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Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Elective Surgery in Victorian England

From Reuters:

New Jack the Ripper theories put sleuths in a spin
Sun Jun 26, 2005

By Elizabeth Fullerton

LONDON (Reuters) - A mental patient, a butcher, the artist Walter Sickert, a serial wife poisoner and even Queen Victoria's grandson have all been touted as Jack the Ripper suspects in one of the greatest whodunits in history.

[snip]

A . . . new book, "Uncle Jack" by Tony Williams, proposes the killer was the author's ancestor, Sir John Williams -- a gynaecologist to Queen Victoria's children and the founder of the National Library of Wales.

Williams had set out to explore his family history when he stumbled upon a box of Sir John's personal effects, including a knife, three medical slides and diaries with the 1888 entries ripped out.

He discovered that besides his posh Harley Street surgery, Sir John had a clinic in Whitechapel, giving him access to the prostitutes who thronged the area.

[snip]

Williams believes Sir John was enraged by the prostitutes he saw getting pregnant while his own wife was unable to have children and killed them either out of vengeance or to use their organs for researching a cure for infertility.

"These women were having children left, right and center and he wanted this cure," said Williams.

However, shortly after the killings stopped, Sir John had something akin to a nervous breakdown, gave up medicine and returned to Wales for good.

[snip]

[Read the whole story]
Is it appropriate to include the occupation "serial killer" in a GEDCOM file? (By the way, an uncle, however "great", is not generally considered an ancestor.)

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