Considerations on the Assassination of William Shakespeare

in Critical Survey
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Early on 18 June 1982 a clerk on his way to work at the Daily Express glanced over the Thames Embankment, and noticed an orange rope lashed to the north end of Blackfriars Bridge, and then a body hanging below, with feet skimming the tide. Five bricks were stuffed down the trousers of the smart suit of the hanged man, who had more than £7,000 in his pocket, and was soon identified as Roberto Calvi, known as ‘God’s banker’, the CEO of Milan’s Catholic Banco Ambrosiano. Journalists were quick to point out that ‘black friars’ – fratrineri – is an Italian name for the Freemasons, whose oath ordains that any traitor to their fraternity will be chained in rising water, and that the bricks were a Masonic sign. For Calvi’s horrific death was the most sensational twist to the scandal of the P2 Masonic Lodge that rocked Italy during its so-called Years of Lead. Although it remains an unsolved crime, this ritual ‘execution’ has therefore become as infamous as the knifings of Jack the Ripper. But what has never been explored, until now, is the fact that the corpse was left dangling beside the outlet of one of London’s ‘Lost Rivers’, the Fleet, and that this conduit led through ancient tunnels to the cellar, a hundred yards away, of the house of William Shakespeare.