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The Curious Case of History vs. James Maybrick

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  • The Curious Case of History vs. James Maybrick

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    The Curious Case of History vs. James Maybrick
    “A Diary Confessing to the Murders Was a Forgery”

    Ladies and gentlemen of the jury … let us start with the end in mind

    History – if perhaps most likely one long in the future - will eventually show that the mystery of who Jack the Ripper was finally ended in 1993 with the publication of the first book based upon the so-called ‘diary’ of James Maybrick, a prosperous Liverpool cotton merchant; and yet the case against Maybrick remains largely unrecognised to this day despite compelling evidence that he was the perpetrator of the crimes which terrorised the east end of London so long ago. Where hundreds of candidates have been proposed merely on circumstance – largely that they were there or thereabouts at the time – none carry any evidence into the narrative of the crimes. They are interesting for those who enjoy the folly of tenuous speculation, but they are not substantial and they are not sustainable unless one resorts to the pursuit of the obscure. They do not have an effective confession, and historical links to what we know about the events of the Autumn of Terror. James Maybrick has both, and is unequivocally the stand-out candidate in the long list of the possible, and history long into the years yet to come will eventually conclude the case on our behalf, whence Maybrick will stand in the dock, dead head bowed at last at his previously long-avoided and –awaited black-cap conviction. You have the opportunity today to send him earlier on his violent way.

    This resolute failing to acknowledge the evidence against Maybrick is driven by an erroneous and deeply indolent belief gaining ground that the Victorian scrapbook which contains Maybrick’s effective confession has actually long-since been proven to be a forgery when, of course, it has not. As recently as June 2015, Channel 5 in the UK broadcast Conspiracy: The Missing Evidence - an account naming Charles Cross as the offender. The producers tersely dismissed the Maybrick journal with a picture of him and the words “A diary confessing to the murders was a forgery”. This claim may or may not one day be proven to be true, but it has certainly never yet been proven so, but such proof is clearly never going to be required when it can simply be collectively assumed to be so.

    Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, the case against James Maybrick is in significant danger of being lost to Ripperology due to the fecklessness of those who know almost nothing of it, and who have studied little of it, and who ultimately care little for it. The power of the mob gives it the right to make the rules, but that power dies with the mob, and at that time history’s green shoots of recovery will begin to emerge. It may not yet be in our time for the mob’s voice booms loudly amongst the digital pages, but it is for more than simply the record that one makes the case against Maybrick and hopes that its green shoots may not be too quickly trampled upon in the rush to derision and disdain. Your role is to ignore the calls of the harassing mob and to see the evidence for what it is – to see it in context and to see it in time.

    Bringing together the core evidence against Maybrick and highlighting the extensive nature of the unfortunate conspiracy of fate against him (in the unlikely event that he were ever to be proven innocent of those infamous crimes) seems an imperative at this time as – without it – there seems little hope that the breadth and depth of evidence against him will ever be properly considered again nor that there will be this opportunity renewed to convict him in a court of law in our living years.

    The core published works are well enough known though it would appear they are each predominantly ill-read, if read at all. Thus, drawing primarily on the main published works in this case, and directing the jury’s attention to a basic timeline of events, it is possible to make a case against James Maybrick which would be extremely likely to stand up in any court of law, both then and now, celestial or otherwise. The mob may bay at the door, but this court must be closed to its guttural choir of confused and ill-informed criticism and concern. You, the members of the jury, must not be swayed by the brutes milling outside the Old Bailey for the truth must be spoken without fear of retribution.

    Beware – history (as well as the mob) strips away the very life out of the man

    We have all lived in the dull, abstracted, over-published world of the Whitechapel murders for 127 years, but James Maybrick lived and breathed in the light of day - the sunlight and the storms - of the actual 1888 with all of its subtleties which time has peeled away and which the plain pages of a book cannot capture from such a distance. He lived in the time of the crimes, and his sensory life was a universe of riches more intense than simply a journal he kept in his office, or any of a thousand books which followed over the long journey from then to now. He had flesh and bones, he had emotions (however irrational and indiscernible to us), he had hopes, ambitions, and the vulnerabilities of a man approaching and then entering his sixth decade.

    So we should be circumspect and cautious before we dismiss possible context which was unequivocally pertinent - if perhaps prosaic - to him but which may seem of no consequence to us, here now down down the long line looking back with the natural scientific absolutism of our unremitting retrospect; our expecting only the obvious, anticipating only the rational, when dealing with a human being who lived a life – as we all do – free of the constraints which later tether those who remain to the simplistic binaries of the cold light; a man whose moments on the earth were as ours – daily as deep as his all-too human soul could reach into the warm glow of hot blood and the unpredictable eye and mind. So the fact he may have been influenced by the early football results shouldn’t be overlooked nor too easily dismissed.

    And so to a little-noted coincidence of events which may prove to be important

    It is indeed a little-noted fact – and yet one that may be apposite here - that two obsessions which today grip large sections of the world’s population effectively began on the same day during the Autumn of Terror in 1888. On Friday, August 31, 1888 the first canonical victim of the Whitechapel murderer was killed. Eight days later, on Saturday, September 8, 1888, the second killing took place not long after dawn. Around this time, James Maybrick sent his first ‘Jack the Ripper’ rhyme (more of that later) and our obsession with the ‘Whitechapel Murderer’ had truly begun. Around nine hours after Annie Chapman’s death, in the mid-afternoon when the nation’s presses were gearing-up to announce ‘Another Gruesome Murder!’ in the east end of London and for all we know at the same time as Maybrick was writing his first ‘Jack the Ripper’ communication, the world’s first ever organised league format for association football unassumingly kicked off in the north-west of England. Our obsession with league football had also truly begun.

    Today, there are football leagues in more or less every country in the world and the functioning of these leagues is now well-established – three points for a win, one point for a draw, no points for a defeat, with teams sorted according first to their points acquired - but in those very earliest days, the organisers had given no consideration to the need for differential points to be awarded according to the result of the game and the first league tables as such were determined solely on the basis of which team had acquired the most wins. The concept of the win, then, was critical in the first few months of the new football league. It was not until November 1888 that the decision was taken to award points based upon the outcome of each game and that the league table should be ordered on points earned rather than simply games won. As a sporting man – he was a member of the Liverpool Cricket Club and a regular at the racing – Maybrick is more than likely to have had at least a passing interest in the newly organised sport of association football.

    Begging here the jury’s indulgence and forbearance

    James Maybrick’s local team – Everton – kicked off their league campaign on September 8, 1888 at home against Accrington Stanley and they won by two goals to one. It could never be proven, of course, and it is a complete flight of fancy to suppose it were so, but it is at least theoretically possible that James Maybrick himself had made it back from Whitechapel by early afternoon and joined the impressive 10,000 crowd which had amassed at Anfield to witness that historic moment in the history of what would become the world’s most obsessively-followed sport.

    Whether he attended the game or not, as a sporting man, it is perfectly likely that James Maybrick was at very least aware of the momentous events occurring six miles away from his home on that day, and just as likely that he read about them in the Sunday newspapers the following day and each Sunday thereafter, therefore planting the concept of the ‘win’ very firmly in his mind. What can be shown - in good time - is that the arrival of league football could well have played a critical role in explaining the thoroughly esoteric Goulston Street graffito, and finally – after 127 years – provide a rationale for what appears otherwise to be a quite irrational message scrawled in chalk in a doorway in Whitechapel just an hour or so after the ‘double event’.


    Twenty-odd years after the publication of Shirley Harrison’s The Diary of Jack the Ripper, there seems no great contention around James Maybrick’s misuse of drugs – primarily arsenic and strychnine. Arsenic is an aphrodisiac which gives the user a sense of strength and virility. The evidence shows that Maybrick was an arsenic-abuser and the journal written by him confirms this. It further informs us that Maybrick had become aware of a dalliance between his estranged wife Florence and some unknown suitor. This provides us with the context for Maybrick’s murderous rage brewing against initially his wife and her supposed lover who between them are referred to consistently as ‘the whore’ and ‘the whoremaster’ throughout the journal. There is strong evidence that Maybrick was taking arsenic to treat malaria which he contracted in 1877 in Norfolk, Virginia [5, p212] but it was also a treatment for syphilis so – if this was his reason for first taking it - this may have contributed to his distaste for sex workers. Either way, the journal makes clear that Florence’s affair was the principle driving force behind what he referred to as his ‘campaign’.

    Maybrick’s rage required an outlet but it could not be focused upon the two key players (Florence and her lover) as this would have immediately drawn attention to Maybrick himself. As a surrogate release for his drug-fuelled anger, Maybrick gradually decided to target actual sex workers themselves. To distance himself as far as possible from his intended crimes, he further decided to target his victims in Whitechapel in London, an area he knew very well from his business association with Gustavus Witt who operated out of Cullum Street (an eleven minute walk today from Maybrick’s rented room in Middlesex Street), and from his relationship with a long-term mistress and possibly even wife, Sarah Ann Robertson.

    Maybrick wished to capture his thoughts so that he could relive them again and again. In deciding to start doing so, he appears to have been at his office in the Knowlsey Buildings in Liverpool and – presumably – had neither access to a stationery shop nor found more conventional materials to hand as he chose to detail his plans in a scrapbook which contained photographs and memorabilia of the company. This was a strange choice to say the least, but one which he nevertheless made. He does not appear to have intended this document to be an historical record and – if he had – there seems little doubt that he would have chosen a more appropriate device. Either way, ladies and gentlemen of the jury, it is not for us to denounce a confession simply because we don’t like what it is written in! That may well be fine for the Defence, but it is not fine for the jury in this or any other trial.

    The scrapbook must have been seldom accessed as Maybrick clearly did not expect to have to produce it again. When he was asked about it by his clerk Thomas Lowry, the stupidity of his choice became apparent and he was forced to tear out the earliest pages and return the photographs and memorabilia separately, presumably with some story around what had caused the damage and the ‘loss’ of the scrapbook.

    Can we now, in the light of Maybrick’s confession, here now down down the long line yet find evidence of the man in the scenes of crimes themselves and thereby finally speed the man to the judgement of the gallows and the tight rope of justice at long last? The Prosecution believes that it can and begs only that the jury is diligent in considering the facts, remaining open to possibility, and then on the established facts dispenses the terrible justice Maybrick has dodged for so long.


    When Maybrick committed his first Whitechapel murder in the early hours of Friday August 31, 1888 he does not appear to have left anything of himself at the scene of the crime. The act of leaving clues – so common to serial killers ever since – was unheard-of and it was only by the time he committed his second capital murder a week later that the thought to do so had taken hold in Maybrick.

    Inadvertently, however, he may well have placed himself in the vicinity. The Liverpool Echo reported on Saturday, September 1 under the heading ‘Who is Jim?’ [3, p115]:

    There is another point of some importance on which the police rely. It is the statement of John Morgan, a coffee stall keeper, who says that a woman whose description answers that given him of the victim, called at his stall, three minutes walk from Buck’s Row early yesterday morning. She was accompanied by a man whom she addressed as ’Jim’.

    It appears that the description of the man named Jim given by Morgan to the authorities did not match that of Maybrick so we should not read too much into what may have been no more than a coincidence. Nevertheless, if ‘Jim’ had been Maybrick, he was clearly intending to kill Polly Nicholls at some point after the purchase of the coffee, so it may well have been the case that Maybrick was indeed ‘Jim’ and that he therefore intentionally avoided close contact with Morgan, thereby preventing a more accurate description being given. A calculating murderer is rarely also a fool.


    At his second Whitechapel murder site, Maybrick left what he believed to be two clues. He left his ‘mark’ – the letter ‘M’ – for the first time; here on the envelope in which his victim had carried some pills. He also left a piece of muslin which he had possibly brought for this very purpose. Muslin is a cotton fabric of plain weave, and Maybrick of course was a cotton merchant. In his journal, he wrote after the murder of Annie Chapman:

    I have left the stupid fools a clue which I am sure they will not solve.

    He was right. That piece of muslin has sat in the records for 127 years with barely a thought given to its possible purpose.


    And Jack the Ripper is Created

    Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, after two murders in Whitechapel, and the press quickly railing against the unfortunate if thoroughly enigmatic ‘Leather Apron’, Maybrick decided he needed to inject himself into the record more substantially. So he gave himself a ‘serial killer’ name long before serial killers earned such names, and he did so by noting that the first and last two letters of his name formed the name ‘Jack’. He then made his sock puppet exquisitely frightening by declaring that ‘Jack’ was a ‘ripper’ – the ideal sobriquet to terrorise the east end of London and way beyond.

    Despite the general belief that the infamous nom de plume of ‘Jack the Ripper’ was first on the record in the September 25 ‘Dear Boss’ letter, the reality is that it is first noted not long after the murder of Annie Chapman [2, p273] on September 8. It was a simple rhyme written in red ink on a postcard sent to a press office, and it read:

    I’m not an alien maniac
    Nor yet a foreign tripper
    I’m just your jolly, lively friend,
    Yours truly – Jack the Ripper

    Maybrick had given the world its most infamous criminal alias some two weeks prior to the Central News receiving ‘Dear Boss’. In his journal at this very time, he writes:

    Michael would be proud of my funny little rhyme for he knows only too well the art of verse.


    So anyway, back to the football. Preston North End would eventually win that inaugural football league competition without suffering a defeat. They would win the FA Cup at the same time (in 1889), thereby justifying the title they acquired which has rung down the years – the ‘Invincibles’. On that second Saturday of the first season - September 15, 1888 - North End were in imperious form, winning by four goals to nil away from home against Wolverhampton Wanderers. Bizarrely, Maybrick’s likely reading of this in the following day’s newspapers may well have been the catalyst for part of what became the Goulston Street graffito some two weeks later. For him, it was context, if for us it may seem completely unrelated and irrelevant detail.


    On Monday, September 17, 1888, James Maybrick wrote the first letter on record in which he signed himself ‘Jack the Ripper’ [2, p301]. This letter is critical as it predates the ‘Dear Boss’ letter by 8 days thereby making irrelevant the claims that it and the subsequent ‘Saucy Jacky’ postcard were the creations ‘of an enterprising journalist’. They may have been, and they may not have been – but neither case matters as they clearly weren’t the first of what was already becoming a genre. The September 17 letter was discovered in 1988 by Peter McClelland. What is remarkable about this letter is that it uses phrases intimately reminiscent of the Maybrick journal, and - as shown by Casebook contributor Tempus Omnia Revelat – it is even written in a very similar hand to that which wrote the Maybrick journal. Commentators have stated that the September 17 letter is a hoax, but they have not offered an explanation as to how the hoaxer managed to slip such a falsehood into a sealed report envelope in the British Public Record Office at least five years before the journal was published. Occam’s razor would state that the theory that it is a hoax is eminently more complex than that it is genuine and that – until some shred of evidence is produced to suggest that it is a hoax – it should be considered genuine. Feldman [2, p420] states:

    Peter McClelland was given permission by Mr Odell of the PRO at Kew … to look through the original Home Office Ripper files. Although the files are now on microfilm, Mr McClelland was having difficulty in reading the microfilmed documents and was allowed access to the originals. He found the 17 September letter in a report folder that had become stuck over the years. He gently opened it with his thumbnail. The letter is in blue ink. This led McClelland to conclude that because it was never made public the writer, believing that he had made no impact on the Home Office, sent his next letters in red ink to the news agency.

    Perhaps Maybrick also chose to write in formal copperplate so that his September 25 letter (‘Dear Boss’) should be taken more seriously. That’s no longer possible to prove, but it is clear that the September 17 letter provideds the context for the September 25 ‘Dear Boss’ letter, the subsequent ‘Saucy Jacky’ postcard, and even the ‘Lusk Letter’. This is probably why this first communication (the September 17 Letter) is assumed to be a hoax – because it conveniently acts as a spur to its famous progeny. It’s a non sequitur, of course, to make such a claim but in a Ripperworld suddenly obsessed by the fear of being hoaxed, it has generally been accepted (without any evidence to suggest it) to be thus and thus it commonly is now held to be. But – for the benefit of our timeline – the handwriting matches the journal’s, and the journal – still keeping the end in mind here - is clearly the work of James Maybrick.


    Eight more days passed. Maybrick had posted a ‘Jack the Ripper’ rhyme and then a letter, but neither had received the attention he was expecting so he stepped-up the pace a little. On Tuesday, September 25, 1888, the ‘Dear Boss’ letter was written, this time in red ink and in formal copperplate. It was designed to say ‘Take me seriously’ and – after a short delay – it was. Maybrick sent it to the Central News and it was not passed on to the Metropolitan Police until the Thursday of that week. The September 17 letter furnishes ‘Dear Boss’, ‘Saucy Jacky’, and the ‘Lusk Letter’ with a name (‘Jack the Ripper’) and a ‘slogan’ (‘Catch me if you Can’) so it is of little consequence whether Maybrick wrote them or not. As it happens, and as will be shown, a postcard sent on October 6 indicates that Maybrick probably did write the ‘Dear Boss’ letter and therefore the ‘Saucy Jacky’ postcard. For the sake of the present analysis, we will assume that he did though it genuinely matters not given that the name was already in the record, albeit buried too deep for common awareness, and certainly too deep for a hoaxer of the common stock to source too easily one wet weekend in the late 1980s or early 1990s.


    Where Maybrick really leaves his mark

    Interrupted in the act of killing Elizabeth Stride, Maybrick did not have the opportunity to leave any clues to his identity at the site of his first murder that evening. At the site of his second murder, he left two clues intentionally and one inadvertently.

    The first intentional clue was his second attempt at leaving a reference to his trade when he placed a strand of cotton in one of Eddowes’ boxes. According to Harrison [3, p79], this was not included on the police list. In his journal, Maybrick later wrote in verse regarding the Eddowes murder:

    Oh Mr Abberline, he is a clever little man
    he keeps back all that he can
    For do I not know better. Indeed I do
    did I not leave him a very good clue.
    Nothing is mentioned, of this I am sure
    ask clever Abberline, could tell you more

    Looking back at his crimes, Maybrick himself may well have concluded that a strand of cotton probably didn’t inspire any great sense of wonder – but in the moment he left it, he clearly felt that it was ‘a very good clue’. Once again, what was living context to him is now ancient detail to us, barely noted down the years.

    Maybrick’s second intentional clue was left on Catherine Eddowes’ cheeks on which he carved two inverted ‘V’ shapes. In his journal, Maybrick states ‘… had a go at her eyes, left my mark …’. The two inverted ‘V’ shapes were not much remarked upon prior to the publication of the Maybrick journal, but since it they are more prominent in the history. Together, they form the ‘M’ of Maybrick, his ‘mark’. This was relatively tame stuff but within an hour or so of Eddowes’ murder, Maybrick would leave a significantly greater mark which history has struggled vainly to decipher, albeit for not much longer.

    Before he left Eddowes’ mutilated body, he inadvertently dropped his red leather cigarette case in which he kept his arsenic. The case then became listed as being amongst Eddowes’ possessions, and – because it contained arsenic – Eddowes’ body was the only one at autopsy tested for the presence of drugs. Feldman [2, p63] states:

    According to Mrs Hogg, a Virginia brothel-keeper who testified at Florence Maybrick’s trial, James frequented her brothel when he lived in the USA. Mrs Hogg stated that he kept his arsenic ‘in a cigarette case’.

    The Maybrick journal was the first time in 100 years that the red leather cigarette case as an Eddowes’ possession was questioned. In the light of the journal, it makes perfect sense. He dropped it and in the dark he left it. The police assumed it belonged to Eddowes but it belonged to James Maybrick. It is the belief of the Prosecution that were we to find that cigarette case today and test it for drugs – for arsenic or strychnine – the result would come back positive. Maybrick’s inadvertent clue could provide the absolute confirmation for those whose minds are closed to Maybrick having been the Ripper.

    And so we reach the Goulston Street graffito

    James Maybrick had not planned a ‘double event’ in the early hours of September 30 – Louis Diemschutz and his pony inadvertently caused it - but he had already planned to tear some of his victim’s clothing and he did intend to write the message in chalk which he had been unable to do at the scene of the Chapman murder on September 8 (according to the journal). He took the piece of apron because he had already written the text of the Goulston Street graffito in advance and he had already planned where he was going to write it into history. He had identified the entranceway to the Wentworth Model Dwellings in nearby Goulston Street as the perfect location for his most daring clue of all. So after the murder of Catherine Eddowes, he cut out the piece of her apron. Writers have assumed that he needed it to dry his hands and his knife, but he didn’t do this in his first two murders, and it is just as quick if not quicker to dry one’s hands and clean one’s knife in situ than it is to cut a piece of apron in order to do so later. Maybrick intentionally took that piece of apron and he walked home to his rented room in Middlesex Street where he waited for an hour or so, cleaned himself up, left his knife behind, and walked the one or two minutes to Goulston Street with the blood-covered and soiled piece of apron safely wrapped up in a pocket. Once he reached the relative solitude of Wentworth Dwellings, he took out his chalk and wrote his enigmatic message on the jamb of the entranceway exactly as he had practiced many times back home in Liverpool.

    After he had completed it and after he had checked that he had not been observed and that it was safe to leave again, he removed the apron from his pocket and dropped it beneath the message where he fully intended for it to be found because without the apron his cryptic, teasing message clearly could not be associated with Jack the Ripper. He needed that link to be made. Two minutes later, he was back in his rented room in Middlesex Street, doubtless enthralled by both his gall and his luck at having executed such a manoeuvre so soon after committing a double murder with police patrolling the very streets he had just calmly walked along.

    The Goulston Street graffito has plagued Ripper commentators for well over a century. Many meanings have been ascribed to the word ‘Juwes’. Different spellings of the word itself and even conflicting structures of the graffito have also entered the record. Despite the retrospective travesty of Warren’s having the graffito expunged, he did at least have the presence of mind to request that it was correctly transcribed before being removed and it is to the official transcription that we should turn if we want to review the most likely version of what has commonly been believed to be the Whitechapel murderer’s only clue.

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    The overall message of the Goulston Street graffito has never been determined, though many interpretations of it have been attempted. As we will now see, the reality is that there is no meaning at all to the Goulston Street graffito. This is one of those rare occasions where the whole is not greater than the sum of its parts, and may even be less than it. Maybrick wrote the Goulston Street graffito as a taunting clue, but he not unreasonably wrote it cryptically as he clearly had no intention of being caught. He had the gallows to face if he was too reckless, so not unreasonably he would have taken care not to be so. He wanted the excitement of the act, without the risk of the consequences. That was his right to do so, and he exercised it and exercised it rather well. His purpose was to place himself firmly into the crime scene without actually making it so obvious that anyone who knew him would identify him through it. He used cryptology and – in so doing – he rather splendidly fooled the all-too literal world of Ripperology for well over a hundred years.

    And so the Maybrick name is writ large upon it

    For those who are familiar with the Harrison and Feldman works, the word ‘Juwes’ – complete with leading capital – has been interpreted as James Maybrick’s cryptic attempt to enter his own name into the case, something which the journal supports with the line ‘If they are to insist that I am a Jew then a Jew I shall be’.

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    This is truly implausible stuff. The stuff of legends, hidden in a field of dreams. The name ‘James’ can clearly be discerned in the opening sentence. Replete with otherwise-incorrect and quite unnecessary capital letter, Maybrick placed himself into history, just as his journal implied he would. Very clever indeed, Sir Jim.

    Pause – take a deep breath - the list of the unnamed is very long indeed

    There is no small coincidence, our being able to see in the Goulston Street graffito James’ name. It is absolutely pivotal to the case against James Maybrick and simply cannot be over-stated. There were thousands of popular male names in the Victorian period (easily accessed in modern times via the internet), but few if any will be discerned in the Goulston Street graffito. This point is well worthy of the labouring.

    Look as hard as you might, you won’t find Aaron, Abe, Abel, Abner, Abraham, Abram, Adam, Addie, Addison, Adelbert, Admiral, Adolph, Adolphus, Adrian, Alan, Albert, Alberto, Albin, Alden, Alec, Alex, Alexander, Alfonso, Alford, Alfred, Alfredo, Allan, Allen, Allison, Alois, Alonza, Alonzo, Aloysius, Alpha, Alphonse, Alphonso, Alton, Alva, Alvah, Alvie, Alvin, Alvis, Ambrose, Amos, Anderson, Andres, Andrew, Angelo, Angus, Ansel, Anson, Anthony, Anton, Antone, Antonio, Arch, Archibald, Archie, Arley, Arlie, Armand, Arnold, Aron, Arther, Arthur, Artie, Arvid, Asa, Ashley, Aubrey, August, Augustine, Augustus, Austin, Avery, nor Axel.

    Similarly absent will be Bailey, Barney, Bart, Bartholomew, Barton, Basil, Baxter, Benedict, Benjamin, Bennett, Benton, Bernard, Bernie, Berry, Bert, Bertie, Bertram, Bertrand, Billy, Bishop, Blaine, Blair, Booker, Boss, Boyd, Bradford, Bradley, Brady, Brice, Brooks, Brown, Bruce, Bruno, Bryan, Bryant, Buck, Bud, Buford, Burl, Burley, Burr, Burrell, Burton, Buster, Butler, Byron, Cal, Caleb, Calvin, Carey, Carl, Carleton, Carlos, Carlton, Carroll, Carson, Carter, Cary, Casper, Cecil, Charles, Chauncey, Chesley, Chester, Christ, Christian, Christopher, Cicero, Clarence, Clark, Claud, Claude, Clay, Clayton, Clement, Cleo, Cletus, Cleve, Cleveland, Clifford, Clifton, Clint, Clinton, Clovis, Cloyd, Clyde, Coleman, Colonel, Columbus, Connie, Conrad, Corbett, Cornelius, Courtney, Coy, Crawford, Curley, Curtis, Cyril, and Cyrus.

    Indiscernible will be Dallas, Dalton, Damon, Daniel, Darrell, David, Davis, Dayton, Dean, Delbert, Delmar, Dennis, Denver, Dewey, Dewitt, Dexter, Dillard, Dominic, Donald, Dorsey, Douglas, Doyle, Dudley, Duke, Duncan, Dwight, Earl, Earle, Early, Earnest, Edgar, Edison, Edmond, Edmund, Eduardo, Edward, Egbert, Elbert, Elder, Eldon, Eldridge, Elias, Eliga, Eligah, Elige, Elijah, Elliot, Elliott, Ellis, Ellsworth, Ellwood, Elmer, Elmo, Elmore, Elton, Elvin, Elvis, Elwin, Elwood, Elza, Elzie, Emanuel, Emerson, Emery, Emil, Emile, Emmit, Emory, Ennis, Enoch, Enos, Ephraim, Eric, Erick, Ernest, Ernie, Ernst, Ervin, Erwin, Essie, Eugene, Evan, Evans, Everett, Evert, Ezekiel, Ezra, Felipe, Felix, Ferdinand, Finis, Finley, Fitzhugh, Fletcher, Florian, Floyd, Ford, Forest, Forrest, Foster, Frances, Francis, Francisco, Frank, Franklin, Fred, Freddie, Frederic, Fredrick, Freeman, French, Fritz, Furman, Gabe, Gabriel, Gail, Gale, Garfield, Garland, Garnett, Garrett, Gary, Gaston, Gaylord, Gene, General, George, Gerald, Gerard, Gerhard, Gertrude, Gilbert, Giles, Glen, Glenn, Glover, Godfrey, Golden, Gordon, Grace, Grady, Graham, Grant, Granville, Green, Gregorio, Gregory, Grover, Guadalupe, Gus, Guss, Gust, Gustaf, Gustav, Gustave, and Guy.

    You will struggle to locate Hal, Hallie, Hamilton, Hamp, Hampton, Hans, Hardy, Harlan, Harley, Harmon, Harold, Harper, Harris, Harrison, Harry, Harve, Harvey, Haskell, Hayden, Hayes, Hayward, Haywood, Heber, Hector, Helmer, Henderson, Henry, Herbert, Herman, Hermon, Herschel, Hershel, Hezekiah, Hillard, Hilliard, Hilton, Hiram, Hobart, Hobert, Hobson, Hollis, Homer, Horace, Hosea, Houston, Howard, Howell, Hoyt, Hubert, Hudson, Huey, Hugh, Hugo, Hunter, Hurley, Hyman, Ignacio, Ignatius, Ike, Ira, Irl, Irvin, Irving, Irwin, Isaac, Isadore, Isaiah, Isham, Isiah, Isidore, Isom, Israel, Issac, Ivan, Ivey, Ivory, Ivy, Jack, Jackson, Jacob, Jake, Jason, Jasper, Jay, Jeff, Jefferson, Jennings, Jeremiah, Jerome, Jerry, Jess, Jesse, Jessie, Jesus, Jewel, Jimmy, Jodie, Joe, Joel, Joesph, John, Johnnie, Johnson, Jonah, Jonas, Jonathan, Jones, Jonnie, Jordan, Jose, Joseph, Josh, Joshua, Josiah, Juan, Judge, Judson, Julian, Julius, Junior, Junius, Justin, Karl, Keith, Kenneth, King, Kirby, Kirk, Kyle, Lacy, Lafayette, Lamar, Lambert, Larkin, Larry, Laurence, Lawrence, Lawson, Leander, Lee, Leigh, Leland, Lem, Lemon, Lemuel, Len, Lenard, Lennie, Leo, Leon, Leonard, Leopold, Leroy, Leslie, Lester, Levi, Levy, Lige, Lillian, Lillie, Lincoln, Lindsay, Linwood, Lionel, Llewellyn, Lloyd, Logan, Lon, Lonie, Lonnie, Lonzo, Loren, Lorenzo, Lou, Louie, Louis, Lowell, Loy, Loyal, Loyd, Lucas, Lucian, Lucien, Lucious, Lucius, Ludwig, Luis, Luke, Lum, Luther, Lyle, Lyman, or Lynn.

    Mac isn’t there, nor is Mack, Madison, Mahlon, Major, Malcolm, Manley, Mannie, Manuel, Marcellus, Marcus, Mark, Marshall, Mart, Martin, Marvin, Mason, Mat, Mathew, Mathias, Matt, Matthew, Mattie, Maurice, Max, Maxie, Maxwell, Maynard, Mckinley, Melton, Melville, Melvin, Merl, Merle, Merlin, Merrill, Merritt, Merton, Mervin, Meyer, Miguel, Mike, Mildred, Miles, Milford, Millard, Miller, Milo, Milton, Minnie, Minor, Mitchel, Mitchell, Monroe, Mont, Morgan, Morris, Mortimer, Morton, Mose, Moses, Murphy, Murray, Murry, Myles, Myron, Napoleon, Nat, Nathan, Nathaniel, Neal, Ned, Neil, Nels, Nelson, Newell, Newman, Newt, Newton, Nicholas, Nick, Noah, Noble, Noel, Nolan, Norbert, Norman, Norris, Oakley, Obie, Ocie, Odell, Odie, Odis, Okey, Olaf, Ole, Olen, Olin, Oliver, Ollie, Omar, Omer, Ora, Oral, Oran, Orange, Oren, Orie, Orin, Orion, Orlando, Orlo, Orrin, Orval, Orville, Oscar, Ossie, Oswald, Otha, Otho, Otis, Ottis, Otto, Owen, Pablo, Palmer, Paris, Park, Parker, Pat, Patrick, Paul, Pedro, Percival, Percy, Perley, Perry, Pete, Peter, Peyton, Phil, Philip, Phillip, Pierce, Pierre, Pink, Pleas, Pleasant, Porter, Preston, Price, Prince, Quincy, Rafael, Raleigh, Ralph, Ramon, Randall, Randolph, Ransom, Raphael, Ray, Raymond, Reed, Reese, Reginald, Reid, Reinhold, Reuben, Rex, Richard, Richmond, Riley, Robert, Rocco, Roderick, Rodney, Roe, Roger, Rogers, Roland, Rolla, Rolland, Rollie, Rollin, Roman, Romeo, Ronald, Roosevelt, Roscoe, Ross, Roswell, Rowland, Roy, Royal, Royce, Rube, Ruben, Rubin, Ruby, Rudolph, Ruel, Rufus, Rupert, Rush, or Russell.

    Finally, also absent are Salvatore, Sam, Sammie, Sampson, Samuel, Sanders, Sandy, Sanford, Santiago, Saul, Scott, Selmer, Seth, Seymour, Shelby, Shelly, Shelton, Sherman, Sid, Sidney, Silas, Sim, Simeon, Simon, Smith, Sol, Solomon, Son, Spencer, Spurgeon, Squire, Stacy, Stanley, Stephen, Sterling, Steve, Steven, Stewart, Stuart, Sullivan, Sumner, Sydney, Sylvester, Talmage, Taylor, Ted, Terrence, Terry, Thad, Thaddeus, Theo, Theodore, Theron, Thornton, Thurman, Tillman, Tim, Timothy, Tobe, Tommie, Tommy, Toney, Tony, Travis, Troy, Truman, Turner, Ulysses, Urban, Valentine, Van, Vance, Vaughn, Vern, Verne, Verner, Vernie, Vernon, Victor, Vincent, Virgil, Vivian, Wade, Waldo, Walker, Wallace, Walter, Walton, Ward, Warner, Warren, Wash, Washington, Watson, Waverly, Wayman, Wayne, Webb, Webster, Weldon, Wellington, Wendell, Wesley, West, Wheeler, Wilber, Wilbert, Wilbur, Wilburn, Wiley, Wilford, Wilfred, Willard,, Willie, Willis, Wilmer, Wilson, Wilton, Winfield, Winfred, Winston, Wong, Worth, Wright, Wyatt, Wylie, Young, Zack, Zeb, and Zollie.

    That’s just over 800 names. Eight hundred common Victorian male names are absent from the Goulston Street graffito. The complete list would run into the thousands, but few if any would be found however contrived your eye as you looked. And yet ‘James’ was there, right at the start, right where he left it in front for all to see, replete with an otherwise unnecessary capital ‘J’.

    This is not a trivial point. Thousands of names did not make their cryptic ways into the Goulston Street graffito but ‘James’ did.

    Oh – and so did his brother Thomas …

    A representative few hundred Victorian male names cannot be located in the Goulston Street graffito and yet we can not only discern the name ‘James’, but we can also detect the name of his brother Thomas on the second line and - like his cryptic entry for ‘James’ - he included the leading capital which would otherwise not have been required:

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    The same number of letters in the right – though obviously cryptic - order, starting with an otherwise unnecessary capital ‘T’. Extraordinarily implausible.

    But not as implausible as also locating their brother William in the same text

    Not content with embedding one brother into the text, on the third and fourth lines, he also wrote his brother William into the text – for the third time giving the otherwise grammatically incorrect leading capital:

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    That only leaves Edwin and Michael. And amazingly enough they too appear.

    And thence to Edwin Maybrick and at last the influence of the Football League

    On the fourth and fifth lines, he wrote his brother Edwin into the text. He evidently felt that to be more literal was too dangerous so he buried Edwin’s name into the end of ‘Blamed’ and added the missing ‘win’ in the form of a score line – 4-0:

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    Maybrick presumably tried many times and many ways in his office back in Liverpool to write ‘Michael’ into his text for the chalked message he had first thought to leave on September 8 (when he had frustrated himself by forgetting the chalk) and which he did eventually leave on September 30. He also presumably reached a point where he felt to do so was too difficult or plain too dangerous. Whatever was the reality, he managed to place his famous brother’s initials on the wall.

    And so to Michael Maybrick

    Back on the third line, if we invert the word ‘Will’, we find the initials ‘MM’ which represent his final brother, Michael Maybrick:

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    There was only one other significant adult member of Maybrick’s family left, and that was of course his erring spouse, Florrie. She too makes it into Maybrick’s masterful clue.

    And so finally to Florence Maybrick

    Florence Maybrick’s contribution to the Goulston Street graffito rather neatly answers a compelling part of it – namely, that the leading ‘B’ in ‘Blamed’ is not only unnecessarily-capitalised but is also utterly enigmatic. If it has been felicitously copied from the wall, then it clearly stands distinctly aside from the rest of the word it appears to lead. The left-hand edge of the ‘B’ is unnaturally-sculptured, and in reality is much more like the ‘f’ in ‘for nothing’ below it. If one removes the ‘f’ from the ‘B’ one is left with an ‘M’ turned on its side, designed to read unthinkingly at the time – and ultimately down the generations - as a ‘B’ but actually intended to represent ‘fM’, the initials of Maybrick’s ‘whoring’ wife Florence.

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    This is truly extraordinary stuff indeed. It seems that Maybrick placed all of his significant adult family members into the Goulston Street graffito, not simply his own.

    Note the familiar hand, ladies and gentlemen!

    If this all seems a stretch of credulity too far, the author of the Maybrick journal which came to public attention in 1993 wrote it in the same hand which wrote the Goulston Street graffito:

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    So the author of the journal used the writing style of the Goulston Street graffito and the September 17 letter and studiously avoided all extant examples of James Maybrick’s handwriting. If the journal were ever to be proven to be a hoax then it truly is a masterpiece as the author of it ignored the obvious (James Maybrick’s will), focused on the questionable (the Goulston Street graffito), and both forged and slipped into sealed records the thoroughly obscure (the September 17 letter). This would be first-rate gambling and a deception on a significantly grand scale. No shoddy hoax, for sure. And no wet weekend.

    So – despite there being absent the better part of a thousand or more popular male Victorian names - within the meaningless text of the Goulston Street graffito lies the subtle reference to James Maybrick, his four brothers, and his errant wife Florence – all six of the key adult players in Maybrick’s family life; and written in the same hand with which he wrote his journal:

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    Maybrick, of course, had to create the Goulston Street graffito cryptically – he had to for to have done otherwise, would have invited the hangman’s noose. He could not literally write ‘James’, ‘Thomas’, ‘William’, ‘Edwin’, ‘MM’, and ‘FM’, but he could write them cryptically, as was his right, for he was living and breathing in 1888 and the context was entirely his not ours to interpret.

    It is perfectly possible of course that these six names – all connected so intimately with James Maybrick’s life – could simply by chance and a determined eye have proven to be discernible from the famous graffito, but what an utterly implausible fact it is that such discernment is possible, even if it were ever to be proven beyond reasonable doubt to be simple misdirection? Lex parsimoniae for now again predicts that it is easier to accept that this discernment is accurate, though a barrage of denial is inevitable from those who seem determined not to consider any other possibility than that the evidence pointing at Maybrick is anything other than coincidence and imperfect hoax. The serious commentator, of course, would stop and take stock – draw breath at even just the possibility that this solves the meaning of the Goulston Street graffito - for this is no trivial point in the case.

    And here a short detour on the subject of Elvis in the Toast - Part I

    It will be quickly stated by those who do not wish James Maybrick to be unmasked as Jack the Ripper that the observations noted in the Goulston Street graffito are in fact the product of an over-active and determined mind hell bent on seeing what it wishes to see rather than what is necessarily ‘there’. This principle is generally referred to as seeing ‘Elvis in the toast’.

    The example of the Goulston Street graffito is the polar opposite of the Elvis in the Toast principle. There are millions of slices of toast made around the world every single day – hundreds of millions every year, billions every decade. It is statistically inevitable that eventually a slice of toast somewhere in the world will contain an image which looks like Elvis. In exactly the same way, the number of photographs taken of snowy mountains will inevitably eventually lead to one looking as though it bears the image of Christ. Or so many cloud formations photographed that eventually one will look as though it bears the image of Che Guevara. With toast, snowy mountains, and cloud formations there are enough examples in each set to eventually produce such an image by sheer chance alone. They are a statistician’s dream. And a charlatan’s too.

    The Goulston Street graffito is the polar opposite of this principle because it is the single entity in its set. There are not tens of Goulston Street graffiti, or hundreds, or thousands, or millions, or billions. There is just the one. And we know that there are literally hundreds – more like thousands – of names which cannot be discerned with a cryptic eye in the Goulston Street graffito, and yet the six significant adults in James Maybrick’s life are there for all to see, if the mind is open even slightly enough to do so. The odds on this happening by mere chance alone are long long odds indeed.

    The Goulston Street graffito is the polar opposite of the Elvis in the Toast principle and for that reason the latter principle should not be seriously invoked to explain it. An infinite number of monkeys tapping on typewriters for eternity will inevitably eventually produce the complete works of Shakespeare, but if that happened on the very first attempt, we would look askance at anyone who attempted to belittle it as chance or wishful thinking. In the same way, we should shake our heads in a collective disbelief if anyone attempts to belittle the astonishingly-implausible fact that the Goulston Street graffito evidentially contains cryptic references to those six people on the only occasion that Jack the Ripper left a substantial clue to his identity.

    If our minds are truly open in the investigation of the Whitechapel murders, we would see in the Goulston Street graffito clear evidence in the case against James Maybrick. It is how evidence works, and you should give due weight to it in your deliberations.


    After the ‘double event’, Maybrick wrote in his journal:

    That should give the fools a laugh, it has done so for me, wonder if they have enjoyed the name I have given? I said it would be on the lips of all, and indeed it is. Believe I will send another. Include my funny little rhyme. That will convince them that it is the truth I tell.

    Feldman [2, p274] noted that a second version of Maybrick’s initial rhyme (the post-September 8 one) was quoted in Sir Melville Macnaghten’s memoirs, and it read:

    I’m not a butcher, I’m not a Yid,
    Nor yet a foreign Skipper
    But I’m your own light-hearted friend, in
    Yours truly – Jack the Ripper

    There had been two ‘Jack the Ripper’ rhymes written by James Maybrick according to his journal, and two there duly turned out to be.


    After the publication of ‘Dear Boss’ and ‘Saucy Jacky’, the ‘Letters to the Editor’ section of the nationals rather bulged with Ripper-related missives. It was inevitable that the egomaniac which emerges from the pages of the journal should resent others claiming to be the murderer and just as inevitable that he would soon seek to claim what was and was not his. On October 3, 1888, a woman’s torso was discovered in the foundations of the New Scotland Building which was under construction on the Victoria Embankment [2, p288]. Two days later, a letter was sent to the Central News disclaiming this crime as one of Jack’s. It was brought to the police’s attention by the very T.J. Bulling who would later be accused of writing some of the ‘Jack the Ripper’ letters, and Bulling stated that this letter caught his attention as it was in the same handwriting as the ‘Dear Boss’ and ‘Saucy Jacky’ communications which he had previously handed over to the police. What is intriguing about this letter is that it is not amongst the obvious canon of Ripper letters and yet it mirrored the Maybrick journal in many aspects – for example, it used pseudo-religious imagery to justify the Ripper’s crimes, and claimed that his next murders would be a ‘treble event’. To be specific, the author of the October 5 letter stated:

    I must get to work tomorrow treble event this time yes yes three must be ripped.

    Feldman states [2, p289]:

    Astonishingly, in the very next entry after the double event (30 September), the diarist had written: ‘Will visit the city of whores soon, very soon. I wonder if I could do three?’

    The October 5 letter writer stated further:

    I never harm any others or the Divine power that protects and helps me in my grand work would quit forever.

    Feldman [2, p289] notes:

    In the diary, in the entry following the boast of ‘three next time’, the author wrote: ‘I am convinced God placed me here to kill all whores, for he must have done so, am I still not here. Nothing will stop me now.

    There can be little doubt that the author of the journal either wrote both it and the October 5 letter or else the former was built around the latter. If a hoax, it is again clearly no shoddy hoax.


    When a photo fit of James Maybrick is published

    On Saturday, October 6, 1888, the Daily Telegraph published two artist impressions of a suspect who by then was known as Jack the Ripper [2, first set of plates]. The same artist impressions were published two days later in the Liverpool Echo [3, p157]. One had a moustache, and the other did not. The one with the moustache bore a more than passable likeness to James Maybrick. (This image has been claimed to be of Michael Maybrick, but it transpires that it was indeed James Maybrick after all.)

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    Maybrick realises that he has been seen!

    From the date on his reply (also October 6), it would appear that Maybrick saw the artist impressions in the Daily Telegraph. It is not clear on which witness’s recollections they were drawn – possibly Lawende, Schwartz, or Packer - but Maybrick wrote a threatening postcard to at least one of them stating ‘Now I know you know me’, presumably because he was deeply concerned that he had been seen and that they could therefore identify him at some point in the future. What is critical about this postcard is that it appears to have also been written in the hand which wrote the ‘Dear Boss’ and ‘Saucy Jacky’ missives. This gives credence to the belief that Maybrick wrote all three (probably, therefore, all four if one includes the October 5 letter).


    During this period, Maybrick had become increasingly influenced by the news that hundreds of letters claiming to be from ‘Jack the Ripper’ were now flooding in to the press and police. With a child-like egomania, he was concerned that others were taking from him the right to crow about the events in Whitechapel, and he could not stop himself from responding to what he was reading in the newspapers.

    On Tuesday, October 8, the highly-parochial Liverpool Echo published a letter from Ireland claiming responsibility for the Whitechapel crimes. This letter prompted the third most significant clue that Maybrick was the Whitechapel murderer (after the journal and watch, and the Goulston Street graffito). Replying the following day, Maybrick stated that someone was ‘gulling the public’ [3, p147]. Maybrick signed his letter ‘Jack the Ripper’ and in an attempt to reassure the reader that he truly was the newly-infamous murderer, he added ‘(Genuine)’. Not content that this would be sufficient, he added further ‘Diego Laurenz’ in capitals. This is Maybrick’s cryptic mind at work again: ‘Diego’ is of course the Spanish form of James, and ‘Laurenz’ is a more than passable rhyme for ‘Florence’. Maybrick had placed himself once again solidly in the pantheon of Ripper candidates and in a way which no other has ever even vaguely approached, however contrived the eye.


    James Maybrick met Mary Jane Kelly in the early hours of Friday, November 9, 1888. They both then met George Hutchinson who thus provided one of the most detailed witness statements on record. Hutchinson’s description [3, p165] described Maybrick as:

    … of a dark ‘foreign’ appearance, respectable, wearing a long dark coat with astrakhan collar and cuffs; a dark jacket and trousers; light waistcoat, dark felt hat ‘turned down in the middle’; button-boots with spats; a linen collar; and a black tie with a horseshoe pin. A thick gold chain was displayed over his waistcoat and he carried a small package. He was 34 or 35 years old, 5’ 6” tall, with a pale complexion and a slight moustache curled up at the end.

    The age is out by a substantial amount, though we should be well aware by now that witness statements are notoriously inaccurate and James Maybrick’s lifestyle would not have aged him in quite the way a typical Whitechapel lifestyle would have done. What is key about this description is that it is clear that the Ripper dressed well – certainly as well as one would expect a cotton merchant to be able to afford. This does not provide any evidence that the criminal was Maybrick, of course, but it significantly points away from any suggestion that he was working-class or lower in social status.

    The police fortunately photographed the Kelly crime scene as they discovered it on November 9, and within one of the photographs is clear evidence which links directly to the Maybrick journal in which he had written:

    An initial here an initial there
    Will tell of the whoring mother

    The ‘whoring mother’ is of course his wife Florence Maybrick, and her initials are unequivocally to be located in the famous Kelly photograph. An ‘FM’ together are evident on her wall, and a single ‘F’ is clearly carved into her left arm.

    It takes a great deal of determined effort to not see Florence Maybrick’s initials on Mary Jane Kelly’s wall a foot or so to the left of the bedstead. Two arch-critics of the journal – Phillip Sugden and Trevor Marriott – each published magnificent examples of these initials which they themselves presumably couldn’t see. Even Simon Wood who first identified the initials in 1988 when they didn’t mean anything miraculously couldn’t see them again when they unexpectedly and very inconveniently did. Many contributors to the Jack the Ripper Casebook state that they cannot see the initials. Fortunately, enough do that sanity is permitted to prevail and the balance permitted to be struck.

    The best example in the entire literature is arguably Marriott’s. The ‘F’ is clear enough, but the ‘M’ is unequivocal, and even demonstrates the familiar rising second-half so familiar to any reader of the Maybrick journal.

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    Kelly photograph Maybrick journal

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    The Complete History of Jack the Ripper, Phillip Sugden, 2006, Constable & Robinson Ltd.

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    Jack the Ripper: The 21st Century Investigation, Trevor Marriott, 2007, John Blake Publishing Ltd.

    It is not possible from the extant photographs of Kelly’s room to know where else – if at all – Maybrick placed his wife’s initials, but there can be no doubt whatsoever that Sugden and Marriott show clearly that Maybrick wrote his wife’s initials on Kelly’s wall. There is also a very obvious ‘F’ carved into her left arm; and for those who do not accept Casebook contributor Tempus Omnia Revelat’s suggestion of an ‘M’ having been manufactured from Kelly’s chemise, there is always the position of her legs which form an admittedly inarticulate ‘M’. Again, the context of Maybrick’s actions belong very firmly with him, and never with us – it was for him and him alone to decide whether these examples of his wife’s initials met his cryptic expectations and whether one example was more to his liking than any other. It is not for us to dismiss them simply because they may not sit comfortably with our context - 127 years later - nor because we are not convinced that they are obvious enough to warrant our attention.

    This photograph of the crime scene and the obvious initials on Kelly’s wall are entirely admissible into the evidence in the case against James Maybrick and no amount of objections will make it other than so.

    For the record, George Hutchinson was so sure that he would recognise the Ripper again that he spent nights wandering the streets of Whitechapel looking for him, and even believed that he had seen him again despite a ‘choking fog’. Naturally, it goes without saying that this was in Middlesex Street [3, p169].

    And so to another short detour on the subject of Elvis in the Toast - Part II

    The Defence will, of course, inevitably say that the initials identified in the Kelly crime scene photograph are in fact the product of an over-active and determined mind hell bent on seeing what it wishes to see rather than what is necessarily ‘there’, but the likelihood of finding Elvis in the toast by chance alone only holds for toast, snowy mountains, cloud formations, and all other endlessly-repeated phenomena. The principle cannot be adopted for single incarnations, and clearly that is what the photograph is. There are not a hundred, thousand, million, or billion examples of photographs of Kelly and her bedroom wall. Excluding the ill-lit pile of viscera on the table, there is just the one. Elvis isn’t in the toast here, but James Maybrick is very firmly in the frame, and therefore rightly in the dock.


    James Maybrick died on May 11, 1889. Not long before he died, he believed that he and Florence had been reconciled and – knowing the fate which soon awaited him – he told her of the crimes he had committed in the name of his frustrated, twisted love for her. History [3, p190] indeed now suggests that Florence may have become pregnant by Alfred Brierley when they met in London a month or so earlier and that Florence had become ‘reconciled’ to Maybrick in order to ensure a safe future for herself, her children, and her unborn child. Florence does not appear to have kept Maybrick’s confession to herself, however.


    Florence evidently informed Alfred Brierley that he had cuckolded a man claiming to be Britain’s most feared and vicious murderer as he appears to have suddenly and entirely understandably embarked on a tour of the Mediterranean around this time [5, p91] (as, of course, you would). Florence wrote to Brierley on Wednesday, May 8, 1889 to reassure him that she did not believe a word of what Maybrick had told her. She wrote:

    The tale he told me was a pure fabrication, and only intended to frighten the truth out of me.

    Casebook contributor Archaic has made a reasonable defence of Florence’s statement in attempting to argue that it relates to Maybrick’s knowledge (or lack of it) of Florence’s erring ways; however, it is nevertheless an extraordinary piece of evidence which dovetails perfectly with the contents of the Maybrick journal.


    James Maybrick died on Saturday, May 11, 1889, having first secreted his journal into Battlecrease House from his office in the Knowsley Buildings; and Florence was about to be charged and soon convicted and imprisoned for his murder – a crime which she patently did not commit. Fifteen years for being married to a hypocritical, arsenic-addicted, egotistical, serial murderer – it truly was a miscarriage of any form of justice, and enough to potentially put women off such men in the future.

    Almost certainly in the same year, Florence’s conniving and self-serving employee Alice Yapp handed Maybrick’s journal (possibly dropped in the mud and then read) over to Elizabeth Formby. But more on that very soon!


    George Davidson was one of James Maybrick’s closest associates. Indeed, Maybrick died in Davidson’s arms on May 11, 1889. Four years later, Davidson was penniless and at the end of his days. Jones [5, p119] states:

    George himself died in suspicious circumstances; being found drowned off the Cumbrian coast, near Whitehaven, in March 1893. The local paper reported that before his death he had suffered from trouble with sleeping and often got up in the middle of the night and went for walks. He died penniless but left a gold watch placed beneath his pillow.

    It seems inconceivable that a man should die penniless and yet have a gold watch which could easily have been pawned to generate much-needed funds. Nevertheless, he did. It is merely speculation now, but once again the facts fit the candidature of Maybrick as Whitechapel murderer. He may well have gifted Davidson the gold watch (not in his will, of course) in which he had written ‘I am Jack’, the initials of the five canonical victims, and his own signature. Perhaps it was not until 1893 that Davidson opened the back of the case and saw the scratched confession. This would explain his trouble sleeping, and may explain whatever despair took him into the cold Cumbrian waters to die.


    It is to the eternal shame of British justice that Florence Maybrick served fifteen long years in gaol for the so-called murder of the so-called Jack the Ripper. On leaving prison, she adopted a different surname. There were probably tens of thousands of surnames in use in Britain in 1904, but Florence Maybrick (nee Chandler) chose to go by the name of Florence Graham.


    In 1942, Maybrick’s journal was handed to a young man called Billy Graham – given to him by his stepmother, Edith Formby who had received it from her mother, Elizabeth Formby [2, p70].


    Liverpool, 1991. An ordinary street, and an ordinary family. Father of household is retired scrap metal dealer and aspiring author, Michael Barrett. For reasons which she appears to have soon regretted, Michael’s wife Anne handed the Maybrick journal to Tony Devereux - a friend of her husband Michael – and asked him to give it to Michael and asked him to tell Michael to ‘do something with it’. As you do, of course, with a document apparently identifying the author of the most analysed unsolved crimes in history. Unsurprisingly, all hell was about to break out. The way Michael told it, from his perspective, he had received this unexpected gift from a man he barely knew when that man had a large and loving family he could have donated such a diamond to. It didn’t ring true then and ironically it is only true now by being added to later. The daggers soon came out. The journal’s provenance was stuck at its final stage, and it would be long after the journal was published that the whole story of its provenance would emerge, by which time Barrett had muddied the waters so much that even Alice Yapp could not have salvaged the journal from the mess it found itself in.


    In June 1994, Michael Barrett confessed to being ‘the greatest forger in history’ by claiming he wrote the Maybrick journal [4, p94]. In his exquisitely-detailed confession he got every single word he spoke exquisitely wrong, and then retracted his confession, made it again, and many years later – when everyone was too confused to remember what he’d claimed last – retracted it again [4, p271]. Detractors of the Maybrick journal constantly fall back on Barrett’s drink-fuelled ‘confession’ to this day, and if he had got even the tiniest detail right, others who are less inclined to detract might well have followed suit. Thankfully, Barrett’s description of how he create the Maybrick journal was inept, bereft, and utterly fantastic.


    By 1994, Anne and Michael Barrett had gone their separate ways. A month after Michael’s woeful attempt at a confession, Anne chose to confess to having given her estranged husband Michael the Maybrick journal. Fortunately, Anne told her story once and – unlike her ex-husband – has not deviated from it since. This fact is critical because Anne Barrett had by then reverted to her maiden name of Anne Graham. The woman who had spent most of her life with the same surname that Florence Maybrick inexplicably adopted on her release from prison 90 years earlier, provided an expanded provenance for the journal.

    Yes, Michael Barrett’s provenance was factually correct, but Anne expanded on that to clarify that Michael had got it from Tony, and Tony had got it from Anne, who had got it from her father Billy who had got it from Granny Formby who was a pal of the viperous Alice Yapp. The key bit of all of this was that a perfectly clear provenance had been provided, sadly long after the alcoholic mutterings of her estranged husband Michael, and not only had a clear provenance been provided but it involved a family with the same surname as ‘Florence Graham’, erstwhile wife of James Maybrick. Generally speaking, these things don’t happen by chance, they aren’t examples of Elvis in the Toast, and they just don’t happen unless they happen for a reason.


    On November 21, 2006, the BBC broadcast Jack the Ripper – The First Serial Killer in which three Ripper profiles were generated – a physical profile, a social profile, and a geographical profile. From the BBC News website:

    The physical profile (including an e-fit of the killer’s face derived from the consistencies – and ignoring the discrepancies – of thirteen witness statements) bore some similarity to James Maybrick, and perhaps more so when viewed in the context of known photographs of him [5, p279]:

    [Image not loaded]

    Interestingly, this e-fit illustrates two points when compared with similar e-fits of Peter Sutcliffe, the ‘Yorkshire Ripper’: firstly, it shows a remarkable similarity in facial appearance of the two notorious ‘Rippers’ (just saying – there could be a trend here), and secondly it is clear from the Sutcliffe e-fits that a lack of similarity to the perpetrator (the bottom two photographs are of Sutcliffe at different ages) does not mean that he didn’t actually commit the crime:

    [Image not loaded]

    Much of the proposed social profile of Jack the Ripper did not match Maybrick’s known profile although what remains to be clarified is whether or not the same social profile would be thrown-up by the possibility that the killer rented a room in Whitechapel as a base for his crimes and lived elsewhere.

    Evidence did point to the killer being a resident of Whitechapel which technically Maybrick was, and a geographical profile was created to determine the most likely sites for his base. The geographical profile was produced by Kim Rossmo from the University of Texas. The programme stated that Mr Rossmo’s analysis was based upon the scenes of crime themselves (including the killer’s likely presence in Goulston Street in the early hours of Sunday, September 30, 1888). Using the information about the fives crime scenes and one evidence scene, Mr Rossmo built up both 2D and 3D representations of where in Whitechapel the killer would most likely have lived. The programme identified the highest peak of probability as being Flower and Dean Street, and therefore the inference was made that this was his most likely location throughout the time of the crimes. Presumably for reasons of impact, no other locations were discussed. In reality, there was one other strong locus for the killer’s base – and one whose probability could only have been marginally less than that for Flower and Dean Street: it was one single street in the whole of Whitechapel, and that street was, of course, Middlesex Street.

    [Image not loaded]


    In 2007, Virgin Books published an updated edition of David Canter’s Mapping Murder: The Secrets of Geographical Profiling. Canter (from the Centre for Investigative Psychology, University of Liverpool) highlights for us the intimacy with which the author of the journal writes of the effects of taking arsenic. Tellingly, almost poignantly if the consequences had not been so profound for his victims and their families, Canter refers to the abuse of Arsenicum Album (Ars) from Dr Taylor Kent’s Lectures on Homeopathic Materia Medica published in 1921 [8, p134]:

    The anxiety that is found in Ars, Is intermingled with fear, with impulses, with suicidal inclinations, with sudden freaks and with mania. It has delusions various kinds of insanity; in the more active form, delirium and excitement. Sadness prevails to a great extreme. So sad that he is weary of life; he loathes life, and wants to die … The anxiety takes form also in restlessness, in which he constantly moves … The restlessness seems mostly in the mind; it is an anxious restlessness, or an anguish …

    Canter finds in the choice of Middlesex Street a perfectly plausible locus for the Whitechapel murderer’s lair – seeing any street just west of Commercial Street as right for the ‘centre of gravity’ his model predicted. Canter provides us with an interesting summary [8, p135]:

    If we take the diary as genuine, a plausible story unfolds. An intelligent man who is besotted with his attractive young wife, but certainly not the pillar of society that he presents to the world, becomes angry with her and the other women he sees as representing her. He turns this festering resentment into a campaign that is halfway between an ironic challenge to the world around him and a desperate tragedy that will bring about his own death after he has carried out his heroic mission. The feelings that he converts into the narrative of his campaign are exaggerated by his arsenic addiction, increasing his restless search for actions that will quieten him.

    Professor Canter clearly feels that the Maybrick journal is entirely in keeping with his expectations of such a document which is a remarkable feat if the author was not a serial killer addicted to arsenic.

    And so the case against James Maybrick has been made

    That more or less concludes the case for the Prosecution. After a short recess, the Defence will attempt to trot out some well-known diversions and misdirections which have seen twenty years of spit and polish (but which resolutely refuse to shine) in order to draw the jury’s eyes away from this mouth-watering litany of evidence against James Maybrick.

    They will say that the provenance is weak and changed frequently to suit the tide, when we know that the original provenance of Michael Barrett was only a small subset of that which followed from his wife, Anne Graham. It is pure misdirection to say that Tony Devereux’s daughters knew nothing of the journal [5, P47] – of course they didn’t, he only had it in his possession for a matter of days before he handed it over to ‘Bongo’ Barrett. The Defence will say that Mike and Anne’s stories changed constantly. They did not. Mike (when sober) always told his version and still does to this day [4, p271], and Anne never deviated from hers. Anne’s version contained every detail of Mike’s, and therefore we need consider only Anne’s version as the accepted provenance of the journal. Anne Graham’s provenance takes the journal right back to Battlecrease House in 1889. Keith Skinner knows this for a fact but frustratingly and teasingly he can’t reveal why he knows it. Of course, he should be subpoenaed to give testimony to this court, and perhaps one day he will be. Florence Maybrick – wife of Jack the Ripper James Maybrick – left gaol in 1904 and took the surname ‘Graham’. Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, there is no problem with the provenance, however uncomfortably it finally arrived.

    The Defence will attempt a little dog and pony show over the journal and the ink, claiming that they haven’t been tested sufficiently or that they have shown that the ink was not available in 1888-89. We know that the journal and the ink have been tested sufficiently and have not produced results which would exclude the journal from having been written in 1888-89.

    The Defence will say that it is incredible to imagine a ‘wealthy’ cotton merchant (Maybrick was less liquid than many plying his trade) should write his murderous journal in an old scrapbook. It is true that it seems unlikely, but we should be wary of judging purely on the basis of what we personally find credulous or otherwise. Our incredulity is not evidence of a hoax, and never can be however profound our incredulity may be or how quickly we choose to turn to it when it suits our case.

    The Defence will try a little smoke and mirrors over some of the details in the journal. They will say that the reference to Maybrick drinking in the ‘Poste House’ pub is an anachronism which proves that the journal was written after 1987 (or at least after the 1960s when the pub was finally formally given the name). The reality is that Maybrick’s reference to ‘Poste House’ is massively ambiguous on a number of levels. Even if we accept that he is referring to a pub in Liverpool, there can be no certainty that he was referring to the public House which is now known as ‘The Poste House Hotel’ in Cumberland Street. And even if he was (and – in fairness - he probably was), we know only that the pub was named ‘The Wrexham House’ in 1882, and by 1888 had become known colloquially but not officially as ‘The Muck Midden’. Chris Jones [5, p218] in his otherwise excellent Maybrick A to Z makes the common mistake which confuses and muddies the waters:

    However, records show that it was known as ‘The Wrexham House’ in 1882 and ‘The Muck Midden’ in 1888 and was officially named ‘The New Post Office Hotel’ in 1894.

    For a fuller understanding of the complexities of the ‘Poste House’ reference, one should turn to Harrison [3, p97] but suffice it to say for our purpose here that there is no certainty around what the pub was actually called in 1888. There is every reason to think it was no longer called ‘The Wrexham House’ (Wrexham lies in North Wales – hardly an inspiring name to attract drinkers to a pub in Liverpool in England). Whilst the anachronism seems beyond argument, the reality is that the issue is far from resolved, and it is the contention of the Prosecution that evidence will eventually show that the reference was not an anachronism at all. At that time, the Defence should not remain stoic as it did over the loss of one of its old favourite criticisms of the journal – the issue of the writing of verse.

    For many years, Maybrick’s stating that his famous brother wrote verse – when the world of the know-it-all was dancing a jig in celebration of this critical ‘mistake’ in the journal – was seen as one of the cornerstones of a hoax. Such persistent claims ended overnight with the research completed by Casebook contributor Livia Trivia who demonstrated that Michael Maybrick did indeed write verse as well as music. No apologies were offered by those who had made such cheap mileage of this erstwhile ‘fact’ which most open-minded and serious commentators might have otherwise felt compelled to make. The Defence will not now mention it, though it certainly would have done prior to the excellent research which exposed the truth, and this should leave us wondering whether the Defence are in reality standing on a slow-burning platform rather than a solid foundation.

    The Defence has little left to stand on in arguing that James Maybrick’s journal was written by some unknown other. They will highlight that Mike Barrett owned a book of poetry which contained a slight paraphrase of Crashaw’s very obscure line 'O costly intercourse of death and worse' which appeared in the journal. The Prosecution accepts that this is a wholly unacceptable coincidence and one which lends itself entirely to the Defence’s position that the journal was written by someone other than James Maybrick. The journal is unlikely to ever be proven or contradicted on this point, but it nevertheless remains a most implausible coinciding of events once the journal is finally confirmed as genuine. It’s a small part of the platform to stand on, but for now the Prosecution openly accept that it’s not a part which is currently burning.

    The Defence will also highlight another most difficult coinciding of events – here that the journal contains the line tin match box empty and that the coroner’s list of Eddowe’s sad possessions stated tin match box, empty. Again, the Prosecution accepts that this is a deeply implausible event. It isn’t a categorical proof that the journal was written by a hoaxer, but it not unreasonably gives credence to the Defence’s position that a hoax it may yet be.

    The Defence will inevitably turn to the reference in the journal to the Ripper having left Mary Jane Kelly’s breasts on a side table when the coroner’s report showed that they were left at her feet and at her head. Given the gruesome nature of the dismembering and the heightened state of arousal the killer must have been in, his recollecting his act based upon what he read in the newspaper reports does not seem entirely unreasonable, though of course the Defence would have us believe otherwise. Maybrick accepted what he read in the newspapers, though he also knew that this didn’t ring true with his personal memories when he wrote (subsequently crossed-out):

    I kissed them
    I kissed them
    They tasted so sweet
    I thought of leaving them by the whores feet

    The Defence will turn on the text and claim that it is infantile, amateurish, and unsophisticated. For example, Phillip Sugden stated [7, p10]:

    A reading of the diary still leaves me baffled as to how any intelligent and reasonably informed student of the Ripper case could possibly have taken it seriously.

    Whilst this is an unequivocal condemnation of the journal from a respected source, it is only the polar opposite of those such as Professor David Canter who accept that the psychopathology of the journal is accurate and compelling [3, p417]:

    Many serial killers write autobiographies and some keep a journal. These typically capture the self-centred, narcissistic focus that drives these people to such disgusting excesses of depravity … Indeed, few novelists could capture the all-embracing egocentricity with its mix of gloating irony that this Diary has.

    The Defence will finally turn to the issue of the handwriting, ironically holding on to this issue to the last as this has always been its first point of departure in questioning the journal’s authenticity. The reality is that the handwriting of the journal may very well match that of the author of the September 17 letter and even the Goulston Street graffito, but it does not match Maybrick’s formal hand. It does not resemble his will, the signature on his marriage certificate, nor the letter he wrote from the SS Baltic. But these are all examples of his formal hand, written for an audience, albeit occasionally just of one.

    And here is the rub. If we had an example of Maybrick’s private writing, his inner scribe – ideally when he was high on arsenic and still overwhelmed with the blood-lust of his murders – we would be better able to be better informed as to the author of the journal. But we don’t, unless you accept that the journal itself is the example which we seek.

    In truth, the Defence has almost nothing left of its burning platform, but it will make its case with misdirection and misinformation and seek to obfuscate rather than to clarify, and leave just enough room for doubt that doubt may suddenly appear to be reasonable. It will be quite a show, ladies and gentlemen, and you would be well-advised to be prepared for the carnival of criticism ahead.

    And so in summary

    Without the Maybrick journal the case against James Maybrick would never have been made, that is true – but with its arrival came the answer we have searched for for so long, and history does tell us that this most unlikely candidate for the Whitechapel murders (incredible though it may seem to us now so long later) actually fits the bill time and time again. This is a part of the charm of this most unlikely candidate for the Whitechapel murders. But here now down down the long line looking back, etc., with the journal (and the watch of which we have made little play) the case against James Maybrick seems significantly stronger than the case against any other candidate for the crimes. We have the journal, and the watch, we have the September 17 letter, the Maybrick name woven into the tapestry of the Goulston Street graffito, the October 6 photo fit which appears to have prompted the October 6 letter in which Maybrick claimed ‘Now I know you know me’, the October 10 letter to - of all newspapers - the highly-parochial and significant Liverpool Echo carrying the clue ‘Diego Laurenz’. And we have the clues at the scenes of the crimes (the muslin, the strands of cotton, the inverted Vs, the eye witness account of George Hutchison, and the Kelly crime scene photographs). And we have the letter from Florence to Brierley imploring him not to escape England with the words ‘The tale he told me was pure fabrication and only designed to frighten the truth out of me’. The fact that Florence took the surname ‘Graham’ on leaving gaol in 1904, and the journal’s given provenance – as convoluted as it may seem – to have ended with Anne Graham. And, finally, the evidence of modern geoprofiling as recently as 2007 which placed Middlesex Street and Flower and Dean Street as the two most likely locations for the criminal’s lair.

    To state much of this (and more) again in a different way, the alternative case – the case in favour of a hoaxer writing the journal and potentially scratching the ‘I am Jack’ message in the watch – requires the jury to accept certain conveniences and circumstances in the evidence which would make the otherwise innocent James Maybrick the most unfortunately-placed individual in unsolved criminal history for whimsical Fate would have to have provided such a hoaxer with the following implausibly unlikely material for the hoax:

    • ‘Jack’ forming from the first two and last two letters of James Maybrick’s name.
    • The ‘Who is Jim?’ article after the first canonical murder (Polly Nicholls).
    • Muslin left at Annie Chapman’s feet along with the letter ‘M’ on an envelope.
    • A strand of cotton in one of the tin boxes found on the fourth canonical victim (Catherine Eddowes).
    • Inverted-Vs cut into Eddowes’ cheeks which conveniently form an ‘M’ when placed together.
    • An autopsy report on Eddowes which looked for the presence of drugs – the only such autopsy in the case to specify this, and a particularly-convenient opportunity for a hoaxer to link this to the unlikely finding of a leather cigarette case on Eddowes’ body and the obscure evidence post-1993 that Maybrick had been seen to keep his arsenic in a cigarette case.
    • The fact that the Goulston Street graffito unequivocally contains cryptic references to James, his four brothers, and his errant wife, and therefore finally provides a concrete explanation for its otherwise utterly esoteric construction.
    • The (in the late eighties and early nineties) little-known September 17 letter predating ‘Dear Boss’ and written in the very hand which wrote the journal.
    • The October 6 photo fit which looks so much like James Maybrick.
    • The subsequent October 6 letter to a witness seemingly spawned by the photo fit.
    • The October 10 letter to the Liverpool Echo providing us with the ‘Diego Laurenz’ clue.
    • The letters ‘F’ and ‘M’ clearly visible in the Kelly crime scene photograph and the ‘F’ on Kelly’s arm.
    • Florence’s letter to Brierley which lends itself perfectly to a confession from Maybrick to his wife as death closes in on him.
    • Florence’s adoption of the surname ‘Graham’ on being released from gaol.
    • The modern day geoprofiling data which identifies Middlesex Street as a key locus for the criminal’s lair.

    To do justice to this point requires an intimate reading of the seminal texts, but just such a hoaxer has also graced his or her cunning work with an astonishingly-exquisite level of seemingly-irrelevant detail which has – since publication in 1993 – been supported by in many cases the most stubborn and admirable levels of research:

    • Maybrick having strong links with Whitechapel and two very strong reasons for being there (his work for Gustavus Witt, and his mistress Sarah Robertson).
    • Maybrick’s daughter Gladys being ill ‘again’.
    • Maybrick finding a new source of arsenic in early 1889.
    • Edwin Maybrick being away in America for almost the entire length of the journal.
    • Maybrick being away at Christmas 1888.
    • Maybrick’s parents being dead by 1888.
    • Maybrick’s parents being buried in the same grave.
    • The knowledgeable reference to ‘the Drive’.
    • The knowledgeable reference to the ‘Exchange’.
    • Maybrick’s brother Michael being a lyric-writer as well as a composer of music despite the prevalent belief that he wrote only music.

    In conclusion

    James Maybrick had the means, motive, and opportunity to commit the Whitechapel murders, of that there can be little doubt. He had the rage which arsenic flowing through your veins inspires, and his reason was overwhelmed time and time again by it. He succumbed to arsenic and when he eventually stopped taking it he succumbed to the absence of it, for which his wife Florence paid a terrible price. The journal emerged on the public stage in 1993, and since that day it has not been lost to us - despite the lazy claims of many, not least the criminally-erring producers of Channel 5’s Conspiracy: The Missing Evidence which we mentioned when we started, and which claimed with the casual insolence of irresponsible dilettantes, ‘”A diary confessing to the murders was a forgery” when we in this court today all know that no such forgery has been confirmed and that, rather, there is not one incontrovertible, unequivocal, undeniable fact which refutes the diary.

    “I never make predictions and I never will” stated the world-famous footballer well over a century after the ‘Invincibles’ began their march to that first Football League title, but if he did there is a good chance that he would have predicted that the Maybrick journal would never be revealed conclusively as a hoax for it is clear from the evidence that it is not and therefore can never be so.

    James Maybrick – if innocent of the crimes now laid against him – was extraordinarily unfortunate in unfailingly fitting the evidence of the case, short (it must still be said) of an example of his private scrawling which would convince us that the writing in the journal was indeed of his authorship. James Maybrick fits the Whitechapel criminal and his crimes better than any other candidate yet proposed, and by some great distance. Maybrick, it is tempting to feel, almost goes out of his way to be the perfect candidate, despite his most utterly implausible candidature: he isn’t a Londoner, he didn’t appear to have lived in Whitechapel, he was a respectable Liverpool cotton merchant. And yet still he makes his way into the history of the crimes and seems quite determined to stay there. It all begins and ends with his journal – without it, we have no way of decoding the ‘M’ and the muslin, and the Goulston Street graffito, the ‘FM’ on Kelly’s wall, and the photo fits. The journal shines a light on James Maybrick after a century of darkness, and suddenly, brilliantly the crimes do rather inexorably speak his name.

    It is therefore with no small degree of certainty that the case against James Maybrick has now been substantially made here in advance of trial one day at the eternal court of history - the same court which a man born three weeks to the day before Maybrick died believed would acquit him of the early incarnation of his evil deeds will undoubtedly see its Goddess smile and rubber stamp the brief of the state prosecutor and the sentence of her court, for she will convict him.

    Amongst a host of all-too premature previous claims, we can say that regardless of the deliberations and the final verdict of the present jury, we stand at the threshold of a time whose version of history will comfortably accept that James Maybrick was Jack the Ripper and that at long last – though that future version of history is yet to ‘do tell’ – with a retrospect we have not yet acquired unless one is that rare and brilliant individual who has the ability to foretell the yet to come, this truly is finally Jack the Ripper: case closed.

    August 2015


    [1] The Diary of Jack the Ripper, Shirley Harrison, 1993, Smith Gryphon Limited
    [2] Jack the Ripper: The Final Chapter, Paul Feldman, 1998, Virgin
    [3] Jack the Ripper: The American Connection, Shirley Harrison, 2003, Blake Publishing Limited
    [4] Ripper Diary: The Inside Story, Seth Linder, Caroline Morris, & Keith Skinner, 2003, Sutton Publishing Limited
    [5] The Maybrick A to Z, Christopher Jones, 2008, Countyvise Limited
    [6] Jack the Ripper and the Maybrick Family, Mike Covell, 2015, Creativia
    [7] The Complete History of Jack the Ripper, Philip Sugden, 2006, Robinson Publishing Ltd.
    [8] Mapping Murder: The Secrets of Geographical Profiling, David Cantor, 2007, Virgin Books
    Last edited by Iconoclast; 08-09-2015, 07:58 AM. Reason: Missed a reference (for bolding)

  • #2
    Maybrick =Jack the Ripper?

    This jury member says not guilty .

    And jury members do not have to explain themselves to the court. Just vote.

    End of.

    Chelsea FC. TRUE BLUE. 💙

    Justice for the 96 = achieved
    Accountability? ....


    • #3
      I appreciate the prosecutor's long and very interesting speech. It is both illuminating and confusing to this juror.

      I think that the Maybrick Diary, at its core, is a re-telling of "The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde", in which a respectable man becomes something quite different after ingesting a drug (in this case, arsenic). A hoaxer with a reasonably good education in English Literature, as well a grounding in the Whitechapel murders and Ripperlogy might very well have produced it.

      What became of the famous red leather cigarette case? Has it also been lost or stolen? Pity.

      Football scores? Really?
      Pat D.
      Von Konigswald: Jack the Ripper plays shuffleboard. -- Happy Birthday, Wanda June by Kurt Vonnegut, c.1970.


      • #4
        The dear diary shouldn't have seen the light of day Mr Barrett should have been sent packing untill he could tell where the diary had been hiding for over a century or where he got it from.
        Three things in life that don't stay hidden for to long ones the sun ones the moon and the other is the truth


        • #5
          Thank you, Iconoclast. Does the watch have any connection to the Diary?


          • #6
            Hi Iconoclast
            Using a football chant/song
            " are you Soothsayer in disguise "
            If so welcome back.


            • #7
              Ladies and Gentlemen of the jury.

              I appear for the defense and will address The handwriting issue raised by my learned friend for the prosecution.

              Please bear in mind that the defense need prove nothing, that burden lies with the prosecution, it is up to them to not only prove the case but prove it beyond a reasonable doubt, and I have not a shadow of a doubt that at the end of this case you will decide that they have failed in that duty.

              Briefly to the Handwritting that my leaned friend said we would leave to last, but rather I bring to you first. I repeat the defense needs prove nought in this case, that's the prosecutions job.

              My friend admits that the hand in the diary isn't the same as in the only known sample of Maybrick's, that of his will.

              But they bring not a shadow of evidence,

              Briefly there are two types of Handwritting analysis:

              There is a Forensic Document Examiner, that's the expert that will say things like.

              1. They writings are consistent with each other because

              A. The shape of the letter y in the known sample is similar, or

              B. The dot in the "I" is different one is a circle the other a dash staring high to the right and descending to the left.

              C. The written in one lifts his pen after making the letter "k" every time, the othe doesn't.

              That sort of evidence would be admitted by the Court.

              The other is a Graphologist, she will say things like:

              A. He was as mad as a hatter because he crossed his "t" high, or

              B. he hated his mummy because the defenders on his letters (that's the tail on letters like "y" ang "g") barely went below the line.

              The Courts rightly laugh at this sort of evidence.

              Want to have a guess what sort of so called expert the prosecution took it to. Maybe that's why we won't hear about it.

              The ink

              Now my friend is right about one thing, he will not produce one tiny bit of evidence to show that the ink was available to Jimmy, he has a duty as an officer of this Court to produce the evidence of the dating of the ink, that shows that IT WAS NOT available to him, and on this piece of evidence alone, you the good members of the jury will have no choice but to say, well they haven't proven their case beyond a reasonable doubt.

              As an aside there will be no DNA in this case, I am sure that of late you have all read that Jack was some crazy Jew, and the DNA proves it, or that they want to dig poor Mary up for DNA testing to prove she was some blokes aunt, an amazing discovery if so but far from solving who killed her, let alone he rest.

              Now I note it is morning tea, so I will leave the rest of the prosecutions issues till after the adjournment.

              Now I am sure that His Honour will instruct you to not talk about what you ave heard and t hat indeed what you have heard isn't evidence, but that you should keep it in mind, and indeed mull it over.
              G U T

              There are two ways to be fooled, one is to believe what isn't true, the other is to refuse to believe that which is true.


              • #8
                Here is the final image of the Goulston Street graffito with annotations - it falls within the 293kb limit fortunately. If anyone knows how to embed the image into a post, please let me know (I've seen it done on the Casebook so unless the facility has been removed, I'm evidently just not seeing how it's done from the icons provided).

                Full version of original post available from - please give subject line of 'Original'. I believe it probably makes for easier reading (in PDF) and clearer reading (with the images embedded in the text).

                Attached Files


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Iconoclast View Post
                  Here is the final image of the Goulston Street graffito with annotations - it falls within the 293kb limit fortunately. If anyone knows how to embed the image into a post, please let me know (I've seen it done on the Casebook so unless the facility has been removed, I'm evidently just not seeing how it's done from the icons provided).

                  Full version of original post available from - please give subject line of 'Original'. I believe it probably makes for easier reading (in PDF) and clearer reading (with the images embedded in the text).

                  Considering the GSG was never photographed they must be comparing James' handwriting to that of one of the police officials who took a note of it. So was James doubling up as a part time copper?
                  G U T

                  There are two ways to be fooled, one is to believe what isn't true, the other is to refuse to believe that which is true.


                  • #10
                    Hi Phil (okay - the jury's pretty big though so it will be interesting to see what they all say), Pcdunn (I would love to know what happened to the red leather cigarette case, and the 'Diego Lorenz' letter to the Liverpool Echo - the football scores of course seem trivial and unimportant to us so long after the crimes, but they were context to him, whoever he was, and however tangentially he was aware of them), pinkmoon (your posts always make me smile), Scott (I think the case pivots on the journal not the watch which - whilst intriguing - is always going to be a little sideshow as I don't believe the journal can be a hoax whilst the watch is genuine, but you never know!), spyglass ("One Soothsayer, there's only one Soothsayer, One Soothsayer", etc), GUT (the handwriting remains a curse for the Maybrickian - but the similarity of the journal's handwriting to the September 17 letter and the Goulston Street graffito may yet be the counter-curse).



                    • #11
                      Originally posted by GUT View Post
                      Considering the GSG was never photographed they must be comparing James' handwriting to that of one of the police officials who took a note of it. So was James doubling up as a part time copper?
                      Hi GUT,

                      It is true that the GSG was not photographed, of course, but Warren at least had the presence of mind to ask for the text to be transcribed 'faithfully' from the wall and it is to that transcription I feel we are safest to turn.

                      It has been said, of course, that Jack was indeed a serving police officer, but in terms of the GSG, I hope he was simply a diligent artist!



                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Iconoclast View Post
                        Hi Phil (okay - the jury's pretty big though so it will be interesting to see what they all say), Pcdunn (I would love to know what happened to the red leather cigarette case, and the 'Diego Lorenz' letter to the Liverpool Echo - the football scores of course seem trivial and unimportant to us so long after the crimes, but they were context to him, whoever he was, and however tangentially he was aware of them), pinkmoon (your posts always make me smile), Scott (I think the case pivots on the journal not the watch which - whilst intriguing - is always going to be a little sideshow as I don't believe the journal can be a hoax whilst the watch is genuine, but you never know!), spyglass ("One Soothsayer, there's only one Soothsayer, One Soothsayer", etc), GUT (the handwriting remains a curse for the Maybrickian - but the similarity of the journal's handwriting to the September 17 letter and the Goulston Street graffito may yet be the counter-curse).

                        This is the bit that puzzles, me which version of the GSG remember all we have are two or three copper's accounts of what was written, they can't even agree on the wording so how does it add one iota to the Case against Jimmy boy.
                        G U T

                        There are two ways to be fooled, one is to believe what isn't true, the other is to refuse to believe that which is true.


                        • #13
                          Well it is true that we don't have the original (and how frustrating is that?) but we do have the 'official' transcription written down as precisely as possible from the wall at Warren's request so that is a starting point. If the GSG is actually just a device for Maybrick to place all of his significant adult family into the crime scene for his own titillation, then it adds somewhat more than one iota to the case - it adds loads of iotas.

                          If Maybrick was not the author of the GSG (and in my argument also therefore not Jack the Ripper) then it should not be possible for us to discern James, Thomas, William, Edwin, MM, and FM from the otherwise-meaningless message on the wall, nor should the style of writing mirror the journal which emerged in 1991.

                          It just shouldn't be possible to discern all of this - correctly or otherwise - by sheer chance alone (or by a desperate eye). Statisticians would tell us it was so unlikely that it must be true - that those names must have been buried there deliberately in 1888, just for jolly.


                          • #14
                            And ladies and gentlemen of the jury, it would be, perhaps, useful to you if the learned Prosecutor could even remotely link the GSG to Jack the Ripper.

                            So what seems to me a major leg of their case fails on at least three grounds:

                            1. They are not comparing James' handwriting to the original

                            2. They can not prove that the handwriting in the diary belongs to James, remember our little discussion earlier about Forensic Document Examiners and Graphologists

                            3. They can't even get a consensus from experts that the GSG was written by Jack the Ripper.

                            So again I say if they cannot establish these things they fail miserably to prove their case beyond a reasonable doubt.
                            G U T

                            There are two ways to be fooled, one is to believe what isn't true, the other is to refuse to believe that which is true.


                            • #15
                              Well I'm convinced. . .