So the diary is, once again, proven to be a fake beyond any doubt.
My article 'Bunny’s Aunt' delivered on that score.
Some, of course, are in denial, but these people don’t seem to have read my article properly or understood it.
In speculating furiously that Maybrick could, theoretically, have referred to Florence’s godmother as ‘her aunt’ in his personal diary they are missing two critical things.
The first is that this was not how the Countess de Gabriac was described by the Maybricks themselves to Dr Hopper. How can so many people have overlooked the fact that the only reason Hopper referred to the Countess as Florence’s godmother in his witness statement is because this is how she was personally described to him by James and Florence? They didn’t tell him that she had been to see her ‘Auntie Florence’, they told him she had been to see the Countess de Gabraic, her godmother. Note the absolute formality of the description! Not even ‘Florence, her godmother’, but ‘Countess de Gabriac, her godmother’.
This shows that the Countess was not referred to informally and incorrectly within the Maybrick family as Florence’s aunt (or ‘Aunty Flo’!!). She just wasn’t! All this jibber jabber about how maybe, just maybe, like a child, Florence called her godmother her aunt is ludicrous. If that’s what she called the Countess, that’s what she would have told Hopper, but she didn’t!
In any case, 'godmother' is a formal title. And in the nineteenth century it was an IMPORTANT formal title. It’s all very well someone like the Clanger saying that a family friend might informally be called ‘Aunty’ (invariably in front of children). Sure, but that’s because she would have had no other title or status in respect of the family. And it’s only children who would be fooled or impressed by this in any case, not the master of the household!! A godmother was a specific and important title in the nineteenth century. That is true regardless of how the Countess de Gabriac was referred to by Florence. Nothing that Florence could have called her would have changed the fact that she was her godmother, not her aunt.
So when the Clanger asked in his kneejerk reaction to my article (#380 in Special Announcement): 'Has anyone else ever referred to an older female relative, family friend or close neighbour who wasn't the sister of one of their parents as 'aunt' or 'auntie'?' that's neither here nor there. It's completely irrelevant and nothing to do with the price of fish. It's totally the wrong question but framed deceptively as if it applies in any way to this situation, which it does not. As if a mode of address used by members of the Forum affects in any way the authenticity of the diary!!! The only relevant question is: Would a man in the nineteenth century ever have referred to his wife's godmother as 'her aunt', knowing her to be his wife's godmother, when recording her status in a personal diary or in ANY document that you care to think of? I say that knowing that the woman was his wife's godmother he absolutely would never have done so in any conceivable circumstance.
As Abby Normal correctly stated on the Forum (in #411), 'the hoaxer uses the term as a descriptor "visit her aunt" not as a term of endearment or nickname or name'.
So that only leaves us with Maybrick being mistaken and not knowing that the Countess de Gabriac was his wife's godmother.
As to that, it’s ludicrous to think that James might not have known at the time he wrote his diary in March that the Countess de Gabriac was Florence’s godmother, wrongly thinking she was her aunt (and only found out the truth in April in front of Hopper!), so that he made exactly the same mistake as John Addison was to make two months after his death for a completely different reason. I mean, seriously, he didn’t know??!!! Not that it surprises me that the famous mental gymnast Iconoclast would take such a desperate line (see his #387 of the Special Announcement thread). As this website asked when introducing the article in the News page, anticipating such an objection: ‘So how could James Maybrick have made a basic mistake in his diary about his wife’s family, which exact same mistake was also (but, in truth, for the first time) made by a lawyer with no knowledge of his family some two months after his death?’
To say that James Maybrick could have made a mistake of this nature is simply not credible. It’s laughable, in fact. (Even Iconoclast, when telling us that his daughter, in the late twentieth or twenty-first century, when the title of godmother is of far less importance, refers to her godmother as ‘Aunty Margaret’ (#387), doesn’t dare say that he, or any adult in his family, was thereby confused into thinking that she actually WAS her aunt and would ever have mistakenly recorded her as such in a written document, nor does Caroline Morris (#477) say that any adult in her own goddaughter’s family thought she WAS her aunt or would have mistakenly recorded her as such in a written document.) The only credible answer, therefore, is that James Maybrick in the nineteenth century could not possibly have made such a mistake.
I believe this is borne out by the fact that newspaper reports wrongly recorded Alice Yapp saying in her trial evidence that Florence went to London to see ‘her mother’ (which was then repeated in the unofficial trial 'transcript' created some years later). Well, Florence’s mother was in Paris, and it would have been madness for Florence to have invented a different cover story for each person she spoke to in Battlecrease, so that can’t possibly be what Florence said to her. Alice Yapp must have said ‘godmother’ and it was wrongly heard and wrongly transcribed. That being so, it’s preposterous to suggest that the hired help within Battlecrease knew at the time that Florence was off to see her godmother while James, the master of the household, who had been married to Florence for eight years, was befuddled into thinking it was her aunt. Just a nonsense. But THAT is precisely what Iconcolast is relying on here: a nonsense!
Just think about it for a moment. To fall for that line of thinking you have to believe that, after eight years of marriage, Maybrick literally did not know whether or not his wife was related to a Countess!!! How credible is that? And to swallow the diary you actually have to believe that he genuinely thought that Florence WAS related to a Countess, and by extension to a Count, because he mistakenly thought the Countess de Gabriac was his wife's aunt. And, hey, he only finds out the truth when Florence reveals to Dr Hopper that the Countess wasn’t a member of her family after all, just her godmother!
No, the fact is that Florence knew that the Countess was not her aunt and James Maybrick knew that the Countess was not her aunt, and when they both spoke to Hopper in April they told him that she was her godmother.
That being so, it’s perfectly obvious that the real Maybrick would not have written that his wife was planning to visit ‘her aunt’ in his personal diary or journal. Knowing that she was her godmother, which he must have known, it would make no sense for him to have written that.
But there’s even more to it than that because we happen to know that the reason that twentieth century books on the Maybrick case refer to the Countess as Florence’s aunt is ONLY because of what John Addison QC for the prosecution said in his opening speech at Florence’s trial.
Why did John Addison call the Countess Florence’s aunt? We know the answer. He misread his brief.
John Addison (Recorder of Preston and Member of Parliament for Ashton-Under-Lyne in Greater Manchester) wasn't from Liverpool and had no personal knowledge of the Maybrick family or their friends or acquaintances. He wouldn’t personally have spoken to any of them and he would have had no information whatsoever from Florence herself, who would only have spoken to her own solicitor. His only information about the case would have come from his written brief prepared by lawyers for the Treasury Solicitor. As to that, we know that his written brief, in the form of Richard Hopper’s witness statement, stated that Florence went to London to visit her godmother. The notes produced by Keith Skinner himself confirm that Addison got his information about the visit to London ‘from a statement from Dr Hopper’.
We also know that there were references in the documents within Addison’s brief to John Baillie Knight’s aunts with whom Florence actually stayed for four nights while in London.
So Addison clearly became confused, thinking that Florence went to London to take care of one of her aunts.
It’s really that simple. To the extent that anyone thinks that Addison had inside information which led him to refer to Florence’s godmother as her aunt because that’s how she was referred to within the family (which is what I think some people believe) they are badly mistaken. He just got it wrong.
Based entirely on Addison’s error, two of the key twentieth century books on the Maybrick case (and four books in total) tell us that Florence went to London to visit her aunt.
But, as we now know, that’s not true.
It’s not simply, as one troubled numpty would like to have it believed, an ‘interesting anomaly’. It is an obvious mistake by the forger which proves the diary was not written by James Maybrick.
To think that the diary could possibly have been written by James Maybrick is now to believe not only that he inaccurately and inexplicably described the Countess de Gabriac as Florence’s aunt in his own personal diary, knowing her full well to be her godmother (as he and Florence described her to Hopper), but that, by a remarkable and astonishing coincidence, John Addison then did exactly the same thing, for a completely different reason, not knowing the correct relationship, four months later, and two months after Maybrick’s death!
It’s just not credible.
Any reasonable person, considering the evidence with an open mind, MUST come to the conclusion that this, on its own, is an incontrovertible, unequivocal and undeniable mistake which proves the diary is a fake.
But, of course, it doesn’t exist on its own in a vacuum. As I mentioned when introducing ‘Bunny’s Aunt’, it’s nothing more than one in a series of mistakes.
Diary Defenders like nothing better than isolating each mistake and coming up with a far-fetched reason why that particular mistake on its own doesn’t prove the diary to be a fake. But there is now an overwhelming volume of impossible-to-explain errors which collectively demolish the idea that the diary was written by James Maybrick.
We have the anachronistic ‘one off instance’. The language experts tell us that this is a twentieth century expression. This is confirmed by my own extensive research into the phrase. There is no other known example of ‘one off’ being used by anyone in the nineteenth century to mean something unique and no similar example of ‘one off instance’ being used by anyone until after the Second World War!!! It’s an absolute slam dunk. There is no way James Maybrick could have referred to hitting his wife as a ‘one off instance’ in 1888. It’s a clear, obvious and undeniable mistake by the forger. No-one has even come close to showing otherwise in 28 long years of studying the diary (and there are other anachronisms in the diary too).
We have the fact that the forger says that Kelly’s breasts were cut off and left on a table. The forger simply didn’t know of Dr Bond’s report which proves that one breast was actually placed under Kelly’s head, the other by her right foot, not on the table in her room. That is just a clear, incontrovertible, unequivocal and undeniable mistake. No-one even denies that it’s a mistake! Yet it’s extraordinary that it is barely spoken of during the debate about whether the diary is genuine or not.
When I was posting on the Forum back in 2016, Iconoclast thought that the false information about the breasts being on the table could only have been discovered by a forger in an 1888 newspaper and I had to explain to him that it was actually found in a number of twentieth century books on Jack the Ripper (#2227, #2228, #2229, #2230, #2231 and #2238 of the ‘Incontrovertible’ thread). The response to it that we find in Robert Smith’s book, namely that, in his excitement, the killer forgot what he had done and copied into his diary what he read in the newspapers, is utterly ludicrous and shows that Diary Defenders will come up with ANYTHING, however incredible, to defend the diary and then pretend that the diary has ‘survived’ another challenge when it has, in fact, done no such thing.
And we also have the fact that the forger thought the key to Kelly’s door was missing, as stated in books on the subject, which is why it is stated in the diary that he took it away with him. But we know for a fact that there was no key!! Fleeing with the key was impossible. How do diary defenders deal with it? Well Jeez they seem to say perhaps Kelly found her key shortly before her death and perhaps the killer then happened to take it away with him.
When arguments become as ‘inventive’ and as incredible as this, with full twisted mental gymnastics, it shows that there is NOTHING that a hardened diary defender (or a clanger) will ever accept as a mistake in the diary. Neither obvious anachronisms nor dumb factual mistakes are allowed to disturb the deluded belief that Maybrick might have forged the diary.
It’s so obvious that we have a forger who has made a number of basic errors (and, hey, which individual does THAT suggest as the forger?), each of which, on their own, reveal the diary to be a fake but which collectively tell us without any doubt that it wasn’t written by James Maybrick.
And I haven’t even mentioned ‘tin match box empty’!!!
As I’ve said many times, I already knew and demonstrated that the diary was a fake. I proved it with ‘one off instance’. Now I’ve proved it a second time with ‘Bunny’s aunt’. It was, in truth, already proved by the mistakes relating to the breasts and key.
This discussion is over. The only remaining question is: who forged the diary? I’m confident I know the answer. The Bookdealer advertisement gives it away. The more evidence that emerges, the closer we seem to get to proving it. Unfortunately, Keith Skinner deliberately withholds some of the evidence (as he has admitted) but, no matter, we will get there in the end.
19 September 2020