Like I said earlier, I’m no historian, just someone who has a degree in English Lit from a pretty good school. In the course of my studies, and during spare time, I read a lot of Victorian and Edwardian literature—classics, early detective novels, journalism, even “penny dreadfuls.” Based on this experience and other thoughts, I opt for the “new hoax” theory.

First, for those who advocate for an old hoax—what was the purpose? Was the phony “Maybrick Journal” intended to be a scary piece of fiction incorporating the Ripper murders—ala “The Lodger” by Belloc Lowndes? If so, it doesn’t fit any known suspense novel prototype from that time. Anyone who’s read Lowndes, or other minor 19th crime/detective writers, would notice the slow pace, fusty prose, sentimentality, and careful restraint regarding the gory aspects of the crimes. The raw, harsh, and comparatively gruesome qualities of the Maybrick document is in stark contrast. Again, it’s like no other work of crime fiction from that era. While it does contain some fairly convincing Victorian-esque prose, the overall presentation is extremely modern.

If it were not intended as fiction—then again, what was the purpose? To frame Maybrick? Why? Or to make a quick buck by positing a new Ripper suspect? Then why was it never offered to the public?

At any rate, I suspect any old hoax of this type—whether offered as fiction or non fiction--would have seemed too harsh and over the top for any publisher to touch, given the sensibilities of the time. A hoaxer clever enough to invent this narrative, would be clever enough to put it in form that would be acceptable for that era’s readership.

I think the hoax is new, but as I stated in my earlier post on the subject, may have incorporated a few recently discovered Maybrick letters or journal entries