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

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  #901  
Old 09-13-2017, 12:05 PM
Herlock Sholmes Herlock Sholmes is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike J. G. View Post
Here's the thing, guys selling books tend to want to sell those books.

If Smith actually has concrete evidence that this diary is genuine, and by that I mean written by Maybrick in 1888/89, then it's ironic that the evidence is nowhere to be found.


I don't really understand the odd question "why bother using science at all?" and I sincerely hope you had your tongue planted firmly in your cheek when typing that.

Science is about testing things, looking for patterns that are repeatable using certain specific methods.

If Smith has indeed found evidence that completely refutes the hoax claims, then I'm intrigued to see how he got past the handwriting issue.

I'm assuming he's had the text studied and found to be that of Maybrick's, otherwise, he's not even discovered a brass fart.
The tests were done to try and disprove the diary. To find evidence of forgery. Apparently, and this is inconvenient, none has been found. As it also appears to be the case with the watch. That's all I'm saying.

How could the text be 'scientifically' analysed? I can only assume that examples of Maybricks writing 'style' would have to be available to compare the text of the diary too? As far as I'm aware, it's not. So all that can be done is to check and debate the content?
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  #902  
Old 09-13-2017, 12:08 PM
Graham Graham is offline
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Rod McNeil, who carried out the ion migration tests on the Diary, gave a date deduced from his findings of 1921 +/- 12 years. If this result is taken as infallible, it still leaves the Diary in limbo. However, Kenneth Rendell, who led the US-based analytical team, said that he was 'unhappy' with the ion-migration result, and as I understand it McNeil at a later date conducted a repeat test at Rendell's request (Rendell was a non-believer in the Diary's authenticity, by the way) and lo and behold (!) decided that the ink went on the pages of the Diary somewhat later than his original test indicated. When asked by Feldman if the storage conditions of old documents might affect the accuracy of the test, McNeil said he had no data to offer regarding this perfectly reasonable question.

It's 40+ years since I've been involved in any form of analytical chemistry, so I'm hardly qualified to comment, but as I understand it the test is essentially based on microscopy being used to detect how far along a paper fibre the ink (or the ferric ions within the ink, as I understand it) has travelled. The further it travels, the longer the ink has been on the paper. I would assume that McNeil, who I believe actually devised this test for the FBI, had a collection of standards, i.e., authenticated samples of writing with various inks on various papers at various times in history, with which to compare his results on the Diary. I would like to know (I really should check myself) if the ion-migration test is still a tool in the forensic analyst's kit.

As an aside, Alec Voller, the Chief Chemist at Diamine Inks, visually examined the Diary and stated that (a) the ink wasn't Diamine as Barrett had claimed; and (b) it had been on the paper for 'a long time'. But I don't think he stated what he meant by 'a long time' in terms of how many years. And it was only a visual examination anyway.

Coincidentally, Diamine Inks Ltd was once a customer of mine.

Know what? I reckon if the Angel Gabriel descended from Heaven with the True Origin Of The Diary graven in letters of fire upon a golden tablet and signed 'God', he'd be argued with.....

Graham
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  #903  
Old 09-13-2017, 12:08 PM
Sam Flynn Sam Flynn is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Herlock Sholmes View Post
Thanks for that Sam. As you say, it's not a 100 year difference. The question is though, how difficult would it be? Would a man like Mike Barrett have been up to it?
I'm not sure that the diary was artificially aged, HS, indeed I rather doubt that it was. However, when Rod McNeil's ion-migration technique was first developed/tested, the test material comprised 8 documents spanning 700 years. That's a pretty small sample.

Given that the technique "uses scanning Auger electron microscopy to look at the migration of iron through a paper fibril", I'd have thought that the nature of the paper fibres themselves would have a bearing on how quickly an iron-based ink passes through the paper. If so, then unless the same/similar type of paper used in the diary was among the 8 documents McNeil used to develop his technique, I can't see how the diary test could be seen as decisive.

Later use of the McNeil ion-migration test in the field may have thrown up more data as to its reliability but, until such evidence is forthcoming, I must reserve judgment on the test's reliability at the time the diary was tested.
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  #904  
Old 09-13-2017, 12:13 PM
Abby Normal Abby Normal is offline
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That very test was actually fooled when it was used to date the Mormon "salamander" letters, in which case it emerged that the forger had attempted to artificially age the documents in question. The net result was to throw the ion-migration test's theoretical accuracy of +/- 20 years out to +/- 40 years. That would, of course, not be enough of a discrepancy to allow a 1980s document to be mistaken for one produced in the 1880s, but I've yet to see any proof that other confounding factors (whether wilful tampering, type of paper or whatever) could not compromise the accuracy of the test still further. Ion-migration testing of ink was a comparatively new technique in the 1990s, and may well have been refined in the two decades since, but I am not convinced that it was entirely foolproof at the time the diary was first tested.
Hi Sam
When we were kids we would have various school projects were we would make up historical documents. we would take the construction paper that we wrote on and put it in the oven to make it look old.and apparently this simple trick actually works to some extent on paper and I believe even on ink. or at least to obsfucate actual age.
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  #905  
Old 09-13-2017, 12:14 PM
Mike J. G. Mike J. G. is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Herlock Sholmes View Post
The tests were done to try and disprove the diary. To find evidence of forgery. Apparently, and this is inconvenient, none has been found. As it also appears to be the case with the watch. That's all I'm saying.

How could the text be 'scientifically' analysed? I can only assume that examples of Maybricks writing 'style' would have to be available to compare the text of the diary too? As far as I'm aware, it's not. So all that can be done is to check and debate the content?
Herlock, one test would be the handwriting. Simple stuff, really. It either matches May's writing or it doesn't. Last time I checked, it didn't match.

So, either May was a true enigma, which some feel inclined to believe, or it wasn't written by him.

"The tests were done and no sign of forgery was found" seems like a rather bold and fanciful statement to make, considering the fact that the handwriting does not match that of the man who supposedly wrote it.

How could the text be analysed? This is something that is done every day, to detect things like fraud, for one. They even did it with our old mate Holmes on his recent 15 minutes of fame, to see whether Holmes wrote "Saucy Jack" or "Dear Boss," and the results showed no match.

People give away clues about their identity when they write, Herlock. Maybrick was no different in this respect.
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  #906  
Old 09-13-2017, 12:17 PM
Mike J. G. Mike J. G. is offline
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Know what? I reckon if the Angel Gabriel descended from Heaven with the True Origin Of The Diary graven in letters of fire upon a golden tablet and signed 'God', he'd be argued with.
And rightly so. If a cabbage-patch kid crawled out of the soil and told me Jesus was good guy, I'd want evidence, Graham.
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  #907  
Old 09-13-2017, 12:20 PM
Graham Graham is offline
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Sam, our post(e)s regarding the ion-migration thingie crossed, but I broadly agree with what you say. I'll read up a bit more on it when I get a mo.

And hey! here's another thing. I don't have a facsimile of the Diary to hand, but I believe that there are two distinct 'scripts' used on its pages. One is a cursive (joined-up) script, the other is a kind of print-script, similar to how many Germans would write and not, as I believe, common in this country until well into the 20th century (it's how I hand-write myself, as it goes).

I have in my possession a number of old hand-written family letters and documents dating from about 1872 to 1910-ish, and in none of them do I detect anything like a modern print-script. The cursive writing in these letters varies from almost artistic to almost indecipherable. And all done, I should say, with a dip-pen (is that the correct term?) rather than a fountain-pen, as in almost every letter you can see where the nib is running out and has to be re-dipped in the ink.

Graham
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  #908  
Old 09-13-2017, 12:20 PM
Herlock Sholmes Herlock Sholmes is offline
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Originally Posted by Mike J. G. View Post
Obscure poem, details found in books by an author Barrett was reading, items worded the same as it is in lists published a century later, out-of-date phrases and pubs, conflicting handwriting to May's actual known hand, etc.

But hey, the ink was shown to be old, by at least one source, we can just forget the other source which claimed the ink was capable of being modern.

It's all about picking and choosing what we fancy believing, that's how stuff works, afterall. Oh, wait, it isn't.

Evidence for it being genuine? Anyone?

Is that a tumbleweed?
Picking and choosing works both ways Mike.

Ok.

An obscure poem - Crashaw has been described as 'among the major figures associated with the metaphysical poets in 17th century English literature.' Would have been more widely known in the 19th century.

Pubs - is it impossible that Maybrick might have called The Post Office Tavern, The Poste House? Seeing that 'post office' and 'post house' were interchangeable terms?

Out of date phrases - I assume you mean 'one off instrance?' All I can say, and I haven't researched this myself, is that Robert Smith says that he has found that the phrase 'one off duty' was used 19th century prisons in Jonathon Green's 'Dictionary of Jargon.'
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  #909  
Old 09-13-2017, 12:21 PM
Graham Graham is offline
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And rightly so. If a cabbage-patch kid crawled out of the soil and told me Jesus was good guy, I'd want evidence, Graham.
Yes Mike, maybe, but I'm Jewish, and am paid good money to believe.

Graham
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  #910  
Old 09-13-2017, 12:23 PM
Sam Flynn Sam Flynn is online now
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When asked by Feldman if the storage conditions of old documents might affect the accuracy of the test, McNeil said he had no data to offer regarding this perfectly reasonable question.
"Had no data to offer" is interesting, Graham, and is precisely why I worry about the conclusiveness of the test on the diary (see my post above). If only McNeil's test had been calibrated against an authenticated notebook/ledger of the late C19th, ideally made of the same/similar paper, I'd be much happier.
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