An enormously successful silk-weaving industry was located in London’s East End. Then about 1860 the “Free Trade” notions came to the fore. A “Free Trade” policy was introduced. “The effect on the British silk industry was catastrophic: in 1854 50,000 people in East London were employed in the silk industry; by 1880 the figure had shrunk to just 3,300.” The word “unemployed” came first to be used as a noun circa 1882. The word “unemployment” was born in 1888, coincident to the savage Jack the Ripper crimes. Deteriorating social conditions caused by the “Free Trade” helped cause many desperate women to turn to prostitution to survive.  And thus did “Free Trade” provide the hunting grounds for Jack the Ripper.
Like Adolph Hitler, Jack the Ripper is a sort of ultimate symbol for human evil. Various books have claimed to solve the savage knife-attack crimes which shook London in 1888. Fascination with the case involves the Victorian era, setting for the enormously popular Sherlock Holmes stories. What dark secrets lie hidden underneath the fog of stiff upper lip Victorian respectability?
Sir Charles Warren, Commissioner of Metropolitan Police during the Ripper carnage, was a staunch Freemason and “Founding Master” of Quatuor Coronati Lodge No. 2076, in 1884. Warren is the only senior official at Scotland Yard to have definitely stated later that the police knew who Jack the Ripper really was. 
There are troubling hints of collusion between the police and government and the brothel keepers and “white slavers.” A “Mrs. Jeffries”, the madame of one brothel, came under scrutiny. Evidence was obtained showing an aristocratic clientele, including Leopold, King of the Belgians and Edward, Prince of Wales. In the Summer of 1885, the Pall Mall Gazette began to expose “the sordid sink of immorality and vice that had spread its corruption through the highest levels of society.” Articles by W.T. Stead were generally called “The Maiden Tribute to Modern Babylon.” Wrote Stead, “If the daughters of the people must be served up as dainty morsels to the passions of the rich, let them at least attain an age when they can understand the nature of the sacrifice which they are asked to make.” 
The mystery of who was “Jack the Ripper” bloomed in the 1960s. Various theories occupy the time of armchair detectives. Among the most popular theories is called “The Masonic Conspiracy”: Was “Saucy Jack” a member of the British royal family? An “offshoot theory” of The Masonic Conspiracy points to Walter Sickert, a famous artist, as the villain. Authoress Patricia Cornwell, in her 2002 book, Portrait Of A Killer, uses modern forensic techniques unknown in Victorian times to support the conclusion that Walter Sickert was indeed Jack the Ripper.
The Sickert offshoot of The Masonic Conspiracy angle is summarized by Paul Begg in his even-handed Jack the Ripper: The Definitive History (London: Pearson Education Ltd., 2003). A Joseph Gorman, alias Joseph Sickert, claimed to be the unacknowledged son of Walter Sickert, suspected Ripper. Joseph Gorman surfaced and told BBC researchers (later researched by journalist Stephen Knight) what may have been the true facts. Prince Albert Victor, a British royal, and Walter Sickert were chums. Visiting at Sickert’s artist studio, Prince Albert chanced to encounter one Annie Crook. The prince, it is claimed, secretly married Ms. Crook, a commoner and a Catholic. The British establishment allegedly dissolved the union by sending Annie Crook to an insane asylum and sending Prince Albert Victor off to India. But some women from the East End had evidence of the wedding and of a child fathered from the marriage. These women attempted to blackmail the British upper class parties involved. Allegedly, to silence these troublemakers, certain Freemasons were turned to.
(WARNING: Some squeamish depiction follows. If you are fairly sensitive, then you are advised to read no further.)
Other suspects include James Maybrick, a crazed arsenic addict who fled to America and whose purported diary was later discovered; “Kosminski” (Aaron Kosminski or Aaron Davis Cohen), committed to a lunatic asylum; Lord Randolph Churchill, father of Winston Churchill, who was called by Queen Victoria “so mad and odd”; and even Charles Dodgson, better known as Lewis Carroll, author of Alice in Wonderland!
This last suspect, Lewis Carroll, is possibly revealed by anagrams found in his writings. So, for example, in The Nursery Alice (the children’s version of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland) is found: “So we went to the cook, and we got her to make a saucerful of nice oatmeal porridge. And then we called Dash into the house, and we said, ‘Now, Dash, you’re going to have your birthday treat!’ We expected Dash would jump for joy; but it didn’t, one bit!” An article in Harper’s magazine from November 1996 rearranges the above to reveal the following macabre message:
“Oh, we, Thomas Bayne, Charles Dodgson, coited into the slain, nude body, expected to taste, devour, enjoy a nice meal of a dead whore’s uterus. We made do, found it awful — wan and tough like a worn, dirty, goat hog. We both threw it out — Jack the Ripper.” 
Some say, “Many false trails were laid.” This may be why the bloodthirsty case of Jack the Ripper seems beyond solution. But what powerful, unseen hand might have had a motive to create those false trails?
Other books and articles dealing with Jack the Ripper and his times:
- Jack the Ripper, by Edwin T. Woodhall (1937)
- The Ripper Legacy, by Martin Howells, et al.
- The Ripper and the Royals, by Melvyn Fairclough
- A Child of the Jago, by Arthur Morrison
- Tales of the Mean Streets (1894), by Arthur Morrison
- The People of the Abyss, by Jack London
- “Jack the Ripper — A Solution?” by Dr. Thomas Eldon Stowell. The Criminologist magazine, Nov. 1970
- Jack the Ripper: The Final Solution, by Stephen Knight
- Prince Jack, by Frank Spiering
- Sickert and the Ripper Crimes, by Jean Overton Fuller
- Lulu (Novel circa 1900), by Frank Wedekind
- Limehouse Nights & The Pleasantries of Old Quong (Fictional stories), by Thomas Burke
(The above first appeared at my Melchizedek Communique web site on March 30, 2011.)
——- Sources ——-
 Begg, Paul. Jack the Ripper: The Definitive History. London: Pearson Education Ltd., 2003
 qtd. in Begg, Paul, op. cit.
 “Malice In Wonderland”, excerpted from “Jack the Ripper: ‘Light-hearted Friend'”, by Richard Wallace. Harper’s magazine, Nov. 1996