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30 July 2008

The Lusk Letter

Continuing for one more day in the vein of off-the-beaten-path posts, I wanted to share some of my family history. Actually, it may not be my family history, but it was interesting -- and very chilling (and features my last name). I'm trying to play History Channel. (Just for the sake of including a disclaimer, the word "hell" is used herein to reference a particular place; it's not used as a slang or curse word.)

The other day my brother sent me a link to a Wikipedia entry on the "Lusk letter," apparently more commonly known as the "From Hell letter." Below are a few excerpts from the article (footnotes removed). I will warn you that you may find the latter parts a little disturbing.

The "From Hell" letter (or the "Lusk letter") is the name given to a letter mailed in 1888 by a man who claimed to be the killer known as Jack the Ripper.

Though many letters claiming to be from the killer were mailed in the time of the Ripper murders, the "From Hell" letter is widely considered by many Ripper researchers as one of the few possibly authentic writings received from the serial killer.

Postmarked on 15 October 1888, the letter was received by George Lusk, then head of the Whitechapel Vigilance Committee, the following day.

[Here's where it starts getting to the grotesque part. If you're squeamish, stop reading.]

The reason this letter stands out more than any other is that it was delivered with a small box containing half of what doctors later determined was a human kidney, preserved in ethanol. One of Catherine Eddowes' kidneys had been removed by the killer. Medical opinion at the time was that the organ could have been acquired by medical students and sent with the letter as part of a hoax.

The text of the letter reads:

From hell.
Mr Lusk,
Sor

I send you half the Kidne I took from one women prasarved it for you tother piece I fried and ate it was very nise. I may send you the bloody knif that took it out if you only wate a whil longer

signed
Catch me when you can Mishter Lusk

Now you may want to click on a link to the left and go visit a blog with something encouraging and uplifting. Maybe someday I'll share the story a friend of mine sent me about how his wife's great-great(-great?)-grandfather was gunned down in a church service. But not today.

Any interesting stories in your family history?

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

I'm reading a nonfiction book called "Founding Mothers". It is obviously the story of the women behind the men who founded our great nation. I decided remind myself of the name of the Patriot in our family. His name is Daniel Morse but what I found out was that his son, (the one I decend from)Judge Timothy Morse was also a Patriot and served as one of General Washington's bodyguards for 3 years during the Revolutionary War. Cool, huh! Not grisly cool but cool just the same.
Deanna

Saidin said...

My family history isn't, as far as I know, very interesting. We didn't have a wild, wild west in Europe.

The most interesting family history, is the one I'm writing right now.

Preston N said...

My 4th Great Grandfather was Devil Anse Hatfield (and YES that is his real name!). Devil Anse was the patriarch of the Hatfield family from the famous Hatfield and McCoy Fued. It may not be that well known here in these "parts", but in WV, OH & KY this was a very famous family fued that sadly took several lives in the process.

Leroy said...

I went to school with Eddie Rickenbacker's great (great great?) grandson Scott (dude could draw!).

Also went to school with David Nasser.

I'm a nobody. :)

My buddy that got paralyzed, his mother is the personal accountant for AC/DC's bass player.

Our good friend from college, his cousin is a major league pitcher, David Weathers.

Our last secretary is kin to Bo Bice.

I met George Jones in the parking lot of Walmart when we lived in Panama City Beach.

I met Mac Powell on his tour bus.

I met Tracy Byrd in Auburn.

Lee Janzen (PGA golfer) married my cousin. My wife has met him, I haven't.

Supposedly, my first cousin's husband is a relative of The Who's Pete Townshend.

I know Dean Lusk personally.

Adam and Eve are distant cousins of mine.

Name-dropping is fun!

Christy said...

Leroy - you funny guy!

I am currently doing a heritage research on one side of my family. I chose the side I thought would be the most interesting, but so far I've been disappointed. I've only gotten back as far as my great-great grandfather, so I still have a LOT of research to do. The closest thing to interesting has been a step brother and step sister being married to each other for a short time. I don't know why they divorced, maybe it was just too weird for them or something. Any way, I was relieved to find that your possible connection to the Ripper was from the good guy side! WHEW!

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