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Go Back   Casebook Forums > Ripper Discussions > Suspects > Maybrick, James

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  #351  
Old 03-21-2018, 02:31 AM
Observer Observer is offline
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The scratches could have been made immediately after the inscriptions, possibly as a by-product of the ageing/polishing process.

This polishing process described by one of the experts baffles me. The marks in question are located on the inside back cover. Why would anyone wish to polish the inside back cover? What's the point. Why go to the trouble of removing the back cover in order to polish an area that's never seen? I own a nine carat gold wrist watch, and i've had a look at the inside back cover, there are jeweller's marks there. What's more they look as if they were placed there yesterday, not at all rubbed out. Another thing, they are tiny, not legible to the naked eye, it didn't need a microscope to make then out though! An ordinary, cheap, jeweller's loup with a 10x magnification sufficed.

It seems likely to me that whoever inscribed the watch with those initials thought to himself, hello, those marks look a little too sharp considering they are meant to be over a hundered years old, and they polished them out to age them

Anyone out there with a gold watch? Take the back off, let's hear what you find.

Last edited by Observer : 03-21-2018 at 02:38 AM.
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  #352  
Old 03-21-2018, 03:21 AM
Sam Flynn Sam Flynn is offline
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Excellent points, Obs. Polishing the inside cover of a watch, especially to the point that any engravings thereon are worn down/rounded off, seems utterly bizarre.
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  #353  
Old 03-21-2018, 05:29 AM
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caz caz is offline
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Default The Case of the Vanishing Scratches

Morning all,

Aren't you forgetting the elephant in the room here?

Let me try and explain what must have happened for the Maybrick and ripper markings to have been put in the watch in 1993:

Murphy the jeweller opens up the back of the gold watch before putting it on sale in his shop window, sometime in early to mid 1992. He sees some faint scratch marks on an inner surface and tries - but fails [and this is the important bit] - to polish them out to improve its appearance.

Along comes Albert with the winnings from a horse race and snaps up the watch on July 14th 1992.

Now someone, who knows Albert has this watch - either Albert himself, his half-brother Robbie or A.N.Other - sees an early newspaper story the following Spring, about a diary that has come to light, linking James Maybrick to the JtR murders, which will not be published until the Autumn [so no clues yet about which murders will be claimed on this occasion].

So far so good?

That person then thinks "I know, I could use Albert's gold watch to create a companion piece for this diary".

So he has a closer look at the watch, to see if there's a surface inside that would be suitable for forgery purposes [where have we heard that one before?] and what does he find? Those same faint scratches that Murphy was unable to polish out the year before. But he doesn't know about any of this, nor presumably how those scratches got there to begin with or when, nor whether anyone else may have seen them in recent years. Would the hoaxer even recognise any recent efforts to polish them out? Presumably not, if neither Drs Turgoose or Wild could date the scratches or the polishing as recent, using their electron microscopes.

The hoaxer can't risk those scratches being examined at a later date and found to be recent, because that would prove his own work even more recent, so now he will either have to find another watch with a nice, scratch-free surface, which will be less of a headache, or he'll need to do what he doesn't yet know defeated Murphy the jeweller. He'll need to polish them out so completely, before even starting on his Maybrick and ripper work, that the surface will be smoother than a baby's bottom and betray no sign of those original scratches even under microscopic examination. Oh well, it'll be worth it in the end.

So - once the markings have been applied to the now pristine surface, our intrepid hoaxer polishes and ages the surface again, before applying some superficial scratches, which he polishes and ages again, until the effect is the same as it was when he first opened the back and saw the surface he was faced with. Not only this, but if anyone uses electron microscopy or any other technique to ascertain the order of all the markings and scratches now there, it will be clear that the Maybrick and ripper ones were made first.

As luck would have it, this turns out to be the best possible case scenario. Without knowing what the jeweller may or may not have done with the watch previously, or what he may or may not have known about its physical condition and appearance, inside and out, the watch is taken back to the shop, to show Murphy what is now on that inner surface and to ask him what he knows about this curious timepiece, and would you credit it? He comes out with: "Oh yes, I saw those faint scratches back in 1992 but couldn't polish them out. Sorry about that".

You couldn't make it up, could you? Any other scenario and the hoaxer could not have hoped for this kind of luck.

Smooth, completely unscratched surface when the hoaxer first looks at it? Much easier to use, but too risky unless he can either avoid the jewellers shop like the plague, and hope nobody else will track down where and when the watch was bought and what was known about it by then, or go back and try bribing Murphy with a few quid to lie for him, in the event that he knows damned well the markings were not there in 1992, because he remembers cleaning it thoroughly inside and out and the surface in question was untouched.

See, to my mind, there's nothing remotely simple about any of this.

Love,

Caz
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Last edited by caz : 03-21-2018 at 05:47 AM.
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  #354  
Old 03-21-2018, 05:35 AM
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caz caz is offline
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Excellent points, Obs. Polishing the inside cover of a watch, especially to the point that any engravings thereon are worn down/rounded off, seems utterly bizarre.
Again, I can't help feeling the point is still being missed.

Weren't the experts saying that a modern hoax would have needed all this 'bizarre' polishing in order to mimic all the natural signs of wear and ageing they'd expect to see with scratches made in soft metal many decades ago?

Love,

Caz
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  #355  
Old 03-21-2018, 05:45 AM
Graham Graham is offline
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Hi Caz,

all your points are fair enough. But - and please correct me if I'm wrong here - I understand the Watch was repaired, cleaned and polished by a Mr Dundas who then returned it to Mr Murphy. Later, when Mr Dundas was contacted by the private-eye Mr Gray, he said that there were only repair markings on the Watch when he serviced it, adding that any marks such as Gray described (i.e., initials and a signature) had been made since he serviced and polished the Watch.

I can guess what you're going to say: that Murphy claimed to have re-polished the Watch after Dundas serviced it, and that he noticed 'scratch marks' on the rear case. He declined to say what he thought these marks were.

So who's got it right?

Graham
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  #356  
Old 03-21-2018, 06:05 AM
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Hi Graham,

Well either Murphy was lying for some unknown reason about remembering scratch marks like those Albert showed him in 1993, or he was telling the truth, in which case Dundas was either lying or confused.

We know that Dundas described a completely different watch when asked about this [which for all I know gave birth to Feldman's ridiculous two-watch theory], but he'd also have had a double motive for saying the marks were made after he'd worked on it, because a) it could be said he didn't do a careful enough job if they were there and he didn't notice them, and b) it could be said that he made them himself.

If Murphy didn't want to open himself up to be accused of anything, he could easily have said he didn't remember any scratches, or didn't need to look at that inner surface because Dundas did all the work, and it would have been no skin off anyone's nose.

The fact remains that there are no scratches on that surface older than the Maybrick and ripper markings.

Love,

Caz
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  #357  
Old 03-21-2018, 07:01 AM
Graham Graham is offline
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Hi Caz,

I believe that Dundas described the Watch as a lady's watch doubtless because of its small size, a mistake which I understand has been made by other persons involved and interested. But it seems that you're saying Dundas provided a physical description of a watch which could not have been the Johnson Watch. This so far as I can tell doesn't seem to be highlighted in Ripper Diary.

Tangled, innit?

Graham
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  #358  
Old 03-21-2018, 07:05 AM
Sam Flynn Sam Flynn is offline
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Weren't the experts saying that a modern hoax would have needed all this 'bizarre' polishing in order to mimic all the natural signs of wear and ageing they'd expect to see with scratches made in soft metal many decades ago?
Maybe, Caz, but I'm struggling to understand why the enclosed back of a watch case should endure much wear and ageing at all.
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  #359  
Old 03-21-2018, 07:44 AM
John Wheat John Wheat is offline
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Maybe, Caz, but I'm struggling to understand why the enclosed back of a watch case should endure much wear and ageing at all.
It wouldn't Sam. It all points to someone falsifying the scratches like everything points to the diary being a forgery. This is all getting very tedious now.
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  #360  
Old 03-21-2018, 07:57 AM
Sam Flynn Sam Flynn is offline
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Most of us accept that the "Maybrick" watch and diary aren't genuine, John. It's now a question of whodunnit and when.
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