Orsam Books

The False Inside Story

It was obvious Caroline Morris knew she was in trouble on 5 August when she replied to one of Kattrup's posts but swerved the key issue, namely whether page 167 of her book 'Inside Story' refers to a telephone conversation between Shirley Harrison and Kevin Whay of Outhwaite & Litherland on 16 January 1995 (as I had said it did).

Caroline Morris had claimed on 4 August (#514 of 'Special Announcement thread') that 'Lord Orsam still had his Whay and Harrison communications mixed up' and that, 'All the information needed for Lord Orsam to correct his own misleading claims about the purpose of the above-mentioned phone call was posted around 4 months ago', and that, 'Maybe you could do the honours and make sure Lord Orsam knows about it this time, so he won't be caught with his pants down concerning who knew about Mike's affidavit and when',

None of this was true and, in response, Kattrup posted this in #528:

'Well, you’ve certainly explained something but seeing as the book Inside Story unequivocally states the phone call took place “soon after Barrett’s affidavit was made public” and that Keith Skinner, as you know, has stated the phone call took place January 16th 1995, I’m not sure who’s getting caught with his or her pants down.It’s of course possible that Inside Story or Keith Skinner conflated two different conversations, but that is hardly anyone else’s fault, is it? It really seems like it would be a lot easier if you’d just read David Orsam’s page yourself. As he is the best informed and most reliable researcher writing about the diary, his posts are sure to benefit your understanding of the “mystery”.

Anyone who has followed Caroline Morris' posts about the Maybrick diary knows that she normally responds to EVERYTHING so it was striking that she didn't quote this passage in her response at #550 or deal with it at all  other than the last bit about me (to which she derided the notion that I was the best informed and most reliable researcher writing about the diary even while she was avoiding dealing with her own mistake which she would not have made if she had been reading my articles!!!!).  The direct suggestion being made to her was that it wasn't Lord Orsam who was wrong about the Whay/Harrison conversation it was HER.

If she had been right there was no way she was going to let that accusation slip so she must have subsequently discovered - presumably from Keith Skinner - that she had totally and utterly ballsed it up.

There can be no clearer case of the truth of 'No Orsam, No Comment' than this.  By not reading the articles on this site she not only failed to educate herself but ended up making such an embarrassing and humiliating error in revealing that she didn't understand her own book that she couldn't even admit to it!  And she certainly hasn't apologized to me or retracted her false allegation that I had got my 'communications mixed up' or had been making 'misleading claims'.  She couldn't do that because, while she pretends to have high standards, and insists that others apologize to her if they ever wrongly suggest she has been posting misleading claims, when it comes down to it, when it comes to the test, her own supposed high standards don't exist.

But hey, she was the fact checker and proof reader for 'Inside Story' and the total fiasco about Mike's affidavit which spreads over several pages is probably too much for her to acknowledge, let alone apologize for.  If only she'd been reading my articles, though, at least she wouldn't have put herself in a position where she compounded the errors in the book by making a series of false and misleading public statements on the Forum which remain uncorrected by her.

And why isn't she reading my posts? Well on 4 August in #522 of the Special Announcement thread she wrote:

'I don't read anything these days coming from the misleading source that is Lord Orsam. He was permanently banned from the casebook two years ago, so I don't see any reason to go in search of what he has to say today on any subject, least of  all the diary he falsely claims the Barretts created in early April 1992!'

It's hard to see the logic of what me having supposedly  been 'permanently banned from casebook' would have to do with why she isn't reading my articles about the Maybrick diary, even if it were true that I was banned which, of course, it isn't (as she would know if she was reading my articles!). 

As I set out in 'From Commissioner to Asterisk', the Admin of Casebook posted on the Forum on 22 August 2018 that, 'Orsam will not be returning to Casebook...People who threaten to sue us don't get posting privileges on our boards'.   Unfortunately for Admin, the very same personal message in which I had threatened to sue her (causing her to panic and delete the very post of hers that I was complaining about!) was the one in which I requested that my membership of Casebook be terminated.  I resigned in other words.  That's the fact of the matter, there is no other fact, but one has to wonder why me being banned for threatening to sue Casebook would, even for one second, prevent Caroline Morris from reading my articles.

Of course, the alleged banning has nothing to do with it.  On 23 August 2019 she wrote on JTR Forums about this website ('Lord Orsam's Blog, #81), 'Okay, I'm weak.  But I just had to take a sneaky peak....'.   This was a year after the alleged banning.  So her explanation for not reading my posts is nonsense.

The fact of the matter is that she just wanted to gratuitously make the claim that I'm permanently banned from Casebook in order to smear and discredit me in the way that she has smeared every single person in history who has claimed that Mike Barrett was in any way behind the forgery of the Jack the Ripper Diary.  

Had she been grown-up and sensible, and actually read the posts on this website, she would have learnt the truth about what is in her own book, thus avoiding the humiliation that she has suffered.

But, frankly, she should have been aware anyway of the true facts because all the relevant information can be found in my Casebook thread, 'Acquiring a Victorian Diary', in which, at my request, Keith Skinner posted some key information obtained by Shirley Harrison from Kevin Whay during her conversation with him on 16 January 1995. 

It was during this conversation in January 1995 that Whay told Harrison that it was perfectly possible to buy items at an O&L auction under a false name, such as 'Williams', and that an item such as an old photograph album wouldn't appear in O&L's records because it would be described under 'miscellaneous items'.  Neither of these pieces of critical corroborating information of Mike's affidavit was included in 'Inside Story'. 

But one piece of information from the 16 January 1995 conversation WAS included, namely the anti-Mike quote that anyone who says they have details of buying such an album from O&L was 'talking through their hat'.  The authors of 'Inside Story' liked that so much that it went straight into the book while everything else that Kevin told Shirley that day went straight into the bin.

To this day, no explanation has been forthcoming from any of the authors of 'Inside Story' as to why these two important and material facts were omitted, other than Caroline Morris disingenuously saying that if every piece of information they obtained had been included in the book they'd still be writing it today.  I don't think that answers the question as to why these two specific pieces of material information which corroborated Mike's story in his affidavit were excluded from the book 

Even worse, the bit of Kevin Whay's information from the 16 January 1995 conversation that was included in the book was done in a strange way, out of chronological order.   I pointed this out on the Forum over two years ago in response to Keith Skinner posting the information when I said on Casebook (#563 of 'Acquiring a Victorian Diary' thread): that quotes from Kevin Whay had been included in his book, 'in reverse chronological order'.  I then said:

'In Inside Story the Jan 1997 quote is reproduced first followed by the Jan 1995 quote.'

I thought that this might be confusing for the reader (who is not even told that the second quote is an earlier quote from 1995) but I must admit I didn't expect it to confuse one of the very authors of the book two years later!

It's obvious that Caroline Morris herself got confused because, as I mentioned in the tenth edition of 'Lord Orsam Says...', after saying that she didn't know where the date of 16 January 1995 that I had referred to came from, 'because there is no date mentioned on page 167 of our book for any 'phone call' between Kevin Whay and Shirley', she continued (#355 in the Special Announcement thread):

'It seems that someone has got their wires crossed or not updated their information, posted earlier on these boards'.

As to that she was quite right!  She had got her wires crossed and had not absorbed what Keith Skinner himself had posted on the boards back in January 2018.

She had failed to appreciate (1) that 'Inside Story' had posted an extract from a conversation between Kevin Whay and Shirley Harrison which had occurred on 16 January 1995 and (2) that 'Inside Story' had thereby stated that Mike's affidavit had been made public prior to that conversation. 

But the mistake is more than just an error about when Mike's affidavit had been made public.  When viewed in full, the Whay/Harrison conversation suggests that Shirley Harrison was clearly aware of the contents of Mike's affidavit of 5 January 1995 by no later 16 January 1995.

I shall return to that when we consider the full consequences of the mistake in 'Inside Story' because it goes way beyond a 'minor' error as she would like to categorize it.

In the first place, we know that Caroline Morris' favoured way of solving the puzzle of the Maybrick diary is to speculate furiously about the motives of everyone involved. If we don't know what all the main players knew after Mike swore his affidavit we just can't accurately work out what their motivations were.

Secondly, and most importantly, Caroline Morris has repeatedly claimed that when Kevin Whay informed Shirley Harrison that Mike's album would fall under the category of 'miscellaneous items' within O&L's records, he was under the impression that it was an EMPTY old album (which is what Shirley Harrison had, for some reason, and in contradiction of what was stated in Dr Baxendale's 1993 report, understood the position to be in June 1994).  This is despite Whay having clearly stated to Shirley that he was talking about an 'old photo album'!!!  But Caroline Morris was so certain that Shirley hadn't seen Mike's affidavit until January 1997 that she had convinced herself into thinking that the only information that Kevin Whay could have been given by Shirley at any time in or before January 1995 was the information Shirley had obtained in 1994.

But if, as appears to be almost certain, Kevin Whay was aware of what Mike had said in his affidavit, and knew that Mike was claiming to have purchased an old photograph album (containing photographs!), then he knew perfectly well what he was talking about when he said that the old photograph album would have been described as a 'miscellaneous' item. 

I should add that it seems to be the case that Shirley had spoken to someone at O&L in 1994 because, prior to the publication of the paperback version of her book in October 1994 (which went to the printers on 9 September 1994), Shirley was evidently told by O&L that, 'no unremarkable empty album such as ours would have been sold singly' (page 233 of the 1994 paperback).  It is Caroline Morris' belief that Mike saw this in her book and thus added the brass compass to the lot of items that he said he purchased in his subsequent affidavit.  For that reason, she obviously also thinks that when Kevin Whay told Shirley that the old photo album would be described as a 'miscellaneous' item in O&L's records he did so during that same conversation in 1994.  But Shirley Harrison's own note dated 16 January 1995, as provided to Keith Skinner, which refers to her conversation with Kevin Whay earlier that very day, proves that she DID speak to him in January 1995, some eleven days after Mike had sworn his affidavit and that it was in THIS conversation that the 'miscellaneous' items issue was discussed.

Now, the issue of the 'miscellaneous' items is a bit of a red herring because it is almost certain that O&L failed to search their records for March 1992, thus ensuring that they had no chance of confirming whether or not Mike could have purchased an old photograph album from one of their auctions in that month.  Caroline Morris will probably say that this is my fault, or Melvin Harris' fault or RJ Palmer's fault but the fact of the matter is that they didn't do it and were thus looking in the wrong place.

The real importance of the 16 January conversation in my view is that it shows that Shirley Harrison had seen Mike's affidavit.  She must have done.  Based on what she had told him, Kevin Whay refers to auctions in 1990-1991.  That information can only have come from Mike's affidavit.  He refers to the possibility of someone using the false name of 'Williams' buying items at an O&L auction.  That information can only have come from Mike's affidavit.  And he refers to someone claiming to have the lot number of an O&L auction.  That surely can only be a reference to what Mike said in his affidavit.

Until recently this didn't seem to be a controversial point because the authors of 'Inside Story' were telling us that everyone knew about Mike's affidavit prior to 18 January because, they said, the meeting with Mike on that day was specifically for the purpose of discussing that affidavit. Now that we are told that it was such a big secret, and that Keith Skinner didn't even know of the existence of the affidavit until January 1997, we have to view EVERYTHING in a new and different light.

See Silence of the Anne.


19 September 2020