top of page
  • Lord Orsam

Hartley's Egg

Baxter: Look, look, how long do you intend keeping me here like this?

Detective-Sergeant: Just as long as it takes you to confess, Baxter.

Baxter: To what?

DS: All in good time Baxter, all in good time.

Baxter: I haven't done anything, nothing.

Detective Parker (entering): I think we may be onto something Sarge, I found this in his fridge.

DS (to Parker): Good lad, Parker.

DS (to Baxter): Not done anything, huh? Perhaps you can explain this then (holds up an egg).

Baxter: It's an egg.

DS: Precisely, an egg. An egg answering to the description of fifty thousand eggs stolen from a lorry at Watford Gap last Tuesday.

Baxter: I don't know what you're talking about.

DS: Then why were you hiding it in your fridge?

Baxter: I wasn't hiding it in my fridge.

DS: Detective Parker says you were hiding it in your fridge.

Detective Parker: Behind the strawberry yoghurt, Sarge.

Baxter: Look, the fridge is where I happen to keep my eggs.

DS: Ah, when you're not out hijacking lorry loads of them you mean.

Baxter: I haven't hijacked a lorry load of eggs.

DS: Ah come on Baxter, on Tuesday fifty thousand eggs get knocked off and on Thursday we find one of them in your fridge. Do us a favour will you?

Baxter: How can you prove that that egg is one of the hijacked eggs?

DS: It's oval, isn't it? It answers to the description exactly.

Sketch from Not The Nine O'Clock News (with Mel Smith as Baxter, Rowan Atkinson as the Detective Sergeant and Chris Langham as Detective Baxter)



Jay Hartley's focus on the watch takes an even more bizarre turn with his recent blog post, dramatically entitled Maybrick Watch: Ticking Time Bomb which follows from his January 2024 post The Tale of Curious George Ramsay Davidson itself a weird title (did he mean 'The Curious Tale of George Ramsay Davidson'?) which followed on from his earlier pisspoor The Inconvenient Truth of the Maybrick Watch from October 2022.

The central thesis of his latest blog post is that James Maybrick once owned an egg, as did George Davidson, so that it must be the same egg as the one purchased by Albert Johnson in July 1992.

Sorry, sorry, when I wrote "egg" just then, I meant "watch". All three men owned watches so, according to Hartley, all three watches must be the same watch.

Yes, it really is that bad.

But it's even worse than that in a way.

For (prior to correction, after the error was pointed out to him) this is what Hartley told us in the 'Ticking Time Bomb' about what happened following George Davidson's suicide in 1893:

"A gold watch was found under his pillow".

See that, not just a watch but a gold watch. Clear as day.

But is it true?

Well the only evidence of Davidson's ownership of a watch that's ever been cited by Hartley is this extract from the Whitehaven News of 16 March 1893, included in his 'Curious' blog post:

As we can see, this makes no mention of a gold watch but merely states:

'The deceased's watch was found under his pillow...'

That is all the information we have about Davidson's watch. It was a watch. We have no idea if it was a gold watch or any other form of metal watch.

The amusing thing about this is that Hartley appears to have been perfectly aware when he wrote his January 2024 blog post that Davidson's watch was not known to have been a gold watch because back then he wrote:

Just "a watch" you see.

But over time, in his mind, he had obviously convinced himself that James Maybrick's gold watch made its way into Davidson's possession, and was the very watch found under his pillow, so that he twisted the evidence that Davidson's watch was said to have been a gold one.

When he corrected this after the mistake was pointed out to him by RJ Palmer on JTR Forums, Hartley described it as "an innocent mistake". Well, yes, but it was a mistake made because he had already convinced himself of his conclusions.

This is how the mind of a diary defender works. It bends all the evidence towards the outcome they want to achieve.

He thought he'd found the goose that laid the golden egg but it turned out to be a rotten one.


Let's say for the purposes of argument that Davidson's watch was a gold watch, as, indeed, it may have been. So what? Loads of Victorian gentleman possessed gold pocket watches. It was a standard accessory of its day for the wealthy man.

It's long been known that Maybrick possessed a gold watch which, as Hartley notes, was included in a list of his effects to be put up for auction in July 1889 (although Hartley seems to think that this watch would have been monogrammed with the initials "J.O." rather than Maybrick's own initials which is highly unlikely).

The serious and fundamental problem that the inclusion of Maybrick's watch in the July 1889 auction catalogue poses for the diary and watch defenders is that if this gold watch is the same watch purchased by Albert Johnson in July 1992, which, because it is also a gold watch, they seem to think, with their impeccable logic, must be the same one, then it can't have been hidden by James Maybrick in a biscuit tin along with the diary under the floorboards of his bedroom shortly before his death in May 1889.

So, to maintain the fiction that Albert's watch is also Maybrick's (and Davidson's) watch, Hartley has to come up with some kind of incredibly far-fetched theory, which he doesn't wish to share in any detail, to the effect that someone with access to Battlecrease but with no regard whatsoever to the financial value of James Maybrick's (and Jack the Ripper's) gold watch, or to the possibility of a house fire, must have put it under the floorboards of the house, presumably along with the diary, so that it could lie there, to be discovered by chance one day in the uncertain future by an unknown person who would ensure that it would become public knowledge through an illicit sale to a jewellers before being sold on again to an honest individual who would miraculously and by pure chance glimpse the invisible-to-the-naked-eye scratches in a hidden part of the back of it and then contact a newspaper to reveal that startling information to the world.

Why anyone would have wanted to have done this, or how they could be sure it would ever be discovered in their lifetime, isn't explained by Hartley and, as he doesn't wish to reveal any more information about the strange theory, it would probably have been best kept to himself for now because it doesn't help anyone (or make any sense).

The craziest thing about it is that he is prepared to consider this somewhat ludicrous and convoluted theory, almost certainly because he is inexplicably attracted to the evidence-free Battlecrease discovery theory, even though there are much simpler theories available to explain the the origins of both the watch and diary, namely that Albert Johnson's criminal brother was involved in the markings being added to the former and the Barretts were involved in creating the latter.

It is instructive to consider Hartley's stated reason for rejecting the Barrett diary creation theory in his latest blog post. After dismissing the idea that Tony Devereux passed the diary to Mike (something which no one any longer believes happens) he says:

Look at that:

"I certainly do not believe Mike hoaxed it, either".

That's it. A totally bland statement with no reason provided and, most crucially, and astonishingly, attributing the potential hoax solely to Mike while ignoring the possible involvement of others, especially his wife.

After all, even I don't believe that Mike could have produced that diary on his own. His penmanship and spelling skills were totally inadequate for the task. He would have needed help.

Yet, Hartley doesn't even seem to consider the possibility.

I call this astonishing because I've been banging on for years about the fact that Mike must have been assisted by at least one other person, and Hartley is a regular visitor to this website. He must be aware of this.

Mike himself claimed on multiple occasions that his wife helped him. Hartley must be aware of this too.

It's also far from impossible that others such as Tony Devereux and Billy Graham could have assisted with the drafting of the diary text.

But all we have from Hartley is "I certainly do not believe Mike hoaxed it, either".

Well if he means he doesn't believe that Mike was involved in the hoax, it would be nice if he could tell us why not.

I can only assume he's been hoaxed himself by one of the biggest hoaxes connected with the diary which is that Mike was too stupid to have been involved in the diary's creation. A hoax concocted largely by Caroline Morris-Brown over the years and swallowed whole - hook, line and sinker - by all wannabe diary defenders such as Tom Mitchell.

I note at this point that even Mitchell accepted that the writing style of additional diary pages produced to Keith Skinner by Mike about twenty years ago is similar to the writing style in the diary, and I further note that not all of those additional diary pages have yet been disclosed. The evidence in this case which points towards a hoax involving Mike Barrett remains ruthlessly suppressed.

Hartley hasn't even heard all the tape recordings between Barrett and Gray yet still feels he can form a conclusion that Mike wasn't involved in the hoax.

You will see that Hartley doesn't mention Anne Graham, so god only knows whether he thinks that the Barretts could have jointly forged the diary. He fails to share his thoughts on this crucial issue with his readers.


Another example of Hartley's twisting of the evidence is in respect of the marking on the watch which reads "H 9/3".

For Hartley, "H 9/3" doesn't get him anywhere, he doesn't like it, but he likes the possibility of it being 1893 (if we totally ignore the letter "H").

As 1893 was the year Davidson committed suicide, he thinks that Davidson had the watch serviced at some point between 1 January and 10 February of that year, which was the date he died, and was told by the jeweller that there were scratches on it indicating that his best friend had been Jack the Ripper. He doesn't expressly say so - and the evidence was that Davidson's suicide was due to his financial difficulties - but he presumably likes to think that the shock of this news was so great that he took his own life.

But what is Hartley's explanation for his claim that "H 9/3" is really "H 93"? Let's have a look:

Oh, it "appears" does it?

That basically seems to be it. No further explanation. Even though he's never actually seen the watch himself, the oblique stroke, he tells us, is "a long straight scratch" which has nothing to do with the 9 and 3.

But, hold on, let's emphasise another line from that same passage:


"Some people mistake the long scratch between the 9 and 3 as /".

Some people make this mistake do they?

Who would these people be?

Well one of them is someone upon whom Jay Hartley has heaped much praise and described as a "highly qualified metallurgist". Indeed, he's the very expert whose opinion Hartley entirely relies upon to inform him that the scratches on the watch are genuinely old. Yes, THAT expert, none other than Dr Stephen Turgoose who examined the watch under a high powered microscope as opposed to Hartley who's never even seen it in person. According to Turgoose, in his report of 10 August 1993, page 2:

Then on page 3:

So Turgoose was in no doubt whatsoever that what he saw on the watch with his own eyes under a high powered microscope was "H 9/3".

Yet, according to Hartley he has made a basic "mistake". It's not "H 9/3" at all, it's "H 93".

How could Turgoose have got it so wrong?

Hartley doesn't tell us.

But, if Turgoose did get it so badly wrong, does that not undermine his other findings?


We've already seen some wonderful alchemy from Hartley as he magically turned a plain watch into a gold one and, when we look at his response to Melvin Harris' criticisms of Turgoose's report, we find another wonderful piece of twisting from him.

As I revealed in December 2019 on the old website (and repeated again in May 2022), what Harris said about the possibility of those particles located by Turgoose in the watch, and said by him to be "blackened with age", having been contaminated, was simply this:

"But the whole issue has been muddled and taken off at a tangent because at no time have the possibilities been faced that the particle could have been deposited by either a tarnished brass scriber or by a grubby, contaminated cleaning cloth or buff." 

That strikes me as quite clear. Contamination by either a tarnished brass scriber or a grubby cleaning cloth/buff.

This is how Hartley interprets Fido's argument (in his 'Inconvenient Truth' blog post) in a section entitled "MELVIN'S OLD TOOL":

So there we have it. According to Hartley, Melvin Harris, "initiated the idea that the embedded brass particles the scientists found were actually from an old engraving tool".

Apart from ignoring completely Harris's suggestion that the particles might have been deposited by a cloth or buff, Hartley has changed Melvin's wording from "tarnished brass scriber" to an "old tool".

One could ask what difference it makes but now just take at look at Hartley's key objection to Harris's criticism in the very next paragraph of the same blog post where he says:

Suddenly, as if by magic, the "old tool" has become an "antique engraving tool"!!!

So Hartley asks in the purest bad faith:

"Could an antique engraving tool produce these scratches without crumbling apart under the merest pressure?"

He's fixed his own question, hoping for a favourable answer, but even then he admits he's not an expert, so who knows whether an antique engraving tool could have been successfully used in 1993 or not?

But, of course, Harris said nothing at all about an antique engraving tool. It's just an invention by Hartley from the very depths of his evil imagination in order to create a strawman argument which he can then happily destroy because he's incapable of challenging the argument that Harris did actually make.

That argument, as we've seen, involved a tarnished brass scriber or contaminated buffing cloth. So what is Hartley's objection to either one of these items depositing the particles found by Turgoose?

Nobody knows.

What a disgrace.

And look at his other argument in that same passage about the knowledge needed to artificially deposit the particles: one that, it should be said, entirely ignores the critical point Fido was making about accidental contamination.

Even assuming that the experts were correct that it would require "highly specific technical knowledge" to recreate what is found on the watch, which, if accidental contamination would do it, means they were obviously wrong - something Hartley has avoided dealing with (and Fido didn't agree with them) - why did it have to be Albert or Robbie personally who made the scratches? Could they not have asked a mate who did have technical knowledge to do it for them? Why is that not entirely possible? Why should we ignore this possibility and then immediately leap to the conclusion that the watch is genuine?

Surely, knowing that a modern hoax is entirely possible, we should be assuming that this is what we are dealing with, should we not? Isn't that far more likely than a confessional James Maybrick being Jack the Ripper and his watch (having somehow got into the hands of a lunatic) being planted under the Battlecrease floorboards during the 1980s in the hope that someone unknown, one day, would find it? Or whatever barmy theory Hartley is dreaming up right now.


8 May 2024

196 views16 comments

Recent Posts

See All


Rated 0 out of 5 stars.
No ratings yet

Add a rating
10 hours ago

I couldn't help noticing Mr. Hartley's latest observations on the Maybrick Hoax.

"Those of us who refuse to believe Mike or Anne wrote it still want answers on who did write it."

By all means, let's eliminate from our inquires the two published writers from Goldie Street who told innumerable lies, acted suspiciously, kept changing their stories, profited off the diary, hid Barrett's writing career, tried to obtain blank Victorian paper in the weeks leading up to April 1992, and in one case signed a secret, non-circulating confession to having committed the hoax.

Brilliant plan. Let's ignore the only rational suspects and instead chase after a chimera.


5 days ago

New to all of this, when it comes to actually reading what experts think of the jtr case. Read the whole unequivocal thread (I need a new job and quick) it was very interesting. Was so sad when Lord Orsam wasn’t allowed to continue as he was amazing and thorough on all he wrote. I have to give Ike credit as willing to listen and take criticism and try to just show his point even when he admitted it could be flawed. R.J. Was awesome and I will continue to follow and learn.

Lord Orsam
5 days ago
Replying to

It isn't clear from Casebook but I privately asked Admin to cancel my membership of Casebook following a ridiculous ruling of hers (which she subsequently deleted) in the thread "Jack the Ripper Suspect Dr Francis Tumblety" (within Ripper Media/Books/Non Fiction). Absent that request I would have been allowed to continue. I just didn't want to.


May 13

Jim Maybrick, a prosperous cotton merchant, had his watch monogrammed "J.O." Sounds legit.

Lord Orsam
6 days ago
Replying to

And he's saying the case was most likely made in 1846 when James Maybrick was about 7 years old. So what can the location of the casemaker relative to Maybrick's home in 1846 possibly have to do with anything as to the ownership of the watch in 1889?


May 10

"planted under the Battlecrease floorboards during the 1980s in the hope that someone unknown, one day, would find it?"

It's hard saying, but in a recent post Mr. Hartley referred to an electrician friend or acquaintance of Ron Murphy, the jeweler, so he must be theorizing that this electrician planted the watch in Dodd's house during an earlier project (?) but instead of Dodd finding it, Fast Eddie did, who then sold it back to Ron Murphy who sold it to Johnson? Is Hartley suggesting that Ron Murphy hoaxed the diary??

Lord Orsam
May 10
Replying to

Not confusing in any way!


May 08

Jay Hartley's theory contains a weird paradox. He seems to acknowledge (at times, at least) that the watch cannot stand on its own---in itself, it is not compelling evidence that Maybrick was the Ripper, so he theorizes that some unidentified person hoaxed the diary in order to "support the watch." (After all, what better way to prove something is authentic than to create a fake??!?) But if the diary is only a hoax (which Hartley also seems to acknowledge) then the watch does indeed stand on its own. Yet, despite already acknowledging that the watch cannot stand on its own, he nonetheless is convinced by the watch alone that Maybrick was Jack the Ripper!

Lord Orsam
3 days ago
Replying to

Sixteen days later (and 12 days after my comment), Hartley has clarified his statement to Chris Finch on JTR Forums that he is "pretty much in line with everything you have said". When he said "everything", you see, he didn't mean to say that he was in line with Chris' opinions, nor did he mean to say that he was in line his conclusions. In other words, he was pretty much in line with nothing Chris had said! Hartley obviously hadn't even read Chris Finch's post properly and had no idea what he was agreeing with. Not at all surprising from diary defender, mind you.

bottom of page