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Is Simon Wood a late 20th Century Fictional Construct?

Does Simon Wood really exist? Or was he created by a collective of conspiracy theorists during the late 20th century? These are the key questions posed by a thread started by "Simon Wood" in Casebook back in 2021 (and recently revitalized) which he laughably entitled "Veracity".


When I entered the name "Simon Wood" into the Wix AI image generator this is what it came up with:




Are we looking here at the face of the real fictional Simon Wood as created many years ago by by artificial intelligence? It has to make one think, right?


A LATE 20TH CENTURY FICTIONAL CONSTRUCT?


I'll deal with his entire Casebook thread in due course but first I want to focus on a question that Wood was asked during the thread by a member who was baffled at Wood's claim, made on 26 March 2024, that there is "a widespread belief that the Swanson marginalia was a late 20th Century fictional construct."



The member posted:


"I'm new to this skepticism on the Swanson marginalia. Embarassingly, I had never even considered it could be a fake. I would like to learn more about this. Can you direct me to the best summary of the argument?"


Did Wood helpfully explain to this curious member why he believes the Swanson marginalia to have been faked? Did he bollocks! Instead he responded with a strange non sequitur, saying:


"I can't really help you here, because most Ripper stalwarts have already thrown in their lot with the Swanson Marginalia."


Eh? What does this even mean? What does it matter how many "Ripper stalwarts" have thrown in their lot with the Swanson marginalia? How would that for one second prevent Wood from explaining why it's a 20th century fictional construct?


The truth of the matter is that Wood cannot explain in any coherent way why he thinks the Swanson marginalia is a late 20th century fictional construct. Other than his obsession with the non-existence of "Jack the Ripper" (as discussed below), his entire thinking is based on a false notion that a journalist who looked at the marginalia in 1981 didn't see the name "Kosminski" in the marginalia and didn't mention Kosminski's name in a draft article that he wrote at the time about the marginalia. This would have been a decent point if true, suggesting that while the marginalia was genuine, the name "Kosminski" was late addition. But it's completely false. The journalist did mention Kosminski in his 1981 draft article. So Kosminiski's name was certainly there in the marginalia in 1981.


Is there any reason other than blind prejudice to think that the marginalia is faked? No, there is not. A handwriting expert concluded that the writing in the marginalia is consistent with Swanson's known handwriting. The book which contains the marginalia had been in the Swanson family since almost the start of the last century. Its provenance is impeccable. Not only is there no good reason to think that a member of Swanson's family faked the marginalia but it seems to be impossible. The fact that a person with the name of Kosminski was in the Colney Hatch asylum wasn't publicly known until it was discovered in the private asylum records by researcher Martin Fido when researching his 1987 book. So how could any forger have known at any time prior to this that the secret records of Colney Hatch showed that one of its patients during the nineteenth century was called Kosminski? They couldn't, so it is literally impossible for the marginalia to be a forgery.


THE REAL NUTTY REASON


The real nutty reason why Wood actually thinks the marginalia is a forgery is because he is obsessed by the notion that there was no "Jack the Ripper". But all the marginalia does is identify a single individual who was suspected (by Anderson) of being Jack the Ripper. It doesn't say that this person was, in fact, Jack the Ripper nor that Swanson was convinced he was. All it was doing was identifying an unidentified individual mentioned in Anderson's book.


I really don't know what is so objectionable about this or why it triggers Wood so much. But it makes another argument of Wood's during the thread, supposed to reinforce the belief that the Swanson marginalia is a late 20th century fictional construct, nonsensical.


THE 1896 LETTER


As already reproduced above, Wood said:


"On 18th October 1896, Detective Chief Inspector Henry Moore reported his examination of a letter received by the police. It purported to be from “Jack the Ripper.” The writer stated that “he has returned from abroad, and is now ready to commence work again…”

Moore compared it favourably with the original JtR letter and postcard, finding “many similarities in the formation of letters,” but wrote, “considering the lapse of time, it would be interesting to know how the present writer was able to use the words—“The Jews are people that are blamed for nothing.”

Here there is a marginal note—

"Were not the exact words 'The Jewes are not the men to be blamed for nothing?'"

The marginal note was initialled “DSS.”

Henry Moore finally determined “that the present writer is not the original correspondent…”

The report was signed by a senior officer—

“In my opinion the handwritings are not the same. I agree as at A. I beg that the letter may be put with other similar letters. Its circulation is to be regretted.”

Signed, “Donald S. Swanson, Supt.”

This 1896 report makes nonsense of the 1910 [or later] Marginalia, in which Swanson allegedly wrote that the suspect “was sent to Stepney workhouse and then to Colney Hatch and died shortly afterwards. Kosminski was the suspect.”

On 7th February 1891, Aaron Kosminski was admitted to the County Lunatic Asylum at Colney Hatch. On 19th April 1894 he was moved to the Metropolitan Asylum for Chronic Imbeciles at Leavesden. At no time did he go abroad. He died at Leavesden Asylum on 24th March 1919.

If Kosminski [no forename] really was the suspect, why did Swanson not summarily dismiss the letter, certain in the knowledge that, a few years beforehand, the Ripper suspect had been committed to an asylum?

It all reinforces a widespread belief that the Swanson marginalia was a late 20th Century fictional construct."


None of this makes any sense at all. The issue being considered by Inspector Moore in 1896 was whether the person who wrote the Jack the Ripper letter of 14 October1896 was the same person who wrote the original Jack the Ripper letter of 25 September 1888 (and subsequent postcard). That is all that was being considered. At no point did Inspector Moore say, or imply, that the writer of the 1896 letter was the Whitechapel murderer. On the contrary, not quoted by Wood in his post, Moore stated, "I beg to observe that I do not attach any importance to this communication".


How is the fact that Swanson then noted that this letter was not written in the same hand as the original "Ripper" letter & postcard (which themselves were not said to have been written by the Whitechapel murder), and that its circulation was to be regretted, in any way inconsistent with knowledge that a Polish Jew called Kosminski, who had been committed to an asylum, was suspected of being the Whitechapel murderer? I mean, nothing in the book marginalia indicates that Kosminski definitely was the Whitechapel murderer. Swanson might have thought so but, at the same time, might not have been sure. So, there would be nothing at all strange if Swanson investigated another line of enquiry while still thinking that Kosminski was a good suspect. That is called good (standard) police detective work. If Wood thinks any differently it just shows he's not living in reality.


PACKER'S POLICE INTERVIEW


It gets even weirder when we go back to Wood's first post which started the thread. In that post, he wrote:


"Chief Inspector Donald Swanson was a desk jockey and, as such, little more than official blotting paper, absorbed whatever he was told.

It's intriguing that Alexander Carmichael Bruce [Senior Assistant Commissioner] summarized Matthew Packer's statement, dated 4th October 1888.

ACB's summary has been unhesitatingly accepted as proof that Packer was interviewed at Scotland Yard. Yet Swanson avoided mentioning this pivotal event in his 19th October 1888 report. According to Swanson, Packer's involvement with the two private investigators "acting conjointly with the Vigilance Comtee. and the press" ended with his being taken to identify Stride at the mortuary.

Which is odd, because the section of Swanson's 19th October 1888 report dealing with Matthew Packer contains unique word-for-word extracts from ACB's two-page summary.

It doesn't add up."


I'll tell you what doesn't add up. The molecules in Simon Wood's brain. Why does he think for one second that Swanson should have included in a report to the Home Office that Packer had been interviewed by Scotland Yard? I mean, it's patently obvious from Swanson's report that Packer had been interviewed by someone within the Metropolitan Police Force because it sets out Packer's full account of what he said he saw. So why would Swanson have bothered to provide the name of the interviewer to the Home Office? Why would they have cared?


And for the love of all that is pure and holy, in what way was Packer's interview a "pivotal event"? It was just an interview.


It's just absolute nonsense of the highest order to say that Swanson reported to the Home Office that Packer's involvement in the investigation ended with his being taken to identify Stride at the mortuary. The Home Office would have known that it must have ended with him being interviewed by the police, which is how Swanson knew his account.


Now, we know Wood's brain is broken so it doesn't come as any surprise that he can't comprehend something as simple as this and tries to make a great mystery out of a routine and trivial detail. Nor does it come as any surprise that his fellow nutty conspiracy theorist Martin Priestnall posted that Simon's point was "Interesting food for thought". What does come as a surprise is that another member, C.D., took this nonsense seriously by posting that there are four possibilities as to why Swanson's report didn't mention Packer's interview at Scotland yard being:


"1. There is a logical explanation of which we are unaware.

2. He was incompetent.

3. He simply screwed up at least on this particular occasion.

4. It was intentional and indicates a massive cover up/conspiracy by the police."


None of those are correct bearing in mind that there wasn't any reason for Swanson to mention it in his report to the Home Office in the first place. All witnesses would have been interviewed. So what purpose would have been served by telling the Home Office what was already bleeding obvious?


Come on people!

Then Martin Priestnall responded to C.D. by saying:


"Either way I think Simon's observation in the O.P. was a very good one and is very intriguing, and was worthy of following up."


Am I living in a parallel reality? Simon's observation was as daft and unintriguing as it's possible to get.


THE BEST BIT


That all said, I'm pretty sure that what you're really wondering is what the Wix AI image generator produces if one types in "Lord Orsam". Well it's this (genuinely):




I love it. I'm having that!


LORD ORSAM

9 April 2024





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Apr 11
Rated 5 out of 5 stars.

One of the things I enjoy the most in life is reading Lord Orsam's writings deconstructing every piece of non-sense coming from the Asylum For Chronic Imbeciles AKA Ripperology which pompously claim to have solved or semi solved a case that was never solved in its time, and never will, with his unmistakable pen. Keep it up good Sir. 🍷 Lady Cristina Peaches, Countess of Hot-Dog

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