top of page
  • Lord Orsam

Fifty Fifty

Updated: Apr 2

Depressingly, it hasn't taken long for a diary defender (Tom Mitchell) to use some purported content from one of the suppressed and withheld tape recordings to try and argue that Mike Barrett didn't write the diary.

Even worse, Mitchell used a summary - not a transcript - of one of the Gray/Barrett tape recordings: a summary made by Seth Linder which isn't publicly available and which can't be checked against the original (audible) recording, for reasons which have still not been explained (see The Missing Tapes).

Introducing the summary, which Keith Skinner had presumably sent him in a private email, as "cheese" for any of "the mice around here" who were "inclined to nibble", Mitchell told us that it said:

Sunday, November 6, 1994:

Now it will be easy for MB to prove.

MB: 'Doesn't anybody understand’.

A thought crosses AG's mind. ‘You said Anne did it. You're still saying it’s

all her handwriting?

MB: ‘it’s 50/50’. It appears they did a bit each.

This summary reveals nothing new, being reflected on page 152 of Inside Story.

Tom casually commented: "I took this from Seth Linder's summary - I don't believe a transcript of this tape exists yet?". Can he really be so unaware that the baffling reason there is no transcript is that we don't have an audible version of the tape recording of 6th November 1994, even though an inaudible recording of that date was included in the series supplied to Jonathan Menges and published on Casebook at the start of the year.

Can he also be so unaware of what is going on in the world around him that he doesn't know that one reason Keith Skinner refused to release the November 1994 recordings in the first place was that he was extremely worried that R.J. Palmer and myself might find inconsistencies between those recordings and the summary of them in Inside Story and that, lo and behold, the key November 1994 recordings provided to Jonathan Menges to post on Casebook were suddenly inaudible and unable to be checked against the summary of them in Inside Story, a summary which Mitchell himself now relies on for propaganda purposes?

Clearly, for Seth Linder to have heard the above exchange in the first place, he must, at some time, have possessed an audible recording of the conversation between Gray and Barrett on 6th November 1994. So where is it? Why has it not been produced? Why has James Johnston denied Jonathan Menges' reasonable request to obtain a more audible version?

Another important question is why Keith Skinner hasn't even provided a public explanation, through Tom Mitchell, as to why an audible version of the recording hasn't been produced, even though on the very same day as Tom posted Seth Linder's summary, Mr Mitchell made clear he was receiving emails from Keith Skinner.

As for the "50/50" comment, one really needs to hear the recording to be sure what Mike was saying because we can see that, before asking a question, Gray stated: "You said Anne did it". Might it be that Mike was responding to this when he said "50/50"? Was he really saying that he did fifty percent of the handwriting? Or was he saying that he was responsible for fifty percent of the content?

We find another 50/50 remark made by Mike in a later recording, on 30 September 1996, when he told Gray:

"I’ve told Doreen Montgomery a thousand times I wrote the diary.  And Anne wrote it. Everyone’s saying it’s impossible.  The plain fact of the matter is I did.  And I can prove it. 50/50."

We can see here the confusion which occurs from the use of the word "wrote". For he appears to be contradicting himself twice. On the one hand he says "I wrote the diary". Then, in what one might think to be a complete contradiction of that statement, he says, "Anne wrote it". Then, apparently contradicting both those statements, he says "50/50".

But they are all consistent if he meant to say that he drafted the text while Anne wrote the text so that it was a joint effort with his wife to create the diary.

It's difficult to believe that Mike was seriously telling Gray on one single and isolated occasion on 6 November 1994 that fifty percent of the handwriting in the diary was his. I mean, from what Gray is recorded as saying, Mike had already told him that Anne wrote the diary in her handwriting. Hence, per Gray: "You said Anne did it. You're still saying it’s all her handwriting?". So Mike must have told Gray at some point prior to 6 November 1994 that the diary was "all" in Anne's handwriting. In fact, we know he definitely did so because on the day before this conversation, i.e. on 5 November 1994, Mike had lodged a statement at Walton Police Station (taken and typed by Gray) in which he had stated that:

'My wife Anne Barrett wrote the 'Jack the Ripper Diary' the actual manuscript'. 

That was in a signed statement lodged, to repeat, the very day prior to the 6th November 1994 conversation in which, according to Seth Linder, Mike suddenly told Gray that he wrote half of the actual manuscript.

Then we find that, on the very day after this, 7 November 1994, Mike was back to saying that Anne wrote the entire diary. Hence, according to Inside Story, page 154, Gray was "not pleased to discover that Barrett had reverted to the claim that Anne wrote all the diary".

Earlier, on the 24 October 1994, Mike had categorically informed Gray that Anne wrote the diary in a series of clear statements. Hence:

"I done it on a word processor.  She’s transcribed it.....I thought it was a bit clever.  The writing and that. Write it down then. So I forged it, she transcribed it."


"I wrote the diary.  But whose handwriting is the diary in?  Anne’s."


"I never wrote the diary personally. I didn’t write the diary personally.  Anne wrote the diary.  I did it on the word processor." 

Then, on the recording on 31 October 1994, Gray asked Mike "Whose handwriting is it?" to which Mike replied "Anne's" and then, when Gray asked him how she did the handwriting, he replied, "She wrote very slow on some occasions."

Had Mike really changed his story on that one day of 6th November 1994 on the basis of a single comment of "50/50"? Or had Gray simply misunderstood what Mike had told him?

There is very good reason to doubt that Mike changed his story at all because on one part of the (largely inaudible) 6 November 1994 recording, at around 47 minutes, one can just about hear this exchange between Gray and Barrett:

AG: “Have you got samples of your handwriting that you can give me?”

MB: “Anne wrote it.”

AG: “most of it?”

MB: “Anne wrote the diary.”

We know that when it comes to Mike's claim that the diary was written by Anne, in her handwriting, this is what is stated in his 5 January 1995 affidavit and it's what he told the audience at the Cloak & Dagger club in April 1999 when he repeatedly insisted that the diary was in Anne's handwriting. He also told Feldman exactly the same thing on 20 July 1995 when Feldman asked him "Which one actually wrote it? Whose handwriting is it, yours or Anne’s?” to which Mike replied, "Anne's". So, if he did actually tell Gray on this one occasion on 6 November 1994 that fifty percent of the diary was in his own handwriting he must have been winding him up or spinning him a yarn. As to that, I already dealt with this entire exchange in my 'Man in a Pub' article from over four years ago. In that article (part 2), from January 2020, I wrote:

"There is a interesting incident captured in the recordings, as summarized by 'Inside Story', when Alan Gray spots a tape of an interview Mike had conducted with the clairvoyant Dorothy Wright for Celebrity magazine.  The existence of this recording, incidentally, destroys the suggestion made by Robert Smith in his latest book that Mike didn't conduct the interviews for Celebrity magazine himself.  Of course he did!  Anyway, Gray spotted that the letter 'y' written on the side of the cassette matched the letter 'y' in the Diary.  Mike apparently gave Gray the impression that the writing on the cassette was his handwriting but I'll be prepared to wager that it was, in fact, Anne's handwriting.   Don't ask me why Mike decided to let Gray think it was his writing but we know the guy was a confabulist and I'm sure he sometimes lied for its own sake.  Gray pointed out that Mike had told him that Anne had written the Diary and Mike, no doubt trapped in a pointless lie of his own making, said 'it was fifty-fifty' (Inside Story, p.152).  Having said that, I'd prefer to listen to the recording myself before accepting the truth of this account but it's currently not possible.  Without having heard the tape which has not been made available, it's not possible to come to any firm conclusion about this episode."

Four years later it's still not possible for me to listen to the recording myself, even though they've all supposedly been released! How extraordinary is that?

Like I say, it's no surprise to me that in 2024 a diary defender is using a summary of a recording which has not been provided to everyone in order to make some kind of propaganda point about Mike not having written the diary, by way of deflection from his inability to explain why Mike was seeking a Victorian diary with blank pages in March 1992.

Just more typical diary defender distraction tactics.


26 March 2024

Updated 29 March 2024

UPDATE 29 March 2024

There's been a response to this article from Tom Mitchell who, true to cowardly form, has posted it from the safety of Casebook rather than coming over here in the Comments section where I could have responded directly to him.

Here is what he said, with my responses underneath:

"At some point I will need to take the Dark Lord's advice (on his blogsite) and re-acquaint myself with his thread here on the subject of Anne's handwriting 'similarities' to the scrapbook."

I don't recall giving out any such advice but it's typical of Mitchell that he decides to post first without refreshing his memory and checking the facts. If he truly does want to educate himself he should read my more recent blog post: Hypothetical.

"I'm expecting, when I do so, to be blown away by the clear and obvious evidence that office worker Anne Graham (as Anne Barrett) was the mysterious scribe. "

This is typical diary defender misrepresentation designed to create a strawman argument which can then be rebutted.

I've never once described the similarities of Anne's handwriting with the diary author as "clear and obvious evidence" that Anne was the scribe. On the contrary, if one actually looks at the Casebook thread entitled "Diary Handwriting" that I created in April 2018, which can be found here, I made crystal clear that I wasn't saying that the handwriting similarities prove that Anne wrote the diary. Hence, in post #34, when introducing Anne's handwriting, I stated: "there are a number of quite interesting similarities. But I do want to say that there is no way of drawing any conclusions from these similarities. Certainly none of Anne's normal handwriting can be said to be identical to the Diary author's handwriting. All I want to say in this thread [is] that the similarities present us with quite a coincidence in that the person identified by Mike in his January 1995 affidavit as the transcriber of the affidavit shares a number of handwriting characteristics with the author of the Diary." I have maintained this position at all times.

The fact of the matter is that until I discovered the remarkable similarities between certain of Anne's handwriting and the diary handwriting, we were being triumphantly told by the Chief Diary Defender that Anne's handwriting positively did not match the dairy handwriting. This was supposed to be according to expert document examiner Sue Iremonger. Recently, under pressure from RJ Palmer, the Chief Diary Defender has been forced to admit that there is no actual evidence of Sure Iremonger ever having compared Anne's handwriting to the diary handwriting, let alone any evidence of what conclusions she drew. Her belief that any testing was ever done seems to be based on third or fourth hand hearsay filtered through various partisan and unreliable individuals, such as Paul Feldman and Shirley Harrison, through to Keith Skinner who, unusually, appears not even to have made any note of what he thinks he was told many years ago. To the extent that a comparison was made, we have no idea what samples of Anne's handwriting were, or could have been, provided to Iremonger, bearing in mind that the comparison was supposed to have happened in 1993, two years before Keith Skinner obtained a sample of Anne's handwriting. It's really all rumour and speculation and we can confidently conclude that Sue Iremonger certainly did not rule out the possibility that Anne could have been the diary author.

It's now clear, indeed, that there is no basis, and never has been any basis, to eliminate Anne as having been the diary scribe. None at all. That there are similarities between certain elements of Anne's handwriting and the diary author's is undisputed and, as I said back in 2018, it is remarkable that the only person who Mike Barrett has ever identified as the diary's author shares handwriting similarities with the diary handwriting.

"I wonder - though - just how very blown away I will be (or not)? I'm all a-quiver in anticipation of finding that the unequivocal evidence that Anne Graham's hand was the originator of our debate was there all along and I just didn't see it."

See how he uses the expression "unequivocal evidence". When have I ever said this? Never! But the similarities of certain characters are astonishing. We can't take it any further than this because the forger is very likely to have attempted to disguise their own handwriting when writing the diary. As I said at the very outset of my 2018 Casebook thread, the forger forms the same characters differently in different parts of the diary, making it impossible to draw any firm conclusions in respect of any kind of handwriting comparison. When it comes to disguised handwriting, this would defeat any handwriting expert, so one can only look at the similarities and draw one's own conclusions. The key point I've always wanted to make is that Anne cannot be ruled out as having been the author of the diary.

"Oh, just by the way and as an aside and all that, Mike Barrett informed Ace Detective that the handwriting was "fifty-fifty" between him and Anne (Ace Detective had spotted that Mike had wandered aimlessly into another lie and was challenging him about it when he - Mike - suddenly shifted gear and changed the story to fit his impetuous and ill-thought-out tale)* so I guess the bits that don't look like Anne's writing must have looked like Mike's (seems VERY unlikely, mind!) despite the relatively high level of consistency of the writing throughout the scrapbook?

Or is this claim just one of those which don't work for Orsam's Eleven-Day Evangelism and can therefore be ignored - filed away with the voluminous rest of Mike's endless lies?"

I don't know why Alan Gray is suddenly being referred to as "Ace Detective". Honestly, what is it about these diary defenders that they feel the need to make these snarky comments about dead people? Who cares whether Gray was a good detective nor not? It's not exactly as if Tom Mitchell can be said to have good detective skills, or even half reasonable ones.

But as for Mitchell's point here, he is once again relying on the accuracy of Seth Linder's summary of a tape recording which we haven't been allowed to hear. I refuse to be drawn into a discussion of whether Mike did nor did not lie based on a withheld and suppressed recording. As I said in the main text, it's not impossible that when Mike said "Fifty Fifty" he was talking about the creation of the entire diary in response to the comment "You said Anne did it".

I've also now updated the main text to include this exchange which occurred on 6th November 1994 - during the very conversation in which Mike is supposed to have told Gray that he wrote half of the diary - which can just about be heard on the recording which has been provided:

AG: “Have you got samples of your handwriting that you can give me?”

MB: “Anne wrote it”.

AG: “most of it?”

MB: “Anne wrote the diary.”

How is it that we don't find this mentioned in Seth Linder's summary or in "Inside Story"?

I must repeat that we need to hear the original audible recording before we can draw any conclusions about what Mike told Alan Gray. As I mentioned in the main text, I said this as long ago as January 2020 when I wrote in my 'Man in Pub' article that:

"Without having heard the tape which has not been made available, it's not possible to come to any firm conclusion about this episode."

That remains the position. We need the clear recording. Diary defenders must stop using material which is not publicly available to make their silly propaganda points.

"Makes you wonder why we should place as much trust in Mike's 'honesty' and 'felicity' on that one glorious day of commitment to the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth (January 5, 1995) which we have to do if Orsam's theory is to continue its admittedly very laboured breathing?"

Who the hell is suggesting that anyone should place any trust in Mike's honesty and felicity? And why did Tom put those words in quotes? I've said time and time again that I don't rely on anything Mike said without corroboration. But the fact remains that he repeatedly over many years stated long and loud that Anne wrote the diary and, lo and behold, it's possible to find some remarkable similarities in the way Anne forms certain characters in her personal correspondence to the way the diary author formed those same characters. It doesn't prove anything but it means that we cannot rule out Anne Barrett as having been the author of the diary.

Honestly, though, it matters not. Who really cares? The only important thing is that the diary is a fake, not written by the Whitechapel murderer, and that has been proven by the identification of impossible non-Victorian expressions within it.

89 views6 comments

Recent Posts

See All


Rated 0 out of 5 stars.
No ratings yet

Add a rating
Apr 17

Sometimes when an uncharacteristic and uneasy silence falls over the Diary's supporters, I imagine that Anne Graham has resurfaced behind the scenes to give a complete account of the hoax, or that it has been proven that Eddie Lyons was150 miles away from Liverpool on 9 March 1992, bedridden with the flu. Yet always I am disappointed. Three weeks later they resurface with the same arguments and as confident as ever that the mainstream 'herd' has it wrong and the diary is not a modern fake connected to the Barretts, but a genuinely old and mysterious document penned by either Maybrick or someone in his inner circle. I

Lord Orsam
Apr 18
Replying to

I'm always amazed at the lack of new evidence or information to support the Battlecrease provenance that's been produced by the diary defenders - James Johnston and Keith Skinner especially - since 2017, despite hints back then that more was to come. They haven't even produced the evidence that had been collected up to that time, still holding back their transcripts of their interviews with the electricians, and other important documents, for no apparent good reason. I remain astonished that they haven't even told us what Eddie Lyons actually said to them when he was spoken to in 2018. Instead, they just go round and round making the same tired old arguments which get us nowhere. What's even wor…


Apr 04
Rated 5 out of 5 stars.

It will be interesting to see if the Diary's supporters stand by Tom Mitchell after his latest posts or will now give him a wide berth. Heaven forbids that they should ever confront him.

Referring to Anne deceiving those around her with the "in the family since World War II" revelation, Tom “applauds” her behavior, characterizing it as:


Well thought-out

Highly effective


A strategically brilliant move in a game of chess.

Not honest nor true, mind you—but clever and strategic.

And Tom has to be referring to Anne being deceptive because no one refers to the behavior of someone simply coming forward to tell the truth as “strategically brilliant.”

Tom even doubled down, repeating it a day later.

Apr 15
Replying to

There is no way in hell that any one in his right mind would possibly believe the Diary is authentic, they know this, they would never bet their home or lives on it being original. It is all about those funny little games of them, a way of keeping on like an anti-aging mechanism.

The Baron

bottom of page