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Friday, February 3, 2006

Was Jack The Ripper A Freemason

Was Jack The Ripper A Freemason Cover No.

To date, the perpetrator—or perpetrators—of the 1888 Whitechapel murders has not been identified.

The royal conspiracy theory—in which Prince Albert Victor Christian Edward, the Duke of Clarence (known as "Eddy" to his friends) is accused of committing the murders to cover up his alleged marriage to a Catholic shop girl, Annie Crook—achieved popularity in 1973 with the broadcast of a BBC programme, Jack the Ripper. It was further enlarged by Stephen Knight (1951/09/26 - 1985/07), in his Jack the Ripper: The Final Solution, (George G. Harrap Co. Ltd., London, 1976)

The theory that the murderer was Eddy was first posed by Dr. Thomas Eldon Alexander Stowell (d. 1970/11/08) in the November 1970 issue of The Criminologist, Vol. 5 No. 18, in an article entitled "'Jack the Ripper' - A Solution?", pp. 40-51. He subsequently wrote a letter to The Times on 9 November denying that his suspect, referred to merely as a demented and syphilitic suspect ’s', was Prince Eddy. While Philippe Jullian had implicated Eddy in his 1962 book Edouard VII [Edward and the Edwardians, New York, the Viking Press and London, Sidgwick & Jackson, 1967. pp. 143-144], Stewart P Evans has demonstrated that Stowell had related his theory that Eddy was the Ripper to Colin Wilson in 1960 and that Wilson had passed the theory on to at least a dozen others.

Knight also based his book on interviews with Joseph Sickert, the son of the famous artist Walter Sickert. In The Sunday Times of London, on June 18, 1978, Sickert said of this story: "It was a hoax; I made it all up." By 1991 Sickert had renounced his confession and wrote the forward to Melvyn Fairclough’s The Ripper and the Royals (London: Gerald Duckworth, 1991). In 2002 Patricia Cornwell published Portrait of a Killer; Jack the Ripper Case Closed. The author purported to present hard evidence that the Whitechapel murders were committed by the world famous artist—and non-mason—Walter Sickert.

Further objections to the royal conspiracy theory were raised by Donald Rumbelow, one of the most respected researchers of the Ripper murders, in his revised edition of Jack the Ripper: The Complete Casebook: "Whichever way you look, there is not a shred of evidence to back up Knight’s theory." (The Complete Casebook, pp. 207, 209, 212)

On the contrary, there is considerable evidence refuting these allegations. Court and Royal records document that the prince was not in London on the murder dates. The baby girl said to have been the child of Prince Eddy was born on April 18, 1885, so she had to have been conceived during a time when Prince Eddy was in Germany, while Annie Crook, the alleged mother, was in London. Knight’s story says that Eddy and Annie met in 1888 in Walter Sickert’s studio. But that building had been demolished in 1886, and a hospital was built on the site in 1887.

There is nothing to identify the perpetrator of the Whitechapel murders as a freemason, and nothing to implicate Freemasonry in the murders or any alleged cover-up. Although fictional accounts such as the movies From Hell and Murder by Decree depict the murders as resembling masonic ritual and the location of the murders as having masonic significance, neither historical facts nor published masonic ritual bear out this claim. Knight’s theory depended on the assumption that such figures as the Marquess of Salisbury, Sir William Gull and Sir Robert Anderson were freemasons, but in fact they were not.

Recommended reading (pdf e-books):

Arthur Edward Waite - The Templar Orders In Freemasonry
Castells - The Apocalypse Of Freemasonry
Captain William Morgan - The Mysteries Of Freemasonry