THE NEW CULT OF DIARY DENIAL CONTINUED...
On the very day after the last Orsam Day, Paul Begg was back on the Forum with an amended explanation of what the Jack the Ripper diary is. Having previously said it was 'a chronicle of events' he now said (#6145 of the 'Incontrovertible' thread):
'...it was a confessional - a personal admission to thoughts and emotions that the author couldn't admit to anyone else and which they were probably trying to understand themselves'.
Thing is. That is ALSO exactly what a diary is!!!! A personal diary is, or can be, a record of one's most private and intimate thoughts and feelings. Some people might just record that they got up, went out, had lunch etc. but others use it to keep a record of their thoughts and emotions from day to day. That's what a diary is!
Furthermore, the diary DOES also chronicle events. It tells us, for example, that Maybrick hires a room in Middlesex Street, hits his wife, visits his doctor, has dinner with George Smith, murders women etc. all in chronological sequence as it happens. That's a flipping diary!
So why is Begg so keen to play semantic word games in 2020? Presumably because he wants to continue to argue that Mike wouldn't have placed an order with Martin Earl for a Victorian diary if he was going to attempt to create a fake 'personal and private admission to thoughts and emotions'.
But, as I've said previously, it simply doesn't matter whether Paul Begg thinks of the diary of Jack the Ripper as a diary or not. It's only of importance what one single individual - Mike Barrett - thought of it. As to that, we know for an absolute fact that Mike Barrett thought of it as a diary. We have documentary proof of this.
So when Mike picked up the phone to Martin Earl in March 1992, it made perfect sense for him to ask Earl to obtain a blank diary for him if he was planning to forge the diary of Jack the Ripper.
WHAT IS A DIARY DEFENDER?
Every now and then little Scottie Nelson pops up with the same question:
What is a diary defender?
The answer is contained in the name 'diary defender'.
A diary defender is someone who, on a regular and consistent basis, DEFENDS THE DIARY against attacks and criticism that it is no more than a tawdry fake.
Hence, you will find diary defenders spending their time desperately trying to find excuses for why the diary contains anachronistic expressions such as 'one off instance', 'bumbling buffoon', 'spreads mayhem' and 'top myself'. Arrogantly ignoring both dictionaries and language experts, they will attempt all kinds of contortions of common sense and logic to come up with reasons why Maybrick himself could, in theory, have written those expressions in 1888 or 1889, about which the very best that can be said is that it wouldn't have been physically impossible in the sense that it wouldn't have violated any actual laws of nature or required any discontinuity in the space-time continuum. They will even, astonishingly, invent NEW meanings for those expressions if it means that Maybrick could have written them in his 1888/9 diary.
Diary defenders will literally also argue that black is white if it saves the diary, hence they will tell us that an aunt is a godmother, a missing key is a non-missing key and a table is the same as a foot.
Your diary defender not only ignores any document expert who concludes that the diary is nothing more than a modern fake but smears him or her too.
Little Scottie Nelson always gets confused, thinking a diary defender is someone who insists that the diary was genuinely written by James Maybrick. But diary defenders have very fluid views as to who wrote the diary. A classic example is Robert Smith who confidently told us in 2017 that the diary was a genuine document written by James Maybrick and then, in 2019, told us just as confidently that it was a genuine fake written by someone other than James Maybrick!
But it didn't matter to Smith because your typical diary defender is only really interested in arguing that the diary is a genuinely old document of historical importance, created in antiquity, and thus worthy of attention in order to justify the fact that much of their lives have been spend defending it.
The Chief Diary Defender, Caroline Morris, also has fluid views on the origins of the diary. She once had the bare-faced cheek to deny to me that she had never claimed it was an old hoax but was then confronted by me with her own words that she believed it was an old hoax, specifically one written in 1889, shortly after Florence's trial.
I'm sure we all want to enjoy that false denial again. It was in response to me having said to her in #3000 of the 'Incontrovertible' thread on 23 January 2017: 'I thought your claim is that the Diary is a hoax produced either in the late nineteenth or early twentieth century.' Her disingenuous response in #3078 was:
'Did you David? Where did I claim this?...I merely don't accept it was an early 1990s production'
I then posted some examples of what she had posted in the past, in the same thread. Hence:
"My current thinking is that it is an old hoax" (7 August 2013, #1111)
"My own theory is that the diary is a much older hoax" (9 August 2013, #1146)
"My take is that it has to be an old hoax" (13 October 2016, #1995)
"Old 'hoax' is what I personally favour" (18 October 2016, #2025)
"I also believe it to be an old hoax." (6 December 2016, #2088)
And on JTR Forums, in thread 'Stuart Cumberland & The "Florence Maybrick Diary"', she said on 2 September 2011 (underlining added):
"But for me it would strengthen my gut feeling that someone wrote the diary in the immediate wake of the trial - someone who possibly read Flo's diaries and ran with the idea of turning Jim into the very Devil, since his widow had been turned into a she-devil."
"If a highly literate medical student could have gone to the trouble to wind Lusk up with that gruesome parcel and letter, with no guarantee of a reaction, why could a similarly enterprising student or Punch writer not have done the same with the diary, depositing it in Battlecrease House, for a Maybrick family member, servant or new occupant to come across and muse over?"
Bang to rights.
It's a scary thought but diary defenders are amongst us. They could be anyone. Your doctor, your lawyer, your local policeman, even your member of parliament. You can't tell them from normal people. They cunningly merge into society.
There is only one sure-fire way to uncover a diary defender. If you suspect someone of being one, simply ask them why Mike Barrett ordered a Victorian diary with blank pages in March 1992 and, if they hesitate for even one second, you know you've found one. In fact, your typical diary defender will be struck dumb for a number of minutes as they try to conjure up the most convoluted possible explanation for Mike's actions. A normal person will, of course, immediately say that Mike ordered that diary for the purposes of forging a Victorian diary.
So that's what a diary defender is. It's the opposite of 'a diary critic', incidentally, which is how the authors of 'Inside Story' labelled Melvin Harris, making clear that they, themselves, are NOT diary critics. No, because they are diary defenders. I do hope that satisfies little Scottie Nelson. Oh, and incidentally, a diary defender might also regularly post, without any evidence, but with total confidence, that the diary was written by someone from the nineteenth century, such as Harry Dam. Such a person is best ignored.
MUCH OF A RISK?
I just want to pick up on a fundamental flaw of one of Caroline Morris' main arguments, made shortly before the last Orsam Day, as to why Anne wouldn't have dared put forward her new provenance explanation in July 1994. She claimed that this was because Mike might have been able to produce some evidence as to how he forged the diary, or some evidence might have been lying around with Tony Devereux, thus exposing her as a liar.
Leaving aside that Mike had already had his opportunity to produce some evidence, if he had any, in June 1994, and the Devereux angle had already been fully investigated, so that Anne would have been confident that nothing would emerge from that quarter, the argument that Caroline Morris is now making doesn't fit with her own theory that Eddie Lyons gave the diary to Mike in March 1992.
After all, how could Anne possibly have been confident that Eddie couldn't prove his story that he found the diary in Battlecrease? For all she knew, that discovery had witnessed by a number of other electricians? Perhaps it had been photographed in situ. What if Mike decided to harm her by admitting that he got it from Eddie and Eddie supported him? Could she be sure he wouldn't do it? Even if Anne didn't know any of the details of how Mike had obtained the diary, and who he had got it from, she still couldn't have been sure that he couldn't prove that it had been stolen or found.
If she was lying about the provenance, therefore, and Caroline Morris tells us that she WAS lying, Anne was taking a calculated risk either way. If Mike forged the diary he might have been able to prove it, but if it had been given to him by a third party, THAT story might also have been able to be proved. How could Anne possibly have known what evidence the unknown third party could have produced or, if she knew the diary had come from Eddie, what evidence Eddie could have produced? In fact, if she was involved in the forgery with Mike, she was far more likely to know what Mike could or could not prove. She might even have been involved in the destruction of any evidence that could prove Mike's involvement.
So there is a fundamental flaw in the logic at the heart of Caroline Morris' argument on this point. Furthermore, at the end of the day, if Anne was exposed as a liar, so what? What's the worst that could have happened? Keith Skinner would have stopped being her friend??? On the other hand, if she put forward her new provenance story, even if it was a whopping lie, there was the prospect of the film rights with a huge payout and the golden goose would keep on laying its golden eggs.
WHAT DID DAVID B SAY?
Erobitha tells us very confidently in #6154 of the 'Incontrovertible' thread that Dr David Baxendale 'never said the ink was recently applied.' Furthermore, according to Erobitha: 'He said the sample separated more easily versus the samples from 1908 and 1925. No conclusion was reached to state it was recently applied - that is the interpretation of the reader'
Is that true?
Well, firstly, Erobitha is wrong to say that Baxendale said the sample of the diary ink 'separated more easily' than the 1908 and 1925 reference inks. What he actually said in his report dated 9 July 1992 was this:
'The known 1908 sample was virtually insoluble in the extractant and no chromatogram was available. The 1925 sample was similarly insoluble'.
This was compared to the diary ink which was found to be freely soluble.
From the fact that the diary ink was both freely soluble, and gave a chromatogram characteristic of a synthetic dye, Baxendale said:
He added that:
'Both features point to an origin much later than 1889'.
'It is most unlikely that an ink which was a hundred years old would dissolve as easily as did this ink'.
His report concluded:
'In my opinion, therefore, the ink does not date from 1889. An exact time of origin cannot be established but I consider it likely that it has originated since 1945'.
But that wasn't the end of the matter because the Sunday Times, whose journalist had spoken to Baxendale, reported on 19 September 1993 that, on the basis of the speed with which the ink dissolved, 'Baxendale concluded it had probably been written recently, in the past two or three years'.
Given that quote - and the fact that, despite being in a major national newspaper, Baxendale never challenged its accuracy - I'm not sure how Erobitha feels he is in a position to state that Baxendale 'never said the ink was recently applied'. It rather looks like that's exactly what he DID say to the Sunday Times journalist.
A NEW FORM OF MUPPETRY (Part 94)
Erobitha, the new Major, has created a new form of Muppetry on the Forum. Claiming that there were, in the Victorian age, 'plenty of tins' into which the diary could have fitted, he carried out 'a 3 minute Google search' and posted 3 links to images of old tins (#6160 of the 'Incontrovertible' thread).
The measurements of none of the tins were stated and the new Major didn't seem to look too hard at what he was posting. As RJ Palmer quickly established, none of them were big enough to fit a diary measuring approximately 11 inches by 8.5 inches.
The new Major was then forced to confess (#6153) that he was 'being churlish posting whatever came up on Google images without executing a thorough search'. You'd think that would have been a lesson to him to ensure that any tin he was putting forward as a suggestion would be larger than 11 inches in length at a minimum.
But he came back in #6153 with a tin 9.5 inches in length!!! And it was only 5 inches in width.
Despite having had plenty of time he couldn't even find one bigger than 10 inches.
Anyone posting links to a biscuit tin with smaller dimensions than 11 by 8.5 can only be engaging in a new and intriguing form of Muppetry.
CAROLINE AND ANNE
How did Caroline Morris respond to the news that Anne Barrett was sent a copy of Mike's affidavit shortly after it was sworn on 5 January 1995?
Well...wait for it, Anne was being a SAINT by not informing Keith Skinner about the affidavit. Because she didn't want Keith to spend his time investigating something that she knew was a lie! So it was "suppressed" - by Caroline Morris's ludicrous and inaccurate definition of the word - out of the goodness of her heart!
Thus (in #704 of the Special Announcement thread):
'Would she have wasted a third party's time with it, knowing that if she gave a copy to Shirley, Keith, Feldy or anyone else, they'd be engaged in a fruitless exercise, investigating claims she knew to be totally false?'
'she wasn't obliged to tell anyone about it, or give any details to someone who would naturally have checked them out.'
That's rather different to what she said about Melvin Harris isn't it? Even though, according to Caroline Morris, Melvin also believed that the contents of the affidavit were false (because his theory was that the diary was created by Tony D and Kane) HE was supposed to have sent Keith a copy of the affidavit, despite not being his friend, for Keith to go on a wild goose chase and waste his time researching it!! HIS failure to provide Keith with a copy was an act of suppression! ANNE's failure to do so was an act of kindness!
But does the argument about Anne doing Keith a kindness stand up to scrutiny? Let's think about it.
Anne is supposed to have been working with and helping the research team during 1995. Keith told us that she had started working WITH the research team in 1994 (see 'Dig in the Archives'). The most natural thing in the world, if she thought it was a false affidavit, would have been to give it to someone like Keith so he could research it BEFORE Mike made it public. That would have allowed Keith time to disprove it so that he was ready and prepared to make an immediate public response as soon as Mike released it. If he hadn't seen it before it was made public, he would have been thrown a curveball. We’ve already seen the result. In January 1997, following Keith's receipt of the affidavit from Shirley Harrison, Doreen Montgomery appears to have been tasked as a matter of urgency to obtain an immediate statement from Kevin Whay. If Anne had provided the affidavit to Keith and the research team in January 1995, that statement could already have been obtained.
And it’s the same for the red diary in the period between January and July. If Keith had known about Mike’s claims regarding the red diary, he could have asked Anne about it, obtained the cheque stubs, and done all the research into how Mike acquired it prior to Mike’s affidavit being made public. It was only by pure accident that he learnt about the existence of the red diary in July 1995. What if he hadn’t found out at that time? He would have had to have started all his enquiries about it in January 1997!!! As it was, it took him a number of years to get to the bottom of the story. Anne’s silence between January and August 1995 delayed that by seven months!
So Anne's silence cannot be justified.
Furthermore, when Keith asked her for a sample of her handwriting on 18 January 1995, wouldn’t she naturally have said 'Oh you've read Mike’s affidavit then? Load of nonsense isn’t it?' And what about when Keith asked her about the little red diary in August 1995? Wouldn’t she naturally have said ‘Oh you must have seen Mike’s affidavit? Load of nonsense isn’t it?’ But she didn’t. She knew about it but remained silent. She was surely actively hiding it from Keith.
And don't forget that no-one prior to Mike's affidavit had accused her of actually forging the diary. She hadn't even been mentioned in Mike's June 1994 confession. Thus, she had a good motive to keep that affidavit strictly under wraps.
As to that, it's very interesting that Caroline Morris appears to accept that Anne deliberately withheld Mike's affidavit from Keith Skinner and others, yet exonerates her because her motives were supposedly pure. She was just being kind!
CAROLINE AND SHIRLEY
How does Caroline Morris deal with Shirley's note of her telephone conversation with Kevin Whay on 16 January 1995 which suggests knowledge of Mike's affidavit? Well she says (#707 of Special Announcement thread):
'Shirley's enquiry to the auction house in January 1995, and Kevin Whay's response, shows no awareness that Mike's album was now supposedly stuffed with collectable WWI photos or had been sold with a compass. So if Shirley had wind from Anne about the supposed auction, she doesn't appear to have been armed with all the details when contacting O&L.'
This is a false point because Shirley's note only records Kevin Whay's responses to her questions. If Shirley had told Whay during their telephone conversation that the album was stuffed with WW1 photographs, or sold with a compass, there was no need for that to have been mentioned in the note. In any case the note was sent to Keith Skinner and Paul Feldman so that, if Shirley was keeping the news of Mike's affidavit a secret from both of them, she certainly wasn't going to mention specifics in her note such as the World War 1 photographs or the compass. She might not have even mentioned those details to Kevin Whay. Perhaps she was hiding from him the fact that she had the affidavit and thus asked him questions in general terms only. But, like I say, if she DID mention those details to him, there is no reason for her to have included them in her note which was recording what KEVIN WHAY had said to her, not what she had said to Kevin Whay!
There is also no reason why Shirley would have regarded the World War 1 photographs as 'collectable'. It's not mentioned by Mike in his affidavit and is simply Caroline Morris using her recently acquired 'knowledge' from Mr Litherland to corrupt history.
As to that, let's just go over a little bit of history.
We know that at some point between late June 1994 and early September 1994, Shirley Harrison spoke to someone at Outhwaite & Litherland about Mike's claim that he purchased the scrapbook from them. Hence, in her 1994 paperback (which went to the printers on 9 September 1994) she wrote:
'The auctioneers said that no unremarkable empty album such as ours would have been sold singly. Yet Mike said he had not bid for a job lot.'
So she's got her answer hasn't she? O&L would not have sold what she believed to have been an 'unremarkable empty album' outside of a job lot. Mike had said that he didn't bid for a job lot (although there is no record of when he said this) so Mike's story had been falsified. Job done. In addition, Mike's confession had been said to have been 'totally incorrect and without foundation' by his own solicitor.
So what prompted her to contact Kevin Whay on 16 January 1995? What had changed? As far as we know, nothing had happened since 9 September 1994 other than Mike having found the Crashaw quote. Aside from his secret affidavit, Mike had said nothing more about how he obtained the diary, had he? On the contrary, shortly before Christmas of 1994, he told Robert Smith 'that the diary was genuine' , having, he said, been given to him by Tony Devereux, and, on 15 January 1995, the very day before Shirley's call with Kevin Whay, Mike had left a voicemail message for Shirley in which he told her the diary was '100% genuine'. So why bother to contact Kevin Whay? Was it because Shirley had secretly been given a copy of Mike's affidavit in which he claimed that the diary was 100% a forgery and, as a result, she knew that further checks needed to be made.
What do we know about that telephone conversation on 16 January?
Well Shirley presumably asked if there had been any enquiries about the purchase of the album in which the diary was written. Whay said there had been none. It's a bit suspicious that Shirley was asking this question so soon after Mike had sworn his affidavit (and she hadn't asked it in 1994, after the Liverpool Daily Post exposure) but let's let that go.
The next thing is that we have a record of Whay saying:
'Between 1990-1991 they held 300 or more auctions and items such as an old photo album would have been in a job lot marked "miscellaneous items".'
It's hard to avoid the conclusion that Shirley must have specifically asked him about auctions in the period 1990-1991. Why else would he have mentioned it? But why would Shirley have focused on those two years only? Couldn't Mike have purchased the album in 1989 or 1988 or even earlier? Not to mention 1992. As far as I am aware, the first time that Mike said that he bought the album in either 1990 or 1991 was in his affidavit. So it's odd, isn't it, that Whay has picked up on those two years, if he hasn't seen or been told of Mike's affidavit?
The second thing we can see here is that Whay must have been told by Shirley that Mike had acquired 'an old photo album'. Yet, in her September 1994 paperback, she had described it as 'an unremarkable empty album'. What had changed in her understanding?
I should say that Mike had described the item as 'an old photograph album' to Harold Brough in June 1994, as stated in the Liverpool Daily Post, so it's possible that Shirley realised her mistake in January 1995 if she had looked at the LDP article in the meantime but, if that's the case, it's rather curious that she didn't ask Whay to confirm that an old photograph album wouldn't have been sold singly. If she hadn't read Mike's affidavit when she spoke to Whay, she would surely still have been under the impression that Mike's claim was that he hadn't bid for a job lot. So why did she accept Whay's statement that an old photograph album would have been in 'a job lot' if she knew that Mike was saying that he hadn't purchased a job lot? Surely she would have wanted confirmation from Whay that such an album would definitely NOT have been sold on its own. But if she knew Mike was now saying that he DID buy a job lot then she wouldn't have asked such a question.
Then the confusion for us continues as Kevin Whay tells Shirley:
'There would quite likely be several "Mr Williams" or "Mr Jones" as a lot of people use a pseudonym when buying at auctions'.
What has prompted this? Is it just a coincidence that, eleven days earlier, Mike had sworn an affidavit in which, for the first time, he claimed to have given the name 'P. Williams' when attending the auction at O&L? Did Shirley ask Whay if Mike could have bought the album using a pseudonym? If so, why? After all, there is no reason to think that O&L had, at this stage, even checked their records for a purchase by an M. Barrett. So why is she asking about pseudonyms?
Then we have Whay quoted as saying:
'Anyone who tells you they have got a lot number or details of such an album from us is talking through their hat'.
This is actually a strange statement. Whay has supposedly just told Shirley that an old photograph album would have been sold by O&L in a job lot marked 'Miscellaneous Items' while in the next breath he says that such a sale was not possible! How does that make any sense?
What would make sense is if Shirley had read or summarised a passage from Mike's affidavit in which he said, 'The album was part of lot No. 126 which was for auction with a brass compass'. As far as I am aware, Mike had never previously claimed to have had a lot number for the auction. So why was Whay speaking of someone claiming to have got a lot number?
That Shirley must have seen a copy of Mike's affidavit at this stage was certainly the conclusion of the authors of 'Inside Story' who said on page 167-8 of their 2003 book that this telephone conversation between Shirley and Whay occurred 'soon after Barrett's affidavit was made public'. It's the natural and obvious conclusion because Whay seems to have been directly referencing Mike's affidavit.
Now let's consider what happened in January 1997 when Shirley sent Keith Skinner a copy of Mike's affidavit, having obtained it directly from Mike. Caroline Morris tells us that this was on 22 January 1997. That was a Wednesday. By Thursday, 30 January, which was only six working days later, Doreen Montgomery obtained a statement from Kevin Whay in which he said:
'Having searched through our files and archives on either side of the alleged sale dates I can confirm that no such information or lot number corresponding with his statement exists. Furthermore, we do not had have never conducted our sales in the manner which he describes.'
If Doreen had managed to persuade Kevin Whay to arrange a search of his old files and records to be carried out within six working days that was quite an impressive feat. I don't know many organizations who are prepared to move that fast, especially as a favour for a researcher. But, of course, the statement doesn't say that the search had been carried out in the past week. How do we know that the search referred to by Kevin Whay hadn't been carried out by him in 1995 following Shirley's visit on 19 January? After all, what seems to have happened here, in January 1997, is that the diary team was desperate for a statement to disprove Mike's affidavit. What they got on 30 January was a beautiful statement from Kevin Whay which seemed to conclusively put an end to the matter but which doesn't actually say when the search was conducted.
What I'm saying is, did Doreen and/or Shirley actually ask Whay to conduct a search of O&L's records in January 1997 or did they just ask him to provide a statement in response to Mike's affidavit? Can we be shown the relevant letter to Kevin Whay, or a record of any telephone conversation or meeting with him, in order to establish what he was being asked to do and when?
One other point worth noting. In Shirley's book, the quote from Kevin Whay is not complete. Thus, the last sentence is transcribed as:
'Furthermore, we do not and have never conducted our sales in the manner which he describes...'
This is different from 'Inside Story' which transcribes it as:
'Furthermore, we do not and have never conducted our sales in the manner which he describes.'
Was there more to Kevin Whay's sentence, as Shirley's book suggests? If so, what did he say?
THE HANDWRITING EPISODE
I don't doubt that Keith Skinner hadn't seen Mike's affidavit when he asked Anne for a sample of her handwriting on 16 January 1995. According to Caroline Morris:
'Keith decided to ask Anne for it on the spur of the moment, knowing nothing about Mike's affidavit'.
Well, maybe, but the interesting thing is that Shirley Harrison was with him at the time he obtained the sample. Is it possible that Shirley triggered Keith to do this and he's forgotten that? After all, if Shirley was aware of Mike's affidavit as at that date, wouldn't she have wanted Keith to get a sample of Anne's handwriting in order to ensure that she was cleared of suspicion so that when Mike's affidavit did become public it could already be stated that her handwriting didn't match that of the forger? It would only have needed some kind of whispered suggestion by her that it might be a good idea to take a sample of Anne's handwriting. Keith could easily have forgotten that it was Shirley's idea, not his.
CAROLINE AND STEWART AND PAUL
The conspiracy builds. Caroline Morris now accuses Stewart Evans and Paul Gainey of suppressing Mike's affidavit (Special Announcement, #707). Thus, when referring to Mike's appearance on Radio Merseyside in September 1995 she says:
'Mike asked to take part in the show because he was incensed by the fact that he had heard Evans and Gainey rubbishing the diary as a modern hoax. Ironic, much? They knew about the affidavit, but like Anne, they didn't say anything to Keith about it.'
Oh no, hold on, they knew about the affidavit BUT LIKE ANNE they didn't say anything to Keith about it. Not LIKE MELVIN. Oh no, we have different standards operating here. They were not telling Keith for acceptable reasons whereas Melvin was not telling Keith for unacceptable reasons!
For Caroline Morris makes the excuse for Evans and Gainey which also excuses Anne:
'If they presumed someone else would have told him, they wouldn't have been the only ones.'
But she wasn't saying that about Melvin Harris only a few weeks ago was she? Why couldn't Melvin Harris also have presumed that someone else would have told Keith Skinner?
Let's not forget, in January 1995 Shirley Harrison refused Melvin's offer of co-operation. Although Caroline Morris' has previously quoted Melvin's offer to co-operate made on 4 January, and contrasted this offer with his failure to provide Shirley with a copy of Mike's affidavit, thus portraying him as a hypocrite, she's said not a word about Shirley turning down that offer and cutting off all co-operation between her and Melvin before the end of the month thus ensuring that SHE didn't have to provide Melvin with a copy of Mike's dangerous affidavit!
Somehow I don't think we'll be hearing any more about Melvin suppressing Mike's affidavit in the future!
CAROLINE AND BOB
Asked about Mike's affidavit being mentioned on Bob Azurdia's Radio Merseyside show in September 1995, Caroline Morris says (Special Announcement, #707):
'I'm not sure how much detail the radio show went into, about this particular statement'.
That's funny because earlier in the thread (at #688) she had posted (underlining added):
'Keith also confirms that Bob Azurdia referred specifically to Mike's affidavit by date and content, while Mike denied ever making it or signing it – or if he did he was drunk and didn't know what he was signing. Azurdia also assumed there were several copies of it floating about..'
So she knew precisely how much detail the radio show went into.
She could also have read my transcript of the interview here to have found out exactly what was said.
CAROLINE AND DOREEN
There has been nothing from Caroline Morris as to how and why Doreen Montgomery was corresponding with Mike in March 1995 about his affidavit. How could Doreen possibly have known about it at that time?
We just have nothing. I suppose we can call it the Silence of the Caz.
CAROLINE AND LORD ORSAM
Caroline Morris started her post #703 of the Special Announcement thread (addressed to Al Bundy) in a very strange way:
'Would you allow that Lord Orsam's interpretation of the Barretts' behaviour may be based on a complete lack of interest in what was happening to their personal relationship?'
She doesn't make clear what 'interpretation of the Barrett's behaviour' she is referring to, nor does she explain why she thinks I have a 'complete lack of interest in what was happening to their personal relationship'.
The truth of the matter is quite the opposite. I have, in fact, read the entirety of a private three-page letter written by Anne on 1 February 1995 in which she sets out in very great and intimate detail what was happening in her and Mike's personal relationship at that time. I've only ever posted snippets from this letter - which I don't think Caroline Morris has ever seen - because I don't want to post very personal information about their relationship, much of which affects Caroline, on the internet.
But, as a result of that letter, I am very well informed about the problems between Mike and Anne in early 1995, thank you very much.
What does Caroline Morris tell us were the problems that I'm supposedly not interested in?
Well, all she says is this:
'Mike was desperate to talk to Anne and to see his daughter, and Anne was having none of it'.
Not only do I know that perfectly well but I mentioned it in 'Silence of the Anne'!!! In fact, I expressly stated that Mike was probably using his affidavit as leverage to force Anne to let him see his daughter. Thus:
'Did he agree to swear to his fraud in the affidavit as one last (futile) gamble... to persuade her to allow him some form of custody or visiting rights over Caroline? '
Caroline Morris' approach is that, because Anne didn't crumble, this must mean that Mike's affidavit was untrue but that doesn't follow at all.
In the first place, Caroline Morris keeps assuming that Anne would have been worried that Mike had 'evidence' which could prove that she wrote the diary. I'd like to know what evidence she thinks Mike could have had which proved HER involvement. She probably knew that he didn't even have any evidence which could prove HIS involvement if everything other than the little red diary (which wasn't sufficient proof) had been destroyed.
In the second place, in my articles 'Blackmail or Mrs Barrett' and 'Silence of the Anne', we DO find an explanation for why Anne didn't crumble. Let's go over it again shall we.
We now know (and even Caroline Morris appears to admit) that Mike sent Anne a copy of his affidavit of 5 January 1995 within a few days of swearing it.
On Friday, 20 January 1995, Mike went round to Anne's house hoping to speak to her but got beaten up by one of her relatives.
Mike, at this time, was writing various messages and notes to Anne.
On Wednesday, 1 February 1995, a drunken Mike went round to Anne's house and pushed a £5 note through her door hoping she would use it to pay for a taxi to come and see him. He was apparently also ranting and raving on her doorstep. On that same evening Anne wrote to Mike to say:
'I will not speak to you when you are as drunk as you obviously were this evening'
She also wrote:
'I will NOT be blackmailed into speaking to you. I will NOT be intimidated into speaking to you'.
So Mike had been trying to blackmail his wife into speaking to him. The question is, what was the blackmail? I am suggesting as one obvious possibility that Mike was threatening to release his affidavit to the world, thus exposing Anne as a co-forger of the diary.
Mike was certainly also threatening Anne that he would destroy the diary in which she had a financial interest.
It's important not to forget that, in her letter, Anne wrote that she would take counter-measures. Thus, she first wrote:
'If you want to destroy the diary then get on with it! Because nothing I can say or nothing I can do will stop you doing what you want to do. And writing to me saying 'speak to me or I'll....will not work'.
Pausing there. Why didn't Anne make clear the nature of the threat? Why use dots? Is it because she didn't want to put in writing the words "speak to me or I'll publish my affidavit"?
Anne continued (and this is where we see the threat of counter-measures) with underlining added:
'Your yob like mentality completely disgusts me, so if you want to make a public exhibition of yourself that is your decision not mine. But don't expect me to sit quietly back and take it because I won't. What you do reflects on your daughter and your parents and your sisters and none of them deserve to be humiliated by you.'
So Anne was threatening Mike with clear counter-measures. She wasn't going to sit back and take it. She was going to fight him. And this was clearly linked to the diary.
Why did she even mention Mike's sisters? Was it because Mike had specifically stated in his affidavit that his sister, Lynn Richardson, had taken away all the physical evidence relating to the diary and destroyed it in June 1994?
Caroline Morris says of Mike's affidavit:
'Could Mike not have been using it as a bargaining tool, to try and get what he wanted more than anything else in the world? To have his family back and get some peace of mind?'
This is breathtaking. I said the exact same thing in 'Silence of the Anne'! I even used the exact same expression: 'bargaining tool'. Allow me to quote myself:
'Did he agree to swear to his fraud in the affidavit as one last (futile) gamble to persuade Anne to change her mind about the divorce?'
AND (of the affidavit)
'it rather looks like he came to see that it would be useful to him as some kind of leverage or bargaining tool (possibly even as blackmail) against his wife who had instituted divorce proceedings against him'
I could hardly have been clearer. And I think my own argument was more sophisticated because by this stage it would seem that the decree nisi had come through, with the decree absolute to follow shortly, and I would have thought that even Mike had come to terms with the fact that Anne was divorcing him. So I'm not convinced that he thought he could get his family back. But he certainly wanted to be able to see Caroline, and the custody battle was still ongoing.
It's astonishing isn't it that Caroline Morris can accuse me of not caring about or understanding the relationship between Anne and Mike without having properly read my article in which I show by my conclusion that I clearly did understand the nature of the relationship.
It's Caroline Morris' own position that doesn't make any sense.
For, in Caroline Morris' world, surely the one thing that WOULD have scared Anne is if Mike had said in his affidavit that he got the diary from Eddie Lyons. If that HAD been the truth why didn't Mike now tell it? It would have utterly ruined Anne's provenance story while, at the same time, kept the money flowing in (and, in fact, surely FAR MORE money would have come flowing in from a Battlecrease provenance!). There wasn't any problem about the fact it was stolen because Paul Dodds had already offered to forgive the theft for 5% of income. That would surely have been very attractive to Mike if it HAD been stolen property. So, if his objective was to use his affidavit as a bargaining tool to get Anne and his daughter back, which both Caroline Morris and myself agree that it was, why didn't he go down that road?
Might it be because he wanted to tell a TRUE story, rather than a false one, in order to rattle Anne?
We can see what nonsense Caroline Morris speaks when she writes:
'All this would seem to be supported by the fact that today, in 2020, nothing has been proved against Anne.'
What can she possibly mean by that? In her strong view, Anne was lying. In her strong view, the diary came from Battlecrease in March 1992? So what possible relevance can there be in the fact that Anne hasn't been proved to be a liar in 2020? It obviously doesn't mean for one second that Anne wasn't lying, according to Caroline Morris, does it? So why on earth is she mentioning it in support of her claim that Mike was lying about forging the diary? If it supports the claim that the modern forgery is false, why doesn't it equally support the claim that the Battlecrease provenance is false?
She just didn't think it through did she?
And let's not also forget. When Mike first claimed to have forged the diary in June 1994, Anne made clear that she regarded this as an attack upon herself, even though Mike hadn't even mentioned her! This baffled even Shirley Harrison.
And here is what Martin Fido reported to Nick Warren in a letter dated 17 October 1994:
'I am impressed that [Detective Sergeant Thomas] was deeply suspicious of her [Anne]. She made a near-hysterical fuss about having police in the house; insisted that she knew nothing about the diary - it was all Mike's - but stood behind the kitchen door listening like a hawk to the entire interview with Mike.'
As we can see, just like the police detective, Martin Fido was also deeply suspicious of Anne. This was before she had claimed to have known all about the diary since 1968!
CAROLINE AND MELVIN
Although Caroline Morris spent her entire existence between 1998 and 2003 trying to prove Melvin Harris wrong, she now uses Melvin's views on the diary as a way of trying to counter the Orsam theory!!!
Thus (in #6174 of the Incontrovertible thread) she writes:
'Melvin didn't believe either Anne or Mike wrote it, but were merely the handlers and placers of someone else's hoax.'
'Melvin also made his opinion known at the press launch of Shirley's book, when he loudly proclaimed that the handwriting was by someone who was probably schooled in the 1930s. Anne was born at the beginning of 1950, so did he get this badly wrong, or has Lord Orsam got it badly wrong?'
The irony of Caroline Morris citing Melvin Harris as an authority in order to make the point that anyone who disagrees with him must be wrong is delicious!
Thing is, as I said in the last update, Melvin's focus wasn't on the identity of the forgers. He was only interested in proving that the diary was a fake. He made clear that it was pointless obsessing over the identity of the person who held the pen. As I've also previously said, I am of the same view. It's only Caroline Morris who obsesses over every single little detail. So, sure, Melvin thought that Kane was the 'most likely' person to have forged the diary but he never claimed certainty in the matter and he ALWAYS said that the most important thing was proving that the diary was a fake, which he felt certain he had done from his analysis of the contents of the diary, not to mention the finding of chloroacetamide in the ink.
Most importantly, Melvin wasn't aware during his lifetime of the crucial Bookdealer advertisement. That was a game changer. We have no idea what Melvin's view of the matter would have been if he had known about that advertisement (but I feel sure that, like me, he would have concluded, that the diary must have been created in March/April 1992). So it's utterly pointless of Caroline Morris to keep referring to the opinion of a man who died 16 years ago. She needs to move on because the world has moved on.
THE ERRORS OF THE CAZ
Caroline Morris is quick to jump down the throat of anyone who even slightly misrepresents her own views but she is happy to misrepresent the views of others.
Thus, she writes in #6174 of the Incontrovertible thread:
'If, as Lord Orsam would have you believe, this [the forging of the diary] wasn't done until early April 1992 [after Mike finally worked out that the tiny 1891 diary he had ordered was no good to man nor beast and had to go hunting for something else], when Devereux had been dead for several months, it leaves Lord Orsam with little choice but to argue that it was Anne who held the pen, just as Mike claimed.'
But Lord Orsam has not argued that it was Anne who held the pen. Lord Orsam has only argued that Mike's repeated claim that Anne held the pen is credible, bearing in mind the handwriting similarities, whereas, prior to May 2018, Caroline Morris dismissed and pooh-poohed the idea on the basis that the sample of Anne's handwriting provided by her to Keith Skinner in January 1995 looked nothing like the diary handwriting. I say no more than that Mike's claim that the diary was written by Anne is a credible one. I do not argue, and never have done, that Anne DID write it.
For all I know, Mike was put in touch with someone who was skilled with a fountain pen and paid that person twenty quid, or something like that, to write the diary at his dictation. That person then disappeared from the story never to be heard of again.
That's perfectly possible. And if that happened we'll never know who wrote it. But that's the point that Melvin Harris always used to make. The identity of the forger wasn't the most important thing in this case. It is Caroline Morris who is obsessed with it.
CAROLINE AND LORD ORSAM PART 2
A strange statement by Caroline Morris in #707 of the Special Announcement thread:
'As she had plenty of time to think what she was going to say if asked, why did she then freely admit to Keith that she thought Mike's enquiry had been "pre-Doreen", effectively cancelling out her cunning plan and allowing for Mike's claim to be true, that the red diary was obtained and rejected before the finished product was seen in London on 13th April 1992? That makes no sense, so I assume Lord Orsam had even longer to come up with his own cunning plan to explain why she made such an admission.'
I really don't know why I'm mentioned in this paragraph.
I've been very consistent about Anne's position on the little red diary (assuming she was a co-forger). This is that it posed no danger to her because she could say that Mike bought it to see what a Victorian diary looked like.
I've never once said that Anne was attempting to fool Keith into thinking that the diary was purchased in May 1992. Keith managed to get fooled into this belief all by himself.
Had it not been for the bookseller advertisement, it’s clear that we wouldn’t know that Mike wanted a Victorian diary with blank pages today. Martin Earl appears to have kept no record of the request for blank pages and it’s only from the advertisement that we know it. If Anne was one of the forgers, this is where she made her mistake. She either didn’t think that the blank pages request would be discovered or, more likely, didn’t even know about it. She probably had no idea that Mike had given the game away by asking for blank pages. So she thought the diary couldn’t betray her but she was wrong.
People do make mistakes, you know. And this is the ONE mistake which gave the game away.
CAROLINE AND THE TAPES
You've really got to love the logic of this sentence (from #707 of the Special Announcement thread):
'We've not got access to the Barrett & Gray comedy box set because RJ made a mistake and gave his tapes away, and appears to think it's Keith's responsibility to put that mistake right, because he kept hold of his tapes for his own research purposes. If Keith is not considered a reliable source these days, then I can't say I blame him for waiting to see if RJ will make any attempt to retrieve his own tapes, from wherever he sent them.'
How twisted is that?
Let's see if we can untangle it.
Firstly, RJ didn't make a mistake. He gave his tapes to a third party. So he no longer has them. Circumstances have since changed. The tapes are now important. The person who has them is Keith Skinner. Any chance of Keith Skinner making them available to everyone? No, because RJ doesn't have his set!
I'm finding the logic difficult to follow.
And who is saying that 'Keith is not considered a reliable source these days'? Where has that come from? Has she imagined it? Perhaps Caroline Morris can provide a quote or withdraw that statement.
I'm not aware of anyone challenging Keith's reliability as a source, although his reliability as a judge of character must be open to question, given his previous championing of Anne's story which he now no longer believes to be true, as well as his reliability as a summarizer of evidence, given his blatant misunderstanding of what Mike Barrett told him at the Cloak & Dagger club about his wife's handwriting.
Where I think Keith IS letting himself down is that he now has a history of someone who refuses to release evidence which doesn't support his own theory about the origins of the diary but which DOES support the modern hoax theory. He's already admitted this. Presumably he can't bear the thought of myself and RJ Palmer crowing over more documents supporting the modern hoax theory, so he is suppressing them. Well, he's admitted that he's suppressing the Barretts' transcript - a document he once PROMISED me that he would put online - because it might be found meaningful by those who believe in a modern hoax.
And now the tapes. You know I could swear that earlier this year Jonathan Menges told us he was getting them ready for publication. Does Caroline Morris' aggressive stance mean that this has all changed? Has Keith Skinner reviewed the tapes and decided he doesn't want them made public after all because they show that Mike's story WAS misrepresented by Alan Gray in the affidavit? Do they show that Mike was always saying that he acquired the photograph album in March 1992? If so, I can imagine that Keith wouldn't want those tapes made available. He probably doesn't want to think of the gloating from myself and others and, even worse, he'll probably be thinking that the authors of 'Inside Story' will be criticized for omitting MORE material that supports the modern hoax theory.
It's funny because it was only recently that, out of nowhere, we were given a quote from the tapes in which Gray stated in December 1994 that Melvin Harris had suggested to him that Mike should prepare an affidavit. This was used as part of the pointless anti-Melvin propaganda nonsense that we got from Caroline Morris and the Major in order to smear the man. It made me wonder if someone had reviewed the tapes and selected for publication the single thing on them that the diary defenders liked. I really hope not because selective release of evidence would be appalling.
Perhaps Menges will do his duty and put those tapes up but it seems to be taking an awfully long time.
CAROLINE AND HYPOCRISY
It's worth saying that the hypocrisy in Caroline Morris criticizing the late Melvin Harris for allegedly suppressing Mike's affidavit (even though there's no evidence that he did anything of the sort) and her now DEFENDING Keith Skinner for suppressing the Barrett/Gray tapes if that's what he wants to do is utterly extraordinary.
Let's not forget that Keith evidently didn't regard Melvin Harris as a reliable source back in 1995, yet Caroline Morris seems to be saying that Melvin should, nevertheless, have provided Keith with a copy of anything and everything in his possession. The rules are different for Keith, though. Apparently, if anyone upsets him in the slightest, that's sufficient justification for him to suppress as many documents and recordings relating to this case as he wants to!
Hypocrisy pure and simple.
CAROLINE AND THE RED DIARY
Readers will be familiar with my article from the last update entitled 'That Little Red Diary'. There's one thing to add which is that the information Caroline Morris obtained from Martin Earl totally contradicts her own (admittedly ridiculous) theory as to why Mike asked for a diary with blank pages.
It will be recalled that she has repeatedly claimed that Mike had noticed on 9 March 1992 that there were 17 blank pages at the end of the Jack the Ripper diary and was determined to obtain a Victorian diary with a similar number of blank pages because, weirdly, he thought that the value of a diary depended on the number of blank pages and he could use that in negotiating a price with Eddie Lyons.
The theory never made any sense because Mike's primary request was for an unused (and thus completely blank) diary while his secondary request was for one with a minimum of twenty blank pages.
It would only begin to make sense if Mike had asked for a diary with ideally about twenty blank pages. Asking for one with a minimum of twenty blank pages (let alone an unused one) was no use if he was wanting one with about seventeen blank pages. But that was Caroline Morris' theory.
In fact, it was the only theory or explanation she ever offered as to why he asked for a minimum of twenty blank pages.
So how can she possibly explain Mike accepting a diary about which Martin Earl must have told him that the majority of pages were blank?
As he did, undoubtedly, accept a diary in which he would have been told that that 'the majority' of pages were blank, his primary motive for obtaining the Victorian diary could not have been to obtain a diary with a similar number of blank pages as the Jack the Ripper diary.
So why does Caroline Morris think that Mike added into his diary request a requirement for a minimum of twenty pages?
We shall await her answer to this question. I predict the silence of the Caz.
SILENCE OF THE KEITH
It may be recalled that in the last update I called for a transcript of the 20 July 1995 meeting to be made available in which Mike was asked questions about the little red diary (and presumably answered them). What has been produced? Nada.
And even though I've produced new evidence showing that Anne received a copy of Mike's affidavit in January 1995, and drawn attention to evidence suggesting that Shirley was aware of it too, what has been provided in response by the diary defending team? Absolutely nothing!
This contrasts to the lightning speed with which Keith produced his 'Bunny's Aunt' notes which were presumably intended (but failed) to undermine my article on the subject. I mean, boy, it was lightning speed. The documents were up online WITHIN THREE HOURS of my article being posted!!! But when I identify documents that might actually assist the entire Ripperology community in getting to the bottom of the diary mystery there is nothing but sullen silence.
THE IRISH WOMAN WHO NEVER WAS
Simon Wood is back on the Conspiracy trail. In the Censorship Forum thread, 'Two Pawn Tickets Thread', #5, he tells us to:
Check this out for a piece of clairvoyance.
THE STAR, Monday 1st October—
"One of the doctors in an interview with a Star reporter, after describing the various wounds, said the woman belonged to the very poorest class. 'She appeared to be an outcast, and carried her tea and sugar about with her. She was very thin." The doctor continued, "I should say, from the fact that her hands were brown, that she had just come from the country - had been hop picking, perhaps.'"
"I think she was an Irish woman""Does the form of her features make you think so?""No, but because she carried a pipe".
Wood then lets us into the whole conspiracy and tells us to think about it:'Yet another fact John Kelly read in The Star and trotted out the following evening at Bishopsgate police station.'
The problem is, if we do think about it, we would conclude that Kelly somehow knew that Eddowes was not, in fact, Irish. Yet, Wood tells us:Think about it. He's been fed the whole story via The Star—hop-picking, carrying tea and sugar, Eddowes living with a man named Kelly, a "TC" tattoo on her arm put there by her husband, whose initials they were, pawn ticket in the name of Burrell, another in the name of Kelly [coincidentally "his own" name].
'All John Kelly had to do was fill in the blanks. No wonder he got confused. He was making it up on the hoof. And the inquest, the press, the police never queried a thing.
For sheer brass neck [nerve and cheek] John Kelly gets an even bigger vote from me than George Hutchinson.'
It's hard to know exactly what Wood is trying to say. When John Kelly walked into Bishopsgate Police Station he said that the name of the as-yet-unidentified woman was Kate Eddowes. That hadn't been reported in the newspapers. Had Kelly invented that name or was it her real name? If he knew her real name, might he not, in fact, have been her common-law husband?
Wood says that Kelly simply "filled in the gaps" from what had been reported in the newspapers, so was he inventing the name of 'Tom Conway', a pensioner in the Royal Irish Artillery, based on the tattoo of 'TC' or was that a real person? Kelly told a reporter from the Star all about Tom Conway on 3 October. The daughter of Kate Eddowes and Tom Conway confirmed that Eddowes had previously lived with Conway and that she believed that Conway had been in the 18th Royal Irish.
Conway eventually came forward. He had been in the 18th Royal Irish Regiment but had been drawing his pension under As reported by the London Evening News of 16 October 1888 (underling added):
'The man, Conway, who yesterday visited the Old Jewry Police Station with his two sons, is living at 43, York-street, Westminster, and follows the occupation of a hawker. The police describe him as evidently a man of very exemplary character, and he alluded to his wife's misconduct before their separation with evident pain. Since then he stated that he had frequently seen her in the company of the man Kelly.'
So Conway himself corroborated that Kelly was Eddowes' new partner!
Furthermore, how did Kelly know that Eddowes had a daughter who lived in Bermondsey, as he told the Star reporter on 3 October? When it came to the inquest, Kelly said on 4 October that her name was Annie. That woman, Annie Phillips, of 12 Dilstone Grove, Southwark Park Road, Bermondsey, was found by the police and testified at the inquest on 11 October. So perhaps Wood should be asking if Kelly was clairvoyant!
In any case, Eddowes' daughter testified at the inquest that she had seen Kelly and her mother together in the lodging house at Flower & Dean Street some years earlier so it was perfectly clear that Kelly and Eddowes knew each other. That being so, what on earth is Wood talking about when he speaks of Kelly have been 'fed the whole' story by the Star? It's utterly nonsensical and absurd.
The police not only spoke to Eddowes' daughter but also to her two sisters. Although Wood says that the press 'never queried a thing' this is entirely false. The reporter of the Star of 3 October said:
'The keeper of the lodging house fully confirms Kelly's statements as to the recent history of the murdered woman.'
'None of the frequenters of the lodging house have ever seen any man but Jack Kelly in company with the woman, and no-one knows of any other relations of the deceased further than the daughter she talked of visiting, except a sister who is said to be the wife of a farthing book seller living in Thrawl Street, Spitalfields. The police will look up this sister, and both she and Kelly will be at the inquest'.
Wood is speaking out of his royal arse in saying that the police simply accepted what Kelly said. He has no idea what the City of London police did to check Kelly's story. It's clear from the evidence of Sergeant Mitchell at the inquest that a lot of work was put into trying to trace Tom Conway. Eddowes sisters and daughter were tracked down and interviewed. The lodging house keeper at 55 Flower and Dean Street was spoken to. He confirmed (as he did at the inquest) that he had seen Kelly and Eddowes together and that Eddowes 'used to say she was married to Conway', just as Kelly had told the Star reporter on 3 October. Furthermore, he testified at the inquest that Kelly and Eddowes 'had been hopping'. So Kelly's story checked out. There was no clairvoyance involved. Simon Wood is quite barking mad.
Troublemaker Caroline Morris, bored at having no-one to talk down to about the Maybrick diary, decided to resurrect a Maybrick thread in which the previous post had been in November 2019. She actually replied to a post by StevenOwl dated 5 August 2019. Here is what she said in #419 of the thread 'The Diary - Old Hoax or new hoax' (underlining added):
'Mike Barrett did tell private investigator, Alan Gray, during a recorded conversation, that he put the scratches in the watch himself, but those who profess to be 100% satisfied that he told the truth about his part in the diary's creation, and that anyone who doubts it must be stupid, have been a lot less forthcoming concerning his claim to have hoaxed the watch too. I can't think why.'
I believe I can explain to her why very few people have discussed Mike's claim that he put the scratches in the watch. It's probably because they didn't know about it!
As regular readers of this site will know, I've been calling for the release of the Gray/Barrett tapes for ages. I've certainly never heard Mike tell Alan Gray that he put the scratches in the watch. Indeed, it's the first I've heard of it. But I can't comment on it until I've heard what he said or seen a transcript of it.
Furthermore, Caroline Morris has simply invented a mythical opponent, as she does time and time again. I'm not aware of anyone in the world who professes to be '100% satisfied' that Mike told the truth about his part in the diary's creation or indeed about anything at all. For myself, I've said repeatedly that it might have not been done as he described it in his affidavit but that the evidence strongly suggests he was at least responsible for obtaining the album in which the diary was written.
As far as I'm aware, everyone who believes the diary to be a modern hoax agrees that nothing Mike Barrett has ever said should be accepted without corroboration. But Caroline Morris always ignores that. She likes to portray those who believe in a modern hoax as accepting Mike's word without question. That is not the case.
The key evidence in this mystery is Mike's secret attempt to obtain a Victorian diary with blank pages as reflected in the advertisement placed on his behalf by Mike Earl in Bookdealer. That is hard evidence of what happened in 1992 which does not rely on anyone's recollection of events. It is clear, it is undisputed. There is no possibility of being gulled. And Caroline Morris has never been able to explain it! She now very rarely even mentions it. I can't think why!
THE BATTYNESS CONTINUES
In the same resurrected thread, Caroline Morris babbles on about having a 'respectable 4th place in Orsam's heart last summer' (#421).
For anyone confused by this, it's pure fiction. She's simply been misled by some of the idiots who featured in my article Send in the Clowns from 12 August 2019. In that article, I listed five individuals in no particular order who had said ridiculous things about 'one off instance'. One, naturally, was Major Tom, then Graham then c.d. then Caroline Morris then Harry. The usual suspects, one might say.
In respect of Caroline Morris, I pointed out that she had repeated an error made by Robert Smith in the dating of an article which referred to 'one off' (which was only 17 years out!). I also noted that she hadn't been able to counter in any way my point that 'one off instance' wasn't a phrase used in the nineteenth century and that her irrelevant waffle about 'top myself' in no way invalidated my argument.
But she is too self-important to read responses to her false claims, so she has remained in ignorance all this time and continues to do so. She would rather post nonsense about what she thinks her place in my heart is than get to the truth of the matter of the Maybrick diary.
In response to Scott Nelson recalling Melvin Harris advising researchers to 'Lay off Kane' (which he did because Kane was very ill), Caroline Morris responded in #424 of the 'Old Hoax or New' thread;
'Melvin was furious when his suspected penman's name came out publicly, so at the time it appeared that he was afraid of a potential libel action, as he had no actual evidence that Kane was involved. It was all groundless speculation and suspicion, based on the flimsiest circumstantial evidence.
If the diary author disguised his/her handwriting, and therefore couldn't be conclusively identified, that may explain why Melvin didn't dare name the suspect himself. Accusing a living person on the sole basis that their handwriting can't rule them out as a fraudster [which could have applied to pretty much any literate English speaker alive at the right time] must surely be a risky business.'
Needless to say her post is wrong in every material respect. She has some kind of brain fog when it comes to Melvin Harris. He wasn't furious when Kane's name was made public because he was afraid of a potential libel action. He was angry because Feldman, in his 1997 book, had misrepresented what he had said in private about Kane. He didn't name Kane as the forger because he wasn't certain that he was.
And her post avoided answering Scott Nelson's question as to why Melvin said "Lay off Kane". It's all explained in 'A Dig in the Archives' for anyone who hasn't yet read it.
THE HOT POTATO
Scott Nelson threw Caroline Morris a hot potato, if not an actual hand grenade, when he asked in #425 of the Hoax thread: 'Does anybody see a similarity between Ann Graham's handwriting and that in the Diary'.
She's hardly going to say that, yes, she DOES see a similarity (due to being closed minded and stubborn) but, equally, she can't say she doesn't see one because she's already said she's not a handwriting expert and can't comment on such matters.
So she juggled this particular potato/grenade and came up with a cop out in #426:
'Some do, other's don't Scotty - so it comes down to personal opinion'.
Apart from this being factually incorrect - because no-one had come on the record to say that there was no similarity - it's a startling admission from the chief diary defender for the very first time that some people DO see a similarity between Anne's handwriting and the diary handwriting!
But of course she's managed to carefully avoid giving her own view! Does she see a similarity herself or does she not?
After all, let's not forget that on 7 July 2017, at #3655 of the 'Incontrovertible' thread, prior to my uploading examples of Anne's handwriting, she posted:
'everyone who has a hand and a pen gives away their identity by merely looping their letters in a certain way, at a certain angle, etc. What of this in terms of the diary versus Mike or Anne's documented writing?'
This was when the only example of Anne's documented writing she had seen was the sample provided to Keith Skinner in January 1995 in which her letters were looped in a completely different way to the diary author's.
But if there's one thing for certain it's that a number of different letters ARE looped the same way by Anne Barrett in her private correspondence and the diary author. I don't think anyone disagrees that this is the case.
So did Anne give away her identity by doing so? At one time, Caroline Morris might well have said YES!
WHEN IN TROUBLE, CHANGE THE SUBJECT
In the same post in which she failed to answer Scott Nelson's question, Caroline Morris performed her favourite distraction trick, which she's done time and time again when she finds herself in difficulty. Change the subject!
So from the very simple question of whether the handwriting in the diary resembles Anne's handwriting, she moved on in the same post to a different question of whether Anne actually did write the diary and, in particular, whether she would have been involved in a forgery scheme. Thus she says in #426:
'That is not nearly enough to make a case for Anne Graham being willing or able to commit fraud to keep her husband happy, by disguising her handwriting over 63 pages. When Mike took the diary to London, who stood to gain most financially from its publication, if not Mike, Shirley and Robert Smith? What would have been in it for Anne in March/April 1992, to make it worth the risk of exposure and a prison sentence, and the repercussions for her young daughter? What experience and expertise did she have with literary hoaxes, to make her believe she could succeed where the fakers of the Hitler and Mussolini Diaries failed?'
The question is asked on a false basis. As I've said time and time again, writing out the diary of Jack the Ripper in disguised handwriting was not, and is not, a criminal offence. You or I could do it today. I promise you that you won't go to prison for it. Nor would Anne have gone to prison. The criminal offence occurs in trying to obtain money by deception on the basis that it is a genuine Jack the Ripper diary. That's what Anne did not do and, in fact, she failed to travel down to London with her husband and the diary in April 1992 as had originally been planned. Her reason for pulling out of the meeting with Doreen has never been satisfactorily explained.
So her bulletproof defence to any criminal prosecution could simply have been that she did what her husband asked her to in writing out a diary in an old journal. Perfectly legal. It's noteworthy that no attempt was made to make the handwriting resemble that of Maybrick's. That alone distinguishes it from the Hitler and Mussolini diaries.
But Caroline Morris' question can be easily answered in a number of ways. Perhaps Anne Barrett thought she was cleverer than those who created the Hitler and Mussolini diaries. Why not? She might have read all about them and decided to learn from their mistakes. Or perhaps she knew nothing of the Hitler and Mussolini diaries. Or perhaps she was talked into doing it by her husband and had no choice. Perhaps she was blinded by the thought of future wealth needed to pay the mortgage for their house and to keep her family together. Perhaps she was desperate. Who knows? I don't because thanks to the evident lack of interest on the part of the teams of researchers swarming all over the diary in the 1990s, I know practically nothing about the lives of Anne and Mike Barrett prior to April 1992.
As usual, the logic of Caroline Morris' thinking is that NO-ONE - not just Mike and Anne - would or could possibly have forged the diary for a monetary purpose in 1992 because the Hitler and Mussolini diaries had been exposed as forgeries. That's insane. I can only perceive it as the result of a damaged mind. People do engage in optimistic criminal conspiracies all the time. They don't stop. And in this case the Barretts, in fact, made thousands and thousands of pounds and neither of them went to prison!
SHE'S ON A ROLL, SHE CAN'T STOP
So much was Anne's handwriting preying on her mind that she couldn't stop writing about it when subsequently responding to a post by RJ Palmer about 'Tales of Liverpool'. Although that had nothing to do with Anne's handwriting she blathered over on the 'Incontrovertible' thread later the same day (#6177):
'I have to say, while I'm here, that the Barrett Believers still have the obstacle of Mike's affidavit to get over, before they ought to be smugly satisfied that it somehow reflects a basic truth about the diary's conception and creation. Where does it leave Mike's claims about Anne, if the handwriting can never be identified as her own, and could therefore be virtually anyone's, invited into their home in Goldie Street to join the party? Would Anne have been aware, when writing letters by hand to Mike after their marriage broke down, that she had absolutely nothing to fear if he passed them on to Alan Gray, and they eventually found their way to someone who saw similarities with the diary and published examples? I'm not sure I'd have taken that risk if I had committed a very public fraud, but then the hoaxer presumably knew they were as safe as houses as long as they made a half reasonable attempt at disguising their normal hand.'
We can, I think, skip over the nonsensical and pointless question: 'Where does it leave Mike's claims about Anne, if the handwriting can never be identified as her own...?' because it leaves them in exactly the same place they have always been. If we can't prove the author of the handwriting, we can't prove it. I've been saying for donkey's years that if the handwriting is disguised it's virtually impossible to prove who the author is. The best an expert will be able to do is say it's consistent with someone's handwriting. So that's pointless.
Let's move onto the next point which is one which, had Caroline Morris bothered to read my articles, she would have known I've already answered.
Her short point is that it would have been risky for Anne to have written private letters in her normal handwriting to Mike, knowing that the letters might be used against her to identify her authorship of the diary. This misses entirely the point that Anne's handwriting in her letters to Mike is so clearly different from the handwriting in the sample she provided to Keith Skinner in January 1995 and Caroline Morris has never commented on this difference or provided an explanation for it.
It also misses the point that if Anne had disguised her handwriting when writing the diary, she might not have been terribly concerned about the possibility of Mike passing on her correspondence either to Alan Gray or anyone else, especially bearing in mind that she'd already given a sample to be tested in 1995 (and one even earlier than that, apparently).
But, equally, it's possible that the correspondence I uploaded to the forum in 2018 is NOT Anne's normal handwriting. Perhaps, out of caution, she continued to disguise it. Well that's even better for my argument, frankly. But it doesn't matter. The point is not that her handwriting in the correspondence is identical to the diary handwriting. It's clearly not. The point is that both Anne and the diary author form certain characters in the same (unusual) way, with similar looping. As Caroline Morris said in 2017 which is certainly worth repeating, 'everyone who has a hand and a pen gives away their identity by merely looping their letters in a certain way'. Indeed.
ROUND AND ROUND IT GOES
From the topic of Anne's handwriting, Caroline Morris' stream of consciousness rambling then moved on in #6177 to the issue of the dating errors in Mike's affidavit AGAIN.
I've written on this subject about a hundred times, yet Caroline Morris has made no attempt to incorporate anything I've said into her argument.
Her two main failings are these:
1. She has never acknowledged the existence of a corrected version of Mike's affidavit in which the 1990 dates have been amended to 1991. Basically, it seems very likely that "1990" in the affidavit was no more than a typo and was meant to be 1991 throughout. Hence, Alan Gray DID know the year of Tony Devereux's death but just typed it incorrectly in the affidavit. And it is equally likely that Gray was attempting to say that the materials to create the diary were purchased in early 1991.
2. She has never acknowledged that Mike claimed in June 1994 that he brought the diary down to London in 1991. That being so, if he told Gray the same thing later in the year (1994), there is no way on God's earth that Gray was going to include in the affidavit a statement that Mike bought the materials to create the diary in 1992. It would have been insane! If Gray believed that the diary had come to London in April 1991 then January or February 1991 would be just about right for when Mike was saying the materials were purchased.
These are two critical facts for the story and cannot be ignored.
It's no good her repeating extracts from the affidavit which refer to events in 1990 when we know that there is a corrected version of the affidavit in existence which places them in 1991. It's also no good her saying that Alan Gray was working closely with Mike 'to try and get to the truth of the matter' as if this means he could never have made any mistakes. He wasn't even a typist so that he could simply have typed in the wrong year and Mike would never in a million years have picked up such an error before he signed the document.
We see the desperate straits that Caroline Morris finds herself in when she is reduced to stating that Michael Barrett was the co-author of the Jack the Ripper Diary book published in 1993 and 1994!!! As if by being co-author he should have known from memory that it was stated in the book that Mike brought the diary down to London 'on a spring day in 1992'. If Gray had either not read or overlooked that - which is easily done because the way the chronology of events is set out in the book is confusing, starting with Mike receiving the diary from Tony a few months after Christmas 1990 - he could simply have relied on Mike's reported claim that it happened in 1991.But, above all, Caroline Morris ignores one crucial question. Where are the Gray/Barrett tapes? Mike's affidavit appears to have been based on the information extracted from him by Gray in the recorded interviews so they are crucial in understanding why Gray drafted the affidavit in the way he did (and, thankfully, Caroline Morris at last now seems to accept that Gray may well have drafted it). She quotes a selected extract from those tapes as published in 'Inside Story' but we need a full release. Why? Because RJ Palmer once heard those tapes and he posted on the Forum back on 23 June 2005 (more than ten years before I developed the Orsam Theory of Diary Creation) to say:
'In one of Barrett's ramblings to Alan Gray he stated that the diary didn't even physically exist when he contacted Doreen'.
If RJ's memory is correct, that would be spectacular support of my theory. It would mean that Alan Gray obviously got the chronology wrong when preparing the affidavit and that Mike was telling Gray in late 1994 or early 1995 the exact same story that he would go on to tell at the Cloak & Dagger club in April 1999. It would mean that Caroline Morris' years of attempting to rubbish Mike's affidavit have been a complete waste of time because she has only been rubbishing Alan Gray's efforts at pretending to be a lawyer, drafting an affidavit.
This why we must have the Gray/Barrett tapes released. As far as I can see, the diary defenders are dragging their feet because they know life will be very uncomfortable if RJ's memory is right. If Mike told Gray that the physical diary didn't exist when he contacted Doreen on 9 March 1992 that would be a complete game changer, if not a game winner, which would, on its own, effectively put an end to the question of when the diary was created.
Would Keith Skinner and Caroline Morris be able to physically bear that? I rather doubt it.
MISSING THE POINT
After her long ramble in the 'Incontrovertible' thread, Caroline Morris then moved into the 'Special Announcement' thread where she appeared to respond to my article 'Silence of the Anne' as follows:
'I'm having the greatest difficulty understanding how Anne, of all people, can be accused of being the true 'suppressor' of an affidavit typed up by Alan Gray and sworn by Mike, of which a copy was hand delivered to her. How was she meant to stop copies being sent to anyone of Mike's choosing?'
This is hilarious. Exactly the same applies to Melvin Harris! How was Melvin meant to stop Mike sending copies of his affidavit to anyone of his choosing? Yet Caroline Morris was happy to accuse Melvin of suppressing Mike's affidavit.
However, in attempting to deny that Anne could have suppressed Mike's affidavit she is spectacularly missing the point. Of course Anne couldn't have suppressed Mike's affidavit, just as Melvin couldn't have suppressed his affidavit. As I've already said, 'suppress' is completely the wrong word. Yet Major Tom and his best chum "Cazzykins" got themselves in a frenzy of excitement at being told - presumably by Keith Skinner - that Alan Gray was on tape telling Mike that Melvin Harris had suggested he prepare an affidavit. They both went off into a flight of fancy, and fantasy, in thinking that the affidavit was created at Melvin's behest, yet Melvin, not liking what he read when he received a copy, suppressed it. It's nonsense. Just as it's nonsense to say that Anne suppressed it using the normal definition of the word (which is why I never said she did!).
The point of my article was that Anne didn't mention the affidavit to Keith Skinner at any time during 1995 despite many, many opportunities to do so. The clue was in the title. The SILENCE of the Anne.
And while it's true that Anne couldn't have physically stopped Mike giving copies of his affidavit to anyone he chose, she might well have known that Mike was keeping it a secret if he told her that he would circulate UNLESS she spoke to him or gave him custody of Caroline etc. That's the whole blackmail point.
Anne might well have known that, if Mike circulated the affidavit in January 1995, it would have been just as damaging for him as for her. Everyone at the time was waiting for a slice of the £70,000 of film money that was expected in June 1995. If the affidavit was publicized before June there was a possibility of losing that money and all future income from the diary. Anne might, therefore, have deliberately not mentioned the affidavit to Keith Skinner knowing that Mike was unlikely to send him a copy on his own accord.
Whether I'm right or wrong about this, the fact remains that Anne was far closer to Keith than Melvin Harris was and the fact that SHE was given a copy of Mike's affidavit yet didn't mention it to Keith simply highlights the nonsensical criticism of Melvin Harris for not mentioning it to Keith, with whom he was not in contact at all, not to mention that Shirley Harrison withdrew her cooperation from Melvin Harris in January 1995, something which she put in writing (but which Caroline Morris is yet to mention or acknowledge)!
Caroline Morris says in #709 of the 'Special Announcement' thread:
'We know that certain individuals were in on the 'secret' by the summer of 1995, but it's far from clear to me how the news reached Evans and Gainey [but not Keith Skinner] except via Melvin Harris, and what dictated how much the authors were prepared to say or write about it publicly at that time. It's safe to say that Anne could have had no possible say in the matter, and would have had no idea that Stewart, or anyone else for that matter, had not given Keith all the information he needed to investigate Mike's claims without her knowledge.'
I wonder if she includes Shirley Harrison as one of those in on the 'secret' in the summer of 1995. She doesn't tell us. There is no analysis of Shirley's role.
Sure, Melvin Harris might have informed Evans and Gainey of the affidavit but so what? That's the complete opposite of suppressing it, isn't it? And THAT is what Major Tom and "Cazzykins" were ludicrously claiming about Harris. The Morris theory - to repeat - is that Harris was so shocked by Mike's claim that there was no nest of forgers that he deliberately suppressed Mike's affidavit. But here is Melvin supposedly providing a copy to Stewart Evans, for Stewart to mention in his best selling book, according to Caroline Morris!!! So where is the logic? Where is the consistency?
And it may well be that Melvin provided a copy of the affidavit to Radio Merseyside's Bob Azurida too, I don't know. But what if he did? He hadn't signed a confidentiality agreement, had he? Again, if he did give it to Azurdia, it's the exact opposite of suppressing. So what exactly is Caroline Morris' point about Melvin Harris and the affidavit. Maybe she's trying to say that Melvin was a more enterprising researcher than Keith Skinner and had developed a relationship with Alan Gray which enabled him to obtain a copy of the affidavit while Keith remained blissfully in the dark for two whole years until Shirley Harrison did his work for him by sending him a copy. So what?
The basic point is that everything that Caroline Morris says about Anne holds true for Melvin. If Anne thought that Keith Skinner might have received a copy of Mike's affidavit from a third party then Melvin might have had exactly the same thought. If there was no need for Anne to give Keith a copy then there was equally no need for Melvin to do so.
You might ask: What does it matter? Melvin Harris is dead. So what difference does it make if he gave the affidavit to Keith Skinner or not? To which I reply; EXACTLY! Please direct your question to Major Tom and Cazzykins who started off this whole nonsense and presumably regret it deeply now.
MORE INSANE QUESTIONS
Continuing in #709 Caroline Morris asks:
'What is it about Mike that makes it unlikely that he would have bought an old book in the Saddle, but likely that he would have thought of producing a literary hoax, identifying Maybrick of all people as Jack the Ripper?'
Here's the answer:
The fact that in March 1992 he was seeking a Victorian diary with blank pages.
That's the reason.
How does she not get it?
Everything goes back to the advertisement.
There is no hard evidence that Mike bought the diary in the Saddle. There is no hard evidence that the diary was found in Battlecrease.
But there IS hard evidence that Mike was seeking a Victorian diary with blank pages one month before he produced a Victorian diary for Doreen Montgomery.
If you follow the evidence you arrive at the inevitable conclusion that Mike was somehow responsible for the creation of the literary hoax.
It does NOT necessarily mean that he thought of producing the hoax identifying Maybrick as Jack the Ripper (although he might well have done) - it could have been someone else who had the idea, we just don't know - but Caroline Morris ALWAYS seems to want to pin everything on Mike acting on his own even though there are a number of known suspects who might have assisted him (Anne Graham, Billy Graham and Tony Devereux being three) and possibly some unknown suspects of whom we don't know because the researchers have never told us anything about Mike's other contacts.
Then she asks:
'And how is it known that Anne wasn't 'the least bit suspicious' to see this old book 'with pages cut out and crudely written'?'
A ludicrous question. We don't know if Anne was suspicious or not.
Then she asks:
'Did she not have a huge row with Mike, confirmed by him and witnessed by their daughter, when he insisted he was going to get it published? What was that all about, if she had spent 11 days, between 31st March and 12th April 1992, transferring the text of the diary into this old book, just so that Mike could make his appointment in London with her handiwork on the 13th?'
The answer is that we have no idea if she had a 'huge row' or not and it's highly amusing that Caroline Morris says that this row was 'confirmed' by Mike Barrett when we are not supposed to believe a word he says, per Caroline Morris! That young Caroline supposedly witnessed a row means absolutely nothing bearing in mind that this girl also claimed to witness Mike pestering Tony about the diary - something that would have been impossible if Mike only obtained the diary in March 1992, as Caroline Morris believes. Tony Devereux, of course, died in August 1991.
As for Anne Graham, she is so trustworthy that she managed to beguile, bamboozle and fool Keith Skinner for about TEN years into thinking that the diary had been in her family since the 1940s!!!! The whole theory of Caroline Morris is based on the fact that Anne was telling a WHOPPING LIE yet Ms Morris seems to believe just about everything else that she told researchers at the time, including about this fight for the diary so that she could throw it onto the fire.
The hard evidence in this case tells us that Anne was, in fact, so concerned for the safety of the diary in April 1992 that she personally ensured that it was placed in a bank!! This is a confirmed fact, in writing, from Doreen Montgomery who spoke to Anne on 21 April 1992. Anne then conveyed her 'anxiety' to Doreen about the safety of the diary.
When I confronted Caroline Morris with this fact on the Forum she came up with THE most bullshit explanation imaginable, namely that Anne was worried that the diary was stolen and wanted to protect it for the real owner in case the real owner showed up and wanted it back. Ha ha ha! Honestly, have you ever heard such absolute nonsense? She just makes up total rubbish.
The reason Anne wanted to lodge the diary at a bank was obviously because she realized it was an item of significant value and she didn't want to lose it (in a fire or burglary, as she told Doreen). Like the Bookdealer advertisement, it's one of the few hard facts we have about what was going on in March and April 1992. And the fact that Anne wanted the diary placed in a bank for safety is TOTALLY at odds with the bullshit story that later emerged that Anne had wanted to throw the diary on the fire at about this very same time!
According to Caroline Morris, continuing:
'She may have been very suspicious about it, and more than a little worried, not knowing where Mike got it from or what its origins were, and her angry reaction supports that far more than it supports the idea that she was in on it from day one, back before Tony D's death, and was now just itching, by the end of March 1992, to be able to put pen to paper, the moment Mike finally found what they needed at the auction.'
If Anne was so suspicious and worried about the origins of the diary - thinking it might have been stolen - why in god's name did she enter into a collaboration agreement with Shirley Harrison on 30 April 1992? This was nine days after she had expressed her 'anxiety' to Doreen about the safety of the diary. By entering into the collaboration agreement she was asserting some form of legal right in the ownership of the diary, something totally at odds with Caroline Morris' nonsensical speculation that she was 'worried' it was a stolen item.
If Anne and Mike ever fought about the diary it was probably because one of them got cold feet and wanted to pull out of the scam.
WHEN DOES A NON-EXPERT BECOME AN EXPERT?
After saying that she couldn't possibly compare Anne's handwriting with the diary handwriting because she has no expertise in the subject, Caroline Morris suddenly feels sufficiently qualified to opine that, 'the direction of all the diagonal crossings out in the actual diary...do suggest to me that a right handed person' (Hoax thread, #430). But, she says, 'I may be wrong'. That's very helpful!
Now, a QI question: is Anne Barret right handed, left handed or ambidextrous? Nobody knows!
NO EVIDENCE OF BRAIN ACTIVITY
Twenty-four hours later, Caroline Morris returned to the 'Special Announcement' thread to tell us confidently (#711):
'There is no evidence that Anne knew about that initial phone call, or what Mike was up to, until the letters began arriving from Rupert Crew and it was almost a fait accompli.'
This is false. It's simply not true that there's no evidence. There IS evidence that Anne knew about the initial telephone call. This is what Doreen wrote to Shirley Harrison on 10 March 1992 (underlining added)
'Our Ripper friend has phoned again today, having had further discourse with his wife (who apparently rules the roost!) and they have decided that we must be entrusted with the diary to check it out for ourselves!'
For Caroline Morris, therefore, to say that there is 'no evidence' that Anne knew about Mike's initial telephone call is an untruth of massive proportions, ignoring crucial documentary evidence in the case, which can only be designed to befuddle and confuse.
Sure, the source of the information is Mike, so that doesn't necessarily mean that it's true. But it is clear contemporary evidence that Mike told Doreen that he had already discussed the situation with his wife prior to his telephone call with Doreen on 9 March and had agreed with his wife on either 9 or 10 March that the diary should be given to Doreen for her to check it out.
No evidence my arse!
OFF TO YORK
A further untruth is told by Caroline Morris shortly afterwards in the same post (underlining added).
'Mike stalled Doreen initially, by telling her they were off to York [where the Barretts had been on holiday in August 1991 when Tony had his fatal heat attack] and he would contact her again on their return. A family trip to York in March - term time - strikes me as a little odd, considering Caroline's Easter holidays were not far off, and would in fact begin on Monday 13th April, when Mike was free from the school run to take the diary down to London.'
If Caroline Morris actually took the trouble to read the evidence in the case, rather than misrepresent it in her mission to befuddle and confuse everyone, she would see that what Doreen actually said in her memo to Shirley Harrison was this:
'He's off to York on Thursday or Friday, and promises to make contact again, on his return.'
In what world does "he" mean "they"?
All Mike told Doreen is that HE was off to York on Thursday and Friday. He didn't say that Anne and/or Caroline were going with him. This appears to be an invention on the part of Caroline Morris based on the supposed fact that the Barretts went there on a family holiday in 1991.
But if the family was going on holiday to York during that week (in term time) it's a bit odd that Mike doesn't seem to know on the Tuesday if they were going on Thursday or Friday. Wouldn't a family holiday be booked well in advance?
And if the reason Mike didn't get to London until 13 April was because he had to pick up Caroline every day from school, why didn't he tell Doreen on 9 or 10 March that he couldn't come to London until the start of the school holidays? I mean, Caroline Morris' theory is that Mike was stalling because he hadn't yet acquired the diary from Eddie and needed time to conduct negotiations to fix a satisfactory price. So why not just tell Doreen that he won't be able to bring the diary down to London for a few weeks because of Caroline being at school? Why invent an unnecessary lie about going to York that week?
But if he WAS really planning on going to York later that week, it messes up Caroline Morris' theory that he couldn't leave Liverpool until 13 April because he had to pick his daughter up from school every day.
I might comment that this element of the story highlights the utter failure of the researchers in this case to investigate the story properly. Why do we not have any evidence from any of the participants as to whether Mike did or did not go to York during week commencing 9 March 1992 (or was planning to)? Was Mike ever asked about it? Was Anne ever asked about it? Caroline Morris seems to know about a family holiday to York in 1991 although, as usual, the source of her information is not provided.
REMOTELY PLAUSIBLE NONSENSE
Caroline Morris continues her advanced befuddling exercise in the 'Special Announcement' thread post #711 by saying:
'So was the York trip a lie, because he didn't yet have the "old book" and was in the process of trying to buy it from a certain electrician? Or was he still trying to find a suitable book in which Anne was going to physically write the diary? I don't find it remotely plausible that the Barretts wanted to find out if anyone would be interested before investing in the project itself. How much time and effort - if not expense - would already have been spent by then, on all the research and drafting of the text? Did they really plan to ditch it all if Pan Books or Doreen had laughed and told Mike to pull the other one?'
I've responded to this point many, many, times but Caroline Morris doesn't seem to have absorbed it.
It would have been absolutely suicidal to have attempted to contact a literary agent or publisher before the text of the diary had even been drafted. Yet Caroline Morris is suggesting that THIS is what the forger should have done before expending any "time and effort - if not expense" on the project. It's utter madness.
Researching and drafting the diary would have cost nothing. The exercise might even have been carried out as an amusing intellectual game to see if they could do it. Absolutely no reason to contact an agent at that stage until the work is done. I repeat that (with the possible exception of buying a few books about Maybrick or the Ripper which could in any case have been obtained free of charge from the local library) there was no cost involved at that stage.
Now, once you've completed the draft text, you are faced with a choice. Go ahead and spend money to acquire the materials needed to create a fake diary (i.e. ink, nibs and blank Victorian diary), which would all be wasted if there is no interest from anyone, or ensure that there is actual interest before spending that money.
There is no "one size fits all" answer. It depends on two things. Firstly how wealthy you are. Some people would spend the money without thinking but others might be far more reluctant to spend any cash without an assurance that it is a good investment. Secondly, it depends on the type of personality you are. Someone like Caroline Morris as the forger might be totally risk averse and will want to line all her ducks up in a row and have a fully completed diary in front of her before approaching an agent. Someone else, perhaps a con artist with more of a sense of daring, might have called Doreen without having a completed diary in his possession, just to see what type of reaction he would get.
I'm not quite sure what Caroline Morris means when she says 'Did they really plan to ditch it all if Pan Books or Doreen had laughed and told Mike to pull the other one?' If no-one was interested in the prospect of a Jack the Ripper diary what else were they supposed to do? I mean, I assume her question doesn't just focus on Pan Books or Doreen and that Mike would have tried a few other agents or publishers. But if there was zero interest then, yes, perhaps they would simply have abandoned the plan. Why not? What would have been the point of spending money on the materials in that event? After all, they probably hadn't spent anything yet. The text of the diary must have taken some time to draft, sure, but it might well have been Tony Devereux (or some other person) who did most of the work on it.
So I don't see what the problem is. And in answer to Caroline Morris' question:
'was he still trying to find a suitable book in which Anne was going to physically write the diary?'
The answer strikes me as very likely to be YES! After all, we know for a fact that, at this very time, Mike was searching for a 'suitable' Victorian diary which had to have a minimum of 20 blank pages but preferably more.
If we use Caroline Morris' famous 'no evidence' line of argument, we can safely say that there is no evidence that Mike was negotiating with Eddie Lyons to acquire anything from him at the time. Indeed, there is no evidence that Mike even knew Eddie Lyons in March 1992 or had ever even spoken to him!
STOPPING THE ROT BY LYING
I must say I do like Caroline Morris' latest euphemism to describe Anne Barrett's behaviour, when she says in #711:
'Anne's biggest mistake in my view was to try and stop the rot two years too late'
You see, in saying "stop the rot" she's saying that Anne was telling a blatant and convoluted lie but when you put it like "stop the rot" it sounds like an almost heroic and angelic thing for her to have done. She wasn't really lying, she was stopping the rot. Her lie was saving the day. It was shoring up the timbers. It was keeping the world from collapsing.
And it was nothing more than a 'mistake', this whopping lie she told about the diary having been in her family for generations. A mistake with the very best of intentions. Indeed, from the way Caroline Morris puts it, she should have told this lie two years earlier!!!
But, says Ms Morris, the defender of liars:
'she'd have done far better to keep her head down and insist that all she knew was that Mike had brought the diary home one day in 1991 and said he'd got it from Tony Devereux. I can't explain why she didn't do that, but if she strongly suspected Feldy had been on the right track the previous year, when he investigated the electricians, might she have hoped that her 'in the family' story would stop him even thinking of returning to that line of enquiry, in case he eventually sniffed out the truth, that the diary was stolen from Battlecrease and only arrived in Goldie Street in March 1992, effectively making liars of them both?'
Oh wait, hold on. So she wasn't "stopping the rot" in telling her lie in July 1994 after all then? She was actually attempting to throw Feldman off the scent by telling an even BIGGER lie than the one she knew Mike had already told!!!
But, then again, as we can see, Caroline Morris 'can't explain' why Anne didn't simply tell the truth in June 1994. So perhaps it's better if she shut up and stopped rambling with all her nonsensical speculations on all the message boards, no?
HOW TO GENEAOLOGISE
In response to a suggestion by 'The Rookie Detective' on the Censorship Forum that Ellen McCarthy, a neighbour of Charles Lechmere in 1881, was a cousin of John McCarthy of Dorset Street, the great genealogical expert, The Clanger, stepped in and showed us all how it's done (#15 of thread 'John McCarthy'):
'Ellen McCarthy....Her maiden name was McCarthy, so perhaps she was related by blood'
Clearly some more outstanding family research there by the Clanger. Asked by The Rookie Detective how he knew that Ellen's maiden name was McCarthy, The Clanger explained (#18):
'It wasn't a conclusion so much as a stab in the dark'.
Oh. Is that how genealogical research is done, then? You just stab in the dark and guess....then you state your guess as a fact?
But don't worry, in the same thread, the Clanger had already advised The Rookie Detective not to post on too many topics lest he become known as 'The Ubiquitous Rookie Detective'....you see, that's TURD. But don't worry, although The Clanger told TRD that he 'couldn't resist it', nevertheless, 'It's not meant personally', so that is obviously all fine and not an example of more thuggish and unpleasant behaviour from The Clanger.
Just like it's not another example of his awful personality when he posted sarcastically to TRD in the 'Ginger Beer' thread (#8), 'I wouldn't place too much reliance on ages given on census forms. Especially when the record is for a lodger. But of course you must know that through your extensive genealogical work'. Why did he do this? Because TRD had stated that he'd done a lot of genealogical work and the Clanger didn't like it, genealogical investigation, including stabs in the dark, being his own speciality, and he doesn't like anyone else muscling in on his territory.
Talking of The Rookie Detective, I can positively assert from the different writing style that, despite speculation to the contrary, it's definitely NOT Pierre!
To my astonishment, I find myself mentioned (gratuitously) by Caroline Morris in one of her rambling tirades against RJ Palmer in the 'Incontrovertible' thread. When referring in #6179 of that thread to a conflict of evidence whereby one of Tony Devereux's daughters had said in 2003 that her sister had borrowed 'Tales of Liverpool' in the summer of 1991, whereas the sister in question had said in 1993 that she borrowed it in January 1991, Caroline Morris writes:
'Who is RJ to complain indeed? After all, it's exactly what Lord Orsam did, when he favoured Dr Hopper's 'Godmother' over Addison's 'aunt', and dismissed the latter'.
To which I say OBJECTION!! On a point of order, it's not exactly the same at all. In fact, it's totally different. To this day, I have no idea if Caroline Morris has actually read my article 'Bunny's Aunt' (the last I saw she was denying having done so), but the reason that this is totally different is because Addison was supposed to have been summarizing Hopper's evidence for the jury. The only possible correct source, therefore, can be what Dr Hopper said in his statement.
I really don't like the idea that Lord Orsam 'did' anything or 'favoured' one piece of evidence over another or 'dismissed' a piece of evidence. Addison wasn't giving evidence, he was summarizing the existing evidence. We happen to know for a fact that he summarized it incorrectly.
So it's not a question of one reliable source over another less reliable source, as Caroline Morris seems to think. It's not a question of me favouring anything or dismissing anything. There is only one source which is Dr Hopper. It's irrelevant what Addison said, other than that he misled later writers.
I can only assume that I was mentioned here because Caroline Morris obsessively desires to defend the diary and somehow subtly wanted to undermine the solid fact that Florence went to London to visit her godmother in March 1889. A poor show.
QUID PRO CLANGER
Nice to see that the Clanger has found a new friend (the one he called TURD) but what's this? After TRD didn't respond to one of his posts, an unhappy Clanger said (#5 in 'McCarthy to Lechmere' thread):
'If you want input from others, you should acknowledge what they provide or there will no point in their contributing.'
That's a Quid Pro Quo right there isn't it? If you want my help you must always praise me or you won't be getting it!!
How very Trumpian!
THE CHILD ON THE FORUM
Hilariously, Caroline Morris was clearly desperate to respond to something I'd written on this site but, of course, she couldn't admit that he has actually visited here so, like a child, she started off her post (#6181 in the 'Incontrovertible' thread)
'It has been brought to my notice that Lord Orsam has accused me recently....'
'brought to my notice'. LOL!
And what was it she was wanting to respond to? The many detailed accusations I've made of her posting falsehoods about the Maybrick diary? The many detailed accusations I've made of her befuddling and confusing the internet on the same subject? Oh no, not a bit of it. I guess no-one has brought THOSE accusations to her notice! Instead, it was a ridiculously minor issue of whether she had correctly used the expression 'public relations' in one of her posts. Like an obsessive lunatic, she just couldn't resist writing about it.
Unfortunately, as she hasn't identified the article to which she is purportedly responding, or quoted me, I'm unable to respond to her claim that I've accused her of 'mangling' words (which, let's face it, are pretty mangled at the best of times). Furthermore, if I write something here and she responds on Casebook and then I respond to that, it's like I'm still a member of the Forum, isn't it? And then little Jonny Menges will have a heart attack.
In fact, I do believe that her responding to an article of mine, albeit an unidentified one, constitutes a clear breach of the random Casebook rules introduced by the Chief Moderator in which members of the forum are NOT allowed to quote me, so I'm sure they are not allowed to get round that rule by simply summarizing what I've allegedly said. The correct approach, per Menges, is to post a link to the article in question which, in complete defiance of the Chief Moderator, she miserably failed to do. I expect her to be banned from Casebook forthwith, premium member or no premium member, good friend of Menges notwithstanding.
Mind you, I do have a clear memory of accusing Caroline Morris in part 8 of 'Lord Orsam Says...' of conducting a twenty year misinformation propaganda campaign designed to convince innocent members of the Ripperology community that Mike Barrett was too stupid to even write his name, let alone draft or help create the diary. As I said back then:
'Caroline Morris has been the person responsible for a massive misinformation propaganda campaign online for the past twenty years with her endless stories of how stupid Mike Barrett is.'
She must know about this but she doesn't have a single word to say about it! No acknowledgement and no denial. So does that mean she admits it? I think it must do, otherwise she would have said something wouldn't she? I mean, she wouldn't respond selectively to accusations against her, would she?
Anyway, if she's angry at me for allegedly accusing her of'mangling' words based on what someone else has told her at second hand - and she used the expression 'foaming at the mouth' in her post so I guess she must be furious - I dread to think what she will say if she actually comes to this website and reads what I've said about all her nonsensical theories.
Or perhaps she already does. Indeed, I'm guessing that she reads every single word but pretends not to. Either that or the person who is supposedly bringing things to her notice from this website isn't doing a very good job.
But, really, she is such a child, either refusing to read the articles on this site or refusing to admit to doing so. It's childish either way.
And she really does finally need to learn the golden rule: No Orsam, No Comment!
HOW TO BEFUDDLE AND CONFUSE, PART 94
No greater example of 'No Orsam, No Comment' is to be found than in Caroline Morris' very next post in the 'Incontrovertible' thread (#6182) in which she relies on false information provided in secondary sources (Ryan and Christie) to conclude that Florence went to stay with her cousins in London in March 1889. Had she read my own article Bunny's Friend based, funnily enough, on primary sources, in which I had already dealt with the issue, she might not have fallen into such dreadful error.
As I said in 'Bunny's Friend', Florence went to stay in London with HER FRIENDS the Misses Baillie. They were NOT her cousins. Ryan and Christie simply got it wrong. We know this from a statement provided by John Baillie Knight to the Treasury Solicitor on 18 July 1889 in which he said of Florence:
'She first met the Miss Baillies I think at a pension in Switzerland - and it was through them that I got to know her.'
Baillie Knight said he had made Florence's acquaintance in about 1879 (at the house of HIS aunts, the Misses Baillie) when she was living in London.
So Florence was related to neither Margaret Baillie nor John Baillie Knight. All of Caroline Morris' desperate ramblings about whether a cousin could be referred to as an aunt are as ridiculous as they are falsely premised.
And we may note that Caroline Morris has successfully managed to befuddle and confuse herself when asks:
'So who exactly was Florie's 'Aunt M' [for Margaret], if not the same distant cousin Margaret she stayed with during her week in London, who was also one of John's aunts?'
There was no 'Florie's Aunt M'. She didn't exist! The reference to 'Aunt M' comes from one of John Baillie Knight's letters and, as I made clear in 'Bunny's Aunt', referred to HIS Aunt Margaret Baillie (who was the younger sister of his mother, Elizabeth Mary Knight, née Baillie, as I explained in part 3 of 'Lord Orsam Says...').
The aunt referred to in the diary was not referred to as 'Aunt M', she was referred to as'the sick bitch'. Margaret Baillie wasn't even sick!
Ironically, Caroline Morris has confused herself in exactly the same way that John Addison QC confused himself 131 years ago by thinking that Florence went to London to visit one of her aunts, on the basis of references such as 'Aunt M' in the trial documents, when we know for a fact that this is not the case. Her attempt to try and defend the diary fails on every level.
The sick aunt being referred to in the diary was obviously supposed to be the Countess de Gabriac, who Florence had told Dr Hopper that she was visiting because she had an appointment in London with a surgeon. I already dealt in 'Bunny's Friend' with the question of whether Florence was or was not intending to actually visit the countess.
Another Caroline Morris waste of time.
After I'd written the above, to my astonishment Caroline Morris returned to the subject in #6185, showing just how much the fact that I've established that the 'aunt' reference in the diary disproves its authenticity is bugging her (despite supposedly agreeing with me that the diary is inauthentic!).
I'm going to quote this one in full because it's a beauty:
'If - and I do mean if - Florie referred to Margaret Baillie as "Aunt Margaret", because "Distant Cousin Margaret" would have been too silly for words [and I had at least three "Aunties" who were actually my Mum's cousins], then it would appear that Florie did indeed plan to visit her aunt, and stayed with her between 24th and 28th March, following her dirty weekend with Alf. She could also have spent some time with her Godmother, who was understood to have gone under the knife - ahem.
If Florie's plans included seeing both these women, the confusion could merely have been over which one she said was in need of some TLC, her aunt or her Godmother.'
It's important to note here that she is assuming that it's an established fact that Margaret Baillie was a distant cousin of Florie's and that the only uncertainty is whether she would thereby have been referred to by her as her 'Aunt Margaret'. As I've proved that Margaret Baillie was not a cousin (or any other form of relative) of Florie's, merely a friend, it's not just a moot point it's a wholly flawed one.
But the real question here is why is she so agitated about me having found the aunt/godmother mistake in the diary? I mean, it's a clear and obvious error which proves the diary is a fake. According to Caroline Morris the diary was proved to be a fake thirty years ago due to the handwriting not being James Maybrick's. I was, therefore, corroborating what she tells us she'd already worked out herself. So why is she going on and on, arguing the point over and over on the basis of false information and making a complete fool of herself at the same time?
Why isn't she saying, 'yes of course the diary author made a mistake about Florence's family relations, it's exactly what I would have expected from someone who wasn't James Maybrick?' Why does she keep maniacally defending the diary? Well I guess that's what diary defenders do. It's a reflex action.
But it would be nice if, in future, she manages to establish the facts first before she lets her fingers run wild on the keyboard with the aim of befuddling and confusing the internet by distorting history.
Perhaps the person who supposedly brings thing I write on this site to the Great Befuddler's attention would kindly bring this information to her attention and then maybe she will find peace in finally accepting that the diary was not written by Maybrick and that I've proved that to be the case.
LORD ORSAM'S PUBLIC SERVICE WORK
Anyone following the amusing thread on the Censorship Forum about John McCarthy involving the Clanger and little Scotty Nelson Esq. (a distinguished gentleman, attorney, and expert on nineteenth century title etiquette) might have missed an inaccurate droplet of information posted by seanr who said in #92 that John McCarthy was 'the humble landlord of a dwelling where two prostitutes were murdered, Mary Kelly (1888) and Kitty Ronan (1909).'
Seanr and others might like to note the evidence given at Kate Roman's inquest by Andrew Stevens, resident of 11 Duval (Dorset) Street, Spitalfields, who stated that he was 'the rateable owner of No. 1 to 6 Miller's Court, Duval Street'. Roman was murdered in room 12 Miller's Court but it should be noted that 12 Miller's Court was the room above 6 Miller's Court and was, therefore, part of number 6. Stevens said:
'On the 24th May 1909, the deceased woman, "Kitty" Roman, came to my office at number 11 Duval Street, and engaged to rent the front room on the top floor (Numbered 12) of No. 6 Miller's Court. She agreed to pay 5s per week for the room furnished, and paid the rent regularly every Friday night'.
So Kitty's landlord was not John McCarthy, it was Andrew Stevens.
This has been a public service broadcast by Lord Orsam.
A TALE OF TWO LEONARDS
Talking of public service broadcasts, here's one for Trevor, a keen visitor to this website, who started a thread on the broken Censorship Forum entitled 'New suspect named in Special Branch Ledgers'.
According to Trevor, an apparently undated entry in a Special Branch register which reads 'P Johnson said to be Jack the Ripper' was generated by 'Police Sergeant Leonard who was a Whitechapel police officer' (#1) although, later, in #29, he confessed that it was 'speculation on my part' (i.e. what the Clanger would describe as as 'a stab in the dark') that Leonard was a Whitechapel police officer, for which he apologised.
What I can add to this is that PS 17R James Leonard was employed from 6 May 1886 to operate outside of London under the supervision of Chief Superintendent Williamson, and his expenses payments through 1886 and 1887 show that he was engaged in 'watching ports'. A Metropolitan Police document from October 1888 (MEPO 5/67) records that he was stationed in Antwerp during that month, and he appears to have been there since May 1886.
As far as I can establish, there was only one other Sergeant Leonard in the Metropolitan Police during the period of the Ripper murders: PS William Leonard, a sergeant within C.I.D. in L Division.
14 November 2020