This is the earliest source I’ve found online to this Ripper Davinci Code Hoax. It’s from a Jack the Ripper thread on the Oak Island forums, second last entry, by someone using the username Harry Oakes. It won’t link up so I’ll quote some of it here. Dated June 2007:
Did Mary Jane Kelly, last victim of Jack the Ripper, have a child with Sir Arthur Sullivan of Gilbert and Sullivan or is this the latest version of the infamous Royal Conspiracy theory made famous by Stephen Knight?...
Mary? Prostitute? A secret baby?... Where have we all heard that before?... For the last few years, Dan Brown’s Davinci Code has rocked the world. Coincidentally, tracing this latest rumour takes us right to another man named brown. This time it’s Howard Brown of jtrforums.com, the place for all things Ripper…..
“This is just like Dan Brown, Pierre Plantard, and Holy Blood Holy Grail!” said a source from jtrforums.com. “I think it’s a hoax!”
“Certainly not our Arthur!” said a shocked source from Sullivan Archives online.
The verdict from Ripperologists and Sullivanites alike seems to be unanimous. It’s a hoax.
I wouldn’t doubt Arthur shagged Mary if she was within 100 miles of the Savoy. She is said to have had a gentleman friend who took her to France in 1884. Arthur went to France in 1884. She also said she had a relative on the stage and lived in Knightsbridge. It’s hard to dismiss offhand.
If she’s recorded as going to France in 1884 and he can be proved to have been in France in 1884 at the same time then yes, that is perhaps something.
But it still has nothing whatsoever to do with Dan Brown. Like I said:
1. Mary is a common name because it’s used in the Bible. Especially popular amongst poor Irish Catholic girls, who comprised most of the protitutes in Whitechapel. There would have been literally thousands of prostitutes called ‘Mary’.
2. A secret baby is a very, very, very common cliche in fiction. And in real life, thousands of girls of good families got knocked up, had the child in secret which was sent to an orphanage and the mother usually to a convent. Conversely the amount of royals who’ve sired bastards is beyond measure. Nil points.
3. Two people called ‘Brown’. One of the most common names possible. There must be hundreds of thousands of people called ‘Brown’ in the world right now.
Coincidences are only important if they’re not ridiculously likely. You can’t connect the dots because two people share a very, very common name or one book has a common plot element of another, especially if that plot elemtn is in countless other books. I bet someone could connect Winnie the Pooh to Jack the Ripper if we had to.