|Jack the Ripper: A Suspect Guide|
|This text is from the E-book Jack the Ripper: A Suspect Guide by Christopher J. Morley (2005). Click here to return to the table of contents. The text is unedited, and any errors or omissions rest with the author. Our thanks go out to Christopher J. Morley for his permission to publish his E-book.|
Charles Lutwidge Dodgson
Charles Lutwidge Dodgson is better known by the pseudonym, Lewis Carroll, the author of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland (1865) and Through The Looking Glass (1872). He concocted the pseudonym Lewis Carroll by translating his first two names, Charles Lutwidge, into Latin, as, Carolus Lodovicus, then anglicising and reversing there order. As well as being a writer of children's books, Dodgson was also a famous photographer, mathematician and illustrator.
Born on 27 January 1832 in Daresbury, Cheshire, his parents, Charles and Francis, nee Lutwidge, were clergyman, and he grew up in a strict Christian household, with his early education provided by his parents. He was the oldest son, and the third of eleven children. On his fourteenth birthday he enrolled at Rugby school, where he remained for three deeply unhappy years. Described as a shy, sensitive boy with a stammer, he was also somewhat deaf in his left ear as a result of having contracted mumps in the autumn of 1848. While at Rugby he suffered bulling from the older boys and wrote afterwards of his time there. 'I made some friends there, but I cannot say that I look back upon my life at a public school with any sensation or pleasure, or that any earthly considerations would induce me to go through my three years again'.
Educated at Oxford, he graduated with honours in mathematics and in 1855 taught mathematics at Christ Church, Oxford, and would continue to do so until 1881. Among his hobbies was photography, and he excelled at photographing children, which was his greatest pleasure. One of his photographic subjects was Alice Liddell, daughter of Henry George Liddell, the Dean of Christ Church. Alice became the model for the fictional Alice. In 1932 she recalled how she and her sister's, 'Used to sit on the big sofa on each side of him, while he told us stories, illustrating them by pencil or ink drawings as he went along. He seemed to have an endless store of these fantastical tales which he made up as he told them, drawing busily on a large sheet of paper all the time. They were not always entirely new, sometimes they were new versions of old stories, sometimes they started on the old basis, but grew into new tales owing to the frequent interruptions which opened up fresh and undreamed of possibilities'.
In 1862 Dodgson wrote down the stories at Alice's request. Author Henry Kingsley visited the Liddell's, and happened to pick up Dodgson's stories and persuaded him to publish his writings. In 1865 he published his first Alice book under the title, Alice's Adventures In Wonderland. He also wrote a number of books on mathematics. Dodgson has been suggested as a Ripper suspect by author Richard Wallace in his 1996 book Jack The Ripper - Light Hearted Friend.
Wallace claims deleted passages from Dodgson's diaries apparently contained comments on the murders. Other theorists have Dodgson committing the murders with his Oxford colleague, Thomas Vere Bayne.
At the time of the murders, Vere Bayne, was nearly sixty years old and was suffering from acute back pain. An entry in his diary dated 16 August 1888, he simply said, 'Can barely move, great pain'. Vere Bayne was actually in France from 1 September to 5 October. Dodgson, in 1888, was 56 years of age, 5ft 9"tall, with a very thin frame, he walked with a jerky gait and tended to tilt backward when he stood. He spent the autumn of 1888 at his summer cottage in Eastbourne in the company of his actress friend, Isa Bowman. He was there on 31 August and 30 September and stayed until 3 October.
Dodgson died on 22 January 1898, after contracting a minor cold which developed into a chest problem. Dodgson mentions the Ripper only once in his private diary, entry 26 August 1891, when he makes reference to talking with Dr Dabbs, while in the Isle of Wight, about his very ingenious theory about Jack the Ripper, though disappointingly never mentions what his ingenious theory was.
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