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Acquiring A Victorian Diary

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  • It's not even correct to say that, "What we do know is that the Maybrick/ripper engravings are beneath all the other scratches and markings on that surface".

    I mean, it's there in plain English in the conclusion of Turgoose's report:

    " is clear that the engravings predate the vast majority of superficial surface scratches..."

    In no known language does "the vast majority" mean "all".


    • Given that even Mike didn't claim to have transcribed the Diary in his Jan 1995 affidavit, its unfathomable why we keep getting told that Mike wrote in a combination of lower and upper case. Sure, he once did claim to have transcribed it but I do not know who is suggesting this today. Seems like a classic case of attacking Mr Straw Man. It's like someone loves arguing the point so much that she just can't let it go even though she is only having the argument with herself.


      • As for the issue of someone possibly recognising the diary, it just goes back to a point that has been made time and time again but which does not seem to be absorbed. That is a point about risk. There is always risk involved in any criminal enterprise. If someone HAD recognised the guardbook (or the little red diary, if that had been used) as having been in their family, despite the absence of distinguishing features, that would probably have been the end of the Diary and that would be that. I say probably because who really knows if we wouldn't be told the person had made a mistake or something like that.

        But if the red diary had been used but not recognised then how would anyone have ever traced it to Mike Barrett via Martin Earl? It was only because Mike himself mentioned it in his affidavit that Keith Skinner was able to do so, having obtained a private cheque from Anne.

        Tim Martin-Wright never saw the Diary so he could have had no idea if he had being offered "the same" one by Alan Davies, someone else who had also never seen it, and who, even in Diary Defending World, had no business offering something for sale that he didn’t own and which had supposedly already been sold!


        • So we are told that "Mike could simply have said to Feldman: "Ask this electrician of yours to describe the diary he says he took, and what's in it. If he can't do it, you'll know he's talking bollocks and the diary never came from that house".

          Well Feldman, had he wanted to, could himself have asked the electrician to describe the diary. Why should Mike be suggesting cross-examination type questions to Feldman for Feldman to ask the electrician? And why is Mike Barrett, whose behaviour, we are told, was never "particularly rational", suddenly to be imbued with the qualities of a professional advocate?

          Mike's response to Feldman with its use of blunt industrial, Anglo-Saxon, expletive language seems to me to have been a perfectly adequate response to the proposal. He didn't need to suggest cross-examination questions to Feldman. It doesn't get much simpler than that.


          • Oh what a tangle the world's leading expert on the watch has got herself into.

            The watch's previous owner, we are told, could have stepped forward at any time and that would have spelt disaster for the hoaxer.

            But what about Ron Murphy the jeweller? Doesn’t exactly the same apply to him if he's been lying about it being purchased by his father 10 or 15 years earlier? He would have had a bit of explaining to do when the previous owner stepped forward and said "Hey, I only sold that watch to Murphy last year!!!!"

            So why doesn't the same thinking apply to Murphy who, we are told, despite having had no reason to believe it was stolen, lied through his teeth about when he acquired the watch?

            In respect of the hoaxer, as far as I am concerned, we just go back to the same point I have made time and time about risk. There is always a risk to every criminal enterprise. In this case, it seems minimal not only because of the unlikelihood of someone being able to identify that particular watch (i.e. you'd have to know quite a lot of details about it to know it was one you had owned) but because even if the owner did come forward (to say what? was there ever a national appeal for him/her to do so?) how would he or she have known whether there were any scratches on the inside of it?

            But let's assume that the previous owner of the watch did come forward and said that the watch had been in his non-Maybrick family since 1846 - well then that would have been the end of the hoax. It's as simple as that. Why is that difficult to understand?


            • This is a post for the children's section of the forum.

              No-one is saying that repairing a watch would "break the bank" but Murphy might have had hundreds of items in need of repair in his drawers and if he had cashflow problems he might not have wanted to spend cash to repair those items. Without knowing how much the repair cost it's impossible to say what profit, if any, he made on the watch when he sold it. The fact that Albert bought it for less than the "retail" price is utterly irrelevant because the retail price was whatever Murphy hoped he could sell it for but unless he's psychic he couldn't have known whether he could make money from it by selling it with a decent margin. In fact, one could argue that selling a watch worth £295 of £275 for £225 shows that Murphy was desperate to get rid of it and didn't think it would sell for true value. In any event, to argue that he couldn't possibly have left a broken watch in a drawer for a few years because it was so amazingly valuable (at less than £300!!!) is not an argument that the adults need to bother with.


              • This is the full context of the original statement:

                "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."

                I don't understand a word of it. Makes no sense to me. Worrying that scratches on a watch would be found to be recent so he has to find another watch? What bizarre talk is this?

                Then when I ask what it all means I read something bafflingly incomprehensible about the hoaxer having to remove all incidental scratches - but I don't know why he can't just leave them there, if there were any there in the first place.

                As to that, the only person who has seen any scratches on the watch prior to it being in Albert's possession is Ron Murphy who were are told is a liar and a dishonest jeweller.

                For some reason I had "better hope" that the Murphys lied about the scratch marks but I simply have no idea why I need to "hope" this.

                All I know is that anyone who desperately wants the watch to have come out of Battlecrease in March 1992 absolutely 100% NEEDS not only both the Murphys to have repeatedly lied about their knowledge of the watch but also their poor elderly father (or father-in-law) suffering from dementia to have told the same lie. How they managed to rope him into the conspiracy I have no idea.


                • Originally posted by Sam Flynn View Post
                  I can't see that many scratches would spontaneously appear on the inside back of a gold watch, even 100+ years after its manufacture, so perhaps there weren't (m)any scratches there when the "Mabyrick" writing was laid down. Once it was, the distressing/aging process would have created its own set of scratches which, naturally, the "Maybrick" writing would have lain beneath.
                  Exactly, Gareth.

                  I'm no expert on Victorian watches, but having an interest in the period and part of a living history group for that era, I have seen a few examples. While wear is noticeable on the outside surface in many cases, I've never seen any (much less scratches) on the inside cover. There is no reason as it is naturally protected and seldom exposed. This alone should be a definite red herring to anyone with a healthy skepticism.
                  Best Wishes,

                  When evidence is not to be had, theories abound. Even the most plausible of them do not carry conviction- London Times Nov. 10.1888


                  • Originally posted by Hunter View Post
                    While wear is noticeable on the outside surface in many cases, I've never seen any (much less scratches) on the inside cover.
                    While I see the force in the general point you are making, it does need to be remembered that you almost certainly wouldn't have seen any scratches on the inside cover of the Maybrick watch either, had you been looking at it, unless you had caught it in sunlight or was using some kind of magnifying device. While that doesn't affect your point that, in theory, there shouldn't have been any scratches there, it does mean that your own personal experience of looking at other watches isn't conclusive, unless you had indeed used magnification to check the surface or held it up in sunlight.


                    • Having looked at a fair few pictures of victorian watch hallmarks recently (trying to work out if the lack of an assay office mark is significant), it struck me just how many of them had scratches as noticable, or more so, than the watch in question.


                      • Is there anything suspicious about the fact that the watch was originally made in Lancaster, and according to Murphy's statement, he was given the watch by his father who had a jewellers shop in Lancaster? Did it travel between these two towns several times during it's life?


                        • Originally posted by Joshua Rogan View Post
                          Having looked at a fair few pictures of victorian watch hallmarks recently (trying to work out if the lack of an assay office mark is significant), it struck me just how many of them had scratches as noticable, or more so, than the watch in question.
                          To this extent?

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                          Those criss-cross marks are, I'd suggest, indicative of someone deliberately scratching in one direction then the other, in order to deliberately wear down the engravings. However one looks at it, they are not the result of "accidental" damage over time.
                          Last edited by Sam Flynn; 03-30-2018, 04:42 PM.
                          Kind regards, Sam Flynn

                          "Suche Nullen" (Nietzsche, Götzendämmerung, 1888)


                          • Hello Gareth,

                            An observation from a complete amateur in the field of watch markings...

                            Apart from the diagonal scratch marks you indicate.. do I detect lighter diagonal markings..same direction..under your observation markings... that look to this eye of having been made with fine emery (forgive the spelling) cloth or sandpaper?
                            Just something that occurred to me. (Sandpaper being in the sporting news at the moment)

                            Chelsea FC. TRUE BLUE. 💙

                            Justice for the 96 = achieved
                            Accountability? ....


                            • Originally posted by David Orsam View Post
                              The good news, however, is that we now know that the best researcher in the business has interviewed Albert on the subject so perhaps we will be told what he said when he was asked the obvious follow up questions, namely: "Who did you tell about the watch?" and "Is there any way you think Robbie could have found out about it?".
                              If by 'the best researcher in the business', David means Martin Howells, then I think he will find that Albert told him he took the watch home from the shop and left it in a drawer for the next ten months. Albert also told Robert Smith that it had not been out of his possession before the markings were discovered.

                              I do remember asking Albert about this myself, and he said he couldn't think of any way that Robbie could have known about the watch or where it was kept, never mind taken it, tampered with it and put it back again, all without his [Albert's] knowledge.

                              Whether Albert secretly thought it was possible, or even suspected Robbie of duping him, I don't suppose we'll ever know. But nastier minds than David's or mine will happily believe they do know.

                              I still need to get my head round a bandwagon hoaxer scratching those Maybrick/ripper engravings into the untouched and unblemished inner surface of a watch they know bugger all about, which, for all they know, had previously always been in the family of J.O, whose large, ornate and professionally engraved initials are there for all to see on the outside back cover [and which Dundas denied were there, when describing the watch to Feldman].


                              Last edited by caz; 04-05-2018, 05:41 AM.
                              "Comedy is simply a funny way of being serious." Peter Ustinov


                              • Originally posted by Sam Flynn View Post
                                Good post, John. However, in my view the diary is "strewn with errors-punctuation mistakes, spelling mistakes [and] grammatical errors". If you refer to my annotated version of the diary on Howard's site, you'll see why I arrived at this opinion.
                                Hi Gareth,

                                Assuming you wouldn't argue that Mike could have penned the diary himself, seeing as he was a stranger to the art of using upper and lower case letters correctly and consistently, and it would be a serious understatement to describe his own handwriting as too 'distinctive', how do you then account for spelling and punctuation mistakes if he was dictating the text to Anne, as he claimed in his January 1995 affidavit? How would that work? She would be spelling and punctuating everything as she went along, and if Mike had asked her to spell 'the cat's mother' as 'tHE KAtS MuvvER', I dare say she would not have been quite so co-operative.

                                Or did Mike choose someone more literate than himself, but less so than the missus, to do the do for him, and is that why Anne wanted to burn the bloody thing when Mike said he was planning to publish it?

                                What say you?


                                "Comedy is simply a funny way of being serious." Peter Ustinov