I want to weigh in as a “newbie” (although I did have a membership here many years ago) on the diary issue. I’ve been confounded and perplexed by this manuscript for years. My strong impression is that it’s a modern hoax; mainly because, though I’m no historian, I’ve read a lot of Victorian literature, and there are just too many phony-sounding, pseudo-Victorian word usages and phrasing. Of course, the several anachronisms only reinforce this impression.
And yet, parts of the “diary” have a quality of raw authenticity—namely, the passages dealing with the wife’s infidelity, Maybrick’s resultant rage, his obsessiveness and violence, and the many casual mentions of his family affairs/issues, etc.
The “ripper” sections, however, read as forced and phony. I was especially unimpressed by the way the writer clumsily tried to shoe-horn passages or references from alleged Ripper letters into the diary—very awkward.
This leads me to suspect that the electricians working on the Maybrick home may have found something—letters, scribblings, or bits of a journal in Maybrick’s hand. Whoever discovered these might have tried to sell them—and maybe the buyer thought that since the guy seemed creepy and violent anyway, he might be fitted out/marketed as a possible Ripper candidate. The Maybrick material could have been incorporated into another, forged document, with Ripper-like musings and (clumsy, inaccurate) references to the murders.
This would explain the confused provenance of the diary—some of it was found in Maybrick’s home, some of it was forged—probably by Anne.
I do think the Diary was put in final form by person(s) who were technically proficient in crafting forgeries, and perhaps had been involved with previous historical-type hoaxes.
This is an interesting idea, ElizaB. I agree that there are very emotional passages in the diary that seem to have been written by an agitated Victorian man. I'm also struck by the passages where he drafts-- and redrafts-- his odd little rhymes of doggerel. It seems true, somehow.
The tight timeline is necessary only if we are determined to connect the diary (or the original written material around which the forgery is written) to Maybrick. It could have arrived earlier, from any source, thus giving more time to compose the "diary of Jack the Ripper."
However, I think the errors of modern usage and mistakes in the facts of the case are understandable, given a apparent rush job.
I think the guard book / photo album belonged to Anne (or her family), and was drafted into usage as the book for the diary, once the purchased Victorian diary turned out to be too small. I think the whole story about the visit to the auction is fiction, frankly.
--------------- Von Konigswald: Jack the Ripper plays shuffleboard. -- Happy Birthday, Wanda June by Kurt Vonnegut, c.1970.