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The Diary—Old Hoax or New?

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  • Originally posted by PaulB View Post

    I not up-to-speed with th "diary" anymore, but it does bother me that the forger seems to have made some effort to create a fake that would pass examination - after all, Shirley went straightaway to the British Museum and a leading antiquarian bookseller and would in due course take the diary for other tests. Would the forger have anticipated this and taken the necessary action? After all, Melvyn Fairclough got a book published about the alleged Abberline diaries without the publisher apparently asking to see the diaries or seeking any independent opinion, so why would someone imagine that the Maybrick "diary" would be different? Yet apparently the forger did try to use a Victorian-like ink, obtain a period book in which to write, and do goodness-knows what else.
    Yes, you make a very fair and important point. Thus, The Hitler Diary forgers clearly went to a great deal of trouble, and their efforts were initially good enough to fool the eminent historian Hugh Trevor-Roper. However, these diaries were quickly exposed as forgeries, I.e. because they failed the forensic tests, partly because the forgers used modern ink!

    I am therefore far from convinced that either Anne or Mike, or anyone in Anne's family were responsible.

    Nonetheless, Mike gave confusing and contradictory accounts of how the Diary came into his possession, which can't be simply ignored. And I also find Anne's alternative account very confusing.

    Thus, according to her the Diary had been in her family's possession for decades. However, nobody seems to have paid it much attention, including Anne. She states that she first saw the Diary in 1968-69, but for reasons she can't explain she doesn't tell Mike about it. She doesn't understand the content, she takes no steps to get the Diary assessed, she doesn't undertake any research, and she most definitely doesn't think that it's Jack the Ripper's Diary. In fact, she has no interest in Ripperology. In other words, she doesn't seem to pay the Diary much attention either.

    However, 20 years later she decides that Mike could be inspired, by this erstwhile neglected book, into transforming its content into a novel! Never mind that he's never written a novel before. Never mind that he's rapidly descending into alcoholism. Never mind that his literacy skills are such that Anne had to "tidy up" his short magazine articles. Never mind that for 20 years Anne has apparently shown little or no interest in the Diary, to the extent that she's never even mentioned its existence to her husband, and doesn't remotely understand the content.

    And instead of giving him the Diary, and then discussing her proposal with him, she decides to use TD as a covert intermediary and, mysteriously, he is under no circumstances to reveal where the book came from.

    Very curious indeed.
    Last edited by John G; 08-01-2019, 12:07 PM.

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    • Originally posted by caz View Post

      Hi John,

      You make an interesting and useful observation. You seem to be allowing for people to have different opinions on the diary's potential value and what should be done with it [which I suppose applies to the posters here too!]. So in principle, an electrician finding this "old book" under floorboards, even though it is signed Jack the Ripper, might think it had no intrinsic value and might have little interest in it personally, and might therefore sell it on for a modest sum down his local, reasonably confident that the owner of the floorboards didn't know it was there and wouldn't miss it?

      But the bloke who buys it for this modest sum, on a "no questions asked" and "no telling tales" basis, might be a very different kettle of fish, impulsively thinking of his next move and how quickly he might capitalise on his funny little bargain and turn it into a giant windfall? He wouldn't have been told where the book came from or when, so he'd have to come up with a workable tale from Liverpool, but he'd worry about that later. Hadn't the fella reassured him that no other bugger alive knows anything about it, so he can afford to be a bit creative with his story telling, as long as it leaves him as the legitimate owner, with nobody rushing to contradict him?

      Yes, I can certainly see the possibilities you raise here.



      It's perfectly legitimate to explore how the diary might have ended up in the possession of the Barretts, regardless of any other considerations. In fact, I don't think you can legitimately put a date on the diary, or identify its creator(s), or guess the motivation behind it, without doing so.



      Mike may have been given the diary in a pub by someone, and I am inclined to believe it. But he never claimed that someone was Tony Devereux [no a] and he never claimed he was given it in a pub.

      His story remained consistent and insistent, when he wasn't trying to make his forgery claims stick. He claimed Tony gave it to him, but claimed it was when he called round his house, in the same road where one of the Battlecrease electricians lived.

      It's rather hard to explore how the diary ended up with anyone, without knowing what was claimed by whom.

      Love,

      Caz
      X
      Hi Caz,

      The Battlecrease House story is intriguing, but I think almost certainly a red herring: It would be a huge coincidence that a modern forgery (by that I mean post Second World War) would have ended up under the floorboards of James Maybrick's former residence in the early 1990s. However, if it did, then Anne must have lied: she couldn't, in these circumstances, have read the Diary in 1968/69 as she claimed because, otherwise, how did it end up under the Battlecrease floorboards?

      I've been thinking about David's assertion that Mike wrote the Diary. Personally I think this unlikely, but if he did then Anne had to have some involvement. Otherwise she had no reason to respond to his confession with an alternative account, effectively defending the Diary's provenance, particularly as she claimed that she did not want the Diary published in the first place. In fact, when Mike contacted the publishers she stated that her instinct was to burn the book.

      Thank you Caz and Ike for correcting my claim that Mike received the Diary from TD in a pub. This was clearly wrong, at least according to the "official" version!

      Comment


      • So what are we to make of Billy Graham's claim - according to Paul Feldman - that he had first seen the Diary during WW2, in 1943 if I remember correctly. Can this claim be believed, or was it merely the meanderings of a sick, elderly man? Or was he prompted into saying what Feldman wanted him to say?

        Graham
        We are suffering from a plethora of surmise, conjecture and hypothesis. - Sherlock Holmes, The Adventure Of Silver Blaze

        Comment


        • Originally posted by Harry D View Post

          It was irrelevant to the matter at hand, Caz. It was just obnoxious moralizing to score brownie points. You're better than that.
          I doubt any brownie points were scored, Harry, and I don't care either way. It's just that Jacob Rees-Mogg and his obnoxious religious views really wind me up! So when you brought religion into the conversation my resistance was already low. I'm calmer now. Only a million to one chance of us leaving the EU without a deal, but at least billions of tax payers' money are being spent on precautions, just in case. I'm a little surprised, however, because I would not have thought taking precautions was something Rees-Mogg approved of. Funny old world.

          If you don't have a dog in this fight, why are you so vociferous about its critics?
          I'm a cat person myself. I don't care what people choose to believe about the diary, Harry. It's not going to rock our world either way, is it? I only care when they insist their beliefs represent the truth [or "the God's honest truth", to quote one of Mike Barrett's favourites - oh the irony]. A bit of proof would go a long way. I don't see any proof that Maybrick was the ripper, but nor do I see any proof that the Barretts ever saw that scrapbook minus the diary. I'm more about not believing stuff than believing it. But worst of all are those who only pretend to believe things, while encouraging others to follow suit.

          Either way, the diary is "still here" because of wishful thinking. Mr Orsam has gone to great lengths to show that "one-off instance" was not a phrase used in the 19th century lexicon. Only the most diehard diarist will perform the mental gymnastics required to disregard that.
          Ah no, you see, you don't get to state as a fact that the diary is only "still here" because of 'wishful thinking'. That's a belief, and it's a rather fatuous one unless you can read people's minds. The diary is here, and we are discussing it, because it's a physical artefact which not even God Almighty has been able to date yet, or attribute to any named individual(s), quick or dead.

          Dr Kate Flint, lecturer in English literature at Oxford, believed the phrase "to top myself" was not recorded until 1958. Her belief, expressed in 1993, could hardly have been more wrong. More than twenty years later, Gary Barnett found it in a newspaper article of 1877 - a massive eighty years earlier. Wishful thinking and mental gymnastics have since been employed openly and unashamedly on the message boards, to downplay this significant discovery and argue that the use of the phrase in the diary is still a proven anachronism.

          Love,

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


          Comment


          • Originally posted by Graham View Post
            So what are we to make of Billy Graham's claim - according to Paul Feldman - that he had first seen the Diary during WW2, in 1943 if I remember correctly. Can this claim be believed, or was it merely the meanderings of a sick, elderly man? Or was he prompted into saying what Feldman wanted him to say?

            Graham
            According to David Orsam the term "one-off", used in the diary, did not enter general usage until after the Second World War (the expression was used in the engineering industry, in a strict technical sense, from around 1922.) David has found a reference to the expression being used in the prison service, but this was from 1984.

            Comment


            • Originally posted by John Wheat View Post
              The diary is clearly a modern hoax.
              Well that was edifying.

              Brexit is clearly a modern miracle.
              "Comedy is simply a funny way of being serious." Peter Ustinov


              Comment


              • According to David Orsam the term "one-off", used in the diary, did not enter general usage until after the Second World War (the expression was used in the engineering industry, in a strict technical sense, from around 1922.) David has found a reference to the expression being used in the prison service, but this was from 1984.
                Mmm, yes, and Shirley Harrison said she found the term 'one-off' used in technical paperwork (belonging to a Kent engineering company) in about 1865.

                Graham
                We are suffering from a plethora of surmise, conjecture and hypothesis. - Sherlock Holmes, The Adventure Of Silver Blaze

                Comment


                • Originally posted by Graham View Post

                  Mmm, yes, and Shirley Harrison said she found the term 'one-off' used in technical paperwork (belonging to a Kent engineering company) in about 1865.

                  Graham
                  I'm afraid there's something Alice in Wonderlandish about Shirley Harrison's approach to research. Firstly, she neglected to get any documentary evidence, which is a bit remiss of her, considering how crucial this piece of "evidence" was. Moreover, according to David it now transpires that it was a third party, now deceased, that told her about the document. Oh, and there's absolutely no evidence that the engineering company, Traynor's, ever existed!

                  Curiouser and curiouser, said Alice.
                  Last edited by John G; 08-01-2019, 02:16 PM.

                  Comment


                  • Originally posted by John Wheat View Post
                    The diary is clearly a modern hoax.
                    The 'Diary' is clearly genuine.
                    ‘There is nothing more deceptive than an obvious fact’ Sherlock Holmes

                    Comment


                    • I would just point out that in nearly thirty years no one has been able to find a single legitimate example of the phrase "one-off" being used prior to the Second World War, except in a strictly technical sense, and I'm sure it's not for want of trying. In fact, are there any documented examples prior to the early 1980s?

                      Of course, we could always adopt a Wilkins Micawber approach and hope that "something will turn up"!
                      Last edited by John G; 08-01-2019, 02:14 PM.

                      Comment


                      • Let's consider the statistical chances of the Diary being genuine. Well, based upon the "one-off" problem we would have to accept that, out of all of the billions of individuals that could have originated the phrase "one-off", in a non-technical sense, it was actually originated by James Maybrick in a Diary of dubious provenance. In fact, the provenance is non existent.

                        Not only that, but the phrase, which no one at the time would have understood, so would have been completely meaningless, doesn't re-enter commom parlance for about a century.

                        On that basis, the statistical probability of the Diary being genuine must be several thousand million to one against.

                        Comment


                        • My grandfather (born about 1880) used the term 'top myself' quite regularly when I was a boy. As in: if he repaired something, he'd mutter "If this doesn't work now, I'll top myself".

                          I'd just like to point out that I don't accept that James Maybrick wrote the Diary, nor that he was Jack The Ripper. I do, however, believe the Diary to be a lot older than the 1980's, not necessarily from the time of the Ripper Murders, but how it came into the possession of Mike Barrett, I'm sorry I haven't a clue.

                          Graham
                          Last edited by Graham; 08-01-2019, 02:42 PM.
                          We are suffering from a plethora of surmise, conjecture and hypothesis. - Sherlock Holmes, The Adventure Of Silver Blaze

                          Comment


                          • Deleted.
                            Last edited by John G; 08-01-2019, 02:48 PM.

                            Comment


                            • Originally posted by Sam Flynn View Post
                              Ordinary people have long been able to "call" someone by shouting their name, or to "call on" someone in the sense of visiting them... but we don't talk about "giving" someone a visit, do we, and I doubt that many people ever have.
                              Well that's okay, Gareth, because nobody to my knowledge mentioned 'giving someone a visit' before you did here. It's certainly not in the diary. Nor is shouting the name of Her Majesty into a megaphone in Liverpool and hoping the old dear's ear trumpet will pick it up on the Isle of Wight.

                              As you well know, because you have read the same posts as I have on this subject, which must be becoming more tiresome by the day for anyone still awake, in the late 19th century people were routinely "giving someone a call" or "paying someone a call" or "paying someone a visit" or "making house-calls" [if you were a doctor for example] and they all meant the same thing - they were calling on someone in person.

                              However, ordinary people have been able to speak of "giving someone a call" since that phrase passed into everyday parlance after telephones had become widely used.
                              You have it arse backwards, Gareth. When telephones began to be widely used, "giving someone a call" was no longer confined to seeing someone in person. If nothing was changing hands, like a bunch of flowers - or [cough] a butcher's knife - and there was no need for physical contact or face-to-face conversation, you could just "give someone a call" over the telephone to deliver your message. It's little wonder the idea caught on, and no surprise to find the older usage of "giving someone a call" diminishing, as the modern usage took hold. But that is of no possible concern to us here, because the diary is meant to reflect Victorian usage, and it does so. No Victorian Sam Flynn would have batted an eyelid at the phrase as 'Sir Jim' uses it. He is quite clearly envious of Pu$$y Cat, Pu$$y Cat, and fancies going to London to visit the Queen. She'd have appreciated the sentiment, even if today's Sam Flynn can't, because she'd have had little notion of how the phrase 'give her a call' would be co-opted in the future by millions of telephone users.

                              This is getting a bit surreal, isn't it? You may as well argue that when 'Sir Jim' writes: 'The next time I travel to London I shall begin', the Barretts most probably had a flight from Liverpool in mind, because flying had really taken off [ha ha] by the time they were creating their hoax, so the phrase 'travel to London' would have been much more widely used across the globe to imply 'travel to London by air', with train travel taking more of a back seat [ha ha].

                              Talking of which, don't you just hate it when you get a nice, forward-facing seat on the train to London, with a table for drinks and snacks, and you're just enjoying the gorgeous view out of the window and your first gin and tonic of the day when a woman ten years younger than you gets on at Crewkerne and asks you to move, because she feels sick in a seat facing backwards? She then proceeds to look down at her phone without once looking out of the window or looking the least bit queasy. Don't you just hate it when the same thing happens, not once but twice, on the return journey to Devon? Two more women, both ten years younger than me, who would have to stand all the way [because they told me when I asked] if there were no forward-facing seats left [and no mugs like me to take pity on them and move to another seat]. O tempora! O mores!

                              Rant over. The next time I travel to London I shall begin... the journey in a seat facing backwards and be done with it. Because I know when I'm beaten.

                              Love,

                              Caz
                              X
                              Last edited by caz; 08-01-2019, 03:26 PM.
                              "Comedy is simply a funny way of being serious." Peter Ustinov


                              Comment


                              • Originally posted by caz View Post

                                Well that was edifying.

                                Brexit is clearly a modern miracle.
                                What has Brexit got to do with the diary? If you think the diary is not a modern hoax your deluding yourself.

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