While I admit that it is more likely that Jack the Ripper was a common East Ender than a Royal or associate of the First Family, I think its important to remember that far-fetched or apparently far-fetched theories sometimes turn out to be true. Dont stop reading, hear me out for a sec. This has proven to be the case in various instances throughout history, a similar case or one that bears a relationship here would be the infamous Manson Murders of 40 years ago I mean who would have believed that race wars nonsense?!? Dont worry I'm not going to start going on about JFK or 911 or anything like that but I do think it is very important to keep in mind that many a 'tale' of the ilk espoused by Knight, Speiring and Fairclough orginate from a place of fact; surely there is at least a germ of truth in Joseph Sickert's story and the writings of the above authors and their buddies.
As a footnote I might also add that the more 'romantic' aspects of Jack the Ripper account for a large bulk of people attracted to the case. Personally speaking I wouldnt have found The Great Victorian Mystery appealing had I not been brought up with the romance of the case (The Final Solution, From Hell etc) so at the very least, Stephen Knight and Co. should be commended for perpetuating interest in the Autumn of Terror.
It was Dr. Gull and you know it was!!
I've only just seen your post. I'm surprised no-one has responded to it.
As far as I'm able to tell, the Royal Conspiracy was first publicised by Dr Thomas Stowell who put forward the theory that the women were killed by the Duke of Clarence (who, incidentally, bore an amazing resemblance to our old pal Montague Druitt). Stowell claimed that Gull followed the Duke around the East End on the murder nights - for what purpose, one asks? The fact that the Duke's movements on every murder night can be acocunted for didn't apparently cut any ice with Stowell. Some support for Stowell's theory came from a French author (sorry, can't remember his name), but the whole thing is so implausible as to be ridiculous.
And then there is the theory put forward by Joseph Sickert and written about by Stephen Knight that it was Gull who was the killer, bumping off the women one by one because they were planning to blackmail the Government over the naughty doings of Clarence at a 'gay' club in Cleveland Street. Oh, and his secret marriage to a commoner called Annie Crook, too. And the Masons got involved, as well...
I agree that Stephen Knight's book was a good read, but sadly it's all moonshine. Joseph Sickert eventually admitted that his 'theory', and what he'd told Knight about the case, were sheer fabrication.
There never was a 'Royal Connection'....I think most of it came from the excellent story-telling skills and vivid imagination of at least one old man.
For me all these outlandish claims just come from the same mind-set that fuels modern day conspiracy theories - some people just can't accept that something so famous and enduring could be done by a, ahem, 'normal' east end citizen.
I recently saw a book called the jack the ripper: the victorian mystery by Paul Begg. I have looked for it but when i order it from amazon and etc it always gives me another Paul Begg JTR book? was it printed under another title
Last edited by downonwhores : 08-26-2008 at 12:30 PM.
...but sadly it's all moonshine. Joseph Sickert eventually admitted that his 'theory', and what he'd told Knight about the case, were sheer fabrication.
Hi Graham, I can certainly see what youre saying and I too have heard on numerous occasions of how Joseph Sickert referred to his story as 'a whopping fib' but in Melvin Fairclough's The Ripper and the Royals the author explains why Sickert retracted his story told to Stephen Knight. Now while attempting to resurrect an apparent 'whopping fib' as fact would be priority#1 for Fairclough and his publishing house in order to shift units I dont think Sickert's tale as fanciful as it is should be dismissed entirely.
Having said as much, it has been suggested on this site that the Royal Conspiracy originated with an 1890's Whitechapel club. Does anyone have any further information on this?
my great grandmother was born in 1886 and my mum used to tell me that at the time of the murders there was two theories that people in newcastle were talking about.. one was that the killer was a doctor who was angered that his son had caught VD but then she said "but that was rubbish because every one knew that it was the queens grandson because he was seen" now i dont know if this is true or false or anything like that but it goes to show that the theory of the royal connection was prevelent at the time of the killings and not thought up in the late 60s by Stowell.
There was a strong Republican movement in late Victorian era and this crock was started by them as a way of drumming up anti-monarchy sentiments in the country! It sells movie tickets and shifts a few books but is as realistic and factual as Eric Cartmens essay on how Karl masterminded 911!
Conspiracy theories whether it was the Royals or the Mason or the PTA provide both closure and explanation. Here is a guy going around killing women in the most inhumane ways. We don't know the who or the why, and officially, he got away with it. Now, who in England would have the power to be untouchable? I mean, the police cannot be all dumb, right? So, we focus our anger, and rage, and solutions on those people who can evade the law, that can "buy" their way out of the justice system. People who are untouchable. And who are the most untouchable people in England at this time--the Royals. Even with all of their scandals and bloodletting--I mean the wars of Europe were nothing more than one side of the family fighting the other side--they are the people that everyone loathes, while, ironically, admire at the same time. I mean look at the two princes. Here are two good looking guys who are rich beyond means, yet some working class bird always thinks she is going to end up with one of them. I mean, did anyone really think that poor old Abberline--who was just a working class slob--was going to go up to Buckingham Palace and put the Queen in the handcuffs? Of course, it doesn't help that you have people who took advantage of the murders, and turned Jack the Ripper into a royal terrorist, preying on the poor and lower, lower middle class. Not to mention some writers and hacks who call themselves journalists who had a bone to pick with "the system." The class system in England is still a major dividing point, and let's stick it to the Royals to make the Ripper one of their own! I mean just look what they did with Diana. Here is a woman who divorced herself from the Royal family--didn't want anything to do with them--yet when she is killed the newspaper's make her into the "people princess" ie a middle-class a person who everbody could relate to. (BTW, see The Queen with Helen Mirren, great movie!)
In a way though, I would wish that was the royals or the masons. At least, we would the why of what was happening that autumn of terror.