ISSUE 2, July 2002
Editorial
Brothers in endurance: Sir Ernest Shackleton
Travel: Florida
Jack the Ripper: Exploring the Masonic link
Quarterly Communication: Annual Investiture address by the Grand Master and Report of the Board of General Purposes and Report of the Library and Museum Trust
Masonic News: Order of Service to Masonry; Grand Lodge deficit; Alvin Coburn pioneer photographer; Royal Masonic Variety Show
   Royal Arch News: Concern over falling exaltations
Charity News: Masonic relief grants launched; New RMBI video; Help is at hand through the NMSF; RMBI challenges and change; Update on RMBI projects; RMBI resident Jessie is Britain's oldest person; Grand Charity grant to National Asthma Campaign; TalentAid
Masonic Homes: Proud and independent
Library and Museum news: Recent library acquisitions
Letters
Gardening
Book reviews

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Exploding the Ripper Masonic link

Conspiracy theorists have long sort to link the Whitechapel murders with Freemasonry. In this article, Masonic historian David Peabody explodes the myth.


Clarence Connection Walter Sicker, the Victorian artist had a studio at 15 Street by Government officials, with Sickert as an eyewitness. According to Stephen Knight's book Jack the Ripper: The Final Solution, published in 1976, the suggestion that Freemasons were behind the Whitechapel Murders was first laid before the public in Butchery, the third episode of the BBC series in the 1960s.
    Scriptwriters Elwyn Jones and John Lloyd had attributed the idea to their fictional policeman, Detective Chief Superintendent John Watt.
    It was in the last episode that all is revealed and that a conspiracy of Freemasons at the highest level, concealed and assisted in the murders according to Masonic ritual.
    Knight then suggests that had the theory been anchored in a serious attempt to explain who the killer or killers were, and why Masons should have perpetrated the murders, would have been meaningful. The meaningful theory that Knight then relates is truly a Ripping yarn. As conspiracy theories go, it rates alongside 'Who killed JFK?' It has all the ingredients: a member of the Royal Family, a mad doctor, the Commissioner of Police, a clairvoyant and, of course, a secret society.
    Donald Rumbelow finds the best account of Knight's theory in The Complete Jack the Ripper. He relates the story as follows: Cleveland Street, London, and the motive for the murders is the alleged marriage of the Duke of Clarence, the eldest son of Edward VII, to a Roman Catholic.
    It is alleged that the Duke of Clarence was a regular visitor to the studio, were he met and fell in love with Annie Elizabeth Crook, who worked at a tobacconist shop nearby. She became his mistress and subsequently his wife.
    Walter Sickert and a Mary Kelly are supposed to have witnessed the marriage. A daughter, Alice Margaret, was born to the couple on 18 April 1885.
    The affair supposedly had to be kept secret because the bride was a Roman Catholic, and with the amount of anti Catholic feeling that then existed, the announcement of such a marriage might have shaken the foundations of the throne itself.
    In April 1888, the Duke of Clarence and Annie Crook are said to have been abducted from Cleveland
    The couple were then taken away in separate carriages and never saw each other again. Annie was detained for four months in Guy's Hospital, where she was operated upon by Sir William Gull, the Queen's physician, who destroyed her memory in some terrible way. She was never the same again.

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