Every Orsam Day (or Mini Orsam Day) is like Groundhog Day. In response to my properly argued and researched articles, we have the usual idiots who think, 'We've got him this time, we've really got him' and smugly make hugely over-confident posts in which they think they've finally outwitted Lord Orsam only to find their hopes crushed in the next update, to which their response is invariably a deafening silence.
The Clanger started this trend with his misunderstanding of my Joseph McCarthy article when he really did think that I was suggesting that McCarthy was the Ripper and, with the sound of 'I've got him this time, I've really got him' ringing, or rather clanging, in his head he went into full action mode thinking that he had actually done it at last. His complete subsequent radio silence about his mistake only threw into sharp relief his responses on other points about my article and it took me one or two responses before I finally destroyed his nonsense and he went completely silent about it. But then in the next Orsam Day he found something new and we went over the cycle again, him thinking 'I've got him this time, I've really got him' only to have his dreams crushed in the next update followed by him going totally silent about that one and so on.
It's truly pathetic to watch as they pat themselves on their backs in their ignorance saying to each other 'We've got him this time' as I laugh from a distance knowing that come next Orsam Day it's business as usual.
There will surely come a point when they realize that it ain't going to happen and that Orsam Day is not Groundhog Day.
THE ONGOING CENSORSHIP SCANDAL
Regular readers will be aware of the strange rule invented by Jonathan Menges that members of the Censorship Forum aren't allowed to quote anything I say on this website.
It's kind of curious because no-one was really doing that but, you know, it's a funny thing because R.J. Palmer did once quote me, on 8 May 2020, in a post directed at Caroline Morris in the 'Problem of Logic' thread (#441). He took a quote from my 'Man in a Pub' article in which I had referred to a statement made by Kevin Whay to Shirley Harrison on 16 January 1995, about which I had said that it 'was for some unexplained reason, omitted from inclusion in 'Inside Story' and thus not very well known'. RJ then quoted my conclusion from Kevin Whay's statement that O&L's records would only have recorded the photograph album as a 'miscellaneous album'.
No action was then taken by the moderator (so the ludicrous rule he had randomly devised was not then in operation for some unknown reason) but thinking back to that post it really does make me wonder if Caroline Morris, having apparently avoided reading my articles on this website, was so utterly shocked and angry at being confronted with my words, as quoted by R.J. Palmer, especially words that appeared to her to question the integrity of her own book, that she contacted her good friend Jonathan Menges, the current moderator, to persuade him to take action to ensure that I was never quoted on the Forum again so that she would never again be put in a situation where she needed to respond to any of my arguments as if (in her mind) I was still a member of the Forum and thus able to express my views on the Forum by proxy.
It makes sense when you think about it. Jonathan Menges, after all, is so protective of Caroline Morris over issues concerning the Maybrick Diary that he actually had the barefaced cheek and rudeness, it has to be said, to accuse me in a personal email of having badgered her on the Forum, as if it was self-evidently the case, an accusation as false as it was ludicrous. That's not to mention the murky and unexplained role he played in the events leading up to my resignation, conspiring with Ally Ryder and putting goodness knows what ideas into her head, due to goodness knows what ideas had been put into HIS head by Caroline Morris, someone for whom an intense animosity towards me drips from every pore, and courses through every nerve and fibre, of her entire body.
Then, of course, during June 2020 we saw that the paranoid mind of Caroline Morris was freaking out about Kattrup supposedly making posts on the Forum on my behalf (which he wasn't!) and then she moved on to The Baron (who is also not making posts on the Forum on my behalf!) calling me his 'favourite person in the world' and noting that he joined the Forum 'a few months' after I departed, which can only be a coincidence, if it's true. But we can see the mindset. She's running totally scared of my arguments and sees me behind every post!
What she would like to do, though, is stick her head in the sand and pretend I don't exist, not apparently aware that everyone else is reading my articles and seeing what a fool she is making of herself on a weekly basis.
If the 'no quoting of Orsam' rule was brought in as a personal favour to Caroline Morris, so that she doesn't have to answer difficult questions from me about the Diary (and about the omissions in 'Inside Story'), it really does make sense of the fact that members are nevertheless able to post links. That struck me as perverse but, of course, Caroline Morris can simply ignore the links can't she? Just as she did when Kattrup posted a link to this website which she refused to read, thus getting herself in all kinds of trouble by not understanding what was going on.
The rule is also being strangely applied. The first time the moderator took action, out of the blue with no pre-warning, was on 6 June 2020, within a month of RJ Palmer having quoted me, at which time Iconoclast quoted from my 'Every One's a Skinner' article. Even though Iconoclast was also quoting Keith Skinner in response to what I'd said, Menges deleted his entire post!!! Yet, when Iconoclast got caught out doing it again on 1 August (and it's not his fault, I'm just so darn quotable!), Menges didn't delete the entire post but simply replaced the quote with a link (#436 of the Special Announcement thread). So why didn't he do that the first time round? Is he incompetent at his job?
It's fascinating to think, though, isn't it, that RJ Palmer's original post, in which he quoted me, lingered on through time as Caroline Morris became obsessed with the 'miscellaneous' items point, contacting and citing Mr Litherland to try and overcome it (but failing to do so) and then, most recently, getting her knickers in a twist as Kattrup forced her to confront the reality that she misunderstood that her own book was quoting from Kevin Whay's conversation with Shirley Harrison on 16 January 1995 and had wrongly said that Mike's affidavit was 'public' at this stage. So no wonder her friend, the moderator, has put a block on anyone quoting me. Just that one single quote from RJ Palmer led to a chain of events which saw her thoroughly humiliated to the extent that she was literally pleading with Kattrup to 'draw a line under the question' or, in other words, she ran away from perhaps the most embarrassing error she's ever made in public on the internet, amongst a very long history of embarrassing errors.
It makes you think doesn't it?
THE DOG THAT DIDN'T BARK-JONES
In #614 of the 'Special Announcement' thread, Caroline Morris asks for any ideas why a 'different solicitor' to Richard Bark-Jones was chosen by Mike to swear his affidavit in front of on 5 January 1995. She adds 'I have one or two, or three or four'.
Whatever those ideas are, we can be sure they will not only be wrong, but barking mad, as usual.
An affidavit is NEVER sworn in front of one's own solicitor. It needs to be sworn before an independent solicitor or commissioner of oaths. The standard procedure is to pay a special fee for swearing such an affidavit. All solicitors know this. So if Solicitor A has a client who needs to swear an affidavit he might get sent to Solicitor B. If Solicitor B has a client who needs to swear an affidavit he might get sent to Solicitor A. Each solicitor picks up a small fee for doing it which is money they can personally take home that day in cash (i.e. not money that their firm bills to a client) so if you do a few of them a day it can be a nice little earner of some extra beer money, or whatever, for any solicitor who is also authorized to administer oaths.
So there was never any way that Mike was going to swear his affidavit before Richard Bark-Jones. Any such talk just shows the ignorance of the person suggesting it.
What almost certainly happened is that Bark-Jones, whose office was in Queen Building at 8 Dale Street, sent Mike along to see Mr D.P. Hardy, just down the road in Imperial Chambers at 62 Dale Street, who was a solicitor empowered to administer oaths. As we know from a document exclusively posted by me on this website in 'Silence of the Anne', Bark-Jones was immediately aware of Mike's affidavit and was already advising him about it on or prior to 9 January 1995. He even advised that no further affidavits should be sworn by him because it would affect his potential earnings in the future.
So, please, let's not create mysteries where there are none. Mike did not keep the affidavit secret from his solicitor.
SHARING IS CARING
In his ongoing desire to please his puppet masters by smearing the late Melvin Harris for no apparent purpose other than vindictiveness, Major Misunderstanding writes about the creation of Mike's affidavit (#606):
'The details would have come from Bongo, the typing from Gray or Harris or someone who could type'.
That goes further than anything his leader, Caroline Morris, has ever said because she's always been clear that Gray typed the Affidavit.
We know for a fact that Gray did type the Affidavit because the letter from Mike's solicitors dated 9 January 1995, for which I've posted the relevant extract in 'Silence of the Anne', refers to 'the sworn Affidavit typed up by Alan Grey'.
So there was no reason for Iconoclast to suggest that Harris might have typed it up. He had no involvement whatsoever with the preparation of it. It was just gratuitous rubbish on his part, which it has to be said, is nothing new.
All that's happened is that the Mad People have seen from a transcript of one of the recordings that Harris had suggested to Gray that Mike get down his story in writing and put into a sworn affidavit and got all excited by that, thinking it shows that Harris was the evil genius running Mike behind the scenes. The advice for Mike to put everything down in writing strikes me as eminently sensible. It was clearly just some friendly advice given by Melvin Harris to Alan Gray. It doesn't make him the controlling mastermind behind the affidavit!
We can see from the transcript that he simply said it would be a good idea for Mike to do it. Thus, Alan Gray said to Mike on 12 December 1994:
'What he was saying to me was as soon as Mike comes out [of hospital], it's in the best interest of everyone to take a concise statement and all the newspapers will take it and at the end of it we go down together and swear it as an affidavit and that will be nailed down.'
The purpose of doing it was expressly stated by Harris (as reported by Gray) to 'safeguard' Mike.
There is nothing in the recording to suggest that Melvin wanted the affidavit sworn for his own purposes or in his own interest or that he would play any part in it. Surely he was just telling Gray that Mike needed to get his story down in writing (and ideally sworn to) which is the most eminently sensible thing he could have said.
Amusingly, Caroline Morris invents her own part of the story when she says (in #619 of the Special Announcement thread):
'As far as is known, Mike dictated it to Alan Gray who typed it up for Mike to check through and sign'.
I think she means, 'As far as I am guessing...'. What evidence is there that Mike 'dictated' the affidavit to Gray? Frankly, I very much doubt he did. It's way too structured to have come out of Mike's rambling mind freestyle. Surely the likelihood is that Gray wrote it himself based on the recordings he'd made with Mike over the previous months. Whether Mike checked it through or just signed it without reading it is another piece of guesswork (although it is likely to have been read over to him). But, of course, Caroline Morris is so desperate to pin the wrong dates of 1990/1991 in the affidavit on Mike (as opposed to it being an error made by Gray) that she seems to be prepared to invent a sequence of events that is not based on any evidence.
As for the rest of it, no-one has produced any evidence as to when Melvin Harris received a copy of Mike's affidavit. It's quite possible that he didn't have it any time in January 1995. That being so, it seems to me that Shirley Harrison DID possess a copy in January 1995 but SHE didn't share it with Melvin.
But, after all, why would she? Melvin had only written to her on 4 January in the spirit of co-operation offering to share information! But, before she replied, she obviously got sight of a copy of Mike's affidavit, withheld that information from Melvin, went and spoke to Kevin Whay about what Mike had said about purchasing the photograph album from Outhwaite & Litherland, then finally wrote to Melvin on 22 January flatly rejecting his generous offer of co-operation and, indeed, she made clear her intention to deliberately cut off all further provision of information between her Word Team and his own Committee for Integrity (or whatever it was called).
So the failure to share information is precisely the opposite way round to the way Caroline Morris and Major Misunderstanding allege it. The affidavit wasn't suppressed by Melvin. But what we do know is that Shirley didn't even mention that affidavit to Keith Skinner until two years later, in January 1997. So who was doing the suppressing?
The other thing we know is that the authors of 'Inside Story' were seriously confused about what document Melvin Harris was referring to in his letter to Shirley Harrison of 4 February 1995 in which Melvin referred to a 'statement' of Mike's about the visit to his house by Keith Skinner and Shirley Harrison (and others) on 18 January. That was, in fact, a statement dated 25 January 1995 but the authors of 'Inside Story' refer to it for some reason as 'Barrett's affidavit' which, they say, 'had come into the hands of Melvin Harris' (p. 180). If that were accurate it would be ironic because it would contradict the claim of the Mad People that Melvin Harris was suppressing news of the existence of the very affidavit that he was now mentioning in a letter to Shirley Harrison!! But, of course, the authors of 'Inside Story' were wrong (once again) and Melvin wasn't telling Shirley about Mike's affidavit (and see under the heading 'Suppressing by Publicizing!' below for more about this).
As I've mentioned previously, the bizarre thing about the authors' conclusion that the affidavit had 'come into the hands of Melvin Harris' is that it is clearly stated by Melvin in the extract cited by the authors of 'Inside Story' that, 'I have not yet seen this statement'!!!!!
It looks like the person entrusted to do the fact checking for the book was having a bad day. Let's hope he or she wasn't drinking on the job.
On the subject of suppressing information, it was fascinating to see the Major answering a question addressed directly at Caroline Morris. Has he now become her official spokesman?
Kattrup had said to Caroline Morris (#559 of Special Announcement thread), 'It's just that you've stated Melvin Harris suppressed the affidavit, I was wondering how you knew that'.
Rather than allowing her to answer a question directed at her as to how SHE knew that, her little helper, Iconoclast jumped in at #561 to post:
'I think I already answered that one? He suppressed it by not mentioning it'.
It's hard to see how an inaccurate definition of the word 'suppressed' comes anywhere close to answering the question as to how Caroline Morris knows that Melvin suppressed Mike's affidavit.
Surely to be able to answer such a question you first need some evidence that Melvin Harris was aware of the affidavit at any material time. When, for example, does Caroline Morris say that he obtained the affidavit? If she feels able to supply a date, does she have any evidence to support such a claim? Does she agree with Iconoclast's novel suggestion that one can 'suppress' something simply by not mentioning it? Or does she prefer the normally accepted definition of 'suppression' in the English language as actively preventing the dissemination of something? Does she accept that Shirley Harrison was already aware of the affidavit within a few days of it being signed? Who does she think Melvin Harris should have told about the affidavit? Is she aware that Shirley refused his offer of co-operation that he had made to her the day before the affidavit was signed?
As a result of the Major's protective intervention, Caroline Morris never answered the question directly. Instead, she made a long post in which she claimed that Melvin 'decided not to mention' the affidavit. But to whom? Who does she say he decided not to mention it to? And does not mentioning something mean you are thereby suppressing it?
She says that Melvin didn't get the newspapers involved but this was never something for him to do. It was for Mike to do it if he wanted to. How can Melvin Harris have ever been in a position to force Mike to speak to the newspapers or to release an affidavit on his behalf to the newspapers? I mean, honestly, these are the ravings of a half-wit.
THE MELVIN CONUNDRUM
Let's say that Melvin Harris believed there was a nest of forgers, one of whom was Gerald Kane, and he received Mike Barrett's affidavit to discover that he was wrong and the three forgers were said to be Barrett, Devereux and Barrett.
Right, so let's say Melvin Harris got it wrong. Who the bloody hell cares? The man is dead! The world has moved on. New information has emerged. Melvin Harris knew nothing of the Bookdealer advertisement containing Mike's urgent requirement for a Victorian diary with blank pages.
If Caroline Morris wants to fight battles against ghosts who are haunting her dreams I suppose that's up to her but it is rather surprising that the Major wants to join in too. Is it just that Melvin was someone who didn't think the diary was written by Maybrick so the Major wants to invent all kinds of nonsense about a dead man who isn't around to defend himself?
Honestly, what is the actual point? Is it some kind of surrogate attack on me or RJ Palmer or something? I mean, crikey, I never knew Melvin Harris myself. He died long before I became involved in any discussions about the diary. Frankly, I couldn't care less if he got everything wrong or if he was the most dishonest and corrupt person in Ripperology history. But I like evidence and I've seen no evidence provided by the Mad People regarding their claims and smears about Melvin Harris. Just fairy tales dreamed up in their over-active collective imagination.
HE LOVES ME REALLY
So the Clanger doesn’t dislike me at all and nothing he says is based on personal bias. He proves that by expressing his joy at reading ‘The Islington Murder Mystery’. But then again, who wouldn't?
I suppose I now need to admit that, despite my previous denials, I secretly do have the Clanger on a retainer and pay him handsomely both for his excellent reviews of my books and for making a fool of himself on the internet on a regular basis, thus giving me so much hilarious material which makes this page so popular.
I know you might think of him as nothing more than a pathetic bully and thug but that's just an act he's been putting on at my request because it makes him so much funnier.
I suppose after this he'll be asking me for a pay rise!!!
Well actually, as it happens, he's been chasing me for payments for the last six months of 'work' (as he calls it) but, like I keep telling him, the Covid is delaying the post and the cheque will be with him very soon. But he should keep up the good work because the people love this crazy and very funny character he's created who keeps trying really hard but always fails. It's comedy gold.
THE THOUSAND POUND CHALLENGE
Eribotha posts at #5724 of the 'Incontrovertible' thread:
'If you can find me a genuine Victorian diary that covered 1888 and 1889 in one neat book with 20 blank pages, I will personally pay you thousands of pounds for it. Why? Because it doesn't exist - yet this was what was needed.'
How can this guy not understand that Mike did NOT need a genuine Victorian diary that covered 1888 and 1889 in one neat book? I mean, it's obvious from the old photograph album, in which the actual diary is contained, isn't it? That album doesn't 'cover' 1888 and 1889. If someone had wanted to fake a diary detailing events during 1891 or 1901 that exact same album would have been sufficient for the purpose would it not?
So why the obsession by the Mad People with 1888 and 1889?
Sure, those two years were included in Mike's request and if he could have obtained a diary for those years, or one of them, he'd have hit the jackpot but, failing that, he could have worked with a blank undated diary very easily.
As I've explained many times, MOST personal diaries were written in blank volumes. Anyone who thinks otherwise is getting confused with appointments diaries, or pocket diaries, which are, in most cases, useless for writing personal diaries, because the amount of space for each day is exactly the same, whereas most people's lives have busy days followed by quiet days. A diary with dates on every page is thus both inefficient and impractical for the purpose of a personal diary.
None of us can know what Mike had in his mind when he thought of a Victorian diary but, if he thought of one in which the dates were NOT printed, he would have been entirely correct because that's what probably 95% of personal diaries were written in so that he could quite reasonably have anticipated that an 1891 diary, or even a 1901 diary, would have been suitable in which to forge an 1888 or 1889 diary.
BEGGING THE QUESTION
Incredibly, Paul Begg stepped into the 'Incontrovertible' thread to reveal that he doesn't understand the argument that Mike was involved in faking the diary.He posted (#5740) with respect to the little red diary:
'Why would Mike have wanted the diary in the first place?'
Well that's just a bizarre question isn't it for someone being accused of planning to fake the diary of Jack the Ripper. I mean, durrr..... do you think it might have been to fake the diary of Jack the Ripper? But he continues:
'Was he planning to write the narrative by date, day by day'.
So here's another numpty who doesn't understand the difference between an appointments diary and a personal diary. I was hoping not to have to post all these examples again but it looks like I'm going to have to:
The last one is actually a diary from 1888 and one day this is going to sink in, but not yet, it seems because the Major, in his usual attempt to befuddle and confuse on this subject, says (#5741), 'It's a damned good question, Paul' (even though it isn't) and, he asks, 'Why on earth did Mike ask Martin Earl to get him a Victorian diary - even from an impossible year (1890)?'
But an 1890 diary was not 'from an impossible year'. One only needs to look at the diary that Mike presented to Doreen in March 1992. How do we know that wasn't made in 1890? Or 1900? Or 1910? We don't!
The diary we have is not in a volume for 1888. Nor one for 1889. So the answer as to why Mike asked Martin Earl to get him a Victorian diary which might have been one from 1890 is very easy to answer. Simplicity itself.
The Major surely must know this but he doesn't even acknowledge the existence of this obvious and simple counter-argument.
Nor does Caroline Morris who, of course, joins in the befuddling by asking (#5742) why Mike would have asked for 'an actual diary' in order to forge the diary of Jack the Ripper. Ah, durrrr..lets go round again.
Perhaps the Major and Caroline Morris - maybe even Paul Begg - can now attempt to answer the question as to why Mike wanted a Victorian diary with blank pages.
BEGGING ANOTHER QUESTION
The Clanger tells us (#638 of 'Special Announcement' thread) that:
'I've read countless genuine Victorian works, including a few diaries, over the years...'
So that's good. The Clanger will naturally step forward and explain to Paul Begg how those diaries were in a form which did not require a day by day narrative with dates to be entered every day, or at all.
Oh, no hold on, the Clanger doesn't dare to contradict Paul Begg does he? Too scared He only seems to challenge women on the forums these days doesn't he, like Hallie and Kristina? Never Paul Begg. He's a man, and far too important!
WHEN IS A DIARY NOT A DIARY?
Another breathtakingly stupid statement from Major Misunderstanding in #5749. Once again answering a question addressed to someone else (in this case Paul Begg), the Major steps with with his oversize boots to say that Mike couldn't possibly have thought of the diary as a diary because, 'it was never a diary, and therefore it did not require a diary'.
The Major needs to turn to turn to PAGE ONE of 'Inside Story' where, on the very first line of the page, we find Mike being quoted as saying to Doreen Montgomery on 9 March 1992:
'I've got Jack the Ripper's diary, would you be interested in seeing it?'
That is according to the Word of Keith Skinner and Caroline Morris!
For the Major to say that Mike didn't have it in his mind on that day in March 1992 that he was now going to have to forge a diary must be the most ridiculous statement since his last ridiculous statement.
On 9 March 1992, Mike told Doreen that he had 'Jack the Ripper's diary' and THEN after putting the receiver down he must have been immediately back on the telephone to Martin Earl. What's the most obvious thing he's going to ask for?
The number one answer on Family Fortunes is: A DIARY!!!
Imagine if the diary of Jack the Ripper, brought to London by Mike Barrett in April 1992, was in a nice leather bound DIARY with the words "1888 Diary" on the cover and with some of the pages at the front torn out.
Now imagine we find evidence that on about 9 March 1992 Mike had telephoned Martin Earl and asked him if he could obtain an old Victorian or Edwardian photograph album with a minimum of 20 pages which didn't contain photographs and were thus blank. Do you think the Mad People would have been accepting that this shows evidence of Mike trying to obtain a volume in which to forge the Jack the Ripper diary? Of course they wouldn't! You can already imagine the objections. 'If Mike had wanted to forge a diary why would he have asked for a PHOTOGRAPH album???'. And'If Mike had wanted to forge a diary of Jack the Ripper from 1888 why would he have accepted an EDWARDIAN album?'. Surely, we would have been told, Mike just wanted some Victorian or Edwardian photographs for some reason because he wanted to see what people looked like in those days or some such nonsense.
Yet, when we have evidence of Mike attempting to locate an actual flipping DIARY people actually ask, "why was he looking for a diary?"
Mike told Doreen Montgomery over the telephone that he had 'the DIARY of Jack the Ripper' in his possession. Everyone agrees that he's not the sharpest pencil in the set but surely even he can hardly be blamed for his first thought being, 'I need a Victorian diary with blank pages so that I can create this thing'. In contacting Martin Earl, a specialist secondhand and rare book dealer he's already on the edge of what Earl can do by asking for a diary (and don't forget Earl advertises in a magazine called 'Bookdealer' which is otherwise exclusively a magazine related to rare and secondhand printed books). How is he going to be able to locate a Victorian notebook? And in any case aren't Victorian diaries IN Victorian notebooks? The answer to that question is YES. Do not confuse appointments diaries with personal diaries.
THE MAGIC NOTEBOOK
In #5746 of the 'Incontrovertible' thread, Paul Begg asks about Mike:
'Why didn't Mike just look for a Victorian notebook?'
The question is pretty daft as phrased. I mean 'look' where? Look around his room? Look around Goldie Street? Were there many Victorian notebooks to be found in Liverpool do you think?
No, I assume that Begg has phrased it that way to avoid having to write: 'Why didn't Mike just ask Martin Earl to obtain a Victorian notebook?' which question pretty much answers itself because Earl was a dealer in rare and secondhand books and, while a Victorian diary pushes the boundaries of what he could have been expected to find by placing an advertisement in 'Bookdealer', a blank or largely blank Victorian notebook seems to be something well beyond what he could have got for Mike (unless of course it was a diary!). And Mike would have had to appreciate that there were Victorian notebooks still in existence. Whereas he might have known that there were plenty of Victorian diaries around for sale (which would, funnily enough, include those written in notebooks) why would he have thought that it was even possible to acquire blank or largely blank Victorian notebooks in 1992?
In any case, Mike needs to have had that thought about 'a Victorian notebook' first. As we know, he's just come off the telephone with Doreen telling her he's got Jack the Ripper's diary. So why would the word 'notebook' be in his head?
When someone thinks of a notebook they could easily have an image of a reporter's notebook or a police notebook in their mind. Something like this:
If I'm planning to forge a diary I don't want that type of thing.
Yet, the Major amusingly jumps immediately at Paul Begg's suggestion and says in #5749:
'To transcribe that text from word processor to a document required a notebook and no more and it certainly didn't require a diary'.
Well it certainly didn't 'require' a notebook because we know that a photograph album would have been perfect for the task!
And it's all very well the Major saying in 2020 that it's obvious Mike should have asked for a 'notebook' (when it isn't) but the fact of the matter is that diaries were commonly written in notebooks (or similar) so that by asking for a diary Mike WAS asking for a notebook but not only a notebook. In asking for a diary, he was asking for EVERY form of bound volume, be it scrapbook, guardbook, photograph album, notebook, ledger, journal or exercise book etc. in which diaries were or could be written so that he would have been utterly foolish in limiting himself by asking only for a notebook (by which he would have meant a blank or partly used notebook). We've seen directly from Martin Earl that he 'tried to keep the listings down to one line each to keep the costs down'. So placing an advertisement asking for a Victorian notebook, exercise book, journal, ledger, scrapbook, guardbook etc. would have been madness, because it would have taken up precious space in the advertisement, when EVERY SINGLE ONE OF THOSE THINGS would be incorporated by the single word 'diary'! Because those things are what people used in reality to write their personal diaries, for the reason I've already explained.
So perhaps Paul Begg is not quite as clever as he likes to think he is.
PAUL BEGG SHOWS HE IS NOT AS CLEVER AS HE LIKES TO THINK HE IS
I know that Paul Begg is an intelligent man so perhaps he just takes a stupid pill before he posts about the Maybrick diary.
Having been asked if the diary of Jack the Ripper is not a diary, he replied 'No' because, he said (#5791 of the 'Incontrovertible' thread), it is 'a chronicle of events'. So, errrrr, a diary then Paul? Because I think that's a pretty neat definition of a what a diary is. A chronicle of events, surely?
But that's not the worst of it. Remember that Paul has said:
'Why didn't Mike just look for a Victorian notebook?'
Well it turns out that it would have made no difference to Paul if he had asked for a notebook!!!
Because Paul tells us that it was waaaayyy too complex a thought for anyone to have had that what they really needed in order to forge a Victorian diary was a bound volume made in the Victorian era with Victorian paper. He tells us that he personally would have found 'the whole challenge of faking something so daunting that if I had given it any thought, I'd never have gone ahead with the whole idea'.
This is a classic mistake Paul Begg has made over the years of trying to think what HE would have done if HE had wanted to forge a Victorian diary even though it's obvious that HE would never have had such a thought and HE would never have gone ahead and done it if he had!
Frankly it's as irrelevant what Paul Begg would or would not have done as it is irrelevant what I would have done. I mean, if I said, "actually, I'd have done it exactly the same way as Mike Barrett did it", would that be determinative of anything? Would it be a sensible argument for me even to make? Of course not. It's not about Paul Begg and it's not about me. So him telling us how he would have faked a Victorian diary (or not as the case may be) is beyond useless.
Anyway, where the stupid pill really kicked in was with him saying that, having met Mike (and, of course, he had to get that in there somewhere), 'I just wonder if the whole idea would have seemed too much trouble'.
Right! Too much trouble to pick up the telephone to Martin Earl, speak to him for a few minutes, and then have a Victorian diary sent to him in the post without even having to get up from his chair!!! Yes, that sounds like way too much trouble!
But the basic point Begg is making is that because Mike didn't know if the ink and paper would pass tests, why bother attempting to get hold of a Victorian diary? Exactly the same objection, then, applies to a Victorian notebook. So Paul is essentially arguing against himself. Having said that Mike WOULD have tried to obtain a Victorian notebook, he now says that, actually, it was 'too much trouble' so he wouldn't even have done that!
When you find supposedly intelligent people making arguments of this nature which are entirely lacking in logic you have to start to wonder what it is about the Maybrick diary which turns respected Ripperologists into numpties.
After all, if Paul Begg considered pulling off a bank robbery or, indeed, any other form of serious crime, he would presumably think it wasn't really a good idea and that'the whole idea would have seemed too much trouble and the risks of discovery too high'. Funnily enough, though, some people in this world DO attempt bank robberies, as well as many other crimes, so what the fecking feck do Paul Begg's pampered middle class values and thoughts have to do with the price of fish?
Of course, the truth is that Begg can't possibly even begin to put himself in the head of a working class scouser who needs to pay his mortgage to keep his house and his family together and who comes up with an idea to create a Jack the Ripper diary based on the murderer being James Maybrick which idea is actually quite clever and even Paul Begg, had he thought of that transposition of crimes, might have been tempted to create a fake diary on that basis.
As it happens, we know as a matter of fact that Mike (if he was involved in this forgery) was quite right to produce a fake diary in the exact way that he did because he made somewhere between thirty and forty thousand pounds out of it!! He didn't ever go to prison either!
Had he not confessed to forging it then who knows how much money he could have made? The sky was almost the limit.
So Paul Begg is, I'm afraid, talking nonsense and, we may note, at no point does he provide an alternative explanation as to why Mike actually WAS seeking a Victorian diary with blank pages. Why not? Because he can't!
THE CHRONICLE OF EVENTS OF JACK THE RIPPER
I say, I say I say, when is a diary not a diary?
I don't know, when is a diary not a diary?
When it's a diary, according to the Mad People.
In 1993, what book did Shirley Harrison publish?
Answer: 'The Diary of Jack the Ripper'
I have the proof:
It wasn't, funnily enough, called 'The Chronicle of Events of Jack the Ripper'.
What did Seth Linder, Caroline Morris and Keith Skinner call their 2003 book?
'Ripper Diary: The Inside Story'.
It wasn't 'Ripper Chronicle of Events: The Inside Story'.
And what did Robert Smith, the owner of the diary, call his 2019 book?
'The True History of the Diary of Jack the Ripper'
Not 'The True History of the Chronicle of Events of Jack the Ripper'.
Are you aware of that, Paul Begg?
But, at the end of the day, it doesn't matter what Shirley Harrison called her book in 1993 or what Robert Smith called his book in 2019 just as it doesn't matter what Paul Begg or Caroline Morris or anyone else today thinks is contained in the old photograph album. The only thing that matters for the purposes of this discussion is what MIKE BARRETT thought of the thing that he was telling Doreen Montgomery about on 9 and 10 March 1992. As to that, thanks to 'Inside Story' we happen to know that he called it a diary.
To the extent that the authors of 'Inside Story' can't be relied upon for accuracy, as unfortunately it now seems they can't be, we have contemporary documentary evidence that Mike was enticing Doreen with the prospect of a diary. On 10 March 1992, Doreen wrote to Shirley Harrison to say:
'Our Ripper friend has phoned again today, having had further discourse with his wife (who apparently rules the roost!) and they have decided that we must be entrusted with the diary to check it out for ourselves!'
Then, on the same day, she wrote to Mike to say:
'Thank you for phoning yesterday and today and for letting me know about the intriguing Diary which is in your possession, which appears to be by the real Jack the Ripper'.
So there is incontrovertible and undeniable evidence that Mike was telling Doreen all about a DIARY of Jack the Ripper that he had in his possession.
That being so, what is the most likely thing he's going to ask Martin Earl to obtain for him on probably the very same day, so that he can write the text of the Jack the Ripper diary into?
Having problems with that one Mr Begg? Iconoclast? Caroline Morris?
I'll tell you answer. A flipping DIARY!!!!
NO FLIES IN THE OINTMENT
In #5747 Caroline Morris purports to find two 'flies in the ointment'. I don't understand the first one
'There's another fly in this ointment, Kattrup, and it might be better for RJ himself to explain what he meant, rather than for you to 'think' he meant that Mike knew the paper had to be Victorian in order to 'pass muster' with testing.
If Mike tried to obtain a diary dated 1880-1890, so that at least its paper would pass muster, but the diary he ordered from Martin Earl failed him on almost every other count, he still needed to find something genuinely Victorian. But he claimed that the scrapbook he felt sure he had obtained at auction in January 1990 [which, thanks to Lord Orsam's magnetic internet dating technique, and remarkable powers of persuasion, has now shifted to 31st March 1992] had the maker's stamp mark inside the front cover, dated 1908-1909, which he removed. Presumably this was so that it was still able to pass muster as Victorian, because as Mike no doubt guessed, scientists are not historians and would have had no idea that the dear old Queen was not still sitting on the throne by then.'
I can't make head nor tail of this. She's saying that Mike said there was a 1908/09 maker's mark in the front of the photograph album which Mike said he removed. And? I can't work it out.
Then the second one is this:
'Ooh and another fly in the fly paper - Mike had no idea by 19th March 1992 that he was going to be offered anything as a result of his enquiry. How long would he have waited before trying another route, to obtain the Victorian paper he needed if he was ever going to get the job done and produce what was on his word processor? He'd already told Doreen he had the diary and I have to wonder how he managed to come away from those early phone calls [prior to auction day on 31st March], without Doreen once asking him to describe the physical book. What excuse did he have ready for avoiding giving her the least little clue, if she needed to know before committing any further time to it? I never had Doreen down as an incurious person, especially when it came to the diary, but maybe I misjudged her.'
The structure of this argument is bizarre. She starts off as if the problem is that Mike doesn't know how long it's going to take to get hold of a genuine diary. As to that, the answer (as Caroline Morris well knows) is that Mike could have delayed the meeting with Doreen until he got hold of one. So the paragraph then veers suddenly into a completely different direction, namely that perhaps, maybe, possibly, Doreen asked Mike to describe the physical diary. That's hardly a fly in the ointment. If Doreen did ask for such a description, for which there is no evidence (and one has to wonder why Doreen was never asked during her lifetime by Keith Skinner if she did; perhaps Keith is an incurious person), Mike was a conman who could simply have avoided answering the question, telling her that he didn't want to speak about the item for whatever bullshit reason he decided to come up with. So that answers the question entirely.
We have Doreen Montgomery's correspondence with Shirley Harrison immediately after speaking to Mike and, in that correspondence, she mentions nothing about the physical nature of the diary. There is not a jot of evidence to suggest that Mike told Doreen anything about the physical nature of the diary or that she even asked him a single question about it. Far from a fly in the ointment, this is another typical Caroline Morris 'nothing point' which adds plenty to the volume of words without achieving a damn thing.
Martin Fido's view of Doreen Montgomery, incidentally, as expressed in a letter to Nick Warren dated 8 March 1994 was that, 'She doesn't seem to have any experience of true crime and her ventures into offering opinions on the diary have been worse than naive'. Perhaps not the type of person one would expect to have been asking penetrating questions of the crafty con artist, Mike Barrett, the man she was trying very hard to cultivate as a client, in March 1992.
We are going to have to start keeping a record of the questions which Caroline Morris is failing to answer properly.
In view of her barmy new claim that Melvin Harris 'suppressed' the existence of Mike Barrett's affidavit, Kattrup asked her (#643 of the 'Special Announcement' thread):
'Who knew about it? Well, thousands of people? I don’t know how many listeners Radio Merseyside had in September 1995, but it must have been more than a handful. Who knew what it contained? The radio host mentioned copies of it about, so that alone makes it sound like quite a few more than just MB, Alan Gray and Melvin Harris.'
This follows on from the last 'Lord Orsam Says..' in which I pointed out that Bob Azurdia on Radio Merseyside expressly referred to Mike's affidavit on his radio show on 20 September 1995 showing that it was, erm, not so secret and certainly not suppressed!
Caroline Morris' response in #685 was not to answer but to ask Kattrup a question: 'how many listeners cottoned on to the fact that Mike had made a new and improved statement detailing the creative process and who else was involved?'
Well bear in mind that Bob Azurdia had said this to Mike:
'But is it not the case that on the 5th of January this year you signed a statement, you actually signed a statement in a solicitor's office in Dale Street in Liverpool to the effect that your wife, Anne, had physically written the diaries, you provided the information for her to write and the two of you together with Tony Devereux had conspired the whole thing?'.
And then a bit later he said: 'But there are copies of this affidavit apparently'.
That must have been a fairly big clue to anyone listening to that interview on 20 September 1995 that Mike had signed an affidavit on 5 January 1995 so it's an interesting question as to whether Shirley and Keith Harrison were aware of the interview at the time.
As I also pointed out, according to 'Inside Story' (admittedly not a very reliable source for questions of this nature), Mike Barrett referred to his affidavit in a conversation with Doreen Montgomery as early as March 1995!!!
So it doesn't look like it was a big secret does it?
As we now know, Shirley Harrison appears to have known all about the affidavit when she spoke to Kevin Whay on 16 January 1995.
Everyone knew about it, it seems, apart from Keith Skinner!
But she can't compute this. She had managed to convince herself that virtually no-one knew about it until Mike sent a copy to Shirley in January 1997 and she forwarded it on immediately to Keith in the same month. Even if she thinks it was put on the internet in 1996, her position seems to be that during the whole of 1995 it was Top Secret because it was being actively suppressed by Melvin Harris. But the truth seems to be rather different to this. Hence she ducked the question. She didn't answer it other than with a question, which isn't an answer.
The other question Caroline Morris ducked is this one from Kattrup in the same post:
'Keith Skinner suspects MB would have told various people about it, do you agree with that?'
Yes, Keith Skinner did say this, via Iconoclast, so what is Caroline Morris' response to it? Well, she says, 'I wasn't around at the time, Kattrup, so I don't have an opinion about what Mike would have said about it, or to whom'. That's real funny because she wasn't around in January 1997 either yet she was perfectly happy to tell us that Keith Skinner first became aware of the affidavit's existence in that month. And, of course, she's told us LOADS of things that she thinks happened between 1992 and 1998 when she 'wasn't around' so why is she so coy on this single occasion?
As for the other questions she's asked in #685, see 'The Silence of the Anne' for some obvious answers.
SUPPRESSING BY PUBLICIZING!
Following on from the above, Caroline Morris returned to the subject of the affidavit in #688 of the 'Special Announcement' thread.
In that post she concedes that, in September 1995, 'Bob Azurdia referred specifically to Mike's affidavit by date and content'. She then says that Keith Skinner doesn't know how Azurdia was aware of the affidavit but adds, 'I think I can guess'. If, by that, she means that Melvin Harris told him, how is that in any way consistent with her claim that Harris wanted to suppress the existence of the affidavit? How do you suppress something by telling a radio presenter about it for him to mention on the radio?
The same is true of the Evans & Gainey book 'The Lodger', published in August 1995, in which it is stated that Mike had sworn an affidavit admitting to the forgery. If Melvin Harris was behind the authors' knowledge of the affidavit, how can it possibly be said he was suppressing it? It means it was mentioned in a published book in August 1995 and then mentioned on the air in September 1995. It's a very strange form of suppression, no?
Then, because Caroline Morris keeps forgetting the golden rule of 'No Orsam, No Comment', she once again states that Shirley Harrison first became aware of Mike's affidavit in January 1997 when Mike provided a copy to her. This seems to be nothing more than an assumption on her part based on the fact that Shirley immediately forwarded it to Keith Skinner. But, as I've mentioned previously, it contradicts what Shirley Harrison herself said in her 2003 book when she described the affidavit as having been in general circulation soon after Mike signed it in January 1995. And it also contradicts the hard evidence of what Shirley discussed with Kevin Whay on 16 January 1995 in which details from Mike's affidavit were obviously mentioned.
How does Caroline Morris explain that, you may well ask. The answer is that she doesn't. She doesn't even seem to be aware of what Shirley and Whay discussed on 16 January 1995 because she's confused herself about the dates of the relevant conversations due to an error in 'Inside Story'.
One thing worth noting about her post #688 is this comment addressed to Kattrup:
'I can see you are gamely trying to defend Melvin Harris on this one for some reason, but for the life of me I can't see what is so difficult to grasp about the fact that he clearly neglected to distribute copies of this affidavit to the very people who were recently blamed for not having investigated the details when it was first sworn.'
This is yet ANOTHER untruthful statement from Caroline Morris, designed to befuddle and confuse, for these reasons.
Firstly, no-one ever blamed Keith Skinner, Shirley Harrison et al for not having investigated the details of Mike's affidavit when it was first sworn. On the contrary, due to misinformation provided by the authors of 'Inside Story' (of whom Keith Skinner is one) EVERYONE believed that an attempt to investigate Mike's affidavit HAD been made on 18 January 1995 when a team of researchers, including Keith Skinner, went to see him, specifically to discuss the contents of his affidavit with him, but that he then told them a different story.
Secondly, to the extent that anyone ever criticized Keith et al for not having properly investigated the affidavit, this can only be a reference to the criticism of the researchers for not having ensured that the records of Outhwaite & Litherland for March 1992 were checked for a sale of a photograph album. But those criticisms (to the extent they existed) related to the attempt to obtain information from O&L in January 1997. For that was when Whay stated that, 'Having searched through the company's files and archives on both sides of the alleged sale date ...no such description or lot number corresponding with Barrett's statement exists'. The point here was that it was believed that the sale was in January or February 1990 so that the records for 1989 and 1991 might have been searched but certainly not those for 1992.
Thirdly, it's only the extreme paranoia of Caroline Morris that has twisted a perfectly accurate statement that the correct records weren't searched into criticism of Keith Skinner. No-one, as far as I can recall, was criticizing Keith Skinner personally for not having had the 1992 records checked in 1997 because Mike's affidavit placed the sale in 1990. I do, however, criticize him for not attempting this in 1999, when Mike expressly told him that the purchase of the album was made in March 1992 (and pleaded with him to check the records with O&L), but he couldn't have got this from Mike's affidavit alone without knowing that the little red diary was obtained on 28 March 1992, something which he hadn't established in January 1997. It's a moot point as to whether Keith, in January 1997, should have ensured that the March 1992 records were searched or not. He never seems to have made ANY attempt to contact O&L until 2020, after I set out the most likely sequence of events, having apparently been happy to leave this line of investigation entirely to Shirley Harrison. I do happen to think that Shirley and Keith were too easily satisfied by what Kevin Whay said without digging deeper, especially with regard to Whay's claim that O&L didn't conduct their auctions in the manner described in Mike's affidavit, without having clarified how those auctions differed from the way Mike had described them. But that's all irrelevant because any such criticisms applied to what was done in January 1997 and are thus irrelevant to the question of whether Melvin 'suppressed' Mike's affidavit in 1995.
Fourthly, as to the issue of suppression, which has now magically transformed into an issue of 'neglected to distribute', Caroline Morris hasn't told us (1) when Melvin Harris actually became aware of the existence of Mike's affidavit (2) when Melvin Harris received a copy of said affidavit and (3) who he should have distributed it to once he did. As I've previously demonstrated, Shirley Harrison refused Melvin's offer of co-operation in January 1995 so that he was under no obligation to tell HER and her team anything or provide them with any documents. He may, in any case, have assumed that Shirley already knew of Mike's affidavit and it looks like he would have been right! We even have evidence from 'Inside Story' that Doreen Montgomery was discussing the affidavit with Mike himself in correspondence in March 1995!!! So the whole 'suppression' or 'neglected to tell' theory looks like a load of old cobblers to me.
As to that, we find Caroline Morris asking Kattrup:
'How do you explain Melvin's failure to inform Shirley and Keith about it, while circulating copies to an unknown number of selected recipients, who similarly never thought to mention it, either to Shirley or Keith?'
That's very odd because she hasn't identified a single recipient who, she claims, received the affidavit from Melvin Harris! But if she means the authors of 'The Lodger' and Bob Azurdia, that was quite evidently for publication and broadcast respectively, thus ensuring that the existence of the affidavit was known. If Melvin knew about it during 1995, I've already explained that Shirley rejected Melvin's offer of co-operation. I've never seen any evidence that Melvin Harris and Keith Skinner were in direct contact. But if Keith Skinner was in direct contact with Stewart Evans then he could have asked him about it once he read his book which, one assumes he did, during or shortly after August 1995.
Furthermore, I've discovered a new material omission in 'Inside Story' which puts matters in a different light. This is what one finds on page 180 of 'Inside Story':
'Within a matter of days, Barrett's affidavit had come into the hands of Melvin Harris. A postscript to a letter written to Shirley Harrison on 4 February 1995 makes his feelings on the matter abundantly clear'
'This man should be allowed to state his position freely, without any inducements to please either believers or doubters. Because a large sum of money seems to be on promise, but only IF he goes along with the Anne Barrett line, then any testimony endorsing that line is null and void, as a matter of course. But in this case his witnessed repudiation means that you may not make use of anything said on these tapes. They are now meaningless, and I understand that an enlarged statement about this visit has since been made by Barrett in which the repudiation is repeated and made even stronger by extra details. I have not yet seen this statement. This is an unfortunate turn of events, and since a crime is involved, can we, from now on, have this investigation conducted on a strictly equitable level?'
For whatever reason, whether by accident or design, the authors of 'Inside Story' omitted the crucial first sentence of Melvin Harris' postscript. It said:
'Since finishing this letter I have received a copy of an alarming statement made by Barrett. I enclose a copy.'
The 'alarming' statement which Melvin Harris enclosed for Shirley Harrison must have been Mike's signed statement dated 23 January 1995 and the 'enlarged' statement must have been his further signed statement dated 26 January 1995. Neither of these were Mike's affidavit so it is unclear what led the authors of 'Inside Story' to conclude that the affidavit had come into Melvin's hands within a matter of days. Here we find Melvin actually sending a copy of the statement in his possession to Shirley Harrison, so he certainly wasn't suppressing that!
Strangely, in her post #688, Caroline Morris asks Kattrup:
'How much investigating did Melvin Harris do, when he first saw the new claims Mike made about the creation process and who did what? Did he believe Mike's claim that it was Anne's handwriting in the diary, done over eleven days?'
Perhaps she thinks Kattrup ought to hold a seance to find out the answer to these questions. How can he possibly know what Melvin Harris did or did not do? How can he possibly know whether Melvin Harris believed Mike's claims in his affidavit? But why does it even matter?
SUPPRESSING BY REVEALING!!!
It's funny how just by shaking the pot a little, all kinds of things come tumbling out.
The answer to my question about how Keith Skinner discovered in July 1995 that Mike had purchased the little red 1891 diary produces a startling admission from Caroline Morris (in #6100 of the 'Incontrovertible' thread).
It turns out that none other than MELVIN HARRIS, the man supposedly suppressing information from the affidavit, HAD TOLD FELDMAN ALL ABOUT IT!!!!
For some reason, if the latest account by Caroline Morris is accurate, and Keith Skinner first discovered the news about the diary on 20 July 1995 (not 5 July 1995 as was originally claimed on his behalf by Iconoclast) then Paul Feldman didn't immediately reveal this information to his own researcher Keith Skinner!!!!
It seems that Keith only found out about the little red diary by chance from Feldman on 20 July 1995. But how did Feldman already know of it on that date?
Well it transpires that Feldman revealed in the meeting with Mike on 20 July that Melvin Harris had been told that Mike had a receipt proving that Anne bought a Victorian diary. Feldman asked Mike why he had told Melvin that the diary was bought in 1992 for £25. Feldman said it was a little diary dated 1891. He asked Mike why he had implied to Melvin that the receipt for it proved Anne wrote the diary.
As Caroline Morris now concedes:
'It would appear that Feldman got his information from Melvin Harris, who already knew the red diary was for the year 1891 and was not bought until 1992.'
So, if this is correct, presumably Melvin Harris had seen Mike's affidavit referring to the purchase of the little red diary and had asked him when he acquired it and was told it was 1992. He's also been told it was a diary from 1891. Neither the fact that it was from 1891 or was purchased in 1992 was mentioned in the affidavit. Further, Mike had evidently told Harris that the purchase of this diary supported his story about the forgery in some way. And Harris passed all this juicy stuff on to Feldman!
It's a funny thing isn't it because, as far as we know, Melvin Harris believed the diary was forged in about 1991 yet here he is telling Feldman, of all people, some inside information he's received from Mike Barrett, which isn't exactly consistent with his own theory, at the same time as he's supposedly suppressing the existence of Mike's affidavit!!!
Does that make any sense? Of course not!
Then, inevitably, Caroline Morris tells us:
'But by the July, Alan Gray and Melvin Harris did have enough information between them, from the affidavit, and Mike's revised claim that the red diary was not bought in 1990, but two years later in 1992, to approach O&L with a formal written request to check their records up until April 1992, for the photo album and compass.'
This is a nonsensical fantasy on the part of Caroline Morris and a complete non-starter. Melvin Harris already knew in July 1995 that O&L had refused Alan Gray permission to search their records in or about September 1994 so a 'formal written request' would have been a waste of time. As Melvin recorded in a Casebook Forum post dated 28 April 2002:
'Alan Gray first went to the named auction house and asked to inspect their records. This request was refused.'
In other words, Harris would have believed in July 1995 that there was no point in contacting O&L because he knew they were being unhelpful, so it simply wouldn't have mattered if it registered with him that the acquisition of the little red diary in March 1992 meant that a search of O&L's records up to April 1992 was required. I assume Caroline Morris knows this, which is why she refers to a 'formal written request', for which the word 'formal', frankly, has no meaning, but it's a fantasy on her part to think that a request in writing would have made any difference. To the extent that Melvin would have recognized that this new information about the red diary demanded a search of O&L's records for 1992, well he had passed the information on to Feldman, so it was now Feldman's responsibility, or the responsibility of Feldman's researchers, such as Keith Skinner. These men had unrestricted access to Mike, as evidenced by the 20 July meeting, and Melvin would probably and reasonably have assumed that Mike would have told them about his affidavit or its contents.
Furthermore, and in any event, Melvin Harris is on record as having said that he had no real interest in either the identity of the forgers or the precise details of how the forgery was carried out. It wasn't the way he approached his own investigation of the diary. For example, in a Casebook Forum post dated 23 July 2001 he said, 'I have NEVER promised to name the fakers, indeed I have always felt that aspect of being of little importance'. This was something which OTHER PEOPLE (including Caroline Morris herself) have always been obsessed about. In the same post, Melvin described the 'clamour to know who, when, how and why' as 'at best a simplistic and unreal position'. All he really and sensibly cared about was proving that the diary was a fake, which he felt he had done through the discovery of chloroacetamide in the ink and many other factors, including a thorough textual analysis. To the extent that the diary is certainly proved a fake by the inclusion of 'one off instance' and the mention of Bunny's 'aunt' (and other errors) Melvin was, of course, entirely correct.
The thing is, if Caroline Morris' argument is that these two now dead men were negligent in failing to get to the bottom of the mystery by having O&L's records checked, that is not only utterly pointless (because who cares?) but self-defeating too because by January 1997 Keith Skinner had ALL the relevant information possessed by Gray and Harris in 1995, but he too failed to approach O&L with a formal written request to check their records for March and April 1992!!!!
If Gray and Harris were negligent and incompetent then, by the same standards, Keith Skinner must have been negligent and incompetent too, surely?
Why didn't Keith ensure the records were checked for the correct period? I can't speak for him but presumably it was for two reasons. Firstly, he had been beguiled by Anne into thinking that Mike only wanted the little red diary to see what a Victorian diary looked like. Secondly, after checking with Anne, he was apparently under the impression that the diary hadn't been acquired until May 1992, which was the date on the cheque stub provided to him by Anne. Nevertheless, the fact remains that Keith Skinner in January 1997 had all the information to do what Caroline Morris herself is saying that Gray and Harris should have done in July 1995!!!
There's one other important thing to emerge from this interesting little shake-up which has once again produced more information than we were told in 'Inside Story'.
It will be noted that Caroline Morris makes clear that Feldman asked Mike two questions during the 20 July 1995 meeting. Thus, she writes:
'Feldman asks Mike why he told Melvin that the diary was bought in 1992 for £25. Feldman says it's a little diary dated 1891. He asks Mike why he implied to Melvin that the receipt for it proved Anne wrote the diary.'
So what were Mike's answers to these questions? Why have they not been provided? Surely we should have a full transcript provided of this important meeting. After the way that Mike's statements at the April 1999 Cloak & Dagger meeting were misrepresented, and so much new information was only discovered after the recording was produced, why can't we see a transcript of this meeting (or even listen to a recording) when, during the first part of it at least, Mike seems to have been in full confession mode? So let's see what he was saying, shall we?
I appreciate that some people simply ignored Mike every time he confessed to writing the diary because they believed the diary was an old document but if we can have his actual words as spoken by him at the time, it might get us closer to the truth of this matter. And that's what we are all trying to establish, isn't it?
MILKING THE COW
The Major gets offended (in #635 of the 'Incontrovertible' thread) when he is told by Abby Normal that he is one of those 'milking the diary for all it's worth'.
In response he suggests that Abby 'could join forces with Lord O, RJ, Observer, The Baron, Kattrup, Trevor Marriott etc.' and 'put together a collective response which - if slanderous - can be formally reviewed by Admin'.
Not sure why he includes me in this, bearing in mind that Admin of the Censorship Forum has literally no authority over what I write, but he goes on to say that, 'I just do not like this occasional undercurrent of seedy innuendo.'
That's a bit rich coming from the person from whom seedy innuendo about things like RJ Palmer and others posting on my behalf and about Melvin Harris suppressing information is emitted on an almost daily basis (and his seedy innuendo about Stewart Evans is discussed below).
But the worse thing of it is that Iconoclast only has himself to blame for failing to confront the problems with the diary. I mean, what's his response to the fact that the diary contains an anachronistic expression which didn't exist in 1888? It's to suggest that the author was referring to a single 'off instance' despite the fact that THAT expression didn't exist in 1888 either!!! It was a joke response of someone who is not a serious character. And, incidentally, talking of joke characters, perhaps one day the Clanger will get round to expressing his opinion about the Major's 'off instance' suggestion.
A year after I posted my response to his 'Society's Pillar' the Major has still not accepted that it is in ruins with every single pillar of his argument destroyed. He's literally put his head in the sand.
One of his responses to 'Bunny's Aunt' was that Maybrick might not have written the word 'godmother' in his journal because it was too long a word, so wrote 'aunt' instead because it was shorter even though it wasn't correct!! I mean, honestly, how else can one respond to such suggestions other than to think that the person behind them is milking the diary for all it's worth?
Not financially but one can milk for other reasons if one just likes the taste of dairy or diary products.
For Iconoclast the diary is nothing more than a massive intellectual enterprise whereby he can demonstrate that he can come up with something to counter every argument against the diary however desperate and however mental. Thus, we have 'off instance' and we have the godmother who is also an aunt.
MAJOR MISUNDERSTANDING STRIKES AGAIN
Another faulty quote from Major Tom:
'The only auction Barrett could have attended before April 13 1992 was on March 31, 1992'.
What a lot of tosh!
There were plenty of auctions in Liverpool and elsewhere that Barrett could have attended prior to 13 April 1992.
At Outhwaite & Litherland, auctions were held every Tuesday in 1992.
If, as seems likely, Mike waited until after receiving the little red diary (which he did on 28 March 1992) before attempting to find an alternative diary, the FIRST Outhwaite & Litherland auction on a Tuesday that he could have attended was on 31 March 1992.
But if he had been running plans in parallel, it's by no means impossible that he could have attended an auction of O&L on 24 March or even on 17 March (whether he purchased anything on those occasions or not). Or he could have attended auctions at other auction houses.
Mike says in his affidavit that he bought the photograph album at an O&L auction which is certainly possible (given that such auctions were held every Tuesday) but we are not constrained in any way by what he says in his affidavit.
There was an auction on 31 March 1992 and then another on 7 April. Either would have allowed sufficient time to obtain a diary prior to 13 April.
However, Mike also says in his affidavit that it took him and his wife eleven days to create the diary. There doesn't seem to be any reason for him to have lied about that timescale and, indeed, a much longer timescale would probably have been more believable, so that if we factor those eleven days into the story told in the affidavit, attendance at an Outhwaite & Litherland auction on Tuesday 31 March 1992 makes it feasible for Mike to have acquired the album on that date and written the diary in eleven days with time to spare before bringing it down to London to show Doreen Montgomery.
That's all I've ever said. For all I know, Mike could have stolen the photograph album and lied about the O&L auction until the day he died but my point is that the story told in his affidavit is perfectly feasible bearing in mind (a) that there was definitely an auction of Victorian and Edwardian effects at a Liverpool auction house held on 31 March 1992 and (b) that O&L's records for March 1992 don't ever appear to have been checked (and those records wouldn't have identified an old photograph album anyway because it would have been catalogued as a miscellaneous item).
For Iconoclast to say that the 31 March auction was the only auction Mike could have attended shows that he really doesn't understand the case against him.
MAJOR MISUNDERSTANDING LOVES TO MISUNDERSTAND
According to the Major (#5671), one has to 'change more or less [Mike Barrett's] entire story to fit the tiny window we have between March 9 1992 and April 13 1992'. But the exact opposite is true!
I am following the story as told in the affidavit which says very clearly that Mike obtained the little red diary which proved unsuitable so he THEN went to an auction house where he purchased a photograph album. As we know for a fact that the little red diary was obtained on 28 March 1992, it is 100% consistent with what Mike says in his affidavit that he went to an O&L auction on 31 March 1992. It is, indeed, the VERY story that Mike tells in his affidavit!
While it's true that there are some dating errors in Mike's affidavit, does the Major think that Mike truly believed that Tony Devereux died in late May or early June 1990? Because that's what the affidavit says! Does the Major think that Mike truly believed, and was trying to say in his affidavit, that he 'finally decided in November 1993 that enough was enough' and that he 'made clear from that time on that the Diary of Jack the Ripper was a forgery'? Or is that not just an obvious dating error?
For the Major to say, as he does, that 'Lord Orsam took the lies he liked and changed them to a truth he wanted' nothing could be further from the truth or more outrageous. I've followed the narrative set out in Mike's affidavit to the letter as supported by contemporary documentation. And the story it tells is that Mike went to an O&L auction on 31 March 1992 when he acquired himself an old photograph album. THAT is the story told in Mike's affidavit whether the Major or his puppet masters like it or not.
It is also the story told by Mike over two days, 9 and 10 April 1999, when he came down to London but no-one listened to him because they all thought it was a new and different story to the one he told in his 1995 affidavit. But it was the same story!!!
SEE NO MISTAKES HEAR NO MISTAKES
A great moment in the 'Incontrovertible' thread (#5797) when Kattrup made the point that the author of the diary ended up 'repeating mistakes from the few secondary sources consulted'.
In response, Erobitha picked up that point and asked him (5799):
'"Few secondary texts consulted" and again show me the proof.'
You see what he did there?
He didn't even bother asking about the 'mistakes'. He just took that as read.
Yeah, sure there's a few mistakes in the diary taken from secondary sources: the heart, the key and, of course, the aunt, but let's forget about that. Tell me what the secondary sources were?!!!
Well the secondary sources are, of course, easy to identify. There's nothing in the diary that a forger couldn't have included either from secondary sources or from his or her own imagination.
I just love the way that Erobitha doesn't want or need to be told about the mistakes!
WE DON'T NEED NO EDUCASHUN
Caroline Morris seems to be very proud of her lack of qualifications ('seven O levels, and no other qualifications. Left school at 17') and just as equally proud of the fact that her husband has a first class degree from...the Open University. But, frankly, qualifications are irrelevant if you can't read and understand a simple document.
The irony of her telling Kattrup that he is 'ignoring inconvenient evidence' (#5805) when she is the one who doesn't understand the evidence is immense. Speaking of Mike Barrett and the little red diary, she tells him:
''Never mind that he ordered one for the year 1891, with 3 or 4 printed dates to a page [not just at the top] which did not have enough blank Victorian paper to wipe his late 20th century bottom on.'
In the first place, Mike did not order a diary for the year 1891, despite her underlining the word and putting it in bold. He ordered a diary for the period 1880 to 1890 but, in the absence of one in the desired period, he was OFFERED one from 1891, which offer he accepted because there was nothing else available.
More importantly, there is no evidence that Mike knew that that there were '3 or 4 printed dates to a page'. That wasn't in the description that Caroline Morris herself has posted! That description did not include the word 'printed'. It just said 'three or four dates to a page' which could in theory mean that the writer of the diary had SPACES in which to fill the dates for his or her diary. It also just says 'dated 1891 throughout' which, to an optimist, might just mean that the date was at the top of the page and could be cut off.
Although Caroline Morris says that the diary 'did not have enough blank Victorian paper to wipe his late 20th century bottom on' that does not come from Martin Earl's description which seems to contradict that crude statement by saying, 'Nearly all of the pages are blank'.
It's obviously inconvenient to Caroline Morris that the description provided by Martin Earl doesn't say that there were '3 or 4 printed dates to a page' so that she simply changes the summary of the description into wording she prefers but, like I say, the irony of her telling a proper historian like Kattrup that he is 'ignoring inconvenient evidence' when that is precisely what she is doing, while also twisting the evidence to suit her, is incredible.
In no post when discussing the diary has she mentioned the fact that nearly all of the pages of the 1891 diary were said in Martin Earl's description to be 'blank'. That's the very definition of ignoring inconvenient evidence!
Even worse, she has now taken to ADDING into the description a claim that that the pages weren't blank at all!!! Just please look at this devious piece of editing in her post #6108 of the incontrovertible thread:
As we can see, she's transcribed Martin Earl's description of the diary as a:
'small 1891 De La Rue's Indelible Diary and Memorandum book...2.25" by 4", dated 1891 throughout - three or four dates to a page. Nearly all the pages are blank [apart from the printed dates] and at the end of the diary are two Memoranda pages'.
Now compare to the original (from her earlier post #5701 of the 'Incontrovertible' thread, which was the first time she had posted it, so please ignore the word 'again' in the introductory paragraph which is a falsehood):
It's blatant! In #6108 she just added in the bit in square brackets which says 'apart from the printed dates', something that, as we can clearly see, was NOT in the original description and was thus something that Mike was NOT told.
Here, to confirm, is a transcript of is that actual description (of the relevant part) from March 1992.
'small 1891 De La Rue's Indelible Diary and Memorandum book, 2.25" by 4", dated 1891 throughout - three or four dates to a page. Nearly all the pages are blank and at the end of the diary are two Memoranda pages'.
Caroline Morris just wasn't happy that the word 'printed' is absent from the description so she just had to go and add it in herself!!!!
Not to mention that she emboldened AND underlined the size of the diary whereas it's not in bold or underlined in the original.
And she lectures others about 'ignoring inconvenient evidence'!!!! In this case, the actual evidence isn't good enough for her so she needs to boost it up a bit with her own flourishes and inventions.
Mike was told that nearly all the pages were blank. He wasn't told that nearly all the pages were blank apart from the printed dates, so why has she felt the need to add this caveat into the description?????
It's a despicable approach to history from someone who obviously can't accept the evidence as it stands because it contradicts everything she believes about the diary transaction.
If she wants to educate herself about the diary she doesn't need to go to college. She just needs to visit this website and read the articles. It's one click away. No Orsam, No Comment!
Suddenly Caroline Morris, having made clear to the world that she is not visiting this website, wants to ask me a question on the Forum even though she is fully aware that I'm not able to answer it and that anyone who quotes me answering her question is going to get in trouble with the moderator! How does she think she is going to find out the answer in those circumstances? But perhaps she doesn't care what the answer is.
In #5806 she falsely claims that I am still looking 'for the one fatal error more fatal than the rest' and that I won't quit until I'm '110% certain', before saying:
'I'm wondering if Orsam had to go looking for another error, more fatal even than to 'one off instance' [?] because of something he once posted. I thought he must have been joking at the time, because the logic eluded me, but now I'm not so sure. He opined that the diary would have to be genuine to come out of Battlecrease House, but 'one off instance' proved the real James Maybrick could not have written it, ergo it did not come out of James Maybrick's old home.'
Then she adds
'Anyone got any better ideas why Orsam went all out to bag himself an aunt, if she wasn't needed to be an understudy for his 'one off instance'?'
Showing that this question was very much troubling her, she had already suggested in a previous post (#5805) that I've been 'wasting years on an exercise in futility, poring over the content of the diary to look for additional signs of fakery'.
Well, as usual she is wrong.
I noticed the issue about Florence's 'aunt' purely by accident. I wasn't looking in the diary for any additional signs of fakery. It's not just because I assumed that loads of people had already trawled all over the diary for years, so that there was little chance of finding anything new that no-one else had spotted, but because I simply didn't need to. As I said when announcing the new discovery, I had already proved that the diary is a fake due to the anachronistic use by the forger of 'one off instance'.
The discovery of the mistake relating to Florence's 'aunt' came about as a result of me carrying out an exercise of comparing the secondary sources to the diary text in order to attempt to establish what books the forger used to prepare the diary. It was during the process of carrying out this exercise in which I checked every single fact in the diary against the secondary sources that I realized that, in the matter of Florence's sick aunt, the secondary sources were relying on Addison's opening speech rather than any evidence in the case and that the actual evidence did not support what Addison had said.
It really is that simple. I wasn't looking for further errors in the diary. I just spotted it by chance while doing something else. Not that there is any validity to Caroline Morris' underlying point. If I had wanted to search for other errors in the book this doesn't mean that the errors already found don't already prove the diary to be fake. There's nothing wrong with being exhaustive and finding ALL the errors. So it's another useless attack by someone whose brain isn't functioning properly.
I'm not going to respond to the rest of Caroline Morris' post about whether the latest mistake on its own proves the diary is a fake (which, of course, it does), because I've written at length about this elsewhere, other than to say that she, in effect, relies on Maybrick not knowing that the Countess de Gabriac was Florence's godmother, whether she puts it that way or not, and THAT is utterly ludicrous.
As for her failure to see the logic in my claim that if the diary came up from under the floorboards of Battlecrease it must have been written by Maybrick, it must surely be obvious what I'm saying. Who would have gone to all the the trouble of creating a fake diary of Jack the Ripper (or hoax if you prefer) only to hide it under the floorboards of James Maybrick's old house? Any possible answer to this question is ludicrous and incredible.
It's patently obvious that if the diary really was discovered during electrical work beneath the floorboards on 9 March 1992 this must mean that the diary had been there since it was put there by James Maybrick in 1889. While one can come up with some far-fetched hypotheticals about a hoaxer placing it under the floorboards, hoping that one day it would be found by chance, that is just a nonsense, not worth any sensible person considering. And, certainly, the idea that a paying visitor to Battlecrease on a guided tour could have had the time, ability and opportunity to physically lift a floorboard and place either a biscuit tin or an old photograph album beneath it is so ridiculous as to be not worthy of any consideration (although I note that even she couldn't bring herself to suggest that such a visitor lifted the floorboards, merely saying that he or she could have concealed it somewhere in the house, thus hilariously contradicting her oft-repeated claim that it was specifically found under the floorboards!).
My point was that 'one off instance' shows that the diary is a modern fake which, therefore, means (because I am not insane) that it did NOT come out from under the floorboards of Battlecrease.
This has absolutely nothing to do with my 'Bunny's Aunt' article - and it's the logic of Caroline Morris that I somehow needed to find another mistake for this reason which eludes me - which article revealed yet another mistake by the stupid forger who had already made clear mistakes about Kelly's heart and Kelly's key.
I have no idea if Caroline Morris will ever learn the truth of the matter. She purports to be curious but wants to make it known that she doesn't read my articles. She should remember the golden rule: No Orsam, No Comment!
NOT VERY SUCCESFUL (SICK)
So much is her shit point about my discovery of the 'Bunny's Aunt' mistake on her mind that she repeats it once again in #5810, asking Kattrup:
'So why do you suppose he needed an aunt to add to his already succesful [sic] picture of a typical literary hoax, produced by Bongo Barretts all over the globe when they have a spare weekend with nothing better to do?'
You will notice there her insane mocking of a non-English speaker for what was probably just a typo in spelling the word 'successful' incorrectly. Kattrup had typed 'succesful' in his post so Caroline Morris did it too. There was absolutely no need for her to deliberately spell the word wrong herself then add [sic] after it in order to make her daft and insulting point. I mean, seriously, who takes issue with spelling mistakes?
I suppose the truly ignorant feel the need to point out spelling mistakes in others but to do so to a clearly intelligent non-English speaker who is obviously writing in his second language is just bizarre, especially when it's probably just a typo in any event.
And, of course, the joke is on her because she's asking what she regards as a rhetorical question, thinking that she knows the answer when she's on completely the wrong lines. That's what happens when you are truly stupid on the most important level of human cognitive thought, even if, like a computer, you can spell some words correctly.
THE CIRCLE OF DIARY LIFE
Round and round in circles we go.
You can tell when Caroline Morris is getting desperate. She brings up questions that were discussed and dealt with YEARS go.
Back she goes to asking why Mike decided to call Doreen on 9th March 1992 and did so before having a diary in his possession (#5808).
It's funny that, because when Keith Skinner had the opportunity to ask him those very questions at the Cloak & Dagger club event on 10 April 1999 he failed to take it.
The answer as to why Mike made the telephone call first and then created the fake diary of Jack the Ripper is pretty obvious in any case and was told to Caroline Morris personally by me when I was a member of the Forum so she has no excuse for asking it of Kattrup as if she doesn't know the answer.
It would have been pretty daft to go out and spend money on a blank diary or scrapbook or notebook or photograph album and then spend money on the materials (nibs, ink etc.) before being sure there would be any interest in the fake diary he was planning to create. What if he'd done it and Doreen Montgomery and other literary agents or book publishers simply refused to take his calls or just said they weren't interested in such an item? What a waste!
So it does make sense for him to have ensured that there was someone in London who was interested and even excited in seeing the diary of Jack the Ripper before spending any money, time and effort on the project.
As for why he contacted Doreen on that particular day, one could ask the same question of every single day. He had to contact her one day, didn't he? I don't rule out that it's connected with Mike hearing of work being carried out at Battlecrease but it's not entirely necessary. It's not surprising that the project was put on hold from August 1991 following the death of Tony Devereux. By March 1992, six months later, that's about the time when one might expect the plan to be revived.
But no-one seems to have expressed ANY interest in why Mike chose the date of 9 March 1992 while he was alive. The authors of 'Inside Story' don't raise it at any time in their entire book! It's only since the timesheet discovery of electrical work in Battlecrease on that day that those who believe it's a modern fake are now suddenly expected to answer this question. It's impossible to do so with any degree of certainty because Mike is now dead and no-one else other than Anne or Caroline Morris can possibly know the answer and they're not talking.
So it's just a dead end but, hey, give it a few years and no doubt Caroline Morris will be back asking these same questions on the Forum and we can all go round and round in the same circle again.
SERIOUSLY BEGGING THE QUESTION
DId I just read Paul Begg seriously ask the question:
'In fact, does advertising for and purchasing that diary, as grippingly suspicious at least one of those things might be, possibly suggest that Mike might not have been the faker?'
I actually think I did (#5809 in 'Incontrovertible' thread)!
The answer to that question is obviously and resoundingly 'No' (because it suggests that he WAS the faker) but I've got a better question for Mr Begg.
Why did Mike advertise for a Victorian diary with blank pages and then end up purchasing a diary (from 1891) in which nearly all the pages were said to be blank?
Can we have a better (or even just another) explanation than that he wanted a blank diary containing paper from the correct historical period in which to write a pre-prepared text of the diary of Jack the Ripper?
Coz, you see Paul, I can't think of one and I haven't been able to think of one in the past four years. You? Thought not.
STUPID PILLS KICKING IN
Paul Begg is back on the stupid pills.
In #5820 of the 'Incontrovertible' thread he posted:
'Mike is a complete idiot, unless from time to time one wants him not to be, but was he really such a dunce that he never thought to make sure he bought a diary for a year when Maybrick would have been alive to write in it?'
What is it about people who are so bedazzled by an '1891' diary that they don't understand that Mike was simply after the paper from the correct period? He obviously wasn't going to present a diary of Jack the Ripper written by James Maybrick in a diary emblazoned with the year 1891!!!
Seriously Mr Begg, do you not understand this?
The old photograph album, according to Mike was from 1908 or 1909 (but he said he removed the date), and as far as we know this is entirely possible. Kenneth Rendell described it as 'a Victorian or Edwardian era scrap book.' There was forensic evidence of something having been removed from the inside cover. So it's perfectly possible that the diary IS written in a volume created in a year when Maybrick wouldn't have been alive to write in it!!!
Obviously, with the little red diary, apart from being too small, it had individual dates printed on each page making it impossible to use for an 1888 or 1889 diary but, as I've said until I'm blue in the face, Mike didn't know that until he received it.
And the one thing we know is that Mike was seeking a Victorian diary WITH BLANK PAGES. What does that tell you Mr Begg? Any thoughts as to why he wanted such an item? No? Thought not.
'THE SCRAPBOOK OF JACK THE RIPPER' by Shirley Harrison 1993, never published
Paul Begg must have given Caroline Morris some of his stupid pills, not that she really needs them.
In #5825, she dramatically tells us that she's 'Just had another thought'.
Oh my word, this can only be bad.
And it is.
'If Mike wasn't able to tell Doreen anything about the physical condition of the 'diary' before 31st March 1992, except to call it a "diary"; and if we also allow for Doreen not asking or caring about any further details throughout the March, in spite of him using a false name when first contacting her, I have to wonder what she made of the fact that by April the diary was no longer a diary, but had morphed into what was now very obviously a partially used scrapbook/guardbook/photo album? Would Doreen not have been a tad miffed at best, if not downright suspicious of what this Scouser was up to?'
Boy those pills must be strong.
I mean, she's described what actually in fucking fact happened. Mike called it a diary when he spoke to Doreen, according to Caroline Morris' own book, and we've seen that when Doreen Montgomery wrote to both Shirley and Mike on 10 March 1992, she referred to it on both occasions as a diary.
Oh crikey, go on then, let's have them again.
On 10 March 1992, Doreen wrote to Shirley Harrison to say:
'Our Ripper friend has phoned again today, having had further discourse with his wife (who apparently rules the roost!) and they have decided that we must be entrusted with the diary to check it out for ourselves!'
Then, on the same day, she wrote to Mike to say:
'Thank you for phoning yesterday and today and for letting me know about the intriguing Diary which is in your possession, which appears to be by the real Jack the Ripper'.
So Caroline Morris now needs to work out why Doreen was not, in fact, a tad miffed or downright suspicious of what this Scouser was up to when she met Mike for the first time given that, 'by April the diary was no longer a diary, but had morphed into what was now very obviously a partially used scrapbook/guardbook/photo album.'
I'll give her a helping hand. It's because Mike DID bring down a diary to London. It was the diary of Jack the Ripper!!! The only thing unusual about this diary to distinguish it from other personal diaries, which were usually written in notebooks or guardbooks or scrapbooks, is that none of the entries were dated. And THAT is what should have rung alarm bells and raised red flats all over the place but didn't.
Not to mention the pages torn out at the front!
The fact that the diary was written into a scrapbook or guardbook or photo album doesn't in any way change the fact that it was a diary. Because as soon as you start writing a chronological record of events into one of those things it BECOMES a diary. We all know that don't we? Surely we do. Surely I don't have to post all my diary images again.
That's why Doreen was very happy when Mike showed her a diary written into a scrapbook (she didn't yet know it was a photograph album actually, and it took some forensic work by Dr Baxendale to establish this) and it is also why Shirley Harrison didn't publish a book called 'The Scrapbook of Jack the Ripper'. She called it 'The Diary of Jack the Ripper' because it IS a diary. Or at least that it what it is supposed to be. It's purportedly a personal record of events in chronological order written by James Maybrick on various days during 1888 and 1889. That's what a diary is.
I mean seriously.
Did I need to write all that out?
THE TWO CAROLINE MORRISES
Dear Mr Jonathan "Moderator" Menges, Supreme Overlord of the Censorship Forum and High Chief Creator of Random Rules,
I regret to inform you that the person who is posting under the name of 'Caz' on your stupid Forum is an imposter.
She claims to be Caroline Morris, a.k.a. Caroline Brown, but I can prove it is a different person writing under this name.
The real Caroline Morris posted on JTR Forums on 20 July 2020 (#334 of the 'Lord Orsam's Blog' thread), shortly after I announced that I could prove the diary to be a fake for a second time, to wonder what I would make of 'the handwriting not being James Maybrick's' which, she made clear, 'showed the diary was a fake nearly 30 years ago'.
She thought I was making so much effort 'just to convince the odd one or two, who believe it could be in JM's hand' and she commented, 'I tell you, it's a mad, mad, mad, world.'. THREE 'mads'! That's when you know it really IS mad.
Then on 5 August 2020, she was back in the same thread (#367) to say:
'I think one, maybe two posters at most, don't think the handwriting proved the diary was a fake back in 1992'.
So there were are. The unqualified view of Caroline Morris is that the handwriting PROVES the diary is a fake.
But then what do we find her posting on the Censorship forum on 11 August 2020?
Well after her poodle, Major Tom Mitchell, the Iconoclast, had had the nerve to tell her (#644 of the 'Special Announcement' thread) that the hand he himself writes with privately is 'completely different' to his 'formal hand' she replied (#686):
'While I obviously see the diary handwriting as a huge problem for you, Ike, I do recognise what you are saying here.'
Hold on a moment.
But huge problems, by definition, can be overcome can't they?
I thought we had been told that the handwriting proves the diary to be a fake so conclusively that it's a complete waste of time looking for, and finding, any more evidence of fakery!
Yet, here she is RECOGNISING what the Major is saying!!! What is there to recognise? Why doesn't she tell him to bog off? Why doesn't she make clear to him that the diary was proved nearly 30 years ago not to be by James Maybrick due to the handwriting, so that he is nothing more than a nutter (of whom there are only 'one, maybe two' in existence) who can't face reality?
Well, of course, the real Caroline Morris Brown WOULD definitely say that because she's not the type of person who will change her own views depending on who she's speaking to will she?
No, Mr Menges, I rest my case. You have a dastardly fake on your Forum who is pretending to be the great Caroline Morris who has already proved the diary to be a fake due to the handwriting, despite her professing to know nothing about handwriting.
I look forward to seeing the asterisk next to her name once you have considered this compelling evidence.
On a personal note, Mr Menges, keep up the great work and I look forward to news of some more new random Forum rules being announced in the near future.
With my fondest badgering regards,
FLOGGING A DEAD HORSE
The Clanger doesn't needs stupid pills. Like Obelix in the Asterix books he must have fallen into a cooking pot of stupid potion when he was a child.
I'm not joking.
Why else would he ask in #84 of the 'Two-off' thread on JTR Forums if Mike Barrett was fond of horses? Followed by the subsequent comment in #91:
'I was just wondering if the equine x-off usage might have still be in use among horsey folk in the late 20th century'.
What possible relevance can this have to the diary?
A 'one off instance', as we know, has nothing to do with horses. In 1992, the expression 'one off instance' and similar was widely used. It had, and still has, a clear meaning in the English language, one which fits perfectly in the context of someone having done something once but promising they won't do again.
Why is the Clanger even asking the question about Mike's knowledge of horses? Even in the highly unlikely event that Mike was aware of what appears to be an obsolete description a 'one-off filly', 'two-off filly' etc. that's of no relevance and has got nothing to do with what is in the diary because it means something totally different.
But the Clanger actually seems to think it's an issue worth pursuing. Talk about flogging a literal dead horse! I just can't believe he hasn't quietly dropped that one. He really should just x-off!
Is the Clanger stupid? Anyone who was in any doubt now has their answer.
LIES ON THE FORUM
Somehow I am mentioned on all kinds of threads! As I don't read them all, I only happened to notice by pure chance that Erobitha wrote in #18 of a thread entitled, 'The apron was dropped':
'Then on the dark side of the boards we have Lord Orsam. He is like a poor man's skeletor. He too uses spiritual conduits to communicate on the boards. Look out for "The Barron" and others. It's unclear if he self-exiled or was banned, but he still haunts us, snooping and creeping around the place. Annoyingly, he is actually a very good researcher but a little on the egotistical side. He calls himself Lord.'
It's nonsense to say that I use 'spiritual conduits to communicate on the boards'. The poster called 'The Baron' does not post on my behalf. Nor do any unnamed 'others'. It is, therefore, untrue to say that I am 'snooping and creeping' around the place. It's just another smear by a Diary Defender.
Talking of which. Caroline Morris couldn't help but get involved in the smearing (at #23):
'Lord Orsam was banned - permanently - two years ago, and if anyone knows that he has returned in any form, they are supposed to report it to Admin to deal with. In fact, he has Ike to thank for first addressing him as Lord Orsam, which is now stuck fast. '
It's another lie that I was banned two years ago. But we'll come to that because Caroline Morris wasn't finished. Erobitha responded in #28 to say:
'As for Orsam I was led to believe he self-exiled, but again like the man in orthopaedic shoes, I stand corrected.'
Caroline Morris then, in #29, posted 'the evidence on Orsam' from 'one who ought to know' which, considering she was referring to Jonathan Menges, is a joke because he seems to know nothing! That quote was:
'Lord Orsam is banned from contributing to the Casebook message boards and that ban also forbids other posters from copying and pasting his comments in any discussion thread. Whether you’re actually being a proxy poster for his Lordship, or have good and honest intentions, pasting his commentary here will not be allowed.'
Evidently realizing that word of Menges is not sufficient, she then dug out a post made by Admin on 22 August 2018 which said:
'Lord Orsam will not be returning to Casebook. If anyone believes he has returned under an assumed name, please immediately inform the Admin.
People who threaten to sue us don't get posting privileges on our boards.'
The problem is that this post did not give a truthful account of my departure from the boards.
I stopped posting on the Forum on a voluntary basis on or about 24 May 2018.
This can be checked by any member.
You can see that the date of Admin's post announcing that I would not be returning to Casebook was dated 22 August 2018.
In between 24 May and 22 August I had been trying privately to get an explanation from Admin via PM about a ruling she had made relating to a Tumblety thread she had closed.
During that time I was free to post as much as I liked but I did, as Erobitha, correctly understands the position, go into self-exile.
I simply stopped posting and had no intention of ever returning to post until I received a satisfactory explanation for Admin. That explanation was never forthcoming.
As I have set out in great detail in From Commissioner to Asterisk, the last communication I received from Admin was on 19 August 2018 (note the date) in which she stated without any qualification:
'You are welcome to continue posting'.
But as, at the same time, she made clear that she wasn't going to explain her ruling or discuss it further with me, I wrote back the next day saying that:
'I...do not wish to remain a member of a forum which treats its members with such disdain and contempt so please do go ahead and deactivate my membership or expel me or whatever it is you want to do with your absolute power'.
I never received any response to that message in which I made clear that I did not wish to remain a member of the forum. So my departure was clearly voluntary.
As I've already stated, that was on 20 August 2018.
It wasn't until 22 August 2018 that Admin made the post on the Forum implying (but not actually stating) that I was banned. As you can see, the first statement was that I would not be returning to the Forum (which was true because I had told her I didn't wish to remain a member) and the second was that I didn't have 'posting privileges' but that was irrelevant bearing in mind that I had already asked for my membership to be deactivated and thus for my posting privileges to be voluntarily removed.
No greater example of 'No Orsam, No Comment!' can be found in certain uninformed members of the Forum such as Caroline Morris relying on false and untruthful statements by representatives of the Censorship Forum about my departure from the Forum.
The truth of the matter is not to be found with Menges or Ryder. They have always, and continue to, withhold the truth of my departure, and have not been frank with their members about why I no longer post on the Forum. The truth is found only on this website. Only those who read this website know the truth.
Let Menges state if what I am saying here (and in more detail in 'From Commissioner to Asterisk') isn't true and, if he disagrees, let him state what is it that I have said which is incorrect.
I guarantee one thing. He will not do so. The reason for that is that he is not able to truthfully do so.
Instead, the Censorship Forum will continue to spread misinformation about my resignation from the Forum, which misinformation is lapped up by Diary Defenders such as Caroline Morris as part of a long-term smear campaign, assisted by her friend Jonathan Menges. It really is all about the diary!
A MOST MAJOR MISUNDERSTANDING
Ground control to Major Tom Misunderstanding, Ground control to Major Tom Misunderstanding, are you reading me?
It turns out that in the hundreds if not thousands of words Iconoclast has written about the diary over the past two years, including in 'Society's Pillar', he had no idea that elements of the diary handwriting can be matched to Anne Barrett's handwriting!
He claims not to have seen my posts in the thread I started in the Censorship Forum on 10 May 2018 entitled 'Dairy Handwriting', which thread can be found here.
This is particularly odd considering that in the first post of that thread (#1) I asked for volunteers to assist in the comparison of the diary handwriting with a 'single individual (i.e. Anne Barrett)' and the Major himself stepped forward to help (in #5).
I made clear in #10 that:
'We are going to be comparing some of Anne Barrett's handwriting with some of the handwriting in the diary...'
The Major must have read me saying that, because he posted in #13 and then again in #15 on 16 May 2018.
I then posted the first example of Anne's handwriting for comparison on 21 May 2018.
If the Major never checked back into the thread in which I had said I was going to compare Anne's handwriting with the diary handwriting, that is quite an extraordinary admission of negligence and ignorance on his part, especially as further examples for comparison have been posted on this website (see Lord Orsam Says...part 5 under the heading 'THE OPPOSITE OF LOGIC' and Lord Orsam Says...part 8 under the heading 'BREATHTAKING').
How many times have I said 'No Orsam, No Comment'? No greater example of the truth of this statement can be found in the Major's post in the 'Incontrovertible' thread at #5857 after Kattrup had said that the handwriting in the diary 'seems to match his wife's'. To this, the Major said:
'Where did you source this little gem - that the scrapbook appears to match Anne Barrett's handwriting?'
He told Kattrup that he needed to put up or shut up and suggested that he was 'profoundly incorrect'.
And then when Kattrup DID put up (#5858) the Major replied meekly (#5859):
'That was a debate that I (checking back) note that I dropped out of quite early on so I don't think I was ever privy to any similarities between Anne Graham's handwriting and that in the scrapbook'.
He added that:
'I have to accept that it was somewhat my bad on this occasion...and I apologise and withdraw my 'moral outrage'...
Fair play to him for apologising but if he had followed the golden rule and read all the articles on this website he surely would not have been in a position where he was so misinformed about a key topic on the Maybrick diary that he needed to apologise.
The Major then made some kind of incomprehensible point about the probabilities involved before noting that:
'It's an interesting line of enquiry (which appears to have rather dried up at some point in May 2018)...'
Well, yes, as I've said many times, I voluntarily stopped posting in the Forum from 24 May 2018 due to Admin's outrageous ruling in a Tumblety thread a few days earlier before formally resigning from the Forum on 20 August 2018.So, unfortunately, due to the censorship policies of Admin, it wasn't possible to develop the point further but the Major had plenty of opportunity to read that thread in which he had stepped forward as a volunteer to compare the handwriting and he's had plenty of opportunity to read the articles on this website including 'Pillar of Sand' which he claims to have seen. Yet in 'Pillar of Sand' I wrote:
'While it is unlikely that Barrett had the penmanship skills to physically write the words in the Diary, we may note that when providing a sample of her handwriting for analysis to Keith Skinner in 1994, Anne Barrett did not seem to use her normal handwriting. While it's fair to say that her own regular handwriting does not match the handwriting in the Diary, the formation of certain letters are similar to the way those letters are formed in the Diary (as I demonstrated in a Forum thread entitled 'Diary Handwriting'). It was Mike who accused Anne of being the Diary scribe in his 1995 affidavit and it could be said that it is quite a coincidence - and one to match any coincidence adored by Iconoclast - that the author of the Diary does happen to share a number of handwriting characteristics with the person identified in an affidavit as having written the Diary.'
Yet, presumably because he's never read my article properly, more than a year after I published it in July 2019, despite it being written at the Major's express request, he has remained in ignorance all this time that elements of Anne's handwriting can be matched to the diary handwriting which, of course, is consistent with the notion that she attempted to disguise her handwriting when writing the diary text.
Even worse, in #5869 he posts the handwriting sample which Anne gave Keith on 18 January 1995 and points out that 'it doesn't look anything like the writing in the scrapbook, to me'. He calls it 'a full page of Anne's handwriting' but that's only true if she provided her true handwriting, without any disguise, knowing that her handwriting was going to be compared with the handwriting in the diary.
What the Major should be asking himself is why the sample of her handwriting provided on 18 January 1995 doesn't seem to match the genuine examples of her handwriting which I posted on the Forum in May 2018 in the 'Diary Handwriting' thread.
Because if she wasn't giving Keith a genuine sample of her handwriting might that not explain why it doesn't look anything like the writing in the scrapbook?
Now that we have genuine examples of her handwriting taken from her actual letters why don't we use those rather than the sample she gave Keith because, after all, if she was the forger who disguised her handwriting for the diary, she was hardly like to give Keith any help in 1995, was she?
IDIOT MIGRATION TEST
Boy, there must be some kind of summer sale on the stupid pills. The Major's popping them faster than Mike asked Martin Earl for a Victorian diary.
In #5867, responding to the claim that an 11-year-old could have forged the diary he says:
'I'm not sure how the 11-year old managed to apply his or her ink in such a way that Rod McNeill's (now conveniently much-maligned) ion migration test would give a dating of 1921 plus or minus 11 years, and also how that ink would not betray immediately to McNeill that - dash it! - it was still wet.'
The reason why it's such a daft point is that if Rod McNeil's 'conveniently much-maligned' ion migration test is accurate, it would mean (on the Major's margin of error) that the diary was written no earlier than 1910, although it won't surprise anyone to learn that the Major has got it wrong and that the actual margin of error was given as plus or minus 12 years which means no earlier than 1909. So how did James Maybrick manage THAT having been dead for the previous 20 years?
I mean, the Major himself must be saying that McNeil's test is faulty! So he must be one of those who is conveniently maligning it!!
You really can't make it up.
McNeil's test was faulty for a number of reasons which I've previously written about but the main one must be that it had never been tested on the type of absorbent paper used in the photograph album and for that reason alone its results can't be treated as reliable. I don't think there's a single expert who would now rely on McNeil's test which, as far as I know, is obsolete and not used.
As for the Major referring to the ink not betraying to McNeil that it was still wet that must be another effect of the stupid pills. McNeil didn't test for 'wet' ink when he carried out his ion migration test in 1993 more than a year after Mike brought the diary to London when the ink would clearly have been dry in any case. But Dr Baxendale did test for solubility in July 1992 and found that the diary ink was freely soluble which he would not have expected in any diary written before the Second World War.
As evidence of how low the Censorship Forum has sunk since my resignation, we find one member posting unchallenged the following (#1 in a thread appropriately titled 'Witness ignored, witness invented'):
'According to testimony taken at the scene, between 5 and 7 people saw Liz Stride was clutching a bunch of grapes in the right hand, and some sweets in the left'.
Five to seven people at the scene saw grapes in Liz Stride's hand? I don't think so!
At most there were three, at worst just one who was responsible for the entire story about the grapes.
The '5 to 7' comes directly from the pen of Mad Bruce Robinson. His book was thoroughly debunked by me in this must-read article They All Love Bruce. You can read all about the grapes in it.
The article shows that Bruce got loads of facts wrong and, when the underlying facts are all wrong, the conclusions are inevitably rubbish.
My favourite error of his that I uncovered, incidentally, which I've still never seen discussed on any forum, is the massive mistake about rewards, whereby the author completely misinterpreted the date on one of his key documents: 'secret Council minutes' that his researcher (Keith Skinner?) had discovered. It's utterly hilarious. It took me only a few minutes to see what he'd done (although I then, naturally, spent some time confirming this). You can enjoy that piece of bumbling buffoonery exposed under the heading of 'No Rewards'.
Simon Wood learns nothing and continues to repeat his nutjob nonsense at every opportunity. Thus, in #137 of 'The apron was dropped...' thread he writes:
'It is interesting that the four Metropolitan Police reports - Warren, Arnold, Long and Swanson - relating to the 30th September discovery of the Goulston Street graffiti were all written on 6th November 1888, five weeks after the event'.
Not only is there nothing remotely interesting about this but Wood knows exactly why the reports were all written on 6th November 1888.
It's because, on the previous day, the Home Secretary asked the police to provide those reports to him in advance of Parliament meeting on 6 November, following a long recess, when he would likely be asked questions in the House about the graffiti. All so very simple.
And here's the exchange I had with Simon Wood back on 12 June 2016 in a thread entitled 'an experiment' and reproduced in Re-Reconstructing Jack on 9 June 2019:
'What interests me is why Warren, Arnold, Swanson and PC Long all waited five weeks - until 6th November - before writing their CSG reports, in which they all offered differing versions of the grammar and spelling.'
It's really very simple Simon.
The Commissioner was instructed by the Permanent Under Secretary at the Home Office on 5 November 1888 to provide the Home Secretary urgently with a full report of all the circumstances surrounding the erasure of the writing on the wall in advance of parliament meeting on 6 November 1888.
Okay. Why did the Permanent Under Secretary at the Home Office wait five weeks—until the day before parliament reconvened—before "urgently" requesting a full report on the GSG?
The answer to that would be that he was only instructed to write the letter to the Commissioner by the Home Secretary on 5 November.
As to why the Home Secretary decided on the day before parliament reconvened that he wanted a full report about the circumstances of the erasure of the writing on the wall, I don't have a pathway into the mind of the deceased gentleman nor can I really be expected to do your thinking for you. But one possible and very simple explanation is that he might have been worried that he was going to be asked about the topic in the House the next day - which would have been the first chance MPs would have had to raise the topic since the allegations about the erasure had been raised in the press in October - and thus wanted to ensure he was fully briefed on the subject.
You can see that Wood basically made the same post four years ago having learnt nothing and understood nothing in the interim, despite me having explained it all to him.
But then, perhaps his aim now is simply to bamboozle and befuddle the new members into thinking there is a huge mystery surrounding the reports even though it's all a huge nothing-burger.
SIMON THE GOLDFISH
Nothing could justify my statement that Simon Wood learns nothing more than his post about Maybrick in the 'They All Love Jack Review' thread (#10). He posted:
'Maybrick signed the diary on 3rd May 1889 and died on 11th May 1889, which gave him time to climb from his sick bed, fetch a claw hammer, lever up a floorboard, hide the diary, replace the floorboard and hammer the nails back into place, return the hammer and climb back into bed, all without making a sound or otherwise attracting attention.'
There are two massive flaws in this post. As I explained at length to Simon when I was a member of the Forum back in 2018, James Maybrick was NOT in his sick bed on 3rd May 1889. He didn't enter his sick bed until the early hours of the next day. On 3rd May he was up and about and active, even going into town. So he could very easily have lifted up the floorboards of his room.
Secondly, if Maybrick had been heard hammering nails in his room, or making some other sound, on 3rd May 1889 how would we know about it today? The only people who would have heard the noise would have been the servants or his wife. What would any of them have done about it? Maybrick was entitled to make any kind of noise in his room in his own house that he wanted to. If he had been heard hammering on that day, so what? It wouldn't have been reported to the police! It would have just been quickly forgotten.
The problem with Simon Wood is that he doesn't believe that Jack the Ripper even existed so he can't sensibly discuss the question of whether James Maybrick (or anyone) was Jack the Ripper. He just comes up with rubbish. The worst of it is that I already told him two years ago that Maybrick wasn't in his sick bed on 3rd May 1889 yet he repeats that nonsense in 2020, thus befuddling and confusing a new generation of posters.
There are plenty of good reasons why James Maybrick didn't write the diary but him not physically being able to have hidden it under the floorboards of Battlecrease on 3 May 1889 is not one of them.
The Major makes an extraordinary claim in #5915 of the 'Incontrovertible' thread when he says:
'I would politely refer you to Society's Pillar where I demonstrate conclusively that the placing of the breasts actually acts towards a confirmation of authenticity rather than against it.'
There is no such demonstration towards a confirmation of authenticity in 'Society's Pillar'. On the contrary, in that document the Major writes (p.102):
'The error of Kelly's breasts is a bad one - not simply because the author erred but because he was so elaborate in his erring'.
The best that the Major can do with regards the placing of the breasts is to say that 'errors of recall...were inevitable'.
What the Major tries to seek comfort from is the fact that one of the diary rhymes (which is crossed out) states that the breasts seemed so sweet that, 'I thought of leaving them by the whores feet'. However, this particular piece of rhyme concludes by saying that, because 'the table was bear (sic)', the killer 'went and left them there'. In other words, the writer is confirming that the breasts were left on the table.
When we look at what is stated in the main text of the diary, we find it conclusively stated that
'I cut her breasts off, kissed them for a while. The taste of blood was so sweet...Left them on the table with some of the other stuff. Thought they belonged there'.
So the diarist is here actually giving his reason for leaving the breasts on the table, i.e. because he thought they belonged there.
The diarist then does his normal rubbish poetry relating to the murder and the entry for the Kelly murder concludes.
In a separate entry, the diarist then speaks about not being able to live without his medicine. He writes of Christmas approaching. In a new paragraph he then starts thinking about his next murder being in Manchester. The children are, he says, constantly pestering him about what he'll be buying them for Christmas. So we must surely be in December now. The diarist writes about topping himself. The diarist then writes a few rhymes about Abberline and about detesting the Jews. It is only THEN that we find the crossed out doggrell to which the Major refers, in which the diarist, obviously thinking back to the Kelly murder, writes:
'I kissed them
I kissed them
They tasted so sweet
I thought of leaving them by the whore's feet
But the table it was bear
So I went and left them there'
So what is being said here is that the diarist thought of leaving BOTH breasts by Kelly's feet but decided that because there was nothing on the table, he would leave them both on the table AND DID SO, just as the books (wrongly) tell us occurred.
The error of the table being 'bear' is reminiscent of errors made by Anne Barrett in her personal correspondence in which, for example, she wrote that her daughter couldn't make 'head nor tale' of 'The Hobbit' and that her husband had the 'bloody gaul' to send a card to her daughter.
Incidentally, Anne actually wrote that her daughter couldn't make head nor tale 'off' 'The Hobbit', just like the diarist would say things like 'I ate all off it'.
Returning to the issue of the crossed out poem, we can see that 'feet' rhymes with 'sweet' and the diarist had already said that the taste of blood from the breasts was sweet so it may just be that the mention of the thought of leaving the breasts by the feet arose from the available rhyme. However, the notion of leaving items by the feet could very easily have been suggested to a hoaxer in 1992 by Paul Harrison's 1991 book in which it was stated that:
'the liver and other such organs had been placed between the victim's feet'.
Similarly, in Rumbelow's 1987 book we find it said that:
'the liver etc., it is said, were found placed between the feet of this poor victim.'
So that's a perfect answer as to why a modern hoaxer might have wanted to include in the diary the concept of having had the thought of leaving the breasts (both of them!) by Kelly's feet. It's because the hoaxer would have understood from Harrison or Rumbelow that the killer DID IN FACT leave body parts by the victim's feet! So what the hoaxer was probably doing here was showing off his knowledge that some bits were left by Kelly's feet, something which is not mentioned in the main body of the diary text and which, perhaps, the hoaxer felt should have been included.
It's possible, indeed, that this was the entire reason for this bit of crossed out rhyme being included in the diary at all. After all, why was this piece of rhyme about Kelly's murder being written at a time which appears to have been several weeks after the murder, probably in December? The answer may just be that the hoaxer, having already drafted and transcribed the main section of the text, belatedly saw the bit in one of the books about body parts being left by Kelly's feet and wanted to incorporate that new knowledge into the diary, which he did with the suggestion that the killer thought about leaving both breasts by the feet; the UNSPOKEN part of this being that some other body parts had been left by the victim's feet.
At the actual scene of the murder, according to Dr Bond, the killer left a single breast UNDER the right foot (not 'by' it) and also placed the liver between the feet. It's not impossible that the diarist could have discovered this information at a late stage from either the 1991 Jack the Ripper A to Z (which Mike said he consulted to locate the information about 'FM', presumably from the Kelly crime scene photo) or the 1989 reprint of Martin Fido's book, both of which contain Bond's report. If this discovery occurred during April 1992, after the drafting of the part of the diary relating to Kelly's murder, the hoaxer wouldn't have been able to correct the diary text without making a complete mess, so he might have slipped in the part about the feet by way of compensation. However, I don't think this is what happened and I feel confident that the extract I've cited from Harrison/Rumbelow was perfectly sufficient for Mike's purposes to inspire mention of Kelly's feet which is where he would have thereby believed that the real killer had placed the liver and other organs.
FIFTEEN WAYS TO WASTE MY TIME
I wasn't initially going to go through the fifteen points identified by the Major as 'some very compelling truths' regarding the Maybrick diary which are 'the core facts of the case' as set out in #5902 of the 'Incontrovertible' thread but I suppose out of a sense of duty I have to do it.
So let's just get on with it.
Talking about the diary and watch he says:
1) They are both individually and collectively hard evidence in a 130-year murder mystery and - as such - far exceed the sum of all hard evidence which existed prior to their emergence from the Liverpool shadows in 1992 and 1993.
That's not a compelling truth or a core fact of the case so we're now actually down to fourteen.
2) They were brought to light by Michael Barrett and Albert Johnson, two people with no known prior history of criminality or - specifically - forgery (I exclude from this Barrett's unfortunate crime of theft of a handbag when he was about 22).
You can't exclude a crime of theft from Barrett's 'known prior history of criminality' just because you don't like it. Barrett was convicted of mugging an old woman and taking her handbag in April 1974 and was sent to prison for a year. As also pointed out to the Major on the Forum, Mike was involved in a scam of inviting artists to send him artwork under false pretences and then selling it as if he had created it. The Major also simply omits to mention that Albert's brother, Robbie, who was given a financial share in the watch for some still unexplained reason, had been sentenced to two years in prison for drugs offences in February 1992. As a core fact in favour of authenticity, therefore, I'd say that looking at the criminal records of those who owned the diary and the watch is a complete dud.
3) The scrapbook and the watch are almost certainly quite authentic articles from the Victorian period (the scrapbook could be Edwardian, the watch is definitely early Victorian).
So the Major is telling us that the scrapbook might have been manufactured before 1888 but, equally, it might have been manufactured after 1888!!! Not a particularly 'compelling truth'. The watch is known to have been manufactured in 1848 when James Maybrick was ten years old and was thus not likely to have been purchased new by him. It is not known to have been owned by him either. Another not particularly compelling truth.
4) The tests done on the ink suggest that it was laid down no later than 1970. Rod McNeill's ion migration test - now conveniently much-maligned - gave a mean of around 1921 and standard deviations of 12 years either side.
It's crazy for the Major to refer to Rod McNeil's ion migration test as 'conveniently much maligned' when the result of the test, if accepted as accurate, means that the diary must be a fake! So the Major himself has to malign the test! Once we exclude McNeil's test, as the Major himself must, bearing in mind that it dated the diary to no earlier than 1909, I'm not aware of any tests on the ink which suggest it was laid down prior to 1970. So, far from being a core fact or compelling truth, we have the Major twisting the truth to suit himself.
5) The handwriting has never been identified.
Another way of putting this could be that Anne Barrett's normal handwriting has never been examined by an expert and thus no expert has ever considered whether she could have disguised her normal handwriting to create the diary. Or another way of putting it is that the author of the diary sensibly disguised his or her handwriting thus making it impossible for even an expert to identify it.
6) Examples of James Maybrick's handwriting when writing solely for his eyes and his pleasure have never been identified.
Another way of putting this is that examples of James Maybrick's handwriting HAVE been found and they do not match the handwriting in the diary.
While it is evident, as mentioned above, that the author of the diary, who wrote of cutting off a woman's head and shoving it down her throat, was not a particularly bright individual, the fact of the matter is that Shirley Harrison described Michael Barrett as 'no fool' ('The American Connection, 2003, p.266). She also wrote that 'he has a taste for quoting Latin phrases culled from a classical dictionary and a knack of collecting unexpected snippets of knowledge from the library'. He was also a professional freelance journalist. He also provided Shirley Harrison with 17 pages of competent research notes pertaining to the diary in July or August 1992. The quote of Shirley Harrison that the Major deviously relies on, is nothing more than Harrison writing about what Mike had told her about his situation before he brought the diary to London. Thus, on page 7 of her 1993 book, she wrote of Mike's many days and sleepless nights spent trying to research the diary on his own prior to 9 March 1992 and says, 'But Mike was out of his depth, and he knew it'. She was, therefore, not only referring to a time when Mike was supposed to have had the completed diary in his possession, but also to a time when she hadn't even met Mike! And she was, therefore, relying totally on Mike's own account as to why he contacted Doreen in the first place. This is confirmed by the 2010 version of her book in which she states (p.10): 'By February 1992 Michael knew he was out of his depth'. Not only did Shirley Harrison not know Mike in February 1992, so she could not have been speaking from any personal knowledge, but the Major himself must say this was a lie because, according to him, Mike knew nothing about the diary in February 1992!!! So it really is wholly disingenuous for the Major to rely on this quote of Shirley and claim it to be a compelling truth or a core fact. Aside from the fact that Shirley wasn't even referring to Mike being out of his depth in creating the diary, it's nothing but hearsay based on what Mike (a known liar) had told her in circumstances where the Major knows that Mike has claimed that he was engaged in a con of Doreen and Shirley to convince them that he really did have the diary of Jack the Ripper and that he needed their help to research it properly.
7) Michael Barrett was not a bright individual. Shirley Harrison and others suggested that he was "out of his depth" with the scrapbook.
8) Under terrible duress, in 1994 Barrett claimed that he had written the scrapbook.
It will be noted that the Major provides no evidence or explanation of the 'terrible duress' that Mike was under which could possibly have caused him to falsely claim to have written the diary.
9) Under the influence of Alan Gray and Melvin Harris, Barrett was easily persuaded to sign an affidavit on January 5, 1995, iterating his claim.
No evidence is provided that Mike had even met Melvin Harris prior to 5 January 1995, or spoken to him, let alone that he was ever under his influence. No evidence is provided that Mike was 'persuaded' by Alan Gray to sign his affidavit of 5 January 1995 knowing its contents to be false. On the contrary, we have tape recordings (currently withheld by Keith Skinner) in which Mike explained to Gray how the diary was forged!
10) Between his claim in 1994 and his affidavit in January 1995, Barrett changed his story back to the scrapbook being authentic (as far as he was aware) - listen to the Radio Merseyside interviews.
To the extent that the Major is referring to the Radio Merseyside interview as evidence of Mike changing his claim between June 1994 and January 1995 this is false because the Radio Merseyside interview was in September 1995. Another compelling truth bites the dust.
11) Over the next two decades until his early death in 2016, Barrett changed his story constantly - and apparently whenever the mood took him. He went on the record as saying that he could say whatever he wanted, and he indicated that he enjoyed the attention this gave him.
The Major needs to provide evidence of this. My argument is that Mike went back to his original story (of Tony Devereux having given him the diary) for rational reasons when it looked like there might be money in it for him if the diary was believed to be genuine and, at the same time, to keep Anne happy, so that there might be a reconciliation or he might be allowed to see his daughter.
12) Crucially, Barrett did not in two decades produce a single shred of evidence that he had created the text in the Maybrick scrapbook.
If this is such a crucial point, the Major needs to identify what evidence Mike could have provided after his affidavit of 5 January 1995 that he failed to provide. The Victorian diary that Mike acquired in March 1992 WAS produced after Mike's January 1995 affidavit albeit that it was in the possession of Anne who gave it to Keith Skinner in August 1995. The supporting evidence from the Bookdealer advertisement that Mike attempted to locate a Victorian diary with blank pages in March 1992 WAS discovered after Mike's affidavit and supported that affidavit. That Mike could have used the false name of 'Williams' at an Outhwaite and Litherland auction WAS confirmed, after Mike swore his affidavit, by Kevin Whay. A copy of Whittington-Egan's 'Tales of Liverpool' had already been found in the possession of the Devereux family. The diary ink had already been tested by Analysis For Industry using gas-liquid chromatography and found to contain chloroacetamide which is a constituent of Diamine Ink, the very ink Mike claimed was used to forge the diary. Dr Baxendale had already confirmed that the diary was a modern forgery (as Mike said in his affidavit), that pages of photographs had been ripped out (as Mike said in his affidavit) and that something appeared to have been removed from the inside cover (as Mike said in his affidavit). Mike did also produce a copy of the Sphere book which he said in his affidavit that he had in his possession, so for this reason alone it's not true to say that Mike did not 'produce a single shred of evidence'. He produced it but the problem is that he was believed to have purchased it from a second hand bookshop (although no evidence has ever been produced to support THIS claim). If the items used to produce the diary had been destroyed in March 1992 then there was no physical evidence that Mike could have produced. All he could have done was to explain how and why he forged the diary which he, in fact, did at the Cloak & Dagger club in April 1999. At that time, he expressly asked Keith Skinner to check the records of Outhwaite & Litherland but Keith Skinner decided not to do so. He also expressly stated that the diary was in Anne's handwriting but Keith took no further steps to investigate whether this was a credible statement. After the meeting, Mike's claim that there was a shop in Bold Street bearing the name of Medici which sold pens and nibs in 1992 was confirmed. I also personally confirmed in 2017 that Outhwaite & Litherland conducted auctions of Victorian and Edwardian effects every Tuesday during March 1992.
13) The only 'evidence' pointing at Barrett being a hoaxer were the fact that he apparently had a copy of Richard Whittington-Egan's Tales of Liverpool: Murder, Mayhem & Mystery, that he (Barrett) had discovered a source for the Richard Crashaw poem quoted incorrectly in the scrapbook, that he apparently had a copy at home of the Sphere book of poetry from which he had located the quotation, and that - in March 1992 - he sought a blank Victorian diary from the period 1880-1890 which had to have at least twenty blank pages. That is the entire sum of the case against Barrett.
That is not, in fact, the entire sum of the case against Barrett. The case against Barrett includes the quirks of English shared by Mike and the diary author as well as the similarities of his wife's handwriting with the handwriting found in the diary. It also includes a fact which cannot be ignored, namely that Mike Barrett was the person who brought the diary to London on 13 April 1992 and no-one in the world outside of his wife and child has ever been found to say that they saw or heard of the diary prior to this date. The provenance starts and ends with him. The case against Barrett also includes an affidavit signed by Mike Barrett in which he confesses to having created the diary as well as a number of other statements signed by him to the same effect. So the Major has falsely characterized the case against Mike Barrett. As for the case against him that he does state, what is the Major's explanation for Mike having sought a blank Victorian diary from the period 1880-1890 which had to have at least twenty blank pages? Unless the Major can provide a sensible answer to that question, showing that he wanted it for a reason other than forgery, it's case closed is it not?
14) Barrett's affidavit gave an account of how he created the hoax. It can't be counted as evidence because not a word of it is supported by any.
It's simply untrue that 'not a word' of Mike's affidavit is supported by any evidence. I've already included a number of facts which do support his affidavit (under 12 above). And the Major himself must accept that Mike's claim in his affidavit to have sought to purchase a Victorian diary IS supported by evidence. So how can he possibly say that 'not a word' of it is supported by evidence?
15) David Barett - hiding his identity under the name David Orsam - on this Casebook developed a version of Barrett's affidavit in which every single detail was moved in time or transformed in nature until the revised details fitted a version of events in which Barrett acquired the scrapbook from an auction on March 31, 1992, and then had the text of the scrapbook transcribed from his word processor by his wife Anne before it was taken to London.
I've left untouched the misspelling of my name here. My identity was, of course, never hidden because, from the start of my time on the Forum, and certainly before I started posting about the Maybrick diary, I linked to this website which links to the books I have written under my own name (although, bizarrely, that's not the name that the Major wrongly attributes to me). Lots of people on the Forum (as on many internet forums) have user names which are not their real name, such as 'Iconoclast', 'Wickerman', 'Sam Flynn', 'Caz', 'Erobitha' and only some of those people are 'hiding' their real name to the extent that they refuse to reveal it. Thankfully, we know that 'Iconoclast' is an individual called Tom Mitchell. But anyway it's hard to know how this is a 'compelling truth' or 'core fact' of the case. As I've stated already, I haven't changed Mike's affidavit at all. I've simply used the narrative in that affidavit based on the hard evidence of the date he bought the red diary to correct the chronology in order to reflect what Mike must have been trying to say. Furthermore, that chronology of events is EXACTLY THE SAME as the chronology of events that Mike himself related at the Cloak & Dagger club in April 1999, something that the Major entirely ignores even though it's one of the most earth-shattering discoveries relating to the diary, as I explained at length in The Eleven Days. It's also worth me stating that when, in 2016, I first put forward the theory that Mike must have been saying in his affidavit that he acquired the photograph album from Outhwaite & Litherland after 28 March 1992, but before 13 April 1992, not only did I have no idea that Mike had already publicly stated in April 1999 that this is exactly what he did but I also had no idea that there was, in actual fact, an Outhwaite & Litherland auction of Victorian and Edwardian effects held on 31 March 1992!! I only discovered this in February 2017. So it should be clear that what I have said about the diary simply follows the facts. I haven't made any attempt to change the facts to fit a theory and that theory not only emerged from the facts but was consistent with facts which have subsequently been discovered! As such, that theory is compelling and undeniable.
A VERY ICONOCLASTIC LIBEL
The Major purports to be mystified as to why people have accused him of describing Stewart Evans as being dishonest (e.g. #5933). Perhaps I can be of assistance.
In #5871 of the 'Incontrovertible' thread he posted a summary of a conversation he claims to have had with Keith Skinner in which Skinner rashly speculated about why Stewart Evans believes the diary to have been a modern creation (as he had stated on the Forum on 27 February 2014) for which the following three reasons were given inter alia:
Now, I'm not a libel lawyer but, if I was, I feel sure I would have advised Keith Skinner that what he told the Major over the telephone was slanderous and I would equally have advised the Major that by publishing the above it would be libellous.
The clear meaning from the above is that Stewart Evans was offering in his Forum post of 27 February 2014 an opinion on the diary as being a modern creation while having no genuine or honest belief in that statement and, worse, that he only claimed that he believed the diary was a modern creation because he had lost money which he could have made from his own 1995 book and the film rights had the diary not existed. If I am right in my interpretation of what Keith Skinner was saying via his useful idiot, the Major, I can't see how that can be anything other than a libel against Stewart Evans by impugning his motives in this way.
There is also, in my opinion, further potential libel in the claim that Stewart Evans would not have worked with Keith Skinner on the Ultimate Jack the Ripper if he 'knew the diary was a modern creation'. Aside from the fact that Stewart Evans never claimed knowledge of anything, being clear in his 2014 post that he was giving his opinion, this strikes me as a complete non-sequitur because I'm sure that Stewart Evans would have understood that Skinner was being paid by Feldman to do a professional research job. The obvious implication, however, is that when Mr Evans gave his opinion that the diary was a modern creation he could not have held any genuine or honest belief in that opinion because he had worked with Keith Skinner. Complete nonsense!
With Stewart Evans having an obvious reputation to protect as a leading Ripperologist I would think that he would be entitled to issue proceedings for libel.
Aside from that, the idea that Stewart Evans held such a grudge against the diary for a full nineteen years when he offered his opinion in 2014 that the diary was a modern creation strikes me as utterly absurd.
What also strikes me as fairly obvious is that, believing the diary to be a modern creation, Stewart Evans is unlikely to have shared his thinking on the subject with Keith Skinner who, he would have known, worked for Paul Feldman, so that the person Iconoclast probably should have contacted to find out why Stewart Evans thinks the way he does (or at least did in 2014) is Stewart Evans himself and, presumably, with them being such good friends, Keith Skinner could have put the two of them in touch with each other.
Mind you, with Keith Skinner suggesting to the Major, for the Major to publish online, that Stewart Evans' opinion on the diary in 2014 was based on the fact that his book didn't sell as many copies as he would have liked, and that he didn't earn any money from the film rights to his book as a result of the diary, one has to wonder whether Keith is much of a friend of Stewart's. Why would he say such a thing about a friend? Is it simply that ANYONE and EVERYONE who suggests that the diary is a modern creation needs to be smeared and discredited by one or both of Keith Skinner and Caroline Morris? For that's what seems to have happened to a long list of people starting with Dr David Baxendale, Melvin Harris and Nick Warren moving through to people like me, R.J. Palmer, Mike J.G., Kattrup and now, of all people, Stewart Evans. So I am in good company!
THE DOWNFALL OF AN ICONOCLAST
So it's official. The Major IS a clown! Per Admin official ruling.
Having got way too big for his boots and taking himself far too seriously, the Major suddenly started making demands of those who had correctly stated that he had posted information suggesting that Stewart Evans had offered a dishonest opinion about the diary. Out of the blue, a full six days after those suggestions were made, he wanted an apology or he was going to report them to Jonathan Menges for Menges 'to adjudicate' even though it's not the role of a forum moderator to adjudicate on who is right or wrong in debates, just to enforce the rules.
Well I suppose he thought that cuddly Johnny M, a good mate of Keith Skinner's, was the perfect person to turn a blind eye to the attempt to smear and discredit Stewart Evans.
It didn't quite work out for him though.
Up popped Crazy Ally, who had intercepted the complaint, with some harsh truths for the Major (#5944):
'if someone accuses you of something you think you didn't do and you choose to respond by acting like a clown instead of addressing their post like an adult, don't put your petulant pants on at a later date and then throw a tantrum and ask for Teacher..'.
'If you lack the articulation to craft a post that is clear, or if you write in a manner that is obtuse and allows conclusions to be drawn that you don't like or don't agree with, write your posts better, and make your words more blunt and clear.'
'We don't appreciate being called in to school unruly children who think it's all fun and games until they start to lose.'
Ouch! It's a grand slam. Brutal.
I'm not quite sure how the Major can continue to post on the Forum under those circumstances, and surely the only honourable thing for him to do is to resign from the Forum. He certainly seems to have gone into one long sulk and hasn't been heard from since!!
Mind you, Crazy Ally is right about one thing. The Major does act the clown way too much which is why so many people think he is trolling. His response to 'one off instance', for example, where he 'half-jokingly' suggested it might be a single off instance, makes it almost impossible to have a sensible discussion with him.
He's not the worst poster by any means and I've found that he does have the ability to engage sensibly when he puts his mind to it. It's just that he enjoys clowning around a little bit too much.
THE BUMBLING BUFFOON
No, I'm not talking about the Major on this occasion.
While I believe there are some issues with relying on google ngrams, and while I don't have access to all the databases and information I would like at this time due to Covid, I rather think that 'The Baron' has found yet another anachronism in the diary (google ngrams thread, #56), one which I personally have never seen anyone mention before.
Strangely, it's been said (by the Clanger, of course) that to dispute The Baron's claim is to reveal yourself as 'an Orsam hating, diary defender' (#5988 of the Incontrovertible thread) even though, until now, I've not said a single word on this subject! For all the Clanger knew, I might have disagreed with The Baron. As it happens, though, I believe he is correct.
In the diary, Dr Hopper is described on two occasions as 'a bumbling buffoon'. From initial searches, it seems that the concept of someone being described as a bumbling [anything] in a derogatory sense is exclusively twentieth century.
Thus, one simply doesn't seem to find mentions of a 'bumbling fool' or 'bumbling idiot' in the nineteenth century, nor 'bumbling buffoon'.
The Oxford English Dictionary tells us that an 1886 book by Eliza Lynn Linton, a writer from the North Country, contains a reference to a rector's son as 'a big bumbling young fellow' (being the first nineteenth century example of this expression provided by the dictionary) but that doesn't sound terribly insulting and is surely not the same as calling someone a bumbling fool or idiot. The full quote from the book is that the guy in question, named Frank Harcourt, is 'a big bumbling young fellow with lint-white hair, a skin that tanned red, and as awkward as a mastiff puppy or nestling cuckoo'. To me that gives the impression of clumsiness or awkwardness, and indeed we see the expression 'as awkward as a mastiff puppy' as opposed to bungling incompetence.
Linton had actually used the expression 'bumbling fellow' in a novel called 'Lizzie Lorton of Greyrigg' a full twenty years earlier in similar fashion to describe a parson. In the same book, another character looked at his own 'trim, slight, well-knit figure' and said that he was 'by no means of the "bumbling" order' which doesn't seem to make much sense if 'bumbling' was being used as we would understand it today. It is true, however, that 'bumbling' was a North Country dialect word for 'bungling', and Linton was from the North Country, so perhaps she did mean it in that way.
According to the online etymology dictionary, for which the link can be found here,'bumbling' only came to mean 'confused, blundering, awkward' in 1886 and that is presumably on the basis of Linton's use of the word in her book of that year. As I've mentioned, however, it was a North Country dialect word for some years prior to this (and it was a Scottish dialect word with the same meaning, but with a different spelling). Nevertheless, my theory is that 'bumbling' wasn't a word actually used to mean 'blundering' or 'incompetent' in the English language, as generally spoken, during the nineteenth century. It doesn't appear in a number of dictionaries of the period (including in the early twentieth century) and, although it is given that meaning in one dictionary published in 1888, it is said to have been obsolete and the evidence of actual usage suggests that it wasn't generally regarded as such.
Rather than take up time and space now, I've set out here what I've discovered about the etymology of 'blundering' including the evidence that it was North Country (and Scottish) dialect. But a historical discussion in the abstract only takes us so far. In order to test my theory, I entered as many expressions relating to 'bumbling' as I could think of into three databases which all go back to the eighteenth century (the British Newspaper Archive, The Times Digital Archive and Google Books) including as many occupations I could think of, because to put blundering before an occupation is to be derogatory of it, or rather of that person. The results were absolutely startling. Everything that I entered came back as twentieth century without exception. Although we get a 'bumbling fool' from a 1909 book ('Why, God stiffen it you bumbling fool!') this would seem to be the absolute earliest of such usage. Here is the list of search terms I entered with their earliest date from the three databases in parentheses:
Bumbling fool (1909)
Bumbling old [something] (1931) - we do find 'dear rumbling, bumbling old automobiles' in a 1903 book but I think that the 'bumbling' there is probably related to the humming of the engine, like a bumble bee or bittern, which is another definition of the word.
Bumbling mayor (1933)
Bumbling sheriff (1933)
Bumbling Englishman (1935)
Bumbling minister (1936)
Bumbling politician (1937)
Bumbling colonel (1938)
Bumbling man (1938) - there is a 1926 reference to a high priest as 'a genial, bumbling man with a blue twinkle in his eye' but I'm not convinced that the meaning of 'bumbling' here is related to bungling incompetence due to the context.
Bumbling American (1938)
Bumbling police (1941)
Bumbling doctor (1943)
Bumbling admiral (1945)
Bumbling detective (1949)
Bumbling scientist (1949)
Bumbling professor (1950)
Bumbling barrister (1950)
Bumbling sidekick (1951)
Bumbling person (1951)
Bumbling sergeant (1952)
Bumbling friend (1953)
Bumbling major (1953)
Bumbling vicar (1953)
Bumbling captain (1953)
Bumbling idiot (1954) - although the O.E.D. gives an example from 1948 in a Texas newspaper being: 'a bumbling idiot of a policeman'.
Bumbling villain (1954)
Bumbling policeman (1954)
Bumbling engineer (1954)
Bumbling deputy (1957)
Bumbling lawyer (1958)
Bumbling inspector (1960)
Bumbling novice (1960)
Bumbling clown (1961)
Bumbling solicitor (1961)
Bumbling incompetent (1961)
Bumbling simpleton (1962)
Bumbling nurse (1963)
Bumbling teacher (1963)
Bumbling aristocrat (1964)
Bumbling assistant (1966)
Bumbling accountant (1966)
Bumbling half-wit (1967)
Bumbling enemy (1967)
Bumbling lieutenant (1967)
Bumbling dentist (1969)
Bumbling artist (1969)
Bumbling manager (1969)
Bumbling chaplain (1970)
Bumbling constable (1971)
Bumbling actor (1972) - although in a 1916 autobiography the author describes himself as having been 'a bumbling actor bee buzzing around' which must be related to the bumbling of a bee.
Bumbling associate (1972)
Bumbling criminal (1974) - although there is a 1946 reference to 'bumbling criminal incompetence' but 1974 is the first reference to a person as a bumbling criminal.
Bumbling MP (1975)
Bumbling twit (1980)
Bumbling woman (1983) - there is a 1904 result from Harper's magazine (reader's letter) which says that, 'men should be aware of what I call the “bumbling” woman – the respectable woman past her youth, who has never had her share of attention and appreciation, and who by appealing for sympathy or advice, or by cultivating his tastes and by the most subtle arts of flattery, almost imperceptibly draws a man into confidential relations, and sometimes makes him think he loves her. Even if the “bumbling” woman does not go so far, the man’s wife sees what is going on; she knows her women friends see it, and she is miserable with a misery she is almost powerless to combat. There should be a special place of torment prepared for the woman who “bumbles” about a married man.' Clearly, ‘bumble’ here isn’t the same as the modern understanding and the fact that the writer of the letter chose the phrase ‘bumbling women’ with this definition shows to me that the word ‘bumbling’ was not in common use (in America) at the time to describe an incompetent person.
Anyone can play this game and enter as many other 'bumbling' occupations or expressions as you can think of. I'm confident they will ALL come back from the twentieth century. I also tested a selection on newspapers.com and a few other databases, such as Gale, with the same results.
Now that's one thing. But what was really amazing was what happened when I entered those same expressions into the British Newspaper Archive but with the word 'bumbling' replaced by 'blundering' or 'bungling' . I found that almost without exception they came back with plenty of examples from the nineteenth century! Where I couldn't find a single 'bumbling' expression from that century for love nor money, now I was overwhelmed by them when using 'blundering' or 'bungling'. In fact, the only ones I couldn't find in the nineteenth century from the BNA for 'blundering' were: sidekick, chaplain, vicar twit and halfwit (although we do find 'blundering, halfwitted people' in 1859) and, for 'bungling': sidekick, major, deputy, mayor, halfwit, American, chaplain and aristocrat. I suspect I could have found nineteenth century examples for at least some of these in Google Books but I didn't bother, for there was no need.
The earliest BNA result for 'blundering idiot' was 1823 and for 'bungling idiot' was 1841. For 'blundering fool' this went back to 1808 and 'bungling fool' went back to 1836. I checked these two expressions in Google Books and not only were there plenty of examples but they went back to 1828 for 'blundering idiot' and 1810 for 'blundering fool' and 1870 for 'blundering idiot' and 1838 for 'blundering fool'.
I won't list them all from the BNA but it's worth noting that some of them went back to the eighteenth century such as 'bungling politician' (1740), 'bungling engineer' (1750) and 'bungling admiral' (1756) while we also have 'blundering mayor' (1778) and 'blundering politician' (1764). A large number of the rest of the expressions from the nineteenth century could be found in the early part of the century such as 'blundering lawyer' (1802), 'blundering friend' (1807), 'blundering person' (1818), 'bungling lawyer' (1818), 'bungling dentist' (1823), 'bungling doctor' (1825) 'blundering clown' (1825) and 'blundering aristocrat' (1828). You can try it yourself. The difference between these results and the results for 'bumbling' people is absolutely extraordinary and not only supports but, in my opinion, proves the theory I set out at the start.
You can even do the same with 'blustering' as we find the earliest mention of 'blustering idiot' being 1835 in the BNA and 1862 in Google Books. For 'blustering fool' , this can be found in 1829 in the BNA and 1808 in Google books.
In terms of buffoons, we find 'blustering buffoon' from 1826 in the BNA and 1848 in Google books. There seems to be a mention of a 'blundering buffoon' in the BNA from 1818 and in Google books from 1833. The only real anomaly is in respect of 'bungling buffoon' where the earliest in the BNA is 1989 and, although, Google Books gives us a nineteenth century example from 1898 that's still somewhat later than we might have expected.
But that's really by the by. People simply did not use the word 'bumbling' in the nineteenth century to describe someone as blundering or incompetent. It just wasn't in general usage. While it was used by one writer in 1909, it evidently took time to filter its way into the general English language. It wasn't a particularly necessary word with both 'blundering' and 'bungling' (and, of course, also 'blustering') already available. We can see that it picked up in popularity during the 1930s before coming into general use in the 1940s and 1950s which is exactly when we find the first use of 'bumbling buffoon'.
Perhaps the most interesting discovery of my searches was in respect of Dogberry, a constable in Shakespeare's 'Much Ado About Nothing'. Most modern books refer to him as 'the bumbling Dogberry' and Google books gives us 1965 as the earliest appearance of this expression. However, while we don't find any such description in the nineteenth century, the BNA gives us a result from 1842 for 'blundering Dogberry' while the notes to the play from 1806 in Google Books also give us 'The blundering Dogberry'. I can't think of a better example of showing how the word 'bumbling' came to replace 'blundering' as a word of choice during the twentieth century, having not been available to writers during the nineteenth century. It's right there in front of our very eyes!
On the basis of the results of my searches, I think The Baron must be right when he says, 'I will take this phrase Bumbling Buffoon any day in the week as a proof that the Diary is a fake'. Diary Defenders who wish to show that the diary was created during the nineteenth century really do need to provide an example of someone in that century referring to a bumbling buffoon or similar.
And they also need to find an example of 'one off instance' or similar but I'm afraid that will be impossible.
Now I see that Caroline Morris (in #107 of the google ngrams thread) is reduced to suggesting that a nineteenth century hoaxer of the diary possibly just happened to invent the expression 'bumbling buffoon' about sixty years before anyone else used it by comparing Hopper (who he thought of as a buffoon) to a bee and imagined him bumbling around, thus creating his own expression of 'bumbling buffoon'. It is, of course, a ludicrous suggestion to anyone who gives it any thought and who compares it to actual usage of the expression, or rather non-usage, in the nineteenth century.
I should just add that anyone who wishes to respond to this article or to do searches of their own should read the note at the link to which I've already provided above (and, to repeat, that link is here). And please don't make a muppet of yourself by confusing 'humbling' or 'tumbling' with 'bumbling' in any search results and check the date of any result in Google Books is correct (which you can usually do by searching the word 'copyright' to give you the correct date of publication) and also beware of the Laredo Times on newspapers.com which produces false results said to be from the 1890s of twentieth century editions.
A REAL LIFE BUMBLING BUFFOON
No, still not the Major. I'm talking, of course, about the Clanger for whom the description 'bumbling buffoon' could have been invented. He's just useless!
In #5982 of the 'Incontrovertible' thread he writes that he’s only found ‘a handful’ of examples of ‘bumbling buffoon’. Really?
Let’s just take the Times digital archive which goes back to the eighteenth century.
Prior to 1984 there were ZERO uses of that expression in the newspaper during its entire history.
In the 27 year period between 1984 and 2011, however, there are 13 recorded uses of the expression.
That’s just one newspaper.
As R.J. Palmer has noted, in newspapers.com, you get 1,049 matches for 'bumbling buffoon' since 1949 (although it should be said that American newspapers seem to repeat agency reports in large numbers so that many of these are duplicates).
Google Books has 14 pages of results, all twentieth century, all since 1958.
If the Clanger's point is that the BNA brings up only 22 results (all since 1973) he obviously fails to understand that the BNA is heavily weighted towards Pre-Second World War publications. Between 1700 and 1949 the BNA, at time of writing, has scanned 4,044,821 publications published in those years but just 300,705 publications between 1950 and 2020, of which not far short of 50% (115,662) are from the period 1950 to 1959, and of which very few (just 11,505) are from the period 2000 to 2020.
For that reason you wouldn’t expect much in the modern period for an expression that appears not to have existed before the Second World War and which, although in use in the late 1940s and 1950s, didn’t really come into common usage until the 1960s.
But let’s also consider ‘bumbling idiot’ and ‘bumbling fool’.
The BNA produces 43 examples of ‘bumbling idiot’, all since 1960, the majority of which are after 1990.
It produces 36 examples of ‘bumbling fool’, all since 1965, the majority of which are after 1990.
This is, of course, the very opposite of what would be expected for any expression in use during the nineteenth century for which the BNA contains more than 2 million publications.
The Times gives us exactly the same picture: 5 results for ‘bumbling idiot’ all since 1986 and 47 results for ‘bumbling fool’ all since 1996.
But if we add things like 'bumbling inspector' and 'bumbling detective' we start to get hundreds of results (all from the twentieth century) on the BNA. If we include all the 'bumbling [something]' results, as used in a derogatory sense, we will certainly get over a thousand on the BNA, all from the twentieth century, none from the nineteenth (once we exclude the poor OCR scanning of 'humbling' and 'tumbling' which provide false results).
As a result, there is nothing to indicate that ‘bumbling buffoon’ would have been an expression used by anyone in that century to describe a clownish person. And the Clanger's 'handful' of examples, which are really many more than that across all databases, are sufficient to show that 'bumbling buffoon' was most certainly NOT an expression used in the nineteenth century.
A REAL LIFE BUMBLING BUFFOONESS
The sexist nature of the expression 'bumbling buffoon', which only seems to apply to men, needs to be redressed and, indeed, in Caroline Morris we find a Bumbling Buffooness to match the Bumbling Buffoon that is the Clanger.
In #95 of the google ngrams thread, and especially in #6045 of the Incontrovertible thread, she desperately tries to suggest that 'Bumbling Buffoon' is 'not a common phrase' and examples in any decade are 'likely to be comparatively rare'.
What a lot of bumbling baloney!
The popularity of the bumbling buffoon in cinema and on TV in the UK in the post-war period has been huge.
It starts, I think, with Nigel Bruce's portrayal of Dr Watson opposite Basil Rathbone's Sherlock Holmes in a series of films produced between 1939 and 1946. He may not have been described as a bumbling buffoon during that period (bearing in mind that the earliest known example found so far is from 1949) but, when he died in 1953, Time magazine referred to him as being 'best known for his characterizations of Sherlock Holmes's bumbling friend, Dr Watson'. Leslie Halliwell's 1977 'The Filmgoer's Companion' says that he was 'Hollywood's most bumbling import from Britain' who 'usually played well-meaning upper class buffoons' while The Sherlock Holmes Journal published in 1982 says of Bruce that he 'did play him as the bumbling buffoon, and yet made a success of it'. Similarly the Times of 28 July 1984 says of Bruce that he 'played Watson as a rather dim, bumbling buffoon'. So whether or not Bruce's Watson was commonly referred to as a bumbling buffoon in the 1940s (or 1950s, 1960s or 1970s) he certainly was in the 1980s!
Another personification of the bumbling buffoon was, of course, Peter Sellars as Inspector Clouseau although you will usually find reference to him as a 'bumbling detective' or 'bumbling inspector'. The Times of 28 January 1965, for example, referred to the 'bumbling Inspector Clouseau'. The Liverpool Echo of 12 February 1965 likewise called him 'the bumbling Inspector Clouseau of the Paris Surete'. In the 1975 Film Review Digest Annual, Clouseau is said to be 'too entirely the buffoon'. The 1980 TV Guide refers to 'the immortal Inspector Clouseau, master bumbler and buffoon'. In the Times of 26 February 1985 he is described as 'the bumbling French detective'. On 25 April 1986, the Times said of the FBI agent, Ronald Miller, charged with passing secret documents to the Russians, that his defence team 'portrayed him as a bumbling buffoon, "an overweight Inspector Clouseau who took on Bondian fantasies in order to salvage his reputation"'. This is another example of how common the expression of bumbling buffoon was in the 1980s.
Another character in the 1980s described as a 'bumbling buffoon' was Ade Edmonson's Guy Fuddle in the 1985 BBC TV comedy series 'Happy Families' (e.g. Hammersmith and Shepherd's Bush Gazette of 11 October 1985, Reading Evening Post of 24 October 1985 and Derby Daily Telegraph of 7 June 1988).
So it was a perfectly common, well known and well understood expression in the UK during the 1980s (but most certainly NOT in the 1880s!!!). It's funny, though, because when I first posted about 'one off instance' back in 2016, Caroline Morris, the bumbling buffooness herself, made exactly the same ludicrous suggestion that it wasn't a common expression during the 1980s! She is absolutely terrified of anything linking the diary to the Barretts!! It's extraordinary, and to avoid the authorship of the diary pointing to the Barretts through the use of expressions which were very common in the 1980s, such as 'one off instance' and 'bumbling buffoon', she tries to twist and deny reality to pretend they were obscure phrases that Mike and Anne wouldn't have heard of.
Complete and utter buffoonery!
Well the big question of the day surely must be: Is Caroline Morris totally batshit crazy?
Why else would she post this (#5956 of the Incontrovertible thread):
'I'm just wondering why Orsam hasn't had a handwriting examiner in, to compare the diary with the samples he acquired of Anne's private correspondence.'
Let’s see. Just leaving aside the cost of such an undertaking, for which I, as a mere bystander, without any financial interest in the diary, have no responsibility to cover, a handwriting examiner needs to work from original documents. I do not have possession of the original of the diary. I also don’t have possession of the original of Anne Barrett’s correspondence, just photographic copies of it.
For that reason, having posted examples of Anne’s handwriting on the Forum, I’m in no better position than anyone else to bring in a handwriting examiner. Anyone could do so if they think that an examiner can work from copies.
But the most important point is that the diary handwriting is almost certainly disguised handwriting and, that being so, as I’ve said many times, it’s simply not possible for a handwriting examiner to make a positive match. The most they will be able to say is that the diary could have been written by x or y in disguised handwriting (which would, in practical terms, get us nowhere).
The images of Anne’s handwriting that I’ve posted show clear similarities in the formation of certain characters that are visible to EVERYONE. You don’t need to be a handwriting expert to see this.
And my point is that not only does this mean that it’s a credible suggestion to say that Anne could have written the diary in a disguised hand but that it’s extraordinary that the one person accused by Mike Barrett of writing the diary does, indeed, by a remarkable coincidence, have similar handwriting characteristics to the author of the diary.
Now, as a grown-up, Caroline Morris could acknowledge this, but like Nelson she puts her blind eye to the telescope and refuses to see anything. She won’t even look let alone acknowledge the similarities.
Yet, she has no problem in saying that the diary handwriting is nothing like Mike’s. She doesn’t need an expert to tell her THAT strangely!
Somehow she can’t bring herself to admit that, yes, there are certain similarities between Anne’s handwriting and the diary handwriting.
And she keeps referring to the sample of handwriting that Anne gave to Keith Skinner on 18 January 1995 saying it’s nothing like the diary handwriting. Sure, but it's not much like her normal handwriting either!! Why not? Why is it so different from her normal handwriting?
Caroline Morris must know that the handwriting sample provided by Anne could easily have been disguised to foil a handwriting analysis.
Then when Caroline Morris writes:
'But if there are some who, like Kattrup, genuinely think it seems like a match to Anne's, why do they leave this suspicion hanging, when expert confirmation would put an end to their troublesome diary defenders?'
She is talking nonsense. A handwriting examiner would not be able to put an end to the issue because I’m suggesting that the diary handwriting is disguised. For that reason, a firm and conclusive match could never be possible.
All we could get from an expert is that certain characters are consistently formed with those in the diary but we can all see that with our own eyes, so paying for an expert analysis will have achieved precisely nothing.
A document examiner is not going to be able to answer the question. For years, Caroline Morris has worked on the assumption that the diary handwriting is in the normal handwriting of its author without any real consideration of the possibility that a hoaxer or forger might just have disguised their normal handwriting.
Like I say, she is batshit crazy.
The batshit craziness is spreading like coronavirus. It’s now affected the Clanger who was already kind of batshit crazy, it has to be said, and mutating into horseshit crazy.
He’s now putting forward on the forums as a SERIOUS PROPOSITION the possibility that ‘one off instance’ evolved out of an expression referring to the age of a horse!!!!
Well, thankfully, I can help him out here.
His fundamental misunderstanding of the very basics of the ‘one off’ issue is revealed in his post #5963 when he says:
'There are two versions of one-off, one with a manufacturing origin and one with an equestrian origin. The equestrian version was in use in the mid-19th century, and the manufacturing version can be traced back in print to the early 20th century. At some point the manufacturing phrase was applied to unique people and events, echoing the centuries old idea of the ‘mould’ being broken after notable individuals came into being.'
He is quite wrong in saying this. And It’s yet another case of ‘No Orsam, No Comment!’ in respect of someone who has admitted that he didn’t bother to read my response to him on this subject.
As I’ve already explained in response to one of his earlier posts, the manufacturing version can be traced back in print to the nineteenth century!!
I’ve even given examples.
In this respect, it’s no different from 'the equestrian version'. They are BOTH from the nineteenth century.
The key point is that, during the nineteenth century, neither of them meant something that was unique or unrepeatable.
For that is what ‘one off instance’ means. Something that was to happen once and once only.
But we don’t find that meaning of ‘one off’ anywhere until the twentieth century.
So the archaic and obscure ‘equestrian version’ that the stupid Clanger keeps jabbering on about is utterly irrelevant because it means nothing more than the age of a horse. It didn’t evolve into the modern expression of ‘one off’ to allow us to refer to something as ‘a one off instance’. It therefore adds precisely nothing to the discussion.
And there is not a single recorded instance from the nineteenth century of ‘one off’ to mean something unique. It just meant a number.
It follows that there is not a single recorded instance from the nineteenth century of the expression ‘one off instance’ OR SIMILAR (i.e. ‘one-off occasion’, ‘one-off event’, ‘one-off occurrence’ etc.).
That makes it IMPOSSIBLE that anyone could have written the diary in the nineteenth century.
This was actually a point being made by the resurrected Herlock Sholmes to which the Clanger was responding. If the Clanger wants to prove the statement wrong he needs to point to just one example of ‘one off instance’ or similar in the nineteenth century. But he can’t do it. And he can’t do it because it doesn’t exist. Hence it was impossible for the diary to have been created in the nineteenth century.
The truth of the matter is that ‘one off instance’ as an expression didn’t enter the English language until the post Second World War period as I’ve demonstrated with plenty of examples.
For the Clanger to keep spouting on about the horsey ‘one-off’ expression which has nothing to do with uniqueness, and ALSO never became an expression in the English language to allow for ‘one off instance’ (and, indeed, has also never even meant a coltish or immature instance which is just invention, and indeed fabrication, on the part of the Clanger) is genuinely about as insane as it’s possible to get in Ripperology, which includes the nutjob madness from Simon Wood and his ilk. All the Clanger is doing is deliberately befuddling and confusing people into thinking the diary may be genuine, on a point in which he surely can’t have any genuine belief.
MORE HORSEY MADNESS
The Clanger continued his disinformation campaign in #5970 saying:
'So, we have the term one-off being used in 19thC equestrian circles to describe an immature horse - a term that horsey James Maybrick was very likely familiar with.
In addition, we have the industrial term one-off apparently understood in engineering circles at least as early as the beginning of the 20th century, and the concept of a notable person being the unique product of a mould going back centuries.
I’m open minded about all of this. My instincts tell me the diary is a late 20th century fake, but I’ve yet to see a single Incontrovertible, Unequivocal, Undeniable anachronism Which Refutes the Diary.
A few comments about this madness.
Firstly, it’s not true that the term ‘one-off’ was ever used in equestrian circles to describe ‘an immature horse’. It was simply a term used to age a horse. The word ‘immature’ doesn’t come into it. It's just something that the Clanger has fabricated. Any horse up to four years old can be described as ‘immature’ because that’s what a filly is by definition: a young horse. But you can have a ‘one off filly’, ‘two-off filly' or ‘three-off filly’. They are all just young horses!
Secondly, even if it did mean an immature horse (which it didn't), it didn’t thereby result in ‘one off’ on its own having the meaning of ‘immature’. It’s nothing more than an invention of the Clanger that ‘a one off instance’ could possibly mean an immature instance. All he’s done is invented a phrase that didn’t exist in the English language and never has done. For that reason, it doesn’t matter if James Maybrick was or was not aware of the expression ‘one-off horse', ‘two-off horse’, ‘three-off horse’ etc. It simply never bore the meaning that the Clanger is stupidly and buffoonishly attributing to it.
Thirdly, and in any case, the Clanger’s argument lacks any logic because in the nineteenth century a pattern maker would refer to ‘one off’, meaning one casting of an item off a pattern, and James Maybrick could, in theory, have been aware of this. But it doesn’t matter because it didn’t thereby bear the meaning at this stage of a unique item because one could also have ‘two off’, ‘three off’, ‘twenty off’ or ‘one hundred off’. It just signified the number of items cast off a pattern. There was nothing different between ‘one off’ and any other number off. So, again, Maybrick (and anyone else in the nineteenth century) would not and could not have written ‘one off instance’. It would have had no meaning!
The proof of the pudding is in the eating and all it needs is for a single example of ‘one off’ meaning unique to be produced from the nineteenth century but it hasn’t happened in 28 years and it never will happen.
One only needs to look at the post-war explosion (from the 1960s onwards but especially during the 1970s) in the written use of expressions such as ‘one off instance’, ‘one off occurrence’ , ‘one off occasion’ etc. and, indeed, in individuals being referred to as ‘one offs’ to see that the expression could not possibly have existed in the nineteenth century.
The Clanger doesn’t like two things. He doesn’t like the fact that, in ‘one off’ I have produced a single incontrovertible, unequivocal, undeniable anachronism which refutes the diary. But he clearly also doesn’t like any anachronisms being produced, hence his instinctive opposition to ‘bumbling buffoon’. Perhaps he could explain just what he will accept as an anachronism. In respect of ‘one off’ we have experts also telling us that it didn’t exist. Dictionaries and phrase books state that it’s a twentieth century expression and no examples from the nineteenth century have ever been provided. How is that NOT incontrovertible, unequivocal and undeniable?
The Clanger refers to his ‘instincts’ which suggest to him the diary is a fake. This is pathetic. We don’t want to be relying on instincts, especially not the Clanger's. We need to look at facts. And the facts tell us that ‘one off instance’ was an expression that James Maybrick couldn't possibly have included in a diary in 1888.
Once again the truth of ‘No Orsam, No Comment!’ is visible for all to see.
The Clanger asks (#5974 of the 'Incontrovertible' thread):
'While we’re at it, perhaps we can ponder the long absence of the use of ‘topping oneself’ (meaning to commit suicide, esp by hanging) in the press. Between the 1870s and the 1920s wasn’t it?
Does that suggest that it was forgotten for half a century? Or does it suggest that written sources are an unreliable record of spoken language?'
I’ve already dealt with this at some length but the Clanger writes as if he isn’t aware of this.
It’s another misrepresentation by the Clanger to refer to the use of topping oneself ‘in the press’. What happened is that there was a single example of this use in an agency report which appeared in one or two regional newspapers in July 1877 by a prisoner in Derby who was reported as threatening to ‘top himself’. The reporter had to explain the meaning of this expression to his readers and wrote that ‘by topping himself he meant hanging himself’.
What the prisoner had done was combine two existing words, ‘top’ (meaning hang) and ‘myself’ (meaning himself!), to create an expression ‘top myself’ which needed to be explained.
It was always possible for anyone to do that. But this doesn’t mean that it thereafter entered the English language as a commonly used (or ever used) expression.
The evidence strongly suggests that it did not. Indeed, the experts who created the dictionaries tell that it did not enter the English language until the latter part of the twentieth century.
For that reason, the Clanger is wrong when he writes in a later post that the expression ‘miraculously came back into vogue’ (#5983). It was NEVER in vogue simply because of one usage!
The fact of the matter is that the diary, if written in 1888, would be the very first recorded written instance of the use of the expression ‘top myself’ (because the 1877 report only used ‘top himself’ albeit that the prisoner must have said ‘top myself’ to the reporter). And that expression would not be repeated in writing for about another sixty years.
While we can see that it wasn't impossible for Maybrick to also have had the idea to combine 'top' and 'myself' it still makes the appearance of 'top myself' in the diary an anachronism. An anachronism, by definition, is an expression out of harmony with its time. It doesn't mean something IMPOSSIBLE to have been written but something which is out of place and shouldn't exist in an 1888 diary. The fact that we don't find it again in writing for about sixty years should shake even the Clanger into reality.
Equally, the diary contains the first known written use of the expression ‘spreads mayhem’ which we don’t find anywhere else for about another forty years.
Then we have the diary containing the first written use of the expression, ‘bumbling buffoon’ which we don’t find again for about the next sixty years.
And, finally, we have the first written use of the expression ‘one off instance’ or similar which we don’t find again for at least the next fifty years.
So that’s four expressions for which the diary contains the FIRST ever known written use of those expressions.
That is way beyond belief.
Now let’s add to this the fact that the diary also contains THREE clear factual errors (the breasts, the key and Bunny’s aunt).
So we have a diary with no provenance which has been labelled a fake by an expert document examiner in a old photograph album with the first 48 crudely pages removed with a knife, written with freely soluble ink (as at July 1992) containing chloracetamide, not written in the handwriting of its supposed author, produced by a hard-up freelance journalist, scam artist and convicted criminal (married to a reasonably intelligent woman with distinctive handwriting with the ability to successfully research and write a non-fiction book) who needed to pay a crippling mortgage, who confessed on a number of occasions to having been involved in forging it and who is known to have been secretly seeking an old Victorian diary with blank pages shortly before it surfaced which contains the first use of FOUR English expressions which are clearly anachronistic and THREE important errors of fact that a genuine diary of events written by James Maybrick would not have contained.
I mean, the only conclusion is DURR!!!!
MORE BLUNDERING BUFFOONERY
Some hilarious classic Clanger in #123 of the google ngrams thread in which the Clanger said of 'Bumbling Buffoon':
'Sorry...it just doesn't meet the criteria of the thread title'
As Abby Normal responded in #124: 'doesn't meet the criteria of "google ngrams"?'
Tee hee! Classic Clanger.
Of course, the bumbling Clanger thought he was posting in Major Tom's 'Incontrovertible' thread where he feels most comfortable due to what he obviously perceives as an impossible standard which can't ever be met, so that nothing can ever be proved.
And, certainly, one has to hand it to the Major for setting this standard of 'incontrovertible, unequivocal, undeniable', which everyone is forced to follow, by which nothing can be regarded as overturning the diary unless it meets these three 'impossible' tests.
For me, while I don't think they actually are impossible to satisfy, the real problem is with the third one. Anyone can deny anything if they are so bloody minded. Anyone can say black is white, while giving a feeble reason for doing so.
But when it comes to 'incontrovertible', neither the Clanger nor anyone else has controverted either 'one off instance' or 'bumbling buffoon'. All they've ever come up with is 'maybe' or 'who knows?' without showing how expressions which didn't exist in 1888 could possibly have been used in 1888.
With 'one off', the case is absolutely solid because it simply didn't mean 'unique' in 1888 so no form of playing around with words by Maybrick could have brought such an expression as 'one off instance' into existence. There is not a single example, or even hint, of this meaning of uniqueness applying to 'one off' during the entire nineteenth century so that it was literally impossible for anyone to have created the expression 'one off instance' in 1888 for which the first known recorded use is actually in the 1980s albeit that the first recorded use of anything similar (in a metaphorical sense), such as 'one off occasion' or 'one off nature', is from the 1950s.
It's a similar story with 'bumbling buffoon' and the Clanger is so stupid that in #126 he gives us a list of expressions from 1887 with 'buffoon' in them as follows:
‘Boosing buffoon’, ‘Stammering buffoon’, ‘Brilliant buffoon’, ‘Burnt Cork Buffoons’,‘Capering buffoon’, ‘Dull buffoon’, ‘Licensed buffoon’, ‘Political buffoon’, ‘Old buffoon’, ‘Hired buffoon’, ‘Village buffoon’, ‘Fanatical buffoon’, ‘Favourite buffoon’, ‘Cynical buffoon’, ‘Human buffoon’. ‘Local buffoon’, ‘Clever buffoon’, ‘Pityable buffoon’, ‘Family buffoon’, ‘American buffoon’, ‘Parliamentary buffoon’, ‘French buffoon’, ‘Weak buffoon(s)’, ‘Blatant buffoon’, ‘Coarse buffoon’, ‘Mr Punch’s buffoon’, ‘Deformed buffoon’, ‘Temperance buffoon’, ‘Ragged buffoon’, ‘Entertaining buffoon’, ‘Bedizened buffoon’, ‘Babaic(?) buffoon’, ‘Greatest buffoon’, ‘Lying buffoon’, ‘Ponderous buffoon’, ‘Veterinary buffoon’, ‘Ponderous buffoon’, ’Musical buffoon(s)’, ’Clerical buffoon(s)’
All he's done is thrown into sharp relief the absence of any mention of a 'bumbling buffoon'!!!!
He seems to think that it would have been a simple and unproblematic matter for anyone in 1888 to take the word 'bumbling' add it to the front of 'buffoon; and thus refer to a 'bumbling buffoon'.
But 'bumbling' in 1888 was still an obscure word of North Country dialect to mean blundering and had NEVER been applied to a person in writing in any kind of derogatory fashion. It had barely ever been applied to describe a person (and only one North Country writer is ever known to have done so) let alone a buffoon type person.
So 'bumbling buffoon' was just not an expression that was ever used by anyone in 1888. It wasn't available to be used in this way and it wouldn't have been appropriate or meaningful for anyone to do so. It is, for sure, a pure anachronism to find it in a diary supposedly written in 1888.
It means the diary is a fake.
MORRIS TO THE RESCUE
Then along comes Caroline Morris shooting herself in the foot in #132 of the google ngrams thread,, asking how many hits you would get in 1888 for 'pointed inexorably' despite this phrase being found in the BNA archive as early as 1842 with four hits from 1889!!
It's funny that she asks about 1888, though, because in her understanding of the diary it couldn't possibly have been written in 1888, being a hoax created after Maybrick's death, so why is she asking about what was in the language in 1888? Is she trying to suggest that Maybrick might have written the diary then?
Her general point is the usual silly one, with the suggestion that the author of the diary literally invented the expression of 'bumbling buffoon' from reading a story about bees bumbling in 1887, took that to mean fussy bees, and then for the first time ever put it before the word 'buffoon' to create a new expression never recorded in writing before of 'bumbling buffoon' meaning a fussy buffoon and it just so happens that the word 'bumbling' later took on the meaning of 'bungling' to allow for a new expression of 'bumbling buffoon' with a different meaning of bungling incompetence after the Second World War.
She's not even finished there because in typical Caroline Morris fashion, like a little child with no focus, she abandons the 'fussy' meaning of 'bumbling' and picks up on an 1887 description of a horse bumbling along a racecourse so now she's happy to suggest that the hoaxer (writing in 1889?) could have invented this expression from reading about this race two years earlier. Yet another supposed invention by the literary genius who wrote the diary, anticipating a different expression not created until the 1940s!!!
And this keeps happening with other expressions such as 'one off instance', 'top myself' and 'spreads mayhem'. Somehow the author of the diary anticipates all these expressions which aren't picked up by dictionary compilers until the twentieth century!!
There comes a point where these sorts of ludicrous mental gymnastics stop working, and, boy, we reached that a long time ago with the diary.
CLANGER KEEPS ON CLANGING
According to the Clanger in #132 of the 'google ngrams' thread:
'I just don't understand why some feel that if you can't Google a 19th century example of a particular word combination then it simply couldn't have been used in the 19th century'.
He then goes on to claim that two Victorian engineers could have referred to one of their colleagues as a 'true one off' because he 'broke the mould'.
Nay, nay and thrice nay!. This would have been utterly impossible. For 'one off' didn't have the meaning in the Victorian era of breaking the mould! It's that simple.
And, as I made clear back in 2016, my research into 'one off' did not rely on Google books by any means. I checked multiple databases which went back to the Victorian period during the research but, in addition, spent many days reviewing hard copy manufacturing and pattern making journals and books at the British Library looking into the evolution of the expression 'one off'. From that, it was perfectly clear that 'one off' did not start to mean a unique manufacturing item item until the early twentieth century and wasn't used in a metaphorical sense to mean a unique person or thing until many years after that.
It really is that simple.
It's why we don't find an explosion in the written use of 'one off' as an expression in the English language to describe unique things and people until the 1960s and 1970s. With literally NOTHING prior to 1940 in a metaphorical sense of usage that the Clanger attributes to his two Victorian engineers. The expression evolved slowly and that evolution is visible in the literature to anyone who cares to check.
I need to repeat, because it is important, that it wasn't possible for the two Victorian engineers to say that their colleague was a one off because he broke the mould and was therefore unique. This is because 'one off' only meant one item cast from a pattern and was no different during the nineteenth century to 'two off' or 'three off' where these were two or three items cast from a pattern. By the time 'one off' took on a sense of uniqueness and came to be applied to a 'one off job' to mean a unique manufacturing job, it was too late because Queen Victoria was dead and the Victorian era was over. And then it was about another forty years before anyone compared a 'one off job' to a person!
And even on a common sense approach, it must be obvious that if those Victorian engineers HAD used the expression that 'he was a one-off' it would quickly have gained common currency being such a useful expression and would have found its way into some form of writing. Is the Clanger seriously trying to convince us that it was in use but was only written down as an expression by James Maybrick in 1888 and then NEVER AGAIN (by which I mean nothing even remotely similar to 'one off instance') until after the Second World War???? Can that seriously be what he is trying to get certain gullible members of the Forum to believe?
It's simply not credible is it? It's the 'maybe' or 'anything's possible' line of argument which doesn't controvert anything. And if the 'one off instance' example isn't incontrovertible, why hasn't he actually controverted it? Why is he randomly jumping from speculation about young horses being the inspiration behind 'one off instance' for Victorian racegoers one minute to speculation about moulds being the inspiration for Victorian engineers the next minute???
Truly, it comes out of his utter frustration of not finding a SINGLE nineteenth century example of 'one off instance' and you can bet your life he has spent days and days of his life, if not weeks and months, fruitlessly searching for one.
And now exactly the same thing is happening for 'bumbling buffoon'. We can see that he's tried every search possible but, frustratingly, just can't find it prior to 1949. That MUST repeat MUST tell you something surely. Even if you think that somehow in theory it was possible for someone in 1888 to have combined the obscure 'bumbling' word with 'buffoon' it must cause a certain amount of serious reflection to consider that with all the digital searches and databases available to us containing millions and millions of words by millions of authors no-one can be found to have done it again in writing for over sixty years!!!
And let's face it, 'one off instance' and 'bumbling buffoon' are useful phrases for a writer. If they existed in the English language you would surely surely expect someone in all the millions and millions of words written in books, newspapers, magazines and journals to have used them over a fifty or sixty year period. It simply is not credible, if they existed, that we can't find any examples of them. Not one. And please don't forget that there were dictionaries being complied prior to the internet which involved professional language experts crawling over non-digitized works literally every day of every single year for the best part of 100 years who couldn't find any examples either.
And in respect of the Victorian period we're not just talking about 'bumbling bufffon' we're also talking about 'bumbling fool', 'bumbling idiot' and ALL the other possible expressions and occupations that I've listed, and any more that you care to think up. It's must be insanity to think that even though it was perfectly possible to say 'bumbling [someone/something]' in a derogatory sense NOT A SINGLE PERSON put that in writing with that meaning during the nineteenth century, or anything remotely similar, other than James Maybrick. Seriously?
Now please don't make me laugh.
And we don't even have to start to think about the factual errors in the diary. The breasts in the wrong place, the key that the killer couldn't possibly have taken and the godmother wrongly recorded as an aunt by the goddaughter's husband.
The diary is a fake and the Clanger should forget about his vendetta against me, abandon his desire to please Caroline Morris and concentrate his efforts instead on just who wrote the diary in the second half of the twentieth century which the language analysis clearly points to as the time of creation. As to that, has anyone ever seen his answer to the question of why Mike Barrett attempted to acquire a Victorian diary with blank pages in March 1992. No? I didn't think so.
A NEW FORM OF MUPPETRY
The character called 'Al Bundy' posted something very strange about 'one off' recently. He said (#67 in 'google ngrams' thread):
"One off" is abundant but in a different context, (consistently it has to be said).
This puzzled me because not only is'one off' as used in the diary NOT abundant in the nineteenth century but it is, in fact, non-existent!
So what's this guy talking about when he says 'abundant'?
I can only imagine that he's done a search for 'one off' in the BNA or Google books and come up with thousands of results without fully appreciating that those results are all false positives.
If such searches aren't bringing up 'one of' due to poor OCR scanning then they will be finding things like 'one off the top', 'one off the over', 'one off the shore' etc. where the words 'one' and 'off' just happen to be next to each other but not as an expression and certainly not to mean something unique or unrepeated.
So it's not the context that is different, as this Al Bundy character seems to think, but the absence of the use of the expression 'one off' in the way it is used in the diary at any time in the nineteenth century.
To see the word 'abundant' in circumstances where no-one in 28 years has ever found a single usage of 'one off' to mean unique during the entire nineteenth century is quite bizarre and strikes me as a new form of muppetry from someone who, although usually quite intelligent, doesn't appear to understand what he is talking about on this occasion.
IF ONLY HE WOOD SHUT UP
What is it that causes a grown man to write as Simon Wood does (#6042 of the Incontrovertible thread)?
'A forgery is an illegal copy of an original which exists in real-life, whereas a fake is an invented object that has no real-life counterpart.'
That is complete nonsense.
If I produce the original of a previously unknown play by Shakespeare in his handwriting (but really written by me) that is a forgery.
Equally, if I produce a previously unknown Rembrandt which I painted to look like a Rembrandt it's a forgery!
A fake can also be a forgery but a genuine manuscript wrongly attributed to Shakespeare is a fake as is a genuine painting wrongly attributed to Rembrandt.
Is Simon Wood himself a fake or a forgery?
SEARCH FOR THE MISSING MARBLES
Caroline Morris returns to the subject of Anne's handwriting in #6045, proving that she really has lost her marbles.
'Has Orsam disclosed this correspondence in all its glory, do you know? Or just one word, which in his view resembles the same word in the diary?'
It's an insane question because I 'disclosed' the correspondence in all its glory in a Forum thread in which Caroline Morris herself posted back in May 2018 so she must already know all about it, unless of course she's lost her marbles and doesn't remember it. It was a thread entitled 'Diary Handwriting' which can be found here. I posted examples of Anne's correspondence in posts #34 (with highlighted words and letters in #35, #36, #37 and #38, #39, #40, #41, #42 and #43), #54 and #70. The issue was then fully discussed by Forum members and no-one disputed the similarities between Anne's handwriting and the diary handwriting.
And here's the thing. Caroline Morris actually posted in that very thread at #72, even quoting my post #70 in which I had said 'Posting one more example of handwriting'. She had already posted earlier in the thread (in #26, #27, #32 and #33 and posted again in #73).
So Caroline Morris knows full well that I 'disclosed' more than one word. As she must have seen in May 2018, I posted three pages of Anne's handwriting.
Back in #6045, She then wriggles on a hook with her usual nonsensical imaginings about the Barretts, saying:
'I would imagine, if Anne had written the diary, she'd have been every bit as careful when writing to Mike, after she'd left him and he was in full-on 'confession' mode, gathering the evidence for their joint enterprise, as she'd have been when providing Keith with examples of her handwriting. Why would she not have typed all such private and deeply personal letters, so Mike couldn't use them as evidence of her own handiwork in the diary?'
It's typical Caroline Morris insanity, imagining what SHE thinks Anne as the forger would or would not have done. She seems to be saying that if Anne hand-wrote personal letters to her husband after January 1995 she would have continued to disguise her handwriting in every single letter to her husband just in case those letters were, one day, inspected by a handwriting expert. The logic of this is that every single handwritten letter or document by Anne after January 1995 would have needed to have been disguised to this very day! Because, after all, how would Anne know whether or not such a letter would make its way to someone like Keith Skinner?
What I've been saying is really very simple. If Anne forged the diary, she disguised her handwriting. So she was already protected. She didn't need to worry too much about her handwriting getting into the public domain. Furthermore, she then gave a sample of her handwriting to Keith Skinner for examination by an expert so she knew that this issue had been taken care of and resolved so that, in her mind, no-one was interested any longer in her handwriting (although she might have taken care when writing to Keith Skinner himself).
But it's entirely possible that when she gave the handwriting sample to Keith Skinner in January 1995, which she knew or believed was going to be analysed by an expert, she nevertheless took the additional precaution of modifying her handwriting slightly so that it didn't look much like her normal handwriting which itself was different from the handwriting in the diary.
Like I say, a comparison of Anne's normal handwriting with the diary handwriting by an expert will not find a conclusive match because I'm suggesting the diary handwriting is disguised. But it's just that there are similarities in the formation of certain characters.
And like I keep saying, this doesn't prove that Anne wrote the diary but it makes the argument that she did forge it credible (in circumstances where Caroline Morris has always pooh-pooh'd the idea as ridiculous on the basis of the January 1995 sample). It also means that the one and only person Mike Barrett has ever identified as the holder of the pen does share certain handwriting characteristics with the author of the diary.
It's just one more ingenious argument of Caroline Morris that dissolves on examination but, frankly, I'm only surprised that she hasn't suggested that Anne changed her handwriting after 1992 to match the diary handwriting, just like she's argued that Mike changed the way he spoke English to include little phrases and expressions from the diary into his everyday conversation and writing! (And it's perfectly true that she has argued this incidentally, I'm not joking).
Caroline Morris also asks in #6045 why we can't rely on the handwriting sample published in 'Inside Story'. That should be bleedin' obvious. That sample was given by Anne Barrett knowing that it was going to be examined by an expert. What was needed was a normal unforced sample of her handwriting. THAT is what I have posted. And, crucially, the January 1995 sample does not resemble her normal handwriting. It just looks odd and different when compared to the handwriting in her correspondence.
But if Caroline Morris thinks that what is really needed is a sample of Anne's normal unforced handwriting prior to March 1992 then perhaps she should ask Anne's good friend Keith Skinner if he managed to obtain such a sample back in 1994 or 1995 (or in 1997 after he obtained a copy of Mike's affidavit) and, if he didn't, why not?
ANSWERING HER OWN QUESTION
This is classic Morris (#6097) of the 'Incontrovertible' thread
'I have never understood why anyone in the antiques/watch/jewellery trade would have put a valuable gold watch away in a drawer for years, when their livelihood depended on selling their wares at a profit as quickly as possible after shelling out for them. Assuming this was the usual practice, why was an exception made for this particular gold watch, and what prompted the decision in the Spring of 1992, to take it out, dust it off and finally get it in a saleable condition?'
Ah those stupid pills! The answer to the puzzle in the first sentence is contained in the second sentence.
A jeweller can't sell a watch if it isn't in 'a saleable condition' can he? So it first needs to be put into a saleable condition, which costs money. If the jeweller doesn't have the money, the repair is obviously going to have to wait. That just seems like the bleeding obvious.
I wouldn't mind but I told her this when I was posting on the Forum years ago, yet she says in her post that, 'The excuses I've heard from the usual quarters don't make a lot of sense'. I wonder what doesn't make sense about a jeweller first needing to have a broken watch repaired before he is able to sell it!
In any case, all this nonsense about selling wares for a profit 'after shelling out for them' is nonsense in this case because Murphy says the watch was GIVEN to him by his father-in-law who had his own jewellers' shop in Lancaster so there hadn't been any shelling out involved. The reason it was given to him by his father-in-law was because he retired in 1983 and, presumably, hadn't been able to sell it himself (and it didn't actually work so that might explain why he couldn't sell it).
We can see how Caroline Morris creates her own mystery on the basis of pure assumption whereby she invents out of thin air that there was something special about this watch when she has no idea how many broken items this particular jeweller kept in a drawer which needed repair before they could be sold.
But what I really love is the way that the Diary Defenders are so obsessed by the notion of the watch being found in a biscuit tin under the floorboards of Battlecrease along with the diary on 9 March 1992 that they are prepared to throw one of their key witnesses under the bus.
Thus, they have to portray Ron Murphy as a dishonest jeweller who was prepared to purchase an item he believed to be stolen and, at the same time, his WHOLE FAMILY, including his sick father-in-law, as a bunch of liars to cover up this fact by claiming the watch had been in their family's possession since the 1980s!
I say that Murphy is a key witness for two reasons. Firstly because he is the only person who claims to have seen some scratches on the watch before it was sold to Albert Johnson (although, curiously, he doesn't seem to be certain that he ever saw any scratches) and, secondly, because he confirms that the sale of the watch was on about 14 July 1992.
Here's the thing though. I've never seen any documentary evidence to confirm that sale date of 14 July 1992. We seem to only have the word of Johnson and Murphy that this was the case. As I've mentioned previously, Feldman gave a different date of 2 July 1992 for the purchase. How can that be? Where is the receipt?
If Murphy was lying through his teeth, as the Diary Defenders now tell us he was, how do we know that the watch wasn't purchased by Johnson in 1993 after news of the Maybrick Diary was published in the press?
SET IN STONE
Not liking that a Forum member dared to suggest that anyone interested in the subject of the Maybrick diary should 'read Lord Orsam's articles' and that 'Lord Orsam is a must read', Caroline Morris goes into full rant mode with a post full of complete nonsense in #6098 of the 'Incontrovertible' thread.
She claims that:
'He never gave the impression here on the casebook of being an authority on the characters or motivations of the Barretts, nor even caring about their personal lives and ups and downs'.
I think what she means by that is that I used to treat her endless rambling, unfounded and imaginative speculations about the motivations of the Barretts with the contempt they deserved and she didn't like it.
Anyone following the articles on this site (which she claims not to be) will see that I have devoted a lot of time and space to considering the characters and motivations of the Barretts, although I would never claim to be 'an authority' on the subject and anyone who does claim to be an authority on the characters and motivations of two people they either didn't know or barely knew can only be a charlatan.
It's ironic that she says I don't care about the personal lives and ups and downs of the Barretts considering that only a few months ago she falsely posted that the couple divorced in late 1994 when, in fact, only I have been able to provide the correct information that it was in 1995.
Once more we find it falsely stated that I've tried to change the facts to support a theory when the truth is, as I've explained at length, that I've simply followed the facts. Her claim that I have tried to 'fast forward the writing by a massive two years' is nonsensical and only reflects her own failure to confront the very real probability that Mike's affidavit was drafted by Alan Gray who included some errors of chronology but that when we factor in Mike's attempt to purchase a Victorian diary with blank pages, together with his and his wife's claimed creation of the diary in 11 days, the chronology fits in perfectly with a March/April 1992 creation.
Her claim in respect of the little red 1891 diary that 'Mike knew exactly what he was ordering' has been shown to be false by her own information she obtained from Martin Earl (as I explain in That Little Red Diary). What Mike knew was that he was ordering a Victorian diary in which nearly all the pages were said to be blank!
I do rather like the last sentence of her post though:
'Yet nothing changes and it remains set in stone that Anne went along with this inept idiot of a husband's plans to create and market a literary hoax, and even wrote the thing herself, while her daughter looked on'.
If Caroline Morris HERSELF thinks this version of events is set in stone, we may finally be making progress!!!
It looks like Caroline Morris has finally visited this website!!!
'I have not' she says for no obvious reason in #6100 of the Incontrovertible thread, 'been waging a relentless 'PR campaign' over the last 20 years, either on my own or with others, with the aim of debunking Mike Barrett's various 'confessions'.'
While I recognize that quote, because it resembles something I wrote on this site, as usual it's complete misinformation. What goes into her head always seems to come out as something else.
I didn't say anything about her waging a Public Relations campaign nor about a campaign having anything to do with debunking Mike's confessions.
What I said in part 8 of 'Lord Orsam Says...' on 6 June 2020, to which she was obviously referring, was this:
'As far as I am concerned, Caroline Morris has been the person responsible for a massive misinformation propaganda campaign online for the past twenty years with her endless stories of how stupid Mike Barrett is.'
As you can see, I mentioned a 'propaganda campaign' for the last twenty years (not a PR campaign) and I didn't say anything about her doing it with the aim of debunking Mike's various confessions. I said that the campaign was to portray Mike Barrett as stupid. The aim was to convince people that he was incapable of being involved in forging the diary. I gave the example of Graham swallowing that propaganda campaign hook, line and sinker by believing Mike was too stupid to even write his own name.
But by twisting the truth of what I had said, it allowed her to continue by saying: 'I don't need to - he debunked them all by himself....'. But that wasn't the point I was making.
It's an absolute classic case where we have caught her bang to rights changing reality to what she wants it to be.
Perhaps it was just too close to the truth when I said that she's been trying to portray Mike as stupid over the past 20 years. She just couldn't repeat it, even to challenge it. So she changed it to something else.
THE STUPID FORGER
There is no doubt that Caroline Morris has succeeded in her 20-year propaganda campaign in convincing many people that Mike was stupid. He was 'too stupid' to have forged the diary is a common cry from people who know very little about him.
But here's the thing. If we are looking for the forger, we ARE looking for someone who was quite stupid!
After all, as 'The Baron' recently pointed out, the person who wrote the diary wrote this sentence:
'I would have dearly loved to have cut the head of the damned whore off and stuff it as far as it would go down the whores throat.'
How else does one describe such a thought except completely stupid?
And we have the terrible spelling and appalling grammar throughout (for which see Sam Flynn's essential annotated Maybrick Diary here). We are looking for someone who could write:
'Frequented my club'
Sure, the diary was based on a fairly clever idea of James Maybrick, the arsenic addict, being Jack the Ripper and murdering women in Whitechapel as substitutes for his wife because she was unfaithful (which idea may or may not have been the forger's own), but all the forger needed to write the thing was a few books on the Ripper and Maybrick cases which basically provided all the information necessary.
The key thing that so many people overlook is that if Mike was too stupid to forge the diary, how did he manage to make money as a professional freelance journalist? And how did he manage to produce a competent 17 page research note about the Maybrick and Ripper crimes?
Those who answer this by saying that his wife helped him invariably fail to answer the next question as to why his wife could not equally have helped him create the diary itself. I've never seen a remotely convincing answer to this one.
While Mike could fairly be described as stupid in many respects he wasn't the cartoonish idiot of Caroline Morris' invention. He WAS capable of certain things. Even she would have to admit that, over a number of years, under sustained pressure, he managed to stick to a completely false story that Tony Devereux had given him the diary in about May 1991. Other than when he was confessing to the forgery, he never wavered from that story, one which Caroline Morris would tell us was a lie.
We certainly shouldn't fall for the line that Mike was too stupid to write the diary due to his poor spelling. Someone with dyslexia for example can be very intelligent (see here). Many people who can't spell or write properly can tell stories. And while he was obviously capable of acts of humorous stupidity, even Shirley Harrison was forced to concede that, when viewed as a whole, he was 'no fool' ('The American Connection, 2003, p.266).
Those who have convinced themselves that Mike couldn't have written the diary because he was too stupid have only managed to fool themselves.
BLACKMAIL OR MRS BROWN
More evidence of Mrs Brown, a.k.a. Mrs Morris, having been reading the articles on this website is her reference in #6099 to 'blackmail and Mrs Barrett'.
Once again, though, she is thoroughly disingenuous in her response. She writes:
'I've lost count of the number of letters I have read on this theme of 'blackmail', whether it was Mike saying that Anne must see him and talk to him or he'll go on claiming they faked the diary together and everyone will know the story she told Feldman was a pack of lies; or Anne telling Mike that if he ever wants to see his daughter again he has to stop this nonsense and accept her version of events. And back to Mike, insisting it won't stop until Anne agrees to see him.'
Well now, let's just think about that.
Mike is not likely to have told Anne expressly that he was blackmailing her is he? He's not going to have used the word 'blackmail' even if he was doing it. So her claim that she's lost count of the number of letters from Mike that she has read on the theme of blackmail is just disingenuous horseshit.
So what about from Anne? Well if she's aware of any letters from Anne in which Anne claimed that Mike was blackmailing her, why hasn't she ever produced them? Why don't we find them in 'Inside Story'? Was she suppressing all these letters?
Personally I don't believe she's ever seen a single letter in which Anne accused Mike of blackmailing her. I think she's making it up in order to try and downplay my exclusive.
That's why she simply refers to 'the theme of blackmail'. The point of my story is that we find Anne actually using the word and claiming that Mike was blackmailing her.
Now WHAT precisely is the blackmail that Anne could have been referring to in these letters? According to Caroline Morris, as we've seen, it's something to the effect:
'that Anne must see him and talk to him or he'll go on claiming they faked the diary together and everyone will know the story she told Feldman was a pack of lies.'
I do wonder why Anne would describe that as 'blackmail' if it wasn't true. I mean, if Mike was saying he would go on claiming they faked the diary together, why would that bother Anne if it wasn't what had actually happened? Blackmail doesn't work unless you've actually got some dirt on someone!
That was the whole point of my article. Why did Anne choose the word 'blackmail'? It's a very odd word to use unless Mike was threatening to reveal something about her that was TRUE.
Otherwise it's just harassment and bullying, or empty threats, not blackmail.
But if Caroline Morris has any other letters that go to the issue of the blackmail where are they? She needs to put up or shut up.
TWO YEARS BEHIND
When I posted notes written by Mike Barrett to Anne I wrote on the Forum in May 2018 (in #2 of my thread entitled 'This is Factual!' here) underlining added:
'I have copies of some original notes written by Mike Barrett in his own handwriting which, on the face of them, appear to be written to his wife. Now, the fact that I have seen these notes suggests that they never reached Anne and she probably never read them. It may (perhaps) be said that they are fake notes written by Mike for the purpose of deceiving others or giving them what they wanted to read and, while I have no reason to think that is the case, this would demonstrate a hitherto unknown ability by Mike to create fake manuscript documents!
But the purpose of me exhibiting them is to prove that Mike did not only claim to have forged the Diary on one single drunken occasion.'
Two years later Caroline Morris seems to think she is saying something new by writing in #6099 of the 'Incontrovertible' thread: 'But did he actually send such a letter to Anne, including those words, or were they written for Alan Gray's benefit'.
The problem for her which she doesn't appear to realize - although I said it back in 2018 - is that if Mike was creatively writing FAKE LETTERS to his wife it means he was able to write FAKE LETTERS!!
How far away is that from writing a fake diary?
Personally, I think they were genuine letters (or rather manuscript notes) which Mike addressed to his wife which didn't reach her for whatever reason, not least because I've seen a number of similar 'letters', addressed to both his wife and daughter, which don't even mention the diary or the watch (so what would have been the purpose of Mike creating them other than intending for them to be sent the stated recipient?), but, like I say, if they were clever fakes written by Mike, what does that tell us about him?
SOME DAMP NONSENSE
I think it is RJ Palmer who is being quoted by Caroline Morris when she writes in #6100 that:
'If the ink in the diary was 'still damp when Baxendale examined it', as we have recently been assured, what kind of bungling buffoon would have needed to do a solubility test to ascertain whether it could have been on the paper for more than a few weeks? I consider this 'still damp' mantra to be more of an insult to Baxendale than to simply point out the fact that he failed to find the iron in the diary ink and wasn't up to speed on the history of writing inks in general.'
We can see that she seizes on the word 'damp' as a get out of jail card as if this word is being used scientifically rather than for illustrative purposes. It certainly wasn't 'damp' in any meaningful sense of the word and her post seems to show an inability to understand the difference between ink that was 'freely soluble' and ink that was 'damp' (whatever damp ink means).
I've said many times that the ink was dry within 24 hours of the diary having been written. But that is very different from it being soluble in chemicals.
It's also not possible (or wasn't in 1992) for a document examiner to say whether ink had been on paper for a few weeks or a few years or many years. All they could do was observe how much ink dissolved after exposure to a solvent in order to assess the solubility of the ink. That was it. A document examiner could only use his or her experience to say whether this solubility indicated a recent application of ink or not. Dr Baxendale DID conclude that the ink had been recently applied and had not been applied in 1888. That was what he was asked to do. He wasn't ever asked to date the application of the ink to a precise time period. His instructions were simply to establish if the diary was genuine or fake. He said it was fake and created after the Second World War thus putting the Barretts well and truly in the frame.
This, of course, means that he must be smeared, hence the lazy claims that Baxendale failed to find the iron in the diary ink and 'wasn't up to speed' on the history of writing inks in general.
The truth of the matter, though, is that no-one could possibly expect Dr Baxendale to have been an expert on the history of every single ink and of every single ingredient. It's ludicrous. He would have been relying on reference books for information about the history of nigrosine.
It's also wrong to say that Baxendale 'failed to find iron in the ink' because he never tested for iron. What he said in his report was that there was 'nothing to suggest the presence of iron'. He later clarified that what he had intended to say that there was 'nothing to suggest the presence of oxidised iron' which would have made his meaning clearer. In other words, the ink (if containing ink) had not oxidised as he would have expected from a nineteenth century iron-gall ink.
So all we have from Caroline Morris are smears against Dr Baxendale simply because he conducted an ink solubility test which produced a result consistent with Mike Barrett having been involved in forging the diary for which, of course, he has had to be discredited by her for the past twenty years.
CHECKING THE FIGURES
Another false statement from Caroline Morris, who doesn't know what she is talking about, as she writes in #6100 of the 'Incontrovertible' thread:
'Shirley first asked O&L to check their records on the basis of Mike's June 1994 claim about the auction and the ledger. She asked them again in January 1997, on the same day she received a copy of Mike's affidavit from January 1995 and read the 'new and improved' version of the auction story and his alleged purchases.'
But she's missed out the fact that Shirley asked O&L to check their records in January 1995!!!
She must be in denial about this due to the cock-up in 'Inside Story' and because it shows that Shirley must have been aware of the contents of Mike's affidavit at this time.
Here's the funny thing though. A couple of paragraphs later she writes (underlining added):
'If Alan Gray tried in 1995, but was turned away, he couldn't have tried very hard, if Shirley managed to get two fruitless searches done in 1995 and 1997.'
But look at the first quote above. She never said anything about Shirley asking O&L to perform fruitless searches 'in 1995 and 1997'. No search in 1995 is mentioned!
Either she was being deliberately disingenuous and attempting to befuddle and confuse when she said that Shirley 'first asked O&L to check their records on the basis of Mike's June 1994 claim' if, by that, she meant that the checking was being done in January 1995, or she was writing in ignorance, not knowing about the check in January 1995. If the former, it's particularly egregious because we know that she has previously claimed that Shirley spoke to O&L in 1994, prior to 9 September 1994 (because there's reference to information obtained by O&L in Shirley's paperback which went to the printers on that date, and was published in October).
So, is she saying that Shirley spoke to O&L between June and September 1994 and then AGAIN in January 1995 when she asked O&L to check their records on the basis of Mike's June 1994 confession? Is that what one is supposed to understand by her statement that 'Shirley first asked O&L to check their records on the basis of Mike's June 1994 claim about the auction and the ledger'?
It seems to me that she is in total denial of the fact that Shirley had clearly seen Mike's affidavit in January 1995 and immediately asked O&L to check their records (but only for 1990-1991).
There's a lot of speculative and irrelevant waffle in her post about whether Alan Gray and Melvin Harris should have checked the O&L records for 1992. Man, she's just so defensive about the fact that Keith Skinner never did it when he had the chance!
Who cares if Melvin Harris and/or Alan Gray were or were not negligent in failing to ask for O&L's records for 1992 to be checked on the basis of their knowledge of the little red diary? It's a stupid argument in any case because, in August 1995, Keith Skinner confirmed the 1992 purchase of the little red diary so, with Mike having claimed in July 1995 that this was a significant event, he could have worked out that the 1992 records of O&L needed checking. Dang, he even had two years to think about it before reading Mike's full affidavit in 1997!
But it's really all irrelevant and Caroline Morris is simply confirming what I said many years ago. The records of O&L for March 1992 were NOT searched so that the search of their records that did occur did NOT disprove Mike's story as everyone previously seems to have believed based on what was said in 'Inside Story' and in Shirley Harrison's 2003 book. That's the only point I've ever wanted to make about the search. I couldn't care less whose fault it was or whether Keith Skinner and the Word team were or were not negligent for failing to request such a search. The fact is - as Caroline Morris now seems to agree (and she didn't ALWAYS agree because originally she tried to bamboozle me into thinking that the search of the 1992 records HAD been carried out) - the vital March 1992 records were never searched and we have no idea if they would have corroborated Mike's story or not.
Caroline Morris tells us in #6100 of the 'Incontrovertible' thread:
'I don't know who alleged that Melvin had 'somehow injected trace amounts of chloroacetamide into samples of the diary's ink, in order to "prove" that the ink was Diamine', or who would have supported such a suggestion, especially if it was known that he never had access to the ink samples, because they were mailed directly to AFI.'
While this all happened in 1994, before 'her time', it is somewhat surprising, given subsequent online discussions, that she professes to be in ignorance of this matter. Paul Begg actually identified the individual responsible for the suggestion that the ink was contaminated by Melvin Harris in a Casebook post dated 28 May 2001:
'Paul Feldman believed that Melvin Harris had handled the ink sample and the chloroacetamide in the test where chloroacetamide was found and he suggested that contamination could have taken place.'
According to Melvin Harris:
'In truth, the only character assassination on record was directed at me and from the Diary camp itself. This peaked after November 1994, as a direct result of the ink-test initiated by myself and surgeon Nick Warren. An attempt was then made to suggest that I had contaminated the samples used in that test'.
He records in 'Some Inky Facts', an article dated 15 May 2001, that Paul Feldman assured three journalists'that the ink samples had been opened and got at before they reached the labs'. In a letter to Feldman's solicitors dated 7 July 1995, Harris complained that Feldman had told the journalists that 'the samples had been tampered with by me; in other words deliberately contaminated with chloraocetamide' and that Feldman, 'even went so far as to claim that Dr Diana Simpson, who conducted these tests, had confirmed, to him, that the samples had been tampered with.'
One such journalist was Philip Knightley of the Evening Standard who wrote on 30 June 1995 that Feldman had personally told him over the telephone that:
'the ink samples had come from America and had been handled by Melvin Harris and that when they reached the laboratory in Britain they had been opened.'
To Nick Warren, Feldman wrote:
'...what concerns me most is why Melvin Harris received from America three ink spots when he could have done the tests directly from the Diary, as he had been offered previously, and then having received these under seal from the U.S. the seal had been broken prior to them having been given to the laboratory for testing...'.
There never had been any offer by Robert Smith to do the tests directly from the diary and the notion that the seal from the ink spots had been broken prior to receipt by the lab was false.
Funnily enough, we find that Shirley Harrison wrote to Dr Diana Simpson of Analysis for Industry on 11 December 1994 to ask:
'can you confirm that the samples which were sent to you by Mr Harris were in an Unsealed packet?'
In response, on 20 December 1994, Dr Simpson wrote:
'The comment in...your letter is puzzling, as there is no question of the samples being received here 'in an Unsealed packet'. They were delivered by post and comprised what appeared to be 'full stops' enclosed in a capsule, which in turn was sealed with transparent adhesive tape, fitted into a cut piece of expanded polystyrene rigid sheet, and sealed further with adhesive tape.'
But Dr Simpson knew full well what was behind the question, as she added:
'As a comment it is difficult to imagine how such samples could have been treated deliberately with chloroacetamide in nanogram amounts'.
Paul Feldman continued the smear campaign against Melvin Harris when he wrote to handwriting and document examiner Reed Hayes on 11 April 1995 to say:
'You ought to know that not only were Melvin Harris' ink spots received via a 3rd party but also Mr Harris supplied the chloroacetamide to the laboratory himself. You do not need to be a scientist to recognise the danger of contamination'.
In actual fact, Harris did not supply the chloroacetamide to the laboratory and had nothing to do with it and never saw it or handled it. It was provided by Nick Warren.
Even though there is no mystery surrounding the AFI tests, Caroline Morris says:
'The mystery for me is why AFI were only asked to test for the presence of chloroacetamide, and not to analyse all the main constituents and their percentages, so the diary ink could be compared directly with the Diamine supposed to have been used.'
Melvin Harris answered this during his lifetime. It was Alec Voller who had asked the question as to whether there was chloroacetamide in the ink and Harris was attempting to answer THIS question. In fact, it was on Voller's advice that the test for chloroacetamide was carried out. As Harris has explained (underlining added):
'A further talk with Voller led him to advise testing the Diary ink for its preservative, since, if his ink had been used, it would contain chloroacetamide, a modern commercial product. I passed on Voller's advice to Nick Eastaugh who agreed to alert Paul Feldman and try to get him to arrange for such a test. After lengthy delays Feldman rejected the initial test proposals on the grounds of cost. Even when it was pointed out that a test for preservative alone would cut costs considerably, he made no move. It was only at this point that I intervened... Nick Warren then agreed to co-fund the tests and he arranged for Voller to send him a sample of the grade of chloroacetamide used at Diamine.'
Melvin Harris also recorded in a Forum post dated 25 May 2001 that:
'Voller advised that any further tests should look for the preservative chloroacetamide. He stated without any caveats that it was this substance alone that distinguished his ink from a Victorian iron-gall ink.'
Furthermore, Martin Fido stated in a letter to Shirley Harrison dated 10 January 1995 that, after it had been reported that the ink used by Mike was probably Diamine, 'in correspondence with Paul and Keith I was from that point desperately urging that chloroacetamide tests be undertaken ASAP'. Fido continued (underlining added):
'This was swept aside in favour of arguments about some other points that seemed of more absorbing interest to pro-diarists at the time, and where as usual everyone wanted to convince me of something I didn't believe. The observation that Nick Eastaugh's quotation showed the tests to be exorbitantly expensive seemed to be the reason for not going ahead. From somewhere I picked up the erroneous opinion that this expense had also stalled Harris, but I still insisted that I thought competent testing for chloroacetamide was of first importance'.
Can it really be a mystery why AFI was asked to test for chloroacetamide?
The type of tests Caroline Morris describes would have involved a different process, much more cost and I don't think it was even possible to 'analyse all the main constituents and their percentages'. How would you even do it? As Melvin Harris once observed (citing 'a well-experienced chemist'), 'the identify of an ink rests on its compounds but these tests are not able to identify compounds, only elements'. In any case, such an exercise was unnecessary once one had established the presence of chloroacetamide (as the AFI tests did establish).
SICKERT AND THE BARRETTS
One more observation about Caroline Morris' post #6099. After a lot of unfounded and frankly ludicrous speculation about the provenance of the Diary she writes:
'In the context of blackmail and Mrs Barrett, I could more easily see Walter Sickert as the ripper than the Barretts as the creators of the diary.'
Okay, she's shown that she understood that the 'Blackmail or Mrs Barrett' title (possibly the best article title in the world) is based on a Sickert painting but what I want to know is WHY the Barretts could not have been the creators of the diary?
It's a question I asked her back in 2016 but never got a satisfactory or sensible answer out of her. She never explains it other than by flippant sarcastic remarks which either involve how stupid Mike was or how clever Anne is (without properly considering whether they could have done it together) or by saying silly things like 'eleven days was impossible to write it out' or 'finding the scrapbook at an auction was a miracle' without treating the subject seriously and explaining why it couldn't have happened like I say it did (or at least might well have done). The obvious reason is that it clearly COULD have happened that way but she can't bring herself to admit it.
Although people who spell the names of the main players wrong normally get a sound ticking off from Caroline Morris, 'Al Bundy', who spelled Tony Devereux's name wrong (as Deveraux) throughout his #6126 of the Incontrovertible thread, received high praise in Caroline Morris' #6127:
'Really good post, Al, showing a mind that's enquiring and still very much open - a world away from minds that slammed shut many years ago, against any scenario that didn't involve Mike, Anne and probably Devereux in a joint hoax enterprise'.
This is, of course, pure projection of the highest order. The only closed mind in this whole business is her own mind which slammed shut more than twenty years ago against any scenario which DOES involve Mike, Anne and possibly Devereux in a joint hoax enterprise.
And what was so good about Al Bundy's post? Well he said, 'I can go along with it all being an early 90s hoax, not masterminded by Barrett' and he somehow ended up with the diary being found at Battlecrease. Music to a mad diary defender's ears! That's what got him the high marks. Not his rigorous thinking about the issue, which was absent.
For, in his musings, he completely ignored Mike's secret search for a Victorian diary with blank pages in March 1992. It is THAT search which identifies Mike as a key player in the creation of the diary. Why else was he looking for one other than to forge the diary itself?
Al Bundy says that 'It'd all be clearer if the characters involved had a straight story'. Sure it would but it's the evidence of the hunt for the blank Victorian diary which means that we can ignore what the liars involved in the diary story tell us and cut through the smoke and mirrors to an actual clear and established fact which reveals more than a hundred affidavits ever could.
It's obvious that Caroline Morris doesn't understand evidence.
When I was on the Forum I recall her saying that there was 'no evidence' that Mike had ever done any research in Liverpool Central Library even though there was no evidence to the contrary and no-one ever seems to have carried out any investigation into the matter. Most recently, in #6120 of the Incontrovertible thread, she posted that she'd seen 'no evidence' that either Mike or Anne had ever been to London before April 1992. But did anyone ever ask them? If they did, I've never seen their answers. As far as I know, there's no evidence of any kind to show which cities in the UK the couple did or did not visit prior to April 1992. There's equally no evidence that either of them had ever been in a supermarket or a chemists or a post office or a public lavatory prior to April 1992. So to say there's no evidence of them ever having been in London is utterly meaningless.
Most recently she tells us in #6139 of the Incontrovertible thread that:
'The evidence overwhelmingly points against either Kane or Devereux having had anything to do with it'.
That's quite wrong. Ironically, here it would have been suitable to say that there's no evidence that Kane or Devereux had anything to do with it because some limited investigation has been carried out. But to say that the evidence 'overwhelmingly points against' their involvement is ludicrous. What evidence is she talking about? Again, as far as I'm aware there is no evidence at all which points against their involvement other than that Kane appears to have denied it and Devereux's daughters don't think he was involved, neither of which can be said to be 'evidence' in any meaningful sense, and certainly not overwhelming evidence.
But hey, I suppose she'll be telling us next that there's no evidence of Eddie Lyons finding anything in Battlecrease on 9 March 1992 because....errr....there isn't!
FROM THE ARCHIVES
Here's the Clanger on 27 May 2017, on the Censorship Forum, in thread 'An experiment' (#933):
‘I used to enjoy CB but since ‘Pierre’ arrived, I try to avoid it. I can’t imagine on JTRF putting up with such a twat’.
What a charming person that Clanger is. And how prophetic that he wouldn't ever engage in any kind of discussion with 'such a twat' on JTR Forums as his words implied. Oh hold on, he did, didn't he?!!
And why is it that he only has one insult? Terrible lack of imagination I assume.
THE CLANGER AND HALLIE
Talking of the Clanger, we find a good example of why he shouldn't be allowed to post on grown-up forums in #40 of the thread 'The Five'.
After knocking Hallie Rubenhold by saying:
'What would have been braver and more honest would have been to choose 5 other East End Women.'
the Clanger then says:
'But I don't knock her for choosing the five'.
But he literally did! He literally DID knock her in the previous sentence for choosing the five women she did choose!
And why in god's name would it have been 'braver and more honest' to choose five other East End women (by which he may or may not mean five other East End women who were murdered but he doesn't make it clear).
Well I suppose one could call it 'brave' to research and write a book about five women no-one's ever heard of and that very few people would want to read, although others might call it madness. But why would it have been more 'honest'? Is he saying that by writing a book about the five most commonly accepted victims of Jack the Ripper, Hallie was being less than honest? That's ridiculous!
The Clanger really does need to engage his brain before he speaks.
And his post included this nonsense:
'She obviously chose to dance to the tune co-written by the Ripper and MacNaghten'.
To the extent that Hallie was writing a book about the victims of Jack the Ripper, one would think - or at least a normal non-clanging person would think - that the first thing to do is to identify those victims. Melville Macnaghten was the Assistant Chief Constable of the Criminal Investigation Department of Scotland Yard in 1889 and he identified five victims. It's true that Sir Robert Anderson, the head of the department in 1888, identified one extra victim in 1910, namely Martha Tabram, but her known involvement with a soldier prior to her death (having possibly been stabbed by a bayonet) is reasonable grounds for excluding her as a Ripper victim.
Hallie was hardly dancing to a tune by Macnaghten (which sounds remarkably like a Simon Wood thing to say) and the notion that she was dancing to the tune of the murderer is bizarre. It's like saying that police dance to a murderer's tune simply by identifying his or her victims. It's just clanging crazy.
There was absolutely nothing wrong with Hallie choosing the canonical five victims of the Ripper as the basis of her book - it was, in fact, the most sensible, logical and reasonable thing to do - and anyone who says there was isn't thinking straight.
Then finally I loves the way the Clanger downplays his criticisms of Hallie's book by saying that his problem with it 'just the way that book has been promoted and some of the content that irritates me'. Oh really? Is that we he made hundreds of posts over a period of years in JTR Forums moaning about the book and then uploaded about a hundred comments on the Waterstones blog page alone?
But, hey, something about Hallie's book irritated the Clanger and if the Clanger is irritated then his sense of entitlement obviously justifies his years long crusade against the author.
SILENCE ROUND UP
1. We all know that bullies are cowards so it's no surprise that the Clanger STILL refuses to ask Paul Begg a simple question about some mistakes in his book, despite having literally hounded Hallie Rubenhold about errors in her book. Is he interested in the truth or is his real interest simply in attacking people he doesn't like? You be the judge.
2. And the Clanger has STILL not admitted that he was fooled by a parody article I once wrote about the identity of Jack the Ripper. Complete silence from him on that score yet, when he thought I was being serious, you couldn't shut him up!
3. Jonathan Menges still refuses to reveal in full what he said to Ally Ryder which led to her falsely accusing me of badgering and harassing Mike Hawley in a Tumblety thread. He went very quiet on that after posting carefully selected snippets of his correspondence on JTR Forums and his still unknown role in this sordid affair as a friend of the two most prominent diary defenders, coming after I had spent two years intensely debating the diary, should concern everyone in the Ripperology community.
4. Still no reply from Iconoclast to the article which he invited me to write in response to his 'Society's Pillar'.
5. Where are the rest of the supposed diary pages written by Mike Barrett? Were only the worst pages posted on the Forum? Why weren't we shown them all?
6. Keith Skinner remains silent on many important questions. He still hasn't explained why Mike sought a Victorian diary with blank pages in March 1992 despite promising me two years ago that he would address this. He still hasn't released the mysterious diary transcript produced by the Barretts in 1992 (despite promising me two years ago that he would do so) nor have the tapes of the Grey/Barrett recordings yet been released. I was once told by a friend of his that he never ducks a challenge. There's a few challenges there for him. All I've seen so far are ducks.
7. Back in December 2017 I posted on the Forum to say: 'It should be obvious in the interests of transparency and an orderly debate that the full transcripts of interviews with the electricians should be published so that we can see exactly what they were asked and exactly what they did or did not say' ('Acquiring a Victorian Diary' thread, #157). Responding to this in #205 of the same thread, James Johnston, who had quoted from a number of such interviews in his published essay about the origins of the diary from earlier that year, told me: 'I have several interviews transcribed and digitised. I would be keen to share these were it not for the fact that Eddie told me much information in confidence'. When I told him to redact any confidential information and release redacted copies of the transcripts he suddenly changed his tune. From having been 'keen to share these' he now said (#373), 'I'm under no obligation to share all of my hard earned research'!!! A strange U-turn and, at the same time, he told me: 'You are absolutely correct in thinking that I will withold certain information for the time being'. Right, so he was actively suppressing information wasn't he? Strangely enough, in this act of suppression, he was fully supported by Caroline Morris who posted a lot of nonsense in #417, #443 and #495 about how one can't be expected to publish every bit of information, while ignoring the fact that I was only asking for certain specific information to be made available. She came up with specious arguments to avoid the requested transcripts being produced such as 'How do we know you won't come back tonight and directly request someone release the full transcripts of every diary or watch interview ever quoted from, and declare it disgraceful that they haven't already been made public?' It's really weird, coz, with Melvin Harris, different rules seemed to have applied and, we are told, he should have handed over an affidavit that no-one had even asked him for, otherwise he was suppressing it!!! It's a funny old world in the world of diary defending isn't it?
8. On 8 January 2018, Caroline Morris told me that James Johnston was 'a very busy and resourceful young man, and I know has been gathering a whole lot more intelligence away from the boards...' (Acquiring thread 350). Funny that. Over two and a half years later and none of that intelligence has been produced. Just more silence. James himself told me on 7 December 2017, 'I am confident that more details will be forth coming in the near future'. Well I think that, nearly three years later, we've gone past the 'near future' and reached the distant future. How long are we supposed to wait for all this new information, let alone for full details of the information James Johnston and Keith Skinner had already obtained as at December 2017? Until we are all dead? Perhaps the interviews with the electricians didn't go so well for them. One has to wonder what they are hiding. Has the Battlecrease provenance theory collapsed and they don't want to tell us?
CONTENT OVER STYLE
Finally, I see that the look of this website is being discussed once again. I've already dealt with this at some length in the past but let me make a few comments:
1. This website won't be changing.
2. The 'writing' is not 'tiny'. All articles are in size 14 font compared to the default size of 10.
3. If the words look small on your machine you simply need to enlarge your screen using the zoom function (durr!).
4. If you don't want to do that, and you are a bit of an arsehole, simply copy and paste the text of any article you wish to read into a Word document. You can then change the font, the font size and the colour of the text to your heart's content, convert to a PDF if you like, and read it that way.
5. I've read articles on this website myself as a normal viewer on a number of devices including a mobile phone and it's all looked totally fine to me. I've never have had any problems. But then again I'm only ever interested in the content of the articles.
Just to add that I only created this site to provide a link to my books, that was it. I never intended to write articles. The original articles I published back in 2015 because they were too long to post on the Forum seemed to work. Everyone managed to read them and understand them. I was expecting some clever dick to refer to the brown colour as 'shit' like the articles but no-one did (you losers all missed a trick!) and here we are. If you don't like it, you don't have to be here. And I will add that most modern looking websites I visit are pretty bland. They all look exactly the same. I wouldn't want to be like them. I happen to like the distinctiveness of this website. Private Eye magazine has barely changed its look since 1961 while other publications have supposedly 'modernized' without actually improving.
So I think the general message is to bog off and create your own website if you don't like this one.
19 September 2020
Updated 22 September 2020