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The Inconvenient Truth of the Maybrick Watch

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  • #46
    Originally posted by Losmandris View Post
    Literally everything I have read in this thread points toward hoax. I cannot see it any other way. It is just all too convoluted to even come close to the truth. Literally nothing is clear. And that screams dodgy to me. I have no stake in this fight, I do not have a pet suspect I just like to look at the case as objectively as possible, focus on the scant facts we have in an effort to come to some kind of logical conclusions (though this is challenging in itself) but this is about as illogical as it gets. Nothing makes any sense.
    Ill second these thoughts, Diary + Watch = Hoax
    'It doesn't matter how beautiful your theory is. It doesn't matter how smart you are . If it doesn't agree with experiment, its wrong'' . Richard Feynman

    Comment


    • #47
      Originally posted by Aethelwulf View Post

      A hoaxer would practice, as I said. There is no reason to think Maybrick could have done it better than a hoaxer.
      That's not my argument.

      Yes, a hoaxer could have practised, if they had an original Maybrick signature to copy from, and if they had several other gold items lying around to deface. But could they have inscribed it inside Albert's gold watch in May 1993, using a genuinely old and crumbling brass implement?

      Could you? Nobody as far as I know has ever tried it, and put their gold where their mouth is. Or if they have, they kept their resounding success to themselves.

      All I am saying is that whoever did it was familiar with the form that signature took in the 1880s - or they were guessing and the correct form was purely accidental, which seems rather unlikely, doesn't it?

      Love,

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


      Comment


      • #48
        Originally posted by Losmandris View Post
        Literally everything I have read in this thread points toward hoax. I cannot see it any other way. It is just all too convoluted to even come close to the truth. Literally nothing is clear. And that screams dodgy to me. I have no stake in this fight, I do not have a pet suspect I just like to look at the case as objectively as possible, focus on the scant facts we have in an effort to come to some kind of logical conclusions (though this is challenging in itself) but this is about as illogical as it gets. Nothing makes any sense.
        As I have already stated your opinion is as valid as anyone else’s opinion but we are beyond that with the watch.

        We are in the realms of outright denial of what is in front of them.

        The watch has to be taken seriously and thank god there are people left who are willing to do exactly that.

        You dislike the science all you like but it doesn’t change it. Unless some kind of recognised expert comes with an alternative viewpoint no-one’s opinion actually matters.

        What we have today is a watch that could not be a modern hoax in 1993, with embedded brass particles in the base of the engravings and a signature (especially the K) being extremely similar to Maybrick’s own hand.
        Last edited by erobitha; 12-01-2022, 12:33 PM.
        Author of 'Jack the Ripper: Threads' out now on Amazon > UK | USA | CA | AUS
        JayHartley.com

        Comment


        • #49
          Albert Johnson discovered the inscriptions in the watch, so we can theorise that he was responsible for putting them there. Nothing in Albert's past to suggest he had ever tried to con anyone, with a hoax or a forgery or anything else? No problem. Look to the brother and see what dirt can be raked up there.

          This is Cross theory by another name.

          Charles Cross discovered a murdered woman, and hungry eyes see a man with an entire killing career ahead of him. Nothing in Cross's past to suggest it? Oh well, if the fact that a small child was once accidentally killed when they ran out in front of his cart can't be used against him, look to Cross's mother and see what dirt can be raked up there.

          When Mike Barrett told Doreen Montgomery that he had JtR's diary, she observed that 'finds like these don't grow on trees', and we can theorise that he was responsible for growing it from seed.

          Nothing in Mike's past to suggest he could have forged a sick note? Handwriting that resembled my cat's? Not a problem. Look to Mike's other half, who wrote his magazine articles for him, and theorise that she was the one up to the elbows in diary ink and diabolical doggerel.

          As a bonus, rake up a handbag snatch from Mike's youth, to demonstrate an early desire to add a literary hoax to his CV, given enough time and a favourable wind.

          Finally, hit pay dirt with a marriage breakdown that led Mike to push the self-destruct button. Swallow all the forgery claims he made while grieving the loss of his wife and daughter and drinking himself stupid, then regurgitate them like alphabetti spaghetti to give the desired dates and details for your April Fool of a Barrett hoax.

          Love,

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


          Comment


          • #50
            Originally posted by erobitha View Post

            As I have already stated your opinion is as valid as anyone else’s opinion but we are beyond that with the watch.

            We are in the realms of outright denial of what is in front of them.

            The watch has to be taken seriously and thank god there are people left who are willing to do exactly that.

            You dislike the science all you like but it doesn’t change it. Unless some kind of recognised expert comes with an alternative viewpoint no-one’s opinion actually matters.

            What we have today is a watch that could not be a modern hoax in 1993, with embedded brass particles in the base of the engravings and a signature (especially the K) being extremely similar to Maybrick’s own hand.
            Surely that cannot be stated beyond reasonable doubt? Especially with all the points raised by rjpalmer? And then beyond that I just don's see why Maybrick would have done it? Why scratch his name illegibly into the watch along with 'I am Jack'? and then the initials of the victims? Why not the initials of his other victims (as alluded to in the diary) or at least some indication that he killed others? It just does not make sense. Is there any evidence that actually links Maybrick to the watch?

            What does make sense is that for some reason two chancers saw an opportunity following all the hype of the diary to get involved. Amazing that the watch appeared within weeks of the diary. Too much of a coincidence surely? Maybe if they had appeared years apart but come on.....
            Best wishes,

            Tristan

            Comment


            • #51
              Originally posted by Losmandris View Post

              Surely that cannot be stated beyond reasonable doubt? Especially with all the points raised by rjpalmer? And then beyond that I just don's see why Maybrick would have done it? Why scratch his name illegibly into the watch along with 'I am Jack'? and then the initials of the victims? Why not the initials of his other victims (as alluded to in the diary) or at least some indication that he killed others? It just does not make sense. Is there any evidence that actually links Maybrick to the watch?

              What does make sense is that for some reason two chancers saw an opportunity following all the hype of the diary to get involved. Amazing that the watch appeared within weeks of the diary. Too much of a coincidence surely? Maybe if they had appeared years apart but come on.....
              You're wasting your time. Ike and Ero have been so deeply suckered into this total nonsense as to write a book and electronic doorstop on the subject. If the Maybrick interpretation of the GSG is seen by these as sound, well nothing will ever change their minds.

              Comment


              • #52
                Originally posted by Losmandris View Post
                What does make sense is that for some reason two chancers saw an opportunity following all the hype of the diary to get involved. Amazing that the watch appeared within weeks of the diary. Too much of a coincidence surely? Maybe if they had appeared years apart but come on.....
                At the risk of being exceedingly blunt, I am extremely hesitant to accept any of Jay Hartley's opinions or statements about the watch...he appears to be in a serious muddle on several key points.

                In his article 'The Inconvenient Truth About the Maybrick Watch," Jay is greatly impressed that the watch is "still in the family," implying there was no attempt to cash-in on the hoax:


                IN THE FAMILY

                “Albert sadly passed away in 2008. Daisy, Albert’s granddaughter, the person he claimed he had purchased it for originally, still owns the watch (at the time of writing). The family has had numerous offers down the year for the artefact, including one for $40k from a Texas businessman. According to Albert’s notes, they even rejected an offer of $125K from someone called ‘Bob.’



                Click image for larger version  Name:	Albert's Notes.jpg Views:	0 Size:	23.7 KB ID:	800957

                “However, it still remains in Daisy’s possession. If the watch was created to cash in on the Maybrick diary, then why do the same family still own it 30 years on?”

                “Are they waiting for a bigger payday than the ones they rejected? This is one long-game hoax if ever there was one.”

                ---


                Uh, no. This is not the whole story, nor is it accurate.

                Let me first point out that Jay is apparently unaware that the "Texas businessman" and the mysterious "Bob" are the same person. So how many actual offers were there?

                The Texas businessman was Robert E. Davis, a collector of crime memorabilia, who went by the name 'Bob,' and he spent a considerable time negotiating with Albert, thus we get several different figures. This seems to have confused Jay.

                More significantly, is it accurate to say that Albert Johnson "rejected" these offers?

                Not in the least.

                Let me point you to a far more candid and a far less sanitized version of these events as reported by someone who, unlike Jay Hartley and Caroline Brown, was actually in contact with Bob Davis and Albert Johnson back in the 1990s. This is Shirley Harrison, from 'The American Connection' (2003) p. 32, and it is an incredible revelation:

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                As you can see, rather than reject the offers, Johnson accepted a very large offer.

                But embarrassingly for Albert, the deal fell through when it was discovered that his brother Robbie--behind Albert's back--had peddled 'shares' in the watch to two very sketchy and "menacing" characters, having falsely claimed that the watch had been appraised at a million pounds--which is commonly known as fraud.

                Davis threatened legal action, the deal fell through, and having been cheated out of $15,000 in travel expenses, he returned home.

                This is the real reason why the watch is "still in the family"--but you wouldn't know any of this from reading Jay Hartley's blog.

                Comment


                • #53
                  Originally posted by caz View Post

                  That's not my argument.

                  Yes, a hoaxer could have practised, if they had an original Maybrick signature to copy from, and if they had several other gold items lying around to deface. But could they have inscribed it inside Albert's gold watch in May 1993, using a genuinely old and crumbling brass implement?

                  Could you? Nobody as far as I know has ever tried it, and put their gold where their mouth is. Or if they have, they kept their resounding success to themselves.

                  All I am saying is that whoever did it was familiar with the form that signature took in the 1880s - or they were guessing and the correct form was purely accidental, which seems rather unlikely, doesn't it?

                  Love,

                  Caz
                  X
                  We're not talking evil genius here though.
                  1. Hoaxer obtains document with JM's signature
                  2. Hoaxer practices signature on soft metal
                  3. Hoaxer inscribes watch

                  Comment


                  • #54
                    Originally posted by caz View Post
                    All I am saying is that whoever did it was familiar with the form that signature took in the 1880s - or they were guessing and the correct form was purely accidental, which seems rather unlikely, doesn't it?
                    As we can see in the photograph of the watch, the 'a' in the signature of "Maybrick" is very stylized and idiosyncratic:


                    Click image for larger version  Name:	maybrick a.jpg Views:	0 Size:	5.9 KB ID:	800966

                    You argue that the watch replicates Maybrick's known signature from the 1880s (actually, the examples Hartley uses are from the 1870s).

                    As such, can you point us to an example of this stylized 'a' in Maybrick's known signature?

                    Comment


                    • #55
                      Originally posted by Losmandris View Post
                      What does make sense is that for some reason two chancers saw an opportunity following all the hype of the diary to get involved. Amazing that the watch appeared within weeks of the diary. Too much of a coincidence surely? Maybe if they had appeared years apart but come on.....
                      Your two 'chancers', whose solicitor said: 'I wouldn't be representing them if I felt in any way that they had manufactured a hoax', would have had a limited opportunity to get involved, between 22nd April 1993, when James Maybrick's name was first connected with JtR in the Liverpool Daily Post [that was the extent of the 'hype' as you describe it], and 3rd June 1993, when Robert Smith was first contacted about the watch, connecting both famous names. The 'chancers' would also have needed the means to grasp that opportunity, and they didn't even know which victims' initials to include, because the diary itself would not be published in Shirley's book until the October.

                      To be accurate, the watch appeared 'within weeks' of the first news about a diary which had emerged back in April 1992. If you think that is too much of a coincidence, what do you make of the watch appearing for sale in a Wallasey jeweller's shop window in the Spring of 1992, at around the same time the diary first appeared in the office of a London literary agency?

                      Love,

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


                      Comment


                      • #56
                        Originally posted by rjpalmer View Post
                        Also...

                        For the sake of argument, let's forget the above objections and say that we all agree that there was an attempt to imitate the signature on Maybrick's wedding certificate.

                        Is it impossible for the hoaxer to have obtained a copy?
                        I'm not sure what the point of this exercise is, if you think there was no such attempt, and that any similarity was purely accidental.

                        But I'll humour you and explore this option further anyway.

                        Why is this a reasonable objection? Has the fact that the hoaxer(s) of the dismal diary didn't even bother to imitate Maybrick's handwriting blind us to the fact that a more intelligent hoaxer may have tried to do so when creating the watch?

                        It's hardly rocket science that such a thought would have entered someone's brain.

                        There are people on this site and on JTR Forums and on dozens of genealogical sites around the internet who frequently order marriage records.

                        The early 1990s were before the age of the internet, of course, but there was a long enough delay between the 'Maybrick' story breaking in the newspapers and the fortuitous discovery of the etchings on the watch a few weeks later that a hoaxer could have ordered a copy of the certificate and had it mailed to Liverpool.​

                        Did anyone check? Back in the day, did anyone contact the PRO and see if someone had recently ordered a copy?

                        Evidently not. So here we are, speculating.
                        We have a fixed-in-stone time frame, from conception to labour and birth of the Maybrick Watch, between 22nd April and 3rd June 1993.

                        There is no evidence that Keith Skinner is aware of that either of the Johnson brothers had any knowledge about genealogical research, or were even interested in it. For your speculation to work, you need to provide something tangible to connect your suspects to the deed, instead of just allowing for possibilities, however remote, which all too easily become facts in more impressionable minds.

                        When you next email Chris Jones, you could always ask him to contact Val Johnson and ask her if Albert or Robbie's hobbies had ever included family tree research, including sending off for certificates. Meanwhile, could you describe the step by step process required in 1993 to obtain Maybrick's marriage certificate from the GRO [General Register Office - not the PRO, Public Record Office]? Having got this far, would Albert or Robbie have realised that the certificate they were sent - or went down to London to collect - was a certified copy and did not have the original signature of James Maybrick? Keith thinks it could have been up to a fortnight in 1993 for a postal application to be processed. If they went down to London to apply for it in person, they could collect it in person after 4 days for a few quid, or make a special application to collect it in 24 hours, costing 20.

                        As for checking if a Johnson brother had recently applied for that marriage certificate, how would you have gone about doing this? Would that kind of personal information have been handed out like sweeties to anyone who wanted to know, even as far back as 1993? Would you not have needed police powers?
                        "Comedy is simply a funny way of being serious." Peter Ustinov


                        Comment


                        • #57
                          Originally posted by rjpalmer View Post
                          Nor was it even just Feldman's opinion. He writes that Keith Skinner had misgivings about Robbie's "enthusiasm" (p. 32)

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                          In a fax Keith sent to Feldman, referring to the meeting at his house on 5th July 1993 [which was the first time Keith saw the watch and met the Johnson brothers], he wrote that he was 'slightly worried' by Robbie, as he appeared too eager to show excitement when told the 'M' in the watch matched the 'M' of Maybrick. Feldman changed it to Keith being 'bothered', and now you give it a typical RJ spin by claiming he had 'misgivings'.

                          On that evening, according to Keith, he wasn't even thinking of a watch with faked scratches. He hardly knew anything about the watch. For Keith, the most important thing was to get a copy of the sketch, which the Johnson brothers had brought along with them - as reproduced in Feldman's book. Keith distinctly remembers using Feldman's fax machine to make a copy as the photocopier wasn't working. What had 'slightly worried' him about Robbie was how hyperactive he was - jumping up and down with excitement when Feldman was telling him the watch could be worth a fortune. The way Robbie reacted was completely different from the way Keith says he would have reacted. It was like he could not believe the good fortune which had come their way. But just because Robbie's reaction was the polar opposite of how Keith would have reacted, this did not automatically mean Keith was suspicious of him.
                          "Comedy is simply a funny way of being serious." Peter Ustinov


                          Comment


                          • #58
                            Originally posted by rjpalmer View Post
                            Feldman tells us how Robbie was with Albert (and a solicitor!) when he was shown the watch the first time.
                            Wow - and a solicitor! Are you not surprised Feldy didn't throw them all out? Only guilty people consult solicitors, eh RJ?

                            On 14th June 1993, Robert Smith [without his solicitor] saw the watch for the first time, and following this meeting the Johnson brothers approached Richard Nicholas for representation and advice in helping promote the watch.

                            On 27th June 1993, Robert offered to fund necessary research into the watch for a 25% share in it.

                            Albert, however, decided he would prefer to fund the research himself.

                            On 5th July 1993, Feldman and Keith saw the watch for the first time.

                            On 10th August 1993 came Turgoose's report on the watch.

                            In September 1993, Martin Howells interviewed Richard Nicholas.
                            "Comedy is simply a funny way of being serious." Peter Ustinov


                            Comment


                            • #59
                              Has there ever been a case in history where someone discovers an "old hoax"?
                              I think not. The person who brings forth the hoax is therefore undoubtedly the hoaxer.
                              "Is all that we see or seem
                              but a dream within a dream?"

                              -Edgar Allan Poe


                              "...the man and the peaked cap he is said to have worn
                              quite tallies with the descriptions I got of him."

                              -Frederick G. Abberline

                              Comment


                              • #60
                                Originally posted by caz View Post

                                I'm not sure what the point of this exercise is, if you think there was no such attempt, and that any similarity was purely accidental.

                                But I'll humour you and explore this option further anyway.
                                Caz--can you see why I sometimes accuse you of deliberate gaslighting?

                                You asked me to explain how a hoaxer could obtain Maybrick's signature and even implied that I was ducking your question.

                                When I finally did answer it--despite not even accepting the premise--you respond by saying you are 'not sure of the point' but will humor me.

                                Good grief. It was I who was humoring you.

                                Originally posted by caz View Post
                                When you next email Chris Jones, you could always ask him to contact Val Johnson and ask her if Albert or Robbie's hobbies had ever included family tree research, including sending off for certificates. Meanwhile, could you describe the step by step process required in 1993 to obtain Maybrick's marriage certificate from the GRO [General Register Office - not the PRO, Public Record Office]?
                                I repeat, I don't accept the premise.

                                As we know from the saga of the diary, theorizing about risk assessment is a waste of time. Criminals take risks. Hoaxers take risks. A bold hoaxer might well have concluded it was worth the risk to simply scratch any generic signature on the watch, perhaps speculating that the gullible would accept it even if it looked nothing whatsoever like Maybrick's. And if they didn't accept it, the hoaxer would simply be sent packing.

                                And, of course, such things happen. Look no further than Robert Smith and Paul Feldman and Thomas Mitchell's acceptance of the diary as authentic despite the handwriting looking nothing like Maybrick's.

                                Secondly, I have never emailed Chris Jones.

                                Third, if it was such an insurmountable obstacle to get a sample of Maybrick's handwriting in 1992/1993, why did Keith Skinner asked Mike Barrett at the Cloak and Dagger meeting in 1999 why he didn't simply obtain a copy of Maybrick's will so he could imitate the handwriting?

                                If Keith thought Mike Barrett was capable of such an obvious no-brainer, why are we supposed to be bowled over by the possibility that a more capable person--such as Robbie Johnson--could have chased down a marriage record?

                                Not that I think he bothered. I'm just saying he could have bothered and feel this line of inquiry is a distraction.

                                Originally posted by caz View Post
                                Keith thinks it could have been up to a fortnight in 1993 for a postal application to be processed.
                                As you previously noted, the diarist's name was revealed in the Liverpool Post on 22 April 1993.

                                Johnson phoned Smith on 3 June 1993, but didn't actually show the watch until 14 June.

                                That's a 53 day span.

                                So why is a fortnight an obstacle?

                                But we agree on one point--you might want to run this past someone else, as I don't accept the premise; I don't accept that the hoaxer was necessarily imitating a known exemplar.

                                While I muse over the subtle distinctions between 'slightly worried' and 'bothered' and 'having misgivings' maybe you could address the letter 'a' in Maybrick's signature?

                                I thank you in advance.

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