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One Incontrovertible, Unequivocal, Undeniable Fact Which Refutes the Diary

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  • Afternoon Ike,

    I think it was significant that Mike shared the copyright with Shirley in the 'narrative and commentary' for her book, which must have been totally thrilling for him to see when it was published and quickly became a best seller. In truth, his main contribution to the book would appear to have been that transcript, which Anne tapped out to his dictation probably in April 1992, followed by his research notes handed over 3 or 4 months later. After Anne left him, it was his name alongside Shirley's, which no doubt he clung onto in his darkest hours, when his self esteem could only be found at the bottom of a whiskey glass. To the end of his days, he saw himself as the man who identified Jack the Ripper and wrote the book.

    What makes no sense to me is that by December 1993, within weeks of this book becoming a best seller, Mike would have been trying to expose the diary as a fraud, and himself as a fraudster.

    But we already know that RJ - like David Barrat - is adept at turning a blind eye to the serious anomalies and jarring notes in the affidavit where Mike made that claim, while putting all his faith in any little detail he can use to support a joint Barrett hoax enterprise. So I'm not expecting any plausible explanation, and I doubt he will think he needs to offer one.

    Love,

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


    Comment


    • Originally posted by caz View Post
      Afternoon Ike,

      I think it was significant that Mike shared the copyright with Shirley in the 'narrative and commentary' for her book, which must have been totally thrilling for him to see when it was published and quickly became a best seller. In truth, his main contribution to the book would appear to have been that transcript, which Anne tapped out to his dictation probably in April 1992, followed by his research notes handed over 3 or 4 months later. After Anne left him, it was his name alongside Shirley's, which no doubt he clung onto in his darkest hours, when his self esteem could only be found at the bottom of a whiskey glass. To the end of his days, he saw himself as the man who identified Jack the Ripper and wrote the book.

      What makes no sense to me is that by December 1993, within weeks of this book becoming a best seller, Mike would have been trying to expose the diary as a fraud, and himself as a fraudster.

      But we already know that RJ - like David Barrat - is adept at turning a blind eye to the serious anomalies and jarring notes in the affidavit where Mike made that claim, while putting all his faith in any little detail he can use to support a joint Barrett hoax enterprise. So I'm not expecting any plausible explanation, and I doubt he will think he needs to offer one.

      Love,

      Caz
      X
      Hi Caz
      Which parts of the first affadvit have been conclusively "proven" to be wrong?

      Why did Barratt simply not make a brief affadvit statement stating he and Anne were involved in forging the diary, why go to all the trouble of putting all the detail in the affadavit if he knew it could be proven to be wrong, that doesnt make any sense at all the more lies he puts in the affadvit the more it would be able to be challenged.

      That first affadavit was clearly penned before he went to the solicitor to make the affadvit he could not have gone there quoting all of that verbatim. Di he write it or another?

      www.trevormarriott.co.uk

      Comment


      • Originally posted by rjpalmer View Post

        How tiresome, Caz, but at the same time how predictable.

        And it's a funny way you have of not admitting to Keith's mistake, but I'll take it.

        "Paul and Martin's detailed internal reports, compiled before Paul Feldman joined the project..."

        Can you blame anyone for getting confused, since Paul's report was compiled weeks after Feldman joined the team? Or are you not going to acknowledge that part?

        Let's move on, shall we, or do you want to engaged in more petty point scoring?
        So you weren't engaged in 'petty point scoring' when smugly concluding that Martin Fido's observations about initials on the wall were clearly made under Feldy's 'fluence? One would never have guessed.

        It's not so much the fact that you got this wrong because the dates made it impossible, but that you could even think that of Martin, who was one of those who 'knew damned well' the diary was a modern hoax long before you'd even heard of it.

        I never thought I'd be here defending Martin on this subject, but had his observations about the M and the F been made after Feldy became involved, it's clear you'd still be claiming Feldy was pulling his strings. When that didn't work you went on to suggest instead that the idea was subtly planted in Martin's easily swayed brain by the diary's author, despite the fact that Martin himself doubted there was any awareness on the hoaxer's part of any initials on the wall.

        Anyway, I'm not sure why you think it's down to me to 'admit' to a mistake made by anyone else, unless you are still confusing the initials KS with CB. But I now have to admit to a mistake of my own and apologise – to Keith, for overlooking a message he sent to me earlier in the week, in which he wrote:

        'I've no problem conceding the point that it was an error on my part to claim Paul's report was pre Feldy becoming involved with the project. Quite possibly Martin and Paul did put the idea into Feldy's head there was an FM on the wall - and it was Feldy who then theorised the initials stood for Florence Maybrick.'

        I do not sit on Keith's shoulder like Mr Slater's Parrot, seeing all the posts at the same time and receiving instructions to concede points on his behalf. But consider this one conceded and we can move on.

        Ero stated in #7342 that Simon's account of the 1989 incident meant that the diary was either genuine or written by someone who had been at the City Darts that night. He pleaded for Simon to think hard on this, for this could finally name the forger. He also suggested the City Darts discussion let Mike, Anne, and Tony off the hook.

        Ero then revised his opinion, acknowledging that the Barretts could have come up with the 'FM' observation independently, but he felt it was very unlikely. He didn't acknowledge that the hoaxer might not have been referring to 'FM' at all, and, of course, you didn't correct his logic, even though you've made this same point many times in the past. I believe you told me it was none of my business what you responded to.
        Indeed it is none of your business what I respond to, but as you noticed I'd made 'this same point many times in the past', I presume Ero would have noticed it too, but had his own opinions on the matter. How would repeating the same point 'correct' his logic merely by addressing it directly to him?

        Ike then jumped in, and treated us to another statistical analysis, suggesting that the Barretts coming up with the 'FM' observation independent of the City Darts meeting was akin to someone hitting three 7s on a slot machine.

        I looked up the odds, and the probability of hitting three 7s on 'Blazing Sevens' is .000015%.

        So, there you have it. It's all rather tiresome, isn't it? Let's just pretend this conversation never happened, agreed?
        Fine by me. I thought it was a ridiculous claim for Simon Wood to make in the first place, that he knew the diary was a modern fake because it referred to initials on the wall [which it doesn't], which he had been the first to mention at the City Darts in 1989 – albeit in a "now you see it, now you don't" kind of way.

        I took all the related posts by you, Ero and Ike in the spirit of us all agreeing, with a good dollop of sarcasm, just how ridiculous and unworkable that claim is when examined under the spotlight. That's regardless of how we as individuals interpret what's actually in the diary.

        The affidavit is not full of claims that are provably untrue. This is a bogus statement on your part. It can be shown that Barrett has the dates wrong, which is commonplace, but that does not prove that the account he gives is not fundamentally correct. This is merely a false impression that you've been spreading for nearly two decades.
        We must be looking at different affidavits, RJ. Mike never forgot the date he took the diary to London: Monday, April 13th 1992. He mentioned this date again within days of Alan Gray typing up the affidavit on January 5th 1995, in which Mike swore the whole creation process, ending with Anne's infamous eleven days, took place in early 1990, while his friend Tony Devereux was still alive. Mike falsely claimed he died later that year, when in fact it was not until August 1991, and Mike went to his funeral.

        Later in 1995 Mike told Feldman that Tony couldn't have helped him with any questions about the diary because he was dead and never knew it existed. Mike's wrong dates in the affidavit were not 'commonplace' at all. He was lying – and not very good at it.

        But I'm not referring to the Jan 5th affidavit. You'll have to read Barrat's two articles on Blackmail and Anne Graham if you want to know.
        No I won't. I can probably guess anyway. Mike knew Anne's 'in the family' story was not true, and she knew Mike knew. There is a lot of talk in the correspondence about blackmail, chiefly over Anne's refusal to let Mike see Caroline. He saw this as a hold she had over him, and he saw his 'confession' as a hold he had over her. It was a toxic brew of a blame game, but they both knew the truth and were both invested in keeping it to themselves. It's a matter of interpretation whether we believe that truth concerned the diary's creation, or where Mike really got it from and when.
        Last edited by caz; 11-26-2021, 06:01 PM.
        "Comedy is simply a funny way of being serious." Peter Ustinov


        Comment


        • Originally posted by Trevor Marriott View Post

          Hi Caz
          Which parts of the first affadvit have been conclusively "proven" to be wrong?

          Why did Barratt simply not make a brief affadvit statement stating he and Anne were involved in forging the diary, why go to all the trouble of putting all the detail in the affadavit if he knew it could be proven to be wrong, that doesnt make any sense at all the more lies he puts in the affadvit the more it would be able to be challenged.

          That first affadavit was clearly penned before he went to the solicitor to make the affadvit he could not have gone there quoting all of that verbatim. Di he write it or another?

          www.trevormarriott.co.uk
          Hi Trev,

          I don't know what was in Mike's mind when making that statement, but see the final part of my post to RJ for more info.

          I suspect he felt the need to come up with all that extra detail because his first confession of the previous June had failed the credibility test and been retracted on his behalf by his solicitor.

          Love,

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


          Comment


          • For the attention of RJ.

            It seems a tactic from the pro Barrett crowd to try and conflate the opinions of Caz, myself and Ike as all being the same. I can ensure we do not agree on many points.

            I do not speak for anyone else, but myself. I hope that clears up any confusion on your part RJ.

            With regards to your suggestion that my refusal to accept that the hoaxer may not have been referencing the initials on the wall at all, thereby rendering my logic somehow flawed, my simple response, as it was at the time, is the initials appear to me as being two distinct letters. F and M. The diarist says 'an initial and an initial there'. It is a plural reference. I cannot rationally buy the argument 'here and there' is singular. Therefore rationally, I refer to where could there be a plural reference in this crime scene? Oh, that's right the initials I can see with my eyes on the wall.

            With that being the case, I stand by my logic.

            It boils down to what you see. If you do not see the initials on the wall then my logic is rendered null and void to you. If like me you do see the initials, then my logic very much stands up.

            Ike and I are not the only people to see either F or M, or the combination of both on that wall.

            "An initial here and an initial there".

            It is not singular.
            Author of 'Jack the Ripper: Threads' out now on Amazon > UK | USA | CA | AUS
            JayHartley.com

            Comment


            • Originally posted by erobitha View Post
              For the attention of RJ.
              Hi Ero,

              You're welcome.

              Alas, unfortunately I deny that your logic is coherent.

              Here’s the problem as I see it.

              On one hand, you suggest that the ‘FM’ is there for us to see. You see it. Ike sees it. Caz suddenly won’t admit in plain English whether she sees it or not, but Keith implies that Martin and Paul saw it without being prompted by Feldman, whom he apparently dismisses as an unreliable observer, if I'm reading him correctly.

              Yet, almost in the same breath, you also strongly imply that no one—certainly not the Barretts--would have noticed the FM unless the suggestion had already been planted by someone else (!)

              You didn't say this? I think you did.

              You stated, as did Ike, how wildly unlikely it would have been for the Barretts to have independently noticed them and thus added them to the typescript.

              Indeed, Ike found it so unlikely that anyone could have seen the initials “FM” without the power of suggestion that he set the odds of the Barretts noticing them in the .000015 percentile, while you wondered how on earth Mike and/or Anne could have been privy to Simon Wood’s discussion at the Cloak and Dagger in 1989---as if this would have been a necessary requirement.

              As such, don't I have the right to be confused? Is there not a paradox hidden in your logic?

              Which is it? Can the letters be readily seen? Indeed, so much so, that as Keith implied, trustworthy people had independently noticed them?

              Or can they only be seen after someone else suggests they are there, as Simon did in (in a generic way, and which he soon retracted) in 1989?

              Unless you can iron out this paradox, I see no reason why this conversation needs to proceed, though, as always, it's been a pleasure.

              RP

              P.S. "The whore's initial" is singular. And "an initial here" is also singular. And "an initial there" is also singular. It's not even disputable.

              Comment


              • Originally posted by erobitha View Post
                For the attention of RJ.

                It seems a tactic from the pro Barrett crowd to try and conflate the opinions of Caz, myself and Ike as all being the same. I can ensure we do not agree on many points.

                I do not speak for anyone else, but myself. I hope that clears up any confusion on your part RJ.

                With regards to your suggestion that my refusal to accept that the hoaxer may not have been referencing the initials on the wall at all, thereby rendering my logic somehow flawed, my simple response, as it was at the time, is the initials appear to me as being two distinct letters. F and M. The diarist says 'an initial and an initial there'. It is a plural reference. I cannot rationally buy the argument 'here and there' is singular. Therefore rationally, I refer to where could there be a plural reference in this crime scene? Oh, that's right the initials I can see with my eyes on the wall.

                With that being the case, I stand by my logic.

                It boils down to what you see. If you do not see the initials on the wall then my logic is rendered null and void to you. If like me you do see the initials, then my logic very much stands up.

                Ike and I are not the only people to see either F or M, or the combination of both on that wall.

                "An initial here and an initial there".

                It is not singular.

                Hi Ero.

                With regards to the FM thing.. first mention in the diary is 100% singular.

                “Her initial there”

                He also goes on to write

                “I left it there for all eyes to see”

                Obviously “it” is also singular.

                So you have a repeated sentence that suggests plural and two separate references that are singular.
                so I guess you can take your pick, I just believe it weighs in favour to singular.

                I completely empathise with your post though, In fact when I first read the diary back in 93 and the initials were pointed out, I found it all very convincing to see them on the wall and read the reference in the journal.
                But I also remember in 94 when I hadn’t read TRD for a year or so I looked for the initials on the MK photo in a different book and for the life of me I couldn’t see them.

                I’ve come to the conclusion that if you take an old monochrome image with lots of detail and high contrast, you can spot shapes, letters, or names if you look hard enough, and if you point them out other people they may, or may not be able to see them too.
                Last edited by Yabs; 11-26-2021, 08:47 PM.

                Comment


                • Originally posted by Trevor Marriott View Post
                  Why did Barratt simply not make a brief affadvit statement stating he and Anne were involved in forging the diary, why go to all the trouble of putting all the detail in the affadavit if he knew it could be proven to be wrong, that doesnt make any sense at all the more lies he puts in the affadvit the more it would be able to be challenged.
                  Hi Trevor,

                  No one else has a mind to do so--the ostrich strategy is big in these parts---but if you're interested, you might read David Barrat's two articles on 'Blackmail or Mrs. Barrett' at the Orsam Books website.

                  He argues, persuasively in my opinion, that the attended audience of this affidavit was none other than Mike's estranged wife, Anne, who was suing him for divorce. Sounds strange, no? But Barrett immediately gave Anne a copy of the affidavit, and it was not otherwise made public. It was an audience of one, though there is evidence that Anne leaked it to Shirley Harrison, but even she didn't share it with anyone else.

                  Barrett, the argument runs, intended to use this detailed confession as 'leverage' against his soon-to-be ex-wife for denying him visitation rights, etc. 'Let me see the kid or I'm going to confess, and here's the proof.' The fact that she responded by writing 'I will not be blackmailed,' and that she kept this affidavit secret from the Diary team for two years is highly suggestive. Why didn't she write 'This is bollocks. Confess and be damned! I'll prove you are lying"?

                  Of course, some here have dismissed Anne's subsequent secrecy with a wave of the hand. But again, if this affidavit was pure garbage--as the Diary supporters want us to believe--why wouldn't Anne have alerted the team? She was working directly with Keith Skinner at time, yet she didn't tell him about it.

                  Wouldn't a normal, innocent person have said something along the lines of, "Keith, there is something you need to know. Mike is going to claim he bought the scrapbook at O & L auction house. He is going to reveal that we bought a blank Victorian Diary, too. He pointed out the Blue Coats Art Shop, etc., but I can explain all this. Will you help me disprove these things? This could blow up whatever film deal Feldman might land. I think you should be aware of this and should investigate it to be on the safe side."

                  Instead, she stayed silent and remained so until Keith found out about the affidavit two years later, when someone (I think it was Melvin) made it public.

                  To me, her silence is highly suggestive. She was hoping to keep Barrett in line and she didn't want Keith Skinner to investigate these claims while the trail was still warm. It also gave her time to plan her defense when he did find out.

                  RP

                  Comment


                  • Originally posted by rjpalmer View Post

                    Hi Ero,

                    You're welcome.

                    Alas, unfortunately I deny that your logic is coherent.

                    Here’s the problem as I see it.

                    On one hand, you suggest that the ‘FM’ is there for us to see. You see it. Ike sees it. Caz suddenly won’t admit in plain English whether she sees it or not, but Keith implies that Martin and Paul saw it without being prompted by Feldman, whom he apparently dismisses as an unreliable observer, if I'm reading him correctly.

                    Yet, almost in the same breath, you also strongly imply that no one—certainly not the Barretts--would have noticed the FM unless the suggestion had already been planted by someone else (!)

                    You didn't say this? I think you did.

                    You stated, as did Ike, how wildly unlikely it would have been for the Barretts to have independently noticed them and thus added them to the typescript.

                    Indeed, Ike found it so unlikely that anyone could have seen the initials “FM” without the power of suggestion that he set the odds of the Barretts noticing them in the .000015 percentile, while you wondered how on earth Mike and/or Anne could have been privy to Simon Wood’s discussion at the Cloak and Dagger in 1989---as if this would have been a necessary requirement.

                    As such, don't I have the right to be confused? Is there not a paradox hidden in your logic?

                    Which is it? Can the letters be readily seen? Indeed, so much so, that as Keith implied, trustworthy people had independently noticed them?

                    Or can they only be seen after someone else suggests they are there, as Simon did in (in a generic way, and which he soon retracted) in 1989?

                    Unless you can iron out this paradox, I see no reason why this conversation needs to proceed, though, as always, it's been a pleasure.

                    RP

                    P.S. "The whore's initial" is singular. And "an initial here" is also singular. And "an initial there" is also singular. It's not even disputable.
                    Hi RJ
                    I haven't been following this thread, but can you briefly explain Simon's discussion at the Cloak and Dagger Club in 1989. Is this the incident mentioned by Martin (in an unidentified source posted by Baron a bit back) in which Simon mentioned initials to him, but the initials weren't "FM"?

                    Comment


                    • Originally posted by Yabs View Post
                      I’ve come to the conclusion that if you take an old monochrome image with lots of detail and high contrast, you can spot shapes, letters, or names if you look hard enough, and if you point them out other people they may, or may not be able to see them too.
                      Another old photo, not as detailed as MK with no high contrast.
                      You could probably argue this was an M if you had reason for doing so. Click image for larger version

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                      Comment


                      • Originally posted by Yabs View Post

                        Another old photo, not as detailed as MK with no high contrast.
                        You could probably argue this was an M if you had reason for doing so. Click image for larger version

Name:	F8ED92F5-C9A5-4E6B-A2F0-6B188E11B3A8.jpeg
Views:	167
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ID:	774721
                        Yabs,

                        That's a big fat 'No', mate. Your Polly Nichols spot was good, but this is crap.

                        Ike
                        Iconoclast
                        Author of the brilliant Society's Pillar
                        Link: HistoryvsMaybrick – Dropbox

                        Comment


                        • Originally posted by rjpalmer View Post
                          P.S. "The whore's initial" is singular. And "an initial here" is also singular. And "an initial there" is also singular. It's not even disputable.
                          Originally posted by Yabs View Post


                          Hi Ero.

                          With regards to the FM thing.. first mention in the diary is 100% singular.

                          “Her initial there”

                          He also goes on to write

                          “I left it there for all eyes to see”

                          Obviously “it” is also singular.

                          So you have a repeated sentence that suggests plural and two separate references that are singular.
                          so I guess you can take your pick, I just believe it weighs in favour to singular.

                          I completely empathise with your post though, In fact when I first read the diary back in 93 and the initials were pointed out, I found it all very convincing to see them on the wall and read the reference in the journal.
                          But I also remember in 94 when I hadn’t read TRD for a year or so I looked for the initials on the MK photo in a different book and for the life of me I couldn’t see them.

                          I’ve come to the conclusion that if you take an old monochrome image with lots of detail and high contrast, you can spot shapes, letters, or names if you look hard enough, and if you point them out other people they may, or may not be able to see them too.
                          Extracts from the scrapbook:

                          Her initial there (crossed out)
                          An initial here and a initial there
                          would tell of the whoring mother


                          A whores whim
                          caused Sir Jim,
                          to cut deeper, deeper and deeper
                          All did go,
                          As I did so,
                          back to the whoring mother.
                          An initial here and an initial there
                          will tell of the whoring mother.

                          Again I provide the definition of "here and there":

                          Here and there adverb

                          Definition of here and there
                          1 : in one place and another
                          2 : from time to time
                          https://www.merriam-webster.com/dict...%20and%20there

                          The reference is plural and no amount of fudgery changes that. The above is fact.
                          Author of 'Jack the Ripper: Threads' out now on Amazon > UK | USA | CA | AUS
                          JayHartley.com

                          Comment


                          • Originally posted by rjpalmer View Post

                            Hi Ero,

                            You're welcome.

                            Alas, unfortunately I deny that your logic is coherent.

                            Here’s the problem as I see it.

                            On one hand, you suggest that the ‘FM’ is there for us to see. You see it. Ike sees it. Caz suddenly won’t admit in plain English whether she sees it or not, but Keith implies that Martin and Paul saw it without being prompted by Feldman, whom he apparently dismisses as an unreliable observer, if I'm reading him correctly.

                            Yet, almost in the same breath, you also strongly imply that no one—certainly not the Barretts--would have noticed the FM unless the suggestion had already been planted by someone else (!)

                            You didn't say this? I think you did.

                            You stated, as did Ike, how wildly unlikely it would have been for the Barretts to have independently noticed them and thus added them to the typescript.

                            Indeed, Ike found it so unlikely that anyone could have seen the initials “FM” without the power of suggestion that he set the odds of the Barretts noticing them in the .000015 percentile, while you wondered how on earth Mike and/or Anne could have been privy to Simon Wood’s discussion at the Cloak and Dagger in 1989---as if this would have been a necessary requirement.

                            As such, don't I have the right to be confused? Is there not a paradox hidden in your logic?

                            Which is it? Can the letters be readily seen? Indeed, so much so, that as Keith implied, trustworthy people had independently noticed them?

                            Or can they only be seen after someone else suggests they are there, as Simon did in (in a generic way, and which he soon retracted) in 1989?

                            Unless you can iron out this paradox, I see no reason why this conversation needs to proceed, though, as always, it's been a pleasure.
                            I never claimed that without suggestion I would have found the initials anyway. It would be untrue of me to claim that. I saw them and examined in further detail from all available materials I could get my hands on, after seeing the suggestion being made. After this I concluded I could see F and M. If anyone says they could see the initials without any form of prior suggestion then I applaud their excellent eyesight. Simon Wood is a researcher with a long standing interest and awareness of the ripper crimes. Subsequently since, others too have recognised what to varying degrees what Simon saw.

                            Then Simon didn't see it. Then we are all supposed to unsee it?

                            Based on my own experience, I find it incredibly unlikely the Barretts found the initials with no prior suggestion. By virtue of being alive it is possible I will win the next Olympic 100m sprint final. I won't though.

                            I cannot speak for Ike or Caz, they are more than capable and far more eloquent than me to express their own views.

                            P.S. I'm sure you mean the city darts match and not the cloak and dagger meeting of 1989?
                            Author of 'Jack the Ripper: Threads' out now on Amazon > UK | USA | CA | AUS
                            JayHartley.com

                            Comment


                            • Originally posted by Iconoclast View Post

                              Yabs,

                              That's a big fat 'No', mate. Your Polly Nichols spot was good, but this is crap.

                              Ike
                              Hi Yabs,

                              A quick apology from me - I hadn't intended my comment to appear aggressive. I should have stuck a Smiley at the end of it.

                              It wasn't your best spot but it didn't deserve an unqualified 'crap'.

                              Cheers,

                              Ike
                              Iconoclast
                              Author of the brilliant Society's Pillar
                              Link: HistoryvsMaybrick – Dropbox

                              Comment



                              • Originally posted by erobitha View Post

                                I never claimed that without suggestion I would have found the initials anyway. It would be untrue of me to claim that. I saw them and examined in further detail from all available materials I could get my hands on, after seeing the suggestion being made. After this I concluded I could see F and M. If anyone says they could see the initials without any form of prior suggestion then I applaud their excellent eyesight. Simon Wood is a researcher with a long standing interest and awareness of the ripper crimes. Subsequently since, others too have recognised what to varying degrees what Simon saw.

                                Then Simon didn't see it. Then we are all supposed to unsee it?

                                Based on my own experience, I find it incredibly unlikely the Barretts found the initials with no prior suggestion. By virtue of being alive it is possible I will win the next Olympic 100m sprint final. I won't though.

                                I cannot speak for Ike or Caz, they are more than capable and far more eloquent than me to express their own views.

                                P.S. I'm sure you mean the city darts match and not the cloak and dagger meeting of 1989?
                                Hi ero b and dear readers,

                                There is really no debate about the initials being plural. Your post explains it perfectly eloquently and I am happy to iterate it: it is initials, plural, there is absolutely no debate about that (unless one wishes to argue the degree of fudgery being employed to 'delete' those pesky letters from Kelly's wall).

                                For the record, the 'F' and 'M' were NOT the letters Simon Wood thought he saw then thought he couldn't see anymore before the day was out. This neatly explains his ephemeral vision: he was looking elsewhere on Kelly's wall. In that regard, I suspect that it is to Martin Fido that we owe the first mention of them back in November 1992: seeking to make sense of Maybrick's reference to initials at the Kelly crime scene, he evidently remembered his discussion at the City Darts with Simon Wood three years earlier and this prompted him to interrogate the infamous photograph more closely and make reference to a clear 'M' and a faint 'E' or 'F' which he was willing to accept as an 'F' "if pushed" (he was as big a naysayer as the Naysayers could ever have hoped to meet so coming from him this was a significant and - with the benefit of hindsight and testimonials from those who knew him well - typically very honest admission).

                                Did I see them without direction from Martin Howell's script in the Feldman video? No, absolutely not. I subsequently bought Shirley's book and obviously couldn't miss them in the plate section as they were circled for her dear readers (from Paul Feldman's largely irrelevant commission of a minute analysis of the Kelly photograph).

                                So that's you and I who wouldn't have seen them without help, ero b.

                                I wonder how many more perspicacious analysts spotted them but said nothing over the years? Dan Farson's 1973 paperback presented them in quite unmistakeable terms - rarely have they been emphasised better - though Sugden and Marriott certainly tried to beat him in the 1990s (see the appendix to my brilliant Society's Pillar for the examples). They are visible in greater and lesser degrees in every example of this infamous snap, unless you attempt to scurrilously upload a copy of a copy of a copy of a copy of a very blackened-out version as so disgracefully happened on this thread not so very long ago. At least Trev is person enough to let it go without comment or dreadful subterfuge.

                                So did the Barretts spot the 'F' and 'M' and weave an entire hoax around them, linking them to Florence Maybrick, and thus to James Maybrick? Well, no-one knows; but what we do know is that they were never spoken of or documented until November 1992 when Martin Fido mentioned them in his report for Shirley Harrison. If the Barretts (or indeed any other erstwhile hoaxer or hoaxers) had identified them pre-April 13, 1992 when the scrapbook came to London for the first time, then they were frankly off-the-scale geniuses and I for one would be the first to stand them a beer or two down at The Saddle.

                                I think the reality is that to rely on the Barretts or any other hoaxer to have spotted Florence's initials on Kelly's wall would be stretching. Stretching too far. Stretching far too close to the cliff's edge for safety. We can conceive of it, but to do so brings mortal danger to our reasoning powers. In truth, it is almost certain that no-one identified Florence's initials until seven months after Mike Barrett made his fateful first call to Rupert Crew on The Miraculous Day (March 9, 1992) and a full half-year after the scrapbook was seen in public for the first time (April 13, 1992).

                                If "pushed", I would side with Martin Fido on what those initials are which is something I honestly never thought I would say after first witnessing his dismissive tunnel-vision and closed mind on Feldman's video back in 1997 ...

                                You're all very welcome.

                                Ike
                                Iconoclast
                                Author of the brilliant Society's Pillar
                                Link: HistoryvsMaybrick – Dropbox

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