - 9:33 am:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Tom,

Do you understand the difference between circumstantial evidence and made-up evidence?

Circumstantial evidence is a fact-something that definitely happened or was found, that doesn't necessarily indicate guilt but can be used to infer another fact.

This is not what Patricia Cornwell has. She does not have facts, she has fiction. Her entire case is NOT based on circumstantial evidence, it is based on invention--there is a world of difference between the two.
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Alan Sharp
Inspector
Username: Ash

Post Number: 464
Registered: 9-2003
Posted on Tuesday, February 24, 2004 - 9:47 am:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Tom

You would be correct to attribute the vehemence of her critics to her outspoken certainty in her conclusions, although not the second part. However I have to take issue with your description of her having "done the most thorough investigation to date".

So thorough was her investigation indeed that she:

- Got the location of Mitre Square wrong
- Got the location of Scotland Yard wrong
- Had the man with the gladstone bag walk the wrong way along Berner Street at the wrong time
- Invented an entirely fictional newspaper wrapped around the Whitehall torso and continues to claim this as one of the most important items of evidence pointing to Walter Sickert even though it never actually existed.
- Failed to notice that William Waddell was hanged for the Durham murder of Jane Beetmore and so described this case as never solved

And those are just off the top of my head. Give me half an hour with the book and I would produce you a list of mistakes taking up several pages. So exactly how thorough was this investigation?

As for the mountain of evidence, you mean stuff like finding a guest book register in Cornwall where somebody had written the words "Jack the Ripper" and someone else had doodled pictures vaguely like some that Sickert had once done and even though there is nothing to indicate that Sickert ever stayed there, other well known people stayed there so Sickert might have. Is this the kind of evidence you are referring to?

(Message edited by Ash on February 24, 2004)
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Monty
Chief Inspector
Username: Monty

Post Number: 784
Registered: 3-2003
Posted on Tuesday, February 24, 2004 - 12:49 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Yeah,

And she cant spell Stewart !!!

Go Ally...Go Ally

Go Alan...Go Alan

I have nothing more to add to the superb count points above.

Monty
:-)
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Neil K. MacMillan
Detective Sergeant
Username: Wordsmith

Post Number: 69
Registered: 3-2003
Posted on Tuesday, February 24, 2004 - 4:36 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostView Post/Check IPPrint Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Tom:
Agreed. The vehemence of Cornwall's critics is due to her certainty of her beliefs. I will not comment on her intelligence, sexual orientation or any of the non relevent issues.
Her critics objections to her theory were not, in my humble opinion, answered in her book. (And yes, I read it thoroughly.
Her story is simlar to that forwarded by the late Steven Knight concerning Joseph Sickert. The name and spelling is no accident. He (Joseph) claimed to be the son of Walter Sickert. This issue was never addressed by Cornwall other than to make allusions to pianful operations that Walter had when he was a child that in her opinion made it impossible for him to have sex. Walter was married twice or three times. Even in Victorian England failure to consummate a marriage was sufficient ground to have a marriage annulled and there would have been none of the stigma attached the a divorce would have garnered.
I will concede that it is possible that Sickert possibly wrote some of the Jack the Ripper notes. However, since most credible experts believe that most if not all of the notes are not from the killer we refer to as Jack the Ripper, that in itself proves nothing.
Ms Cornwall entertained no other suspects while researching her theory. In other words she accepted only that evidence that could be moulded to fit her preconceptions. That is not the mark of a professional researcher. That is the same sort of yellow journalism that the tabloids are famous for.
The guest book signed Jack the Ripper is another non-item. remember the adage of Occam's razor, "the simplest explainantion is usually the right one" If indeed Sickert signed the guest book "Jack the Ripper" he may have been having a joke at the expense of anyone signing the guest book after him.
She also failed to convince me that Sickert was even in London during the dates in question. her approach seemed to be "there is no proof he wasn't in London so he must be Jack the Ripper"
To sum up, she either needs to go back and redo her research with a view to more credible evidence or she should quit piddling on our legs and telling us it's raining. kindest regards, Neil

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