1. THE QUESTION THAT NO-ONE CAN ANSWER EXCEPT EVERYONE
These articles just write themselves. On the very day after the last 'Orsam Day', Caroline Morris unbelievably posted this in the 'Lord Orsam Blog' thread on JTR Forums (#127):
'Too bad nobody - diary 'defender' or 'debunker' - has yet been able to answer one very simple question, which could have put the thing to bed years ago: whose handwriting is it in? '
I have to assume that she hadn't read 'A Man in a Pub', or the fifth installment of 'Lord Orsam Says...', but there really can't be any excuse for her ignorance bearing in mind that she was in the audience at the Cloak & Dagger pub on 10 April 1999 to hear Mike Barrett repeatedly state that the Diary was in his wife's handwriting. She obviously wasn't listening to him though.
Of course, in April 1999 no examples of Anne's handwriting were publicly available. None at all. It wasn't until May 2018 that samples of her normal handwriting were posted online and thus available for comparison purposes for all. And, yes, it was me wot done it.
So no-one could possibly have put that particular issue to bed 'years ago'. The data wasn't available years ago. Now that it is available, we can see that there are uncanny similarities between Anne's handwriting and the Diary author's handwriting as foretold by Mike Barrett more than ten years ago in the pub.
Within a few hours of her post, the question that no-one in the entire word was supposedly able to answer was answered by Abby Normal who suggested that the handwriting of the Diary might be 'Annes deliberately (not so good) disguised handwriting?'.
That must have shocked Caroline Morris. Having said that 'nobody' was able to provide an answer to the question 'whose handwriting is it in?', a forum member immediately gave her the likely identity of that person!!! She took refuge in the fact that he had posed it as a question, rather than stated it as a fact, even though her original point wasn't that no-one had been able to prove the identity of the scribe but that no-one had even been able to answer the question.
She then said in her post (#136):
'If it had been in Anne's handwriting, it would have needed to be expertly disguised, because - put simply - we'd not be here discussing this today if it had not been, and she would have done time as the forger. Surely that much is beyond obvious.'
This is, of course, absolute nonsense. As I've already said, no-one, including any handwriting experts, knew what Anne's handwriting looked like prior to May 2018 so there was no need for Anne to have 'expertly' disguised her handwriting. The fact that I spotted a number of similarities between her handwriting and the Diary handwriting literally within minutes of doing the comparison shows that there was nothing 'expert' about the disguise.
Caroline Morris has been droning on for so many years about the fact that the Diary handwriting doesn't match the handwriting of any of the accused persons that she can't manage to re-programme herself now that we've finally been able to ascertain what Anne's normal handwriting really looks like. Because it doesn't look very much like the sample provided to Keith Skinner in 1995! I don't think Caroline Morris can actually compute this information. What? Keith Skinner failed in his attempt to obtain a genuine sample of Anne's handwriting 25 years ago?! She can't comprehend it. But THAT is the reason why it's taken so long to answer the question 'whose handwriting is it in?'. We now do have an answer to it though.
2. THE MAN WHO IS FUN AT PARTIES
But that wasn't all. The very next 'Diary Defender' response to the last update on this site was from the party animal Paul Butler who said of me (#128):
'I bet he's a a (sic) laugh a minute at parties. I lost the will to live before reading half of his latest unconvincing diatribe.'
He didn't make clear which 'diatribe' he was referring to, bearing in mind there were two articles in the last update. If he was referring to 'Lord Orsam Says...', the funny thing is that about halfway through that article I responded to Paul Butler's own posts on JTR Forums. But Paul Butler is a Diary Defender and thus cannot bear to read rational responses to his own prejudiced opinions.
Instead, like a typical Diary Defender, he prefers to smear the person responding to him, thus imagining what I might be like at parties. It reminds me of, for example, Caroline Morris' attempt to smear Nick Warren by saying that he had sweaty hands when she met him, as if that has got anything to do with the issue of whether the Diary is genuine or fake.
I should make clear that my articles are not intended to be read out at parties and anyone who attempts to do so, thinking they will instantly transform themselves into the life and soul of the party, will probably be disappointed.
Mind you, thinking about it, it's probably worth a punt, but not until after the coronavirus has gone away, unless your next party is on Skype.
So what have we actually learnt from Paul Butler's post? Well he apparently thinks that one of my two articles is'unconvincing'. Or, at least, the first half is said to be unconvincing. It's unclear if he went on to read the second half, having apparently lost the will to live whilst reading the first half. Without any further explanation, I can only assume that he lost the will to live because the fundamental premise on which his entire life seems to be based, namely that the Diary is a genuine fake, an ancient forgery if you will, has been taken apart piece by piece by me and proven to be wrong. For that reason I can well imagine that Mr Butler can find no further joy in living and that he has resolved to end it all.
For my part, I'd like to know why anything I have written is 'unconvincing'. Just saying it without explaining it means nothing and leads me to the conclusion that Mr Butler cannot justify such a statement with actual facts and arguments.
3. DISTRACTION TECHNIQUES
It's a little known fact that, when he's not showing off his wit and charm at parties, Paul Butler is a leading expert in distraction techniques. After describing one of my articles (although I still don't know which one) as'unconvincing' he then attempted to change the subject and suddenly chose this moment to direct a post to Caroline Morris about something which he said had been meaning to 'run past' her 'for ages'.
Thus turned out to be, in essence, a repeat of a point made by Robert Smith in a footnote to the second edition of his book and something to which I have already responded in 'Not True, Funny How It Seems', which can be found here, although it doesn't appear that Paul Butler is aware of this.
Here is Paul Butler's big point:
On page three of the diary text we get "If Smith should find this then I am done before my campaign begins." A strange little walk on part for George Smith, the book keeper at Maybrick and Co. Why worry about Smith in particular finding out what he had written, particularly as no murder has as yet taken place?
On page two, a mere nine lines earlier in the text he writes, "Two in a night, indeed pleasure", when referring to his fantasy of "taking" both Mrs. Maybricks in one night, one after the other.
As far as I am aware, no-one besides the diary author had made the connection between "wife" number one, Sarah Anne Robertson and George Smith until very recently. Him and Sarah being first cousins, and who lived at the same house in the East end when James was there.
No wonder he was concerned at what might happen if "Smith should find this" dirty little fantasy he's just written about his cousin
Shabby hoax? My arse.
I must say I don't like thinking about Paul Butler's arse, although it's possibly something he likes talking about at parties, but I think there is one word for the above: unconvincing.
While it's little more than a repeat of Robert Smith's point, for Robert Smith, the significance of the mention of George Smith in the Diary is rather different to what Paul Butler thinks it is. For all Robert Smith said about it was that the apparently casual mention of George Smith being a threat to his plans meant that the relationship between the two men must have been closer than a professional one and that George must have been related to Maybrick's mistress. The fact that the Diary author knew that George and Sarah were related shows, in Smith's mind, that the author of the Diary was Maybrick. Complete nonsense of course but for Smith it went no further than that.
As I said in response to Robert Smith, no-one ever seems to have actually wondered about George Smith being mentioned in the Diary in this context until it was discovered that he was related to Sarah Ann Robertson. Then the True Believers suddenly decided that there was some great meaning to it and that the Diary author must have known about the relationship. But that relationship isn't stated in the Diary. The Diary author doesn't say 'If Smith should find this and show it to his cousin Sarah then I am done before my campaign begins'. It's the True Believers who are, as usual, filling in the gaps to make the forgery seem to be more impressive than it is.
The supposed 'connection' between George Smith and Sarah which Paul Butler states is in the Diary simply doesn't exist. I've no idea what Paul Butler thinks the significance of the mention of Maybrick having 'taken' both Florence and Sarah in one night is, or why it should be connected with his fear of George Smith finding the Diary. Sarah would obviously have known that Maybrick was married to Florence and would have assumed he was engaged in sexual relations with her so it couldn't possibly have been a fear that this sentence in the Diary would be shown to Sarah that concerned him.
One only needs to look at what Maybrick has already written in the Diary to understand why Maybrick would have been 'done' before his campaign had even begun if George Smith had found his Diary. In the first paragraph, he expressed his desire to have his 'revenge on the whore and the whore master'. Then in the second paragraph he makes clear he is going to do something in Whitechapel, London, whereby 'All who sell their dirty wares shall pay'. Then he makes clear in paragraph four that he is planning his 'campaign'. In the next paragraph he's states that he has decided to put 'the whore through pain tonight' and, while this is not connected to his campaign, it's obviously not something he would have wanted a third party to know about. But then, immediately before the words 'If Smith should find this I am done before my campaign begins' we find this:
'I am beginning to believe it is unwise to continue writing, if I am to down a whore then nothing shall lead the pursuers back to me.'
So the Diary author has just expressly stated that his plan is to 'down a whore'. At the very least, if Smith found the Diary, his campaign is over before it has begun because if he does go ahead and murder a prostitute in Whitechapel, as he has revealed in his Diary that he was planning to do, Smith could potentially tell the police that he suspected him of having committed that murder.
That seems pretty obvious to me. What isn't obvious is what difference it makes to anything that George Smith was related to Sarah Ann Robertson. Paul Butler clearly thinks that there was nothing in the Diary up to this point which implicated Maybrick in any crime to the extent that he should be worried if someone else found the Diary and only fears George Smith due to his being the cousin of his mistress. But why? What is it about George Smith being related to Sarah Ann Robertson which makes it more dangerous to Maybrick if he finds the Diary as opposed to anyone else? Surely, if anything, it would be LESS dangerous because, if all Maybrick is worried about is that Smith will tell Sarah about the contents of the Diary, Maybrick would no doubt have thought that he could limit the disclosure by asking Sarah to keep it all a big secret. Maybrick doesn't say anything negative in the Diary about Sarah, only about Florence, so why would Sarah have had any kind of problem with it?
It's typical Diary Defender behaviour that nothing is explained here. Paul Butler seems to think that Maybrick was worried about Sarah discovering his 'dirty little fantasy'. But what 'fantasy' does he mean. All he said was that he was going to have sex with Sarah and then return to Battlecrease and have sex with his wife. Was Sarah going to be so shocked about this that Maybrick would be 'done'? Why would he be 'done'? Is that only supposed to mean that his relationship with Sarah would be over? And if all that Maybrick was worried about was that Sarah would learn that Maybrick was having a'fantasy' about having sex with his wife and mistress on the same night, why would that have had ANY effect on his campaign?
Yet Maybrick wrote that, if Smith discovered the Diary he would be done 'before my campaign begins'. It seems patently obvious that the Diary author is expressing a different concern here. It's nothing to do with his relationship with Sarah but everything to do with the effect that the discovery of what he has already put into writing in his Diary would have upon his campaign to murder prostitutes in Whitechapel. THAT is his dirty little fantasy and it's a dirty little fantasy that he would be far more worried about the police discovering than Sarah.
The obvious and very simple reason for George Smith being mentioned in the diary is that the forger was aware that George Smith was Maybrick's bookkeeper from that fact that he gave evidence at Florence's trial. So who better for this little walk on part than someone who existed and who is known to have worked with Maybrick on a day-to-day basis?
The idea that the Diary author was aware that Smith was a cousin of Sarah Ann is nothing more than a True Believer fantasy. It is never stated or even hinted at in the Diary. It's something that Paul Butler has imagined in order to bolster his absurd belief that the Diary was forged by someone with intimate knowledge of Maybrick's life.
Just imagine for a moment if that were true, and the author of the Diary WAS aware that Maybrick's mistress was George Smith's cousin. Don't forget that Paul Butler is convinced that the Diary was not written by Maybrick. Are we seriously supposed to believe that the forger didn't use that information except in the most tenuous way? I mean, without knowing that George and Sarah were cousins there's no possible way you could glean that information from the Diary. So the forger is supposed to be almost cryptically giving the reader the information that Maybrick must be worried about George reading the Diary because he is worried that George will show it to his cousin Sarah and the reader is supposed to instantly understand that reference. I mean, seriously?
No, Mr Butler. The mention by the Diary author of a worry that George Smith might read the Diary does not in any way contradict the notion that the Diary is a 'shabby hoax'.
4. CAROLINE MORRIS' COMPREHENSION FAILURE
Of course, Caroline Morris was never going to disagree with Paul Butler's daft suggestion. She wrote in response (#135)
'Do you know, Paul, I don't believe I was aware that Sarah and George Smith were first cousins. It's certainly an intriguing observation you make, and the real James would have had good reason to keep his continuing relationship with Sarah a secret from George, regardless of the diary's origins.'
For starters, her lack of knowledge is rather surprising. She is credited in Robert Smith's book has having checked it!!! Thus, Smith said in his acknowledgments to the second edition of his book dated June 2019, 'I would like to thank Caroline Brown for her invaluable support and guidance, and for correcting my errors and omissions'. She must at the very least, therefore, have read the book in which Robert Smith wrote in footnote 16 of the second edition (p.140): 'George Smith was a first cousin of James Maybrick's common law wife Sarah Ann Robertson'. It's astonishing, therefore, that the same Caroline Brown (Morris) denies all knowledge of this family relationship! She must have done a great job for her good friend Robert Smith in checking his book for errors and omissions. It doesn't appear that she even read it properly.
But Ms Morris seems to have misunderstood Paul Butler's point. That's not too difficult, mind you, because he didn't make it clearly, but the the Diary does NOT reveal, and would not have revealed to George Smith in 1888, Maybrick's 'continuing relationship with Sarah.' Sarah is not mentioned in the Diary by name. How was George going to know from the fact that Maybrick stated,'Tonight I shall see mine...Two in a night' that he was referring to Sarah? The answer is, he couldn't (unless he already knew about the relationship and knew that the two had met that evening). So that can't possibly be what Maybrick was worried about. And George's knowledge of his boss's adulterous relationship with his cousin, to the extent that it had anything to do with him, was hardly going to trouble Maybrick's campaign of murder in London.
Then we have somewhat of a non-sequitur from Morris who, picking up on Butler's 'shabby hoax' remark, said:
'It's only a 'shabby' hoax because it has to be pinned on a Barrett. If it had been established from the start that the respectable and educated Paul Dodd had it in his house before Mike got his first sniff, we know who'd have been suspected instead, and it would have been considerably less 'shabby' in that event.'
I absolutely don't understand any of this. Surely if it was established that the Diary was found in Paul Dodd's house, i.e. Battlecrease, it would have been suspected that Maybrick wrote the Diary, in which case it wouldn't be considered a hoax at all. Yet both Morris and Butler agree that Maybrick didn't write it and it's a hoax.
I can say that it's definitely a hoax because it contains an expression that did not belong to the period. Whether that makes it a 'shabby hoax' I don't know. But, as a hoax, it doesn't seem to contain any information about Maybrick or the known Jack the Ripper murders that can't be found in published books. It certainly contains spelling errors and poor grammar. Perhaps that is why it is considered a 'shabby hoax'. But a hoax it certainly is. That has nothing to do with it being pinned on Barrett.
One thing is for sure. The fact that the Diary author wrote of his fear that George Smith might read it does not turn the Diary from a 'shabby hoax' to a brilliant one!
5. TALKING OF THAT MAN IN A PUB
Amongst all the posts which notably avoided any discussion of my 'A Man in a Pub' article, we did find R.J. Palmer picking up on my suggestion that Mike might have refused to reveal the receipt for the scrapbook because Keith Skinner had terrified him by mentioning that there was a police officer in the audience to whom he (Skinner) had turned for assistance with the issue of the purchase of the red diary. As I mentioned in my article, this was clearly NOT a very diplomatic thing for Keith Skinner to have said, and, furthermore, Mike did seem clearly rattled by it.
Caroline Morris responded to RJ by saying:
'I would gently suggest to you, RJ, that if Mike had been the sort of chap to let a policeman scare 'the living hell' out of him, he wouldn't have forged Maybrick's diary in the wake of the Hitler Diaries, only to voluntarily confess to the newspapers, several months after Scotland Yard had come sniffing round and found nothing, and still be making forgery claims during a recorded meeting five years later! That man had balls of brass - or he knew it was all hot air, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.'
This is the usual nonsense from Caroline Morris once again claiming to have the ability to understand Mike Barrett inside and out as if he was not a complex human being. It's one thing to make these confessions to newspaper reporters or to Ripperologists, especially when bolstered by alcohol for courage, but quite another when you think that those people are liaising with the police to have you arrested and charged. Having been told that a police officer was present on 10 April 1999, and was involved in investigating Anne Barrett's documents, one could perfectly well understand Mike Barrett having second thoughts about publicly producing a document which could potentially secure his arrest by handing to the police that missing piece of evidence which proved his involvement in the forgery. The idea that, simply because he had confessed to the forgery, this means he wouldn't and couldn't have had any fear of being arrested and going to prison is absurd.
But, as far as I am concerned, the bigger point is that we don't find any mention of Keith Skinner's gaffe in 'Inside Story' nor of the effect that it obviously had on Mike Barrett. Now that we can see how biased and prejudiced one of the authors of that book was, and how she is unable to understand that the paranoid Mike Barrett might just have been concerned that he was being set up and had been tricked into coming to London in order to be arrested, it is understandable that this rather important fact was covered up and thought not worthy of inclusion in the book.
6. THE LOOSEST CANNON IN LIVERPOOLHere's Caroline Morris on why Mike Barrett's story can't be true (#141 of Lord Orsam's Blog thread):
'I'm sorry, RJ, but if anyone actually believed the old book was only obtained there on the last day of March 1992, after which Anne spent the next eleven evenings writing out the diary text, confident that nobody would ever be able to identify it as her own disguised hand, or that her husband - who never could keep his mouth shut, was a compulsive liar and the loosest cannon in Liverpool - would make his appointment in London on 13th April without screwing it up, they'd have to be away with the fairies. So I can only assume Lord Orsam is just stringing people along for his own amusement. As with Mike, there is nothing of any real substance here, but I doubt either of them would appreciate the comparison.'
Let's break this down because I'm finding it hard to see what the criticism of the story amounts to:
1. 'Anne spent the next eleven evenings writing out the diary text, confident that nobody would ever be able to identify it as her own disguised hand'.
Well, for anyone to be able to identify it as her own disguised hand they would need samples of her handwriting wouldn't they? Did anyone have any samples of her handwriting in 1992? No! Did anyone have any samples of her handwriting in 1993? No! Did anyone have any samples of her handwriting in 1994? No! Did anyone have any samples of her handwriting in 1995? Well, she provided a sample to Keith Skinner, but this allowed her to provide a sample which was not, in fact, in her handwriting, so again the answer is: No! Did anyone have any samples of her handwriting in 1996? No! And so on. I think you can see where I'm going with this. No-one had any samples of her handwriting during the 1990s or most of the 2000s so that she could, during that period, have been 100% confident that no-one would ever identify the writing in the Diary as being in her own disguised hand!
Let me just add that not a single person even appears to have suspected that Anne might have written the words in the Diary until Mike accused her of having done so in January 1995, which is why a sample of her handwriting was then asked for. Why does that sample not match her normal handwriting? Perhaps Caroline Morris can answer that one, considering that she knows everything.
Here's the key thing though. Caroline Morris, having created a theoretical world in which she believes she knows exactly what everyone would and would not have done in all circumstances, like she is able to read everyone's minds, has completely lost her grasp of reality. If the story as set out in Mike's affidavit is true, it means there were only two people in the world who knew that the Diary was written by Anne (other than Anne herself). Those two people were their daughter, Caroline, and Mike Barrett.
Caroline was never going to betray her mother and, no doubt, in April 1992 it was inconceivable that Mike would ever betray his wife and provide a full confession to the forgery scheme in which he was himself intimately involved. That being so, how was it ever going to be possible for anyone to ever pin the forgery on Anne?
Now, I know that Caroline Morris will bleat "Oh the handwriting experts, the handwriting experts..." as if it would be no problem for them to prove Anne was the author, even assuming that they ever obtained a genuine sample of her handwriting (and I'm not sure how they would have done that). But I'm confident in saying that in a case of even a half-decent attempt at disguising handwriting, an expert, however good, would never be able to prove a case against any single individual which could ever be used in a court of law.
Handwriting experts can compare two samples of undisguised handwriting to say with confidence that the same person was the author of both samples. They are also good at saying that certain handwriting is forged (compared to a known sample) because of the unnatural way it is written and because aspects don't properly match. They might even be able to say that a sample of handwriting is disguised and not written naturally. But the idea that they would be able to identify the author of disguised handwriting to the extent that it could be used as evidence to convict that person of a crime of forgery is a fantasy.
Just to take Konrad Kajau, the forger of the Hitler diaries, as an example. While an expert might have been able to establish that the diaries were not in Hitler's handwriting, there was just no way they could ever have said, on the basis of the handwriting, that Kajau was the author. It's impossible. If you were to compare the Hitler diaries to Kajau's handwriting you might, for all I know, find some similarities between the two (or not as the case may be) but you'll never be able to prove a match to anything near a criminal standard of proof or, most likely, any other standard of proof.
Sure, Kajau was a 'master forger' but the point is that as soon as you introduce an element of disguise it becomes almost impossible for a handwriting expert to do a comparison. They can only compare like with like. I'm sure that the most they could ever say is that some characters in the diary are consistent with the way Anne forms her characters. I don't know if they WOULD say that (although I think they would) but it's the most they would ever say. If Caroline Morris thinks that any handwriting expert can match disguised handwriting with normal handwriting, it means she doesn't understand what a handwriting expert can and can't do. If the handwriting in the diary is disguised to an even half competent extent, that means, I suggest, that it can NEVER be matched to a known individual.
2. 'or that her husband - who never could keep his mouth shut, was a compulsive liar and the loosest cannon in Liverpool - would make his appointment in London on 13th April without screwing it up, they'd have to be away with the fairies' .
Well, firstly, where is the evidence that Anne thought in 1992 that her husband was 'the loosest cannon in Liverpool'? I've never seen any. And what reason could she have had to think so? Where is even the evidence that she thought he was a compulsive liar? But hold on, wouldn't the very best person to pull off a forgery scheme like this be someone who can lie compulsively? A good liar in other words. Perhaps that's what Anne thought Mike was. But, frankly, what did it matter to Anne if Mike screwed up his appointment on 13th April? So what? All that would have happened is that the literary agent would have refused to take on the Diary. That's it. They weren't going to be calling the police but, even if they did, so what? Anne hadn't actually committed any crime. If she had been asked by her husband to see if she could produce a convincing nineteenth century diary text, well, that's not a crime. The crime is the deception in trying to gain monetary advantage from the forgery.
Once Doreen said she would take on the Diary everything changed because Mike had NOT screwed up the appointment in London. In fact, it just shows Caroline Morris' perverse belief about Mike that he couldn't do ANYTHING. Well he did do something. He convinced Doreen to take on the supposed Diary of Jack the Ripper without any provenance whatsoever and without any proof that it was written by James Maybrick or any other identified individual from the nineteenth century. Clearly, therefore, he was far from incompetent at certain things (including being a freelance magazine journalist) and what he did best was being a con man. It's Caroline Morris who is away with the fairies because she is so divorced from reality that she can't see the bleedin' obvious.
In a later post (#150) she wrote: 'I find it impossible to believe that someone of Anne's undoubted intelligence, who knew her husband better than anyone else on earth, would ever have countenanced the idea of enabling someone like Mike to take the diary to market as a genuinely old artefact, if she knew it had been created very recently and by whom.' Well that's rather odd because we are talking about the man who the woman of Anne's supposed intelligence agreed to marry and to father her daughter!!! So either she had a split personality or she didn't have the quite same view about him that Caroline Morris does now (after years of examination and analysis following publication of the Diary) and, indeed, the same view of him as she did after the breakdown of their marriage.
It's certainly remarkable that Caroline Morris finds it impossible to believe that Anne could have had ANY kind of faith in her husband based on her own well known prejudice against him. As I've already said, Mike DID persuade Doreen Montgomery to take on a diary of Jack the Ripper despite the absence of any provenance, so he wasn't totally useless and we really don't know what Anne thought about him in March 1992. I doubt if she thought of him as 'someone like Mike'. She probably thought of him as her husband.
In any case, I don't know why Anne would have had to have 'countenanced' what Mike did. If he had wanted to do something with the Diary, would he have needed her approval? I don't think so.
But surely exactly the same thing applies if, as Ms Morris believes, Mike acquired the Diary from Eddie Lyons. For, if there was any countenancing involved, then Anne DID 'countenance' Mike taking it market and she DID 'countenance' him being involved with Shirley Harrison in the research for the book because he did both these things. Not only that, but she was, we are told, intimately involved in preparing the transcript and typing up Mike's research. If Mike had got the Diary from Eddie there's no way that Anne could have known whether it was a genuine item or a fake. But she still helped him. So she was perfectly prepared to associate herself with an item which MAY have been a fake and sign legal documentation on the basis that it was genuine. And remember the Morris theory is that Mike Barrett had no idea it had come out of Battlecrease so Anne couldn't have known it either. So, on the Morris version of events, she was perfectly prepared to assist Mike in getting to market an item of highly dubious provenance which, for all she knew, had been knocked up by one of Mike's dodgy mates a few days earlier! We also all know of Anne's 'did you nick it?' remark, so she was also perfectly happy about getting involved in the sale of an item which she thought might have been stolen property. Yet, in Caroline Morris' world of doublethink there is no problem with that and she CAN believe it.
3. 'So I can only assume Lord Orsam is just stringing people along for his own amusement.'
Noooo! That's a terrible conclusion. Her two points from which she draws that conclusion were dreadful, as we have seen. Anne had a bit of ability to disguise her handwriting and we can assume that she used that ability so that Mike could possibly make some money to enable them to bring up their daughter. If that's the case, it didn't work out as they hoped but many criminal enterprises don't.
4. In a later post (#145) she said:
'I doubt Lord O has a clue whose writing is in the diary, and is merely enjoying the attention from all the puppies wagging their tails and running after his balls. If he thinks he knows he is quite seriously deluded, and I'm not sure even I can believe that.'
Here's what I do know. Firstly I know that Mike Barrett accused Anne of writing the Diary, saying it was in her handwriting. Secondly, I know that Anne's handwriting shares remarkable similarities with the handwriting in the Diary. This is undisputed. No-one has ever challenged that statement first made by me two years ago. So that is a DOUBLE whammy.
And there's a TRIPLE whammy which is that the sample of her handwriting which Anne gave to Keith Skinner in January 1995 is patently not the same as her normal handwriting found in her private correspondence.
If Caroline is unable to draw the obvious conclusion from this triple whammy of circumstances she is seriously deluded and I'm not sure even I --- no scrap that, I most certainly can believe it.
But, hey, if she would stop thinking about puppies running after my balls for one moment she would see where the truth lies. It's just that she seems to be unable to do it. She certainly hasn't directly challenged anything I've said in 'Man in a Pub'. Instead, all she does is yak on about puppies and balls. She just can't face up to discussing the actual evidence in the case.
7. DOES SHE READ ANYTHING?
In the last update I provided a clear explanation as to why Mike withheld Anne's name from his statement to the Liverpool Daily Post in June 1994, yet Caroline Morris asked RJ Palmer in #142:
'If you believe Mike knew who held the pen, how do you explain the fact that he didn't say so and identify them when he made that very first statement, claiming the diary was a forgery? What was he afraid of, knowing the handwriting wasn't his own?'
It's not just that I answered this, but Mike Barrett gave the answer at the Cloak and Dagger pub on 10 April 1999 when Caroline Morris was in the audience!!! Perhaps she was sleeping through it, waking up only when he mentioned mixing ink with sugar. So she doesn't read and she doesn't listen. She just asks questions that have already been answered and repeats the same debunked theories and arguments over and over again.
Talking of which, in #141 were were told:
'In January 1995 Mike claimed in Keith's presence that he had made up the story of where he purchased the scrapbook while he was drunk'.
Yes, but as I previously pointed out, this was in the presence of a former police officer whose identity was unknown to Mike Barrett. I don't know who thought it would be a good idea to have an ex-copper standing around while trying to coax a true story out of Mike about how he forged the Diary but it easily explains why he resiled from his forgery claim, only to revert back to it as soon the intimidating officer had gone.
She then says that Mike 'was still prepared to kick up the shit and swear the diary was a forgery until he could see Anne' and that we should 'Make of that what you will' although I don't actually know what she is referring to here nor who it was who was preventing him from seeing Anne or who he thought would allow him to do so if he swore the diary was a forgery. That's why it's important sometimes to back up what you say with evidence.
8. BACK TO SQUARE ONE
How amusing. After a period covering four years in which Caroline Morris has provided a succession of different explanations for Mike Barrett's acquisition of a Victorian Diary in March 1992, each one barmier than the last, she now throws her hands up in the air and says (#151) 'who can claim to know the mysteries of a mind like this'. So we are right back to Square One! She has no idea. I mean, yes, who could possibly work out why the man who produced a fake Victorian diary of Jack the Ripper in April 1992 sought to purchase a blank Victorian diary a month earlier in March 1992? I mean, it's almost impossible to fathom such an impenetrable mystery!
The irony is that Caroline Morris also tells us that the one person who might have known the 'mysteries' of Mike Barrett's mind was his wife. This is the very same wife who gave a bullshit reason for Mike seeking a Victorian diary in March 1992, i.e. because he wanted to see what a Victorian diary looked like, something which was subsequently disproved by the discovery of the advertisement and its requirement for the diary to have blank pages. Yet the authors of 'Inside Story', one of whom happens to be Ms Morris herself, swallowed Anne's explanation hook, line and sinker, no doubt believing that she was able to explain the 'mysteries' of Mike's mind, hence they paid no attention to the acquisition of the Victorian diary and thus ensured that they failed to solve the mystery, in the process making it far more complicated than it needed to be.
Caroline Morris also claims that Anne would have been 'certifiably insane' to have got herself 'involved in a forgery project with such a man'. You wouldn't think from that remark that 'such a man' was actually her husband would you? Was she 'certifiably insane' for marrying him then? If not, why did she marry him? Why did she live with him? Why did she give birth to his daughter? Why did she help him with his Celebrity articles? Why did she help him transcribe the diary? Why did she type up his research notes? Was she certifiably insane in doing this? And then we move on to some more intriguing questions. Why did she - as Caroline Morris tells us she did - lie about the diary having been in her family for donkeys' years? Why did she involve her dying father in the plot to convince researchers of this shocking lie? Why did she deceive all the friends she had made in recent years, such as Shirley Harrison and Keith Skinner, with this outrageous false story, thus compromising their professional integrity? Why did she agree to appear on a Liverpool radio show and lie through her teeth to the whole city? I mean it's kind of pathological behaviour isn't it?
It's amazing that Caroline Morris seems to think that an 'intelligent' person will not do anything stupid. That is surely disproved by thousands and thousands of stories that we see every day around the world of undoubtedly intelligent people doing stupid and criminal things for which they are caught. The reality of the situation is that Anne could never have conceived in March 1992 that her husband would confess to his own involvement in the scheme to forge the diary. She probably never anticipated that her marriage would fall apart in the way it did. Things can change in a relationship very quickly. She couldn't have known that Mike would descend into serious alcoholism after March 1992.
In any case, was Anne really so intelligent? What's the evidence for it? I recall Caroline Morris once saying that there was no way that Anne could have been responsible for the errors of English found in the Diary. Then I obtained examples of Anne's correspondence showing that she COULD and DID make basic errors of English. I well remember that when I first posted about this on the Forum, Caroline Morris suggested I might have made some transcription errors!!! Well I then posted images of the actual correspondence, showing that my transcription was correct, and that put an end to that idea. Anne was, no doubt, more intelligent than Mike and, together, I have equal certainty that they could have produced that Diary but constantly repeating that Anne was very intelligent when the evidence actually shows otherwise is futile.
It's amusing when one thinks about the contradiction at the heart of the Diary Defender belief system. The two central tenets are that Mike was too stupid to have produced the Diary while Anne was too intelligent to have been involved in a project to produce it. Interesting isn't it? Mike was too stupid while Anne was too intelligent. So it must follow, according to this view of the world, that the forger of the diary was neither stupid nor intelligent? Well what the bleedin' hell was he (or she) then? You can't have it both ways. If you needed to be intelligent to produce such a forgery then one need look no further than Anne as the mastermind behind it. If on the other hand one needed to be stupid to engage in such an obviously doomed project then let me present you with Mike Barrett as the forger. No, we are told, Mike was too stupid. Okay, so Anne did it then? No, she was too clever!!!
I'm not even joking about this. It's how they think and how they argue. This is why it is literally impossible to have a rational discussion with them.
9. THE SCEPTIC
Diary defenders everywhere seem to be falling to pieces. Over on the Censorship Forum we have Iconoclast getting terribly confused. In #159 of the Maybrick Logic thread he posted:
'Yabs, this is a 'hoaxer' who was able to spell 'sceptick' correctly in the context of 1888'
What on earth is he talking about? The word 'sceptick' in any form or with any spelling does not appear in the Diary.
Is he thinking about the unusual spelling of the word 'panic' as 'panick' in the Diary?
I really hope not because I have set out at great length elsewhere why that word was not correctly spelled as 'panick' in 1888 so that it was not spelled correctly in the Diary but was, instead, a basic and common spelling mistake that could have been made in 1988 as much as in 1888... or in 1992 for that matter.
See 'Not True Funny How It Seems' here and 'Pillar of Sand' here in which I deal with the panic/panick issue under the headings of 'Time to Panick Mr Mainwaring' and 'Don't Panick Mr Maybrick' respectively.
10. THE HYPOCRISY OF THE LITTLE LAMBS
A full ten days after the last 'Orsam Day' and, ironically, within 24 hours of Howard Brown posting about Hallie Rubenhold's Waterstone's Blog, Gary Barnett responded to the last 'Lord Orsam Says...' in a fashion straight out of the Hallie Rubenhold playbook, distorting the truth, evading the issues and using false facts, underhand tactics and disingenuous arguments. Yet, he doesn't see the astonishing hypocrisy in him doing this.
In addition, there was the usual added attempt at childish abuse from Ripperologist's very own nasty thug, with reference to 'Mr Multiple Personality', which we'll consider separately.
Let's first look at what Gary Barnett said in his post (#157 in the Lord Orsam Blog thread). He started off with this:
'Apparently: I didn’t respond to his claim that Paul Begg and Keith Skinner made some kind of a mistake about ‘Monro’ in ‘The Scotland Yard Files’. In fact I did respond to that very point on this very website some weeks ago. Please pay attention - all three (or is it one?) of you!'
That wasn't even an accurate summary of what I said in the last 'Lord Orsam Says...' but, even leaving that aside, the fact of the matter is that Gary Barnett has NOT responded to the point I made in the last 'Lord Orsam Says...', So what he is saying there is completely false. It's telling that, although he claims that he did respond, he hasn't provided any reference to such a response.
I can only assume he is referring to his post of 27 October 2019 (#73 in the 'Lord Orsam Blog' thread) in which he posted in response to the third installment of 'Lord Orsam Says...' earlier that day:
'I haven't read the 'Scotland Yard Files' book and off the top of my head I couldn't tell you'.
This was in response to the 'Lord Orsam Says..." of 27 October (here) in which I had said:
'And if someone can give me even a single example of Barnett drawing attention to the way Paul Begg played fast and loose with the facts of Monro's 1890 resignation as Chief Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police in his (and Keith Skinner's) 'Scotland Yard Files' book I'll show you a pig flying down Whitechapel High Street.'
I did, of course, understand Gary Barnett's response to this. He hadn't read Paul Begg's book. Fine. That's why in the next instalment of 'Lord Orsam Says...' on 24 November 2019 (here), I explained in detail what Paul Begg and Keith Skinner had said in their book about Monro's 1890 resignation. At the same time, I set out the factual errors that the authors made which led them to a false conclusion in what I referred to as 'an Idiot's Guide to the subject for anyone who hasn't read the book by Begg and Skinner'. Accordingly, having educated him about Begg and Skinner's book, that removed Barnett's defence of ignorance.
That defence itself could hardly have been a genuine one in any case for, as I pointed out on 24 November 2019, all the information Barnett needed was found in my 'Suckered! Plus - The Quadrilogy Part 4' article (here) and I had returned to the issue in 'Lord Orsam Says...' on 8 September 2019 (here). But, let's give Gary Barnett the benefit of the doubt, and assume he hadn't read those articles (which, of course, he had). By 24 November 2019, when I explained all the problems with Paul Begg's book (here), he was fully aware which parts of the book I was saying were inaccurate and, consequently, he had no conceivable excuse not to at least ask Paul Begg (a) if I was right and (b) if he (Begg) wanted to correct the errors that I had identified. Here is what I then posted on 24 November:
'So now Gary Barnett, is fully aware of what Begg and Skinner stated in 'The Scotland Yard Files' and why I say they were wrong. He can no longer put forward a defence of ignorance for his silence on the topic.
What he can do now, if he wants to show that he doesn't only criticize outsiders, is to raise this with JTR Forum member Paul Begg, perhaps in a new thread on JTR Forums, and ask him to comment about the section of Monro's resignation in his book. Perhaps Mr Begg, in response, will admit to error so that, hopefully, future generations who discover his book will not be misled into thinking there is some great mystery surrounding Monro's 1890 resignation.'
So all Gary Barnett had to do was raise the subject with Begg and ask him to comment about the section of Monro's resignation in his book. That was it. That's all I was saying.
Barnett's previous explanation that he had not read Begg's book was now both redundant and superseded. It didn't matter. My challenge to Barnett was to simply ask Paul Begg about it, now that he was acquainted with the facts. There was of course only silence from Barnett - he couldn't even bring himself to ask Paul Begg the question - and it was this silence to which I drew attention on 26 January 2020 (here). Hence I posted:
'I don't need to say much about Gary Barnett other than it's strange, what with him being one of the two great seekers of truth, along with Paul Begg, according to Paul Begg, that he doesn't even feel able to ask Begg if he (and Keith Skinner) made a mistake in 'The Scotland Yard Files' regarding the resignation of Monro.* I suppose it's only mistakes by Hallie Rubenhold that he feels it important to correct whereas those by Paul Begg can remain unchallenged and unmentioned.'
Now - and this is the tricky and underhand part on Barnett's behalf - Gary Barnett actually quoted this from my article at the top of his post but, in his response, he falsely claimed that I was criticizing him because he 'didn't respond' to the claim that Begg and Skinner had made a mistake, which is not what I said at all. I didn't even use the word 'respond'. Yet, as we have seen, he was claiming that I had said that he 'didn’t respond to his claim that Paul Begg and Keith Skinner made some kind of a mistake about ‘Monro’ in ‘The Scotland Yard Files’.
But that wasn't what I said at all. That wasn't my point.
My point was nothing to do with him responding to me. It was about whether he was brave enough to ASK Paul Begg a question about the errors I had identified in his (Begg's) book.
Gary Barnett knew that I had identified errors in Paul Begg's book. I had explained in full why they were errors and what the true position was. All he had to do was ask Paul Begg for HIS response to what I had said. I wasn't at all interested in Gary Barnett's response to what I was saying about Paul Begg's book! I wanted to know if he had the balls to dare to question or challenge Paul Begg. And he clearly does not!
THAT was what I was referring to when I mentioned Gary Barnett's silence. He was silent on the issue following the fourth instalment of 'Lord Orsam Says...' and he has remained silent on the issue following the fifth instalment. He cannot use the fact that he hasn't read Begg's book as a shield. He only has to ask him about what I said.
So now that I've said what he has to do about five times so that even he must surely understand it, let's see if he goes ahead and does it. Spoiler alert: He won't.
Barnett's second ludicrous line of attack is to say this (emphasis in original):
'According to his Lordship, Paul Begg considers me to be one of ‘the two great seekers after truth’. Wow! Please point me in the direction of that quote - I’ll run a copy off and have it framed.'
But I already posted the relevant quote from Paul Begg in the fourth instalment of 'Lord Orsam Says...' on 24 November 2019 (here). Perhaps Gary Barnett has reading or comprehension difficulties, I don't know, but, so that he can go and get it framed, here it is again:
According to Paul Begg himself, speaking to none other than Gary Barnett on JTR Forums (Rubenhold thread, #2963), 'If we care about accuracy then it matters...and I think a lot of people are like us, Gary, and do care about accuracy'.
So there we had Paul Begg directly addressing Gary Barnett and saying that 'like us' - that is Paul Begg and Gary Barnett - a lot of people care about accuracy. So there we have the two great seekers of the truth, the two people who, according to Paul Begg (just like I said), really, really, care about accuracy. Yet when it comes to the accuracy of the facts in Paul Begg's own book, these two great seekers of the truth suddenly become struck dumb. They are not interested. It's only the inaccuracies of others, such as Hallie Rubenhold, that are worth discussing and correcting, apparently. The inaccuracies of Paul Begg are the inaccuracies that must not be mentioned. Barnett can't ask about them and Begg can't correct them. So much for accuracy being so important to these two individuals. So much for them caring so much about it.
At this point, I regret to say (and it really does sadden me), Paul Begg posted to Gary Barnett as follows:
'I'm not sure why you are dignifying these ramblings with a reply'.
What I find interesting about this - and so utterly hypocritical - is that it's exactly the type of thing one can imagine Hallie Rubenhold saying in response to Paul Begg's own criticisms of her work. I mean, EXACTLY what I would expect from someone like Hallie Rubenhold. But not from Paul Begg.
The articles on this site are, if I say so myself, well researched, tightly argued and solidly based on evidence. It's both disrespectful and disgraceful for Mr Begg, who should be thoroughly ashamed of himself, to be using such a word as 'ramblings' to attempt to marginalize and undermine me and, in doing so, casually dismiss criticism of his own work. He has spent many years being critical of the work others, in his reviews for Ripperologist, yet doesn't seem to be able to handle criticism of his own work.
Begg must surely be aware that I have set out in detail, quite fairly and properly, a number of inaccuracies in his and Keith Skinner's book 'The Scotland Yard Files' regarding the resignation of Monro in 1890 which led him (and Skinner) to conclude that there was something odd and suspicious about that resignation. It's not a minor point. It's a big point. Anyone reading that book would assume that, if two researchers with the reputation of Begg and Skinner are saying that there is a mystery regarding the resignation of Monro, there must be something in it. As I've pointed out before, it gives succour and encouragement to conspiracy obsessives like Simon Wood and brings such nonsense into the mainstream.
Now I really regret having to write this kind of stuff. it pretty much goes without saying that Paul Begg's contributions to Ripperology are outstanding and, online, he USUALLY writes highly intelligent and rational posts based on accurate historical facts. He has a blind spot. mind you, when it comes to the Maybrick Diary where he seems to think that because Mike Barrett appeared to him to be rather stupid then the Diary must be some kind of genuine historical artefact over 100 years old (and, yes, his argument really does seem to boil down to that). The subject of the Maybrick Diary was the only occasion when I was a member of Casebook Forum where I think that Paul Begg let himself down becoming unpleasant and somewhat befuddled and confused by the facts. He also has some strangely positive views about the nonsense spouted by Patricia Cornwell and seems remarkably impressed by some of the rubbish she offers in her books about Walter Sickert. Otherwise he is excellent so I just don't know what happened with 'The Scotland Yard Files'.
That book is on the open shelves at the National Archives and it is the first book anyone there would consult who is interested in the history of Scotland Yard. I consulted it when I was researching my Suckered! articles and I was genuinely shocked to find Begg and Skinner giving credence to the idea of some sort of conspiracy surrounding the 1890 resignation of Monro. It didn't take me long, however, to see where they had gone wrong and that the whole section is based on a number of factual errors. Frankly, it's poorly researched and the authors totally misunderstood what happened with regard to Monro's resignation. Surely that makes it important that Paul Begg now steps forward and makes clear that he and Skinner were mistaken in that book. After all, he claims to 'care about accuracy'. Does he really only mean that he cares about the accuracy of others, especially Rubenhold?
In his 'dignifying his ramblings' comment, it seems to me that Begg is no better than all the others whose mistakes I've publicly corrected such as Wood, Hawley, Hainsworth, Wescott, Vanderlinden et al. They can dish it out but can't take it. When it's their own mistakes being pointed out then suddenly they can't see them and can't hear them. They also can't correct them. Instead, they attack the person pointing out the mistakes. Thus, although I'm doing exactly the same thing to Begg that he is doing to Rubenhold in quite legitimately and correctly pointing out mistakes in a published work, Begg can't seem to deal with it. Hence, he is reduced to describing my articles as 'ramblings'. I have to be undermined and marginalized. Anything but acknowledge his own failings.
Disappointing from someone who, by his own purported standards, should be setting an example in how to correct the factual record not continue to distort it.
It's also extremely hypocritical of him because in response to Ripperologists being 'pilloried' by Hallie Rubenhold, Paul Begg stated on JTR Forums on 11 February 2020 (Waterstones Blog thread, #146) that his objection to this is that, 'It's about being taken seriously. It's about how we're perceived by the public'. Right, and that's exactly the same for me. I have an equal right to be taken seriously and to be perceived by the public as a serious commentator. For Begg to refer to my articles as 'ramblings' in an offhand way, without any attempt to justify that comment, is a transparent attempt to place me amongst the lunatic fringe (something he already tried when he disgracefully and childishly agreed with Caroline Morris on 23 August 2019 about the world having gone 'raving mad' due to the articles on this website - 'Lord Orsam Blog' thread, #62). No doubt there is a lunatic fringe commenting online about matters relating to JTR and there is equally no doubt that Paul Begg would like to place me in that category and, in doing so, effectively drum me out of the world of Ripperology, but I think he is going to fail, and it will only rebound on him and his own credibility.
The same, of course, is true of Gary Barnett himself. On 19 February 2020 he posted in JTR Forums (#309 in the new Rubenhold thread) to draw attention to the 'brass neck' of Rubenhold and her followers who were countering objections made 'calmly and rationally' by attempting to portray those objections as 'demented'. The hypocrisy is that this is how he and others on JTR Forums have attempted to counter my own articles on this site which have been written calmly and rationally. They can't actually counter them calmly and rationally themselves, with facts and arguments, so resort to attacking me personally and attempting to portray me in exactly the same way as Rubenhold et al attempt to portray them; so it's kind of karma coming back to bite them I guess.
We find the same hypocrisy in Barnett's description of the response of Hallie and Drew Gray to criticism on JTR Forums, namely, 'A refusal to engage and some sarky comments...' (2nd Rubenhold thread, #365). This basically describe Barnett's and Begg's own responses to my articles on this website, not to mention others on JTR Forums such as Caroline Morris and Mr Poster. How can they not see the hypocrisy involved here?
Going back to Barnett's post and his third and final point.
'I only correct mistakes by Hallie R. None by his Lordship himself? Drew Grey? Richard Patterson? How about Tom Wescott? I could go on... Surely his Lordship must recall my issue with a particular detail in Ripper Confidential that he (his Lordship) latched onto and about which he trolled Tom ad naseum shortly before his Lordly presence was deemed too much of a good thing by the scrupulously fair Casebook admin folk.'
We can see that Barnett is so utterly desperate for some line of attack of my article (after ten days of trying to find one) that he is reduced to repeating points that he's already made and that I've already responded to. Way back in his post of 27 October 2019 he made that exact same point about Ripper Confidential:
'But I have read The Bank Holiday Murders and Ripper Confidential, both of which I have been critical of. But perhaps David is unaware of that?'
I replied to this on 24 November 2019 (underlining added):
'Finally, as for Gary's point that, as I well knew, he has been critical of errors in Tom Wescott's books, well yippee-doo, but he needs to show that this is not an isolated, one could say: one-off, incident. The way he's gone after Rubenhold does seem to me to be far more extreme than his comments regarding other authors - especially insiders - and it's now time to see if he's prepared to criticize his mates in the same way.'
For him to say, therefore, that I 'must recall' this incident in that context is bizarre. Not only did I mention it in my response but I wrote about it at length in 'Wescott Confidential' (here). It's also ludicrous for him to say that I 'latched' onto anything. What Barnett selectively omits from his summary is that I stood up for him and positively defended him from the accusation by Tom Wescott that he was only questioning him because he was 'jealous'. That's because I have integrity and will not stand by when someone - anyone (even if I don't like them) - is being falsely accused and abused by someone trying to deflect attention from their own failings.
In any event, Barnett has, of course, ignored the key point I was making, which, I will repeat, was that:
'The way he's gone after Rubenhold does seem to me to be far more extreme than his comments regarding other authors - especially insiders...'
I mentioned 'authors' plural. So yes, there is Wescott and some others (he mentions just Gray - an outsider - and Patterson as two other examples, claiming that he could go on, although it's strange that he doesn't, and he's reduced to referring to me, despite never identifying a single significant error that I've made!) but my point was that he didn't go after others in the same extreme way. I mean, just look at his 'pampered twat' comment about Rubenhold, a piece of abuse, incidentally, which allowed her to write on her Waterstones Blog that: 'A thread appeared on a forum site I belonged to which ripped me and my yet unpublished book apart in the most personal and grotesque way'. And, alas, in response, one can't now say that she's lying about that. One member, i.e. Gary Barnett, DID rip her in a most personal and grotesque way, thus letting down every single one of his fellow Ripperologists who posted in that thread but who managed to restrain themselves from using such highly abusive and insulting language.
The biggest irony of his post, however, is that he has used exactly the same language to describe my posts about Tom Wescott's book that Hallie Rubenhold used to describe Trevor Marriott's online posts and comments about her book. Thus she said that Trevor 'trolled me incessantly over the course of forty-eight hours'. According to Barnett, I 'trolled' Tom Wescott ad naseum about the mistake in his book. Barnett doesn't see the extreme irony in the fact that, not only was I asking Wescott the very same question that he (Barnett) was asking, but Barnett had been asking it before I even posted on the subject and continued to ask it after I had started posting! But I guess Barnett wasn't 'trolling' Tom Wescott whereas I was! Frankly, I asked Wescott a simple question which he refused to answer in any satisfactory way and I pressed him on it. How this can legitimately be described as 'trolling' I have no idea but we all know that an accusation of 'trolling' against an opponent, especially one who is legitimately pointing out errors and mistakes, is the last refuge of the online scoundrel. It's another example of the absurd methods and extreme language that Barnett uses in his online posts and he evidently can't seem to control himself.
Let's go back to what Barnett says in his post. For his third line of attack against me he wrote (as if to summarize my words), 'I only correct mistakes by Hallie R'. Again, this is a false summary. It's not something I actually said. He's cut down one of my sentences to change the meaning. Exactly the same type of redaction for which he criticizes Rubenhold. What I said was: 'I suppose it's only mistakes by Hallie Rubenhold that he feels it important to correct whereas those by Paul Begg can remain unchallenged and unmentioned.' As is clear from the entire sentence, this was purely as between Begg and Hallie in order to contrast that Begg gets away with it while Hallie is chastised. I wasn't saying that Barnett only corrects mistakes by Rubenhold but that when it comes to mistakes by Begg and mistakes by Rubenhold he only corrects those by Rubenhold. That is clear from the full sentence. My more general point was that it's the extreme way Barnett has responded to Hallie Rubenhold which is so objectionable, making it unsurprising that she draws attention to the fact that she is 'an outsider (and a woman)' . I'm speaking as someone who has been at the end of Barnett's thuggish abuse myself so I know his dreadful boorish behaviour is more complicated than that but one cannot blame Rubenhold for thinking that this is the reason she has been targeted in such an unpleasant way by him.
I mean, just look at the sanctimonious nonsense Barnett has posted about Rubenhold on the Waterstones Blog, criticizing her for.....making money from her book! Well, honestly. What does he think authors do? Is he going to criticize Paul Begg for having made money from HIS books on Jack the Ripper? Or any author Ripper author? Of course not. Here is what Barnett (in one of his FIFTY-NINE comment posts that I counted before many of them were deleted) posted on the Waterstones Blog on 5 February 2020:
'I was flabbergasted to see the name Jack the Ripper displayed 13 times in my local Waterstones in order to sell a book.
Presumably the proceeds are going to a woman's shelter or some other good cause?'
This is real humbug of the highest order. Why was Barnett, a Ripperologist and member of two Jack the Ripper forums, 'flabbergasted' to see the name Jack the Ripper 13 times in Waterstones? Why should Hallie give the proceeds of her book to a woman's shelter or other good cause? Surely this IS trolling by someone who is using false outrage as a weapon against a person he has taken a dislike to and is thus now being quite unfair and utterly horrible. Moreover, Barnett has made the same point repeatedly on JTR Forums, drawing attention to the fact that Rubenhold is making money from her book. Of course she is! That's how authors derive their income you idiot.
And, as I've asked in the past, where are all Barnett's posts about Simon Wood's barking mad theories which Wood has posted all over the internet as well as in his book? Simon Wood's book, which, like Hallie's book, contains serious criticisms of Ripperologists, costs money to purchase yet Barnett hasn't asked if Wood is giving his proceeds away to good causes. Nor, to the best of my knowledge, has he challenged him on anything in his book! Ironically, the day before he posted in response to me, Barnett, in a string of posts on JTR Forums, posted his response to Rubenhold's claim that the victims were not prostitutes which is the very same point that Simon Wood has been making for years. But where was Barnett when Wood was saying this online? Non-existent to my memory. I'll be saying a bit more about this in due course.
At the end of Barnett's post we see what a broken record he is, plundering his same useless technique of attempting to connect my comments about him to the issue of the Maybrick Diary, asking, 'Why would anyone buy a used 'one-off' from this genius'. Unfortunately for him, it follows on from his saying 'In one small paragraph his Multipersonlityship makes three points, all of which are bollocks'. But, as we've seen, those three points, which appear in 'Lord Orsam Says..' of 26 January 2020, were not bollocks at all. They were all substantiated and entirely correct points. Let's remind ourselves of them:
1. Barnett 'doesn't feel able to ask Begg if he (and Keith Skinner) made a mistake in the Scotland Yard Files regarding the resignation of Monro'. Verdict. 100% correct. Barnett has never asked this question of Begg. I'm confident he never well (the big coward!). That's why I drew attention to his cowardly silence.
2. Gary Barnett and Paul Begg are, according to Begg, supposed to be 'the two great seekers of truth'. Verdict. 100% correct. Paul Begg referred to those people 'like us', meaning him and Gary Barnett, who care about accuracy. Sure, Begg thinks there may be others but he only actually identified himself and Barnett. Those are the only two who are named as the seekers of truth, i.e. those who supposedly do care about accuracy.
3. I drew attention to the way Barnett is attacking Rubenhold compared to the way he responds to other authors, especially those who are his mates. Verdict 100% correct. On 24 November 2019, I asked about Begg and Barnett: 'Do they truly care about accuracy or do they only care about the inaccuracy of those people they don't like?...What about the accuracy of their mates? Will Gary Barnett step forward and challenge the accuracy of Paul Begg's book? Will Paul Begg finally admit that he got it wrong on this entire section? Stay tuned.' The answers, as we have discovered, are: No! and No! With his failure to even ask Begg the question about his mistakes in 'The Scotland Yard Files', let alone criticize him for those errors, we can see that I was correct to ask those questions and then to draw the conclusion I did from his silence. Barnett's defence, that he's also picked up errors in a small handful of other authors, is pathetic and comes nowhere near to explaining the extreme nature of his campaign against Rubenhold. And it doesn't explain his complete and utter silence to this day in respect of the errors of (for example) Paul Begg and Simon Wood.
As a result of my hat trick of correct postings, the correctness of 'one-off' article is evidently confirmed, despite Barnett's increasingly desperate attempts to undermine it by way of issues totally unrelated to 'one off' or even the Maybrick Diary!
11. THE 'MULTIPLE PERSONALITIES' OF LORD ORSAM
Now, there's one other thing I'd like to address about Barnett's post and that's his 'Mr Multiple Personality' label that he has started to apply to me. Frankly, I don't think I have a multiple personality. Nor do I. And neither do I.
No doubt Barnett will use that against me. And against me. And against me too.
But seriously, it does make me wonder if the guy actually has a sense of humour. It also makes me wonder that too (oh do shut up!). For I can only assume that he's taken the 'Multiple Personality' thing from the 'News Updates' on this site which he possibly doesn't understand. If so, there is a pattern emerging here. Remember the way he didn't understand my lighthearted attempt at identifying Joseph McCarthy as Jack the Ripper? Even after I explained the gag he still pressed on regardless, not even acknowledging that he understood the joke. Now, I don't want to descend to his level and, certainly, if he does suffer from a medical condition I don't want to make light of it or joke about it, but when I think about his obsessive interest in the most minor details of the Ripper case such as house numbers and street names it does make me think that he is the type of person who can only read texts literally and misses any humour that is hidden, or not so hidden, within. If that's the case then so be it, there's not much I can do, and I'm not going to explain the joke to him.
Finally, in respect of Barnett, I'd like to remind everyone how I confronted Simon Wood on the Casebook Forum over two days on 22 and 23 August 2017 regarding his claim that none of the victims were prostitutes. Like I say, it's the exact same claim made by Hallie Rubenhold that Gary Barnett now claims to find so objectionable.
Below is the exchange I had with Wood (with the now legendary Herlock Sholmes chipping in occasionally). To repeat the point, you will see that it deals with the exact same issues that Gary Barnett posted about in the Rubenhold thread on 4 February 2020 in the Rubenhold thread (#3007-#3011). Yet, where was Barnett on 22 and 23 August 2017? Well, interestingly, one thing to bear in mind when reading the below is that a mere two hours before I started posting on 22 August 2017, Gary Barnett himself had posted a couple of times in the thread (about access to Brown's Yard) in posts #80 and #82, yet he did NOT, at any point, challenge Simon Wood's claim that none of the victims were prostitutes. It's only now that Hallie Rubenhold has argued this exact same point that Barnett has suddenly taken an interested in demolishing it.
So here is what happened over those two days in August 2017 in the thread 'WHY BUCKS ROW?'. Wood posted three provocative posts as follows (which are followed by my responses):
SIMON WOOD #84
We have been told repeatedly that "all of the victims belong to this type," that they were a certain type of woman.
But it doesn't necessarily mean it's true.
SIMON WOOD #87
None of the police recognised any the C5 as known prostitutes [although Walter Dew claimed to have known Kelly].
And none of the C5 had rap sheets for soliciting.
Let's start there.
SIMON WOOD, #93
There is evidence that Annie Chapman was carried into the back yard of 29 Hanbury Street.
There is evidence that Elizabeth Stride, murdered in Dutfield's Yard, was not Elizabeth Gustaffsdotter from Sweden.
But if you want to cling [cuz it's easy] to the JtR/down on prostitutes trope, please be my guest.
LORD ORSAM, #97
If you are actually considering evidence now, what about the testimony of Amelia Farmer, who, unlike you, actually knew Chapman, and who said of her:
"...she was not very particular what she did to earn a living and at times used to remain out very late at night...the last five years she had been living an irregular life."
What do you think she meant by that?
SIMON WOOD, #98
Forgive a spot of self-publicity, but there is a section in the revised edition of my book which deals with the subject of Annie Chapman possibly being carried into the back yard of 29 Hanbury Street.
LORD ORSAM, #99
Originally posted by Simon Wood
There is evidence that Elizabeth Stride, murdered in Dutfield's Yard, was not Elizabeth Gustaffsdotter from Sweden.
But not sufficiently convincing evidence for you to include in your book?
LORD ORSAM, #101
In view of the evidence of her friend, Ameila Farmer, it doesn't matter for the purpose of this discussion exactly where Annie Chapman was murdered, for she was obviously a prostitute.
Also with regard to Chapman John Richardson said that he'd had cause to turn men and women out of the passageway in the past. This was obviously a regularly used haunt for prostitutes.
About MJK not being a prostitute:
Lizzie Albrook said, speaking of Kelly: "...and warned me against going on the streets as she had done."
Elizabeth Foster: "She was as nice a woman as one could find, and although she was an unfortunate,..."
Julia Venturney: "I have heard him (Barnett) say that he didn't like her going out on the streets."
I think we see a pattern here....
LORD ORSAM, #103
To which we can add the statement of Joseph Barnett: "I have lived with her altogether about 18 months...until last Tuesday week when in consequence of...her resorting to prostitution, I resolved on leaving her...She also told me that she had obtained her livelihood as a prostitute for some considerable time before I took her from the streets."
SIMON WOOD, #104
Pens down, boys and girls. Close your books. Pay attention.
Mr. Awesome is here to tell us what's what.
But it's becoming increasingly obvious that Mr. Awesome has not read my book.
LORD ORSAM, #106
I have now read all three versions of your book Simon.
If, rather than acting mysterious (as usual), you could reveal why you think it is becoming "increasingly obvious" that I haven't read your book, I'm sure I can easily put your mind at rest.
And I see that you have reverted to your childish habit of misspelling the second part of my username; a sure sign that you are rattled.
SIMON WOOD, #108
Because you would have found the section in my book which deals with Annie Chapman possibly having been carried into the back yard.
I don't recall Amelia Palmer telling the inquest that Annie Chapman was a prostitute. "She used to do crochet work, make antimacassars, and sell flowers."
Also, after careful consideration, I have deduced that I am spelling the second part of your username correctly, as was your intention.
LORD ORSAM, #111
Originally posted by Simon Wood
Because you would have found the section in my book which deals with Annie Chapman possibly having been carried into the back yard.
Yes, Simon, I'm perfectly aware of that section. Might I suggest that it is you who has not been reading my posts properly?
I haven't denied that you included this in your book. All I have said on the subject was this:
"In view of the evidence of her friend, Ameila Farmer, it doesn't matter for the purpose of this discussion exactly where Annie Chapman was murdered, for she was obviously a prostitute."
Back on the Sanatogen* wine this evening are we, Simon?
*A reference to a previous admission by Simon of an error caused by him drinking Sanatogen wine.
LORD ORSAM, #114
Originally posted by Simon Wood
I don't recall Amelia Palmer telling the inquest that Annie Chapman was a prostitute.
So perhaps, rather than ignoring my previous post, perhaps you can tell us what you think Ms Farmer meant when she said this about Chapman:
"...she was not very particular what she did to earn a living and at times used to remain out very late at night...the last five years she had been living an irregular life."
SIMON WOOD, #115
Amelia Palmer may well have been suggesting that Annie Chapman did late night cleaning.
LORD ORSAM, #116
Originally posted by Simon Wood
Amelia Palmer may well have been suggesting that Annie Chapman did late night cleaning.
Oh, ha ha!
Do you recall your use of the expression "sublimely ridiculous explanation" in your book?
I think you've demonstrated a far better example than the one you were referring to.
SIMON WOOD, #118
I do indeed.
And it was.
LORD ORSAM, #119
Now, here's a rather more complete version of Ms Farmer's inquest evidence than one finds in the Times.
From the Star of 10 September:
"I am afraid deceased used to earn her living partly on the streets. She was a very straightforward woman when she was sober, clever and industrious with her needle; but she could not take much drink without getting intoxicated. She had been living a very irregular life all the time I've known her."
Go on and explain that one away Simon.
SIMON WOOD, #121
You've really got the bit between your teeth.
Lots of people who earned their living on the streets were not prostitutes.
LORD ORSAM, #122
Are you being serious Simon? I mean, at night?
Here is the evidence of Farmer as reported in the London Evening Post:
"She did crochet work and made antimacassars for a living and also sold flowers. Witness was afraid she also went on the streets at night. In fact, deceased had told her she did".
I wonder why Farmer was "afraid" that she went on the streets at night.
You do know that going on the streets at night means prostitution don't you, Simon?
LORD ORSAM, #123
From the Daily News report of Farmer's testimony:
"The Coroner - Is it correct that she got money in the streets?
The Witness - I am afraid that she was not particular how she earned her living. She has told me that she was out late at night sometimes."
Asking if Chapman "got money in the streets" was the same as asking if Chapman was a prostitute.
SIMON WOOD, #124
Believe what you want to believe.
Why did the H Division police not recognise her as a local prostitute?
LORD ORSAM, #125
Originally posted by Simon Wood
Believe what you want to believe.
It's not a question of me believing anything Simon. Amelia Farmer testified that Chapman took to prostitution at night. That's just a fact.
Originally posted by Simon Wood
Why did the H Division police not recognise her as a local prostitute?
If you can show me some evidence that H Division police knew every single woman who worked as a prostitute within Whitechapel I will happily answer your question.
Did the police at the time keep extensive files on every prostitute? What if she'd never been arrested? Avoiding the police would have been a primary skill for a prostitute (and still is, for all I know that is )
SIMON WOOD, #128
Amelia Farmer did not testify that Chapman "took to prostitution at night."
That's your spin.
The police did not recognise any of the C5. Nor did they recognise them once they had their names.
LORD ORSAM, #130
Originally posted by Herlock Sholmes
Did the police at the time keep extensive files on every prostitute?
Certainly not. Even if some individual police officers would have recognised her from the streets that would have been of no use if they didn't know her name and I'm certainly not aware of the entire H Division trooping into the mortuary to take a look.
Originally posted by Herlock Sholmes
What if she'd never been arrested? Avoiding the police would have been a primary skill for a prostitute (and still is, for all I know that is )
Of course, you are absolutely right. Simon's big point is a complete non-point.
LORD ORSAM, #131
Originally posted by Simon Wood
Amelia Farmer did not testify that Chapman "took to prostitution at night."
Of course she did Simon. It was, of course, a delicate subject but it was perfectly clear. Let's look at it again shall we:
The Coroner - Is it correct that she got money in the streets? (i.e. Is it correct that she was a prostitute?)
The Witness - I am afraid that she was not particular how she earned her living. She has told me that she was out late at night sometimes." (i.e. I'm afraid she was and I know this because she told me.)
It's not even controversial!
LORD ORSAM, #133
Originally posted by Simon Wood
The police did not recognise any of the C5. Nor did they recognise them once they had their names.
This is such a bad point.
Did "The police", whatever you mean by that, all troop into the mortuary one by one to try and identify the bodies of these victims?
Identity was proved by someone who knew the deceased well. No-one asked every single police officer to visit the mortuary to see if they recognised any of these women from the streets. Such an effort would have been pointless in any case unless the officers also knew the real names of the women and could positively identify them by their real name.
Whether the women were prostitutes or not was not the main issue to be resolved in the investigation (and the answer could, in any event, be gleaned from people who knew them, as occurred).
So that was the exchange I (and Herlock) had with Simon Wood. Gary Barnett, the great seeker of truth about the Ripper murders, was nowhere to be seen. He did not contribute, he did not ask questions, he wasn't interested. Why not?
12. THE RETURN OF PIERRE
You might have noticed that one of Simon Wood's posts reproduced above was a response to the poster called 'Pierre'. How good to see him (or quite possibly her, but, for the sake of argument, let's say 'him') back online recently. After a brief attempt at sucking up to Rubenhold by offering to allow her to announce his suspect (an offer the great woman foolishly rejected), we saw him posting on the Waterstones Blog in February under the name 'Chris XPierre' in his usual incomprehensibly robotic fashion, albeit that most of his posts have now been deleted.
For a brief moment it was wonderful to see all those meaningless buzzwords again. The 'source criticism', the 'tendencies in sources' and the 'scientific tools' along with some brand new ones destined to reach classic status such as 'the herstories of the victims' and 'the normative history writing in society'. It's great to know that, 'When historical facts are established by ignoring sources, we have a lack of source criticism in the historical work'.
Even better is in knowing that Pierre's life work is now complete. That tantalizing last piece of evidence that he was seeking so hard during his time on the Forum has obviously now been found. For Pierre proudly boasted that, 'I am a historian who happened to find the killer called Jack the Ripper.' So from his famous declaration, 'I think I have found him', which left some room for doubt, he now, definitely, has found him. And it's all down to his rigorous and scientifically applied historical methods. 'History is my discipline' he says humbly, 'and it forces me to use the methods of history.'
Those very same methods of history, of course, once led Pierre to announce that the killer wrote a letter to the press, prior to the murder of the Kelly, in which he not only named Mary Kelly as his next victim but also identified the address of 13 Miller's Court as the location where the next murder would be committed. Sadly, I demolished this claim within 24 hours, something which angered Pierre so much that he accused me in a major rant of lying about it but he subsequently recanted and admitted he had got it all wrong. So much for his scientific historical methods.
Anyway, now that Pierre has finally found the killer called Jack the Ripper using the secret methods of history which are unavailable to non-historians, it can only be a matter of time before his book, which reveals all, is finally published and the non-historians can bow down before the supreme source of all knowledge and criticism.
BTW, for those who would like a little trip down memory lane, back in December 2016 I wrote an article entitled 'Last Christmas', about Pierre's Gogmagog 'discovery', which I was intending to publish for the benefit of the members of the Casebook Forum on 19 December of that year. At the last minute, I decided not to post a link to it - I think I was worried it would be in breach of the Forum rules to do so - and it's lingered unread and unloved all these years. While it essentially repeats most of the key posts verbatim, which can be read more easily in the original Casebook thread, it might as well get an airing now, so, for anyone interested, it can be found here.
13. BARNETT OWNED BY THE RUBENOLOGISTS
Returning to the intriguing psychological case study that is Gary Barnett; after the seventeenth of his fifty-nine comment posts in response to Hallie Rubenhold's Waterstones blog, showing he's not obsessed, much, someone called Krahe Flugel instantly owned him by posting:
'It seems noteworthy that an individual may be so bent out of shape and upset about a book that, rather than posting one frank commentary they may have on an article, they instead post a string of multiple whining complaints and posts trying to nitpick. Rather as if it was targeted upset that they can't let go. In which case, if something bothering an individual so bad that they can't seem to get over it (to the point they feel the need to insistently complain) stepping back and finding other things they might enjoy instead might help.'
Barnett didn't like it and responded:
'More personal insults aimed at anyone who is not an adoring fan of the The Five. No surprise there.'
Gary Barnett complaining about 'personal insults' is like Peter Sutcliffe, the Yorkshire Ripper, complaining about men having bad attitudes towards women. Gary Barnett IS Mr Personal Insult. He stupidly called Hallie Rubenhold a 'pampered twat' on JTR Forums. On the Casebook Forum, without any sanction, he flagrantly broke the rules and called me 'an insulting little twerp' (Incontrovertible thread, 10 May 2018, #4661). Over the past year, in the Lord Orsam blog thread, he's suggested that 'men in white coats' are on their way for me, called me a 'silly ass' and and a 'fruit loop' and we've seen that he's now plumping for 'Mr Multiple Personality'. In other words, he does exactly the same thing that he's complaining about the Rubenologists, throwing out personal insults as a way of avoiding answering difficult questions.
In doing so, of course, he presented an open goal to Rubenhold's small army of Twitter acolytes who posted a string of amusing messages about him on 14 February, some of which are reproduced below:
Marie – This guy sounds obsessed.
Cassie Newland – Gosh but Gary's been busy hasn't he!
Hidden History – Gary seems like a laugh and not at all odd…on behalf of all normal chaps I (Keiran) apologise for Gary.
Michael Faulkner – Can't say I'm surprised lol, it was bound to set them off as they have nothing else better to do.
Alexandra Wilson – I've just finished reading your book and thought it was superb. It's unbelievable that it should be receiving any kind of criticism, let alone this relentless trolling.
Jezebel101 – Oh Gary, what a walnut.
Lucy Jolin – Gary. Mate. Seriously. Have a day off.
Corbyburd – Looks like Gary has a bee in his Barnett [Copyright Lord Orsam, 2019]
Vicky Palmer – Is Gary just sad he didn't get a Valentine's balloon?
Deirdre O'Connell – Wow. Gary. Get a better hobby.
Em – Oh Gary. He needs to calm his tits and write his own bestseller.
Lua Speakman – Can someone give Gary a bit of attention? He is clearly desperate for some….
Jools Parker – Wow they're still at it? That's a very unhealthy obsession they have. Wonder what they're afraid of?
RobKemp1966 – Jeez this Gary Barnett has a right old wasp up him backside…'threatened masculinity'??????? Can't imagine how oppressive he must be to a (potential) female partner!!!
LostMarbleBuildingConservation - I wonder if he has this obsession with everything he doesn't agree with. I feel sorry for him.
brian M(arc). Watson - why is it always a gary
Rebecca Rideal - Gary needs to chill.
Greg Jenner - Is he...ok? Because, that's not healthy.
Sarah - Seems like the problem might be that @HallieRubenhold had the audacity to talk about Jack the Ripper while simultaneously not being Gary Barnett.
Johnny Mains - what an absolute bellend he is.
You can see Barnett here being accused of 'relentless trolling' , so perhaps he will now agree with me that such criticism is indeed the last refuge of the online scoundrel!
But the problem with Barnett's non-stop obsessive posting on the Waterstones comment blog is that it allowed the acolytes to make these types of comments, most of which are, of course, aimed directly at Gary Barnett who isn't deserving of any sympathy but some of which taint all Ripperologists with the same dirty Barnett brush.
The reason I've posted all these comments, however, is not to insult Gary Barnett, amusing a pastime though that is, but because they strike me as so similar to the types of things Gary himself likes to say about me without providing any justification or proper support, meaning that it's nothing more than a way to avoid dealing with the issues. An exercise in evasiveness in other words.
14. HAPLESS HAWLEY'S HOWLERS HALWAYS HAPPEN
So the great expert on E.T. Greaves is back on JTR Forums. After Howard Brown posted an extract from the Dublin Evening Telegraph of 22 November 1888 reproducing a piece from the New York World's London Correspondent which 'appears in the World of to-day', Mr Mike Hawley leapt forward, with his deep knowledge of Greaves' despatches, to say on 24 February 2020 (thread E.T. Greaves, London Correspondent on NYC and Whitechapel, #3):
'If this was sent to the NY World by ship then this story was before E. Tracy Greaves broke the Kumblety story'.
Well durr! There is no need to speculate. The despatch of E. Tracy Greaves reproduced in the Dublin Evening Telegraph actually appeared in the New York World on 30 October 1888, as I made clear in my own article 'The Euston Incident' which can be found here. So this story definitely was written long before E. Tracy Greaves broke the Kumblety story on 17 November. Yet Hawley obviously thought (wrongly) that it was first published on 22 November, having been sent over from England on a mail ship a week or so before that date.
Clearly, when the author of the letter to the Dublin Evening Telegraph, which enclosed the extract from the World, wrote of 'to-day' he was referring to 30 October 1888 and THAT letter was sent to the newspaper in Dublin by mail.
As I've always said: No Orsam, No Comment!
15. DEAD SHEEP SIMON
When I saw that Howard Brown had included, for the first time ever on JTR Forums, a link to a news update on this site which did no more than announce when I would be posting the next articles, I knew that I could expect some gratuitous abuse from some of the members of that forum, and so it proved.
First off the mark was none other than Simon Wood who posted the unoriginal, totally out of context and thus meaningless remark, that, 'My goodness, it's like being savaged by a dead sheep' (#164 in 'Lord Orsam Blog' thread). I don't recall Simon having commented on anything on my site for many years and I have no idea what article out of the many on this website prompted this sudden explosion of second-hand plagiarized abuse; Simon, naturally doesn't explain it
If Simon really wants some savaging, though, he can have it.
I would say that Wood's book must count as the worst book ever written on the subject of Jack the Ripper. In saying this, I do have in mind the works of Mike Hawley, Bruce Robinson and that weird anagram guy from the 90s (and, indeed, of Haillie Rubenhold, although I have yet to read it) but Wood's book must be considered as worse even that these dreadful pieces of literature. Why? Well it's not just the bungling incompetence of the author. It's not just the basic errors, misunderstandings and misuse of sources. It's not just the shoddy research. It's not just the barking mad conspiracy theories that he's fallen in love with. Its not just the fact that he bottled any explanation of what happened with the Nichols murder, despite his knowing online posts about a conspiracy involving the first police officers on the scene, and it's not just the way he treats his readers with contempt by pretending that he knows secret squirrel stuff about the murder of Mary Jane Kelly which he unfortunately cannot share with those readers who paid good money to buy his book because people's lives could be in danger or something (although the sad truth, needless to say, is that there is nothing to tell). And it's not just the baffling incoherence of the writing. No, the reason why Simon Wood's book must be considered the worst book ever written about Jack the Ripper is because the author doesn't even understand his own argument!! He just doesn't know what he is trying to say and what he wants to conclude about the Whitechapel murders of 1888. He takes nearly six hundred pages to basically tell us that 'Jack the Ripper' was the nickname of a perceived serial killer, not the actual name of the murderer. Yes, seriously. It's that bad.
Before setting out on that six hundred page journey you'd think he would have asked himself the question about what he believed actually happened in 1888. But, no, that would have been too helpful both to himself and to his readers. So it's hundreds of pages filled with transcripts of random, miscellaneous and often unexplained newspaper cuttings with the odd sarcastic comment thrown in about how a journalist must have got something wrong when writing about the Ripper case (shock horror!) which mistake obviously means there was a police conspiracy, or was it a cover-up? Who knows? Wood certainly doesn't.
His book has now been through three iterations and remains so poorly constructed and lacking in meaning or direction that I couldn't even advise Simon how to rescue it for a new edition. It's just hopeless. This is despite him, incidentally, having included material taken without attribution or acknowledgment from my own research. While I truly don't care about him doing that, it shows the measure of the man that he should do it.
Members of the JTR and Censorship Forums will be familiar with the way Wood speaks in tongues about every aspect of the Ripper case, posting short cryptic 'puzzles' which require his readers to spend their time deciphering, but which cannot be deciphered because they are meaningless. Genuine enquiries are not met with answers but with obfuscation. When cornered, he resorts to insults and childish name calling.
I'm sure we've all seen the photograph of Simon sitting at a table with some of the good old boys of Ripperology. He is one of them, an insider, a senior Ripperologist, or at least he was before he 'saw the light' and had his blinding revelation that everything that he had read, and everything that he had been told about the case was a lie, the whole thing being a big plot related to something or other which he is still yet to work out but possibly to do with Ireland and Parnell, or not as the case may be. He'll get back to you on that one, or perhaps he won't.
The one big mystery of modern Ripperology remains the question of why I seem to be the only one who is prepared to publicly challenge Simon's nonsense. Gary Barnett goes on and on, and probably will go on and on until the end of time, about the errors in Hallie Rubenhold's book but I've never seen a squeak from him about Simon Wood's book. Why does he ignore it? Why does he give him a free pass? The same question can be addressed of the many others who have commented at length about Rubenhold's book but not about Wood's. Is it because no-one has bothered to read that massive tome, or is it that people are too scared to confront Wood? Perhaps they fear that the same thing will happen to them as happened to me when I confronted Mike Hawley on the now infamous thread on the Censorship Forum. Some authors, it seems, are more equal than others.
Now I don't know if Simon will regard this savaging as being comparable to the savaging of a living animal of suitable ferocity to keep him happy but I'm certainly prepared to have another go at it if he doesn't think it's savage enough. Because my contempt for his daft and useless book really has no limits.
However, in truth, the real savaging is in the careful and methodical way that I take apart every single significant element of his argument (to the extent that it can be dignified with such a description) in my two articles about his book on this website. These articles back up everything I am saying here in great detail. If you haven't yet read them, and can put some time aside to do it, I very much recommend it (especially if you've wasted your time reading Simon's ludicrous book). These articles are:
I doubt that Wood appreciates the irony but in a recent post on the Censorship Forum (thread 'Senior Investigators - Inside Knowledge, #8), he referred to an article in the Toronto Daily Mail of 12 December 1888, in which the impression was given that Inspector Andrews had said that only one of the bodies of the Whitechapel victims was badly mutilated, as adding to 'the mounting pile of BS characterizing the Whitechapel murders'. But, of course, that is all Wood's book has achieved. It has added to the mounting pile of BS characterizing the Whitechapel murders. He must be very proud.
16. GARY THE CLANGER
And yes, of course, Gary Barnett couldn't resist an attack on the way I write my notifications of forthcoming articles. Yes, you read that right. He attacked the way I write my notifications of forthcoming articles!!!
I create those notifications so that people don't have to keep repeatedly checking the news page every day for the next update. This is why, at the first available opportunity, I give the date when I'll next be publishing articles on this site. Just a little public service on my part, to which there is the addition of a little bit of humour, which one can take or leave as they choose. But Mr Barnett, who may nor may not understand them, calls these notifications 'pathetic'. He doesn't think they are very funny. Makes you wonder why he keeps coming back here like an addict on crack.
His next attack on me was to claim that 'everything he does seems to be to prove he is cleverer than everyone else in the field'. Well now, if I had a penny for every time I'd read someone posting this, I would definitely have quite a few pence to spend, probably on some cheap sweets.
I've said it before, and might as well say again, that I have no need, or desire, to prove that I am cleverer that everyone else in the field, or indeed anyone at all. Gary Barnett is no psychologist and he, like all others who have said exactly the same thing, doesn't understand me at all. But I'm most surprised to hear it from Barnett because, in essence, it's no different from what Tom Wescott accused Barnett himself of. It will be recalled that Wescott claimed that Barnett's posts about the London Hospital admissions document that Wescott had misread when he wrote his book was because he (Barnett) was jealous of Wescott. This type of cheap amateur psychology was absurd and, hey, I actually stepped forward and said so at the time.
I'm sure Barnett posted about Wescott's error because he had noticed the error and being a member of an online website he naturally decided to post about that error.
Barnett's comment is actually stupid. There's no other word for it. One might as well say that Paul Begg writes critical reviews of books in Ripperologist because he wants to show that he's cleverer than all the authors he is reviewing. You might as well say it about every single person who posts something online about Jack the Ripper (or any other subject). Not a single person is forced to post anything online. So why do they do it? I think it would just be silly to say that everyone does so to show how clever they are.
I'm not currently in a position where I am a member of an online Ripper forum due to the outrageous censorship policy of the Casebook forum which prohibits questioning of published authors, so I am, for the moment, confined to making observations on this website. But the reason I first started publishing articles here (and anyone is welcome to search the archives to check this out) is because I was told on the Censorship Forum by some posters that Inspector Walter Andrews travelled to the United States in 1888 to investigate Tumblety and, at the same time, was told by others that he did so to investigate Irish terrorism in relation to the Parnell Commission inquiry. Not knowing very much at all about the purpose of Inspector Andrews' journey, and out of pure curiosity, I decided to do my own research on the subject. What I discovered was that his journey had nothing whatsoever to do with either Tumblety or Parnell. The explanation for this this would have comprised a very long post on the Censorship Forum, or a long series of posts, so, having this website, I decided to use it to set out my findings in what I called as 'The Suckered! Trilogy'. This was published five years ago and I can safely say that none of those findings have ever been challenged. For that reason I assume that they have become universally accepted. As far as I'm concerned, that was a contribution on my part to history and had nothing to do with me showing how clever I am. [Update 22.03.20: Ironically, on the very day of publication of this article, I read a nonsensical article by the hopeless Michael Hawley in Ripperologist 166, attempting to challenge my findings! I will be responding to that in due course but the extraordinary flaws of his convoluted article should be perfectly obvious to anyone who has read the articles on this website about Inspector Andrews' visit to Canada - if not, I will certainly be demonstrating them.]
Other articles have followed as I've extended my research into other subjects, many of which are not too far from the issues raised by the original Tumblety/Parnell debate. I entered the field of the Maybrick debate rather by accident. Having seen a poster claim that the contents of Mike Barrett's January 1995 affidavit had been disproved, I was curious as to how this had been done, especially in respect of what Barrett had said about purchasing the scrapbook at an auction. I vividly remember that the first typically unhelpful response I received was to go and find out myself. So I started to investigate. Frankly, I never expected to resolve what seemed to me such a complicated mystery but I am now entirely certain in my own mind that the Diary cannot have been created in 1888 which was the only thing that I ever wanted to establish, just to be sure that we hadn't really discovered the proof of the Ripper's identity. I can safely say that the Diary does not do this.
Anyway, I digress somewhat. The thing that I really wanted to pick up on was Barnett's comment that, while I may, indeed, be cleverer than everyone else in the field (very kind of him) 'he's far from perfect...' - here I interject to ask 'Who is?' (answer ME!!!, ha ha!) - '...and drops some real clangers sometimes'. Now, it's the clangers that I'm very interested in. What clangers is he talking about? Because, strangely, he doesn't identify them and, to my knowledge, he never has. I don't think I've dropped any clangers on this website so, if he really and genuinely thinks I have, one would have thought that he has to state what they are.
But as I don't think I've dropped any clangers that would explain why he's not done so!
It's not for want of trying to find them. Barnett has obviously scoured the articles on this website desperately trying to find mistakes so that he can try and bring me down a peg or two. Readers of this site will well know that, in his attempt to do so, he dropped a huge clanger of his own by treating my joke discovery of the identity of Jack the Ripper as perfectly serious. Readers of JTR Forums will surely recall him posting in multiple threads about how my so-called 'suspect' was unlikely to have been the murderer. He really did think I was putting forward Joseph McCarthy as a suspect, despite me clearly flagging the article as a joke and despite the obvious giveaways within the article that it wasn't a serious suggestion. Yet, you can search high and low but you won't find him admitting to his clanger.
And this is what I've discovered about Mr Barnett. He can happily dish it out to others, such as Rubenhold, expecting her to correct her own errors, but he seems to be incapable of correcting his own mistakes when pointed out by others. In continuing to persevere with his failed and pointless attack on my McCarthy theory, he claimed that the Habitual Criminals Register which featured McCarthy was 'an annual compilation of 'normal' weekly registers produced when prisoners were released from prison'. As I explained in the fourth instalment of 'Lord Orsam Says...' this was incorrect. Barnett's response was nothing other than complete silence. It seems that, in a debate, he is unable to acknowledge his own clangers but apparently sees clangers on this site which don't actually exist!
And who can forget Barnett's claim that he wasn't aware of my research on the use of alternative names which I disproved in the second instalment of 'Lord Orsam Says...' by producing a JTR Forums post, to which he had responded, which actually mentioned my name in connection with this this research! His response to that one. Yes, you guessed it. Embarrassed silence.
Oh how Gary Barnett must wish he could find some clangers on here. But he can't, so he invents them!
Why does Mr Clanger have this bee in his Barnett about me? Frankly I've no idea. I suspect that I must once or twice made him look stupid on the Casebook Forum many years ago and he's never been able to get over it. I know for a fact that he must have spent hours and hours searching newspaper archives to locate a nineteenth century example of 'one off' to mean something unique but simply failed to find a single one. When I mentioned this on Casebook it seemed to annoy him greatly. He went on to describe me, in breach of the rules, as 'an insulting little twerp' which just about summarizes his level of debate on an adult forum.
Talking of which...
17. TREVOR GETS IT RIGHT (wow!)
It never fails to amuse me when I read the responses to articles on this site how full they are of personal attacks on me, on my personality, my motives, my sense of humour, my state of mental health, my writing style (too long, too boring) etc. and how lacking they are in any substantial response to ANYTHING I say on here. Time and again I check the reactions, wondering if THIS TIME someone will decide to discuss, in a sensible way, any of the issues I've raised...and time and again no-one does it. In my mind, I'm perfectly satisfied that the reason these people resort to silly insults and abuse is because there are no chinks or cracks in my arguments to even allow them to begin a line of attack. My articles (if I say so myself) are well argued, well researched and invariably correct. There's nothing for the haters to say in response so they remain silent, like mice (although even mice squeak occasionally).
And I've gotta tell you, I'm not the only one to notice this. People do (genuinely) email me, making exactly the same point, wondering why no-one ever seems to respond to my articles while at the same time giving the impression that they don't agree with them (or think I'm mad or whatever the line of abuse is on that particular day). Certainly, I would expect in an adult academic field for an opponent to say "I disagree with Lord Orsam on such and such because..." or "Lord Orsam is wrong on such and such because..." . Yet you can search for days and you will be hard pressed to find sentences with that sort of construction anywhere online and certainly not on JTR Forums. Equally, I would expect any opponent to state where they actually agree with me in order to make it clear for the neutral reader where the points of dispute lie. I have no problem with rhetoric in between this (sarcasm, humour etc. is all fine as far as I'm concerned, as long as the issues are being properly addressed) but the sarcasm without the explanation as to what's behind it is ridiculous.
Frankly, for the most part, I have literally no idea what most people who comment online about my articles actually think about them!
And here's the thing. Even Trevor Marriott has noticed this!!! Yes, even Trevor Marriott! Now, with the greatest of disrespect to him, when we find ourselves in a situation where Trevor Marriott is the person who has seen that something is wrong, and becomes the voice of reason in an online thread, then the game really is up. For in fairness to him, and all joking aside, he did say something absolutely bang on correct and, indeed, perceptive, when he wrote (#170):
'If what Lord Orsam has published can be proved wrong then those that don't accept it have the chance to respond accordingly instead of posting snide remarks, which doesn't do them any justice and only goes to show that he has hit a nerve or two.'
He was talking there about my posts on the Maybrick Diary but they equally apply to everything I've written. The playground-type snide responses are just not good enough. What is the substance of the opposition, if opposition exists?
I would expect everyone who visits this site to be thoughtful, fair minded and intellectually curious. If you don't regard these descriptions as applying to you then, frankly, you have no purpose being here. Goodbye.
I know for a fact that everyone who visits here knows how to properly debate an argument with someone. Because when it suits them, and when they think they've got a good case, or a good point, they demonstrate it! Goodness, when it comes to debating with Hallie Rubenhold, no-one seems to have a problem with constructing an argument and explaining precisely, and in detail, where she has gone wrong in the face of her obvious evasiveness and distraction techniques, including insults and spin. But when it comes to me, those same critics of Rubenhold seem to turn into her!!! Using her exact same tactics - discarding the normally accepted methods of debate and either ignoring, evading or abusing. It's incredible. And it's been going on for years and years.
Believe me, from the correspondence I receive, it HAS been noticed. People, like Trevor (who is not one of those who have emailed me in private) don't understand it and are baffled by it. Consequently, the people who post those snide remarks, as Trevor describes them, are just making complete tits of themselves when it comes to influencing public opinion.
If someone disagrees with any of the articles on this site they need to put up or shut up. Coming up with 'clever' but utterly childish remarks in response to a mere announcement of an update on this site does not strike me as the adult way to discuss any topic and is the very opposite of the academic atmosphere of debate and serious discussion about a historic murder case.
18. TREVOR GETS IT WRONG (back to normal)
A shame that, having been so perceptive, Trevor then goes and gets it all wrong big time. For he concluded his post by saying of me:
'I have clashed with him big time several years ago on Tumblety but on that occasion I was right and he was wrong!'
Sadly, Trevor has had a bit of a memory lapse there. In his Ripperologist article, 'Doctor at Sea' (Rip 127), Trevor claimed that Tumblety wasn't eligible for any form of bail until his committal hearing on 14 November 1888 and thus could not have been 'Jack the Ripper' because he must have been in prison on 9 November 1888.
In my online debate with him, and then subsequently in my Ripperologist article, 'Tumblety Jail Break!' (Rip 144), as qualified and augmented by my article on this website, Tumblety Bail Revisited, I demonstrated quite conclusively that Trevor was totally wrong about this and that Tumblety certainly could have been offered bail at his remand hearing on 7 November, thus potentially being free to murder Mary Jane Kelly on 9 November.
In doing so, I demonstrated:
1. That Trevor had simply misunderstood a key sentence in a textbook by Cecil George Douglas which led him, quite wrongly, to think that there was no right to bail for a prisoner accused of a misdemeanour offence until after committal for trial.
2. That Trevor was wrong to say that a foreigner wouldn't have been granted bail by a magistrate in 1888.
3. That Trevor had misunderstood the way the Central Criminal Court Calendar worked in respect of recording bail for those granted bail at both remand and committal hearings.
4. That Trevor was unaware that bail could be administered by a prison governor.
All these errors on Trevor's part which were featured and corrected in my article and in my online posts proved without a doubt that Tumblety COULD have been bailed on 7 November 1888 and COULD have been at liberty on 9 November 1888. Trevor failed totally in his stated aim to prove that Tumblety was definitely in prison at the time.
How Trevor thinks that this shows that he was right and I was wrong I have no idea.
And perhaps Trevor has forgotten the very last exchange we had on the Censorship Forum in April 2016 when he completely misunderstood Archbold's book on criminal law, thinking that Archbold was saying that all defendants who applied for an adjournment of a trial would have to remain in custody when, in fact, Archbold was referring to cases of felony only, not misdemeanour. As a result of this failure of comprehension, Trevor believed it was the Prosecution who made the application for an adjournment of the trial in Tumblety's case but I proved that it was, in fact, the Defence. It's all in this thread here, starting with Trevor's post at #21 (which, as usual, he typed partly in the quote box) and my first response at #40.
Perhaps Trevor will take the opportunity to refresh his memory and then perhaps he can tell us (a) whether it was possible for Tumblety to have been released on bail on 7 November 1888 and (b) whether it was Tumblety's barrister who applied for the adjournment to Tumblety's trial (giving his reasons if he disagrees with what I have said about these two subjects).
19. THE HORSE THAT NEVER RAN
Some people are just not concentrating.
Caroline Morris posted this in the Lord Orsam Blog thread (#173):
'Lord Orsam's horse must be called Rank Outsider. Anyone who puts forward the theory that Anne Barrett penned the diary for her husband, over 11 days [because she is secretly a masochist and ambidextrous, or has a multiple personality disorder] and then immediately let him loose with it in London, to show her handiwork to God knows whom, and claim it was written more than a century previously, is either having a laugh or is completely out of any better ideas.'
As usual, the only way she can try to undermine my argument is to misrepresent it. I've never said that Anne Barrett was "secretly a masochist" nor have I said that she had a "multiple personality disorder". People who were actually paying attention to my articles will clearly recall that I demonstrated that it's Caroline Morris and Keith Skinner who believe that Mike Barrett accused his wife of having a multiple personality disorder - but that is based on a misunderstanding of what Barrett actually said.
What I did say is that Anne Barrett might have attempted to disguise her handwriting, and that she might have achieved this by writing with her "other" hand if she was ambidextrous. There's absolutely nothing outrageous or ludicrous about suggesting that someone might be ambidextrous. Hundreds of thousands of people are in the UK, and there's no way of knowing who is and who isn't, unless they tell you. She could well have been ambidextrous. There is certainly no evidence that she was not. But if she wasn't then she could still have disguised her handwriting.
The rest of Ms Morris' post with this "let him loose" stuff is ridiculous. What I am suggesting is that Anne might have assisted her husband in writing out the text of the Diary in the scrapbook in a slightly disguised hand. This would have been easily achieved, with time to spare, within 11 days from a pre-prepared text. The concept that Anne "then immediately let him loose" is utterly ridiculous. Why does Ms Morris think that it was within Anne's control as to what her husband was going to do with the Diary? How could she have stopped him showing her "handiwork" to whoever he wanted, if she did it at his request and direction?
Ms Morris doesn't seem to appreciate that the whole point of creating a forged text purporting to have been written a century earlier is to show it to others as if it were genuine and to benefit financially from it. If we follow her logic to its natural conclusion, then no forger would ever trust or allow anyone else to try and market a document they have forged as genuine. Or is there supposed to be something special about Anne and Mike Barrett in this regard? Is Anne supposed to have been such a master criminal that she would only allow other master criminals to market her product to the outside word, of which Mike was not one?
Caroline Morris' attitude towards Anne and Mike is both weird and unrealistic. I mean, for chrissake, Anne MARRIED Mike Barrett. He was her HUSBAND!!! He was the FATHER OF THEIR CHILD!! Why should she not have trusted him to market the Diary? They weren't perfect strangers brought together for a one-off criminal enterprise. They were already entangled. As far as I can see, Mike was a pretty good conman. On Caroline Morris' own account of the origins of the Diary, Mike managed to con Doreen Montgomery in a single telephone call on 9 March 1992 into believing that he'd had the Diary in his possession for ages, that he'd been researching it, that it had affected the life of his family, etc. All this Caroline Morris would tell us is a lie. Yet Mike evidently convinced Doreen that he was in possession of something of value and, as a result, she was keen to see it. Mike contacted a reputable literary agent. He managed to arrange a meeting with a reputable literary agent. He managed to convince a reputable literary agent that he had a genuine Diary in his possession. He was clearly not useless. He was clearly not incompetent. So why should Anne have had any problem with her husband doing what he did best? i.e. conning people.
To Trevor Marriott, Caroline Morris confirms that she believes the Diary "was a hoax". But she evidently believes it was a brilliant hoax which the brilliant hoaxer never decided to use to hoax anyone! That's one weird kind of a hoax. Apparently, instead of hoaxing anyone, the hoaxer inexplicably decided to place it under some floorboards in the house of the very person in whose name the hoax was being perpetrated where it would have vanished forever had there been a fire, or the house demolished. Anyone who puts forward a theory of this nature is either having a laugh or delusional. It's not even a rank outsider. It's a complete non-starter.
20. CARRY ME AWAY
Caroline's response to R.J. Palmer's post at #174 of the Lord Orsam Blog is a masterpiece in evasion.
She quotes RJ as asking her to explain why Anne's documented behaviour is less crazy and more consistent with the notion that it had been discovered in Battlecrease by Eddie Lyons as opposed to Mike Barrett having created it. In that quote she reproduces the examples of Anne's documented behaviour given by RJ as being:
1. Accompanying Mike to London.
2. Signing the book deal.
3. Meeting with Feldman in Moat House.
4. Coming up with the new provenance story.
5. Going on Radio Merseyside.
So the mission for Caroline Morris was to explain this behaviour by Anne Barrett in the context of Mike having obtained the Diary from Eddie Lyons.
It may be regarded as somewhat amazing, therefore, that Ms Morris mentions not a single one of those five things in her answer!!! The closest we get is the statement that:'As the months went by, and no news was good news, she may have relaxed into the role Mike thrust upon her, of a wife who had supported him all the way...'. So that might explain 1 and 2 but what about 4 and 5? (we can ignore 3 for these purposes, which might be complicated). Where is the explanation for Anne coming up with the new provenance story and going on Radio Merseyside to tell it? That's a bit inconvenient for Ms Morris so she ignores it.
And it's obvious why. It means that from supposedly being a pure innocent, knowing literally nothing about the Diary other than what Mike had told her, she suddenly became a crafty, devious liar who was able to fabricate a very clever and hard to disprove story, with the assistance of her dying father, about the origins of the Diary and tell that story on local radio without any shame or even hesitation.
It. Just. Does. Not. Work.
And here's another one for Ms Morris to get to grips with. There is documentary record, provided by Keith Skinner, that Doreen Montgomery spoke to Anne Barrett on 21 April 1992, when Anne expressly told Doreen that she had asked Mike to safely place the Diary in a bank because there had been a couple of burglaries in Goldie Street and Anne was also frightened of the Diary being destroyed in a fire. This, remember, was the Diary that Anne supposedly wanted to burn herself!!! Does Anne's DOCUMENTED behaviour here sound like someone who wanted nothing to do with the Diary and was 'letting [Mike] get on with it'? No, it bloody doesn't. To me, it sounds like someone totally protective of the Diary, almost like it was her baby or something. Fancy that!
So, anyway, instead of a direct answer to R.J.'s question we got the usual rampant speculation and wild ramblings about what was in the minds of Anne and Mike. And I loved this one in particular:
'Despite Anne's attempt at humour, when asking Mike a year later "Did you nick it?", I doubt she really thought he had done so.'
Wow! That's a new one on me. Her asking her husband if he had stolen the Diary in front of Ripperologist witnesses was a JOKE now was it????? And it's great that Caroline Morris, with her amazingly perceptive insights into human behaviour, can tell us that she doubts Anne really did think Mike had stolen it. Well, of course, if Anne had been responsible for writing the bleeding thing she knew full well that Mike hadn't stolen it. She was just creating a diversion to draw attention away from the truth wasn't she?
We also find Ms Morris saying this:
'Mike was also consistently rubbish at telling a straight story from that first phone call to Rupert Crew - with the one notable exception being his robust denials whenever it was suggested that the diary had been appropriated from Paul Dodd.'
As I mentioned in the fifth installment of 'Lord Orsam Says...', these 'robust denials' are a figment of Caroline Morris' imagination. Mike once, in 1993, supposedly said to Paul Feldman that, 'The diary never came from the house', which isn't particularly robust, it's just a denial, but that was it. It suits Caroline Morris' fictional version of events to say that Mike was consistent in robustly denying that the Diary came from Battlecrease, but there were no such consistent and robust denials from Mike Barrett. She has imagined them!! Not that it would help her because the obvious truth is that the Diary never did come from the house!
The only other thing from Caroline Morris' long post that I would like to comment on is her daft remark that the notion that Mike Barrett was involved in forging the Diary can't be the simplest and most direct answer due to 'The fact we are still here, working on and discussing our various theories.' [At this point she dates her own theory to 1992, when she claims Mike received the Diary from Eddie, which is her way of avoiding the issue of WHEN the Diary was created it, WHO created it and FOR WHAT PURPOSE, as to which key questions she seems to have no answers]. But if the fact that people are still discussing something means that the most simple answer is not the correct one then you might as well say that the earth isn't round because people are still discussing that it might be flat. Mad people, yes, but people nevertheless. On another level, it's like saying that Oswald definitely didn't shoot JFK on his own because people are still discussing the assassination. And I suppose the converse is true. It wasn't a conspiracy either because people are still discussing it. If people are still discussing something then a simple answer just can't be right because why else would people like Caroline Morris still be discussing it?
I don't think I need to answer that but I'll just respond to the outrageously deceptive claim by Caroline Morris that if the Diary had been jointly created in 1992 by Mike and Anne Barrett, 'I should have expected it to fall at the first hurdle and been shot'. The fact of the matter is that the Diary DID fall at the first hurdle. While Diary Defenders like to whitewash it out of history in the most Stalinist of fashions, the Diary was exposed as a fake by the first person to actually examine it, the professional document examiner Dr David Baxendale. His report from July 1992, less then three months after the Diary was brought to London, was the first hurdle. The Diary stumbled and fell. It should have been put down there and then. But the fantasy adventurers of Harrison, Smith, Feldman and now Morris continue to try and carry this lame horse towards the finish line a million miles away in the distance. But they simply cannot get it over the ditch called 'one off instance'.
21. MAY CONTAIN NUTS
I see that my old friend Michael W. Richards has started a conspiracy thread on the Censorship Forum called 'Senior Investigators - Inside Knowledge' in which he wonders if the varied range of opinions offered by the 'Senior Investigators' on the case means that they all knew the true identity of the Ripper and 'co-operatively and deliberately kept it from the press' (#1), with their differing views being 'an indication that the stories were intentionally misleading' (#14).
It's a very good point and when you think about all the different views as to the Ripper's identity expressed by Ripperologists and members of the Censorship Forum itself, it does make you wonder doesn't it, whether these Ripperologists and members of the Censorship Forum all know the truth, and if there is not a huge conspiracy to mislead the rest of us? Because, when you think about it, so much information is available to researchers now, including a vast amount of information in the Home Office files, and stuff that only came to light after 1888 which wasn't available to the senior investigators at the time, yet, with all this information at their disposal, Ripperologists and members of the Censorship Forum can't seem to agree on who the murderer was. I mean, we've had Druitt, Kosminski, Tumblety, Sickert, Lechmere, Cutbush, Chapman, Maybrick and others. It's not possible that people can have different opinions based on the same facts is it? They must know the Ripper's true identity but are all hiding it from us.
One only needs to look at modern murder investigations where every police officer investigating every murder has the same opinion as to who has committed the crime. There are never different opinions within murder squads and, as we know, the police never charge the wrong person for murder.
As usual, with his clear thinking and rational deductive methods, Michael Richards has seen straight through the cloud of dust created by those senior investigating officers expressing their different opinions as to who Jack the Ripper was. It's just so obvious that the fact that they expressed these different opinions meant that they all knew who the real murderer was but let him or her get away scot free because they didn't care about their individual reputations or the reputation of the police force as a whole.
Sure, I suppose they could have made the conspiracy a little better by all falsely identifying the same person but, honestly, where's the fun in that? It was obviously far more enjoyable to choose different individuals and spread chaos in the minds of the general public. It really doesn't matter that some opinions, like Monro's, were expressed privately and others, like Anderson's, were not publicly expressed until more than 20 years after the period of the murders. Because honestly that period of 20 years was entirely unimportant wasn't it? You might think that 1888-1890 would have been the time to spread disinformation but you'd be totally wrong. Anderson had his eye firmly on the Ripperologist community debates long after he was dead. A cunning man that Robert Anderson, and very far thinking. And how could Abberline possibly ever have thought in 1903, fifteen years later, that the poisoner Chapman was the murderer? Murderers never ever change their modus operandi do they? The very fact that Abberline could say such a thing virtually proves that he was covering up the truth and intentionally misleading the public.
Then, according to Mr Richards, we've got 'Warrens short list of suspects' (#1). Remind me of who is on that list again. I don't remember having seen any such list but I'm sure that's my failure of memory, not Richards inventing it. Apparently General Millen was on his list (#15) but it's remarkable that Richards never quotes from the list or, indeed, anything that Warren actually said about the identity of the murderer. There is no doubt in my mind, however, that Sir Charles should have ignored all protocol, and all that nonsense about the legal process, fair trials etc. and simply just told the press who he believed the murderer was. That's how murder investigations normally work isn't it?
Having initially avoided any mention of Macnaghten, I'm glad to see Richards including him in #15 as one of the'Senior Investigators', despite him not actually being employed in an investigative position when he joined the force as Assistant Chief Constable in June 1889 and, of course, it was perfectly right for Richards not to mention that Macnaghten included Kosminski on his list of three suspects in 1894, which happened to be the Polish Jew also identified by Anderson per Swanson, so that just makes the whole conspiracy even more devilish! How cunning of Macnaghten to refer to Anderson's suspect in his 1894 memo but then favour another suspect. It shows beyond any reasonable evidence that there was funny business going on here.
Also glad to see that Littlechild gets a mention as one of the 'Senior Investigators' (#5) despite being head of Special Branch at the time but I'm sure he was investigating the murders too along with the other detectives at Scotland Yard who were officially assigned to do the job as well as the Assistant Chief Constable. His mention of Tumblety in a private letter to George Sims 25 years after 1888 which wasn't publicly known about until it was discovered in 1993, more than 100 years after the murders ceased, shows very clearly how crafty Littlechild was. These Scotland Yard guys really knew how to play the long game, sowing confusion and disarray many years after they had died.
It just needs a bit more pushing by Michael Richards and this whole damn conspiracy is going to get blown wide open. I for one cannot wait.
22. THE SPECIAL BRANCH RECORDS
Having got nowhere with the conspiracy angle regarding the different suspects, the conspiracy thread moved on to discussing the (now destroyed) Special Branch records discovered by Lindsay Clutterbuck nearly twenty years ago, and referenced in his thesis of June 2002 submitted to the University of Portsmouth entitled "The Evolution of Counter Terrorism Methodology in the Metropolitan Police from 1829 to 1901, With Particular Reference to the Influence of Extreme Irish Nationalist Activity" .
The records in question consisted of three volumes of ledgers entitled "Special Account" which recorded a large number of relatively small cash payments made between 1888 and 1912 and a large register entitled "Chief Constable's CID Register: Special Branch" recording the location of a substantial quantity of now lost miscellaneous information from the period 1888 and 1892.
The National Archives, it may be noted, concluded that neither the Ledgers nor the Register were worthy of being included in the National Archives.
It was the First Tier Tribunal of the General Regulatory Chamber which, having listened to Trevor Marriott's arguments, decided that the records should not be made public in unredacted form. The Tribunal explained that:
'We have inspected both the Ledgers and the Register, in unredacted form, and have concluded that many of the entries in the Ledgers may well record payments made to police informants, each of whom is identified by a single word name, and that a considerable number of the Register entries also relate to the activities of police informants, some of whom are identified by name.".
The reason for the decision of the Tribunal was that it was felt that modern day informants would be deterred from assisting the Metropolitan Police if they perceived a risk of their identities being disclosed at any time in the future. This had already been the response to a Freedom of Information request by author Alex Butterworth who was told by the Information Commissioner that there was an overriding if not exceptional public interest in supporting the longstanding policy that informants can be assured that their names and identities will not be disclosed even after they die. Hence Butterworth was only allowed access to the records in redacted form. Trevor Marriott also saw the records in redacted form. His view was that the entries provided 'very little information' in this state (Casebook post, 06.12.10).
On 1 November 2010 the Information Commissioner agreed in a Decision Notice that the Metropolitan Police was not obliged to disclose the records in unredacted form.
By this stage, Trevor Marriott had been trying to get access to to the unredacted records for about 18 months. He, no doubt, had big dreams of publishing a major book with loads of new names from the register, some of which (but only a few) were connected, probably tenuously, with the Jack the Ripper case.
Marriott appealed the Information Commissioner's decision to the First Tier Tribunal.
On 6 December 2010, Marriott posted on the Casebook Censorship Forum to say:
'I have known of the existence of these ledgers for the past 12 months I know where they are and i have viewed copies of the ledgers.'
He informed the Casebook members that he was appealing the Information Commissioner's Decision and said to the members of the forum:
'In the mean time I would ask that everyone be patient and leave me to deal with this.'
Leave Trevor Marriott to deal with this complicated legal situation so that he can publish his own book about the records. That was the message coming from the great man himself. The star detective, researcher, author, advocate and legal genius.
Not surprisingly, disaster ensued. Who did Marriott produce as his star witness at the Tribunal hearing? None other than the man he described as his 'co-researcher', Simon Wood. Yes, THAT Simon Wood!! Author of arguably the worst ever book written about Jack the Ripper! See above. A man whose book is literally littered with errors throughout. This was the person on whom Trevor Marriott relied as an expert witness to persuade the Tribunal to reverse the decision of the Information Commissioner. Did he succeed? Did he buggery? Of course he didn't.
Of all the people you would have wanted fighting on behalf of the Ripperology community to have historic records released, Trevor Marriott and Simon Wood were, I think it is fair to say, not those two people.
The Tribunal strongly criticized the witness statement prepared by Trevor Marriott for the proceedings which, it said, was 'pure argument, rather than factual evidence'. So there was the first problem there. Marriott didn't understand the purpose of a witness statement. It's not for a witness to argue a case, it's to present evidence to a tribunal.
Simon Wood described himself as 'an historian and researcher' in his own witness statement. An historian!!! Why did he think he was entitled to describe himself as such I wonder. The Tribunal suggested that 'the comprehensiveness and reliability' of Wood's evidence (which was to the effect that it was impossible to trace the descendants of the individuals named in the registers) was open to question. His conclusion as set out in his statement was wholly rejected by the Tribunal.
Oh, and guess who else was produced as a star witness by Marriott and Wood? None other than Mr Phil Carter. Ahem. Enough said.
Contrary to what Simon Wood claimed in his evidence, the Tribunal was unanimous in concluding in July 2011 that, 'there is a risk that informant identities may be established from the publication of an unredacted version of the Ledgers and the Register and that it is not impossible that their descendants might also be traced.' The Tribunal also agreed that informants would have a strong desire to protect their family and personal reputation well beyond their lifetime. Marriott therefore lost his appeal.
Frankly, it's highly unlikely that there was any explosive or even highly significant information in the unredacted records. Not only had they been seen by Lindsay Clutterbuck but they were also viewed by a researcher in 2005 called Felicity Lowde who photographed some of the pages and published them on her website in an apparent breach of a confidentiality undertaking. It was probably this action which caused so much opposition from the Metropolitan Police to any further release of the unredacted files to researchers.
The kind of information that was available in the register was only a very brief description of then available files rather than the files themselves. They would have provided only the smallest clues that would, on their own, in most, if not all cases, have led nowhere.
The idea that there was any sensational information in the files is a conspiracy theorist fantasy. Yes, the files were destroyed but this was in line with Met Police retention policy, on 6 January 2014, after two years had passed since the last request to view them. No serious researcher can be pleased with historic files being destroyed but we have to live with it without turning into crazy conspiracy theorists.
In his 2013 book, 'Jack the Ripper - The Secret Police Files', Trevor Marriott states that, with the destruction of the files, we may 'perhaps' have lost 'the real identity of The Whitechapel Murderer'. This is, of course, just a load of nonsense. The idea that the real identity of the Whitechapel Murderer was to be found in the Special Branch register is not just highly unlikely in the extreme but also somewhat ridiculous. Not only that, but the suggestion is entirely inconsistent with Trevor Marriott's own post on the Casebook Forum of 1 November 2018 in which he stated that, 'Lindsay Clutterbuck read them all when preparing his University thesis, and had there been any major ripper revelations he would surely have mentioned them in that thesis' (Thread, 'The Secret Special Branch Ledgers', #339).
So, yes, some records were destroyed but, no, this was not the result of a conspiracy to prevent us from knowing the identity of Jack the Ripper or to cover up anything whatsoever to do with the Whitechapel murders.
23. MRS MALCOLM
Bored with the issues of the different suspects and the Special Branch records which impressed no-one worth impressing, Michael Richards then introduced more nonsense into his thread with the claim that, 'The time dedicated to Mary Malcolm is astonishing when one considers that the men running the inquest already knew she was wrong and they knew the true identity of the victim'(#27). The only thing astonishing here is that Michael Richards could actually write and then post that sentence on a public forum as if he actually thought it made sense.
Let's examine that sentence piece by piece.
1. The time dedicated to Mary Malcolm is astonishing
Richards doesn't tell us how much time was, in fact, dedicated to Mrs Malcolm at the inquest into the death of Elizabeth Stride nor does he tell us how much time should have been dedicated to her. Mrs Malcolm came to the inquest on 2 October 1888 to give her evidence that she believed that the body of the woman murdered in Dutfield's Yard was that of her sister Elizabeth Watts. Had the coroner not taken her evidence, we would no doubt have been told by the same Michael Richards that this was another conspiracy in progress.
There were only three witnesses who gave evidence at the inquest on 2 October: PC Lamb, Mrs Malcolm and Dr Blackwell. We have no idea if any other witnesses were available that day, or if the inquest adjourned early because there were no other witnesses waiting, so that we equally have no idea if the amount of time allocated to Mrs Malcolm, who was, naturally, closely questioned about her evidence, can be regarded as of any significance or held up any other business of the inquest.
2. the men running the inquest
The inquest was run by one man, the coroner Wynne Baxter.
3. knew the true identity of the victim
How does Michael Richards think that Wynne Baxter, who was not personally acquainted with the victim, knew her true identity on the morning 2 October 1888, two days after her murder? As at that date, there had not yet been a single witness who had given evidence at the inquest as to the identity of the victim. The first witness to do so, other than Mary Malcolm, was Elizabeth Tanner on 3 October who said she had seen the body at the mortuary and recognized her as a woman she knew as 'Long Liz'. The fact that the identity of Long Liz had NOT been established by this stage can be clearly seen in the fact that Elizabeth Tanner was asked by the coroner: 'Do you know if she had a sister living in Red Lion-square?' Red Lion Square was where Mary Malcolm lived. It must be perfectly obvious to anyone reading this, therefore, that the victim's identity had not yet been satisfactorily established.
Following Elizabeth Tanner's evidence on 3 October, three other witnesses followed her to give evidence that same day about the identity of the victim, including Michael Kidney who confirmed that she was known as Elizabeth Stride. This was all, of course, after Mary Malcolm's evidence. It wasn't until 23 October that Mary Malcolm's sister, Elizabeth Stokes, came forward to say she was still alive. In his summing up, the coroner said this to the jury (underlining added):
'The first difficulty which presented itself was the identification of the deceased. That was not an unimportant matter. Their [i.e. the jury's] trouble was principally occasioned by Mrs. Malcolm, who after some hesitation, and after having had two further opportunities of viewing the body, positively swore that the deceased was her sister - Mrs. Elizabeth Watts, of Bath. It had since been clearly proved that she was mistaken, notwithstanding the visions which were simultaneously vouchsafed at the hour of her death to her and her husband. If her evidence is correct, there were points of resemblance between the deceased and Elizabeth Watts which almost reminded one of the Comedy of Errors. Both had been courted by policemen; they both bore the same Christian name, and were of the same age; both lived with sailors; both at one time kept coffee-houses at Poplar; both were nick-named "Long Liz;" both were said to have had children in charge of husbands' friends; both were given to drink; both lived in East-end common lodging houses; both had been charged at the Thames police-court; both had escaped punishment on the ground that they were subject to epileptic fits, although the friends of both were certain that this was a fraud; both had lost their front teeth, and both had been leading very questionable lives. Whatever might be the true explanation of this marvellous similarity, it appeared to be pretty satisfactorily proved that the deceased was Elizabeth Stride...'
Anyone who reads that and thinks that it was a simple matter for the coroner to have been certain as early as 2 October that the victim was definitely not the sister of Mary Malcolm needs looking at. And, as I highlighted, the coroner clearly stated that it was only proved that the victim was not Mary Malcolm's sister after Mary Malcolm had given her evidence.
Then there is a string of questions from Michael Richards which reveal he doesn't understand how inquests were conducted, for example asking why James Brown was allowed to 'establish a possible Stride sighting at 12.45' as if the Coroner should instinctively have known that his sighting was a false one, despite Brown swearing in his testimony that, 'I am almost certain it was the deceased.' Brown's evidence was dealt with in some detail by the coroner in his summing up, which is the way that inquests work. You hear the evidence. It's not a case of letting a witness establish anything. That's not what witnesses do. It's for the coroner to sum up the facts and the jury to decide a verdict.
So it's piffle piled upon piffle with no substance whatsoever.
Just another day on the Censorship Forum.
22 March 2020