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  • Roger – thank you for your response and before I forget, I would be interested to learn whether you have listened to the September/October 1995 series of Radio Merseyside interviews which, as you know, followed the Alan Gray tapes of the previous year (1994) and Mike Barrett’s sworn Affidavit of January 1995?

    In essence, as you will know, the hands on recordings with Alan Gray were made when Gray was attempting to elicit from Mike the hard evidence he had faked the diary so they could go to the National papers and destroy Paul Feldman plus all of those corrupt people in London who were continuing to pimp Mike’s creation for financial gain knowing it to be a hoax? I suspect also that it was the only way Alan Gray realised he was going to be paid by Mike for his services!

    On one of the tapes you can hear Alan telling Mike what he owes him to date.

    I have absolutely no problem in anybody checking, double checking, or triple checking my research. Indeed, not only do I welcome this I would wholeheartedly encourage it. If I’ve f—-ed up, or bungled it (Melvin Harris’s accusation), or been lackadaisical or missed or overlooked things in my incompetence - in an age when the internet and on line sources were not readily available or accessible - then I don’t mind admitting this. What does anger me are these insidious inferences I read from some people who post on these boards – but do not have the courage to go the full distance and identify to whom they are referring, hiding behind the shield of “they’ll know who they are” - that those researchers who continue to seek the truth about the origins of this document have a vested financial interest. Which quite honestly is bollocks on stilts. At the 2017 Liverpool Conference I fully expected to be openly challenged by a gentleman who said he was going to be in attendance and who openly stated on the Message Boards he’d have a few hard, difficult questions for me. He did not show and then offered the lame excuse he had to leave early but, in any case, did not want to spoil an old boys hobby! That was it – the sum total of his awkward penetrating questions. Easy enough to be full of bravado on the Message Boards but come the day when he has the opportunity to test his beliefs and put me on the spot, he slinks away.

    Re O & L – yes, I believe you are quite correct in stating you did report back your findings but I wonder whether that was to me privately or to the Message Boards in general? I know I did think all credit to you for pursuing this line but seem to recall I asked for your contact and a copy of the letter which you had
    written so I could follow up with my own enquiries? I wondered what specifically you had asked and records you had enquired about – and whether you had drawn attention to Kevin Whay’s observation (a director of O&L) that they had never conducted their sales in the manner which Mike Barrett described in his sworn affidavit of January 1995. However, even at this distance in time, although you brand this line of research as “...forever an unproven hypothesis” I will open it up again even if I have to go to Liverpool and search the records of O&L myself. If you and David O are correct then it could all be over by Christmas.

    But I would be grateful for sight of your research in the first instance because it is a crucial area – although in 2001-2002, we were not even considering the possibility of Mike having obtained the scrapbook as late as March/April 1992 using the surname of ‘Williams’. Quite why he did not produce the damning auction ticket as part of his January 1995 Affidavit – or hand it to me when I interviewed him at the Cloak & Dagger (April 1999) when he boasted he was going to so do in order to bring everything to an end, I don’t know. But I believe you entertain some notion the organisers of the event deliberately allowed Mike to get drunk so as to diminish his credibility – although you didn’t really explain the reason why they would want to do this? I can tell you though that Jonathan M. had no part in putting the evening together – and neither did I!

    Best Wishes

    KS

    Comment


    • Originally posted by Keith Skinner View Post
      Quite why he [Barrett] did not produce the damning auction ticket as part of his January 1995 Affidavit or hand it to me when I interviewed him at the Cloak & Dagger (April 1999) when he boasted he was going to so do in order to bring everything to an end, I don't know. But I believe you entertain some notion the organisers of the event deliberately allowed Mike to get drunk so as to diminish his credibility although you didn't really explain the reason why they would want to do this?

      Best Wishes

      KS
      Hi Keith,

      I think we can infer with some considerable confidence that Mike's failure to deliver on his promise that evening was simply one in a long line of story twists which he routinely dipped into in order to continue to believe that he remained at the core of the debate. His pathological need to be at the centre of the drama meant that his Walter Mitty ways simply got worse and worse over the years as his role increasingly diminished. We are wholly justified in washing our hands of his inane claims each and every time he failed to back them up. So there was no auction ticket, just as there was no forgery.

      As to anyone diminishing Mike's credibility in April 1999, I think we can also be very confident that that was simply impossible. You cannot diminish what a man has not got. The worst thing that ever happened to James Maybrick's scrapbook was that it landed in the lap of an ex-scrap metal dealer with vague aspirations to be a writer. Still, if that had not been the case, Anne Graham would probably still be in possession of Maybrick's scrapbook and the rest of us would still be searching for Jack the Ripper amongst anyone and everyone whose name was ever mentioned in connection with the crimes. By the way, did I ever say that I suspect that Pearly Poll was Jack?

      Cheers,

      Ike
      Iconoclast
      Soldier of Fortune, Man of Peace, Destroyer of Images, Nice Guy, Genius

      Comment


      • Hi Keith.

        I made a rather significant error in Post #1724. My mistake entirely, but I am rather surprised that neither you, nor anyone else following this thread, caught it. I misread the original passage. In rereading Ripper Diary, pg. 234-237, I now see that Barrett's claim that the Diary did not yet physically exist when he phoned Doreen, and that he and Anne were left with only 11 days to transcribe the text, was not made at the Cloak and Dagger meeting, but the previous day, during a luncheon held at Camille Wolff's house. The account states that you were present at Camille's, and had personally quizzed Mike. So all the speculation about Barrett's sobriety/lack thereof at the Smoke and Stagger is spectacularly irrelevant. Not that it particularly matters now, but do you have any recollection of Barrett drinking heavily at Camille Wolff's house during this luncheon? I only ask because it could shed light on Ike's theory that Barrett's confession "was entirely drink-induced." (Post #1733). Is that also your impression? Was Barrett already drunk when you questioned him at High Noon?

        I was also struck by the following passage in your book (the bottom of pg. 237):

        "...the 1891 diary was duly located and sent to Barrett's home address on 26 March 1992, reaching him, presumably, by Saturday, 28 March. The bill, for 25.00, was not paid until 18 May 1992, resulting in the company marking Barrett as a "late payer." According to Barrett's testimony, this would have left him barely two weeks to have rejected the maroon diary, seen the black ledger at an auction at Outhwaite & Litherland, put in a successful bid, and then completed the forgery."

        Ah, the self-same theory explored by me and by David Orsam, first posited by you and your co-authors in 2003 (the publishing date for Ripper Diary), so clearly it had already occurred to you that Barrett's purchase of the black ledger, by his own account, came after the purchase of the red diary, and thus must have dated to March 1992?

        I am therefore puzzled why, 16 years later, this lead has still not been followed, but am delighted that you now plan on looking into it. I wish you the best of luck, but am afraid that I can offer you no further guidance than what I have already told you...I was informed that the appropriate records had been shredded. I sent O & L a regular paper, stamp, and envelope-type letter on 31st March 2006, and received a reply on 7 May 2006, stating that businesses were only required to keep sales records for six years, and the appropriate documentation no longer existed. It was a woman who replied; a secretary of some sort. That was 13 years ago, so it seems unlikely you will find anything else, but, again, I do wish you the best. Perhaps lot descriptions of some kind might exist? Doubtful, but possible. I don't think the name "Williams" is particularly relevant; Barrett could have used the name, then again, he may have been confusing it with the name he used when first phoning Doreen Montgomery.


        No, of course I didn't bring up Kevin Whey. Why would I? We seem to be on two different wave lengths, Keith. Correct me if I am wrong, but you seem to think we are dealing with a simple equation: either Barrett was lying when he confessed, or he was telling the truth. I don't see it that way. I think the man genuinely suffered from Korsakoff's syndrome which means his memory was impaired. His confession could easily be a mixture of truth, falsehoods, and confabulations. Some details may be correct, others may be pure fantasy. We also have to throw Gray into the equation. Did he interpret everything correctly? This is why I don't take Ike's post above (#1724) seriously. The thinking is entirely wrong. As frustrating as it may seem, the mere fact that elements of Barrett's confession may, ultimately, prove to be false, does not, in itself, allow us to conclude that he was not involved in the creation of the Diary. Unless it can be shown that Barrett faked his 1994 (?) stroke and the diagnosis of Korsakoff's syndrome, all bets are off.

        Originally posted by keith
        But I believe you entertain some notion the organisers of the event deliberately allowed Mike to get drunk so as to diminish his credibility – although you didn’t really explain the reason why they would want to do this?
        Good grief, Keith. Is this really necessary? I said the exact opposite. Based on your own book, I assumed (wrongly, as it turns out) that Mike had a 'minder' and was thus 'apparently sober' at the meeting. You and your co-authors stated nothing about Barrett being drunk, and so I assumed the best. Two posters quickly jumped in, stating Barrett was, in fact, three sheets-to-the-wind, and now I was supposedly suggesting that Mike was deliberately plied with alcohol? Clearly, I can't win, Keith, and it is evident that you still view me with considerable suspicion, even though I have always played it straight. Again, Good luck. RP

        Comment


        • Originally posted by rjpalmer View Post
          This is why I don't take Ike's post above (#1724) seriously.
          Hi Roger,

          To save some confusion, you obviously meant to type #1742.

          We could spin this one 'round and 'round forever, like riding the carousel that it is, and never agree, but we should at least agree on some basic ground rules. I would propose that one of them is that we have some proof that Mike Barrett had a stroke, and definitely some proof that he had Korsakoff's Syndrome. Now, if we know that he was unequivocally diagnosed with KS (hopefully you aren't still getting confused with my shortcut here?) then the argument in favour of Barrett as forger obviously gets a massive fillip. If he never was diagnosed either with a stroke or with KS, we are justified in questioning why anyone would build a case around it - indeed, why anyone should be allowed to build a case around it. Thus (post #1742), if Barrett claims that he is going to prove the forgery by producing the ticket stub from the auction house, enjoys the brief limelight this once again gives his withered, unrelenting ego, and then fails in every regard to produce the proof, we are absolutely entitled to disregard it until such time as that proof or some other equivalent proof demonstrates beyond any doubt that he had a hand in the creation of the Maybrick scrapbook. You can keep pursuing the bits of the long story which just about fit your theory, but it is not done in the shadows. I'm afraid the light is very bright around you and we can therefore all see exactly what you are doing.

          Just by way of an example of how frustrating this wholly selective reading of events is, Mike Barrett gave a version of the provenance which did not waiver for two years until his personal world descended into chaos and the bottle. After he recovers, he returns to his consistent and original story of how he got the scrapbook. But you and your ilk home in on that bit which works for your theory and everything then has to be shoo-horned in to fit that, despite the fact that there is not a scrap of evidence to support it (and despite the fact that Barrett gave a wholly unworkable account of his involvement in a fraud).

          It's a carousel. It just goes 'round and 'round. But we should at least deal with the facts (for example, Barrett's confession) and when they do not actually work, they should be seen for what they are - the dull claims of a braggard desperate to be someone (I'm referring to Mike Barrett here, obviously).

          Cheers,

          Ike
          Iconoclast
          Soldier of Fortune, Man of Peace, Destroyer of Images, Nice Guy, Genius

          Comment


          • I'm just sitting here reading Inside Story and I am drawn [p235] to an interesting quotation from editor Paul Daniels in the June 1999 issue of Ripperologist in which he states: 'Mike has now had many years to arrange his "defence" of having created the journal, and it appeared to me that over those years he must have prepared and learnt a script, held in his mind's eye, that covered all contingencies and contained stock answers to any questions he might be asked. Though when taken out of chronology, or context, he floundered, and bluffed and blustered.'

            This doesn't prove anything, obviously, but I was struck by how consistent this description was with Mike's actual demonstrable behaviour during the 1990s. Is that behaviour more likely to be the work of a man desperate to stay at the centre of the drama or of a man who has finally decided he must turn a clean page and reveal his work to be the forgery so many people always assumed it was?

            If you are unsure which of these two versions is the truth, you might want to re-read Chapter 9 of Inside Story which includes an interview with a 'clearly sober' Mike Barrett in what was presumably the early 2000s in which we find [p271] that 'Barrett's current stand is that the Diary is genuine ... but that Anne Graham's account is not true.' We also discover [p272] that 'Sometime in mid-June 1994, Barret claims, he received a letter from his estranged wife, falsely accusing him of having a physical relationship with a new friend in his life. That letter, Barrett says, 'cost everybody a bloody fortune'. Already angry with Anne for keeping their daughter from him, and drinking very heavily (he describes this as a terrible, lost, drunken period) ... [he contacted the newspaper and gave his first confession] ... Though his recollection of the details are now vague, [Harold] Brough [of the Liverpool Post] is fairly sure he left Barrett lying on the floor drunk.'

            So we have a terrible, lost, drunken period of Mike Barrett's life and we have a 'clearly sober' period of Mike's life. Which period of his life is the more likely to reflect the truth of the matter? Everyone must choose for themselves, of course. I don't think I need to clarify my position.

            Cheers,

            Ike
            Iconoclast
            Soldier of Fortune, Man of Peace, Destroyer of Images, Nice Guy, Genius

            Comment


            • I am drawn (by private correspondence) to Ripperana, No. 11 (January 1995) in which, it is claimed, that 'Mr. Barrett, his memory unimpaired by Korsakov’s Syndrome (as alleged by Shirley Harrison) has now recalled details of the transaction involved in purchasing the album used for the “Diary” from the Liverpool auctioneers Outhwaite & Litherland.'

              Now I'm sure I should know this (having read Harrison's two hardbacks and her original paperback so often), but I don't recall her confirming in any of her works on the scrapbook that Mike Barrett had been diagnosed with Korsakoff's Syndrome. If anyone wishes to spare me the effort to find it, I'd be very grateful.

              Until we have confirmation that Mike was formally diagnosed with KS, we should not be building a case upon it. He experienced 'confabulation' according to his doctor at the hospital where he was treated for alcoholism after his affidavit, but even that may only have been his opinion rather than a formal diagnosis (I say this out of fairness for the truth - Mike Barrett's having 'confabultion' would suit my argument down to the ground, clearly).

              Ike
              Iconoclast
              Soldier of Fortune, Man of Peace, Destroyer of Images, Nice Guy, Genius

              Comment


              • Apologies for the strange characters in my previous post (and other posts I have seen). This new editor handles cut and paste very poorly, unfortunately ...
                Iconoclast
                Soldier of Fortune, Man of Peace, Destroyer of Images, Nice Guy, Genius

                Comment


                • If you (anyone) believes that Mike Barrett created the Maybrick scrapbook, you have to be willing to agree that he was one of the greatest actors of his generation (sadly, his skills were lost to the world of performance), as he gave little indication of such a literary ability as the writing of this fascinating piece of work, and maintained the fraud impeccably throughout the first two years despite the most intense media interest. You have to believe he was a brilliant forger, and you have to believe that he was a brilliant actor. And you have to believe that these skills were employed just the once in his lifetime, and that he saved them up until he was in his forties despite the rather basic lifestyle he and his family enjoyed (not meaning to be disparaging here, it was a working class lifestyle which I myself experienced) when such skills could surely have been put to better use so much earlier. You have to believe that he faked the first two years, then was completely honest and open during his drunken years (in vino, veritas, and all that), and then returned to his brilliant lie in his later, sober years.

                  Personally, I find that hard to believe, but maybe I'm just trying too hard here?
                  Iconoclast
                  Soldier of Fortune, Man of Peace, Destroyer of Images, Nice Guy, Genius

                  Comment


                  • Originally posted by Iconoclast View Post
                    I am drawn (by private correspondence) to Ripperana, No. 11 (January 1995) in which, it is claimed, that 'Mr. Barrett, his memory unimpaired by Korsakov’s Syndrome (as alleged by Shirley Harrison) has now recalled details of the transaction involved in purchasing the album used for the “Diary” from the Liverpool auctioneers Outhwaite & Litherland.'

                    Hi Ike. Clearly your secret correspondent is reading these boards far more carefully than you are. I already pointed you toward to Ripperana No. 11 in post #1734.

                    Warren was being wry and ironic (Richard Whittington-Egan called it 'witty') while taking a small jab at Shirley Harrison. It's not like Warren is pulling the diagnosis out of thin air only to dismiss it. Previously, Harrison had tried to "explain way" Mike's impulsive confession to the newspapers in June 1994, by alerting the world to the fact that he was suffering from Korsakov's, and (as Mike's lawyer stated) not in full command "of his faculties." This is what Warren is alluding to. At this point (June) Mike had given few, if any details, how he had 'done it.' Over the next six months, however, Barrett had been leaking details of the forgery to Alan Gray, who was trying to make sense of Barrett's mad ramblings, and, at the same time, come up with someone willing to buy the confession, presumably as part of a book deal. He was having little luck on that score. In a way, Warren's little joke was unfortunate, because I think Shirley was quite right in pointing out that Barrett suffered from Korsakov's. She had first-hand knowledge of his crazy and frustrating behavior, in a way that Warren never could. The confused, inadequate, and back-peddling gibberish that Daniels describes is classic KS.

                    That said, one gigantic point that you seem to be missing is the financial and emotional backdrop to all of this. Rightly or wrongly, Barrett believed that he was being screwed out of money by Smith, and that Feldman would eventually take control of the Diary's cash cow. He was in the middle of a very messy divorce, with the loss of his daughter. He is being advised by a lawyer to shut his mouth, while at the same time, he can't help taking jabs at his perceived enemies. And all of it is underpinned by heavy drinking and apparent memory loss, the hint of blackmail, conflicting financial motives, etc. etc. etc. etc. Given the situation, do you honestly think the confession was going to be a straightforward affair? Get real, my good man, get real. And if the details of the purchase of the maroon diary aren't going to convince you that Barrett and/or Graham were up to no good, I don't see how an auction slip would.

                    By the way, through a stroke of bad karma, I am stuck doing major repair work on my parent's home in the pacific northwest. The past few days I have had the pleasure (?) of lifting and replacing several floorboards. I wonder how many "Ripperologists" have actually done it? (It sounds so easy on paper!)

                    Perhaps your correspondent can shed some light on whether Mr. Dodd's floorboards were tongue-and-groove style?

                    Have a good afternoon.

                    PS. I agree with you that the editing software on this site is awful. If you want to cut-and-paste something, it is best to run it through either the "text" or the "Word" box in the upper left corner, so you don't end up with mysterious little squares instead of asterisks, or unexplained spaces in the middle of a paragraph. Gotta go.
                    Last edited by rjpalmer; 08-18-2019, 03:04 PM.

                    Comment


                    • Originally posted by rjpalmer View Post
                      Hi Keith.

                      I made a rather significant error in Post #1724. My mistake entirely, but I am rather surprised that neither you, nor anyone else following this thread, caught it. I misread the original passage. In rereading Ripper Diary, pg. 234-237, I now see that Barrett's claim that the Diary did not yet physically exist when he phoned Doreen, and that he and Anne were left with only 11 days to transcribe the text, was not made at the Cloak and Dagger meeting, but the previous day, during a luncheon held at Camille Wolff's house. The account states that you were present at Camille's, and had personally quizzed Mike. So all the speculation about Barrett's sobriety/lack thereof at the Smoke and Stagger is spectacularly irrelevant. Not that it particularly matters now, but do you have any recollection of Barrett drinking heavily at Camille Wolff's house during this luncheon? I only ask because it could shed light on Ike's theory that Barrett's confession "was entirely drink-induced." (Post #1733). Is that also your impression? Was Barrett already drunk when you questioned him at High Noon?
                      My 1999 notes are not to hand Roger so I am going from memory and impressions. I do not recall Mike drinking heavily at Camille Wolff’s house but seem to recall he was respectable, engaging but would not be tied down to exploring facts and detail. It is a characteristic of Mike that he would move away from anything which required him to give a coherent explanation relating to the mechanics of how he faked the diary and turn the conversation on to his relationship with Anne, Paul Feldman and how much he missed seeing his daughter. I remember he was trying to impress everybody present with his literary prowess which did not seem to extend beyond writing a short story about ‘Danny The Octopus’ (or some such title) which he hoped to get published. I remember he wrote something down on a table napkin which I kept (preserved with my notes) as it was a specimen of his handwriting. He also must have made the eleven day claim because I clearly remember it was as a result of that I changed my entire line of questioning at the C&D Club the following evening – and actually told the assembled audience why I had thrown away all my prepared questions. I wanted to give Mike the opportunity to take us through that eleven day period from the point of rejecting the small Victorian 1891 diary – acquiring the black scrapbook from O&L – Anne transferring the text from his word processor to the scrapbook (he did mention Anne had a multi personality disorder which explained why the handwriting did not resemble her own natural hand) – and then finally producing the O&L auction ticket. At the time, this disorder of Anne had gone unnoticed by most people who knew her and I remember silently wondering when, in their eighteen years of marriage, Mike may have first noticed it. Mike’s evidence was Hannah Koren’s analysis of the diary handwriting, published in Shirley Harrison’s 1993 book plus the full page illustration(p.180) of differing handwriting styles of one person with a multiple personality. I had my tape recorder running just for reference purposes and – unknown to me – the evening was also recorded on video. Mike did not want to stick to my line of questions and instead turned the whole evening into what he wanted to talk about.

                      At this point Roger, it has just occurred to me that Ripperologist (23) June 1999 covered the lunch at Camille Wolff’s on April 9th 1999 and also a full report of my interview with Mike Barrett the following evening at the C&D. Here is the first of three articles...

                      EDITORIAL

                      The other reason for this reportage [Grey House Lunch – 9th April 1999] is that this lunch was based around the arrival in London of Michael Barrett, due to be interviewed by Keith Skinner the following day at The Cloak and Dagger Club – this interview, of course, being reported upon by Adam Wood in the Proceedings column on page 4.

                      Before I summarise this extremely intense and instructive meal, I would like to make it clear to readers that this precis was written BEFORE The Cloak and Dagger Club meeting of 10thApril and was written entirely without hindsight, bias or influence from what may have transpired at the meeting itself.
                      I, [Editor – Paul Daniel] myself, was present, on the Friday morning, along with Keith Skinner. Loretta Lay and Cam, of course, were the hostesses and Mike Barrett was there with Andy Aliffe who had sole charge of him [Mike Barrett] for the weekend. Andy quietly warned us not to wind Mike up as any overt challenge might provoke him to call the whole thing off, take himself back to Liverpool and leave the C&D meeting the following evening in flux. Seth Linder, a professional writer and journalist, joined us after lunch.

                      Jeremy Beadle had been a visitor to Grey House in the morning and had been introduced to Mike. After some talk Jeremy had gently tried to suggest that there was a syndrome where a confidence trickster began to believe his own web of deceit. Mike, presumably taking this to infer he was lying, had evidently flared up into aggressive attack mode, and had to be taken outside by Andy for a cool-off period. Jeremy, in the meantime, had left for other engagements. This was when I arrived, and shortly afterwards, Keith Skinner, also. Mike was soon brought back by Andy and introductions made.
                      Mike Barrett was not at all what I was expecting, and throughout the afternoon I began to realise that he was an entirely different man to the one I had come to know through the hearsay of many other people.

                      From the outset Mike made it perfectly clear that he wasn’t interested in small talk and he directed conversation directly to the provenance of the Diary and was quite unshakeable in his adamancy that it was he who had actually composed the text but Anne Graham, his then wife, who had taken the words from the word-processor and written them in her own hand into the ledger. This was one of several statements that Mike consistently asserted throughout the afternoon.

                      Some points came out during our conversation that had never been apparent before, such as Mike telling us how he had always believed that James Maybrick was, in reality, Jack the Ripper, and [he – Mike Barrett] had written the Diary to draw attention to this fact. He declared that he had forged to [sic] diary for James Maybrick.

                      Another point was that Mike had discovered the name of an agent (Doreen Montgomery) from the Artists and Writers Yearbook and telephoned her to
                      ‘sell’ her on the Diary of Jack the Ripper. The crucial point being this was before he had allegedly created the artefact. Doreen took the bait and consequently Mike found that his bluff had been called and he was obliged to actually produce the Diary that he had told Doreen already existed or abort the exercise. He then told us he then had eleven days before his arranged meeting with Doreen to concoct the Diary and that was the time span in which he did so. This was completely new to us at this meeting.

                      At this point Keith Skinner stopped Mike in mid-flow, made sure all visitors to Grey House were present and asked him to repeat what he had said so that we could all witness these new statements.

                      Several other things became clear, one being there was deep resentment in Mike for the break-up of his marriage and the loss of his daughter, who he claimed he had not seen for six years, and I felt that this bitterness clouded and influenced a lot of what he said and what he wanted others to believe. Mike has now had many years to arrange his ‘defence’ of having created the journal, and it appeared to me that over those years he must have prepared and learnt a script, held in his mind’s eye, that covered all contingencies and contained stock answers to any questions he might be asked. Though when taken out of the chronology, or context, in his mind, he floundered, and bluffed and blustered.

                      Two people received the bulk of Mike’s wrath – Anne Graham and Shirley Harrison. I have met, and got to know and like, both these ladies over the last few years, yet Mike was expecting me to believe him, to me a complete stranger, without putting forward any qualifying reasons, that everything they both said was lies. This was another point he adamantly held on to throughout the meeting.

                      It was also very clear that Mike had always wanted to be considered a ‘writer’ of worth, and when challenged, produced a two page piece of text which, though I did not read it myself, was said by others who did, not to be of any quality at all. Cam herself challenged Mike suggesting that if he had composed the Diary, as he professed, he should be able to demonstrate that he was, in fact, a good writer, with the result that Mike told a rather charming fairytale about ‘Willie the Whale’ . This, I felt, was supposed to appear spontaneous, but I wondered how many times he’d related that story to his daughter in her childhood, because it was plainly obvious he was ‘remembering’ the tale, and it was not a stream-of-consciousness story.

                      Towards the end of the session, which had lasted nearly five hours, questions of a very focused and intense kind were being asked of Mike, specifically from Loretta, and he was reacting in like manner. This was not pleasing to Andy, whose job it was this weekend as Mike’s ‘minder’ to keep him from this sort of interrogation in case he simply blew his cool, upped and walked away from the whole thing, having been pushed too far. But it was in the nature of things that as the afternoon progressed conversation would become more heated and some very hard, pertinent and awkward questions would need definitive answers.

                      In the final outcome, Mike hung on and kept himself fairly well restrained, and the whole event ended amicably, but with much anticipation for the actual ‘interview’ to be held at the City Darts the following evening, when things were likely to be far more heavy and the questions more deeply searching and requiring provable answers.


                      PROCEEDINGS OF THE CLOAK AND DAGGER CLUB
                      The Meeting held 10th April 1999

                      As appears to be the case whenever the Club has a speaker on the topic of the Diary of Jack the Ripper, by the time Mike Barrett took the stage at 8pm the audience was double its normal size and totalled some 70 people. Among those eager to finally learn the truth of Mike’s involvement were William Beadle, Stewart Evans, Don Rumbelow, Martin Fido, Bob Hinton, Shirley Harrison, Pam Ball, Andy and Sue Parlour, Jeremy Beadle and Robert Smith. We welcomed the return to the Club of one of its founding Committee members, Nigel Bartley, a visiting Member from Ireland, Marjorie Barton and Caroline Morris, Karoline Leach and Peter Birchwood who have been heavily embroiled in debate on the Web’s Casebook: Jack the Ripper.

                      Mike Barrett had been invited to the Club to give his account of how the forgery was carried out, an offer he accepted with relish. “I’m going to kill the Diary”, he promised. It’s fair to say that only a small number expected to hear Mike offer definite proof of how it was done; the rest wanted to see for themselves how unlikely it was that he was capable. Most people had only read about Mike and his claims; now was a chance to judge for themselves.

                      Keith Skinner started by explaining that, although armed with a series of questions designed to keep the script to a chronological sequence, he had torn them up as a result of Mike’s revelations at the previous day’s Grey House lunch. He then continued with an overview of Mike’s involvement, starting with the often forgotten fact that James Maybrick had only become a Ripper suspect because of Mike’s bringing the Diary to Doreen Montgomery’s attention in March 1992. Since 1994 Barrett had been trying to prove to the world that he had forged the document, and this, said Keith, was his first chance to do so in the public arena.

                      Mike revealed his literary history, interviewing the likes of Kenneth Williams and Bonnie Langford for a Liverpool magazine. Bored by the repetition, he wanted to “write himself out of interviewing”. He decided to write the confession of Jack the Ripper, claiming he did so in 11 days. He dictated, with ex-wife Anne writing.

                      The mention of Anne caused Mike to blurt out that she had emotionally blackmailed him over their daughter Caroline. He followed this by reiterating that he suffered from kidney failure, commenting that this was the only correct thing in Shirley Harrison’s book. As the evening went on, Mike began to fire off tangents more frequently, and Keith found it harder to guide the conversation along the intended route. Getting back to the actual writing of the Diary, Keith finally extracted the point that Mike had purchased a red Victorian diary before contacting Doreen Montgomery, and this appeared on Anne’s bank statement. When Doreen requested a meeting to view the document, however, he realised the diary was too small, so bought a larger black ledger, along with a brass compass, as one lot from the Liverpool auctioneers Outhwaite and Co.

                      Mike had told various people during the course of the day that he had a lot receipt in his pocket and would produce it during the talk, along with the actual pen that had been used. This would be, all agreed, the end of the Diary. When the moment came, however, nothing was forthcoming from Mike. Did he have the receipt? Yes. Would he produce it? No.

                      Mike claimed producing the ink needed was easy. He was 99% certain that James Maybrick was the Ripper, and set out to write the Diary on his behalf. Mike said his spelling was bad – this was reflected in the Diary. He used Tales of Liverpool as a source. The two Manchester murders hinted at in the Diary were invented by Mike. He claimed that after purchasing the ledger he had noticed a manufacturer’s label dated 1912, which he removed.

                      If all this sounds muddled and confused, I apologise. This is how the evening went. Keith struggled to keep the discussion going in a logical and understandable way, but it seemed that Mike was content to relate his thoughts as soon as they came into his head – relevant or not. Even on points that could help his cause, Mike seemed oblivious to the need for solid proof. Keith had to virtually drag out of him that remains of photographs had been found
                      in the creases of the Diary, confirming that it had been used as an photo album at some stage – a fact agreed by Robert Smith , who, along with Shirley Harrison, was the victim of constant disparaging asides from Mike. Even the inexplicable discovery of a volume of obscure poetry in his house containing the line “O Costly Intercourse of Death” was treated by Mike as not worth mentioning until Keith prompted him two or three times.

                      One defining moment came when Club member Dave Russell challenged Mike on his claim that he’d used nibs bought from the Medici Art Gallery. Dave said he had worked for the London branch of the company who had closed it down in 1982. Mike’s immediate reply was that Dave was lying. One guest slipped downstairs to phone Directory Enquiries, only to be told that no such shop existed.

                      While most members of the audience felt that Mike’s performance, rambling and incoherent, confirmed their suspicions that he did not possess the cunning to have forged the Diary, to those who had spent the best part of two days with him it was a bewildering change of character. During Friday and the early part of Saturday, Mike had spent plenty of time with the likes of Andy Aliffe, Coral Kelly, Eduardo Zinna, Dave McCleave, Paul Daniel and myself[Adam Wood] most of whom felt that while they weren’t totally convinced that he’d written the Diary, his arguments were lucid and structured. He was confident and assured fielding all questions good-naturedly and giving straightforward answers. Why the change?

                      Several people have mentioned the complete lack of any proof to back up Mike’s claims and during the 24 hours leading up to the talk he assured us that he had the lot receipt, sometimes patting his jacket pocket to add to the effect. I heard it said on the night that if Mike had written evidence of his literacy why didn’t he produce samples for examination? While I don’t know why he didn’t, I do believe him on this point. On one of the frequent escorts back to his hotel room just before the talk began he showed me recent examples of his work. While nothing too exceptional, some degree of ability was obvious. Mike explained he had penned the two extracts in one short sitting. He also showed me the newspaper report of his acquittal of having threatened to kill Anne. It struck me that everyone will remember the accusation long after the actual verdict had been forgotten, as this is the sort of thing expected of Mike these days. But while showing copies of these items, along with the auction receipt, would undoubtedly help his cause, once the interview was underway Mike seemed all too content to rely on his memory – which proved to be a bad move. It meant he was unable to give any believable answers, too often replying “simple” or “check for yourself” when challenged by Keith to prove something.

                      The following morning Andy Aliffe asked Mike why he hadn’t produced the all-important auction receipt when Keith had set up the opportunity. His reply was that there were so many people present he was extremely nervous, and was terrified of being arrested if proof were produced of his involvement with the forgery. He assured Andy he would post a copy of the receipt once he’d returned to Liverpool. This is yet to arrive.

                      Did Mike Barrett write The Diary of Jack The Ripper? Until the proof reputedly held by Mike – the auction ticket – is produced, it’s difficult to believe so.
                      It’s been suggested that while Mike may not be telling the truth, he believes he is. Though some left the meeting content that their suspicions were correct, that Mike is too confused and unfocused to be capable of committing such a complex forgery, and most agreeing that it was an opportunity wasted, nobody could deny that he had been terribly affected by his part in the Diary’s story – whatever that may be.


                      EDITOR’S COMMENTS
                      The C&D CLUB MEETING – 10th April 1999

                      One of the hopes of this meeting (but not myself [Paul Daniel] as I felt quietly confident that it would change little) was that the provenance of the JTR Diary would, once and for all, be put to rest, with Michael Barrett providing the ultimate proof of how he, himself, forged the artefact. This did not happen. In talking with Mike Barrett after his interview it became plain that he actually believed that this had happened. The fact of the matter was that the majority of the audience went away unable to accept that Mike Barrett could possibly have forged the Diary. Throughout his interview with Keith Skinner he sidestepped, with extreme craftiness, every question put to him, and in fact did not give a satisfactory answer to any of those questions.

                      Keith himself did a magnificent job in trying to keep the interview on a forward trajectory, but he was fighting a losing battle with Mike’s determination to dominate the whole proceedings. I overheard one Club member whisper “...he’s such a wide-boy, but he’s not clever enough...”

                      It was interesting to watch the faces of the audience as they began to raise eyebrows, shake heads, hide yawns and become bored as they began to realise that they were being talked at by a conman. A repeated phrase was “...I want you to understand – that is a FACT...”, yet we were expected to believe that only because Mike Barrett himself said so.

                      There was no proof of anything presented this evening. Here was a major opportunity for Michael Barrett to present his case of forging the Diary, and yet, even though he was adamant that he had proof, when asked to produce it he was unwilling to do so and thought it unnecessary to bring it. He simply expected the audience to take his word on trust. His word. From a man who has made and retracted so many statements as to make “his word” unbelievable. And yet he clearly believed that he had convinced the audience of his ability to carry out this forgery, and that they were convinced he had created the Diary.

                      There was one wonderful moment of pure entertainment when Michael tried to explain away his ‘messing up’ of diamine ink by adding sugar to it, and not being able to explain just how this actually ‘messed it up’. “Simple”, he said! Another of his cop-out expressions.

                      [In fairness to Mike Barrett I believe he did explain to me during the interview the effect sugar would have on ink in so far as it separated the molecules
                      KS – 18.09.2019]

                      The climax that abruptly ended the evening came when Dave Cuthbertson, with a certain amount of understandable anger, accused Mike of suggesting that the audience, who obviously thought themselves so clever, should be able to prove for themselves that he forged the Diary and that he shouldn’t have to produce the evidence himself. During the interview, Mike Barrett had been more than content to use his daughter Caroline’s name as a witness to the forgery of the Diary, yet when Dave merely mentioned her name in passing Mike’s reaction was instantaneous – he wrenched off his microphone, leapt off the stage shouting at Dave “You talk about my Caroline and I’ll kick your ******* balls through the ******* wall”. This outcome was thankfully prevented, but the incident amply summed up the character and personality of someone who had sworn that he has never assaulted his wife and daughter and is a peaceful, non-violent man, and this incident happened before the entire audience of The Cloak and Dagger meeting.

                      The final result of this meeting at which it was hoped to clear up the provenance of the Diary once and for all was that it had been left in possibly more confusion than before. Nevertheless it was a fascinating evening and will certainly go down in ‘Ripper-folklore’ history, for one reason or another.

                      If Michael Barrett reads this, I apologise to him if he feels I have been speaking out of turn or behind his back, but these things could not be said to him
                      in person for in my meetings with him he simply did not leave an opening to get into his one-sided conversations. Any questions or comments were heavily overridden with evasions and bluster.

                      KS

                      Comment


                      • Originally posted by rjpalmer View Post
                        And if the details of the purchase of the maroon diary aren't going to convince you that Barrett and/or Graham were up to no good, I don't see how an auction slip would.
                        I certainly would not have been overwhelmed by an auction slip unless it unequivocally detailed the purchase, it is true, although the fact that he had one at all (albeit perhaps unitemised) would certainly have caused me to take stock of it. The fact that he promised one (in his usual way) and then failed to produce one (in his usual way) demonstrates to me rather unequivocally that once again he was simply full of **** [expletive disappointingly auto-edited-out] (in his usual way). He loved being at the centre of the drama, there can be little doubt. Even his pathetic leaping from the stage to confront the evil predator who had inadvertently mentioned his daughter's name demonstrates that he was in it more or less only for the attention it gave him - constantly using the utterly dramatic (even in his answers) when a simple, prosaic response would have been fine. Everything about Barrett's behaviour speaks of a man who stumbled across something amazing and completely buggered it up time and time again in order to sustain his crippled ego.

                        And so to the purchase of the maroon diary. As a Hearts fan (and a season ticket holder at the time of the purchase) I simply cannot fault him for his impeccable choice of vehicle for his proposed forgery, but - Lord - why oh why oh why oh why did he specify 1880-1887 (just about believable though still slightly irrational) and, critically, an 1890 one? I know apologists such as Lord Orsam believe that he was expecting it to be undated (of course he was, this explains why he didn't specify in the advert that he absolutely could not have it stating '1890' numerous times on each page), but even if by good fortune the 1891 version he received had been undated (a contradiction in terms, I think, there), why oh why oh why oh why did he only request 40 sheets (no mention of the size, as I recall) across 20 blank pages when his brilliant original text on his Amstrad was self-evidently far longer than a mere 40 sides even if fickle fortune had sent him an A4 diary? Imagine how much easier it would have been for those who believe his asinine confession if he had just clarified that he needed 'An 1880-1889 diary, preferably 1889, big enough to scribble around 60 or more sides in (so quite a few blank pages, please). Please everyone forget I ever asked once I've got it.'? Personally, I'd have been even more specific and demanded it wasn't a green one, naturally, but perhaps the colour didn't matter so much to him after all.

                        There is no doubt that the purchase of the 17th anniversary Heart of Midlothian diary was a deeply stupid thing to do if you were a brilliant master-forger and unrecognised Olivier in the making, but maybe - in reality - it was truly just a deeply stupid thing to do full stop (because it would serve no purpose if you were a nascent forger nor indeed if you were just interested to know what a Victorian diary would have looked like even though you didn't actually have one to compare it with). Now, all we need to make that last suggestion plausible is a deeply stupid guy who would repeatedly make an arse of himself on a public stage, both actual and metaphorical …

                        I may just have the very man in mind ...

                        Ike 'Your Floorboards Are Safe With Me' Iconoclast
                        Last edited by Iconoclast; 08-18-2019, 04:07 PM.
                        Iconoclast
                        Soldier of Fortune, Man of Peace, Destroyer of Images, Nice Guy, Genius

                        Comment


                        • Originally posted by rjpalmer View Post
                          By the way, through a stroke of bad karma, I am stuck doing major repair work on my parent's home in the pacific northwest. The past few days I have had the pleasure (?) of lifting and replacing several floorboards. I wonder how many "Ripperologists" have actually done it? (It sounds so easy on paper!)
                          By the way, through a stroke of bad karma, I am stuck doing major repair work on my parent's home in the pacific northwest. The past few days I have had the pleasure (?) of faking a 63-page Victorian diary. I wonder how many "Ripperologists" have actually done it? (It sounds so easy on paper!)

                          Perhaps your correspondent can shed some light on whether Mr. Dodd's floorboards were tongue-and-groove style?
                          I think it was definitely tongue-in-cheek style ...
                          Iconoclast
                          Soldier of Fortune, Man of Peace, Destroyer of Images, Nice Guy, Genius

                          Comment


                          • Originally posted by Keith Skinner View Post

                            EDITOR’S COMMENTS
                            The C&D CLUB MEETING – 10th April 1999

                            One of the hopes of this meeting (but not myself [Paul Daniel] as I felt quietly confident that it would change little) was that the provenance of the JTR Diary would, once and for all, be put to rest, with Michael Barrett providing the ultimate proof of how he, himself, forged the artefact. This did not happen. In talking with Mike Barrett after his interview it became plain that he actually believed that this had happened. The fact of the matter was that the majority of the audience went away unable to accept that Mike Barrett could possibly have forged the Diary. Throughout his interview with Keith Skinner he sidestepped, with extreme craftiness, every question put to him, and in fact did not give a satisfactory answer to any of those questions.
                            And this from the brilliant master-forger and actor who fooled the world? A double-bluff, perhaps???

                            Keith himself did a magnificent job in trying to keep the interview on a forward trajectory, but he was fighting a losing battle with Mike’s determination to dominate the whole proceedings. I overheard one Club member whisper “...he’s such a wide-boy, but he’s not clever enough...”

                            It was interesting to watch the faces of the audience as they began to raise eyebrows, shake heads, hide yawns and become bored as they began to realise that they were being talked at by a conman. A repeated phrase was “...I want you to understand – that is a FACT...”, yet we were expected to believe that only because Mike Barrett himself said so.

                            There was no proof of anything presented this evening. Here was a major opportunity for Michael Barrett to present his case of forging the Diary, and yet, even though he was adamant that he had proof, when asked to produce it he was unwilling to do so and thought it unnecessary to bring it. He simply expected the audience to take his word on trust. His word. From a man who has made and retracted so many statements as to make “his word” unbelievable. And yet he clearly believed that he had convinced the audience of his ability to carry out this forgery, and that they were convinced he had created the Diary.
                            Three paragraphs which really ought to have killed stone-dead any idiotic suggestion that Mike Barrett had any involvement whatsoever in the creation of the Maybrick scrapbook.

                            This outcome was thankfully prevented, but the incident amply summed up the character and personality of someone who had sworn that he has never assaulted his wife and daughter and is a peaceful, non-violent man, and this incident happened before the entire audience of The Cloak and Dagger meeting.
                            Mike Barrett - whether he ever knew it or not - was a pathological liar who simply said whatever was convenient in the moment and who was too stupid to realise that everyone else realised it. This is classic Barrett. I used to have a mate who would pathologically lie to me in order to get me to do what he wanted me to do. They exist. They are real. They genuinely believe what they are saying because the sole purpose is to get the desired reaction or outcome. The impact on their integrity is meaningless to them. Mike Barrett was one such person.

                            If Michael Barrett reads this, I apologise to him if he feels I have been speaking out of turn or behind his back, but these things could not be said to him
                            in person for in my meetings with him he simply did not leave an opening to get into his one-sided conversations. Any questions or comments were heavily overridden with evasions and bluster.
                            If Mike Barrett had read this, it would have made no odds whatsoever. He might have felt stupidly emboldened by the apology to seek a dramatic revenge (classic aspect of his uneducated state of mind, imagining that the apology gave him certain rights), or he may have just ignored it if that was what suited him that day. Either way, there would have been no room in his one-sided thoughts for any realisation that he was continuing to make a mockery of the Maybrick scrapbook which had been his fortune (which itself was still running down a wall somewhere into the gutter).

                            The worst thing any anti-diarist can ever do is try to lay the 'forgery' at the feet of the village idiot, and yet they do. It will not wash. The man was a fool and a pathological liar. End of. Your case would be far better made with an actual forger of documents not simply a man one step short of a simpleton.

                            Ike
                            Last edited by Iconoclast; 08-18-2019, 05:06 PM.
                            Iconoclast
                            Soldier of Fortune, Man of Peace, Destroyer of Images, Nice Guy, Genius

                            Comment


                            • Originally posted by Iconoclast View Post
                              why oh why oh why oh why did he only request 40 sheets (no mention of the size, as I recall) across 20 blank pages when his brilliant original text on his Amstrad was self-evidently far longer than a mere 40 sides even if fickle fortune had sent him an A4 diary? Imagine how much easier it would have been for those who believe his asinine confession if he had just clarified that he needed 'An 1880-1889 diary, preferably 1889, big enough to scribble around 60 or more sides in (so quite a few blank pages, please).
                              I won't scold you for sleeping in the back of the classroom, Ike.

                              But you're assumption here is wrong. Keith Skinner informed us sometime ago that the transcript of the Diary, said to have been typed up on the Amstrad, was 29 Pages in Length. 40 sides would have done quite nicely, thank you very much.

                              We also don't know exactly what Barrett requested from Martin Earl, we only known how Martin Earl interpreted it, and what he placed in the subsequent advertisement. If Barrett had requested a Diary from the 1880s, then the request for an 1880-1890 diary would have filled the bill. Earl presumably didn't know that whichever Barrett ordered the Diary was planning a time sensitive hoax.

                              But concerning this 29 page typescript, I had occasion to contact Lord Orsam on another matter some months ago, and he was under the impression that a promise had been made to release this typescript for examination. I will just pass along a friendly reminder to Keith that this has not been done.

                              What interests me is Anne Graham's discussion of this typescript. She is paraphrased as saying it was "produced very quickly" (p. 200 Ripper Diary)

                              Why "very quickly"? Why was the speed relevant? Are there significant textual discrepancies between the Diary proper and this typescript, and she is "explaining" those discrepancies by stressing it was thrown together "very quickly"? And if so, could any meaning be gleaned from these discrepancies? How do we know they aren't relevant?

                              It does seem a pity that with the Diary's text being endlessly studied on this site for 20+ years, this interesting angle has never been publicly examined.

                              Thanks to you and Keith for the long posts. I will study them further and get back later, time permitting.



                              Comment


                              • P.S., Ike.

                                Being the suspicious person that I am, this phrase also jumped out at me (also page 200):

                                "Michael Barrett, who claimed he had undertaken the [typescript] in order to bring it to London and show Doreen Montgomery, was a poor typist, [Anne] said, and she was compelled to retype it, checking back against the original every so often."

                                Again, what is the purpose of this explanation?

                                I don't know if Scotland Yard had the ability to check the Amstrad for evidence of composition or revision, or whether they even attempted it, but if Anne was worried that it was possible, then could this be a 'cover story' which would help explain away any evidence that the original text had been revised over time?

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