<!doctype html public "-//w3c//dtd html 4.0 transitional//en">The Lethal Luthors:
A Deceptive Brilliance

by Dennis E. Power


Prologue: The Often Reshaped Clay

Paul Finglemore also known as John Clay and many other names




This is the second attempt to examine the notorious Luthor family. An earlier essay also called The Lethal Luthors can be found on this website. Although some of the conclusions we reached in the earlier article have not changed, there are substantial differences between the two pieces. We have also examined the evidence discovered by two of our colleagues. Although we differ on various conclusions, their works were of great aid in helping us uncover more of the puzzle.

The Luthor family is one of direct descent from the Wold Newton event families. According to Philip Jose Farmer "In his old, but virile old age",[1] Sir William met one Josephine Balsamo. Josephine was reputedly the daughter of Giuseppe, or Joseph, Balsamo, the self-styled Count Cagliostro (1743-95). Calling herself the Countess Cagliostro, she tangled with Arsene Lupin in 1892. As a result of her affair with Sir William Clayton, Josephine Balsamo gave birth to a son, Paul. Not wanting to be burdened with a child, she left Paul in the care of an English couple, the Finglemores, who ended up adopting him. Paul Finglemore was a promising young man; he was one of those children with a wide range of interests who once he had mastered an activity to his own satisfaction abandoned it. His older brother Charles was more staid and went to school and into a career as an investment broker, his main client being Sir Charles Vandrift.

Paul Finglemore[2] was brilliant, strong spirited, and easily bored. His allowance was quickly spent on gambling, strong drink, and women. Hoping to check his wild streak, his parents put him on a stricter allowance; once spent, it would not be replenished. To obtain an income to pay for his entertainment, Paul Finglemore began running con games and grifts. His talent for disguise and improvisation was well rewarded. Professor Moriarty noticed a pattern in the confidence games and realized that one man was running the often elaborate ruses. Not wishing to waste a brilliant mind, Moriarty sent his daughter, Urania[3] to convince Finglemore to join his organization. She used sex to bind Paul Finglemore to her. Moriarty investigated Paul Finglemore's background and discovered that he was likely the illegitimate son of one of the Claytons—most likely John, but rumors had persisted identifying the father as William Clayton. To cause a rift between Finglemore and his parents, Moriarty divulged this information. Believing that the father who had abandoned him was John Clayton, Paul Finglemore used the name “John Clayton” as his criminal alias.[4]

As a result of her seduction of Paul Finglemore, Urania became pregnant and bore a son later that year in 1883, whom she named James.[5] Despite sharing a child, Urania and Paul Finglemore's relationship at this time was not very close. They were kept apart; each working as associates in Professor Moriarty's far-flung criminal empire. Urania also attempted to recruit Adam Morgan for her father's organization. Adam Morgan (alias Tom Edison, Jr.) was then twenty-three years old and engaged in a variety of international adventures, many of which would never be chronicled by his biographer, "Philip Reade." Although Morgan did not join Moriarty's organization, he did have a brief affair with Urania Moriarty, which resulted in the child Mark Caber DuQuesne, born 1885.[6]  As John Clayton, Paul Finglemore worked for Moriarty but also studied at various universities, quickly picking up knowledge; not having the discipline to finish one course of study, however, he never received a degree.

In 1887 Sherlock Holmes apprehended Paul Finglemore under the alias John Clayton, whom Watson referred to as “John Clay” in the case reported as "The Adventure of the Red-Headed League." Finglemore, as "Clay," claimed to be the grandson of a royal duke. This was an exaggeration. He was, of course, the grandson of a duke—the duke of Greystoke—but not of a royal duke. After capturing Clay at the scene of an attempted bank robbery, Holmes recognized a sinister power behind his captive. By 1887, Holmes had deduced that most of London‘s criminal underworld was controlled by Professor Moriarty.

The Professor engineered Clay's escape from prison in 1888. Clay went to France, where he received a visit from Urania. As a result of this romantic reunion, their second son was born in 1889. Dr. Caber's sibling grew up to be Carl Peterson, the chief adversary of H.C. "Sapper" McNeile's Bulldog Drummond. While in France Paul Finglemore used the alias “Cuthbert Clay,” and while he still worked for Moriarty's organization—giving it half of the proceeds of his various cons—he also worked independently. Paul Finglemore became well known to the police agencies of much of the world under the nom-de-guerre, Colonel Clay. A master of disguise and excelling at confidence tricks, he was especially noted for his persecution of the African millionaire, Sir Charles Vandrift. His fleecing of Sir Charles was done several times over the course of two years. His mastery of disguise came in part from his ability to create masks from India rubber and mold his face with wax. He had learned the latter ability as a maker of wax figures to the Musée Grevin, but he was an exceptionally talented mimic and actor. He also displayed the characteristic brilliance of his family by learning enough about his various roles to pass himself off as an expert. In the course of his deceptions he demonstrated a great knowledge of theology, medicine, and the law. Some of his many aliases included Cuthbert Clay, Senor Antonio Herrera, Reverend Richard Brabazon, the Count of Lebenstein, David Granton, Colonel Caoutchouc, Joseph Medhurst (detective) Dr. Elihu Quackenboss (doctor and chemist) and Algernon Coleyard (poet).

Urania did not know—or may not have cared—that sometime between 1884 and 1889 Clay had acquired two wives who were content not only to share Paul but also to aid him in his schemes as confederates. This is revealed at the end of The African Millionaire: "When a gentleman has as many aliases as Colonel Clay, you can hardly expect him to be over particular about having only one wife between them, can you?" Paul Finglemore was convicted of defrauding Sir Charles Vandrift of a fortune between the years 1891-1892 and was sentenced to fourteen years in prison. Comforting each other, his wives both vowed to wait for him. They did not have to wait long, for in 1893 Paul Finglemore escaped from prison by assuming the identity of a guard.

While Paul was in prison, his wife Margot gave birth to a son, Henri Roi Picardet; the surname was that of her current alias. In contrast to his relationship with his previous children, Paul wished to be a part of this child's life and so decided that he needed to set up permanent identities that the Moriartys were unaware of lest his family somehow be used as hostages. He found a Presbyterian minister and doctor of theology named Thomas Wainwright who resembled him enough so that a disguise would not be necessary. The Wainwrights were an ancillary branch of the Clayton family, as Paul probably discovered in his genealogical research. This Doctor Wainwright had conveniently disappeared in South Africa while doing missionary work to the natives. Margot adopted the guise of an English woman, totally disguising her French origins. They had another child Alexander born in 1894.[7]

Though Paul was able to successfully pose as the Reverend Thomas Wainwright, he also had to carry out tasks for Moriarty's organization. Although he never had personal contact with Moriarty after 1888, he heard that Moriarty had died in 1891.[8] Then he heard that the death was cover story. He also heard rumors that another Moriarty was running the organization.[9]  After the so-called War of the Worlds of 1898—Paul would have doubted this invasion had actually taken place had he not been shown evidence to the contrary—he was both horrified and dismayed to learn that Moriarty was in communication with the “Martians.” Moriarty was working in concert with the Sarmak to plan another invasion of Earth, which he intended to help the Sarmak win. Paul Finglemore told Urania that he could not stomach such a proposal and quit the Moriarty organization. As a warning, in 1899, Heather, one of Paul's wives, was killed in a singularly brutal and gruesome manner. Urania was enraged by his betrayal and placed an assassination contract on Paul to be left standing open until "he was beyond a shadow of a doubt proven dead."[10]

Paul did not believe that the Moriarty organization knew about the Thomas Wainwright identity but fled England anyway. They fled to the plains of Kansas.  After establishing his family at a small town in Kansas, Paul left them for two years as he established the identity of Paul Luthor. Paul Luthor was a traveling salesman of patent medicines who claimed to be the true king of Lutha. During this period he met a young woman named Sally Finn. Sally was the granddaughter of Henry Finn, an author, former abolitionist, and barrister.[11]  Neither Sally's parents nor grandparents approved of the match, but she persisted despite their opposition. She would regret having cut ties with her family to marry Paul Luthor because his job as a traveling salesman took him away from home for months at a time.

Paul Clayton managed to juggle his two identities of Thomas Wainwright and Paul Luthor, and even hid the truth of his dual lives from Sally Finn and both sets of his children for years. Eventually some of the children did discover their father's larcenous and bigamous background.

There was only one thing that could entice Paul Luthor and Margot to return to England despite the death contract on Paul; money. In 1909 a Lord Wainwright died and he left his fortune to his only living descendent, “Thomas Wainwright. “ However Lord Wainwright was uncertain who his legitimate heir was and provided his executors of the will with a few possibilities.


As the Reverend Thomas Wainwright Paul Finglemore was contacted and asked to come to England to provide proof that he was entitled to the fortune. Believing that he could con his way into this fortune, Paul went to England accompanied by his very pregnant wife, believing that she would provide additional distraction.


Another possible claimant to the fortune was a medical doctor named Dr. Thomas Wainwright, who knew he was not in truth eligible and had no intention of pursuing a false claim. Despite his charm and guile, Paul Finglemore was unable to convince the executors that his claim was valid, especially when another, more valid claimant showed up—a Dr. Thomas Wayne from the United States.[12].


Margot was too close to delivery to travel back across the ocean, Dr. Thomas Wainwright graciously offered to put up his "cousin" and his wife up until after the baby was delivered. Paul was getting very nervous about being in England, fearful that the Krafthaus would discover him there. Krafthaus was the new face of the Moriarty organization. After the Circle of Life cult had seemingly evaporated as if they had suddenly left the Earth in 1901, Professor Moriarty reformed the Moriarty organization into the Krafthaus organization, a "secret nation" bent on world domination. Paul Finglemore was right to be worried; he was spotted by a Krafthaus agent. Finglemore was forced to kill the agent and hide the body.


Dr. Thomas Wainwright delivered the baby, which was deformed and not expected to live. Paul Finglemore and Margot regretfully left the apparently dying baby in a hospital incubator and went into hiding, seeking the opportunity to once again flee to America. The current Professor Moriarty's female partner Katherine Koulchy was known as the Blind Spinner. Despite having been blinded in a fire, Koulchy's ability to direct the criminal aspects of their empire was undiminished. Some accounts even credited her with a better ability to plan and direct successful criminal campaigns after she had been blinded.[13] Two Krafthaus agents attacked Paul and Margot’s refuge, which was in a nondescript boarding house. Margot was shot in the arm. Still weak from having given birth so recently, Margot went almost immediately into shock and died. Paul killed one of the agents and left his identification papers with the mutilated body. It thus appeared as though Thomas Wainwright and his wife had been killed by ruffians.


Having lost two wives to the Moriartys, Paul decided to stop running and fight back. Turning his intellect towards investigation and using his memory of the organization, he discovered in short order that Professor Moriarty was operating under an assumed name as a supposed pillar of the community. He released this information to a newly elected member of Parliament, Edward Leithen. Leithen launched an investigation that uncovered Andrew Lumley as the secret head of the Krafthaus organization. Officially Lumley died of a heart attack, although some believe that he committed suicide rather than be exposed.


Not wishing to leave anything to chance once the Krafthaus organization had been exposed, Paul Finglemore visited Lumley at his White Lodge home and over powered him. He injected Lumley with a fatal dose of insulin.


Dr. Thomas Wainwright and his wife raised Paul and Margot’s deformed infant, who defied the odds and lived. They named him John.


Paul and Margot‘s older sons Henry King Wainwright and Alexander Wainwright were 17 and 16, respectively, at this time. Thomas and Pax Wainwright let the boys know that their parents had been killed by hoodlums in London.

Paul Finglemore may have inadvertently caused Thomas Wayne's death. Although ostensibly the gunman who killed Dr. Thomas Wayne and his wife was a common criminal, he might have been hired by Krafthaus to kill Thomas Wayne. Because of the confusion of the identities concerning the Wainwright inheritance, Krafthaus was led to believe that Thomas Wayne was actually Paul Finglemore. Thomas Wayne and his wife were gunned down in front of his son. . . causing the creation of the Batman vigilante. . . all because of a Luthor.

In 1911 Paul Luthor returned to Sally Finn and his sons purportedly having been on an extended sales trip to England. He learned to his dismay that killing Andrew Lumley had not destroyed the Krafthaus organization. Katherine Koulchy remained in charge, and she knew that Paul Finglemore was alive and she knew he was involved in Lumley's death.

Even though Paul Luthor spent more time at home after 1911, taking a sedentary sales job, it was too late for his family. David Luthor ran away from home in 1913 to join a circus. Lawrence Luthor disappeared in 1916, possibly killed by a crazed bald drifter who told a distraught Sally Finn he was in fact Lawrence Luthor. Sally Finn had one more child, Lenore, born in 1918.  Alex became a petty thief and stick-up artist and was sentenced to the Kansas State Reformatory in 1919.

Paul and Sally Luthor left the town they had been living in, ostensibly because of the shame of Alexander's criminal record. He even went to the point of changing his name to Laughlin Luthor and began speaking with a thick Scottish accent. Paul Luthor was afraid that his enemies would somehow track him down through Alex, since many of the Krafthaus thugs were recruited in prison. Krafthaus had a long memory and if his identity became known to them they would track him down and kill him, his wife, and children.

As Lachlan Luthor he purportedly worked as a commodities/livestock broker, this entailed some traveling but nothing extensive. His true occupation was that of a criminal planner/bank roller. For a fee he would plan various crimes for individuals or organizations to burglarize, rob or destroy. In 1933, after a particularly good score, he told Sally Finn that he had retired from his job. They were going to live in Chicago in comfort. Since Alex had become a rather famous career criminal by this time, he also told her that that the Alexander was not to be acknowledged. The Luthors had a daughter about fifteen years old named Lenore and it was to protect her more than anything else that they left their old life behind, or so he told Sally. Using proceeds from his criminal career, they established themselves in a nice apartment in Chicago. 

His enemies however had long memories, or at least they had good records.

Paul sought anonymity for his wife and child in a large city, believing that the rural life was now too exposed. They achieved it for years. In 1947 Lachlan Luthor, as he called himself, at the age of 87 had the misfortune to witness a gangland shooting. Although he was in a small crowd, his picture made it into the newspaper and the photo was picked up by the national press to illustrate the story of the crime. A sharp-eyed former member of Krafthaus and current member of T.H.R.U.S.H. recognized a man in the picture as one of the standing contracts left over from the founding of the Krafthaus.[14] He contacted the central office and they wanted to clean up this piece of old business. To carry out the contract they engaged a member of T.H.R.U.S.H. living in that general vicinity.

The T.H.R.U.S.H. agent had a package bomb delivered to the Luthor apartment. Mr. and Mrs. Thorul, aged 85 and 69, were killed outright. [15]

[1] I think Mr. Farmer exaggerated that William Clayton was in his old age when Paul was conceived. Although The African Millionaire was published in 1897 I believe that the events took place earlier than that but only by a few years, even so Paul would have been about thirty years old in 1892 which would have meant he was born circa 1862, making William Clayton 63 years old. Hardly an old, old man.

[2] Paul Finglemore's heritage is discussed in greater detail in Philip Jose Farmer's Doc Savage: An Apocalyptic Life.

[3] Urania had been named after her mother Emily, but after the murder by strangulation of her two brothers by a Thuggee working in the employ of the Nine and the suicide of her mother, young Emily had been placed in an orphanage. Dr. James Noel, Moriarty’s father, had gained custody of the girl from the orphanage in 1864. While his son was absent from England, James Noel had raised his granddaughter. After James Moriarty carried out his vengeance on the Capelleans he believed responsible for the death of Emily Caber and two of their children. James Moriarty arranged for the legal adoption of his illegitimate daughter. She could now officially use the surname Moriarty. However, as the girl’s mother's name brought painful memories to James Moriarty, he legally adopted her under the name of Urania Moriarty.

[4] Watson would later shorten it to Clay to spare the Duke's family further embarrassment

[5] Their first son took the name of his grandfather's wife, and called himself Dr. Caber. He was, like many other members of the Wold Newton families, a scientist of some genius, and like his grandfather, a criminal. His efforts to use his talents for illicit gain were reported by Joseph Jorkens, to his friend, Lord Dunsany.

[6] This speculation was reached by Wold Newtonry research C. Richard Davies in Ad Astra. For more detail please read this engaging piece of research. I differ with him however his speculation as to the children of Alice Adams.

[7] Alexander Wainwright would eventually adopt the identity of Lex Luthor, taking over the identity after his younger half brother had disappeared. Fellow Wold Newtonian researcher Al Schroeder in his article The Luthor Legacy accepted the research that Lex Luthor was the son of Sally Finn and Paul Finglemore yet he disputed every other aspect of the article including all of Lex's brothers and relatives and disputed the date of birth for Alexander Luthor. Further more he speculated that Sally Finn's mother was a French-Canadian woman named Mercedes Dantes. Why the great difference in speculation? One might argue that Mr. Schroeder merely wished to legitimize his article by attaching his theory onto an existing one that derived from consensus Wold Newton research despite the fact that he disagreed with 99 % of the article, however this seems petty so there must be another reason. The reason is simply that Paul Finglemore hid his tracks well and confusion existed about both of his families. Mr. Schroeder discovered the correct father and the correct birth date but the wrong Lex Luthor. It was Margot rather than Sally Finn who was descended from Edmond Dantes not Sally Finn. Margot was also the grand-daughter of a woman named Jacqueline Castagnet. Margot was the mother of the Lex Luthor who is the subject of Mr. Schroeder's speculations in The Luthor Legacy.

[8] The story of the Moriarty's Krafthaus is related in Rick Lai's Secret History of Captain Nemo.  The connection between the Krafthaus and the Circle of Life was made by Win Eckert in entries relating to Moriarty and the War of the Worlds on the Original Wold Newton Universe Chronology and the article The Malevolent Moriartys.

[9] The Professor Moriarty who dueled with Holmes in 1891 finally disappeared in 1898. This Moriarty had been the head of the M section of British Intelligence as well as the leader of a vast criminal empire. It is uncertain which enterprise was his actual vocation. Professor Moriarty floated away on a globe filled with cavorite. After his disappearance his brother, also named James Moriarty, took his place as the head of the criminal organization. He used the criminal organization as the basis for the Circle of Life cult.

[10] This is a rather notorious quote from Urania Moriarty. Of course there is not a written contract for the assassination that we can access but many captured Krafthaus and THRUSH all testify that these were the words that she spoke when sending the initial agents out to kill Paul Finglemore and these are the instructions handed down the years.

[11] Finglemore would be married to Sally for over a year before discovering that Samuel Clemens had immortalized her Grandfather Henry's boyhood adventures.

[12] The clue that the Wayne name was originally a form of Wainwright was provided in the Elseworld's graphic novel Dark Dynasty. Although most of what transpired in the novel was fictional, the confrontation between Joshua of Wainwright, a Knight Templar, and Vandal Savage does seem to have some basis in truth.

[13] This may in fact be the case, as shown in the Daredevil article.

[14] In 1919 in the aftermath of the defeat of Germany in the Great War, Krafthaus took on a more international organizational structure and became becomes known as the Technological Hierarchy for the Removal of Undesirables and Subjugation of Humanity—T.H.R.U.S.H.

[15] The writers of the Smallville television series took this incident and attributed it to Lionel Luthor as contracted out to “Morgan Edge” This is an example of them borrowing bits of material from the Superman mythos to create a compelling drama. In addition to borrowing the killing of Lachlan Luthor by a contract killer they also borrowed from the life of Alexis Luther the head of Lexcorp who as one unauthorized biography claimed had killed his parents for the insurance money, although he had fixed their automobile’s brakes. For dramatic purposes Lionel Luthor has to be seen as thoroughly corrupt, so corrupt he killed his own parents. Although Lionel’s parents disappeared under mysterious circumstances, there is no evidence that he had anything to do with it.