For years, there have been many theories and conspiracies flying around about the identity of Jack the Ripper. This means that it can be extremely difficult to try to separate fact from fiction. With so many potential killers, how do we know which of the plentiful Jack the Ripper suspects is the real culprit?
There are many theories and ideas about some of the most likely Jack the Ripper suspects, but there are also some wilder and more outlandish theories. Rather than dismissing some of the crazier concepts, though, it’s always worth reading up on them just in case there is a nugget of truth hidden in there somewhere. After all, the mystery is still unsolved after 128 years, and you can’t deny that stranger things have happened!
One of these such theories is that first explored by the author Stephen Knight in his 1976 book Jack the Ripper: The Final Solution. In The Final Solution, Knight explained his idea that the Ripper was actually a Masonic conspiracy, perpetrated by a group of secretive Freemasons in an attempt to cover up for a member of the Royal Family.
Knight’s elaborate conspiracy theory concluded that the canonical five were murdered by a select group of Freemasons to cover up a secret marriage between Prince Albert Victor (the second in line to the throne) and a working class girl, Annie Elizabeth Crook, to protect the reputation and validity of the monarchy.
Although the book and its theory are now widely discredited and dismissed as untrue, the seed of an idea was planted. Since the book’s publication, a number of other historians, theorists and Ripperologists have weighed in and had their say about the Masons theory.
Historically, the Freemasons were organisations originating from the local fraternities of stonemasons in the fourteenth century. They originally regulated the qualifications of stonemasons and monitored their interaction with clients and the authorities. This ancient society is often shrouded in mystery, scandal and intrigue, and is still going today.
The Masonic Ripper theory states that high-level Masons were determined to ‘protect’ the monarchy, thus maintaining their own level of control within the government. It paints the Masons as being obsessed with preserving the status of the ruling class.
Whether or not the Ripper’s victims were murdered by a group of Freemasons remains to be seen, but the majority of evidence does point to the contrary. There are many facts which contradict Knight’s theory and the subsequent school of thought; not least the fact that Knight’s primary source later admitted it was all a hoax to the press.
Come and assess the evidence yourself and join one of our Jack the Ripper walking tours. Learn more about the main Jack the Ripper suspects and some of the other conspiracy theories, while exploring the streets of Whitechapel with your guide, one of our knowledgeable Ripperologists.
To book your place on one of our Jack the Ripper tours, give us a call on 078 0306 7544.