Firstly, if Mike suspected the big black diary was a forgery when shown it, he couldn’t possibly have known it was from the period 1880-1890. For all he would have known, it dated to 1820 or 1920 or 1940 or 1980. So, if he was suspecting a forgery, surely what he would have wanted to know was how easy it was to get hold of a big black leather bound diary which LOOKED old (or could be made to look old). Because that is what he would have been shown on 9th March if the theory is correct.
But if 'the' diary had turned out to be from the wrong period - which Mike could not have known, whether he was shown it on 9th March 1992, or got it from O&L on 31st and just hoped for the best - he had himself a turkey anyway. Makes sense to me that he would be hoping the physical book was right for the only date inside - May 1889 - and therefore he'd want to know if diaries genuinely from the 1880s were easy to obtain, not just diaries that looked old enough but might easily not be.
Secondly, Mike would have had to have believed that Victorian diaries could only be obtained through second hand book dealers, and specifically through Martin Earl, so that he had no idea that one could possibly pick one up in another way, such as at an auction. The perverse nature of this line of argument, followed logically, would mean that even if evidence was found that Mike Barrett attended a Portus & Rhodes auction on 31 March 1992 we would no doubt be told that he was simply continuing his investigation as to how easy it was to obtain a Victorian diary!
Were you writing the above a little too quickly, David?
Bearing in mind Mike seems to have made his telephone enquiry around the same time as his first call to Doreen, then if both were in consequence of seeing the diary for the first time and having no idea if it was likely to be real or a joke, he'd have had to start somewhere so that enquiry was as good as any. Your theory is that he went that route to try and acquire a diary he could use for forgery purposes, but you are not saying he'd have believed it to be the only way, so I'm not sure what your point is. Why did he wait for a response to that enquiry before trying the auction option, if that's what you think he did? Did he mention trying any others, like bookshops or charity shops, between 9th March and 31st? If not, why not?
A more pointless exercise than asking a single book dealer if he could get hold of any and then, after being told that only one was available, accepting it and agreeing to pay for it when it wasn't even in the requested time period (so he didn't need to buy it), would be hard to think of.
And yet he did accept it, it was for 1891 and Anne paid for it - eventually. What a pointless exercise in any case if he didn't need to buy it and it was 'useless' for anyone's forgery purposes. He found out such things were not that easy to obtain - by that route at least, but he may well have been more confident by then anyway, if his second call to Doreen's office on 10th March came after his enquiry.
As to that, the advert was perfect and to say that Mike was "aware that there was every chance he'd be sent something that was completely 'useless' for forgery purposes" is to speculate in unwarranted fashion about Mike's knowledge of Victorian diaries.
Well if he wasn't aware beforehand that his enquiry might not produce what he needed, he was when the bloody thing arrived! Unless it served to reassure him that what he had asked for was not that easy to get hold of.
There is, of course, always a risk in anything but Mike might well have expected that he would get offered multiple diaries and could choose the best of them. In the end, he was only offered one. That is life and no-one could possibly have predicted the outcome.
Absolutely. But if he was hoping not to be inundated in mid to late March by diaries that could all be turned into one like the diary he had told Doreen about, he was not disappointed.
__________________ "Comedy is simply a funny way of being serious." Peter Ustinov
It's a funny thing. The Diary Defenders normally love to find meaning in coincidences of timing yet the coincidence that scratches on a watch showing Maybrick to have been Jack the Ripper were noticed for the first time only 2 or 3 weeks after the newspapers had reported of the existence of a Jack the Ripper diary suposedly written by Maybrick doesn't seem to interest them at all.
I thought my post on the subject at #1353 was very clear but for those with comprehension difficulties I was suggesting the possibility that Albert's lovely brother took the watch out of the drawer without Albert's knowledge, had the scratches placed on it by someone who made efforts to artificially age them, then put the watch back in the drawer and then arranged for one of Albert's work colleagues who was in on the scam to mention the subject of gold watches on a pretext so that Albert would bring the watch into work where the scratches would be spotted and drawn to Albert's attention by that colleague and then examined by using the powerful microscope in the Science and Technology block of the college in which Albert worked.
If the scratches had been cunningly and artificially aged then it was positively in the Johnsons' financial interest for scientific tests to be carried out because if the watch passed those tests that would significantly inflate the value of the watch. Spending a few thousand pounds to transform a £200 watch into a watch with an estimated value of between £100,000 and £1m might be considered by some to be a good investment, especially if you have already been paid a few thousand pounds just to hold on to it.
As for what the jeweller said about the scratches, he did NOT say in his statement that he didn't take notice "of what they represented" (classic sleight of hand), he said "they were not markings I would have taken notice of" full stop. But if he had already attempted to remove them then he must have "taken notice" of them. And if he had attempted to remove them then he wouldn't be "almost certain" that they were present when the watch was sold, he would have been absolutely certain, otherwise what was he trying to remove?
Thing is, until now there was no reason to suspect the jeweller of dishonesty but we are told by the Diary Defenders, who know everything, that this jeweller was a man who dealt in stolen goods and lied about provenance. Wouldn't that kind of man have been happy to go along with a fake story about some scratches for a few quid when speaking to a researcher? But then when asked to put the story into a written statement he might not have wanted to be too positive about it. We are told that both Albert and Robbie went to speak to the jeweller alone with no witnesses. Who knows what was said in those conversations?
The person who is now claiming not to be an expert in regional dialects told us categorically that "I seen" was not an expression found in London i.e. "Not in the London area, it's not" being the exact words. That was not expressed as having anything to do with personal experience.
It's obviously irrelevant if a member of this forum happens to have spent time with people from Liverpool and has heard some of them say "I seen". The question is whether a forger of the diary in writing "I seen" would have done so in the expectation that readers of the diary would assume the author was from Liverpool because the expression "I seen" was identifiably Liverpudlian.
If "I seen" is not identifiably Liverpudlian - and it clearly isn't, being just as much a cockney expression (not to mention other areas of the country) - then its deliberate inclusion in the diary would not make very much sense and is far far more likely to be a characteristic of the author of the diary, thus revealing the author of the diary to be someone who says "I seen" just like, it so happens, Anne Barrett.
For the avoidance of doubt, the sentence:
"You have two one-off instances, with the clearest possible connection to Maybrick and his place of death, not only in the same century, decade, year, month or week, but on the one day in March 1992"
was not written by me, even though the quote function has been used to suggest I wrote it.
I have no doubt that the author of that sentence stands by it. I wasn't suggesting anything to the contrary. In fact, that was my very point. I was saying that it wasn't correct or proper to qualify my statement that "she strongly believes that Barrett was presented with a diary of JTR on 9 March 1992 about which he was told absolutely nothing..." by saying 'It's more a case of not having seen any reliable evidence that demonstrates otherwise."
That qualification was just written to be disagreeable and argumentative and to show an unwillingness to accept anything I post as correct even though it was plainly correct.
The same person, while claiming to keep an open mind, has made quite clear that she is not prepared to even consider the possibility of Mike Barrett being involved in forging the diary and is entirely fixed on the notion that the diary (and, amazingly, the watch) came out of Battlecrease on 9th March 1992.
I'm fairly sure I already set out the evidence that the floorboards were lifted in July but I'll repeat it with the addition of some bold for the hard of reading:
If Eddie Lyons remembers lifting floorboards in Battlecrease, and the only record we have of him working in Battlecrease is in July 1992, then one interpretation of that evidence is that Eddie did lift floorboards in Battlecrease in July 1992.
As I'm quite certain I mentioned in my last post, I have seen it stated as fact many times that no floorboards were lifted in July but where is the actual evidence of this?
Let us just remind ourselves of what I originally said on 8th February about Anne's view of the danger to herself regarding the little red diary:
"In an attempt to go round and round in circles, the point was made in another thread earlier today that Anne (if she had participated in the forgery) didn't have to tell Keith Skinner in or around 1995 that her cheque paid for the small Victorian diary. I say we go round in circles because this is a repeat argument and I have already pointed out that there was absolutely no danger to Anne by this because she could explain to Keith Skinner, as she did, that Mike simply wanted to see what a Victorian diary of the period looked like for comparison purposes with the scrapbook.
The response to this was a typically mocking "Ha ha. That's really quite funny, David."
But it was a very simple point and it related to the period in 1995 AFTER Mike's affidavit in which he claimed he wrote the diary in 1990 or 1991.
Now that the original point has been forgotten, it is said that Anne might have been worried that O&L would produce some evidence of Mike buying the scrapbook. But she would have known in January 1995, once she read Mike's affidavit, that her husband had wrongly identified the date of the auction so the chances of O&L finding supporting information were minimal.
But the notion that the little red diary posed no danger to Anne was the only point I wanted to make.
To defend the point, I had to explain why Anne MIGHT have known she had nothing to fear from Mike, knowing that he had no evidence to support his forgery claim. So saying that this "gets us precisely nowhere" is ridiculous. I wasn't trying to get anywhere other than to defend my simple point that the little red diary was no danger to Anne in the face of unnecessary mockery and laughter.
Of course, I was not allowed to make my simple point without being dragged into Anne's motivations in July 1994 which I then have to try and explain even though I am neither a mind reader nor a psychologist. But as I keep saying, nothing is absolutely certain. There is always risk involved for a criminal or a liar, sometimes it is calculated risk and sometimes it is blind risk. But it's risk.
It seems to be accepted that Anne told a lie about the origins of the diary and that being so there was always a chance that the lie was going to be found out somehow. For all I know she was in a state of terror and panic between July 1994 and January 1995 worrying about what Mike was going to produce to support his forgery theory and then relaxed once she read his affidavit and saw he couldn't prove anything. I have absolutely no idea what was going on in her mind.
My simple point, which I repeat, is that there was no danger to Anne from the little red diary because the little red diary could be explained away by Mike wanting to see what Victorian diaries looked like. This is what she said he was doing. But we know that this was not what Mike was doing because we now know what was not known to anyone in January 1995, namely that Mike wanted a Victorian diary with a minimum of 20 unused pages.
Now let me see if I've got this right. Portus & Rhodes could only work on one contract at a time? When the work started in Battlecrease the work at Skelmersdale had to stop? Can that possibly be right?
So what were Graham Rhodes, Alan Davies and Brian Rawes doing between 9th March and 13th March? Were they all down at Battlecrease helping out on 9th March? Was every electrician employed by Portus & Rhodes down there? If not, what were they doing?
And if the work stopped at Battlecrease on 10th March why did work at Skelmersdale not resume on 11th March?
And what is being said about Eddie's "unexplained absence" after 9th March? That he was supposed to have been working but didn't tell his employers what he was doing? And what was he supposed to have been doing all those days? Research on the diary? Negotiating with Mike to sell it? What?
Amazingly, after asking me if I or anyone I know has ever written anything without reason for writing each and every word and suggesting that anyone who does is suffering from a serious mental illness, the very same person then concedes that "Of course, a hoaxer pretending to be someone who is writing for nobody but himself can, in theory, write pretty much anything at all and have no need to explain it to anyone." Surely this renders the earlier questions redundant!
It makes me wonder if the author of these posts actually has a reason for writing each and every word.
But asking me if I have ever written anything without a reason is utterly pointless. I've never forged a diary. Asking me if I know anybody who has done it is equally pointless because I don't know anyone whose forged a diary.
But I'll tell you what, here I go. Here is the diary of M.J. Druitt which I found under one of my floorboards this morning.
11th October 1888
Got called up to see the Head. He wasn't happy at the events of last night. Peter said I was a bloody fool. I have all the memories of last month. Not sure if I want to do it again. The tea they gave me afterwards wasn't very nice. I think my mother once told me what to do in situations like this but I can't repeat it to anyone. Mind you, they'd probably just laugh. Stephen gave me a call in the afternoon. He invited me round to The Mallows but I'm not sure I'll be able to make it. There was a terrible incident involving the girls but it's all been hushed up now. The twins made sure of it. A one off instance they assured me. I'm planning to go to Blackfriars later in the year to see the members of the "Society" but I'm a little bit frightened by them and might ask my brother for advice. I think November will be a better month for me but I never usually like the weather.
Have I ever written anything without having a reason for writing each and every word? Oh yes!
So my point that Mike would have had to have believed that Victorian diaries could only be obtained through second hand book dealers, and specifically through Martin Earl, so that he had no idea that one could possibly pick one up in another way, such as at an auction, has been completely ignored (other than the blink-and-you'd-miss-it comment "He found out such things were not that easy to obtain - by that route at least").
My point that Mike could not have known that the diary he had supposedly been shown on 9th March was genuinely from the right period has apparently been accepted but we are told that it "Makes sense to me that he would be hoping the physical book was right for the only date inside - May 1889 - and therefore he'd want to know if diaries genuinely from the 1880s were easy to obtain". Well it might make sense to someone in a lunatic asylum but outside of those padded walls real people don't start carrying out investigations of fakes by trying to buy their own materials for making those fakes, especially when they don't even know if the material used in the fake was genuinely from the period or not.
It all sounds utterly crazy to me.
For the record, I have never said that Mike waited for a response to his enquiry before trying the auction option. I have no idea when he tried the auction option. 31st March makes sense but it could have been earlier for all I know. I clearly recall saying that there is nothing wrong with having a Plan B in case Plan A doesn't work.
I have said time and time again that Mike only knew that he wasn't going to be able to use the 1891 diary once he had received it.
And once the 1891 diary arrived, Mike knew that his advertisement hadn't produced any positive results but it wasn't so much the wording of the advertisement that was the problem than the fact that there were evidently no suitable diaries available via Martin Earl in that time period. Had suitable diaries been available, the wording of the advertisement was absolutely perfect to attract them. The failure was not in the wording but in the lack of Victorian diaries for sale in the bookdealing community.
David - You probably noticed this, but before Albert Johnson even contacted Robert Smith he gave an interview to the Liverpool Daily Post. I've never been able to get a copy of the article, but it looks like it probably appeared on May 13, 1993 (?). I think Shirley Harrison characterized the tone of the article as "sarcastic," but doesn't quote it. It would be interesting to see Albert's original statement.
RJ - The Liverpool Daily Post of 13 May 1993 features an article by Nick Warren explaining why he does not believe James Maybrick was Jack the Ripper but I don't see any mention of Albert. Looked through other editions in May, I couldn't see any obvious mention of the watch.
Harrison (2003, p. 25) says of this period, after the newspaper was contacted by Albert: "The Liverpool Post, sensing scandal, ran an article. As was to happen so often in the future, the Maybrick/Ripper possibility was condemned before it was investigated". I assume that the article she is referring to is the Nick Warren one of 13th May. If the article followed Albert's call to the Post's newsroom it would at least help to date the discovery of the scratches to the first half of the month.