Orsam Books

Lord Orsam Says...(part 10)

CLANGER GOES COMPLETELY MAD 

In the last 'Lord Orsam Says...' I dedicated a lot of time and space (far more than the subject was worth) to dissecting the barking mad suggestion of the Clanger that 'one off instance' might have meant something like 'an immature instance'.  Foolishly I thought that because I had totally destroyed his argument we wouldn't hear of it again.

Yet, the very day after Orsam Day, we find him posting (in very carefully crafted, yet still ludicrous, fashion) to announce that 'the phrase 'one-off' in a context that would have been familiar to Maybrick [has] been discovered' (#4 of Special Announcement thread).

I can't repeat everything I've said about this but, in short, the Clanger has ignored that 'one off' already existed to mean a single unit in 1888 (just like 'two off' meant three units and 'three off' meant three units etc.). He adds nothing in showing that it also meant a one year (or so) old horse (regardless of whether this was familiar to Maybrick or not).  We are looking for an example of 'one off' to mean unique, special, unrepeatable or singular because that's how it's used in the Diary.  A 'one off instance' is an instance of 'Maybrick' hitting his wife that won't be repeated.

The Clanger hasn't even found an example of 'one off' in the equine world to mean an immature horse or for anyone to think it meant that, let alone anyone using it in a phrase to describe something other than a horse being immature (such as a person or an action).  It's just an age of a horse!   As 'one off instance', meaning anything to do with horses, has never existed in the English language, it isn't even worth considering and is of no interest.

But it seems that the Clanger knows this because after asking (in #16) the pointless and factually inaccurate hypothetical question: 'Why couldn't the term used to describe an immature horse [as to which I interject that it was never a term used to describe an immature horse, just to identify one of a certain age] have developed into a description of an immature person or his actions?' (to which the answer is: Who cares? It didn't, in fact, happen!), the Clanger says:

'what's of most interest to me is that [Lord Orsam] didn't mention the equine usage when 'proving' the diary to be a fake because of the use of the term 'one off'.'   

But I already answered that question in my original article.  In 'One Off Article' I said:

'The combination of words 'one' and 'off' is as old as the English language....So finding 'one off', by itself, in 1888 is meaningless. For it to begin to explain the phrase 'one off instance', there has to be a element of uniqueness or something special in the meaning.'

So it's right there.  For 'one off' to be worthy of consideration to even begin to explain the phrase 'one off instance' it needs to mean something unique or special.  Unlike the Clanger, I'm not a madman.  So I'm not going to be discussing 'one off' when it means nothing more than a one year old (or so) horse.  Unless it means something unique, it is irrelevant.

Can I be any clearer than that? 

The group of Diary Defenders who have latched onto this can try and delude themselves as much as they want that there is any significance in a 'one off filly'. There is not.  It's got nothing to do, either directly or indirectly, with 'one off instance' in the Diary.  And because it has nothing to do with that it had no place in my article.  It does not explain how someone in 1888 could have written the expression 'one off instance'.  That expression did not exist in 1888, thus proving that the Diary is a twentieth century fake.

UNBELIEVABLE

I actually wrote the above section shortly after the Clanger's #13 in the 'Special Announcement' thread.

To my literal disbelief I then checked back onto the Censorship Forum to find that, after poster 'Al Bundy's Eyes' mentioned that, '[Lord Orsam] has already argued his case against the equine use' (#16), the Clanger posted in response (#17):

'I hadn’t realised that [Lord Orsam] had responded to the discovery of the equine usage, but knowing his methods, I think I’ll pass on checking it out. He usually distorts others’ points and launches smokescreens of personal insults to disguise the fact.'

I mean, honestly, what chance have I got?   How does one deal with such a person?

Incredibly, just two posts earlier he had said to another poster ('The Baron'); 'Do you bother to read anything?' 

You couldn't make it up.

And his claim that I 'distort others' points' is no more than projection on his part bearing in mind all the distortions of my own article made by him that I pointed out with evidence in the last 'Lord Orsam Says...'.  I don't even know even one can launch a smokescreen of personal insults in order to disguise the fact of distorting someone else's points, but if he can provide a single example of me doing so, I'll shut this website down forthwith.

We really do have to savour the fact of the Clanger not even wanting to see what I've said in response to his ridiculous equine usage point.  It would be bad enough on its own but, as we've seen, he'd only just claimed that he found it 'of more interest' as to why I hadn't mentioned it in my 'one off article'. If he'd bothered to read my response he'd have managed to work out why it is irrelevant to my 'one off article'.  

But the truth of the matter is that the Clanger isn't the slightest bit interested in his 'coltish' explanation of 'one off instance'.  He knows it's rubbish.  We see in #30 of the 'Special Announcement' thread that he sets the lowest bar possible by claiming that it's not an 'outrageous' suggestion.  Well, of course, it IS outrageous. It's also absurd but he doesn't care.  He's not interested in supporting or undermining the Diary by this argument.  His only interest in undermining ME.

His argument, in short, is that because I didn't mention the coltish meaning of 'one off' in my article I didn't know about it therefore my research was inadequate therefore my conclusions can't be trusted.  It's the same "would you buy a one off from this man?" nonsense that he's been spouting for the past two or three years. 

He's searched long and hard for an example of 'one off' meaning unique in the Victorian period but he can't find one.  So he can't undermine my research that way.  So he's tried all kinds of imaginative ways to do it by proxy.  We've seen his attempt to undermine my 'one off' conclusion by challenging my supposed argument that Joseph McCarthy was Jack the Ripper!  Unfortunately that didn't go too well for him because he failed to realize that he was responding to a parody article.  He's never acknowledged his error so it must be too painful for him to do so.   

But that's exactly the same approach he's trying to take here.  The fundamental flaw of what he's saying is that 'one off', meaning a young horse, is totally irrelevant, not having anything to do with a unique horse.  Being irrelevant it had no place in my article.  I've made clear that the idea that Maybrick could have been writing about something coltish or immature is both outrageous and absurd - I'll go so far as to say insane - and not worth any consideration.  So when the Clanger writes:

'What amazes me is that despite the hours (days) David Orsam must have spent Googling ‘one-off’ he either didn’t spot this equine usage or he chose not to mention it. Either way, his readers weren’t given the full picture. It’s a usage that would almost certainly have been known to Maybrick and which could quite easily have been attached to ‘instance’ to explain away an example of bad behaviour. '

he is talking out of a horse's arse.  

No reasonable person could have expected me to give the time of day to a suggestion which I regard as insane.  I made perfectly clear in the article that I was looking for 'one off' to mean unique so that anything else would be ignored.  If the Clanger wants to invent new meanings for the phrase 'one off instance' which don't mean a unique instance that's really up to him but the idea that I should have been able to anticipate that anyone would be so utterly bonkers as to do this in the future (especially with something which means nothing more than the age of a horse) is simply ridiculous.

THE LIES OF THE CLANGER

In #27 of the Special Announcement thread, the Clanger says:

'David first came to my attention when he described those who post on JTRF as 'muppets'.

That can only be a lie.

Firstly, I didn't describe those who post on JTRF as muppets.  He must know this.

I described only those who claimed in December 2016 that they had found an example of a 'one off' individual mentioned in an 1882 issue of the British Bee Journal as muppets.  The reason I described them as muppets is because they were actually looking at a volume of the British Bee Journal from 1975!! 

The fact that they were posting on JTRF at the time was irrelevant.

Secondly, the post about muppets that he is referring to was made in the 'Incontrovertible' thread six months later, on 8 June 2017 (post #3363), when I said to Herlock Sholmes,'There was a bunch of muppets who posted some absolute nonsense over on JTR Forums in response to my posts on this forum'.  It's worth mentioning that this was in response to Herlock having posted (#3334):

'I've just seen a posting on the forum from 2016 where someone has found and pasted a cutting from the British Bee Journal of 1882 where someone says something like "yes I remember Paddy.  He was a one-off."  I suppose the cutting was a forgery'.

So Herlock (an intelligent poster, and I very much hope he is still with us) had been totally confused by the posting on JTR Forums about the supposed 1882 British Bee Journal's reference to a 'one off'.  My post #3363 was  doing no more than explaining to him what had happened. 

It was almost ONE WHOLE YEAR earlier than this that the Clanger intervened in my discussion with Pierre about the mustard tin (as described in the last 'Lord Orsam Says...') in which he named me as someone who should grow up etc.  That was on 26 July 2016

So it's just untrue for him to say that I first came to his attention when I told Herlock about the muppets who confused a 1975 journal with an 1882 one.  He was being a thuggish (and, we now know, hypocritical) bully towards me long before this.

THROUGH AL BUNDY'S EYES

Al Bundy (if I may call him that) seems like a sensible chap and has made some sensible posts in the Maybrick threads and the 'Special Announcement' thread in particular but nevertheless got a bit too clever for his own boots (if I can mix expressions in such a way) with his remark (in #22):

'would it be entirely unlikely for Lord O to make such a massive, yet likely bullshit statement just to get a reaction from the boards, which he doesn't care about but avidly dissects?'

I hardly need to mention that Lord Orsam doesn't make 'likely bullshit' announcements and has no interest in getting a reaction from the boards. I'll treat that as just a naive and uninformed comment from someone who doesn't know me.  What I do want to respond to are the subsequent wiseguy remarks that, 'for a guy who voluntarily left the boards, he cares a great deal about the boards' and that Lord Orsam 'doesn't care about' the boards but 'avidly dissects' them nevertheless.

Nowhere have I said that I don't care about the boards.  I don't care about posting on the boards and I don't care for the administrator or the current moderator of the Censorship Forum (or their silly rules) but that doesn't mean I don't care about what is said on the boards.

On the contrary, I am mentioned on the boards virtually every day of the week!  They just can't stop talking about me!!  So of course I care what is said (about me).  And I'm also interested in any new information about any subjects in which I have an interest, regardless of where it's posted.

But more than that, I have a legacy of quality postings on the Forum to protect.  I listed those posts in my article 'From Commissioner to Asterisk'.  I will continue to protect that legacy.  I can't do it on the Forum so I do it here. 

There is, in short, no contradiction in me not caring about posting on the boards, or with me having voluntarily resigned from the boards, with what I say here in response to what is said on the boards.  

One other thing with Al Bundy's posts in the Special Announcement thread.  I was highly amused by his comment:

''[Lord Orsam] has argued his case against the equine use. Since he chose to do so in a way that is, I feel, disrespectful, I'm not going to link or such, we have exchanged posts without me feeling the need to refer to you by derogatory names, and I hope to maintain that level of respect.'

It's that 'or such' that made me laugh when he says 'I'm not going to link or such'.  What does he mean by it?  What other options are available? In a normal world, he would presumably want to say that he's not going to link or quote from my article.  But he's not allowed to quote from anything I say due to the utterly ludicrous rules of the Forum!  He can't actually link to the section of 'Lord Orsam Says...' in which I responded to the Clanger on his equine point because it's not physically possible.  The Clanger knows perfectly well where to find 'Lord Orsam Says...' - he doesn't need a link to the article - and he also knows that any response to his equine point can only be within it.

So Al Bundy's statement about not linking or such was unnecessary.  Sure he wanted to make the point that he felt I was being 'disrespectful' to the Clanger by calling him 'the Clanger' (which is his name) but the Clanger has, by his own actions, lost all respect that might have been due to him.  I have literally no respect for that guy due in  to his failure to acknowledge his error with the Joseph McCarthy parody.  Not to mention his complete and cowardly failure even to ask Paul Begg a question about a mistake in his book while making literally hundreds of posts and comments about possible errors in Hallie Rubenhold's book. Not to mention his unnecessary abuse of me on the boards and the vendetta against me which he has admitted to carrying out. Not to mention his constant and ever more ludicrous attempts to undermine my credibility because he doesn't like the fact (for whatever reason) that I've proved the diary to be a modern fake due to the anachronistic use of the expression 'one off instance'.

But I will say fair play to Al Bundy for being one of the few people (it seems) to have PROPERLY read the articles on this site and to have understood that I voluntarily resigned from the Forum of my own free will (about which see 'Doubting Morris' below). 

DOUBTING MORRIS

Almost unnoticed in the Special Announcement thread, Caroline Morris asked Al Bundy's Eyes where he got the idea from that I 'voluntarily left' the boards (#58).

Don't worry, I'm not going over it all again.  I've explained it all in detail about ten times. But it's a shame that her pal, Jonathan Menges, couldn't find the time to respond to her to confirm that my resignation from the Forum was voluntary, as I assume he knows by now from speaking to Ally Ryder.

And, of course, shame on Caroline Morris for not already knowing the answer.  Like I always say:

No Orsam, No Comment! 

CAROLINE MORRIS: FAKEBUSTER

In response to the news of my special announcement, Caroline Morris declares that the handwriting in the Diary shows that it was the 'mistake' which proved the Diary to have been a fake 30 years ago ('Lord Orsam Blog' thread, #334).  Despite claiming not to have any interest in my articles on this site, she nevertheless wonders what I make of this, even though I've already discussed this very point on this site in the past.

Personally, I'm not sure where her sudden expertise in handwriting comes from bearing in mind that we are told that the handwriting of psychopaths or sociopaths can vary.

Where do I get that information?  Well from none other than the book of her 'close friend', Robert Smith, who tells us that:

'Handwriting can change dramatically if the writer is suffering from severe mental stress or from a multiple personality disorder'.

Indeed, Smith tells us that 'the handwriting in the diary is unlikely to be the decisive factor in establishing whether it is ultimately deemed to be authentic or a forgery'.

Given her comments in JTR Forums, and her similar comments on the Censorship Forum where she says, 'I expect his lordship has found that the handwriting doesn't resemble JM's.  Not sure why he's 30 years behind everyone else and still trying to show that the hoaxers made a mistake' (Special Announcement thread, #36), she must be unaware of her close friend's comments on the matter.

That's strange, though, because in the Acknowledgments section of his 2017 book (repeated in the 2019 version) Robert Smith says:

'I would like to express my gratitude to Caroline Brown for her invaluable support and guidance, and for correcting my errors and omissions'.

Caroline Brown is also better known as Caroline Morris!

Either she didn't give her close friend very good guidance or he just ignored it!!!!

This is doubly so bearing in mind that Smith concluded his 2017 book by saying:

'If you have read these four chapters, and consult the Notes thoroughly as you peruse the following manuscript facsimile and transcript, you may agree that the identity of the diarist is most likely to be James Maybrick.'

How odd! Didn't Caroline Morris, when she was giving all her support and guidance to her close friend, mention that he was talking out of his arse?  Or did she tell him that the Diary couldn't possibly have been written by James Maybrick and he ignored her?

I paid £25 for that book.  Was I defrauded on the basis that everyone knew 30 years ago that the handwriting proves the Diary to be a fake which couldn't have been written by James Maybrick?

What a very strange state of affairs. 

CAROLINE MORRIS: EMBARRASSING

You'd think Caroline Morris would want to keep quiet about her insane interpretation of 'one off instance' as possibly being 'a childish instance' , 'an immature instance' or 'a brattish instance' as originally posted on JTR Forums.  Yet I find that she REPEATS IT on the Censorship Forum!  (#40 of 'Special Announcement' thread)

It's unbelievable how Diary Defending can turn the balance of one's mind. 

A 'one off instance' as used in the Diary means a unique or unrepeatable instance.  It's that simple. 

A QUESTION OF CHARACTER

It's kind of odd to read people writing about your character who know nothing of it.  Thus, how queer to read Eribotha writing of me (#37 of the 'Special Announcement' thread):

'His desire to drag this out is somewhat typical of his character'.

I can only categorize this kind of comment as a form of verbal diarrhoea, a sort of desire by someone on an internet forum to say something, however meaningless and uninformed it may be.  I'd certainly love to see him try and explain what it is about my 'character' that makes me desire to drag things out.  If anything, it's the very opposite of my character.

As I explained in the Special Announcement, I only made the discovery of the mistake in the Diary a week before the last Orsam Day.  The articles for that forthcoming Orsam Day had already been finalized and there was too much content already to add another (important) article which stood the risk of being overlooked and lost in the crowd. 

As I mentioned, my preference would actually have been to provide the article to Ripperologist.  I thought seriously about doing this on the Saturday when everything came together and I made the discovery.  I felt straight away that it would make nice little article, worthy of publication.  There would then have been no 'dragging out', no anticipation and no advance notice, it would just have appeared to the world on publication day. I would have been perfectly happy with that (as I was perfectly happy with my previous articles in Ripperologist which contained brand new information not heralded in advance). But then I thought about Jonathan Menges' role in that publication and, it's a shame, but I can't possibly submit an article to someone, either directly or indirectly, who is actively attempting to silence me and will not allow me to be quoted on his Forum.

So that meant that I was either going to have to leave it for perhaps two months until the next Orsam Day or put it out sooner than that in some kind of special update.

What people need to understand is that I don't have a way of going onto the boards to post a link when I have a new article ready.  For that reason, I've been trying to stick to orderly releases (on 'Orsam Days') which are publicized well in advance.  That way, people don't have to keep constantly checking back here on a daily basis in the hope of new articles appearing (and being disappointed when there's nothing to see).

It's actually me being considerate to visitors to ensure that everyone knows in advance when to come back and visit this site. For THAT is my character.

THE THOUGHTS OF THE CLANGER

'I did read the Hutchinson blog. I thought '[Lord Orsam's] conclusion was flawed.' (Lord Orsam Blog, #335) 

He! He!

Of course he did!

There wasn't actually a conclusion to that article!  All I said was 'Food for thought...'

But it's set him off on the usual mental chain of posts.

It turns out that the Clanger didn't like my statement (which I didn't even think would be particularly controversial) that Alfred Wilkins was almost certainly up to no good on the night of 1/2 July 1909. 

Two things seem to strike him as relevant in this regard. The first is that (as I mentioned in the very first sentence of the article) Wilkins was living at 17 Duval Street.  Thus, says Barnett in #336: 'What is almost certain is that Wilkins was standing outside 17 Duval Street directly opposite the court to Miller's Court because that is where he lived'.  But that doesn't explain what he was doing in the street at such a late hour does it?   17 Duval Street was Crossingham's Lodging House which would have had hundreds of residents.  If every resident of the lodging house stood in Duval Street at around midnight every night, it would have been quite crowded.

The Clanger also says that I neglected to mention the fact that Wilkins was in discussion at one point with Charles Watson, another resident of the lodging house, in which, as it happens, they discussed whether Harold Hall might be a police officer (although the Clanger doesn't mention that). But, frankly, I have no idea what he thinks the relevance of that discussion is.  Wilkins was standing in the street before Watson arrived and he remained standing in the street after midnight, once Watson went into the lodging house. So why should I have mentioned Watson?  The only important and relevant question is: what was Wilkins doing?

In fact, it appears that Wilkins remained standing in the street until about 1.45am on Friday, 2 July, at which time he spoke to a detective who had been called to Miller's Court following the discovery of Kitty's dead body at 1.30am (according to his evidence at the trial). That he was in a position to speak to a detective at that time of night (as opposed to being tucked up in bed so that no-one would have known he was a witness) can surely only mean that he had been standing in Duval street for at least two full hours between 11.45pm and 1.45am before the police arrived.

The Clanger also wants to quibble with the number of previous convictions of Alfred Wilkins, even though I made clear in my article that I was relying on his future conviction for robbery with violence in August 1909.  As to his previous convictions, the official record of the proceedings of the Old Bailey says quite clearly and unambiguously that, 'Several previous convictions were proved'

 

I'm in no position to counter that very clear statement and I doubt that the Clanger is either. In attempting to do so, he relies partly on Wilkins' own admission of a single conviction at the earlier trial of Harold Hall but mainly on the after-trial calendar.  My understanding, however, is that convictions for very minor offences (especially those involving non-custodial sentences) were not detailed in the after-trial calendars.  That might explain the discrepancy.  Not that it actually matters because, even if Wilkins had zero prior convictions, we would know that he was a criminal due to his involvement in the 28th August robbery attempt.

As to the single previous conviction detailed in the after-trial calendar, the Clanger pooh-poohs it because it was for stealing lettuce.  But the seriousness of that offence depends on the quantity of lettuce stolen and the method by which it was stolen, about which there is no information. The Clanger suggests in the penultimate paragraph of his #336 that it might have been 'a lettuce' that was stolen and it's strange that he wants to minimize the nature of the crime as much as possible.  The record doesn't say 'stealing a lettuce', it says 'stealing lettuce' for which he was sentenced to 14 days imprisonment. 

The basic theme of the Clanger's argument seems to be that every time someone commits a crime they will be arrested.  I guess he thinks that after the 1906 conviction for theft, Wilkins was a model citizen and just happened to lapse on the night of 28 August 1909 when, for the very first time ever, he attempted to mug a man in the street and steal his watch, and was just unlucky that he, or one of his accomplices, lost his grip on the man they were trying to mug and ended up being arrested.  Nothing more than a temporary aberration by an otherwise upstanding member of the public.

Well to me he looks like a persistent criminal who had, I would suggest, almost certainly robbed people with violence in the street prior to the night of 28 August and was almost certainly prepared to do so again if the chance arose in the early hours of 2 July.  To the extent that the Clanger thinks that a persistent criminal MUST have a long rap sheet, otherwise he's not a persistent criminal, he's making a big mistake.  Not every crime leads to an arrest.  Sometimes they get away with it you know (and sometimes they get away with it a lot!).

Mind you, what the Clanger craftily didn't mention in any of his initial NINE posts on the subject (despite a passing reference to a 1910 calendar), and it had to be dragged out of him in a circuitous way by RJ Palmer, is that Wilkins was convicted AGAIN in July 1910 at the County of London Sessions for 'Stealing two watches, one gold locket and one chain the property of Edward Raven, from his person'  and sentenced to nine months in prison with hard labour.  As far as I'm concerned, however, for the purposes of the comparison with Hutchinson, this doesn't add much to what we already know about Wilkins, namely that he was involved in an attempted street robbery in August 1909. And, equally, any previous convictions add little or nothing to it either.  The important thing is that we know for a fact that he was a street thief!

All that's happened is that the Clanger has used his normal tactic of throwing up a smokescreen by focusing on small, irrelevant and trivial points, saying 'why didn't he mention this?' and 'why didn't he mention that?', in order to divert attention from the bigger picture in pursuit of his own strange personal agenda. 

The Clanger, purporting to be an expert on the methods of criminals, says that 'criminals didn't stand outside their own homes waiting for passing trade'.  That's a pathetic comment.  Wilkins wasn't standing outside his 'own home'.  He was standing outside a lodging house where he temporarily resided.  And he was observant enough to note that after Harold Hall left Miller's Court on the night of 1/2 July he made his way towards Commercial Street, exactly where George Smith was attacked.  

Once the Clanger finally had to admit in #358 that Wilkins was convicted again in 1910 for stealing a watch from someone's person, he then started maniacally posting 'rap sheets' of much older men (aged 53 and 31 compared to Wilkins' age of 24 in 1909) which are longer than that of the younger Wilkins.  But where does he go with that? If he's saying that such men, had they lived in the lodging house at 17 Duval Street, WOULD likely have been engaged in nefarious activities if they were standing in the street at night, then what does that make of his big point that criminals never stand outside 'their own homes'  waiting for passing trade?  If he's so confident in that point, the length of the rap sheets is completely irrelevant isn't it? So why is he posting them? The feeble comment he is reduced to making on one of them (in #360) is 'Did such people never take a day off?'  LOL!  Yeah, so Wilkins was just relaxing in the street at midnight on one of his holidays from criming!

Although the Clanger says that street robbers generally 'hunted in packs' I seriously doubt that they patrolled the streets in packs, making their intentions obvious to any passing constables.  They would surely have spread out and been positioned tactically, ready to pounce on their victims, as if coming out of nowhere.  How do we know that Wilkins didn't have accomplices positioned elsewhere in Duval street on 1/2 July ready to track a potential victim?

In any case, I didn't suggest that Wilkins was standing in the street on 1/2 July to do exactly the same thing as he did on 28 August.  I said that he was almost certainly standing in the street 'for a nefarious purpose of a similar nature'.  That can include intelligence gathering to locate a likely mark. Or just waiting for an opportunity to arise. There's more than one way to skin a cat. It doesn't need to be a violent street robbery. A victim can be befriended before being robbed, pickpocketed or conned in a variety of imaginative different ways. 

Ultimately the flaw of the Clanger's response is that he simply doesn't explain what Alfred Wilkins was doing standing in Duval Street before and after midnight on 1 July 1909.  A man who we happen to know for a fact mugged someone in nearby Commercial Street only a few weeks later!! But we wouldn't actually know that today had the attempted robbery not failed.   We have no idea how many successful robbery attempts Wilkins was involved in prior to the failed one.  And even in the 28 August attempt, two of the men escaped and thus avoided any criminal record for that crime. We thus don't know if both those men were fellow residents of Crossingham's Lodging House or also lived elsewhere in Duval Street.

My point was that the assault on 28 August gives us a  rare and unexpected insight into the type of man Alfred Wilkins was.  The fact that he had either one previous conviction or several (and it really doesn't matter which) merely emphasizes the fact that he was a criminal but we already knew that from his actions on 28 August!

I maintain that the reason he was standing in the street at midnight was almost certainly for a nefarious purpose of a similar nature.  He was up to no good in other words. I don't say absolutely certain.  Of course I don't know for certain, hence the qualification, and perhaps it was his day off from committing crimes that day (lol!), but I note that the Clanger hasn't provided any explanation as to why Wilkins was standing in the street rather than going to his room to bed.  Why didn't he follow Charles Watson into the lodging house?

Does the fact that Wilkins was a known mugger who was almost certainly in Duval Street for nefarious purposes mean that Hutchinson was definitely doing the same?  Of course not.  Hutchinson was walking through the area on his way to Romford for one thing.  But the similarities are very interesting and like I said in my actual conclusion to the article, it's food for thought.  I think that remains the case despite the strenuous but ultimately futile efforts of the Clanger to pretend otherwise.

YEAH BUT NO BUT YEAH

When the Clanger was asked by RJ Palmer in the 'Lord Orsam Blog' thread (#356) if the Alfred Wilkins from Duval Street was also the Albert Wilkins who tried to sell a gold watch in a pub on 30 July 1910 (at which time the Duval Street Wilkins was safely locked up in prison) the Clanger replied in #357:

'Yes, it is'

Then, 16 minutes later, in #358:

'I should have said no, I don't think so'.

Seriously, would you buy a 'one off filly' from this man?

MAJOR MISUNDERSTANDING

I think I've worked out Iconoclast's true identity.

There's a Viz character called Major Misunderstanding and I think it's him.

 

He just gets everything wrong.  Hence he says about me:

'I only suggested he might be Lordshit because  Abe said he'd been disparaging people in private correspondence' ('Special Announcement' thread, #54). 

But Al Bundy did not say that I've been disparaging people in private correspondence (and he has since confirmed this). He never, in fact, mentioned anything about private correspondence.  

Major Misunderstanding strikes again. 

CAROLINE: THE SECRET SQUIRREL

When discussing the once secret Battlecrease evidence, Caroline Morris said (#56 of the 'Special Announcement' thread):

'I kept my promise to say no more about this evidence, which wasn't mine to reveal at that time, despite the provocation and immature 'secret squirrel' taunts, and I didn't breathe a word about Eddie & The Hot Rods or the 9th March double event until long afterwards, when I was free to do so.'

I had to laugh when I read this.  Sure it's true that Caroline Morris didn't REVEAL what the secret evidence was.  But the point that RJ Palmer had made, to which she was responding, was that the Diary Defenders kept bleating on about secret evidence which they were refusing to reveal or explain but which was supposed to put an end to the matter of where the Diary came from.  RJ's post, of course, was in response to complaints that I hadn't revealed the mistake I found in the Diary immediately (and that, in this regard, I was ludicrously said to be behaving like Pierre and his/her non-existent secret evidence which was supposed to have solved the Ripper case).

But I happen to know for a fact that Caroline Morris flaunted that secret evidence....because she did it repeatedly to me!  It had nothing whatsoever to do with 'provocation' or secret squirrel taunts.  She used that secret information to get her out of a hole knowing that she could not be contradicted. 

Here is the proof:

Incontrovertible thread, #2042, 9 November 2016

After giving me a couple of feeble reasons as to why Mike and Anne couldn't have jointly written the diary (and obviously realizing those reasons were feeble) Caroline Morris said (underlining added):

'If none of the above changes anything for you, I can only add that I have absolute faith in Keith Skinner's research skills, his objectivity and integrity, and I do know what his Battlecrease provenance is based on (I have been right there from the start of the 'new' investigation, following publication of our Ripper Diary) and completely understand why he finds the evidence so compelling.'

Heaven only knows what Keith Skinner's research skills, or his objectivity and integrity had to do with anything, but we can see that she was relying on the 'Battlecrease provenance' which I knew nothing about at the time (and had said nothing about) to try to persuade me that the Barretts' didn't write the diary.

Caroline Morris and I then had a long discussion about whether Keith Skinner really did find the so-called (but then unknown to me) Battlecrease evidence compelling - his later posts on the Forum revealing that he didn't really find it 'compelling' at all, more 'interesting' - before she was back again to the Battlecrease evidence, this time in response to my theory about how the photograph album was only acquired by Mike Barrett after the failure of the red diary in March 1992 (underlining added):

Incontrovertible thread, #2235, 20 December 2016

'As the Battlecrease evidence isn't compatible with anyone purchasing the photo album (or Victorian guard book) from O&L and transcribing the 'diary' into it after Mike received the tiny 1891 diary, I can't consider the above scenario workable.'

So, once again, she was trying to counter my arguments on the basis of 'the Battlecrease evidence' which supposedly wasn't consistent with what I was saying. In response, knowing nothing about any such evidence, I said (#2237) 

'What 'Battlecrease evidence' Caz?

Please don't tell me this is secret evidence you can't discuss (a la Pierre).'

So we can see that I was making exactly the same point four years ago about the secret Battlecrease evidence that RJ Palmer has been making in the 'Special Announcement' thread, namely that the Diary Defenders were relying on secret evidence which they couldn't talk about in exactly the same way as Pierre was doing and the same way, it was being alleged (falsely of course), that I have been doing. 

Answer came there none, instead we had this:

Incontrovertible thread, #2270, 22 December 2016

'But I guess anything is possible with Mike, isn't it, including the ability from beyond the grave to make people wish away Keith Skinner's as yet unpublished Battlecrease evidence, which turn Mike's 'confessions' to mincemeat. Incidentally, I believe I saw a recent post of yours observing that until the Battlecrease evidence emerges, my claim to its existence and to knowing its nature is baseless (a bit like Mike's claims then).  But as I have repeatedly pointed out, I don't expect you or anyone else to take it at face value. I merely pointed in a certain direction and others financed and carried out the investigation, so it is not for me to spill those particular beans. You can take it or leave it, but you could have asked Keith yourself to confirm its existence and our knowledge of its nature, could you not?'  

Amusing isn't it that the Battlecrease evidence was going to turn Mike's confessions to 'mincemeat'. That post didn't age will did it?

I pointed out in response (#2283) that she had NOT seen a post of mine observing that, until the Battlecrease evidence emerges, her claim to its existence and to knowing its nature is baseless (I really don't know how she even got that idea into her head but it was an early warning for me that she seems to imagine things which she then happily comments on publicly without checking).

I also said to her (#2284):

'If I can take it or leave it then I will leave it. I can't consider, or comment on, things that I know nothing about and are being kept secret (a la Pierre) can I? And, no, I think the questions you suggest would have been (and would still be) inappropriate considering that there appears to be some kind of confidentiality issue around them.'

It didn't stop her and she was back to whispering about the Battlecrease evidence in the new year:

Incontrovertible thread, #2629, 4 January 2017

'So if you could just set to one side, for the sake of argument, your personal conviction that (despite the 'secret' Battlecrease evidence of which you are entirely ignorant) Mike was as guilty as sin...'

It's typical, though, how she now wants to present herself as some kind of martyr, taunted and pressured about the secret information: only ever mentioning it in response to that type of pressure.  The truth is quite the reverse.  She was perfectly happy to rely on the secret information at all times and USE IT in an argument as to why the Barretts couldn't have written the Diary.

I actually had to say to her at the time that I would refuse to debate the subject any further with her if she kept bringing up this secret evidence of which I was unaware.  Hence I posted in #2647:

'Caz

Could I pause for a moment in my replies to ask you to stop referring (even in parenthesis) to the "secret Battlecrease evidence" as if it is of any significance? It's not helpful and you told me a number of posts ago that I could take it or leave it and I responded that I will leave it. As far as I am concerned it doesn't exist – by which I mean that whatever it is, it cannot be regarded at this time as being of any significance nor can it be taken into account in this discussion as a point in favour of the Diary being genuine. Frankly, the fact you keep mentioning it reminds me of Pierre and his secret sources which are supposed to prove who Jack the Ripper was. I don't accept that Pierre has proof of the identity of Jack the Ripper and likewise I don't accept that you have any proof that the diary came out of Battlecrease. I can't accept either until I see the evidence for myself and nor, surely, can anyone else.'

As can be seen again by the reference to Pierre, I was making exactly the same point as was being made in the Special Announcement thread about the Diary Defender use of secret evidence. And, of course, I was right on both counts about the Battlecrease evidence and Pierre's evidence!! Yet the response of Caroline Morris to RJ Palmer was the entirely irrelevant statement that the information wasn't hers to reveal.  Sure, but she didn't half go on about it before anyone knew what it was.

Then, of course, after it turned out to be a damp squib which proved absolutely nothing, she kept trying to change the theory as to what had actually happened on 9 March.  Originally Mike was supposed to have taken  possession of the Diary on that day but over time (after she could see that my theory matched up far better with the facts) he didn't actually have it in his hands when he spoke to Doreen and there were some (weeks?) of negotiation with Eddie before Eddie agreed to sell it to him.  But Diary Defenders have always been very flexible. 

LOCATING A BOOKDEALER ADVERT

Caroline Morris is almost correct to say (#63 of the 'Special Announcement' thread) that Keith Skinner was first to locate the Bookdealer advertisement, except that he didn't exactly locate it, it was sent to him in December 2004 by Martin Earl.

What I did 13 years later was to track down the actual issue of the Bookdealer in which the advertisement appeared, copy the ad, and upload it for everyone to see on the Forum. 

It's amazing how much 'seeing is believing'.  A transcript of the text of the advertisement had already been posted online in a couple of places but I think the effect of actually seeing it for oneself had a great impact on everyone.

What I find interesting in the information Caroline Morris posted in #63 is that the issue containing the advertisement went to press on 12 March 1992.  This confirms my own understanding (as I posted in #10 of the 'Acquiring' thread back in February 2017) that Martin Earl needed to get the advert to Bookdealer by no later than Wednesday, 11 March 1992.  These were the instructions to advertisers at the time:

'Lists to appear once only should be addressed to Bookdealer, PO Box 1082, Winscombe Avon BS24 6BX to arrive first post Wednesday for inclusion in the next week's issue'.

According to the information supplied to Keith Skinner by Martin Earl in 2004:

'Copy would have been received via post or fax between 6th and 12th March'

I have to question the accuracy of this information.  There is no fax number provided in Bookdealer for the supply of lists in their March 1992 issues.  On the contrary, as I have reproduced above, the instructions were that lists had to arrive 'first post Wednesday' [being Wednesday, 11 March 1992, in this case].  There doesn't appear to have been a facility to provide lists by fax at this time.  The only thing advertisers were given was a postal address.  I can't say that certain regular advertisers weren't privately given unpublished fax numbers but it's unclear to me if Martin Earl had checked the exact position as at March 1992 or he was reflecting what the position was in 2004.

If the mention of faxing information is an error, this means that the very latest Martin Earl could have sent out his list was by first class post on Tuesday 10 March 1992 and, boy, that means Mike Barrett must have moved fast after his telephone call with Doreen, if he called Martin Earl after speaking to Doreen, not before.

RED DIARY RAMBLE 

Naturally, Caroline Morris couldn't mention the Bookdealer advertisement in #63 without a defensive ramble about the red diary, including her much repeated claim that 'Martin Earl described in detail the tiny 1891 Victorian diary he had managed to locate for Mike Barrett'.

As we've seen in previous articles, the expression 'in detail' appears to be Caroline Morris' own expression. While we await confirmation of this, it doesn't seem to have come from Martin Earl who, as far as we know, said no more than that he would talk through any items he was providing with his customer.

I guess even that came as a huge surprise to Caroline Morris when she heard it earlier this year, and explains why she is so excited by the point.  Indeed, when we look back at one of her old postings from 25 January 2017, we find her saying this in respect of Mike Barrett's reaction to receiving the red diary (Incontrovertible, #3042):

'Could he not have returned it - unpaid for - because he had specified 1880-1890 and they sent him one for 1891?  What's the point of specifying anything if you have to put up with something else because 'beggars can't be choosers'.

In other words, she completely misunderstood the process. She assumed that, after placing the advertisement in which he asked Martin Earl to obtain for him an 1880-1890 diary, Earl simply sent him an 1891 diary without first speaking to him.  Hence she couldn't understand why Mike didn't simply return it unpaid, saying that this wasn't what he asked for.

It was in response to the above post that I replied to her saying I didn't think it worked like that and that Martin Earl would surely have first spoken to Mike to ask him if he would be happy to receive an 1891 diary despite being outside the scope of his requirements.  I posted the full text of this post in the last update.

It was because I always understood that Martin Earl would have first spoken to Mike Barrett before sending him the 1891 diary that Caroline Morris' 'new' information came as absolutely no surprise to me.  It simply confirmed what I already believed.

But clearly, to Caroline Morris (who must have ignored my reply to her in 2017, as usual), it's come as some kind of blinding revelation.  Wow!  Martin Earl actually spoke to Mike and explained what he was going to send him.  That's amazing!

No, it isn't amazing, it's to be expected, even though Caroline Morris obviously didn't expect it. But it means nothing UNLESS Martin Earl told Mike that the dates were printed on every page, something which there is no reason to think that he would have believed to have been important to Mike, not knowing he wanted the thing to forge the diary of Jack the Ripper! 

CAROLINE AND MARTIN 

The mystery about what Martin Earl is supposed to have told Caroline Morris (via Keith Skinner presumably) about what he told Mike about the 1891 diary before sending it to him on 26 March 1992 just keeps growing.

When she first obliquely revealed, on 7 May 2020, that Martin Earl had been asked about it, this is what she said:

'Mike really should have paid more attention when Martin Earl was talking the item through with him, as he did as a matter of course with all his customers, to get their agreement before purchasing it from his supplier.'

One assumes that she said this based on what Martin Earl had told her and/or Keith Skinner.

In which case, it would seem that Mr Earl said no more than that as a matter of course he talked items through with his customers to get their agreement before purchasing it from his supplier.

That seems easy enough to understand. And it makes sense.

But then Caroline Morris' imagination seems to have run away with her.  She interpreted the phrase 'talking the item through' as him mentioning every small detail so that her interpretation of what Martin Earl would have said was:

“It’s a small diary for the year 1891, Mr Barrett, X by Y inches, with the dates printed on every page. Are you happy for me to go ahead and order it for you?” 

I'm quite sure that's a fictional account of what she thinks Martin Earl must have said based on his claim that he would have talked the item through with Mike. 

But since then, in common with people who have difficulty distinguishing their dreams from reality, she seems to have got it into her head that these were Martin Earl's exact words.

So the next thing we were told, on 12 June, was that:

'Martin Earl only ordered it for Mike after giving him a detailed description and getting confirmation that it met with his requirements.' 

But that's not what she originally claimed Martin Earl had said.

The next thing was that Martin Earl told Mike 'precisely' what he would be receiving. Thus, on 16 June, she wrote:

'Mike knew precisely what he was going to get in the way of blank Victorian paper before it was even sent to him'.

On 21 July, what we were told happened was that 'Martin Earl described in detail the tiny 1891 diary'.

Now, in the latest version of Martin Earl's account, posted on 22 July, we have this (Special Announcement, #87):

'Martin Earl is adamant that Mike knew precisely what had been located as a result of his advert. Martin didn't order anything from a supplier until he'd given a full description to the customer and got a yea or nay. It was his standard business practice.'

Wouldn't it be nice to have Martin Earl's own words provided?  Was he, in fact, 'adamant' that he told Mike'precisely' what he would be getting? Did he use the words 'adamant' and 'precisely' or are these Caroline Morris' own words in interpreting what he said?.  If he said 'precisely' then where did the expression 'detailed description' come from?  Was that Caroline Morris' interpretation?  Because now we are told it was a 'full description'.  And if he actually did say 'precisely', how come it took well over a month from when Caroline Morris first mentioned the Martin Earl information for her to use that word?  But, if he did say it, would that have included the fact that the diary had the date printed on each page?  Might he not have thought that this was the equivalent of each page being blank or unused (which was the wording in the advert)?  And might that not be what he told Mike?

But here's the worst of it.  What she was responding to in her post #87 of the Special Announcement thread was RJ Palmer asking her DIRECTLY to reveal what Martin Earl had said.  Thus he had asked:

'Can you or Keith produce any details of this alleged second conversation between Barrett and Martin Earl regarding the red diary, or am I to conclude that all Keith was really able to ascertain from Earl was his general policy/routine back in the 1980s and 90s?'

But she didn't answer this directly.  She simply repeated what she'd said in the past.  We STILL don't know if RJ should conclude that all Keith was really able to ascertain from Earl was his general policy/routine from 1992 but I assume that, when she says 'It was his standard business practice', that is a confession that YES that is indeed all that Keith has been able to extract from Earl. 

KEEPING UP WITH THE ORSAMS

Caroline Morris laughably tells Kattrup in #126 of the Special Announcement thread that Mike's attempt to acquire a blank Victorian diary, 'has been dealt with' and adds rudely, 'Perhaps you haven't been keeping up with the posts'.

Or perhaps Caroline Morris hasn't been keeping up with the articles on THIS website which make clear that Mike's attempt to acquire a blank or partly blank Victorian diary has neither been dealt with nor explained, other than as part of a plan to create a forged Victorian diary.  Her ever changing reconstructions of what she thinks Martin Earl might have said to Mike Barrett about the diary on the telephone 28 years ago get us nowhere.

She would know that if she was keeping up with the latest articles.

But like we always say.  No Orsam, No Comment! 

CAROLINE'S POSTAGE STAMP

I found it interesting that when Kattrup challenged Caroline Morris' claim to have solved the 1891 diary issue she responded (in #144 of the 'Special Announcement' thread) with:

'So Mike ordered a bleedin' postage stamp dated 1891 in the expectation of using it for Maybrick's diary for 1888-9'.

What's so revealing is that the only way she can make her case, and make Mike look stupid, is to change the essential facts.

Mike did not order a 'postage stamp'.  He didn't even order what he ended up receiving. He agreed to ACCEPT an unused DIARY from 1891 in the absence of one being located by Martin Earl from the desired period of 1880 to 1890 (which is what he had actually ordered).

It would be a bit like me saying that there's no way that Mike bought the crown jewels off of Eddie Lyons in a pub in Anfield. If I ever do that you can take it I've run out sensible things to say.  

So it wasn't a postage stamp, it was a little 1891 diary, and we've always known two key things about the little 1891 diary.  1. It was little.  2. It was from 1891.

A little diary from 1891 would not necessarily have been a problem in itself had it been blank and unused.  Or at least, it wouldn't have been a problem IN THEORY so that until Mike saw it he couldn't really know if the size or the layout would be a problem.

But I thought Caroline Morris was trying to say to Kattrup that there was something new that had recently been discovered, hence that he had missed something because he hadn't been 'keeping up with the posts'.

There hasn't been anything new. 

All we can say is that, if Mike had been told that the dates of 1891 were printed throughout the diary, it's unlikely he would have agreed to accept it had he been planning to use it for a forgery.

But was he told that?  We are in exactly the same position we were in when I started posting on this subject back in 2016.  We simply don't know!   And I suggest he wasn't told this.  I suggest he was told by Earl that he (Earl) had managed to satisfy his primary requirement in that a completely unused diary had been located which, however, wasn't within his date range of 1880 to 1890, so did he still want it?  Sight unseen, and hopeful that he could use it to fake the diary of Jack the Ripper, Mike said yes.  It turned out, when he received it, not to be suitable so he went to a local auction house as plan B.

Not only do I not know what is so difficult to understand about that but Caroline Morris, with all her deployment of dripping sarcasm, hasn't even begun to disprove that this is what happened.

Ultimately, what we do know is that Mike was seeking a Victorian diary with blank pages in early March 1992 and there's only one sensible and obvious reason for him to have been doing so. 

THE BIG EXPENSES FIDDLE

We have a new explanation from Caroline Morris as to why Mike Barrett denied owning a word processor prior to 1992 (#63 of 'Special Announcement' thread):

'I suspect Mike may have told Shirley early on that he had bought the word prosser for the purposes of transcribing the diary, in the hope of getting something back on expenses.'

It's strange, therefore, that I turn to page 68 of Caroline Morris' own book to find the story of Mike Barrett being interviewed by Scotland Yard in October 1993 and this statement ('Inside Story, p.68):

'Crucially, during the three-hour interview Barrett denied to the police that he possessed a word processor.'

Was that part of his expenses fiddle too then? 

Not sure how one gets expenses from a non-existent word processor.  So perhaps Caroline Morris will want a second crack at this one. 

THE DISAPPEARANCE OF PIERRE

Well the big return of Pierre didn't last long.  He/she had his/her fifteen minutes of fame on the boards and then vanished, although like one of those ghastly horror movies we should assume that he/she will come back from the dead at some point.

Mind you, that vanishing act seems to have been assisted by Howard on JTR Forums making the relevant thread private, which is baffling. 

While we wait for the resurrection, there are a few small points I'd like mention.

Firstly, one of Kristina's summaries of her book begins, 'I am a historian'....  I would expect some evidence of her credentials to now be provided.  Has anything been offered up?  It will be recalled that on the Forum she said (as Pierre) 'I'm a scientist' but this became a social scientist, thus: 'I have several exams within the social sciences' and then a historian.  She was, in addition, a sociologist.  'I happen to hold a Master of Sociology. As one degree among others.'   But she had 'a Master of History too'.  It's all very weird and she's the strangest historian I've ever seen, if she is one, which I very much doubt.

Secondly, I was amused to see this bizarre post on her twitter feed:

 

'Pierre had a good time on the forum...but now the book is being written.  It's a completely different thing.'

Well, yes, I suppose she had a good time in the sense that the 'confession' that we were told about on the forum doesn't actually exist and we don't find the killer's name in a mustard tin and the killer never wrote a letter which was published in a newspaper saying in metaphorical language that his next murder would be of Mary Jane Kelly at Miller's Quart, sorry Court As a result, the book may be a bit different to some of those bonkers internet posts.  But, as far as I can see, the theory in the book is still completely bonkers, identifying, as I mentioned in the last 'Lord Orsam Says...', the killer of Mary Jane Kelly as someone who was on a boat to India at the time!

But I will say one thing.  I was somewhat surprised to find that both Kattrup and the Clanger gave some positive feedback about the book, saying that some parts of it were interesting.  This only surprised me because Pierre/Kristina's writing style on the boards was (and is) remarkably robotic and impenetrable to anyone who is not a machine so fair play to her if she managed to churn out some readable pages.  Still a lot of nonsense though! 

Finally, a reminder how Kristina became interested in the case, in her own words, from October 2015:

'I'd heard about the case sometime, don't know when I first did. Love to watch horror movies and serial-killer movies and saw the movie with Michael Cane (sic) too, among all the other movies. Cane is a brilliant actor. Then I just happened to buy Sugdens book. I read through it and became suspicious of something in the book. Followed that as a clue, found some pieces of data known and unknown and think I now have found the killer. Stupid of me! Apart from that I have no interest in the case, it was never anything special I thought, he was just another common serial killer. Well, that assumption was wrong. He is different and that's why they didn't manage to put him away.'

It seems that what she became suspicious of in Sugden's book was the role of Caroline Maxwell.  I assume that subsequent online searches relating to her and her husband, Henry, led her to learning of the existence of Henry Maxwell Reily.  Then, presumably, due to the simple fact that Reily's wife was also called Caroline, and that he was in London during some of the period of the murders (although not all of them, alas) for the purpose of dealing with his wife's divorce petition, and possibly due to the single newspaper report of HMR being on the Chapman envelope, she thought she'd found the killer but just needed one last piece of evidence as proof which, of course, proved elusive but, after posting on the Forum, 'because I wanted to get some relief from the burden of having found who I think is the murderer and knowing how he performed his crimes and why', she went on and published her PDF book anyway, regardless.

SHE DIDN'T THINK IT THROUGH

I don't think I'm being unfair to Caroline Morris to say that she's not the greatest thinker in the world.

Here's a classic example from the Special Announcement thread discussing the forger of the Diary (#85):

'the very last thing I'd have wanted to do, in the early 90s, in the wake of the Hitler diaries, and with zero experience or expertise in the field of literary hoaxes, would have been to write a fake diary of Jack the Scouser, in handwriting that was nothing like the Liverpudlian cotton merchant I was attempting to portray as the Whitechapel Murderer, and then take it to London myself with the ink barely dry. I'd have had to be off my jolly old chump.'

The reason that she gives for this, namely that there has always been disagreement in the Ripper world about everything, doesn't make any sense because that would have ruled out bringing ANY diary of Jack the Ripper to London, not just one about Jack the Scouser with 'ink barely dry', but her real failure of logical thinking is to fail to realise that history tells us that bringing such a fake diary to London was, in fact, the very FIRST thing she should have done!!!

Because we know as a matter of fact that Doreen Montgomery, Shirley Harrison, Paul Feldman and Caroline Morris' close friend, Robert Smith, were all fooled by this diary of Jack the Scouser and, between them, they managed to shift a decent number of books which made tens of thousands of pounds!   That the ink was 'barely dry' was confirmed by Dr Baxendale, but, with some impressive mental gymnastics, they were happily all able to completely ignore that unfortunate finding. That the handwriting was not in the normal handwriting of James Maybrick didn't seem to concern them at all.

Once again, she didn't think it through, did she ladies and gentlemen? 

DIZZY MISS LIZZY REDUX

And she's back with a new (old) explanation as to why Mike bought the 1891 diary. In #87 of the Special Announcement thread, she said:

'It does make some sense to me that Mike might have wanted to know how easy it would have been - and how much it would have cost - for someone to hoodwink him, by obtaining a genuinely old diary from the right period [1889 being the only date in the Maybrick diary] with enough blank pages for the purpose. He simply wouldn't have known what he was letting himself in for, if he'd seen this "old book" and wondered if it was worth anything at all.'

It might make 'some sense' to her but it makes no sense to me.  Buying a small red unused 1891 diary from Martin Earl to see how easy it would have been for someone else in the past to have acquired a large black photograph album supposedly from 1888/89 which Eddie had supposedly shown him???  Really? Was Martin Earl, in Mike's mind, the only person in the country who could obtain a such an item then? Are we supposed to think that Mike then believed that it was impossible for Eddie, or some other forger, to have obtained a large Victorian looking diary because the only one he had been able to find, via Martin Earl, was a small one from 1891? 

Even worse, Caroline Morris tells us that Eddie did this because: 'Did you expect him to fork out a six-figure sum on the word of some bloke down the pub, who said it looked old and nobody else knew it existed?'

So, am I getting this right, on the basis that Martin Earl could only locate a small 1891 diary for him, Mike was then prepared to pay 'a six-figure sum'?  Just on the basis that getting hold of a similar photograph album or scrapbook (which Mike didn't even ask for!) wasn't easy?  Was that really the extent of Mike's investigation before paying out this six figure sum?

And where did Mike get the money from?

What happened to the diary changing hands for £25?  Wasn't that the whole point of Mike getting some form of valuation?  Or have we forgotten that one now? 

THE USEFUL IDIOT ACTIVATED

Iconoclast seems to be enjoying his role as useful idiot, and his bromance with Keith Skinner is clearly paying dividends.  He's been given at least three out ten pages of what Mike Barrett initially claimed were the first ten pages of the Diary transcribed by him - something I've been wanting to see for ages - and he's posted it on the Censorship forum in #5631 of the 'Incontrovertible' thread (without explaining why we aren't seeing all ten pages).

Iconoclast, incidentally, claims that the pages he's been given are 'an actual example of what Bongo claimed were the first ten pages of the DAiry'  which thus contradicts 'Inside Story', in which the authors tell us that, when Mike gave them to Keith Skinner in March 2002,'he said he had transcribed some of the missing pages from the Diary' (p. 271).  No mention is made by the authors of them supposedly being the actual missing pages from the Diary.  What must be obvious is that Mike created them himself so that they represent his own actual attempts at forging a Victorian diary.

Apparently, it's supposed to be self-evident from the images that Mike couldn't have forged the Diary, but I'm afraid I'm not seeing it.

I think we all know that Mike didn't hold the pen when the Diary was created.  He says so himself in his affidavit.  He claims to have dictated the words to his  intelligent wife who wrote them down.  His dreadful spelling mistakes would, therefore, have been corrected and his grammar improved, not to mention that the handwriting and layout would be totally different.  Furthermore, Anne would no doubt have acted as an editor making sure that everything sounded right.

The images posted by Iconoclast aren't totally clear but, once we eliminate the spelling mistakes, this is basically what we are left with regarding the first image (and, in my role as unofficial editor, I've omitted any illegible portions):

'Pain is what they must suffer. Shall I kill them slowly, with some doses of my medicine?  No, oh god, no, I would be caught far too early.  Damn it, the whore. Shall I down her?  No, I want her to live to see what pain she puts me through.  My mind is made up. I shall plan the most hideous campaign one could imagine. Never would they suspect how I shall come for my revenge.  ‘Tis love which leads me so, is it not, that I shall tell myself…' 

That's not a million miles away from what we find in the Diary itself.

Then, in the second page (#5659):

'I promised myself to take a stroll this evening, the cricket weather is too good to miss.  May is such a pleasant month.  May.  Maybrick.  It seems only just to give myself a name on this day in this month. The beginning.  The beginning of what? I ask myself. Time will tell.  All the more reason why I shall give my thoughts, in fact. June is 4 days away.  Blooms shall come forth, so shall I.  Indeed I shall.  Oh god, a thought just struck me.' 

Then in the third page (#5660 - I've changed 'play' to 'lead' as an editor would and assumed the word 'gallivanting' has been written, but it's probably something else like 'flauntings'):

'A clever fellow no matter what they may think.  MAY again, it's a joke. Does that half-wit not see? I shall lead them a merry dance.  My god, why do I write when my mind is a fog? I shall never know. I know why I write in a clear mind.  My god I do.  Is it not to keep a record of the Bitch's gallivanting?  I am sure she is unfaithful to me.  One day I shall follow them.  But not today.  My mind is clear.  Bobo sang for me this evening.  It gave me so much pleasure.'

Again, nothing, as far as I can see, looks out of place compared with the Diary text.

And that's a bit strange because the authors of 'Inside Story' refer to these pages (at page 271 of their book) and say:

'The content, in truth, bore no resemblance to that of the Diary.  We do not dwell on the subject.'

So far, that comment is not supported by what we've seen in the three pages that have been revealed.

Now, are we going to see the remaining seven pages?  We don't even need the images, just a transcript, with all the spelling corrected so that we can see if there is any similarity between what Mike came up with on his own and what we find in the Diary. 

If they are not going to reveal all ten pages, one has to ask why not? What would they be trying to hide? 

MR MEMORY MAN STRIKES AGAIN

'I seem to recall' says Iconoclast confidently in #5633 of the 'Incontrovertible' thread, 'that Lord Orsam thought it was crass stupidity on Keith's part to mention the presence of Don Rumbelow and Stewart Evans in the audience and therefore put Bongo on guard about telling the truth of how and his ex-wife forged the Diary - which was the reason the C&D organisers invited Bongo to come down to London at their expense and Bongo was more than willing to do'.

Alas, Mr Memory Man has failed again.  Just about everything he's written there is totally wrong.

I never said anything about Don Rumbelow.  He wasn't mentioned by Keith Skinner so he wasn't mentioned by me either. Nor did I say anything about Keith mentioning anyone being in the audience.

What Keith, speaking of the Anne's cheque book, actually said was: 

'And I've given this to Stewart because Stewart Evans keeps this as a closely guarded secret, he used to be a policeman for 23 years'.

In response, a serious sounding Mike said:

'I'm not going to get nicked tonight am I by any chance?'

Keith replied, 'No, no, no.  So I've given it to Stewart because -'

Mike then intervened to repeat the question:

'Hang on a minute, am I going to get nicked tonight?'

Once again he sounded serious. Keith had to repeat that he wasn't going to be arrested.  

A few moments later, Mike said:

'Now if you want to arrest me you can arrest me but the whole point is I never wrote the diary of of Jack the Ripper...Anne wrote it.  It's in her handwriting.'

Having recounted this in my 'Man in a Pub' article I didn't say that this put Mike on guard about telling the truth about how he and Anne forged the diary.  What I said was that if Mike had brought with him to London the receipt for the photograph album purchased from Outhwaite & Litherland, he might have been understandably reluctant to produce it in case the production of this piece of evidence resulted in him being arrested. That's not just my theory.  It's what Mike said himself when he was asked about his failure to produce the receipt later in the evening:

'I don't want to get locked up for fraud.  Full stop.'

Like I said in my article, I don't know if that was true but it certainly struck me as a reasonable position to have adopted from someone in Mike's position. 

I didn't use the expression 'crass stupidity' to describe what Iconoclast's new boyfriend did but I certainly said it was 'astonishingly daft' so I suppose Iconoclast has nearly got one thing right.

But is he physically incapable of checking ANYTHING to refresh his useless memory?  I had this problem time and time again with him on the Forum when I was posting in the 'Incontrovertible' thread.  He would say something inaccurate (that could easily have been checked) and I would have to correct him.  He would plead laziness or some such failure of competence.

But now that I'm not a member of the Forum, and thus unable to correct him directly, it would be nice if he could try and be accurate if he's going to be talking about me in public and representing something I'm supposed to have said, or written. It's not asking too much is it?

Mind you, he's not allowed to quote me is he?  So perhaps he has to deliberately misrepresent what I say in order to keep the Chief Censor happy. 

COGNITIVE TEST FOR ICONOCLAST

Could I respectfully ask Iconoclast to repeat these five words from memory:

Person. Woman. Man. Camera. TV.

We need to check if he is cognitive decline.

For in #99 of the 'Special Announcement' thread he lists seven things he describes as 'utterly implausible events' which, he says, are 'true regardless of whether Maybrick was Jack or not'.

One of those supposedly utterly implausible events is that, 'The CSG contains cryptic references to not only James but also to his brothers and errant wife'.  Of course, the CSG contains no such cryptic references.  So that one is NOT true.

As for his other pieces of nonsense, we can immediately eliminate his claim that the Diary 'hasn't been proven to be a hoax in 28 years'.  I proved it to be a hoax in 2016 due to the anachronistic use of the expression 'one off instance' and I've proved it to be a hoax again today, four years later. 

Mind you, my latest discovery is actually the THIRD if not the FOURTH, perhaps even the FIFTH, confirmed and indisputable mistake made by the forger. 

It's amazing how the Diary Defenders simply ignore it but the forger made an embarrassing error with the murder of Mary Jane Kelly in writing of Kelly's breasts, 'Left them on the table with some of the other stuff'. Although that is what was stated in some contemporary newspapers, and in multiple books about the Ripper, it's completely untrue.  Dr Bond's report makes clear that there was 'one breast under the head, the other breast by the right foot'.  How do the Diary Defenders explain it?  Christ alone knows. Something to do with Maybrick having read about the murder in the newspapers and convinced himself into thinking that's what he did.  Utter tosh of course.

Then we have the diarist writing, 'I had the key and with it I did flee', which is obviously based on books suggesting that the killer of Kelly took the key away with him, but we find that Joseph Barnett explained to American journalist Arthur Warren in late 1888 (as published in the Boston Herald of 20 January 1889) that there was no key for the killer to have taken because it had been lost some time earlier.  Thus, Warren wrote:

'More than this, Barnett tells me what the police do not seem to know, that while he lived with the Kelly woman the door key had been lost, and so, as the door closed with a spring lock, it was their habit to go to the window, reach through the broken glass and push back the spring bolt on the door.  This was, indeed, their only mode of entrance. It has been assumed in London that the murderer locked the door and took the key away with him, but this, in the light of what Barnett tells me, was not the case, and he should know. The murderer had merely to close the door after him. It "locked" itself.'

Warren could not have invented this.  He clearly spoke to Joseph Barnett as he recounts in the article and it's entirely consistent with what Abberline testified at the inquest (showing that, contrary to what Warren thought, the police DID know), namely that, 'I am informed by the witness Barnett that the key has been missing for some time and that they opened the door by reaching through the window'.  It conclusively resolves the issue of the so-called locked door and the non-existent key which the killer could not possibly have taken. 

We shouldn't forget that the forger writes of the Kelly murder, consistent with certain books which say that no body parts were missing, 'Regret I did not take any of it away with me' when we know from Dr Bond's report that the heart was absent and must have been taken by the killer (and I'm not letting Trevor Marriott's madness on this issue distract me from the truth). 

Philip Sugden also tells us that no farthings were found at the scene of the Chapman murder, and that this was a pure press invention, despite the forger writing about them, and it's only the fact that Inspector Reid told the McKenzie inquest jury that two farthings WERE found that prevents me from adding this to the list of obvious mistakes (but as Sugden points out, Reid was on leave at the time of the Chapman murder and couldn't have been speaking from first hand knowledge of the crime scene).

So what else do we have in Iconoclast's list?

He's still trying to sell his "JAmes MaybriCK' nonsense.  That, of course, is what James Maybrick's parents named him some fifty years before the Jack the Ripper murders. 

Frankly, I'm surprised he hasn't identified RIchard HoPPER as his accomplice.

That's RIPPER for anyone who hasn't worked it out. 

Then we have the claim that 'he scratched a confession into the back of a watch'.  But to say that is 'true' is to beg the very question that we are trying to answer.  Perhaps it's a forgery.

Then he says 'Ripper related rhymes work for Maynrick'.  Even if we assume that he intended to refer 'Maybrick' I have no idea what that even means. It's hardly something that is 'true'.

Then he says 'Ripper-related letters with strange phrases fit conveniently into a Maybrick matrix'.  This is just more nonsense of the type we would expect to get from someone utterly bonkers like Pierre.

Then, finally, 'The Diego Laurenz postcard to a newspaper points directly towards 'James' and 'Florence'.  Again, that is not true.  It doesn't even point directly towards a James, let alone to a Florence. To say that Diego means James and Laurence means Florence is  just an interpretation, and not a very good one at that. The fact that someone sent a Ripper letter to a Liverpool newspaper signed 'Diego Laurenz' can in no way be described as an 'implausible event'.

Although Iconoclast knows full well that I've dealt at length with all his points in 'Pillar of Sand', he pretends that the 'favourite trick' of the 'Hoax Mob' is to 'take one long item from a long list, diss that, and then move on, conveniently ignoring the weight of the rest'.  But having responded to ALL his points from 'Society's Pillar' in my article I can safely say that there is no 'weight' in any of them, either individually or collectively.

Perhaps one day when Iconoclast actually gets round to responding to 'Pillar of Sand' rather than trying to ignore it and pretending it doesn't exist he may finally realize the uncomfortable truth (as PROVED once again by the latest mistake to be discovered) that his online life for the last ten or twenty years has been a complete waste of time. 

Mind you, he didn't include the 'FM' initials in his list - despite those normally being his number one mad thing in favour of the diary - so perhaps his new friend, Keith, has informed him that I'm right, and that those initials aren't on the best copy of the photograph in existence, so that he already knows he's been wasting his time.

THE SILENCE OF THE LAMB

It's real strange, isn't it, that Caroline Morris says nothing about any of Iconoclast's nonsense involving hidden names in the CSG, remaining completely silent about it, yet if anyone even hints that Mike Barrett might have been behind the forging of the Diary she is at their throats almost before they've even finished the post.  

FORGING A VICTORIAN DIARY

A number of comments have been made in the Special Announcement thread about the forging of the Maybrick Diary ranging from the nonsensical to the even more nonsensical.

First out of the blocks we had Tanta07 saying (#91):

'What continues to intrigue me about the diary is that time after time it places the Liverpool cotton merchant in London when the real Maybrick really was in London'.

This person will surely be intrigued no longer once they learn that the diary doesn't actually place Maybrick in London at ANY time that the real Maybrick was known to be in London.

There is, for sure, not a single bit of evidence that the real Maybrick was in London on any of the days that the murders were committed (which is mainly when the Diary places Maybrick in London).  In fact, there is no record of ANY known date that the real Maybrick was in London during 1888.

It was a very well known fact (mentioned at Florence's trial and repeated in all the books) that Maybrick came to London over the weekend of 13/14 April 1889 to be medically examined by Dr Fuller and then returned to London a week later for a second examination but while the Diary does refer to Dr Fuller's first examination ('Fuller believes there is very little the matter with me') it doesn't actually say that this happened in London.  The second examination is not mentioned at all.

In other words, there is only a single day in the entire Diary when Maybrick can be said by implication to be in London which can be matched to the real Maybrick being in London.  And that's in 1889, not 1888.

Not so intriguing really!

Then we had Iconoclast in #92:

'I often think that it is a terrible shame (for me) that Martin Fido's 1987 publisher used the Punch cartoon from September 1888 on the back of what became a fairly seminal text on Jack as - if they hadn't - it would have been interesting to see how its presence in the scrapbook would be explained.'

It's painful to read such nonsense.   The Punch cartoon (with its caption) was reproduced in Robin Odell's 1965 book, 'Jack the Ripper in Fact and Fiction'.  Barrett identified Robin Odell's book as a source for the fake Diary in his 1999 appearance at the Cloak and Dagger club meeting. 

Naturally, Caroline Morris joins in the party, saying (#100):

'I don't think [and again, I'm happy to be corrected] Bernard Ryan mentions...the fact that James had a mistress'.

If she's happy to be corrected I shall happily correct her.

Page 28 of Ryan: 'Florence Maybrick had learned of her husband's mistress.  She learned that he was the father of three children born out of wedlock before his marriage, and that he had sired two more children by the same woman since he and Florence had been married'.

Page 32 of Ryan: 'Florence was aware that the world would censure her husband very lightly, if at all, for maintaining a mistress.' 

In addition, during the trial, Michael Maybrick admitted in his evidence that 'there were complaints on both sides' and said that he knew that 'the name of a woman has been introduced into the case' . The admission that there were 'complaints on both sides' is quoted by Ryan who specifically draws the reader's attention to it by saying, 'The last two questions and answers sank into the spectators.  If there were complaints on both sides...' (p.125) and then says,'Much larger was the question of complaints on both sides.  It stood to reason that an adulteress need not murder an adulterer in order to gain her freedom.  Obviously if another woman was involved, Mrs Maybrick could have obtained a legal divorce' (Ryan, p.125, my underlining).

A forger could also have consulted Morland's 1957 book in which it is stated, 'It is certain that Florence had grounds for complaint about her husband's behaviour in regard to a certain woman...the secret laisser-aller seen as not unusual in the husband..." (Morland, p,21-22) and (citing MacDougall), "There is a woman, who calls herself Mrs Maybrick, and who claims to have been James Maybrick's real wife...her usual and present address is 265 Queen's Road, New Cross, London" (Morland, p.126).

So knowledge of Maybrick's mistress would have been a doddle for any forger.

What about Florence having had a lover prior to November 1888 (when her relationship with Alfred Brieley began) which is another issue raised by Caroline Morris.  Well there's no evidence that she actually did.  There were rumours that she had affairs with both Edwin Maybrick and a London lawyer called Williams (although precisely when such affairs were conducted is not known, to the extent that they actually happened).  If a forger needed to know about these alleged affairs he could have read all about them in Trevor Christie's 1969 book 'Etched in Arsenic'.  But, as there isn't a hint in the Diary of any issues between James and Edwin over Florence, and no hint of Florence having a London lover, it looks rather like the forger didn't know anything about them.

So could someone like Mike Barrett have been under the impression that Florence Maybrick had had an affair with a man other than Brieley?  YES is the answer!!!

The proof of the pudding is in the eating.  Just look at Mike Barrett's own research notes (supposedly dated August 1991 which were given to Shirley Harrison in July or August 1992).   For Mike wrote:

'Florence Maybrick had at least two lovers; one Alfred Brierley is supposed friend of James'

He then notes that this 'Fits in with diary' (and underlines that comment).

Now, where on earth did Mike get this information about Florence having had at least two lovers?  It can't have come from Christie otherwise Mike would have said that she had at least three lovers. It's not mentioned in Ryan or Morland and I'm not aware of any other books which say it. Mike doesn't give a source reference but he makes clear in his notes that he's been checking the Liverpool Echo for 1889, so his knowledge may well have been derived from the opening speech of Mr Addison for the prosecution at Florence's trial (reported in the Liverpool Echo of 31 July 1889) in which it was stated that, on the night of 21 March 1889, after Florence arrived in London, 'at about half-past six a gentlemen whose name never appears again as far as we know anything about him in the case, came and fetched her'.  This was a reference to James Baillie Knight, not a lover of Florence, but Addison's speech did give the strong impression that he was her lover.  Addison's statement was cited in Morland p.111 (although Morland adds, 'This contained implications for untutored minds. No doubt Addison's motives were innocent or well meant, but they were unfortunate. Possibly he did not know the man was John Knight...').

All that aside, though, we may note that Mike writes in his research notes:

'Fact: Florence had an affair with Brierly. Therefore if she had one lover, why not others?'  

This is EXACTLY the same type of thinking that one could easily ascribe to the forger.  Knowing that Florence had one lover in Brierley in late 1888 why couldn't she have had another one in early 1888?  And let's face it, for the narrative of the diary to work, Florence simply HAD to have had another lover or else there wouldn't have been a motive for Maybrick to have started killing prostitutes in London.  There was, in other words, no option for the forger.  It didn't matter if there was evidence of Florence having had a lover or not.  If not, one had to be invented.

If Mike believed in July or August 1992 that Florence either did or could have had a lover during the whole of 1888 then he could easily have had the same belief in March 1992 (as could any potential forger).

In conclusion, I do have to comment that it's really quite extraordinary that, after 28 years, the Diary has this level of mystique in people's minds so that it's believed that it could only have been written by someone with a remarkable knowledge of the life of Maybrick.  As these examples show, that is utter piffle.  

MAJOR MISUNDERSTANDING STRIKES AGAIN

In one of the False Statements made by the Major in his ever more desperate attempts to defend the Diary, this one stands out ('Special Announcement' thread, #175):

'One of Eddie's fellow crew members later went on the record as saying that Eddie had admitted to him that he had found something valuable under the floorboards'.

Needless to say it's completely untrue.

Eddie never said he found anything 'valuable'.

The actual conversation being referred to, in which Eddie, with an apparent sense of urgency, told a colleague that he thought he'd found something important under the floorboards, occurred in July 1992, long after Mike had brought the Diary to London.  

It must be exhausting being a Diary Defender having to constantly deny reality and change the facts to what you would like them to be, not what they actually are (although let's note in fairness that the Major subsequently got it right in #348 when suddenly the notion of Eddie claiming to have found something valuable was abandoned without explanation!). 

MORE ICONOCLAST NONSENSE

In #5694 of the Incontrovertible thread we find this from Iconoclast:

'I implore everyone to bear that in mind every time we read that Mike Barrett 'confessed' to writing the diary. You can't 'confess' to something if you can't also prove it. The absence of proof leaves you with a 'claim' rather than a 'confession'.'

As I mentioned in the last 'Lord Orsam Says...' this is nonsense. It's not for a criminal to prove their confession to a crime.  That's for the investigating authority and, if necessary, the prosecution at a trial.  A confession can be genuine or fake but that doesn't not make it a confession. 

ICONOCLAST TURNS INTO CAROLINE MORRIS

You never see the two of them in the same room together do you?  Makes you think.

In #5694 of the 'Incontrovertible' thread, Iconoclast says:

'It would appear that at 2pm on Saturday, August 1, 2020 the Maybrick diary is finally going to be proven to be a fake, and - honestly - that is fine with me.'

Pausing there.  I already proved the Diary to be a fake some years ago with my research into the origins of 'one off instance' (and the proof can also be found in the forger's mistakes about Kelly's breasts and the missing key) it's just that Iconoclast never managed to come to terms with it.

Anyway, Iconoclast then concludes:

'If it's a fake (and the watch is a fake) then we can all move on....Mike Barrett did not create the text in the Victorian scrapbook and therefore his wife Anne did not transcribe it into the scrapbook, neither in late March to early April 1992 nor any time before it.' 

Remind you of anyone?

My goodness, what is it about these people who can't accept what is plain and obvious?  I wouldn't mind if there was a rational basis to the refusal to accept that Mike and Anne could have jointly created the fake Diary but, as far as I can tell, it all seems to boil down to the fact that Mike was known as 'Bongo' and Iconoclast can't see past that.

A MATTER OF TIMING

You can tell a Diary Defender is getting desperate when they start posting information which contradicts their own case!

Within a few hours of the announcement of the timing of the reveal of the new Diary mistake, Iconoclast posted a short extract of an interview Mike Barrett gave to Roger Wilkes on 21 July 1994 (Incontrovertible thread, #5694). 

In that interview, Mike said (underlining added):

'I know Tony didn't do it. Where the bloody hell did he get it from, I don't know...I know in my own heart of hearts Tony never wrote it'.

Mike was saying he got the diary from Tony Devereux which, considering that Devereux died in August 1991, must mean, if he was telling the truth, that he didn't get it from Eddie Lyons in March 1992.  So, is Iconoclast now repudiating the entire Battlecrease provenance?

But if Mike was lying in this interview, what's the purpose of Iconoclast reproducing it?  I say he was lying.  Iconoclast, I assume, says he was lying.  So what's his point?

To the extent that Iconoclast is saying that there is some significance in Mike telling a different story to the one he told the Liverpool Daily Post on 25 June 1994, let's just look at the timing of the Wilkes interview.

Just three days before that interview, Anne had sent Mike a letter dated 18 July 1994 - so he probably received it on 19 July, or possibly even on 20 July, depending on whether it was sent by first or second class post - in which she informed him that he would shortly be receiving divorce papers. Critically, she also mentioned that the reason she had started divorce proceedings in the first place was because of Mike's story that he had forged the Diary, as published in the Liverpool Daily Post on 25 June.

'As you know I started the divorce proceedings the day the Daily Post printed the story.' 

This is what one finds said about that letter in 'Inside Story', page 104:

'Critics of the Diary, including Melvin Harris, suspected that this letter, which later came into his possession, was actually a clear threat that Anne would pursue divorce proceedings if Barrett persisted with his forgery claim.'

Lo and behold, immediately after receiving the letter, Mike was back to saying he was given the Diary by Tony!!!

Then, as if by magic, ten days later, on 31 July 1994, Anne leaves a message on Doreen's answering machine to explain for the first time that SHE gave the Diary to Tony to give to Mike!!!!  She told a story, which no-one today seems to believe (although Keith Skinner believed it for many years), that the Diary had been in her family since at least the 1950s. 

Even better is that (as we learn from Caroline Morris), Mike then writes to Shirley Harrison two days later, on 2 August 1994, to tell her that, while Anne was the brains behind his published articles, 'she did not however write the Diary' (Special Announcement thread, #308, spelling corrected).   But, at that time, no-one had ever suggested that Anne had written the diary!!!  Martin Fido didn't become suspicious that she might have done so until after she had written a research note on 2 November 1994 and Mike himself didn't make this allegation until 5 November 1994 in a written statement (which was kept private), as repeated in his affidavit of 5 January 1995 (although Shirley implies in her 2003 book at page 293 that he told her privately in around October 1994 that the Diary was in Anne's handwriting, but I think she might be referring, with hindsight, to one of Mike's written statements). It's very interesting that as early as 2 August 1994, Mike wanted to make clear to Shirley that Anne didn't do it. He also repeated what he'd told Wilkes, that the diary had been given to him by Tony, before concluding by saying how much he loved Anne and missed her and his daughter. 

Is it possible that, on 21 July 1994, Mike hoped that Anne would change her mind about the divorce if he repudiated the forgery story when he spoke to Roger Wilkes (and subsequently when he wrote to Shirley) and went along with the original story that he had received the Diary from Tony?

I'll leave it Iconoclast to answer that one. 

AN IDIOT SPEAKS

After making a fool of herself in airing her suspicions that Kattrup has been posting on my behalf, Caroline Morris reveals to yet another member of the boards what an idiot she is.  Thus, in #201 of the Special Announcement she writes:

'Is that how 'The Baron' [who joined our merry throng a few months after his favourite person in the world departed, leaving him bereft] intends to prove it's a fake?'

And then in the following post (#202):

'Might it not have been simpler to wait for The Baron to prove the bloody thing could not possibly have come from the house at any time, presumably because it was Anne Graham who planned and executed the hoax?'

The Baron, however, wasn't intending to prove anything. I was.  Can she really be so dumb as to fail to understand that The Baron was posting about my own forthcoming announcement?  Or is she such an idiot she thinks that I am The Baron?  Either way she is being very stupid.

Then in #286, on 29 July:

'If The Baron has cracked it and will be identifying the diary's handwriting in three days from now'...  

As everyone else knows, I never said that the mistake was going to identify the diary handwriting (nor did The Baron say that I was going to be doing this). Nor was it ever going show any involvement by the Barretts.  But in the Incontrovertible thread, #5695, after being told that the big reveal was going to be at 2pm on 1st August, she posted on 27 July:

'That's an awfully specific date and time for actually proving the diary to be a Barrett fake, isn't it?'

I wouldn't mind if she'd just misunderstood what I had said I was going to be proving but she clearly knew perfectly well what it was going to be because, in response to Abby Normal posting on JTR Forums that, 'apparently he has an announcement he has found another mistake made by the hoaxer in the Diary which shows it a fake' she wrote on 20 July (#334 of the 'Lord Orsam Blog' thread):

'So much effort, just to convince the odd one or two, who believe it could be in JM's hand...'

So she was fully aware that what I was going to be doing was showing the Diary to be a fake, i.e. not written by James Maybrick, and that it didn't affect her own claim that the Diary was a hoax or forgery by someone other than the Barretts.

Somehow, within the space of a week, she either forgot this or she was deliberately attempting to befuddle and confuse the readers of the Forum in her 27 and 29 July postings.  Whichever one it was, it's not a good look.  

HOW TO BEFUDDLE AND CONFUSE (part 94) 

Talking of Caroline Morris beffuddling and confusing the internet, she's been on fine befuddling form this past week.  I'm just trying to count up her befuddling statements. Let's see:

1. She refers to Trevor Marriott's 'completely erroneous assumption that there is 'nothing to show Eddie was 'at the house' at the right time - when his boss confirmed it years ago' (#198, 'Special Announcement' thread).  

I know that's not true because James Johnston told me what Eddie's boss, Colin Rhodes, actually said, and it was no more than that Eddie Lyons and Jim Bowling were 'available to just help out at Battlecrease'.  He didn't know if Eddie had, in fact, worked there on 9 March 1992 and his own records (i.e. the timesheets) showed that he had not! 

She also says that 'Eddie has confirmed it much more recently' but we've never seen any transcript in which Eddie says this and we have no idea if he was led into saying that he was at Battlecrease that day on the basis of false information put to him, or if he even said it!  Given that Colin Rhodes didn't say that Eddie was at the house that day, yet she tells us he did, are we supposed to believe her when she tells us in the same breath that Eddie has said he was there?

2. ' While Brian was reversing the van down the drive at Battlecrease, Eddie emerged - he was working on the ground floor with Graham Rhodes and used his own car for work - and told him he had found a book in the house under the floorboards and thought it could be important' ('Special Announcement' #202).

If Eddie told Brian he had 'found a book in the house under the floorboards' why did Brian once tell James Johnston that Eddie told him 'I've found something important...I think it's important, under the floorboards'?  No mention of a book there.  And why did he tell Robert Smith in a recorded interview in 1997 that Eddie's words were: 'I found something under the floorboards...'?  Why did Brian recount that, when he later that same day in July 1992 told Arthur Rigby what Eddie had said to him, it was that 'Eddie Lyons had told me that he'd found something in the house which was important'? 

More importantly, why doesn't Caroline Morris mention that Brian only sometimes says that Eddie told him he found a book but at other times says he told him that he had found 'something'?

We're not even going to get into why Eddie felt it was so urgent on 17 July 1992, more than three months after Mike had taken the Diary to London, to speak to Brian Rawes about his historic discovery as Brian was about drive off in the firm's van!  Her theory that Eddie had heard that the Diary was going to be published which, she says, makes 'perfect sense', of Eddie running to tell Brian Rawes about his discovery while he was literally driving the van, is preposterous and makes no sense at all.  What was his purpose in telling Brian?  What could he have possibly thought Brian could do about it?   It's bizarre.

3. 'We know that one of the electricians, who was on the Battlecrease job on 9th March 1992, told his brother that he had witnessed some odd behaviour on the part of two of the electricians working with him at the house. In 2015, before the names were made public, the electrician's brother posted this on the Pro-Liverpool message boards: 'He remembers the names Allan Davies and Brian Rawes, they were not the other two who were working at the house. I don't think it is my place to give any names as I don't know what is already in the public domain, all I can say is the initials were E.L. and J.K. whether that ties in with anything you may already know' '(#194 of 'Special Announcement' thread).

This one I do like a lot because it is a classic example of befuddling.

I mean, it's perfectly obvious to anyone with any knowledge of the matter (but not to all innocent readers of the Forum) that 'the electrician's brother' who posted the information on the Pro-Liverpool message board in 2015 is Peter Rigby, Arthur Rigby's brother. She MUST know this, so why is she so coy?

We know that way back in 1993, Arthur Rigby suspected Eddie Lyons of finding the Diary and told Paul Feldman so. The fact, therefore, that Arthur told his brother the same thing and his brother posted that information on an internet forum twelve years later, in 2015, gets us absolutely bloody nowhere as Caroline Morris herself must know. It's just a hearsay repetition of evidence of which we are already aware.  But Caroline Morris is obviously perfectly happy to attempt to befuddle everyone into thinking that we have a new, secret inside source!

The other interesting thing, of course, is that Peter Rigby made no mention of Jim Bowling working at Battlecrease on 9 March 1992 in his 2015 internet post, yet the Chief Diary Defender tells us (#202):

'Eddie had helped out with his mate Jimmy B, back on Monday 9th March, when floorboards on the first floor had to be lifted.' 

And so, by saying that Jimmy Bowling was also working at Battlecrease on 9 March (about which there is no evidence that I've ever seen), she contradicts her own star (hearsay) witness!!! 

4. 'Have you actually read Mike's handwritten work, as posted by Ike, which was supposedly copied faithfully from ten 'missing pages' removed from the diary and kept in a bank vault in case of future need? And have you even read the diary facsimile, in order to make a fair and balanced comparison regarding the spelling?' (#245 of the Special Announcement thread)

Posts like that make me glad I'm not a member of the Forum because I would find it hard not to ask Caroline Morris, against the rules, if she isn't utterly stupid.

What's the point of comparing the spelling of the Diary with Mike Barrett's spelling when no-one (as far as I'm aware) is even attempting to argue that Mike held the pen which wrote the Diary?  If he dictated it to a third party - and one obvious candidate is his wife - the spellings would be the spellings of the person who was holding the pen.  Mike's spellings are irrelevant.

I mean, talk about a classic strawman argument absolutely designed to befuddle.  Constantly banging on about Mike's poor penmanship skills and poor spelling while TOTALLY avoiding the issue of the similarities between Anne's handwriting and the handwriting we find in the Diary.  

5. 'If Lord Orsam and his Siamese twin the Baron can argue with straight faces and twirling moustaches that Anne Graham could have multiple personality disorder, to explain why the diary handwriting looks no more like hers than it does JM's, then I think I'm entitled to argue that Robbie Johnson may have had the gift of 'tuning in' to the deceased' (Special Announcement thread, #270).

This is a really bad one. 

Regular visitors to this site will know that not only have I never argued, with straight face or otherwise, that Anne Graham could have a multiple personality disorder (and, while I can't speak for The Baron, I doubt he's ever done so either), but that I've repeatedly pointed out that Caroline Morris has misunderstood Mike Barrett's argument regarding Anna Koren's multiple personality disorder claim (see 'Man in a Pub' for example).

I've also not said that the 'diary handwriting looks no more like hers that it does JM's'.  On the contrary, I think that the way Anne forms certain characters in her handwriting does look like the diary handwriting.  Caroline Morris certainly knows this so she can only be deliberately attempting to befuddle by misrepresenting my views on this matter.

6. 'Is it a mere coincidence that the same people who have fallen hook line and sinker for Bongo Barrett's nonsense...' (Special Announcement thread, #270).

As the only people mentioned in that post are myself and The Baron (and as she's said similar things about me in the past) I assume she has me in mind when she says this.

I can only clarify that I remain sceptical about everything that Mike Barrett said during his lifetime and have thus not 'fallen hook line and sinker' for anything he said but my belief in him having forged the Diary is not founded on anything he said.  Rather it is founded on the fact of his having attempted to obtain a Victorian diary with blank pages for which, SIXTEEN YEARS after this was discovered by Keith Skinner, no sensible explanation for him doing so has ever been forthcoming despite Caroline Morris seemingly coming up with a new and increasingly crazy 'explanation' every week since 2016 when I first asked her for one. 

7. 'In that same sworn affidavit...Mike claimed he had wanted to expose the diary as a fraud as early as December 1993. He failed miserably to achieve this six months later in June 1994, so then came the affidavit seven months later in January 1995....I wonder what was happening in December 1993, that made Mike want to expose his own hoaxed diary as a fraud?' (#275 of the 'Special Announcement' thread).

I mean, seriously, Caroline Morris is pretending not to understand what a typo is? Or an error of dating?  Can she really be that dense?  Or is she befuddling?

As I've already posted on this site, the date of 'December 1993' was corrected to '1994'  on an original copy of the affidavit, but here it is again:

 

The corrected sentence should therefore read, 'Since 1994 I have been trying...to expose the fraud'.

Does Caroline Morris truly not understand this? After all, there are mistakes in 'Inside Story' aren't there?

DRIP DRIP

Rather than ever being properly announced, more information drips out. We are now told (for the first time as far as I am aware) that (#202 of 'Special Announcement' thread):

'Doreen Montgomery rarely arrived at her office in London until late morning, and often stayed late into the evening, so the end of 'normal business hours' was very flexible as far as she was concerned.'

I've no idea why such information is posted in this way, during the middle of a debate, and is thrown out without the source even being made clear.  We are just supposed to accept it as the word of the Lord.  That's not to say that I don't think it's true, just that it's totally the wrong way to be going about things. Why wasn't it mentioned in 'Inside Story' for example?  Did the authors know about it then?  Or is it something that's only recently been discovered?

DOUBLE STANDARDS EXPOSED

A classic case of double standards is found in a couple of posts by Caroline Morris and Iconoclast respectively in the 'Special Announcement' thread.

'FOR ALL I KNOW' says Caroline Morris (#287), 'PEN COULD HAVE BEEN PUT TO PAPER AT ANY TIME BETWEEN LATE 1889 AND 8TH MARCH 1992'.

In response, having grown himself a small pair of testicles, Iconoclast summoned up the courage to respond (#289):

'or EARLY 1888?' 

Now, if anyone had responded to her by saying 'or BETWEEN 28TH MARCH AND 13TH APRIL 1992?', with its implicit suggestion that the Barretts were involved, we can be certain that Caroline Morris would have responded with a volley of explosive sarcasm.

Yet, there was no response at all to Iconoclast's suggestion that the author of the diary might have been James Maybrick, despite Caroline Morris having elsewhere posted that the different handwriting conclusively rules out that idea.  So why didn't she simply say this to Iconoclast?  Why didn't she even respond to him?

It's a bit late now, with the Diary having been proved to be a fake, but why did we NEVER see any kind of serious argument between Caroline Morris and Iconoclast about the origins of the diary?

SEEING BOTH SIDES

In #320, Iconoclast purports to set out both sides of the debate around the accuracy or otherwise of Mike's affidavit.  It won't surprise anyone to know that he fails to do so fairly.

He puts the first part of the argument reasonably well when he says that, 'if you assume that Barrett got his dates wrong and the processes wrong, then the timeline at least still allows for him (or someone in his 'group') to have written the scrapbook in as little as eleven days in March and April 1992 as he claimed'.   

I would say that his subsequent claim that the entire contents of the Diary could have been transcribed 'in as little as one or two days' is somewhat unrealistic.  I would point out to him that his mentor, Caroline Morris, once disputed that even eleven days would be sufficient bearing in mind that Anne would probably have been working five days a week and would only have had time in the evenings.  But at least we both agree that it was perfectly possible for the text of the Diary have been dictated and written in eleven days.

The point where Iconoclast's summary becomes unfair is when he states that he and other Diary Defenders highlight the fact that Mike's request for a Victorian diary, 'included an impossible date (1890) and that the eventual diary procured was from 1891, extremely small, covered in dates on each diary page, and only having around 3-5 truly blank pages to write in, all of which Barrett knew before he authorised Martin Earl to acquire it for him yet he still chose to go ahead with the purchase.'

Although Iconoclast fairly notes that it is disputed that Barrett did, in fact, know all those details before going ahead with the purchase, he doesn't provide any evidence to support his claim that Mike knew them and, although he refers to Caroline Morris' posts, she has never provided any evidence that Barrett did know all of those specific details, so he's actually misrepresented her postings, let alone the actual evidence.

He suggests that Caroline Morris might be holding back the evidence for a book.  But my point is that she HAS told us what the evidence is, namely that Martin Earl would have 'talked through' the item with Mike before sending it to him, and that what appears to have happened is that she's been constantly changing and improving upon that evidence in her subsequent posts in which she uses (inconsistent) terms like 'full description' and 'detailed description'.

But that's not even the issue I want to highlight.  The issue is that Iconoclast has failed to include my response to his point that Mike's advertisement included the year 1890.  As he surely must know, my response to this is that Mike was after a blank diary from the correct decade (i.e. the 1880s), so that the paper would withstand scientific testing, and that it wasn't about obtaining one from 1888 or 1889 specifically which is why the terms of reference said 1880 to 1890 (i.e. the 1880s!!!).

Iconoclast surely can't have forgotten all the images of ACTUAL Victorian diaries that I posted on the Forum and then posted again in Pillar of Sand can he?  None of those had dates printed on the pages.  All Mike needed to do was to acquire a partly used diary like any one of those and he had got what he needed.

 

 

 

It is either incompetent or devious for Iconoclast to purport to set out both sides of the debate while omitting this crucial part of it. 

It's not like he's unaware.  Back on 19 September 2016 he asked me 'Do most diaries not have evidence of the year on every major page?  Isn't that kind of the point of a diary? ('Incontrovertible' thread, #1951).  Dusty Miller was the first to reply "No" with an example (#1955).  In #1971 I gave him the further examples I refer to above. 

I would also add that Iconoclast can post pictures of the little 1891 diary as many times as he likes to show how small it is but that simply corroborates what Mike said in his affidavit about why he couldn't use it (i.e. because it was too small!!!).  The whole point is that Mike was buying a diary over the telephone sight unseen.  That means he hadn't seen it before he received it.  So what point is Iconoclast actually trying to make? 

FUNDAMENTALLY INCORRECT

I was amused to see Iconoclast telling Trevor Marriott that he would attempt to demonstrate to him which points in Mike's affidavit have been proved to be false (although that's now been superseded by Eribotha's attempt, discussed below). How I remember Iconoclast posting in the 'Incontrovertible' thread in September 2016 (#1927) that:

'Barrett's confession is incorrect in every respect with fundamentally no redeeming elements (other than possibly getting the purchase system right but the choice of words wrong)".

In response (#1929,) I quoted 10 key passages from Barrett's affidavit and asked him why he said that each one was 'fundamentally incorrect'.

He couldn't do it! 

After some dissembling he came back with his big response, namely that Mike Barrett didn't acquire the 1891 diary until 18 May 1992 (#1937).  He called this an 'Incontrovertible fact' and highlighted the date in blue for me.

He had, of course, been fooled by Shirley Harrison's misrepresentation of the true position and I had to correct him (#1944).

DEMONSTRABLY UNTRUE

After Iconoclast's failed attempt at showing everything in the affidavit to be 'fundamentally incorrect', Caroline Morris popped up on 10 November 2016 to claim that, 'much of what he [Mike] claimed turned out to be demonstrably untrue' ('Incontrovertible' thread, #2046). 

Oh great, I thought, if much of what he wrote turned out to be demonstrably untrue, she'll easily be able to demonstrate that it was untrue. 

Sadly, despite me asking for the demonstration (#2051) she was unable to do it.  

It was at this point, funnily enough, that she started babbling on about the Battlecrease evidence which was going to disprove Mike's affidavit.  That never happened.   

TROUBLE WITH MATHS

Eribotha has a novel approach to mathematics.

Assigning 23 pieces of information in the Diary as either TRUE, UNPROVEN or FALSE (#326 of the 'Special Announcement' thread) this person finds the results to be as follows:

TRUTHS = 6 (26%)

UNPROVEN = 16 (70%)

FALSE = 4 (4%)

From this, Eribotha concludes:

'So UNPROVEN/FALSE scores 74% for me.'

Er....

Another way of putting it is that:

UNPROVEN/TRUE scores 96% !!!!!

I mean, seriously, these people.

And not only did Eribotha not include the acquisition of the little red diary as a TRUTH (which it clearly is) but, because it was inconvenient, left it out of the list entirely - and he did the same for the claim by Mike that he removed all the photographs and quite a few pages from the Diary with a Stanley knife - the one piece of information which is stated to be FALSE, namely 'Personal Injury' cannot be said to be false at all. 

In fact, it is perfectly true that Mike had an injury to his right hand and arm at this time, requiring him to sign documents with his left hand.  

The truth of this fact is confirmed by none other than the authors of 'Inside Story' who tell us that, at the meeting on 18 January 1995 (p.170):

'Barrett is anxious that the damage to his hand, now in traction, is photographed....As he reveals later, the injury was as a result of putting his hand through a glass panel at Anne's house after spending Christmas and New Year alone...'.

Keith Skinner, therefore, saw the 'personal injury' with his own eyes!  So did Shirley Harrison who says in her 2003 book that Mike, 'showed us his arm, badly lacerated and where he had severed an artery 'accidentally' pushing his fist through Anne's front door'

Eirobtha was corrected by Caroline Morris but didn't bat an eyelid at the ONE false point he had found being shown to be true. 

All we've ended up with is an obvious typographical or chronological error of dating in respect of the date of Tony Devereux's death.  There are similar errors in 'Inside Story' too!

But Eribotha says in #330 that he doesn't have 'the foggiest' as to why Mike would have signed an affidavit that was 74% unproven or false.  Well, as we've seen, it's 96% unproven or true but Eribotha obviously doesn't understand the purpose of an affidavit which ITSELF is intended to prove the facts to which it attests.  If all the facts were already 'proven', an affidavit wouldn't be necessary!

Would there be anything unusual in someone signing an affidavit in which 100% of the facts were unproven?  Of course not! 

Eribotha has basically confirmed Trevor Marriott's point in that not a single material fact in Mike's affidavit has been proven to be false.  Some errors of chronology and some typographical errors for sure but nothing material. 

DIFFERENT PLANET

Caroline Morris must seriously be living on a different planet to everyone else.

After Iconcolast drew attention to the fact that I've been mentioning the unsatisfactory nature of the evidence from Martin Earl about what he actually told Mike Barrett, she replied in #327:

'I'm not sure why anyone would be worried about the new evidence concerning Mike's red diary if the Maybrick diary is going to be proved a Barrett production in just two days from now.'

There are two obvious failures with that sentence.

The first is that I made the point about the unsatisfactory nature of the evidence concerning the red diary in my article 'Oh Carolina!' dated 6 June 2020 under the heading 'Making Up Evidence'.  I didn't discover the mistake in the Diary until 11 July, more than a month later, as explained in the Special Announcement.  So as a matter of pure logic, on its face, her statement is nonsensical.

The second is even worse because, as I've explained above, I never said anything about proving the Diary to be 'a Barrett production'.   I'm already satisfied it is a Barrett production from the evidence of the advertisement placed in Bookdealer on behalf of Mike Barrett (although that in no way precludes me from challenging any claims about what Martin Earl is supposed to have said) but, as I stated clearly in the Special Announcement, what I discovered on 11 July is a mistake which proves the diary to be a fake, and thus not written by James Maybrick.

As we've already seen, Caroline Morris understood me to be saying that perfectly well in her JTR Forums post on the subject, so here we see a classic example of her somehow twisting something in her own mind and, apparently, being slowly convinced of the truth of her own twisting.

Her mind, in short, does not work properly.  This is only confirmed to me by her claims that Kattrup has been posting on my behalf and that I am also The Baron.  I reckon people have been placed in straightjackets for less.

NOT MAKING UP EVIDENCE

Caroline Morris tells us in #327 that, as emails sent to her by Martin Earl were sent to multiple recipients, 'it would be rather awkward to explain if I had made anything up, misrepresented his position or over-egged the pudding in relation to Mike's order specifically'.  Oh goodie!  So I really do look forward to reading Martin Earl's own words in which he states that he would have told Mike in March 1992 that:

'It’s a small diary for the year 1891, Mr Barrett, X by Y inches, with the dates printed on every page. Are you happy for me to go ahead and order it for you?' 

For that is what she told us in the 'Problem of Logic' thread, #437.

So, unless we find this expressly stated by Martin Earl in one of his emails, she has either made something up, misrepresented his position or over-egged the pudding, or all three of them at the same time.  But, by all means, let's FINALLY see the truth. 

THE NON-APOLOGY

As I discovered when posting on the Forum, Caroline Morris is psychologically incapable of admitting to, and apologizing for, her own errors, especially those errors in 'Inside Story'.

The latest error to be discovered in her book is the claim that Keith Skinner visited Mike Barrett on 18 January 1995 in order to discuss the affidavit which Mike had sworn 13 days earlier.

We now know that this isn't true and that Keith Skinner doesn't think he had seen that affidavit until January 1997.  Caroline Morris has told us that he wasn't even aware of its existence in January 1995.

So does Caroline Morris graciously accept that an error was made in the book and say: sorry we made a mistake?  Of course not!  Instead we have a disingenuous, bad tempered non-apology in which she writes ('Special Announcement' thread, #331):

'Apologies if Inside Story misled anyone by sticking to the chronology of what we know happened on what date, without always going the extra mile to explain who knew about it and when.'

That's about as unapologetic as one can get because it appears to be sarcastic, like she's saying 'Oh I'm so sorry that we gave a chronologically accurate account of what happened'

What actually occurred is that the authors of Inside Story - and it's a bit bizarre because Keith Skinner was one of those authors - confused themselves into thinking that, because the meeting with Mike on 18 January 1995 occurred thirteen days after Mike's affidavit was sworn, all of the attendees must have known about it and, further, that the meeting was specifically arranged to discuss the contents of the affidavit.

Not only was that a totally false narrative but it has misled EVERYONE into believing that Keith Skinner was aware of Mike's affidavit in January 1995.  The fact that he didn't know anything about it at the time (and didn't know of it until January 1997) is actually quite important for reasons I will explain in the next update.

Talking of which, Caroline Morris also says in #331:

'I have still seen no evidence that Mike, or Alan Gray, or Melvin Harris, or anyone on Melvin's behalf, shared the news of this particular affidavit, or its content, with anyone else until early 1997, when Shirley and Keith first saw copies, courtesy of Mike himself. If anyone has such evidence, I'll be happy to be corrected.'

Well, Shirley Harrison says in her 2003 book that Mike's affidavit was'very soon in general circulation' which looks to me very much like evidence that someone shared it.  Furthermore, in a letter written by Mike to Doreen Montgomery dated circa 28 March 1995, according to 'Inside Story' page 191, 'It was pure anger, he claimed, that drove his allegation, contained in his affidavit of 5 January 1995, that Anne was responsible for the handwriting in the Diary'.  If Mike was saying that to Doreen in March 1995, is that not clear evidence (contained in her own book!!!) that Mike shared the news of this affidavit long before 1997?

In the next update I'll be posting what I believe is some new evidence relating to the circulation of Mike's affidavit which might help answer some important questions.  Sorry for yet another teaser but with so much information being revealed it has to be done in an orderly way.

A PROPER APOLOGY

Via Iconoclast (in #344 of the 'Special Announcement' thread), Keith Skinner shows Caroline Morris how it's done and, in the process, puts her to shame.

Thus, from Keith we have:

''I can clearly see from page 170 how the impression can be easily gleaned that Mike Barrett’s affidavit of January 5th 1995 may have been widely known about by the time of the meeting with Mike on January 18th 1995...But – yes – I agree Inside Story is misleading and it reads like Mike’s detailed account in his affidavit had already been examined in considerable depth'

Okay, he hasn't actually apologized or said sorry but he HAS admitted that the account in the book is misleading, which is sufficient. Why couldn't Caroline Morris have said that in her own post?  

There is still a problem with Keith's clarification though.  For he says (my underlining):

'So although we wrote in Inside story the meeting with Mike was to discuss his sworn statement, none of us had seen it. Indeed I don’t think I had sight of it until the beginning of 1997 (I think) by which time somebody had already posted it on the internet.'

With all due respect to Keith Skinner, he hasn't entirely met the point at issue. For Caroline Morris told RJ Palmer CATEGORICALLY on 23 April 2020 (my underlining):

'You are assuming that Keith knew about Mike's sworn affidavit of January 5th 1995 by August 22nd 1995.  He didn't.....in short, he had no knowledge of it, or the content, back in 1995'.

I do find it quite extraordinary that Caroline Morris was telling us something in such a unqualified way that Keith Skinner himself doesn't seem prepared or able to confirm.

I mean, he's only prepared to say that he doesn't THINK he had sight of the affidavit prior to 1997. He certainly doesn't confirm that he didn't know of its existence before that date. Caroline Morris was telling us that he definitely didn't see OR know about it prior to 1997.  I'm kind of astonished that Keith can't even go as far as to confirm for sure that he didn't see it prior to 1997, bearing in mind Caroline Morris' own certainty, but equally surprised that he's unable to state that he wasn't aware of its existence prior to that time.

It just shows how Caroline Morris' statements need to be checked against the evidence at all times.  She has a habit of saying things which turn out not to be correct. 

If we assume that the truth is that Keith did not know of Mike's affidavit, and did not see it, until January 1997 then the authors of 'Inside Story', for whatever reason, made an unfortunate mistake in the way they told the story.  I can certainly say that I've been misled by this mistake and it confused me as to events in January 1995. 

Don't worry, though, because they've found someone to blame!  And it isn't them!!!  Seth Linder is thrown under the bus, with Iconcolast telling us that 'Inside Story' 'was primarily written by Seth Linder from Skinner and Morris' extensive research' (#344).  Ha ha! That's got to be the joke of the year.  Extensive research by Caroline Morris??? What did that involve?  A pleasant meal with Albert Johnson to 'find out' about the watch? Perhaps a cosy chat with Anne Barrett?  What else did she do?  I can't say I've ever seen any evidence of her extensive research.  In fact, I've always wondered what she did.  I assumed it was a few fact checking and proof reading tasks, which is why she gets so defensive when errors in the book are pointed out.

Talking of her errors, she tells us from her famous Timeline (in #351 of the Special Announcement thread) that:

Wednesday 7th December 1994
AG and MB Divorced.

Well if that's the case, how come Anne wrote to Mike on 1 February 1995 saying:

'The Decree Absolute will be through in a few weeks time and we will be divorced'.

 

Just like she says two posts later, 'We can see how the Chinese Whisper machine works on these boards, on a daily basis'.  Duff information is posted as fact. Funnily enough, in that very post she refers once again to the "old book" in quotation marks even though she appears to be quoting herself, because none of the electricians ever used that expression, as I demonstrated in the last update.

As for the divorce, one can only assume that the Decree Nisi came through on 7 December 1994 and that Caroline Morris has befuddled herself into thinking that this means that Mike and Anne were thereby divorced which, of course, they weren't. 

Anyway, the new information regarding Keith's knowledge (or lack of it) of Mike's affidavit has forced me to look again at the circumstances surrounding the events of January 1995.  I'll be discussing that in a future article in the next update.

A few other things.

Firstly, we clearly can't trust the suggestion in 'Inside Story' (p.168) that Feldman knew of Mike's affidavit at the time he attended the Cloak & Dagger meeting on 7 January 1995.  Presumably the authors have fallen into the same error of slotting that meeting into the chronology and of assuming some sort of connection.  Yet, Iconoclast in one of his posts (#346) states that of Mike's affidavit that,'the Cloak & Dagger club decided to mark it with a meeting two days later'.  There is no evidence that the club decided to 'mark' Barrett's affidavit on 7 January and this kind of reckless posting by Iconoclast only adds to the confusion which he has supposedly been attempting to clear up.   

Secondly, I'm very puzzled by Iconoclast's claim (in #366) that 'Keith also points out that he only became aware of the maroon diary saga on July 5 1995'.  How did Keith become aware of this in July 1995 without knowing what Mike had said about it in his affidavit?  Indeed, looking back at it, it's the fact that it is stated in 'Inside Story', p.237, that Keith Skinner investigated the matter of the red diary in August 1995 which (together with the fact that Keith took a handwriting sample from Anne on 18 January 1995) convinced me that he was aware of Mike's affidavit from an early stage.  How else could he have known about the red diary if not from the affidavit or someone who had seen the affidavit?  This really does need to be explained.

Thirdly, I do need to point out that I drew attention to the error in 'Inside Story' on 6 June 2020 in my article 'Oh Carolina!'.  Why does it take until 30 July 2020 for a response?  Why did it need Kattrup to post a link to my article?  Why aren't Caroline Morris and Keith Skinner  reading my posts about the Maybrick Diary and responding promptly?  Because there are plenty of other questions they can and should be answering.

One of them relates to the dubious claim that, 'Within a matter of days, Barrett's affidavit had come into the hands of Melvin Harris'.  As I said in my article, 'The Inside Story of Post #506', on 6 June 2020: 

There are two problems with this.  Firstly, the authors of Inside Story have confused Mike Barrett's affidavit of 5 January 1995 with his statement (not an affidavit) that he signed on 23 January 1995 relating to the visit to his house by researchers five days earlier.   When the authors of 'Inside Story' refer to'Barrett's affidavit' which had supposedly come into the hands of Melvin Harris, they are actually referring to Mike's signed statement of 23 January, not to his affidavit of 5 January.  But the evidence they provide in support of this claim actually shows that the statement of 23 January had NOT come into the hands of Melvin Harris within a matter of days.

The evidence in question is a letter written by Melvin Harris to Shirley Harrison on 4 February 1995. In that letter, Melvin informed Shirley of the existence of a statement by Mike which repudiated what he told the researchers who visited him on 23 January.  Thus, he said, 'I understand that an enlarged statement about this visit has been made by Barrett.'  However, he also said quite clearly, 'I have not yet seen this statement'.  That being so, it's baffling as to why the authors of 'Inside Story' felt able to say that the document had come into the hands of Melvin Harris at this time. 

Despite this error, Keith still feels able to say in his post via Iconoclast that, as at 15 January 1995, 'my strong suspicion is that word of the affidavit had already been told to Melvin Harris'.  He doesn't, however, explain what that suspicion is based on, not that I can see what Melvin's knowledge of Mike's affidavit has to do with the price of fish (unless we are talking about the sale of red herrings). 

THE BACKSLIDING

After having made a reasonable apology, it wasn't long before the subtle backsliding began.  Via his mouthpiece, Iconcolast, Keith writes (#366):

'I knew nothing about the affidavit but had Barrett not signed a statement for Brough that what he had told him was the truth?'  That was probably the genesis of the confusion resulting in, inadvertently, misleading readers',

Yes, sure, in June 1994 Mike SIGNED a statement but it wasn't a SWORN statement.  What we have in 'Inside Story' at page 170 was that the purpose of the meeting with Mike was:

'to discuss his sworn statement'. 

Don't tell me that the suggestion is that authors of 'Inside Story' were intending to speak of a desire at the 18 January 1995 meeting to discuss Mike's statement from June 1994, not his affidavit of 5 January 1995! 

Well, if there was confusion, it was caused by the authors themselves in their choice of nomenclature.  Here is how Mike's affidavit is referred to in the book over the course of eight pages:

'In a five page affidavit' - page 162

'Barrett's statement' - page 163

'According to Barrett's statement' - page 165

'The affidavit was concluded' - page 167

(quoting Kevin Whay) 'Barrett's statement' - page 167 

'Barrett's affidavit' - page 168

'Barrett's statement' - page 168

'this damaging affidavit' - page 168 

'his sworn affidavit' - page 170

'his sworn statement' - page 170

All of those are references to the 5 January 1995 affidavit.

The authors then refer to 'a further affidavit' on page 179, which, they say, was 'sworn on 23 January 1995', but that was NOT an affidavit and it was NOT sworn. It was a signed statement.

This confusion had important consequences.

As I've already mentioned, on page 180 of the book, the authors claim that, 'Within a matter of days, Barrett's affidavit had come into the hands of Melvin Harris' but they got themselves confused because the letter of Melvin Harris dated 4 February 1995, which is the only document cited in support, was referring to Barrett's statement of 23 January 1995 (which, in any event, he said he had 'not yet seen'), not his affidavit of 5 January 1995.

So the authors just got themselves into a pickle. 

It's a bit difficult to believe that the statement provided to the Liverpool Daily Post in June 1994 was 'the genesis' of the confusion in the book, bearing in mind that the same mistake is made with the Cloak & Dagger meeting on 7 January (page 168 of 'Inside Story') and the conversation of Shirley Harrison with Kevin Whay on 16 January 1995 (see page 167-168 of 'Inside Story' and below under 'The Ignorance of a Diary Defender') where, on both occasions, it is assumed that Mike's affidavit is public knowledge at the time.  Whoever wrote the text of that book seemed to be under the clear impression that everyone knew about the affidavit almost immediately after 5 January and this error wasn't picked up in the fact checking or proof reading stage.

THE IGNORANCE OF A DIARY DEFENDER

After I wrote the above, Caroline Morris not only confessed that her role in the book WAS fact checking and proof reading but, commenting on the mistake in 'Inside Story (#355), said that, 'It is unfortunate, Ike, and I have no excuses'

Oh, but that didn't last long because it later becomes clear that she does have an excuse, having worked out that the error in the book was only a 'minor' error 'compared with the error made by Harris and co in keeping the statement under wraps for so long after it was made' (#364).  I don't know how Melvin Harris 'keeping the statement under wraps' (if he actually did so) can properly be described as an 'error' but let's pass over that because, you see, it was all the fault of Melvin Harris!!!!  If only he hadn't kept the statement under wraps for so long, the authors of 'Inside Story' wouldn't have made that mistake!!  

Except that Melvin had written to Shirley Harris on 4 January 1995 to offer to co-operate with her and, as I demonstrated in the last 'Lord Orsam Says...', she snubbed him! She totally refused the offer of co-operation and declined even to continue to engage with him in any form of dialogue.  Thus, Melvin had no responsibility to tell her (or her team) anything at all. I certainly don't think that Shirley told Melvin anything about her own conversations with Mike Barrett or Kevin Whay in January 1995.  So why did Melvin have to tell her anything?  And even if she thinks he should have done so, why was it an error that he didn't?  That's if he even knew about the affidavit at any time in January 1995, of which there is absolutely no evidence.  Just the suspicions of Caroline Morris.  And I know from personal experience (i.e her belief that Kattrup is posting on my behalf or that I am 'The Baron') that her suspicions are worthless.

But, of course, Caroline Morris has made a mistake and now she needs to find a mistake made by someone else.  So she has to describe Melvin Harris' action as 'an error' by way of exonerating herself.  But she's not finished yet. She has another target in mind.

Spoiler alert: That target is me. 

One could almost give credit for Caroline Morris for finally taking responsibility for her error, and, of course, mistakes will happen, but having responded to Iconoclast, she then awkwardly responded to a post by Kattrup in the same post (#355) so that she could try and attack ME!  Yes, indeed, because SHE made a mistake she now desperately needed to find a mistake made by ME!!!

Spoiler alert: She never found a mistake by me.

In fact, due to her failure to read my articles, causing her own ignorance, she completely messes up the attempt to pin an error on me. 

Kattrup had posted:

'It seems the affidavit being made public quickly is mentioned on several other occasions, [Lord Orsam] mentions a phone call between Whay and Harrison January 16th, by which date the affidavit was known (page 167).' 

In what must be the most disingenuous reply EVER in the history of Maybrick Diary postings (or, if not, the most ill informed reply ever), Caroline Morris wrote:

'I don't know where the date of January 16th came from either, because there is no date mentioned on page 167 of our book for any 'phone call' between Kevin Whay and Shirley.'

That's a ridiculous response. Whether a date is mentioned or not, page 167 of her book DOES refer to a telephone call between Kevin Whay and Shirley on 16 January 1995.  It says:

'In a telephone conversation with Harrison soon after Barrett's affidavit was made public, Whay went further.  'Anyone who tells you they have got a lot number or details for such an album is talking through their hat'.

We know for a fact that this telephone conversation occurred on 16 January 1995!!

How do we know this?

Because on 20 January 2018, in the 'Acquiring a Victorian Diary' thread (#540), Keith Skinner, at my request, kindly posted the full text of a 1995 memorandum from Shirley Harrison to Doreen, Smith and Feldman setting out a conversation she had had with Kevin Whay 'on Monday morning January 16th [1995]'.  In that memo, Shirley stated:

'He [Kevin Whay] said that as far as he knows there have been no enquiries about the purchase of the album in which the diary is written. Between 1990-1991 they held about 300 or more auctions and items such as an old photo album would have been in a job lot marked “miscellaneous items.” There would quite likely be several “Mr Williams” or “Mr Jones” as a lot of people use a pseudonym when buying at auctions. “Anyone who tells you they have got a lot number or details of such an album from us “is talking through their hat.” ' 

As we can see, that quote of 'talking through their hat', which we find was said in the Whay/Harrison conversation referred to on page 167 of 'Inside Story', comes from Shirley's record of her 16 January 1995 telephone conversation.

Inside Story' in other words, was saying that 16 January 1995 was 'soon after Barrett's affidavit was made public' !!!!

Made public means made known to a large number of people.  

So, to put it another way, the claim in 'Inside Story' was that when Shirley spoke to Mike on 16 January 1995, Mike's affidavit was already public knowledge!

THAT is why Kattrup was referring to my article in his post. As he correctly said, it's ANOTHER example of a mistake in 'Inside Story' regarding the affidavit.

For reasons which I'm having difficulty grasping, Caroline Morris continued in her post:

'It seems that someone has got their wires crossed, or not updated their information, posted earlier this year on these boards, because the conversation between Whay and Shirley on 16th January 1995 had nothing to do with Mike's 5th January 1995, and actually demonstrates that Shirley had no idea on the 16th, that Mike's 'unremarkable empty album' [as she had described it in her 1994 paperback] from O&L had now morphed into a highly collectable album, containing 125 pages of WWI photos - and a fingerless compass to boot! At the time, Shirley could only work with what Mike had told Harold Brough in June 1994, which is why Whay told her that Mike's unremarkable empty album would not have been itemised or sold separately by O&L, but in a job lot of miscellaneous items.'

The only person with wires crossed is Caroline Morris.

Due to the still unexplained failure of 'Inside Story' to fully reproduce what Kevin Whay said to Shirley during the telephone conversation on 16 January 1995, it seems that Caroline Morris is either unaware or has forgotten that Whay said in that conversation that, 'Between 1990-1991 they held about 300 or more auctions'.  Why was Mr Whay talking about the period 1990-1991?  Mike didn't say to the Liverpool Daily Post that he bought the photograph album in the period 1990-1991 but he DID say that in his affidavit, which suggests that Shirley Harrison was aware of the affidavit at the time of her telephone call on 16 January.

It's interesting that Keith Skinner seems to contradict Caroline Morris by suggesting that Mike might have told Shirley about the affidavit when she spoke to him on 15 January 1995.  Thus, in #344 of the Special Announcement thread, via Iconoclast, he says:

'Looking at my timeline of events I note there is a telephone conversation between Shirley and Mike on Sunday January 15th 1995 - ten days after the affidavit was sworn....it would be entirely consistent for Mike to have been telephoning people (Shirley, Doreen, Robert, Feldman) to let them know about the affidavit.'

However, Keith then quotes from Shirley's memo of 16 January in which she says that Mike had told her on the previous day that 'diary is 100% genuine' so it doesn't look as if Mike was spilling the beans about his affidavit, or at least it would been very odd for him to have told her that he's sworn an affidavit saying that the diary is a forgery while also, in the same conversation, saying it's 100% genuine.

Further, Shirley said nothing about any affidavit in her 16 January memo, which was sent to Doreen, Smith and Feldman, yet she would surely have done so, if Mike had told her the previous day that he'd sworn one. More than this, she would surely have asked Mike if she could obtain a copy of it. So Keith's speculation that Mike might have mentioned the affidavit on 15 January seems a bit nonsensical and not up to his normal standards of analysis.

So why did Shirley ask Kevin Whay about auctions in the period 1990-1991?  Well, I have a theory about that but it will wait until the next update.

For now, let's return to Caroline Morris' post #355 because I can only think that she has totally confused herself (while, ironically, claiming that I'm the one who is confused!).  For she says:

'The further communication with Kevin Whay, which we refer to on page 167, was indeed a direct result of Shirley reading Mike's 5th January 1995 affidavit for the first time, but this didn't happen until 'soon after Barrett's affidavit was made public'. [See bottom of page 167 and top of page 168 of Inside Story, plus Shirley's 1998 paperback, page 315]'

We didn't have an actual date for when the affidavit reached the public domain [I still don't], but the relevant communication with Kevin Whay all took place between 22nd and 30th January 1997, and shows just how quickly Shirley went into action on finally reading Mike's affidavit.

It's like, WOW!  She's got that completely wrong.  She doesn't seem to know that the 'further communication' referred to on page 167 of her book was on 16 January 1995.  She thinks it was in 1997 because that was when (she thinks) the affidavit was 'made public'.

But that's the WHOLE POINT of the criticism to which Kattrup was referring.  The book has messed up the date of when the affidavit was made public.  The telephone conversation referred to at the foot of page 167 (after the conversation of 30 January 1997) was not a FURTHER communication.  It was an EARLIER communication.  And I've written previously about how this has caused confusion.  It is confusing that the January 1995 conversation with Kevin Whay is referred to in the book, out of sequence, AFTER the January 1997 conversation.

Caroline Morris is clearly not on top of her brief.  She is befuddled and confused.  She needs to ask Keith Skinner for help because she's clearly not understanding. 

Furthermore, she's also confused when she says: Shirley could only work with what Mike had told Harold Brough in June 1994, which is why Whay told her that Mike's unremarkable empty album would not have been itemised or sold separately by O&L, but in a job lot of miscellaneous items.'

As we've seen, Kevin Whay did not refer to an 'unremarkable empty album' in his conversation with Shirley on 16 January 1995.  On the contrary, he referred to 'an old photo album'.  He said nothing about it being empty.  And he knew it was a photograph album.  For that reason, she is speculating when she says that, thinking it was an 'unremarkable empty album', Kevin Whay told her it would have been sold in a job lot of miscellaneous items. She has no basis to say this. 

As far as I can see, Kevin Whay was aware of the contents of Mike's affidavit as at 16 January 1995.  I've already pointed out that he spoke of auctions in the period 1990-1991 which is mentioned only in the affidavit.  But there are two other reasons:

1. He told Shirley that 'There would quite likely be several "Mr Williams" or "Mr Jones" as a lot of  people use a pseudonym when buying at auctions'. Yet Mike had said nothing to Harold Brough in June 1994 about having used the name "Williams" at the O&L auction (because there is nothing about it in the Liverpool Daily Post article). He did, however, say he used that name in his affidavit.

2. As quoted in 'Inside Story' (but they didn't reveal the date), Whay said that, 'Anyone who tells you they have got a lot number of details of such an album from us is talking out of their hat'.  But why would Whay have thought that Mike had a 'lot number'?  Nothing of this nature was mentioned by the Liverpool Daily Post in June 1994.  It's first mentioned in Mike's affidavit when he says it was part of Lot No. 126.

So we have three facts mentioned in Mike's affidavit (and no-where else as far as I'm aware) to which Kevin Whay was responding on 16 January 1995.   It's no wonder that Caroline Morris has confused herself into thinking that the conversation was in 1997, but it wasn't.  She may be confused but she shouldn't be befuddling and confusing the entire internet with her lack of knowledge.  And the internet need not be confused.  The truth is here.  She should be reading the articles on this site to educate herself. 

Instead she's made a complete fool of herself.

No Orsam, No Comment! 

LET'S GRASS HIM UP!

I don't want to get Iconoclast in trouble with the Moderator of the Censorship Forum - of course I don't - but I have a civic responsibility, and it makes me very sad to report that, against the clear rules of that Forum, he quoted me directly from one of my articles in his post #344 of the Special Announcement thread.  It's this bit:

'How could Keith Skinner have attended a meeting n (sic) January 1995 to discuss with Mike Barrett a sworn statement the existence of which he wasn't aware of until two years later.'

The crafty bugger disguised it by not using quotation marks but Mr Menges sir, Mr Menges sir, that is a direct quote from my article (and I do apologize for the dreadful double use of the word 'of' in that sentence for which I, not Iconoclast, must take full responsibility).

But, yes, he has definitely quoted me there. And that's  illegal. 

TOTALLY VERBOTEN!

Oh Iconoclast, you bad bad boy. Especially as one of your posts was deleted when you did it before (and, oh yes, I saw that!).

I hate to do it to you, I really do. I truly didn't want to grass you up.  You should be allowed to quote me as much as you want.  But them's the rules.  I don't make 'em.  I just think that they need to be strictly enforced.

Surely only a permanent banning here can properly satisfy the public's need for justice and to discourage others from committing such a dastardly crime in the future. 

BARRETT'S 1991 AFFIDAVIT

Iconoclast seems to think that Mike swore an affidavit in 1991 simply because he is recorded as having said at the meeting of 18 January 1995 that, 'That's an affidavit...dated four years ago' when he was obviously referring to his 1993 affidavit, showing that Mike was all over the place with dates and chronology, thus no doubt confusing Alan Gray when he prepared his affidavit (as I've been saying for years).

I note that in discussing this subject in #344 of the Special Announcement thread, Iconoclast refers to 'the superficiality of RJ's and Lord O's line of reasoning which is more or less along the lines of a calculated conspiracy'.  I literally have no idea what he is talking about here or what 'calculated conspiracy' he means.  Isn't his new theory of Eddie secretly finding the diary under the floorboards of Battlecrease, stealing it and secretly selling it to Mike a 'calculated conspiracy'?

I also don't know what he means when he refers to a brief extract from a transcript of the meeting on 18 January 1995 as revealing, 'how events to do with people's lives and relationships were driving this story', thus raising it 'above the level of a cosy armchair mystery involving one dimensional characters'.  This is from the guy who tells us the solution to the Jack the Ripper murders can be found in names hidden in the CSG!!! Christ, he's the definition of someone who is trying to solve a'cosy armchair mystery'!

He concludes by saying, 'For those who want a greater understanding of Mike's affidavits, I suggest they listen to Mike Barrett's Radio Merseyside interviews of September/October 1995'.  Not sure if Iconoclast has forgotten but I transcribed every single word of that interview (in two parts) and posted it on the Forum a couple of years ago!  And the irony is that, in that very interview, Mike unashamedly claimed that he signed his 5 January 1995 affidavit without reading it or even knowing what was in it!!! Is that how we are supposed to get 'a greater understanding' of it?!!!

Of course, the interesting thing here is that Bob Azurdia said to Mike in that interview (broadcast on 20 September 1995):

'But is it not the case that on the 5th of January this year you signed a statement, you actually signed a statement in the solicitor's office in Dale Street in Liverpool to the effect that your wife, Anne, had physically written the diaries, you provided information for her to write and the two of you together with Tony Devereux had conspired the whole thing?'.

Bob Azurdia knew about the affidavit in September 1995, and mentioned it on air, yet Keith Skinner didn't know a thing about it until January 1997, apparently! 

A GREATER UNDERSTANDING?

With his 'greater understanding' of this case than ordinary mortals, Iconoclast tells us (#346 of the 'Special Announcement' thread) that when Mike spoke to the Liverpool Daily Post, 'he was unable to explain how he did it or answer basic questions'.

Well this is what the Liverpool Daily Post of  Saturday 25 June 1994 actually said (underlining added):

'But he was unable to explain how he managed to write a book which fooled experts, or answer basic questions about how he found the old paper of the diary or the ink'.

Frankly I'm not surprised he was unable to explain how he managed to write a book which fooled experts because no experts were fooled!  Dr Baxendale had declared it to be a forgery in 1992 and so had the team of experts who prepared the Rendell report in 1993.  Which experts had been fooled?  If none, how could Mike possibly have answered the question.

As for the TWO 'basic questions', we know that Mike answered them very quickly because in the very next issue of the Liverpool Daily Post, on Monday 27 June 1994, we are told that Mike, 'visited premises of auctioneers Outhwaite and Litherland in Fontenoy Street, Liverpool, bought an old photograph album and ripped out the used pages'.  We are then told that, 'he had bought some ink from a shop at the Bluecoat Chambers in Liverpool'.

So the two 'basic' questions WERE answered by Mike.

But my favourite comment of Iconoclast is in response to Mike's 1994 claim that he forged the Diary to pay his mortgage (something that he repeated five years later at the Cloak and Dagger club).   Rather hopefully, Iconoclast says, 'there has never been any evidence that the Barretts were struggling to pay their mortgage'.

One has to ask.  What kind of evidence is Iconoclast looking for here?  Has anyone with the power to obtain relevant documents ever investigated the position?  If not, saying 'there has never been any evidence' is ridiculous and meaningless.  I mean, equally, there's never been any evidence that they could keep up their mortgage payments is there?

It's a really desperate approach by Iconoclast.  And we should note that, according to 'Inside Story' (p. 153), Barrett gave Gray some details of his financial situation, telling him that, in buying 12 Goldie Street, he and his wife had exchanged 'a low housing association rent for a large mortgage (and a deposit of £600)'.  For that reason, it makes perfect sense that Mike, who by 1992 had no apparent source of income, and who appears to have been on benefits, couldn't keep up the mortgage payments for that property.

SMEAR TACTICS

Iconoclast seems to have worked out how to ingratiate himself with his puppet masters.  Smear Melvin Harris!  Thus we have this nasty little swipe in #363:

'We know that Melvin Harris was behind the affy David, using the honest but well-intended but rather witless Alan Gray ('Mr Gullible') to do the grunt work of manipulating Bongo's mind (imagine the challenge!). So - given what dynamite it should have been - why the secrecy and the delay in publishing?

Is it at all possible that Harris - a researcher at heart - went off to check the facts before he dropped his new-found bombshell into the story and realised - Gulp! - not a single ******* word of it was true?

It is hard to imagine what else would have held back the most honourable Committee for Integrity (i.e., Melvin Harris) around the time he was publishing his own book on Jack.'  [Fact Check - Melvin Harris' book on Jack the Ripper, entitled 'The True Face of Jack the Ripper' was published in 1994 - Lord Orsam.]

This follows the lead from Caroline Morris who posted in #357:

'Perhaps we should have used a sledgehammer to drive it home, and emphasised most strongly in Inside Story that Mike's 5th January 1995 affidavit was suppressed by dark forces [hint: Melvin Harris and his foot soldiers] and kept well away from Shirley et al, who didn't get to read it or investigate the content until two years after it was sworn, and only then because Bongo Barrett kindly sent Shirley a copy.'

All that's lacking here is, you know, evidence.  That important thing.

In the first place, we simply do not know when Melvin Harris received a copy of Barrett's affidavit.  Iconoclast seems to be assuming that he would have received it immediately but that's just an assumption which could well be wrong because he wasn't involved in the preparation of it and had no formal links to Alan Gray or Mike Barrett.

In any case, he's obviously forgotten that Melvin wrote to Shirley on 4 January 1995 with an offer for both sides to co-operate and she point blank turned him down!!!  In fact, she said it would be 'inappropriate to pursue our dialogue further at this stage'.  So she was refusing even to speak to him!

Furthermore, it rather looks like Shirley DID obtain a copy of the affidavit almost immediately.  She says in her book that it was 'very soon in general circulation' and I've shown above that she appears to have mentioned three facts to Kevin Whay on 16 January 1995 that can only be found in Mike's affidavit.  If that's the case, why didn't Shirley inform Keith Skinner?

Melvin Harris wasn't 'behind' the affidavit.  From the extract of a recording from 12 December 1994 he appears to have suggested to Alan Gray (with whom he was liaising at the request of the Sunday Times) that Mike swear an affidavit to safeguard him and also to provide to the newspapers.  That doesn't mean that it was the responsibility of Melvin Harris to 'publish' it (where?) even if he was given a copy at the time.  Surely it was for Mike to decide to publish it, if he wanted to, not Melvin Harris.

The notion that Harris went off to check the facts in the affidavit and realised they were false is a complete joke.  Had he been checking the facts, the first place he would have gone to would have been Outhwaite & Litherland but Kevin Whay confirmed to Shirley Harrison on 16 January 1995 that 'as far as he knows there have been no enquiries about the purchase of the album in which the diary is written'.  How could he have made enquiries at O&L with no-one else knowing about them?

What else could he have checked?  The story about the purchase of the ink?  Well Harold Brough had already spoken to the ink shop so that would have been pointless. We know that Melvin had already arranged for tests which detected Chloroacetamide in the diary ink which was entirely consistent with the use of Diamine, the very ink Mike claimed he used in his affidavit.  We know that he and Nick Warren created a test sample of writing with Diamine ink and discussed it with Alec Voller because it looked so similar to the diary ink.  In his public writings, Harris made very clear that he believed that the ink used in the Diary was Diamine thus showing that he always fully believed what Mike said about the ink in the affidavit.

Harris was also very loud in public about Mike's knowledge of the Crashaw quotation from the Sphere book being proof of his knowledge of the forgery, as stated in the affidavit.

What else could he have done? Spoken to Anne Barrett?  Well it must be fairly obvious that he never did because she'd have mentioned it. In fact, by letter to Martin Howells dated 19 June 1995, Melvin made clear that he would only speak to Anne if he was first provided with (a) a full transcript or the tape of Billy Graham's statements about his ancestry and ownership of the diary and (b) a full transcript or tape of Anne Barrett's initial 'confession' of 31 July 1994, neither of which he had then seen, showing that none Shirley's team were providing him with documents. 

What else? Spoken to Tony Devereux's family members?  Again, it must be fairly obvious that he never did because they would have mentioned it when they spoke to the 'Inside Story' team.

So I'd like to know what parts of Mike's affidavit Iconoclast thinks that Melvin Harris could possibly have checked that turned out to be false.  The idea is absurd and it's just an utterly gratuitous attack on his integrity.

But it's fascinating to see that as soon as a mistake in 'Inside Story' is pointed out, we have both Caroline Morris and Iconoclast in tandem desperately and frantically trying to turn it round as an attack on Melvin Harris, although for what purpose I cannot imagine as the guy is long dead.

But, don't worry, as we've seen, Caroline Morris tried to attack me too.  Like we've also seen, that was a complete failure, just like the failure of the attack on the reputation of Melvin Harris.  

SLOWCOACH

A lot of things were posted in the 'Special Announcement' thread in the days leading up to 'Mini Orsam Day' so it's been hard to keep up but I'm struck by the fact that Kattrup drew the attention of Caroline Morris to the mistake I identified in #317, on 29 July, when he said:

'I noticed some time ago [Lord Orsam's] comment to your claim that the affidavit remained unknown for a long time. It would seem that on page 170 of Inside Story a meeting is mentioned during which Keith Skinner and Shirley Harrison discuss it in January 1995.

I don’t have the book at hand but given that he quotes the passage, it seems relevant. Perhaps you could read it and comment?

It’s this page, section “Shock fake (?) news” '

You can see there that he expressly asked Caroline Morris to read my article and comment on it.  He even gave a link to the article so there could be no difficulty in finding it.

Had Caroline Morris done the grown-up thing and read my article, the first thing she would have seen would have been me quoting from her book that 'Barrett had assented to a meeting at his house with Keith Skinner, Shirley Harrison, Sally Evemy...to discuss his sworn statement' to which I then said, 'How could Keith Skinner have attended in January 1995 a meeting to discuss with Mike Barrett a sworn statement the existence of which he wasn't aware of until two years later?'.

As we've seen, Caroline Morris replied to Kattrup by saying rather strangely in #331: 'Apologies if 'Inside Story' misled anyone by sticking to the chronology of what we know happened on that date, without always going the extra mile to explain who knew about it and when'.

I'm still not sure what she meant by that 'extra mile' comment but here's the incredible thing.  When she wrote that, she doesn't appear to have understood the nature of the mistake in Inside Story!!!!

No, I'm serious. 

It seems that she needed Keith Skinner's posts of apology for it to sink it what the error actually was.  Hence, it's not until post #364 on 31 July (and thus after #355, in which that she had said she has 'no excuses', and after #362 in which she had said 'I think the problem was my fault') that she says:

'I just realised that we wrote that Mike assented to the meeting at his house 'to discuss the sworn statement'.'

She only just realised?

WTF?

That's exactly what I had said the problem was in my article to which Kattrup had linked. 

But if she didn't know THAT, what on god's green earth was she offering no excuses for in #355 and accepting that the problem was her fault in #362?  What did she think the problem was in the book, then?

Why didn't she just read my article as she was asked to do by Kattrup?

Is she a child?  

It really just gets worse with her by the day.  

And I'm absolutely confident that she'll just carry on making all same the mistakes on the Forum about the Maybrick Diary which I've pointed out in this article and all those mistakes which I've been pointing out here for the past year or two.  She simply refuses to admit that she might learn something if she were to actually read what I have to say. It's not only childish and ridiculous but leads to the farcical scenes we've seen over the past few days.  

And of course, due to the ludicrous ruling of her friend, Jonathan Menges, no-one is actually allowed to quote me for her to understand what I'm saying.  What good is posting links if she's not clicking on them?  It makes me start to wonder if the rule invented by Menges to prohibit members from quoting me was designed to protect Caroline Morris from having to read and respond to what I'm saying here.

QUESTION DE JOUR

As usual, I, Lord Orsam, have said a lot of things, and I'd certainly like to see the withheld seven pages of Mike's attempt at Diary text, but if there's one thing I would like everyone to focus on, above all else, on this momentous Mini Orsam Day, it's this question:

Who told Keith Skinner about the little red 1891 diary on 5 July 1995?

Perhaps if I repeat it in colour, it won't get missed:

Who told Keith Skinner about the little red 1891 diary on 5 July 1995? 

And again, in a different colour:

Who told Keith Skinner about the little red 1891 diary on 5 July 1995? 

This strikes me as a really, really, important question, now that it's been confirmed that Keith Skinner didn't become aware of Mike's affidavit until January 1997.  If anyone reading this is in a position to ask that question of Keith Skinner on one of the boards and help get to the bottom of this critical matter then please do so. 

 

LORD ORSAM
1 August 2020