Those that do not understand history are doomed to repeat it. History is imperative to remember. If we look back at history, we see patterns begin to form. If we don’t look at our history, we won’t fully understand our present or future.
I use history in my novels in two ways. Firstly, I use actual historical events that link to the present day events. Second, I use the character’s history to enable the reader to understand how the character ended up at the point they are at. Discussed in the first article in the series ‘Why I use flashbacks in my novels’.
In Initiated to Kill, history reveals a Freemason conspiracy linked to one of the most infamous serial killers in history – Jack the Ripper. The historical aspect explores the background of the possible identity of Jack the Ripper, and his audacious crimes. Delving into why the Freemasons might have commissioned a man to achieve their ends through violence, and why Jack the Ripper might have been able to get away with those murders.
The historical aspect then links to the present day plot in Spain, where a man obsessively wants to replicate crimes of old and bring to light the relevance and significance of ancient initiations.
In the present day plot line, I explore my characters’ past, exposing motivations, and reveal to the reader the inner workings of their damaged psyche.
How do I use History in Initiated to Kill?
In the recesses of the ancient temple, an ornately decorated room filled with candles, lighted the way for the men filing in. Dressed in long black robes, hands pressed solemnly together, slowly the row of men trudge into the Temple room. Each with their face down, they instinctively form a large circle in the room.
The room fell with a deathly silence; abruptly three knocks reverberated throughout the room. The Worshipful Master spoke, “You will admit him in the name of the Grand Architect of the Universe, and let him be placed in the West.”
“As this is a prick to the flesh at this time, so may the remembrance of it be to your conscience hereafter, should you ever attempt improperly to reveal any of the secrets with which you are about to be entrusted.”
7 August, 1888
George Yard, Whitechapel
The dark suffocating smog enveloped the man as he strolled down the grimy streets. The smell from the raw sewage drifted in the night air, flowing through the gutters and into the Thames River. Dressed in a navy uniform, with a white band around his cap, a fake mustache pasted on his face, his thoughts traveling to the scene before him.
He was disgusted with this place. The onslaught of Irish and Jewish immigrants had caused this place to fall to the hands of street vendors, pick-pockets, drunks, beggars and prostitutes.
His heart thudded in his ribcage, his mouth felt dry, his little body started to tremble. The little boy remembered how Charles Dickens spoke of a similar ordeal. ‘“I suffered agonies, as they related all to me, and did violence to myself in keeping to my seat.’”
Would this happen to him? Only at five-years-old, and he had already undergone two operations in Germany, leaving massive scar tissue, and still hadn’t fixed the ‘problem.’
31 August, 1888
Buck’s Row, Whitechapel
Only later did the police and doctor realize the full extent of her injuries. The one jagged slash, three or four slashes downward and several across created an almost grid-like pattern. Her genitals disfigured, no way of knowing if she was assaulted pre-mortem.
Later this victim was identified as Mary Ann Nichols.
He knew, that one day, he would create something so brilliant that he would be remembered for all time.
When women posed, exposing their nude frames, he imagined them emaciated, mutilated. Images without genitals, organs or faces.
Holed up in his room for days, attempting to create a perfect masterpiece, but unable to get it just right. He needed inspiration, he needed to paint life in true form. But soon this would not satisfy him. Something happened that started the steady decline to a deprived psyche.
30 September, 1888
The grimy streets, shrouded in fog, filled with industrial toxins, clothed him in a world of shadow and mist. The an- cient, ramshackle buildings loomed over the darkened streets, shadowing the few people passing by. The “unfortunates” drank themselves into oblivion, preparing themselves for the night ahead.
Frustration that he had to stay out longer than necessary, caused his footsteps to pound on the cobbled streets as he hurriedly searched for his next model.
Later, this woman would be identified as Catherine Eddows.
November, 1888 London
‘“Kisses” “Oh, it was such a jolly job that last one.” “What a dance I am leading” “The police pass me close every day, and I shall pass
one going to post this.” “You never caught me and you never will Ha Ha.”’
At one point, he even drew inspiration by painting in a black dungeon, the morbid atmosphere created an environment to paint horrors.
Stepping back, he surveyed his masterpiece. He liked to “square-up” his sketches. He was so clever; his paintings were unique in that there was a mathematical grid faintly visible. Clues hidden in plain sight. My, wouldn’t they like to get their hands on this.
The face of death stared back at him. Smiling, he made sure all of his lines were within a radius of 360 degrees of four right angles. Creating that perfect square—square of virtue should be a rule and guide. That will make them think. Oh, he did enjoy playing his little games.