Orsam Books

Lord Orsam Says....(Part 2)

The big news since my last blog update is, of course, that JTR Forums is in disarray and running scared, as demonstrated by the bewildering decision by the administrator of JTR Forums to make the 'David Orsam Blog' thread private, so that I, Lord Orsam, like any other more common non-member, am unable to view it. 

This happened at the exact same time as members of those Forums started posting nasty and vitriolic personal attacks on me, with the aim of marginalizing me, unchecked by the administrator, thus fully justifying my decision not to join that site.   

The members of JTR Forums are perfectly happy to scrutinize others in the open but they don't seem to like it when the spotlight turns on them and they, themselves come under scrutiny.  When they do, they scuttle off and hide, hence JTR Forums turns itself into a fortress for which access to a thread discussing anything to do with what is said on orsam.co.uk is restricted, available only to those members who pass Howard Brown's vetting procedure, for which the criteria is completely unknown.

So we see that censorship now reigns throughout the entire online world of Ripperology!

It was only a short while ago that Paul Begg was denying that I could be drummed out of Ripperology because I had this site on which to post my opinions. Now Howard Brown has decided that any links to this site are so dangerous to his own site's existence that the thread in which those links are posted has become Top Secret to the visiting public in case anyone should come here and see the truth that JTR Forums is trying to hide.

The attitude of JTR Forums is in marked contrast to the way it responds to the constant, unremitting and brutal attacks on its members from Hallie Rubenhold.  Every utterance of Rubenhold and her Twitter followers against Ripperologists, and, in particular, the JTR Forums members, however horrid, is proudly displayed on JTR Forums so that they can respond to each and every one.  Rubenhold herself is constantly reminded by Howard Brown that she is a member of JTR Forums and invited to join the lovely atmosphere over there.   That's because they know that they can bully her to their hearts' content. That's the thing with bullies, they love attacking the weak. She is in no position to defend herself because of the silly things she has evidently said in her book which has undermined her own credibility so they lick their lips at the thought of debating with her.  The big bullies.

When it comes to me, however, the barricades are up and the shutters are down.  They are in full defence mode, in hiding, because they know that, try as they might, they cannot undermine my credibility and they will be severely beaten every time they try to challenge me.   We've already seen Gary Barnett, now licking his wounds, make two attempts to discredit me, once over my joke McCarthy article, about which he posted furiously in two Forums in multiple threads (but has now gone deathly silent) and then, in his second attempt, over the Lechmere name issue.  On both occasions I made him look foolish so Howard helps out his mate and locks the door.

The thing is, while the cliquey members of JTR Forums try and take the moral high ground against Hallie Rubenhold (excluding, of course, those who couldn't contain themselves from spewing out ill-considered and rather nasty insults, such as Gary Barnett's 'pampered twat' comment), they don't seem to realize that some of the most prominent members of that Forum hold to a notion that is every bit as bonkers and barking mad as the one that Ms Rubenhold is trying to sell in her book.

This is that the purported diary of Jack the Ripper by James Maybrick was carefully and cunningly forged at some point in the late nineteenth century and then placed under the floorboards for no apparent reason until it was miraculously found over 100 years later.  In formulating this view, they ignore (because they cannot handle) the documentary evidence which shows the diary was clearly a modern hoax.  Why they cling on to the bizarre notion that they do, just as Rubenhold appears to cling on to the bizarre notion that the Ripper's victims were not prostitutes who only wanted a nice bit of pavement to sleep on, is baffling, but, one imagines, just like Rubenhold is invested in her crazy theory, so they are invested in theirs to the extent that they not only cannot discard it but must viciously attack anyone who regards the Diary as obviously a modern hoax.  But they don't see the double standards and hypocrisy involved.

So they pound away at Rubenhold day after day while pretty much ignoring all the other crazy Ripper books out there.  Where are the detailed, non-stop criticisms of, for example, the books of the male authors Simon Wood and Mike Hawley?  While slaughtering Hallie Rubenhold on a daily basis, Paul Begg (astonishingly) sings the praises of Patricia Cornwell whose book contains selective use of source material, glaring errors of fact and ludicrous conclusions which must be as bad if not worse than those in Rubenhold's book and I haven't seen Cornwell admit to any of her mistakes (for which, see Cornwell's Patsy). According to Huffpost, Paul Begg told its reporter that he had 'fact-checked the book' and claimed that 'some of the evidence cannot be easily dismissed'.  I mean, this is in public to the world. The link to that newspaper story is here.  On JTR Forums in May 2008, Begg repeatedly asked its members to cut Cornwell 'some slack' (Thread: 'Patricia Cornwall and Walter Sickert', #80 and #89). But then Begg supposedly advised Cornwell, according to his 2004 book, 'Jack the Ripper: The Definitive History'.  So presumably she is off-limits for the type of unremitting criticism that Rubenhold receives on a daily basis. 

Paul Begg, himself, who posted in the 'David Orsam Blog' thread on JTR Forums in agreement with the claim of Caroline Morris that the world has gone mad, is not above a bit of crazy conspiracy nonsense himself.  In the book he authored with Keith Skinner, as I pointed out in the Suckered! Quadrilogy, the claim is made on a wholly false basis that there was some kind of 'mystery' involving the resignation of the Commissioner the Metropolitan Police, James Monro, in June 1890, thus providing succor to the mad conspiracy theories of people like Simon Wood.   

I'm referring here to the book, 'The Scotland Yard Files' by Begg and Skinner, in which the authors tell us that Monro submitted his resignation on 12 June 1890 (it was actually 10 June 1890) and claim that there was some 'mystery' in the speed of the announcement of his replacement about which, they say, 'Within forty-eight hours it was revealed that the new Commissioner would be Colonel Sir Edward Ridley Colborne Bradford'. But that was totally wrong because Monro's replacement wasn't announced until 20 June 1890, a full ten days after his resignation.  The other parts of the so-called mystery are not a mystery at all, as I explain in Part 4 of the Suckered! Plus Quadrilogy. 

Like Simon Wood, Begg & Skinner simply misunderstood the mechanics of the Pensions Bill, over which Monro resigned, and built up a supposed 'mystery' out of nothing.   When I pointed this out on the Forum, in The Suckered! Plus Trilogy thread (at #8), Mr Begg didn't confess to any error (at #10), yet he seems to expect Rubenhold to do what he doesn't appear to be able to do himself.  Perhaps someone can point this out to him and, from his glass house, he will lead by example and show Rubenhold how an author can back down after making an inaccurate and somewhat crazy claim, with a full clarification and withdrawal of the suggestion that there was any 'mystery' surrounding Monro's resignation.

Anyway, that said, here's my response to some specific points on the forums this week:


Gary Barnett - Thread: 'David Orsam Blog' (#60) - NOW HIDDEN AND PRIVATE!!!

While nice to see Mr Barnett addressing me by my correct title in the first line of his 'response' to 'Bee In His Barnett', the rest of his post went downhill after that. 

'His lordship really is a silly ass. 

[There is then a link to something on YouTube which I haven't bothered to click on] 

My 2017 comment was in response to the thread started by Kattrup: the original thread on the subject.  Lord Charles's derivative thread popped up recently as an 'oldie but goodie.'

I'm expecting at least a 10,000-word response to this.'

Given that Mr Barnett has the same surname as our old fish portering friend, Joseph, it's quite appropriate that I detect a strong smell of fish in the air.  Interesting that Mr Barnett is expecting a long response from me.  I think he must be aware that I might have something to say in response to his unconvincing profession of ignorance. 

The JTR Forums post in which Gary Barnett referred to'the research on Casebook in respect of alternative names', which appeared to him to have been 'misinterpreted', was at #12 of the thread 'Persons of Actual Interest or Suspects', created by Michael Banks.  Mr Banks responded to Gary's comments about 'the research on Casebook in respect of alternative names' in the very next post (#13) in which he said (underlining added)

'Hello Gary, 

Thanks for the information. I must admit that when I first read the research (by David Orsam and another poster) it did occur to me that the examples he gave all mentioned their birth names as well as the names they used day to day (when asked in court.)' 

Perhaps Gary Barnett is one of those researchers who doesn't read things properly, or just pays no attention to things said to him, but Michael's reply (which, readers of 'Bee In His Barnett' will know, did not correctly summarize my Lechmere name research and was thus not of his normal high standards!) expressly referred to the research being by 'David Orsam' (and another unnamed poster).  My goodness, what did Gary Barnett think when he read or ignored this as the case may be?

Well he didn't ignore it because he replied to it in #17 while, at the same time, quoting Michael's entire post with it's reference to the research 'by David Orsam'.  

So Barnett has effectively posted himself that the discussion was about the research 'by David Orsam'.

What Barnett noticeably doesn't deny in his recent JTR Forums post is that, at the time he made his JTR Forums posts in July 2017, he was aware of my research (as presented in my follow-up thread to Kattrup's thread).  Of course he was.   He might have seen it again when it popped up in the appropriately named 'oldies but goodies' section but I'm sure he had already read it.  In fact, it probably explains why he didn't read it properly the second time before he posted in it.  Perhaps he had muddled up in his mind my own thread with Kattrup's and got confused.   

If Barnett was truly posting about Kattrup's thread in his JTR Forums post of 2 July 2017, it's very strange that he wrote that, 'the research suggests that they generally felt it necessary to reveal the fact when presenting themselves to the authorities'.  For the ONLY examples provided by Kattrup's research were of individuals giving evidence at the Old Bailey who disclosed an alternative name.  So for Barnett to have used the expression, 'presenting themselves to the authorities' doesn't make much sense.  It only really makes sense if he was ALSO referring to my research, which involved various different methods of the alternative names being made known (i.e. at inquests, magistrate hearings, divorce proceedings, procedure of returning officer etc.)    So Mr Barnett really has betrayed himself by his own choice of language.   

More than this, though, assuming I haven't yet reached my allotted 10,000 words, it's very apparent that Barnett has nothing to say about the substantial points I made in my response to his arrogantly worded and incorrect claim that all I had done was prove 'the blindingly obvious'.  This is now the second time it's happened (following on from his McCarthy fiasco, on which he has suddenly gone very quiet) so that there is a clear pattern emerging of someone who is unable or unwilling to ever concede when he is in the wrong.  Not a good sign and something which surely undermines the credibility of his research as a whole.  Goodness me, if Hallie Runbenhold is following the discussion, I hope she doesn't think that this is how Ripperologists normally debate matters because she might just decide that she can ignore any substantial points of criticism of her work and focus on the trivia.  

Caroline Brown (Morris) - Thread, 'One off' (#425) 

Before I respond to specific sections of her post: as a general point it must be dawning on Caroline Morris that her dream scenario of the Diary having emerged from under the floorboards of Battlecrease on 9 March 1992 is fading fast, if not already a dot of nothingness. 

She clearly understands the importance of Mike's 1999 claim that the Diary wasn't created until after he had spoken to Doreen Montgomery on 9 March 1992.  Of course she does.  She's not stupid.  She knows that if Mike was lying about this in 1999 it was the most bizarre, incomprehensible and, above all, unnecessary lie that anyone could have told. 

She knows that in saying that it took 11 days to forge the diary, as he did in 1999, this fits perfectly into the scenario that I had been banging on about for the best part of three years, yet served absolutely no purpose for Mike at the time. 

Mike, of course, had mentioned the 11 days in his 1995 affidavit (again serving no purpose whatsoever for his overall story) but Ms Morris always came back at me with the fact that the affidavit said that the scrapbook was purchased, and the Diary written, in about January 1990 so that my 11 day scenario in March/April 1992 was totally at odds with Mike's story, just a strange and highly unlikely fancy of my own.   

The idea that Mike would have contacted Doreen before he had created the physical Diary seemed to some people to be ludicrous, and inconsistent with Mike's story of the forgery in his affidavit. But now we know something that was entirely unknown to me (and pretty much everyone else, it seems) until R.J. Palmer uncovered it last month, namely that Mike's story in 1999 WAS that the scrapbook wasn't purchased (and the physical Diary created) until some point between 9 March and 13 April 1992.  Caroline Morris knows full well how amazing and earth shattering this is.  It makes absolutely no sense within her narrow Battlecrease floorboards theory outlook. 

So how does she deal with this information in her first online post on the subject of the Diary since R.J. Palmer's discovery?  Well she completely ignores it, that's what!  No mention of it all. Nothing. Zilch. Silencio. 

What we do have, however, is a brief summary of my theory (as it stood prior to R.J.'s discovery) with the additional comment that we need to 'throw away' (i.e. ignore) everything said by Mike Barrett which isn't corroborated by hard evidence.   So that's how she can get around actually discussing the astonishing things he said in April 1999.  The person who, in the past, has always had a theory for everything Mike did (apart from his purchase of a Victorian diary with blank pages!) can't even begin to suggest why Mike would have invented a story which involved the Diary being created in an 11 day period (or any kind of period) after 9 March 1992.

But let's just pause there.  For Caroline Morris is one of the co-authors of the book in which the events of April 1999 were outlined in some detail.  I have to ask this question: For the two years that I was explaining my theory that the Diary didn't exist at the time of Doreen's 9 March 1992 conversation with Mike Barrett – a theory which Ms Morris was spending much of her time online trying furiously to undermine and ridicule – was she aware that Mike Barrett had said exactly the same thing as I was saying, over two days in public in 1999?    If she was aware of it, was she deliberately not mentioning it in any of her hundreds if not thousands of posts during 2016, 2017 and 2018?  Or was she not actually conscious of what was stated in her book and had forgotten all about it?  

An answer to this question would, I think, be illuminating but at the same time I rather suspect we will never get it, especially as I can't ask it of her directly and everyone else is, presumably, too intimidated to ask questions of authors, being in mind the ruling of the administrator of the Censorship Forum that doing so amounts to harassment, a ruling which the administrator of JTR Forums certainly hasn't disassociated himself from.

So, on to the specific parts of her post, addressed to R.J Palmer, that I'd like to respond to:

'You don't come across as a prat, R.J. At least you look beneath the surface and try to make sense of what you find there, unlike others, who skate quickly across the surface, without even bothering to read the various accounts of the story from 1992 to date, and draw hurried conclusions about the personalities, capabilities and motivations of people they never met.'

There we have the refuge of all Diary Defenders who have met Mike Barrett for a brief time in his life and who know that no-one else can ever meet him because he is dead. They disparage anyone who claims that the Diary is fake on the basis that they never met Mike or that they never met Anne (who is almost equally inaccessible). That comment shows a remarkable lack of self-awareness, implying as it does that by meeting Mike Barrett and the other players they have somehow managed to see into their souls.  They don’t seem to be aware how easy it can be to be hoodwinked by someone. Further, if you form any kind of relationship with someone you are able to be manipulated by them.  For surely that was the case with Anne Barrett who was previously believed to be telling the truth about the origins of the Diary but whose account has now been discarded to the scrapheap on the basis of a mere coincidence of timing revealed by a single timesheet.

No-one who comments on the diary, incidentally, met Mike Barrett in April 1992, which is a fairly critical period, nor did they meet him in the years prior to that date when he was likely to have been involved in drafting the text of the Diary. So really everyone’s in the same boat, not knowing what the real Mike Barrett was like.

As for the people who have supposedly not bothered to read the accounts of the story from 1992 to date, it's impossible to know who she is talking about but presumably her own book 'Inside Story' provides all the information anyone needs to know.  If important aspects of the story are missing from the book then she must be personally to blame for all the ignorance that is out there. 

'As for David Orsam, I think of him as the Jacob Rees-Mogg of Diary World: he comes across as such an authority on his subject that many people bow low in his presence and feel it would be rude to question anything he writes, even when he's merely speculating like the rest of us - which he has to do in order to reach the conclusion that the diary is a post-1987 Barrett hoax.'

How dare I, Lord Orsam, be compared with a mere commoner!   I won't even allow my food to be served to me by anyone without a title.

But, well, if the co-author of 'Inside Story', Caroline Morris, views me as coming across an authority on the whole subject of the Diary, I’m going to suggest that it is because when I was a member of Casebook I always focused my online posts on the facts, which I took the trouble to check, and I didn’t post loads and loads of speculative unsupported and irrelevant nonsense, changing my mind on a daily basis, relying on sarcasm and deliberate misunderstandings and misrememberings of the posts of others to try and throw dust into the eyes of my readers while also attempting to smear and discredit other members.  

As to the point of substance, I’m not speculating that the Diary is a modern hoax.  This is a fact.  It is derived from the very fact that the expression ‘one off instance’ is an anachronism which could not possibly have been written down by a Diary author in 1888 to describe the not-to-be-repeated beating of his wife. It must be of mid to late twentieth century origin. She can ignore this as much as she likes but she has no answer to it.  It is irrefutable.  I’ve checked it out.  I’ve done the research.  I’ve presented the research.  It’s not going to be overturned, I’m sorry.  And actually, for that reason, I do think I must be an authority on the subject of ‘one off’ because I doubt anyone has researched it in anything close to level of the detail that I have.  

'There's a fine line between finding facts and then using them to support little more than a gut feeling.  Didn't Orsam say at one point that he could have allowed for the possibility of the diary being found under floorboards in Maybrick's bedroom on 9th March 1992, if only it had been possible for Maybrick to have written about a 'one off instance' in his diary? Since the latter was an impossibility, Orsam reasoned, the former had to be too.'

If the second sentence is supposed to support the notion that I ever had a ‘gut feeling’ about the diary it has failed. I have no recollection of the post she has attributed to me, and very much doubt I wrote it (her memory of my posts has always been dreadfully poor), but if ‘one off instance’ is an impossibility for an 1888 Diary then the Diary was obviously not written in 1888 (or at any time in the nineteenth century).  Ergo, it was clearly not found under the floorboards on 9 March 1992. 

We really can now be sure that the Diary was not found under the floorboards on 9 March 1992.  The entire story involving the electricians is awash with inconsistency, implausibility and, indeed, impossibility, not to mention contamination of the evidence by one Paul Feldman.  I'm not interested in stories that it was placed there on 8 March.  It was not found under those floorboards.

'Coupled with the advert for the little 1891 diary, and the timing of the enquiry, this seems to form pretty much his entire case for a fake diary created in the early 1990s, with Mike and Anne's involvement and/or knowledge.'

I’ve stated time and time again with full transparency why I am certain the Diary is a modern hoax.  Firstly, the expression ‘one off instance’ is the mistake made by the forger which dates it to the second half of the twentieth century. That on its own is enough for me and should be enough for anyone to close this silly saga because it just doesn’t matter precisely who forged it.

However, what I have gone on to say is that I can think of absolutely no good reason for Mike Barrett to have instructed a specialist bookfinder to obtain for him an unused, totally blank diary from the late Victorian period or, in the alternative, a partly used diary from the period, with the requirement that it must have a certain number of blank pages.  It makes no sense for any reason other than to forge a Victorian diary. 

I asked every member of the Forum if they could provide a reason for the request and no-one could come up with one that was consistent with the wording of the advertisement.  Caroline Morris herself tried and tried.  She came up with about one new idea a week but none of them made any sense and they were all abandoned one by one.  The latest idea of hers that I read seemed to have something to do with the ratio of the number of blank pages to used pages, completely forgetting that the primary request was for a totally blank and unused diary.

The advertisement is the evidence which is hiding in plain sight that Mike Barrett was involved in the forgery.  I can’t say for 100% certain what his precise role was but I really don’t need to. However, it seems likely that it was on the lines set out in his affidavit, albeit that it’s perfectly possible that others, whom he didn’t want to name, were also involved in some aspects of the creation.

I don’t need to rely on any other evidence but what I can say is that everything that has been discovered since I started posting about the subject in 2016 supports my theory as to Mike Barrett’s involvement, not least the discovery of his repeated claim in 1999 to have purchased the scrapbook after having spoken to Doreen Montgomery on 9 March 1992, because there just doesn’t appear to have been any good reason for him to have formulated a lie which involved this weird chronological scenario. 

There is no doubt in my mind that a scenario of Mike not having had the Diary in his possession or ever having seen/created it at the time he telephoned Doreen (which was precisely what I had believed to be the case, to some scorn, prior to ever knowing that Barrett had claimed this is what happened) is only consistent with that being the true version of events.  It's simply not consistent with a false story because he just wouldn’t have come up with a lie of that nature.

For that reason, I DO now rely on what Barrett said in 1999 as a third limb of my theory that the Diary was created in 1992.  Caroline Morris can call Barrett a liar as much as she likes but until and unless she can provide a credible and coherent explanation for Barrett to have told the story that he did in 1999, it has to be regarded as good evidence proving that the Diary was created during March/April 1992.  

Everything else that has been discovered supports 'the Orsam theory'.  When I obtained examples of Mike’s handwritten notes, and recordings of his interviews, in 2018, I found that his linguistic quirks or idiosyncrasies matched those of the Diary’s author.  When I obtained samples of Anne’s handwriting I found similarities with her handwriting and the handwriting of the Diary’s author (and I also found plenty of grammatical and spelling mistakes showing that she was perfectly capable of making them, just like the Diary’s author, contrary to what Caroline Morris, who thought Anne was 'too sensible and competent' to make such mistakes, had claimed).  Everything points to the essence of Mike’s story in his affidavit being correct, if not the details.  Not a single thing has contradicted it.

'That's it, unless one starts picking and choosing which of the Barretts' claims to believe and which to reject. If they are both considered to be unreliable witnesses, we surely have to throw out everything they have ever claimed, which has not been independently proven true, and make up our minds on what's left.'

No-one is picking and choosing which of the Barrett’s claims to believe or reject.  Mind you, I certainly recall Caroline Morris relying on what Anne said about events involving Mike and the Diary. Now, apparently, everything Anne said needs to be 'thrown out', presumably because she also wants to 'throw out' everything Mike said in 1999 without even having to consider it. 

My response is to point out that it has been independently proven as true that Mike advertised for a Victorian diary, as he claimed in his 1995 affidavit, at a time when no-one knew anything about it, and we cannot just ‘throw away’ his claim that it took 11 days for the Diary to be created, as if he had never said it.  Knowing that he repeated this claim four years later, we have to ask ourselves WHY he would say such an unlikely thing.  Such an unlikely thing that no-one believed it was true, even when he repeated it to a whole host of Ripperologists in 1999!

One has to use one’s grey cells.  It can’t be a case of throwing away evidence because we don’t like it.  I know why Caroline Morris wants to throw away everything Mike Barrett said, just like everyone did in 1999, so that no-one even bothered to go and ask Outhwaite and Litherland to check their auction records from March and April 1992.  And now those records appear to have been thrown out!!!

'If David Orsam was able to track down the advert independently of Keith Skinner [who did it with Anne's help after Mike had mentioned it in his January 1995 affidavit], does it not make you wonder what would have happened if the advert had produced the right 'raw material' for the hoax? How would a deliberate paper trail back to March 1992, and to Mike Barrett in Goldie Street, have protected his wife Anne, or any other conspirator, from exposure?'

Of course I didn’t track down the advert 'independently' of Keith Skinner.  What an absurd thing to say.  It was only because Keith Skinner had found it already that I even bothered to look for it. And the reason Keith Skinner found it in the first place was because Mike Barrett had revealed in his 1995 affidavit that he had once contacted a specialist bookfinder, with his wife actually paying for the little red diary, thus enabling Keith Skinner to obtain the details of the bookfinding company from Anne's cheque stubs.

Had Barrett kept quiet there was next to no chance of anyone ever finding it. Who would even have been looking for it?  No-one is ever likely to have had the thought that Mike asked a book dealer to find a Victorian diary.  Auctions and second hand shops, yes, but not book dealers. Even if anyone HAD miraculously thought that Mike had obtained a diary from a book dealer, they would have been looking at adverts from prior to 9 March 1992 and probably those from the period 1989-1991 where they would have found nothing and given up. So it would have just sat there unknown about to this day.


Caroline Morris - Thread: 'Acquiring A Victorian Diary' (#1872)

The eleven days are mentioned in Caroline Morris' Casebook post in this way:

'I'm pretty sure I have commented on how Mike might have come up with his 11 day miracle [sorry, creation]. He only had to recall the brief but hectic time between a) calling Doreen on 9th March 1992 about the diary he had just acquired and was trying to make sense of; and b) taking that diary to London on 13th April 1992 to show Doreen and co. Between those two dates he had been waiting for the results of his telephone enquiry for a surviving example of an unused or partly used Victorian diary [-------- fill in the blanks with your preferred explanation] and the little 1891 specimen was finally delivered to Goldie Street around 28th March. This was clearly no help to him at all [regardless of what he had wanted it for], but by then he had only ten more school run days to do before the end of the Spring term and Caroline's Easter holidays, when he'd be free to swan off excitedly to London to show off his precious diary.'

This is not, in any way, a response to the new information that R.J. Palmer recently 'discovered' in a book co-authored by Caroline Morris herself (as set out in 'The Eleven Days').  It doesn't even explain why Mike Barrett mentioned the 11 days in the first place.  I mean, the answer seems to be that there was a period of 11 days somewhere buried in between 28 March 1992 and 13 April 1992.  I mean, no shit Sherlock.  But that doesn't seem to explain anything. 

I'll leave aside for now the fact that Caroline Morris provides no explanation for Mike Barrett actually wanting a used or partly used Victorian diary in March 1992.  That's another matter.  But there were 15 days between 28 March and 13 April and then 10 days school runs according to Ms Morris.  Okay, that's a matter of the calendar but why did Mike Barrett who, on Ms Morris' version of events, received the Diary from Eddie Lyons on 9 March 1992, and contacted Doreen Montgomery the same day, decide to come up with a false story that he only THEN decided to fake the Diary.  Why wouldn't he have said he did it in, say, January 1990 or January 1991 like he did in his affidavit?

It was, of course, in his 1995 affidavit that Mike first mentioned the Diary being created in 11 days.  This causes a real problem for Ms Morris because he was then saying that the scrapbook and ink was purchased in about January 1990 and the Diary written shortly thereafter.  Now, it's worth pointing out that I believe this was an error and that the affidavit, probably drafted by Alan Gray, meant to say that the Diary was written in January 1991.  I also think that Mike might have been saying to Gray that this was when the Diary text was initially written out in draft, while Devereux was alive, but we don't need to worry about that.  The point is that nowhere in the affidavit is even the impression given that the Diary was only written after Mike had spoken to Doreen on 9 March 1992 and had told her that he was in possession of Jack the Ripper's Diary.   

Although the affidavit mentions the little red 1891 diary, no date of purchase is attributed to its acquisition.  From the chronology as set out in the affidavit, anyone reading it would have assumed that this little red diary was acquired in about January 1990.  This is certainly when the affidavit says the Diary was forged.  This makes Mike's mention of 11 days baffling unless he was telling the truth.  For, in the context of having forged the Diary in January 1990 (or 1991), why on earth would the 10 days of school runs prior to coming to London with the Diary in April 1992 have entered Mike's mind even for one second so that he would attribute 11 days to the writing of the Diary by his wife (in January 1990 or 1991)?  It makes no sense.  He could have said it took six months to write the Diary.  That would surely have been a more convincing lie.

I'm sure that Caroline Morris knows all this but she simply fails to get to grips with it.  Her comment that she has said this all before belies the fact that no-one on the Forum previously seemed to know (and if Caroline Morris did, she didn't mention it) that Mike Barrett repeated the 11 days claim in 1999 at a time when he WAS saying that he wrote the Diary after he had spoken to Doreen Montgomery. 

So we have to ask ourselves.  Was Mike Barrett's story all along that he had written the Diary in 11 days after speaking to Doreen Montgomery?   Or did he just invent the notion of having done it after speaking to Doreen  when he came to London in 1999?  If the former, then Mike was telling a remarkably consistent story over a four year period, yet one which he didn't even begin to explain properly in his affidavit, not even providing the date on which he purchased the red diary.  If the latter, then it's utterly remarkable that someone supposedly so incompetent, slow and stupid came up with such a sophisticated, clever and subtle lie that it would take seven years (i.e. until 2016) for anyone (i.e. me! - with apologies to R.J.) to even put it together as a coherent story.

For the story didn't actually make any sense to any outsider until after the discovery of the bookdealer advertisement.  Until it was known that Mike Barrett didn't just order a Victorian diary but a Victorian diary with blank pages, the story of the little red diary didn't help Mike's story one jot.  It could easily be explained as Mike wanting to see what a Victorian diary looked like, as indeed it was. 

Furthermore, Mike Barrett, who was supposedly telling this amazing masterful lie which all tied in with the documentary evidence, didn't even mention in his 1995 affidavit that he had specifically been on the hunt for a diary with blank pages.  Nor did he mention it at the Notting Hill lunch or at the Cloak and Dagger meeting in 1999.  Without that crucial information as revealed in the advertisement, which wasn't discovered by Keith Skinner until some years later, Mike's story had no credibility or validity and couldn't be verified in any way.  Yet Mike, having come up with this incredibly sophisticated lie, didn't even think to mention the red Victorian diary to anyone in 1999 or, specifically, that he had been attempting to acquire such a diary with blank pages.

I'm pretty sure that Mike had no idea that the advertisement in the Bookdealer existed.  He would have had no idea how Martin Earl, the specialist book finder, went about obtaining antique books and items.  He wouldn't have had to pay for the advert and almost certainly would have known nothing about it.  Yet, when the advertisement was discovered by Keith Skinner some years later, it provided, in amongst the smoke and mirrors of all the individual stories and myths relating to the Maybrick Diary, one hard piece of evidence in the case that actually showed what one of the key players was doing in March 1992.  And what one of the key players was doing was definitely attempting to acquire a Victorian diary with blank pages!

The idea that Mike Barrett plucked 11 days out the air for no reason other than that there were 10 school days in April 1992 before he came to London to see Doreen is a strange and incomprehensible one.  The obvious explanation is that he well remembered a very tight deadline in which the Diary was written of 11 days and it is utterly astonishing that this fits perfectly into the period when he would likely have acquired the scrapbook (i.e. on 31 March) and the bringing of the scrapbook with writing inserted to London on 13 April. 

But the perfect fit of the 11 days in that period is NOT any longer the main importance of the 11 days.  Caroline Morris knows this yet she pretends that the only important question is why he chose to say that the Diary was written in 11 days.  The importance of the 11 days is that Mike ALSO said, at the same time as claiming that the Diary was written in 11 days, that the Diary wasn't written until after he had spoken to Doreen Montgomery.  

Just like it is impossible to work out a satisfactory explanation as to why Mike Barrett wanted a Victorian diary with blank pages in March 1992 so it is impossible to work out a satisfactory explanation as to why he wanted to convince the world of Ripperology that he didn't acquire the scrapbook, and didn't begin to start work on the Diary, until after he had told Doreen Montgomery that he was in possession of Jack the Ripper's Diary.  It's such a bizarre and senseless lie to have told that it is unfathomable why he should have invented the idea.  But more than this.  I had already formulated this theory, and had been pushing it in hundreds of forum posts, some three years before I had a clue that Mike Barrett himself was saying he had done this.  Even when I was advocating this solution, it seemed absurd and fanciful to many people.  Yet, I'm backed up by the very person who, I was suggesting, knew the truth of the matter!  

There cannot now be any serious doubt that Mike Barrett was involved in forging the diary in 11 days in April 1992.

Keith Skinner - Thread: Not applicable

And still Keith Skinner hasn't produced the transcript of the diary which he promised me he would make public back in 2018 in response to my repeated requests for it to be produced.  Shortly after the promise was made, Keith Skinner simply disappeared from the Forum without a word.  When I subsequently asked why he hadn't kept his promise to me to produce the transcript, I was told by his co-author, Caroline Morris, that perhaps he was too busy.  We now know that wasn't true at all. He had deliberately and consciously reneged on his promise and had decided to withhold the transcript.

But what exactly did he promise to produce?

I was under the impression it was a copy of a transcript found on Mike Barrett's word processor.  The reason for this is derived from Keith Skinner's own post (via James J) in the 'Acquiring' thread on 16 February 2018 (#1037) in which, responding to a post of R.J. Palmer's he said (underlining added):

'Coming to your post #1023 where you ask why the manuscript/typescript of the Diary found on Barrett’s word processor has never been made available and query why Paul Feldman, Shirley Harrison nor the authors of Inside Story have never reproduced it in our respective books. I didn’t know that anyone was calling for it to be made available, even though you say it is a key point that needs to be resolved. Certainly, to the best of my knowledge, nobody ever approached the authors of Inside Story which was published fifteen years ago in 2003. Perhaps you did? You will have a record if this is the case I’m quite sure. Who actually ‘found’ the manuscript/typescript on the word processor Roger? I was aware of its existence in June 1992 and I sent photocopies to Martin Fido on June 17th 1992 and Paul Begg on August 13th 1992. As to why Paul (Feldman), Shirley or the authors of Inside Story never reproduced the document, I can only speak for Inside Story. You had the opportunity of asking Paul Feldman yourself whilst he was still alive. Perhaps you did? Shirley, you still have the opportunity of asking. As for Inside Story, my copy is eighteen pages long and annotated with my own notes and some of Robert Smith’s. (You have the figure of “...approximately 40 pages in length” in mind and I was curious as to why?).'

So, to my mind, in 2018, Keith was giving the clear impression that he held a copy of a transcript 'found' on Barrett's word processor and the only reason he had never disclosed it was that no-one had asked for it to be made available. I then posted in #1048 to say: 'Keith - Is it possible for the full transcript to be made available (with or without annotations)?'  I didn't receive a reply so I pressed him again in #1082 (after Keith had clarified that the correct the number of pages on the transcript was 29, not 18) saying, 'Keith, just to repeat an earlier question.  Is it possible that this transcript can be made available?'.  Keith replied in #1085 to tell me that he had 'no problem' putting up this transcript for anyone who is interested, that he would have put it up that very instant if he knew how to do it, but that I would have to wait 'a few weeks' for James J to do it for him.  Shortly after this, Keith vanished from the Forum without a word.  As mentioned above, we now know that he had discovered something troubling in the transcript which made him renege on his promise.

But the point here is that Keith was specifically talking about producing a transcript 'found' on Barrett's word processor but, in the Forum recently, he seems to be denying that any such transcript was ever found!  So what is the 29 page document that he has in his possession?  Is it a document found on Barrett's word processor or a document that was presented to Doreen Montgomery in April 1992?

Well I think it must be possible to answer this question.  The transcript supposedly found on Mike's word processor was meant to have been discovered during the Scotland Yard investigation during 1993.  Keith Skinner couldn't have sent a copy of a transcript which was only discovered in 1993 to Martin Fido and Paul Begg in 1992 (which is what he says he did).  So the upshot of it is that the reason he has never provided a copy of the transcript found on Mike's word processor is not because no-ever asked him for it, as he claimed in the Forum in 2018, but because he doesn't have a copy of it!!  He doesn't even know if it exists.

What he must be in possession of is a copy of a transcript of the Diary supposedly prepared by the Barretts and provided to Doreen Montgomery and Shirley Harrison during April 1992. That's not actually the transcript I was hoping to see but, well, Keith tells us there is something meaningful in that transcript so I think, in fairness to all, he surely does finally need to produce it. 

Keith Skinner - Thread: Also not applicable

Another promise Keith Skinner hasn't kept was made on 9 February 2018 in the 'Acquiring a Victorian Diary' thread at #937 when he said to me (underlining added):

'I am not, incidentally, avoiding answering your very reasonable question about why else would Mike have sought to acquire a Victorian diary with a minimum of twenty blank pages – if not for forgery purposes. I promise you I will address it – as with all of your questions.' 

I had originally asked him on 21 January 2018 (#569) why Mike acquired this Victorian diary and then repeated the question on 9 February (#931) which is what prompted the above.  He continued posting in the Forum (via James J) into early March but never answered it, despite ample opportunity to do so.  That was a promise not kept which had nothing to do with him having to provide information.  It was just about him answering a question.

If I was in charge of this country, no-one would be allowed to comment on the Diary in any way until they first answered the question as to why Mike Barrett requested an unused or partly used Diary from the 1880s for which he was prepared to pay.  It amazes me to see people who have never even attempted an answer this question waffling on speculatively about how they think the Diary couldn't have been forged by the Barretts, while ignoring the hard documentary evidence about this diary purchase.  So what was Mike Barrett doing in March 1992 then? 

Keith Skinner via JM - Thread: 'Acquiring a Victorian Diary' (#1867)

It's actually quite sad watching the once respected Keith Skinner making mistake after mistake on Casebook because he hasn't bothered to research properly what he is posting.  He is supposed to be a top researcher but he doesn’t seem to bother to check anything he is saying at the moment. 

Hence we find him posting an extract from one of my posts from 1 September 2017, completely out of context, in which I said this (with Keith's emphasis):

'Now there is one thing that should be a certain fact and that is that Mike purchased his word processor on 3 April 1986. At least one hopes it is a certain fact. Presumably Shirley Harrison has the original sales receipt, or invoice as it has been described. Does one have to rant and rave and beg and plead for an image of this single page document to be posted on this forum? Then we can, perhaps, work out for ourselves if Mike somehow managed to acquire a second hand PCW from Dixons on that date.'

Although he doesn't provide a citation, it was from #533 in the thread '25 YEARS OF THE DIARY OF JACK THE RIPPER: THE TRUE FACTS by Robert Smith' which was not the thread R.J. Palmer had linked him to, so he must have taken some time to find this, or the person who is helping him with his posts did.

Keith's comment on this post in #1867 is that:

'I can appreciate David’s frustration at having to wait to see the invoice after having requested it at the end of August 2017 -possibly before - as his patience was, understandably, clearly exhausted when he posted:'

The truth of the matter is the complete reverse.  The post he has cited was actually the very first time I had asked for an image of the invoice to be posted on the Forum.  But because Keith has selected a quote of mine from two years ago entirely out of context, and hadn't bothered to look at the context before doing so, he has managed to mislead himself, thinking that my patience was 'clearly exhausted' when this was not the case.  He has totally misunderstood the reference to 'rant and rave' although it would have been understood perfectly well by those following the thread at the time.

What had happened is that, for some time prior to 1 September 2017, in the thread about Robert Smith's book referred to above, I had been asking for a copy of Mike Barrett's research notes to be posted on the Forum.  I hadn't addressed my request to anyone in particular but Caroline Morris, who never missed a trick to try and drive a wedge between myself and Mr Skinner, or to try to discredit me, tried to make out that I was criticizing Keith Skinner for not providing them.   She had also posted that I should have been contacting Keith Skinner directly to ask for a copy (e.g. #471 'Have you not sent that email to Keith Skinner yet?').   I responded on 25 August 2017 (#486) to say:

'Thinking about it, I suppose that if I was in contact with Keith Skinner I could ask him some of the questions I have asked on this forum – if I was being so forward, and indeed rude, to put him on the spot in a private email – but I'm not in contact with Keith Skinner. In fact, I'm absolutely certain I have never once mentioned on this forum being in contact with Keith Skinner. Just like I have never mentioned on this forum being in private contact with ANYONE outside this forum. Not that it's anyone's business whether I am in contact with Keith Skinner or not. But I am not. So, as I'm not in contact with Keith Skinner, I haven't asked Keith Skinner about Mike's 'research' notes and, even if I was in contact with Keith Skinner, which I'm not, I probably wouldn't ask him any such questions because I don't want private information that I can't talk about (not that that is anyone else's business either); I want these questions answered publicly, not for myself or my own personal interest, but in the interests of all researchers and people who are interested in the origins of the Diary.

In #487 I also posted this (underlining added):

'Ho hum, I suppose I should make it clear to anyone in this thread deluded or egotistical enough to think that I am addressing them, that all my posts (unless specifically addressed to an individual), and all my requests for these 'research' notes, are addressed to everyone and no-one in particular. If no-one reads and responds then so be it. That is up to them. The 'Diary Team', whoever they may be, can do as they wish. But I would suggest that it is both disgraceful and incomprehensible from a researcher's point of view that a full copy of the 'research' notes has never been made publicly available. It naturally makes me wonder what is being hidden.'*

*Clearly I was right about my suspicions because we now know that Keith Skinner is hiding Mike Barrett's transcript of the Diary, as he has confirmed himself. 

In response, on 1 September 2017 in #531, Caroline Morris posted this (underlining added):

'You suggested it would have been 'forward' and 'rude' to put Keith 'on the spot' in a private email, to ask – for example - about making Mike's notes available to all, yet you seemed to think there was nothing forward or rude about ranting into the ether about the 'incomprehensible' and 'disgraceful' failure to make them available...It's like history repeating itself. A few years ago, another poster would rant and rave about the watch reports being kept under wraps. When I asked this poster if he had actually approached Robert Smith privately to request their publication, he said no because Robert would no doubt have refused. I called the poster an 'arrogant little [something]' and got a justified ticking off from Admin for attacking him rather than the post, but Robert proved him wrong by handing over the reports, which can now be read by all visitors to this site.'

So Caroline Morris was suggesting that I was'ranting into the ether' and being like another poster who would 'rant and rave' about the watch reports.  Just like she had tried to discredit that poster by calling him 'an arrogant little [something]' so she was trying to discredit me, even though I had no reason to contact Keith Skinner and was not suggesting that he would refuse to provide me with anything.

It was in direct response to the 'rant and rave' jibe that I posted as I did in #533, on 1 September 2017, asking for the very first time for a copy of the invoice (or sales receipt) for Mike's word processor purchase to be posted on the Forum, hence (my underlining):

'Now there is one thing that should be a certain fact and that is that Mike purchased his word processor on 3 April 1986. At least one hopes it is a certain fact. Presumably Shirley Harrison has the original sales receipt, or invoice as it has been described. Does one have to rant and rave and beg and plead for an image of this single page document to be posted on this forum? Then we can, perhaps, work out for ourselves if Mike somehow managed to acquire a second hand PCW from Dixons on that date.'

But I wasn’t asking Keith Skinner for anything.  As can be seen, I was specifically suggesting that Shirley Harrison had the invoice.  This was because Caroline Morris had posted on the forum on 30 August [#508] (underling added):

'On checking my time line I can confirm that a receipt for a word processor purchased from Dixons and dated 3rd April 1986 was faxed to Keith from Shirley Harrison on 22nd February 1995'.

Equally, for all I knew, Caroline Morris had a copy of the invoice or receipt.  But I figured that SOMEONE must have it and that it should be simple enough for SOMEONE to post it.

So I posted in #550 on 5 September 2017:

 'I wonder if the Diary Gods are going to let us see the so-called invoice which proves that Mike bought the Word Processor in 1986. Or does one need to rant and rave into the ether and ask what they have to hide before it is produced?' 

And then in #578 on 7 September:

'I still haven't seen an image of the "invoice" for Mike's 1986 purchase of the Word Processor. How easy would it be just to have it posted as an attachment to a post on this forum? Very easy I think but perhaps there is some complicating factor of which I'm unaware'

Then in #598 on 8 September:

'…..it's really hard in 2017 to post a scanned image of a single document. I fully appreciate that. But I wonder if there is a reason why it is not being produced.'

None of my posts about the invoice were addressed to Keith Skinner, who was not even a member of the Forum at the time, none of them mentioned Keith Skinner, and I wasn't asking him to do anything.

However, later on 8 September, Caroline Morris posted an email which had sent to her by Keith Skinner in which it was stated by Keith (#665):

'Re the receipt for the Word Processor...from memory I think you have all the detail on our timeline which, I’m assuming, must have been taken from a photocopy of the receipt which I provided? My Diary Archive is down with Bruce – so unless you have a photocopy of the receipt, I’m afraid David will have to wait. '

Clearly, just as I didn't know if Caroline Morris had a photocopy of the receipt/invoice, nor did Keith Skinner.  But Caroline Morris posted at the same time to say (underlining added):

'Regarding the receipt, I told Keith I don't have a copy and don't recall seeing it either. Most of my copy documents were returned following the book's publication 14 years ago. The brief details I posted from my time line are all I have until Keith gets access to his own archive.'

After this, I stopped asking for a copy of the invoice because it seemed impossible to get one. Caroline Morris wasn't, apparently, speaking to Shirley Harrison, and clearly Keith Skinner wasn't going to bother to go to Wales to get his documents from Bruce Robinson. Well he now says that his huge Diary archive 'was down with Bruce Robinson in Wales' in 2017, adding 'it still is' which is a little strange because in 2018 he told me it was with Bruce in Hertfordshire! 

This arose because, when Keith (sort of) joined the Forum in January 2018, I gently asked him about the invoice.  Thus in #563 of the thread, 'Acquiring a Victorian Diary', on 21 January 2018, I asked as a postscript to something else:

'Btw Keith, any joy in finding the lost copy of the invoice of the purchase of Mike's word processor?' 

Keith replied six days later (#693) saying:

'Incidentally, your request to have sight of the receipt for the Amstrad Word Processor purchased by Mike Barrett has not been ignored. The bulk of my huge Diary archive is down with Bruce Robinson. Im relying on memory here but I seem to think Shirley Harrison photocopied the receipt and faxed it through to me. I believe the issue is around precisely when and why did Mike Barrett purchase his word processor? A year of 1986 has been cited by Pinkmoon in post #652 and I have no reason to doubt the accuracy of this date so am assuming there is a hard source which Ill try and identify.'

On 27 February 2018, I asked Keith (#1217):

'When do you think you will be able to get access to your reference material and files?' 

Keith replied in #1229 (underlining added):

'There’s a great deal of Diary Archive material (chronicling my involvement with the project and investigation from June 1992) stored with Bruce in deepest Herefordshire and I no longer have my car. So it would be a huge bag on wheels job and probably several trips! However, if I know the thrust of your questions, then I can concentrate on bringing back the relevant files.'

If Keith is saying today that his papers were with Bruce in Wales during September 2017 and are still with Bruce in Wales today, I have a little bit of difficulty understanding how they were with Bruce in Hertfordshire in February 2018 - and I'm fairly sure that Hertfordshire isn't in Wales - but Keith will presumably want to clear this one up.  

But the key point here is that Keith Skinner didn't reveal (via Caroline Morris) that the invoice for the word processor was unavailable to him (because it was with Bruce) until 8 September 2017, which was a full 7 days after I had first asked for a copy to be made available.

So when Keith Skinner returned to the subject on 27 August 2019 and posted in response to my 1 September 2017 post, saying (underlining added):  'I remember I had explained my huge Diary archive was down with Bruce Robinson in Wales (still is!)' he was quite WRONG. His memory has let him down (again).

As at 1 September 2017, when I first asked for the invoice to be produced, he hadn't yet provided this explanation.  It didn't come until a week AFTER I made the post he cited.  Yet his faulty memory has allowed him to paint me as someone who, despite having been told that a document was inaccessible, was nevertheless still ranting and raving for a copy of it to be posted on the Forum. All quite wrong.  All the type of smears that I would expect from Caroline Morris who may or may not be behind Keith's posts these days. 

In the end, as we know, I obtained a copy of this invoice myself, and posted the image on the Forum, something that Keith Skinner now describes as 'a remarkable achievement' (*takes bow*) although it wasn't remarkable at all, it just meant I put a little bit of effort into obtaining it: something which, one might think, is somewhat lacking from others.

Now, as far as I can tell, the transcript of the Diary that Keith Skinner promised to provide me is in his possession; he doesn't need to go to Wales, or Hertfordshire, or wherever his documents are, and there is no physical reason why he cannot just produce it online.  So my question to Keith Skinner is, why not just get on with it and do what you promised me you would do 18 months ago? 


Jonathan Menges - Thread: Not applicable  

I'm sure everyone was wondering what Jonathan Menges would say in response to my last blog.  Was he going clarify whether he had reported the Tumblety thread to Admin in 2018?  Was he going to release me from my duty of confidentiality so that I could reveal what he had told me about it?  Well the simple answer to both questions is: no!  He has simply taken the Fifth.  Just silence.  This contrasts to how quick off the mark he was to respond to 'From Commissioner to Asterisk' and then how quick he was again in response to 'A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To JTR Forums'.   Well, who knows, perhaps he's been too busy posting messages from Keith Skinner on Casebook to respond.

It's a real shame that I'm prevented from revealing what he told me in his email because it seems to me that the scandal of the 2018 Tumblety thread closure goes even deeper than I originally thought.  Unfortunately, I can't say anything about this, but what I can say is that I was very surprised to find Jonathan Menges posting on behalf of Keith Skinner on Casebook.

At the time I wrote 'From Commissioner to Asterisk', I had no idea that there was any connection between Menges and what one might call 'the Diary Defence Team'.  As I mentioned in the article, I wondered if it was 'the Tumblety Mafia' that had nobbled me for standing up for myself against the onslaught from Mike Hawley.  But now I have to start to wonder if it was actually my posts on the subject of the Maybrick Diary that caused the Admin of Casebook to come down on me so hard, having had her mind poisoned against me by a senior person behind the scenes.  I don't mean Caroline Morris although she was, of course, as I mentioned in 'From Commissioner to Asterisk' very quick off the mark to use Admin's ruling in the Tumblety thread as material to discredit me in a Maybrick thread.  

Throughout the whole time I was posting in the Maybrick Diary threads, it was clear that attempts were being made to discredit me on a regular basis.  It's what happens to critics of the Diary. With that going on in public, what was happening in private?  Was I being discredited through emails and private messages?  Like I said, I previously had no idea that Mr Menges was connected with the Diary Defence Team. Now that he is being used as Keith Skinner's messenger, I naturally begin to wonder.   

When I look back at my 'Acquiring a Victorian Diary' thread, I can see that Mr Menges was very quick off the mark to respond in #2 with a sceptical post asking me some not particularly good (it has to be said) but clearly hostile questions; at least, questions hostile to the notion that the Diary was a modern hoax.  After I answered his questions in full in #5 there was nothing.  Not a thank you or an acknowledgment or anything of the sort.  I always like to think I thanked someone if ever they answered a question of mine, or at the very least, acknowledged their answer, but Jonathan Menges just disappeared after that into nothingness, only to return (as far as I can remember him ever addressing me) in the Tumblety thread where he made some equally hostile posts.  All very curious and I believe with good reason that there is even more to all this than I'm able to post here. But if Mr Menges says I can post what he told me in his email then all will be revealed.


Harry - Thread: 'Acquiring a Victorian Diary' (#1799)

There's been a wonderful hoax post in this thread, sending all clowns flapping their big feet into a state of frenzy, as, in an apparent attempt to show the world that he's not 'a clown', Harry posted:

'As a matter of interest,I did find the use of one off in a British newspaper of 1871. 24-6-1871 .It relates to a one off sale of goods.Page 3 of a180 page edition'

Oh no he didn't!  

Of course he didn't.  He obviously didn't even believe it himself.  Who gives the exact date of a newspaper and the number of pages without naming the newspaper itself?  And who would find a supposed example of 'one off' without quoting it exactly, with quotation marks?  

So he knew in his heart that he hadn't found what he was claiming.  I knew, of course, because I'd already checked the whole subject out and it's quite impossible for Harry to have found what he claimed to have found (which, as he subsequently revealed, was supposed to be an advert saying something like (but not exactly quoted) "One off retail of sultanas at 6 pence a pound"). Apparently, an independent muppet had clarified for him that this was the same usage as in the Diary but, of course, it wasn't.   

As later revealed by Iconoclast, who acted with sensible restraint throughout the entire sorry episode, the newspaper advertisement (which was not in a British newspaper, as stated, but a Jamaican one) was rather different from what Harry had claimed it said.    For it actually said this:

'CURRANTS - Barrels Fresh Zante Currants, one on retail at 6d per pound.'

In other words, apart from not mentioning sultanas, it didn't say 'one off' at all!  There is a smudge on the newspaper which, to the unwary, makes the word 'on' look like 'off'. The bunting needs to come back down chaps and the champagne goes back on ice.   

But the good news is that there is a word for what he's done which appears in the latest version of the dictionary published this week: 


One of my favourite responses to Harry's post, prior to the inevitable reveal that he had failed, was from Graham.  He said this (#1782; underlining added):

'If Harry's reference has the hyphen between 'one' and 'off', then he's onto something. I rather hope it has.'

That's interesting isn't it?  He hopes that someone can find a nineteenth century example of one-off.  So, for some strange unfathomable reason (despite always denying that he thinks the Diary was written by Maybrick) he must want the Diary to have been written in the nineteenth century.  Either that or he just wants to keep the mystery alive.

Now, Graham was the same person who took offence when Paul Begg made his rather strange comment a few weeks ago that people don't seem interested in the question of when the Diary was created.  Clearly Paul had overlooked the thousands of posts on that very subject on the Forum over the past two years!  But a somewhat outraged Graham angrily made the point that he was interested in finding out when the Diary was created.  Strangely, though, when I tell him, with rock solid evidence, that it wasn't in the nineteenth century, he doesn't like the answer.  He hopes and prays for someone to prove me wrong.  Why? Why, oh why oh why?

People are strange aren't they?

Incidentally, for the attention of the internet, no-one was called 'a clown' in my 'Send in the Clowns' thread.  It's funny what a suggestive title and a couple of images can do isn't it?  

But here's an infallible test.  If you think you might be a clown, then you probably are. 

Talking of which. Let's go back to JTR Forums and the 'one off' thread.



Mr Poster - Thread: 'One off' (#431)

Mr Poster has also inspired a new word in the dictionary:

What did Mr Poster say?  Well he posted this:

'Out of interest, why does "one off instance" have to mean a singular instance at all?

Why could it not mean one rotten instance, one uncharacteristic incident or whatever?

Examples of which - using "off" to denote bad, or rotten, can be found way back.

Just curious.'
As we can see, this was posted as a harmless question but when sensibly told (by Paul Butler) that 'including the indefinite article [i.e. the 'a' in 'a one off instance'] can only mean one thing, a singular occurrence'  (#432), Mr Poster suddenly firmed up his nonsense with this response (#435):
'I dont agree. Stick a comma after "one" and its fine. Given the stilted language of the thing and odd phrasings.....I dont see that "off" in the context of "bad", "rotten", "not normal" is any stranger than a one off instance.'
This was, of course, a ridiculous point originally made by Iconoclast in Casebook after I had demonstrated that 'one off instance' could not have been written in 1888.  Desperate for another explanation to keep the Diary alive, he hit upon a solution that even he admits was offered at least partly tongue-in-cheek.  I've never taken it seriously myself, assuming no-one else would be daft enough to buy it, but here we have the same thing repeated on JTR Forums.
So let's just look at the idea of 'one off instance' here, meaning something like 'a poor show', or 'a rotten occurrence'.  Can it work?
The answer is no, for two obvious reasons.
The first obvious reason is that there is no expression 'off instance' in the English language (outside of some impenetrable sort of computer speak which I find on Google, but this certainly didn't exist in 1888, or a typo).  It just doesn't exist. It didn't exist in 1888.  So there would be no reason for Maybrick to have used it in his Diary, just like no-one else in the world is known to have ever used it either.
Then the second obvious reason is that, if for some inexplicable reason, Maybrick had wanted to use an expression that didn't exist in the English language in his Diary, for which there are probably a million better alternatives, he would have written this:
'I apologised, an off instance, I said, which I regretted and assured the whore it would never happen again.'
Alternatively, he could (if the expression actually existed) have written '...it was an off instance...'.
What he would certainly not have done is include the words 'a' and 'one' for there would have been no reason to include them - and including them is just weird in that context.
Mr Poster seems to have ignored Paul Butler's point about the indefinite article but it's clearly crucial.  He says 'stick a comma after "one" and it's fine'.  So let's do it.
'I apologised, a one, off instance, I said...'
Eh? What the hell does that mean?  A one?  Durrr?  I mean, at a ludicrous stretch the Diary author could have conceivably have written, 'I apologised, one off instance, I said' although even that has no meaning whatsoever but presumably could be explained as shorthand for 'it was one [hell of an unfortunate] off instance'.  But the indefinite article which actually exists in the Diary ruins this entirely.   Why would any author have written 'a one' rather than just 'one'.  Because that turns the phrase into 'it was a one [unfortunate] off instance'.  The 'a' just has absolutely no role to play in this construction.  It's not only redundant but ruins the possibility of the sentence having any meaning at all, which it actually doesn't anyway, there not being an expression 'off-instance' in the English language!
So it's hopeless and desperate, being a reflection of the sudden realization amongst those who I am not allowed to refer to as muppets that there is no possibility that Maybrick could have been writing about 'a one-off instance' in 1888.  None at all.  So they are now forced to move into the world of absurdity.

On this occasion Paul Butler got it right.  But then he spoilt all that good work by coming up with an equally daft comment in the very same post.  For immediately after he sensibly told Mr Poster that he was totally wrong, he came up with this cracker:
'The lack of a hyphen in the diary points to an earler (sic), rather than recent, date I think.'
Mr Butler provides no evidence to support this opinion.  All he had to do was take a look and see actual usage.  Now, of course, according to the dictionary, 'one off' should correctly have a hyphen to be 'one-off', albeit that the word didn't appear in any dictionaries until the 1970s but the author of the Diary is hardly a role model in the correct use of English grammar and people in 1992, as in any year to date, could write 'one off' and omit the hyphen.  Here are just a few of many examples of this, found in seconds, from Google Books: 

Firstly one from 2009:

'...until there is a one off event...' from Contagion by John R. Talbot, 2009  


Then 2011:

'...this is a one off event.' from Wedding Photography: A Guide to Making Money by David Pearce, 2011


Then 2013:

'Motivation is not a one off event' from Organizational Development and Strategic Change by Sahib Sabri and Saeed Sabri-Matanagh, 2013  


Another from 2013:

'Hopefully this would be a one off occurrence....' from Living with Ghosts by Andrew Bennett, 2013


And here's one from 2002 actually in the same context of striking women as in the Diary:

'those whose battering was a one off occurrence.'  fromState and Community Responses to Domestic Violence in Sri Lanka, Centre for Women's Research, 2002


I could post lots more but that should be sufficient to knock the idea on the head that because the author of the Diary wrote 'one off instance' rather than 'one-off instance' it somehow means that it must be old.

But let me post one more image.  This is from the Foundry Trade Journal of September 1918:


We can see the reference to 'one-off jobs', showing that even in the early, evolutionary days of the expression, it can be found with a hyphen.

There's just no way that the absence or otherwise of a hyphen helps us with the date.

I would have loved to have shown you an example of one-off instance, with hyphen, from 1888 but sadly the expression did not exist at that time! 

Paul Butler - Thread: 'One Off' (#484)

Am I really the only person to notice that the link posted by Paul Butler to a Sun article from October 2016 headlined, 'This family just found a hidden suitcase under the floorboards...' is actually to a story about a suitcase being found 'lodged in the ceiling', as the text of the article makes clear? 

Come on chaps. Raise your game!


Simon Wood - Thread: 'Acquiring A Victorian Diary' (#1886)

It's no surprise that Simon Wood is still posting nonsense on the Forum in my absence, but why does he have to do it in MY diary thread? 

This is what he said:

'On the weekend of Polly Nichols’ murder, two of H Division's senior officers, Superintendent Thomas Arnold and Local Inspector [CID] Edmund Reid, began their annual leave, which gives us a fairly good indication of the importance attached to Polly Nichols’ murder [which actually took place in the adjacent J Division].'

Why do I describe this as nonsense?  For the simple reason that Superintendent Arnold's annual leave was announced in Police Orders over a week before the murder of Polly Nichols. This is that announcement, in Police Orders of 23 August 1888:

It states: 

'H. Superintendent Arnold is granted 28 days leave of absence from 2nd prox.  Chief Inspector West will have charge of H Division during the absence of Superintendent Arnold.'

So the notion that one can get a 'fairly good indication' of the importance attached to Polly Nichols' murder from the fact that Superintendent Arnold took his annual leave as planned is exposed as pure crazy.  Arnold had leave arranged in advance to commence on 2 September 1888 and, as normal, he took that leave.  No doubt Chief Inspector West was perfectly competent to cover for him.  Perhaps Simon Wood doesn't think that Metropolitan Police officers in 1888 should have been allowed any holiday if there was any serious crime being committed in any division in London.

As to that, as Wood adds sheepishly in square brackets, Nichols wasn't even murdered in Arnold's division! So there was no conceivable reason for him to cancel his holiday.

The same is true of Edmund Reid, another officer in H division.  Investigating the murder of Nichols wasn't his responsibility.  The local detective in charge of the case was Inspector Helson of J Division who was being assisted from as early as 2 September by Inspector Abberline from Scotland Yard. Coming from a different division, Reid would not have been involved in the investigation even if he had been working. In any case, there is no evidence that he began his holiday at the same time as Superintendent Arnold, over the weekend following Nichols' murder, and Wood is guessing.  The evidence that he was on holiday in September 1888 comes from a report of Acting Superintendent West dated 8 September 1888, following the murder of Chapman, that Inspector Reid was 'on his annual leave.'  The start date of that leave isn't mentioned.  All that is known is that he was on holiday on the 8th.

We can see that from the Police Orders Superintendent Cutbush was granted leave from 25 August.  No-one then knew that the role of the Executive Branch would take on importance during the Whitechapel murders because the initial reports from division were sent to that branch.  It's just an ordinary matter of timing.

What any of this has to do with the acquiring of a Victorian diary, the subject title of the thread in which Wood was posting is unchallenged nonsense, is hard to fathom. 


Gary Barnett and Edward Stow - Thread: 'Inside Bucks Row - Interview with Steve Blomer' (various)

To my surprise I find that I am drawn into the long and totally inconclusive thread about the Podcast interview with author, Steve Blomer.  After Edward Stow posted a link in that thread to an article on this site entitled 'The Knock Up', Gary Barnett commented sourly (#104):

'Thanks for pointing us to the very long and totally inconclusive article by David Orsam.' 

Once again, and not for the first time (it's actually the third, so far) Gary Barnett has misunderstood the purpose of one of my articles.  As stated in the article, the purpose of it was to 'examine the available evidence about police involvement in knocking up, especially looking at whether officers were duty bound to engage in this activity [answer revealed in the article being: Yes] and whether they were allowed to accept payment for doing so' [answer being: No, not directly]' and also 'to collate and present all the known evidence'.  So that was mission accomplished.  At the same time, rest assured, I have reached a firm conclusion about Gary Barnett.

Edward Stow's response to Barnett was (#106):

'Your bête noire Dave Orsam updated that blog to put a less positive shine on it. I have no doubt it was because he didn't want it to reflect too well on Mizen. Something provoked him to make the amendment. I read him say so, but he seems to have edited that off.' 

I would like to put on the record here that it is totally untrue that the article was amended in any way to add or remove any kind of shine or to have any affect on Mizen whatsoever.  In fact, I haven't made any material change to the article since it was first published on 25 May 2017.  All I did was to make a single short amendment on 8 July 2019 to include an extract from Dicken's Dictionary of London for 1888, which summarized the police orders relating to calling up (and about which I wasn't aware when I originally wrote the article). 

I thought it was important to include this information because it shows that the police rules about knocking up were available to members of the general public.  But that was all.  The purpose of the article had nothing to do with taking a side in the Lechmere/Mizen debate and I would have no interest in spinning such a factually based article one way or the other.   The knock-up article has no thesis or theory to present or argue.  All I did was transcribe and include all the available evidence relating to knocking up and then tried to make sense of it. 

I really have no idea what Edward Stow thinks has been edited out from the article - and if he thinks has read me saying that something has been edited he must have imagined it - but I am quite certain that nothing has been removed from the piece since it was first published, with the only addition being as indicated above. 

One can tell, incidentally, what the addition is because it is in a slightly different colour font. 

Caroline Brown/Morris and Paul Begg - Thread: 'David Orsam's Blog' (#61-62) - NOW HIDDEN AND PRIVATE!!! 

'Hi Howie,
I feel a complaint coming on. Every time I even think of clicking on one of the links you supplied I get an electric shock to remind me not to go there. The man in the white coat standing behind me says it is new forums policy to save the sanity of the vulnerable.

Me? Vulnerable? Has the world gone raving mad??' 

I don't actually know what any of that means and feel I need someone to translate it for me into English from whatever strange language it has been written.  From the few words I do recognize, I think that the message she is trying to send out is that she's not going to read what I've written about the Maybrick Diary on this site: in which case she will merely live in ignorance.  Quite a contrast from her other post cited above, complaining about people who want to skate quickly above the surface without actually educating themselves.

It was particularly sad to see someone of Paul Begg's stature demeaning himself by posting in agreement with her incomprehensible post by saying 'Apparently it has', to indicate that apparently the world has gone mad.  Mind you, when you think about it, it is kind of mad to believe that someone took the trouble of forging a Maybrick-as-Jack the Ripper Diary in the late nineteenth or early twentieth century (using an expression within the text that didn't exist at the time) only to place it under the floorboards of Battlecrease and forget about it.  That so many people seem to be attracted to the idea does rather indicate that the world has indeed gone mad. But that's the Maybrick Diary for you; even the best of Ripperologists seem to lose their minds over it. 

Speaking of Paul Begg and his view that one can't be drummed out Ripperology, I would just like him (if he is reading this and prepared to take a moment) to consider how he would feel if Howard Brown closed and locked the Rubenhold thread on JTR Forums in which he has been posting and published an 'official' ruling saying that, "Paul Begg's incessant badgering of the author Dr Haillie Rubenhold, in circumstances where she is clearly not going to reply to any of his observations on her book, amounts to harassment and cannot continue on JTR Forums".  Now, Paul Begg might contact Howard privately to ask him about this but, if Howard refused to discuss it with him, he might regard the situation as outrageous and resign from JTR Forums or, alternatively, he might just shrug it off and continue writing on other subjects without caring at all what Howard Brown has said or done. 

That being so, let's push this hypothetical scenario a bit further.  Instead of just closing the thread, let's say that Howard decides to ban Paul Begg from JTR Forums for his posts on Rubenhold's book.  (Hey, you know, maybe Hallie and Howard had become friends in secret and Howard decides to do her a favour but the reason doesn't matter).  So Paul Begg is a bit perplexed but then when he next tries to post on Casebook, Ally Ryder has decided that the sisters need to stand together, otherwise Jack the Ripper has won, and Paul is also banned from Casebook.

Perhaps Paul writes some posts about the situation on his Twitter account so let's add into the equation that a few excitable posters on the forums start writing that men in white coats are coming for Paul and that it's no wonder he's banned from all these websites. Howard starts to sarcastically call him 'Mr Cuddly', while Ally Ryder says nothing at all.  Some posters in the forums jump up and down in excitement at the notion of Paul being banned from virtually all online discussion.

So now, facing this hypothetical situation, I wonder if Paul Begg would consider that he was being drummed out of Ripperology, or not. 

But, of course, this hypothetical scenario is ridiculous.  Surely no-one would close a thread and prevent questioning of an author.  That's Alice in Wonderland stuff isn't it?

Well for my part I don't see any material difference between the two books about Tumblety written by Mike Hawley and the one written by Hallie Runbenhold, at least as I understand from others what she says in her book, not having read it.  So something similar to what I have described happening to Paul Begg has already happened to me.  I'd like to think that I would have made a public objection if something of the sort had happened to Paul, or indeed anyone else.  But, of course, I do appreciate that anyone criticizing the decision of the administrator on Casebook is likely to face her vengeful wrath while Howard has deemed that what happens on Casebook is no business of his, or his members.  So I guess no-one dares to stand up for free speech.  They are not allowed to!

Hence, I continue to plough my own furrow over here.  I'm just glad you are here to join me on the journey.* 

Lord Orsam
8 September 2019 

* I appreciate that ploughing a furrow may not seem much of a journey to you but, to me, it's the best I've got.