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  • What basis is there for a conspiracy theory?

    I know there are members out there who subscribe to Stephen Knight's Royal conspiracy theory or some variation thereof which essentially involves an ulterior motive for the murders.

    What I'd like to know is if there is any historical example of a group of (seemingly unrelated) victims being killed in a very specific way for political purposes? And if not, what is it about the Ripper murders that attract these kinds of conspiracy theories?

  • #2
    Originally posted by Harry D View Post
    I know there are members out there who subscribe to Stephen Knight's Royal conspiracy theory or some variation thereof which essentially involves an ulterior motive for the murders.

    What I'd like to know is if there is any historical example of a group of (seemingly unrelated) victims being killed in a very specific way for political purposes? And if not, what is it about the Ripper murders that attract these kinds of conspiracy theories?
    I would think that one of those questions can be answered with a question,.....can we be certain that the individuals most responsible for the Whitechapel Murder cases told "nothing but" the truth about their investigations and thoughts about the investigations? I phrase it that way because virtually every senior officer assigned to the cases worked in National Security roles, and as such kept information from their own respective bureaus and agencies, and suppressed information they thought vital to National Security. They suppressed, they lied, and they conducted business with terrorists. Double spies, assassination plots, the perceived Socialist threats, these guys handled THE most sensitive and dangerous information with secrecy.

    Monro's knowledge of the impending Jubilee Plot in 87 and his lack of communication about his fears to the parties most in danger is an example of the suppression.
    Michael Richards

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    • #3
      Hello, Harry D.,

      This is an interesting topic. I don't believe in the Royal Conspiracy solution to the Ripper murders, though I will admit it offers a neat, packaged explanation to a series of crimes that otherwise seem random.

      Which is more frightening? Several poor women murdered by one (or more) killers for no discernible reason? Or a conspiracy of killers on a mission to eliminate a threat to the Throne?
      The former is realistic, the latter isn't (but makes great drama).

      Most serial killers work alone, and most select victims from the same demographic (women, children, gay men) or profession (prostitutes of both sexes being the leading group here). Some killers work in pairs, but rarely will you find a group of more the two serial murderers.

      I'm a little baffled by Ripperologists who, having pinpointed a good suspect for one particular victim among the series, absolutely insist that their person MUST have done all of the other victims. Is it a desire to garner more glory for locating the famed Jack the Ripper? More of the human desire to tie up all the loose ends of these mysteries in one solution? Why?
      Pat D. https://forum.casebook.org/core/imag...rt/reading.gif
      ---------------
      Von Konigswald: Jack the Ripper plays shuffleboard. -- Happy Birthday, Wanda June by Kurt Vonnegut, c.1970.
      ---------------

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by Harry D View Post
        I know there are members out there who subscribe to Stephen Knight's Royal conspiracy theory or some variation thereof which essentially involves an ulterior motive for the murders.

        What I'd like to know is if there is any historical example of a group of (seemingly unrelated) victims being killed in a very specific way for political purposes? And if not, what is it about the Ripper murders that attract these kinds of conspiracy theories?
        Hi Harry,

        I'm really not a supporter on Conspiracy theories, unless the evidence supporting the particular example is just too open to dispute (i.e., Booth's conspiracy to first kidnap, and later kill Abraham Lincoln, or the "Rastenburg" Bomb plot against Hitler led by Count Claus von Stauffenberg - in these cases the actual involvement of more than one person was demonstrated, although in both cases areas were left uninvestigated properly and in the second the vengefulness of Hitler and his regime was apparent towards the treatment of those captured and tortured). The example of the so-called "Royal Conspiracy" is marred because of the source of the information linking the murders to the Masons, Dr. Gull, and others - this source changing the story, and later admitting he lied.

        That said I was thinking of what you asked. Actually the closest I could think of a set of victims pointed at as the victims of the conspiracy who died at different times was the debatable "JFK" Assassination Conspiracy theories, pointing to the Cubans, Right Wing Americans, the Mob, the Russians, and others as the killers. If you think of the number of people who are named as victims besides President Kennedy and Governor Connelly, you have Officer Tibbett, Oswald, Ruby (did he die of cancer or was that a lie?), and other figures - depending on who is constructing the version of the conspiracy theory you are dealing with. One party who is supposed to have died under murky circumstances was columnist Dorothea Kilgallen, who told friends she was about to blow the actual case open a few days before her death). Sam Giancana, the Chicago gang boss (who's mistress was supposed to have slept with JFK as well) was shot and killed in his home in 1979. It was suggested he too knew too much. During the Watergate Scandal, the wife of E. Howard Hunt who was one of Nixon's "plumber's unit" was killed when her airplane crashed with all on board - supposedly Hunt was one of the C. I. A. operatives in Dallas at the time of the assassination who probably knew more than he said, but was on the verge of revealing this when the death of his wife was a signal to keep quiet if he knew what was good for him.

        That's the problem - one can pick up a case and link it to a series of deaths over decades to make it look like they are connected when they aren't really. The closer the deaths are in time, and the similarities (general or specific) between them, the more likely they are connected. Forgetting the trappings of the Royal Conspiracy theory the deaths in Whitechapel do look like they could be connected no matter who did them. With the Kennedy Assassination it is like dealing with dozens of odd and tragic occurrences over a period of years, and over far distant terrain. One really would have to work hard to prove they are linked, and I have yet to see proof that I would accept.

        Jeff

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Harry D View Post
          I know there are members out there who subscribe to Stephen Knight's Royal conspiracy theory or some variation thereof which essentially involves an ulterior motive for the murders.

          What I'd like to know is if there is any historical example of a group of (seemingly unrelated) victims being killed in a very specific way for political purposes? And if not, what is it about the Ripper murders that attract these kinds of conspiracy theories?
          Hi,

          I think it is a matter of how one does operationalize "for political purposes".

          Is it a matter of specific, explicit political purposes among members of the state elite? Is it a matter of some general political interest among people in a certain group in society? Or is it a specific interest of a certain group of people within the highest state elite?

          There are a lot of what we could call "serial murders" in history if we are looking at the way the bodies have been murdered (and often mutilated).

          To postulate that they are connected to any of the above types, we often need to use other words than "serial murders" since this concept usually is understood as being a matter of a single person committing the murders because of some psychological problems.

          Instead, the concept used for serial (or mass) murders committed "for political purposes" is usually constructed as "ritual killings" or "ritual murders", terrorism or riots.

          Therefore the question is rather complex and this makes it very difficult to discuss the Ripper murders in the light of murders committed "for political purposes". I donīt say it is impossible to discuss, just very difficult.

          The frame for understanding the Ripper murders is usually the concept of the "serial killer" since serial killers have egoistic purposes (motives) connected to other ideas than political ones. The question is, of course, if we think that Jack the Ripper was a serial killer and what indicates this. So one could argue for or against this and in that way also answer the question of serial murder in Whitechapel "for political purposes".

          There are extensive literature on the subject of murder and mutilation for political purposes. Here is one example: Donald L. Horowitz. The Deadly Ethnic Riot.

          Regards Pierre
          Last edited by Pierre; 12-27-2015, 02:40 AM.

          Comment


          • #6
            likewise

            Hello PC.

            "I'm a little baffled by Ripperologists who, having pinpointed a good suspect for one particular victim among the series, absolutely insist that their person MUST have done all of the other victims."

            Well, that makes two of us.

            If you use imagination, Hutch MIGHT have done "MJK," and if you strain a bit, Cross might have done Polly. But it is LUDICROUS to add to these.

            Cheers.
            LC

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            • #7
              The Manson family murders were political, though not in a broader sense. The immediate motive was to essentially glorify Manson, to bring about Helter Skelter, and to allow Manson to assert the ultimate control over his followers. The government wasn't involved, but that doesn't make it any less a conspiracy or a political act.
              The early bird might get the worm, but the second mouse gets the cheese.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by lynn cates View Post
                Hello PC.

                "I'm a little baffled by Ripperologists who, having pinpointed a good suspect for one particular victim among the series, absolutely insist that their person MUST have done all of the other victims."

                Well, that makes two of us.

                If you use imagination, Hutch MIGHT have done "MJK," and if you strain a bit, Cross might have done Polly. But it is LUDICROUS to add to these.

                Cheers.
                LC
                This is all just your opinion Lynn. Why is it so unlikely that all the C5 were killed by the same serial killer? I do admit though that Hutch and Cross are not good suspects both are witnesses and nothing more.

                Cheers John

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Pcdunn View Post
                  Hello, Harry D.,

                  I'm a little baffled by Ripperologists who, having pinpointed a good suspect for one particular victim among the series, absolutely insist that their person MUST have done all of the other victims. Is it a desire to garner more glory for locating the famed Jack the Ripper? More of the human desire to tie up all the loose ends of these mysteries in one solution? Why?
                  Maybe the opposite applies as well - how many excellent suspects may have been dismissed because they could only be linked to one murder and not others?

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Harry D View Post
                    I know there are members out there who subscribe to Stephen Knight's Royal conspiracy theory or some variation thereof which essentially involves an ulterior motive for the murders.

                    What I'd like to know is if there is any historical example of a group of (seemingly unrelated) victims being killed in a very specific way for political purposes? And if not, what is it about the Ripper murders that attract these kinds of conspiracy theories?
                    There's always the case of the Beast of Gevaudan. The French solved that one IMO.

                    At first, they thought it was a wolf or some other wild animal but then the geo-profile of the murders showed one area where the killings were in direct parallel lines. A wild animal wouldn't do that. I think the pattern of the murders in Whitechapel show it wasn't a "mad dog" although a human doesn't need masters to do pattern serial murder so that's no evidence of conspiracy.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Harry D View Post
                      I know there are members out there who subscribe to Stephen Knight's Royal conspiracy theory or some variation thereof which essentially involves an ulterior motive for the murders.

                      What I'd like to know is if there is any historical example of a group of (seemingly unrelated) victims being killed in a very specific way for political purposes? And if not, what is it about the Ripper murders that attract these kinds of conspiracy theories?
                      I suspect there have been "serial killer pairs" and perhaps "cults" that have committed serial murders with some sort of political ideology in mind (the Manson Family had, superficially, a sort of political motive though when viewed a bit more deeply just boiled down to Charles Manson's s ego and nihilism). I can't think of a single instance, though, where a gov't plot was behind what otherwise looked to be a lone serial killer's activities. Generally I would think gov't plots to remove troublesome people are performed in less overt ways, and people just disappear.

                      With JtR, we see the coming together of a horrific series of murders and the wide spread popularity of the press and overall high levels of literacy (those of the East End, while poor and destitute, did read the papers - Barnet read to Kelly, though that doesn't mean she couldn't read herself of course, and we have letters written by Polly Nichols, and other victims I think - literacy was fairly high). Given the shocking nature of the murders, the brazenness of them, and the fact they went unsolved, leads many to believe they must have been covered up. Otherwise it is just inconceivable to them that they wouldn't get solved.

                      But really, forensics were in their infancy, even police investigation of crimes was a relatively new thing (the first policeforces were not allowed to investigate crimes, only patrol with the goal of preventing crimes or apprehending someone in the process of committing one - investigation meant gathering information from private citizens who were not guilty of anything and that was seen as a gross violation of privacy). Solving the JtR crimes really did require something tangible be left by the killer at the crime scene that then led the police to that individual. In this case, nothing was found that did that (although they did track a number of items found, pawn tickets, parts of envelopes, items of clothes in Kelly's room, and so forth). They conducted a massive house to house search, they investigated hundreds, possibly thousands, of butchers, and slaughterman, looked into mad medical students, and others released from care, and checked out the commings and goings of cattle boats, etc. But with little experience or information on serial killing to work with, it is quite possible that JtR was seemingly normal, well presented, and was at some point questioned during the search and simply raised no alarm bells.

                      The crimes going unsolved is not really a mystery, but I think people find that hard to accept and so look for a reason, other than the shear magnitude of the task, to explain why it wasn't solved. And envisioning the secret workings of a group of people who are viewed with suspicion (the aristocracy are a club to which we do not belong, therefore they must be up to something - also ties in with the masons, another group with secret activities, etc) allows for the imagination that "they" must be teh ones denying justice, they are the ones responsible. And, because "they" are powerfull, and clearly can "hide" the evidence from us, that explains the complete resistance to evidence based arguments. The lack of evidence is proof of the conspiracy, after all.

                      I think conspiracy theories, that involve evil and powerful villans that have some sort of ability to control "our" world, are very similar to religious beliefs of powerful beings who judge and preside over us yet work in mysterious and unknown ways - we must have faith in their actions, just like conspiracy theories require faith that the god-like gov't can indeed publicly butcher and mutilate five (or more or less) unknown and destitute women in the East End and prevent any trace of their connection from being found. Basically, I think it has something to do with basic human nature, and how we fear random and unknown things and much prefer to have an explanation to understand why things happened. A conspiracy, no matter how outlandish it looks when viewing the evidence, is still a comforting explanation - things might be beyond my control because the gods make their choices, but it still is an understandable explanation, while "unknown suspect randomly choosing victims for unknown reasons" is just the boogy man, and that defies a sense of being an explanation, which is just too unsatisfying.

                      - Jeff

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                      • #12
                        I like your analogy of conspiracy theories vs paranormal religious theories of unexplained phenomena, Jeff. But would you also accept an explanation with the unknown subject being simply "connected" to something "higher in the realms", rather than fully conspiring? It's who-you-know sort of thing for me.

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                        • #13
                          Hi Pcdunn,

                          "I'm a little baffled by Ripperologists who, having pinpointed a good suspect for one particular victim among the series, absolutely insist that their person MUST have done all of the other victims."

                          Sir Melville Macnaghten—“Now the Whitechapel murderer had 5 victims — & 5 victims only . . ."

                          There you have JtR—the original conspiracy—in a nutshell.

                          Regards,

                          Simon
                          Never believe anything until it has been officially denied.

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                          • #14
                            There is a decidedly negative reaction to those who are looking into answers that don't include this Canonical Group, despite the fact that as has been pointed out, the alternative theory is unproven and antique. I think as Simon points out there is evidence that the police at the very least supported this idea, if not created it, and when you remember that all of the senior men assigned to this case were, for lack of a better word... Spy Masters, you may have the basis for a something other than a spontaneous, mad killers spree.

                            Mary Kelly might well be the key to all this, who she really was and why she was left almost unrecognizable are 2 interesting questions for that murder. Many of the questions concerning other victims can be answered quite easily and logically, but that goes back to the anti-Canonical resistance.
                            Michael Richards

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Harry D View Post
                              I know there are members out there who subscribe to Stephen Knight's Royal conspiracy theory or some variation thereof which essentially involves an ulterior motive for the murders.

                              What I'd like to know is if there is any historical example of a group of (seemingly unrelated) victims being killed in a very specific way for political purposes? And if not, what is it about the Ripper murders that attract these kinds of conspiracy theories?
                              hi harry
                              there are none, because its piffle. there are however, many many examples of serial killers who target prostitutes for there own sick reasons.
                              "Is all that we see or seem
                              but a dream within a dream?"

                              -Edgar Allan Poe


                              "...the man and the peaked cap he is said to have worn
                              quite tallies with the descriptions I got of him."

                              -Frederick G. Abberline

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