With the news at the weekend that the Metropolitan Police are “scoping” new information with regards the death of Princess Diana, I decided that, in today’s blog, I would take a look at the conspiracy theories concerning the Jack the Ripper mystery.
If anyone were to come up with a, seemingly, plausible argument concerning the establishment being involved in the Whitechapel Murders and were then to approach a publisher with their theory, a publisher would, quite literally, bite their hand off tp put that theory into print! I was almost tempted to say that a publisher would kill for that theory!
The fact is that conspiracy theories sell and, in this day and age, they can go viral incredibly quickly.
From time to time on our Facebook Page we pose the question about who Jack the Ripper was. Many times we get the answer that he was a member of the Royal Family, or that he was a member of the police and/or of the British Government.
The fact is that, with the passage now of over 125 years since the murders began (and remember 2013 sees he 125th anniversary of the killings) it is impossible to say with any degree of certainty who Jack the Ripper was. Indeed, it is probable that we will never know his true identity.
One of the major problems facing us today is that much of the original evidence has either been destroyed or has disappeared so we have very little to go on in the first place.
We are therefore dependent on second hand information such as recollections of police officers who worked on the case or newspaper gossip from the time.
When police officers recalled the case it was nearly always in their memoirs. These were often written many years after the murders and they could, and often did, misremember, certain key facts. Also, if you think about it, not many of them would go into print and state that “we didn’t have the foggiest idea who he was and we didn’t come anywhere near catching him”!
Likewise, journalists at the time were given very little information by the police and, as a result, they were forced to gather information in dubious ways.
They might try and bribe individual police officers, or loosen their tongues with drink.
They would interview anyone who claimed to know anything about the case, no matter how unsavoury that person was.
Cheque book journalism was certainly rife at the time of the murder. Of course no-one is going to be given a payment for telling a journalist “well actually I know nothing, but give me the cheque anyway!”
So people would make things up in the hope of getting a reward.
Many of the most common fallacies concerning the Jack the Ripper case that are still circulating today came about in the immediate aftermath of the murders when journalists were desperately trying to get news about a victim in order to feed the insatiable appetite that the public at large had for information on the crimes.
And yet Jack the Ripper remained as elusive to the police and journalists of the time as he does to us today.
He was able to commit his crimes with speed and in silence and, having done so, was beamed back aboard his alien spacecraft from which he was able to watch the hunt for him in the streets below. Everybody was busily looking down, searching the gutters and the alleyways, nobody thought to look up!
Conspiracy theorist moi!