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  • David Orsam
    started a topic Acquiring A Victorian Diary

    Acquiring A Victorian Diary

    I have tracked down the advertisement placed on behalf of Mike Barrett for an unused or partly used diary dating from 1880-1890 which had to have a minimum of 20 blank pages.

    It was placed by Martin E. Earl in Bookdealer, the trade weekly for books wanted and for sale, issue No. 1044, dated 19th March 1992. An image of the advertisement is reproduced below.

    The request for this diary appears in a long advert - in the BOOKS WANTED section - with a further (by my count) 86 requests by Earl for various books (one can see a couple more in the below image) in a total of (by my count) 104 lines. The way it worked was that bookdealers were given a special rate of 22.5p per line. Given that the ad for the diary was over two lines, it would have cost Martin Earl only 45p to place the ad for the diary, which I assume was included in his margin when he sold the 1891 diary to Barrett.

    On that basis, it seems likely that Mike Barrett never even knew of the existence of this advertisement (and was probably never asked to pay for it). It was simply a cheap way that a bookfinding company like Earl's would find obscure books on behalf of its clients.

    In 1992, Martin E. Earl was based in Oxford. His address and two telephone numbers were provided at the top of the advertisement. The company trading as Martin E. Earl in 1992 appears to have become H.P. Bookfinders in 1995.

    According to the Casebook transcript, Mike Barrett in his affidavit of 5 January 1995 said that his wife used "a firm in the 1986 Writters (sic) Year Book" to find the diary (although he could not remember their name). By this he must have meant The Writers' & Artists' Yearbook 1986 (which is certainly how Shirley Harrison transcribes it in her book).

    However, The Writers' & Artists' Yearbook 1986 does not include entries for any bookfinding companies (so that there is no entry for Martin E. Earl or, obviously, H.P. Bookfinders). Consequently, Martin E. Earl's details were not found by either of the Barretts in there. However the contact details of Rupert Crew Limited (of which Doreen Montgomery was a director) and also of Pan Books, which Barrett is supposed to have contacted before contacting Doreen, are both to be found in the Yearbook. Perhaps Barrett got confused when he came to write his affidavit.

    We can be certain that either Mike or Anne DID locate and contact Martin E. Earl in March 1992 so that the error with recalling how he (or she) did so would appear to be a good example of an innocent mistake of recollection.

    Finally, I can confirm that in March 1992 Outhwaite & Litherland held auctions once a week, every Tuesday, so that the first auction held after Barrett would have received the 1891 diary would have been on Tuesday, 31 March 1992. The auction (like other auctions in that month), held at Kingsway Galleries, Fontenoy Street, Liverpool, was described in antique magazines as being for "Victorian, Edwardian & modern furniture and effects". It started at 10.30am. Had Barrett taken 11 days to forge the diary as he claims in his affidavit and, had he started work on 31 March, the writing would have been finished on 10 April. He went to see Doreen in London on 13 April.
    Attached Files

  • Iconoclast
    replied
    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

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  • jmenges
    replied
    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

    Leave a comment:


  • rjpalmer
    replied
    Hi Keith. It is, of course, standard procedure to re-examine and rethink the work of earlier researchers. This does not mean their integrity or competence is being questioned; it's simply something that must be done. I've rechecked many of the supposed "facts" compiled by other researchers and will continue to do so (and I'm not referring only to the Maybrick Diary). Anyways, when I wrote that "few seem willing to trek down that trial," I was only referring to the recent conversations about the Diary and wasn't referring to you or anyone else's past research. Perhaps my impression is entirely wrong, but since the departure of Orsam it seems that few are willing to seriously entertain the notion that Barrett could have created the physical diary (but not necessarily the text) in as little as 11 days, thus handing it over to Doreen Montgomery with ink as fresh as 48 hours. The idea seems to be dismissed out-of-hand as ridiculous, something I'm not entirely willing to do.

    As for Outhwaite and Litherland, the reason I contacted them is that Barrett's account was entirely illogical from a chronological standpoint and I thus concluded that he must have had the date wrong. I was, of course, aware that you and Harrison had already checked on either side of Mike's proposed 1990 purchase date and had no reason to doubt the good faith of your research. Yet, as I said, it struck me that Mike's chronology made little sense and was, indeed, backwards. Why would Barrett (or Graham) have needed to go searching for a blank, or nearly blank, Victorian Diary if the Maybrick scrapbook already existed and was already in their possession? That made no sense. And considering that the 1891 diary was too small and useless (as Barrett stated) then surely it was more logical to assume that the purchase of the eventual scrapbook would have come later? Thus, I came to the same conclusion that Orsam later came to and had asked O & L to check on either side of March 1992, rather than on either side of the 1990. It was nothing more than a standard case of a later researcher re-examining old evidence. No offense was intended. And, of course, all of this was would be grounded in the assumption of a modern hoax.

    And I DID report back about my findings. Many years ago. I reported that I contacted O & L too late; the records for 1992 had been pulped; they no longer existed. It stands forever an unproven hypothesis. What I regret not doing--because it hadn't occurred to me--was to specifically ask O & L if any auction catalogues or fliers still existed that may have included lot descriptions. I had only asked about sales receipts, etc. Now that 27+ years have passed I assume these, too, have not survived--if they ever existed. But it's only an assumption.

    Originally posted by keith View Post
    I suppose what slightly bothers me about this scenario is that Mike presumably would have taken an enormous risk in someone from the auction house not recognising the diary, later on, in its new guise as the diary of JTR?
    Undoubtedly, but then any alleged hoax or fraud involves a certain amount of risk. It comes with the territory. At some point, and at some level, the perpetrator decides the risk is worthwhile. If he didn't, the world would have no crime and no fraud.

    Cheers, RP

    PS. If you ever do decide to return to the forum, which can only be wished, the only questions I would ask are in reference to Anne Graham's paraphrased statements on pg. 200 of Ripper Diary, while discussing the copy of the Maybrick journal found on the Barrett's word processor. It is an interesting, if brief, account, but raises many more questions than answers.




    Last edited by rjpalmer; 08-15-2019, 05:27 AM.

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  • jmenges
    replied
    Originally posted by rjpalmer View Post

    I'll leave that to Mr. Menges and the original organizers.
    As Keith doesn’t post on the boards, I emailed him to bring this thread to his attention. If it’s against the rules to relay a message from him- with his permission- I suppose I’ll find out soon enough.

    I would be interested in knowing the basis for Roger’s assertion that few people were willing to approach Outhwaite and Litherland? The authors of Inside Story did – as did, independently, Shirley Harrison. Now, Roger may have been critical of the thoroughness of our investigation which is fair enough. But I understand he and David Orsam both approached O&U and found out details of an auction which occurred at the end of March 1992 or beginning of April 1992 when they believe Mike Barrett purchased the scrapbook and had it ready to take down to London on April 13th 1992. Maybe they are correct but it would have been useful if they could have disclosed their research for us to follow up. We’d still do it – even now – if there was conclusive documentary evidence Mike had purchased the scrapbook under the name of ‘Williams’. Game, set and match. I suppose what slightly bothers me about this scenario is that Mike presumably would have taken an enormous risk in someone from the auction house not recognising the diary, later on, in its new guise as the diary of JTR?

    KS
    via
    JM

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  • rjpalmer
    replied
    Originally posted by Iconoclast View Post
    Can you shed some light on the 1999 Cloak & Dagger Club appearance?
    I'll leave that to Mr. Menges and the original organizers. I don't recall if I have ever heard this recording--I probably haven't. My original post referred only to the rendition of Mike's appearance given in Ripper Diary, and was merely pointing out that it wasn't strictly true that this was the first time that Barrett had said that the diary was created in only 11 days. Mike's sobriety/lack thereof had nothing to do with the original comment; the point was that Mike was oddly consistent in this one strange detail, since he also mentioned the 11 day span in his 1995 confession. As Orsam points out in his first two or three posts on this thread, the 11 day scenario seems generally consistent with the purchase date, arrival, and subsequent rejection of the 1891 diary, and the next auction held by Outhwaite & Litherland. I appreciate that that is a trail some are unwilling to trek, but was interesting to me.

    Originally posted by Iconoclast View Post
    If he had KS, he appears to have become one of the relatively small percentage who not only 'recover' from it but who go on to live reasonably long lives.


    Did he recover?? There was a poster here a year or so ago who knew Barrett near the end, and he stated that he was indistinguishable from a street drunk.



    P.S. I had to reread your post to make sure I understood you. It is unfortunate, when discussing the Diary, that Keith Skinner and Korsakoff's Syndrome share the same initials, though certainly not the same attributes. :-)

    Leave a comment:


  • Iconoclast
    replied
    Originally posted by rjpalmer View Post

    If memory serves, Ike, this was revealed by Shirley Harrison in the Blake edition of her work, which is the one people should be reading, as it contains info not available in the earlier editions. The diagnosis came shortly after Mike's admission to the Fazakerley Hospital. Nick Warren also alludes to Korsakoff's Syndrome, albeit ironically, in Ripperana, No. 11. I say ironically, because this is the same issue where a startlingly focused Barrett reveals that 'O Costly Intercourse of Death' can be found in Christopher Rick's book...a surprising piece of scholarship coming from a man generally associated with a bar stool. I humbly suggest that it would have been far easier for Barrett to have located the quote in the small number of books gathered together in the Goldie Street home than in the tens of thousands of volumes in the Central Liverpool Library. But I'm far from convinced that Barrett's syndrome was an act (if that is what Warren was implying). I have listened to too many hours of his mad ramblings not to conclude that he suffered from some strange disorder. Reminds me a bit of one of my relatives suffering from dementia. He had no idea anymore when he was or was not telling the truth. My opinion.
    I do have her Blake paperback (first published in 1998) as well as the original hardback. A private email has directed me to another edition of the paperback so I'm sure I'll track it down either from what I have or what I will order if I need to. If he had KS, he appears to have become one of the relatively small percentage who not only 'recover' from it but who go on to live reasonably long lives. Either way, KS could be used to explain his behaviour 'change' up to the point at which he confessed or simply provide clarification around why he confessed (to something he hadn't done).

    Can you shed some light on the 1999 Cloak & Dagger Club appearance? As I had understood it, Mike was largely there under his own steam (there was no hidden agenda in getting him onto the stage) and that he had made numerous claims that 'tonight would be the night' when he finally nailed the hoax. For example, he had promised to produce the O&U receipt for the purchase of the scrapbook (which would have been staggering as he had - I think I'm right in saying - never previously mentioned he had it; not even in his affidavit). I could refer to Inside Story to check this, but I'm sure my memory does not let me down. I'm certain I'm right in saying this, and I'm definitely certain that Mike singularly failed to produce this or any other proof of his master hoax. Which was surely no surprise to anyone?

    Cheers,

    Ike

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  • Sam Flynn
    replied
    Originally posted by rjpalmer View Post

    But I'm far from convinced that Barrett's syndrome was an act (if that is what Warren was implying). I have listened to too many hours of his mad ramblings not to conclude that he suffered from some strange disorder. Reminds me a bit of one of my relatives suffering from dementia. He had no idea anymore when he was or was not telling the truth.
    That would be congruent with Korsakoff's Syndrome, which is similar in many ways to dementia.

    Leave a comment:


  • rjpalmer
    replied
    Ike-- another thing. The red diary produced by Anne G. was from 1891, not 1890, so technically it fell outside the parameters of the original advertisement in Bookdealer. I doubt that means much, other than shows the difficulty in coming up with a blank or largely blank diary from the late Victorian era.

    Leave a comment:


  • rjpalmer
    replied
    Originally posted by Iconoclast View Post

    I was unaware that a GP or specialist had diagnosed Barrett with Korsakoff's Syndrome. This (I think) is news to me. Can you provide a source for this, please?
    If memory serves, Ike, this was revealed by Shirley Harrison in the Blake edition of her work, which is the one people should be reading, as it contains info not available in the earlier editions. The diagnosis came shortly after Mike's admission to the Fazakerley Hospital. Nick Warren also alludes to Korsakoff's Syndrome, albeit ironically, in Ripperana, No. 11. I say ironically, because this is the same issue where a startlingly focused Barrett reveals that 'O Costly Intercourse of Death' can be found in Christopher Rick's book...a surprising piece of scholarship coming from a man generally associated with a bar stool. I humbly suggest that it would have been far easier for Barrett to have located the quote in the small number of books gathered together in the Goldie Street home than in the tens of thousands of volumes in the Central Liverpool Library. But I'm far from convinced that Barrett's syndrome was an act (if that is what Warren was implying). I have listened to too many hours of his mad ramblings not to conclude that he suffered from some strange disorder. Reminds me a bit of one of my relatives suffering from dementia. He had no idea anymore when he was or was not telling the truth. My opinion.

    Last edited by rjpalmer; 08-14-2019, 02:44 PM.

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  • Iconoclast
    replied
    Originally posted by rjpalmer View Post

    I'm rather surprised you're willing to admit that, Ike. The Barrett I heard circa 1995 was diagnosed with Korsakoff's Syndrome. Taking him in front of the public would have been akin to bear-baiting and couldn't possibly have achieved anything worthwhile other than make Barrett look like a fool.

    Personally, having listened to several hours of Mike's (private) ramblings, I am of the opinion that he was constitutionally unable to tell a straight story--drunk or sober-- which is not the same thing as saying that he didn't at one time know where the Diary came from, or that he was simply "putting on an act." I don't think it was an act. The trouble is that from this murky, frustrating sea of endless mad rambling and obvious contradiction, once-in-a-blue-moon he spat out two or three things that have every appearance of 'inside' information--the existence of the red diary and the correct citation of the Crashaw quote, for instance--and no one has given a credible explanation of how he was able to do that unless he was involved. An alternative explanation, however, is that he wasn't involved, but had 'found out things' about the involvement of someone else at the Goldie Street address.
    Hi Roger,

    For clarity, I was suggesting that Barrett's confession was entirely drink-induced, so it shouldn't come as any surprise to you that I would say so - but perhaps you interpreted my comment differently?

    I would give you the Crashaw poem. That Barrett 'found' it is unexpected, other - of course - than for the facts that he was looking for it (so he clearly didn't simply stumble upon it) and that he had ample time on his hands to do so in a library which was likely to eventually provide a solution. It has been said that he had the Sphere volume in his attic (a post-Hillsborough donation) which is very suss, but it has also been said that he simply bought a second hand copy once he knew which book he would find the poem in. I would give you the Crashaw poem, but with significant reservations.

    The red Victorian diary is not 'insider knowledge'. He bought one and that doesn't appear to be in doubt. Quite why he needed about 20 blank pages is unclear, but so is why he would accept one from 1890, nor why - if he had already written the text - he asked for just 20 pages (40 sides) in what turned-out to be a very small diary given his 'needs'.

    I was unaware that a GP or specialist had diagnosed Barrett with Korsakoff's Syndrome. This (I think) is news to me. Can you provide a source for this, please? I agree that around 1995 Barrett would have many of the features of KS, but I doubt that would have increased the probability of his having hoaxed the Maybrick scrapbook, so I guess all that would do is point towards him knowing the person who did, which is what your final point implies. I guess the only person alive who knows for certain the status of the Maybrick scrapbook as far back as 1968 is now realistically the only person who can solve this mystery one way or t'other.

    Ike

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  • rjpalmer
    replied
    Originally posted by Iconoclast View Post

    I think you could easily 'chunk' this one up a level or two instead. Anyone who claims what Barrett claimed and then goes to the C&D Club and gets himself plastered is sending out a very clear message that it was the 'plastering' that made him claim what he claimed in the first place.
    I'm rather surprised you're willing to admit that, Ike. The Barrett I heard circa 1995 was diagnosed with Korsakoff's Syndrome. Taking him in front of the public would have been akin to bear-baiting and couldn't possibly have achieved anything worthwhile other than make Barrett look like a fool.

    Personally, having listened to several hours of Mike's (private) ramblings, I am of the opinion that he was constitutionally unable to tell a straight story--drunk or sober-- which is not the same thing as saying that he didn't at one time know where the Diary came from, or that he was simply "putting on an act." I don't think it was an act. The trouble is that from this murky, frustrating sea of endless mad rambling and obvious contradiction, once-in-a-blue-moon he spat out two or three things that have every appearance of 'inside' information--the existence of the red diary and the correct citation of the Crashaw quote, for instance--and no one has given a credible explanation of how he was able to do that unless he was involved. An alternative explanation, however, is that he wasn't involved, but had 'found out things' about the involvement of someone else at the Goldie Street address.
    Last edited by rjpalmer; 08-14-2019, 01:22 PM.

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  • Iconoclast
    replied
    Originally posted by Abby Normal View Post

    exactly ap.
    but i guess we'll get twenty pages of debate on how drunk he was on particular night, including weight to alcohol consumption innebriation charts, speech and language experts and reams of eyewitness and earwitness testimony.
    yippy! this is is cutting edge stuff!
    I think you could easily 'chunk' this one up a level or two instead. Anyone who claims what Barrett claimed and then goes to the C&D Club and gets himself plastered is sending out a very clear message that it was the 'plastering' that made him claim what he claimed in the first place.

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  • Abby Normal
    replied
    Originally posted by APerno View Post

    IMO that goes beyond "suggestive" - that is the kind of circumstantial evidence that moves a jury beyond reasonable doubt
    exactly ap.
    but i guess we'll get twenty pages of debate on how drunk he was on particular night, including weight to alcohol consumption innebriation charts, speech and language experts and reams of eyewitness and earwitness testimony.
    yippy! this is is cutting edge stuff!

    Leave a comment:


  • PaulB
    replied
    Originally posted by rjpalmer View Post

    I only know what I read in the papers.

    "A minder from among the ranks of Ripperologists, Andy Aliffe, was assigned to keep Barrett in check, at least until his talk at the Cloak and Dagger Club the next evening..." Ripper Diary, 234.

    I suppose Mike's minder may have allowed him to get drunk just before being questioned by Keith Skinner, but that would seem more akin to the methodology of Alan Gray or Paul Feldman. I have no idea.

    Either way, regardless of what Barrett or Graham said on various occasions, someone in that household tried to buy a genuine Victorian Diary 'with at least twenty blank pages' in the weeks before any credible person ever set eyes on the Maybrick Diary, and the timing is more than suggestive.
    Anyone who was there will confirm that Mike was well and truly plastered. Andy Aliffe would no doubt have done his best, but he wouldn't have been able to stop Mike from drinking. All he could have done, and the best he was probably expected to do, was to limit Mike's intake and make sure he was capable of standing and talking after a fashion.

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