It is shocking to read the information that has been coming out at the inquiry into the activities of Jimmy Savile. A lot of what has been said implies further actions that cannot be proven. A child taken by Savile who is not seen alive again; admissions of strange behaviour in the morgue and abuse of bodies; the keeping of trophies taken from the dead; connections with children’s homes where sexual and physical abuse was now known to be rife. Worst of all is the fact that all this latest information is only that which is associated with his behaviour within the hospital system. There is such a huge amount of abhorrent behaviour that it is easy to forget that he would have led a similar life out in the rest of the world.
A lot of the claims being made against Savile in the NHS reports being discussed at Leeds General Infirmary sound so outlandish that if it weren’t known that this is an official inquiry it would be easy to believe that a lot of his behaviour was nothing more than urban legend surrounding a vile criminal. As it is, the truth is that he very probably did not just the things that have been claimed in the NHS reports but also much else besides.
Inevitably where there is a likelihood of making financial claims against his estate and claims in tort against the hospital services that enabled him there will be people trying to take advantage of this. Even if there is no one trying to take advantage there will be a perception that people will try to take advantage. For this reason each claim of abuse will have to be examined to determine that the claimant is not simply making things up. Another inevitability is that a lot of real claims may not have the requisite level of proof to satisfy an investigation. When many of the victims were already dead there is even less proof; dead men tell no tales.
The police have identified fewer than 300 crimes according to one of the reports I have read today. Over the long life of Jimmy Savile this would not even represent the tip of the iceberg. Anecdotally, sexual assault was literally something that Savile habitually committed with a far greater frequency than anyone I know has ever had hot dinners.
When I first started investigating Savile I was struck by the coincidences surrounding his connections with The Yorkshire Ripper, Peter Sutcliffe. One of the victims was left just outside Savile’s home; another was left inside the grounds of a hospital, not one of the hospitals with which Savile was intimately associated, but that would be stupid, however it would certainly cross his mind that a hospital’s grounds would be a reasonable place to dump a body; another victim left at a location that even shared Savile’s name, sadistic humour? Savile’s friendship with Sutcliffe at Broadmoor; the fact that during Sutcliffe’s teenage years Savile was the manager in one of the local clubs Sutcliffe may well have frequented. As if all these coincidences weren’t enough I later discovered that during the investigation into the murders Savile was even accused by an anonymous tip off.
I am certain that the crimes of Savile go far further than we will ever be able to prove, far further than we will ever even be able to suspect. What interests me now is how he could ever have managed to get away with it for so long. If anyone were to commit half the atrocities the police are certain about they would ordinarily have spent most of their lives in prison. Savile has been described as being perceived as a National Treasure despite the fact that so many people knew about his personality traits that everything short of public accusations had been made on television. Somehow he sustained his image as the kindly millionaire doing a lot of work for charity right up until his death. Once he was gone the house of cards collapsed.
An expression associated with the late Steve Jobs was the ‘reality distortion field’. Steve Jobs was able to assert his personality so strongly that he could make the impossible real. His engineers knew that the things he asked of them could often not be done. Steve asserted that they would be done anyway. By the time of Steve Job’s death the things they had made were of such excellence that they had reshaped the technological landscape and made his company the most valuable company in the world. Steve travelled in India in his youth, spent a lot of time meditating, and had claimed to have been enlightened. These are all the sort of things that one would expect to hear from the sort of person who could have an ability to shape reality with the force of his own personality.
Steve had the backing of the traditions of eastern mysticism and ancient belief systems in the qualities he used to change the world. It seems to me that Jimmy Savile exercised a dark counterpart to this reality distortion field. He could seemingly do whatever he pleased and never be caught. It was so obvious that his behaviour was conducted in full view of the British public. He was a regular fixture on British television, often with children sitting on his knee, often with his arms around scantily clad teenagers on Top of the Pops. He made open admissions of some of the things he did to nurses in the hospitals. Many of the things he did there were well known to them; he had a reputation. Yet it was only after his death when his personality was no longer there to exert its influence that the reality distortion field came crashing down.
This all sounds a bit esoteric and I apologise for that. I am making no supernatural claims about either man. I am merely observing that there is a similarity in their two vastly contrasting contributions to mankind, a similarity that could certainly appear to more primitive minds to have supernatural explanations. The psychology behind whatever allows for such forceful personalities to extend beyond themselves is at present something that we are not yet able to fully understand. The disciplines of psychology and psychiatry are still in their infancy and the number of variables involved, plus the difficulty in making constant enough and accurate enough observations on something as impermeable as the human mind makes it tricky to develop our knowledge further.
Despite my belief that this could all be explained in purely scientific and rational terms I am convinced that what we are able to observe in these two contrasting examples is an ability to shape the perceptions of others by providing such psychological cues that they could effectively twist reality to their own wills. The fact that folklore has developed describing such personalities before is evidence that this sort of thing is not previously unheard of. Where Steve Jobs has changed many of our lives for the better with his ability to push technological development forward, Jimmy Savile has done the opposite, satisfying his own selfish desires and inflicting misery and unhappiness around him. Where one might have been seen in the past as the prophet (he certainly turned a profit), the other would have been seen as one of Satan’s minions on earth. Had he lived in an age where such beliefs were prevalent I have no doubt that Savile would have used such a title to enhance his power.