Orsam Books

Lord Orsam Says...Error Bitha Special


I don't think I'm wrong in saying that a bitha (pronounced bee-tha) is an old English word for a repository, so that an error bitha is a repository of errors, which is very apt, and, even if I am wrong and have just made this up, it's still terribly appropriate.  

Mind you, and this is no joke, equally appropriate, if not more so, is this definition of bithaa I found on the internet, from the Sanskrit, to mean calamity:

So an error bitha is a calamity of errors?  Makes perfect sense to me.


Do you remember the Bitha piously lecturing Lord Orsam on how much better his website would be without the 'playground antics' and the 'childish nicknames' (while ignoring the Clanger's playground antics on the Forum)?

Well the very next thing we have from him on the Forum is him describing the entries on this website as 'rants' written by 'the Dark Lord' (#8508 of Incontrovertible).  Oh how childish!  How reminiscent of playground antics!  How totally hypocritical!


Anyway, what's his problem now?  Well, bizarrely, he says that he was 'a little surprised by how personally [Lord Orsam] takes things that are fairly innocuous. For example, his ongoing issue of how his website is presented'.

No, Mr Bitha, it's not 'my' ongoing issue, it's an issue raised only by you and the Major to which I have been responding, although god only knows why.

I've said many, many, times that (unlike the cowards who go quiet when they are challenged) I reply to all responses and comments made online relating to this website.  It's nothing to do with taking anything personally.  In responding to the technical issues raised about this website, I was doing no more than that.

What's so shameless about the Bitha's post is that despite describing the issue as 'innocuous', and thus barely worthy of discussion he then continues to discuss it for an entire post!

We all know that the only reason the question has been raised is by way of distraction by two looney tunes diary defenders who don't like the fact that the diary has been destroyed on this website. Having nothing sensible to say in response, we get, by way of psychological comfort, things like "drainpipes" etc.

Nevertheless, in keeping with my policy of avoiding nothing, I will continue to indulge these lunatics.

So what has the Bitha got to say?

Well, we got this:

'He swears blind the issue is everyone else’s issue. He even tried to claim both mine and his are similar widths. His absolute commitment to this fact is remarkable and is actually very indicative of his general approach to this whole debate.'

Apart from the fact that I didn't say anything about the issue being everyone else's issue - what I'm saying is that there is no issue at all -  in respect of his website and mine, I actually produced a visual fucking representation of the widths of the two websites.  The point is that you could see with your own eyes that if this website can be described by the Major as 'a drainpipe' (which, for the avoidance of doubt, I'm saying it cannot) then so can the Bitha's own website. Just like mine and other websites, you get a strip of text down the middle.  I thought that was what the point was.

The Bitha continues: 

'Cling on to a simple misunderstanding and hammer it hard until others believe your points. It’s an effective sledge hammer but doesn’t make you right...'

Well if I misunderstood anything (which I don't think I have) it's because the Major's criticism of this website is nothing more than a constant refrain of 'drainpipes' and 'drainpipes' while the Bitha himself seemed to support this by commenting that, 'He seems to be the only  person on the internet being charged by the width'.  If that's not the criticism, I'm not sure how I'm supposed to respond.

At the same time, the Bitha asked if there was another way to read the information than on this website.  That suggested that he was having difficulty reading the information.

That's odd because no one else seems to have any difficulty in reading the articles.  Having been publishing articles on here, in exactly the same format, for about seven years, everyone else has managed to read them perfectly.  I know this because those articles have had numerous responses. So what is the guy's problem?


At this point in his post, Bitha dares to address me directly with the following statement:

'By the way, the issue with your website Lord O is that your columns are fixed width and has nothing  to do with font sizes. You need a website that allows a responsive design, as everybody’s devices handle tables and columns and even font sizes slightly differently. Check my website on a tablet, phone and desktop - it reacts differently to each device.'

The Bitha needs to get it into his reinforced cranium that the actual design of this website has nothing to do with me. It is a standard layout of what used to be called "freewebs" then "webs".  I have used a standard template (adding my own colour and font).  I have no power to change it.

The Bitha also needs to know that I have viewed this website, from the perspective of a general reader, on multiple desktop computers and on mobile phones.  It is perfectly readable on those devices.  I don't have a tablet but someone who does has told me that it is perfectly fine.  So, with no actual problem of legibility or readability, there is literally no solution required.

As I've said, I regard this all as a diversion by two lunatic diary defenders who seem to want to talk about everything other than the diary. 

The Bitha concluded his post:

'It needs to be adaptable.

Perhaps it reflects the owner quite aptly' 

Thing is, I started this website in about 2011 or 2012 for no other reason than to allow people who had read my book(s) to find and contact me should they wish to do so for any reason.  That was basically it.  It always contained links to my books on Amazon etc. but it seemed unlikely to me that anyone would find this website first, before Amazon.

Totally unplanned, in 2015, I started to write articles on here.  Had I known I was going to do this, I would probably have set the site up with a different colour scheme but the template I had already chosen was just a standard freewebs template.  I did nothing to it!  I can do nothing physically to change it.  But more than this, I don't want to change it, there is no reason to.

If I was told that it was impossible or difficult to read the articles on this website, I would have tried to do something about it but that's not the case and the only two people that have said anything, the Major and the Bitha, obviously have a personal agenda to make negative comments because they are humiliated here on a regular basis.

I mean just look at the last Orsam Day.  I repeatedly challenged the Bitha to respond to what I'd said about his theory for Mike Barrett acquiring a Victorian Diary with blank pages.  His response? Silence.  I also published an important article relating to Bunny's Aunt which proves that the diary cannot possibly be a genuine one written by James Maybrick, as he thinks could be the case.  There can't be a more important topic than that in respect of the diary.  Yet what was his response?  Silence.  I debunked the notion that the initials 'FM' were on Kelly's wall.  Response?  Silence.  I even directly accused the Bitha of hypocrisy to which there was only silence, although it's good to see that he didn't have the gall to deny it.

There were plenty of other important issues raised in the last update yet the ONLY thing the Bitha wanted to talk about was the technical aspects of this website which have nothing to do with Lord Orsam!


The Bitha spoke boldly in the 'most ridiculous suspect' thread (#120) of 'all the other circumstantial evidence gathered against [James Maybrick]'.

When asked by Abby Normal  what the circumstantial evidence actually is, he said in #125 'we could list it all' (royal "we"????) but, of course, there is none, so he didn't list any, and quickly moved the goalposts by pivoting to the watch. 

I have no idea how a watch with fake engravings which surfaced for the first time in 1993 and has no provenance before the 1980s can be circumstantial evidence of crimes committed in 1888 but that's the Bitha for you. 

The science he tells us is 'compelling' and 'Embedded brass particles in the base of the engravings confirm that for me'.

Well it's already been explained how easy it is for brass particles to end up in the base of engravings on a watch but, of course, he's covered his eyes and ears so he sees no evil and hears none either.

Even worse is that he said:

'The watch has never left the family who brought it to light.  Where is the motive for faking anything?'

I guess the Error Bitha must have missed the attempt by Albert Johnson and his criminal brother Robbie (who somehow ended up with a share of its ownership) to sell the watch to a foreign collector for a MASSIVE profit.

There's a motive right there! 

With both Albert and Robbie dead, it's pointless to talk in the present tense.  What the family does with the watch now would prove nothing, whether they sell it for a million pounds or keep it until the end of time.  But Albert and Robbie definitely tried to sell it.  That's the whole point!   Not everyone was going to be stupid enough to pay tens of thousands of pounds for an obvious fake so I don't suppose it was easy to arrange a deal.  They just didn't live long enough to see the plan through to the end.


The diary contains no fewer than 25 references to Inspector Abberline and presents the police investigation as almost a personal battle between Abberline and  Maybrick.

While I've personally never said that this proves the diary to be a fake - after all Abberline was certainly mentioned in the newspapers as one of the detectives investigating the murders and attending the inquest on behalf of the police - the way the battle between the two men is presented in the diary is suggestive of a modern understanding of the 1888 investigation, as presented on television, with Abberline single-handedly seeking the murderer, and it is thus incongruent.

But it fell to the Bitha to make a daft point by arguing that because there are 168 hits for Inspector Abberline on the British Newspaper Archive during September 1888 this means something.

As anyone who uses the BNA should know, one story gets repeated multiple times across newspapers throughout the country, in both morning and evening papers.  

168 hits could involve no more than a single mention in a small number of different newspaper reports.

More interesting is the diary author's changing opinions of Abberline.  One minute he is 'a clever little man' or 'clever Abberline', at another time he is a 'that fool Abberline'.  At other times he is a 'bastard'.  He was, at one point, a 'funny little man', just like the Bitha, albeit crossed out.  It's almost like the diary author hadn't really thought it through.

The crossed out line in which it is stated that 'Abberline says he is now amazed Sir Jim has not struck another' seems like a modern fantasy of something Abberline might have said.  And the way that the author writes that he wants to destroy Abberline, and even that he will be thinking of Abberline when he eats the head of his next victim, strongly suggests a modern personalization of a battle between killer and detective.

If you want to seek genuine views from 1888 as to who was perceived by the general public to be hunting the killer, one finds it in the correspondence sent to the police and the Home Office from individuals pretending to be the murderer.  There we find numerous letters addressed to Sir Charles Warren (many of which begin 'Dear Boss'). Indeed, Warren, who is mentioned just once in the Diary ('Perhaps I will send Abberline and Warren a sample or two'), was the one person, if anyone, who letter writers wanted to taunt.  Occasionally the odd letter was addressed to 'Chief Inspector, Scotland Yard' or 'The Inspector Leman Street Police' but even then Abberline, or any other individual inspector, wasn't named.  As late as 13 November 1888 (after Warren had announced his retirement), one letter is simply addressed to 'The Inspector Detective Scotland Yard'.  I don't see a single letter from 1888 addressed directly to Inspector Abberline, which surely demonstrates that he wasn't regarded by the general public as the face of the police investigation.

How strange then that James Maybrick was supposed to perceive the situation as a battle between himself and Abberline, unlike anyone else from 1888.  Almost as if the diary was written about a hundred years later at a time when Michael Caine's Inspector Abberline was understood to be the hero of the story and Michael Caine would appear as Abberline in 1988 on covers of magazines such as 'Chat' to which Mike Barrett was a contributor.


One of the puzzles of human history is what does a person mean when they speak of 'a few' of something.  We know that 'a couple' means two but until now it's always been a mystery whether 'a few' means three, four, five, etc.

But the Bitha has solved this mystery.

Noting that Gustavus Witt wrote to the Home Office on 24 August 1889 to inform them that Mr and Mrs Maybrick had visited him in June 1888 and that 'Mr M. visited us a few months later', the Bitha is able to tell us with remarkable precision in #8522 of the Incontrovertible thread that this means that:

'It places James Maybrick most likely being in  London in September 1888'.

Really?  How amazing!  But might it not have been, say, October 1888?  Why does it have to be September?  Is that because there were three Ripper murders in that month but none in October?

Later, in another thread ('How to make Ripperology better?'), the Bitha decided to drop the 'most likely' bit, and, as often seems to happen with diary defenders, the  estimate has now become fact, so that he wrote in #169 of the 'How to make Ripperology better' thread:

'The letter I refer to indicates Maybrick was there in September 1888 complaining of eye issues' 

Isn't it amazing how the claim that Maybrick was 'most likely' in London in September 1888 has now become an indication that he definitely was in London in September 1888?

It's all kind of pointless anyway because Maybrick couldn't realistically have been going out a-murdering at night while he was staying with Witt, could he?  That is supposed to be the very reason for renting a room in Middlesex Street, according to the diary.  He supposedly already had reasons for visiting London, so we learn precisely nothing from the fact that he came down to London to visit Gustavus Witt, a person who isn't mentioned at all in the diary, a few months after June 1888.

But the Bitha has more exciting information to extract from the Witt letter.  Even though the diary author makes no mention of eyes watering and giving him trouble, despite this being the complaint the real James Maybrick made to Gustavus Witt, the Bitha tells us that this matches with the fact that:

'Some witnesses reported a suspect with weak eyes/missing eyelashes etc.'

Whooaa!  Missing eyelashes? Where does Gustavus Witt say that Maybrick had missing eyelashes?  All Maybrick is supposed to have said was that his eyes were watering and giving him trouble.  

And who were all these witnesses who reported a suspect with weak eyes and missing eyelashes?  The Bitha doesn't even bother to say.  You'd think that's pretty critical wouldn't you? 

Presumably the Bitha is referring to a report in the Evening News of 1 October 1888 of two customers of the Bricklayers Arms in Settles Street (Best and Gardner) who claimed they saw Elizabeth Stride with a man in the doorway of that pub at 11pm on the night of Saturday, 29 September 1888 (i.e. about two hours before Stride was murdered). 

The description of the man from one of the customers was that:

'He had rather weak eyes.  I mean he had sore eyes without any eyelashes'.

But there is no mention by Witt of Maybrick not having had any eyelashes.  You'd think that would have been something he would have mentioned to the Home Office if it had been the case rather than simply saying that Maybrick had told him that his eyes were troubling him (and he didn't even say they were sore, just watering).

Funny also that none of the doctors who treated Maybrick while he was alive, and examined his body after his death, testified at the inquest into Maybrick's death about his lack of eyelashes, or mentioned this in the post mortem report. 

The man seen outside the Bricklayers Arms was said to have been about 5ft, 5in in height.  Was that Maybrick's height?  Unless the Bitha can produce some evidence that Maybrick was a small man, this one is dead in the water. 

In any case - and I can't stress this strongly enough - James Maybrick might have been the Whitechapel murderer but that doesn't for one second mean that the diary is genuine.  All the Bitha has done with his eye watering 'discovery' is make an argument that Maybrick was Jack the Ripper (and a terribly weak one at that, like the man's eyes).  As I've said before, the hoaxer might well have hit on the solution to the Whitechapel murders but, rather than write an acclaimed non-fiction book on the subject, he decided to portray the solution by way of fiction, in exactly the same way that the Bitha has done in his own book.  

So the Bitha's post, being in the 'Incontrovertible' thread about the diary, was completely off-topic and should have been in a thread about whether Maybrick was or was not the Whitechapel murderer, not one about whether the diary is genuine or fake. 


After Observer suggested that Kozminski might have had weak eyes, the Bitha posted (#8531 of Incontrovertible):

'Do you have confirmation of this? I have confirmation of Maybrick'.

No  you don't, you idiot.

You have confirmation of Maybrick's eyes 'watering', that is all.  You don't have confirmation of Maybrick having weak eyes, by which the witness meant sore eyes.  To the extent you think you do, it's your own imagination filling in the evidential gap.


After writing the above, I discovered that I am the source of the Bitha's knowledge of the Witt letter.  In a blog article entitled 'A Sight For Sore Eyes' on his website (the abovementioned site for sore eyes) which can be found here, the Bitha, as 'Jay Hartley', writes under the heading 'MY DISCOVERY' meaning HIS discovery:


We see there that in the second sentence he writes that:

'One of the most well-known critics of Maybrick alerted me to a letter that I never knew existed'.

I'm certain he means me, Lord Orsam, although I am not a critic of Maybrick in any way and, if he means that I'm opposed to the idea that Maybrick was the Whitechapel Murderer, that is quite false; I've made clear that I do not challenge Maybrick's candidacy per se, only that it cannot legitimately be based on the diary or any other fake item.

The reason why I am sure the Bitha means me is that I quoted that exact same passage from Witt's letter in Pillar of Sand which I know the Bitha has read.  Although, on another page of his website, there is a link to my article 'Pillar of Sand' (wrongly transcribed by the Error Bitha as 'Pillars of Sand'), I am nowhere credited in his article about the Witt letter by name - a mark of the standards of this guy - and he is, astonishingly, claiming that it is his discovery even though I discovered and quoted from  he letter, which I found in the Maybrick files in the National Archives: a letter which, until I quoted it, was not very well known (and I'm not sure that particular passage from Witt's letter had ever been cited previously). 

Earlier in his blog article, the Bitha even referred to that passage I cited as 'a little nugget I have unearthed'.  I mean, wow, he unearthed it by reading 'Pillar of Sand' by Lord Orsam!!!  But this fact is hidden from his readers in true Simon Wood style.  They are led to believe that this was a discovery of his which he had somehow unearthed.

Later in the piece, the Bitha tells us that 'a few months later' is 'by most accepted definitions usually three months'.  Well definitions are usually found in dictionaries and the Oxford English Dictionary defines 'few' as 'Not many, amounting to only a small number'.  As far as I am aware, this must mean that 'a few months' can quite comfortably include four months as much as three months.

When writing about Maybrick's sore eyes, the Bitha completely ignores the obvious problem which I mentioned in 'Pillar of Sand' when I wrote:

'What do you think the author of the Diary says about his eyes watering and giving him trouble?  I'll tell you.  Nothing!' 

As usual with diary defenders, inconvenient evidence is ignored and not dealt with (and see The Bitha's Blog for further discussion of the Bitha's articles on his website).


Perhaps the best piece of disingenuity in the Bitha's blog article is his claim that:

'Several eyewitnesses across numerous murders mentioned that the potential suspect they saw might have had either eyebrows or eyelashes missing. Or they are referenced as having weak eyes.' 

I think he's imagining this.  He only cites two (Best and Gardner) but Gardner didn't say anything about the man's eyes (only confirming what Best had said about the man's conduct).  The description cited by the Bitha came from Best in respect of a short man he and Gardner saw with Elizabeth Stride in a public house whose eyelashes were missing according to Best (as mentioned above).   I'm sure the Bitha would have identified any other witnesses who said they saw the murderer with 'weak eyes' or 'eyebrows or eyelashes missing' (even though Maybrick said nothing to Witt about any problems with his eyebrows or eyelashes or even about having weak eyes).  Thus, in the world of the Bitha, a few months means three months while several eyewitnesses means two eyewitnesses!!  And those two are in fact one!


'I have never claimed to be a diary defender'

So said the True Believer, Error Bitha, in #8536 of Incontrovertible.

Thing is, no one ever claims to be a diary defender!  Who would ever admit to such a shameful vice?

But it doesn't matter what he claims to be.  He is, of course, a massive diary defender.

Fortunately, Lord Orsam has catalogued his antics over the past couple of years.

Let's have a look. 

His public statements about the diary are very clear:

'the scrapbook could well be genuine' he states on his own website, as documented in Lord Orsam Says...Part 15.

The diary 'still keeps living on' he then told us on the Forum, as documented in Lord Orsam Says...Part 17. 

And, it 'Could be genuine...Could actually be the real deal' was how he voted in his own poll, as documented in Lord Orsam Says...Part 23.

This is the classic position of the diary defender.  You don't need to say it IS genuine, just that it hasn't been disproved as a fake (even though it has)...or that it contains information about Maybrick only known to Maybrick or some such diary defending guff.

Hence, as Lord Orsam recorded in Lord Orsam Says..Part 16, the Bitha has said categorically of Mrs Hammersmith, 'I believe her to be Eleanor Bridge'.

As Mrs Hammersmith is mentioned nowhere other than the diary, for the Bitha to think that Mrs Hammersmith was a real woman called Eleanor Bridge, he simply must think the diary reflects reality in 1888.  It's classic diary defending.

Naturally, diary defending doesn't get more classic than trying to argue that 'one off instance' could have been written by someone in 1888. Lo and behold, in a classic example of muppetry, the Bitha once famously tried to suggest that 'one off Rede Sylk' written in a fifteenth century manuscript was an indicator of this, before being told that 'off' here was actually representing the word 'of' to refer to a cloth of red silk and he was forced to retract, telling himself to 'Research a little before posting'.  Nevertheless, with perfect faith, he still stated, in true fervently optimistic religious diary defender mode, that 'I have a feeling something will come up if I invest some real time or energy'.  This was recorded in Lord Orsam Says...Part 5 back in January 2020 and he hasn't come up with the goods yet, more than two years later.  He never will.

Only a diary defender would make a ludicrously false statement such as:

"examples of "one off" have been found in newspaper reports of the time, and there's no reason to believe more instances will not be found in due course." 

This bizarrely false statement by the Bitha on his website was documented in Lord Orsam Part 16 (and can be found here on the Bitha's website).   

Any diary defender worth his or her salt will, of course,  be found furiously denying that the Barretts could have written the diary.  As documented in Lord Orsam Says...Part 22, the Bitha is on the record as saying of Mike that, 'he was not the hoaxer of the diary'.   He knows, you see, like a good diary defender does.

And, like a good diary defender, the Bitha has offered up ridiculous excuses for Mike Barrett having attempted to acquire a Victorian diary with blank pages.

So he has told us incomprehensibly: 'In my view he was attempting to buy something that would give him an idea of something he could compare to what he had' (documented in Lord Orsam Says...Part 14), and, 'I stand by the fact that I believe his purchase of the 1891 diary was to see how easy it would be to obtain a similar document as a starting point by Mike' (as documented in Lord Orsam Says...Part 21).

The diary defender will also instinctively pooh pooh the evidence relating to the 1891 diary purchased by Mike Barrett and claim that it must show that he wasn't really after a Victorian diary with blank pages in which to write the Maybrick diary and, sure enough, as Lord Orsam documented in Lord Orsam Says...Part 14 the Bitha told us that 'we have a forger assumed to be Mike Barrett because an advert was placed in March 1992 for a diary that proved to be no use to anyone'.

No diary defender of any worth would fail to try and undermine Dr David Baxendale's report and, as documented by Lord Orsam in Lord Orsam Says...Part 12, the Bitha was found falsely stating that Baxendale 'never said the ink was recently applied'.

Finally, it goes without saying that diary defenders will always, without fail, want to undermine and smear Lord Orsam.  One of the first comments by the Bitha recorded by Lord Orsam was the Bitha's claim that Lord Orsam's 'Pillar of Sand' (his rebuttal to the Major's 'Society's Pillar') is 'highly flawed'.  Sadly, the Bitha still hasn't had the time to reveal what those flaws are. 

And, for a nice good diary defender smear, the Bitha, without any shame, falsely stated of Lord Orsam that 'he uses spiritual conduits to communicate on the boards. Look out for "The Barron" and others.'   This is a typical diary defender mindset whereby they can't seem to believe that real people will agree with Lord Orsam's opinions about the diary, so think such people are his 'spiritual conduits'

Is the Bitha a diary defender?  Oh yes, he is a CLASSIC diary defender.


14 May 2022 


For more discussion of the Bitha's error strewn diary defending antics, see Lord Orsam Says...Part 31 and The Bitha's Blog.