Conspiracy in Whitechapel: Randy Williams and Jack The Ripper

118 – Conspiracy in Whitechapel: Randy Williams and Jack The Ripper

 

From Jackie Chan and Owen Wilson’s investigation in Shanghai Knights to Johnny Depp saving Heather Graham in From Hell to the terrifying David Warner escaping to the future in Time After Time, we continue to be obsessed with Jack The Ripper. Hey, even David Hasselhoff got in on the Ripper act with the 1985 made-for-TV classic Terror At London Bridge where the Ripper is reincarnated because the original London Bridge is rebuilt as a tourist trap(!) in Lake Havasu, Arizona.

Between August 31st and November 9th of 1888, Jack The Ripper killed at least five prostitutes in the East End of London. Slitting their throats and then gutting the reproductive organs, the gruesome murders drew significant attention to the impoverished Whitechapel area of London. Scotland Yard had eleven different homicides under the label of Whitechapel Murders, but only conclusively linked five deaths to the murderer they called Jack The Ripper.

Why do we still care about the Ripper? There’s been plenty of serial killers with a higher body count since he stalked the streets of Whitechapel in the 1880s. There’s been killers who were even more disgusting in their crimes. So why do we keep coming back to Jack? Or if you like, Jack The Knife? (That one was for you Priest fans out there!)

Number one, we love the Victorian era, from Sherlock Holmes to A Christmas Carol to a thousand BBC Masterpiece Theatre specials, there’s just something about late Nineteenth Century London that we cannot get enough of.

randy williams jack the ripper
‘Allo Guvnah!

But also the unsolved mystery has people coming back, 130 years after the original murders. Armchair sleuths want to be the detectives that finally cracks the case when Scotland Yard and over a century of true crime scrutiny haven’t been able to.

randy williams jack the ripper
Randy Williams at his study

Enter Randy Williams. As a martial artist, private eye, and former bodyguard to Steven freaking Seagal, (yeah, we’ll definitely have to talk to him about that sometime), Randy has led several fascinating lives. But it’s his career as a Ripperologist that brings us to him today in our first foray into tackling the world’s most famous murderer.

Randy Williams Jack The Ripper Steven Seagal
Randy’s theory is NOT that Steven Seagal was Jack The Ripper.

Randy has just released a new novel, Sherlock Holmes and The Autumn of Terror which fictionalizes his theory about the true identity, or should we say, identities, of Jack The Ripper. Let me clarify that the book is the work of fiction, but his theory about Jack’s multiple identities is 100% based in his real-life historical research.

Randy Williams’ theory is unique because it takes Jack The Ripper away from the world of psychosexual serial murder and into the domain of political terrorism.

When we think of terrorists, we think of bombs. But why do terrorists use bombs and mass murder to further their political agenda? Because the more people you kill, the bigger the impact you make. Osama Bin Laden didn’t think that he was going to actually stop commerce in the United States by flying planes into the towers of the World Trade Center, but he knew that tens of thousands of people worked in those buildings and it could have a world-shattering symbolic effect. And those attacks changed the world, leading the U.S. into multiple conflicts in the Middle East and turning Al Qaeda from an organization of post-Soviet Mujahideens to the most feared organization on the planet.

I know, I look like Santa Claus, but I’m really on the side of the proletariat elves!

Quick history, German economist Karl Marx releases his *Communist Manifesto* in 1848. Two years later, he moves to London, England and continues his writing. Karl Marx, to put it simply, believed that workers were being exploited by the owners of their companies and advocated an economic system where the means of production were owned by the state, so everyone is an owner and there are no social classes.

Marx advocated violent revolution to kill the aristocracy and create a new Utopian society for the workers, in fact he is quoted: “there is only one way in which the murderous death agonies of the old society and the bloody birth throes of the new society can be shortened, simplified and concentrated, and that way is revolutionary terror.”

Okay, what does this have to do with Jack The Ripper?

Karl Marx advocated terror to further political ideas. And terror it was. From the Haymarket Riot in Chicago in 1888 where seven policeman were blown up by a labor protestor’s bomb to the assassination of U.S. President William McKinley in 1901, socialists used terror to further their political ideals. And while terrorism is disgusting, it worked. It brought attention to their movement, it brought attention to the class war between the ultra-wealthy of the Gilded Age and their poor immigrant workers.

Here are some REAL protesters. Instead of occupying Wall Street, they blew it up.

The United Kingdom wasn’t that different than the United States. The UK was at the forefront of the Industrial Revolution so they had plenty of workers and owners to handle. But they also had a centuries-old class system in place that thoroughly separated the haves from the have nots. And in 1880s London, those have nots were ready to strike back.

So Randy Williams posits that the murders were actually funded by a Russian prince who was a Communist interested in social upheaval. He found his killers in the leadership of a socialist organization known as the International Working Men’s Education Club (IWMEC), which was a mainly Eastern European Jewish organization. They were interested in getting attention for the impoverished people of Whitechapel and instead of using a bomb, they used the knife.

In the interview, Randy lays down the evidence of why he believes that members of the club, Louis Deimschutz, Isaac Kozebrodski, and Samuel Friedman were the physical killers while Prince Pyotr Alexeyevich Kropotkin was the instigator and moneyman behind the killings. Randy Williams even believes he has Kropotkin’s confession from years later as illustrated by the above video.

I apologize because in the podcast I mention that Karl Marx was a Jewish intellectual because I believed that he was. The truth is that his father had repudiated their Jewish heritage and Marx in fact had written some extremely anti-Semitic tracts. So while many Communists throughout history might have been Jewish, including the alleged killers in this particular Jack The Ripper theory, Karl Marx did not identify as Jewish, so let’s not go extrapolating from him to the culture.

But we do know that those members of the International Working Men’s Education Club were a poorly treated community in 1880s London, they were part of that working class that was looking for any kind of break in an incredibly impoverished area. And Kropotkin would defend the Ripper killing later on by saying that they drew attention to the plight of the poorest Londoners and particular the young women who were forced to prostitute to sustain themselves.

Heather Graham in From Hell, Milwaukee girl represent in a Jack The Ripper movie, yo!
Heather Graham in From Hell, Milwaukee girl represent in a Jack The Ripper movie, yo!

If you’re interested in learning more about Randy’s theories, please visit his Facebook page about Sherlock Holmes and The Autumn of Terror. You can also click here to pick up the book on Amazon right now.

Whether or not this Randy Williams’ Jack The Ripper theory is true and it was Kropotkin who masterminded a murder spree that still baffles us today in order to draw attention to the hard lives of Victorian East Enders, human lives were lost to make that happen. The murderers believed it was an acceptable sacrifice to further their cause. While that kind of terrorism is shocking and sad, it’s not unusual. Collateral damage is the term used in modern warfare to describe the civilian lives lost in a military conflict. But in this week’s song, we call those regular people who just wanted to live their lives, the “Grist For The Mill”.

When the boots of history start walking
well you better get in line
Cuz the great men do the talking
and the small men do the dyin’
when the kings and queens come callin’
well we all know the drill,
You and I my friend are just grist for the mill

All the smartest minds,
the lieges and the lords,
they’ve got the world mapped out
on top of a chess board
picking out their move
staking out their claim
and you and I are pieces
just pawns in their game

Our lives are planned
from start to end
and if we’re good
we can pretend
but we don’t get to comprehend
because the brilliant and the best of us
have big plans for the rest of us

When the boots of history start walking
well you better get in line
Cuz the great men do the talking
and the small men do the dyin’
when the kings and queens come callin’
well we all know the drill,
You and I my friend are just grist for the mill

They’re acting as the Fates,
they’re doing out our twine
they’ve picked out all the dates
when how born and how we die,
Don’t over step your bounds
you don’y know the score
just understand your place
to fight a rich man’s war

Our lives are planned
from start to end
and if we’re good
we can pretend
but we don’t get to comprehend
because the brilliant and the best of us
have big plans for the rest of us

When the boots of history start walking
well you better get in line
Cuz the great men do the talking
and the small men do the dyin’
when the kings and queens come callin’
well we all know the drill,
You and I my friend are just grist for the mill

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