Strange words

Sorry but this is NOT Ned Kelly….or is it?
‘Mind you die like a Kelly, son’ were Ellen Kellys last words to Ned. They are described by Ian Jones in ‘A Short Life’ (p392 in the 2008 edition, Jane) as ‘strange words from a mother such as Ellen to a son such as Ned’.  So what was strange about them, and what did she really mean?
According to “Ned Kelly Volume 1” available from Amazon as an e-book,  Ellen was really saying  Die AS IF YOU WERE a Kelly’ – because she knew that the man about to be hanged wasn’t her son, he wasn’t a Kelly at all but  a convicted Swedish murderer from NSW, Alfred Engstrom.  He was going to “Die like a Kelly” to maintain the Police secret that Ned had already left the district and was living as Mr J Thompson in Adelaide!

Note the Typo. Big ears? 

This work has a catchy alternatve title “Kelly-Gate: Unmasking the Ned Kelly Conspiracy” and seems to have arisen out of an observation made by the author, when comparing  the size of Neds ears in a photo taken as a young man and in the photo taken the day before he was hanged at Melbourne Gaol. He writes “The man we hanged was not Ned Kelly – he had small ears….while a younger Ned had large ears
I immediately looked at those photos of Ned and sure enough in the prison photo the ears DID seem smaller. Talk about things being hidden in plain sight – there couldn’t possibly be any other explanation for this apparent discrepancy between two photos from the 1800’s. No doubt about it – different sized ears in old photos can only mean one thing : these were two completely different and unrelated men! And, obviously if that’s the case then everything else we thought we knew about the Kelly Outbreak is all completely wrong. All of it. The whole  lot! 

Big ears?
Small ears?

The author of this myth-shattering revelation is  Melboune ‘medicare accredited’, bulk billing Clinical Psychologist, Dr Michael King PhD, PhD (yes twice!) M.App.Sci, M.Ed. He would appear to regard himself as in some way qualified to analyse photographic evidences because he advertises himself as being available for ‘legal and forensic reports’ . He says he completed this book in 1997 but an unnamed Publisher “took actual money for his efforts and merely messed around with it until the writer gave up hope. Then came Amazon Kindle and a couple of friends said “put it out there
Volume 2, still to be published “discusses in forensic detail every known fact and fiction relating to the Kelly story, showing how most of the Glenrowan myth just could not be true”. Well yes, of course! In Volume 3, also still to be published, there is ‘an extensive personality assessment of the man behind the mask’
King writes that he made a study of Ned Kellys personality mainly using  Ned and the others’ a book by Gary Dean and Dagmar Balcarek, and says he ‘emerged as a sociopath’. According to King, Ned was sick of running, he wanted the hunt to end, and in desperation agreed to a diabolical plan devised by Superintendent Hare : Ned would bring the Outbreak to an end by betraying the gang in return for his freedom. Aaron would be the first to die but  Hare insisted no harm was to be done to the Policemen in his hut. A train would be sent from Melbourne to bring a convicted murderer from NSW, Alfred Engstrom, to replace Ned using the Police-made armour as a disguise.  Engstrom, impersonating Ned, would be ‘captured’, and the rest of the gang killed. Later, Engstrom as Ned would be hanged and the Kelly gang consigned to history.  And isn’t that exactly what happened? Remember when Ned left the Inn during the siege and for several hours his whereabouts were unknown? Did he not re-emerge in armour from behind Police lines early in the morning? By then, the substitute had been made – it was Engstrom – and Ned was already galloping to Echuca, a Paddle-steamer down the Murray to Wentworth, and freedom.

Unfortunately for the author of this convoluted explanation for what happened at Glenrowan, it is a spectacular failure of the test of Occams razor, and for that reason alone can be dismissed. It fails a whole lot of tests, but the one that’s fatal to this mad conspiracy theory is the one provided by Science: when the bones of the ‘fake’ Ned were examined, they contained scientific proof  in the form of DNA evidence that whoever it was that was hanged, it wasn’t a Swede but a direct descendant of Ellen Kelly. Not a fake at all. Who else but Ned? Explain that Mr King!- actually no, don’t bother – It will just be another chapter of insane conspiracy, and I’m getting tired of them.But I have to say, I just love science – the way it cuts through bullshit is spectacular!

The only reason anyone ought to read this mad nonsense is if they’re interested in seeing a conspiracy theorist at work. 
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17 Replies to “Strange words”

  1. Big Ears is totally innocent!

  2. Josh Ellis says: Reply

    Crikey! You had me wondering up to the last paragraphs whether you had a few drams too many when you wrote that.

    A prison photo of Alfred Engstrom probably exists. They were common by the 1870s.

    If learned author King has not provided a copy that only adds to his woes.

    Great blog, Dee!

  3. Dee, I have been seeing that e-book for quite some time now listed at Amazon whenever I would search for possible new Kelly books. I was curious as to what it was all about but could not justify the $6 download price (on USA Amazon site) for something that was probably very outlandish. I thought that if it was even half that I might have taken a look. Sounds like even that figure would be too much now! So, when is volume 2 coming out? Or is that dependent on sales of Volume 1?

  4. Ken Field says: Reply

    ‘Ned and the others’ the Dean and Balcarek book, is rather ordinary. I doubt any conclusions about Ned could be gleaned from it. Dr King says Ned ‘emerged as a sociopath’ from his studies. But Dr Russ Scott and Ian MacFarlane's authoritative research (“Ned Kelly – stock thief, bank robber, murderer – psychopath,” Psychiatry, Psychology and Law) suggests Ned was a psychopath and not just a sociopath. Their reliance was on many primary and secondary sources and not anecdotal evidence.

  5. Anonymous says: Reply

    And of course 'Noddy' you, more than anyone else, would have to know this!

  6. Sharon theres no indication regarding the timing of the publication of Volumes II and III but if he reads this Blog he might decide to save his time and money and not bother.

    But heres an idea I had this morning : lets make a list of the things that he will have to explain if his story was true. The first one is this : McIntyre identified the prisoner in Court at Beechworth as being the man who attacked him at SBC. So was he and all of the rest of the Police force in on the conspiracy?

  7. As usual Dee a ripping-apart yarn.
    Knowing a little about camera lenses, you will notice if you take a selfie close up your nose will always appear bigger than it realy is because the curvature of the lens creates a perspective. Therefore your ears will look smaller in proportion to your nose. The further away the subject the more realistic the perspective.

    Ned's death mask original mould making may not have had his ears on that first impression, but to be later modeled on. The ears would have created an 'undercut' for hard setting plaster, and it would be impossible to extract the cast from the mould unless breaking something.

    In The inner History of the Kelly Gang by JJ Kenneally on page 114 the author writes about the armour.

    " There was only one helmet made, and that was for Ned Kelly. This helmet has been identified by Police Inspector Pewtress as the one then exhibited at the Aquarium, in the Exhibition Buildings, Melbourne"

    P 116, After the siege at Glenrowan, the police failed to discover the three missing helmets, and three immitations were made at a blacksmith's shop in Collin Street, Melbourne. It is a matter for regret that these spurios helmets were exhibited to the public and passed off as genuine. It is alledged that a police official, apparently without authority, gave Ned Kelly's armour with a bogus helmet to a titled millionaire at Sunbury. "

    So here we have a 1920's account of the armour that I am sure J.J.K would have had first hand knowledge about. There are so many if buts and maybes that I don't think you, we are in position to provide a diffinatve modern account of what really went on.

  8. Bill I am not sure what point you’re wanting to make about the helmets. No-one seems to understand why JJK – as you call him – said only one helmet was made when there is a photo taken a day or two after the Siege showing the two suits with helmets that were raked out of the ashes of the inn. And Neds was already accounted for…Actually stand by because my next Post in a day or two is going to be about the armour!

  9. Dee, I was adding to your title Strange Stories
    Do you not think it strange that JJK would write things like there was only one helmet made by Dan and Tom ?
    Ok this was fifty years after the event, but even the pictures in The Inner History book show not one picture of what is today regarded as Ned's helmet, that Police Inspector Pewtress claimed was Ned's. All Strange stories to me.

  10. For sure Bill. Thats another book I have to review one of these days!

  11. Here is another book for you to review Dee-

    "New book on bushranger offers family links to Ned Kelly and claims siege pair survived Glenrowan siege".

    "Ned – Knight in Aussie Armour, a 140-page work was launched at Glenrowan on Wednesday with its writer Eugenie Navarre saying it revealed Kelly Gang secrets."

    "Navarre interviewed Kelly biographer Ian Jones and Glenrowan buff Gary Dean, who sang The Ballad of the Kelly Gang at the launch and tipped her book would be fascinating and controversial."

    The Border Mail, reported by Anthony Bunn

  12. Anonymous says: Reply

    Ho hum, just more of the same!

  13. Thanks for the link Bill. I have to say thats a hellishly expensive little bit of worthless fiction that I might have to wait for someone else to review.

    It seems the only people left talking about the Kelly Myth are cranks and conspiracy theorists who have deliberately chosen to ignore contemporary research and understandings and insight into the whole Kelly outbreak. I am not surprised that Gary Dean was at the book launch but I doubt VERY MUCH that Ian Jones would have been anywhere near the joint. In fact I reckon he would have been appalled at their use of his name. Joanne Griffiths, the Kelly Centre proponent will have done her cause even more harm by aligning herself with these people, so she may as well kiss that scheme good bye. I think the only hope Kelly people have is to abandon the cranks and the crackpots, accept that Ned Kelly was a villain, and tell the truth about his part in the Kelly Outbreak. Its still an interesting story – there are memorials and museums and collections of artefacts commemorating Bushrangers and criminal gangs all over the country and the Kelly story is just another one. albeit with its own unique features, the Armour being one, his writings being another and the conspiracy theories that have spun around him another. Thats the line I am going to keep encouraging the Kelly Vault to pursue.

  14. Now I see Iron Outlaw is endorsing this garbage on its Facebook page, saying that $44.95 would be money well spent. Its interesting to see the names of the people who “Liked” it or made comments about it. These people will swallow anything as long as it includes a line somewhere about Ned Kelly being a hero. Sadly it seems none has the brains or the guts to reply here for example to the post about the impossibility of Dan and Steve surviving the fires, or to try to defend their brief in the fanciful Ned Kelly Republic – except of course with abuse, which I am continuing to get almost every day.

    Its entirely fortuitous that my blog Posts in the last few days are so directly relevant to this latest publication. Eugenie Navarre would be cursing her rotten luck to have chosen to Launch right when the subject of her Book is getting 300 plus reads a day on this Blog! Couldnt be good for Book Sales.

  15. Peter Newman says: Reply

    I have ordered a copy of Eugenie Navarre's book as I am interested to see what she has to say. I would be pleased to review it and post my thoughts in due course.

  16. Thanks Peter. Its hard for me to imagine there could be anything worthwhile in a book that we already know proposes nonsense like Steve and Dan surviving the fire at the Inn – but it will at least be an insight into the mind of another conspiracy theorist!

  17. I thought that author's name rang a bell. In this article she is said to have been working on a book about untold stories about Ned and was seeking information on the lover and son of Ned Kelly that was told about in Trevor Tucker's "Ned Kelly's Son" which was a novel inspired by oral history.

    I agree that the price is rather high. I think she would do more in sales if she were to lower it.

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