Posts Tagged ‘William Melville’

MI5 and the Magicians

Published September 20th 2013

The story of the relationship between intelligence agencies and illusionists in the entertainment industry is a long one.  It goes back at least to the beginning of the century, and the friendship between the escapologist Harry Houdini and the man who would help found MI5, William Melville. The story goes: in June 1900 Melville introduced […]

Profile: Sidney Reilly

Published March 19th 2013

Sidney George Reilly was a Jewish Russian-born spy of the most extraordinary type. Exactly who he was and who his father was is a bit of a mystery but he was originally named either Georgi Rosenblum or Salomon Rosenblum and after faking his own death in Odessa he fled the Tsarist regime and, traveling via either France or Brazil depending on who you believe, he arrived in London in late 1895.

Jack the Ripper and the FBI

Published January 10th 2013

In 1988 Cosgrove-Meurer Productions were producing a TV mini-series about the notorious Jack the Ripper murders of exactly 100 years earlier. Their show claimed to have gained unprecedented access to official files on the case but ended up advancing a commonly-believed theory linking the murders to the British Royal Family. As part of their research they commissioned the FBI to do a review of the case and produce an offender profile of the killer.

Profile: William Melville

Published January 9th 2013

William Melville was born in the town of Sneem, County Kerry in the South West of Ireland. He first joined the Metropolitan police in 1872 and he quickly rose through the ranks. A friend of the magician Harry Houdini, during the 1880s he headed up the Special Irish Bureau designed to deal with the problem of Fenian ‘dynamitards’. He was part of the team that foiled the 1887 Jubilee Plot, which was supposedly an assassination attempt against Queen Victoria. In reality it was a state sponsored covert operation, approved by the Prime Minister Lord Salisbury, run through the spy Francis Millen with the aim of discrediting Irish nationalism. It is possible that Melville was not in the loop and as far as he was concerned had foiled a real plot.