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Acquiring A Victorian Diary

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  • Originally posted by David Orsam View Post
    In an attempt to go round and round in circles, the point was made in another thread earlier today that Anne (if she had participated in the forgery) didn't have to tell Keith Skinner in or around 1995 that her cheque paid for the small Victorian diary. I say we go round in circles because this is a repeat argument and I have already pointed out that there was absolutely no danger to Anne by this because she could explain to Keith Skinner, as she did, that Mike simply wanted to see what a Victorian diary of the period looked like for comparison purposes with the scrapbook.
    Ha ha. That's really quite funny, David. And of course, there was absolutely no danger to Anne that anyone might not believe her explanation, but prefer to believe Mike's, that he was trying to obtain a diary for Anne to use for their forgery.

    This explanation is now known to be false. But we only know it is false because nine whole years after Mike revealed the story of the purchase Victorian diary in his Jan 1995 affidavit (and yes he WAS telling the truth about this!) Keith Skinner found the advertisement in Bookdealer placed by Martin Earl which showed that Mike was only interested in a diary with a minimum of 20 blank pages, thus disproving the explanation put forward by Anne.
    That's still quite funny, but less so. Firstly, Mike didn't say when the red diary was purchased [in the Spring of 1992] because that would have made a nonsense of his claim to have acquired the guardbook after rejecting it; completing the writing out of the diary in 11 days; then leaving it for a while because Tony Devereux was severely ill at the time!

    Secondly, I suppose there was absolutely no danger to Anne that by handing over the red diary and the details of the purchase to Keith, he would be able to track down that advert, note the blank pages request, and thus disprove her explanation?

    If that explanation had been true, Mike would not have required there to be blank pages in the diary.
    He might have, if the only reason for wanting to compare the Maybrick diary with a real one from the right period was because he suspected someone was pulling his leg and wondered how easy it would have been for a prankster to find a diary with sufficient blank pages for the job.

    The requirement for blank pages can only mean one thing. Mike wanted something to be written in that Victorian diary. What could it have been? Does one seriously need to ask?
    Well clearly yes, because otherwise you wouldn't have needed your 'one off instance', if 'one' accepted without question that Mike could only have wanted that diary so that Anne would have something to use for their forgery.

    As for Anne back in 1995, if she had denied any knowledge of the purchase of the Victorian diary it would have been the most foolish course she could possibly have taken. Mike was then still alive and could easily have remembered that Martin Earl was the dealer, resulting in a cheque being produced for £25 in Anne's own name. Imagine the outcry at that! Anne would have been proven to have been a liar.
    Ironic, considering the same thing would have happened, immediately following Anne's 'in the family revelation' in July 1994, had Mike been able to produce anything that could prove his own or anyone else's inside knowledge of the forgery itself. By telling her story, she was already denying any knowledge of a forgery, or the purchase of anything in connection with one. On its own, the red diary is small beer compared with what damage Mike should have been able to do to Anne's denials and character, if she knew that his January 1995 affidavit contained a basic truth and he had the means to substantiate it.

    It's almost certain that Anne had no idea that Martin Earl placed an advertisement in Bookdealer and a good chance that she didn't even know what instructions her husband had given to Earl.
    Is it? I agree she may have known nothing about it until Mike had to ask her to pay for the diary he was sent, but surely she'd have worked it out later, if she'd been waiting for Mike to produce something suitable for her to use for writing out the diary, so he could take it to London on April 13th 1992. What did she think the little red diary for 1891 was in aid of? Did she write out the cheque without asking why on earth Mike had been sent this particular item?

    That being so, she would have felt there was no danger in freely admitting to the purchase of the diary. As I've said, she had an explanation and, up to 2003, it was a convincing explanation which seemed to satisfy everyone. It was only when the advertisement was discovered that it suddenly became apparent that the explanation was false, although it seems to have taken a number of years for this realisation to filter through, possibly because no-one outside of a small number of people had actually seen the advertisement until it was posted in this thread.
    The wording of that advert was first posted several years before you arrived and began this thread, David. At the time, far more people were posting on the subject than today, with the majority being modern hoax believers [just like today], so it is indeed taking a long time for 'this realisation to filter through', but not because only a small number of people had actually seen it back in the day. Maybe they didn't, or don't, give it the enormous significance that you evidently do.


    Last edited by caz; 02-27-2018, 10:19 AM.
    "Comedy is simply a funny way of being serious." Peter Ustinov


    • Originally posted by Keith Skinner View Post

      Everything continuing to go to plan at Stamford Bridge. Conte, true sportsman to the last, just wanting to give a little bit of edge and excitement to the top of the premier league, (plus a little encouragement and hope to Spurs), by easing back on Chelseaís position Ė otherwise it all just becomes too easy and monotonous if they keep on winning game after game. Itís why they didnít really make a big issue out of Morataís disallowed goal yesterday when he was clearly onside.

      Your question not forgotten about Ė as with all others. Over the last few days Iíve been slowly trawling through all 1200 posts in this thread, making notes of points which require clarification plus questions asked of me to which I need to respond. Some of them I have been able to immediately reply to because my reference material and relevant files are to hand but I donít want to spin away from posts like, for example, R.Jís, where he has opened up discussion areas that need drilling into and resolved Ė otherwise they remain unfinished business.
      Out of interest, what is the discussion area opened up by RJ which needs drilling into? I was under the impression that was pretty much concluded.

      As it happens, I take priority over RJ for any answers because this is my thread. He he!

      I'm actually building up a long list of questions for you Keith (none of which, you may be relieved to know, relate to the whereabouts of Chelsea's missing defence) but I won't post them until you have started posting here properly. When do you think you will be able to get access to your reference material and files?


      • Originally posted by John G View Post
        Well, I must confess, I don't always use the Queen's English when speaking to people!
        I'm prepared to bet you have never used the expression "I seen".

        Originally posted by John G View Post
        But seriously, surely she must have had reasonable written skills, otherwise how was she able to hold down a job as a secretary for several years?
        You obviously don't understand the job of a secretary. In most cases, it's to type up what other people have written (with any errors they make in typing corrected by that person from the first typed draft). Unless you are saying that no secretary in the country could possibly have misused the word "frequented" it's a complete non-point.

        Originally posted by John G View Post
        Not to mention the tidying- up of Mike's articles!
        We know practically nothing about how Anne tidied up his articles and whether this simply involved correcting spelling mistakes or errors of punctuation or, indeed, whether the articles needed further tidying up by the magazine's editor. So again it tells us precisely nothing about whether Anne could have misused the word "frequented".


        • Originally posted by John G View Post
          By the way, is there any evidence that Mike actually wrote the Diary, apart from the fact that he said he did? Is there any evidence that he purchased the guardbook, apart from tge fact that he said he did?
          As you well know John, there is no evidence that anyone wrote the diary but we don't, on that basis, say that no-one wrote it. Equally there's no evidence that anyone bought the guardbook but we don't say that, therefore, no-one bought it.

          I've explained many times that the basis of my thinking is that Mike was seeking a Victorian diary with blank pages shortly before he produced a Victorian diary of Jack the Ripper. That's it. Either that is a compelling reason to think he wrote the diary or it isn't. But I can't think of any other reason why he sought to acquire a Victorian diary with blank pages so I conclude that he did so because he (or an acquaintance) wanted to forge a Victorian diary. That being so I conclude that he was probably involved in forging the Jack the Ripper diary.


          • Just to repeat for those who are slow on the uptake. I have never claimed that Mike did research in any library so I don't have to use any speculation to put him there. I'm not trying to put him there. All I have said is that is utterly utterly ridiculous to use the absence of evidence to suggest that he never did any research when there has never been any investigation, especially in circumstances where one is virtually anonymous or invisible, as one is when going to a library - the notion that he asked "all sorts of related questions" is a fantasy - and for all we know thousands of people saw Mike Barrett there, out of which some may even have known who he was but, unless they've ever been tracked down and asked, we are not realistically going to know about it. The idea that a member of the public, knowing that Mike Barrett produced the diary (and subsequently admitted to forging it), having once seen him in a public library, would even think that this was an important sighting worth mentioning to someone (but who, I have no idea) is just plain daft.

            So we come back to the central point that the absence of evidence in this situation is meaningless and should never have been put forward as a reason against Mike being involved in the forgery of the diary.


            • The Pot and the Kettle

              So the person who actually does argue, reductio ad absurdum, that Mike did not carry out research on the basis that there is no evidence that he did, now wishes she had said "Surely to simply argue that Mike carried out the research on the basis that there's no evidence he didn't is, ultimately, reductio ad absurdum" (despite that being something that no-one has actually claimed in this thread!).

              Oh the irony.


              • My goodness, how much misunderstanding can one person achieve in one day?

                When I said "It's almost certain that Anne had no idea that Martin Earl placed an advertisement in Bookdealer and a good chance that she didn't even know what instructions her husband had given to Earl" , I meant exactly what that sentence said.

                I didn't mean that Anne didn't know that Mike instructed Martin Earl to obtain a diary nor that she didn't know that he obtained one nor that she didn't know why he obtained it.

                What I was saying was written in plain English. She did not know about the advertisement.

                Is it easier to understand in underlining? For why would Mike or Anne have had the first clue how Martin Earl obtained his second hand books? How would they have known he put adverts into specialist magazines? As I discovered, the advertisement was so cheap there would have been no need for Earl to charge his clients for it.

                Equally, Anne would not necessarily have known what instructions Mike gave to Martin Earl. All she would have needed to know when she paid for it is that Mike had attempted to obtain a Victorian diary into which the JTR diary was intended to be written but the one he received from Martin Earl was not suitable.


                • By the time Anne was being asked about Mike's purchase of the Victorian diary, Mike's affidavit was already in the public domain. If there had been any danger to her about people seriously believing Mike's affidavit it had passed.

                  As for the position in July 1994 when Anne came up with her own provenance story (shortly after Mike had publicly claimed to have forged it by himself) one has to ask ourselves what is all this evidence which Mike was supposed to have been able to produce at the time to prove his involvement in writing the diary?

                  Let's say that Anne knew the receipt for the scrapbook (which, incidentally, would probably not have been a receipt for a scrapbook but for "miscellaneous" auction items) had been destroyed - perhaps she had thrown it away herself - and the ink and any pens had been thrown away. What other physical evidence was there of her or Mike's involvement in forging the diary?

                  Indeed, on the basis that she did not want to get caught by the police it would only have been sensible to have destroyed everything connected with the making of the diary in April 1992. So what could Mike have possibly produced in July 1994 to prove her story was false (and prove that he and Anne had forged the diary?)

                  We are told that she was a sensible and competent woman so she would have figured that she had nothing to fear from Mike whatsoever. He was a drunk, a fantasist and couldn't prove his story. The physical evidence was gone. Any attempt to by Mike to reconstruct the writing of the diary, however convincing, could be dismissed as fiction. His finds such as the Crashaw quote put down to good luck.

                  Rather than someone constantly pointing out that Mike never produced evidence we need to be told what that evidence actually was that they expected to see.


                  • The argument that I find most amusing is that Mike deliberately didn't say when he purchased the red diary (March 1992) because he knew it would have messed up his chronology in his affidavit.

                    Let's just think about this for a moment. Did Mike purchase a red diary? Yes he did, so that was true.

                    But we are told that Mike was a compulsive liar. So why not just say that Anne bought him a (fictional) blue Victorian diary in 1990 but then he threw that diary away? Why did he need to mention the real red diary which he didn't even have in his possession at the time?

                    Well the answer to that, of course, is that it existed. More than that, he knew that Anne had paid for it by cheque and this could be corroborated, thus implicating her. Hence he gives quite a lot of detail about the diary in his affidavit. More than for just about anything else he talks about.

                    But therein lies the problem. If he expected his story to be checked out AND he knew he was lying about the date of the purchase then he would have known that his story would not be corroborated by the red diary, but, on the contrary, it would immediately be falsified by it.

                    In other words, if he consciously knew that he was inventing a story about writing the JTR diary in 1990 while also consciously knowing that he bought the red diary in 1992 he simply must have known that his story was going to be shown to be a lie once someone asked Anne about it.

                    So I don't think it's as simple as someone might like to portray it. My own feeling is that if you assume that when Mike was speaking about writing the diary in 1990 with Tony Devereux he was talking about drafting it then the story can be made to make sense. I appreciate it does not read that way but poor drafting of statements is not confined to drunks and, I can assure you, can be made by sensible people, even lawyers.


                    • The idea that Mike wanted to compare the Maybrick diary with a real one from the right period because he wondered how easy it would be for a prankster to find a diary with sufficient blank pages for the job is as laughable now as it was when it was first put forward as about the fifth different explanation for the acquisition of the diary.

                      I have already explained the reasons why in this thread and don't think there is any need to repeat them.


                      • Do I need "one off instance" to disprove the diary? Only if there is another explanation for Mike's acquisition of a Victorian diary with blank pages, something which no-one has yet been able to come up with.


                        • On another thread, quite a long discussion occurred regarding my contribution to the issue of Mike's acquisition of a Victorian diary and, in particular, why the advertisement had not been the subject of more interest in the past. But now it's raised again - ignoring everything I previously said about it - so we go round and round once more.

                          I was well aware from the first time I mentioned it that the words from the advertisement had been previously posted (but critically NOT a reproduction of the actual advertisement itself). But I was equally aware of a surprising lack of discussion about it. If you go back through the Incontrovertible thread you will find it was raised by one poster and then the discussion was almost instantly over as if no-one wanted to touch it. The same in all other threads that I'm aware of.

                          In virtually my first post about the diary in the Incontrovertible thread, on 19 September 2016, I said: "Looking at the earlier discussion about this, I don't see any convincing explanation as to why Barrett wanted a diary with at least 20 blank pages."

                          So why did knowledge of the advertisement not lead more people to the obvious conclusion that Mike must have written (or been involved in writing) the diary?

                          Well I suggest there were a number of reasons. The first is that Shirley Harrison had misrepresented the facts by saying in her 2003 book:

                          "The red diary was in fact purchased after the Diary had been brought to London (Anne has the receipt)".

                          Obviously if that was true the advertisement was irrelevant. There would have been no point in Mike buying the red diary after Doreen had seen the JTR Diary and it would make a nonsense of the claim that the red diary was bought for the purpose of drafting the diary.

                          I suspect that this was an influential statement and certainly those who followed the Incontrovertible thread will recall that Iconoclast was fooled by it.

                          I had to correct Iconoclast but you know it wasn't easy to confirm the actual date when Mike received the red diary and to put this into the context of when Mike brought the JTR diary to London. The facts were tucked away in Inside Story but they had to be dug out. They weren't dates that were frequently mentioned in the online threads. How many people carried the precise chronology of events in their heads? I'm not sure too many people were aware that Mike received the red diary about two weeks before he brought the JTR diary to London.

                          Another obvious reason why the advertisement wasn't taken seriously was, of course, because Mike had said that the JTR diary was written in 1990 or 1991. And that he acquired the scrapbook in an auction in about 1990. As we now know, the records of Outhwaite and Litherland were (as I had always suspected) only checked for that period. They were not checked for 1992. That's because no-one was really thinking that Mike could have acquired the diary at an auction as late as March 1992.

                          And in any case we had all that information from O&L about how they didn't conduct auctions in the way Mike had described and their records didn't corroborate his story. But now we know that that all seems to have come from a couple of conversations with Shirley Harrison and Inside Story didn't even include stuff she had discovered which corroborated Mike's story (such as how it was possible to buy antiques using a false name).

                          If you were a diary sceptic who believed Mike's affidavit you would have assumed that he bought the scrapbook in 1990. Consequently an advertisement for a Victorian diary with blank pages in March 1992 made no sense and, if you believed Shirley, you would have thought that he had acquired the red diary after taking the JTR diary to London.

                          It was all very confusing. I certainly hadn't seen anyone in writing put down the type of chronology I put down where the scrapbook was purchased after the advertisement and it still all made sense in terms of timing.

                          Perhaps that's why someone like RJ, who has been writing about this subject for years, calls it the "David Orsam theory".

                          Not that I have any desire to have a theory named after me (or, rather, my username) but I absolutely challenge the claim that everyone had fully considered the wording of the advertisement and put it into context and then decided it wasn't important. Clearly it has taken a long time for the realisation to filter through.

                          Indeed, we have seen recently that one poster has finally understood that the advertisement asked for a minimum of 20 blank pages when she seemed to be under the impression that it was asking for 20 blank pages period. Clearly not everyone had even read the advertisement properly. I might add that when I started this discussion some people even still accepted Anne's explanation that Mike simply wanted to see what a Victorian diary looked like, completely ignoring the requirement in the ad for the blank pages. And I do think that seeing a reproduction of the advert is far more powerful than seeing someone type out what that advert said.


                          • Originally posted by David Orsam View Post
                            As it happens, I take priority over RJ for any answers because this is my thread.
                            Keith, the above was meant as a joke, but it is actually a pretty good idea. Maybe at least we'll cover some new ground. I'm getting that old feeling of dťjŗ vu, that you and I are simply going over the same old ground that we did in 2003-2005. Same questions, same answers. I think Pink Floyd even wrote a song about it. Something about a fishbowl.

                            P.S. Before Caz slaps me on the side of the head, I realize that L & O should have been O & L. I was too lazy this morning to go back and correct my mistake. Same point, however. Something about O & L's denial always struck me as a little smarmy.


                            • Afternoon all - just passing this along from KS. Apologies for the slight delay, blame the postman!

                              TO DAVID ORSAM & R.J.PALMER

                              I should start firing in your questions right away David. There’s a great deal of Diary Archive material (chronicling my involvement with the project and investigation from June 1992) stored with Bruce in deepest Herefordshire and I no longer have my car. So it would be a huge bag on wheels job and probably several trips! However, if I know the thrust of your questions, then I can concentrate on bringing back the relevant files.

                              Discussion areas (plural) David with reference to RJ’s posts. Which was the one you were under the impression was pretty much concluded? If you look back to #540, you’ll note that is where I offered fuller information around the Kevin Whay/Shirley Harrison telephone conversation in response to your specific request. RJ came in straight away (#541) asking me “...the relevance of posting yet again Kevin Whay’s search of the receipts at O&L?” In spite of you very kindly intervening on my behalf (#559), I don’t know why RJ asked me the question in the first place, (or even whether he accepted your explanation), which worried me because RJ seemed to have ignored the context of why I (or rather James)initially put up the post? To me, it just seemed that RJ was more interested in making a list of points and criticisms of the way the initial investigation was handled which he is, of course, perfectly entitled to do so. In other words, RJ asked me a question about why I had brought up O&L and then proceeded to more or less answer it himself. But what was useful to learn is that RJ did write to O&L and all credit to him for having done so. One of the questions I would ask R.J. is whether he has retained that correspondence with O&L and – if so – would he be prepared to share it with us so we can see exactly what surviving records and documentation, between February-April 1992, were being requested? Was it just the receipts, which RJ was informed, had been pulped?

                              Finally – my apologies to RJ if he has, in fact, replied to any of the above and I have overlooked his post(s)

                              Best, KS

                              Now you're looking for the secret, but you won't find it, because of course, you're not really looking. You want to be fooled.


                              • Originally posted by David Orsam View Post
                                I rather doubt, incidentally, that Mike's expectation was to receive a diary spanning a decade. My assumption would be that he expected a single year diary but that the evidence of the actual year to which the diary related would either not be present or could be removed or, ideally, would be consistent with an 1888-89 authorship.

                                While I look forward to finding out why the diary was not useless for Mike, I still agree that my post could have been worded better and so I repost it below:

                                Everything that Mike says does, indeed, need to be treated with extreme caution – he was clearly a person with a vivid imagination - but amongst all the uncertainty we do have one hard and undisputed fact which is that an advertisement on behalf of Mike Barrett was placed in a specialist bookdealing magazine dated 19 March 1992 asking for an unused or used Victorian diary with a minimum of 20 blank pages and Mike received a completely blank but small (and useless for the purposes of forgery) Victorian diary in response to this advertisement on or shortly before 28 March 1992. The JTR Diary itself was not produced, or known to have been seen by anyone outside the Barrett family, until 13 April 1992. Those are the facts we have and it is up to us to use our brains as to what those facts mean.
                                Hi David,

                                My own assumption, for what it's worth, would be that anyone having lived with this project for upwards of six months, who knew what the content of the forged diary was going to be, down to the period covered and number of words, would have had plenty of time to work out exactly what to ask for, to give themselves at least a sporting chance of acquiring something that wouldn't prove 'useless for the purposes of forgery'.

                                Maybe it's just me, but the wording of that advert strikes me as equally 'useless' for the purpose of acquiring anything that was likely to meet the basic requirements dictated by the diary text as we know it.

                                A 'diary' - singular, any size - for any year from 1880 to 1890? How was that ever likely to produce what a forger would have needed for JM's undated personal ramblings between early 1888 and May 1889? Did it not occur to Mike that anything with a printed date that was inconsistent with the narrative - especially if it appeared on every page - would not do at all?

                                He should have been in no rush with that telephone enquiry, if he'd had months to work out what was required, yet it looks for all the world to me like something he did in rather a hurry, at the last minute, without really thinking through what he wanted, or perhaps even why he wanted it, and least of all what he was expecting, or likely to receive.


                                Last edited by caz; 02-28-2018, 07:10 AM.
                                "Comedy is simply a funny way of being serious." Peter Ustinov