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The Diary—Old Hoax or New?

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  • PS 'Seasons in the Sun' was the poor man's English re-write of the outstanding Jacques Brel's 'Le Moribund'. Where millions hear only the sugary crap dished-up by Jacks, I hear the genius described by Jacques. Story of my life, perhaps (though don't get too excited, I ain't no dying man just yet!)
    I seriously doubt if many posters on here will even have heard of Jacques Brel..... Or Georges Brassens. Or Charles Trenet. Or even Jake Thackray, for that matter. Who I did see performing live many, many years since.

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

    Comment


    • Originally posted by PaulB View Post

      Ta. So, "tin match box, empty" provides you with the earliest date the "diary" could have been written. What reasons do people give in opposition to that?
      That was only an example, Paul. Just like the the combination of phrases like "one off" and "spreads mayhem", we have the combination of details like the "empty tin box" and the fight between Maybrick and Florie, which just happen appear in books published in the last quarter of the 20th Century and which also turn up in the Diary.
      Kind regards, Sam Flynn

      "Suche Nullen" (Nietzsche, Götzendämmerung, 1888)

      Comment


      • Originally posted by Graham View Post

        Pardon me, but I am a poster who certainly does ask questions, and have done on these boards, as to when the Diary was made - maybe you don't read my posts as I'm not important enough? I feel rather hurt about this, to be honest....and I suppose you'll ignore this, too.

        Graham
        Not important enough? My comment was intended to be taken broadly and within my experience. Obviously people have and do ask when the "diary" was created. What happens more, though, is that such questions quickly degenerate into modern or old.

        Comment


        • Originally posted by Sam Flynn View Post

          That was only an example, Paul. Just like the the combination of phrases like "one off" and "spreads mayhem", we have the combination of details like the "empty tin box" and the fight between Maybrick and Florie, which just happen appear in books published in the last quarter of the 20th Century and which also turn up in the Diary.
          It was good enough to provide a date before which the "diary" could not have been composed. The other examples presumably support it. Why don't people accept them? For my part, I'm surprised that Mike was able to hide having read so many books on the subjects of Jack and James.

          Comment


          • When was the Diary begun?Has the thought occurred the book may have been purchased with no idea of who was to be the central character.

            Comment


            • Originally posted by PaulB View Post

              It was good enough to provide a date before which the "diary" could not have been composed. The other examples presumably support it. Why don't people accept them? For my part, I'm surprised that Mike was able to hide having read so many books on the subjects of Jack and James.
              Hi Paul,

              Is it true that Mike did not start reading any books about Jack or Maybrick until the scrapbook came into his possession (i.e., blank or otherwise), and is it further true that the only book he appeared to own was 'Murder, Mystery, and Mayhem' which contained only two small chapters on the Maybricks from which to work?

              Clearly, you weren't living with the Barretts so you don't know for certain, but was it at least your (and other researchers') understanding that this was the sum of Barrett's library on Jack and the Maybricks when you first met him?

              Ike
              Iconoclast
              Soldier of Fortune, Man of Peace, Destroyer of Images, Nice Guy, Genius

              Comment


              • Originally posted by harry View Post
                When was the Diary begun?Has the thought occurred the book may have been purchased with no idea of who was to be the central character.
                harry,

                One of the things I like about the Maybrick threads - unlike the plethora of inane posts, threads, and even entire sections - is that in the main part the degree of speculation remains germane to the issue of the scrapbook's authenticity (or inauthenticity). It is (for me) the function of other sections to debate meaningless, muddying questions which do not advance the case one iota. I think you know the sort of waffle I'm referring to:
                • Did Kate wear red socks on the night she died?
                • Who was Mr Fluffycake and what was the Bethnal Green connection?
                • Quick poll: who thinks Charles Cross wore platform boots?
                Now I've obviously made the above up, but they represent the sort of endless navel-gazing which more often than not dominates the so-called discussions on the Casebook. In contrast, the Maybrick section tends to focus on the specifics (the internal evidence, the scrapbook, the watch, the Barretts, the confession, the retraction, the research, et cetera). That makes it slightly 'special', I'd say.

                If you're going to ask a question like the one you pose (above), could you add a bit of detail around why you feel it would be relevant and what relevance you feel that might be? If it's just idle speculation, it's idle navel-gazing (sorry, mate - I've done it myself so I know what I'm talking about). The Maybrick section of the Casebook is the best by far precisely because we don't often have to resort to pure, pointless speculation (again, I've done it myself, mea culpa). I (for one) would like to keep it that way.

                Cheers,

                Ike
                Iconoclast
                Soldier of Fortune, Man of Peace, Destroyer of Images, Nice Guy, Genius

                Comment


                • Originally posted by Iconoclast View Post

                  Hi Paul,

                  Is it true that Mike did not start reading any books about Jack or Maybrick until the scrapbook came into his possession (i.e., blank or otherwise), and is it further true that the only book he appeared to own was 'Murder, Mystery, and Mayhem' which contained only two small chapters on the Maybricks from which to work?

                  Clearly, you weren't living with the Barretts so you don't know for certain, but was it at least your (and other researchers') understanding that this was the sum of Barrett's library on Jack and the Maybricks when you first met him?

                  Ike
                  Hi Ike,
                  Basically, yes. He may have read two or there others, I don't know, but in initial discussions he didn't seem to know very much about either case. He could have been hiding his knowledge, of course.

                  Comment


                  • Originally posted by PaulB View Post

                    Hi Ike,
                    Basically, yes. He may have read two or there others, I don't know, but in initial discussions he didn't seem to know very much about either case. He could have been hiding his knowledge, of course.
                    I honestly think that to suggest the Diary was written by Bongo Barrett is more ludicrous than to suggest it was written by Maybrick. And surely if Barrett created the Diary then he's also responsible for the watch, so we now have him being capable of embedding old metal particles in the watch in such a way as to fool experts, and then selling the watch to a jewellers shop in the hope his engravings will be discovered and back up the Diary? And if he created (or was part of the nest of forgers who created) both then why make the signature on the watch match JM's but not the one in the Diary?? Did Barrett ever speak of the watch or Albert Johnson on record? Just wondering what his thoughts were.

                    Comment


                    • Originally posted by StevenOwl View Post
                      I honestly think that to suggest the Diary was written by Bongo Barrett is more ludicrous than to suggest it was written by Maybrick. And surely if Barrett created the Diary then he's also responsible for the watch, so we now have him being capable of embedding old metal particles in the watch in such a way as to fool experts, and then selling the watch to a jewellers shop in the hope his engravings will be discovered and back up the Diary? And if he created (or was part of the nest of forgers who created) both then why make the signature on the watch match JM's but not the one in the Diary?? Did Barrett ever speak of the watch or Albert Johnson on record? Just wondering what his thoughts were.
                      All really good questions, Steven. I agree with you that the thought of Bongo producing this level of craft is a real stretch. If he did, he was also a truly brilliant actor, and if this is the case then he was a one-hit wonder master-forger and truly brilliant actor. Why did he save all of this skill and expertise to just this one venture? Why leave his acting prowess to a relatively late stage of his life?

                      The watch is a compelling piece of evidence but it doesn’t have to be a Bongo knock-off. In principle, and I think this may be an Orsam argument, Albert could have bought the watch as he described and someone such as that lovable rogue of a younger brother Robbie could have done a little creative work on the innards when Albert’s back was turned (after having read of the Maybrick ‘diary’ in the Liverpool Echo).

                      I certainly wouldn’t discard the watch, but equally I wouldn’t worry about having to link it to Bongo Barrett and his band of brigands.

                      PS I tried valiantly to get an apostrophe in my use of ‘wouldn’t’ but the editor wouldnt apparently let me do it. I did intend one and if one is there, great. Questionable editor, though!

                      Cheers,

                      Ike
                      Last edited by Iconoclast; 08-05-2019, 09:10 AM.
                      Iconoclast
                      Soldier of Fortune, Man of Peace, Destroyer of Images, Nice Guy, Genius

                      Comment


                      • Ike,
                        The question was put because I do not know the answer as to when it was created,or why.Did the creation begin with the first entry into the book,or was it created in someone's mind beforehand.No w clever persons like yourself might know that it could have been created a hundred or so years ago during the lifetime of Maybrick,and probably was,others ,of a very limited intelligence like myself are of opinion it w as a hundred or so years afterwards.So if the latter, why a hundred or so years hence,and what might have been the sequence of events.Barrat gives one version,and if it is true,it began with an idea of one person and shared with two others,,but does not clearly explain whether Maybrick was a known likely suspect around whom a story could be constructed,and a diary the means of how it could be told,Or,was it a case of considering a diary as the means of incriminating a likely suspect,and then finding that suspect, and landing on Maybrick.
                        What do you think Ike?What section do you class the above as belonging to,navel-gazing,or specifics.

                        Comment


                        • Originally posted by Iconoclast View Post

                          All really good questions, Steven. I agree with you that the thought of Bongo producing this level of craft is a real stretch. If he did, he was also a truly brilliant actor, and if this is the case then he was a one-hit wonder master-forger and truly brilliant actor. Why did he save all of this skill and expertise to just this one venture? Why leave his acting prowess to a relatively late stage of his life?

                          The watch is a compelling piece of evidence but it doesn’t have to be a Bongo knock-off. In principle, and I think this may be an Orsam argument, Albert could have bought the watch as he described and someone such as that lovable rogue of a younger brother Robbie could have done a little creative work on the innards when Albert’s back was turned (after having read of the Maybrick ‘diary’ in the Liverpool Echo).

                          I certainly wouldn’t discard the watch, but equally I wouldn’t worry about having to link it to Bongo Barrett and his band of brigands.

                          PS I tried valiantly to get an apostrophe in my use of ‘wouldn’t’ but the editor wouldnt apparently let me do it. I did intend one and if one is there, great. Questionable editor, though!

                          Cheers,

                          Ike
                          Hi Ike - I wasn't aware that news of the Diary had gone public before the watch first came to light. What sort of time frame are we looking at? Is there anything known about Robbie that would back up the suggestion that he forged the watch? And wasn't Albert offered a pretty decent sum for the watch? Surely Robbie would have made sure he took that money if he knew it was a hoax? And presumably Robbie somehow set-up the scenario at Albert's workplace where the scratches were first discovered - is it actually possible that he could have done that? Sorry, I don't expect you to answer all of those questions, I'm just thinking out loud. God, the Diary and watch really does my head in!

                          Comment


                          • Originally posted by harry View Post
                            Ike,
                            The question was put because I do not know the answer as to when it was created,or why.Did the creation begin with the first entry into the book,or was it created in someone's mind beforehand.No w clever persons like yourself might know that it could have been created a hundred or so years ago during the lifetime of Maybrick,and probably was,others ,of a very limited intelligence like myself are of opinion it w as a hundred or so years afterwards.So if the latter, why a hundred or so years hence,and what might have been the sequence of events.Barrat gives one version,and if it is true,it began with an idea of one person and shared with two others,,but does not clearly explain whether Maybrick was a known likely suspect around whom a story could be constructed,and a diary the means of how it could be told,Or,was it a case of considering a diary as the means of incriminating a likely suspect,and then finding that suspect, and landing on Maybrick.
                            What do you think Ike?What section do you class the above as belonging to,navel-gazing,or specifics.
                            Hi harry,

                            Yes, you are quite right, I am indeed A Very Clever Person, and I can confidently tell you that the highest probability scenarios are as follows:
                            • The scrapbook is a hoax from 1987 onwards, very cleverly starting in the middle of a sentence rather than started then butchered; or
                            • The scrapbook is the genuine article from 1888 and 1889, written by James Maybrick, and probably (given the internal content) butchered in order to return certain artefacts it held back to the Maybrick company, thereby assuaging young clerk Lowry's concerns regards certain missing items.
                            No other scenario is realistic, although some do exist (mainly around the old hoax theory).

                            I don't think you will benefit yourself or this forum by speculating outside of these parameters. Was it purchased without a character in mind? Well, the obvious answer to that is we won't know until the mystery is solved so - if that is the case - there's no great fruit to be found in seeking answers to such questions. Just my view (though I am A Very Clever Person, you'll recall, so my advice may prove useful).

                            Cheers,

                            Ike
                            Iconoclast
                            Soldier of Fortune, Man of Peace, Destroyer of Images, Nice Guy, Genius

                            Comment


                            • Originally posted by StevenOwl View Post

                              Hi Ike - I wasn't aware that news of the Diary had gone public before the watch first came to light. What sort of time frame are we looking at? Is there anything known about Robbie that would back up the suggestion that he forged the watch? And wasn't Albert offered a pretty decent sum for the watch? Surely Robbie would have made sure he took that money if he knew it was a hoax? And presumably Robbie somehow set-up the scenario at Albert's workplace where the scratches were first discovered - is it actually possible that he could have done that? Sorry, I don't expect you to answer all of those questions, I'm just thinking out loud. God, the Diary and watch really does my head in!
                              Hi Steven,

                              Sadly, it is a hall mark of this case that the watch came to light just weeks after the Liverpool Post ran the first headline revealing that a Maybrick-Ripper link was about to be published (actually, Harrison's opening salvo came out about six months later).

                              There is probably everything about the apparently lovable scally Robbie to suggest that he could have had a hand in the watch. Where Albert was as solid, working bloke, Robbie was apparently less dedicated to work and had a more entrepreneurial spirit than Albert, so much so that he apparently sold a per centage of his share of the watch (which Albert had generously-foolishly given him) to an anonymous party and that it was partly because of this mystery party's reluctance to sell that the mooted deal with the American ultimately failed to transpire.

                              You should take a look at your well-thumbed copy of Ripper Diary: The Inside Story by Seth Linder, Caroline Morris, and Keith Skinner (starting around page 40, but the Johnsons get about quite a bit in the book) if you want to know more. Actually, as it's one of my seminal Maybrick texts, I strongly recommend that everyone reads it at least a couple of times. I think I've probably read it about ten times. It is the Maybrick story from the inside and the out but without the unnecessary passion and personal investment of Harrison and Feldman so you may feel it is the most unbiased book on the scrapbook you'll find. Even more so than Society's Pillar possibly!

                              Hope this helps.

                              Cheers,

                              Ike

                              Iconoclast
                              Soldier of Fortune, Man of Peace, Destroyer of Images, Nice Guy, Genius

                              Comment


                              • Originally posted by harry View Post
                                Ike,
                                The question was put because I do not know the answer as to when it was created,or why.Did the creation begin with the first entry into the book,or was it created in someone's mind beforehand. ... Or,was it a case of considering a diary as the means of incriminating a likely suspect,and then finding that suspect, and landing on Maybrick.
                                What do you think Ike?What section do you class the above as belonging to,navel-gazing,or specifics.
                                I didn't answer your last question, harry. I put this in the category of navel-gazing because debating whether the scrapbook was purchased before Maybrick was identified as a potential foil argues for a hoax but does not in any way advance the hoax argument. Like arguing whether Liz Stride's grapes were red before we establish categorically that she was actually a victim of Jack.

                                I could expand upon this but it requires that I assume (possibly incorrectly) that you believe Mike's dramatic 1995 confession to provide the generalities (if not the specifics) of the truth. If this were the case, then we would be in a world where Mike had already written the contents of what became the scrapbook on his Amstrad word processor and obviously before his wife Anne did the transcribing into the newly-sourced scrapbook. This would all have been around two years before they did anything with it. This aligns with your namesake HarryD who - as a hardened acolyte and follower of Lord Orsam - has to believe that the transcribing of the 63 pages all occurred in eleven magical days in March and April 1992 (because he believes that Barrett 'phoned London with his masterplan before he had actually purchased the physical vehicle for it).

                                All of these things are possible, but they are nevertheless also aspects of navel-gazing because they are focused on arguing for how the hoax could have been concocted without establishing in any way that it is actually a hoax. Personally, I will worry about whether Mike and Anne and Mr. Big could have done the deed after it is categorically shown that a hoax was perpetrated; though - in all honesty - if it's a hoax, I probably won't care so much whether it was created by Harry Dam in the late Victorian period, or HarryD's dad in the early 1990s.

                                Ike


                                Iconoclast
                                Soldier of Fortune, Man of Peace, Destroyer of Images, Nice Guy, Genius

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