Orsam Books

Dizzy Miss Lizzy


Lord Orsam to Caroline Morris, 20 December 2016 

'perhaps you can tell me: why did Barrett want a diary from the Victorian period with blank pages? '

THE INITIAL RESPONSE (having only had 12 years to think about it)

Caroline Morris, 22 December 2016

'I have no idea why Barrett wanted a Victorian diary with blank pages'

THE FIRST EXPLANATION (The taster theory)

Caroline Morris, 29 December 2016

'He may have wanted enough blank pages to copy out some particularly significant parts of the text, to give Doreen a taste of what he had on offer and gauge her interest, before parting with the 63-page guard book itself.'


Caroline Morris, 4 January 2017 (underlining added)

[Imagining the conversation between Doreen Montgomery and Mike Barrett on 9 March 1992] 

'Okay, Mr. Williams, I'm interested, why don't you bring your diary to my office in London?"

"The fact is, it doesn't really look like a diary. It's just a lot of pages with writing on and it's signed at the end by Jack the Ripper. Will it be worth a fortune, do you think? I'm not giving it away for peanuts."

"No, I understand that, Mr. Williams, but I would obviously need to see it and show it to people who are better placed than me to judge if it has any value or not. Can you tell me how old it looks? Have you anything you could compare it with before you make a possibly wasted trip to London? Could you read out some of the content?"

[Hmmm, Mike thinks to himself, now what do I do? I have no idea if this is anything like a real person's diary and I don't want anyone reading the whole thing until I know more about it myself.]

Just a for instance, but there has to be an explanation - plausible or not - if the bloody thing came into Mike's hands after emerging at some point from Maybrick's house. It's the law of physics.'


Caroline Morris, 5 January 2017 

'The possibility remains...that not really knowing what the heck he had, something Doreen said or asked him on the phone set him wondering what a typical Victorian diary should look like and if the one he had would be anything like Doreen was expecting to see. We can only guess why he specified (from memory) a diary dating from 1880-1890 (??) with some blank pages (although not nearly enough to take the whole text, assuming he knew by then how much text there was and the 'from' and 'to' dates) but without mentioning anything about the dimensions.'


Caroline Morris, #2727, 11 January 2017

'He wanted to show her a 'taster' of what he had, before parting with his precious baby? He tried to obtain a similar book, with enough blank pages in which he could copy out a few choice phrases from the actual diary (in his own undisguised, inimitable late 20th century handwriting) so he could give Doreen a rough idea, without pretending this was anything other than his own doing? '


This one didn't last long.  Apart from the absence of evidence that Doreen asked Mike if he had anything to compare the Diary with - which would have been an extraordinary question for her to have asked - it basically means that Caroline Morris was accepting that the person she likes to refer to as 'Bongo' believed he had sufficient penmanship and calligraphy skills to even consider writing out some of the text of the Diary in his own hand as a 'taster'.  Furthermore, there was no reason for Mike to have written out any text as a 'taster' in a Victorian diary, especially one that looked nothing like the large black photograph album, because he would only have needed a modern exercise book.  But, if he was planning to do so in a Victorian diary, he must have been intending to create, in effect, a forged Victorian diary, the very thing that Caroline Morris was insistent that 'Bongo' was unable to do!  If he wanted to give Doreen a 'taster' then a few photographs of the actual diary plus a typed transcript (or manuscript transcript in a modern book) would have sufficed perfectly well.


Caroline Morris, 12 January 2017 

'How many blank pages did the order specify? Twenty wasn't it?'


Incredible that 12 years after Keith Skinner discovered the Bookseller advertisement, Caroline Morris had it stuck in her mind that the advertisement 'specified' twenty blank pages when this was only an absolute minimum requirement.

THE SECOND EXPLANATION  (the finding out theory)

Caroline Morris, 19 January 2017

'If Mike wanted to find out for himself what someone's personal diary might have looked like in the 1880s (given the only date in 'the' diary is 1889) so he could better judge what he had been given before going public with it....

This one was abandoned immediately. Doesn't even begin to explain the need for blank pages.


Caroline Morris, 25 January 2017

'I readily admit I am speculating on the possible reasons (and number of reasons, from one upwards) for Mike's advert.... I make no apology for any adjustments, additions or subtractions I have made to my own thinking since 1998...I don't know what he wanted the thing for. I can only keep speculating in the absence of any proof that he wanted or needed it for the only purpose you can come up with for him.'


The advertisement was only discovered in 2004 so that's the relevant date, not 1998.  But there was no need to speculate in the way she was doing bearing in mind that there was and is such an obvious answer to the question.  Unless, of course, she has a closed mind that refuses to consider obvious answers.

THE THIRD EXPLANATION (the comparison theory)

Caroline Morris, 31 January 2017

'If Mike has no idea if the guard book in front of him would be considered 'normal' for someone's personal diary from the 1880s (apart from it containing Jack the Ripper's confession of course ), and if he wants to see a genuine diary from 1880-90 so he can compare the two (for example, Doreen asks if it looks like a typical Victorian diary and Mike thinks about it then says: "To be perfectly honest it looks more like a photo album than a diary and what have you"), he is not thinking about minimum or maximum page dimensions when placing his advert. He just wants something for comparison purposes. The blank page request is no more tricky to explain in terms of Mike innocently trying to make some sense of what he has, than is the failure to address page size if he needed something large enough for a successful forgery to show Doreen.'


Obvious nonsense and fails to explain the blank pages requirement. 


Caroline Morris, 3 February 2017

'We don't know Mike did intend to write out diary extracts for Doreen. It was just a suggestion. If that was his intention it would have been just an idea he had, which we know he didn't pursue. He could have had the idea to use a modern exercise book, or prepare a typescript, but we only know that it was the typescript which became a reality. '


Caroline Morris, 3 February 2017

'Whether he was hoping for a diary in which to write out the prepared draft of the forgery, or was just curious to know how closely 'the' diary might compare with someone's actual personal diary from the 1880s, the little red diary was not physically like anything he would have been hoping to see....My idea is that he abandoned his idea and went with his gut instincts that 'the' diary could be very valuable indeed and Doreen would be very pleased to see it.'


He couldn't have been curious to compare the Diary with 'someone's actual personal diary' because he would have been happy with an unused one!

THE FOURTH EXPLANATION (the give him some idea before buying theory)

Caroline Morris, 16 November 2017

'If Mike was only shown the old book - signed Jack the Ripper, followed by blank pages - briefly on March 9th, and asked if he might be able to 'fence' it, he would have been left with little idea, when first speaking to Doreen, of what he would actually be flogging. Might that begin to make some sense of his equally impetuous telephone enquiry, made around the same time, for a real Victorian diary with blank pages, to give him some idea while he waited to see the old book again and hopefully to buy it cheaply for himself? '


This again misses the fact that the terms of the advert would have been satisfied by a completely blank diary.

THE FIFTH EXPLANATION (the going rate theory)

Caroline Morris, 17 November 2017

'How about this? Mike makes his telephone enquiry - in addition to his calls to Doreen - shortly after being shown the diary, but before it is actually sold to him. Naturally enough, he wants to know how much cash he should offer the electrician before parting with any. He hasn't a clue what the going rate would be for a Victorian diary, or whether having a number of blank pages [like the one he was shown] would affect the price. So he makes his enquiry and waits for a response to the advert placed on his behalf - which comes towards the end of March when a little 1891 diary is sent to him with a bill for £25.'


Caroline Morris, 18 November 2017

'I now think the answer has been staring us in the face all along.

Mike didn't have money to waste, but when he saw that old book he knew he wanted it, and badly. He didn't have a clue on price, so he found out what a legitimately obtained diary from the 1880s, with a similar number of blank pages, would cost in 1992, and used this as his bargaining tool. And the electrician was just glad to be shot of it. Jack the Ripper be damned.' 


Caroline Morris, 21 November 2017

'Eddie shows Mike the old book signed Jack the Ripper, followed by a number of blank pages - seventeen to be exact, but did Mike count them individually or just guess?

Mike wants it, and wants it badly. He doesn't know where Eddie got it from or when, and Eddie's not saying. Mike guesses he probably pinched it from somewhere, but he's already hooked.

Eddie is willing to sell it to Mike, but Mike has limited spare cash. So Eddie takes the book back for now, leaving Mike to think through his next move. He makes some phone calls - one to Pan Books, who advise him to contact Doreen. He also makes an enquiry designed to find out how much the going rate would be for an unused or partly used diary dating from the 1880s [1880, or 1890 would do just fine, or any of the years in between] with at least 20 blank pages, like the one he has the hots for. His reasoning is that the number of blank pages in something that old might have a bearing on the price. Bless him.'


In her excitement in noting that the Diary has 17 blank pages at the end, Caroline Morris has once again forgotten that the Bookseller advert's requirement was for a minimum of 20 blank pages and that 50 blank pages or an entirely blank diary would have been entirely suitable. In any case, attempting to establish the value of a newly discovered Diary of Jack the Ripper based on the value of the diary of Joe Bloggs from, say, 1882, with or without blank pages, is, and always would have been, ludicrous.

THE SIXTH EXPLANATION (the proving the going rate theory to Eddie a.k.a. the persuasion theory)

Caroline Morris, 21 November 2017

'My thinking is that Mike wanted to prove to the electrician that a genuine Victorian diary from the 1880s with that many blank pages could be obtained legitimately for a relatively small sum. I think it's significant if the sum of £20 [or was it £25?] was hinted at very early on for how much 'the' diary changed hands for in the Anfield pub. The little red diary cost Mike [or rather Anne] £25. Another coincidence? I suggest not. I suggest Mike waved the invoice for the 1891 diary under the electrician's nose, and said he was only prepared to pay a similar amount for one which was stolen.' 


Caroline Morris 22 November 2017

'...he is also a man of very limited means. He can't suddenly come up with a small fortune in cash to beat off any opposition. From his point of view his only hope of doing that may have been to persuade said electrician that a Victorian diary could be bought legitimately for £25, but if his one wasn't legit, it didn't matter whose signature was in it, or when it was dated, because nobody would shell out thousands for something a lowly electrician had found in 1992, but refused to say when or where.'


This is a sister theory to the going rate theory, with the added twist that the aim of purchasing a Victorian diary was to persuade Eddie that he should sell the Diary of Jack the Ripper to Mike for a very low price, being the same price as the diary of Joe Bloggs with some blank pages. It suffers from the same problems as the going rate theory.  And the idea that there has ever existed a story that the diary changed hands for £20 or £25 in a Liverpool pub is basically fiction; it has certainly never been supported with evidence.

THE SEVENTH EXPLANATION (the faking his own diary explanation)

Caroline Morris, 6 December 2017

'Maybe he did want to try and fake one, David. If he'd only briefly been shown one, which he could hardly believe might have been written by Jack himself, and didn't at that time know if he'd be able to get his hands on it, might it have inspired him to try his hand at producing such a thing himself?

Then, when he was able to buy 'the' diary for £25, he'd have had something far better to do with his time than to make one of his own.

That sounds infinitely more sensible to me than the idea that he was able to create the diary he took to London that April.


An astonishing admission that Mr Bongo Barrett might have been seeking a genuine Victorian diary in order to fake a Victorian diary after all!  The idea was abandoned in double fast time.

THE EIGHTH EXPLANATION (the buzzing head theory)

Caroline Morris, 19 December 2017

'The answer to why Mike wanted to acquire his own Victorian diary with blank pages must surely be tied up with the thoughts buzzing round his head if he first saw 'the' diary on March 9th 1992. I often wonder how any of us would have reacted. He gave Keith Skinner the impression in 1994 that he couldn't believe his eyes and thought nobody else would either. How did he feel if he returned home that night without it, not knowing if he'd ever see it again? Might his thoughts have turned to how hard it would be for anyone to come up with something like that? How hard could it be to do one of his own? How many of us over the years have pondered the same question? How hard was it to create, if not the work of Jack the Ripper? After all, only two years on Mike was trying to convince the world that he had done just that. '


Let's move on. There's nothing to see here.

THE TENTH EXPLANATION (the leg pull check theory a.k.a. the how common are Victorian diaries theory)

Caroline Morris, 19 February 2018

'Just suppose Mike saw the 1889 date on the last handwritten page of 'the' diary, and simply wanted to find out how easy it would have been for some practical joker to get hold of an unused or partly used diary from the 1880s. Would you say the actual wording of the advert would then sound just about right for that brief?'


Caroline Morris, 20 February 2018

'Mike claimed to be as sceptical as anyone else would be, on first being shown this old book signed "Jack the Ripper". Who would believe it in a million years? Was someone pulling his leg? Was Doreen going to say: "You've been had", as soon as she set eyes on it? Was there any way to find out how easily anyone in 1992 [not Mike, but this potential leg puller] could have found a diary from the right period - the 1880s - with enough blank pages to play such a prank? Yes there was. Mike enquired and found it was not so easy when he was sent a tiny example for the year 1891, which nobody could have used to pull his leg.'


Caroline Morris, 26 February 2018

'Basically, if he only wanted to know if unused or partly used diaries from the 1880s were ten a penny in 1992, or not so very easily obtainable, he finally received his answer in the form of a single specimen - and for 1891, a year outside his specified dates. Whatever he thought of it, he apparently abandoned this line of enquiry...'


The explanation requires Mike to have believed that the only way of obtaining a genuine Victorian diary, in order to create a forged Victorian diary, was over the telephone via Martin Earl, and that, if Martin Earl couldn't source one, they were impossible to obtain, even though that would have told him nothing about whether one had been available prior to 9 March 1992.

THE TENTH EXPLANATION (the surviving blank pages theory)

Caroline Morris, 9 August 2019

'If one of your unexplained anomalies is that little Victorian diary for 1891, please be assured that I have not 'conveniently' ignored it. The diary itself, together with the timing of Mike's advert and when it arrived in the post, are of no particular concern to me, if he had already flicked through the old book signed Jack the Ripper, and needed to know if this was anything like a genuine diary from the period before getting too excited.

Mike did tell 
Martin Howells in September 1993 that when he came home with it and opened it, he "skipped through the pages", and came to the last page "but it's not the last page. I emphasise because there's no last page, you know, there's about five pages, six pages, you know, beforehand it's got 'Yours truly Jack the Ripper' and I thought 'What the hell are you playing at?'"'

So 18 months after Mike had advertised for a diary from 1880-1890, with at least twenty blank pages, and 16 months before anyone knew about the little 1891 diary he had been sent, he recalled the blank pages at the end of the scrapbook [though not how many there were - the actual number is seventeen] and, for some reason, thought this detail worth emphasising to Martin. Had he perhaps been puzzled at the time as to why several pages would have survived unused in a Victorian diary? If he hadn't worked out the identity of Jack the Ripper yet, he wouldn't have known that the writing had stopped on 3rd May 1889 because its supposed author knew he was on his last legs and would in fact die the following week, before he could fill the remaining pages with more dodgy doggerel.' 


Caroline Morris, 23 August 2019

'...when he first saw the 17 blank pages at the end of the Maybrick diary, following the final, and only dated entry - for 3rd May 1889. Did he want to know how likely it would be that a genuine diary from that era could survive until 9th March 1992 with so many unused pages? He certainly hinted at it when speaking to Martin Howells in September 1993 and describing how he had first seen the diary 18 months previously [taking it back to March 1992, rather than the Spring/Summer of 1991 - a slip of the tongue?]. He made an emphatic reference to the last page of the diary not being the last page of the scrapbook, as if he had found it noteworthy or puzzling at the time and therefore memorable.' 


It's just completely barking mad and utterly nonsensical. 

DIZZY MISS LIZZY (the doesn't know theory) 

Caroline Morris, 5 June 2020

'I still don't really have an answer myself, and the one Anne gave, that Mike said he had just wanted to see what a real Victorian diary was like, seems less than satisfactory, given his specific request for at least 20 blank pages.'


'But then, it's Mike's mind we're attempting to read here, so who knows? When he spoke at one point about his initial reaction to seeing the Maybrick diary and, in particular, the last page signed off Jack the Ripper, he said he had wanted to know what the hell 'Tony' [or Eddie?] was playing at. Quite a normal reaction, I'd have thought, and one that seemed to have a ring of truth about it. When recalling this, he made a point of emphasising that the last page of writing is not actually on the last page of the book itself, as though he had found it strange, if this was meant to be a genuine diary from the 1880s [the last entry was dated 3rd May 1889], to see so many pages surviving unused. There are in fact 17 unused pages after the 63 pages of writing. If this really was the first time Mike had set eyes on the "old book" containing the diary, he would have had no idea that those pages were never filled because 'Jack the Ripper' had supposedly died shortly after writing that last entry and hiding the thing away to be found at some point after his death. Conversely, I have to ask why he'd have paid any attention to those blank pages at the end if he knew they were simply left after Anne had finished copying out the diary text from his word 'prosser'. It's lucky they are there though, because how much more suspicious would it have looked if the scrapbook had been filled to capacity, with the final entry before Maybrick's death appearing right on the very last page? Even more so, if Anne had tried to cram all the writing into the 1891 diary, after removing all the printed dates and whatnot.'


So after a journey spanning four years, and going all round the houses, sometimes actually departing from planet Earth, we appear to be back right where we started.  Caroline Morris still basically has 'no idea' why Mike was seeking an entirely unused Victorian diary, or one with a minimum of 20 blank pages.  It's what I told her at the very start.  I couldn't conceive of an explanation for Mike's attempt to acquire a genuine Victorian diary with blank pages other than for the purpose of forging a Victorian diary.  Caroline Morris took this as arrogance on my part which is why she spent the next four years coming up with all sorts of bizarre and unrealistic explanations.  But I had already considered all the possibilities and none of them made any sense. It's why we are back at Caroline Morris having no idea.  But she would have an idea if she was only prepared to open her mind and consider the obvious explanation which is staring her in the face.



Caroline Morris, 19 June 2020

'And now we know that the little red diary confirms nothing, except that for some reason, on 26th March 1992, Mike really wants that genuine Victorian diary for the year 1891, priced at £25. His meeting in London would be confirmed in a  few days, so if Eddie and his "old book" are playing hard to get, Mike now has himself an 1891 sprat to catch an 1889 mackerel - a bargaining tool to put it another way.'


See the sleight of hand?  "Mike really wants that genuine Victorian diary for the year 1891"?  What is she missing?  Yes, of course, Mike was after a genuine Victorian diary with blank pages.

She misses that out.

And it wasn't from 1891 that he wanted one, it was from 1880 to 1890. 

She misses that out too. 

Still, after all this time, she keeps her focus on the red diary by saying that 'the little red diary confirms nothing'. But, as I've said about a million times (including directly to her on the Forum), it's not the red diary that is important, it's the advertisement placed by Martin Earl on behalf of Mike which shows he was after a diary from 1880 to 1890.  He wasn't after an 1891 diary, but he accepted one when Earl couldn't track one down from the desired period.

The idea that Eddie would have been in any way persuaded to drop his price demand for a genuine and large black 1888/89 diary of Jack the Ripper by a small blank and unused 1891 red diary, or that Mike would have thought he might have been persuaded, after three weeks of presumed negotiations (from 9 March to 28 March), is, not to put too fine a point on it, insane.   

One can only wonder how this theory is consistent in any way with the new obsession that Mike was told 'precisely' what he was going to be getting by Martin Earl.  For that was something that was obviously totally different in both look and content to the large black photograph album or scrapbook that Eddie must have shown him, not to mention its absence of connection to a famous serial killer.  Her previous claim that Mike was utterly fascinated by the 17 blank pages at the end of the Jack the Ripper Diary has been unceremoniously abandoned. 


Caroline Morris, 3 July 2020

'My hunch is that Bongo wanted a genuine Victorian diary from the 1880s, plus a bill showing the going rate for such an item, so he could use it as a bargaining tool, to prise the "old book" from Eddie's hands for a similar amount of hard cash.'

We can go through what's wrong with this in our sleep.

1. It fails to incorporate the requirement for blank pages.  As such, it falls at the first hurdle.

2. Eddie would have been attempting to sell a Diary of Jack the Ripper, revealing the identity of the most famous criminal in the entire world, not a completely blank diary once owned by a random unknown person.

3. It would mean that Mike was spending £25 retail value on a random blank Victorian diary to try and convince Eddie that the value of the Diary of Jack the Ripper was (presumably) the same, thus obviously wiping out his potential profits from the sale of the Diary of Jack the Ripper, but if not the same what was the point?  Could Mike really have thought that Eddie would accept that the Diary of Jack the Ripper could be valued by reference to a blank diary from the same period?

4. The reference to an 'old book' is fictional and unsupported by evidence.

In the same post (#5423 of 'Incontrovertible), Ms Morris said:

'But what Bongo didn't do was to order a tiny 1891 diary from Martin Earl, priced at £25, hoping it would accommodate the 63-page memoirs of James Maybrick, for 1888-9.'

How can she possibly be in any position to say this?  How does she know that Mike wasn't hoping to incorporate the memoirs of James Maybrick into a genuine Victorian diary which must have contained well over 100 pages?  He wouldn't even have known that his own draft diary text comprised 63 pages until it was written out.  Shirley Harrison's typed transcript of it only filled 20 pages.  In any case, Caroline Morris doesn't seem to understand that Mike could have shortened the final text if necessary.  It's a simple concept to understand but she just can't seem to grasp it.  

Perhaps one day Dizzy Miss Lizzy will be able to answer the question as to why Mike wanted to obtain a genuine completely blank Victorian diary or, alternatively, one with a minimum of 20 blank pages, because she has singularly failed to do so in 16 years. 


18 JULY 2020