- Paperback: 314 pages
- Publisher: Chicago Review Press (October 1, 1986)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0897332091
- ISBN-13: 978-0897332095
- Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 0.7 x 8.3 inches
- Shipping Weight: 8 ounces
- Average Customer Review: 30 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,379,792 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Jack the Ripper: The Final Solution Paperback – October 1, 1986
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I gave it four stars because of Knight's tip 'o the derby research that unearthed info all the other "experts" missed. Namely, the common threads that while the bodies of the victims were scattered, all five lived within a hundred yards of each other and two visited the same pub (Britannia). With over 1,200 known prostitutes in Whitechapel (73,518 est. population in 1889), what are the odds they had something in common, besides their profession? (I'd like to see some statistician work on this. See Chap 9 "All roads lead to Dorset Street".) If not a Victorian version of Watergate, it was SOMETHING.
I had a face-palm moment when Knight reproduced the only letter suspected of being from the real Ripper. He pointed out something that slid by me and all the others - the writer was an educated man making believe he wasn't. Two instances: knife spelled 'knif" when, if he really was uneducated, would have been more apt to write "nife" and "wile" rather than "whil". Yes, it could have been just an educated crackpot, but it surely wasn't by some of the Rippers proposed by others. That's the kind of attention to detail which sold me on this book.
Much has been made of Joseph Sickert recanting his story, claiming it was all made up. I don't think so. One wonders, even at that late date, if someone gave him an "offer he couldn't refuse". His postscript to this book in 1984 shows no sign that he was unhappy with the "Third Man" conclusion and in fact, accepted it. Consider:
1) Knight was vectored to him via a member of Scotland Yard, who, unless he was in on the scam, had reason to believe Joseph had info.
2) He mentioned Netley, evidence of whom was only found after some deep digging (birth cert and newspaper article of his death) and the item of the Mary's child being run over. Again, what are the odds of Joseph knowing that? If he did know, he was placing an awful lot of faith in Knight or his team finding it.
3) He was very reluctant to tell his story, and almost had a cow when a potential book was mentioned. If he was making it up, he was too coy by half. Too many of his claims checked out. The flip side is why would, or how could Knight make all this up? Most of his theory holds up.
His claim of Masonic Overtones refuted, but note the similarities:
1) Ritual method of killings and mutilations.
2) Locations like Mitre square and Hanbury Street (Masonic lodges there).
3) Eddowe's cut apron (allusion to the Masonic apron - a little iffy here)
4) Coins and rings at the feet of one victim (representing columns of Solomon's Temple).
5) While too much can be read into these "random" clues, what other associations could be attached to them? The symbolisms are too many to be coincidental.
6) Obligations of other Masons to protect their members. (Royal Arch and above oaths.) What other common thread among officials could there be that would force them to cover up a crime, no matter how heinous??
His claim of officials covering up evidence:
1) Most of the upper level of the ruling classes belonged to the Masons, although I suspect it was more due to wanting to get on the inside track for advancement, or perhaps it was expected of them. Nothing sinister in itself. It's still being done today.
2) Removal of Masonic symbolisms, such as the coins and rings at feet of one victim. It was reported in the newspapers at the time and Rumbelow (author) mentioned it once in passing. To me, it was significant.
3) Over-the-top interference by inquest coroners to suppress anything that smacked of a Masonic tie-in.
4) Royal Arch Masons and above were obliged to protect fellow members even in the case of murder or treason (I looked this up as I thought it a lot of baloney. Lots of mystical mumbo-jumbo there.) I was surprised that The Royal Arch was only the seventh degree as I thought it was much higher, so when you consider there are 33 degrees (depending upon which sect), all the upper echelon were in a bind - I can imagine major face-palms when the clues started popping up.
5) The "Juwes" graffiti seems to be a false interpretation. But why was it erased when the offending word could have been scrubbed out, or the whole thing covered up? Why no photographs allowed to be taken? This seems to be a red herring tie-in but the circumstances are suspicious.
6) Refusing to allow the probable eye-witness of Stride's murderer to testify at her inquest.
His claim of Gull's involvement refuted:
1) Clairvoyant Lee's statements about Gull refuted - It could well have been the malarky so prevalent in that game - except for Gull's granddaughter innocently mentioning a strikingly similar episode. Again, where's that statistician?
2) His preference for grapes. Pretty far out as a connection, except that a stem originally found in one victim's hand was removed and evidently swept into the drain, (still a stretch), but - the non-follow-up of a fruit vendor's testimony who said he sold grapes to a man just before one of the murders. Why, when it could have been anyone?
3) His stroke did not incapacitate him to the point of inactivity. The Straw Man theory that he was too enfeebled to attack the girls. If the women were sedated by the grapes, and Gull was in the carriage, he didn't have to attack them.
4) Gull's death faked. Gravesite supposedly large enough to hold three bodies, hiding that Gull died later than advertised and buried for real. Not gonna happen, but ground radar would prove/disprove that there were more than two. Maybe not conclusive, but then who is No. 3 if only two are claimed?
His claim of Walter Sickert's involvement:
1) Others at the time distantly mentioned Sickert, so it wasn't as off-the-wall as I had thought. In 1970 Dr. Thomas Stowell claimed that he had identified the murderer from private papers of Sir William Gull, saying the suspect was 'S'. A few days later he died (of what cause?) and all his notes burned by his family. Now, he had 25 other letters to pick from, yet he chose "S"? Then he dies a few days after going public and all his info burned? Can "they" still have that much power 80 years later?
2) Interesting interpretations of Sickert's dual/odd painting titles, especially "Blackmail", "La Hollandaise" and "Amphytrion" that alluded to the murders. If guilty of participating or even just enabling, it was the only way to let off steam without incurring the wrath of those behind the scenes. The guy seemed obsessive with the Ripper over and above the usual lurid interest these types of murders engender. See Marjorie Lilly's comments in "Sickert, the Painter and His Circle".
3) Patricia Cornwell wrote a sloppy book on this (Portrait Of A Killer: Jack The Ripper), using DNA sampling. But, to my disgust, didn't give any credit to Knight for mentioning this angle.
1) The laws of royal succession forbade a catholic from gaining the throne, so why suppress the news that Eddy married a Catholic, unless the upper echelon were afraid of the anti-Catholic kickback of the public.
2) If the butchery was done in the carriage, how did they keep the gore from leaking out? It seems to me that a carriage dripping blood would have raised a hue and cry, even on general principles.
3) Some buildings Knight referred to didn't exist at the time.
4) Sickert was supposed to have been in France in the autumn of 1888.
Read the book and consider if Knight's interpretation doesn't make more sense than all those "lone gunman" scenarios proposed by other writers.