Monthly Archives: May 2013

THE RIPPER GANG

JACK DESTRIPADOR 2

HENRY WENTWORTH BELLSMITH

“Murder, adultery, selfishness, hypocrisy, everything we call evil or sinful are equally meritorious with the most spotless purity of soul and body … sin becomes a misnomer and crime another name for virtue”

The above words were written in the 1890’s by an Anglo-Canadian in his forties called Henry Wentworth Bellsmith, of whom all evidence suggests he was a member of the notorious Ripper Gang which stalked the streets of East London in 1888 during an ‘Autumn of Terror,’ brutally claiming the lives of five Whitechapel prostitiutes. Born in London in 1849, he moved to Toronto in 1878 with his wife & children. However, by early 1888 he had separated from his wife & moved to London & at first took up a job with the Toronto Truss Company.

It was on hearing of his old lodger in 1889 that year-old suspicions were reawakened in a certain boarding house keeper, E Callaghan, who strongly suspected Bellsmith of being the Ripper. He stated that Bellsmith was a multilingual mysogonist who kept three loaded guns in his rooms, who had lodged with him in Finsbury Street between April & August 1888, leaving his room with bloodstained bedsheets a few days after the death of Martha Tabram (August 7th), a possible Ripper victim. He also stated that Bellsmith had at some point gone to America, but must have returned in 1889, adding, “We all regarded him as a lunatic, obsessed with women of the street, who he said should be drowned.” A certain Dr Forbes Winslow took a statement from Callaghan – dated Aug 8, 1889, 20 Gainsborough Sq, Victoria Park – & on investigations became positive that Bellsmith was the Ripper – the Jamaica Gleaner reports (24 October 1889);

“I know for a fact,” said the doctor, “that this man is suffering from a violent form of religious mania, which attacks him and passes off at intervals. I am certain that there is another man in it besides the one I am after, but my reasons for that I cannot state. The police will have nothing to do with the capture. I am making arrangements to station six men round the spot where I know my man is, and he will be trapped.” The public had laughed at him, the doctor went on to say, but on the Tuesday before the last body was discovered he had received information that a murder would be committed in two or three days. In conclusion, Dr. Winslow remarked, “I am as certain that I have the murderer as I am of being here.”

Winslow told the police that Bellsmith could be found at 8AM every morning at St Paul’s Cathedral, but chose to ignore him. This, then, is the closest the police ever got to catching this particular member of the Ripper Gang. That he was not working alone was strongly hinted at by Dr Winslow who stated; ‘I am certain that there is another man in it besides the one I am after.’ Perhaps this was the man placed by the People newspaper (7 October 1888) at the murder of the third victim, Elizabeth Stride;

THE DOUBLE-ACT

SH5_-_Elizabeth_Stride

The police have also received information that about half past ten on the Saturday night a man aged about 33 years entered a public house in Batty street, Whitechapel, and while the customers in the house were in conversation about the Whitechapel murders, he stated that he knew the Whitechapel murderer, and that they would hear about him in the morning, after which he left.

This leads us to the only witness account to a Ripper murder that actually seems to observe a murder in progress, that of Elizabeth Stride, the 4th of the canonical five. The witness concerned was a Hungarian immigrant Jew named Israel Schwartz, who through a translator gave the following account to the Star newspaper;

When he first came homewards about a quarter before one he first walked down Berner Street to see if his wife had moved. As he turned the corner from Commercial Road he noticed some distance in front of him a man walking as if partially intoxicated. He walked on behind him, and presently he noticed a woman standing in the entrance to the alleyway where the body was found. The half-tipsy man halted and spoke to her. The Hungarian saw him put his hand on her shoulder and push her back into the pass- age, but feeling rather timid of getting mixed up in quarrels, he crossed to the other side of the street. Before he had gone many yards, however, he heard the sound of a quarrel, and turned back to learn what was the matter, but just as he stepped from the kerb a second man came out of the doorway of a public house a few doors off, and shouting out some sort of warning to the man who was with the woman, rushed forward as if to attack the intruder. The Hungarian states positively that he saw a knife in the second man’s hand, but he waited to see no more. He fled incontinently to his new lodgings. He described the man with the woman as about 30 years of age, rather stoutly built, and wearing a brown moustache. He was dressed respectably in dark clothes and felt hat. The man who came at him with a knife he also describes, but not in detail. He says he was taller than the other but not so stout, and that his moustaches were red. Both men seemed to belong to the same grade of society.

The account given to the Star differs in a few places to that given to Chief Inspector Swanson earlier that day, which is understandable given that he, as the Star tells us,’ Could not speak a word of English, but came to the police station accompanied by a friend, who acted as interpreter.’ However, the differences are relatively minor such as the first man trying to pull Stride from the passage & the second man was holding a pipe, not a knife. Despite the darkness of the night, Schwartz gave the police a fairly detailed description of the Rippers, which when combined with those of the Star account, give us the following;

Man 1 (who threw the woman down) – 30 years old / 5 ft 5 in / fair complexion / dark hair / small brown moustache / full face / broad shouldered / respectable dress: dark jacket and trousers / black felt cap with peak / stoutly built / brown moustache

Man 2 (who warned man 1 & chased Schwartz down the street) – 35 / 5 ft / 11in /healthy complexion / light brown hair / respectable dress: dark overcoat / old black hard felt hat, wide brim / had a clay pipe or knife in his hand / Not so stout / red moustache
There are three tallies between the man 2 of Scwarzt & the description Callaghan made of Bellsmith , as in;

5’11 // 5’10
Healthy complexion // Dark complexion
Respectable dress // Respectable dress

We can now assume that Bellsmith had an accomplice during the murders, the peak-capped wearing short, stocky 30 year-old we shall call from her on in , THE SAILOR. His identity at this point remains unknown, but it was observed during the Autumn of Terror that the murders all took place on the weekends certain ships were berthed in London.

A further link between Bellsmith & the murder of Elizabeth Strude comes from another witness called Matthew Packer, who tells us (through the Daily News – 15th November); On Tuesday evening two men came to my house and bought twelve shillings’ worth of rabbits off me. They then asked me if I could give an exact description of the man to whom I sold the grapes, and who was supposed to have committed the Berner-street and Mitre-square murders, as they were convinced they knew him, and where to find him. In reply to some questions by Packer, one of the men said ‘Well, I am sorry to say that I firmly believe it is my own cousin. He is an Englishman by birth but some time ago he went to America, stayed there a few years, and then came back to London about seven or eight months ago. On his return he came to see me, and his first words were “Well, Boss, how are you?” He asked me to have some walks out with him, and I did round Commercial-street and Whitechapel. I found that he had very much altered on his return, for he was thoroughly harem scare-em. We met a lot of Whitechapel women, and when we passed them he used to say to me, “How do you think we used to serve them where I come from? Why, we used to cut their throats and rip them up. I could rip one of them up and get her inside out in no time.” He said, “We Jack Rippers killed lots of women over there. You will hear of some it being done over here soon, for I am going to turn a London Jack Ripper… The man who states he is the Ripper’s cousin is giving us a perfect blueprint of the activities of Bellsmith, who spent a decade in America before returning to London in March-April 1888, which was indeed 7-8 months before the above news story appeared.

Bellsmith, or at least a man strongly resembling his description, turns up in another Whitechapel boarding house, as reported by the Port Philip Herald (Australia) 22 November 1890. The story is similar to that of Callaghans, who on seeing Bellsmith in 1889 remembered his activities in 1888. In this case, an unnamed landlady sees her lodger in 1890, & remembered how he had raised suspicions in her of his being the Ripper. She tells us how a multilingual, revolver-owning Canadian rented her room who, ‘Was a man who could so alter his appearance that if you met him in the street once you would not know him again.’ She described him as being of middle-height, with a small, fair moustache and light brown hair, an exact match for the description of Man 2 made by Schwarzt in relation to the Elizabeth Stride murder. The landlady also tells us that in 1890, her old lodger had returned to London with a new wife in her mid-twenties, which fits in neatly with what we know about Bellsmith, who did indeed remarry Carolin Taylor (b.1866) in 1889.

THE LOOK OUT COUPLE

Knowing that Jack had an accomplice, we can now understand why he was given several descriptions by eye-witnesses, the confusion of which ensured his, or rather their, elusiveness. It has often been noted how amazingly the Ripper eluded capture, despite such a brazen modus operandi of killing prostitutes in the streets. On one occasion a policeman patrolled a section of Whitechapel & found nothing untoward, then only ten minutes later returned to the same place & found a dead woman who had suffered crude, organ-removing surgery. It seems, then, that a look-out system was in place, & at three of the murders, witnesses place a man & a woman gently carousing while only feet away a ghastly murder was taking place.

Mary Jane Kelly
Mary Jane Kelly

That a woman was part of the Ripper Gang helps us to clear up two perennial mysteries of the case. The first is the female DNA found on the licker of the stamp that sent the Openshaw Ripper latter, said to be the most viable Ripper letter. The second is that on the morning of the last murder, witnesses swore they saw Mary Jane Kelly in the street at 9AM, when she had evidently been slain at around 4.00AM. Detectives investigating the room in which Mary was butchered discovered the charred remains of a burnt bonnet, & what appears to have happened is that the female member of the Riper Gang has swapped her blood-stained clothes for those of MJK. Confirmation comes through the description of a 5’5”, stoutly-built 30-year-old man said to be seen with MJK at 9AM, an exact match to THE SAILOR.

At the murder of Annie Chapman, one witness describes hearing what sounded like a body dropping against a fence, while five minutes later another witness describes a man & a woman cavorting on the street-side of the fence. Her description is vague, but she gives the man a dark complexion & was perhaps over 40, which fits in with Bellsmith (shabby genteel, foreign, dark complexion, age 39 at the murders). Thus, while Chapman was being brutalized on the other side of the fence, the couple were keeping an eye on the street.

At the murder of Elizabeth Stride, a resident of 36 Berner St, Fanny Mortimer, describes; A young man and his sweetheart were standing at the corner of the street, about twenty yards away, before and after the time the woman must have been murdered, but they told me they did not hear a sound. Evening News, 1st October 1888

At the murder of Catherine Eddowes a man & woman were seen quietly conversing at the entrance to Mitre Square ten minutes ten minutes before the body was found. The woman was standing facing the man with her hand on his chest, but not in a manner to suggest that she is resisting him. Some reports say that the clothes of the women were said only to be only similar to those of Catherine Eddowes, introducing doubt & the possibility the two women were not the same person. An amalgamation of the descriptions of the man give us; 30-35 years old, 5 foot 7 inches tall, fair complexion, brown hair small fair mustache (some said descriptions said big) with a medium build. He was wearing a pepper and salt colored jacket which fits loosely, a muffler, a grey cloth cap with a peak of the same color. He has a reddish handkerchief knotted around his neck. Over all he gives the appearance of being a sailor.

Let us now compare this description with that of THE SAILOR described by Isaac Schwartz as having killed Elizabeth Stride less than an hour before Eddowes was slain.

30 years old // 30-35 years old,
5 ft 5 in // 5 foot 7 inches tall
fair complexion // fair complexion
dark hair // brown hair
small brown moustache // small fair mustache
respectable dress: dark jacket and trousers // pepper and salt colored jacket
black felt cap with peak // a grey cloth cap with a peak of the same color

The tallies are such that they are possibly the same person, & the SAILOR had taken on the role of Look-Out for the second murder of the night. We can definitely place him in that part of Whitechapel only a few minutes before the murder by a report in the ‘Star’ newspaper of October 1: “From two different sources we have the story that a man, when passing through Church Lane at about half past one, saw a man sitting on a doorstep and wiping his hands. As everyone is on the look-out for the murderer the man looked at the stranger with a certain amount of suspicion, whereupon he tried to conceal his face. He is described as a man who wore a short jacket and sailor’s hat.”

FRANCIS TUMBLETY

Francis Tumblety
Francis Tumblety

It is now time to look at the final member of the Ripper Gang, Francis Tumblety, who in recent years has become one of the chief candidates for the elusive serial killer known as Jack the Ripper. His name surfaced again in the 1990’s, after the discovery of a letter by an English policeman named Stewart Evans. It was written in 1913 by John J. Littlechild, Chief of CID Special Branch during the murders, who tells us;

I never heard of a Dr D. in connection with the Whitechapel murders but amongst the suspects, and to my mind a very likely one, was a Dr. T. (which sounds much like D.) He was an American quack named Tumblety and was at one time a frequent visitor to London and on these occasions constantly brought under the notice of police, there being a large dossier concerning him at Scotland Yard. Although a ‘Sycopathia Sexualis’ subject he was not known as a ‘Sadist’ (which the murderer unquestionably was) but his feelings toward women were remarkable and bitter in the extreme, a fact on record. Tumblety was arrested at the time of the murders in connection with unnatural offences and charged at Marlborough Street, remanded on bail, jumped his bail, and got away to Boulogne. He shortly left Boulogne and was never heard of afterwards. It was believed he committed suicide but certain it is that from this time the ‘Ripper’ murders came to an end.

Those ‘unnatural offences’ were acts of homosexuality against five men over the entire period of the murders. The first incident took place on the 31st August, the very date of the killing of Mary Ann Nichols, the first of the five canonical Ripper victims. This is only the first of many coincidences that must surely put beyond reasonable doubt that Tumblety was Jack the Ripper. However, it appears that he was in fact the mastermind of a cult of murder which I shall now present as the RIPPER GANG. Indeed, the first instincts of the police were that the murders were perpetrated by a gang, as in; ‘One of the chief theories of the police with respect to the matter is that the sort of “High Rip” gang exists in the neighbourhood.’(Echo – London, U.K. – 1st September 1888)

Evans & Gainey present many points which strongly suggest Tumblety was the murderer, being;

1 – He was in Whitechapel at the time
2- He was arrested for “unnatural acts” during that period (homosexuality) & released on bail
3- After he fled Britain, the murders stopped
4 – British detectives followed him to the USA.
5- He was remembered for collecting female uteri in jars & extreme mysogony
6 – His wife had worked as a prostitute whilst married to him
7- He had pretensions of being a doctor
8 – He was known to use aliases
9 – Scotland Yard asked the San Francisco police for a copy of his handwriting in October 1888 – before he was arrested
10 – Was suspected of murders in the US, & was tried for manslaughter
11 – Rings in his inventory upon his death matched those taken from —
The only known material ‘trophies’ taken from a victim by the killer were the two imitation gold rings (brass) taken from Chapman
12 – Peddled porn in his childhood
13 – Was wealthy enough to change both clothes & residence frequently

We can now tie Tumblety to Bellsmith through an account given by the anonymous landlady who seems to have had Harry Wentworth Bellsmith lodging with her, whoremembers that he had a brother who visited him two times. She described him as Canadian, being much older than Bellsmith & residing in the neighborhood of Oxford street. Let us presume for one moment that this ‘doctor’ was Tumblety, who would have been 56 at the time of the murders fitting his elderly description. That he lived in the vicinity of Oxford Street seems to be the foundation of a news story published ten days after the double killings.

A certain member of the Criminal Investigation Department has recently journeyed to Liverpool and there traced the movements of a man which have proved of a somewhat mysterious kind. The height of this person and his description are generally ascertained, and among other things he was in possession of a black leather bag. This man suddenly left Liverpool for London, and for sometime occupied apartments in a well-known first class hotel in the West End. It is stated that for some reason or another this person was in the habit of ‘slumming’. He would visit the lowest parts of London, and scour the slums of the East End. He suddenly disappeared from the hotel leaving a black leather bag and its contents, and has not yet returned. He left a small bill unpaid, and ultimately an advertisement appeared in The Times, setting forth the gentleman’s name, and drawing forth attention to the fact that the bag would be sold under the Innkeeper’s Act to defray expenses, unless claimed. This was done last month by a well-known auctioneer in London, and the contents, or some of them, are now in possession of the police, who are thoroughly investigating the affair. Of these we, of course, cannot more than make mention, but certain documents, wearing apparel, cheque books, prints of obscene description, letter, & c., are said to form the foundation of a most searching inquiry now afoot, which is being vigilantly pursued by those in authority. It has been suggested that the mysterious personage referred to landed in Liverpool from America, but this so far is no more than a suggestion.” The Globe of October 10, 1888.

Here we have the black bag of a doctor, the slumming in the East-End, the arrival from America (via Liverpool), & the obscene photography, which Tumblety used to peddle as a young man. If it is Tumblety, it seems he absconded from the hotel at some point in September, at which point we should look at the following story from the Evening News (19th September 1888) where we have a tall, well-dressed man attempting to cut a woman’s throat near Oxford Street at the same time a Ripper suspect flees an Oxford Street Hotel.

Another terrible outrage was committed in London, this morning, at the West end. A woman was stabbed in the breast in Down street, Piccadilly, by a man who attempted to cut her throat. He was seen and pursued, but escaped. The woman was taken to St. George’s Hospital, where she lies in a precarious position. The man is described as a tall man, well dressed. Adelaide Rogers, of 21 Stangate, Westminster Bridge road, ran out of Down street between two and three o’clock this morning, and informed a policeman stationed in Piccadilly that she had been stabbed. She was bleeding profusely from a serious wound on the right cheek, and had already become faint from loss of blood


Conclusion

It seems that in 1888 the Ripper killings were conducted & orchestrated by two Canadians, Henry Wentowrth Bellsmith & Francis Tumblety, & that they were assisted by several people. The motive, I believe, was a pseudo-religious mission to highlight the poverty in the East End slums. In his book – Henray Cadevere – Bellsmith writes ‘0h, Liberty! What crimes are done in thy name! The work of Socialists?” mused Cadavere, bitterly. “This the work of brotherhood and humanity?” His work was the murder of the underclass, & his mentioning of the scoialist William Morris – who himself was arrested on suspicion of being the Ripper – leads us to Morris’ comrade-in-socialism, George Bernard Shaw, who in a letter to The Star (September 24th 1888) wrote;

Will you allow me to make a comment on the success of the Whitechapel murderer in calling attention for a moment to the social question? Less than a year ago the West-end press, headed by the St. James’s Gazette, the Times, and the Saturday Review, were literally clamering for the blood of the people… The Saturday Review was still frankly for hanging the appellants; and the Times denounced them as “pests of society.” This was still the tone of the class Press as lately as the strike of the Bryant and May girls. Now all is changed. Private enterprise has succeeded where Socialism failed. Whilst we conventional Social Democrats were wasting our time on education, agitation, and organisation, some independent genius has taken the matter in hand, and by simply murdering and disembowelling four women, converted the proprietary press to an inept sort of communism. The moral is a pretty one, and the Insurrectionists, the Dynamitards, the Invincibles, and the extreme left of the Anarchist party will not be slow to draw it. “Humanity, political science, economics, and religion,” they will say, “are all rot; the one argument that touches your lady and gentleman is the knife.” That is so pleasant for the party of Hope and Perseverance in their toughening struggle with the party of Desperation and Death!

Is it possible that the murders were contracted out to Tumblety & Bellsmith by the Socialist intelligentsia? Perhaps, Tumblety’s bail was set at £300, about £25,000 pounds today, which was met by persons unknown. Two or three days later he was on his way to New York & political immunity. Whether Shaw & Morris are involved or not, however, from now on I believe the identity of the Ripper(s) can be classed as a mystery no more.

The Holy Grail

Censorship is the last line of defence…

…Yesterday I was finally prevented from posting my studies concerning King Arthur & his period on the international e-forum known as Arthurnet. Its moderator, Judy Shoaf, from the University of Florida, had been growing increasingly exasperated with my discoveries which ended up with her conducting a condescending campaign against me. Continuing on regardless I continued to post my discoveries, countering any counter-arguments tossed at me from the (apparent) best in the field with aplomb. I was just to hot to handle. The crunch moments came in the past week when I posted my discovery of the Holy Grail, on which I suddenly had the plug pulled out on me just as I was about to reveal the truth behind the legend, with our so-called neutral moderator denying me the chance to have my democratic say – & she heralding from the country of liberty herself. Here’s what she wrote at the end of the last post I was allowed to place on Arthurnet.

Judy Shoaf

Damo is just playing games with words. I would point out that using Wolfram as raw material for his games is so productive because Wolfram was likely to play these games himself. He clearly loved inventing names. Flegetanis not only evokes “Fulgentius” (author of a well-known mythography) but even more strongly “Flegeton” or Phlegethon, the flaming river of the classical underworld. Wolfram managed to pack two different mythical-authoritative-scary meanings in one, outdoing for once Damo’s own vigorous inventiveness. I was delighted to find this sentence in the Wikipedia article on Fulgentius: “Fulgentius’ etymologies (while typical of his age) have been recently criticized as being wildly extravagant, arbitrary, and often simply incorrect.” I will try to post a bit separately about why I, as moderator, have allowed Damo, whose theories are wildly extravagant, arbitrary, and often simply incorrect, to continue to post on Arthurnet, and why his writings should not be taken as an accurate guide to anything except his own imagination.’

Quality stuff! There is no intelligent dissemeniation & rebuking of my thoughts here, just outright denial & refusal to broadens one’s capacity for intellectual endeavor. What has happened is that where great minds in the past have failed to discover the truth about Arthur, then it is deemed an impossible task. However, I live in the blossoming age of the internet, when obscure ancient texts are available at the click of a button, & I also live in Edinburgh & its fathomless National Library of Scotland. I understand why Judy doesnt want me to succeed – shes been running Arthurnet for 20 years now, & for some cheeky young(ish) Burnley boy to swagger in & work out every unsolved ‘problem’ seriously decredits the whole purpose of the site, which was to pool ideas & work out who Arthur was. Problem, is after 20 years they got absolutely nowhere, showing that what was need was something along the lines of;

‘Almost always the men who achieve these fundamental inventions of a new paradigm have either been very young or very new to the field whose paradigm they change’
Thomas Kuhn (The Structure of Scientific Revolutions)

I have found Arthur, & I have also found the Holy Grail. It may seem ‘wildly extravagant’ & ‘arbitrary,’ but it was the only way to find the answer! Here’s the nuts & bolts of why I was taken off Arthurnet, & please decide for yourself on whether I am correct or not.

FINDING THE GRAIL

Montsalvy

In the early years of the 13th century, two writers gave the location of the castle in which the grail was kept. The first was Robert de Boron – who placed the ‘secret of the grail’ at the Vaus d’Avaron, in the west, erroneously changed by later poets to Avalon in Glastonbury. The second was Wolfram von Eschenbach – who placed the castle in France at a place called Montsalvat, adding the grail was guarded by the Knights Templar. This in turn leads us to a department of France called Aveyron, famous for being a Templar hotbed. Just a mile inside its modern borders we find the charming village of Montsalvy. Today, the grail castle has to be the ruins known as the castle of Mandarulfen at Montsalvy, which in turn leads us to an artifact known as the Mandylion. This was a piece of material which bore the face of Jesus which has been associated with the Holy Grail for a number of years, especially in the work of Dan Scavone.

The Mandylion

The Mandylion was taken to France in the wake of the 1204 sack of Constantinople by French crusader knights, & that a castle named after it was built at Montsalvy is strong evidence that that it was indeed the grail. Before Constantinople, the Mandylion was held in the Syrian city of Edessa, where it surfaced in 544 during a siege of the city by the Persians. Two years previously, a Byzantine general was stationed in that very city, whose name was Bouzes. Is it a coincidence that medieval romancers named one of the three grail knights as Sir Bors? Perhaps, but when we observe second grail knight was known by two names – the Gerrman Parsifal & the Welsh Pheredur – & that Bouzes fought in the same army as a certain Pharos the Herulian, we can reconcile both Parzival & Peredur, whose names contain the phonetics of Pharos Eril – the latter epithet being that of the Herulians found on stones in Scandinavia;

PH – The ‘ph’ of Pheredur, the archaic spelling of Peredur
AROS – The ‘arz’ of Parzival
ER – The ‘ur’ of Pheredur
IL – The ‘al’ of Parcival

Parcival

We should see the name Pharos the Herulian as the trunk of a tree on which the name Peredur is found along the Welsh branch & Parzival along the Teutonic. History also supports the connection, for Peredur’s 14 year sojurn in Constantinople finds a tally with Pharos the Herulian who served in the armies of Byzantium.

St Catherine's Monastery

The medieval grail legend tells us that Sir Bors, Parcival & Galahad, on discovering the grail, took it to a site on the Egypto-Arabian border where the Saracens dwelt, called Sarras. This points us to the Sinai peninsular, which Procopius tells us was the homelands of the Saracens. So far so good. It is at the foot of Mount Sinai that three years after the Mandylion was seen at Edessa, the Byzantines built a fortified monastery dedicated to the transfiguration of Jesus. This was the grail castle, which was deemed to be in the middle of the wasteland by medieval writers – & we must remember that Sinai is an absolute desert. That the mandylion was moved there is evident from Templar-built churches in Cyprus (the church of panagia phorbiotissa at asnou is the best) which saw the iconography of Mt Sinai – burning bush/10 tablets’ together with the mandylion & images of the transfiguration. Indeed, in the book ‘Approaching the Holy Mountain,’ we are told;

‘Take the famous tenth century diptych showing the disciple Thaddesu & King Abgar who recieves the mandylion, represented in the features of Constantine Porphyogennetos, who had transferred the mandylion from Edessa to Constantinople in 944. A row of monastic saints below make makes it propbale that the two wings of what may have been a tryptich are agions to be seen within the localism characteristic of Sinai.’

St Catherine’s monastery was a repositary for cristian icons – including copies of the mandylion which probably influenced all future images of Jesus. Indeed, one of these, originally made in the 6th century, is touched up in the 940’s just before the mandylion itself is moved to Constantinople. We are also told that the knights found the natives of Sarras had reverted to pagan ways, which matches a description by John, Bishop of Nikiu, describes the peoples about Sinai (in the reign of Anastasius) as; -‘Impious barbarians, who eat flesh & drank blood, arose in the quarter of Arabia & approaching the borders of the red sea, they seized the monks of araite (Rhaithou), & they put them to the sword or led them away captive & plundered their possessions; for they hated saints, & were themselves like in their devices to idolators & the pagans…’

Galahad

It’s location then helps us solve the mystery of the last of the grail keepers, Galahad, in whose name we can see the phonetics of a welsh Arthurian knight called Glewlwyd as in

Gal = Gl
Ah – Ewl
Ad – wyd

In a poem called Culwhych & Olwen he tells us; ‘Half of my life is past, and half of thine. I was heretofore in Kaer Se and Asse, in Sach and Salach, in Lotor and Fotor; and I have been heretofore in India the Great and India the Lesser.’ Here we see Sarras as Caer Se & Asse, & with Ethiopia being known as Lesser India in antiquity, we can place him in the region of the Red Sea! With Bouzes & Pharos being goths, that it makes sense that Galahad/Glewlwyd was also a Goth, & indeed, in the Prosopography of the Later Roman Empire – a gigantic compendium of all the names recorded in those times – there is a Goth who lived at just the right time called Gudahal, which contains all the letters of Galahad, as in;

g u d a h a l
g a l u h a d

If the letters changed over 700 years, through the effect of dark-age chineses whispers – then perhaps certain facts did also. Thus, whhen medieval writers wrote that Galahad was the son of Sir Lancelot, what they meant to say was Galahad was the father of Lancelot, for the Prosopography tells us that Guduhal had a son called Landarit. It is through understanding how names change over time & through languages that I have been able to unravel the knotted woolen ball of the Arthuriana. For example, just look at some of the names given for Guinevere…

Gwenhwyfar – Triads
Guanhumara – Monmouth
Guennuuar – Caradoc
Wenneuereia – Gerard of Wales

To an untrained eye, Wenneuereia & Gwenhwyfar seem totally different, but they are the same woman. The way I see it is that the historian must develop techniques to analyze the changes that incur during the chisper process in order to elucidate a name-change. For example, by isolating rhotacism in a changing consonant to one particular language, although we may have lost the text itself, we can identify at least the language in which the text was written.

JUDY’S REPLY

After ignoring my protests for a few days, I alerted Judy to my blog, on which she suddenly began to speak again – here’s the blog she sent to arthurnetters – funny as!

From Judy Shoaf, your moderator.

The concern of some Arthurnetters as to the poverty of Damo’s grasp of basic texts and concepts had moved me enough that I held back his latest post. I would like to recap and explain why I have continued to forward his posts to the list, despite the fact that they do not form a contribution to Arthurian scholarship in any way, and if taken seriously as statements of fact would actually form a sort of negative contribution.

To clarify, up front: None of Damo’s posts has ever included a single assertion that is useful to the study of Arthurian literature or of history. If any people on the list have assumed that they did, I apologize to them. My thought was that he was perhaps making a contribution on the creative side.

Damo joined the list, I believe, in January of 2012, with the announcement that he had had a revelation regarding the identity of Arthur as Arthwys, King of the Pennines. Since then Damo has posted abundantly, at least 160 posts. His methodology is roughly as follows:

If it is my idea, it is a good, true idea.
If an assertion fits or can be made to fit my idea, or generates an idea in my mind, it is a fact.

Thus any bit of Wolfram’s Parzival which generates a train of thought in Damo’s mind constitutes a “fact” which he has “proven” to be a valid part of Arthuriana, and even of history. Its factuality is not dependent on whether it actually happened that way, but depends on how well it serves the pattern in Damo’s head.

Damo has always been polite and kept his temper, so far as I can recall. He has never complained when people dismissed his assertions as absurd.

I have posted his comments for almost a year and a half as an example of how King Arthur is still generating fact-free history, as he did for Geoffrey of Monmouth, for the Welsh hagiographers, or for Malory. It seems to me that Damo writes very much in that spirit, as someone who pulls “history” out of the air and then asks us to believe in it, and apparently at least in passing believes it himself.

What has surprised me, given Damo’s obvious abilities, is that he has clearly gone far beyond the possibility of combining his “research” into any coherent whole. He simply wanders along playing the “name game” and asserting that Arthur was here or there, but he seems to have no ambition to write a narrative in which all his assertions and name games would find a place.

Then she wrote privately to me with;

Damo, thank you for resolving my debate with myself re. whether to continue posting your stuff. You have always been polite on the list and I hesitated to block someone who is generally well-mannered, but I think it is time to part ways. Your work is moronic, and of interest only for its spectacular ignorance & I decided not to shame you by sending it to anyone. You said that I censored you. I am censoring you. I am not going to post any more of your stuff on the list.

Charming stuff!

Basically, as a neutral she was waiting for me to turn rude or whatever, so she had grounds to remove me from Arthurnet. To provoke this she first begen to insult my intelligence, then began to name me as the composer of each post I offered, as in ‘Damo on Merlin, Damo on Montsalvy,’ but this didn’t work either. Finally, she just denied me from posting at the very point I offered a well-researche hypothesis on the location of the grail castle, leaving me no choice to record her unfair & ignorant attitude for posterity. In essence she blinked first & like I said before, censorship is the last form of defence… & somewhere in the middle of all this is the Holy Grail, the discovery of which prompted my removal from a meeting of Arthurian minds. Its a simple case of an upset child taking the ball off me & saying I cant play anymore! Proper kindergarten.

To finish, I would like to quote Judy one last time, who said… ‘None of Damo’s posts has ever included a single assertion that is useful to the study of Arthurian literature or of history.’ This evidently contradicts what she wrote to me concerning my discovery of Arthur’s grave, as in;

‘BTW, I was interested in your idea that Nudus and Dumnogenus are adjectives modifying princes in the Yarrow Stone inscription. I thought you must be wrong, because clearly you don’t know Latin, and this would not work grammatically. BUT I checked the inscription and your suggestion makes sense—the forms have endings in –i which fit the plural “princes” rather than implying names of single individuals in apposition with “princes.” It’s odd that the two words were read as names, but one would expect that a memorial would give the names of the persons involved; perhaps the names were on the other side, which I gather is damaged. However, I guess people who study inscriptions are better qualified than I am to interpret what the words mean in context. The way one figures it out is to look at other memorial stones (or texts) that use these words or a similar structure. (Liberalis, on the other hand, looks like a name, in terms of both grammar and sense… At the same time, the fact that the inscription may have been misinterpreted does not mean that it marked Arthur’s grave!

Here we have an example of the stuck-in-the-sand nature of Arthurian academia. Judy’s initial instinct was ‘I thought you must be wrong,’ a sentiment shared by every other scholar who have been trying to find Arthur through entire lifetimes. However, Judy is a Latin expert & recognized the correctness of my theory. Unfortunately she lacks expertise elsewhere, & can only offer outright denial when presented with unfamiliar territory, tendencies noticed by another guy called S. H. Rosenbaum, who experienced a similar attack. He wrote;

To Judith Shoaf, moderator of Arthurnet;
This is all very interesting and revealing; it seems I am indeed treading on your meme. This pattern of response is similar to others who find their convictions threatened, their arguments untenable. The only recourse is to deny the evidence, state their credo and stop their ears. I highly doubt you will read any of the referenced works, and suspect rightly that you keep to only those authors who agree with your precepts. It is such attitude that has led this subject to naught but dead ends. Or perhaps I have read too many books, or in your view, not the right ones? As for my “free association of ideas”, they are based on the process of elimination, observation, Occam’s Razor and simple reason. This runs counter to the depressing, stagnant state of historical knowledge that relies not on innate curiosity but the easy comfort of consensus. Faced with such un-reason, I will abandon this Arthurian direction and revert to research papers discussing the more intellectual and linguistic aspects regarding Post-Roman Britain. Savor this small triumph, for as others endlessly and pointlessly talk, to no purpose or result, I will be reading anything and everything, exploring new concepts by speaking and writing, and above all else, thinking and learning.

Food for thought!

Sardinia

Well…

It’s been a good few months since I’ve written a non- histro-detective blog, but I guess a Mayday is a good time to start a new course of chiccachiare – that means ‘chit-chat’ in Italian & indeed that is the land from which I have only just returned, landing in Edinburgh airport yesterday afternoon & apparently bringing the sunshine with me. On my arms was my beautiful new muse & girlfriend, Miss Elinor Dickie, my constant companion for the previous two weeks as we took advantage of the cheap Ryan air flights between Edinburgh & Cagliari (£40) in Sardinia. This, combined with the out of season price-plummet that occurs across Ausonian shores, meant that we only paid a tenner a night each for lovely properties. The first one was a villa in Flumini, a tranquil seaside village a half-hour’s bus-ride from the Sardinian capital. We were sharing it for the weekend with Victor Pope & our name drummer – Jonny – who had brought his girlfriend, Dee, a long for the ride – here’s a shot of us in recent action as THE VICTOR POPE BAND.

We had a cracking four nights, perched on the beach, or barbeceueing in our lovely garden; drinking beers, our sun-starved skins soaking up the rays as if we were fledgelings leaving the nest & encountering a little gabble of grubs. Cagliari really came alive on Saturday night, with the beers full of the dapper-youth, & us guys ending up in a mad disco-pop karaoke club til 3. The night ended with jonny accidentally smashing a window in our apartment which, good on him, he became pro-active about the next morning, removing the frame, finding the Italian for ‘glazer’ (vetraio) & pointing me in the right direction – it only cost a tenner to replace the glass so no harm done.

The Sardinian flag - the four heads are decapitated sacracen pirates

On Tuesday, the guys returned to Edinburgh, leaving me & Ellie to our own devices for a week. We moved 100k up the island, to a wee village called Massama just outside the compact, bustling city of Oristano. It was here that we tasted the real Sardinia, mingling with the locals far from the tourist trail in off-season tranquillity. Indeed, our arrival coincided with an annual festival to Saint Mary, of which we made a wee film using our camera-phones. Which as you will see was pretty good fun!

Me & the Lass

During the dancing we got chatting to this lass – Julia – who is off to Edinburgh herself on the 17th May. This began an exchange of tour-guidism, for the next morning she whisked me & ellie on a tour of the coast line to the north of Oristano, a wonderful mix of breathtaking views & fabulous beaches, including the remnants of a Punic-Roman city called Tharros. Talking of history, on one occasion we caught a train to the treeless yet evergreen Sardinian hinterland, where near the town of Marcomer we came across the fantastic remnants of a Bronze-Age civilisation the Sardinians called Nuraghe. While observing the still intact towers I couldn’t help but notice their similarities to the brochs of northern scotland… a comparison which has been noted by scholars. Then getting out my Ptolemy I found the tribes that dwelt in that part of Sardinia were known as the Corsi and the Carenses… The tribes in scotland who lived in the broch areas were given by Ptolemy as the Cornovi/Cornavi and the Cerones. It seems now that the Sardinian Corsi also settled in Scotland as either the new -novi- cor the sailing -navi- cor.

So all in all, a lovely trip to Italy & a great way to start the summer of 2013, which seems like its going to be fun. Indeed, it heralded the commencement of my first period of personal poetic composition since I completed Axis & Allies two winters ago. I have lain fallow for some time now, in which several seeds were planted which I shall cultivate throughout the summer. So far I have completed four poems of a series concerning the death of Garibaldi, who died in Sardinia. Here’s one for starters;

And so he sleeps…
Snow-white poncho drapes his heavy corpse
As if he were the highest of the Alps
Towering
Unmissable
Gravely honoured by pickets in silenzia
Who feel this is the honour of their lives

To see this tender Chapelle Ardent
It seems the whole of Italy has come
& will come yet
O noble Mecca of the brave Risorgimento
An Augustus of Rome
Alighieri of Ravenna
A demagogue dutifully deified

Night falls
Urania rises, & the stars
Shine happily tonight
For as each soul on leaving mortal clay
Bright star becomes
Come seldom-times, those rarest of the rare
There shall commence a lustre yon compare
It happens once a century or less
& this today, by Italy’s slender moon
Untramelled
Guissepe Garibaldi ever shines.