Robert Smith's '25 Years of the Diary of Jack the Ripper', published in 2017, was also called 'The True Facts'. Now, in the second edition of 2019, the 'True Facts' seem to have been relegated to a'True History' [of the diary]. I suppose history is little bit more flexible than actual facts and Robert Smith is nothing if not flexible, as we shall see.
In this article, I will be comparing Smith's second edition with his first to see what changes he's made. I'll also be using new material I obtained in April 2018, after publication of the first edition, as well as some other new information, to test Smith's statements about the Maybrick Diary.
PROVENANCE: PART 1 - AUTHENTICITYThere is a curious amendment at the very start of the new edition of Smith's book. In the introduction to the first edition in 2017 we were told, loud and proud:
'The diary is either a genuine document written circa 1888/89 or it is a modern fake. There is no other feasible option.'
But now, a mere two years later, there is a dramatic change of emphasis and we are told this:
'The diary is either an original document written circa 1888/89, or it is a modern fake. There is no other feasible option'.
What's happened to the Diary being 'a genuine document'? Why delete the word 'genuine' and replace it with 'original'?
Does this mean that when Smith told us in 2017 that there was 'no other feasible option' than the Diary being either a genuine document or a modern fake, he was wrong and that he is now saying that there is, in fact, a THIRD feasible option, namely that the Diary is 'an original document'? If not, why make the change? And what is an original document anyway? A fake one?
Then we look at Smith's new chapter on provenance. In the first edition, Smith wrote bombastically that because no-one has produced a verifiable fact that the diary of Jack the Ripper is a fake [Whoops! I've actually done so, but Smith chooses to ignore it] this means that, 'we have to accept the very real probability that it is authentic.' That was when Smith was telling us the 'True Facts'. But now that he is telling us the 'True History' he seems to have toned it down. For what we have to accept in 2019 is that there is a 'very real probability that it is a genuine historic manuscript'.
Hold those horses there, boy. A what? A 'genuine historic manuscript'????!!!! What on earth does that mean? Does he mean an authentic manuscript? If so, why has he deleted the word 'authentic'?
It rather looks to me like he's been nobbled by Caroline Morris. A genuine historic manuscript seems to include the possibility that it's a fake diary, but still a genuinely old historical document. Or a genuine fake, if you will. This is extraordinary.
It's true that the first edition kept open the possibility at the end of the final chapter (in complete contradiction of everything said in the rest of the book) that, if not James Maybrick, it was possible that an unnamed member of the Maybrick family wrote the Diary - what may be called the bizarre Caroline Morris theory - but that was pretty much buried beneath the primary claim that it must have been James Maybrick. In this new edition, however, Smith seems to have lost confidence that the Diary, if not a modern hoax, proves that James Maybrick was Jack the Ripper. He now identifies an alternative author when he says that it could have been Michael Maybrick (p.44). This is extraordinary really. Smith just casually throws in the possibility that the Diary was written by Michael Maybrick as if it hardly matters, as if the only important thing is that the Diary is old, but the difference between the Diary having been written by James Maybrick or by his brother Michael is absolutely massive. If it was by James, the Diary is genuine and we've found Jack the Ripper. If it was by Michael, the Diary is a useless rubbish fake and the identity of Jack the Ripper remains elusive.
With the change of emphasis from the diary being 'authentic' to it being no more than a 'historic manuscript' (a genuine forgery no less!), or an 'original document' rather than a 'genuine' one, it certainly looks like Smith has been influenced by his 'close friend' (as she has described him) Caroline Morris who, as Caroline Brown, is thanked in the Acknowledgments for giving her 'invaluable support and guidance' and, as in the first edition, for also 'correcting my errors and omissions', although, considering the amount of errors in the first edition, and in this new edition too, one wonders how 'invaluable' her input really was. In fact, one might think her influence was a malign one, causing Smith to backslide on what he really believes.
And there is one other important shift of emphasis. In the first edition we were told that, by the end of the chapter on provenance,'you may well believe that its provenance has been established at last'. Considering that pretty much no-one who read the book actually believed that this had happened, Smith appears to have conceded defeat and has replaced that statement with the bland claim that his chapter 'sets out to establish at last the diary's provenance.'
We will look a bit later as to whether Smith achieves even this limited ambition. Well, hey, actually we can find out now. He doesn't! For the inclusion in the Diary of 'a one off instance' proves it to be a modern fake.
ONE OFF AND ON AGAIN
Let's look first at how Smith deals with his biggest headache in this revised edition: the use of 'a one off instance' in the Diary. This headache will surely have increased after publication of his first edition once he learnt that he had attributed the wrong date to an issue of the Foundry in which the phrase 'one-off job' is to be found. In the 'True Facts' he said it was a 1905 volume. It didn't take me long to establish he had messed up; and he now accepts that that it was in a volume of Foundry from 1922 (p.41), as I revealed in my 'False Facts' article. But what's a mere 17 years? I mean, 1922 is only 34 years from 1888, so what's the problem?
The funny thing is that Smith doesn't say in his second edition how or when he became aware he had made a mistake in the first edition. Followers of this website will know that I was the first and only person to point out his mistake very shortly after publication. But, in the bashful style of Simon Wood, Robert Smith evidently doesn't wish to acknowledge my existence. I am not mentioned.
The other thing that Smith doesn't do is question the meaning of 'one-off job', even though, in the article he quoted, it is stated that: 'If such casting was wanted in a hurry - a one-off job - there would be no question of molding it in a machine'. On the face of it, this suggests that a one-off job was regarded as a job done in a hurry, as opposed to a unique or unrepeatable job.
This is rather important because there is no evidence that, in the early 1900s, anyone actually thought of 'one-off' as a synonym for unique or unrepeatable. My own research suggests that the expression 'one off job' originally had a more layered meaning, relevant only to pattern making, incorporating elements of what might otherwise have been known as a hurry-up job, a rush job, an urgent job, a special job, an occasional job, an experimental job, a temporary job, a makeshift job, a cheap job, a small job etc., as well as a unique job. Although we do find an example in 1925 of an engineer referring to 'a one off job' involving a special design, which appears to have meant a unique or unrepeatable job in the way we would understand it today, this doesn't necessarily mean that 'one off' could be detached from the whole expression so that it was regarded, on its own, as synonymous with 'unique' or 'unrepeatable'; in fact, I would suggest that it did not, which is why it took a while for the expression to broaden out into the wider English language.
Having started as an exclusively pattern making expression, 'one-off job' soon became part of manufacturing or engineering jargon to mean a unique job, product or item and then and only then, after a period of some years, did 'one-off', on its own, expand into standard English to mean something (anything) or someone unique: what I refer to as a metaphorical usage of the expression. The evidence clearly shows that the final step didn't happen until around the period of the Second World War, or shortly afterwards, so that the concept of 'a one off instance' could not possibly have entered the mind of someone writing in 1888.
My research has found that when 'one-off' is referred to in the first two decades of the twentieth century it is always and without exception in the context of pattern making (or moulding, which is effectively the same thing). In the world of pattern making,'one off' meant a single casting of a pattern and this is what a 'one-off job' literally meant (i.e. a job which involved a single casting from a pattern - or perhaps just one or two castings - before the pattern was destroyed or put into storage) hence pattern makers at the time also referred to a 'one-off pattern'. You can look through pages and pages of books and articles about manufacturing and mechanical engineering from the first two decades of the 1900s (and do as many electronic searches of digital material relating to these subjects as you like) but you won't find a hint in them of anything being referred to as a 'one off'. As soon as you identify a book or article about pattern making from the same period, however, there is a good chance that it will include a reference to a one-off job or pattern.
Robert Smith could, of course, have relied on an occurrence of 'one-off job' from 1912 (in a speech about pattern making, naturally), which I was the first to identify in 2016, but those extra 10 years closer to 1888 wouldn't have helped him at all. For a 'one-off job', as I have said, only had meaning within the world of pattern making during this time. It wasn't something which was transferable to any other application. The 'one off' part of the term didn't have any actual meaning in the English language while, to pattern makers, as well as mechanical engineers, at the time, it still only meant a quantity of one.
Prior to 1912 it is hard to find the concept of a 'one-off job' or a 'one-off pattern' existing even in the world of pattern making. Since writing my article, 'One Off Article' earlier this year, I found this interesting piece from the November 1909 issue of Foundry Trade Journal and Pattern Maker. It's an article entitled 'Scrapping of Patterns' by W. Peters which is about whether to store or destroy a pattern after being used once. It says (underlining added):
'The storing of patterns is alright when they are of standard design and sizes, or are likely to be in constant demand; but if they are only for odd or unusual articles, it is a question as to whether it pays to store them. There is no doubt that it did pay to do so a number of years ago, when it used to be stated that patterns cost a guinea an ounce; but since then pattern-making has progressed, and a different complexion has been put upon the subject. At that time it was counted as a sacrilege to produce a pattern without bestowing upon it all the care (and sandpaper) that was possible, even though only one casting was required, or simply a makeshift pattern wanted. But machinery and composition have changed all that, and pattern-making is not now looked upon as being so much a necessary evil, but rather as an adjunct to the general progress of engineering. Consequently, owing partly to the improvement in machinery, but more so to the way in which patterns are now made, there is not the same hesitancy in trying or adopting new designs of machinery which require the making of new patterns. It is now common practice to make experimental or single casting patterns as cheaply as possible, both in labour and material, and it is surprising how comparatively cheaply these can be made when the foreman pattern-maker in conjunction with the moulder, sets his wits to work and at the same time gives the men to understand that the pattern is likely to be scrapped in place of being stored after using.'
If the expressions 'one-off pattern' (or 'one-off casting') or 'one-off job' had been known to the author of this piece in 1909, it is remarkable that he didn't use them in the article. My conclusion from this (and from all other articles relating to pattern making that I've read) is that they didn't yet exist as terms within pattern making. And it's important to remember that this is a pattern maker writing more than twenty years after James Maybrick is supposed to have referred to 'a one-off instance' in his Diary and yet here he is, this pattern maker, writing about a pattern from which 'only one casting was required' and of 'single casting patterns'. I mean, it's crying out for the expression 'one-off pattern' or 'one-off job' but the fact that neither is used strongly suggests that the expression didn't yet exist in any form, even in the world of pattern making. This is the case even though T.D. Garscadden had referred five years earlier to making a pattern in a one-off way or from a one-off standpoint which, for the reasons I have set forward elsewhere, appears to have reflected the early evolution of the term 'one off' from a mere quantity to having the more textured meaning of 'one-off job' without actually having yet fully evolved into that expression. The same is true of the 1904 remarks of 'An Old Moulder' of there 'being only one off' which I cited in my 'One Off Article.'
Let me provide another illuminating example of how the language developed. This is from a 1935 article published in the Foundry Trade Journal of 16 May 1935 entitled 'Patternmaking Economics' by H. Stead. Look carefully at this section about 'The "One-off" Problem.'
We can see reference here to 'the "one-off" pattern' and 'a "one-off" job' but look how the author of this piece refers to 'one-off' on its own. We have:
'Don't make a fancy job of it - it is only for "one-off".
'jobs which began as "one-off" have been sent, repeatedly, into the foundry'
'They come out for a second time with a kind of apology, to the effect that it was only for "one off".
'In any case, whether "one-off" or standard...'
What we see, in other words, is a very awkward use of 'one-off' as a standalone expression. For the author never refers to 'a one-off', just 'one-off'. This is more than 45 years after James Maybrick is supposed to have written about 'a one-off instance'. What I'm trying to convey is that not only did the expression 'one-off job' not exist in 1888 but, when that expression did come into existence in the early part of the twentieth century, you can't assume that English speakers extracted the 'one-off' from 'one-off' job to create new expressions such as 'one off instance' and 'one off occasion'. It simply did not happen. See here for for the clearest possible demonstration of how expressions such as 'one off instance' and 'one off occasion' could not possibly have existed or been used as early as 1888.
It then gets worse for Smith. Having relied without qualification on Shirley Harrison's supposed discovery of 'one off' in the 1860s records of the supposed builders Trayner's of Kent in his first edition, Smith has now finally appreciated what I have been saying for the past three years, namely that Harrison is, in Smith's words, 'unfortunately unable to identify her source' (p.41). That's one way of putting it I suppose!
But Shirley herself never actually found anything in the first place. Nor is there even any evidence that Trayner's of Kent existed. The whole thing is, in any event, a complete red herring because if Shirley Harrison's source, who was, in fact, Tony Deeson, actually found anything in the records of a builders' firm during the nineteenth century it would have been no more than the annotation 'one off' to indicate a quantity, not a special or unique order as Harrison had claimed. So that gets Smith nowhere.
Astonishingly, Smith still relies on Jonathon Green's 'Dictionary of Jargon' to claim that the expression 'one off duty' was used in nineteenth century prisons. I debunked this nonsense in my September 2017 article. As I said then, Green's 'Dictionary of Jargon' says nothing about it being a nineteenth century expression (and the book is dedicated to contemporary jargon from the 1980s), while the full expression is 'one off, one on' (or vice versa), relating to the handing over of a prisoner from one (modern) prison guard to another, which bears a completely different meaning to the 'one off' of the Diary.
Now, surely Smith knows this. He must have obtained his information about the correct date of Foundry from my article on this site, either directly or indirectly. If that's the case how did he miss the point about Green's Dictionary of Jargon?
It's obvious that Smith just couldn't delete the reference to Green and his 'one on, one off' expression. He's already had to push forward 'one-off job' from 1905 to 1922. He's lost whatever it was Shirley Harrison thought Tony Deeson had discovered. If he let Green go, he wouldn't have a single supposed example of 'one off' from the nineteenth century (even though, in Green's book, that expression is not from the nineteenth century!). Yet the introduction to Smith's section on questionable words (p.40) is that (underlining added):
'I will now examine several words in the diary, which sound modern to people, but, in fact, do go back to beyond 1888.'
So he has set out some big talk, claiming that he is going to prove that 'one off instance' actually and 'in fact' can be traced back earlier to 1888. But, of course, as he we have seen, his attempt failed miserably.
The Foundry entry? No, that's 1922 (and only to a 'one-off job' anyway).
The Shirley Harrison find? No, she can't identify her source.
The Green dictionary? No, not nineteenth century and not the same type of 'one off'.
He has a big fat nothing. He hasn't even begun to counter the point.
Yet, with what may be described as astonishing chutzpah he says that a merchant dealing with the cotton trade between Virginia and Lancashire (meaning James Maybrick) 'could well' have used such a phrase from manufacturing. There is absolutely no explanation why someone in the cotton trade in 1888, let alone one dealing with trade from Virginia to Lancashire, could have used a phrase 'from manufacturing' for which the earliest example Smith can find is 1922, an example which isn't actually from manufacturing as such but from pattern making and, isn't in any case, the same phrase used in the Diary or even similar to it (in the sense that it is a metaphorical use of the phrase, whereas 'one off job' is not, being the literal use of it).
The section is a disaster. Smith's book came out in September 2017 and he's had two whole years to think about it and find a solution. But he hasn't been able to do it. The reason he hasn't been able to do it is that 'one off' did not exist as an expression in the English language in 1888, or during the rest of the nineteenth century, which would have allowed anyone to have written, or said, 'a one off instance'.
Conclusion. The Diary is a modern forgery.
Smith tries to anticipate and block such a conclusion saying (p.41) that, 'Clearly, the phrase was in written usage at least by the early 1920s, almost 100 years ago, which at the very least eliminates the phrase as proof of a modern forgery.' Except that he is talking there about the phrase 'one-off job' which is not to be found in the Diary. The phrase in the Diary is 'one off instance' and THAT phrase - which is very different from 'one-off job' for the reasons I've explained at length elsewhere on this website (and I hope you check out, if you haven't already, the sub-article at the link provided above) - was NOT in written usage in the early 1920s.
Back to the drawing board for Mr Smith and the Diary Defence Team.
A LITTLE RED DIARY
In the new edition, Smith has revised his section on Mike Barrett's March 1992 purchase of a little red Victorian diary. He's corrected his glaring error that this diary came from HP Bookfinders in response to an advert placed by Mike Barrett, as pointed out in my article 'The False Facts', and now states correctly that it was HP Bookfinders who placed the advert for the diary in Bookdealer magazine on Mike's behalf. But there are bigger problems than this in the new edition.
Previously, in the first edition, Smith claimed that Barrett had placed an advertisement to obtain a Victorian diary because he wanted 'to compare [the scrapbook] with another example of a Victorian diary'. After publication of the first edition, a lightbulb must have gone on in his head (or, more likely, he read my article) that a desire to compare the scrapbook with another example of a Victorian diary doesn't explain the requirement in the advertisement placed in Bookdealer for the diary to contain blank pages.
So he's deleted that sentence but, cunning as a fox, would you believe it, he's added in Anne Barrett's explanation that, 'Michael had ordered it to see what a Victorian diary looked like and to compare it with the Ripper diary.' So the exact same explanation for the curious purchase appears in his book but he now attributes it to Anne rather than himself, still without explaining that annoying requirement for blank pages.
Yes, reader, you read that right. Robert Smith, some fourteen years after the discovery of the advertisement, and two years after publication of his first edition, STILL has no explanation as to why Mike Barrett asked for a Diary with blank pages! Literally none. Not even a mad Caroline Morris type theory. So all he can do is repeat Ann Barrett's clearly incorrect explanation. It's hysterical.
The way that Smith tries to deal with the problem of Mike's hunt for and acquisition of a Victorian diary is to say that he would have thought that the forger of the Diary would have been 'smart enough to specify the date of 1888 and more than a minimum of "20 blank pages".' But he doesn't explain why this would have been a smart move, leaving it to the reader to try and work it out for themselves.
The fact of the matter is that it wouldn't have been a smart move at all. A date of 1887, or 1884, or 1881 for a diary would have suited a forger's purposed just as well as an 1888 diary because the key thing was to obtain paper from the period in order to pass any scientific tests. Sure, an 1888 diary blazoned with the year 1888 across the cover would have been perfect but the advertisement placed on Mike's behalf in Bookdealer had in no way excluded such a diary. On the contrary, it was included by the requirement for the diary to be in the range of 1880 to 1890. So he would have got his 1888 diary with blank pages, if it had existed. But what if there had been no 1888 diaries available, only an 1887 one? In that case, the first advertisement would have been unsuccessful and Martin Earl of HP Bookfinders would have had to have placed a second advertisement with a wider range of years, thus wasting precious time.
As it transpired, the first advertisement for the whole range of 1880 to 1890 didn't produce a single diary, so that, in hindsight, the really smart thing would actually have been to have advertised for a diary in the much wider range of 1880 to 1900. For that reason, I don't think that by excluding potential diaries which would have been sufficient for the purpose, in a situation where Mike needed a Victorian diary urgently, would have been the smart thing to do at all, and Smith's argument has failed.
Similarly, with 20 blank pages. There is nothing dumb in asking for a diary with a minimum requirement, in circumstances where there were likely to be very few responses. He surely wanted an advert which would widen and increase his chances of success, not narrow them down to nothing. For some reason, Smith assumes that a 20 page diary would not have suited the forger but it all depends on the page size and the size of the handwriting used. The Diary in the form we have it wastes a lot of space. The typed transcript of it in Harrison's book is 20 pages. If the forger could ONLY get a diary with a 20 blank pages then he would have had to work with that, possibly editing some of the text (and, for example, removing all the poems which waste a lot of space). But the advertisement in no way excluded diaries with more than 20 blank pages. On the contrary, the primary request (which Smith chooses to ignore) was for a totally blank, or unused, diary from the 1880s. That was precisely what the forger needed in an ideal world and precisely what the advertisement asked for.
Having carried out some complex mathematical calculations I am now in a position to confirm that the 63 pages of the actual Diary incorporates a 'minimum of 20 pages.'
Robert Smith must know all this and his revised section shows only too clearly that he has no explanation for Barrett's actions which are so obviously consistent with someone attempting to forge a Victorian diary.
Going on the offensive, Smith issues a challenge to 'the diary sceptics'. These people, he says (p.30), should ask themselves: 'why would Barrett try to purchase a diary, in which to write a forgery in 1992, when he was claiming to have bought the actual scrapbook used, as least two years previously?' Alas for Smith, as regular readers of this site and the online forums will be fully aware, I have not only answered this question but we now know that Mike claimed in 1999 to have bought the actual scrapbook in 1992, AFTER the purchase of the Victorian diary, thus rendering Smith's question redundant.
In fact, the question can be turned around. Why did Barrett claim in 1999 to have acquired the scrapbook in 1992 yet give the impression in his 1995 affidavit that he bought it in 1990 while, at the same time, revealing that he had purchased a genuine Victorian diary before he purchased the scrapbook which, he said, he and his wife then went on to write out in eleven days? Come on Mr Smith. You asked a question (which has been answered) now it's your turn. Answer me THAT one!
The final challenge issued by Smith is to defy anyone to locate a blank Victorian scrapbook in 16 days before the creation of eBay. This is a bigger challenge than he seems to realize because he is asking us to travel back in time in order to see how we get on!!! Funnily enough, though, there were antique shops in 1992 and there were auctions of antiques. Smith's challenge is set on a false basis because Mike Barrett had all the time in the world to acquire a suitable Victorian diary. As far as we know, as at 28 March 1992, the appointment to see Doreen Montgomery in London had not yet been fixed. If he didn't acquire a Victorian diary at the Outhwaite & Litherland auction held on 31 March 1992, or anywhere else on that date, he would simply have kept looking....or abandoned the whole idea of forging a Jack the Ripper diary. It was only (I would suggest) because he did manage to find a scrapbook at the end of March that he was able to arrange with Doreen to come down to London with it on 13 April. The evidence is that the meeting was arranged at short notice only a few days before 13 April.
Smith is also labouring under the delusion that it is being claimed that Mike had to research James Maybrick's life and the crimes of Jack the Ripper in the 16 days between 28 March and 13 April. I don't think I've ever seen anyone say this and it looks like a obvious straw man argument to me. Certainly my own argument is that the research had already been done prior to 1992 (probably in 1990 or 1991) and virtually the entire text of the Diary had already been drafted as at 9 March 1992. It only needed someone to write it in longhand into a genuine Victorian diary or scrapbook.
The one good thing is that my arguments about the Diary having been created between 28 March and 13 April 1992 have finally got through into Robert Smith's brain so that he has devoted a few paragraphs to it. It's a shame he doesn't understand it though.
And there is one other example where Smith's ignorance of the argument against him shines through in this new edition. For he draws attention to the fact that Outhwaite and Litherland couldn't find any record of the sale of the scrapbook (p.30). As he places this paragraph bang in the centre of his argument against Barrett having created the forgery after 9 March 1992, this just (again) shows his ignorance of a subject he is supposed to be an expert on. For we know from information posted in 2018 on the Casebook forum by Keith Skinner that Outhwaite & Litherland were never asked to check their records from 1992 for this diary. They focussed only on either side of 1990. So the fact that the auctioneers couldn't find any documentary evidence of the sale means nothing. They simply looked in the wrong place.
PROVENANCE: PART 2 - DISHONESTY
The much heralded new revelation in the second edition is that Eddie Lyons has apparently said on camera to James Johnston and Keith Skinner that he was working at Battlecrease on 9 March 1992 (p.28). This is laughably referred to by Smith (p.31) as a 'confession', as if Eddie has actually confessed to doing something criminal, when all he's supposedly said is that he was doing some unrecorded electrical work. I say 'supposedly' because no quote from Eddie is provided and who knows what he actually did say? James Johnston once told me on the Forum that Eddie remembered working in Battlecrease with James Coufopoulos but that's not what the extract of the transcript he subsequently posted actually said.
The reason it is definitely not a confession is because Lyons insists that he didn't find anything in Battlecrease on that day and that, furthermore, he didn't know who Mike Barrett was at the time (so that if he had found anything it couldn't have ended up in Barrett's hands on the same day).
So the Diary Team don't seem to have got very much further forward. Instead, they now face what might be called the Liar Paradox. For while they evidently believe 100% in what Eddie Lyons is (supposedly) telling them, without any documentary or, as far as is known, other evidence to support the notion that he was working in Battlecrease on that day, they must certainly believe he is lying to their faces (and now on camera) when he says that he didn't find the scrapbook and that he didn't know Mike Barrett at the time.
No doubt the Diary Team will rationalize Eddie's refusal to say he found the scrapbook by some kind of fear that twenty-six years later he would be prosecuted for theft, when the reality is that there would be no chance of this happening, but how do they explain his insistence that he didn't know Mike Barrett in 1992? That wouldn't have been a crime! If Eddie was being so open and honest in saying that he worked in Battlecrease on 9 March 1992, why was he being dishonest in admitting that he knew Mike Barrett? It doesn't make sense. Unless he was telling the truth and that, while working on Battlecrease that day, he didn't find the scrapbook and he didn't know Mike Barrett.
Or, if he's a liar, he might just be lying about having worked at Battlecrease on 9 March 1992. After all, why has he said it? Even if one of the other electricians remembered him working there, so what? All he would have had to say to James Johnston and Keith Skinner is that he couldn't recall it himself and it was 26 years ago (prior to 2018 when the interview took place) and, because he certainly did work in Battlecrease during the summer of 1992, it's all now a blur in his memory. That would have been very simple and no-one could have then accused him of lying if evidence did emerge of him having worked at Battlecrease on 9 March.
Eddie knew full well why he was being asked these questions by people who suspect him of having found the scrapbook and passing it on to Mike Barrett. So, if he was lying about having done so, why freely state (or 'confess' to use Smith's word) that he was working in Battlecrease on the very day the scrapbook was found? And, further, why even agree to be repeatedly interviewed on the subject at all (because this must have been at least his fourth interview with James Johnston who once told me that Eddie had already agreed to meet him three times)? He was under no obligation to speak to any researchers and could have just told them in so many words to go away.
The Diary Defence Team are going to have to struggle with these questions if they wish to continue to push the line that Eddie found the Diary in Battlecrease on 9 March 1992. All the evidence actually proves that he did not.
As for the relationship between Eddie and Mike, Robert Smith appears to rely on his own personal encounter with the pair in the Saddle during the evening 26 June 1993 as evidence that the two men knew each other before 9 March 1992. But the very reason Smith was in that pub that evening was because he had asked Mike to set up a meeting with Eddie! So he already knew that Mike knew Eddie. Yet he now expresses surprise that he knew him!
There's nothing controversial about Mike knowing Eddie by June 1993 because Feldman told us that Mike had been round to Eddie's house in about February 1993 to speak to him about his supposed claim to have taken the Diary from Battlecrease in 1989. While Mike was evidently aware of Eddie's address at this time, I have already argued in 'The False Facts' that the reason for this is that Feldman must have told him it or, at least, given him enough information to obtain it himself. After that first meeting, the two men could have met each other any number of times but we don't seem to know and it's a bit strange that Robert Smith didn't ask the question while he was in the Saddle on 26 June if he was getting the impression that Mike and Eddie were old friends.
Nevertheless, if, despite his denials, Eddie was acquainted with Mike Barrett prior to March 1992, it could well explain why Mike decided to telephone Doreen on 9 March 1992. While drinking in the Saddle on 9 March, Eddie could have mentioned to Mike that he had been working at the former home of James Maybrick that day (if, of course, it's true that he was) and that snippet of information could have prompted Mike to revive an old plan to produce a fake diary by James Maybrick that he had cooked up with his buddy Tony Devereux during 1990 or early 1991: a plan which had been put on ice when Tony died. As to that, information in Melvin Harris' papers suggests that Tony Devereux used to refer to his wife as 'the whore' or 'whoring bitch' because she had betrayed him. A copy of Devereux's will which I have seen certainly reveals that he expressly wanted his wife to receive nothing from his estate after he died. So the possibility that Tony assisted in the preparation of the forged diary cannot be ruled out.
But the point here is that, being friends, Eddie could easily have mentioned Maybrick in conversation with Mike either on or shortly before 9 March 1992 because of the electrical work planned for Battlecrease thus sparking a revival of the forgery plan and triggering his telephone call to Doreen Montgomery. Alternatively, Mike could simply have overheard Eddie speaking to other friends about this in the Saddle, to the same effect.
For a 'True History', Mr Smith doesn't half slip in a load of new untrue historical facts into his book. It will be recalled that in 'The False Facts' I noted that Smith had messed up in his first edition by saying that Mike had 'only written a few puzzles for a children's weekly magazine'. This falsehood has now been replaced by another one. In fact, by a number of multiple falsehoods.
Smith now says that Barrett's byline also appeared 'above a couple of so-called "interviews" in a short-lived magazine circulated in Liverpool called Celebrity'. There are two untruths in that statement. Firstly, Celebrity was a national magazine published in London and distributed and sold throughout the United Kingdom, not just circulated in Liverpool. Not only can this be seen clearly from the geographical locations of writers of correspondence published on the letters page of each edition, but this is the entry for the magazine in the Wellings Press Guide for 1988, under the category of national newspapers and periodicals:
Secondly, Barrett's byline appeared above more than a 'couple' of interviews in Celebrity. In fact, the number of 'bylines' is irrelevant because, during much of 1986, the first year of the magazine's existence, the writers of freelance articles weren't acknowledged in bylines. We know that Barrett authored an interview with Kenneth Williams, for example, but this article doesn't carry Barrett's name. The number of articles by Barrett during the lifetime of Celebrity was certainly in double figures. He didn't only interview celebrities. An issue of Celebrity in August 1987, for example, carried an article by Barrett about a boy from Sierre Leone whose mother had burned his fingers but had been treated at Liverpool's Alder Hey Hospital. In an issue in November 1987, Mike wrote about Marilyn Houlton who was suffering from Motor Neurone disease. But there were certainly celebrities too, as in the Christmas 1987 edition...
It's really poor of Robert Smith to try and massage the truth in order to underplay what Mike Barrett actually did. He then continues with some supposedly new (but unsourced) information, saying that Mike's articles were 'clearly not interviews as such' but were 'cobbled together by an in-house writer with a few quotes from other sources edited in'. As I say, Smith doesn't reveal where this information comes from and it seems to conflict with what is stated in 'Inside Story' whose authors tell us (p.172) that Anne Barrett had to 'tidy up' Mike's articles. What was she tidying up if he didn't write anything or interview anyone?
The authors of 'Inside Story' also spoke to David Burness, Barrett's editor at D.C. Thomson, the publishers of Celebrity, who said that, 'Mike was always very reliable at the time he worked for me' (p.150). So why does Smith think that Barrett didn't provide any articles to Burness? Surely he can't just be making up history in a book entitled the 'True History', can he?
Smith's comments seem to be based entirely on his belief that Mike Barrett couldn't write anything. Well that may be so, but he doesn't seem to consider whether he could have written anything in conjunction with his wife, or any other collaborator. A writer doesn't actually need to be able to write, just to speak, because a writer can dictate the contents of a book. Famous authors who have written with dictation (according to the internet) include John Milton, Dan Brown, Henry James, Barbara Cartland and Winston Churchill. We know that Mike Barrett could speak sufficiently well to give a coherent radio interview in 1995, so he could have dictated not only the texts of his interviews in Celebrity but also the text of the Diary, even if his written skills were not good enough to be able to write it out himself.
Furthermore, if Mike couldn't produce coherent written work, who was it who produced the 17 pages of research notes which were reproduced in the '25 Years of Mystery' book published in 2017? Realistically, the only candidates are Mike or Anne (or, at a stretch, Tony Devereux) but all those people could just as easily have collaborated with Mike to produce a fake diary. At Celebrity, it's undoubtedly the case that an editor or sub-editor would have polished up Mike's interviews but that happens to every journalist, even those who work for the Times! That's what editors and sub-editors do. But to claim, or suggest, without any evidence, that Mike didn't actually supply any text or that he didn't even carry out the interviews is bizarre. It seems to show the depths to which Robert Smith will sink to try and defend the Diary.
A major new addition to Smith's book is a reproduction of an anonymous 'letter' he received through the post in January 1995 which he attributes to Nick Warren. This letter is supposed to have been written with 'pre-1992 Diamine Black Manuscript Ink'.
Smith doesn't explain the significance of the reference to 'pre 1992' Diamine and, in fact, he gets confused about how Diamine ink entered the picture in the first place. He says (p. 17) that, in June 1994, Barrett 'claimed he had bought Diamine Black Manuscript Ink from an art shop next to Bluecoat Chambers in Liverpool'. This is not correct. In a June 1994 article in the Liverpool Daily Post, Barrett was only quoted as saying that he had bought ink from the Bluecoat Chambers art shop; he didn't specify which type of ink. Harold Brough then discovered from the shop that the most likely ink purchased by someone wishing to imitate a Victorian ink would have been Diamine ink. It was much later, in his 5 January 1995 affidavit, that Barrett claimed that the ink he had purchased from the Bluecoat shop was Diamine.
My understanding of the situation is that, from June 1994, when it was reported that Mike Barrett had used ink (probably Diamine ink) which had been purchased from the Bluecoat Art Shop in Liverpool, it was believed by those investigating the case that one could simply purchase a bottle of Diamine from a retail outlet in order to test that ink. Indeed, when Leeds University carried out tests on Diamine ink in November 1994, they used ink that had been purchased from the Bluecoat Art Shop in Liverpool by Nick Warren (who had been told by the shop that it was,'the last remaining bottle that had been on the shelves for years'.) It transpired, however, that it was a new bottle and that the formula for Diamine ink had changed in about 1993 so that the original formula was now no longer commercially available. This is how Melvin Harris explained the position in a letter dated 5 September 1997 to one of the chemists at Leeds University:
'After seeing your report, surgeon Nick Warren checked with Diamine and discovered that (about 1993) they had stopped making their iron-gall Black Manuscript Ink and had gone over to new non-iron formula. The shop supplying the ink to Nick Warren had not realised this, and in good faith, had sold him a bottle of this new product. They mistakenly believed they were sending him their last remaining bottle from the 1992 intake'.
That the formula had changed was actually known by Nick Warren and Melvin Harris prior to the Leeds tests. Melvin Harris states in a note that, 'I gave Alec Voller's formula for the correct ink to Robert Smith at least one week before the tests began'. Subsequently, at some point prior to 26 January 1995, Alec Voller made up four unlabelled bottles of ink using what is described as the pre-1992 formula (albeit that it seems that it should be more correctly described as the pre-1993 formula). He sent two bottles to Shirley Harrison and two bottles to Nick Warren, with advice as to how to test the ink.
When Nick Warren subsequently created a handwritten test letter on 26 January 1995, using the ink sent to him by Voller, it looked remarkably similar to the ink in the Diary and exhibited similar characteristics. This was confirmed by no less a person than Alec Voller himself. After seeing Warren's test letter in 2001, he wrote: 'I agree that the ink of Nick's letter has taken on an appearance similar to that of the Diary, as regards fading and bronzing...'. When writing to Voller at about the same time, Melvin Harris noted that the effect of the Diamine ink in Warren's test letter was 'so close to the ink on your Diary pages'. As he was writing the test letter, Nick Warren noticed a distinct similarity in the opacity of the ink compared with the Diary ink and wrote, 'the effect is very watery, astonishingly so at first.' It is certainly the case that Nick Warren's test letter doesn't look at all similar to the test document written by Robert Smith on 19 September 2012.
This is Nick Warren's test letter (the first ten lines of which were written with a new clean fountain pen, while the large Jack the Ripper signature was written with a Victorian steel pen):
The writing in the letter looks quite grey. And what is the colour of the ink in the Diary? Well Dr Baxendale in his July 1992 report described it as being'generally dark grey in colour'. This is confirmed by one of the leading experts in Diary studies, Caroline Morris, co-author of 'Inside Story', who posted on the Casebook forum on 1 May 2018 in the 'Incontrovertible' thread at #4488):
'The diary ink is clearly...dark grey, not black or blue.'
So the Diary ink seems to match the Diamine ink used by Nick Warren in 1995!
Regarding Smith's 2012 test document, which looks somewhat blue to me, or at least black with blue undertones, as it has been described, it is to be noted that when Shirley Harrison received the two bottles from Voller in January 1995 she did nothing with them. The purpose of her being sent them was to enable her to carry out tests but, it seems, she failed to do any. The bottles then apparently went missing for 16 years. On 2 December 2011, Voller wrote to Smith to inform him about the bottles of ink that he had produced to the pre-1992 formula in January 1995 and sent to Harrison. At about this time, presumably shortly afterwards, in response to Voller's letter, both bottles were apparently located by Shirley Harrison in her husband's attic. After more delay, she sent one bottle to Smith in June 2012.
Given that the bottles were unlabelled in standard one fluid ounce round bodied clear glass bottles with black plastic screw tops, it does raise the question as to whether the bottles found in the attic of Shirley's husband were, in fact, the same bottles of pre-1992 Diamine ink sent to her by Voller in January 1995. Was it possible that she had obtained from Voller bottles of post-1992 Diamine before it was realized that the formula had changed? Or had she already used the ink sent to her in 1995 (perhaps to conduct some tests which she has now forgotten about) and subsequently re-filled the bottles with different ink? These possibilities do need to be seriously considered because Smith's 2012 test document seems to be very different to Warren's 1995 test letter and one obvious explanation for this would be that they were using different formula inks.
What about the anonymous 'letter' sent to Smith in January 1995? Having considered the matter carefully, I am certain that it was not authored by Nick Warren. My reasons for this are as follows:
1. The ink looks very different. That one's obvious. But I'll be referring to this again in point 2.
2. When Nick Warren created his test letter on 26 January 1995, he did so for a specific purpose which was not only to see what the ink looked like when applied to paper but also to see what the effects would be after a few years. Consequently, it was kept safe by Melvin Harris between two protective sheets of white paper and checked for changes at intervals. Both Warren and Harris assumed that Robert Smith and Shirley Harrison would be conducting their own experiment with the ink that they had received. It would have been very odd for Warren to create a test letter which looked very similar to the Diary ink (as he commented in the sample itself when referring to the watery nature of the ink) while sending to Robert Smith a test document for him to keep and monitor over the years in which the ink looked different to the Diary ink and different to his own test. Again that is rather obvious.
3. When Nick Warren created his own test letter, he did so on his own headed stationery. I've cut the address off from the above image but it is there on the original. He wrote the sample on modern paper in other words, no doubt because he didn't have any Victorian paper to hand. The anonymous letter received by Robert Smith, however, is stated to be written on paper 'made in 1888'. One can't be certain but, from the age marks visible on the paper from the reproduction in Smith's book, it rather looks like someone took the trouble of obtaining Victorian paper on which to write the letter to Smith. Why would Nick Warren do his own test on modern paper yet write to Robert Smith with the same ink on old paper? That doesn't make any sense.
4. Possibly the most important difference between the two documents, other than the different appearance of the inks, is the fact that, with the anonymous letter sent to Robert Smith, an attempt has obviously been made to copy the handwriting from the Diary. The elongated cross on the letter 't', for example, is obviously designed to resemble that letter in the Diary. The letter 'i' in the word 'ink' is similar too. Only with the signature of 'Jack the Ripper' did Warren make any kind of vague attempt at reproducing what is in the Diary. Otherwise it is in his own handwriting. The document sent to Smith is not in Warren's handwriting. Warren knew that Smith knew that he was the only other person to have received the pre-1992 Diamine so there would have been no purpose in disguising his handwriting for the purpose of hiding his identity - that would have been pointless. That being so, why write his own test in his normal handwriting but attempt to copy the Diary handwriting for the test sent to Smith?
5. It may be also noted that Warren was careful to date his test letter. This was important because, as I've said, the aim was to see what the ink looked like in two or three years' time. The anonymous letter sent to Smith was undated.
For these reasons, I think that one needs to look elsewhere for the author of the document sent to Smith. I have no idea who that could have been but I suspect it was NOT written with 'pre-1992 Diamine ink' as Smith always seems to have assumed. Indeed, Smith concludes that Warren was the author on the dual basis that it WAS written in 'pre-1992 Diamine ink' and that Warren was the only other recipient of this ink from Mr Voller. But what if someone in 1995 had gone into a shop and purchased a bottle of commercially available Diamine ink (not knowing that it was the wrong formula)? In that case, anyone could have decided to taunt Smith with a letter written in a similar hand to the Diary with Diamine ink. We can surely say that it was not Nick Warren using the sample of ink he had been provided by Voller in January 1995 so that Smith's attempted comparison between his own test and the anonymous letter received in January 1995 does not in any way undermine the notion that the Diary was written with Diamine ink, as he seems to think.
THE DOCTOR WHO NEVER WAS
In the 2017 edition of Smith's book, we were introduced on page 4 to 'Diamine's Chief Chemist, Dr Alec Voller'. This was inappropriate because Voller wasn't a doctor; but Smith's book evidently misled Caroline Morris who, on 26 April 2018, in the 'Incontrovertible' thread, chided R.J. Palmer for referring to the man as 'Voller' saying he was 'Dr Alec Voller', while adding censoriously, 'I note your funny little omission here of his title.'
It fell to me to check the position and reveal that Mr Alec Voller only had a BSc which is not a doctorate degree. When I wondered eight days later why there had been no admission of error from Caroline Morris, we got this (in Thread 'Too Sensible and Competent', #38):
'No 'admission' because I simply haven't asked Robert Smith yet to comment on his references to Dr Voller in his book. If he was mistaken, I'll happily admit to not realising it.'
Well we now know that Smith WAS mistaken. The 2019 of his book now introduces us, on page 6, to 'Diamine's Chief Chemist, Alec Voller.' LOL!
So has Caroline Morris ever 'happily' admitted to her mistake? Has she buggery! No, of course she hasn't. She doesn't do that kind of thing.
THE NIGROSINE THAT NEVER WAS
Readers of Mr Smith's book might be feeling confused as to whether the Diary was written with a nigrosine based ink or not.
When he examined the Diary in October 1995, Dr, sorry, Mr Voller was very clear about what he was seeing: 'This is definitely nigrosine', he said (although Smith doesn't include this quote in his book). And he repeated it shortly afterwards: 'The dyestuff here is clearly nigrosine...'. Voller was as certain there was nigrosine in the ink as he was that it wasn't Diamine.
You would think that Smith was sure there was nigrosine in the ink too because he makes a point of stressing Voller's comment, contained in a letter to Nick Warren, dated 21 November 1994, that, 'Nigrosine, although a black dyestuff, does have bluish undertones' (p.8). This is supposed to be in contrast with the 'dark grey' ink of the Diary and consistent with Smith's 2012 test document.
On page 9, Smith then says that it is'very evident that the "bluish undertones" of the Diamine ink are absent from the "dark grey" diary ink'.
But hold on! Voller never expressly said anything about'bluish undertones' of Diamine ink. He specifically referred to the bluish undertones of nigrosine. He also said, when visually examining the Diary, that there was nigrosine in the Diary ink. So one can only conclude that he DID see the bluish undertones in the Diary ink. Those very bluish undertones which Smith tells us aren't there!
However, Smith states that nigrosine was not found to be present in the Diary ink (pp. 7-8) and that Leeds University concluded that 'the diary ink contains no nigrosine' (p.10). But if it contains no nigrosine then Voller got it all wrong in October 1995, did he? He seemed quite positive, using the word 'definitely'. But Smith doesn't clear up this anomaly. He doesn't even mention it. He only quotes Voller as saying that it wasn't Diamine ink in the Diary.
A finding of no nigrosine in the Diary ink is helpful for Smith because nigrosine is a constituent of Diamine. But what was the reason Leeds found there was no nigrosine in the ink? Smith tells us that it was because there was no sodium, which is a constituent of nigrosine.
The problem here is that Nicholas Eastaugh found that the Diary ink DOES contain sodium. So why didn't Leeds University find the sodium? It's a bit of a mystery which makes one wonder just how reliable these tests actually are.
It also undermines Voller's conclusions that the ink of the Diary was old, for this was based partly on his belief that the ink contained nigrosine. Hence he said in October 1995:
'This is definitely nigrosine. This means it is not a registrar's ink, it is definitely a manuscript ink. And since Diamine Manuscript Ink is the only one of its kind for many a long year and this is definitely not Diamine Manuscript ink, it puts the penmanship some considerable distance in the past.'
In other words, Voller felt that the penmanship could be placed some considerable distance in the past because he was sure that the Diary was written with a non-Diamine manuscript ink containing nigrosine of which no such ink had been manufactured in recent times. If there was no nigrosine in the ink then the premise on which his conclusion was based was fundamentally flawed.
According to Smith at page 10 (and Harrison, 2003, at page 340), Eastaugh also found that there was no nigrosine in the ink. This is not correct.
The Eastaugh report dated 2 October 1992 said this (underlining added):
'Several samples of the ink of the diary were taken and tested using reagents such as ammonia and concentrated sulphuric acid. Little reaction was observed, suggesting the ink is not based on a synthetic dyestuff; however, low levels of a synthetic dye might not be revealed by this approach.'
Then, in his conclusion he states that (underlining added): 'The ink analyzed does not appear to be substantially synthetic as previously suggested for other samples'.
That is not quite a finding that: 'There is no nigrosine' (as reported by Smith and Harrison).
Smith (p.8) gives the impression that Eastaugh used microchemical techniques to establish that the ink was based on a natural dye such as carbon black. However, this was actually a conclusion based on microscopic examination of the ink by poloraised light microscopy about which Eastaugh cautions that, 'this technique will not necessarily reveal other components such as dyestuffs, particularly if they are present in relatively small quantities.'
Eastaugh also used Scanning Electron Microscopy/Energy Dispersive X-Ray Spectroscopy which found no nigrosine. Alec Voller, however, questioned whether this method would be accurate in detecting it.
In correspondence with Shirley Harrison and Nick Warren in December 1994, Voller stated that, in addition to nigrosine, there were there were two other dyestuffs which have been very commonly used in inks of the iron-gall type. He said (underlining added):
'These are Ink Blue…and Napthol Blue Black…It is virtually certain that the diary ink will contain one of these three, but which one? All three are made up of precisely the same chemical elements i.e. Hydrogen, Carbon, Nitrogen, Oxygen, Sulphur and Sodium (although of course in differing proportions and molecular arrangements) so how can a technique which only tells us which elements are present distinguish between them. Moreover, if Dr. Eastaugh’s comment about the limit of detectability for this technique (‘about half a percent’) is correct, then it is questionable whether it could firmly establish the presence of a dyestuff at all, let alone tell us which one.'
The source of the 'half a percent' reference appears to be found in the preface to Eastaugh's report of October 1992 cited by Harrison (2003): 'the SEM/EDS system measures down to about half a percent and the proton microprobe down to just a few parts per mission of the composition.'
In his letter, Voller goes on to say (underlining added):
'….another simple mathematical exercise gives us 0.26% and 0.29% as the Nitrogen and Sodium contents of the [Diamine] dried ink residue (assuming no other Nitrogen and Sodium compounds are present). You will note that both figures are well below the 0.5% limit mentioned by Dr Eastaugh and thus SEM/EDX becomes doubly inappropriate. It is perhaps not without significance that Leeds did not find Nitrogen or Sodium. It is in areas such as this, i.e. which chemical compounds might be present and to what extent, that the advice of an ink specialist should have been sought from the very beginning.'
What can be seen here is that Voller seems to have been saying that nitrogen MUST have been present in the ink because it would have been present in any dyestuff used in inks of the type which he believed had been used to write the Diary. Yet both Eastaugh and Leeds failed to detect it. This seems to leave open the possibility that the dyestuff in the ink WAS nigrosine but that SEM/EDS method was not sensitive enough to detect it. That in turn leaves open the possibility that the ink was Diamine.
THE SMEARING OF GHOSTS
The first edition contained a number of smears against the late Melvin Harris, and the late Nick Warren, for no obvious reason, but some kind of malign influence on Robert Smith appears to have made him want to turn up the smear dial to eleven.
Hence we find this change between the first and second editions:
First edition - 'Melvin Harris could not resist fully exploiting Barrett's mad acts of self-destruction'
Second edition - 'Melvin Harris could not resist scheming to exploit Barrett's mad acts of self-destruction.'
What possible reason could there have been to change 'fully exploiting' to 'scheming to exploit'? Is this how Smith thinks he can prove the authenticity, sorry, not the authenticity, the originality of the Diary? By smearing Melvin Harris?
During a discussion about the chemical composition of the ink, Smith adds in a brand new sentence which has absolutely nothing to do with the subject at hand. Thus:
'I should say at this point, that, to my certain knowledge, neither Harris nor Warren ever handled the original diary or conducted an examination of it, so had no first-hand experience of the ink's characteristics.'
This seems to relate to an allegation that Caroline Morris has been making in online forums for years, namely that Harris never examined the Diary, even though he claimed to have noticed from an examination of it that the ink was recent. I have already posted online that this is a false allegation because, unknown to Smith and Morris, Harris arranged with a security guard to privately examine the Diary at the 1993 book launch. As is recorded amongst his private papers, he used 'a Zeiss hand-glass, bloomed and fully colour corrected, to scrutinize the ink and I too found bronzing absent.'
In December 1994, Nick Warren also saw the Diary, found no bronzing and, for the record, wrote to Robert Smith drawing his attention to that oddity. Smith actually replied on 21 December 1994, saying that he accepted that Nick was right but went on to argue that, 'Your comment on 'browning' is not, as far as I know, conclusive.' How could Smith have entered into correspondence with Nick Warren in 1994 about his observations on the browning if he didn't believe that Warren had actually seen the Diary?
So Smith is wrong about that and he's equally wrong when he continues by saying of Warren and Harris:
'Indeed, as far as I know, neither of them had ever asked to see Voller's formula for pre-1992 Diamine Black Manuscript Ink.'
The fact of the matter is that, after the story broke in the Liverpool Post in June 1994 about the use of Diamine Ink, Harris personally contacted Voller. I'll use Harris's own words:
'I rang Diamine's chief chemist, Alex Voller, and asked him for the formula of this ink. He obliged by stating that it contained iron salts and nigrosine as colouring matter, with chloroacetamide as its preservative.'
As noted above, Harris records that he gave this formula to Robert Smith prior to Leeds University conducting their experiments with the ink for him to pass on to the rest of his team.
So Smith's allegations are just false and Smith is basically attempting to discredit dead men who can't answer for themselves. Thankfully, I am able to correct the record and provide the TRUE HISTORY of the matter.
There is a further ludicrous attempt to smear Harris and Warren regarding the ink tests. Smith claims that, after publication of the Analysis For Industry results which recorded the presence of chloroacetamide in the Diary ink, he 'smelt a rat' and contacted Dr Diana Simpson of Analysis for Industry to ask for more details and she told him that 'the proportion or chloroacetamide in the dry ink was 6.5 parts per million or 0.000065%' (whereas choloroacetamide comprised 0.26% of the formula of the ink. or 3.28% of the dry ink, i.e. excluding water). Of this, Smith says:
The non disclosure of such vital information by Harris and Warren was a shocking deception, and continues to damage the diary's credibility.'
This is both absurd and outrageous. Harris and Warren didn't fail to disclose this 'vital information' for the simple reason that they weren't told it by Dr Simpson of AFI. As Robert Smith must know, the AFI report dated 19 October 1994 makes no mention of the amount of chloroacetamide detected in the ink. All it says is this:
'When the six black ink dots were extracted with acetone and analysed under gas-liquid chromatography procedures chloroacetamide was indicated to be present in the ink used.'
Smith, is therefore, falsely charging Warren and Smith for failing to disclose information which they didn't have!It's true that AFI were not asked to report on the quantity of ink found but Harris (who didn't have access to the internet) has already explained the reason for this in a typed note drafted as an intended online post (for someone else to post on his behalf) addressed to Robert Smith. I don't know if this was ever posted online but, if it was, it makes Smith's attempt to smear Harris even more shocking. In essence, Harris said that he was aware that the procedure used by AFI, in which the ink was extracted with acetone, would mean that the proportion of the choloroacetamide in the tested ink would not match the proportion in the original ink formula. Harris' explanation is worth repeating in full (with underlining added):
'First, no quantitative analysis was sought, since I was not interested in knowing how much of EACH substance was present in the tiny amount of ink-on-paper available. Second, my prior understanding of the extraction problems meant that the amount of any chloroacetamide discovered was not important. The question asked was the one posed by Voller: Is it there?
Now look at the maths again. Your 3.28% is just wild. Voller's formula is qualified with a capital W (sic). Right, this means that in 100 grams of ink 92.08 grams will be water. That leaves 7.92 grams of eight essential substances needed to create 100 grams batch of his ink. Of that 7.92 grams, just 0.26 grams are chloroacetamide. But even that figure is not quite accurate since the purity level of the chloroacetamide has to be established. For example, that chemical as sold by Aldrich is 98% pure. However, if we accept the 0.26 grams present in that 100 gram batch, as a starting point, you can see that the amount present in the AFI ink samples was tiny indeed, since their samples weighed less than 0.0000583g. And since neither you, nor I, nor AFI can know just how much of that tiny amount dissolved out in the limited time, no extended use can be made of any measurements derived from the AFI tests. The lab was not looking at the ink as such, but for ONE item in a mixture of extracts derived from that ink. The ratios between any of the substances extracted were unknown, but they would certainly fail to mirror those of the original ink formula. Now, until you grasp the problems arising from the differing extraction rates, you will never be able to see where your thinking is going wrong.'
So I would suggest that Harris's behaviour on the matter was perfectly proper.
When it comes to misleading the public we can find that it is Robert Smith who is actually doing this. Far from immediately smelling a rat, Smith did nothing for NINE YEARS after the results of the Analysis For Industry tests. What happened is that, in April 1996, Shirley Harrison met with Dr Simpson for her to test the Diary paper (in order to eliminate the paper as being the source of the chloroacetamide). Dr Simpson apparently told her en passant that chloroacetamide was present at a level of 6.5 parts per million. She also appears to have said that, of the six black dots of ink (not 'two' as Smith unaccountably says at p.7 of his book), which together weighed 0.000583g: 'Probably in excess of 90% of this comprised the paper of the same size to which the ink dot was attached.' Nothing then happened until March 2003 when the authors of 'Inside Story' (i.e. NOT Robert Smith) wrote to Dr Simpson as follows:
'Just to confirm, our understanding is that you examined ink samples from the Diary for the presence of chloroacetamide and gave Shirley Harrison a figure of 6.5 parts per million. (In 1996 you examined paper samples taken from the Diary and found no chloroacetamide). Would you be able to clarify for us exactly what the figure of 6.5 represents? Crucially, we need to know if this figure can help confirm or deny the possibility that the ink you examined is pre-1992 liquid Diamine, which is known to contain 0.26 per cent choloroacetamide, i.e. 2,600 parts per million.'
Dr Simpson replied curtly on 29 April 2003:
'The results obtained were based on analysis of one or two ink "full stops" and represented 6.5 parts per million of chloroacetamide in the ink'.
It was only then that Robert Smith stepped in. His correspondence with Dr Simpson has never been published to my knowledge so we don't quite know what was said. He presumably asked her to confirm what her instructions were, but all we know is that she replied to him on 31 July 2003 saying that Harris had only asked AFI to analyse the ink for the 'presence or absence [of chloroacetamide] without quantification'.
One thing that should be pointed out here is that Dr Simpson didn't actually say to Harrison or the 'Inside Story' team that the proportion of chloroacetamide in the dry ink was 6.5 parts per million or 0.00065%, as Smith states in his book. It may be that this is what she meant but it isn't what she said - she didn't mention 'dry ink' - and, for that reason, this must be considered to be an assumption on the part of Robert Smith.
The curiosity here is that Melvin Harris appears to have assumed that the samples of the ink which were tested weighed 0.0000583g but Dr Simpson appears to have told Harrison that the actual ink within the six dots probably weighed less 10% of this figure (i.e. less than 0.00000583g - that's 0.0000583g with an extra zero added!). If Dr Simpson considered that 'the ink' included the paper attached to the ink, so that the 6.5 parts per million was of everything that she tested, then you would, I think, need to multiply that figure by 10 to get the minimum proportion of chloroacetamide within the ink itself (i.e. within the dry ink residue). This would mean that the minimum amount of that compound within the 'dry ink' was 65 parts per million, not 6.5 parts per million. If, however, the ink only weighed, say, 1% of the sample tested then it would be 650 parts per million. We have so little information from AFI that it is hard to be certain if such calculations are valid but, if Dr Simpson needed to test the Diary paper for chloraecetamide in 1996, surely that must logically mean that she wasn't able to exclude the paper from being part of the calculation of the figure of 6.5 parts per million which, in turn, must mean that the figure of 6.5 parts per million cannot confidently be said to relate to the dry ink. It must surely relate to the dry ink AND the paper.
When we then factor in the extraction issue referred to by Melvin Harris which may have resulted in the dilution or dissolution of the choloroacetamide, it potentially becomes much harder to be able to discard the AFI results in the way that Robert Smith would like to. Perhaps Melvin Harris knew best after all which is why he didn't ask AFI to try and quantify the amount of choloroacetamide in the (dry) ink.
While it's true that Leeds University didn't detect choloroacetamide in the ink, that doesn't necessarily mean it wasn't there. Leeds University also didn't detect sodium which Nicholas Eastaugh found in the Diary ink.
Regarding the Leeds University report, we should certainly note what Alec Voller said about it in his letter to Shirley Harrison and Nick Warren dated 27 December 1994 (my underlining):
'The Leeds report is profoundly disturbing. That any possibility of cross contamination should have been allowed to arise in Gas Chromatography is unforgiveable but even worse, calibration of the instrument appears to have been very cursory and its ability to detect tiny traces of chloracetamide assumed rather than properly established. For reasons that I will expand upon later, it is questionable whether the SEM/DEX examination which forms the central core of this report, should have been performed at all. This is not necessarily to say that the results obtained at Leeds are wrong but I feel that a distinct question mark hangs over them.'
'By contrast with the above, the report for Analysis for Industry presents us with almost a model picture of how an analysis should be conducted and reported.'
One doesn't hear this from Robert Smith. All one gets from him is attempt after attempt to discredit dead men.
As to that, it is worth noting that Smith says that, following the AFI report, 'Harris and Warren were elated to hear from her that chloroacetamide was indeed present, and cried "hoax" to whoever would listen' (p.7). I wasn't involved in the debate at the time but I don't think that's true, and Smith certainly doesn't provide any evidence.
Harris and Warren were crying "hoax" long before the AFI report of 19 October 1994 for other reasons. By this time, Mike Barrett had already publicly confessed via the Liverpool Daily Post to having forged it! Harris repeatedly states in his notes that he didn't base his conclusion that the Diary was a hoax on the AFI report which was only designed to establish if it was correct that Diamine ink had been used to write the Diary.
If Harris was alive now I'm sure he'd say that he already knew that the Diary was a hoax and didn't need the AFI result to prove it. In fact, Harris has written that he knew the Diary was a hoax before he even saw it because he had been told that it purported to contain an early version of the 'Eight Little Whores' poem first published in Donald McCormick's 1959 book, 'The Identity of Jack the Ripper', which he knew was a fake because Donald McCormick had personally confessed this to him in 1987. Smith himself claims that Harris was the source of a front page splash in the Washington Post in 1993 that the Diary was a hoax (p.9). This was prior to the AFI tests so it's a bit bizarre that Smith appears to be suggesting that Harris needed the AFI results to spread the word that the Diary was a hoax. At the Diary book launch on 4 October 1993, as 'Inside Story' notes (p.65), Harris shouted out, 'This is a fake, it is a modern fake....'. This, again, was prior to the AFI report. No doubt Smith was irritated by Harris's exposures at the time but we now know that Harris was perfectly correct and the world needed to be told that the Diary was, indeed, a hoax.
Aside from the ink, there is one other change relating to Harris from the first to the second edition as below:
First edition - 'Like Harris's deception over the chloroacetamide issue fully discussed in Chapter One, the episode of the Sphere volume encapsulates the degree of fabrication, to which he would stoop in his zeal to rubbish the diary.'
Second edition - 'Like Harris's deception over the chloroacetamide issue fully discussed in Chapter One, the episode of the Sphere volume encapsulates the extreme degree of trickery, to which he would stoop in his zeal to rubbish the diary.'
We have already dealt with the supposed deception which wasn't deception at all and we can see that even Smith has had second thoughts about accusing Harris of 'fabrication'. It's now become an 'extreme degree of trickery'. This relates to Mike Barrett's copy of the 'Sphere History of Literature' which contained the poem by Crashaw, a line of which has ended up in the Diary.
The fact of the matter is that Mike Barrett - the supposedly stupid and inept Mike Barrett - defeated everyone to locate the source of the line 'Oh costly intercourse of death' as coming from the aforementioned 'Sphere History of Literature'.
In the first edition of Smith's book, this is how Barrett discovered the quotation's origin at the Liverpool Central Library:
'At Shirley's instigation, Barrett went to the Central Library to try to track it down, and there, on the afternoon of 30th September 1994, no doubt guided by a helpful librarian, he found a four-line quotation, containing the one and a half lines in the diary'.
In the second edition, this has become:
'Shirley Harrison had sent Barrett to the library to try and track it down, and there, on the afternoon of 30th September 1994, no doubt guided by a helpful librarian, he found a four-line quotation in the Sphere book, which included the one and a half lines quoted in the diary.'
There's not much of a change there but Smith has clearly been thinking about it over the years, and he's confirmed that Harrison sent Barrett to the library on a mission to find that quote. But did Shirley really send Barrett to the Liverpool Central Library in September 1994? It would have been a bit odd for her to have done so, bearing in mind that, by this stage, Barrett had already 'confessed' to having forged the Diary to the Liverpool Post in June of that year. Nevertheless, In Shirley's 2003 book we find this (p.267; underlining added):
'Without success we had hunted high and low in anthologies to find it. I asked Michael to look in the Liverpool library. He badgered the staff there for help and sure enough he rang me within a few days and told me, '"You will find it in the Sphere History of English Literature, Volume 2. It is by Richard Crashaw".'
A very different story, however, is told in 'Inside Story'. There, we find no sense of Harrison asking Mike to do anything. On the contrary, it is stated (on p. 144) that, Shirley Harrison told Keith Skinner on 11 October 1994 that Barrett, 'had been upset by remarks in the paperback, an early copy of which he had read in late September, which had described him as an alcoholic. Determined to show that this was an unfair description, and to prove how resourceful he could be, he then spent a week in Liverpool Library trying to find the source of the quotation'.
That seems to be a very long way from Harrison having sent Mike to the Liverpool Library to look for the source of the quotation. In this version, Mike is independently showing how resourceful he could be and doing some research on his own accord.
As Smith records, when Barrett initially reported his find on 30 September 1994, it was to Paul Feldman's assistant. Barrett told her that he was sitting with the book in front of him and that his discovery was proof he had forged the Diary. No mention was (apparently) made of him of finding anything at Liverpool Central Library or any other library.
The original source for the notion that Barrett had located the quote in Liverpool University appears to have been Paul Feldman who claimed that Barrett had told him that he had 'asked everybody at Liverpool Library whether they knew the source'. But was this something Barrett had actually told Feldman or was he guessing? For the authors of 'Inside Story' also report that Feldman suspected that Barrett had written to several university English departments for the answer. No proof has ever been presented to support this suspicion.
As we've seen, Harrison also informed Keith Skinner on 11 October 1994 that Barrett had told her he found the quotation in Liverpool Library. But there is no independent corroboration that this is true. Not a single librarian has ever confirmed that Barrett was seen in the Liverpool Library hunting down the quote. Diary Defenders always insist that nothing Barrett says without corroboration can be taken as true. Yet the idea that the source of the quotation was found in Liverpool Library seems to be unchallenged by Robert Smith.
One also cannot help wondering if Harrison picked up the idea of Barrett having found the quotation in the Liverpool Central Library from Feldman. The reason for wondering this is that Barrett evidently told Feldman's assistant that his discovery of the Crashaw poem was proof that he had forged the Diary. His story was that he owned the Sphere book in which the poem was found. I know that Barrett is unpredictable but it would have completely ruined this story for him to have then told Shirley that he found the poem in a book in a library.
We know that Barrett understood how to lie properly. He stuck for some considerable time with the story that Tony Devereux gave him the Diary. So it would have been strange for him to tell Feldman's assistant that he was in possession of a book which proved that he had forged the Diary yet tell both Feldman and Harrison within days that he had merely found the book in Liverpool Central Library. In this respect it may be noted that when Shirley originally told Keith Skinner of the find on 3 October (see below) she didn't mention anything about Barrett having been to a library.
Both Smith and Harrison appear to have assumed that Mike engaged the assistance of library staff but the authors of 'Inside Story' (p.143) report that Feldman immediately dispatched Carol Emmas and Anne Graham to Liverpool Central Library, neither of whom had any success in finding the source of the poem. This raises the question of why they didn't simply just ask the library staff who had already found it, and would presumably have recalled doing so for Mike.
There is no doubt that Mike did report his finding to Shirley Harrison prior to 3 October because on that day she left a message for Keith Skinner saying that Mike had found the source of the quotation 'quite by chance'. This would, again, appear to be wholly inconsistent with the notion that Shirley had sent Mike to the library on the specific mission of finding the source of the quotation, as Smith claims.
A few days after 11 October 1994, according to the authors of 'Inside Story', Mike was claiming that a copy of the Sphere volume had been in his possession for many years and that this was proof that he had forged the Diary (p.145). Again, this would be very strange behaviour if he had already informed Feldman and Harrison that he had located the Sphere volume in Liverpool Central Library. We are also told by the authors of 'Inside Story' that Harrison telephoned Barrett's friend, Jenny Morrison, 'who corroborated his story'. She apparently confirmed that Barrett had decided to help raise money for the Hillsborough Disaster appeal in 1989 and was sent several volumes by Sphere for that purpose, one of which was the 'Sphere History of Literature'.
Melvin Harris had absolutely no role to play in any of this. Yet we can see from Smith's book that, by way of a diversionary tactic to draw the attention of his readers away from Barrett's embarrassing discovery of the Crashaw quotation, Harris becomes the villain of the piece by doing no more than noting that Barrett's Sphere hardback fell open at the page containing the Crashaw poem (due to what he believed to be a binding defect). Smith (p.39), while agreeing that the book did fall open at that page, nevertheless says that this is explained by Barrett, Gray and Harris having opened the book, 'on so many occasions. So, naturally that particular copy did fall open at that page.' Well, apart from the fact that the two men have different explanations for the same thing, that's pretty much confirming what Harris said! So why is Harris being accused of an 'extreme degree of trickery' and of 'scheming'? The answer seems to be that Barrett's copy was in 'a dreadful condition' which, for Smith, means that it could never have been a new copy from Sphere's hardback printing of it. But if the book had been in Barrett's possession for five years (i.e. since 1989), why could the condition not have been degraded by Barrett himself? After all, even if it was a second hand book, it must have been brand new at some stage. Harris couldn't possibly have known simply from the condition whether Barrett had owned it as a brand new book in 1989. For that matter, it's difficult to know how Smith has managed it.
According to Smith, Barrett confessed to him in December 2006 (two years after Harris had died) that he had bought the book in a second-hand bookshop in Liverpool a day or two after his supposed discovery of the quotation in the library. Once again, we are in a position where Barrett is believed by Smith without any corroboration when he says something he wants to hear but dismissed as a liar when he says something which indicates he was involved in forging the Diary. Furthermore, unless Smith never asked Barrett the question about how he obtained the Sphere book in the twelve years between 1994 and 2006, we can deduce that Barrett's earlier answers have been discarded. Either way, whether Barrett was telling the truth or a lie to Smith in December 2006, it's absurd to blame Melvin Harris for the embarrassing and difficult fact (for Smith) that Mike Barrett found the source of the Crashaw quotation on his own when none of the professional researchers on the case had been able to do so.
THE DISCREDITING OF DR BAXENDALE
Dr Baxendale, of course, needs to be discredited because he concluded that the Diary is a modern forgery.
This is what Robert Smith said about Baxendale's report in the first edition:
"He goes on to state boldly that "synthetic dyestuffs did not become common in inks until after the second world war. They may have been used earlier, but not before the first world war."
The same is repeated in the second edition but with some strange changes to the capitalization:
"He then goes goes on to state categorically: "Synthetic dyestuffs did not become common in inks until after the Second World War. They may have been used earlier, but not before the First World War."'
This shows a lack of care taken in the book because, in his report, Baxendale actually uses the lower case for both 'second world war' and 'first world war', as correctly reproduced in the first edition of Smith's book, so, other than capitalizing the word 'synthetic', the 'correction' was entirely unnecessary. But most importantly, both quotes are incorrect. As I pointed out in a Forum post on 1 May 2018, thus giving Smith plenty of time to absorb it, here is what actually appears in Dr Baxandale's report dated 9 July 1992 (underlining added):
"Synthetic dyestuffs did not become common in inks until after the second world war. They may have been used earlier, (reliable information on this is scarce), but not before the first world war."
So Smith has simply omitted the words in parentheses, without any indication that he has done so. This means that Baxendale's warning to the reader that he hasn't been able to find reliable information on the use of synthetic dyestuffs prior to the Second World War has not been included in Smith's book. And Smith has failed to make any correction in his second edition.
Regarding Baxendale's failure to detect iron, Smith says that, 'Every other analyst concluded that it is an iron-gallotannate' ink which is not a particularly fair criticism bearing in mind that, in order to detect the iron in the ink, the two other analysts he appears to be referring to - Eastaugh and Leeds - both used Scanning Electron Microscopy/Energy Dispersive X-Ray Spectroscopy for which one needs specialist equipment (which an individual forensic document examiner was unlikely to possess).
Baxendale said in his report that there was'nothing to suggest the presence of iron'. He did not, therefore, state that there was no iron in the ink, just that he had seen nothing to suggest it was present. Although Baxendale has been criticized for this part of his report, it was apparently based on an optical examination in which he found no trace of the type of age-bronzing which he would have expected in any document that was said to date from 1888-89. This was perfectly correct because no such bronzing was visible. Baxendale subsequently informed Melvin Harris that he had omitted the word 'oxidised' from his report which should have read that there was 'nothing to suggest the presence of oxidised iron.' That makes a rather important difference and means that he wasn't ruling out there being iron in the ink.
We may note that Eastaugh found that there was sodium in the ink but Leeds University found no sodium. Not everyone was getting everything right clearly. This is Baxendale's conclusion from his 9 July 1992 report (after he used Thin Layer Chormatography):
'The results may be summarised as follows. The ink of the diary
(1) is freely soluble
(2) gives a chromatogram characteristic of a synthetic dye.'
Voller agreed from his own, visual, examination that the ink contained a synthetic dye. This visual examination was, of course, conducted after Eastaugh and Leeds had concluded their own tests (so Voller was aware of the results). We've already seen that Voller suspected that Eastaugh and Leeds had used a technique that was unable to detect the nigrosine.
It hard to believe that Baxendale failed properly to conduct a solubility test. According to the authors of 'Inside Story', Eastaugh conducted some form of test in June 1993 which concluded that the solubility of the ink was 'similar to the Victorian reference material and unlike the modern inks dried out for reference' although this is not mentioned in Harrison's summary of the expert tests in her 2003 book (pages 340-342). However, this would have been almost a year after Baxendale's solubility test, and certainly over a year since the Diary was likely to have been created, by which time the ink in the Diary might have dried sufficiently that it was no longer as soluble as it had been when tested by Baxendale.
Smith claims that Baxendale 'retracted his earlier conclusions' in his final report of 20 August 1992 (p.8). This is not true. As I've explained in detail in 'Pillar of Sand', Baxendale repeated, not retracted, his conclusions about the Diary's ink in his final report, albeit that he also qualified those conclusions.
THE WATCHI've already commented about Smith's section on the watch in 'The False Facts' so I think I will now let Melvin Harris speak in what I think is a previously unpublished piece:
Some people seem to think that Diary critics wish to avoid the subject of the watch. Smith himself says that it is 'perhaps the most disturbing item for the diary detractors' because, he says,'it just cannot be explained away'. This strikes me as wishful thinking. Harris's explanation has been sitting around for about 15 years and the watch doesn't seem to have disturbed him too much.
'The techniques of artificially ageing engravings on metal and of bare metal parts themselves, are simple ones, well-known to antique dealers, restorers and con-men. Sometimes they are employed to fake replacement parts or engravings, but they are also used quite legitimately to blend any repairs or additions in with the prized piece. Clients often ask for such blending.
That the sharp edges on the watch engravings or scratches could be artificially aged by polishing has been conceded by Dr Turgoose. He is wrong, however, in believing this to be a complex process. I can vouch for that, first hand, since I have used such techniques often, when restoring musical instruments for museums, both private and public.
Thus the watch SCRATCHES cannot be dated and Turgoose grants this when he says "...it must be emphasized that there are no features observed which conclusively prove the age of the engravings." Despite this warning an attempt has been made to date the scratches by pointing to material that is not part of the casing of the watch. The attempt rests on the incredible claim that some tiny particles of brass embedded in the scratch marks were "blackened with age".
Now that claim assumes too much and provides too little. Brass is not an element but a large class of alloys, thus the name does not apply to a standardised product. You can have yellow brass, red brass and a great variety of other brasses. In its simplest form it is an alloy of copper and zinc; but other formulas can include tin, or other metals. So what type of brass was found embedded? What proof is there that the particles were blackened WITH AGE? These questions are important and unanswered. And I doubt if they can be answered since the blackened particle considered by Dr Wild was as small as ONE MICRON, and a micron is a millionth part of a metre! So how long does it take for such ultra-minute particle to tarnish? Neither Turgoose or Wild faced that problem. Yet a fair scientific approach calls for the tarnishing of reference samples of one micron particles of brass made from a formula close to that used in the watch sample.
Yet I do not blame those gentlemen for failing to carry out such tests. I am sure that they realised that there is no possible way in which they, or anyone else, could determine the conditions under which the watch particle had been kept. In fact a specimen of most of the brasses can be 'blackened' in minutes if brought into contact with the right atmosphere. But the whole issue has been muddled and taken off at a tangent because at no time have the possibilities been faced that the particle could have been deposited by either a tarnished brass scriber or by a grubby, contaminated cleaning cloth or buff.
So the idea that these brass particles, invisible to the naked eye, would have to be implanted by a faker in order to provide proof of authenticity is grotesque. The particles have no possible bearing on the age of the scratches. And nothing else invests these scratches with age. All the evidence points to a crude, modern, opportunistic fake that only appeared well AFTER the Maybrick/Ripper yarn was aired in the Liverpool press.
Indeed, the very state of the inside cover of the watch illuminates the crudity of the faking. This is something not even mentioned by either Turgoose or Wild and it is certainly ignored by Feldman and Harrison. Yet even the photograph reproduced by Harrison cries out "Fake!". That photo clearly shows multiple scouring marks on the inside cover. But the inside cover is the one part that is PROTECTED from everyday wear. Any such wear is to be found on the OUTSIDE of the watch. But here we see a mass of scouring scratches made by an inexpert, undisciplined hand, not by a skilled horologist. So why are they there, on this well-protected surface? Well, you already know the answer; to take the burr off the modern scratches. To invest the fake with, what the forger imagined, was a semblance of ageing. How wrong he was! (This question of artificial wear was touched on recently by Lars Tharp, editor of "How to Spot a Fake" when he warned "Be suspicious of wear occurring in an area not exposed to use.")'
PROVENANCE PART 3 - ELECTRICITY
I have already set out at some length in 'The False Facts' the inconsistencies and implausibilities in the various different stories spun by the electricians who worked at Battlecrease. None of them fit into any kind of coherent narrative. Smith doesn't offer anything new in this edition to help resolve any of the problems.
I'm going to pass over some strange amendments whereby Smith substitutes 'new heater' with 'new radiator' and changes the number of 'night storage radiators' (formerly 'night storage heaters') said to have been installed in Battlecrease, especially as it's not clear if these changes are based on new information or are just confusing stylistic or drafting changes.
More substantially, there are some additions to the story told by the electricians featured in Smith's new edition which did not appear in the first edition. Most important of all is that, in the first edition, we were told that one of the electricians, Brian Rawes, described by Smith as 'a very reliable witness' (p.25), had been told in July 1992 by Eddie Lyons (according to Rawes): 'I found something under the floorboards and I don't know what to do about it. I could be important.'.
To this, Smith has added some new information in the 2019 edition. He now says (p.26) that Rawes told James Johnston during an interview on 6 February 2016 that Eddie actually told him that he had found 'an old book'. This is very strange because I questioned James Johnston very closely about this issue in the Forum during January 2018 and Johnston kindly reproduced exactly what Rawes had told him during the interview he conducted with Rawes on 6 February 2016. This was it:
'I remember we were working on the roof at Halewood Police Station and I just told Arthur that this Eddie Lyons told me that he found a book under the floorboards, and I was in a hurry to go and pick Arthur up and I said ‘the best thing you could do is to go and tell Colin Rhodes about it. Because, I didn’t know more about it, because I thought Colin Rhodes’ son would probably know about it as well, but apparently, he never said anything to his son about it. Then he said he took this book out and started reading it and he got in touch with someone else about the book.
What it was, it was a Friday afternoon, and Colin Rhodes asked me and Arthur to go to this house, and I didn’t know where the house was. So, Arthur took me down to the house. Arthur shot back off to Colin Rhodes and I went into the house and told them that I needed the van, we have to go [inaudible] for this, and I was reversing out of the driveway of the house, and this Eddie Lyons told me about he found this book under the floorboards and he didn’t know what to do with it, and I said that I’m in a hurry the best thing to do is to tell Colin Rhodes. Because as I say, I never thought too much of it because I knew Colin Rhodes’ son was there, so I thought probably he knew about it as well.'
Nowhere in those passages does Rawes say that Eddie had told him he found 'an old book'. So where does that quote come from in Smith's second edition?
Mr Johnston also kindly set out for me all the other different accounts Rawes had given him at different times, including an interview on 12 February 2016:
'All he said was, as I say I was in a hurry and to be honest I wasn’t very interested you know, and he just said about a book underneath the floorboards and he said I don’t know what to do about it, and I said you best to tell Colin Rhodes.
He just said he found a book under the floorboards.
Yeah, yeah. Arthur went, I didn’t know where the house was, so Arthur took me in his car, and I went there to pick up the van. Then it was as I was reversing down the pathway, Eddie Lyons came down and told me that he’d found something under the floorboards, which was a book, because then I said to him, you better tell Rhodes. I said [inaudible]. No, I think he said it was at home or something.
Well, [inaudible] we went to Halewood Police Station, to do some overhanging lights, and while we were there, Arthur was on the ladder and I was on the roof, and I just turned around and said, that Eddie Lyons had told me he’d found something in the house which was important.
Yes. I reversed the van out of the house and the path right down, and he followed me down, Eddie Lyons, and as I said, it was a Friday, and [inaudible] Eddie Lyons told me ‘I’ve found something important’…I think it’s important, under the floorboards.’
None of these appear to be the source of Robert Smith's quote in his book that Rawes said that Eddie told him, 'I found something under the floorboards, and I don't know what to do about it. It could be important.' We can also see that at times Rawes said that Lyons told him he had found 'something' while, at other times, he said he found 'a book'. We all know what a book is and that doesn't quite fit the description of the handwritten journal or scrapbook which contains the Maybrick diary.
One thing is clear from all those accounts though. Eddie Lyons never told Rawes that he had found a diary under the floorboards.
Or did he?
According to James Johnston, in his 2017 essay, 'I've Found Something Beneath the Floorboards, I Think It Could be Important', comprising Chapter 6 in the 2017 'Research and Conclusion' book, Rawes supposedly told a Scotland Yard detective on 21 October 1993 that, 'Lyons said he had found a diary under the floorboards in the house, which he thought was important, and didn't know what to do.' This supposed comment made either in an interview or a statement (Johnston doesn't seem sure which) is a bit odd because at one point in the extract, Rawes speaks in the first person, saying, 'I got the impression he'd recently found it', but then at other times in the same extract, supposedly from the same interview or statement, Rawes is referred to in the third person, e.g. 'Rawes got the keys to van' which suggests this is some kind of weird composite.
I asked James Johnston if Rawes had actually claimed to the police that Lyons had told him he had found 'a diary'. He said he would check the point and revert but, if he did check it, he never did revert.
Clearly, if Rawes did say that Lyons told him he had found 'a diary' this casts serious doubts on his credibility bearing in mind that on other occasions he always refers to it as either 'something' or a 'book'. As to that, it just looks like a witness who has firmed up his recollection over time to fit with what he thinks he was being told, based on what he has learnt since. Yet, a supposed find by Eddie Lyons of 'something' at Battlecrease in July 1992, three months after Mike Barrett had presented the Maybrick Diary to Doreen Montgomery in London doesn't seem of any relevance or significance whatsoever to the story of the Diary.
Except for one thing. According to Brian Rawes, when working with Arthur Rigby in July 1992 (underlining added):
"I remember we were working on the roof at Halewood Police Station and I just told Arthur that this Eddie Lyons told me that he found a book under the floorboards"
And there, ladies and gentlemen, we may have the answer to the whole riddle of the electricians. If Eddie Lyons had found something (e.g. a book) under the floorboards of Battlecrease in July 1992 and mentioned it to Brian Rawes who mentioned it to Arthur Rigby this might well explain why, when Feldman started making enquiries of the electricians in the Spring of 1993, Arthur Rigby, who would not have known that Mike had produced the Diary to his London agent as early as April 1992, contacted Feldman confidentially to say that he thought Eddie Lyons might have found the Diary. And then the whole story span out of control.
Talking of which....
Another story relating to the electricians, according to Smith, was told to him by Tim Martin-Wright, a director of an alarm security company in 1997. Smith tells us that he received a 'tip-off' about Martin-Wright's information from an impeccable source, namely a lawyer with a 'top London legal firm' Simons, Muirhead and Burton. The reason for mentioning this can only have been to enhance the credibility of the story. It turned out to be a story about how Martin-Wright had been told by his employee Alan Dodgson of an electrician called Alan Davies coming into his APS shop in Bootle shortly after November 1992, offering for sale a diary to Dodgson which had supposedly been found at Battlecrease (which was then offered to Martin-Wright for £25).
This story, as told in Smith's 2019 book, is unchanged from the first edition, but, in the meantime, I discovered some surprising information from James Johnston about it. For he told me that Martin-Wright had already tried to interest Paul Feldman in this exact same story in June 1994, but Feldman apparently rejected it. So Smith's big point that the story came out of the blue from a lawyer doesn't seem to have any value. That lawyer was presumably just passing on an old story that Martin-Wright had told him: one that Martin-Wright had already told Feldman.
Readers of 'The False Facts' will recall that Martin-Wright's story was first told by Shirley Harrison in her 2003 book but she mysteriously dated Alan Davies' appearance in Martin-Wright's Bootle shop as being around Christmas 1991. That wouldn't fit the story of the Diary having been found under the floorboards of Battlecrease in March 1992 but, in 2017, Smith managed to re-date the story to around Christmas 1992. It makes no sense for an electrician to be trying to sell a diary during Christmas 1992 that Mike Barrett had already assigned to Smith in a publishing deal some months earlier. And the question of how Martin-Wright managed to establish the timing of this event remains a mystery.
According to Smith, the APS shop in Bootle opened for business in November 1992 (p.26) but not a shred of documentary evidence has ever been produced that this is actually the case. On the contrary, this is what James Johnston told me on the Forum in January 2018 (underlining added): 'After speaking to Mr. Dodgson, I was left in no doubt that the dating of this account is accurate and ties into when APS opened in October 1992'. More specifically, 'According to TMW the exact date was 26 October 1992.' So one day it's November 1992, another day it's October 1992. How do we know it wasn't October or November 1991? Or even February 1993?
The precise amount of time after the opening of the APS shop in Bootle that Alan Davies is supposed to have walked into it is supposed to have been 'a month or two'. Yet, according to what James Johnston told me, when Martin-Wright spoke to Paul Feldman in June 1994 he dated the incident to somewhere between June and December 1992 (i.e. between eighteen months and two years prior to his conversation with Feldman). This is bizarre bearing in mind that it suggests that, in Martin-Wright's mind (in June 1994), his APS shop had been open for at least four months prior to October 1992!
The timing of the incident to a date after April 1992 might explain why Feldman wasn't interested in the story. But it doesn't explain why Shirley Harrison said in 2003 that Davies actually appeared in the Bootle shop offering to sell an old diary during December 1991, although James Johnston told me he thought this was simply an innocent error by Harrison.
I was told by James Johnston that Martin-Wright informed Paul Feldman in 1994 that, other than as stated above, he couldn't precisely recall when the incident in the Bootle shop had occurred (although he would check the position) but he said that, 'it coincides with something else we were doing in our business and I cannot remember which one it was.' However, when speaking ten years later to Keith Skinner (in 2004), he managed to date the incident to Christmas 1992 by reference to a purchase of an antique hat stand (or a hall stand - James never seemed quite sure) which had been noted in his personal diary.
It was never explained why a purchase of a hat stand (or hall stand) which presumably occurred in December 1992 (although this wasn't confirmed), would have allowed Martin-Wright to date the visit of Alan Davies to the Bootle shop. On the face of it, there is no connection at all and such a purchase doesn't sound like 'something else we were doing in our business'. The hat stand sounds like a private acquisition. According to James Johnston, 'Tim suggested that this [i.e. the purchase of the hat stand] could have been the impetus for Dodgson and Davies to have discussed antiques and Tim's penchant for curiosities.' Well it could have been if Dodgson had known of its purchase, about which we are not told, but the story told by Smith is that the reason Dodgson suggested that Davies sell the diary to Tim Martin-Wright in the first place was that 'Martin-Wright was known to be interested in collecting old books' (p.26). That doesn't sound like it has anything to do with either a hat stand or a hall stand.
As to another famous part of the story involving the electricians, it's possible, as Arthur Rigby recalls, that one day that there was a visit to Liverpool University with some form of package but Feldman tells us that the package contained 'letters unrelated to the Diary'. The story apparently told at the time to Arthur Rigby, by the electricians in possession of the package, was that it was a sample for testing taken from a pet dog. There is a belief that this package was wrapped in brown paper (because this is what Feldman attributes to Arthur Rigby in his 1997 book without actually quoting him) but, according to Arthur Rigby's brother, it was 'in a pillow case or shopping bag' (See James Johnston's 2017 essay in 'Research and Conclusion', p.77). Feldman knew that Mike Barrett claimed to have received the diary wrapped in a brown paper - he says in his 1997 book that 'Mike Barrett had always said that Tony Devereux had given him the diary wrapped in brown paper with string tied around it' (p.134) - and, in the absence of any direct quote from Rigby on the matter, there may well been some contamination of the evidence here.
Smith's footnote (no.10) on Gladys remains completely unchanged from the first edition, despite me having revealed new information in September 2017 which demolishes the entire point.
In short, Smith's claim that a letter from Margaret Baillie to Florence Maybrick in April 1889 in which she said that she was sorry that Gladys had been unwell again was'buried in the archives at Kew, and this sentence had never been published prior to Harrison's book' is now known to be untrue. It was published in newspapers in 1889. As I've also demonstrated, the Diary author's mention of Gladys being unwell again is, in any event, in the wrong time period and there is no verification that Gladys was ever ill during (or before) 1888 which is when the Diary places this illness. Anyone reading some of the key books on the Maybrick case, such as Ryan's book, could have been misled (by incorrect newspaper reporting) into thinking that Gladys had whooping cough in early 1887 when this had actually happened in early 1889. This mistake might well have influenced the forger into thinking that Gladys had been unwell prior to 1888.
There really can't be any excuse for Robert Smith not to be aware of this new information. His 'close friend' of twenty years and advisor for the book, Caroline Morris, was well aware that I had published my 'False Facts' article on this website in response to the first edition of his book. She referred a number of times online to my article but, with extreme childishness, wanted to let the world know that she hadn't read it. Thus, on 4 October 2017, in the JTR Forums thread, 'The Diary's Fingerprints' (#199) she said to Gary Barnett (underlining added):
'Just seen this, Gary, as I was popping in and out again. I haven't read the article being discussed yet, but I can offer the following observations...'
Then, on the next day (at #220), she said to Steve Blomer
'I have yet to read David's 'piece', and don't know if or when I'll get round to it'.
So yes, we got it, she hadn't read my article. What a child! I mean, if she actually had read it, she was being both childish and ridiculous in pretending she hadn't but, if she hadn't bothered to read it, that's probably even worse childish behaviour because, as a co-author of 'Inside Story', she's supposed to be interested in the subject of the Maybrick Diary and, indeed, advised Robert Smith for his own book about the Diary. Yet she was here deliberately refusing to read a (free) article on the subject containing new information simply because she didn't want to give me the satisfaction of knowing that she had read it. It just shows the absolute depths to which she will sink to avoid having to confront the reality that she's been wrong about everything for the past 20 years and that Mike Barrett was involved in the forgery. If she really didn't read the article then she simply let down her close friend Robert Smith by not alerting him to all the mistakes in his book which have now been repeated in this new edition.
THE LOCKED ARCHIVES
I've already dealt in 'The False Facts' with the discovery in the Wyoming University archive of a mention of Alice Yapp apparently referring to Maybrick as 'Sir James' in the presence of the young Florence Aunspaugh. In this new edition, Smith repeats his error from his first edition and maintains that this mention, 'is the only source for knowing that James Maybrick liked to be referred to as "Sir James" in the household'. (p.36). How he could have reached such a conclusion in the first place, in 2017, is baffling enough but then to repeat in 2019 (after I've challenged it online) is utterly incomprehensible. There is no indication that Maybrick was aware that Alice Yapp had ever called him 'Sir James' out of earshot and it's ridiculous to suggest that her having done so on this one occasion shows that Maybrick 'liked' to be called this. On the contrary, as I've already pointed out, Maybrick appeared to like being called 'James' by one of his servants (Mrs Briggs), a remarkable informality which was normally unheard of but is not mentioned in the Diary. Otherwise all other known references to him, including by his wife, are to 'Jim' or plain 'Mr Maybrick' (sometimes reduced to just 'M').
As I've discussed elsewhere, the Diary author fantasized about what would happen if he was knighted by Queen Victoria for his services to murdering prostitutes and thus appointed himself as 'Sir Jim'. The fact that there are a couple of references in poems in the Diary to 'Sir Jim' prior to this entry, only shows to me that the forger made a bungling narrative error, inserting the poetry too early in the Diary.
Those are points I've made previously. What I want to focus on now is Smith's claim that the archive in Wyoming University which contained the mention of 'Sir James' was an archive 'which had not previously been accessed' (p.36). This is completely untrue and suggests that Smith was guessing rather than basing his statement on information obtained from Wyoming University.
The fact of the matter is that Mary S. Hartman accessed the archive when researching her 1977 book, 'Victorian Murderesses'. She quotes from Florence Aunspaugh's recollections and says at the start of the endnotes to the chapter on Florence Maybrick:
'My presentation is also heavily indebted to the study by Trevor L. Christie, Etched in Arsenic (London, Harrap, 1969), which is the best treatment of the case, and to the materials in the Christie Collection at the University of Wyoming, which include correspondence with contemporaries who knew the family, notes, newsclippings and photographs related to the affair.'
And then at endnote number 3:
'Christie Collection, Aunspaugh letters. These letters were written between Mr. Christie and Florence Aunspaugh in the early 1940s, and though some of Miss Aunspaugh's recollections were used by Mr. Christie in his study, they were not directly attributed at the author's request. After the deaths of Miss Aunspaugh and Mr. Christie, Mrs Christie donated the letters as part of the Christie Collection to the library of the University of Wyoming. Miss Aunspaugh's extended memoir of her visit relied on her own experiences and on accounts given to her by her family and especially by her father, who was a New Orleans cotton broker who had business dealings with Edwin Maybrick. Miss Aunspaugh provided a very full study, including descriptions of all the principals, assessments of their character and roles, and much detail about the Maybricks' physical surroundings, daily routine and social position.'
Contrary to Smith's claim, therefore, the archive HAD been accessed in the 1970s. While I don't believe that the forger of the Maybrick Diary accessed this archive, we can see that it would have been perfectly possible for him or her to have done so. A clever forger who HAD used the material from this archive would, therefore, have entirely fooled the Diary investigators who thought it had 'never' been accessed. It just shows how dangerous it is to make assumptions of this nature. As I've said before, to assume that a forger is not clever and resourceful is what leads to normally sensible people being fooled and ending up as gullible as a newborn babe.
The myth about this archive persists to this day and one finds on the Casebook Censorship Forum, in the thread entitled 'Acquiring a Victorian Diary', a poster called Erobitha writing, on 16 September 2019 (#1958), that, 'Intimate knowledge of the household of Evelyn's illness and Sir Jim could only be found via documentation that was locked away in American archives which were never accessed until recently by researchers.'
So one falsehood builds onto another as the archives (plural) which were 'never' accessed now become 'locked away', as if it was impossible for anyone to inspect the documents in those archives. I do repeat, however, that I don't believe for one second that there is anything in the Diary which shows that the author had any intimate knowledge of the Maybricks or possessed any information that can only be found in the Christie Collection but I also repeat that, if that WERE the case, the answer would obviously be that the forger had accessed the Christie Collection.
One final point worth noting is that Florence Aunspaugh stayed with the Maybricks during the summer of 1888, a period obviously covered by the Diary. Is there any mention of their young guest at any point in the Diary? Absolutely not. It's like the author of the Diary didn't even know she had been staying there!
MISREPRESENTING FLORENCE A
According to Smith, in footnote 17 of his book, there was an incident at a dinner when Florence Maybrick said jokingly to Edwin Maybrick, 'If I had met you first, things might have been different'. This, says Smith, 'sent James into a towering rage.'
The incident at the dinner isn't included in any books about the Maybrick Diary but we can find the facts set out in Mary Hartman's 1977 'Victorian Murderesses' and also in the 2018 book by Richard Jay Hutto called 'A Poisoned Life: Florence Chandler Maybrick, the first American Woman Sentenced to Death in England'. From Hutto we learn that the dinner occurred in November 1888, bang in the period of the Ripper murders, yet nothing is mentioned in the Diary about it. Can you imagine what a fuss would have been made if there was something in the Diary that could have been even vaguely interpreted as a reaction to this remark?
We also learn that Maybrick's response was hardly to fly into a towering rage. Florence Aunspaugh's recollection of the incident is as follows:
'As that remark was made, Mr James Maybrick dropped his knife, clinched (sic) his fist, his eyes glared and his face flushed the colour of fire. In a second he recovered himself, picked up his knife and everything passed on smoothly for the remaining part of the evening.'
In no possible definition can this be described as a 'towering' rage but it suits Smith's purpose because one could easily imagine that the Maybrick of the Diary WOULD have flown into a towering rage.
PROVENANCE PART 4 - PROBABILITY
My comments in 'The False Facts' about the probability of electricians working at Battlecrease on 9 March 1992 prompted some discussion on JTR Forums back in 2017.
Sam Flynn calculated 'the odds' as being 4,571 to 1 (Thread: 'The Diary's Fingerprints', #156). This was based on the electricians working in Battlecrease on 14 out of the 254 working days, being 1 day in every 18, and Barrett deciding to telephone an agent on any one of those 254 working days. So, from those figures of 1/18 and 1/254, he multiplied the 18 by the 254 to arrive at a total of 4,571 to give 'odds' of 4,571 to 1. But that can't be right. For, if the electricians had worked in Battlecrease on every single one of the 254 days, the chances of them working in Battlecrease on any one day would be 254/254 or 1/1. The chances of Barrett telephoning an agent on any particular working day in the year would still be 1/254. Thus, by Sam Flynn's method, instead of multiplying 18 by 254, you would multiply 1 by 254 to arrive at odds of 254 to 1. Yet, as, in this example, the electricians were working every single working day, it would be guaranteed that they would be working in Battlecrease on the day Barrett telephoned Doreen Montgomery! Odds of 254 to 1 on an outcome which is certain are ridiculous.
Let's also take a situation where the electricians worked in Battlecrease throughout the year on alternate days, thus working 127 out of 254 days in the year. That would be 127/254 or 1/2. So, by Sam Flynn's method, we must multiply 254 by 2 to calculate the odds and we arrive at 508 to 1. Yet, in this scenario, of the electricians working in Battlecrease on every other day of the week, we know that the actual chances of the electricians working at Battlecrease on the day of Barrett's telephone call must be fifty/fifty.
So there is a clear flaw in Sam Flynn's methodology which means we must ignore it.
Gary Barnett also intervened in the thread to show off his knowledge of advanced mathematics by saying, in response to a comment by Sam Flynn, that the 'odds' were being said by me to be 1 in 18: 'So the odds of their being there on the day when they are recorded as being there are the same as a day when they weren't recorded as being there' (#168). I don't really know what that statement means in plain English but the converse of odds of 1/18 of electricians working in Battlecrease on 9 March 1992 is that the odds against are 17/18, which is not 'the same'. Not that I was talking about 'odds' at any time. I was talking about the chances.
Another comment was made by Mr Poster in a number of posts in the same thread (e.g. #175 and #178) that taking the 254 days in 1992 is 'a meaningless window' so that the 14 days the electricians worked in Battlecrease during 1992 cannot be expressed as 14 days out of 254 but 14 days out of a number potentially going back to 1889. Thus, says Mr Poster, 'The correct way to calculate would be to consider all the days between its possible writing and 1992 when it could have been found by any workman, electrician or not, and combine that with the one day Barrett made his phone call'. So, according to Mr Poster, we actually have to go back to before Mike Barrett was even born to calculate the odds of him telephoning Doreen Montgomery on the same day that some work was being carried out at Battlecrease! This is something which even he, on reflection, would have to admit is nuts.
The flaw in this entire argument is that it is not the mathematical statistics, whatever they may be, which are important here - for whatever number is produced is essentially meaningless - but the perception of the significance of the coincidence of the electricians working in Battlecrease on the day that Mike Barrett contacted Doreen Montgomery. By this, I don't just mean the perception of the outside world (or, rather, the world of Ripperology), based on everyone's own personal experiences of coincidence, but also the perception of the researcher discovering the information.
Allow me to elaborate on this because I think it is very important.
Imagine you are the researcher (in circa 2003) tasked to investigate the records of Portus & Rhodes - and you hope to be able to establish the authenticity (or to use Smith's work, the originality) of the Diary. You know three things: 1. Portus & Rhodes carried out work in Battlecrease at some point during their history prior to 1993. 2. The records of Portus & Rhodes are complete, so that the answer as to when this work was carried out will certainly be found in them. 3. Mike Barrett contacted Doreen Montgomery for the first time about the Diary on 9 March 1992. You also assume that the electrician most likely to have discovered the Diary is Eddie Lyons.
Now, you start at the very beginning. According to Companies House, Portus & Rhodes Ltd was incorporated in 1971. So you begin with the records from 1971 and continue to examine the records for each subsequent year, with no positive results, until you reach the end of 1991. Having eliminated all previous years, you now know for certain that the work was carried out in 1992. You are getting quite excited because, obviously, the purpose of the exercise is to discover if an electrician could have found the Diary in Battlecrease prior to 9 March 1992, and the closer to 9 March 1992 the work was carried out, the more likely it would seem that it was removed and passed over to Mike Barrett by one of them. You may be on the brink of a major discovery.
Now I'm going to set out a few hypothetical scenarios. Remember YOU are the researcher doing this work.
The first scenario is that you find a document in the files of Portus & Rhodes which states that electrical work was carried out over 14 unspecified days during 1992. As I've mentioned, you already know for a fact that Mike Barrett contacted Doreen Montgomery on 9 March 1992. From your perspective, therefore, at this point, you calculate that the chances that the electricians were working in Battlecrease on 9 March 1992 are 1 in 18. That's just a mathematical fact not worth arguing about. As it happens, you probably wouldn't have performed this calculation because you would surely have been anticipating that the Diary would have been discovered on one of the days BEFORE 9 March 1992 but, hey, perhaps you are very smart and wanted to consider the possibility of it happening on the very day of the telephone call. It doesn't actually matter because it's not the purpose of this exercise. There are some rather more interesting scenarios to consider.
The second hypothetical scenario is that you discover from the timesheet records that electrical work was being carried out in Battlecrease on every single working day between 2 January 1992 and 11 March 1992 inclusive. You also discover from the timesheets that Eddie Lyons was working in Battlecrease on, say, 16 January, 19 February and 3 March. I would suggest that your immediate reaction is to ignore the work being carried out on 9 March 1992, because (excluding 10 and 11 March) that would be the least likely day for the Diary to have been discovered, and focus on those three days when Eddie Lyons was recorded as working in Battlecrease because you would think that these were the most likely days for the Diary to have been found and passed to Mike Barrett.
Now, of course, to the extent that the timesheets revealed that the floorboards were only lifted on 9 March 1992, then you might well focus your attention on the events of that day. But given that the electricians were working for the entire period from 2 January to 9 March would you regard the fact that the floorboards were lifted on 9 March as being of huge mathematical or statistical significance? And even if Eddie Lyons said he was working in Battlecrease on that day, wouldn't you choose one of the earlier days as most likely to have been the one when the Diary was found?
Anyway, don't spend too much time worrying about it for that isn't the most important scenario. The most important scenario is this one...
Imagine that the records show you that the FIRST day in 1992 that the Portus & Rhodes electricians worked in Battlecrease was 10 March 1992. What would your reaction be? I guess you would check and double check because you wouldn't be able to believe it. But you would discover that there was no doubt about it. The Diary could not possibly have been found at Battlecrease by the electricians! But, but but....just one day out! I bet you'd think that there must have been some preparatory work done on one of the days prior to 10 March. But you check this and it turns out not to be the case. It's just one of those things. Close but no cigar. As a researcher, you are reluctantly forced to the conclusion that an electrician did not find the Diary at Battlecrease.
But, if you are a sensible researcher, one troubling thought would surely have popped into your mind. Had the electrical work started on 9 March instead of 10 March you would have been terribly badly deceived. For you would have been convinced that there must have been a connection with Mike Barrett's telephone call on 9 March when you know that there is no possible connection between that telephone call and the actual work carried out on 10 March because Mike Barrett couldn't possibly have anticipated a discovery that hadn't yet taken place. So what you should be doing is noting that boy, you could have been badly fooled had that work started just one day earlier.
The reason I have dwelt on this at length is because I found an actual example of this very thing happening and a real researcher deceiving himself into thinking the very reverse as to what he should have thought. You can find this here.
THE JOKE SECTION
At the end of his final chapter entitled 'Diary Controversies', Smith adds in a brand new section about the kind of mad cryptic puzzles so beloved of people like Feldman and Iconconclast which supposedly identify Maybrick as the Ripper. In doing so, Smith promotes an issue which was previously only in a footnote to the main section of his book. This is the 'Mibrac' issue, which even Iconoclast had discarded from his 'Society's Pillar' essay.
Smith refers to a speech given by David Canter at the Whitechapel Society in August 2018, based on the research of two individuals called Mike Rhodes and Carl Davies who seem to think that the 'diarist created a secret code, which allowed him to enjoy a plethora of private linguistic jokes' (p.42). Not a single secret code from the Diary is revealed but an example is given of something which appears to be wholly unconnected to the Diary. This is the notion that a guest who signed the register of the Charing Cross Hotel as 'S.E. Mibrac' at some point during 1887 was none other than James Maybrick giving a coded clue as to his surname. The clue was that if you take the initials 'S. E.' and count six letters on from 'S' to 'Y' and from 'E' to 'K', and then add the 'Y' and 'K' to 'Mibrac', you end up with 'Maybrick'.
This is not a new idea. It was first suggested on the Casebook Forum fifteen years ago, in February 2004, by an individual calling himself 'Tiddley Boyar'. The main weakness is that there is no obvious reason why one would count forward six letters from 'S' and 'E' rather than five, seven or twenty. If, however, it's true that 'S.E. Mibrac' was a coded entry for James Maybrick, it means nothing more than that Maybrick stayed at the Charing Cross Hotel at some point during 1887, didn't pay his bill and left some luggage behind which was subsequently auctioned, as advertised in the Times of 14 April 1888.In this respect, Smith makes two false statements in one sentence when he says:
'A sinister item was left behind by a guest at the Charing Cross hotel in London on 14th June 1888, just at the time that the diarist claims to be trying out a murder in Manchester, prior to the first Whitechapel murder on 31st August.'
The first false statement is that a 'sinister' item was left behind at the Charing Cross Hotel in London. The advertisement says nothing about any sinister item being left behind. What was stated to be left behind were clothes and personal effects. The second false statement is that the said guest was staying in the hotel on 14 June 1888. This isn't possible because the advertisement is dated 13 April 1888 and was placed in the Times of 14 April 1888, being related to items left behind by guests at the hotel prior to 15 September 1887.
It is the very fact that Smith wrongly thinks the advertisement was placed in a June 1888 edition of the Times which, in his mind, connects S.E. Mibrac to the Maybrick of the Diary because the Diary refers to a visit to London by Maybrick in June 1888 (i.e. see his footnote 26). Given that the advertisement was placed two months earlier, it removes any connection with the Diary in respect of timing of events.
Furthermore, as can be seen from the image above, there were a total of 23 individuals listed in the advertisement (including one obvious female), all of whom hadn't paid their bills and all of whom had left some luggage behind which was sufficiently valuable to be auctioned.
The only reason why the Times advertisement can be argued to be connected to the Ripper story is because, much later, on 9 October 1888, the London Globe carried a story which said that Scotland Yard was searching for gentleman from Liverpool who had taken a room at a first class West End hotel, and who was known for scouring the slums in the East End, but who had suddenly left the hotel leaving a black leather bag behind which contained prints of an obscene description as well as cheque books and letters (which presumably would have given the police some pretty good clues as to his identity). It was said by the Globe that an advertisement had been published in the Times giving the man's name and drawing attention to the fact that the bag would be sold to defray expenses unless claimed.
The hotel was not identified in the Globe story so it might not have been the Charing Cross Hotel (hence why I say Smith made a false statement) and it is by no means certain that the advertisement being referred to was the one in the Times of 14 April 1888 (albeit that no other similar advertisements from 1888 have been located). But, if it was, there were 21 men named in addition to S.E. Mibrac, any of whom could have been the gentleman with the black leather bag.
Even if the individual in the Globe's story was 'S.E. Mibrac' a.k.a. James Maybrick, who had amused himself by writing his name in the hotel register in code, where does this leave us? I would suggest it leaves us puzzled. For it would mean that Maybrick had been scouring the slums of the East End long before his supposed entry in the Diary (from early 1888) in which the thought appears to have struck him that he would murder prostitutes in Whitechapel for the sole reason that he was aware that his wife had arranged a meeting with her lover in Whitechapel, Liverpool. When he fixes upon Whitechapel as a location, he doesn't mention in the Diary that he had already been roaming around the East End for nefarious purposes during the previous year.
The advertisement in the Times makes clear that the 22 men had all stayed in the Charing Cross hotel prior to 15 September 1887, long before the period of the Diary began. There is also no mention by the author of the Diary of his liking obscene prints. In short, nothing about the 14 April 1888 advertisement seems to be able to be linked to the Diary. Furthermore, it would seem that the police (and the Globe) actually knew the identity of the man they were chasing because the Globe story says that 'for obvious reasons names and addresses are for the present suppressed'. The only person whose name and address could possibly have been suppressed was the gentleman in question which indicates that the journalist believed that the police knew who he was. The story actually says that a detective had travelled to Liverpool and 'there traced the movements of a man which have proved of a somewhat mysterious kind'. Had it been James Maybrick they surely would have found him very easily. It's really only hope and faith which connects the Globe story with Maybrick.
THE GRAND NATIONAL
Smith has fiddled with his footnote about the Grand National but hasn't corrected the false information provided.
In the first edition he said:
'Information about the times of races was buried in very obscure racing records in 1992, when the diary surfaced.'
In the new edition it now reads:
'Information about the times of Grand National races was still buried in very obscure racing records in 1992, when the diary surfaced and prior to the internet becoming readily available.'
The fact of the matter is that times of the Grand National races were NOT buried in very obscure racing records in 1992. In 'The False Facts', I published the titles of a number of books which would have been available in bookshops or libraries in 1992 which recorded the times of Grand National races from the nineteenth century. Just because Feldman's researcher inexplicably failed to discover this, doesn't mean that a forger couldn't easily have obtained the race times.
It's another poor effort by Robert Smith. If his book was a horse it would surely be put down.
TIME TO PANICK MR MAINWARING
The Diary author writes: 'that would throw the fools into a panick'. Smith claims that 'A New Dictionary of the English Language' by Charles Richardson, published by William Pickering, London, in 1844 gives an alternative spelling of the noun 'panic' as 'panick'. I've now checked this and find that it isn't true! This is the entire entry for 'panic' in the 1844 edition (the second edition) of 'A New English Dictionary of the English Language':
This is the title page of the book showing that I have the correct dictionary:
And the correct publisher and year (MDCCCXLIV is 1844):
This is really poor - shocking even - bearing in mind that it is the only example Smith gives of the use of 'panick' in the nineteenth century.
The first edition of the dictionary, the relevant volume of which was published in 1837, did spell the word as 'panick' but this was clearly and deliberately corrected to 'panic' in the second edition, published seven years later. It's true that there were subsequent printings of the dictionary in Philadelphia, and in London (by Bell and Daldy), during the period 1846 to 1863 which did include an entry for 'panick' but, despite the fact that the London versions were labelled as 'new' editions, they were clearly mere reprints of the first edition, something which is obvious by the fact that the entry for 'panick' is on the exact same place on page 1412 every single time, which is where it appeared in the original 1836 edition, and is worded in exactly the same way as the first edition.
I've found 'panick' myself in a few books and newspapers from the 1820s and early 1830s but it was probably almost obsolete by then and seems to have virtually died out from the 1840s onwards (although there is an isolated use of this spelling in a report from America published in the Times of 18 May 1863). I imagine that the author of the Diary simply spelled the word wrong because it's not an uncommon mistake to make (see my addition to 'Pillar of Sand' here) but, if that's not the case, he or she must have been aware that it was an old way of spelling it and deliberately added a 'k' to the end of the word not realizing that this spelling was already obsolete by 1888.
Robert Smith has found out a new fact about his namesake George. While this new fact makes no difference as to whether the Diary is genuine or fake, Robert tries to squeeze it awkwardly into his argument that it's genuine (or original!). If you've bought both editions of Smith's book you might have missed this because it's buried in a footnote but don't worry, you haven't missed much.
The new fact is that George Smith was the first cousin of Maybrick's mistress, Sarah Ann Robertson. How does that support the authenticity of the Diary you might ask? Does the Diary mention that George Smith is related to Sarah Ann? No, it doesn't. All the Diary says about George Smith is this:
'If Smith should find this, then I am done before my campaign begins.'
In the first edition of his book, Robert Smith raised no questions about this sentence. He mentioned it in footnote 16 only as support for his theory that Maybrick wrote the Diary in his office. Now that he's discovered that George Smith was related to Maybrick's mistress, the innocuous sentence seems to have taken on a completely new meaning. Thus, says Smith in his amended footnote 16:
'This quotation raises the intriguing question of why George Smith, a bookkeeper in Maybrick's office, could be a threat to his plans...'
It's funny that this 'intriguing' question wasn't raised in the first edition. The thought doesn't even seem to have crossed Robert Smith's mind in 2017. Yet Robert Smith now tells us that the 'apparently casual reference' to George Smith in the Diary is 'of huge significance' because it shows 'the close connection' between Smith and Maybrick. Smith asks how anyone without an intimate knowledge of the Maybrick family could have known about that connection.
Yet the answer seems obvious. As a witness at Florence's trial, Smith's close connection to Maybrick was known to everyone. It's also obvious that if anyone had found a diary in which the author claimed to to be about to begin a campaign of murdering women in London, the author was probably going to be 'done' before they had the chance to carry out such a campaign, regardless of who that person was related to.
THE OTHER ROBERT SMITH
We've already seen a number of mistakes which could easily have been avoided: another is that Smith still refers to Robert H. Smith, who had a quick look at the Diary in 1992 but didn't spot the obvious problems with it, as 'Assistant Keeper of 19th Century Manuscripts at the British Museum' (p.18). This is another Diary myth which appears to have originated with Shirley Harrison. For Smith was (merely) Assistant Keeper in the Department of Manuscripts at the British Museum (or Library). The notion that he had particular expertise in nineteenth century manuscripts, which is a small but helpful addition for Diary Defenders, seems to be an invention which has taken on a life of its own.
if Robert Smith's revised book is the best case (at the second attempt) that can be presented for the Diary being 'an original document' or a 'genuine historical document' then that case is obviously so weak as to be non-existent. It's a complete disaster.
In Private Eye's 'Commentatorballs' feature recently, a quote from LBC's Naomi Smith was featured in which she amusingly but innocently said: 'The reality couldn't be further from the truth.' I rather think that sums up Smith's book nicely, but a little tweak would make it perfect: The reality couldn't be further from the True History.
27 October 2019