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  • #76
    Keith –you won’t like this, but it seems to me that the reason you keep bringing up Mike’s wild and obviously bogus statements about forging the watch, or about his ex-wife suffering from a multiple personality disorder, etc., is because those were the moments Barrett was telling you precisely what you wanted to hear---that he was bat filth crazy and there was no reason to look to him (or the Johnsons) for an answer about the origins of the Diary/watch. His double bluff appears to have worked.

    But over a five-year period, Barrett was also dropping the hint.

    “However, last week he [Barrett] admitted he spent 10 days tapping out the 9,000 word confession on a word processor in his Victorian terraced house in Liverpool.”

    Maurice Chittenden, The Sunday Times, 3 July 1994.

    “Anne and I started to write the Diary in all it took us 11 days.” --Barrett’s signed affidavit, 5 January 1995.

    “Barrett told the assembled guests that he had contacted Doreen Montgomery before he had actually forged the Diary. When the agent took the bail, Barrett claimed, he found himself with just 11 days before their meeting to actually produce the Diary.”

    --Linder, Morris, Skinner, paraphrasing Barrett’s statement at Camille Wolff’s luncheon in London, held on 11 April 1999.

    So, scattered among Mike’s wild tales, and for a period of nearly 5 years, he consistently repeated that the Diary had been composed in 10-11 days. As has been amply demonstrated by David B., this time-span fits almost perfectly with what we know about the advertisement, arrival, and rejection of the maroon diary; the next available auction date at Outhwaite & Litherland; and Mike’s journey to London on 13 April 1992.

    Unfortunately, the proof you need will never be handed on a platter, because when I contacted O & L back in 2006 to ask them to check their receipts for March-April 1992 (having already suspected what David B. has worked out for himself earlier this year) I was told their records had been pulped. We’ve discussed this before, but I don’t think I showed you the following.

    Although it appears that I no longer have O & L’s written response (the letter was by a woman, that’s all I remember), I have found an old email to Birchwood that alludes to my inquiry, dated 8 May, 2006, 1:31 p.m., PST. So I must have heard back in very early May 2006. I quote:

    “My research, not surprisingly perhaps, came up empty.

    I contacted Oathwaite & Litherland Auctioneers to see if they still had their business receipts. As you might recall, Mike Barrett (when he was in confessional mode) claimed to have bought the album at the auction-house. According to Melvin Harris, the private detective Alan Gray later went to the auction house, but, for whatever reason, wasn't allowed to inspect their books. They probably wanted nothing to do with the Maybrick fiasco. Shirley Harrison had earlier managed to get a response from them...they could find no record of Barrett's transaction, but like all things Diary, it appears to me that she screwed-up and had asked the auctioneers to check the wrong year of purchase. Or so I believe.

    Anyway, I just heard back from the auctioneers, and it appears that they had shredded their records several years ago. Here in the U.S. businesses are required to hold on to their receipts for 10 years for tax purposes--so I thought there might be an outside chance that these still existed. No such luck.
    Evidently the law in the UK requires them to hold on to them for only about 6 years, so Barrett has dodged another bullet...or so I believe..”


    That’s it, Keith. The end of the line. I have a vague memory of maybe having already sent you this, so my apologies, but perhaps it bears repeating.

    A fair question to ask is why Barrett felt he could find a Victorian/Edwardian photo album at this particular auction. Was it just a matter of dumb luck, with the time clock ticking? I doubt it. It was probably advertised somewhere, so it is possible a catalogue of the auction still exists—something I did not think to ask about.

    This is my last post on the Maybrick debate, as life is too short to devote any more time to this now 26 year old hoax. But I’ll leave you with this. Liverpool Echo, 4th February, 1992, page 4.

    If Robbie Johnson was sentenced on that date to two years in prison, and he served aprox 17 months, as you reported, wouldn’t he have just gotten out of the slammer in the summer of 1993—within a few days of when Albert first noticed the scratches on the watch? Or are you suggesting he was on remand for several months prior to his conviction, and given credit for time served? The July 92 date in your book appears highly problematic based on this report, but maybe you’ve confirmed it?

    Anyway, doesn’t Feldman admit in his book that he caught Robert Johnson telling lie about the watch’s scratches? Didn’t Harrison state that Johnson often showed up unannounced with a couple of knuckle-draggers in tow, men that made her feel very uneasy? The second article from June 1997 shows Johnson’s partner in crime making a speedy return to the Big House on release. These were not nice people, Keith. A man who beat a 70-year-old woman and stole her purse, another who is in with a gang of drug dealers. Judging by its name, I doubt Feldman’s “Duocrave” videos were suitable for children, so throw in another profession not known for savory characters. Not the nicest cast hanging out in the shadows of Battlecrease. You're smarter than this, Keith. These people are scammers and the Diary and watch should not be promoted.

    Take good care of yourself.

    Click image for larger version  Name:	Johnson Part 1.JPG Views:	0 Size:	85.8 KB ID:	727402 Click image for larger version  Name:	Johnson Part 2.JPG Views:	0 Size:	37.0 KB ID:	727403 Click image for larger version  Name:	Keeley Again 27 June 1997 Echo.JPG Views:	0 Size:	85.2 KB ID:	727404
    Last edited by rjpalmer; 11-17-2019, 03:25 PM.

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    • #77
      PS. One final, little-known 'fun fact' about the Maybrick Diary is that Reed Hayes, the Hawaiian graphologist and document examiner that evidently convinced Feldman that Maybrick's will was a forgery, possibly by Michael Maybrick, was also one of the 'experts' that a few years ago suggested that a copy of Barrack Obama's birth certificate was also a forgery. Draw your own conclusions.

      In trying to mitigate the subsequent outcry, Hayes admitted that his opinions about Obama's certificate were based on photocopies only. He also used photocopies when examining Maybrick's will, which, oddly, he later admitted (during the Obama flap) is not a wise or authoritative way of proceeding.

      http://www.reedwrite.com/index.php/2...h-certificate/

      Last edited by rjpalmer; 11-17-2019, 04:01 PM.

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      • #78
        Roger – probably a very wise move for you to get off the bus now as I think you and I have gone as far
        as we can and I would much rather we shake hands and agree to disagree before it all turns sour. I am
        as honest and sincere in my belief this Diary was not created by Mike and Anne as you are as honest
        and sincere in your belief it was. The one person who knows the truth is Anne Graham and maybe she
        has already told us it.

        Best Wishes

        KS
        Last edited by jmenges; 11-19-2019, 12:21 AM.

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        • #79
          Originally posted by rjpalmer View Post


          Inside Story reported it was a kid's magazine, but it really wasn't. It was Celebrity Magazine, the sort of celebrity gossip sheets one sees in the check-out lines at grocery stores. David B. chased down copies of these articles, and published some examples at this website, Orsam Books; you'll find them about a third of the way down in his critique of Robert Smith's book. (#15)

          The articles credited to Michael Barrett date from 1986 to 1988. As Lord O notes, the magazine folded near the end of 1988, so Barrett's creative efforts must have gone looking for another venue.

          Barrett's writing appears to be competent, but who knows to what extent Anne helped him? (Or why does that even matter?) An example of Mike's prose:

          "As addicts of the series will have observed by now, the elfin Miss Langford is playing a computer programmer who is heavily into health foods."

          An elfin woman being heavily into health foods is somewhat amusing, but maybe I'm reading too much into it.

          Shirley Harrison also reported that Barrett belonged to a local 'writer's circle,' so it would have been interesting to chase down other members, but I don't know if that was possible.

          I'm sure it looked very different when the whole Diary saga unraveled in 'real time,' and people are no doubt giving their honest interpretations of Mike, but, for those of us who came to the controversy late, and from the 'outside,' it is difficult not to see Barrett as being depicted as a salt-of-the-earth Jekyll before his public confession, and as an unruly and untrustworthy Hyde afterwards. It couldn't be that simplistic, could it?

          PS. Does anyone know what was meant by Robbie Johnson being 'loosely connected to the entertainment industry' or some such phrase? Is his girlfriend being a photographer relevant?
          Writing a few gossipy, show-biz articles, whatever they are for, isn't quite the same thing as plotting out and writing a whole book. So it was known that Mike had aspirations in that direction. And my point was not that Mike was incapable of writing the text of the diary, or that Anne couldn't have knocked what he did write into shape, but that lots of people want to write a book, and many people think they can write a book, but very few people actually write one. Plotting, researching and writing takes application. And the question was whether Mike had it. Curiously, when Anne Graham later told her story, at it's core was Mike's application, or lack of it. She thought Mike needed something tangible to give him a push, so she gave him the 'diary' in the hope that it would capture his imagination and inspire him.

          I didn't believe the diary was genuine and I went to meet Mike Barrett in the expectation that he would reveal himself to be the forger. He didn't come across that way. If Mike 'forged' the diary, he hid it very well. He betrayed no sense of pride in what he'd achieved, of having brought a bunch of people in a posh car all the way from London to see him. He wasn't trying to build up the 'diary', to 'sell' it. He seemed as curious about it as we were. When the financial rewards were mentioned, he just said he'd like a small greenhouse for his garden. He was an ordinary bloke, a family man, maybe someone who wasn't handling being a househusband dependent on his wife's income very well and maybe salved his ego with a glass or two down the pub, but he seemed to be someone who was genuine. Maybe he wasn't that at all. Maybe he suckered us all. Maybe we just weren't looking for the signs or didn't know what signs to look for.

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          • #80
            If Robbie Johnson was indeed sentenced on 4th February, 1992, and served 17-18 months, then it would seem logical to imagine his release date was 17th July 1993, and not 17th July 1992, as we reported. If this is the case it was undoubtedly a sloppy mistake on my part, as proofreader and fact checker, but I don't see any particular relevance to the knotty problem of who did or didn't put the scratches inside the watch, how, when or why. RJ refers to a cast of characters who were 'not nice people', but where does Albert Johnson fit in here? I have never yet heard a word said against Albert's character, and I cannot conceive of anyone who knew him thinking of him as as 'not a nice person'. He was one of the nicest people I have ever met, and also the one who bought the watch on 14th July 1992, while Robbie was banged up and while Mike Barrett was, coincidentally [hmmm], busy flogging the diary to a publisher. That timing is surely of more potential significance than whether Robbie was released from prison just too late to be in on his brother's purchase of the watch, or released from prison a month and a half too late to be in on the creation or discovery of the scratches. I can't personally see how cannabis possession [with or without the intent to supply] sits easily with a penchant for planning and/or executing a hoax, which involves engraving the signature of a known Victorian onto the inner surface of a gold watch, and making a damn good imitation of the man's actual signature, as it appeared on his marriage licence - a document which neither Johnson brother arguably ever saw, and one would need to have been psychic to imagine.

            The idea that Mike Barrett periodically pretended to be 'bat filth crazy', so Keith Skinner would not look to him for any answers about the origins of the diary or watch, is so out there that I hardly know what to say - apart from offering RJ a gentle reminder that Mike's 'bat filth crazy' claim to have made the scratches in the watch was made to none other than Alan Gray, the unpaid and ever more frustrated private investigator, who was doing his level best to help make Mike's forgery claims stick, and needed all the 'bat filth crazy' ones like a hole in the head. There was no reason for Mike to think any of his taped conversations with Gray would ever reach Keith's ears, but they shouldn't have needed to; anyone hearing them should have been smart enough to acknowledge, as RJ appears to do here regarding the watch scratches, that Mike was spouting more nonsense about his own part in his own downfall. I can only echo RJ's words to Keith: You're smarter than this, RJ. Chuck out everything Mike ever claimed. Forget it all - every word of it. He's the quintessential unreliable witness and is still leading you astray. Start from scratch and look for something this man consistently and vehemently denied, and that is more likely to take you to the truth.

            Love,

            Caz
            X
            Last edited by caz; 11-19-2019, 04:10 PM.
            "Comedy is simply a funny way of being serious." Peter Ustinov


            Comment


            • #81
              Originally posted by Abby Normal View Post

              exactly Rj

              and re his love of the pub. the pub! a veritable proving ground for yarns and tall tales!

              and how many great (and famous) writers had some kind of substance abuse, drinking and or pschological problems?

              the idea that he (a published author no less)was incapable of writing this silly diary is patently ridiculous.. but i guess any straw to clutch to keep the (non) mystery alive.
              Abby you're totally wrong there's no way Mike Barrett a published author could have written the diary.

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              • #82
                Originally posted by caz View Post
                If Robbie Johnson was indeed sentenced on 4th February, 1992, and served 17-18 months, then it would seem logical to imagine his release date was 17th July 1993, and not 17th July 1992, as we reported. If this is the case it was undoubtedly a sloppy mistake on my part, as proofreader and fact checker, but I don't see any particular relevance to the knotty problem of who did or didn't put the scratches inside the watch, how, when or why.
                Hi Caz.

                I already agreed to shake Keith's hand and exit the bus quietly, but it might not be amiss to point out that the 'sloppy proofreading' theory doesn't work either. Why? Because we are told in several sources that Robbie was in Robert Smith's office, watch in hand, on 14 June 1993. Unless he was out on work release, he was a free man before 17 July. (For the meeting with Smith, see Inside Story p. 41). I dunno. I thought it just might be worth looking into, as things don't quite fit...

                Anyway, since we both have a fancy for weaving unproven stories based on date coincidences, here's one I've been working on....

                Albert buys the watch from Stewarts on Tuesday 14 July 1992. (p 40)

                Robbie, we are told, left prison on Friday 17 July 1992 (p 257)

                Only three days separate the two dates. What about a present for Robbie? Is that a possible explanation? A watch to commemorate his new lease on life, along with the sentiment "no more wasted time"?

                I have no evidence for it; indeed, we are told that Albert bought the watch for his grand-daughter. But if such was the case, how did Robbie end up selling his interest in the watch for 10,000 pounds? You can't blame a dude for asking. If, at the beginning of the story, Little Daisy is holding a lollipop, and by the end of the story the great uncle, just out of the Clink, is smiling and licking sticky red strains off his lips, it does make one wonder...

                Perhaps there is an innocent explanation, but it seems strange to me, the way it has been explained.

                So here's my theory. Although fundamentally honest, Albert tweaked the provenance story just enough to distance his brother from the watch, knowing that mean, suspicious guys like me might want to point the finger of blame...

                But, time's up. I better pull the cord. Here's my bus stop.






                Comment


                • #83
                  Originally posted by rjpalmer View Post

                  Hi Caz.

                  I already agreed to shake Keith's hand and exit the bus quietly, but it might not be amiss to point out that the 'sloppy proofreading' theory doesn't work either. Why? Because we are told in several sources that Robbie was in Robert Smith's office, watch in hand, on 14 June 1993. Unless he was out on work release, he was a free man before 17 July. (For the meeting with Smith, see Inside Story p. 41). I dunno. I thought it just might be worth looking into, as things don't quite fit...
                  If you are still reading along, RJ...

                  You are quite correct. I checked and found, as you did, that Robbie accompanied Albert when he took his watch to show Robert in the June. Our date of 17th July 1992 for Robbie's release would work, however, if [as I think you put forward as a possibility yourself] he was held on remand following his arrest on 11th March [presumably in 1991?], and this was counted as time served. In any case, I'm still not sure what your original point was, in describing our date as 'highly problematic'. The article you posted, which you dated to 4th February 1992, said Robbie had just been sentenced to two years, which he very clearly didn't serve.

                  Anyway, since we both have a fancy for weaving unproven stories based on date coincidences, here's one I've been working on....

                  Albert buys the watch from Stewarts on Tuesday 14 July 1992. (p 40)

                  Robbie, we are told, left prison on Friday 17 July 1992 (p 257)

                  Only three days separate the two dates. What about a present for Robbie? Is that a possible explanation? A watch to commemorate his new lease on life, along with the sentiment "no more wasted time"?

                  I have no evidence for it; indeed, we are told that Albert bought the watch for his grand-daughter. But if such was the case, how did Robbie end up selling his interest in the watch for 10,000 pounds? You can't blame a dude for asking. If, at the beginning of the story, Little Daisy is holding a lollipop, and by the end of the story the great uncle, just out of the Clink, is smiling and licking sticky red strains off his lips, it does make one wonder...

                  Perhaps there is an innocent explanation, but it seems strange to me, the way it has been explained.

                  So here's my theory. Although fundamentally honest, Albert tweaked the provenance story just enough to distance his brother from the watch, knowing that mean, suspicious guys like me might want to point the finger of blame...

                  But, time's up. I better pull the cord. Here's my bus stop.
                  Intriguing idea, RJ, which of course depends on the date we gave for Robbie's release being correct after all, and the opposite of 'highly problematic' from your point of view.

                  I don't think anyone is here to defend Robbie's track record on ill-gotten gains, but I'd be interested to know who paid him this ten grand, thinking it was for a share in the watch, and then didn't kick up a fuss when Albert eventually left it - 100% of it - to Daisy, just as he had always said he would. I wonder what happened to the out-of-pocket individual concerned, and why we don't hear about any efforts to get their money's worth?

                  But let's imagine for argument's sake that Albert did give Robbie the watch as a 'coming out' gift, on 17th July 1992. You'd then have to work out what your 'fundamentally honest' Albert was doing with it some ten months later, when he took it in to work to show his colleagues and the scratches were revealed. Why did Albert let everyone think it was his own watch, before he knew there was anything potentially 'suspicious' about it? And when the scratches were examined, far from seeking to distance Robbie from the watch, knowing what suspicious minds might make of his brother's criminal record, Albert involved him almost immediately, taking him everywhere he went in connection with investigating its provenance and the possible age of the engravings.

                  And there's Albert's lovely wife Val to consider too in all of this. She is still with us, and presumably would know if the watch was originally given to Robbie, but a year later, with its sinister Maybrick connection, her 'fundamentally honest' husband suddenly changed the story, claiming it had been bought for baby Daisy all along. I can't see that going down at all well, but then maybe I got 'too close' to such people, and the only way to really sort things out is to distance yourself from them and allow your suspicions room to breathe and move around.

                  Love,

                  Caz
                  X







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


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