|A Ripperologist Article|
|This article originally appeared in Ripperologist No. 73, November 2006. Ripperologist is the most respected Ripper periodical on the market and has garnered our highest recommendation for serious students of the case. For more information, view our Ripperologist page. Our thanks to the editor of Ripperologist for permission to reprint this article.|
By SAM FLYNN
The horrific injuries inflicted by Jack the Ripper upon Catherine (Kate) Eddowes in the early morning of 30th September 1888 have been the subject of much discussion, and not a little controversy. Whereas some commentators have discerned no medical skill at all on the part of the murderer, it remains the opinion of others that her wounds were structured or conformed to some deliberate pattern. Some take this, together with the manner of Kate’s evisceration, as evidence that her killer possessed a degree of surgical skill.
It is curious that this belief has persisted for so long in the specific case of Jack the Ripper, although it is fair to say that the popular media have played their part in sustaining the notion. The cinema, in particular. has kept the flame alive with its forays into Ripper territory, but also, more subtly, by preserving the archetype of the “good boy gone bad” elsewhere. With such iconic characters as Darth Vader, Hannibal Lecter and others achieving mass popularity, it’s small wonder that we find the idea of Jack as “lapsed medic” so compelling.
In the case of each of these villains, as with the mythical “Dr Jack”, we see considerable skills, power and knowledge diverted from the cause of goodness and redeployed in the service of evil. This is an idea that resonates at the very heart of human experience, the key to its appeal perhaps echoed in the ambivalent role of mother as provider and punisher. Small wonder, then, that we find the notion of Jack the Ripper as “saint-turned-sinner” so seductive, stubborn and widespread.
However ingrained those beliefs may be, a strong case can be made for casting them aside. This article seeks to demonstrate that the Ripper neither needed, nor exhibited any such surgical skill throughout this dreadful sequence of murders. We focus on the Mitre Square murder primarily because it was in this case, uniquely so in the Whitechapel series, that the medical testimony focused on the qualitative aspects of the wounds, and to this extent we are indebted to Dr Frederick Gordon Brown, who saved for posterity the true, vicious horror of the Ripper’s technique. It is thus to Dr Brown’s meticulous notes that we must first turn.
Brown’s Description of the Facial Wounds
The randomness and savagery of the Ripper’s attack on Catherine Eddowes’ features are readily apparent when one examines the medical evidence carefully. Dr Frederick Gordon Brown lists nine specific wounds to the face, only one of which lacks detail. Elsewhere, Brown’s post-mortem description provides a great deal of information about the nature of the wounds, which enables us to interpret how they were probably inflicted.
A line-by-line examination of Brown’s notes is therefore instructive, and they are summarised below:
BROWN’S DESCRIPTION: 1) A cut of about ¼ inch through the lower left eyelid dividing the structures completely through the upper eyelid on that side, there was a scratch through the skin on the left upper eyelid.
WHAT WAS DESCRIBED: What Brown makes clear is that the cuts on both eyelids were of slightly different character. The wound to the left eyelid comprised a vertical cut from the cheekbone upwards, which would have passed close to the vertical centre of the eye, and which trailed off to a mere scratch on the upper left eyelid.
2) Near to the angle of the nose the right eyelid was cut through to about ½ an inch.
In contrast to the above, the cut to the right eyelid seems to have been closer to the edge of the eye, near the bridge of the nose.
3) A sharp cut over the bridge of the nose extending from the left border of the nasal bone down near to the angle of the jaw on the right, across the cheek [and] into the bone and divided all the structures of the cheek except the mucous membrane of the mouth.
Brown describes a violent slash, drawing an almost-vertical knife with great force across and down Eddowes’ face, that force increasing so much that, as the killer pulled from left to right, the tip of his knife penetrated the cheek bone on the right hand side.
4) The tip of the nose was quite detached from the nose by an oblique cut from the bottom of the nasal bone to where the wings of the nose join onto the face.
This is a separate cut to the nose, possibly the “return-stroke” of the previous diagonal slash from left cheek to right jaw, which goes in the reverse direction of the previous cut.
5) A cut from [the area where the wings of the nose join the face] divided the upper lip and extended through the substance of the gum over the right lateral incisor.
Brown describes another, smaller, cut to the right side of the face. This cut starts just above the right upper lip and splits it, also penetrating the gum. Again, this is suggestive of a “down-stroke” that once more goes in the opposite direction to the previous cut.
6) About 1/2 inch from the top of the nose was another oblique cut.
A random, comparatively insignificant, slash this time. Brown gives little detail on this.
7) A cut on the right angle of the mouth as if by the cut of a point of a knife. The cut extended an inch and a half parallel with the lower lip.
The way Dr Brown describes this suggests that the knife was inserted at the angle of the right side of the mouth and went forward in parallel with the lip, terminating at the midline of the lip. Note that this is the only suggestion in Brown’s entire report that the point of the knife was used.
8) On each side of the cheek a cut which peeled up the skin forming a triangular flap about an inch and a half.
These wounds have been the subject of considerable discussion, but Dr Brown merely describes a single cut, one on either side, to the skin above both cheeks, which (NB) “peeled up” a triangular flap of skin.
Interpretation of Eddowes’ Facial Wounds
From the above analysis, it is worth noting that, of the nine or so cuts to Eddowes’ face, most appear to have been inflicted completely at random. Only the “inverted Vs” seem to have been deliberately placed, but this is almost certainly artefactual as we shall see. The rest is just so much slashing and scoring, far from symmetrical, and these mutilations aren’t in any way delicate or “designed”. Indeed, Jack appears to have been experimenting with Eddowes and, savage though they are, her facial wounds appear almost “playful”, and certainly lacking in design or forethought.
Many authors have made the “clown’s mask” analogy, or similar, to describe the mutilations, but it’s very unlikely that Jack set out with any preconceived “pattern” in mind. Indeed, any pattern that emerged could just as easily have occurred by accident. The killer seems largely to have improvised and little of what Dr Brown reports suggests anything particularly controlled or deliberate. On the contrary, the killer was simply hacking across the features, inflicting random cuts and wielding his knife violently in different directions and angles, combining almost side-to-side slashes with a deep, scoring action on those occasions he cut through bone or gum.
The nicks to the eyelids were executed inconsistently and are differently placed—the one to the left eye penetrating the top eyelid and being more-or-less central, the one on the right cutting the lower eyelid only, off-centre and closer to the bridge of the nose. If a “deliberate” placement had been attempted, one would expect the wounds to have been more-or-less equidistant from the bridge of the nose, of somewhat similar length, and achieving a more consistent penetration into the underlying tissues. It is significant that they exhibit none of these qualities. In fact, it is as if Jack merely attempted to close Kate’s eyes with the tip of his knife and, in the process, nicked the eyelids to varying degrees.
As to the rest of her facial mutilations, the cuts zigzag everywhere. As a by-product of one such cut, the tip of Eddowes’ nose was sliced off. As a by-product of another, her upper lip and gum were cut through. There was a further, isolated, horizontal cut running parallel with the lower lip on the right hand side, but no corresponding cut on the left.
The vast majority of her facial wounds were clearly not placed at all, but randomly slashed into the skin. This is not to deny that the killer deliberately inflicted those wounds—of course he did, but only in the sense that he deliberately intended to mutilate. Beyond that, the manner of execution was almost entirely random and any perceived symmetry was a mere by-product of the natural symmetry and topology of the face.
The Inverted “V” Wounds
The infamous “inverted V” shapes left by Jack on Eddowes’ face are often perceived as purposefully “drawn” on the skin, somehow “deliberately” pointing to Kate’s eyes. These, it would seem, pose a challenge to the notion that the attack was entirely random. However, it is almost certain that the cuts were simply an artefact of a single horizontal slice into flesh stretched over a curved bony surface. The wounds clearly did not comprise a delicate “/” followed by an equally delicate “\” wrought by the point of a knife, as is sometimes believed. If the killer were simply to slice downwards into both cheeks, it’s almost inevitable that an “inverted V” shaped tongue of skin would be peeled up. A similar effect may be demonstrated by cutting into the surface of an apple, or orange, with a very sharp knife.
Dr Brown’s description plainly agrees with this view, in that he describes the wounds to the cheeks as “raised flaps of skin”. This effect could only be achieved by the knife moving horizontally downwards under the skin from the apex to the base of the “inverted V”. Given the precision of Brown’s description elsewhere, one has no reason to doubt that this is exactly what he saw. Indeed, there may be a clue in the mortuary photographs of Catherine Eddowes, where one notes that the apex of the “V” wounds are rounded, and that the cuts to the cheeks are more parabolic than angular. Such wounds would of course appear to point towards the eyes, but appears to be purely coincidental considering the positions of the wounds in question.
In conclusion, little about Kate’s facial wounds provides much compelling evidence that Jack took much time over them and most, if not all, the facial wounds inflicted on Eddowes have been shown to be jagged and frenzied.
Similarity of Wounds to Other Murders in the Series
It is interesting to note that, although none of the medics attending the next murder gave as much detail about the character of the wounds as did Dr Brown, it is possible to discern precisely the same frenzied “technique” at work in the murder of Mary Kelly, albeit on a more terrible scale. Whilst I do not wish to enter into the minefield of debating the “canon” of Ripper murders here, it is nonetheless worth exploring briefly some of the similarities between the murders, not least because such a comparison may reveal further detail about the technique employed by the killer at Mitre Square.
There is an important and telling factor (previously overlooked, to my knowledge) linking the murders of Catherine Eddowes and Polly Nichols, which differs from the murders of Annie Chapman and Mary Kelly. The factor in question is the method by which the killer gained access to the abdomen. A careful reading of the medical and police testimony reveals that, whereas Eddowes’ and Nichols’ abdomens were attacked by means a single vertical cut, those of Chapman and Kelly were accessed by means of three detached flaps of flesh, as borne out by the medical evidence:
Kelly: “The flesh from the abdomen was removed in three large flaps”
Chapman: “A flap of flesh from the abdomen was found over the right shoulder... Two other abdominal flaps were placed above the left shoulder in a large pool of blood”
In both the Chapman and Kelly murders, where it is surely significant that the killer had more ambient light at his disposal, the killer chose to remove three “panels” of flesh from the abdomen, laying it completely open and thus more amenable to efficient disembowelment. In contrast, the single vertical long cut inflicted on Eddowes meant that Jack had comparatively little room to manoeuvre within her abdominal cavity. Of course, the amount of light may have been a factor, however the confined space might also partly explain why Jack was less successful in removing the uterus from his victim on this occasion than he had been in the case of Annie Chapman’s murder.
Just as with the Chapman murder, however, we find that Jack threw Eddowes’ small intestines over her shoulder, and whilst it isn’t specified in Chapman’s case, it is almost certain that the intestines lay above the right shoulder on both occasions, the ground above Chapman’s left shoulder apparently only containing two flaps of her belly wall in a pool of blood.
That notwithstanding, the known position of the intestines above Kate’s right shoulder is, I maintain, a strong indicator that the facial mutilations preceded the attack on the abdomen. As will be seen in the next section, Jack almost certainly needed to align himself with, if slightly beneath, Kate’s right shoulder in order to gain sufficient purchase to inflict the wounds to her face. He would have been severely hampered in such a position if the abdomen had already been emptied, as the intestines would have got in his way.
Handedness and Positioning of the Killer
The facial and abdominal mutilations clearly indicate that Jack crouched or knelt to the right side of the corpse, with most of the blood having run away from him to Eddowes’ left. It is no coincidence that the trajectory of the main abdominal incision was from left to right, and the deepest cuts to the face, groin and thigh were on the right-hand side, where a right-hander positioned to the right of the body would have had more leverage.
There are significantly more mutilations on the right side of Eddowes’ face compared to the left, which again strongly suggests that Jack was positioned on the right side of the head when the wounds were inflicted. Further evidence of this may be gleaned from the fact that the facial wounds get deeper from left to right, and most of the really deep gashes slope down from cheek to jaw, penetrating the bone on the right cheek and gum.
Such a result would be difficult to achieve if Jack had been a right-hander crouched behind Eddowes’ head, pushing the knife away from him and holding the cranium awkwardly in his left hand to stop the head from rolling around. Logically, the effect becomes much easier to achieve if Jack had been at the right hand side of the body, crouching in line with or just below Eddowes’ shoulders, holding the head steady with his left hand clamped over her forehead.
Moving on to the abdominal incision, we find from Dr Brown’s account that the initial cut commenced below the sternum, went upwards a little (i.e. upwards from beneath the sternum), then downwards again, slicing obliquely into the ensiform cartilage (aka the xiphoid cartilage) at the base of the sternum. This detour in itself militates against any skill or deliberation on the part of the murderer—and the uppercut to the sternum appears to have been little more than a slip of the knife. The wound then continued downwards along the axis of the body in an almost straight line, with a little jag to the right, judging by the sketches and photographs, until it reached the navel. It then hooked around the navel (leaving it on a “tongue of skin”) a little towards the left, then continued on a more diagonal course to the right down to the pubic area.
It has been suggested that Jack crouched between Eddowes’ thighs and pulled the knife towards him, but this seems unlikely. Most of the main cut sweeps quite clearly from Eddowes’ left to her right side—i.e. it “shelves” precisely as you’d expect if a right-handed killer were crouching to Eddowes’ right. The tongue of flesh around the navel would have been little more than a slight wiggle of the knife, which (lest we forget) was extremely sharp. That “wiggle” would have been far more difficult to achieve if executed from between the legs.
The rest of the wound’s trajectory, comprising the long cut from navel to right ilium, would have entailed twisting the right hand into an extremely uncomfortable position if Jack were located between Eddowes’ legs whilst inflicting the wound. It would have been far more comfortable if the killer were cutting from his victim’s right side, and the direction taken by the downward cut from the navel would seem totally consistent with that which a right-hander would take.
It has also been suggested that Jack somehow crouched on the left side of the body, but there was precious little room between Kate’s left flank and the nearby wall, barely two feet in fact. If Jack had crouched there his position would have been extremely precarious and digging around with a knife would have posed a real risk of his losing his balance.
Furthermore, the removal of the kidney would have been particularly difficult from the left of the body, in that Jack would have had to have reached over the body cavity, with his wrist twisting round to allow him to angle the knife backwards towards the left renal artery. Irrespective of the killer’s handedness, it is clear that wielding the knife would have been extremely awkward in such a position. To compound matters, there was a large puddle of congealing blood that had oozed from the left side of Kate’s throat, which would not only have coated Jack’s feet, but the slippery mass would have made an already cramped position even more precarious. According to the medical evidence, there was some blood-tinged serum pooling to the right of Eddowes’ head, but this was neither as slippery nor as potentially footprint-yielding as the gelling, crimson pool on the other side.
In short, why would Jack inconvenience himself in the confined and bloody space to the left of the body, and why would he twist his wrist into all sorts of contortions operating from between her legs, when Jack had a virtually clear path if he was cutting from Kate’s right side? No, all the indications are that Jack was right-handed, and that he was positioned to the right of Kate’s body as he inflicted first the facial and then the abdominal mutilations.
Much has been made of the supposed skill evidenced by the evisceration performed on Eddowes, in particular reference to the removal of the kidney. This perception has almost certainly been bolstered by the statement of Dr Brown that the killer must have had “some anatomical knowledge”. However, in deference to Dr Brown, I think it only fair to point out that not once did he state that the killer possessed surgical skill. A careful reading of the inquest transcripts and verbatim press reports will confirm that Brown only ever refers to anatomical knowledge and any skill that was shown was clearly not of the order required of a medical man. In Dr Brown’s own words, someone “in the habit of cutting up animals” would have known as much.
Despite popular opinion to the contrary, the nephrectomy performed on the left kidney appears to have been pretty crude. There was a tongue-like flap cut into the abdominal aorta (which runs down past the renal arteries), stabs to the liver (part of which lies above the left kidney) and the spleen (directly above the left kidney). Whilst it is true that the kidney is “covered by a membrane”, it is possible that the kidney was a little more exposed, as Dr Brown indicates that the “membrane” (specifically, the peritoneum) may already have been partly cut, perhaps in the process of laying open the abdomen and removing the intestines. Brown’s notes clearly indicate that there were random jabs and stabs into the viscera and vasculature surrounding the region from which the kidney was removed.
It’s impossible to tell with any certainty, but a case could be made for the suggestion that the nephrectomy preceded the removal of the womb, for it will be argued that, in the process of excising the uterus, Jack inadvertently cut the lower end of the large bowel. The piece of colon removed and placed beside the body was in fact the descending colon, which is about two feet long in an adult female, and located on the left hand side of the body running “south” from the region of the left kidney to a point just above the sigmoid flexure and the rectum.
The sigmoid flexure was cut through and Brown’s description of its being “invaginated into the rectum very tightly” suggest a spasm, possibly caused by a contraction of the muscles at the point when Jack severed the colon. The autonomic nervous system continues to function for quite some time after death, and the reflexive contraction of muscles, such as those lining the bowel, is certainly possible. It seems possible, therefore, that when the colon was cut through the sigmoid flexure simply contracted into the rectum of its own accord.
It is this cutting of the sigmoid colon that suggests that the “hysterectomy” was a bigger mess than might appear at first glance—the implication being that Jack inadvertently cut through the colon in the process of removing Eddowes’ womb or its attachments. It is also highly probable that Jack’s hands became contaminated by faeces at the point at which the colon was accidentally severed. If so, then it is possible that the kidney was removed before the uterus, as it’s fair to assume that Dr Brown would have noted faecal contamination around the peritoneum near the left kidney if any such contaminants had been there.
We now move on to the removal of the uterus itself, which again offers strong clues that militate against the belief that Jack possessed surgical skill. One of the indicators of apparent “expertise” in the earlier Chapman murder was that the cut which removed the uterus and bladder had avoided cutting the rectum, leaving Chapman’s colon intact. With Eddowes, however, there was clearly less successful operation on the uterus, which was nowhere near as cleanly removed as it had been in the case of the Hanbury Street murder. Even there, however, it’s worth remembering that Jack hacked through two-thirds of the bladder even with better light at his disposal.
In contrast to the apparent clinical precision evidenced in the Chapman case, where the womb was liberated by a clean cut below the cervix, Eddowes’ uterus was removed above the cervix, leaving a small “stump” of the womb still in the body. In the face of such evidence it is small wonder that the sigmoid colon, a bend in the intestine located above the rectum almost directly in line with the cervix, was cut through by accident.
The implication is that Jack’s hands were “clean” when he removed the kidney, but became contaminated by faeces afterwards, when he botched the removal of the uterus and cut through the sigmoid colon. Perhaps Jack, in a fit of pique, then decided to cut the upper end of the descending colon in order to remove the intestine completely from the body. As we know, he then placed the offending article on the pavement between Kate’s left flank and her left arm, in the process of which his hands would have become even more filthy.
Other Mutilations (or Lack Thereof)
Some have questioned that Eddowes’ murderer went on to kill Mary Kelly, pointing out that whereas in the latter case Kelly’s arms and breasts were mutilated, we see no such pattern in the Mitre Square murder. However, it is surely significant that all the victims from Nichols through to Eddowes had voluminous quantities of clothing covering those body parts, whereas Kelly’s upper body was naked (or at least flimsily-clad, depending on opinion), thus offering Jack his first opportunity to attack a victim’s arms and thorax. It therefore comes as little surprise that no such thoracic mutilations were attempted on Katherine Eddowes.
We shouldn’t overlook the fact that at least two cuts went down as far as Eddowes’ thighs, both of them forming large flaps of skin that included both labia and other parts of the groin. Very similar wounds were later to be inflicted on Mary Kelly, albeit much more extensively and with even greater violence. It is worth considering that these wounds inflicted on Eddowes constituted the Ripper’s first attempt at denuding the flesh on the thighs.
Timeline of the Events in Mitre Square
Taking the foregoing into account, a reasonable sequence of events for the night in question might be summarised as follows:
01:37:00 ... Lawende et al pass Eddowes and Jack outside Church Passage
01:38:00 ... Eddowes and Jack enter Mitre Square and walk to “Ripper’s Corner”
01:39:00 ... Jack kills Eddowes. Crouching just below her right shoulder, he first mutilates her face
01:40:00 ... The jagged cut to the abdomen is inflicted, with Jack still positioned to the body’s right
01:40:30 ... Evisceration starts. The small intestines are lifted over the shoulder
01:41:00 ... Perhaps on purpose, perhaps by accident, Jack decides to remove the kidney first
01:42:00 ... Jack begins to remove the uterus
01:42:30 ... He botches the operation and cuts through the colon by mistake
01:43:00 ... Perhaps in a feet of pique, he cuts the rest of the colon away and lays it at Kate’s side
01:43:30 ... His hands contaminated by faeces, Jack cuts the piece of Kate’s apron to wipe his hands
01:44:00 ... Perhaps sensing the arrival of PC Watkins, Jack hastily leaves Mitre Square
Did the Mitre Square Murderer go on to Kill Mary Kelly?
It was Dr Thomas Bond’s opinion that all five “canonical” murders had been conducted by the same hand, although some dissenting opinions have been voiced in the century or more since the Whitechapel Murders. Leaving aside the question of whether Jack had previously killed Liz Stride, some intelligent commentators have suggested that, compared to the murders up to and including Eddowes, the mutilations inflicted on Mary Kelly were crude in comparison.
However, in considering the foregoing evidence, it is difficult to argue against the fact that Eddowes herself was also crudely mutilated, as were Nichols and Chapman before her. The facial mutilations inflicted on Eddowes betoken little more than slipshod randomness and in their nature and method of execution they are entirely of a piece with the facial mutilations perpetrated on Kelly. If anything, Mary Kelly’s killer did an even “better” job than he did on Eddowes, but only in the number of cuts and not, crucially, their style. Kelly’s facial mutilations are identical in execution to the swift and crudely perpetrated slashing and scoring that we see in the Mitre Square murder.
Jack the Ripper was not methodical, and neither was he clinically skilled. If the killer had been truly methodical and clinical in each of the murders we’d perhaps expect to have seen only a cut to the throat, a single cut down the abdomen and organs possibly removed. Instead we see totally random cuts to the groin and abdomen, cuts to the upper thighs, stabs to the abdominal viscera remaining in the body, severed intestines, crudely excised organs, cuts to the face, nose, earlobe, and slashed lips and gums.
All these wounds are inflicted in varying combinations from Bucks Row through Miller’s Court, getting progressively worse from one murder to another, whether by accident or by dint of circumstantial expediency. It bears repeating that, in each case (excepting the special case that constitutes the Stride murder), all the mutilations were equally crudely done.
As we have seen, it appears that Jack wasn’t particularly fussy about the order in which the mutilations proceeded, and there is strong evidence to suggest that in the case of Katherine Eddowes, the face was attacked first, then the abdomen. There is a strong probability that such was the case, too, with the mutilation of Mary Kelly, but that will not be discussed here.
There were constraints of location and time in the first four canonical murders that militated against anything other than rapid disembowelment, and the most cursory disfigurement of those parts of the body that were already exposed to the open air—i.e. upper thighs, genitalia and face.
The absence of thoracic mutilations in these earlier murders was surely down to the fact that the other women were fully clothed “from the ribs up”, a restriction absent in the case of Kelly. The selfsame logic accounts for the cuts to Kelly’s forearms—all the other victims were wearing coat-sleeves. It would have been time-consuming and risky for Jack to remove all his victims’ upper clothing in what were ostensibly public rights of way, so he refrained from doing so. In consequence we see no mutilation to the arms or the breasts until we get to Miller’s Court, when circumstances permitted such wounds to be inflicted.
In summary, whilst it is clear that an “amateur” killed Mary Kelly, there is no evidence in her case that suggests that this “amateur” hadn’t killed before, and in a like manner, at Mitre Square.
Conclusion: By Accident or Design?
A close examination of the evidence, preserved for posterity by Dr Frederick Gordon Brown, leads inexorably to the conclusion that the amateur killer of Catherine Eddowes employed methods that were crude in the extreme. There is little or no evidence the killer possessed anything more than a broad knowledge of where the organs were located, and although Dr Brown believed that the killer possessed such knowledge, he never once stated that the killer possessed any surgical skill. To pretend otherwise, to perpetuate the notion that Kate died by the hands of some angel turned devil, or saint turned sinner, is to romanticise her death unnecessarily and seems somehow disrespectful.
Was Catherine Eddowes killed by accident? From her perspective, certainly. However, she was surely selected as a victim of Jack the Ripper by his design, and he clearly intended to mutilate and eviscerate her that night. Beyond that, however, any semblance of design, purpose or skill on the killer’s part emphatically ends.
My thanks go to Neil Bell and Donald Souden for their advice and encouragement, and to the many voices on Casebook.org for asking me to put this together. I would like to express my gratitude to Jane Coram for her excellent artwork, and for interpreting my rough sketches so well. My thanks also to the authors of the Jack the Ripper Sourcebook, and to the dedicated transcribers on the Casebook website who have pulled much of the medical and newspaper evidence together in one place. Finally, I’d like to thank Stephen P Ryder for creating the website, which has served as a sounding-board for these and other ideas for a number of years.