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River of Riddles

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River of Riddles

Post by Karen on Fri 1 Apr 2011 - 1:59

The River of Mysteries.

Major Bailey's body was taken from the Thames yesterday.

It the Thames could tell its life story what unsolved mysteries, what strange tales of crime and tragedy, of ruined lives and grim revenges it would reveal.
In the old days, the days of Rogue Riderhood and Gaffer Hexbum, that sinister bird of prey, and in the still older London, before them, men were lured by subtle bait into the ramshackle old houses straddling on the edge of the murky river.
Their cutthroats did their ghastly work, and the tide carried away the evidence, until the Thames Police, patrolling the water highway day and night, as they have done since 1779, found the bodies, and brought them ashore. But they rarely brought home the crime to the perpetrators.
Not always, however, does the swiftly flowing brown stream give up its dead, and even when it does many of the river mysteries remain unexplained.
Within quite recent times there have been strange and gruesome discoveries on which the acutest minds of Scotland-yard have been unable to throw even the faintest glimmer of light.
There was the astounding case of the naked man whose body, trussed like a fowl with a hundred turns of strong cord, was recovered in the London area. He was a man, apparently, of gentle birth and, as far as could be discerned through the ravages made by the river, well knit, well nourished, and handsome.
What monstrous story of vengeance or punishment lay behind this discovery? What was his crime that his judges should have wrapped him up like a mummy and cast him into the Thames?

Jack the Ripper.

Then there was the beautiful young auburn-haired woman, clad in a single garment of cambric, and with pinioned hand and foot, of whom nothing could be discovered save that she had been strangled before she was thrown into the water.
The records of missing men and women, and inquiries far and wide, yielded no aid in solving either of these grotesque and terrible riddles of the river.
There was a mysterious case in January 1923, when two bodies were washed ashore by succeeding tides at almost the identical spot at Purfleet - one of a man identified later as a prominent estate agent and house owner, and the other of a well-dressed woman.
They had never known each other in life. Both had been unaccountably missing, the man for a month, the woman for a week; both had been killed before being thrown in the water, the man chloroformed, the woman battered on the head, and both had been robbed.
Searching inquiries spread over many weeks failed to trace the movements of either or to reveal any motive for murder or to afford any clue to the murderers.
Perhaps one of the greatest of mysteries of the Thames concerned the finding of a body which remained for some time unidentified, but was eventually declared to be that of a London doctor who had been stricken by madness.
Investigations conducted through various channels with great patience and minuteness were held to establish his identity with Jack the Ripper.


Source: The Daily Express, London, Friday May 23, 1924, Page 8

Karen Trenouth
Author of: "Epiphany of the Whitechapel Murders"
Author of: "Jack the Ripper: The Satanic Team"

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