THE SILENCE OF THE LAMBS
So, this time round we've had nothing but silence from Jonathan Menges and Gary Barnett in response to the last 'Lord Orsam Says...'.
I don't need to say much about Gary Barnett other than it's strange, what with him being one of the two great seekers of truth, along with Paul Begg, according to Paul Begg, that he doesn't even feel able to ask Begg if he (and Keith Skinner) made a mistake in 'The Scotland Yard Files' regarding the resignation of Monro. I suppose it's only mistakes by Hallie Rubenhold that he feels it important to correct whereas those by Paul Begg can remain unchallenged and unmentioned.
With Jonathan Menges, I think we can all draw our own conclusions from his silence, which is in stark contrast to the way he's responded previously to my remarks on this site. I can confirm that he hasn't emailed me with the information I requested in the last 'Lord Orsam Says...'
My own conclusion, therefore, is that he contacted Ally Ryder about the Tumblety thread back in May 2018, prior to her intervention in the thread, and, not only that, but he advised her as to what had happened in that thread so that she didn't need to read it all herself. Unfortunately, it would appear that his advice was coloured by his dislike of my posts in the Maybrick Diary threads in which he ludicrously felt that I had 'badgered' Caroline Morris.
Even worse, with him obviously being a personal friend of Caroline Morris and Keith Skinner - something I had no knowledge of whatsoever in May 2018 - one can only imagine the contents of private emails between them and Menges about me over the years since I started posting about the Maybrick Diary. It's certainly been a tactic going back years for anyone who says that Mike Barrett might have forged the Diary to be smeared and discredited by 'Diary Defenders'. It happened to Melvin Harris before my time just as it happened to many others, such as Nick Warren and John Omlor, who expressed the same belief. I saw it happen with my own eyes to Mike JG, as I've outlined in a previous 'Lord Orsam Says...', and it happened to me, non-stop, while I was posting in Maybrick threads on the Casebook Forum. I don't think it's going too far to assume that such smears were being made in private emails to Jonathan Menges which affected the way he viewed my posts and contributed to his conclusion that I was 'badgering' Caroline Morris, leading him to communicate such a notion to the Casebook Admin at the critical point when she was considering a response to events in the Tumbelty thread.
With secret advice being given to the Casebook Admin behind the scenes by Jonathan Menges, and no right of reply for myself, I stood no chance of a fair ruling and I have little doubt that Ally Ryder's ruling was affected by the prejudicial information she had been given. I certainly could not understand, at the time, how Ally Ryder could make the comments about me that she did, based solely on my posts in the Tumblety thread (and, of course, she point blank refused to explain or justify those comments to me when I asked her to do so in a PM) but I now see that it was all coming from a dark place, based on whispers in the shadows from powerful forces.
So it was really the Maybrick Diary that did for me on Casebook. That's the true scandal here.
Perhaps the worst of it is that, in response to my suggestion that Menges might have been the person who reported the thread to Ally Ryder, he first posted to say that he hadn't had anything to do with the thread being locked and that he didn't have any influence with Ally Ryder, before later going on to accuse me of peddling conspiracy theories.
It was only in response to further pressure by me that he was forced to admit that, in effect, he did after all conspire with Ally Ryder, and the parts of his email that he chose to reveal to the members of JTR Forums proved that he was highly influential with Ally Ryder in May 2018 (and we can all see that he's now the moderator of her Forum on her behalf). He's obviously not prepared to publicly reveal what he said to her in private about me in 2018, though, despite me requesting him to do so. It's all very sordid and does not reflect well on Ripperology as a whole.
By way of no more than a footnote, I should observe that Ed Stow has joined in the general silence. He must now realize that he falsely accused me of not replying to one of his communications - not the greatest crime in the world, admittedly, but it was still a false accusation, designed to paint me in a bad light - yet he's failed to apologize for, or even acknowledge, his error. It's a general theme that I'm seeing throughout Ripperology at the moment with so many people simply unable to 'fess up when they've got something wrong. If Ed Stow can't even admit to making a mistake over a small point like this, what chance do we ever have of him admitting to getting it wrong about, say, his claim that witnesses at inquests were obliged to state their birth name (or 'true name' as he likes to call it)? No chance I would suggest.
THE TRUTH ABOUT THE MAYBRICK DIARY
It will be recalled that Caroline Morris (now Brown) purported to respond on JTR Forums to my article 'The Eleven Days' (despite not mentioning a single word I had said in that article!) claiming that all Mike Barrett had done during the 10 April 1999 meeting was make a 'sneaky tweak' which fooled 'some of the most intelligent seeming Ripperologists' and that all one has to do to understand the story is make 'the simplest translation' which supposedly reveals that Mike was telling a lie based on a true story of how he acquired the Diary from Eddie Lyons and then found himself with a mysteriously unspecified eleven days before his meeting with Doreen Montgomery to produce it to her.
Now, none of this makes any sense at all. It doesn't even begin to explain why Mike told both Alan Gray in November 1994 and the members of the Cloak & Dagger club in April 1999 that the story of the Diary went back to 1987. It's obvious that he told Alan Gray that the forgery was being plotted while Tony Devereux was alive and this made its way into his affidavit of 5 January 1995. Yet, he also obviously told Alan Gray in 1994 that the Diary was written with his wife in eleven days after his failure with the red Victorian Diary. Given this background, it's nonsense to think that Mike was doing a 'sneaky tweak' and simply switching the notion of being shown the Diary by Eddie Lyons in the Saddle pub on 9 March 1992 with him having eleven days to go ahead and forge the Diary. It's not a 'sneaky tweak', it's a completely different story.
Furthermore, it shows a failure by Caroline Morris - an intelligent seeming Ripperologist - to understand the significance of Mike insisting in April 1999 that he wrote the Diary in eleven days after acquiring the black scrapbook at an auction which, itself, took place after his telephone call with Doreen Montgomery on 9 March. In particular, it completely ignores the documentary support for Mike's story which is to be found in the advertisement for a Victorian diary which was placed on his behalf in a specialist book finding magazine in March 1992.
As for the advertisement for that Victorian diary with blank pages, here is Caroline Morris' latest attempt at explaining it, after more than three years of coming up with various different solutions to the puzzle that I first posed to her in the Casebook Forum on 20 December 2016 (for which, see #2236 of the 'Incontrovertible' thread) as revealed in her post in 'Lord Orsam's Blog' thread, #104:
'Makes me wonder if this was why Mike immediately tried to obtain a similar item - to find out what the going rate was in 1992 for a diary dating back to the 1880s, containing at least as many blank pages as the one he had seen. If the electrician couldn't tell him a damned thing about it, he couldn't expect Mike to part with more than the going rate for his "old book", could he?'
This is nonsensical. To find the 'going rate' for a Victorian diary you don't need to actually purchase one, you just make enquiries. But, leaving that aside, the advertisement placed on Mike's behalf was for either a totally unused diary or one with a minimum of 20 blank pages. The Maybrick Diary has 63 pages of writing and 17 blank pages. Asking for a 'minimum of 20 pages' would inevitably and unquestionably produce a diary with more blank pages than there are in the Maybrick Diary. Indeed, a diary containing, say, 10 pages with writing and 50 blank pages would have fitted perfectly with Mike's requirements but would bear no comparison to the Maybrick Diary. Furthermore, a completely blank diary would also have fitted Mike's requirements and, indeed, was the primary request in the advertisement. I fail to see how, in any universe of which I am a part, the cost of a completely blank Victorian diary could be usefully compared with a Victorian diary containing 63 pages of handwritten text (and only 17 blank pages). But, if it somehow could be usefully compared in a way that I can't imagine, then any Victorian diary could surely be compared with any other Victorian diary regardless of the number of blank pages, in which case there was no need for Mike to specify a minimum number of blank pages.
Now, it's obvious from the telephone call that Mike made on 9 March 1992 to Doreen Montgomery that he knew that the Diary was supposedly written by Jack the Ripper. So Mike couldn't have been trying to find out the 'going rate' for himself for a normal diary dating back to the 1880s could he? By the very act of calling a literary agent, he knew that a diary of Jack the Ripper had extraordinary value, far above the value of a diary written in 1881 or 1885 or 1891 by Joe Bloggs. And, indeed, far above the value of a diary from that period written by nobody and entirely blank. Hence, under the Caroline Morris theory, Mike must have been trying to con Eddie into thinking that all he was in possession of was a diary which had no more or less value than any other diary written in the 1880s, or a blank one from the period.
But, hold on, this theory relies entirely on Eddie believing that the diary he had in his possession was created in the 1880s otherwise there would have been no point in Mike asking a specialist bookfinding company to locate a diary from this decade specifically, bearing in mind that his supposed purpose was to convince Eddie that the value of any other diary from the 1880s with blank pages had the same value as the one in his possession. And why would Eddie have thought that the diary was dated to the 1880s? Well there is one, and only one, date in the Diary. This is on the final page where it is stated to be dated the third of May 1889. But right above that, in very large clear letters, are the words:
'Yours Truly Jack the Ripper'.
No-one who had even glanced at the last page of the Diary could have missed those words. In which case, the value of any other diary from the 1880s which was not signed by Jack the Ripper would have been completely and utterly irrelevant to the value of a diary which was so signed. It is ludicrous to think that Eddie could have established the date of the diary, yet missed the signature. It would be more than madness for Mike and Eddie to have been negotiating for a price for the diary of Jack the Ripper and for that price to have been wholly and utterly dependent on how much Mike (or anyone else) would have to pay for a diary of Joe Bloggs (with some blank pages) OR a completely blank diary of nobody from the same general period of the 1880s (and not even necessarily 1888 or 1889). It makes no sense at all.
The entire theory of Caroline Morris in which Mike and Eddie are negotiating about the Diary (or the 'old book' as she keeps referring to it without a source for the quotation) is based on the fact that they end up with a price of £25, being the same price as Mike paid for the red diary. Yet neither Mike nor Eddie have ever stated that Eddie sold the Diary to Mike for £25. There is not a jot of evidence that such a price was ever agreed by them (nor any evidence for that matter that Eddie was ever in possession of the Diary in the first place!). It seems that the notion that Eddie sold the diary to Mike for £25 is based on a supposed rumour, which Caroline Morris once mentioned on the Casebook Forum, that the Diary was sold in a Liverpool pub for that sum (although on her first telling she wasn't sure if it was sold for £20 or £25). I asked her at the time if that was not a garbled version of the claim by Alan Davies, supposedly mentioned to Alan Dogson in December 1992 (eight full months AFTER Mike took the Diary down to London to show Doreen Montgomery), as reported in Robert Smith's 2017 book, that the diary COULD have been acquired at that time, (i.e. December 1992) for about £25, after which Davies later told Smith that 'the book had been sold in a pub in Anfield', with no sale price mentioned. Morris denied it and said that she was referring to a different rumour: one which she had learnt about in an email from Robert Smith, possibly derived from Alan Davies, yet, strangely, Smith doesn't include any mention of having heard such a rumour in the two editions of his book (and see my summary of Morris' changing story in the 'Acquiring' thread, #1342).
Well I'm perfectly satisfied that Morris, whose memory is poor at the best of times, WAS thinking of the account of Davies and that there never was any such rumour that the Diary was sold in a Liverpool pub for £25. As it happens, I attempted to ask Keith Skinner about this rumour on the Forum in March 2018 ('Acquiring' thread, #1368) saying, 'are you aware of a rumour that the diary was sold in an Anfield pub for £25 and, if so, what is the source of the rumour?'. But, sadly, despite claiming to have joined the Forum in order to answer questions from Forum members, he never replied. If such a rumour really was ever mentioned by Smith to Morris, which I seriously doubt, it is clear that it is both unsourced and unverified, as well as being unpublished, and should not be given any credence whatsoever.
If the purpose of making the acquisition of the red diary was to show Eddie the invoice for the red diary in order to convince him that £25 was the market retail price for a Victorian diary, even the supposedly dull and easy to fool Eddie would surely have been puzzled as to why Mike would have bought such a diary at full retail price while offering him the full retail price for his own diary; in other words, spending £50 in total to acquire a diary worth £25 (the red diary) but also spending £25 to acquire a diary (the Maybrick Diary) that would only have a market retail value of £25, thus providing Mike with the potential of making net profit of zero on that diary (and negative £25 on the entire transaction if Mike couldn't sell the red one back on the market). Does that make any sense?
In short, the notion that Mike wanted to acquire a Victorian diary with blank pages in order to work out a 'guide price' for the diary that he was considering purchasing from Eddie, and that it took him from 9 March (after receiving great interest in the diary of Jack the Ripper from Doreen over the telephone) to on or after 26 March, when the red diary was sent out to him in the post, to actually pay Eddie that £25, having finally convinced him that it was only worth this much, based on what he had himself paid for the red diary, is just batshit crazy. It doesn't make any sense at all whereas what DOES make perfect sense is that Mike was looking for a Victorian diary with blank pages in which to write the diary of Jack the Ripper which he had been planning for about the previous five years.
Needless to say, I already raised all these objections to her theory when I was a member of the Casebook Forum but Caroline Morris, in her latest post, has ignored them and simply repeated her theory as if it is the most obvious thing in the world and no-one has ever put forward any points against it!
A FURIOUS DENIAL
There is another weird obsession that Caroline Morris has with the Diary which relates to Mike's denial that the Diary came from Battlecrease.
In 'my' JTR Forums thread, (i.e. 'Lord Orsam's Blog', #92), while avoiding a direct response to R.J. Palmer's #90, she changed the subject to ask:
'what is the only logical explanation for Mike's denial - from early 1993, when the rumours first became public, to his dying day - that the diary had been in Maybrick's old home before he got his own mucky paws on it?'
That one I can answer very easily (at least in respect of Mike's denial in 1993, because I'm not aware of any subsequent denials). Mike knew that the diary hadn't been in Maybrick's old home because he knew it had been forged in March and April 1992 so would also have known that a false story of that nature would probably be exposed very easily. Although Caroline Morris is aware of this, because the first option she gives as an answer to her question is that 'Mike denied it because he knew it wasn't true', she then goes on, strangely, to say:
'But think about that for a moment. How could Mike know it wasn't true if Devereux gave him the diary without explanation? Simple. He couldn't.'
That is very strange because she was addressing R.J. Palmer who, as she knew, wasn't arguing that Devereux gave Mike the Diary without explanation but that, instead, Mike had forged the Diary.
Morris then refers to an issue that she seems obsessed about, thinking it is significant in some way, which is an offer Paul Feldman reports in his book that he made to Mike in 1993.
This offer seems to have involved a fabricated claim by Feldman that Eddie Lyons would admit to having taken the Diary from Battlecrease in 1989 (even though, according to Feldman's account, he had never admitted or agreed to admit to any such thing, which is why I use the word 'fabricated') and that, in a supposedly true part of Feldman's story, Paul Dodd wouldn't contest ownership of the Diary on that basis in return for 5% of whatever Mike received from the Diary. Mike's reply, as recorded by Feldman, was in the most forthright terms, telling Feldman he would not do the deal with Dodd, adding that the Diary never came from the house. That claim by Mike was, of course, consistent with him being involved in the forgery.
Caroline Morris says in her post that,'for a more than reasonable 5% to Paul Dodd', Mike could 'have been untouchable and armed with the perfect provenance, merely for accepting the possibility that it came from the house'.
Let's first look at the claim that Feldman was offering Mike 'the perfect provenance'. I do find this astonishing because the provenance was built on a complete lie. Does Caroline Morris really think that a false provenance is a 'perfect' one? Eddie Lyons, as far as is known, couldn't possibly have taken the Diary from Battlecrease in 1989 because he hadn't been in Battlecrease in 1989 and no electrical work was done in Battlecrease during that year (or so we are told). In any event, Eddie wasn't even saying he had found the Diary in Battlecrease in 1989. This was something that Feldman appears to have invented on his behalf. So the first thing that Feldman was doing was offering a false provenance for the Diary to Mike that wasn't even supported by the person who was supposed to have found it!
That is not in any way a 'perfect' provenance. Nor is it 'untouchable'.
Even if Mike Barrett only possessed a modicum of sense, it would surely have occurred to him that accepting a false provenance could be a disaster because, almost by definition, that provenance could be proved to be false, possibly within 24 hours of any deal being signed with Dodd.
Yet, in return for this false provenance - a provenance that Mike knows full well to be false (and one which, for all he knows, could be proven to be false in a single day) - Mike has to sign an agreement to give up 5% of everything he makes from the Diary to a man he knows has no right to that money!! It's hard to see what is 'reasonable' about that.
But there's even more of a reason why Mike should not have accepted the deal if he knew the Diary was a forgery created in 1992. For Mike must have seen that if he relied on a provenance whereby, as he was being told by Feldman, Eddie Lyons would falsely say that he found the Diary in 1989 - and let's not forget that this story would have been subsequently investigated to death by researchers and reporters, with Eddie having to have explain his discovery to them in detail - Mike then opens himself up to blackmail from Eddie whereby Eddie could tell Mike that if he doesn't give him a share of the cash (or more of a share, depending on what was agreed at the start), he will inform the press that the whole story - one that Mike has agreed to - isn't true.
Caroline Morris says:
'What could possibly have gone wrong if he'd told a little white lie along with all the other big ones, and said yes, of course he was open to the possibility that it was in Battlecrease before being passed on to Devereux?'
Even if one can call the crazy conspiracy that Feldman was envisaging, a 'little white lie', it still involved Mike having to give up 5% of his own money to Paul Dodd. Just as a matter of principle, he could rightly have objected to doing this. He could have objected to it even if he thought the Diary HAD come from Battlecrease, but, knowing that it did not, would have made the objection on principle even more determined.
Caroline Morris asks:
'So why the furious denial, implying that he knew it had never been near that house, in which case the whole Devereux story had to be a lie, told to cover up an uncomfortable truth and protect the guilty parties.'
Surely the so-called 'furious denial' can be explained by Mike not wanting to give an undeserved share of his royalties to Paul Dodd, not to mention a potential additional share, being whatever Eddie Lyons was going to demand for fabricating a story about a discovery of the Diary in 1989. In any case, the so-called 'furious denial' was, as Feldman records it, no more than Mike saying 'The diary never came from the house'. That doesn't sound very furious. Before that, according to Feldman, he said that Paul Dodd could 'fuck off' but that was by way of rejection of the deal for Dodd to receive 5% of his income from the Diary, not by way of a denial of the Diary being found in Battlecrease.
We've seen that Caroline Morris says that Mike denied that the Diary came from Battlecrease from 1993 'to his dying day', and, similarly, in a separate post in the same thread (#103), she refers to Mike's 'consistent and adamant denials' that the Diary came from Battlecrease. Well, I'd like to know where I can find these 'consistent and adamant denials'. One would have thought they would be included in 'Inside Story' but that only quotes Mike as once saying (to Feldman in 1993) that, 'The diary never came from the house', as cited above. We are told by Robert Smith that, when Mike went to see Eddie the next day, he accused Eddie of 'lying' (although, as far as I'm aware, it's never been revealed how Smith was aware of this, but let's accept it was said). That means that on one day in 1993 Mike said that the diary never came from the house and the next day accused Eddie of lying about this (and it must be true that Eddie WAS lying because everyone agrees that Eddie hadn't been in Battlecrease in 1989 so couldn't have found the Diary there, which is what Feldman told Mike he was prepared to say). During his September 1993 interview by Martin Howlls, Mike was asked whether the Diary came from Battlecrease and he replied, 'I don't think it did.' That's not a particularly 'adamant' denial and it certainly wasn't a furious one. He wasn't asked the question of whether the Diary came from Battlecrease by Bob Azurdia on Radio Merseyside in 1995 nor at the Cloak & Dagger club in April 1999 so he couldn't possibly have denied it on either of those occasions. So when did he consistently and adamantly deny that the Diary came from Battlecrease? Is there any evidence that he ever once denied it after 1993? I'm sure Caroline Morris will be happy to answer these questions.
This next paragraph of Caroline Morris's post #92 (addressed to R.J. Palmer) I don't understand:
'Now think about what that Devereux lie was covering up. I think I know by now what you believe, that Mike knew the diary had not come out of Maybrick's old home because he had bought the partly used photo album on 31st March 1992 and witnessed his wife spending the next eleven days, carefully and expertly disguising her usual handwriting, to produce the 63-page diary. But at that point, he wasn't about to admit to anything of the sort, was he? 5% of nothing is nothing, and Anne's precious creation had yet to be published, so any whiff of it not being 'right' would threaten to cancel out the recent rumours of a Battlecrease provenance and tread them into the ground.'
I just can't see the relevance or meaning of the '5% of nothing is nothing ' comment or, for that matter, of anything else she is saying. Surely at the time of the proposed Feldman deal, Mike was hoping and, indeed, expecting to make money from the Diary. He wasn't being asked to offer 5% of nothing to Paul Dodd. He was being asked to offer 5% of something.
And I can't let the statement that Mike had seen his wife 'expertly disguising' her usual handwriting pass without comment . If it was expertly disguised, how was I able to see similarities between her handwriting and the handwriting in the diary within about five seconds of doing a comparison? And I'm not an expert handwriting analyst! It seems to me that Caroline Morris is living in the past on this point, thinking that Anne's 'usual handwriting' was the sample she gave to Keith Skinner in 1995: a sample that strangely does not seem to match the handwriting in her correspondence to her husband during 1994. How trusting of Keith Skinner to think that Anne would provide a genuine sample of her normal handwriting when requested and how equally trusting of Caroline Morris to think for so many years that she had done so. I'll be saying more about the handwriting below.
We don't need to spend much time considering the second option offered up by Caroline Morris which is that Mike rejected the deal offered by Feldman because he feared that the Diary really had been found in Battlecrease in 1989. Caroline Morris' analysis of it is a bit odd really. She doesn't properly explain WHY Mike rejected it if he thought it might be true that the Diary had been found in Battlecrease in 1989. Surely if he thought that this might be true then he really WAS being offered the perfect provenance in return for 5%. As Morris herself says, Mike didn't even need to change his story about how he obtained the Diary. It could have been passed from Eddie to Tony Devereux in 1989 or 1990 and then from Devereux to Mike prior to Devereux's death in August 1991.
As we know, Caroline Morris thinks that Mike acquired the Diary from Eddie in March 1992. That being so, her explanation as to why she thinks Mike rejected the deal being offered by Feldman is really convoluted and doesn't make sense. So that I'm not accused of wrongly summarizing her argument, here are her exact words:
'He must have feared this being true more than anything else, to deny it so consistently and vehemently. The obvious - perhaps the only logical explanation, is that his denial was just another lie, to distance himself from the chap who had sold him the "old book", no questions asked. Mike had recently been staggered to find out that this man had worked in Battlecrease House and he put two and two together. If that wasn't bad enough, Feldman was now trying to 'induce' the bloody man to spill all the beans. How could Mike do a deal with Dodd under those circumstances? The implication would be clear, if chummy talked, that Mike had received stolen property directly from the thief, and that Devereux had nothing to do with it, having died several months before the handover. In short, Mike would have lied about the provenance to protect both himself and his partner-in-crime.'
As far as it's possible to understand a word of this, she seems to be saying here that, despite the perfect provenance being offered, Mike must have been worried that Eddie would reveal that he directly passed stolen property to Mike. But hold on. Whose property was it? Answer: Paul Dodd's. And who was offering the deal not to challenge ownership in return for 5%? The very same Paul Dodd!! So, with the deal done, Mike would have been totally in the clear. The owner wasn't going to file a complaint with the police and the Diary would no longer be legally regarded as stolen. Any fears of arrest for theft would have been eliminated and Mike could relax, safe in the knowledge that he was going to make a fortune from the Diary of Jack the Ripper, which now had, in Caroline Morris' definition of the term, a 'perfect provenance', less 5% of that fortune. He would have had a signed and legally binding agreement with the legal owner. Both he and Eddie would have been bullet proof, while the Diary now had a backstory which traced it directly back to James Maybrick. The perfect solution surely!
But then we have this from Ms Morris by way of further explanation as to why Mike, despite having received the Diary from Eddie in the Saddle pub, could not accept the deal:
'At best, both Barretts would be guilty of having dragged in a dead man, in their anxiety and ignorance about where the diary might have come from; at worst, Mike would be accused of knowing the man who had passed him the diary, because they were both Saddle regulars, and knowing where he had taken it from, because of the wiring job he did in the Maybrick house. Worse than that, if it had come out that the diary could not have arrived in Goldie Street in 1991 [because chummy had not set foot in Battlecrease House before March 1992], Mike's precious wife and daughter would be implicated too.'
Well clearly Ms Morris hasn't been keeping up with the story. The deal being offered to Mike by Feldman was that it came out of Battlecrease in 1989. That's two years before 1991. The interesting thing is that Ms Morris is now saying that Mike knew that 'chummy', i.e. Eddie Lyons, hadn't set foot in Battlecrease House before March 1992. I've no idea how Mike is supposed to have known this - her entire fantasy about the March 1992 negotiations for the sale of the Diary rests on Mike not knowing that Eddie had been working in Battlecrease that month and that he had no idea where the Diary came from - so how, on her story, could he possibly have been in a position to know or even think that the 1989 provenance was false? And, of course, the entire premise of the option she is selling us here is that Mike denied the story 'because he feared it was true.' If Caroline Morris is saying that Mike rejected the deal to obtain this 'perfect provenance' because he feared that the story about the 1989 finding could be proved to be false then she is actually agreeing with me!!! Because that's one of the main reasons why I'm saying he, in fact, rejected it! He knew it was false and it would have been madness to get involved in a deal which was based on a false provenance.
She didn't think it through did she, ladies and gentleman?
The short point is that Mike didn't in any way need to offer anyone any money to support a Battlecrease provenance. His story was that he received it from Devereux and he didn't know where Devereux got it from. Anyone was free to speculate that it came from Battlecrease but, if Mike wanted to stick with the story he was telling the world, he was in no position to either confirm or deny this. Consequently there was no point in him giving away 5% of his future royalties or income when he simply didn't need to. The only possible reason for him agreeing to give away 5% would have been if he thought the Diary had been stolen from Battlecrease and wanted the assurance of a deal with Dodd to stop any possible prosecution for theft or handling of stolen goods. But, knowing that it hadn't been in Battlecrease, because he had created it himself, the offered deal was of no use to him. He just didn't need it. It was going to be more trouble than it was worth. It proposed giving away 5% of his money to someone who didn't deserve it.
Furthermore, even in Caroline Morris' own book, there is an acceptance that 'the legal basis for any such deal was dubious, particularly as neither co-owner of the Diary, Robert Smith or Shirley Harrison, who received 50 percent of the royalties was involved' ('Inside Story', p. 47). I think that Caroline Morris just assumes that Mike wouldn't have been aware of any of these potential difficulties, being an idiot, and should just gratefully have accepted the deal for this imaginary 'perfect provenance' ; but I rather suspect he was a bit smarter than she thinks, possibly even smarter than she is.
The truth, surely, is that Mike knew full well that Feldman's story was a false story because he knew how the Diary had been created in Goldie Street which is why wanted nothing to do with Feldman's 'drug deal' (as we might want to call it, with apologies to former U.S. National Security Adviser, Bolton).
WHAT THE BUTLER SAID
Let's now look at a response by Paul Butler to Caroline Morris' original 'translation' of Mike's comment about the eleven days. He said (#88):
'Caroline's explanation is not only the simplest, it's also probably the right one.'
It will be recalled that Caroline Morris had said (in #81) that the simplest translation of Mike's words would be that:
'Michael Barrett had contacted Doreen Montgomery before he had actually managed to acquire the "old book" he had just been shown in the Saddle. When the agent took the bait, Barrett found himself with just eleven days before their meeting to actually produce the Diary.'
When asked why this was the simplest explanation, it transpired from his response that Paul Butler wasn't actually saying that Caroline Morris had offered the simplest explanation for Mike Barrett's claim in April 1999 that it had taken eleven days for him and his wife to forge the Diary. Oh no, it was something completely different. He was actually saying that the story that Mike had received the Diary from Eddie Lyons was the simplest explanation as to where the Diary had come from. It didn't surprise me that he couldn't justify Caroline Morris's comments about the eleven days because, as I said in the last 'Lord Orsam Says..', they were incomprehensible, and no-one else seems to have understood them either.
So let's look at Paul Butler's different point that the Eddie Lyons/Battlecrease provenance explanation is 'the simplest explanation' to explain the origins of the Diary. To support that, when asked about it, he posted the following, after saying optimistically, 'It's simplicity itself':
'Book unearthed at Riversdale Road in the morning.
Shown to Mike in the Saddle at lunchtime and offered to him for twenty five quid or whatever.
Mike goes home to think about it and makes a few calls.
Mike decides it's worth the money and arranges to buy the book.
Mike makes appointment to take it to Doreen Montgomery and hey presto. Job done.
Simple, and with paperwork to back it up in the form of timesheets.'
Personally, I can't see how, on its own terms, this is a more simple explanation than one which says that Mike and his wife forged the Diary in March/April 1992 using a scrapbook purchased at an auction, after a small red Victorian diary obtained from a specialist dealer proved unsuitable, and then took it to Doreen Montgomery on 13 April, having already ensured she would be interested in such an item on 9 March.
Paul Butler describes that particular scenario as 'crazy' although he doesn't explain why. Surely, if the Diary is a fake (which I think he agrees about), it's the most obvious, the most straightforward and the sanest explanation as to how such a forged document came into existence. Experience tells us that the person who has 'discovered' a historical document which turns out to be a forgery is usually the forger. However, the point here is surely not whether one scenario is crazy or not but which one is the simplest explanation. The explanation that Mike and Anne forged the Diary is a very simple one and surely the simplest of all explanations to explain the existence of the Diary.
Furthermore, that explanation explains everything: from start to finish. With Paul Butler's explanation, you are still left with a huge mystery as to how the Diary came to be at Riversdale Road in the first place and then a second mystery as to who wrote the damn thing. All he's done is buried the origins of the Diary into an unanswered puzzle. How is that 'simple'? Was it written by James Maybrick? If so, hell's bells, we've cracked the case of Jack the Ripper! Or was it written by someone other than James Maybrick (making it a fake)? If so, who could possibly have done it and why? When was it written? In the nineteenth century? The early twentieth century? The post-war period? Who placed it somewhere in Riversdale Road so that it would be hidden until it was uncovered in the morning of 9 March 1992 and why did they hide it?
Surely that cannot be part of 'the simplest explanation' can it? It basically explains nothing about the origins of the Diary.
In addition, Paul Butler's so called 'explanation' doesn't begin to explain why Mike obtained a small red Victorian diary via a specialist bookfinder, nor why he wanted a diary from the 1880s which was either unused or had a minimum of 20 blank pages. In the way he's outlined it, he's contradicted the 'explanation' of Caroline Morris because he says that Eddie and Mike agreed a price of 'twenty five quid or whatever' on 9 March and then, after making a few calls, presumably to Doreen Montgomery, Mike 'decides it's worth the money and arranges to buy the book'. But it's the 'whatever' part of Butler's formula that is rather complicated here. Where does Paul Butler get the idea from that Eddie agreed to sell the Diary of Jack the Ripper for only £25? What evidence is there that this was the sale price agreed between Eddie and Mike? Why not £100 or £500 or £1000 or £10,000 or a percentage share of Mike's royalties? A high price would be complicated because we would then have to ask where Mike got the money from the fund the purchase. But, if as low as £25, what does Mr Butler think Eddie's reaction is going to be when he discovers that Mike is potentially going to make a fortune out of it? It all gets quite complicated doesn't it?
Also, how does the 'paperwork' back up any of this story? The timesheet of Portus & Rhodes for 9 March 1992, which is what I assume Paul Butler is referring to, only shows the electricians Rigby and Coufopoulos working at Riversdale Road on that day. There is no mention of Eddie. Nor is there mention in the paperwork of any discovery of a book or diary. Neither Rigby or Coufopoulos have stated that they can recall any such thing being discovered that day. Eddie Lyons says he didn't find the Diary at Battlecrease or anywhere else.
One might also ask Mr Butler how the reference to an empty tin matchbox made its way into the Diary. While the real killer could, possibly, have included such a reference (having seen the empty tin matchbox during the murder of Eddowes), how did a forger know about it? Eddowes' itinerary containing a mention of this item isn't known to have been published until 1987. No doubt Mr Butler will be able to come up with an explanation but will it be 'the simplest explanation'? I don't think so. The simplest explanation is that it was seen by a forger in a book at some point between 1987 and 1992 and thus included in the fake Diary.
Then, of course, we have to ask ourselves how the expression, 'one off instance' , is in the Diary. As has been clearly established, such an expression only entered the English language after the Second World War. This means it couldn't possibly have been written by James Maybrick during 1888 and placed under the floorboards of Riversdale Road in 1889 nor by anyone else in that year or for many many years afterwards. So we return to the questions: Where was it found in Riversdale Road?When was it hidden? And: Who hid it there?
We might add that there is also the unanswered question of why Eddie Lyons offered the Diary for sale to Mike Barrett of all people on the same day as he is supposed to have found it. All sorts of different speculative reasons have been put forward but none based on any evidence.
I think it must be fairly clear that, whatever one can say about the explanation put forward by Paul Butler, it is not by any means, 'the simplest explanation'.
In a Censorship Forum thread entitled 'Maybrick - a Problem in Logic', one of the great logical thinkers of our time, Caroline Morris, dealt with the issue of the Diary handwriting and, after wrongly claiming that Mike Barrett had tried to explain the supposed fact that the Diary handwriting doesn't resemble Anne Barrett's handwriting, said (#93):
or she is secretly ambidextrous, and could have successfully disguised her handwriting over those 63 pages, where is the logic there?
But what does she mean by 'where is the logic' ? It's actually the logical explanation. Anne seems to have successfully disguised her handwriting for the sample provided to Keith Skinner in January 1995 for the purpose of a handwriting analysis conducted by Sue Iremonger. The handwriting sample provided by Anne to Keith Skinner on that occasion does not, to my untrained eye, match her normal handwriting while the handwriting in the diary bears indisputable similarities to her normal handwriting. I don't think a single person disagreed with this when I presented the evidence on the Casebook thread.
However, Anne's handwriting and the Diary handwriting slope in different directions. This being so, it's a logical conclusion that Anne used a different hand to write the Diary text, hence a different slope. Studies have shown that switching hands can fool experts into thinking handwriting by the same person is by different people. I refer, for example, to 'Scientific Examination of Questioned Documents' by Jan Seaman Kelly and Brian S. Lindblom (eds) 2006 in which it is stated that:
'Disguise can be accomplished by writing with the hand opposite to that which is habitually used. This can be a very effective disguise as long as standards of wrong-handed writing are not available. Opposite-hand writing can sometimes be inferred from its relatively low degree of writing skill. Once a suspect is located, steps should be taken to obtain writings executed with both hands wherever possible. A small group of people can write with the same ease and skill using either hand. These ambidextrous writers have practiced and developed their writing to such a degree that writings produced by left and right hands do not contain features associated with disguise. In spite of a developed skill to write with both hands, writing done with the right hand differs in many ways from writing done with the left.'
There is no evidence at all as to whether Anne was left handed, right handed or ambidextrous. I fail to see why it isn't logical to conclude that Anne may have been ambidextrous, as many people are in this country, and indeed around the world. With one per cent of the population being ambidextrous there should be 660,000 ambidextrous people in the UK today, based on a population of 66 million. There's nothing 'secret' about being ambidextrous; equally it's not something plastered on one's forehead or entered on their birth certificate or passport. Don't tell Caroline Morris but *whispers* the ambidextrous are everywhere amongst us.
But it's not even the critical point of the argument. Essentially the suggestion is that she could have disguised her handwriting (and it would have only needed to have been disguised slightly) and have written it with a different slope to her normal way of writing. This is the case whether she was ambidextrous or not. As to that, it is interesting to consult a paper entitled 'Disguised Handwriting' by John Harris published in the Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology, vol 43, issue 5, 1953 which, for anyone interested, can be found here. Harris says that methods of disguising handwriting vary but, 'An extreme change of slant is the most popular means...'. Indeed, in a handwriting test, out of one hundred writers who attempted to disguise their handwriting, fifty-eight did so by changing the slant of their handwriting. So it's perfectly possible that Anne could have changed her handwriting by using her normal hand while changing the slant.
But until and unless it is shown that Anne was not ambidextrous, why should we not consider it perfectly possible that she was? In which case, it's a logical explanation as to why there is a resemblance in the formation of the characters but those characters slope in a different direction. In the above mentioned article, Harris notes that people who are ambidextrous 'have quite a talent for disguising handwriting'. Until and unless it is shown that Anne did not have the ability to slightly disguise her handwriting, why should we not consider it perfectly possible that she did?
Caroline Morris continues in her post:
'The easy way out has always been to claim the identity of the penman or woman is somehow unimportant or even irrelevant, but that simply isn't logical, while the finger is pointed so firmly and resolutely at the Barretts.'
Where is the logic in that statement? She seems to be saying that, if the Barretts forged the Diary, it would have been literally impossible for them to have secured the services of a 'penman' whose identity could remain unknown to this day. That's totally illogical. We know virtually nothing about the life of the Barretts prior to 1992. Heck, Shirley Harrison didn't even manage to establish that Mike Barrett was a professional freelance journalist during that period. Why could they not have known someone with penmanship skills who could have written the Diary from a pre-prepared text? In that scenario it would be ludicrous to to say that, unless we could actually identify that person by name, we can't claim that the Diary is a modern forgery.
But that's by-the-by because Caroline Morris knows that there has been a clear and categorical claim by Mike Barrett that Anne was the 'penman'. As to that, I repeat that the fact of the matter is that we have no evidence whatsoever as to whether Anne Barrett could have (slightly) disguised her handwriting to be the author of the Diary. None whatsoever. We don't know if she was highly skilled at such a task or incapable. As I've already said, we don't know if she was right handed, left handed or ambidextrous. Given our ignorance on these matters, I fail to see how it is possible to dismiss the idea in the way Caroline Morris desperately seems to want to dismiss it.
Here's the thing though. Before I had access to Anne Barrett's normal handwriting I had ALREADY posted a theory on the Casebook Forum that she had disguised her handwriting when writing the Diary. This was when all I had ever seen of her writing was the 1995 sample she had provided to Keith Skinner. Isn't it just amazing that when I finally did get hold of some of her normal handwriting, from private correspondence, there turned out to be clear and undeniable similarities between the way she formed her characters in that correspondence and the characters in the Diary?
It's equally amazing that I had also formed and posted a theory that when Mike Barrett telephoned Doreen Montgomery on 9 and 10 March 1992 he hadn't yet created the Diary or even purchased the scrapbook from Outhwaite & Litherland. This wasn't something said in Barrett's 1995 affidavit and, as far as I knew, he had never claimed such a thing himself. Yet, it turns out that in 1999 Mike Barrett DID claim to have done exactly what I had theorized he must have done!
When facts keep supporting a theory in this way it's a very good sign that the theory is correct.
A MASTERCLASS IN THE ART OF FORGERY
In the same post (#93), Caroline Morris asks the following question:
"How much basic research do you reckon would have been needed to reassure themselves that he [Maybrick] hadn't, for instance, popped over to America on business while the ripper was doing his business in Whitechapel? Or hadn't been haunting his Liverpool club or doctor's surgery on one or more of the murder dates?"
This is the contradiction at the heart of the Diary Defender logic. Time and time again we are told that Mike Barrett was a useless incompetent idiot, yet, when that is perfectly consistent with the author of the Diary taking a reckless gamble that Maybrick's whereabouts at the time of the murders were unknown, it is discarded and, suddenly, the author of the Diary needs to have been a genius, master criminal, to have known that those movements could be neither proved nor disproved.
The argument is completely misconceived in any case and is very much a classic example of how Caroline Morris goes wrong time and time again. She seems unable to shake off the view that the success of the Diary was inevitable. It wasn't. It could have failed on Day One and been regarded as a forgery from the moment it was handed over to Doreen Montgomery due to any number of reasons, one of which being that Maybrick might have been known to have been in Liverpool at a time that the Diary was saying he was in London.
At the same time, if there was evidence that Maybrick couldn't have been in London during one or all of the murders, that evidence might have taken years to emerge by which time the forger had made his or her money from the sale of the Diary. One only needs to look at actual forgeries - all of which, by definition, have been exposed as forgeries - to see that the risk of exposure is not a factor which stops them being created.
Furthermore, the type of risk that Caroline Morris is describing is one that applies to every single writer and publisher who puts out for sale a suspect book on Jack the Ripper. It can be Druitt, Kosminski, Tumblety, Sickert or anyone. How does the writer and publisher know that within a couple of days of publication someone won't find proof that their prime suspect was out of London on one of the days of the murders and thus couldn't have been Jack the Ripper? They can't possibly know it. So they all take a risk to some extent.
But frankly, that risk is absolutely minimal in all cases, as it would have been for Maybrick's movements. It's very difficult to be able to say of any UK resident alive in 1888 that they couldn't have been in London at the time of the Whitechapel murders. Had Maybrick been out of the country at any time during 1888, one would have expected the books on the Maybrick case to have mentioned this. Instead it was stated that Maybrick regularly visited London in 1888. As I've mentioned before (but it never seems to sink in), any visits by Maybrick to a doctor's surgery (or something like that) on any of the dates of the murders would have proved nothing due to the fact that it was only a few hours on the train from Liverpool to London. The same is also true of visits to clubs, unless they could be timed to the point after when when the last train to London had left Liverpool.
Even if some sort of documentary evidence was found, how could one be sure it was reliable? Let's face it, Diary Defenders would probably argue that Maybrick was deliberately fabricating an appearance at his surgery or his club to give himself an alibi for the Ripper crimes. Someone like Feldman could have made such an argument standing on his head. The arguments would probably continue to this day.
Equally, if there was incontrovertible evidence that Maybrick had been in America on business in 1888, the Diary Defenders, accepting that Maybrick couldn't have been the author, would almost certainly still have argued that the Diary is old, just like they still make this argument despite the existence of the expression 'one off instance' in the Diary, a mistake just as bad as anything to do with Maybrick's movements and one that not only proves that the Diary is a fake but also that it is late-twentieth century fake. It doesn't seem to bother them though. Which makes me wonder if they would have been bothered by a possible alibi for Maybrick in a document. For me, though, anyone who had read a couple of books on the case would have seen that no-one seems to have known much about what Maybrick was doing in 1888. It was hardly the biggest risk in the world for the forger to have taken to have said he was in London for a few days of that year, was it?
To return to the issue of 'one off instance', the Diary would have been proven a fake before it was first published in 1993 had Shirley Harrison done her research properly about the origins of 'one off'. She didn't. So the forger just got a lucky break by having Shirley Harrison write his book. That's what happens sometimes.
Well, one says 'luck' but there were people involved in the Diary who wanted it to be genuine and thus, perhaps, didn't examine the evidence with as much care as they should have done. Hence they didn't get to the bottom of the 'one off instance' issue which would and should have immediately disproved the genuineness and historical nature of the Diary.
But if the fraud had been exposed, that was it. Game over. It's unfathomable why Caroline Morris finds this so difficult to understand. Any forger has to take a gamble that the forgery is not going to be exposed. There is probably always a way that the forgery of a historic document could be exposed. But that doesn't mean that it WILL be exposed. And even the fact that it WILL be exposed doesn't mean that a forger will know this, and not attempt to make money out of it prior to that exposure.
Having reminded herself that the Diary is not genuine, so that SOMEONE must have forged it, Caroline Morris adds this
'I appreciate that someone took the chance that no researcher would be able to find a solid alibi for Jim and got lucky, but the same someone also took the chance that nobody would notice the handwriting didn't match, and - perhaps more importantly - that nobody would be able to match the handwriting to any suspected forger. Not even close.'
Erm, where is the logic here? The point about the handwriting not matching doesn't for one second logically negate the risk taken by a nineteenth century forger about Maybrick's movements, and, in any case, if a forger in 1889, or whenever, was able to take the gamble that the Diary would not be called into question, either because Maybrick had a solid alibi or because the handwriting didn't match, then why could a forger in 1992 not have taken exactly the same gamble?
But it's even worse than this because everyone noticed that the handwriting didn't match that of Maybrick's and STILL we have many people such as Robert Smith - a close friend of Caroline Morris - claiming that the Diary is genuine. So the handwriting not matching doesn't seem to have been a fatal flaw to the Diary.
Furthermore, anyone who bothered to listen to Mike Barrett's 10 April 1999 interview with Keith Skinner (and Caroline Morris was in the audience) would have heard him say that he didn't know what Maybrick's handwriting looked like, so that it wasn't physically possible for it to have been copied, even if he knew someone with the ability to do so (and even if Anne had had the ability to do so). If Mike couldn't find any examples of Maybrick's handwriting, he might have believed that no such examples existed so that the Diary could not possibly be disproved on the basis of the handwriting.
Finally, we cannot let the claim of Caroline Morris pass that nobody has been 'able to match the handwriting to any suspected forger'. In order to match the handwriting to a suspected forger you need to be in possession of a sample of the handwriting of the suspected forger. We know that Anne Barrett is a suspected (and alleged) forger. Has her handwriting ever been compared by an expert to the handwriting in the Diary? I say no. It never has been. All that has been compared is a 'sample' that Anne provided to Keith Skinner in 1995. It would seem that Keith Skinner trusted that Anne would provide him with an example of her normal handwriting. But did she? As far as I can see, the sample she provided does not match her normal handwriting. In which case, the point has never been tested. That being so, it answers Caroline Morris' objection. A forger could prevent a handwriting match being established by ensuring that their handwriting was never tested by an expert. And the way that could be ensured was by providing a false sample of their handwriting should they ever be asked for one.
You might think such a thing would not be possible and that a sample of their actual confirmed handwriting would be insisted upon. But we are talking about the world of the Maybrick Diary here and that does not seem to have been the case. In fact, a sample of Anne's handwriting was only requested AFTER Mike had already confessed to forging the Diary and had sworn an affidavit implicating Anne in 1995. Wouldn't it have made sense to have had the handwriting of both Barretts tested in 1992? Well, don't ask me.
WATCHING THE WATCH
Caroline Morris wants to talk more about the watch on the Casebook Forum. In #94 of the 'Logic' thread, she says:
'I don't know about anyone else, but if I was planning to implicate someone whose initials were JM, I think I'd be wary of using a watch bearing the prominent initials JO'.
Just as Caroline Morris tells us what she thinks the forger of the Diary should or should not have done, so we are now told what the forger of the scratches on the watch should or should not have done. This is on the basis of what Caroline Morris would have done if she were engaged in a a forgery plot, about which, one assumes she has zero practical experience. The funny thing is that the fact that the watch has the initials "JO" on it, not "JM", doesn't seem to have done the watch any harm and plenty of people are still happy to believe that it was Maybrick's watch. Or they are happy to believe that it was a watch that the person who forged the Maybrick Diary in 1889 or thereabouts would have possessed (and, forgive me, but I've never understood how the existence of the watch fits in with the notion that the Diary was forged in the nineteenth century by someone connected in some way with Maybrick; did that person forge the scratches on the watch too?). So Caroline Morris' entire theory here lacks any logic. Believers will believe, though, regardless of the red flags.
The simple facts about the watch are that one of the two 'owners' of it was a serious criminal from Liverpool who had recently been released from prison. The scratches, invisible to the naked eye, were discovered in highly suspicious circumstances. Albert Johnson was supposedly induced to show off his watch to work colleagues by an episode of Antiques Roadshow that didn't exist and he just happened to bring it to a place where there was a science lab with a powerful microscope. Please don't make me laugh.
LOGIC THAT IS NOT
The advice from Caroline Morris as to how to go about a forgery continues in the 'logic' thread in #96:
And would your chosen source books [with all their differing details about the ripper murders, for example] give you that confidence? I know I couldn't have tried anything like this myself, and yet we are asked to believe that because Mike Barrett once had a few "tidied up" interviews and puzzles published, that shows he was capable of authoring the diary. I'd seriously like to know how any poster who routinely comes up with this argument would have set about the task.
The fact that Mike Barrett had some interviews and puzzles published (whether 'tidied up' or not) is NOT the reason put forward that shows he was capable of authoring the diary. It is invariably mentioned in response to those who say that he was incapable of writing anything. Yet no-one has ever demonstrated that he was incapable of writing the Diary. Furthermore, the argument is not necessarily that Barrett did it on his own but could have had assistance from others, be it from Tony Devereux or from his wife, the latter being the very person who is said to have 'tidied up' those interviews. It never fails to amaze me how people constantly downplay the fact that Mike Barrett was a professional freelance journalist by saying that he had assistance from Anne with his articles without appreciating or acknowledging that Mike could equally have had assistance from Anne in writing the Diary! If the true 'author' of Mike's articles in Celebrity and Chat was 'Michael and Anne Barrett' then that could equally be the true 'author' of the Diary.
What we see in Caroline Morris' post is a clear but irrational reason why she doesn't think that the Diary is a modern forgery. It's because, as she tells us, she couldn't have done anything like this herself. Just because SHE is lacking in ability to create such a Diary, it doesn't mean everyone else is. But what she is clearly trying to say is that because she, an intelligent person, couldn't have created the Diary, then someone as stupid as Mike Barrett couldn't possibly have done it. This is how the experts and the professionals get fooled time and time again. It really is NOT that difficult to produce the text of a forgery like the Maybrick Diary. I would personally say it's far more difficult to write it up in writing that could pass for a nineteenth century style but then someone with beautiful handwriting skills would probably tell me that that's the easy part! As far as I'm concerned, the drafting of the text would have been simplicity itself. Sure, you might make some linguistic mistakes, using anachronistic expressions, but that's precisely what the forger, or forgers, did.
Morris also refers to the different details about the murders in the Ripper source books which, she suggests, would have caught an unwary forger out, but the Diary gives very little details about the murders and is remarkably vague in virtually everything it does say. Where there are differences between what we know (or what we think we know about the Ripper crimes) excuses are invariably given by the Diary Defenders. Thus, for example, Robert Smith tells us that the murderer had probably forgotten all the details of the Kelly murder when he came to write them up in his journal, saying, 'it is not reasonable to expect the killer to have pin-sharp recall of exactly what he did do and with every part of [Kelly's] body', and he says that it is 'understandable that he would initially be influenced by press reports'. In this way he is able to explain away the fact that the Diary author wrongly says that he cut Kelly's breasts off and left them on the table, a claim which features in a number of books on the case (e.g. Odell 1965, Fido 1987, Underwood 1987 and Begg 1988) but which is contradicted by Dr Bond's autopsy report (a report which Mike Barrett said he did not read when researching the Diary). When you have Diary Defenders making excuses for the forger in this way, it makes an absolute nonsense of Morris' point that the forger couldn't know which books to trust. He didn't need to! There's always an answer and nothing is necessarily fatal to the forger if there are enough true believers around to defend the Diary. In any case, if Morris wants to rely on this point, she really needs to demonstrate the inconsistencies that are found in the books about the Ripper murders that a forger is likely to have used between 1987 and 1992 and, more than this, she needs to show which of the facts about the Ripper murders which are to be found in the Diary are differently reported in different books published prior to 1992.
The fact that Caroline Morris has never herself attempted to create a fake document of this nature does not put her off giving advice as to how it should and should not be done. Thus:
'As an average inexperienced writer, you'd have to be out of your tiny mind to believe you could easily combine any two historical figures in the one journal, simply by taking out two or three library books on each to improve on whatever 'common knowledge' you may already have had. Whether this prior knowledge was rudimentary or advanced, would you not want to be at Mastermind level with your two specialist subjects before writing a single sentence with confidence.'
I happen to think that's nonsense. While the forger might well have read every single book on Jack the Ripper and Maybrick, and done loads of research, I'm not sure that he (or she) needed more than one good book on each subject to produce what we find in the Diary. What is Caroline Morris talking about with 'Mastermind level'? When you are a forger and you don't know something for sure about the murders you just keep everything vague, as the author of the Diary did. What 'mastermind' knowledge of the Ripper murders, or the Maybrick case, can actually be found in that journal?
I can't help feeling that her mind remains set in the past when it was believed that the forger had inside knowledge to a 'mastermind' level of things like Gladys' illness, since disproved as of no consequence.
In any case, perhaps Mike Barrett WAS out of his tiny mind. Aren't we always told he was crazy? Just crazy enough to pull off something like this which no sane person would even attempt? And, hey, despite the Baxendale and Rendell reports concluding that the Diary was an obvious fake, people still think it's a genuine document per Robert Smith or some kind of genuine forgery also per Robert Smith! There is a motto shared by the Special Air Service and Derek Trotter being 'Who Dares Wins'. That seems to have applied to the forger of the Diary. Sometimes it's the people that do the outrageous stuff, that no normal person would do, who succeed in pulling off the most unlikely of things.
THE ERROR OF HER WAYS
If one wants to find a great example of why Caroline Morris has got it so badly wrong about the Diary it's at the end of this passage of her post #105:
'Mike's explanation back in 1999 involves the unspoken, unproven step of his attendance at a specific auction on 31st March 1992; the unsupported step of the photo album being up for sale there on that day and Mike putting in a successful bid for it; and the further unsupported - and frankly risible - step of Anne being both willing and able to create the physical diary from it, in time for Mike to take it to London, still wet behind its ears, on 13th April as arranged.'
The first giveaway here is the expression 'wet behind its ears'. She still can't get into her head that ink will dry in 24 hours. After that you can't establish if it's been recently applied to paper or not in the absence of testing with a solvent. Such a test was carried out, incidentally, by Dr Baxendale (the only forensic document examiner to carry out such a test of the Diary) in July 1992 and he could see that the ink had been recently applied to the paper. In scientific terms the ink HAD barely dried but that's not something that could be perceived with the eye albeit that Dr Joe Nickell, Kenneth Rendell, Mauren Owens Casey, Robert Kuranz and Melvin Harris all thought in 1993 that that ink looked 'fresh'. But Caroline Morris deliberately employs the imagery of a Diary 'wet behind the ears' because she's trying to convey to the readers of her post that the ink would have been 'wet' in a Diary brought down to London on 13 April, if Mike and Anne had only been working on it since 28 March, so that those examining it would easily have seen it was new. But it's not the case. I still don't think she fully appreciates this and it explains why she has so much difficulty in accepting that such a forgery was perfectly possible.
The second giveaway is the mention of the meeting being on 13th April 'as arranged' , thus suggesting that the clock was ticking towards a fixed deadline, making the purchase of the scrapbook and the completion of the forgery within that time seem like a miracle. The evidence, however, suggests that the meeting of 13th April had only been arranged five days earlier on 8 April, by which time the scrapbook would have been purchased and the Diary would have been more than three-quarters completed if Mike had started on 1 April and finished on 11 April.
The evidence I refer to here, incidentally, is Doreen Montgomery's letter to Mike dated 10 March 1992 which said that she looked forward to seeing him in 'due course', suggesting that no meeting had then been arranged. It's not until a letter dated Wednesday, 8 April 1992, that she writes again to him confirming that arrangements had been made to meet on Monday, 13 April. She seems to have been very efficient with her correspondence and I see no reason why the date of the meeting hadn't been fixed that same day by telephone with Mike. To me this suggests that Mike had almost completed the forgery as at 8 April and had telephoned Doreen saying he wanted to bring it to London as soon as possible after the coming weekend.
What that means is that the supposed pressure that Mike was under during March to acquire some form of diary, scrapbook, photograph album or ledger prior to 13 April did not really exist. Sure, he wanted to get hold of one as soon as possible but it didn't need to be before the end of March. He could have spent more time on the hunt for the perfect blank diary and gone to see Doreen in May or June or July or, guess what, not at all. He could just have given up. I really have no idea why Caroline Morris seems to think it was nigh on impossible for Mike to have found a photograph album at the O&L auction on 31 March. He strikes me as having been a resourceful chap. He could easily have discovered that an O&L auction was his best option in Liverpool. But if he had been unsuccessful at O&L he could have visited antiques shops or other auction houses or tried other leads. It's hardly a miracle that he found a Victorian or Edwardian photograph album at an auction of Victorian and Edwardian effects is it?
As for the supposedly 'risible' suggestion of Anne being willing to write the Diary, Caroline Morris seems to have forgotten that she is speaking of a person who, according to her own version of events, invented the most fantastical yarn - about the Diary having been in her family for generations - that it's possible to conceive of anyone inventing and then entirely convinced Keith Skinner (and others) of the truth of that lie and went on Radio Merseyside to tell that lie to the whole of Liverpool without any hesitation or shame whatsoever. And remember, Caroline Morris is absolutely certain that Anne was lying through her teeth with every single word that came out of her mouth about the origins of the Diary after June 1994, including her having given it to Tony Devereux for him to pass on to Mike. Yet we are supposed to think that it is'risible' that such an extraordinary, determined and clever liar (as she must be according to Caroline Morris) would have been willing, if she had the ability, to write out the text of the Diary as dictated to her by her husband in order to generate an income for her and Mike to pay their mortgage and bring up their daughter.
I also don't know why it's risible to suggest that Anne might have had the ability to write out the Diary. The handwriting of the Diary is similar in many respects to her own handwriting. She gave a sample of her handwriting to Keith Skinner in 1995 that doesn't appear to match her normal handwriting. Mike Barrett consistently and adamantly (and furiously!) said over a period of many years that she wrote the Diary in her handwriting and the only real ability it is being suggested that she had here is the ability to write English words with a fountain pen and manuscript ink, while perhaps slightly disguising her own handwriting (a handwriting that has NEVER been tested by an expert against the handwriting in the Diary). So no, I don't think it's risible. I think it's risible that Caroline Morris isn't prepared to have an open mind to even consider the possibility that perhaps, just perhaps, Mike Barrett was telling her and all the other members of the Cloak & Dagger club the truth in April 1999.
THE OPPOSITE OF LOGIC
When it comes to the opposite of logic, Caroline Morris provided a great example in #116 in the 'Lord Orsam Blog' thread, for there she said on 12 December 2019:
'The handwriting cannot be matched to any known individual, alive or dead, and for that reason alone the eleven day Barrett creation miracle was a non-starter.'
I do wish someone could explain to me the logic behind that sentence. The second part doesn't seem to follow in any way from the first. How does the 'eleven day Barrett creation miracle' become a non-starter if the diary handwriting cannot be matched to any known individual? If we take the proposition on its face, wouldn't it simply mean that either (a) Barrett secured the services of a person unknown to physically write the Diary in eleven days or (b) a known individual successfully disguised his or her handwriting when physically writing the Diary in eleven days?
In any case, the proposition is strangely worded because it ignores the fact that an integral part of the 'eleven day Barrett creation miracle' - although it's difficult to see what is so miraculous about it - is that, according to Barrett, the Diary was written by his wife, Anne Barrett. Why is Caroline Morris so coy about that? In this respect, it seems to me that elements of the handwriting CAN be matched to Anne Barrett's handwriting. Certainly, there is no known expert who has been able to say that it's not her handwriting. No expert ever seems to have been provided with Anne Barrett's normal handwriting for the purpose of carrying out a comparison analysis. So Caroline Morris is here talking the usual illogical nonsense that she's spent years posting on the forums to try and justify her near-religious and illogical belief that Mike Barrett had no involvement with the Diary creation.
But apparently Caroline Morris doesn't trust the evidence of her own eyes. Despite the fact that I've posted examples of Anne Barrett's handwriting which are obviously similar to the Diary handwriting (as you can see in this thread here starting from #34), and this was pointed out to her on JTR Forums, she said: 'Could you point me in the direction of an actual handwriting expert who has seen Orsam's examples and confirmed there are clear similarities?' (Lord Orsam Blog thread, #122). I fail to see why Caroline Morris needs a handwriting expert to confirm what should be perfectly clear to her own eyes (and she has, noticeably, never denied that Anne's handwriting possesses similarities to the Diary handwriting). The fact that there are similarities between the two handwritings, of course, doesn't mean that Anne must be the forger. If she was disguising her handwriting it's likely that even a handwriting expert wouldn't be able to confirm one way or the other that she was the author. As Harris says in his paper 'Disguised Handwriting', 'Recognizing identifying characteristics in natural writing is one thing and picking out significant characteristics in carefully disguised handwriting is something else.' One thing is for sure, though: after 27 years of the Diary we haven't had a single handwriting expert who has been able to view Anne Barrett's normal handwriting and say that there are no similarities between her handwriting and the Diary handwriting.
Another thing is for sure. An expert did consider the handwriting of the Diary: the forensic document examiner Dr David Baxendale. This is what he said about it in his report dated 1 July 1992:
'The handwriting shows considerable variation in fluency and letter design, and I have noted that some of the letter designs have been altered. This shows that the writing has not all been naturally written.'
Bingo! We have someone trying to disguise their handwriting. That's from an expert. It actually matches entirely what Harris says in the 1954 paper, Disguised Handwriting'. In that paper he says that:
'Slowness and hesitation can also be found in disguised writing by the writer deliberating in order to avoid his natural writing habits. Backhand slant is another characteristic since many people just assume they are disguising by changing slant. A careful disguiser may check his work and go back and touch up letters attempting to make the writing consistent. The over-writing and correcting of naturally written letters is strong evidence of the writer's attempt to deceive'.
So all of Caroline Morris' nonsense that she's been spouting for years that the handwriting doesn't match the known handwriting of anyone involved in the Diary is neither here nor there. Of course it doesn't. The forger was disguising their writing. But can we find someone whose handwriting shows similarities with the the handwriting in the Diary? Yes we certainly can! I've demonstrated that.
In a subsequent post (#123), Caroline Morris wants us to believe that Mike only accused Anne of writing the Diary in order to rubbish her story of the Diary having come from her family, to punish her for leaving him and to shaft Paul Feldman. There are two major problems with this theory.
The first is in respect of Anne's reaction to Mike's claim in June 1994 that HE forged the Diary. She told a journalist that this was an attack on HER even though she wasn't even mentioned in the story. What I would suggest is significant is that her own claim that the Diary had been in her family for years emerged only a few weeks after Mike claimed to have forged the Diary. Suddenly she wanted 'the truth' to emerge although it's clear that even Caroline Morris thinks she was lying through her teeth. So why did she suddenly come up with this completely untrue story (according to Caroline Morris) so soon after Mike spilled the beans, or at least some of them? As I've suggested in 'A Man in A Pub', a better explanation of the sequence of events is that Mike didn't originally want to name Anne as the forger for fear of never being allowed to see his daughter again. Once, however, it became clear that he had lost his daughter so that Anne no longer had any kind of leverage over him he stopped protecting her and told the truth about how the Diary was forged.
The second major problem with the Caroline Morris theory is that it expects us to believe that Mike, in a fit of pique and anger, falsely accused the one person in this saga whose own handwriting bears undeniable similarities with the Diary handwriting. I mean, it's a coincidence to stretch credulity to breaking point. Did he just get lucky?
I could give plenty of examples but just look at these two instances of the word "things":
Which one is Anne's and which one is from the Diary? They are rather similar aren't they?
The answer is that the top one is Anne's and the bottom is from the Diary.
As I've previously pointed out from other examples of her handwriting, it is remarkable how both Anne and the Diary author write their letter 'i' in capital form, as most people would write the letter 'g' or the number '9'. Perhaps even more remarkable is the way they both form the letter 'f' as if it's a 'b'. These are just actual facts (as Mike Barrett would say). They can't be denied. The letters 'M', 't', 'G' and 's' also show similarities. And this is from a limited sample of Anne's handwriting where she is writing with a ballpoint pen compared with a fountain pen.
Yet Caroline Morris would have us believe that it was practically a random decision by Mike to accuse his wife of writing the Diary!
As I've shown, he maintained that she wrote it for years, stating clearly over and over at the 1999 Cloak and Dagger meeting that Anne wrote the Diary and it was in her handwriting. He was ignored because the handwriting sample Anne had provided in 1995 was quite different to both the Diary handwriting and her normal writing (leading a handwriting expert to conclude, apparently, that there was no match between Anne's sample and the Diary handwriting). Yet it turns out that he was much closer to the truth than anyone could have imagined. The Diary COULD reasonably be said to be in Anne's handwriting in the sense that the (unusual) formation of many characters matches the way Anne forms her own characters. Not only was Mike ignored but, as I've demonstrated in 'A Man in A Pub', Keith Skinner took it upon himself to pronounce that Anne's handwriting didn't resemble the handwriting in the Diary and put words into Mike's mouth to supposedly explain this.
DO NOT POST IF YOU DISAGREE WITH HER
In #118 of the 'Lord Orsam Blog' thread, Caroline Morris repeated a point she has made so many times online. It's basically this: Why do those annoying people who think the Diary is a modern fake keep posting online?
Here are her own words:
'I would just add that if I thought, for one single second, that Mike or Anne could have created the diary, or that their eleven day miracle wasn't by a country mile the least plausible explanation for what the diary was doing in Goldie Street, I'd probably have moved on a long time ago. Ditto if I was satisfied that the diary was created by X between the years of Y and Z. I just can't see why people who think they already have the answers would bother to hang around with those of us who know we don't. It's another human puzzle, like the diary story itself.'
While I appreciate that it must be annoying for her to keep having to read posts which put forward a point of view different to her own, the lack of logic in the paragraph is extraordinary even for Caroline Morris. She keeps saying that she knows that the Diary wasn't written by Mike and Anne Barrett (and, indeed, that the very idea is nonsense) but was found by the electricians in Battlecrease so, using her own logic, why does SHE keep posting online? Well, she claims that she wants to know 'who held the pen' and 'when the photo album was turned into a diary'. Yet when people give her the actual answers to those questions, she's not interested! Who else does she think is going to be able to answer her questions? I mean, if she thinks the Diary was written in the nineteenth century there isn't going to be anyone around to help her is there?
And she doesn't give me the impression of someone trying hard to find out answers to those two questions. I've never even seen her ask them. She just seems to want to argue the case all the time, thus increasing the frequency of posts, especially when her posts are so badly argued that they cannot be allowed to remain unchallenged. When anyone posts that the Diary is a modern fake she is very quick to post sarcastic responses about how Mike and Anne couldn't possibly have created it without ever giving any sensible reasons why not or offering up any evidence against it. I vividly recall asking her years ago why Mike and Anne couldn't have jointly created the Diary and she was unable to give me a satisfactory or even a sensible answer. She just spends her time arguing against people who say it was the Barretts, invariably with paragraphs and paragraphs of misguided speculation. But on her own logic - if she's so perfectly satisfied that the Barretts didn't do it - why does she even bother to respond?
To any normal person the answer is obvious. This is what happens on online message boards. People put forward arguments for and against propositions. And just because people know the answers to questions (or think they know) that isn't a reason to stop posting. Perhaps those who happen to believe they know the answer to the Diary's modern origins want to inform and educate others. For myself, I happen to think that I've posted lots of evidence to support the notion that the Diary is a modern fake and I believe it's important for the truth and for history to put the evidence out there. The fact that Caroline Morris doesn't think it's legitimate for those who think that the Diary is a modern fake to even post facts or opinions online is astonishing and starkly reveals that, while she continually refers to 'logic' in her posts, her posts actually lack logic to a remarkable extent.
In fact, I don't think it's unreasonable to describe Caroline Morris' approach here as cretinous. I can only imagine she wants to post in an echo chamber where everyone agrees with everything she is saying. Even worse is that she obviously wants to be able to bamboozle those who are new to the subject and, for reasons best known to herself, post false and misleading information to make them think that the Diary is old without fear of challenge or contradiction.
To deny the legitimacy of those who wish to post about the Maybrick Diary simply because they are satisfied it is a modern hoax really takes the breath away. In any case, the so called 'modern hoax theorists' have never claimed to know everything about how the Diary was created in 1992. There are still many unanswered questions about that. While the only important point is whether the Diary is genuine or not, there is still some minor curiosity value surrounding the rest of it. I recall that when I suggested that the main person a researcher should speak to in order to get to the bottom of the story was Caroline Barrett, Ms Morris immediately dismissed the idea. She didn't like it at all. How does one ever get to the truth if one doesn't speak to the actual people involved? But I guess Caroline Morris just wants researchers to speak to the electricians who know nothing about it.
I really do hope we never again see Caroline Morris, or anyone else for that matter, on any subject, asking why anyone 'bothers' to post or write about a subject that interests them, especially when they are refusing point blank to acknowledge some obvious truths on that subject.
SOME CAROLINE CLASSICS
Caroline Morris' post #123 brings out some of the old classics. This is her summary of events during 1994:
'During 1994, Mike saw his world collapsing around him. His wife had left him and was ending the marriage, having taken herself and their adored daughter away from him. To add insult to injury, Anne then accused him of sleeping with a new girlfriend, which he hotly denied. It was in that atmosphere that Mike went to the papers to claim he had written the diary himself. His solicitor quickly issued a retraction. The claim was clearly nonsense, and everyone, including the Barretts, knew it.'
This is supposed to explain why Mike confessed to writing the Diary. But it omits the crucial fact that some months BEFORE his wife left him, Mike was telling Martin Howells in September 1993 that 'the diary has killed me' and he was complaining about the effects of the Diary on his health. Mike's wife left him on 2 January 1994. Did he confess to writing the Diary in January? No. Did he confess in February? No. Nor did he do so in March, April, or May. He waited until June. So it's difficult to see it as a reaction to his wife leaving him. As late as April 1994 Mike was still telling Feldman that he got the Diary from Tony Devereux and telling Keith Skinner that he bought his word processor second-hand to input his research notes on the Diary, which wasn't true. He was still trying to hide the fact that he was a professional freelance journalist and had bought the word processor for that reason. Then we are supposed to believe there was some kind of flaming row when Anne accused Mike of sleeping with his new girlfriend Jenny Morrison and Mike'hotly' denying it as some kind of trigger for the confession.
I've had occasion to chide Caroline Morris in the past about her creative use of language to describe Mike's behaviour. What evidence is there that he hotly denied sleeping with Jenny?
Well here is, as far as I'm aware, all the known evidence about this supposed incident:
Doreen Montgomery wrote to Anne Barrett on 17 June 1994 (see Inside Story, page 90) as follows :
'I have learned of the emergence of Jenny who appears to be providing a shoulder to lean upon and, it would also seem, some strong words of advice to Mike. It would be good to feel that at least she is keeping him off the drink. He assures me that their relationship is not a physical one and, indeed, couldn't be.'
So it was to Doreen that Mike had said that his relationship with Jenny wasn't physical one.
The authors of 'Inside Story' ask (p.91), 'Was it possible that Montgomery's well-meant communication triggered a disastrous chain of events for the Diary?'. The fact that they ask the question indicates uncertainty but they don't explain what they mean. We have to turn to Robert Smith's book (p.16) for the full theory. He says that Barrett confirmed to the authors of 'Inside Story' that he received a letter from Anne in mid-June 1994 but he doesn't mention that this letter said anything about Jenny. It is speculated by Smith that this letter was the trigger that caused Mike to confess to forging the Diary albeit that we are not told what was in it. Barrett is quoted has having said 'much later' that, 'That letter cost everyone a fortune'.
Three things things are apparent from this. Firstly, there doesn't appear to be any evidence that Anne was the slightest bit concerned about Jenny or that she ever accused Mike of sleeping with her. Secondly, there doesn't appear to be any evidence that Mike ever actually denied having a sexual relationship with Jenny to anyone, let alone 'hotly denied' it. All we have is a statement is made to Doreen that the relationship wasn't physical. That might have been a denial but it could also have been information he freely volunteered. If it was a denial there is nothing which suggests it was one made 'hotly'. That element seems to be nothing more than a figment of Caroline Morris' overactive imagination. Thirdly, the only evidence that Anne actually wrote Mike a letter at this period seems to come from Mike himself yet Caroline Morris seems to accept that there was such a letter and that it was responsible for his confession. What was that we were told about not believing anything Mike ever said? When it suits, it seems that Mike's words are treated as reliable as the gospel from the Lord Almighty.
As I've mentioned, we seem to have no idea what Anne said in her letter of mid-June, or if it even mentioned Jenny, but whatever Anne said in her letter, if she did indeed send a letter to him at this time, the evidence that I can see appears to be equally consistent with Mike coming to a realisation that he had lost his daughter and wasn't prepared to be emotionally blackmailed, as he claimed at the Cloak & Dagger meeting.
But my favourite part of the paragraph is Caroline Morris saying that Mike's claim to have written the Diary was 'clearly nonsense' and that 'everyone, including the Barretts, knew it'. Well I don't know how Caroline Morris is able to say that 'everyone' including Mike Barrett knew what he said was nonsense. While it is true that Mike did not physically write the Diary, that does not mean he wasn't the author, or co-author, of the text. It's perfectly clear that not everyone thought it was nonsense and Caroline Morris should not be attributing her own biased and irrational beliefs to everyone.
Then we have this:
'A month later, Anne scored a hat trick by taking the diary away from Mike too, by claiming it had been in her family all along. If Mike didn't get it from Tony Devereux, her claim was clearly nonsense, and the Barretts knew it.'
It's fairly obvious that 'If Mike didn't get it from Tony Devereux' then Anne was telling a lie because her story was based on her giving the Diary to Tony Devereux for him to give to Mike. I don't know why Caroline Morris uses the word 'nonsense' here rather than the word 'lie'. Whereas it might rightly said to be nonsense for Mike to have forged the Diary, due to his lack of penmanship skills, I can't really see how it would be 'nonsense' for the Diary to have been in Anne's family for years. So the word 'nonsense' isn't appropriate. The appropriate word is a 'lie'. If Mike didn't get it from Tony then Anne was lying. That wasn't difficult. But Caroline Morris doesn't like to say this for some reason. It's also fairly obvious that if Mike forged the Diary then the Barretts both knew that Anne's story was a lie.
I love the next sentence in Caroline Morris' post:
'Now Mike was no fool.'
Ha ha! I always thought she was repeatedly telling us that he WAS a fool. Wasn't that the whole point of her once sharing a story that Mike thought 9/11 was on 9th November? But, if he wasn't a fool, could he not have been responsible for writing the text of the Diary?
Anyway, she continues:
'He was painfully aware of his own shortcomings when it came to writing anything out by hand. He was barely literate, with terrible spelling, and had never mastered the difference between upper and lower case letters and where to use them in a sentence. That might help to explain why he couldn't do joined-up writing either. It must be a tad difficult when each word is a mixture of capitals and small letters.'
According to Morris, this, together with his desire for revenge against Anne and Feldman, explains why Mike changed his story. But if Mike had reached that level of self-awareness, how does Caroline Morris explain the story in her own book ('Inside Story', p. 202) that, on 20 July 1995, Mike announced to Feldman, Howells and Skinner that he had come to Feldman's offices, along with a bottle of Diamine, 'to prove how he forged the Diary' and asked for a nib so that he could provide a demonstration? If Mike was 'painfully aware of his own shortcomings' why did he do this? Was it because he was a fool? Ah, no, she's told us he was 'no fool'.
I think my theory to explain Mike's change of story to accuse Anne of writing the Diary is much better. He realized in late 1994 that he had lost his daughter to Anne and now decided to tell the truth. It had nothing to do with him being painfully aware of his own shortcomings. I don't think he was. I think that in his mind he probably thought that he could have forged the Diary if he had wanted to but it was just that Anne happened to have done it while he dictated. That may be why he thought he could convince Feldman et all that he could demonstrate having written the Diary before reality sunk in when he actually had to do it.
There is more of the same from Caroline Morris in the next paragraph of her post:
'While he could have fooled the general public with his initial claim to have penned the diary himself, he must have known it would never wash with anyone who knew the truth about his distinct lack of ability in that department - let alone that the diary was obviously not in his handwriting. Mike dearly wanted to portray himself as a writer of some talent, but secretly he knew he just wasn't cut out for it. It is an understatement that Anne had to "tidy up" anything he ever wanted published.'
So now Caroline Morris is able to look inside Mike Barrett's mind in which he 'secretly' knows he wasn't cut out for being a writer, something which seems to directly contradict everything Mike ever said about himself. Although she has literally no idea how Anne 'tidied up' his articles, she feels able to say that it was an 'understatement' that she did this. But if Anne did more than tidy up Mike's articles, could she not have tidied up any attempt by him to create a fake diary of Jack the Ripper as supposedly written by James Maybrick? It's a question that I don't think I've ever seen Caroline Morris provide the answer to.
'So it was a natural progression for Mike to change his original claim and say it was actually Anne who had written out the diary. Not only did it serve to rubbish her own 'in the family' story and to punish her for leaving him; it was the only way he could still hope to shaft Paul Feldman by claiming the diary was a fake. If nobody believed Mike was capable of penning the diary, who else was he going to accuse but Anne? Whether she was capable of doing it, and successfully disguising her usual handwriting over the 63 pages, to get it done in eleven days [or evenings, assuming she was working]; or whether she is the kind of person who would ever have contemplated doing such a thing, never seems to matter to the modern hoax believers. Mike said she did it; she is clearly more literate than he was; therefore she did it. It may sound logical on the surface, but it's very far from 'proof'. If Anne wrote the diary, why didn't Mike tell the truth with his first forgery claim? He already had it in for her by then. So why did he tell a stupid lie that he couldn't hope to sustain for more than five minutes?'
We find a typical Caroline Morris non-sequitur in the statement, 'If nobody believed Mike was capable of penning the diary, who else was he going to accuse but Anne?'. Well, if she did write the Diary then she was the obvious person to accuse. But if he wanted to accuse an innocent person he could have accused Tony Devereux who was actually a much better candidate because he couldn't ever deny it. So, really, Caroline Morris is writing nonsense and everyone knows it!
The claim that it doesn't matter to 'the modern hoax believers' if Anne was capable of forging the Diary or whether she was the kind of person who would ever have contemplated doing such a thing is just more utter nonsense. Take me for example. Not only do I care whether Anne was capable of forging the Diary but I actually went and located samples of her natural handwriting, something which is more than Keith Skinner ever managed despite his close relationship with her over many years. I then compared her natural handwriting with the handwriting of the Diary. So I do care whether she was capable of doing it but I'm not in any position to question her or carry out tests. I can only go on the evidence of her handwriting, in particular of the unusual way she forms her characters, and that evidence suggests to me that she would have been capable of writing the Diary, just as Mike Barrett has said she did.
As for the idea that it doesn't matter to 'the modern hoax believers' whether Anne was a person who would have contemplated doing such a thing, this is a bit rich coming from someone who tells us that Anne fabricated an entire story about finding the Diary in a large metal trunk in the back of a cupboard in her bedroom in the late 1960s. She must then be someone who persuaded her elderly and dying father to support her lie and someone who was prepared to go on Radio Merseyside and spend about an hour repeating her lie without a care in the world. Someone who managed to entirely convince Keith Skinner in the truth of her story, putting his own reputation on the line. Would such a person have contemplated writing out the Diary in a slightly disguised handwriting if her husband had asked her to in order to keep their house and protect their daughter's future? You bet that person would! I can't believe how Caroline Morris can even raise the question. Has she forgotten or not understood that her own Battlecrease origin theory means that Anne Barrett must be one of the world's greatest liars and deceivers?
What's hilarious is that even Morris is forced to admit that the notion that Anne Barrett forged the Diary 'may sound logical on the surface'. Ha ha! Weren't we told earlier that it was all illogical? She just can't get her own story straight.
Morris asks, 'Why didn't Mike tell the truth with his first forgery claim?' She thus confirms that, although she was present at the Cloak & Dagger meeting in April 1999, she just didn't listen to what Mike was saying, or she didn't care. For Mike clearly explained that he was concerned from October 1993 that if he told the truth about Anne's involvement he wouldn't see his daughter again. It makes perfect sense to me that he tried to keep his wife out of it in the initial story. Yet, as we know, Anne's immediate reaction was that Mike's confession was an attack on HER personally. She could never explain why she thought this and even Shirley Harrison was confused about it. Her reaction, however, makes perfect sense if she feared that Mike would reveal her own part in the forgery plot.
Furthermore, Anne wrote to Mike on 18 July 1994 to say: 'I started divorce proceedings the day the Daily Post printed the story', and, she told him, 'I am afraid you left me no choice after speaking to the newspapers'. This was a couple of weeks before she concocted her story about the Diary having been in her family for generations.
Then we have a pure smear tactic from Caroline Morris as she compares those who believe the Diary is a modern hoax - something which it DEFINITELY IS due to the appearance of 'one off instance' in the Diary, an anachronism which Caroline Morris can't even begin to explain - with Lechmere theorists. I'm not even going to dignify this appalling smear tactic by quoting her on this. So let's move on quickly.
Here is the conclusion to her post:
'The most confident modern hoax theorists think it has been 'proved' that the diary was not created until April 1992, and that Mike or Anne must have forged it, albeit in a handwriting that in nobody's imagination resembled Maybrick's. Mike was the first known person with access to the questioned document; he alerted Doreen Montgomery to the fact, using an alias; he lied to everyone about it whenever his lips moved. While it was clear to all that Mike's mysterious 'windfall' would need robust and painstaking scrutiny, nobody who examined the diary in those early days saw the least reason to suspect it had only just been written, let alone by Mike himself or his missus. But today's armchair sleuths claim an ability to see right through both of them. Well good luck with that.'
When we talk about illogical, there is no better example than Caroline Morris who believes that the Diary is a fake, despite it not being in Maybrick's handwriting, yet bizarrely seems to be saying that it can't be a fake created by Mike and Anne Barrett BECAUSE it's not in Maybrick's handwriting. I mean, is it possible to be any more confused? Clearly the forger didn't recreate Maybrick's handwriting; that's the case WHOEVER forged it. If it's a point against Mike and Anne, it's a point against ANY forger. Yet Caroline Morris believes the Diary is a forgery, not written by Maybrick, despite the impression that the author obviously wants to give the reader that it WAS written by him. Again the answer was provided to Caroline Morris in person by Mike Barrett at the Cloak and Dagger meeting in April 1999 when he said that he didn't have any examples of Maybrick's handwriting at the time the Diary was created. This is the obvious and logical answer to the question as to why it's not in Maybrick's handwriting. So why wasn't the Diary dismissed as an obvious fake by Doreen Montgomery, Shirley Harrison, Robert Smith and Paul Feldman when they discovered it wasn't in Maybrick's handwriting? Crikey, don't ask me. They all seem to have relied on that bloke in the bookshop and that bloke in the British Museum who didn't immediately scream "MODERN FAKE!" and because they didn't immediately do this, then apparently it was either genuine or some kind of amazing forgery that can only have been created in the nineteenth century.
You know, I'm serious. Two people being polite who couldn't possibly come to any firm conclusion from a visual examination seem to be the reason why I am having to type this today.
Look at this bit:
'nobody who examined the diary in those early days saw the least reason to suspect it had only just been written, let alone by Mike himself or his missus.'
This is bullshit of the highest order. The first person to actually examine the Diary was Dr Baxendale. He did so in June 1992 and he DID suspect the Diary was of recent origin. Those members of the Rendell team who examined the Diary in 1993 also suspected it was of recent origin. But like I said, it's so clear that the source of Caroline Morris' faith in the Diary comes from the brief inspections of it by bookseller, Brian Lake, and British Museum curator, Robert Smith, neither of whom immediately shouted out that the Diary was modern but neither of whom were sufficiently qualified, or able, to provide an educated conclusion either way. It's equally clear, as I've said time and time again, that Morris thinks that if the Diary had been written during the first ten or eleven days of April it would have been obvious to anyone looking at it on 13 April that it had 'only just been written'. This is so far from the case as to be utterly delusional. As I've said many times, once ink has dried, it can look to the observer the same as ink placed onto paper one hundred years earlier. It's very hard to date it as old or modern. As it happens, members of the Rendell team - actual experts - did think the ink looked fresh when they saw it in 1993 but Caroline Morris doesn't accept their opinion. She knows better.
Caroline Morris is almost right about one thing. Mike was the first known person ever to mention the questioned document but of course she spoils it by using the expression 'the first known person with access to the questioned document'. If he was involved in forging it he didn't 'access' it, he helped to create it. She mentions that Mike used an alias when contacting Doreen without saying why that is relevant, no doubt hoping that it will impress her reader as to somehow meaning that Mike must have thought the Diary was stolen. Mike explained that he used an alias when he spoke to Doreen because he wasn't sure he would be taken seriously. This makes sense not only because he was offering Doreen a diary that had yet to be written but also because he was a professional freelance journalist who actually had a reputation to protect. But he gave his actual address, and he quickly revealed his real name once Doreen expressed an interested in the Diary. That he used an alias in his first telephone call is a nothing point.
If there is a reason that today's 'armchair sleuths' can see the truth of the origin of the Diary it may be due to the existence of an expression in the Diary - 'one off instance' - that did not exist in the English language prior to the Second World War. It may also have something to do with the fact that Mike Barrett is proven to have attempted to acquire, and did acquire, a Victorian diary with blank pages in March 1992 and it might also be because Mike has actually stated that the Diary wasn't forged until after his telephone conversation with Doreen Montgomery on 9 and 10 March 1992, and then in an eleven day period, something which is remarkably consistent both with the fact of his acquisition of that red Victorian Diary in March 1992 and with the story of the Diary's origins that is hidden in his January 1995 affidavit.
The truth is there in plain sight for those who are not too blind to see.
THE BLIND LEADING THE BLIND
A exchange between Iconoclast and someone called Trapperologist at the end of last year about 'one off instance' on the Censorship Forum (thread 'Maybrick- a problem of logic') is too painful for me to discuss in any great detail. It's basically a case of the blind leading the blind down a dark alley and smack into a brick wall. Trapperlogist doesn't seem to have read the abundant material on this website about the origins and evolution of the phrase and thus makes one schoolboy error after another. The two of them even ended up giving credence to the eternally laughable notion that Maybrick might have been writing about 'a one off-instance', even though there is not now and never has been any such expression in the English language!
But I just want to pick up on one thing that Iconoclast said (#128) which is that I, Lord Lucifus Orsam, to use my full name, 'suggested that Maybrick meant one-off instance when he quite reasonably actually meant "a one off instance" which is, interestingly, what he actually wrote.'
The way he expresses this makes it sound like I have argued that the writer of the Diary was grammatically wrong to have written 'a one off instance' or that I am somehow trying to argue that the Diary author meant something other than what he wrote. I make no such claim for a Diary purportedly written in 1888 in circumstances where the expression 'one-off', with a hyphen, didn't make it into any dictionary until 1973. Before that, one could only guess whether the expression was supposed to be hyphenated based on experience of other similar phrases. I've actually never made any kind of point about the absence of a hyphen in the Diary. In my research into the historical use of the expression, I've seen examples of people writing it as one-off, one off or "one off" (i.e. in quotes but without the hyphen). The only reason I've ever had need to focus on the hyphen is in response to Iconoclast's nonsensical suggestion that the author of the Diary might just have been referring to an 'a one off-instance' in which case the placing of the hyphen suddenly, and unnecessarily, becomes essential to the meaning. I say 'unnecessarily' because we all know what the Diary author meant by'a one off instance', which, interestingly, is what he actually wrote, and any attempt to argue that it means something different to that very common expression is doomed to fail.
I wasn't expecting to talk about Tumblety in this edition of 'Lord Orsam Says...' but I see that R.J. Palmer has wrongly lumped me in with a list of those who have supposedly dismissed Tumblety as a suspect, something I have never done. Thus we find that he writes (in a Maybrick thread! - not just that, but in MY Maybrick thread, 'Acquiring a Victorian Diary, #1974):
'By the way, in case you are wondering who the Ripper was, let me tell you. You won't believe me, but I will tell you anyway. Nearly all the experts were wrong, and most dismissed him as an utterly ridiculous suspect, even I think, Lord Orsam [there then follows a long list of lesser individuals, all commoners, who have, apparently, dismissed Dr T as a ridiculous suspect] and nearly every other intelligent observer of the case etc etc ad infinitum. He was a middle-aged Irish conman named Frank Tumilty who had come to the end of his tether.'
I should explain that RJ has this charming, if odd, idiosyncratic manner of referring to Tumblety as 'Tumilty'. The reason for this has been explained to me but I'm afraid I've forgotten what it was - presumably being something to do with his real family name - but really should be discarded in my opinion.
Anyway, RJ has confused himself. He should not take my criticisms of certain ridiculous arguments which have been offered up to support the notion of Tumblety being the murderer as meaning that I think that the notion of Tumblety being the killer is ridiculous. On the contrary, he could be (just like many others could be), and I happen to think that people like Mike Hawley are doing a great disservice to the case for Tumblety. If you start offering up patently false and ridiculous arguments to support that case, you weaken it in the eyes of every right thinking person.
To be clear, I have never once dismissed Tumblety as a suspect, let alone as a ridiculous suspect, and, in my writings on the subject, I'm sure I've always made that clear. Just as I've made clear that I don't dismiss Druitt simply because Jonathan Hainsworth cocked up his understanding of certain aspects of the case.
At the same time, I have no idea what RJ means when he says that there is 'no doubt about it whatsoever' that Tumblety was the murderer and he only offers a strange cryptic comment that we should study anthropology and primatology to see this for ourselves. Well, frankly, I'd rather he just explained it me in plain English than having to embark on a course of study of those two subjects thank you very much. I happen think there is a doubt about it myself but that doesn't mean I dismiss it.
OUTBREAK OF MUPPETRY ON CENSORSHIP FORUM!
What is it about the Maybrick Diary that turns grown men into muppets?
The new decade wasn't even two weeks old when a serious outbreak of muppetry occurred on the Censorship Forum. You could see it coming when a new member called 'Ven' claimed that 'the Diary hasn't been totally discredited' (#138 of Maybrick Logic thread). Well, yes, of course it has. The inclusion in the Diary of a modern expression - 'one off instance' - proves conclusively that the Diary was not created in the years of 1888 and 1889 as it was supposed to have been. It doesn't matter how many times believers try to say this is not so. It won't change the fact that this expression absolutely proves the Diary to be a modern fake without any question.
It was no surprise to find Iconoclast agreeing with Ven in #139. He is, as we all know, in denial. And he agreed with the latest outbreak of muppetry that followed, as Erobitha posted a couple of what appear to be fifteenth century examples in Middle English taken from Google Books of the word 'of' being spelt as 'off' so that a reference to a cloth being one of red silk was written as 'one off Rede Sylk' and other similar examples.
Iconoclast thought these were 'very interesting examples', but you surely know there's a problem when it's Graham who speaks as the voice of reason in the Forum. He identified that the examples found were in old English and didn't mean what Eribotha thought they did. Despite Eribotha saying by way of mea culpa that he should 'Research a little more before posting', all he had actually needed to do in this case was to have read the documents he had posted which clearly revealed other examples of the use of the word 'off' to mean 'of' such as 'a clothe off velewet' and 'the gift off Parson Gouldbourne'.
Where these people go wrong time and time again is that they don't seem to have read or absorbed the articles on this site which set out in great detail the origin of the expression 'one off' and its extended version 'one off instance'. Had Erobitha understood those articles he would first of all have known that the expression did not originate in the fifteenth century and, secondly, he wouldn't even have been bothering to search in Google Books in the first place. It's a pointless exercise. 'One off instance' is and always will be a modern expression.
We see that Graham, having sounded like the voice of reason, then goes back to being doolally by saying, 'We'll get 'im yet', meaning 'we'll get Lord Orsam yet'. Why Graham, who declares that he thinks the Maybrick Diary is a fake, evidently holds the view that 'one off instance' is not a modern expression, so that I will be shown to be wrong, is unfathomable. But he needs to understand that I will not be proved wrong. I have checked the position very carefully and I am not only 100% certain that 'one off instance' is a modern expression but I have proved it in great detail. You will simply never find the use of that expression or any similar expression in the nineteenth century. It's just not possible. Forget the word 'instance'. A writer in 1888 or 1889 could not even have referred to someone striking someone else as being 'a one off'. That expression didn't exist in the English language at the time. No example has been found in the last 28 years and no example will be found in the next 280 years. It did not exist. It could not possibly have existed.
Following his classic demonstration of muppetry, Eribotha said optimistically (#150): 'I have a feeling something will come up if I invest some real time and energy'. No, it won't! All that is likely to come up is more muppetry. Does he really think that he will succeed where everyone else has failed in nearly 30 years? If he just looks at the evidence of the evolution of the phrase, he will see what a waste of time such an exercise will be. I've published loads of stuff about this but I would just refer the gentleman to my article Off and On Again. If he doesn't see from that how clearly 'one off instance' is a modern expression then there's no hope for him. But personally I hope he does waste his time searching through Google Books because at the end of it he might appreciate that 'a one off' to mean a unique occurrence or person is an exclusively twentieth century expression.
No doubt the muppetry will continue but the Diary is dead.
26 January 2020
For more on the Michael Barrett and the Maybrick Diary: See A Man in a Pub