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One Incontrovertible, Unequivocal, Undeniable Fact Which Refutes the Diary

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  • TO KEITH SKINNER PART TWO

    With your permission, Keith, let’s return to Martin Howell’s interview with Barrett, and it will be clear that I was not misrepresenting him. I will put the most relevant sections in bold.

    I apologize for the length of this post, but you really leave me no choice. MB= Barrett; MH=Howells

    MB: O.K. so I phoned him up immediately and I said “come on Tony tell me the truth, what are you playing at?” Tony said “I’m not”. So I asked him I said who knows. He says “I’m telling yer the truth”. Now for several weeks later and I mean literally several weeks later I pressurised that man and I asked him question after question after question and Tony would never ever give me an answer.

    MH: Has it ever crossed your mind why he would never give you an answer?

    MB: Can we cut? Can we cut?

    ****
    [Later]:

    MB: At that stage I didn’t and what happened was I kept on looking throughout the library for Jack the Ripper, Jack the Ripper, Jack the Ripper. I was looking in all the books, Jack the Ripper, Jack the Ripper. Well the opening page of the diary has got ‘Whitechapel Liverpool Whitechapel London’, so I thought to myself “hang on a minute Mike stop,” but this is after many months – I emphasise many months. Stop looking at Jack the Ripper and start looking at Liverpool murders. Right and I got a book out by Richard Whittington Egan. Right, and in that book, its got quite a lot of short stories, short stories, just very small short stories – Springheel Jack and everything else what have you, and I come across Florence Maybrick, the murder, right, I think it was called Poison and Motive[?] if I’m not mistaken, and I come across that and then I come across that and I found Battlecrease House, which is very important – Battlecrease House. I suddenly realised Battlecrease House is in the diary. So consequently it had to be. So instead of looking for the Ripper I went all the way for James Maybrick, and this is what started to convince me. [NOTE THAT KEITH, MIKE IS SAYING HE GOT THE BOOK FROM THE LIBRARY]

    MH: Did you ever show any of these books to Tony Devereux?

    MB: No. Well Tony Devereux was dead.

    MH: Yeah. It’s just that one of the daughters has apparently said that in fact she remembers that book Murder Mayhem and Mystery being lent to the younger daughter. Tony Devereux’s.

    MB: Well which daughter? Sorry.

    MH: The younger one. I don’t know the names. In other words that the book that you had which was your book. [NOTE IT KEITH: MARTIN IS NOW ACKNOWLEDGING THAT MIKE'S ACCOUNT IS FALSE]

    MB: Are you trying to imply that Tony wrote it?

    MH: No.

    MB: Quite honestly, I don’t think that he had the capability of writing it. I’m not being disrespectful to a friend.

    MH: No, you didn’t give the book to Tony Devereux to read when you were investigating it?

    MB: Not to my knowledge. No.
    ------

    Come now, Keith. I stand by my interpretation. It is clear that Martin Howells caught Barrett in an outright lie. Mike didn’t “got out a book” (from the library) he OWNED the book, and it had been in Devereux’s possession… And it was not “after” Devereux’s death, as Barret stated, it was before Devereux’s death. Howells clearly knows this, and knows he caught Barrett in a lie. I feel I am justified in suggesting that Martin was impressed by this fact—Mike Barrett’s obvious contradiction—because he kept quizzing Mike about it.

    If this booklet was so “common” in Liverpool, and had no bearing on Mikes (cough) research, why is Mike going out of his way to lie about it—and seems momentarily stunned that Howells has caught him in a lie? Why are you so quick to dismiss this as a smoking gun?

    It is also quite clear that Howells is aware that the book in question DID discuss the Maybrick case, otherwise his whole line of questioning would have been absurd. I never meant to imply that Howells was aware of Barret’s research notes at the time—you misread me and misstate me---but the fact remains that Barrett’s research notes DID specifically mention Tales of Liverpool, which is what I wanted to stress. I stress it because it is highly relevant and what I also think is relevant is that Barrett couldn’t reproduce the page number in his research notes—because by now that booklet was in the possession of Devereux’s daughter and had been since 1991. Why on earth you think I’m not acknowledging earlier in 1991 is anyone’s guess. What difference does that make? Devereux was alive!

    Let me ask you, Keith. Do you believe Caroline Brown has been misleading these message boards by claiming or otherwise implying that Mike Barrett had a second copy of this book? Beyond Barrett’s lies, what is the source for this suggestion? Do you personally accept it without the least whiff of confirmation from anyone other than Mike, who was shown by your colleague Martin Howells to have already lied about it? Is this not an example of her treating her own “interpretation” (outright theory, rather!) as a fact we should accept?

    To my knowledge, Barrett only told two versions of how he came to have RWE’S book; one that he ‘got out’ the book…implying the library. The other (whose source I do not know—I’m assuming it is something that Mike told Shirley Harrison) is that Mike saw and/or purchased a second copy of the book in a bookstore. This is the version Caroline Brown keeps referring to, without citing a source. If Mike purchased this second copy, where was it when he searched his house for it at the direction of the Fraud Unit?

    The only PROVEABLE fact is that Barrtt OWNED the book at least as far back as 1991 and that it had been in Devereux’s possession. I have a guess as to why Brown would want to accept unproven tales instead of the documented version…because Barrett’s ownership of the same book he mentions in his research notes and the fact that this book was in Devereux’s possession suggests the two men did indeed discussed Maybrick Diary before Dodd’s floorboards were ever lifted. At the very least, Barrett had been aware of RWE'S book at least as far back as 1991, and was able to pass on some of the information into his research notes, without still owning a copy of it.

    Originally posted by caz View Post
    I'm not sure of Palmer's source for claiming 'and even Paul Feldmann accepted this as convincing circumstantial evidence'.

    So really Scott should be advised that a great deal of Roger Palmer's ignorance about the details of the early investigation and ongoing research, comes alive in his writing.
    This is a fascinating statement, Keith. You admit ignorance of my source and in the next breath warn Scott against my alleged ignorance of the source materials!

    Here is my source for Paul Feldman accepting Devereux’s temporary ownership of Tales of Liverpool as ‘convincing circumstantial evidence.’ The source for it is no more obscure than page 175 of Felman’s book, and I am surprised that you are unaware of it.

    Click image for larger version  Name:	Feldman page 175.JPG Views:	0 Size:	37.6 KB ID:	776220



    I suppose you will attempt to state that I am ‘misleading’ everyone by misstating Feldman. But am I? How could Devereux’s temporary ownership of this booklet prove that Devereux was “aware of the diary’s existence” if he wasn’t aware that the booklet contained two chapters on the Maybrick case, and wasn’t further aware that the Diary’s supposed author was identifiable as James Maybrick? So it seems, Keith, that Feldman came to the same conclusion that I did! And how can Devereux have been both aware of the diary and be “part of the story” if the Diary wasn’t unearthed until seven months after his death? Let’s face it; this is a problem for your theory—or should I say Caz Brown’s theory—which is why I suspect you are challenging it so vigorously.

    Keith, I address this to you, but the following is from Caroline Brown, emphasis added.

    Originally posted by caz View Post
    I would just add my own observation that having a copy of the very popular book, Tales of Liverpool, with no distinguishing features, does not amount to evidence that the person with the book - in this case Tony Devereux, who passed it on to his daughter in January 1991 - ever 'discussed' Maybrick with Mike Barrett or anyone else [the Maybrick chapters are towards the end of the book] or ever heard a word about the deeply unpopular Maybrick diary.
    I find this a strange statement, Keith. You have called me misleading. Are you prepared to say Caz Brown’s statement is not misleading? Caz earlier wrote that the Maybrick chapters were “tucked away” (her phrase!) in the back of the booklet.

    But, Keith, the booklet was only 64 pages in length!! Fully 1/6th of the chapters dealt with Maybrick, and Barrett specifically mentions this booklet on numerous occasions. And when Liverpool Mike G. shows up on these boards, Caroline argues vigorously that Maybrick was hardly known in Liverpool, yet now she seems to be implying that this “very popular book” with two chapters on the Maybrick case, were a dime a dozen, and thus of no great concern being found in Mike and Tony’s possession. It seems like an obvious enough contradiction. Are you suggesting, Keith, that Feldman was wrong and Devereux and Mike had discussed, not Maybrick, but Lock Ah, the Gentle Chinaman from one of the earlier chapters?

    And why does Caz use the statement with “no distinguishing features,” in describing Barrett’s booklet, Keith? Is this misleading or not? Is she attempting to leave the impression that it was not Mike’s booklet after all? Even though Devereux’s daughters identified it as such and were able to produce the booklet to the police? And does she---or you-- have evidence that Feldman is wrong when he wrote that Barrett’s name was written in the front? Is it not “misleading” to leave out that detail, unconfirmed as it might be?

    I’ve taken the time to respond, Keith, and as you accused me of dishonestly, I would hope you would be fair-minded enough to respond to these questions.

    Finally, are you speaking on behalf of Martin Howells? Do you mean to imply that I am utterly wrong and that he wouldn’t be impressed by the fact that Devereux had Mike’s booklet mentioning the Maybrick case? Are you implying that he has accepted the “Battlecrease” provenance and would look past this salient fact as of no great importance?

    I do regret suggesting that Caz posts from a lunatic asylum, but some of her logic is beyond strange, and if you don’t think she dishes out as good as she receives you haven’t been reading these boards very closely over the past twenty years. She even has a cheerleader—Tom Mitchell—who constantly praises her caustic, accusatory, and (in my opinion) evasive messages. I think in the future it would be wise for you to address me directly and not post through the medium of Caroline Brown or some other third party. That is, if you wish to continue this conversation.

    Regards,

    RP
    Last edited by rjpalmer; 12-17-2021, 05:29 PM.

    Comment


    • Originally posted by rjpalmer View Post
      Personally (and although I don't think Piltdown is a good example), I am of the opinion that part of the psychology of a successful hoax is to allow it to be fairly flimsy. The hoaxer need not worry that he's using an orangutan's jawbone. Some people like a good wind-up, and the wind-up artist is all the more inclined to support a hoax if it flies in the face of reason and popular opinion. A few howlers? So much the better! He can then use the full force of his art to explain them away.
      Right, so does this mean that Mike and Anne Barrett were of the same opinion as you, RJ, on the 'psychology' of a successful hoax?

      They knew that the key to a successful Jack the Ripper hoax, in the wake of the utterly unsuccessful Hitler Diaries, was to allow it to be fairly flimsy, and to fly in the face of reason and popular opinion, while adding a few howlers for good measure, to give wind-up artists on the internet - when it is finally invented - the pleasure of explaining it all away?

      Give those Barretts a PhD! And one for you too, RJ.

      A Psychological humDinger.
      "Comedy is simply a funny way of being serious." Peter Ustinov


      Comment


      • Originally posted by rjpalmer View Post

        I'm not suggesting that you are misrepresenting Robert Smith, Caz. Quite the contrary. I'm confident that Smith probably did tell you he noticed the bronzing very early on--I remember quite well you passing along this suggestive nugget some years ago.

        Something about heat lamps caught my eye recently. If you aren't willing to confirm this, I can't imagine why, but I will seek elsewhere.

        Curiouser and curiouser.
        Confirm what, exactly?

        If it's someone else's information, which I have already posted, and you want it confirmed, why ask me to do it, when you have made it abundantly clear that you don't trust a word I write, even when I use direct quotes from my source?
        "Comedy is simply a funny way of being serious." Peter Ustinov


        Comment


        • Originally posted by caz View Post

          Right, so does this mean that Mike and Anne Barrett were of the same opinion as you, RJ, on the 'psychology' of a successful hoax?

          They knew that the key to a successful Jack the Ripper hoax, in the wake of the utterly unsuccessful Hitler Diaries, was to allow it to be fairly flimsy, and to fly in the face of reason and popular opinion, while adding a few howlers for good measure, to give wind-up artists on the internet - when it is finally invented - the pleasure of explaining it all away?

          Give those Barretts a PhD! And one for you too, RJ.

          A Psychological humDinger.
          As usual Caz, you misrepresent and misunderstand the point. Let me explain further.

          Barrett didn't 'allow' the diary to be fairly flimsly--though it certainly WAS fairly flimsy--he knew that, in part, it didn't matter. The hoaxer instinctively knows the world is full of Tom Mitchell types who will willingly look past the absurdities and may even appreciate the challenge of 'explaining' an absurdity to an unconvinced audience. If you think my psychology is wrong, I submit Tom Mitchell's Society's Pillar as Exhibit Number One for my defense.

          And, of course, I also agree with Paul Begg--the hoaxer only needs to convince the publisher that the idea 'has legs.' He's not out to convince Phil Sugden; he's only out to convince a literary agent and a publisher. You can hardly argue that the Hitler Diaries were a deal breaker! They were a deal breaker for The Sunday Times, who didn't want to go down that road again, but they weren't a deal breaker for Smith, who most certainly did. The hoaxer is confident, too, that a certain percentage of the public will convince themselves, regardless of a mistake here or there, and the diary has enough mistakes for half-a-dozen literary hoaxes.

          The absurd myth that you seem to be promoting (note that Keith: seem--Caz is a big girl and can rephrase her point if I am misunderstanding it) is that Barrett would be too worried about miniscule minutia only appreciated by Phil Sugden types to have gone to market with this hoax, while at the same time the diary is drowning in absurdities: it doesn't imitate Maybrick's handwriting, has Fred Abberline investigating the Eddowes murder, mentions a strangulation murder in Manchester that never happened, idiotically retains the grammar of an inventory list not available to the public until the 1980s, etc.

          The fact is, Caz, I have no idea what obscure point you are trying to make. I really don't. The hoaxer DID create a flimsy document, and that flimsy document WAS published.

          Q.E.D.? or not Q.E.D.? That is the question.

          RP

          Comment


          • Originally posted by rjpalmer View Post
            To be technical, Anne's "I seen it in the 60s" statement came BEFORE Mike showed 'proof' that he had inside knowledge, by way of the affidavit we are discussing.

            His original confession in the summer to Brough was still rather vague, and he was whisked away to rehab while his lawyer denied everything. No need for a ticket to Australia just yet.
            No, RJ. We were discussing a scenario in which Anne knew when she made her 60s statement in the July, that Mike had physical proof of their hoax, eg the auction ticket or the Sphere book, that he could simply return to Harold Brough with at any time, if he felt humiliated by his solicitor's retraction - or indeed by Anne's attempt to take back control.

            Do you honestly think she would have been reassured by the retraction that this was an end to it, and Mike would not go further next time, if she knew he had the motive, means and every opportunity to do so?

            It was only afterwards--near the beginning of 1995---that she knew Barrett was willing to play hard-ball, when he showed her the 5 January affidavit.
            Except that we only have Mike's word for it, as he reported to his solicitor, that he had hand delivered a copy of that affidavit to Anne, and there is no evidence that she didn't chuck it in the bin unread, along with other unwelcome letters he was foisting on her. You even have to spin this, and claim that he showed Anne the bloody thing. What is wrong with you?

            Besides, if she already knew back in June what Mike could conjure up in such an affidavit - and if you had been right about her sitting in on the bogus one from April 1993 - it could hardly have come as much of a shock to her that he was willing to play hard-ball and use the same tactic in January 1995. She would have provoked it herself by attempting to cut off his balls with her 60s story! Are you suggesting that Anne was even more of an idiot than Mike could ever have been, not to anticipate the damage he could do with his inside knowledge - once again with feeling - if she knew that he had it up his sleeve when she told her 60s story?

            Being concise on these points might be worthwhile...
            Indeed, and a bit of logic and common sense would not go amiss either.

            Her story only makes sense if she had nothing to fear from anything Mike might come out with next time he decided to do his singing canary impression.


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


            Comment


            • Originally posted by rjpalmer View Post
              To be technical, Anne's "I seen it in the 60s" statement came BEFORE Mike showed 'proof' that he had inside knowledge, by way of the affidavit we are discussing.
              I just wanted to repeat this, to let it sink in.

              Why would anyone think her story could possibly have come AFTER Mike had done his worst, if his worst had proved anything?

              I think that makes the point for me. If Anne knew what his worst was, but went ahead with her story BEFORE he came out with it, she must have known that his worst would never be enough.

              Or is that too difficult to grasp?
              "Comedy is simply a funny way of being serious." Peter Ustinov


              Comment


              • Originally posted by Kattrup View Post
                The later events I thought were relevant to and illustrative of how the choice you presented the faker with, and your overall assumption that the diary would fall at the first hurdle if the handwriting did not match, were insufficient as a basis for a line of reasoning. Because, for instance, the handwriting actually does not match, yet the diary has not fallen at that hurdle.

                But we can leave out the later events, if you like.

                I just felt that the "simple" choice you presented the faker with was too simple, in that there is at least a third option: to consider the handwriting comparison irrelevant.
                For instance, in one of the magazines that Mike wrote for, there was an article 1986 (the same period as Mike was writing for the magazine) about the Hitler Diaries and how the forger made 3m pounds off them - it was stated in the article that a handwriting comparison had been made but the samples submitted to experts had been too small to enable them to be certain in their analysis.

                So a forger, perhaps one who'd read that article because it was from a magazine he submitted articles to, could know that a handwriting comparison was not always conclusive. If the forger believed that there were very few examples of Maybrick's handwriting available (incidentally, Mike later stated he did not try to copy Maybrick's will because he believed it was not in Maybrick's own hand), he or she might plough on ahead without caring too much about matching the actual handwriting of his or her subject.

                Indifference to handwriting comparisons combined perhaps with perceived difficulty in obtaining examples of Maybrick's handwriting is therefore a third option for a faker.
                If it was your plan to pass off a kid’s kindergarten daub as a Goya, you’d hardly anticipate that it would be accepted by the experts, would you? So why do you think the person who faked the diary would expect it not to be rigorously examined and tested? Why do you think the faker would have thought those who examined the fake wouldn’t care that the handwriting didn’t match?

                The handwriting did not match and the diary did not fall at that hurdle, but the faker could not have anticipated that. What actually happened has no bearing on what the faker would have expected to happen, and it is abundantly clear that the faker would have thought a handwriting comparison would be an early authentication test and that a failure to make the handwriting look like Maybrick’s.

                The difference between the Maybrick and Hitler diaries is that the latter was split across several volumes, whereas the Maybrick diary was one volume and was likely to be presented to the experts as a whole. There was therefore little chance of small examples being given to the handwriting experts. It wasn’t that the handwriting comparisons weren’t always conclusive that mattered, but that the handwriting looked nothing like Maybrick’s, no attempt having been made to copy Maybrick’s handwriting at all, hence the assumption that the diary would fail the comparison.

                Of course, it is possible that the faker looked for examples of Maybrick’s handwriting and found none, or just found the will, rejecting it because it was a formal document and not reflective of Maybrick’s everyday hand - or, indeed, because it was thought not to be in his hand at all. But could the faker have known that there wasn’t a cache of Maybrick’s letters somewhere he hadn’t looked at or considered? That was another risk the faker had to take.

                It always amazes me that anyone ever tries to fake something, especially a document.

                Comment


                • Originally posted by Kattrup View Post
                  We can add that MB stated that he had, in fact, been to the Liverpool library to check out the will - and that Skinner believed that he had - and, lo and behold, the same library possesses at least one copy of MacDougall's book.
                  Hi Kattrup

                  Has it been confirmed that the Central Liverpool Library had a copy of Maybrick's will?

                  Barrett refers to 'probate records' at the CLL.

                  Below are the holdings under 'probate records' in the card catalogue, item 15. It is a single volume and not microfilm reels. In his research notes, Barrett does not expand on what he found.

                  Are we sure these aren't just typed transcripts, or even abbreviations of transcripts, such as we see in the "Wills and Adminstration" books at Ancestry, etc?" It seems unlikely they could be actual photocopies of the originals.

                  Melvin Harris wrote that he thought the hoaxer would have been shocked to find out that an example of Maybrick's handwriting still existed and had been told by Paul Feldman that almost no samples of Maybrick's handwriting could be found, and "we have checked." This seems like a strange statement had the will been readily available at the Central Liverpool Library and had Barrett mentioned it in his notes.


                  "when first shown this document I was assured by Paul Feldman that no significant examples of Maybrick's handwriting existed. There was just one signature on his marriage lines, but nothing else:--"We have checked."

                  But dogmatic claims mean nothing, so I made my own checks; these brought to light James Maybrick's Will. It became evident at once that there was no possible connection between the scrawl in the 'Diary' and the authentic and distinctive penmanship of Maybrick. Document examiners here and in the USA agreed. So how did 'the true believers' keep up the pretence?

                  Robert Smith, for one, first simply brushed the Will to one side as of no importance. In his dealings with 'The Sunday Times' this Will was not even mentioned, indeed the newspaper knew nothing of it until their Legal Department consulted me. By that time Andy Aliffe had uncovered the Certified Copy of the Will, which confirmed James Maybrick's text in every small detail. But when faced with the Will, Smith then insisted that it was a forgery and differed from the 'original Will seen by Alexander MacDougall and included in his book of 1891.'"


                  --Melvin Harris

                  I believe Andy Aliffe found the will at Somerset House in London.

                  In short, Barrett may have been under the wrong but entirely reasonable impression that no samples of a man who had been dead for 100 years still existed, hence there was no need to imitate the handwriting.

                  Further, what happened to Paul's idea that hoax just needing to "have legs"? Why couldn't this apply to Barrett as well as to Paul's theoretical old hoaxer?

                  P.S. Harris concluded that MacDougall's transcript of the will was based on faulty newspaper reports. The book wouldn't have taught the hoaxer what his handwriting looked like if I remember correctly.

                  Click image for larger version  Name:	Probate Records CLL.JPG Views:	0 Size:	122.1 KB ID:	776238
                  Last edited by rjpalmer; 12-17-2021, 11:20 PM.

                  Comment


                  • Originally posted by PaulB View Post

                    If it was your plan to pass off a kid’s kindergarten daub as a Goya, you’d hardly anticipate that it would be accepted by the experts, would you? So why do you think the person who faked the diary would expect it not to be rigorously examined and tested? Why do you think the faker would have thought those who examined the fake wouldn’t care that the handwriting didn’t match?

                    The handwriting did not match and the diary did not fall at that hurdle, but the faker could not have anticipated that. What actually happened has no bearing on what the faker would have expected to happen, and it is abundantly clear that the faker would have thought a handwriting comparison would be an early authentication test and that a failure to make the handwriting look like Maybrick’s.

                    The difference between the Maybrick and Hitler diaries is that the latter was split across several volumes, whereas the Maybrick diary was one volume and was likely to be presented to the experts as a whole. There was therefore little chance of small examples being given to the handwriting experts. It wasn’t that the handwriting comparisons weren’t always conclusive that mattered, but that the handwriting looked nothing like Maybrick’s, no attempt having been made to copy Maybrick’s handwriting at all, hence the assumption that the diary would fail the comparison.

                    Of course, it is possible that the faker looked for examples of Maybrick’s handwriting and found none, or just found the will, rejecting it because it was a formal document and not reflective of Maybrick’s everyday hand - or, indeed, because it was thought not to be in his hand at all. But could the faker have known that there wasn’t a cache of Maybrick’s letters somewhere he hadn’t looked at or considered? That was another risk the faker had to take.

                    It always amazes me that anyone ever tries to fake something, especially a document.
                    I do not understand your assertion that it’s abundantly clear that the faker would anticipate a handwriting test. How is it clear?
                    It’s also possible the faker would expect a handwriting test but decided it would not matter. Perhaps from an understanding that there were very few examples of Maybrick’s handwriting and therefore the comparison would be inconclusive or open to questioning.

                    Thus, your analysis that since Mike did not attempt to match the handwriting, neither he nor Anne penned it, is flawed.

                    How could the faker anticipate that no cache of Maybrick’s letters would be found? Well, having studied works about the case and perhaps found no reference to letters, or perhaps the books even mention that Maybrick’s correspondence had not survived, I don’t know.
                    Ultimately, making a forgery is a risk - eventually and probably it will be uncovered.
                    That does not mean that no one will try it.

                    Your state that you are always amazed that people will try to forge something, which perhaps reveals that you’re inclined to see only the obstacles to making a forgery, and how difficult you perceive it to be. High risk with relatively low reward, for someone of your status.

                    But others will see mainly an opportunity to try it and make a quick buck. - low risk and high reward for an unsuccessful unemployed guy

                    In the end, what was the overall risk for the faker? If the diary fell at the first hurdle, Mike would be out what? 50 pounds? and a slightly hurt reputation- since not many people would even know he’d tried.

                    Also, the faker could expect to bring the diary to people who’d benefit from going along with it without questioning it and who had no professional obligation to ascertain its authenticity.

                    Comment


                    • Kattrup,
                      (1) Are you seriously trying to suggest that someone trying to pass off a fake document as genuine wouldn't expect a handwriting comparison. I don't think this discussion can go anywhere if it's stuck on that.
                      (2) The faker could anticipate that a cache of Maybrick's handwriting might exist because he's not so arrogant as to believe that one didn't exist. And how extensive a search of books on the subject would you expect the forger to have undertaken.
                      (3) Of course a fake might be uncovered, and that doesn't mean a faker won't try. The point is knowing what the obstacles are and taking steps to overcome them. Hence my opening questions. Honestly, you seem to be suggesting that someone thinks it's a wizard wheeze to fake something,
                      (4) No, I am not saying anything about the risk/return involved. I prefaced my thinking by asking who was the fake intended to fool and what tests, if any, would the faker have expected that person to undertake. For example, if the faker intended to pass the diary off as a curiosity he could sell for a couple of hundred, he might think it wouldn't be tested at all, but if he wanted it to be accepted as genuine by someone who'd pay thousands for it, he might expect it to subject subjected to a gamut of tests. A high risk/high rewards.
                      (5) If Mike was given the diary by Tony D, as he claimed, then I can well understand that he might consider that flogging it for a modest amount might be worth it. But creating that diary took research and an investment of time and effort. Would it be worth it? Do you really think Mike could leave his bar-stool empty long enough to do it?
                      (6) He didn't take it to somebody like that though, did he? Did the Rupert Crewe agency have a reputation for taking on projects they knew to be fraudulent? And it clearly wasn't going to do that. And it didn't do that. People didn't immediately accept the diary as genuine. I recall that even I stated that I thought it was a fake, and I even made a note to that effect when first I saw it.

                      Honestly, you seem to have assumed that the idea of faking the diary just popped into someone's head and they knocked it out without care or forethought. You don't seem to have really considered that that might not have been the case. The purpose of the fake is important because it possibly tells us how much effort the faker would have gone to, which in turn has a bearing on how the content is assessed. It's all very well to say that the faker could have got this information from such and such a source, but does the effort of getting and reading that source agree with the minimal/maximum effort the faker may be assumed to have made? And you have to consider that the faker is Mike.

                      Comment


                      • But isn't that exactly what Kujau did a few years earlier for far, far more potential reward?

                        What you write about things to be taken into consideration is true, but the mental scape of the forgers mind has to also be considered.

                        dustymiller
                        aka drstrange

                        Comment


                        • Originally posted by drstrange169 View Post
                          But isn't that exactly what Kujau did a few years earlier for far, far more potential reward?

                          What you write about things to be taken into consideration is true, but the mental scape of the forgers mind has to also be considered.
                          Basically, considering the "mental scape" of the forgers is what I was talking about. When someone thought it would be great to fake Jack the Ripper's confession, what did he/she expect to gain? How much would that influence the amount of effort they would be prepared to invest in making it look authentic? How much does the confession suggest they knew about faking a document? What obstacles did they think stood in their way and what measures did an examination of the diary suggest had been taken to overcome them? And so on.

                          Kujau might also indicate a date of composition. I would imagine that anyone planning to fake the Ripper's confession in the late 1980s/early 1990s would use the Hitler Diaries as a guidebook to what can go right and what can go wrong, and it might have helped to look for "the Kujau Influence" as another way of judging the date of composition, among other things. One also has to apply all this to the most probable forgers - in this case, Mike Barrett. Was he capable of faking it, not only intellectually, but psychologically?

                          Don't forget, though, that I was voicing these thoughts back in the day, and specifically in an effort to get people to work together to see what could be deduced about the age of the diary through an internal and external examination, and pointing out that Mike/Anne not being the pen person did not automatically mean the document was genuine.

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                          • Originally posted by Trevor Marriott View Post

                            I have said all along that there were other persons beside Mike involved in this conspiracy, the problem is positively identifying them, and that could be the answer to the handwriting conflict. I bet no one has checked the handwriting of all the other protagonists.

                            www.trevormarriott.co.uk
                            Just for clarity here, Trevor, Inside Story contained handwriting examples of:

                            Mike Barrett
                            Anne Barrett
                            William (Billy) Graham
                            Tony Devereux (all named by Mike as co-conspirators) whose handwriting the authors had but did not publish (only the signature on his Will), and
                            Gerard Kane (suspected by Melvin Harris)

                            I think you'll agree that that's a jolly good start?

                            Now, Trevor, you may have remembered this had you read the book.

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

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                            • Originally posted by PaulB View Post
                              Kattrup,

                              (1) Are you seriously trying to suggest that someone trying to pass off a fake document as genuine wouldn't expect a handwriting comparison. I don't think this discussion can go anywhere if it's stuck on that.

                              (2) The faker could anticipate that a cache of Maybrick's handwriting might exist because he's not so arrogant as to believe that one didn't exist. And how extensive a search of books on the subject would you expect the forger to have undertaken.

                              (3) Of course a fake might be uncovered, and that doesn't mean a faker won't try. The point is knowing what the obstacles are and taking steps to overcome them. Hence my opening questions. Honestly, you seem to be suggesting that someone thinks it's a wizard wheeze to fake something,

                              (4) No, I am not saying anything about the risk/return involved. I prefaced my thinking by asking who was the fake intended to fool and what tests, if any, would the faker have expected that person to undertake. For example, if the faker intended to pass the diary off as a curiosity he could sell for a couple of hundred, he might think it wouldn't be tested at all, but if he wanted it to be accepted as genuine by someone who'd pay thousands for it, he might expect it to subject subjected to a gamut of tests. A high risk/high rewards.

                              (5) If Mike was given the diary by Tony D, as he claimed, then I can well understand that he might consider that flogging it for a modest amount might be worth it. But creating that diary took research and an investment of time and effort. Would it be worth it? Do you really think Mike could leave his bar-stool empty long enough to do it?

                              (6) He didn't take it to somebody like that though, did he? Did the Rupert Crewe agency have a reputation for taking on projects they knew to be fraudulent? And it clearly wasn't going to do that. And it didn't do that. People didn't immediately accept the diary as genuine. I recall that even I stated that I thought it was a fake, and I even made a note to that effect when first I saw it.




                              Honestly, you seem to have assumed that the idea of faking the diary just popped into someone's head and they knocked it out without care or forethought. You don't seem to have really considered that that might not have been the case. The purpose of the fake is important because it possibly tells us how much effort the faker would have gone to, which in turn has a bearing on how the content is assessed. It's all very well to say that the faker could have got this information from such and such a source, but does the effort of getting and reading that source agree with the minimal/maximum effort the faker may be assumed to have made? And you have to consider that the faker is Mike.
                              Thanks for your post, I spent yesterday traveling to a remote Italian mountain village with spotty internet, so I’ll try to keep this short.
                              1. no, I am suggesting that there’s at least a third option to the original two you presented: “One has a fairly simple choice, either the faker didn’t appreciate how important it was to fake Maybrick’s handwriting, or the faker did not think a handwriting comparison would be made. I would say that Mike wanted the diary to be accepted as genuine, and as he wasn't utterly stupid he would have anticipated that a handwriting comparison would be made. If Mike would have attempted to fake Mike's handwriting, the fact that there is no evidence that he did so indicates that neiterh Mike nor Ann penned the diary.” The third choice is that the faker could choose to disregard the anticipated test, that is, would bet on the handwriting comparison to be inconclusive or irrelevant to the scam succeeding. In short, the faker might not have shared your perception of how important is was to fake the handwriting. This seems important because you go on to use your stated dichotomy as a basis for disqualifying Mike&Anne: IF Mike would have attempted to fake the handwriting, the fact that no such attempt was made means he did not pen the diary. (incidentally I do not think it logically follows that Mike not trying means Anne could not have penned it). So the problem, as I see it, is that there’s no reason to think the IF as fulfilled, that Mike MUST have tried to fake the handwriting. There are several reasons why it might not have seemed necessary, for instance he might in his research have gotten the impression that there were few or no extant examples of Maybrick’s handwriting and thus no basis for a comparison.
                              2. The faker might have expected or might not have expected more Maybrick material to surface, I do not see the relevance. Konrad Kajau might have expected Hitler’s actual diaries to surface, yet he still went ahead. Would it not be reasonable, after researching the major works about the Maybrick case, a century after the events, for the faker to conclude that it was unlikely for unknown piles of letters to surface? Or at least not surface in time to interfere with profiting from the scam. So again, the idea that the faker would have expected unknown material to foil his plan, and that this expectation would have blocked his or her progress, seems to set the bar of obstruction much higher than necessary.
                              3. I’m not sure what to respond to this point, I just felt originally in this discussion that your premise was flawed: it was not absolutely necessary for a faker to try to fake the handwriting and thus the conclusion you drew - that the lack of attempt exonerates Mike and Anne - was wrong. That does not mean I think it was necessarily easy to make a convincing fake or such, just that what you - close to 30 years later - consider to be obstacles to overcome might not correspond to what the faker thought problematic. Again, referring to earlier scams, one could probably imagine a lot of obstacles to be overcome to convincingly fake Hitler’s diary or a bigfoot film. In the end, though, all those theoretical obstacles come to nought when someone gets up to actually creating the damn thing. So I do think you’re setting your own high standard as a baseline and assuming the faker would have adhered to a similar standard.
                              4. The fake was intended to pass a paper test, being written on paper that was of an appropriate age (incidentally -or not! - Mike sought to purchase paper of an appropriate age). Who was it supposed to fool? Well that is difficult to answer without resorting to pointing to what actually happened: Mike sought out not experts who might immediately shoot it down, but agents and publishers. So our theory could be it was meant to fool people in the media/publishing spheres.
                              5. I think that in your argument above, you state that Mike was intelligent and we could add that he had for years worked as a freelance journalist, and he had the time to do it - in his own statements he explains the progression of the diary as lasting several years from the initial idea to the final production. Another thing to consider: the knowledge and research he presented after the diary was presented certainly show he was capable of leaving his beer unattended long enough to study his subject in some detail. That is, even if one believes that all his research notes and studying of the case dates to after the diary was presented, the fact that he did it then shows that he could equally have done it before. So he was capable of it.
                              6. I don’t think I said they would go along with something known to be fraudulent. My point was that the theoretical unknown faker could expect to take it to people with no professional obligation to prove its authenticity and who’d gain from not questioning it closely. Once they were on board, (I believe your phrase was once it “got legs”) it might gain momentum. Resorting to events as they happened, we see that this is more less what happened. The agents and publisher did not KNOW that the diary was fraudulent and thus had no real reason to abstain from profiting from it. A lawyer suspecting his or her client to be guilty is still a professional trying to represent the client. Even if Mike’s agent sort of suspected the diary was dodgy, it wasn’t really the agent’s job to prove it - just to get the best deal possible. The fact, as you say, that other people were not convinced, is irrelevant to what the faker might expect.

                              In conclusion and in response to your final paragraph, I don’t necessarily think it was something that was accomplished without care or forethought. I just wanted to comment in connection with your posts that your standard for what the faker ought to have cared about and foreseen is very high. If the faker did not really care about or expected to fool you, but simply wanted to write a “best seller” that could be published or publicized, garner attention and generate some interest, then your expectations are irrelevant.

                              In short, there’s no particular reason to think Mike could not have done it - he presented a fairly coherent and plausible narrative of the how why and when, and his narrative is supported by evidence such as his advertisement for a blank diary, Baxendale’s and other tests, handwriting similarities etc.

                              Comment


                              • Originally posted by Kattrup View Post
                                Keeping in mind, of course, that Mike consistently claimed that it's her handwriting and indeed there are many similarities between her handwriting and the handwriting found in the diary.
                                It is your opinion, and David Barrat's [not David Barrett, as RJ spelled it in the post before yours], that there are 'many similarities' between Anne's handwriting [normal, disguised or partly disguised? I'm never sure what the argument is these days] and the handwriting found in the diary.

                                But two amateur opinions, not based on direct comparisons between original documents, are not good enough and do not make it a fact - as we have been assured often enough by Barrat and Barrett believers alike.

                                If you are genuinely unable to see any similarity between the 'Maybrick' signature in the watch and JM's authenticated signature on his marriage licence, or unwilling to give an opinion because the actual watch and original document should be put in the hands of the experts to make that comparison, why does that not apply to Anne's private letters and the diary?

                                And what do you mean by 'consistently'? This is Mike you are assessing, and the word was not in his dictionary. In fact, as I keep having to repeat, it would appear that no dictionary was consulted by whoever wrote the diary. And during a long day's recorded interview on July 20th 1995, as Keith Skinner reminds us, in one comedy gold moment Mike asked for a pen and ink to demonstrate that the handwriting was his, and when reminded that his claim was that Anne wrote it, he moved swiftly on to other important evidence he had brought with him from Liverpool to London to prove the diary was a fake, consisting of his affidavit of April 1993, in which he swore Tony Devereux gave him the diary, and a bottle of Diamine ink.

                                If Mike couldn't even be consistent over whose handwriting was in the diary, and what evidence he needed to bring to the party to support the 'his and hers' claim to have faked it, shouldn't that be a warning sign that he just might have been fibbing?

                                Love,

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


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