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Paul M. Bessel, 32°, K.C.C.H.


Armed with the facts, Masons should have no difficulty responding to alleged
Masonic connections in the Jack the Ripper crimes.


How should Masons respond if told the following "facts" found in books and films, such as Murder by Decree and the current movie From Hell, about the Jack the Ripper case?

  • Five women were murdered, all within nine weeks, so this appears to have been a plot with a specific purpose.
  • All the victims had their throats cut, often from ear to ear. One victim's tongue had apparently been torn out by its roots. One had her breast torn open, and her heart and vitals were taken out.
  • Four of the victims had their abdomens cut open and their intestines or bowels taken out and, in one case, burned to ashes.
  • Near the body of one of the victims were the words, scrawled in chalk, "The Juwes are the men that Will not be Blamed for nothing." Masonically, this can be seen as a possible reference to three ruffians whose names all begin with the same two letters. Charles Warren, the head of London's police at that time and also a prominent Freemason, quickly erased this message despite the strong protests of other police investigating the case.


Sir Charles Warren, head of the London police at the time of the Jack the Ripper murders, and also the first Worshipful Master of Quatuor Coronati Lodge #2076, the premier research lodge in the world - which had its quarterly meeting in November 1888 on the same evening as the final murder in the Jack the Ripper series - Sir Charles resigned as London police chief right after that


Could reasonable people conclude that there was a pattern and a specific reason for these Jack the Ripper murders? There is circumstantial evidence of possible Masonic involvement, so some say all that is needed is an explanation to connect these facts or allegations.





Prince "Eddy," the Duke of Clarence, Grandson of Queen Victoria. 2nd in line for the British Throne at the time of the Jack the Ripper murders.


Some authors and films claim to have an explanation that solves this case. They claim that Queen Victoria's grandson, who was known as "Prince Eddy," then 24, secretly fathered a baby and married the mother, an illiterate Catholic "shop-girl" named Annie Crook. Supposedly, Walter Sickert, a friend of Prince Eddy, hired a nanny, who was a witness at the secret marriage, to care for the illegitimate royal baby.

Britain was then in great political turmoil, and it is claimed that if word got out that the second in line to the throne had married and had a child with a lower-class, illiterate, Catholic commoner, then the people might have toppled the monarchy, taking with it all those in power—including Freemasons—who were in influential positions.

According to this story, the nanny turned to prostitution and shared her information about Prince Eddy's marriage and child with three other prostitutes, who all threatened to go public with the story. The Prime Minister or Queen Victoria supposedly called on Sir William Gull, physician to the Queen—and a Mason— to eliminate this threat.

The story goes on to allege Gull was mentally unbalanced and decided to kill all these women using Masonic ritual, calling on Masonic Brethren to assist him.




Sir William Gull, physician to Queen Victoria, alleged by some to have been "Jack the Ripper"

Walter Sickert, Prince Eddy's friend and witness at his marriage to Annie, is said to have told this story to his son Joseph, who later told it to the author Stephen Knight, who claimed to find additional supporting evidence. Others, including the authors of the graphic novel From Hell and the recent movie with this same title, rely on Knight's story to claim that the Jack the Ripper murders were not random, but a careful plot to protect the English royal family and the prominent Freemasons who supported them.

Every allegation of Masonic involvement in the Ripper murders is based entirely on a story that Stephen Knight claims he was told by Joseph Sickert. But in The Sunday Times of London, on June 18, 1978, Sickert said of this story: "It was a hoax; I made it all up," and it was "a whopping fib," a pure invention. All the evidence confirms this: "Those parts of Mr. Sickert's story which can be tested have been be untrue." (See Rumbelow's Jack the Ripper: The Complete Casebook, pages 212, 213; and Begg, Fido, and Skinner's The Jack the Ripper A to Z, pages 411, 412.)

  • Donald Rumbelow is one of the most respected researchers of the Ripper murders. Commenting on Stephen Knight's book that identifies the murders as a Masonic conspiracy, he says: "Where is the evidence? The answer, of course, is that there isn't any…. The book becomes more and more frustrating as one searches for hard facts….Whichever way you look, there is not a shred of evidence to back up Knight's theory." (The Complete Casebook, pages 207, 209, 212.)

  • Those who are familiar with Masonic ritual know that the mutilations of the Ripper murder victims' bodies do not reflect any Masonic practices, rules, rituals, or ceremonies. Any seeming similarity is only slight, inaccurate, and circumstantial.

  • Knight claimed Masonic penalties (which are purely symbolic, not actual) mention having the heart removed and thrown over the left shoulder. But he admits it was the intestines, not heart, that were placed over Jack the Ripper's victims' right shoulders.

  • Whatever was meant by the "Juwes" message found on a wall near one of the murder scenes, that term has never been used in Masonic ritual or ceremonies.

  • The erasure of the "Juwes" message near a murder site was almost surely a well-meaning attempt to prevent anti-Semitic mob violence against innocent people, since some were already thinking of blaming Jewish immigrants for these murders.

  • Even more significantly, the baby girl said to have been the child of Prince Eddy was born on April 18, 1885, so she was likely conceived between July 18 and August 11, 1884. During that whole time, Prince Eddy was in Heidelberg, Germany, while Annie Crook, the alleged mother, was in London.

  • Stephen Knight's story says that Eddy and Annie met in 1888 in Walter Sickert's studio. But that building had been demolished in 1886, and a hospital was built on the site in 1887.

  • Dr. Gull is supposed to have been the key man in the Ripper murders. But he was 72 at the time and had already suffered one heart attack and, possibly, a stroke. Yet he is alleged to have brutally murdered five young and reasonably strong women in a carriage on public streets and discarded their mutilated bodies in public areas.

  • British laws, then and now in effect, say that any marriage of a member of the royal family can be set aside by the monarch and that any who marry a Catholic cannot inherit the crown. So, no murders were necessary even if the story of Prince Eddy's marriage to Annie Crook were true. In any case, Annie Crook was not a Catholic. (Begg et. al., The Jack the Ripper A to Z, page 95.)

  • The supposed police cover-up was probably simply due to lack of experience with murders such as these as well as some degree of police and government incompetence. When carefully examined, there is not a single piece of solid historical evidence to support Stephen Knight's claims of Masonic involvement in the Ripper murders, a theme central to several books and films, including From Hell, the recent graphic novel and film by the same title. On the contrary, there is considerable evidence refuting these allegations. Armed with the facts, Masons should have no difficulty responding to alleged Masonic connections to the Jack the Ripper crimes.

Jack the Ripper is the name applied to the murderer or murderers, never caught, of several prostitutes in London in 1888. There are many theories about this case, including some interesting aspects related to Freemasonry. It is useful for Masons to have the facts about it.

This is what a prosecutor might say to attempt to show that Freemasons were involved in the Jack the Ripper murders ---

  • Queen Victoria's son, later King Edward VII, was Grand Master of Masons in England in 1888. His son, Eddy, would have become King if his grandmother and father died before him. Eddy, 24 in 1888, aided by a carriage driver, made secret visits to a London artist named Walter Sickert and his friends. Eddy met and had a baby with an illiterate Catholic "shop-girl" named Annie and they were married secretly. Sickert hired a nanny for Eddy and Annie's baby daughter. The nanny was Mary (or Marie) Kelly, who, with Sickert, was a witness at Eddy's and Annie's wedding. Britain then was in great political turmoil, and if the country had found out that someone so close to the throne married someone like Annie it could have led to the end of the monarchy and all those who benefited from the British political and social system, especially the Freemasons.

  • Word of all this got to Queen Victoria, who ordered her Prime Minister, the Marques of Salisbury, to "fix" it. Salisbury, a prominent Freemason, arranged to have Annie placed in an insane asylum where she died 32 years later. Their daughter later became Sickert's mistress, had a son with him, and died in 1950. Sickert died in 1942. Eddy died in 1892.

  • Marie Kelly became a drunken prostitute and shared her information with three fellow prostitutes, who threatened to expose Eddy's actions. Prime Minister Salisbury decided this threat had to be ended. He called on his high ranking Masonic brethren, particularly Sir William Gull, physician to the Queen, the doctor who certified Annie as insane. Besides being a doctor, politically well-connected, and a high level Freemason, Gull was mentally unbalanced.

  • Gull decided to kill the women according to Masonic ritual. When Prime Minister Salisbury and other Masons in the government and police recognized what Gull was doing, even though they did not agree with his methods they arranged a cover-up because they were required to keep the secrets of a Freemason, and appreciated what Gull was accomplishing. Gull convinced Netley the carriage driver and Sickert the painter to assist him to identify the 4 prostitutes. Then one by one they offered them lifts in their carriage, murdered the women and mutilated their bodies as prescribed in Masonic rituals. They then dropped the bodies in selected locations.

  • Gull killed the victims in the following manner: (a) On Aug. 31, 1888, Mary Ann (Polly) Nichols' throat was cut very deeply, starting at one ear and circling her throat, and her abdomen was cut open (b) On Sept. 8, 1888, Annie Chapman's throat was "ferociously" severed from one side to the other, her tongue protruded between her teeth and was swollen, her abdomen was entirely opened, all of her small intestines were removed and placed above her right shoulder but still attached, part of her stomach and "pubes" cut out and placed above her left shoulder, her uterus, womb, portion of vagina and most of the bladder removed. Her jewellery and coins were removed and two brass rings were placed at her feet. (c) On Sept. 30, 1888, Elizabeth (Liz) Stride's throat was cut from one jaw to the other. (d) On Sept. 30, 1888, Gull thought he was killing the last and most important victim, Marie Kelly, but he mistakenly murdered Catherine (Kate) Eddowes (who lived with a man named "Kelly," and used the name Mary Ann Kelly). Her throat was cut "from ear to ear," nose completely cut off, part of right ear cut off, severe cutting of other parts of her face in the shape of triangles, abdomen all exposed, intestines drawn out and placed over her right shoulder, a 2 foot piece removed and placed between her body and left arm in a careful manner. Her left kidney and part of her womb had been cut out and taken away. Nearby, police found a piece of her cut apron which fit exactly with the part still on her body. It was wet with blood, and just above it a message was found in white chalk on black bricks saying: "The Juwes are The men That Will not be Blamed for nothing." (e) After discovering the mistake with Eddowes, on Nov. 9, 1888, Gull and his allies murdered the real Mary Kelly in her apartment. Her throat was cut with the tissue severed "all around," whole surface of abdomen and thighs removed and abdominal cavity emptied, breasts cut off, arms mutilated, face hacked beyond recognition. Her uterus, kidneys, and one breast were under her head, the other breast by her right foot, liver between her feet, intestines by her right side, and spleen by her left side. Skin removed from her abdomen and thighs was on a bedside table. Part of one lung was missing, as was her heart. It appeared that the fireplace there had been used.

  • If these were ordinary murders the mutilations would have placed the murderer in danger of being caught. (Stride escaped mutilation because she refused the carriage ride and had to be killed quickly in the street.) The only reason for the specific types of mutilations was to inflict Masonic penalties. We should note the way the throats were cut, removal of the heart, removal of intestines (bowels), triangular cuts, cutting and removal of part of a victim's apron, divesting of minerals and metals with brass rings looking like the pillars at Solomon's temple placed at the feet. Eddowes, who was thought to be Kelly and thus the last victim, was left in "Mitre Square." The mitre and square are Masonic tools and Mitre Tavern was a well known Masonic meeting place. When the "Juwes" message was found on the wall, Sir Charles Warren, the head of the police and a Freemason, personally went to the scene to order it to be washed off, even though he had never before gone to the scene of a murder. He did this because the "Juwes" was too clear a reference to the ruffians who in Masonic legend murdered Hiram Abiff.

  • Freemasons have murdered those whose actions angered them, including Mozart and William Morgan. The Protocols published in England in 1920 show that 33rd degree Masons crave absolute power and are willing to use murder, although low level Freemasons are ordinary, law-abiding citizens.

  • Dr. Gull was said to have died in 1890, but he really was put into an insane asylum under the name "Thomas Mason" and died years later.

  • Sickert told the true story of the Jack the Ripper murders to his son Joseph (with Eddy and Annie's daughter). Joseph told the story to Stephen Knight, who found evidence to support it, especially the part about Masonic control of the police, judiciary, and government in Britain.

This is how a defence attorney might respond to the statements made above ---

  • Joseph Sickert in 1978 described Stephen Knight's 1976 story of the Jack the Ripper murders, which Knight said came from Joseph, as "a hoax ... a whopping fib." Philip Sugden, and expert on the "Jack the Ripper" murders, said, "The falsehoods and absurdities in this [Knight's] yarn have been exposed in many books and there is no need to repeat them .... His [Knight's] research is now known to have uncovered evidence which proved that the story was untrue. Yet he shamelessly chose to suppress it." For example, neither rings nor coins were found at Annie Chapman's murder site.

  • There is no evidence that the murder victims were killed in a carriage, and no witnesses mentioned seeing or hearing one. The small amount of blood at the murder scenes can be ascribed to the manner in which their blood was soaked up by their clothing.

  • Knight alleged that Masonic penalties mention having the heart and other body parts removed and thrown over the left shoulder. This is questionable, and Chapman's and Eddowes' intestines, not heart, were placed over their right shoulders. Mary Kelly's heart was removed, but other body parts were left in the room and not burned. Sugden concluded, "Only by a shameless selection of evidence can the Masonic theory be invested with apparent credibility .... Knight's theory, in sum, was a colossus built on sand." Sugden also ridiculed Melvyn Fairclough's attempt in 1991 to support Knight's theory by saying skin was removed from Mary Kelly's right thigh as a reminder of the "naked" knee in Masonic initiations.

  • Sugden said Knight's analysis of the "Juwes" message is wrong, since the ritual of three murderers of Hiram Abif had been removed from English Masonry 70 years earlier, and in neither England or the U.S. had they ever been referred to collectively as the "Juwes." Begg, another "Ripperologist," wrote, "It is a mystery why anyone ever thought that 'Juwes' was a Masonic word."

  • Sugden believes the evidence shows the Jack the Ripper murder victims were killed where they were found, by a sexual psychopath, and there are many other theories about who Jack the Ripper was that are more likely to be true than Stephen Knight's. The allegations of a Masonic conspiracy in the police and government to cover up the true nature of the Ripper murders are untrue. It was lack of experience with murders such as this, and some degree of police and government incompetence and lack of ingenuity, that prevented the capture of Jack the Ripper.

Comments about each book are from "Casebook: Jack the Ripper," the most detailed Internet web site that deals exclusively with all aspects of the Ripper murder cases—located at

The Complete History of Jack the Ripper, by Philip Sugden (Caroll & Graf, New York, 1994). Required reading for anyone interested in the case.

From Hell, by Alan Moore, writer, and Eddie Campbell, artist (Eddie Campbell Comics, Australia, 1989).

The Jack the Ripper A to Z, by Paul Begg, Martin Fido, and Keith Skinner (Headline Book Publishing, London, 1991). This is a must-have book for anyone doing a serious study of the case.

Jack the Ripper: The Complete Casebook, by Donald Rumbelow (Contemporary Books, Chicago, 1988). This is highly recommended for all students of the case, well researched and intelligent, a wonderful introduction. It has been considered the "bible" of Ripperologists.

Jack the Ripper: The Final Solution, by Stephen Knight (George G. Harrap & Co., Ltd., London, 1976). The conclusions of this book have been disproved numerous times, but it is still one of the most widely read books on the subject. Recommended only to those interested in a good fictional read.

The Mammoth Book of Jack the Ripper, edited by Maxim Jakubowski and Nathan Braund (Carroll and Graf Publishers, New York, 1999).

The Ripper and the Royals, by Melvyn Fairclough (Duckworth, London, 1991). Yet another Masonic Royal conspiracy theory, which even the author has now disavowed.

This Article is the copyright of Brother Paul Bessl, from whom permission was granted to the Webmaster to reproduce it in the Lodge 76 web site, for which our grateful thanks are given.

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