Casebook: Jack the Ripper - Main

Ripper Letters
Police Officials
Official Documents
Press Reports
Victorian London
Message Boards
Ripper Media
Games & Diversions
Photo Archive
Ripper Wiki
Casebook Examiner
Ripper Podcast
About the Casebook

Most Recent Posts:
Mary Jane Kelly: Was Mary Kelly a Ripper victim? - by caz 2 minutes ago.
A6 Murders: A6 Rebooted - by NickB 4 minutes ago.
Non-Fiction: the victims werent prostitutes - by Robert 20 minutes ago.
Non-Fiction: the victims werent prostitutes - by Bridewell 36 minutes ago.
Witnesses: Mizen's inquest statement reconstructed - by Bridewell 50 minutes ago.
Non-Fiction: the victims werent prostitutes - by MrBarnett 51 minutes ago.

Most Popular Threads:
Elizabeth Stride: For what reason do we include Stride? - (41 posts)
Non-Fiction: the victims werent prostitutes - (15 posts)
Hutchinson, George: Any updates, or opinions on this witness. - (12 posts)
Witnesses: Mizen's inquest statement reconstructed - (8 posts)
A6 Murders: A6 Rebooted - (6 posts)
Emma Smith: The Tell-Tale Blade - Thoughts on the Knives Used on Martha Tabram - (4 posts)

Wiki Updates:
Robert Sagar
Edit: Chris
May 9, 2015, 12:32 am
Online newspaper archives
Edit: Chris
Nov 26, 2014, 10:25 am
Joseph Lawende
Edit: Chris
Mar 9, 2014, 10:12 am
Miscellaneous research resources
Edit: Chris
Feb 13, 2014, 9:28 am
Charles Cross
Edit: John Bennett
Sep 4, 2013, 8:20 pm

Most Recent Blogs:
February 19, 2016, 11:12 am.
Chris George: RipperCon in Baltimore, April 8-10, 2016
February 10, 2016, 2:55 pm.
Mike Covell: Hull Prison Visit
October 10, 2015, 8:04 am.
August 9, 2015, 3:10 am.
November 14, 2014, 10:02 am.
Mike Covell: Mike’s Book Releases
March 17, 2014, 3:18 am.

Go Back   Casebook Forums > Ripper Discussions > Suspects > Maybrick, James

Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Old 05-21-2018, 01:46 PM
David Orsam David Orsam is offline
Join Date: Nov 2014
Posts: 7,916
Default Melvin Harris and his Examination of the Diary

In his article "THE MAYBRICK HOAX: A FACT-FILE FOR THE PERPLEXED" from April 1997, Melvin Harris wrote (bold added):

"In August and October 1993, independent visual examination of the Diary ink, by myself, by Dr Joe Nickell, by Kenneth Rendell, by Maureen Casey Owens and by Robert Kuranz, revealed no signs of ageing. We were all viewing a fresh, washed-out looking ink, that gave signs of having been diluted. So at that time there were six examinations that all pointed to one conclusion: the ink was new."

In response to this, it has been suggested that Harris was lying and that he never viewed the Diary. Thus, in a post in Casebook on 18 March 2005, the year following Harris's death, it was said:

"Hi RJ,

I have just been reminded that the only occasion Melvin was in the same room as the diary was the October 1993 press conference.

The diary was protected by a security guard, and not much more than a glance was afforded to all those present who ventured forward to have a butcher's. There was no opportunity for anyone to 'examine' the document, in the usual sense of the word.

I also understand that Melvin was positioned at the back of the room, and made no apparent moves to face his bete noire at the front.

And it appears that Melvin never did request another opportunity to see what he missed.

I must say I find it absolutely extraordinary, if true. Not because it would have changed anything at all if he had gone over it with a fine-toothed comb - I'm sure it wouldn't; but because of what it says about the sheer repellent power this document seems to have had over professionals you wouldn't normally think of as being easily repelled by any object they recognise as being within their area of expertise.



To the extent that Melvin might have somehow got a glimpse of the Diary, it is suggested it was very limited. Thus, we were told by the same person as above on 30 April 2018:

"Melvin's examination in October 1993 was indeed 'limited', if the diary was opened at just one page for attendees of the book launch to see. Even more limited if it was displayed for people to look but not touch, as is my understanding."

However, I have found a note written by Melvin Harris in 1996 in which he says this (with my bold):

"But the ink in the Diary is not bronzed in the way that an ink of that age would be. It is (or was in 1992-93) a washed out blue-black in hue. At that time it looked fresh and new, with perhaps evidence of a degree of dilution, a fact I remarked on when I examined it (courtesy of the security guard) at the end of the book launch."

So it seems clear that there was more to it than those in the room that day were aware of and that Melvin made some kind of arrangement with the security guard to examine the Diary in private following the public book launch. Furthermore, in a separate note, Harris stated this:

"I used a Zeiss hand-glass, bloomed and fully colour-corrected, to scrutinise the ink and I too found bronzing absent"

That indicates to me that he did, in fact, have a close look at the Diary.

It's easy to besmirch the reputation of the dead but, whether he was right or wrong about the Diary, I believe that Harris was a man of truth and integrity and I hope this puts the record straight.
Quick reply to this message Reply With Quote
Old 05-21-2018, 01:54 PM
DirectorDave DirectorDave is offline
Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: The Kingdom of Fife, Scotland, UK.
Posts: 332

Originally Posted by David Orsam View Post
It's easy to besmirch the reputation of the dead
Well if we couldn't there wouldn't be much point in this site!

Well done Dave, Melvin was a cantankerous old git, I liked him, nice to clear his name on this issue.
My opinion is all I have to offer here,


Smilies are canned laughter.
Quick reply to this message Reply With Quote
Old 05-21-2018, 02:18 PM
Wickerman Wickerman is offline
Join Date: Oct 2008
Posts: 9,613

Originally Posted by David Orsam View Post
I believe that Harris was a man of truth and integrity and I hope this puts the record straight.
Back in the day, there was so much crap written about the Diary I would look forward to Harris's periodic reports. At the time I took his conclusions as the last word on the matter.

Funny thing was, he also wrote a suspect book on JtR, which was disappointing to say the least.
After I read it I thought that if he had applied the same criticism to his own theory that he applied to others, he would never have written it.
Some will say I'm wrong of course....
Regards, Jon S.
Quick reply to this message Reply With Quote

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

vB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Forum Jump

All times are GMT. The time now is 07:42 AM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.6.4
Copyright ©2000 - 2018, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.