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Acquiring A Victorian Diary

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  • Caz:

    "A child could understand that a forgery which had taken its creator(s) considerable time, effort and research to plan, put together, compose and perfect might require a somewhat different kind of person to "do something with it" than some old book pinched from an old house and quickly offloaded."
    I see little evidence that either of those descriptions fits the document we're dealing with.

    Comment


    • Originally posted by Henry Flower View Post
      Plenty of us go through periods of what appears to the outside world to be unproductiveness, lethargy, drift. Some snap out of it, some don't. Some find a project that energizes them, some don't. None of which is evidence that MB was too stupid or too indolent to play a role in the creation of the Diary.
      Hi Henry,

      Nor is any of this evidence that MB could, or did, play a role in its creation.

      And so what if he wasa regular heavy drinker before 92? I have a friend who spends half his life drunk, heavily drunk. When not at work he is in the pub or asleep. He's charming, intelligent, thoughtful, and, as it happens, a fantastic freelance writer in his spare time, and a professional journalist for a motoring magazine Mon-Fri.
      I take your point - absolutely - but I was only responding to David's observation that MB only 'started drinking' after going public with the diary. I just wondered how he knew this and I suspect he doesn't, in which case it was said to give the impression that the drunken and shambolic figure who produced that 'confession' in January 1995 was nothing like the sober, competent operator he'd have been prior to April 13th, 1992, when supposedly up to his eyes in sourcing the scrapbook and persuading someone to pen someone else's prepared text into it, in readiness for his appointment in London.

      The fact is, none of us can say what Mike was like, and what capabilities he had prior to that time. We do know what research he had claimed to do by the summer of 1992 and we know what kind of Victorian diary his telephone enquiry in the March produced - one that was no good to man nor beast for the purpose of creating 'the' Maybrick diary. He must have learned from that mistake pretty damned quickly and had the luck of the very devil, if, on receiving and rejecting the 1891 diary on the last Friday or Saturday of March, he was suddenly able to get his hands on the scrapbook at auction the following Tuesday.

      Love,

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


      Comment


      • Originally posted by Henry Flower View Post
        Caz:

        I see little evidence that either of those descriptions fits the document we're dealing with.
        But even if you share the view held by others in the past, that the diary was a doddle to create, and could have been planned, researched and executed by one or two average 1990s teenagers, virtually over a wet weekend, they would presumably have been hoping the project would not founder on day one under the control of good old dependable Mike Barrett.

        It seems that MB was the only one set to profit from the work done by others. And although the project didn't totally founder, and the book claiming he had discovered the identity of JtR did finally get published the following October, despite all the difficulties, he managed to screw everything up within months, with his various confessions, and could so easily have taken his little helpers down with him if he had been able to prove their involvement beyond reasonable doubt.

        If that doesn't show he was a liability, I don't know what would.

        The one constant in all this was his refusal to drop Eddie Lyons in it by taking advantage of a perfect provenance handed to him on a plate, courtesy of Paul Feldman, in mid-1993, when nobody knew if Shirley's book would sink or swim under the pressure of Melvin Harris and his heavy brigade.

        Love,

        Caz
        X
        Last edited by caz; 01-16-2018, 04:44 AM.
        "Comedy is simply a funny way of being serious." Peter Ustinov


        Comment


        • Originally posted by caz View Post
          But even if you share the view held by others in the past, that the diary was a doddle to create, and could have been planned, researched and executed by one or two average 1990s teenagers, virtually over a wet weekend
          In the past, Caz? Some of us hold that view in the present
          Kind regards, Sam Flynn

          "Suche Nullen" (Nietzsche, Götzendämmerung, 1888)

          Comment


          • Originally posted by Henry Flower View Post
            Granted, you weren't asking me, but my own answer to that question, Caz, is that the coincidence of the date makes things rather uncomfortable and unconvincing for anyone not thinking MB had a hand in creating the forgery.
            Really? That's funny because I'm not remotely uncomfortable or unconvinced. If we could prove beyond doubt that the diary wasn't pinched from under the floorboards on March 9th, 1992, we could all move on. But I would still need a check up from the neck up or some truly damning evidence before I would accept an alternative involving MB in the diary's creation. I didn't find his forgery claims remotely credible when I first knew of them and I don't today.

            I simply think the phonecall comes too soon for there to be any connection between the floorboards and the diary. If I were writing this as fiction, or if I wanted to believe that the diary was uncovered when the floorboards were lifted, I'd leave a day or two at least before that call gets made.
            Ever heard that truth can be stranger than fiction, Henry?

            If those floorboards were up before the morning tea break, the diary could have been in the Saddle - courtesy of the electrician who lived just down the road - when Mike turned up for his daily beer rations before collecting Caroline from the primary school opposite. You know, impetuous Mike, who is meant to have called a London literary agency to interest them in his fake JtR confession, even before he has enquired about the availability of Victorian diaries with blank pages. Why wouldn't the same impetuous Mike have called the same agency about an old book signed JtR, which he had just clocked, all wide-eyed but not legless, down the boozer?

            The great confirmatory coincidence seems to me genuinely to weaken the Battlecrease-provenance case. And I don't say that because I'm biased: I've said it before, if it were to be proven tomorrow that the diary came from Battlecrease, or that JM was JtR, my response would be an interested shrug - "oh, I didn't expect that, how interesting." I don't feel like part of any 'team' here, I'm just waiting for something solid and concrete that dislodges the wannabe-writer, Victorian-diary-procuring, sole demonstrable provenance, forgery-confessing Mike Barrett from prime position as creator or co-creator of the Diary.
            And I wouldn't seek to dislodge you from that opinion, Henry.

            Just keep testing it, as I do mine, to see if you can find anything to prove or disprove your own instincts.

            Love,

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


            Comment


            • Originally posted by Sam Flynn View Post
              In the past, Caz? Some of us hold that view in the present
              I won't hold it against you, Gareth. It's not your fault.

              Love,

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


              Comment


              • Originally posted by David Orsam View Post
                What motive she had for collaboration without remuneration??????!!!!!!!

                She was his wife for gawdsake!!!!!!
                Do calm down, David. You'll do yourself a mischief. If that's all you need as a motive for Anne's collaboration with Mike, that's fine.

                But I was pulling apart - sorry - discussing rj's scenario, whereby Anne was an unwilling and unhappy partner-in-crime, who only signed the collaboration agreement, to publish the 'novella' she had written in all innocence, which Mike had effectively stolen from her and put under Victorian wraps, because it was already a 'done deal' and she was in 'too deep'.

                I humbly submit that this must be the biggest load of old bollocks since Mike claimed to be a member of MI5. It would only have been a 'done deal' at the point when Anne willingly signed up for Mike to try and pass off her own story as the genuine confessions of an arsenic-eating serial killer.

                While she might reluctantly have signed on Mike's insistence, for the sake of domestic peace, if all she knew was that her husband had brought this old book home and been evasive about where it had come from, it would have been a relatively minor betrayal on his part with no serious consequences for her, if it turned out later to have been nicked from somewhere - especially if she wanted no part of the money side.

                A betrayal on the scale of a husband taking his wife's novella and, without her knowledge or permission, dressing it up like something from 1889 and seeking a publisher for it, would have been something else entirely. Domestic peace be damned - she is meant to have wrestled Mike to the ground to try and stop him showing the book to people in London. She'd have been insane to let him go ahead and shrug her shoulders, if as rj maintained, she was unwilling and unhappy about the whole thing. She had the power to stop it before it went anywhere near that collaboration agreement, and Mike would have had to get over it.

                Conversely, if she couldn't get a straight story out of Mike about his sudden acquisition of this old book, how was he going to explain it to the literary agency? But that would be his problem. She had tried her best to warn him but it fell on deaf ears. Once that first hurdle was out of the way, and Doreen was eager to draw up a collaboration agreement, Anne relented.

                We were not discussing a scenario whereby this husband and wife were equally happy to collaborate and market a forgery created between them, with the little woman also happy to let hubby control the purse strings on her behalf. While it's a perfectly feasible scenario in theory, it doesn't tick all the right boxes for me or rj - hence his novel 'novella' solution to the puzzle, and my own suspicion that Anne was in the dark about how the diary had come into their home, but went along with what Mike did next for the sake of harmony in that home.

                Love,

                Caz
                X
                Last edited by caz; 01-16-2018, 06:33 AM.
                "Comedy is simply a funny way of being serious." Peter Ustinov


                Comment


                • Originally posted by David Orsam View Post
                  I didn't, of course, say that every piece of information needs to be included in essays, dissertations, books or documentaries, only that if you quote from one part of a document the rest of it needs to be made available.
                  That's ridiculous, David, and my point stands about the logistical, not to say boring as hell nightmare of having to quote every word of every source document or refrain from quoting anything at all. Inside Story could never have been published on that basis, but perhaps that would have suited some people down to the ground. Feldman, for one, hated the book.

                  Most books, documentaries etc. are based on information publicly available in archives or libraries.
                  But not all, or investigative journalists wouldn't be worthy of the job title, if anyone could simply harvest all the information on any topic from previously published sources and put it out there in one great, unedited splosh. [I know, Gareth. I know exactly what you're thinking. ]. How would that work within the framework of unpublished interviews given by witnesses whose information has been nowhere near an archive or library? You have to start somewhere.

                  So anyone with an interest in the subject can check the way that information has been used. What I'm saying is that you can't selectively quote from a privately held document (or transcript) while withholding the rest of it.
                  Well you can, actually. Inside Story had to do that or become the size of Croydon. Nobody has to give such quotes credibility, if they have reason to believe they are the tip of an iceberg which would reveal a different story entirely. Yet you have often quoted from our book yourself on these boards, without insisting that the entire conversation surrounding the quote be made available for everyone to evaluate fairly.

                  Love,

                  Caz
                  X
                  Last edited by caz; 01-16-2018, 07:08 AM.
                  "Comedy is simply a funny way of being serious." Peter Ustinov


                  Comment


                  • Originally posted by David Orsam View Post
                    I point to one simple hard and undisputed fact about the attempt by the person who produced the Diary to obtain a genuine Victorian diary with blank pages shortly before he produced it. It doesn't really get much more suspicious than that. And I point to the appearance of the phrase "one off" in the diary to mean a unique happening which was not in use in the nineteenth century. That's really all I need to say.
                    You could have fooled me, David. You mean you come here just for jolly the other 99.9% of the time you are posting?

                    Love,

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


                    Comment


                    • Originally posted by rjpalmer View Post
                      Regarding the ink changing color. An interesting (and infuriating) article by Adrian Morris.

                      http://www.jamesmaybrick.org/pdf%20f...20article).pdf
                      I haven't refreshed my memory of this article, rj, but wasn't it debunked a long while ago?

                      Love,

                      Caz [no relation to AM]
                      X
                      "Comedy is simply a funny way of being serious." Peter Ustinov


                      Comment


                      • Originally posted by David Orsam View Post
                        Then I'm told that in saying that, "the line of enquiry into the APS shop conversation will be a waste of time unless it can be positively ruled out that the conversation occurred in 1993", I was "clearly assuming" that it "couldn't be ruled out" (shouldn't that be "could"?)...
                        No. If it's your theory that the conversation did occur in 1993, after Feldman became involved, you presumably think it "couldn't be ruled out".

                        ...when I was doing no such thing. I was speaking English.
                        After a fashion.

                        Unless it can be ruled out that the APS shop conversation occurred in 1993 any investigation into the conversation will obviously be a waste of time.
                        But that's nonsense. Could you kindly explain, in plain English a small child can understand, how the blazes you would know if something can be ruled out or not, until you take the time to investigate it?

                        I've already said more than once that Mike might (perfectly reasonably) have not wanted to give up 5% of his income on the basis of a false provenance so why is it continually asked why he did not agree to accept that false provenance?
                        Okay, so what exactly did Mike have to sell at that point? The book publication rights had been sold to Robert Smith on July 29th, 1992. Robert in turn sold the video rights to Feldman on December 4th, 1992. On March 24th, 1993, a month before Feldman would obtain any of the electricians' contact details from Colin Rhodes, towards the end of April, Mike had transferred the physical diary to Robert for £1.

                        Do the math, as they say. 5% of nothing is nothing.

                        Feldman may have been blissfully unaware of the fact, when Eddie Lyons rang him, a few weeks later [in the May or June?], asking what his confession was worth, and Paul Dodd was requesting 5% not to contest ownership, but when Mike replied: "Tell him to f... off. The diary never came from the house", Mike knew he had nothing to sell Feldman. Would Dodd have been induced by 5% of the £1 Mike had received from Robert, to accept that he had had and lost the diary? Unless Mike had cut Feldman out of any deal and independently offered Dodd 5% of all he had so far earned, and what he stood to earn if the book publication went ahead later that year, there was no deal to be had.

                        Mike was in a precarious situation, whether the diary was a recent fake, which could be exposed at any moment, causing the book to be pulled and possible arrests made, or whether Eddie had stolen it from the house and Mike now risked being exposed, not as the wonderful chap who solved the ripper murders, but as a shabby little receiver of stolen property after the big time. In the former situation a false Battlecrease provenance which couldn't be disproved might have been worth grasping with both hands. "Tony must have got it from somewhere. Why not the house? Even Dodd is open to the possibility." But the price of a real, supportable Battlecrease provenance would arguably have been too high to pay.

                        Did Eddie try to put "the squeeze" on Mike in 1993? Not to my knowledge he didn't. And how could he do it anyway? Any claim by him to have found the diary could have been dismissed as false, just as Mike did.
                        But would Mike have taken that risk? If Eddie knew exactly when that diary had come out of the house, and the circumstances in which he had passed it on to Mike, and had evidence for it, Mike would be the bigger loser if Eddie talked. Mike knew about Dodd being prepared to let matters rest, so from Mike's point of view Eddie had less to lose if he were to confess to his part in its removal from the house because Mike was refusing to cough up.

                        The diary was always Mike's baby. His relationship with it, whether he was saying Tony Devereux left it to him, or he forged it himself, meant more to him than money, when we consider he could have sold the physical book to Feldman for thousands when first offered, but chose instead to transfer it to Robert for £1, to protect the book he so dearly wanted to see published, telling the story of how he - Michael Barrett - had stumbled upon the solution to the greatest ever murder mystery.

                        Surely there is no more to say on this subject at the moment.
                        You wished, David.

                        Love,

                        Caz
                        X
                        Last edited by caz; 01-16-2018, 09:29 AM.
                        "Comedy is simply a funny way of being serious." Peter Ustinov


                        Comment


                        • Oh dear. It just doesn't stop. Even when I ignore one of the more nonsensical criticisms it just gets repeated.

                          So I said:

                          "Prior to April 1992 (and certainly prior to the time he started drinking) I have never seen any evidence to suggest that Mike was an incompetent person."

                          Now, should "started drinking" be taken literally? Did I mean prior to the time Mike started drinking milk and water? Of course not. Did I mean prior to the first time Mike drank alcohol? Of course not. And did I mean prior to the first time he was ever drunk? Equally daft.

                          No, what I meant was prior to the time he started drinking heavily to the extent that he became an alcoholic and needed treatment for alcoholism. Where do I get the idea from that he started drinking heavily after April 1992?

                          Well, just see Inside Story, page 76 where it is stated that in late 1993:

                          "It was becoming clear to Shirley Harrison’s and Paul Feldman’s teams that Barrett was not handling the situation well. He was likeable and engaging when sober, but another side would emerge when he was drinking, a circumstance that was occurring with increasing frequency."

                          And then we have Harrison speaking of the break up of Mike's marriage in January 1994:

                          "Anne Barrett could no longer cope with her husband's drinking, which had become increasingly out of control."

                          By June 1994, we are told in Inside Story, Mike was now in the Windsor Unit of the Fazakely Hospital for treatment for alcoholism.

                          Was he treated in hospital for alcoholism prior to April 1992? I don't think so.

                          And we are also told by Harrison: “it was clear that when he drank he lost his grasp on reality”. As quoted above, "another side would emerge when he was drinking".

                          So it's perfectly obvious that Mike needs to be judged at a time when he was sober because if he was relatively sober prior to April 1992 it could make a huge difference to his capabilities.

                          Mind you, one statement from the Great Misunderstander that I actually do agree with is this:

                          "The fact is, none of us can say what Mike was like, and what capabilities he had prior to that time."

                          Absolutely right. Which makes it all the more baffling that the same person said this on the forum about Mike and Anne on 9 November 2016:

                          "Their personalities, combined with examples of their handwriting and creative writing skills, have given me no confidence in their ability - individually or together - to have produced anything like the diary as we know it."

                          But none of us can say anything about Mike's creative writing skills or his personality prior to April 1992 (nor Anne's) nor can any of us say anything about his capabilities or abilities to produce the diary, especially in concert with Anne.

                          Comment


                          • In what world, I wonder, does the expression "made available" mean published in a book?

                            When I said "if you quote from one part of a document the rest of it needs to be made available" how is it possible, even for the Great Misunderstander, to think that I am saying that an author has to "quote every word of every source document or refrain from quoting anything at all"?

                            Surely it's not possible for someone to be so confused is it?

                            But it actually seems to have happened.

                            And why would the same person then say "Inside Story could never have been published on that basis"? What did they have to hide I wonder?

                            It should be perfectly obvious that one should not quote selectively from documents which no-one else can check. I made the same point when I referred to it being disgraceful that Mike's research notes were being withheld even though Shirley Harrison had quoted partially from them and used them to support her rebuttal to Melvin Harris.

                            Furthermore, we are talking about a situation where I directly requested James Johnston to release the full transcript of his interviews from which he had selectively quoted. Yet he point blank refused (giving a feeble excuse for doing so). It's just not good enough. Does Johnston have an obligation to release those transcripts in full? Yes, he obviously does.

                            Comment


                            • Here's an amusing incident.

                              In one of my posts, four days ago, I said:

                              "What I'm saying is that you can't selectively quote from a privately held document (or transcript) while withholding the rest of it. Especially when, as in this case, parts of the transcript contradict the case being made." (bold added)

                              Having quoted this in full, the Great Misunderstander then replied this afternoon as follows:

                              "Well you can, actually. Inside Story had to do that or become the size of Croydon."

                              Oops! So there we had an admission that the authors of Inside Story selectively referred to privately held transcripts while deliberately withholding those parts of the same transcripts which contradicted the case being made in the book!

                              But the Great Misunderstander realised what she'd done four minutes later and deleted the second sentence from the quotation. But, of course, there was no acknowledgement that my point was valid and that you cannot legitimately withhold a document or transcript from which you have quoted if other parts of the same document or transcript contradict the case being made.

                              She just silently deleted that bit as if I'd never said it. No response has, therefore, been made to it.

                              Instead we just had the nonsensical response that Inside Story would have become the size of Croydon. No, it wouldn't. As I said above, you just make the documents on which the book is based available for an independent person or researcher to check that they have been used properly and not selectively. Unless, of course, you have something to hide, in which case you wouldn't do it.

                              Comment


                              • I see that the Great Misunderstander has asked me a question:

                                "Could you kindly explain, in plain English a small child can understand, how the blazes you would know if something can be ruled out or not, until you take the time to investigate it?"

                                Perhaps the Great Misunderstander will explain why she seems to think I have said that anyone can know whether something can be ruled out or not before investigation.

                                All I said was that unless it can be proved that the APS shop conversation did not take place in 1993 any investigation into that conversation will be a waste of time. I haven't told anyone not to investigate it or not to waste their time (should it in fact turn out to be a waste of time). Many investigations turn out to be a waste of time. That doesn't mean one should not investigate. And I have never told anyone not to investigate.

                                But I repeat that unless it can be positively established that the investigation did not take place in 1993 any investigation into the APS shop conversation will be a waste of time. The reason for this is that it will always leave open the possibility that the comments by Davies were influenced on a belief developed by researchers in 1993 that the diary came from under the floorboards.

                                Comment

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