19 November 1888
THOUGHT-READING AND THE DETECTION OF CRIME.-On Sunday evening, at the Hotel Victoria, Mr. Stuart Cumberland gave illustrations of thought-reading as it might, he suggested, be applied to the detection of crime. The company included magistrates, diplomatists, lawyers, authors, novelists, &c. Mr. Cumberland prefaced his experiments by stating that there was no such thing as a power of reading a person's thoughts by looking into the mind and seeing what was passing there, but that what he termed thought-reading was the observation of the involuntary physical indications which corresponded to the thought or feeling that was predominant in the mind. With this explanation the experiments were proceeded with. Mr. Vaughan, the well-known magistrate was asked to take the chair, and in that capacity he forthwith became accessory before and after the fact to a series of as startling crimes as were ever perpetrated before a drawing-room gathering. Mr. W. Lumley communicated to Mr. Vaughan his intention to murder Mr. Milner, Mr. Cumberland being out of the room at the time; and then Mr. Cumberland, blindfolded and holding Mr. Lumley's hand, walked about among the company, and shortly fixed upon Mr. Milner as the gentleman who had been designated. It should be said that Mr. Lumley was requested to concentrate his thought, during the search, upon the person whom he had selected. The next thing was the representation of a murder with robbery, Mr. Cumberland being out of the room as before, and blindfolded during the search. Mr. P. Callan was good enough to slay Sir W. Charley, and a gentleman from the Russian Embassy took and secreted his watch. Mr. Cumberland, holding the hand of the supposed criminal, soon selected the victim from amongst the company, and, though the discovery of the watch was more troublesome, it was at last satisfactorily accomplished. After this, Mr. Cumberland found out which of three suspected men-Mr. W.S. Gilbert, Mr. B.L. Farjeon, and Mr. T. Lumley-had committed a sham assassination. It should be added that not only did Mr. Cumberland discover the imaginary victims, but that he repeated the manner in which the pretended crime had been committed, pointing a dagger to the same part of the body, and in one case this was remarkable, as the original deed was a make-believe stabbing in two places. Miss Julia Neilson was requested to fix her mind upon some article worn by any person present, and, after it had been discovered, to bestow it in imagination upon some other person. Mr. Cumberland, holding the lady's hand, had no difficulty in finding the owner of a ring which had attracted her notice, and in ascertaining that she had mentally transferred that article to Mrs. W.S. Gilbert. Al the experiments were perfectly successful, though some appeared to present more obstacles than others. At the conclusion Mr. Vaughan expressed the thanks of the company to Mr. Cumberland, and said that what he had witnessed had certainly presented the subject to him in a new light.
The man who committed suicide in Hyde Park on Friday, by shooting himself in the mouth with a revolver, has now been identified as Richard Brown, a constable of the E Division belonging to Hunter-street Police-station.
Considerable excitement was caused in London on Saturday afternoon by the circulation of a report that a medical man had been arrested at Euston, upon arrival from Birmingham, on a charge of suspected complicity in the Whitechapel murders. It was stated that the accused had been staying at a common lodging-house in Birmingham since Monday last, and the theory was that if, as was supposed by the police, he was connected with the East-end crimes, he left the metropolis by an early train on the morning of the tragedies. The suspected man was of gentlemanly appearance and manners, and somewhat resembled the description of the person declared by witnesses at the inquest to have been seen in company with Kelly early on the morning that she was murdered. Upon being minutely questioned as to his whereabouts at the time of the murders, the suspect was able to furnish a satisfactory account of himself, and was accordingly liberated. It has since transpired that he has been watched by Birmingham police for the last five days, and when he left that town on Saturday the Metropolitan police were advised to continue to "watch" him, not to arrest him.-The police in the East-end had given into their custody late last night a man who gave his name as Charles Akehurst, and his address as Canterbury-road, Ball's-pond-road, N. Whilst in a house in Flower-and-Dean-street, Spitalfields, with a woman, he made use of certain remarks and acted in a manner which was considered sufficient to justify the woman in handing him over to the police. He was taken to the Commercial-street Police-station, were he was questioned. He was still under detention at one o'clock this morning.
Shortly before Mr. Bushby left the bench at the close of the day's business at Worship-street Police-court on Saturday, a Swede, named Nikaner A. Benelius, 27 years of age, and described as a traveler, living in Great Eastern-street, Shoreditch, was placed in the dock charged with entering a dwelling-house in Burton-street, Mile-End, for an unlawful purpose, and with refusing to give any account of himself.-Detective-sergeant Dew attended from Commercial-street station, and stated that the prisoner had been arrested that morning under circumstances which rendered it desirable to have the fullest inquiries made as to him. Prior to the last murder (of Mary Kelly, in Miller's-court) the prisoner had been arrested by the police and detained in connection with the Berner-street murder, but was eventually released. He had, however, remained about the neighbourhood, lodging in a German lodging-house, but having, the officer said, no apparent means of subsistence.-Harriet Rowe, a married woman, living in Buxton-street, Mile-end, then deposed that at about half-past ten that morning she had left the street door open, and whilst sitting in the parlour the prisoner, a stranger to her, opened the door and walked in. She asked him what he wanted, but he only "grinned" in reply. She was greatly alarmed, being alone, and ran to the window, but the prisoner then opened the parlour door and left. She followed him into the street until she saw a constable, when she gave the prisoner into custody.-The prisoner was searched at the station, but nothing found on him.-In answer to the charge he said he only went into the house to ask his way to Fenchurch-street.-Mr. Bushby said he should follow the usual course, and remand the prisoner for inquiries till Friday.
It has now been definitely decided that the funeral shall take place at half-past twelve to-day.