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Acquiring A Victorian Diary

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  • One day we are told that Murphy bought the watch in good faith thinking it was from an honest seller, only telling a lie when questions were asked about it because he didn’t want to take a risk, the next day we are told that he was desperate to sell it because it was “Too hot to handle” and thus he knew it to be stolen property. Is the right hand talking to the left hand?

    And of course the watch was so hot for Murphy to handle that he put it right there in the window of his shop, leaving it there for weeks, so that any passing police officer could see it.


    • At the end of the April Fools day of postings about the provenance of the watch we are told that it’s perfectly possible for Mr Stewart to have acquired the watch in the early 80s, thus meaning that it did not come from under the floorboards of Battlecrease on 9th March 1992. Well that at least is progress.


      • I suppose I have to repeat that there could have been incidental surface scratches on the watch when Murphy owned it in 1992. Turgoose’s report does not rule this out (as I have demonstrated) although this seems to have been completely ignored. So I still don’t know why a hoaxer in 1993 had to remove all the surface scratches and why he couldn’t just leave them there.


        • I don’t know why we even need to get into an interpretation of Melvin Harris’s words, especially when his exact words have not been quoted in this thread, but I doubt he believed that it was possible to date ink on paper to an actual day, week or month.

          Rather than concern ourselves over what Melvin Harris believed it would surely be more productive to find out what expert document examiners say about establishing the date when ink was put on paper and, from I have read, the only established scientific way of doing it is through a solubility test which can only tell you whether ink was recently applied or not.

          Baxendale was evidently the leading expert on document examination, which is why he was chosen to test the diary in the summer of 1992, and he was reported by the Sunday Times as saying that when he carried out his solubility test he would have expected the ink to take several minutes to dissolve, had it been a nineteenth century document, but it began to dissolve “in just a few seconds” (or, as he said in his report, it was “freely soluble”) so “Baxendale concluded it had probably been written recently, in the past two or three years”. For the avoidance of doubt, I would say that as a matter of English, that includes March or April 1992.


          • While it’s an amusing April Fool, the notion that the spelling and grammatical errors in the Diary were deliberate, and don’t reflect the education of the forger, is so utterly nonsensical that it’s not even worth me spending a further second discussing it.

            All I will say is that I am not aware that “the hoaxer” (whoever it was) has ever actually blamed any errors in the Diary on Maybrick. I thought that was just some nonsense spouted by some people in this forum.


            • It must be a statement of the bleeding obvious to say that, of course, if the forgery was going to be in any way effective it required someone who was capable of disguising their handwriting and making it resemble, at least to some degree, nineteenth century handwriting. And, equally, if you didn’t know someone who could do it you couldn’t create a forged Diary. I have no idea why this would come as a surprise to anyone.

              The point is that Anne has been identified by Mike as the person who did the forgery and none of us has the first clue as to whether she was capable of disguising her handwriting or not. That being so, what is there to discuss? And, consequently, what is the point of saying that the handwriting of the Diary doesn’t resemble Anne’s (or anyone else’s for that matter)? That, of course, is assuming it doesn't resemble Anne's handwriting and, as far as I am aware, the only sample ever seen by any handwriting expert was a sample taken for the specific purpose of testing (i.e. not her normal handwriting) and we don't even know what the expert said about it!!!!

              Can we be certain Anne's handwriting doesn't resemble the handwriting in the Diary in any way? Have any examples of her normal unforced handwriting been produced?


              • This thread surely cannot sink so low as to discuss Anne’s bad back.

                But anyone who thinks that you can’t sit down and write with a bad back must be living on another planet.

                The reason a secretary would take time off work with a bad back is not necessarily because she - and please forgive the apparent sexism of that but I’m talking specifically about Anne here - can’t sit and type (something which actually involves different muscles to writing) but because she can’t travel to and from work, she can’t do filing, she can’t pick up files or other office items, she can’t make the tea or coffee, and she would be generally uncomfortable in an office environment. It would not preclude her from sitting down and writing.

                Statements of the Bleeding Obvious Number 95.


                • I thought I was pretty clear in what I said back in #1418:

                  But the fact of the matter is that the last episode of the 1993 series of Antiques Roadshow (which happened to be the 150th edition) was broadcast on BBC1 at 5.25pm on Sunday, 21 March 1993. It was followed by a special edition broadcast on the same channel at 5.25pm on Sunday, 28 March 1993. There were no more broadcasts of this programme after that date, prior to 3 June 1993.

                  I even underlined “no more broadcasts”. That means there were no repeats.


                  • Originally posted by David Orsam View Post
                    As I said some time ago, but for some reason have to repeat, if Albert or Robbie Johnson was paying Mr Murphy, or offering him some other inducement, to make a false statement about the scratches, that would make sense of Murphy doing it. Under normal circumstances I would have dismissed such a notion out of hand but, as we are told that Murphy was a dishonest person, it can't not be considered.
                    Well that's a novel way of maintaining an argument, I'll give David that.

                    It's also a thoroughly infantile and transparently dishonest one, since a) David has NOT been 'told' that Murphy was a dishonest person; b) if David HAD been told this, it would be the first time he considered the source to be reliable; and c) its only David's theory which absolutely, 100% NEEDS Murphy to have been dishonest, when it comes to his claim that he tried to buff out several scratch marks he noticed on the inner watch surface in 1992.

                    Under what 'normal' circumstances would David have been prepared to dismiss this notion out of hand, along with his own notion that a hoaxer in 1993 was the first person to introduce visible scratch marks?


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


                    • Originally posted by caz View Post
                      Does it mean nothing to you that the author has "Sir Jim" wishing he could do better? How could he be cursing his deficiencies if the author couldn't see them and didn't even know there were any?
                      I'm not sure how that squares with "if Michael can succeed in rhyming verse then I can do better, a great deal better", Caz, but whilst the hoaxer(s) might have had "Sir Jim" wishing that his poems were better, that doesn't indicate any awareness, whether on the part of the hoaxer or Sir Jim, of the poor quality of their prose (grammar and spelling included).
                      Kind regards, Sam Flynn

                      "Suche Nullen" (Nietzsche, Götzendämmerung, 1888)


                      • Originally posted by David Orsam View Post
                        My argument does not actually rely on Caroline knowing that Tony Devereux had died in the summer of 1991. I have never said she did know (even though one can hardly rule out the possibility). When I refer to the unlikelihood of her confusing "fat Eddie" with "the deceased Tony Devereux" I am stating as a fact that he was dead not that she necessarily knew it.

                        My point is that it is nonsense to think that Caroline was confusing Eddie with Tony, regardless of who was alive or dead, given the clarity and certainty of her supposed recollection [my emphasis - caz] about this. This, for example, is what Harrison tells us:

                        The next day, Caroline remembers, her Dad went down to Tony’s house and pestered him about the origins of the Diary. How long had he had it? All Tony would say was "You are getting on my Fvcking nerves. I have given it to you because I know it is real and I know you will do something with it.""

                        It is nonsense to suggest that Caroline could have confused Eddie here with Tony (who was, it so happens, dead in March 1992). There is no inherent flaw in my argument.
                        The next day, Caroline remembers, her Dad went down to Fountains Road to see one of his mates and pester him about the origins of the Diary. How long had he had it? All his mate would say, according to Mike, was "You are getting on my Fvcking nerves. I have given it to you because I know it is real and I know you will do something with it".

                        Assuming the 'next day' refers to the day after Mike brought the guardbook home, David has the bigger problem here, to explain the 'clarity' and 'certainty' of Caroline remembering her Dad going down to Fountains Road [where Tony had lived] on April Fool's Day 1992 [the day after the O&L auction] to ask anyone there about that book's origins.

                        If, as David finally concedes, Caroline may not have registered the fact that the "Tony" her Dad had been referring to since April 1992 as the person he had asked about the guardbook, had died the previous August, it allows for Fat Eddie, still alive and kicking, to squeeze his way in and wear the dead man's shoes - a fit snug enough not to require a shoe horn.


                        Last edited by caz; 04-16-2018, 04:35 AM.
                        "Comedy is simply a funny way of being serious." Peter Ustinov


                        • Originally posted by rjpalmer View Post
                          According to Mike, Anne Graham requested the return of the red diary **before** his January 1995 affidavit/confession. It was certainly found in her possession a short time later. This ought to give you plenty of reason to reflect. Indeed, to face the reality of it.
                          Strange way of putting it, rj. You make it sound like Anne's home was searched and the red diary 'found'. Isn't it the case that Keith Skinner would have asked her what she knew about this diary because of what Mike had claimed about it, and she readily admitted she had paid for it and handed it over to Keith, confirming Mike's claim that it was now in her possession?

                          At some point in late 1994, when Mike went “off-message,” Anne remembered the red diary, and, realizing that it might be damaging, went to fetch it back. That Mike gave it to her is confirmation of what I have been howling for 15 years: Barrett was emotionally conflicted--he didn't know what to do; to be or not to be---to confess or not to confess--to derail or not to derail---and, in this instance, he caved-in to his estranged wife and ended up giving her the red diary. By his account, she had promised him £20K by the end of the month and allegedly sealed the bargain with what I will call a kiss.
                          Again, rj, I can't see how Anne could have promised Mike a penny, let alone twenty grand, and expected him to believe it. Seems to me he was seriously paranoid by this point and imagined Anne and Feldy, among others, were busy plotting against him. I suggest he mentioned the red diary to Alan Gray, in the context of having given it to Anne recently, and Gray helped him "make something of it" in his January 1995 affidavit. The stupid thing is, Mike didn't seem to appreciate that by claiming the diary was a recent fake, he was in breach of the original agreement with Doreen, and could have been forced to return all the money he had received so far, so why he'd be expecting anyone involved to reward him ever again after such conduct, goodness alone knows.

                          Maybe at that moment Mike thought that everything could be nice again. But, in truth, it wasn't nice, and on January 5, 1995 Mr. Mike "Hoodwinked" Barrett signs a sworn affidavit and reveals the red diary's existence. As they say over here in America, Mike took the "nuclear" option. Meanwhile, enter Keith Skinner. Having now learned of the red diary, Keith goes to Anne and asks her about it. Again, put yourself in her shoes. She had very recently retrieved the damaging diary from Barrett, and yet here is some bloke in her living room asking her about it!! OMG. Her jaw must have dropped.
                          Some bloke? Surely Keith was more than just 'some bloke' by 1995? And why must her jaw have dropped, if she had retrieved the red diary from Mike in the wake of his claim to have written the Maybrick diary? She was surely aware that his claim was being investigated, whether she knew it was total nonsense or partially true.

                          Her stomach churned. Her eyes gorged. She looked towards the bathroom door, wondering if she could lock herself inside.
                          Oh come on, rj. Your considerable imagination could be put to far better use than this. 'How on earth did Keith find out about it?' How do you think? Assuming Anne knew all about Mike's renewed efforts between July and December 1994 to convince Feldman and co that he had forged the diary, and had asked him for the 'damaging' red diary to lessen the chances of him trying to use it as evidence, she must also have realised that this would not stop Mike telling all and sundry about it, and the 'damaging' fact that she had asked him for it! So of course it was only a matter of time before Mike did just that, and the hounds would be knocking on her door to ask her what she knew about it. What was she keeping it for? So she could look back fondly on happier times when she was a little old lady, recalling how they had laughed when it arrived?

                          If she didn't want Mike to have it because it was evidence of their joint forgery plans, why did she hold onto it, only to let Keith have it when he came a-calling? Why hadn't she burned it, and shredded the old cheque book used to pay for it? In the event that the purchase could still have been traced back to Mike's initial enquiry, she'd have been no worse off, would she? People do shred their old cheque books, and she could have denied ever asking Mike for this red diary or any other, considering how many lies he had already told about the Maybrick diary. She hadn't ordered the red diary herself, and it had been sent to Mike at the marital home she had left in January 1994. So again, what was she keeping it for?

                          I suggest that she had no inkling, when she retrieved that red diary from Mike, and decided to keep it [it had cost her £25 after all], that he would go on to swear an affidavit to the effect that she had been in it up to her neck with him and had bought this diary with the intention of using it for a joint forgery enterprise. When did she first learn about what he had done and what he had now claimed? What was her reaction? Did this latest revelation take her completely by surprise, to realise what lengths he would go to, as I suspect was the case? Or had she been expecting him to 'grass her up', and dreading the moment when he would finally do so, ever since his first 'confession' in late June 1994, because it was true that she had been his co-forger? If this is what you suspect, then how do you account for her taking back possession of the red diary and keeping hold of it, together with a record of its purchase, while waiting for the inevitable to happen, and for the whole investigation to focus back on her?

                          Unless Keith is an incompetent interviewer--and I don’t think he is--he wouldn't have telegraphed his source nor would he have told Anne all he knew (or didn't know) about the red diary. Thus Anne could not be certain of what else he may or may not have learned—or would soon learn--so lying outright or claiming it simply did not exist would have been utterly foolish.
                          But this assumes Anne knew Keith might have learned something incriminating about her involvement in the forgery planning stages. If she just suspected more lies were likely to come out of Mike's mouth at any time, but had no real idea what those lies might be, because he was making stuff up as he went along [such as how he'd had a book on Crashaw at home since 1989 and thought it suitable to include a few of his words in the diary], might it not better explain why she appeared to have no qualms about revealing to Keith that she had the red diary, producing it for him and telling him what she knew about its purchase?

                          How do you think the subject of the red diary was introduced, and by whom? I doubt Keith went at it like a bull at a gate. In my experience he is very careful not to give clues, but it had to come up somehow.

                          She was truly over a barrel. No, she had no choice but admit to it and come up with a not-so-spur-of-the-moment, ****-and-bull story that Mike wanted to 'see what a diary looked like'---an obvious fabrication that is still being repeated to this day.

                          Anyway, I think you are misreading David Orsam. What I think he is saying is that, forced into the situation, she took a calculated risk and admitted to the purchase of the diary, figuring she could still "explain it away." What she could **not** have known is that Martin Earl's advertisement existed in print and that her story would eventually be debunked when it was shown that Mike (or Anne?) had specifically requested enough blank paper to accommodate the 29 page transcript later found on their word processor. But, of course, Anne's calculated risk failed. Earl's advertisement did exist as this thread demonstrates. It's not that difficult to put together. Regards.
                          My own argument is that if Anne knew the red diary had been acquired in the hope that it would prove suitable for forgery purposes, she either knew what Mike [or she herself??] had asked for, and who else knew about these details, or she didn't. If it was the former, there was always the risk of the payee being contacted and someone recalling the details of the original request and how it had resulted in the red diary being sent to Mike. If she didn't even know how the red diary had been acquired, because it was Mike who had acquired it, the same risk applied. Of course, the risk would have had to be calculated in the first place, when Mike began looking for suitable forgery materials, that whatever they acquired for their forged diary of JtR might be traced back to when and where they acquired it, and who was involved in the transaction.

                          I suggest the only risk Anne may have realised she was taking, in helping Keith with his red diary enquiries, was that anyone who had already swallowed Mike's forgery 'confession' was not going to accept he had merely been curious to know what a Victorian diary looked like. She was perhaps guilty of naivety in assuming the risk was small, and that few intelligent people would fall for Mike's lies, hook, line and sinker, and still be under their spell in the 21st century.


                          Last edited by caz; 04-16-2018, 08:22 AM.
                          "Comedy is simply a funny way of being serious." Peter Ustinov


                          • The notion that my argument is a "dishonest" one is itself dishonest.

                            Back on 2nd March I summarised what we were being told about Murphy in this way (#1279):

                            Murphy was telling the truth about having seen the scratches BUT he was lying about the amount of time the watch had been in his possession.

                            He is both an honest and a dishonest witness and you can choose which bits of his recollection are honest and which are dishonest at your own discretion

                            The response to this, six days later, by someone called Caz couldn't have been clearer: (#1351):

                            "Why not, David?"

                            To which she added:

                            "We are all playing the same game here, David, of deciding who was dishonest, who was squeaky clean and who was dishonest about some things and honest about others."

                            What was undoubtedly being said here was that Murphy was lying about the watch having been in his and his family's possession for years (and was thus dishonest) but, at the same time, was truthfully saying he had seen scratches on it.

                            I am aware that this Caz person has tried to wriggle out of the consequences of her theory by saying:

                            "I'm doing no more than suggesting Murphy could have wanted to lessen this risk by backdating what was admittedly the purchase of a watch from a complete stranger."

                            But this is no more than a mealy mouthed way of saying that Murphy was lying through his teeth about how long he had had the watch in his possession.

                            This must make Murphy a thoroughly dishonest person and even to suggest he was capable of doing such a thing must place a serious question mark over anything he has said about the scratches.

                            Given that we ARE, therefore, being told that Murphy was a dishonest jeweller (subject to any desperate backtracking) what is the point of wasting time discussing his claims about the scratches as if he was an honest jeweller?


                            • For the person with comprehension difficulties, I am in no way suggesting that Caroline remembered her father going anywhere after the O&L auction, on 1st April 1992, or at any other time, to ask anyone anything about the book's origins or indeed about anything else.


                              • I see that the only way a certain person has of dealing with evidence is by changing it.

                                What the person would like Caroline to have said was this:

                                "Dad went down to Fountains Road to see one of his mates and pester him about the origins of the Diary."

                                But that is NOT what Caroline is reported to have said. Harrison tells us she said:

                                "Dad went down to Tony’s house and pestered him about the origins of the Diary."

                                If you alter the evidence to suit your own theories then you can easily end up getting the answer you want but it is hardly legitimate to do so.