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  • Lord Orsam

A Matter of Logic

A new height of disingenuousness was reached on 22nd May 2024 when Caroline Morris-Brown was challenged by Chris Phillips on JTR Forums as to why she refused to state in terms that "James Maybrick did not write the diary" and would only go as far as saying that "the diary is not in Maybrick's handwriting".


Rather than accept that the two statements are different and lead to different conclusions about whether the diary is genuine or fake, she dissembled in a mealy mouthed way:

"Since the diary isn't in Maybrick's handwriting, then logically he didn't write it."


If that is truly the case, why didn't she simply say that she doesn't believe Maybrick wrote the diary?


I suggest it's because she knows perfectly well, and has accepted in the past, that it doesn't follow that just because the diary isn't in Maybrick's handwriting he logically didn't write it.


I have the receipt!


It's an exchange of posts she had with Tom Mitchell in October 2022:


Here it is:

As we can see, Mitchell posted in response to Morris-Brown's earlier claim that she can't see how the diary handwriting can be Maybrick's own by saying:


"Personally I can, Cazzykins"


Cazzykins!


Excuse me while I vomit violently into a large bucket.


"Imagine the above (apologies for the poor magnification) was an example of the handwriting in the scrapbook - where James Maybrick has frantically scribbled for his own eyes the details he wants to capture about his crimes.


[Image of young Mitchell's handwriting from 1989]


And then imagine that it's 1889 and you receive a letter (apologies for the poor magnification) from that fine cotton fellow James Maybrick and it reads somewhat as follows:


[Image of young Mitchell's handwriting from 1990]


If you had access to both, back in 1889, would you say that they were by the same hand or by two different people's hands?


Obviously (otherwise I wouldn't be posting them), they are from the same hand. Mine. Back in 1989 and 1990 (as I recall). The former was frantically scribbled into a notebook for my eyes only and the latter was written in a letter for someone else's eyes.


Honestly, now, how many of you think these two examples above were self-evidently not written by the same hand?"


In response, did Caroline Morris-Brown say that there's no possibility of the diary having been written by Maybrick, due to it not being in Maybrick's handwriting? Did she tell him that his argument was illogical? No, she did not. Instead she wrote:


"Hi Ikeypoo,"


Ikeypoo!


Oh gosh, I feel another huge gush of vomit rushing up from my stomach....bleeuuuughhggg....into another bucket.


"I take your point, sort of...."


I. TAKE. YOUR. POINT.


That is not a sign of disagreement.


She half-reasonably went on to say that it would need at least two reputable handwriting experts to examine Mitchell's examples and conclude that they were self-evidently not written by the same hand in order to make good his point. I say "half reasonably" because I'd be surprised if a reputable handwriting expert would make a finding of this nature in such categoric terms. What we'd want to see is if a handwriting expert was able to say that both sets of Mitchell's handwriting share certain similarities which would mean that it can't be ruled out that they were written by the same person (which is what I would personally expect them to say).


Anyway, the point is that this proves that Caroline Morris is perfectly aware of Tom Mitchell's argument that James Maybrick might have written the diary in a different handwriting to his normal handwriting. But she didn't say to him in 2022 that there was no logic in his post on the basis that it must follow that if the diary isn't in Maybrick's handwriting it wasn't written by him.


This isn't surprising because she secretly harbours a belief that Maybrick wrote the diary. This is a secret she let slip in November 2005 when she was still in a state of excitement about the then secret discovery of the Portus & Rhodes "timesheet" by Keith Skinner showing work done at Battlecrease on 9 March 1992.


Back then an issue arose when John Omlor noted an exchange between Morris-Brown and Chris George.


Chris George had written:


"You and I both know it is a fake. What we don't know who did it or why it was done." 


Did Caroline Morris accept this on the basis of Maybrick's handwriting not matching the diary handwriting? Do me a favour. No, of course she didn't. Instead she wrote:


"You can put words and opinions in my mouth, that I haven't expressed, and you can make assumptions about what I know and what I don't know. But it won't help your credibility by doing so." 


Here's where it gets really interesting though because John Omlor said of this exchange:


"But Caroline Morris has written to me privately in the past telling me that she knew the diary was a fake."


In response, Caroline Morris-Brown did not deny that she had once written to John Omlor privately in those terms (presumably prior to the "timesheet" discovery in 2004) but instead she posted the following on 8 November 2005:


"If I did I was naughty, because I couldn't have known that. But 'in the past' is in the past. If I said "The handwriting is not recognisable as Maybrick's" I'd be happy with that today."


So we can see that Morris-Brown was here expressly distinguishing between, on the one hand, a statement that the handwriting is not recognisable as Maybrick's and, on the other, a statement that the diary is a fake. She didn't say that logically one follows the other. Not at all. On the contrary, she said that any "naughty" statement made by her to the effect that she knew the diary was a fake was something said in the past (and can thus be left in the past).


She's been aware at all times that just because the diary handwriting isn't recognisable as Maybrick's this doesn't logically mean that Maybrick didn't write it, or at least it's not conclusive.


This isn't the only failure of logic in her post of 22nd May 2024. We can see that she also wrote:


"I would use the same logic to eliminate Anne Graham from our enquiries. Since it's not in her handwriting either, then logically A. N. Other must have held the pen, and Mike Barrett lied - as he did almost as easily as breathing - because he was either unwilling or unable to finger the real culprit."


It's a false equivalence.


And it's an argument with no logic.


In James Maybrick's own personal diary, one would expect the handwriting to be that of James Maybrick. Whereas, in a fake James Maybrick diary, one would not expect the forger to write it out in their own (recognisable) handwriting.


Why Caroline Morris-Brown continues to insist that the "sensible and competent" Anne Graham would have written James Maybrick's diary in her own handwriting is anyone's guess.


LORD ORSAM

25 May 2024

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Guest
Jun 03

Lord O,


Maybe you could help.


On a thread dedicated to "one off instance" Caroline Brown is discussing everything BUT "one off instance."


That said, do you happen to know on which of the Gray tapes Barrett allegedly confesses to faking the watch?


I'd ask Brown (who frequently admonishes others for not giving references) but I figure it will only lead to a bitter, long-winded back-and-forth. Thank you.

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Lord Orsam
Jun 04
Replying to

A few comments from me about Madame's JTR Forums post in the "One off" thread about, er, the watch in which she attempts to conjure up from her imagination "a plausible reason" why Mike lied to Alan Gray about faking the watch himself.


She says:


"On the face of it [sorry!], it is such a ludicrous and obvious lie for Mike to have told Gray, when he was supposedly doing his best to reveal how he had faked the diary with the wife who had divorced him just the previous month, that only his worsening state of mind and reliance on alcohol would seem to explain it. But was there method in his madness?"


Well, Mike had already revealed how…


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Guest
May 28

I've seen the diary described as "not in James Maybrick's known handwriting."

Add to that, the diary is "not in Anne Graham's known handwriting."

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Lord Orsam
May 29
Replying to

Yet, the world's expert on all things told me categorically on 28th March 2018 ('Acquiring a Victorian Diary' thread, #1526):


"It's not Anne's handwriting."


Strangely, however, when confronted much later with the obvious similarities between Anne's handwriting and the diarist's handwriting she was suddenly unable to comment about handwriting.


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Guest
May 27

In the past, Caroline Brown has even tried to insinuate that Anne Graham's handwriting was eliminated from consideration. In reality, there is no indication that any accredited handwriting expert ever made a specific study of Anne's handwriting. So why so much smoke and mirrors?

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Lord Orsam
May 27
Replying to

And it's important to remember (which Caroline Morris-Brown never does) that there is, in any case, a difference between a finding that there is no match between two different sets of handwriting and a finding that two different sets of handwriting were not written by the same person. The former is quite straightforward for a handwriting expert to conclude, the latter all but impossible if disguised handwriting has been employed.

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