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The Diary—Old Hoax or New?

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  • Originally posted by Sam Flynn View Post

    ...but the samples show a man with a confident, fluent hand, Spider. The diary looks like one of your namesakes has crawled over the page.
    Exactly and absolutely, because effectively it is not the same person writing the 'Diary', almost scrawling down the thoughts in his head.
    ‘There is nothing more deceptive than an obvious fact’ Sherlock Holmes

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    • Originally posted by Eliza View Post
      More importantly, Barrett’s confession is what is known in legal parlance as a “declaration against interest.” This is a statement that places an individual in a less advantageous position than if he had not made the statement, opens him up to possible legal and financial repercussions, or social condemnation, and consequently is deemed highly credible as evidence.

      I suspect Barrett’s retraction came at the insistence of his most likely apoplectic lawyer.
      Or his more likely exasperated but sympathetic lawyer, Eliza?

      Infamous crimes, particularly murder, tend to attract a fair amount of false confessions, which are not deemed 'highly credible as evidence', just because they open the sad individuals up to everything from public ridicule to a potential death sentence. The evidence has to be coherent, consistent and independently supported, whereas Mike Barrett's various forgery claims were pretty much the opposite, and made when his personal life had fallen apart and he was at an extremely low ebb, believing he had nothing left to lose. Would his confession be deemed credible if he was drinking heavily at the time, or was mentally unwell or unstable? What if it had been cobbled together - badly - with someone else's help?

      Love,

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


      Comment


      • Originally posted by Spider View Post

        Exactly and absolutely, because effectively it is not the same person writing the 'Diary', almost scrawling down the thoughts in his head.
        It's a very untidy and unfluent hand, which - owing to its stilted nature - was quite possibly written comparatively slowly. That aside, whether he was writing slowly or at pace, sane or crazy, sober or stoned, nothing remotely like Maybrick's handwriting appears anywhere in the Diary at all.
        Kind regards, Sam Flynn

        "Suche Nullen" (Nietzsche, Götzendämmerung, 1888)

        Comment


        • Originally posted by Sam Flynn View Post

          It's a very untidy and unfluent hand, which - owing to its stilted nature - was quite possibly written comparatively slowly. That aside, whether he was writing slowly or at pace, sane or crazy, sober or stoned, nothing remotely like Maybrick's handwriting appears anywhere in the Diary at all.
          We are on a roundabout here! We don't know really know well enough what his handwriting looked like well enough from the small and differing examples, and these are irrelevant anyway when we have Hyde/JTR writing the Diary. There are variations in writing style throughout the Diary too, perhaps in more contemplative thoughts where he may have written more thoughtfully and slower.
          ‘There is nothing more deceptive than an obvious fact’ Sherlock Holmes

          Comment


          • Originally posted by Iconoclast View Post

            My father-in-law sadly passed away in June and just this weekend we were going through his study and we found all manner of interesting artefacts which we knew nothing about, including second world war medals from a long-dead relative. There is nothing suspicious about 'interesting artefacts' (or 'family heirlooms') being stored away for decades, barely noted. It is you who has scurrilously woven in the implication that 'it was treated like some old and important family heirloom'. That's called poisoning the well, by the way. Nice try but failed.



            I think it is extremely unlikely that the potential bizarreness of her actions in 1991 to you in 2019 would have bothered Anne very much. What a working class lady in 1991 Liverpool who is attempting to salvage her already dangerously-compromised marriage decides to do to save that marriage is her affair. And - just to prevent this misdirection getting repeated - she stated that she gave it to Tony Devereaux at his home not in a pub. You might ask (as I suspect that no-one ever has) how she knew his address - that would be a fair challenge. He did not live particularly close to the Barretts, and there is no suggestion in the evidence that Anne had ever been to Tony's house, so how did she know the number and the street? Perhaps Mike had written it down in an address book? Who knows. These are the interesting questions, not personal incredulity issues around imagined 'family heirlooms' and how plausible Anne's rationale was.
            The point is this. On the face of it, the "diary" had no intrinsic value, so why keep it? Why not throw it away? In this respect it's not at all like a medal, which clearly does have value. And if they thought it had value, why was it not sold or taken to an auctioneers or antique shop to be valued.

            Considering that the "one-off " problem effectively destroys any legitamacy the diary may have had, it's legitimate to consider how a hoax diary ended up in the possession of the Barretts.

            And I never said Tony Devereaux was given the diary in a pub! I stated that he gave Mike the diary in a pub.

            Comment


            • Originally posted by rjpalmer View Post
              And lo and behold, when Anne Graham finally came forward, with Feldman at her side, to tell her version of the provenance, she also incorporated Mike's apparent ignorance into her storyline. It never really struck me before, but it's a rather interesting detail.
              Hi R.J,

              I'm pretty sure I have pointed out on more than one occasion why Anne would have been obliged to run with Mike's 'apparent ignorance', when coming forward with her own version of the provenance, whether or not it had any basis in fact.

              She had previously gone along with Mike's story that he was given it in 1991 by Tony Devereux, who refused to say where he got it from. Anne must know if this could have been true or not. Either way, by sticking with it and explaining how it got to Tony, she was reasonably well protected from an outright accusation of having known, in 1992, that it never came from Tony. I imagine she would only have been caught out in a lie if Feldy had dug a bit deeper and found some hard evidence for it coming out of Battlecrease on 9th March 1992, a year after she had pretended it had first come into their lives. And I just don't think such a possibility ever crossed her mind.

              Love,

              Caz
              X


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


              Comment


              • Originally posted by Spider View Post

                We are on a roundabout here! We don't know really know well enough what his handwriting looked like well enough from the small and differing examples
                But every example shows a fluent, comfortable and neat writer, whereas the Diary's handwriting is nothing like that. In fact, there isn't even one letter in the Diary - never mind a word or a sentence - that looks as if it had been written by anyone remotely like James Maybrick, still less the man himself.
                Kind regards, Sam Flynn

                "Suche Nullen" (Nietzsche, Götzendämmerung, 1888)

                Comment


                • Originally posted by John G View Post

                  The point is this. On the face of it, the "diary" had no intrinsic value, so why keep it? Why not throw it away? In this respect it's not at all like a medal, which clearly does have value. And if they thought it had value, why was it not sold or taken to an auctioneers or antique shop to be valued.

                  Considering that the "one-off " problem effectively destroys any legitamacy the diary may have had, it's legitimate to consider how a hoax diary ended up in the possession of the Barretts.
                  Fair enough.

                  And I never said Tony Devereaux was given the diary in a pub! I stated that he gave Mike the diary in a pub.
                  I agree that I misunderstood your phraseology, however I was distracted by any mention at all of a pub. Mike stated that Tony gave him the scrapbook in his (Tony's) home.
                  Iconoclast
                  Soldier of Fortune, Man of Peace, Destroyer of Images, Nice Guy, Genius

                  Comment


                  • Originally posted by caz View Post

                    I don't see anything remotely 'petty' about that subject, Harry, whereas the whining that goes on around here concerning the stupid diary is way beyond petty. It's still here, get over it.

                    Love,

                    Caz
                    X
                    It was irrelevant to the matter at hand, Caz. It was just obnoxious moralizing to score brownie points. You're better than that.

                    If you don't have a dog in this fight, why are you so vociferous about its critics?

                    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.

                    Comment


                    • Originally posted by rjpalmer View Post

                      Pillar of Sand is the title? David must be growing soft. I would have guessed Society's Pillock.
                      Morning R.J,

                      Now that was funny.

                      In fact, Society's Pillock is a better and wittier way of putting it than my own weak contribution of a Bore of Very Little Brain.

                      That is exactly how the jumped-up, talentless 'Sir Jim' of the diary has always appeared to me, and I just can't see a hoaxer giving that impression by accident. It's writ large throughout the text: 'Tis I - Societys Pillock. Oh costly bollox, I meant to write Pillar. That bastard Lowry will pay for this.'

                      Love,

                      Caz
                      X
                      Last edited by caz; 07-31-2019, 09:26 AM.
                      "Comedy is simply a funny way of being serious." Peter Ustinov


                      Comment


                      • Originally posted by John G View Post

                        Good point about the ink. I'm not certain what the motive would have been but, as you suggest, as an innocent hoax, simply intended to give Mike a project to work on, why go to the trouble of trying to fake the age of the diary at all?

                        Anne's account doesn't make any sense to me at all. Thus, as I understand it, the diary had supposedly been in her family's for decades, implying it was treated like some old and important family heirloom. And yet, no one, until Anne, appears to have even read it, let alone taken steps to get valued, or to find out more about it etc.

                        And when Anne decided to give the diary to Mike- apparently because she'd hoped he'd write a book about it, because he apparently had literary ambitions (this seems a bit bizarre to me)- she doesn't just hand it to him, but arranges a convoluted plot, whereby he receives the diary via a third party in a pub! Very odd indeed.


                        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.

                        Comment


                        • 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.
                          And I still find it surprising, to say the least, that the forger apparently didn’t anticipate anyone finding out very quickly that the handwriting didn’t match Maybrick’s own. Or did he just hope that no one would notice?
                          Regards

                          Herlock






                          "Crime is common. Logic is rare. Therefore it is upon the logic rather than upon the crime that you should dwell.”

                          Comment


                          • Originally posted by Eliza View Post

                            A forger might "make an effort" at forging handwriting, but it would take a real expert to succeed. It's one matter to change or modify handwriting (though even this would not be easy for most of us) but quite another to mimic the specific writing of another individual, in all its subtleties and complexities. That's why, as far as I know, most forgers don't bother to try. I think Occam's Razor applies here: the reason the diarist did not try to copy Maybrick's handwriting is because he couldn't. The diary is fairly lengthy--and trying to copy Maybrick's real handwriting in such a long document would be unthinkably arduous, especially for an amateur. Even a professional would find it difficult.
                            A couple of observations here, if I may, Eliza.

                            Firstly, I'd have thought the most common form of forgery in the late 20th century would have been signatures on documents such as cheques, which the fraudster could then cash. So no, I disagree that most forgers 'don't bother to try' to mimic their victim's handwriting. They wouldn't get very far, would they?

                            Secondly, if you want to apply Occam's Razor, there was no obligation on a forger's part to write a 'fairly lengthy' anything, never mind 'such a long document' as you describe the diary, knowing they couldn't even make a stab at copying Maybrick's handwriting. You say that even a professional would find it difficult, so why would an amateur risk doing much more than just a few lines and a signature, if the only purpose was to make a quick buck from a signed Jack the Ripper confession which could only be disproved by an alibi for the real James Maybrick?

                            Whoever made the scratches in the watch did manage to mimic James Maybrick's signature, as it appears on his marriage licence. But I guess this could have been because it wasn't a lengthy confessional piece but more of a companion piece, featuring just a few scratched initials and words. Much more sensible for any amateur forger to attempt - more like a forged cheque in fact.

                            We have been led to believe that Anne could have disguised her handwriting successfully over the diary's 63 pages, while not trying to copy Maybrick's. Whether this would also be 'unthinkably arduous, especially for an amateur', I am not qualified to guess. But if even a professional would find it difficult to produce a disguised hand throughout, which bore no similarity to their own and could not be positively identified from any characteristics in common, would this suggest Anne had to be ambidextrous if she held the pen? If so, did she also possess the uncanny foresight to keep the fact to herself, or at least "in the family", just in case she ever wanted to put this useful but uncommon skill to good effect in a fairly lengthy fake diary?

                            Once again, I am left to wonder how the person who held the pen could fail to be aware, before the ink was dry, that they would inevitably come under suspicion, purely by association, when the first person questioned the diary's authenticity, as they surely would. It would take a hugely naive and deluded forger, in 1992, to imagine its authenticity would not be doubted, especially knowing they had made no attempt to copy Maybrick's handwriting - because they couldn't!

                            Love,

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


                            Comment


                            • Originally posted by Eliza View Post

                              Actually, false confessions are not particularly common. Most people can come through even a lengthy police interrogation just fine, without making a bogus confession (if the interrogation is conducted properly.)

                              Here are some of the main causes of false confessions, according to researchers (Innocence Project: Cooley, M., Craig, and Turvey E. Brent. Miscarriages of Justice: Actual Innocence, Forensic Evidence, and the Law. 1st ed. Academic Press, 2014. p116):
                              • Real or perceived intimidation by law enforcement
                              • Compromised reasoning ability of the suspect, due to fear or intimidation, substance use, mental instability, or limited education. Young people who do not understand their rights and are taught to please authority figures are particularly vulnerable.
                              • Pathological attention-seeking.
                              • Devious interrogation techniques, such as untrue statements about the presence of incriminating evidence
                              • Fear, on the part of the suspect, that failure to confess will yield a harsher punishment.
                              Not sure any of these apply to Barrett.
                              Thanks for this, Eliza.

                              I wouldn't say that Mike was typical of 'most people' when his world collapsed in early 1994, but how about:

                              His real or perceived intimidation by Paul Feldman?
                              His perceived fleecing by all those in control of the royalty purse strings?
                              His compromised reasoning ability, due to paranoia and perceived intimidation [everyone is out to get him and snatch the diary from him]?
                              His substance use and abuse [alcohol]?
                              His mental instability?
                              His limited abilities with spelling, grammar, handwriting and typing [fully acknowledged by himself and on painful display in much of his correspondence with various parties]?
                              His pathological attention-seeking [including phoning Shirley and co at all hours to spout palpable nonsense about what he has achieved in his fantasy world]?
                              Fear, on the part of the suspect, that the only option he has left to take back control of the diary is to claim he wrote it himself - and, when that doesn't work, to claim he was part of a gang of four: his housebound friend and his father-in-law, now both deceased, and the estranged wife he blames for taking his daughter away from him?

                              Still not sure anything on your list applied to Barrett?

                              Love,

                              Caz
                              X

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


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                              • The diary is clearly a modern hoax.

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