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  • Lord Orsam

Diary Day One

So what happened on that first day, 9th March 1992?

I think it's fair to say that the diary defender line used to be summed up by this post by Steven Owl from December 2016:

"I believe Barrett already had the Diary as we know his possession at the time he contacted Doreen Montgomery".

We find this reflected in a post from Caroline Morris-Brown on 4 January 2017 when she was arguing that because Doreen would have asked Mike a few questions about the book he must have had it in front of him when speaking to her, otherwise he wouldn't have been able to answer those questions, hence:

"He'd have been able to describe the book itself (which he couldn't have yet done if he didn't yet have it..."

Similarly, she told me on 23 January 2017 that she assumed Mike had the diary when phoning Doreen on 9th March:

"Assuming he had it when phoning her on March 9th".

I was somewhat on my own when I argued that because the diary had not yet been created when Mike called Doreen he couldn't possibly have had it in front of him when he spoke to her.

How times have changed.

First it was Caroline Morris-Brown who, as part of one of her ever-changing theories about why Mike needed a Victorian diary with blank pages, argued that Mike simply wanted to know the cost of a genuine Victorian diary so that he could show Eddie Lyons and use that as the basis for negotiation, hence he ended up buying the diary from him for £25. This, however, meant that Mike couldn't have had the diary in his possession on 9th March so that all that guff about needing to answer Doreen's hypothetical questions went out the window. It would also mean that Mike couldn't have bought the diary from Eddie until the end of March when he found out the cost from Martin Earl of an 1891 diary which seems rather odd.

Tom Mitchell also wants to stress that Mike didn't own or possess the diary on 9 March 1992. Hence, in a dizzy post he on 11 April 2024 he said:

First we are told that:

"The overwhelming evidence (whether it is correct or not) points to Mike Barrett receiving the Maybrick scrapbook from Eddie Lyons and/or Jim Bowling presumably in the Saddle Inn on or around March 9, 1992".

I've yet to see this "overwhelming evidence", which appears to be a state secret, but the strange thing is that despite telling us that the evidence points to Mike receiving the diary on or around 9 March 1992 he then tells us, somewhat in contradiction of that statement, that the evidence points to Mike Barrett receiving the scrapbook after 9 March 1992, hence

"Strangely there is a delay. Mike possibly hasn't got the book yet."

The he adds bafflingly:

"It takes us a few days to get the scrapbook..."

Us? As I don't believe Tom was involved at the time, I can only assume he means that it took Mike a few days to get the scrapbook.

It's interesting that he takes this line because when I once asked why there was a delay in taking the diary down to Doreen, I was told by Tom's mistress that it was because it was term time on 9 March 1992 and the first time Mike was able to visit London was the start of the Easter holidays on 13 April.

The problem with this is that Mike told Doreen that he couldn't come to London immediately because he was about to go to York. If that was true, and he went to York during term time, what was to stop him going to London during term time? If it was a lie, why did he lie? Why not just say that he couldn't come until the school holidays because during term time he had to pick up his daughter from school? In that event, Doreen might well have invited Mike down on a Saturday.

It's amazing that the researchers never seem to have bothered to ask Doreen about why there was such a long delay and whether she would have agreed to meet Mike during a weekend.

Perhaps to his credit, Tom has seen the flaw in his mistress' argument and thinks that the reason for the delay must have been due to not having the diary in his possession on 9 March. But he falls down in saying that the delay was only a few days because, if that was the case, why didn't Mike take the diary down to London during week commencing 16 March? Or is he saying that Mike didn't get hold of the diary until about 8 April when it seems that the arrangement for Mike to come to London was made?

It would seem, would it not, that the most likely explanation for the delay was that Mike was engaged in finding a suitable old diary with blank pages or, as it turned out, a photograph album, in which to create the forgery?

But, hey, at least the diary defenders seem to be coming round to what I originally proposed back in 2016, and which seemed to be very radical at the time, that Mike didn't have the diary in his hands when he spoke to Doreen.

Baby steps.


What I want to discuss now is what was supposed to have happened on Day One, as told by the Barretts.

As mentioned in Through Anne's Eyes, Shirley Harrison, having interviewed Mike and Anne, related that, "Mike took the parcel home, and opened it with Anne", causing Anne to tell Shirley, "I'll never forget Mike's face" when he saw it was the diary of Jack the Ripper (Diary of Jack the Ripper, 1993, p.5).

However, we find that in her 2003 book, The American Connection, Shirley told a different story. In that book it is stated that:

"I went home and opened the parcel with Caroline...Anne and I sat together that evening and tried to make it out."

While that quote is sourced to Mike, who is unreliable, it seems that Shirley must have spoken to Caroline because she says:

"The next day, Caroline remembers, her dad went down to Tony's house and pestered him about the origins of the Diary How long had he had it. All Tony would say was 'You are getting on my fucking nerves. I have given it to you because I know it is real and I know you will do something with it...Caroline remembers how her had continued to pester Tony for information on the telephone."

This passage causes the Chief Diary Defender a lot of trouble and she has to use the most extraordinary mental gymnastics to say that while Caroline thought that her dad went down to Tony's house and pestered him in person and on the telephone about the diary, it was really Eddie Lyons who Mike was pestering.

That aside, we still see a massive problem with the account of the original opening of the parcel. Either Mike opened it with Caroline when he brought her home from school or he opened it with Anne later that evening when she returned from work. Which one was it?

It is literally astonishing that we don't have a detailed account from Anne as to when she first saw the diary but, from Shirley's quote that she would never forget Mike's face when he opened the parcel, she must have been telling Shirley she was there when it was opened. But then Caroline also appears to have been confirming that she was with her father when he opened the parcel. Well perhaps they were both sitting with him when he did so but we need to know what time Anne returned from work to understand when this happened.

Mike must have been a good actor to fool his wife because, of course, if he received the diary from Eddie Lyons he knew perfectly well what is in that parcel.

This is all another reason why it was essential for the authors of Inside Story to interview Caroline in 2002 but not only did they fail to do so, they made excuses for her when she skipped the interview.

It's such a shabby state of affairs but it's the story of both the diary and the watch. In both cases the story as to how the name "Jack the Ripper" or "Jack" was first seen is very vague and hard to understand. In the case of the diary we literally seem to have two different accounts of how Mike first opened the parcel.

Suspiciously, when the Diary of Jack the Ripper was republished in a new edition of 2010, the quote from Anne about how she would never forget Mike's face as she watched him open the parcel wasn't included. Harrison repeated the quote from Mike about opening the parcel with Caroline but no mention was made about him opening it with Anne, as had been stated in the 1993 edition. Why was it removed?

Incredibly, in the 2010 edition of The Diary of Jack the Ripper there is no mention at all of Anne's reaction to the diary. How is this even possible?

For what it's worth, Feldman tells us in his book that "when he arrives home with Caroline, Mike opens the parcel...".

The authors of the 2003 book, Inside Story, quoted Mike as saying, "when I came home that day, Caroline is in the room with me". No mention of Anne. He says he went to the last page and saw the name "Jack the Ripper". This is odd because, according to Shirley, Anne specifically said she would never forget his reaction to seeing this. So was she there or not? The authors of Inside Story don't tell us.

The diary researchers couldn't even nail down what was supposed to have happened on day one. What chance do we have of knowing anything about the diary today?


23 April 2024

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