Lord Orsam's Diary
Monday 6 November 2023
I awake to find Simon Wood is spamming the boards with his nonsensical claim that the victim photographed in 13 Millers Court on 9 November 1888 'isn't Mary Jane [Jeanette] Kelly', thus disrupting two threads started by Richard H to post another of his amazing enhanced photographic images. Wood is ignored on Casebook but, on JTR Forums, one poster heroically asks him to provide some details and evidence of his claim, something which he, of course, refuses to do. Having read his book, I can state with a high degree of confidence that Wood cannot provide any details or evidence to convince anyone that the person in the photograph is not Mary Jane Kelly.
Later in the day, the Chief Diary Defender posts on Casebook to say that the age of the contents of the Maybrick diary, 'is not as interesting to me as the state some 'ripperologists' get themselves into whenever it's argued that the proven liar Mike Barrett had no provable inside knowledge of the diary's creation'. I don't know what 'state' she is talking about, or which 'ripperologists' she means - and I assume she is imagining both - but I wonder what 'provable inside knowledge of the diary's creation' she thinks Mike could have provided. Perhaps she remains upset that Keith Skinner failed to ask a single intelligent question which might have extracted such knowledge when he had the opportunity while interviewing him at the City Darts pub in April 1999. Perhaps she is also annoyed with herself for not asking a single question of Mike even though she was in the audience that evening. She may even be irritated by the shockingly poor investigation into the diary's origins that was carried out by researchers while Mike was alive.
According to the Chief Diary Defender, continuing with her thought, Mike, 'was motivated to claim otherwise [i.e. that he had forged the diary] after his wife and daughter had abandoned him and gone over to 'the dark side' of Paul Feldman's influence'. Thing is, Mike's wife left him, taking his daughter with her, in January 1994, but Mike didn't confess until June of that year. Why the six month delay? No evidence has been provided that Mike believed in June 1994 that Anne had gone over to the 'dark side' of Feldman's influence. It's notable that in June 1994 Mike didn't even mention Anne in his confession, so it's very difficult to see why Anne's departure would have motivated him to confess to faking the diary on his own. The only connection that I can see is that it meant that there was no one around to stop him confessing.
It does make me wonder, though, whether, rather than obsessing over what some people think about Mike Barrett's involvement in forging the diary, the Chief Diary Defender wouldn't better spend her time providing some provable inside knowledge of the diary's discovery under the floorboards of Battlecrease, if that is what she wants us to believe happened, rather than failing to do so on a daily basis.
Tuesday 7 November 2023
A new member of Casebook posts a bizarre response to the Chief Diary Defender, telling her 'that you shouldn’t have to explain your position to people who wildly misrepresent it' even though she constantly misrepresents the positions of others, while her own position changes dizzily on almost a daily basis (but, you see, she is allowed to change her mind as often as she likes), before then going on to say, 'As I understand the opposing view, Barrett got a stub book at the end of March and in 2 weeks he was able to find out what a stub book was and incorporate it into the final draft of his diary'. Good to see that this new member isn't wildly misrepresenting any opposing viewpoints at all, then. Stub book? What? Even better, this person continues, 'That is the position of people who, having been told for 30 years what a stub book is, still don’t know what it is!'. Have I travelled into another dimension where something different has been discussed about the diary for the past 30 years?
Over in JTR Forums, another brave member asks Simon Wood what book he was referring to when he said yesterday that 'the illustrated book does contain everything you wanted to know about Millers Court'. I fear that she may get suckered into wasting £23 hoping to find an answer that isn't there. Yes, it's true, while a serial killer known as Jack the Ripper certainly existed, the answer to Wood's riddle doesn't.
Btw, for anyone wondering, yes I am writing in an actual diary. It really exists....
Meanwhile, the Chief Diary Defender, apparently oblivious to Simon Wood's theory that the person in the Millers Court photograph is not a human being, waved a red rag to a bull by saying that it was good to think of the person in the photograph looking restful 'whoever she was and whatever her real name was'. Will Simon take this insult to his work lying down?
Responding to Stub Book Boy, the Chief Diary Defender has to ask him what a 'stub book' is, which rather makes a nonsense of his post from earlier in the day, but in the process, she says:
'Mike Barrett's claim was that it had been an intact album with many pages of photos in January 1990, when he saw it in an auction sale and bought it for the purpose of turning it into JtR's diary.'
That statement is, I regret to say, false. For it to be true, the Chief Diary Defender should have said that this was a claim solely made in Mike Barrett's 1995 affidavit (written by Alan Gray). When Mike Barrett spoke in April 1999 to an audience of Ripperologists, including the Chief Diary Defender herself, about his purchase of the photograph album, he made clear that he bought it in an auction sale sometime around March 1992. He did not say this occurred in January 1990 as she claims. Is she, I wonder, in denial about this to the extent that she has to falsely represent Mike's own account of the purchase which she heard him relate with her own ears?
The Stub Book Boy mystery is finally solved as R.J. Palmer reveals that only one person has ever weirdly and inaccurately called the diary a 'stub book' in 30 years and it is undoubtedly the person now posting on Casebook as 'Lambro2'.
Wednesday 8 November 2023
Nothing from Simon Wood in response to the query as to which illustrated book he was talking about on JTR Forums. It seems that all he wants to say on the boards these days is Jack the Ripper didn't exist, Mary Jane Kelly didn't exist, George Hutchinson didn't exist etc. etc. without a word of explanation. Also no response from him to the claim that the person in the Millers Court photograph was a human being, something bizarrely disputed by Wood.
Stub Book Boy came back with more incoherent ramblings overnight. As he is the person who once seriously suggested using a metal detector in the River Mersey to attempt to find the knife he thought the diarist had thrown into that river (the fact that the diary's narrative indicates that the knife was supposedly thrown into the Thames isn't even the worst problem with this suggestion), he can safely be ignored.
I then see that Robert Smith is allowed to have nonsense posted on his behalf in a closed thread on JTR Forums that no one is allowed to question or otherwise respond to. Attempting to justify his spurious and unfounded claim made in his 2019 book (p.17) that Mike Barrett's articles published in Celebrity and Chat were, 'clearly not interviews as such, but were cobbled together by an in-house writer from other sources edited in', Smith says in his very brief JTR Forums statement that, 'Mike would have got a few quotes from the interviewees, from which any competent sub could have fashioned the published article'. So what he wrote in his book was obviously just him speculating from a position of pure bias because he can't bring himself to accept that Mike was a professional freelance journalist. It's funny though. How does he think that Mike managed to get 'a few quotes from the interviewees'? The only way he could have done this was by interviewing them! That's exactly what journalists do, and it contradicts his claim that they were 'not interviews as such'. Of course they were. They were exactly interviews. Mike would have been asking questions and the interviewee would have answered them. And the fact that a hypothetical sub-editor could have fashioned the quotes Mike obtained during his interviews into an article is neither here nor there. Did a real sub-editor, in fact, do so? Clearly not. In his book, Smith seemed to pretend to know that they did, when it transpires that he was simply guessing. We actually know from Anne's own statements that she helped Mike write the articles, Alan Gray saw at least one of the tapes of the interviews, while the editor of Celebrity positively praised Mike's contributions, so Smith was really quite wrong.
In any case, he's missed the point. No one has ever said that the articles in Celebrity and Chat were great works of literature.... but, then again, nor is the diary. The really important thing about Mike having been a professional freelance journalist is that he hid this fact from everyone during 1992 and 1993 (and half of 1994) including his own literary agent, his own publisher (Robert Smith himself!) and his own co-writer, not to mention every single researcher and investigator he spoke to during that period. Telling or what? How do the diary defenders explain it? I've no idea, they've never even attempted it.
What is also important is that Mike must have fancied himself as a writer to have even entered the world of magazine journalism in the first place. Another important related factor is that it showed that he and Anne as a team could jointly produce competent written work. No one has ever been able to put forward a single coherent reason as to why Mike and Anne couldn't jointly have created the Maybrick diary.
Smith also touches on one additional subject in his JTR Forums statement. In response to RJ Palmer having asked why he didn't press Eddie in 1993 for more details of the "old book" he claimed to have thrown into a skip (even though by Smith's own published account Eddie didn't mention an 'old' book, just 'a book'), Smith said merely, 'Of course, I did, but he stuck rigidly to his minimalist story.' Well, in which case, where is Smith's contemporaneous note of his meeting with Eddie? Did he create one? If not, is he simply attempting to remember a conversation from thirty years ago? If he did create a note, it needs to be produced in full so that we can see exactly what Eddie said during the entire meeting. It seems to me that Smith is the one providing a 'minimalist story' by giving hardly any details of what occurred during his 1993 meeting with Eddie. One assumes that the meeting took more than ten seconds, but ten seconds of it is all we've been told about.
Thursday 9 November 2023
Another day and another ludicrous diary defender post from the Chief Diary Defender. The latest thing she seems to have a bee in her bonnet about is found in her question, 'why didn't Mike mention the additional diary entries created to explain the use of a guard book with pages ripped out?'. What she means by this, as far as I can tell, is that the entry in the diary which says 'curse the bastard Lowry for making me rip' is supposed to be the diarist saying that he was being forced to rip out pages from the diary as a result of something that Lowry had done or said, being a reference back to earlier in the diary when the diarist wrote that he could have killed Lowry with his bare hands followed by some mention of 'missing items'. In the next entry, the diarist regrets that Lowry 'brought up the subject' and comments that no one will take away the pleasure of him writing his thoughts. Her theory is that all these entries were a late addition to the diary text, only included to explain the missing pages at the front of the diary. It was Maybrick himself who ripped them out, we are supposed to think, not the forger.
The first thing to say about this is that it is just a theory. To my mind it doesn't make much sense. Not only is not stated anywhere that any pages of the diary have been ripped out, but no actual reason for ripping out pages is provided. When the diarist speaks of 'ripping' elsewhere in the diary, he's always, without exception, talking about ripping women's bodies (i.e. 'The bitch opened like a ripe peach. I have decided next time I will rip all out' and 'I ripped open my God I will have to stop thinking of the children they distract me so I ripped open' and 'I had no time to rip the bitch wide' and 'she ripped like a ripe peach'). The very next thing the diarist writes after 'curse the bastard Lowry for making me rip' is 'I keep seeing blood pouring from the bitches. The nightmares are hideous'. So, to my mind, what the diarist was saying was that Lowry was responsible in some way for him having mutilated one or more of his victims.
But, from her theory - which, being infallible, she has convinced herself in her mind is correct - she then moves on to wonder why Mike never explained his thinking behind these diary entries as being to provide a reason for the missing pages at the start of the photograph album. Other than the fact that this might not have been the purpose of the diary entries in question, one obvious response is that he was never asked. She could have asked him about them herself during the Cloak & Dagger meeting in April 1999. Keith Skinner could also have asked him. Neither of them did. But the real mischief is in the implication that if Mike had explained why he added these entries as being to provide a reason for the missing pages, it would somehow have proved to her satisfaction that he wrote the diary. This makes no sense at all. Had Mike provided an explanation, we would have been told that he was inventing it all, creating an imaginative answer from the diary text to fill in the gaps in our knowledge about the missing pages, safe in the certainty that no one could ever contradict him. After all, when he explained the fact that David Baxendale found a fragment of a photograph in the diary by saying that he had ripped out the pages with photographs, but had accidentally left a fragment in one of the folds of the pages, she doesn't say that because he's explained the fragment he must have faked the diary. Not at all. If Mike had said what the Chief Diary Defender believes to be the case, that he added some late entries into the diary's text to explain why James Maybrick ripped out some pages, where would that get us? Nowhere I would suggest, other than that the Chief Diary Defender would have told us that Mike had carefully studied the diary text and cleverly fabricated an explanation. I mean, if the Chief Defender thinks she is able to explain what the diarist meant by 'curse the bastard Lowry for making me rip' - and I don't think she is claiming to have forged the diary - why couldn't Mike also have worked it out and pretended that he wrote those words as a cunning way of covering up the fact that he had ripped out some of the early pages from the photograph album with a Stanley knife?
Friday 10 November 2023
More and more the Al Bundy character becomes one of my favourite online posters. Asked what he thinks about the idea of the diary being found under the floorboards he responds:
'until such time as the full interviews are made available (and the Barrett/ Gray interview, the word processor typescript) I'm not really wanting to get into debates about the Battlecrease evidence. I can't debate what I've never seen.'
That is beautiful. The perfect answer.
My only quibble is that he then goes on to say, 'I know there's rights and commercial interests surrounding the unavailable material so I'll just have to be patient'. I'm not aware of any such rights or commercial interests which are preventing the release of the 'secret' material, nor have I seen that given as a reason for the refusal to release these important documents and tapes, other than that, after promising to provide them to Jonathan Menges for them to be posted on Casebook, Keith Skinner once said he wanted to use the Barrett/Gray interview tapes in a documentary about the diary, but that was many years ago and the documentary appears to have been canned. Keith Skinner recently provided a written statement about those tapes in which he made it clear that the reason the tapes are not being released is purely because he doesn't want people like myself and RJ Palmer to use them to support the argument that Mike Barrett was involved in forging the diary, as we did with the 1999 Cloak & Dagger interview tape recording. When I asked James Johnston many years ago for him to release the transcripts of his interviews with the electricians, he didn't say anything about rights or commercial interests. Rather he claimed that those interview transcripts contain some confidential information which prevented him releasing them. So I told him, easy, just redact the confidential information. He never replied, which tells me that he wasn't discussing with me in good faith. Keith Skinner has admitted he deliberately reneged on his promise to release the Barretts' transcript of the diary, saying there is something in it he doesn't want us to see. He's allowed Tom Mitchell, one of the leading diary defenders to see it, though, just as he's allowed him to listen to the Barrett/Gray tapes, no doubt so that he can selectively use it for his own propaganda purposes. An utterly disgraceful set of affairs but there we are, it just means that, as the Al Bundy character says, no one can sensibly or intelligently discuss the Battlecrease provenance theory. A strange situation considering that the very people who apparently want to convince us all of the Battlecrease provenance theory are those who are suppressing and censoring virtually all the information about it! But, hey, that's diary defending for you.
Jay Hartley of all people steps forward to ask the Al Bundy character what he means by rights and commercial interests, then says:
Who exactly benefits from “holding back” and why?
I think he's asking the wrong person. He needs to ask.....himself.
Time to paste a receipt into my diary, from earlier in the same flipping thread:
It's just so blatant:
'I know lots of things you don't know RJ. That doesn't mean they are in the public domain.'
So the question Mr Hartley needs to ask Mr Hartley is: who is benefitting from holding back all this information from the public domain - all this information which he knows but can't share without permission, which is evidently being withheld - and why?
Perhaps if Mr Hartley lets Mr Hartley know the answer, Mr Hartley might care share it with the rest of us.
Bundy himself returns to tell us that Skinner has been 'pretty clear' in conversations he's had with him that 'certain material' is withheld due to commercial interest. I remain entirely unconvinced.
Saturday 11 November 2023
Stub Book Boy seems to have had a blinding flash of self-awareness as he writes: 'Oops! I've just realised I've been making faux-pas all these years'. No kidding. I don't understand the rest of his post but it's clear that whatever the diary has been written in, it's definitely not a stub book, which is what I think Stub Book Boy is now admitting to. Some people like to call it a guard book, others call it a scrapbook whereas I prefer to use what I think is the most accurate descriptor: photograph album. Because that's what scientific analysis tells us it was used as originally, prior to it being converted to a diary or personal journal.
Jay Hartley reveals just how rattled he is by Bundy's post expressing his disgust at the suppression of key documents in the case with a long rambling post. He says the quiet part aloud (almost) but fluffs the key sentence of his post by writing, 'if Keith is cautious about sharing information with certain individuals, it probably is more to do with what those individuals (sic) than perhaps any “commercial” interests.' I assume that what he means is that Keith is worried about what certain individuals will find in those documents, namely evidence which supports the idea that Mike and Anne Barrett were involved in forging the diary. That's not a proper reason.
I remember shortly after Mike's 1992 research notes were made available in 2017, after I had been calling to see them, and the chief diary defender made a taunting post about how I had gone silent. Well I bade my time and managed to discover something in them that Keith Skinner and everyone else had missed, namely that Mike had obviously used Bernard Ryan's book about the Maybrick case as a key source for the information in his notes but had pretended he had obtained the information from other sources. In addition, from the recording of the 1999 Cloak & Dagger City Darts event, I was able to demonstrate how Mike's story that evening about the creation of the diary was almost impossible to have been an invention and, furthermore, that Keith Skinner was guilty of a number of major misunderstandings and failures of comprehension. They really didn't like that and no more information has been made public since then.
It really isn't an answer for Hartley to say about Keith Skinner, 'I have never felt he has kept anything back from me'. Selected releases of documents to people who don't have the intellectual ability (and honesty) to analyse those documents correctly, and who are too deep into the cult of diary defending to even be able to look properly, is no substitute for openness and transparency. It's even worse that he claims that, 'Certain individuals have no desire for an open minded discussion' and that,'These individuals also have never acknowledged the inconsistencies in their own arguments.'. It's projection of the most extreme kind. How many times have I pointed out the inconsistences in the arguments of diary defenders, including Hartley himself? How many times have they acknowledged those inconsistences? Hardly ever, if at all, is the answer. Desire for an open minded discussion? Don't make me laugh. I've been posting year in and year out about the dairy and I can probably count on one hand the number of times a diary defender has actually responded to my arguments.
Naturally, he couldn't resist gratuitously including in his post the old trope that, 'There is no actual evidence the Barretts hoaxed it. There never has been.' This is false, there is evidence that the Barretts hoaxed it. He may not find it sufficiently convincing but the evidence exists. I've set it out at some length in previous posts. I think it's some kind of comfort blanket for them that they have to live in denial and keep chanting that there's no evidence. Who are they trying to convince of this other than themselves?
Anyway, it was great to see Bundy not taking any nonsense and responding on point with a great paragraph worth quoting in full:
'The questioned documents are being shared though, that's undeniable, but shared exclusively with like minded individuals, and that I can't get on board with. That myself or others can't access material because we would use it "to push a Barrett hoax" is nonsense. If your case is good it should resist any pushing, if the pushing is sheer bloody mindedness you should be able to rise above it. I can't take part in a debate in which I'm wearing a blindfold and relying on whatever snippets are thrown to me.'
The diary defenders need to be constantly publicly confronted with their own mendacity and dirty tactics. It's time to release all the information about this case, however much it undermines their own hard-wired beliefs. They need to put up or shut up.
Well done, Mr Bundy. The board needs more heroes like him.
Sunday 12 November 2023
Still silence from Simon Wood on the issue of Mary Jane Kelly's existence. I can't help but wonder what was going through the mind of someone who felt the need to post in both of Richard H's threads that one of the Whitechapel murder's victims didn't exist and then disappear. Even Pierre stuck around after posting his (her) barmy theories. What does Wood even mean by it? Is he saying that no woman was found murdered and mutilated in 13 Millers Court on 9 Nov 1888? Or is he saying that the woman who was found murdered and mutilated might have been known to some (i.e. Barnett, McCarthy, Bowyer) as "Mary Jane Kelly" but that was not her real name? Or is he saying that the woman known as "Mary Jane Kelly" was not the woman found murdered and mutilated? (in which case she did exist but survived). Having read Simon's book I don't know the answer. You'd think that if he wanted to convince us that Mary Jane Kelly didn’t exist, he would start a new thread and explain what he is talking about. My theory is that he hasn't got a clue what he's talking about. Just like he hasn't got a clue what he's talking about when he says "Jack the Ripper didn't exist". It's something that sounds cool and controversial but there's nothing behind it. He doesn't know himself what it means.
Monday 13 November 2023
It transpires that, for Tom Mitchell, the suspicion that the Maybrick diary and watch had "lain together somehow under Maybrick's floorboards for 103 years" is a "reasonable suspicion" whereas the suspicion that Mike Barrett was involved in forging the diary, in circumstances where he was known to have been secretly seeking to acquire a Victorian diary with blank pages shortly before the diary made it's very first appearance, is not a reasonable suspicion and can be discarded. He tells us that, "No other explanation can adequately account for these events bar the convoluted musings of those who will believe absolutely anything (however implausible) other than that the mystery of Jack the Ripper's identity has long since been answered". Unfortunately for Mr Mitchell, what he believes to have happened is not just implausible, it is literally impossible. The Maybrick diary cannot possibly have been lying under the floorboards for 103 years because it contains the expression "one off instance" which James Maybrick could not have written at any point during his lifetime. The same is true for "bumbling buffoon". So we know with 100% certainty that what Mitchell believes to be the answer is not the answer. When a theory can be proven to be false it must be discarded. Whatever it was, if anything, which caused the coincidence of Mike telephoning Doreen Montgomery on the day that electricians were working in Battlecrease, one of whom drank at the Saddle, we can be sure that it was not the discovery that day of the Maybrick diary under the floorboards.
The latest diary defender to reveal herself as thoroughly rattled by Bundy's perfectly reasonable call for all the documents on the case to be made available is the Chief Diary Defender herself. In the process, she reveals herself to be thoroughly confused as to why it's important for the documents to be released, thinking that, "that those who push the Barrett hoax most forcefully are relying on the fact that there is a lot more information not yet available to them, but are living more in hope than expectation that the smoking gun they need to be proven right is in there somewhere".
This is completely mistaken, being the same mistake that Keith Skinner has made. The request for documents has nothing to do with looking for a smoking gun or even in trying to bolster the case that Mike Barrett forged the diary. That argument doesn't even make any sense on its face, bearing in mind that the bulk of the withheld documents being complained about are transcripts of interviews with the electricians which are theoretically supposed to support the case that the diary was found in Battlecrease! I keep calling for the release of these documents because no one can even begin to understand the Battlecrease provenance theory without them. Yet, they are stubbornly withheld and suppressed for no good reason (although one possible and obvious reason for it is that some of what was said by the electricians undermines the Battlecrease provenance). The same is true of Keith Skinner's 2004 note of his meeting with Colin Rhodes which has been much mentioned by the Chief Diary Defender but, for some reason, she doesn't want to let us know exactly what Rhodes said.
As for the recordings of the Gray/Barrett interviews in 1994, I've explained repeatedly that their only likely importance is in helping to get to the bottom of why Alan Gray drafted Mike's affidavit in the way he did, with its obvious errors. It's the Chief Diary Defender who consistently claims that Mike's story about the origins of the diary is a lie on the basis that his affidavit stated that it was forged in January 1990 as opposed to March 1992. All I want to learn from the tapes is if it's possible to understand why Alan Gray thought that January 1990 (or more likely January 1991, because I think "1990" was a typo) was when the forgery was done. I'm quite sure there is no 'smoking gun' in the tapes. Had Mike revealed something of great significance to Gray it would surely have ended up in the affidavit.
The other document that needs to be made available is the Barretts' transcript of the diary. Not because there is likely to be a smoking gun in it, or because more evidence is needed to support the Barrett hoax argument, but Keith Skinner himself has said there is something in the transcript which appears to support the claim that the Barretts' forged the diary and it's perfectly reasonable for anyone interested in the case to want to what to know what it is.
In any case, it's just bleedin' obvious and proper that material documents shouldn't be suppressed and withheld. The Chief Diary Defender's defensive post offers not a single reason why the documents are being withheld. Her message is basically that we need to trust her (and other diary defenders) that there is nothing in them that we need to know about. But, in making this argument, there is a fundamental failure of logic. I'm referring to one particular paragraph in her post. After commenting that she suspects that us 'Barrett hoax pushers' believe that the smoking gun, 'has been missed, misunderstood or misinterpreted by well-meaning eyes and ears, or wilfully ignored or held back by anyone protecting their own vested interests', she says:
"The problem is that anyone in the latter category would in turn have been relying on everyone else with access to the same damning material to keep their own silence, or not to have appreciated its true significance. And there is not even a consensus of opinion among those of us who have had, at one time or another, more 'privileged' access to material than most, and nobody I know with such access would put a vested interest above exposing a smoking gun, whatever its nature. In fact I'd go further than that and say that any smoking gun in 2023 would provide more of a commercial opportunity for anyone in that line than where we are now, in limbo."
I've underlined the failure of logic. While she acknowledges that one argument being made is that a diary defender might not appreciate the true significance of any 'smoking gun', she then totally ignores that and shifts the argument to say that no diary defender would put their vested interest in the diary above exposing a smoking gun. But what if they haven't appreciated the significance of something in a document? She doesn’t answer that point, which is the key point here. And, in any case, like I say, she's framed rhe entire argument wrong. It's not about a smoking gun. It's about the fact that a diary defender will either not understand a point in favour of the "Barrett hoax" (any point, not just a smoking gun) or they might just miss it or dismiss it because they think there is an answer to it. They missed and misunderstood a whole load of stuff in the April 1999 recording. They missed Mike's reliance on Ryan in his research notes. Even though Keith Skinner examined the file held by Mike Barrett's solicitors, he appears to have missed the fact that a copy of Mike's affidavit was given to Anne in January 1995, as recorded in a solicitor's letter. I have no doubt that diary defenders will miss anything which doesn't support a Battlecrease provenance. They just don't seem to have the ability to be objective. But even if they spot something favourable to the Barrett hoax idea, from the Chief Defender's own admission, unless it's a smoking gun which provides a "commercial opportunity" for them, they won't bother to let us know because there's no money in it.
What I love is that from her faulty strawman premise, she reaches her big conclusion to say:'In short, it smacks of conspiracy thinking to suppose that a smoking gun has been lurking there without a collective will or ability to bring it into the open.' No one other than herself is talking about a smoking gun in the documents. It's not what I've said. It's not what RJ has said and it's certainly not what Bundy said. These were Bundy's exact words.
"I can't take part in a debate in which I'm wearing a blindfold and relying on whatever snippets are thrown to me."
That's a perfectly reasonable position to take and one which, in a normal world, would be entirely uncontroversial. How can he be expected to discuss the case in any sensible way when he doesn't have all the information? Yet those who've been falsely moaning about Melvin Harris having withheld stuff in the 1990s are the very ones who are now deliberately and consciously withholding stuff in the 2020s, while trying to justify that appalling behaviour. It's incredible projection and hypocrisy.
Still on her misguided 'smoking gun' theme she says:
'One thing that has been forgotten here is that nobody who has ever been privy to the Gray/Barrett tapes - from Gray himself to Melvin Harris, Roger Palmer, Keith Skinner and others - has claimed to find anything definitive that would have ended the debate many years ago. And that's despite some strong conflicting beliefs and scepticism.'
This has not been forgotten. No one is expecting to find anything definitive in the tapes. For myself, I just want to know why Gray drafted the affidavit in the way he did. What exactly did Mike tell him? Why is this so secret?
Amongst all the blather, of course, not a single explanation is provided by the Chief Diary Defender as to why the documents are being suppressed and withheld. All we are getting is a load of jibber jabber about there not being a smoking gun in them.
As for a smoking gun, this has already been found! Three smoking guns, in fact. The advertisement placed by Martin Earl on Mike's behalf in March 1992 was the first smoking gun to be discovered (in 2004). It proved that Mike was looking for a Victorian diary with blank pages, something which, twenty years later, the Chief Diary Defender is still unable to explain, and there is no possible reason for such a request by Mike other than that he (or someone on his behalf) wanted to write on those blank pages. The second smoking gun was Mike's research notes published in 2017 which reveal Mike to have hidden his reliance on Ryan's 1977 book on the Maybrick case, the same book relied on by the forger. The third smoking gun was the release in November 2019 of the April 1999 Cloak & Dagger recording which revealed that Mike's story was (and evidently always had been) that the Maybrick diary wasn't created until after he spoke to Doreen Montgomery on 9 March 1992, thus confirming the Orsam Theory which had been formulated without knowledge of this recording, some three years earlier. These are the smoking guns. We don't need any more.
In her final flourish, the Chief Diary Defender says:
'Personally, I'm looking forward to a time when everything is made available, and I hope I'll still be around by then!'
No idea why it can't be today, and she certainly doesn't explain it. Oh, hold on, there's a "But…"
'But I've seen how arguments can be made to explain away the most awkward evidence [such as that contained in a couple of police statements, and the witness testimony of Tim Martin-Wright, Alan and Margaret Davies among others] or to excuse the very lack of it [such as nobody recalling a guard book used as a WWI photo album being put up for auction in the early 1990s], so I doubt there would be any major breakthrough either way.'
So, although not actually stated in so many words, this would appear to be the real reason for the withholding of documents. Because she's apparently seen arguments explaining away the most awkward evidence.
It's not only pathetic but is incredibly ironic because she refers here to the 'witness testimony' (ha ha! Where is it?) of Alan Davies but she herself has to explain away his awkward 'evidence' that he supposedly offered the Jack the Ripper diary for sale in an impossible time period of around December 1992, long after the publishing rights had been sold to Robert Smith, as being that he had recently had a bang on the head in a car accident and didn't really know where he was or what he was doing! And I'm not joking here. If that isn't making an argument to explain away awkward evidence (and one not even supported by Alan Davies himself in anything we've been told he said) I don't know what is.
As for Margaret Davies, anything she knew about the diary can only have come from what she was told by her husband, and what she is supposed to know came to us from a telephone conversation with Keith Skinner many years after the event, in 2004. In that conversation, according to Skinner's notes, she never said when she was told anything about the diary by her husband. If it was after February 1993 it's of no use. I might note here that I wrote an entire blog post two months ago about Margaret Davies' recollection, in response to a specific request for me to do so by the Chief Diary Defender, and concluded by asking: 'What are the chances of any diary defender engaging with me and responding seriously to this blog?' I suggested that the chances were zero and two months later I turn out to be correct. Just fancy that.
The Chief Diary Defender also refers here to the evidence of Tim Martin-Wright but there's been no explaining away of anything he said. He gave inconsistent dates as to when he was told about a Jack the Ripper diary being offered for sale and it only needs him to have been a few months out in his recollection of his conversations with his manager for there to be nothing in it. And we've never had any proper written or oral statement by Martin-Wright made available, nor any supporting documentary evidence to support his supposed account that the key conversation took place in about December 1992. We haven't even been shown any evidence that the APS shop in which the conversation between Davies and Martin-Wright's manager is supposed to have occurred was actually open at any time in 1992!
Then, finally, we are told about "a couple of police statements", by which she must mean written and signed statements provided to the police by electricians. I must say, I've never seen a single such statement in this case. Given that I've never seen any such statement, nor as far as I know, has anyone else, I'm not sure how a couple of police statements have been "explained away" nor do I know in what way they are supposed to be "awkward".
It's all a lot of nonsense but the point here is that the Chief Diary Defender, like Keith Skinner, seems to be upset when the fragmentary and selective material they put forward in support of the Battlecrease provenance can so be easily dismissed. That, I believe, helps to explain why they refuse to release any further material. They know how weak it is. They know how weak the Battlecrease provenance theory is and it drives them crazy. Equally they know how strong the Orsam Theory is and it drives them even crazier!
Thing is, and this is the real irony of the Chief Diary Defender's 'explain away' comments, it's not just the impossible chronology of the evidence of Alan Davies that she's tried to explain away but anyone who has followed her posts over the decades will know she's spent much of the last 25 years of her life trying to explain away all the mistakes in the diary which, to anyone with a sense of objectivity, expose the forger(s) as incompetent chancers. The list is too long to mention in full but includes: 'one off instance', 'bumbling buffoon', 'top myself', 'spreads mayhem', Bunny's aunt, 'frequented my club', 'poste house', wrongly placed breasts and 'tin matchbox empty'. Every single one of those obvious mistakes by the forger has been explained away by the Chief Diary Defender using ever more implausible arguments. For her to accuse others of 'explaining away' things relating to the diary is barefaced cheek of the most extraordinary kind.
Tuesday 14 November 2023
Sometimes I do feel sorry for Tom Mitchell. This morning he had a flash of inspiration about why the diary is genuine, saying:
"The introduction of Lowry into the story and the clear reference to the scrapbook is an exquisite detail of a moment in 1888 captured like a photograph for all to marvel over".
It was only a few hours later that he got fact checked by none other than fellow diary defender and well known writer of fiction, Jay Hartley, who pointed out that:
"Lowry was a witness in the trial of Florence Maybrick, and there were a couple of books on the trial that detail that fact. It’s not beyond the realms of possibility that a potential hoaxer created a bit of friction fiction from this".
When your feeble arguments are being exposed as nonsense by Hartley of all people then, crikey, you know you're in trouble.
But then Hartley decides he has a better argument. He notes that while referring to a real person (Lowry), the diarist then mentions "the apparently non-existent Mrs Hammersmith". For Hartley this is "odd writing behaviour".
Hmmmmnnn. What is it those diary defenders are always telling us about Mike Barrett? Wouldn't the word "odd" be a perfect description for him? So why is Hartley puzzled by something which can be explained in a heartbeat by Mike's odd writing behaviour?
In any event, the real crime about Hartley's comment is that, once again, he hasn't thought it through. What real-life candidate for the role of a women spoken to by Maybrick during a stroll near his house can be found in Ryan's book, or any other work of secondary literature on the case? That's the question Hartley needs to ask himself. It obviously needed to be a relatively close neighbour of Maybrick's but I don't recall a single such person being mentioned in any of the main available secondary literature. So, if the forger wanted to include the type of conversation found in the diary, what real-life woman was he supposed to have used? Might that not be why 'Mrs Hammersmith' was invented?
Then the Chief Diary Defender, obviously unsatisfied with yesterday's ramblings, returned to her document suppression theme, saying ludicrously:
"One thing that strikes me is that the only reason to call for more material to be made available would be if what is already in the public domain has not quite hit the bullseye [thank you, Jim Bowen] of a Barrett hoax".
No, that's not the "only reason". Does one even need a reason to ask to see and hear all relevant documentary and audio material in this case? It's obvious that some people deny reality to promote a Battlecrease provenance theory, and, as I've explained (many times prior to this), we can't understand the argument being made in favour of the Battlecrease provenance theory if we haven't seen all the documents. Perhaps we could show them the error of their ways if we are allowed to examine the evidence and help them to see the light. That's one reason for calling for more information which has nothing to do with a desire to hit the bullseye. Equally, with the Gray/Barrett tapes, we might be able explain for them why Mike's affidavit is telling the truth but still contains some factual errors.
According to the Chief Diary Defender
"It does feel like an admission of sorts that even Mike's advert, which yielded his tiny 1891 'opposite of a guard book' diary, and has been known about for many years, leaves some lingering doubt in the mind of the prosecution."
This is a familiar illogical refrain along the lines of "why are you still here if you're so sure Mike forged the diary?" which she's been chanting for years. But, worse, it's now being used to defend the suppression and withholding of documents. The argument now goes: "If you think you know that the Barretts, forged the diary, you don't need to see any more documents". It's such a twisted argument but the worse thing about it is that Bundy, who is calling to see the documents, isn't even someone who has been promoting what she refers to as the "Barratt hoax".
Her next sentence once again shows her confusion about why we need to see the documents when she says:
"If this counted as proof positive that Mike could only have been intending to create the diary he took to London in April 1992, what could the Gray/Barrett conversations bring to the party - apart from their comedy value to put icing on the cake and a cherry on top? If the prosecution is already claiming to have the equivalent of DNA putting their prime suspect at the crime scene, handling his weapons, what more do they require to hear from him?"
To repeat, it's the Chief Diary Defender who keeps on posting time and time again that Mike's 1995 affidavit says that the diary was created in January 1990. All I want to do is see what Mike Barrett actually told Alan Gray during 1994 which might explain why Gray was confused as to the chronology. That's all. But if the Chief Diary Defender shuts up about the errors in the affidavit, then, sure the Gray/Barrett tapes aren't particularly important and I suppose she can suppress them to her heart's content, even if they show that Mike was saying that the diary was forged in March 1992 (about which we just don't know if he was saying that to Gray, who possibly wouldn't have understood it). That said, no one should be suppressing any evidence in this case. It should still be made available whether it proves anything or not. That should go without saying, especially to someone who has moaned many times, wrongly, about Melvin Harris having suppressed material.
Then we have another wonderful non-sequitur from the Chief Diary Defender:
'Is Mike's advert as good as it gets?....Nothing I have personally seen or heard in Keith Skinner's vast 'Barrett archive' gives me any reason to suppose there will ever be anything better in terms of evidence for the prosecution, and plenty to suggest that the little red diary is a little red herring, which Mike, cat-like, pounced on to make the rest of his affidavit less whiffy.'
Mike's advert, which she can't explain, suddenly morphs into the little red diary which she finds easier to deal with. The secretly placed advertisement in a trade magazine is extremely strong evidence that Mike was involved in a forgery attempt in March 1992. We can ally this with a number of other factors: the solvency test conducted by Dr David Baxendale which led him to conclude that the diary was recently forged; the ink which looked freshly applied when scrutinised by multiple document examiners; the chloraecetemide found in the ink upon scientific testing; Anne's story that the diary had been in her family for years (which the Chief Diary Defender herself accepts was a lie); the similarity of the way Anne forms certain characters with the way the diarist formed those same characters; the similar use of language by the diarist compared to the language spoken and written by Anne and Mike; Mike's account of the forgery in April 1999 during which he, remarkably, said that the diary was forged after he spoke to Doreen on 9 March 1992, thus somehow miraculously matching the timeline of the advertisement, even though he was supposed to have said in 1995 that the diary was created in January 1990; Mike's research notes showing that he hid his use of Ryan's book, which was the forger's main source, and last but certainly not least, Mike's attempt (not contradicted by Anne) to cover-up from his literary agent, co-writer, publisher and many others that he had once been a professional freelance journalist who had purchased a word processor for this purpose.
All these things tie together. When we consider that the diary must have been created in the post WW2 period, surely after 1960 due to the use of "one off instance" and "bumbling buffoon', and almost certainly after publication of Ryan's book about the Maybrick case in 1977, one has to ask what other candidates are there? None! We know for a fact that the diary wasn't under the floorboards of Battlecrease for 103 years due to "one off instance" and "bumbling buffoon" which means that Maybrick didn't write it (not to mention a plethora of other errors found in the diary) so why would anyone with any sense be so implacably opposed to the idea that Mike and Anne, the only realistic candidates, were jointly involved in writing it?
So, no the advert alone is not as good as it gets but it is pretty damn strong evidence, supported by other evidence, which no one is able to explain in any way consistent with innocence. There's no other explanation. And, frankly, I have no doubt that there would be much more evidence had the investigators into the diary during the time that Mike was alive been competent and asked the right questions, including the right questions of the auctioneers Outhwaite & Litherland. But, alas, Keith Skinner was fooled by Anne's in the family story and went down completely the wrong path while just about everyone else seems to have been beguiled by the idea that Maybrick was Jack the Ripper so that they couldn’t seem to think straight.
Naturally, when the Chief Diary Defender posts, the Assistant Chief Diary Defender is sure to be soon to follow. So we then had Mr Thomas Mitchell posting that:
"I think he [Mike] was pulling a fast one - adapting what was true (he had ordered a Victorian diary) to fit what he wanted to be true (he was a master forger)."
Apart from the fact that this makes literally no sense at all (it's hard to know what he's talking about, and Mitchell is terribly confused because, by the time of his 1995 affidavit when he first mentioned the Victorian diary, Mike had dropped his June 1994 claim to have been a master forger, now saying that his wife was the master forger, something that Mitchell always seems to forget, so hs argument makes no sense on its own terms), the reality is that Mike did not order a Victorian diary. He asked Martin Earl to find him a Victorian diary with blank pages. I don't know why he keeps missing this crucial fact. Or rather, I do. It's because he can't explain it. So Mike's attempt to find a Victorian diary with blank pages, for Mitchell, becomes him merely ordering a Victorian diary. It's hopeless.
Wednesday 15 November 2023
A great post from RJ Palmer responding to a claim by T. Mitchell that Mike Barrett and Eddie Lyons were sort-of drinking buddies. As Palmer observes, there is no evidence that Mike and Eddie knew each other before 9 March 1992 or that they were even ever in the Saddle pub at the same time, with it being quite possible, in fact likely, that Mike was only ever in there during weekday early afternoons, before picking up Caroline from school, while Eddie might only ever have ever popped in during the evenings or weekends.
Just the kind of tonic needed after the dreadful week-and-a-half of shockingly poor online posts detailed above.
But then, with depressing inevitability, the Chief Diary Defender replies to RJ Palmer without even addressing his central point which is that there is no evidence that Mike and Eddie were sort-of drinking buddies in March 1992. Instead, she wants to talk about the different question as to whether Mike and Eddie knew each other. In doing so, she offers up the usual blend of unsourced and unreliable information.
The first thing she posts is this:
411 LYONS EDWARD J is listed as living at 44A Fountains Road L4 1QL with 412 his then partner [later his wife] as of February 1992.
Now, I am absolutely certain that the Chief Diary Defender who has been posting since the late 1990s knows the importance of sourcing any information posted. Yet, time and time again she fails to do so, and we have another example here. I know that I've never seen this before. It looks like some kind of extract from a directory. But what directory? And how do we know that it is dated from February 1992. No explanation is provided.
Instead, the Chief Diary Defender says:
'I'm pretty sure this information has been posted before - and fairly recently.'
I'm pretty sure it hasn't because I feel I would have remembered it. Indeed, I have a feeling that the Chief Diary Defender is using this false memory of hers as a way of avoiding having to tell us what precisely it is she has posted.
It's not the most important part of RJ's argument though because he accepted that Eddie's girlfriend lived in Fountains Road. His point was that it's likely that Eddie would have visited the pub during the evenings and weekends, whereas Mike would only have been in there during weekday afternoons while Eddie was working. There is no rebuttal of this.
Instead, she does her usual trick of introducing a new topic which she'd prefer to talk about rather than the topic of the post she is supposedly replying to, which is whether Mike and Eddie already knew each other. She doesn't have any evidence that they did but she says this:
'We also have Bowling advising Feldman in April 1993 to contact Eddie, who lived near the Saddle. The evidence indicates that it was Bowling who gave Feldman a phone number for Eddie, at his Fountains Road address. There is no evidence to suggest that Feldman was told the street number, or that he passed this on to Mike Barrett.'
She does love her "no evidence" point, doesn't she? Thing is, there's no evidence that Feldman didn't find out Eddie's address and no evidence that he didn't pass the address on to Mike. In fact, we appear to have no evidence either way as to whether Feldman had established Mike's address. All that can be said with any certainty is that Feldman expressed no surprise whatsover in his book that Mike was able to pay Eddie a visit at his home. To me, this suggests that he either told him Eddie's address or he knew how Mike had found it out (and, if the extract posted by the Chief Diary Defender in her post came from a publicly available Liverpool telephone directory, that could easily explain it). As far as I can make out, the idea that Mike already knew Eddie's address comes from those who speculated to that effect after having read Feldman's account in his book. But Feldman never said this himself, which should give us pause.
Then we have this:
'But Mike certainly knew where to find Eddie when he went round to threaten him with solicitors if he claimed he'd found the diary.'
Once again, no source is provided. The only two people who could have been the source of this information are Mike or Eddie, both of whom, according to the Chief Diary Defender, are shameless liars. So how does she know that Mike threatened Eddie with solicitors?
I've seen her say this time and time again yet I know of no published source in which this is stated. It's certainly not mentioned by Feldman whose account of the incident is simply that Mike, 'accused him [Eddie] of lying and told him he would never do a deal'. Feldman didn't mention solicitors. The entire incident isn't even mentioned in 'Inside Story'. So where does the idea that Mike threatened Eddie with solicitors even come from? In all the time she's referred to it, I've never seen the Chief Diary Defender provide a single source reference. That's a big red flag. How do we not know that the person who has been called 'the Great Misrememberer' hasn't just mis-remembered what someone once told her?
'But when Robert Smith was planning another trip to Liverpool, in the June, to take photographs for the book among other things, and had arranged to stay with the Barretts, Mike surprisingly agreed to introduce him to one of the Battlecrease electricians - Eddie Lyons no less'.
This makes no sense, Robert Smith asked Mike to set up the meeting with Eddie. Hence: "I asked Barrett if he could arrange for me to meet Lyons. He said he could...". Why would he have asked Mike to set up this meeting only to be surprised when he agreed to do so? But Smith doesn't say in his book that he was surprised when Mike agreed to set up the meeting. He writes as if it was the most normal thing in the world for him to ask Mike and for Mike to have said he could do it. What is even surprising about it? Mike's publisher asked him to assist in setting up a meeting with someone in Liverpool who he (Mike) had previously spoken to and Mike, presumably wanting to be helpful, put in the call to ask Eddie if he would agree to meet his publisher in his local pub. Why is the Chief Diary Defender so surprised about this?
Next we are told that Eddie
"surprisingly agreed to turn up in the Saddle, which 'kind-of' makes him Mike's 'sort-of drinking buddy'..."
But why is it surprising that Eddie agreed to turn up in the Saddle? Did Eddie have a habit of refusing invitations to meetings with publishers? It's just nonsense. But we can see here that the Chief Diary Defender is trying to be clever and, for the only time in her post, addresses her mind to the issue that RJ Palmer had raised about whether Mike and Eddie were sort-of drinking buddies in March 1992. As to that, a meeting in a pub at the request of Robert Smith in June 1993 cannot possibly have made Mike and Eddie sort-of drinking buddies in March 1992. It wouldn't matter how many times Mike and Eddie met each other after March 1992 - hells bells they could have got married in a formal wedding ceremony - that wouldn't have any relevance on whether they were drinking buddies in or before March 1992, which is the only relevant time period. In her post she adds "at least by this point" to the end of the above sentence showing she knows darn well that she is avoiding the central topic of RJ's post.
Has she been able to provide any reason to think that Mike and Eddie were in any way drinking buddies in March 1992? Not a single word. What another complete waste of time from that quarter. Even worse, she positively interprets Mitchell's claim that it was an extroardinary coincidence for Mike's sort-of drinking buddy to have been working on the floorboards of Maybrick's home to as that it was a coincidence for Mike's 1993 sort-of drinking buddy to have been working on the floorboards of Maybrick's home which would make a nonsense of Mitchell's entire post because the only reason they were drinking in the Saddle in June 1993 with Robert Smith was because Eddie had been fingered by Arthur Rigby as the person who gave Mike the diary which wouldn't have happend had Eddie not been an electrician who had worked in Battlecrease. So there was literally no coincidence involved there at all.
Mitchell then responds to RJ's post claiming that the Chief Diary Defender had answered RJ's questions when she hadn't. RJ had noted that Eddie probably would have drunk in the Saddle but wondered how he could have done so during weekday afternoons. Her information that Eddie worked full time six days a week on the Skelmersdale contract between 2 December 1991 and Saturday 7 March 1992 absolutely destroys Mitchell's argument that the two men could have become drinking buddies prior to 9 March 1992, yet Mitchell flies past that inconvenient fact by simply pretending that the Chief Diary Defender had said that Eddie wasn't in a full time job. Her post demonstrates that the very first time that the two men could realistically have drunk together in the Saddle after 2 December 1991 was on 9 March 1992 when Eddie's whereabouts are unknown, meaning that there is no possible coincidence here at all because the two men couldn't have been regular drinking buddies in the Saddle during the weeks prior to 9 March 1992.
Mitchell then hides behind the fact that we don't know what other pubs Mike drank in so that, by his logic, the Saddle is the only pub Mike ever drank in, even though it wasn't his local but was some distance from his home. The other reason, apart from picking up his daughter from school, that Mike might have been there was to meet Tony Devereux but, by March 1992, Tony was long since dead. In his disingenuous response post, while pretending he is only speaking tongue in cheek (despite him and the Chief having spent two long posts purportedly defending his original post) he is unable to provide a single piece of evidential support for his claim, while hiding behind the dress of the Chief Diary Defender, pretending she had already dealt with and disposed of RJ's points. Same old, same old.
The day's events are then concluded with Mitchell posting that Eddie Lyons, 'when interviewed outside Battlecrease House in 2016 (or so)... admitted to having been in Battlecrease House on that fateful morning.' This cannot be accepted as factual. We have never seen even an excerpt of this alleged interview let alone a transcript of the entire interview or a recording of it. Not a single quote has been provided from Eddie Lyons admitting that he was in Battlecrease during the morning of 9 March 1992. Yet, it's typical of diary defender arrogance that Mitchell feels he can post these things and get away with it.
What's so shocking is that Eddie was interviewed by James Johnston on both 29 September 2015 and 12 February 2016 but didn't admit to having been working at Battlecrease on 9 March 1992. let alone on the morning of that date. He couldn't remember any dates. He was also, apparently, interviewed at some point on an unspecified date by Keith Skinner and James Johnston on camera shortly before 4 August 2018. It was during the 2018 interview that, according to Robert Smith (having apparently been told second hand by Christopher Jones), 'Lyons admitted on film that he had indeed been working at Battlecrease on 9th March 1992, though he still denied taking the diary'. No quote was provided by Smith. No quote has ever been provided. Neither Johnston nor Skinner to my knowledge have provided any further information about this but one can only assume that Mitchell was talking about this 2018 interview even though he has described it has having occurred in 2016 or so. Johnston told me in late 2017 that he planned to confront Eddie with the 'timesheet' and I assume this was done during the 2018 interview but, like I say, all information about this interview is being ruthlessly supressed. What is it they don't want us to know?
It's nothing short of astonishing that the Assistant to the Chief Diary Defender is posting what appears to be totally inaccurate information about this key issue of whether Eddie was even working in Battlecrease on 9 March 1992, something which still seems to be in the realm of speculation. Can these diary defenders literally get nothing right?
Published: 16 November 2023