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

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  #21  
Old 08-30-2017, 07:51 AM
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Originally Posted by rjpalmer View Post
Concerning Barrett, one strange detail has always stuck with me. In those early heady months when he was buying return tickets to London and making the rounds among agents and publishers, he used the name ‘Williams.’

What, I ask, is in an alias? Why that particular name and not Smith? Jones? Group Commander Rupert Brooke?

Then it turned out that Peter Birchwood did some digging and found that Williams was the name of the previous owner of Barrett’s house.

Same question, revised. You can pick any alias, why, of all things, pick the name of the previous owner of your house? I certainly wouldn't have thought of it.

But, a couple of years ago I heard a story, and it struck me that I had found one possible answer.

Long around 1980 a man found himself in Costa Rica with a bag of weed, ganja, whatever you wish to call it. Being the sort of person he was, he wanted to smuggle this back home, but was too scared to take it on the airplane. For days he wracked his brain and finally came up with the following scheme. He would simply stuff it in an ordinary envelope and boldly send it to his home address. However, as a safeguard, he addressed the envelope to ‘Mr. Parker.' This, it so happens, was the name of the previous owner of his house. The scheme was safe, or at least he thought it was safe; if –instead of the package---a postal inspector or a policeman arrived on the doorstep, he would simply claim ignorance, and say, “heck, I often receive mail addressed to ‘Mr. Parker. He moved out 3 years ago.’

Which, to my mind, raises the possibility that maybe the use of ‘Mr. Williams’ was not as random and pointless as it seems. Perhaps, at some point, Mike developed the name, thinking that he might want to make certain purchases in the future that couldn't be easily traced, or, if necessary, could be denied.
Hi rj [and good to see you after all this time! ],

One possible fly paper in your argument would be if, as I understand it to be the case, Mike's request resulting in the little maroon diary being sent to him [which is thought so crucial to the theory that he was behind the Maybrick diary] was made using his real name, and this would have been around the same time he was using the name Williams for his initial phone calls to Doreen.

Incidentally, what is your evidence for Mike 'making the rounds among agents and publishers' and using the name Williams while doing so? IIRC the only suggestion was that he telephoned Pan Books and was given Doreen's number to ring instead. Even so, I'm not sure if Pan was ever able to confirm this or supply a date. In fact there seems to be a distinct lack of any reliable supporting evidence from before March 9th 1992 that Mike had the least awareness of the diary that would come to plague his life.

Love,

Caz
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  #22  
Old 08-30-2017, 08:06 AM
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Consciously or unconsciously, was Graham channelling a scene that she had already witnessed in her head?
Quite possibly, rj, in which case she would presumably also have been aware, by 1992, of just how quickly the author of those Hitler diaries came to grief and ended up going to prison.

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If John were here, he would say correctly "nothing new, nothing real."
And we'd get that wonderful purple dragon too. I could forgive him for being incorrect on this occasion, as something not entirely new but as real as you and me is just round the corner.

Love,

Caz
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  #23  
Old 09-18-2017, 10:51 AM
rjpalmer rjpalmer is offline
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Hi Caz, your memory of the source materials is far greater than mine, which gets more feeble by the hour, but in regards to Barrett hitting the publishing houses under the name "Williams," I think this was the general impression I was left with from the early articles in the Liverpool papers, Maurice Chittenden's piece, even Shirley's book, etc., that Barrett had traveled back & forth from Liverpool on a train attempting to peddle the Diary. Then came Pan Books. Until I consult my notes I will concede the point.

What I've never been able accept is that Barrett is giving us his best in the infamous "confession." Paul Begg used to state that Bartett was 'desperate' to prove that he had written the Diary, but, while I accept that this is Paul's honest impression, it makes no sense whatsoever to me. How could he have been anything but a mix of conflicting motives? This confession, as I understand it, was cobbled together over the span of many drinking sessions, undoubtedly with Barrett confessing, retracting, backpeddling, giving conflicting statements, etc.

Here is how I envision it, and feel free to toss my thoughts in the bin.

Barrett, pre-1992, was down on his luck. Suddenly (?) he has the Diary of JtR. He has found a publisher. He is on top of the world. He has hit the Irish Sweepstakes. His is getting his pride back. There is even an account of him down the boozer waiving a royalty check over his head. He dreams of being a zillionaire, buying a Rolls Royce, leaving his wife, marrying Elizabeth Hurley and moving to the Isle of Wight.

Then, reality hits. Robt. Smith comes in with his team, Shirley is brought in to write the much needed explanatory text because Barrett is incapable, Feldman shows up with talk of a video, etc., suddenly there are competing researchers popping up here and there and everywhere and Mike realizes his piece of the Ripper cake is going to be very thin indeed, and with no frosting. The Diary eventually get sold to Smith for £1. Everything has gone pear-shaped and sideways and Mike starts to realize that Liz Hurley and the silver Rolls aren't going to materialize. He is mad as hell and so he starts to drop dark hints about the true history of the Diary. It is basically a form of blackmail. He then sobers up and starts peddling backwards, but the chain has fallen off his bike. The next day he does it all over again with Stanley Danger or some other bloke with a bottle of Jameson pumping him for information. So I see the confession as a really messy archeological dig. Some of it belongs, some of it genuine, some of it is cross-contamination, some of it is something the cat dropped-off last week. But I never believed it can be dismissed as COMPLETE...well, you supply the word, it is probably unprintable. Good to hear from you. Best wishes.
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  #24  
Old 10-12-2017, 07:15 AM
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Originally Posted by rjpalmer View Post
Here is how I envision it, and feel free to toss my thoughts in the bin.

Barrett, pre-1992, was down on his luck. Suddenly (?) he has the Diary of JtR. He has found a publisher. He is on top of the world. He has hit the Irish Sweepstakes. His is getting his pride back. There is even an account of him down the boozer waiving a royalty check over his head. He dreams of being a zillionaire, buying a Rolls Royce, leaving his wife, marrying Elizabeth Hurley and moving to the Isle of Wight.
Hi rj,

Sounds about right to me.

Quote:
Then, reality hits. Robt. Smith comes in with his team, Shirley is brought in to write the much needed explanatory text because Barrett is incapable, Feldman shows up with talk of a video, etc., suddenly there are competing researchers popping up here and there and everywhere and Mike realizes his piece of the Ripper cake is going to be very thin indeed, and with no frosting.
Not quite, rj. Mike had been assured that his share of the book royalties [50/50 with Shirley IIRC] were likely to be very substantial indeed.

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The Diary eventually get sold to Smith for £1. Everything has gone pear-shaped and sideways...
That was Mike's choice to transfer the diary itself to Robert Smith, to protect his very substantial future royalties, which would have been in peril had Feldman bought the diary from Mike for a helluva lot more than £1, but for considerably less than he could expect from the royalties if he stayed with Robert and Shirley.

Quote:
He is mad as hell and so he starts to drop dark hints about the true history of the Diary.
But not about the money initially, which began rolling in as promised. His wife left him in January 1994, taking their only child, Caroline, with her. Feldman was badgering him about the diary's true origins, convinced by then that it had come down to one or other Barrett from a family connection back to the Maybricks. Mike, drinking heavily, his personal life in tatters, was sticking to his story that Devereux, with sealed lips, had given him the diary in 1991. By May 1994, Mike had plenty of diary money to play with. But several large cash withdrawals later, he was overdrawn and blaming the diary for everything that was going wrong. In the June, the first of his several 'confessions' to creating the diary himself, with or without others, naturally hit Anne as hard as it hit Feldman, which may or may not have been the object. It certainly scored a direct hit in Mike's own pocket, putting his future royalties in deadly danger, and dealt his overall credibility a mortal blow.

Quote:
So I see the confession as a really messy archeological dig. Some of it belongs, some of it genuine, some of it is cross-contamination, some of it is something the cat dropped-off last week. But I never believed it can be dismissed as COMPLETE...well, you supply the word, it is probably unprintable. Good to hear from you. Best wishes.
COMPLETE and utter bollocks, rj.

Mike's confessions, I mean, not your post!

Love,

Caz
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Last edited by caz : 10-12-2017 at 07:21 AM.
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  #25  
Old 10-12-2017, 07:24 AM
Sam Flynn Sam Flynn is online now
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Caz, RJ,

This interchange of posts is fascinating and illuminating in equal measure. Thank you, both.
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  #26  
Old 10-13-2017, 08:38 AM
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You are most welcome, Gareth.

Mike was nothing if not a complex person.

He was also shrewd enough to know that a forgery confession - any forgery confession of any quality - would immediately be seized upon by the more vocal of those who had been crying "modern hoax", almost from the instant they first heard about his diary, as a complete vindication of their convictions, which is always a nice cuddly warm feeling.

This awareness must have suited his purposes at the time, but when all the confessing was done, and he was back in 'genuine' mode, with Devereux once more the pal who had left him the diary to "do something with", this showed the contempt he had actually felt inside all along for those who threw the most cold water on his baby and denied him his single-handed solving of the mystery of JtR.

It's a tragedy in at least three acts.

Love,

Caz
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  #27  
Old 10-13-2017, 10:14 AM
David Orsam David Orsam is offline
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Just a quick post about Mike's use of the name "Williams".

The early days are shrouded in mystery, not least because none of the documentation has been publicly released for general inspection, but we are told in Inside Story that, following Mike's second call to London, on 10 March 1992, "Montgomery wrote to Williams confirming that she and Harrison would look forward to meeting him and his wife, and seeing the diary, in 'due course'".

So Mike appears to have given his correct address otherwise he wouldn't have received the letter, which I assume he did.

In a way which is completely opaque, a meeting was fixed for 13 April 1992 but we are told that, at some point before this meeting, "In a subsequent phone call to Montgomery, Michael Williams revealed that his real name was Michael Barrett". We are not told if this was subsequent to Mike's receipt of the letter or simply subsequent to the 10 March phone call and we thus have no clue at what time he decided to reveal himself to be Mike Barrett (which he supposedly did because he was happy he was being taken seriously).

As he had to provide his contact details to Martin E Earl, who he instructed to obtain a Victorian diary on his behalf, it would have been a bit tricky, and fairly pointless, to have given correct telephone number and address but a false name.
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Old 10-16-2017, 02:53 AM
rjpalmer rjpalmer is offline
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Originally Posted by caz View Post
That was Mike's choice to transfer the diary itself to Robert Smith, to protect his very substantial future royalties, which would have been in peril had Feldman bought the diary from Mike for a helluva lot more than £1, but for considerably less than he could expect from the royalties if he stayed with Robert and Shirley.
Thanks, Caz. I've never understood this, and scrap metal dealers aren't known for bargains. I can go with you part way, but only part way. Evidently a law office of some sort offered Barrett £15,000 for the Diary. It was speculated at the time that this was at the request of Paul Feldman; perhaps you know this for certain, but it doesn't really matter. Yes, I can understand that Mike couldn't sell it without undermining the book deal and the contract. But that still doesn't explain why he would sell it to Smith for £1, or sell it at all. Barrett could have protected the contract merely by holding onto it or putting it in a safety deposit box. It strikes me it was a legal gambit of some sort. Something is not quite right there, imho. Cheers.
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