The key word since my last update is 'silence'.
There's been silence from Keith Skinner. He still hasn't produced the Barretts' transcript of the Diary nor has he answered the question as to why Mike Barrett attempted to acquire a Victorian Diary with blank pages in 1992. Why not?
Gary Barnett has also been completely silent regarding the issues raised in the last 'Lord Orsam Says...' after his claim about not having responded to one of my posts on Fortress Forums in July 2017 was exposed as false. It was amusing, therefore, to read his criticism of Drew Gray as having stuck his fingers in his ears and 'give it la-la-la when issues were raised' (Rubenhold thread, JTR Forums, #2725). Barnett knows all about la-la-la'ing. He further criticized Drew for choosing not to engage; the very same thing he has chosen not to do when I have criticized him for his own misrepresentations of the facts.
In the same post, he also wants us to believe that 'Insiders' get 'just as much stick' as outsiders if 'they put forward theories which play fast and loose with the facts'. When someone can provide me to a link in which Barnett spends even a fraction of the time giving insider Simon Wood stick for playing fast and loose with the facts as he does when it comes to Hallie Rubenhold I might start to believe it. 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 had originally drafted something about the silence on JTR Forums regarding this website but then Howard emailed me out of the blue to invite me for a second time to join JTR Forums. As I said to him in my reply, I appreciate the offer and the sentiment but am just too ridiculously busy at the moment to get sucked into endless online debates. But, as he has mentioned on his site, he has agreed to keep the offer open and I'm sure that one day I will request to join (ideally with "Lord Orsam" as my username?? - and I do hope Howard will agree to that) so that will be fun for everyone won't it?
Then we have silence from Jonathan Menges. Readers will no doubt remember how quick he was to respond to my 'From Commissioner to Asterisk' article, to deny something I hadn't even accused him of doing, while ignoring the actual charge that he had complained about me and/or the Tumblety thread to his close friend, the Admin of Casebook. Then, when I drew attention to his non-denial denial in 'A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum', he was as fast as lightning to claim that he didn't report me to Admin while saying that he had already told me this (in a private email). But since I've revealed that he actually did tell me that he HAD effectively reported the thread to Ally Ryder he's gone very quiet on the subject.
What he has said, however, inappropriately off-topic in a thread on JTR Forums about Ripperologist 165 (#14), is that he thinks I've become someone he'd rather not be around when I 'peddle in conspiracy theories' in which I am supposedly 'seeing imaginary enemies' hiding my cupboards. This stonewalling shows he's been reading my articles on this site but is now deliberately ignoring the specific points I've been making about his behaviour. If he thinks I'm peddling a false conspiracy theory (which is, presumably, what he means, as opposed to a true one), why doesn't he publicly clarify whether or not he reported the Tumblety thread in May 2018 to Ally Ryder by way of any form of communication with her about that thread?
Well let's not mess about. I know he did write to her. So why doesn't he reveal what he said? In his role as Plagiarist Finder-General on JTR Forums he seeks the truth from Rick Cobb about his recent publication. That's fine, and creditable. The truth is good. So why not be open and honest about what he said to the Administrator of Casebook about me in May 2018? Let's get to the bottom of this subject, Jonathan. At the very least, why doesn't he state that he is happy for me to reveal what he told me in his email to me earlier this year??? That would be eye-opening. But he continually refuses to give me permission to reveal it.
What I am trying to establish are the facts about the circumstances which led to my departure from the Casebook Forum. If Jonathan Menges thinks that I've misinterpreted the facts, let him post the actual facts. I don't peddle in false conspiracy theories. I'm trying to get to the bottom of a perplexing mystery about why I was forced to resign my membership of Casebook. What I know for a fact is that there are circumstances that have not been publicly revealed and I challenge Mr Menges to either reveal those circumstances himself or allow me to do so. Then we'll discover if I'm seeing 'imaginary enemies' or not.
But, like I've said in an email to Jonathan Menges, I have nothing against him personally and don't hold any form of grudge and do not regard him as an enemy. I just want to know what happened behind the scenes which led to Ally Ryder falsely accusing me in a public 'ruling' of harassing Michael Hawley. If he views this issue in terms of friends and enemies then he is getting it wrong and it is HIM who is the one imagining an enemy.
I repeat so that there is no doubt: what I want from him is the truth about what he did in May 2018. Why is he so reluctant to reveal that truth? Is he ashamed of what he did? If not, perhaps he could explain what he did, just like he obviously wanted Rick Cobb to explain his plagiarism. Surely that's how it needs to work. There should be full transparency. I'd like to know what he said to Ally Ryder and why he said it.
In all my time as a member of Casebook I didn't report a single thread, either by pressing the report button or sending a PM to Ally Ryder. But I'm sure that if I was ever going to report a thread it would have been one involving an issue that concerned me personally. As a mere mortal I don't have Ally Ryder's email address and I assume that Jonathan Menges reported the thread by way of email. But what business was it of his what happened in that thread? Why did he feel the need to get involved? What was so problematic that it needed to be mentioned to the Administrator of the thread? Come on Jonathan. You seem to want the truth from others. Can we have the truth from you?
In the absence of any kind of response from Mr Menges, to whom I have given every opportunity of putting forward his version of events, I believe I am at liberty to draw my own conclusions from his silence which I will be doing later in this article.
While Mr Menges has so far been silent about his involvement in the closure of the Tumblety thread in May 2018, that's not to say he's remained silent on other topics. I'll return to this because I first want to respond to some other comments made in the 'Ripperologist 165' thread on JTR Forums.
I need to correct some shockingly false statements made about me by Edward Stow.
In post #26 of the Rip 165 thread, Stow says this about me:
'I once - some time ago - sent him a friendly note (I forget whether it was an email or a private message on a forum) which he didn't reply to, but he did loftily announce on some thread or another that he didn't engage in correspondence or private discussions!'
None of this is true. I can only assume that it is Stow's memory which has let him down rather than any deliberate attempt to post misinformation about me.
Fortunately I do have a good memory and (backed up by the actual communications) I know exactly what he is talking about.
What actually happened is that, in February 2015, Ed Stow sent me a Facebook Friend Request. Now, I do have a Facebook page in the name of "David Orsam" (something which, in my mind, at the time, surprisingly enough, had no connection with my Casebook user name). I set this up some time before I joined Casebook when I wanted to contact people in connection with my Spandau Ballet book in order to request interviews with certain former New Romantics from the 1980s whose contact details I didn't have. Such a thing was possible back then although this facility has since been withdrawn. But I don't use Facebook for its normal purpose and never have done. Rather than ignore Ed Stow's friend request, which I thought would have been a bit rude, I sent him a PM via Casebook to explain the position to him. This is the text of the actual PM sent to him (to his username of "Lechmere") on 9 February 2015 following receipt of his invitation to become his Facebook friend:
Thank you for your Facebook invitation; for a moment I couldn't work out how you found me before realising that I use the same name on there as on here! (They are, in fact, the only two places that I am "David Orsam".) That Facebook page, however, is not operational and I only set it up to be able to message people who I've never met but wanted to speak to in connection with my next book (which is not about crime). I don't use it otherwise and I don't have any "friends" on it or post any information. So adding me as a friend would be pointless I'm afraid. Thanks for the invite though - although given the nature of some of my exchanges with Christer I am a tad surprised you even wanted me! Nevertheless, I am looking forward to reading the book...
I received a short and abrupt response from Ed Stow the following day as follows:
Your name popped up on Facebook as 'someone I might know'!
That was it! That was literally all he said in response to my friendly PM. No hello, no thanks for the explanation, no goodbye. My response on the same day was:
Oh okay, shame neither of you are posting any more as it is a lot quieter than usual without discussions of Charles Cross but I'm sure your lives are much better away from it all!
Here, incidentally, is a screen shot showing Ed Stow's actual Friend Request on my Facebook page (with the names of the only other two people who have ever done this redacted):
I have, in other words, never failed to reply to any communication received from Ed Stow, or anyone else in the world of Ripperology for that matter. Everyone who has contacted me and provided a working email address has received a reply.
We can see, therefore, that Ed's claim that he contacted me and I failed to reply is so far from the truth as to be on another planet. He sent me an invite to be his Facebook Friend (almost by accident, it transpires), I sent him a PM, he sent me a PM, I sent him another PM and that is what happened.
And if that's not enough, he's obviously forgotten that he sent me a further (quite long) PM on 7 July 2015 about Tumblety, of all subjects. I replied to him by PM, at about the same length, in a friendly manner, the same day. I still have those PMs which I downloaded and saved before I resigned from Casebook.
The other piece of mis-remembering by Ed Stow is the claim that I ever loftily announced that I don't engage in correspondence or private discussions. Anyone who has ever emailed me will know that this isn't true! What I think Ed Stow is mis-remembering is that I believe I once said on Casebook that I don't wish to engage in ARGUMENTS or DEBATES in private correspondence but would prefer to have such arguments in public, out in the open, on the forum.
A third error in his post is that he says that the Lechmere theory 'is what brought him [i.e. me] into the field'. This isn't true. It's certainly true that watching the Lechmere documentary spurred me to join Casebook in 2014 but I had already been a member of Casebook in about 1999, when I made a few posts, before there was some kind of catastrophic failure of the website and all posts and memberships were lost (and I didn't bother to rejoin). My own interest in the case was, in fact, sparked way back in the 1980s when I borrowed 'The Ripper Files' by Jones and Lloyd from a cousin (who actually then said I could keep the book) and I subsequently got quite hooked on the subject after reading Stephen Knight's 'Final Solution', a book I actually greatly enjoyed while nevertheless thinking that it was probably all nonsense. I then bought most Ripper books and magazines I could get my hands on to try and establish the facts relating to the murders. I'm still trying!
So, three glaring factual errors from Ed Stow in one short post. That doesn't bode well for any book on Lechmere, if he's still planning one.
I suppose I should also respond (briefly!) to Ed's criticism that I am 'long-winded'. This is obviously his opinion which he is entitled to. I don't happen to think it's true -and I suspect Ed is confusing writing long articles with being long-winded, but I will say that brevity is very easy when you are writing about a subject with inaccurate or false facts. Ed's forum post, for example, would have been far more accurate if he had bothered to cite the evidence in support of his claims (and, had he actually done so, he would have realized that his claims were false!) but that post would inevitably have been longer.
On a website where I have unlimited space, I prefer to deal with topics in full, in great detail, with evidence, even at the risk of boring those with short attention spans. This is largely because experience has taught me that if I don't deal with (and attempt to anticipate) every point about a subject someone will inevitably make a response on a false basis, so I prefer to deal with everything in one go if possible. But good luck to Mr Stow with his book on Lechmere in which we will presumably be told that there are at least a hundred examples in existence of Charles Cross calling himself or signing his name 'Lechmere' (as Fisherman always falsely claims). Perhaps Stow won't bother to set out all 100 examples in the book for fear of being thought long-winded!
Now I suppose I have to deal with the highly unpleasant posts of Lars a.k.a. Mr Poster (#21, #24 AND #27).
You know, it never fails to both amaze and amuse me how many people are obsessed with me and want to constantly discuss me, rather than anything I have actually written. What's so sad is that in a thread on JTR Forums about the current edition of Ripperologist, in which I have an article published, this person thought it was appropriate to launch a personal assault on me, or more accurately yet ANOTHER personal assault on me on JTR Forums, rather than discuss either my article or anything else contained within Ripperologist 165. It's quite shocking really and, I thought, both disrespectful and an insult to Adam Wood and the Ripperologist team, not to mention every other member of JTR Forums who opened the thread expecting to read something about Rip 165.
Mr Poster is someone who seems to like saying as loud as possible that I am BANNED from Casebook when the truth, as everyone knows, is that I resigned from that Forum. I wasn't banned (despite the blatant post facto attempt by the Administrator to spread misinformation about my departure).
Just to make good on that point, even though everyone knows this by now. The last communication I received from the Casebook Admin was one in which I was expressly told by her that I was free to continue posting on the Forum. As my complaint about Casebook had been ignored, however, and because I felt it was impossible for me to continue as a member of Casebook in the circumstances, I requested termination of my membership of Casebook, which is what happened. While some people might prefer me to have been banned, that's not what in fact happened and to say that it did is nothing more than re-writing history.
As I've said previously, the hypocrisy from this 'Mr Poster' person is astonishing bearing in mind that, as he has admitted, he actually WAS banned from Casebook!!! And he tells us that he was banned from Casebook due to his abusive postings. Surprise, surprise.
So that was basically fiction from Mr Poster who continues to write about a fictional character when he says (in #24):
'The haranguing, the pointless, endless posts achieving nothing but self congratulatory puffery, the pleas to admin with accusations of trolling and bullying, the bouncing between websites as replies are made on certain websites to avoid annoying admins, the nasty name calling, the interminable accusations, harrassment, the pointlessly long winded posts couched in smug language and assurances that everyone else is stupid, etc'.
Well I say it's fictional because it certainly doesn't describe me but, hmmmmnnnnn, perhaps it is based on a real person after all.
Now, I'm no psychiatrist but seems to me that he is projecting onto me the dark aspects of his own personality. I mean, this stuff seems to apply entirely to him rather than me.
I must say that I literally have no idea what he means when he accuses me of 'bouncing between websites as replies are made on certain websites to avoid annoying admins'. What on earth is he talking about? It certainly isn't true, whatever nonsense he has in his head. The only admin I've ever been subjected to in the Ripper world is the one on Casebook. So how can I possibly have ever bounced between websites to avoid annoying admins? It's kind of crazy for him to be saying this.
Equally I can't work out what he is even thinking of when he refers to my supposed 'pleas to admin with accusations of trolling and bullying'. I've only ever had one conversation with an Admin, being the Admin of Casebook, in August 2018, and I've set out that exchange in full in 'From Commissioner to Asterisk'. Nowhere in that exchange did I mention trolling or bullying and nowhere did I even plead with Admin about anything. So how has Mr Poster imagined this? Did he dream it?
And the 'nasty name calling'. Where does one find this? Where are all the examples? Surely the very opposite is true and what I believe really annoys people like Mr Poster is that I focus on the facts WITHOUT resorting to nasty name calling (cf. Mr Poster himself), even when others choose to resort to it themselves. If Mr Poster thinks I have resorted to nasty name calling he should be providing some examples.
Let's take the rest of those barmy allegations shall we:
'Endless posts achieving nothing but self congratulatory puffery'. I'd like to see some examples of this 'self-congratulatory puffery'. I'm sure he must be delusional because they don't exist.
'the interminable accusations' - What accusations in particular is he referring to? Does he mean my single accusation against the Admin of Casebook? If that's so, it's perfectly justified and I've justified it at some length elsewhere on this website. No-one has ever responded to that article to say that her comments about me in relation to my posts in the Tumblety thread had any basis in reality or were fair comments.
'harassment' - That must be a joke!
'the pointlessly long winded posts couched in smug language and assurances that everyone else is stupid, etc' - Just like anyone else, Mr Poster doesn't need to visit this website and read what he calls my 'long winded posts' although they are not 'posts' because this is not an online forum. But he still keeps coming back here. If he thinks I've been saying that 'everyone else is stupid' he needs to provide an example of me doing it. But I'm quite sure I've never said this.
'And a thoroughly nasty piece of work judging by his drawn out bile spitting and name calling.' - Without examples provided of 'bile spitting' and 'name calling' I can only assume this is projection by Mr Poster who, at the very same time as accusing me of 'name calling', calls me 'a nasty piece of work' which is itself a nasty thing to say and supports my belief that he is really talking about himself here.
'As we know however, he cannot. He still rants on about the absolute scandal of his having been well and truly banned from another site! Get over it for Christs sake.' Not having been banned from any sites, either 'well and truly' or in any form, I don't need to get over anything. What I've been trying to establish - because I can't seem to get answers to my questions - is why Jonathan Menges reported the Tumblety thread to Ally Ryder in the first place (and what he told her when he did so) and why Ally Ryder reacted in the strange and irrational way that she did. Mind you, I have no idea what it's got to do with Mr Poster or what business it is of his what I say on this website. If I want to rant about 'absolute scandals' on this website then that's what I will do. He doesn't have to visit here, just like he didn't have to purchase my Spandau Ballet book, but he clearly just can't keep away!
Then this is from his #21:
'odd, vaguely malevolent behaviour he indulges in' - Now surely that is a perfect description of his own posts in #24, #27 and #21, no? Someone tell me I'm wrong. I didn't think so.
This is from #27:
'Its a pity then that his "no nonsense" approach happens to be filled with long, overly flowery diversions that only exist so he can make fun of other, named, people and call them all sorts of names and so and so forth while massaging his own ego (and massaging parts of yourself to feel good has another name which I wont use here)' - So, while criticizing me for supposedly calling unidentified people 'all sorts of names', of which no examples are provided, this person is literally here calling me a wanker! Hence we see a classic example of projection whereby, under cover of claiming that I call people names, this person does the very thing he is criticizing me for and calls me a vulgar name himself. It's a tactic of which I believe the copyright is owned by Gary Barnett who once did exactly the same utterly hypocritical thing on Casebook.
Then we have:
'I find it difficult to see his no nonsense approach given that most of his points are couched in such a way that it becomes obvious that his primary objective is ranting at other people. Presumably to make himself feel better or something. - I've never mentioned having a 'no nonsense approach' so Mr Poster has here simply invented something about me that I'm supposed to have said about myself which he then claims to find difficult to see!!! He then attributes to me a desire to make me feel better about myself by 'ranting at other people' while at the very same time being engaged in an extended rant about me over three separate posts!!! And this is in addition to the various rants he's already posted about me on JTR Forums! You really couldn't make this kind of thing up.
'If he had such an approach, his nonsense wouldn't have gotten him into the doo doo it got him into.' The 'doo doo' - I assume he is referring to is a ruling made by Admin Casebook, since deleted, which I have discussed and criticized at length on 'From Commissioner To Asterisk', an article which Mr Poster has quite clearly read so he knows what that incident was all about (although he pretends not to). It was about challenging false information which had been published in books about Jack the Ripper and Francis Tumblety, as was my perfect right as a member of Casebook under the rules. There was absolutely nothing in wrong in what I did in that Tumblety thread (cf. the appalling behaviour of Michael Hawley) but if he thinks there was something wrong, the proper way to deal with it is to respond to my detailed article on the subject with actual facts and arguments. But, of course, actually engaging and getting to grips with real and serious points is not something that this Mr Poster ever seems to want to attempt.
'If theres one thing we surely have had enough of in ripper world, its over inflated cranks waxing lyrical at everyones expense and insisting on their own greatness.' - Mr Poster is again either talking about a fictional character here, or about himself. As for me, I am certain I have never insisted on my own greatness (perhaps he confuses me with President Trump) nor have I waxed lyrical at other people's expense. It's just extraordinary how so many people attribute to me motivations and aspirations which I simply don't possess. All I do and all I have ever done is respond to arguments and debate topics, in a perfectly reasonable way, backed up where possible with research and fact checking. That's it. What is emerging from Mr Poster is really coming directly from his own psyche as to what he believes that means and why someone would do it.
The final thing he said about me is the most objectionable and something that really should not have been said in public by any properly balanced adult individual. This is when he said in #21 that, if I joined JTR Forums, 'it really should give HR something to get her teeth into when painting us all as lunatics.'. Calling me a 'lunatic' on JTR Forums can, in itself, only be harmful to Ripperology and, if she was sharp (which she probably isn't), could potentially have given Hallie Rubenstein something to get her teeth into.
It's all a bit ironic bearing in mind that earlier this year (in the 'David Orsam Blog' thread) the same Mr Poster was openly saying that I should write a response to Rubenstein's book!!! Thus, he posted on 11 June, 'Pity he didn't do something interesting and "review and critique" a certain feminist historians recent work...' Hallie Rubenstein is clearly another of his obsessions along with me and the Maybrick Diary.
Further irony can be found in some recent comments by Mr Poster in response to a slanging match on JTR Forums regarding Rick Cobb's recent book. To that, Mr Poster said ('Who was Jack the Ripper? (H Division 2019), #249), 'Ive really got to take a break from this website', adding, 'It's a cesspit at times and not a place one wants to be really.' Says the creator of his own cesspit. Mr Kettle can I introduce you to Mr Pot? How about a mirror for you to take a look at yourself? The hypocrisy involved in someone criticizing others for posting personal abuse while happy to post personal abuse themselves is so patently obvious here that it needs no further comment from me.
We may also note that Mr Poster said in the same thread (#247) 'Sometimes I think Rubenholds dim opinion of the collective is not far off the mark' and it's not clear if he was referring to the childish slanging match in that thread or his own posts about me in the thread which was supposed to be about Ripperologist 165. He concluded that post by saying 'I despair sometimes' and there I do agree with him.
The other irony of the situation, of course, is that Mr Poster is someone who obsessively believes, without any real evidence, that the Diary purporting to be by James Maybrick confessing that he was Jack the Ripper is either genuine or was genuinely written in the nineteenth century. Frankly, if Hallie Rubenstein knew what she was doing, she'd be using this madness (shared by many other members of JTR Forums I'm sad to say) to paint Ripperologists as a bunch of complete loons who themselves ignore historical evidence which strongly points towards the Diary being a modern hoax concocted with the assistance of Mike Barrett.
The fact of the matter is that what is really behind Mr Poster's various diatribes about me is the Maybrick Diary. I'm guessing he can't stand the way that I've set out clearly and comprehensively the case for the Diary having been created in 1992 when, for reasons which remain unexplained, he seems to really really really want it to have been created some hundred years earlier than this. We've already seen how excited Mr Poster got when he thought someone had found an example of 'one off' from 1882. And, of course, as I've commented elsewhere, his latest nonsensical idea is that the phrase in question might not be 'one off' at all but 'off instance' so that the Diary author was speaking of a single off-instance. And, yes, he really did seem to offer up that argument with a straight face. But truly, if that isn't lunacy derived from irrational obsession then what is?
When I made a post on Casebook about Rod McNeil's Ion Migration test, Mr Poster was very fast to respond (over on JTR Forums, naturally, what with him being banned from Casebook). I then responded to his post, point by point, taking it apart in my article 'Response To A Twit' which can be found here; the "Twit" being how he describes himself in his JTR Forums profile, I hasten to add. I assume that Mr Poster read this response at the time but he never responded to it. Not a word. Which shows how dedicated he is to proper debate. But perhaps he felt he had been made to look a fool and has been fuming about it all these years. I really don't know.
What I do know is that the online arguments that I've read by Mr Poster have not been impressive and his criticisms of me are ridiculous and borne out of personal animosity. His criticisms are clearly driven by his dislike of my views about the Maybrick Diary and, as a Diary Defender, his natural instinct is obviously to smear and insult me personally rather than engage in grown up discussions in any kind of serious way.
As I've mentioned, Mr Menges hasn't been entirely silent over the past few weeks. On the contrary, there was a very interesting intervention by him in my 'Acquiring a Victorian Diary' thread on casebook at #1932, responding to a claim that Diary Defenders will never believe that Barrett forged it. This is what he said:
'I don’t know who you would categorize as “Diary defenders” but those ripper researchers and other concerned parties who were there and involved in the preliminary investigations, spending time with and interviewing Mike and Anne for hours and hours, who say that they don’t believe either one of them were capable of forging the Diary, have always left the door open for any evidence that proves otherwise. On this very thread it has been stated that if certain proof is obtainable it would be game-set-match. Your sweeping generalizations of those who are skeptical that Barrett created it, but are nevertheless still researching the Diary’s origins says more about you than it does them.'
So we can clearly see there a particular heartfelt concern by Jonathan Menges for those who spent time with Mike and Anne Barrett 'for hours and hours' as if that is something worthy of special praise, even if they've been fooled by them.
Having spent hours and hours with Anne Barrett, Keith Skinner told Shirley Harrison about Anne Barrett's story that the Diary had been in her family for many years, and said: 'I was involved from the very first and I was present at most of the meetings of Paul and Billy. If the story had been forced I would have detected it by now.' Oh right! He added: 'Those who believe Anne is lying, or that she has been bought by Paul must include me in the plot as well' (cited in Harrison, 'The American Connection', 2003, p. 280). Yet, with his new belief that the Diary only emerged from under the floorboards of Battlecrease in 1992, it follows that he must now think that the story he was being told by Anne and Billy Graham WAS forced but he failed to detect it, despite his many hours with Anne. And he now obviously does think that Anne was probably lying. So all that time spent in her company simply led him down the garden path, not in the direction of the truth.
It's good that Mr Menges has so much concern for those Diary Defenders who are apparently so open-minded that, despite repeatedly claiming that Barrett definitely wasn't involved in forging the Diary, they will, one day in the distant future, perhaps, graciously be prepared to accept 'proof' that he was involved! That's really good of them. Such a kind concession for them to make.
But here's the thing. With his apparent concern for the Diary Defenders, how do you think Menges felt reading all my posts on the Forum in which I rebutted every single one of Caroline Morris' ridiculous speculations about the Diary, not letting her get away with her nonsense over a two year period? Do you think he perhaps regarded it as me harassing the saintly Caz?
And then, when he saw his chance in the Tumblety thread, with Mike Hawley disrupting that thread and then attempting to turn himself into a victim, did he pounce and do a favour to his good friend, Caroline Morris, by complaining about me to his other good friend Ally Ryder in the hope of having me slapped down? In which case, someone like myself who wasn't friends with all these important and powerful people but just wanted to post accurate factual material online got shafted by some of these people who are so totally obsessed by their own exaggerated feelings of self-importance that they don't like being made to look foolish.
Next thing that happens is that Jonathan Menges actually now formally becomes a Moderator of the Casebook Censorship Forum!!! This is an absolutely perfect job for someone who likes to meddle and interfere in threads. He can now threaten people directly with infractions and doesn't have to go running in secret to Ally Ryder to do it for him.
Over in JTR Forums, however, that same moderator of Casebook and a pillar of the online community said a very bad word....
No doubt Menges disagreed strongly with what Jan Bondeson was saying, and no doubt with justification, but I can only imagine what would have happened if, say, I had called Michael Hawley a "fucking idiot" during the Tumblety thread in Casebook in May 2018. Given the blatant lies Hawley was telling about me personally and the ludicrously idiotic things he was saying in that thread, I would certainly have been justified in doing so but, as a civilized adult, someone who was not harassing anyone, I naturally did not do so. If someone did it today in a Casebook thread, what would the newest moderator of Casebook say about it? One can only wonder.
But hey what do you know, he's already closed one thread on Casebook! Perhaps he's been dreaming about doing it all his life. It's good to know that Censorship lives on in the Censorship Forum.
Mind you, Mr Menges doesn't yet seem to know the rules of the Forum he is moderating. On JTR Forums, in the thread about the book 'Who Was Jack the Ripper?', he said (#154):
'I support Howard's decision to remove the images as he's been threatened with legal action (a lifetime ban offense on Casebook, I might add. See David Orsam).'
These were, of course, images that Jonathan Menges posted himself! But I don't know why I was referenced here. Menges should have sourced the Major Rules of Casebook which, at Rule No. 2, state 'Do not threaten or imply that you will bring a lawsuit against us. Doing so will result in your account being immediately closed'.
This has never applied to me because, at the same time that I threatened Casebook with legal action regarding its false ruling about me (since deleted!), I requested that my account be immediately closed, not wishing to remain a member of Casebook any longer. It's not possible to ban someone from Casebook who is not a member of Casebook! And the rule doesn't actually mention 'a lifetime ban' but perhaps the rules of Casebook are subject to the arbitrary whim of Admin and are whatever she wants them to be from day to day (viz. one day there's a complete ban from discussing any book published by Rick Cobb, the next day it's allowed!)
But that's not even the applicable rule here. Rule No. 3 states: 'Copying any article/image that is copyright protected from any source, anywhere, and posting it in full or in substantial part on the forums is not allowed'. I do hope Menges familiarizes himself with the major rules of Casebook because I wouldn't like to see him get a lifetime ban from that site!
It is interesting, however, that Mr Menges references on JTR Forums a process that he himself personally initiated on Casebook (by secretly reporting a thread to Admin for no good reason) which led to my departure from Casebook, while, at the same time misrepresenting that very process. Well done JM. Good work.
Even better was soon to follow, though, as Menges went on to refer to three other named Ripperologists as, respectively, 'a sex pevert, a Neo-Nazi and a total alcoholic failure in everything he does' (Who was Jack the Ripper thread, #248). I suppose that Menges is free to post personal abuse of anyone he wants on JTR Forums and, now that he is an official moderator of that site, on Casebook too - despite the major rule against engaging in personal attacks on posters - but whatever the provocation it's hard to see how those kind of comments can be justified. More than this, though, we are talking here about the very same person who, for some inexplicable reason, felt the need to report to Ally "Admin" Ryder my discussion with Michael Hawley on Casebook, a discussion, remember, which, on my part, stuck rigidly to the issues raised in Hawley's book, and avoided all personal abuse. Given the nature of his attacks on other Ripperologists, Menges could hardly have found anything said in the Tumblety thread so offensive that it needed to be reported. When it came to Rick Cobb's plagiarism, Menges was like a dog with a stick, repeatedly re-posting the same images until they were removed by Howard Brown. So why did he have a problem with me taking Hawley's book apart on Casebook? Especially bearing in mind that such criticism is explicitly allowed by the Casebook rules.
Come on man. Explain yourself! And do it in public rather than acting sneakily in secret.
At this point it might be worth mentioning that everything I said in 'From Commissioner to Asterisk' was true, and Menges obviously initiated the process which led to the closure of the infamous Tumblety thread, only it's now clear to me from information I've received (from him!) that there was some kind of behind-the-scenes conspiracy against me due to my posts on the issue of the Maybrick Diary. There were just too many important and powerful people who are invested in that Diary, who are all connected with each other, and who can't abide those who say that it was a modern hoax. I innocently stuck my toe into those crocodile infested waters and ended up being forced out of the Forum. I'm not sure it really matters what the truth is to these people. They have an agenda and they stick firmly to it.
So they focus all their ongoing research on interrogating the electricians in Liverpool. They will never find any answers to their questions about the Diary from the electricians and are just wasting their time. If they actually bothered to spend some time looking at the origins of the expression 'one off instance' they would see in a second that the Diary cannot possibly have been written in the nineteenth century, or the early twentieth century for that matter.
Talking of 'one off', has anyone seen or heard from Harry recently? He's gone a bit silent, hasn't he?
One person who probably should have remained silent about the Diary but didn't is Graham. After one member asked in the Incontrovertible thread (#5010) how the fact of Anne Graham being the published author of a book about the Maybrick case squares with her supposedly being incapable of co-writing the Diary with her husband, our old friend Graham leapt in (#5011) to say that, while Anne was a good typist, 'this book she wrote in conjunction with Shirley Harrison, very much a published writer and investigator of some note'. Alas for him, that's not true. The actual co-author of the book was Carol Emmas, a friend of Anne's who had never written a book before in her life. So Graham's big point that Anne was no more than a good typist who needed a published writer to assist her in co-authoring a book was quite wrong.
People make mistakes but Graham doesn't like it when his own mistakes are corrected. After his error was politely pointed out to him by R.J. Palmer, he first wrote angrily that he 'couldn't give a toss who was Anne Graham's co-author' (#5016), which was a bizarre response bearing in mind that he originally felt interested enough to answer a question on that very subject! Then he said, 'I don't know who rjpalmer might be outside of posting here, but if he wishes to correct me, or anyone else, on a small and frankly unimportant point from two decades ago, then there is a way to do it, and a way not to do it' (#5022). Sadly he didn't set out the correct 'way to to do it'. Perhaps it involves typing in very tiny font? Or standing on one's head? Who knows.
Amazingly, when Abby Normal quite rightly mentioned that a corrected Graham simply responds, 'with arrogance' which is 'par for the course for diary defenders' (#5019) our other old friend Icocnoclast jumped in to say, by way of some kind of weird defence, that Graham was 'no "diary defender"' (#5020). This is, of course, not true at all. While not being one of those positively claiming that the Diary was written by James Maybrick, he is certainly at the forefront of the Diary Defender crowd of those who think the Diary is old. He has stated this many times. For example on 2 August 2016 in the 'Incontrovertible' thread when he said, 'I do...believe the Diary to be a forgery, but an old one' (#1512) and again 26 days later when he posted that he believed that the Diary was 'an old forgery' (#1619). Showing his total inflexibility on the subject, he also posted around the same time that, 'One thing's for sure...neither he [Barrett] nor his wife wrote the damn thing' (#1521) but, of course, this is one thing that is most certainly NOT for sure.
Only recently Graham, desperate to disprove my claim that 'one off instance' is not an old expression, was praying for Harry's imagined one-off sale of sultanas newspaper advert to be true! Anyone who can't accept that the Diary is a modern hoax, like Graham, falls into the category of 'Diary Defender' - in exactly the same way as Caroline Morris - and his posts show it time and time again. Iconoclast is, therefore, quite wrong.
Speaking of Iconoclast. He's another one that probably should have remained silent. Immediately after my 'Pillar of Sand' article in which I criticized him for not having read my 2017 article 'The False Facts', he responded (in the thread 'Old Hoax or New?' at #96):
'I was only made aware of Lord Orsam's online site recently (ironically, and by chance, regarding one of his articles which he criticises me in his text for not having read).'
So you'd think that Iconcolast had now actually read my 'False Facts' article to which I had specifically directed his attention in 'PIllar of Sand', wouldn't you? By way of reminder, this was how I had directed his attention to it in the introduction to my article:
'What is most disappointing from my perspective is that Iconoclast appears never to have read my own article Robert Smith and the Maybrick Diary: The False Facts Exposed!, published on this website, and thus falls into error quite badly as a result, as we shall see.'
Then, under the heading 'Gladys', I said
'It is extremely disappointing that he has evidently not read my article 'Robert Smith and the Maybrick Diary: The False Facts Exposed!' in which this point was totally and completely debunked by me.'
But it seems that while Iconoclast had become 'aware' of my 2017 article prior to the publication of 'Pillar of Sand' he just hadn't read or absorbed it properly. It simply must have been too long for him to read.
Thus, when Mike J.G. posted an extract from my article on the Forum (cutting it short for some reason before it actually got to the good bits), Iconoclast thought that finally here was something he could respond to. It was very short! Grasping totally the wrong end of the stick, he purported to reply to the section of my article on Gladys, despite having only read the few paragraphs pasted into the Forum by Mike J.G.
Consequently, he misunderstood everything and this had to be pointed out to him by R.J. Palmer in two separate posts. Despite this, Iconoclast STILL obviously didn't consult my original article because, after backtracking furiously and amending his position in response to each post by R.J. Palmer, he ended up putting forward an argument that I had already anticipated and answered in my article. It was really poor stuff from Iconoclast who gave a very weak excuse for not having absorbed what I had written. He said (Incontrovertible thread, #5007):
'When Lord O's not-quite-so-brilliant Pillars of Sand hit the bookshelves, I did read enough of it to realise that I needed to stop and come back to it when I had more time to properly digest and comment on it in my very-much-so-brilliant Society's Pillar. Nevertheless, I had read enough of it to have reviewed the Gladys being ill bit. At the time, I remember thinking "That's interesting", but immediately knowing that that was all it was - interesting.'
If that's the case, Iconcolast didn't focus at all because I barely said anything about the Gladys issue in 'Pillar of Sand' other than to refer the reader to 'The False Facts'. He probably hasn't even read that properly yet at time of writing. To assist him, seeing as he likes short bullet points that he can easily understand, I've adapted the useless and false chronology he posted on the Incontrovertible thread #4990, as amended in #4992, with some actual facts. Here it is:
TRUE CHRONOLOGY OF EVENTS RE. GLADYS
1888 - Maybrick purportedly writes "My dearest Gladys is unwell yet again" in his purported Diary (although there is no independent evidence that Gladys had ever been unwell in her life prior to this).
1889 (4-20 March) - Gladys is unwell for the first known time in her life with whooping cough.
1889 (24-28 March) - Florence stays with Margaret Baillie in Notting Hill, London, when they must have discussed Gladys' recent illness.
1889 (28 March) - Florence returns to Liverpool.
1889 (Pre 8 April) - Gladys evidently becomes unwell again with an unknown illness.
1889 (8 April) - Florence's mother is known to have written a letter to Margaret Baillie in which she must have informed her about Gladys' recent (second) illness.
1889 (13 April) - Margaret Baillie writes in a letter to Florence: "I am sorry that your little girl has been unwell again".
1889 (31 July) - Margaret Baillie's letter to Florence is read out in full at Florence's trial.
1889 (31 July/1 August) - Two newspapers wrongly transcribe the line about Gladys in Margaret Baillie's letter as "I am sorry about your little girl".
1889 (1 August) - Two newspapers, both available to modern researchers, correctly transcribe the line in Margaret Baillie's letter about Gladys as, "I am sorry your little girl has been unwell again".
1889 (1-2 August) - It is wrongly reported in newspapers and subsequent books that Dr Humphreys' evidence at Florence's trial was that Gladys had whooping cough in early 1887 (whereas the judge's notes make clear that it was in March 1889).
1894 - Levy publishes Margaret Baillie's letter but uses the newspapers' erroneous version (which states "I am sorry about your little girl") thus fooling people like Harrison, Feldman and Smith into thinking the correct version was unpublished and impossible to discover.
1992 (March) - Mike Barrett attempts to acquire a Victorian diary with at least 20 blank pages, but ideally totally blank.
1992 (April) - The Victorian scrapbook turns up.
1992/3 - Someone, not knowing that it had been published in newspapers, researches Margaret Baillie's letter and finds that it stated, "I am sorry that your little girl has been unwell again".
1992/3 - Wrongly thinking that Margaret Baillie's letter had never been published before, someone misguidedly believes that this supports the notion that the Victorian scrapbook is actually James Maybrick's scrapbook and publishes this.
2017 - It is discovered by a researcher (yours truly) that the Margaret Baillie letter had been published correctly and in full in certain newspapers after all.
2017 - Certain individuals (including yours truly) think that the author of the Diary had no inside information whatsoever about Gladys and, moreover, suspect that the author of the Diary was misled by false reports of Gladys' 1887 illness, thus supporting the notion that the Victorian scrapbook is a hoax.
2019 - Iconoclast finally wakes up to the truth of the matter.
One thing about this chronology. In its original form, Iconoclast insisted on referring to Margaret Baillie as 'Margaret Baillie Knight'. This is a mistake which can be found in a number of books on the case.
John Baillie Knight was the son of John Burgess Knight and Elizabeth Mary Knight. So the 'Baillie' in his name was technically his middle name. It was given to him to reflect his mother's family name; for his mother, Elizabeth Mary Knight, was formerly Elizabeth Mary Baillie, the daughter of George and Harriet Baillie. Elizabeth had a younger sister born on 20 March 1825 called Margaret. So Margaret Baillie was John Baillie Knight's aunt. But her name was NOT Knight. She was separate from the Knight family, with John Burgess Knight being her brother-in-law. So she was not Margaret Baillie Knight.
One final comment on Iconoclast's recent postings. In the Incontrovertible thread he posted (#4997):
'What we are all awaiting is my brilliant deconstruction of Orsam's internet musings and claims against the scrapbook. Well, you'll all have to wait until I'm in the right frame of mind to review it. If he provides any evidence at all which shows (or even implies) that the scrapbook is a hoax, I will accept it and include it in my brilliant Society's Pillar. If he doesn't, and it's all more bluff and bluster, then he'll be getting it with both barrells too.'
Clearly Iconoclast doesn't understand what a rebuttal (or deconstruction) is. A rebuttal is not intended to positively prove something. It is intended to rebut. Therefore the aim of the article was not to show that the scrapbook is a hoax but to demolish the arguments relied on by Iconoclast that the Diary is genuine. 'Pillar of Sand' has certainly demolished the arguments offered up by Iconoclast. The test of whether he is a person genuinely interested in the truth or some kind of weird troll-like person who just enjoys the challenge of defending an extreme position in the teeth of evidence showing that this position is wrong will be in his response to 'Pillar of Sand', should he ever condescend to write such a response. Unfortunately for him, his own article, 'Society's Pillar', cannot be relied on as providing any credible support for the argument that James Maybrick was the author of the Diary and was thus Jack the Ripper. It has been blown apart by 'Pillar of Sand'.
The rest, as they say, is silence.
27 October 2019