There weren't any scratches on that surface when the Maybrick signature and 'I am Jack' were carved into it
I can't imagine that many scratches would accumulate on part of a gold watch that had been largely covered up for most of its lifetime, Caz. That said, I can't see how we can know categoricallly that there were no scratches present prior to the initials, unless the watch had been microscopically examined before the engravings were made.
but a hoaxer working in 1993 would have had to cause all the overlying scratch marks, including those referred to as superficial
I don't have a problem with that. Different passes of the "aging" process would create a variety scratch-marks anyway, particularly if more than one abrasive tool/substance were used (thanks, Phil!).
That said, I can't see how we can know categoricallly that there were no scratches present prior to the initials, unless the watch had been microscopically examined before the engravings were made.
I think it's based on a misreading of Turgoose's report. He did say this:
"all the superficial scratches are later than all the engraving."
Taken out of context it might seem that he was saying that there were no superficial scratches on the watch before the engraving, and I think this is how it has been read. In his conclusion, however, he makes clear that this can't possibly be what he was saying because he hadn't examined all the superficial scratches on the watch. Thus he says:
"it is clear that the engravings predate the vast majority of the superficial surface scratches (all of those examined)".
If anyone wants a great example of classic Diary Defending distraction techniques we have had one today.
In response to John G's claim that two people who met Mike don't think he had the capacity to write the diary (one of whom was pinkmoon) I made the very simple point to John G that pinkmoon was in no position to form a judgement on Mike's capacity bearing in mind that he met him when he was in a "terrible state" due to alcohol abuse and was "drinking heavily".
That was a straightforward and unanswerable point and, in fact, it has not been answered. Being unable to contradict this obvious statement the tactic is then to attack me personally and make a false statement about my views. Thus
"We have all seen David's tendency to dismiss any judgements formed, about the character, personality, literary or literacy skills of those involved in the diary and watch sagas, by those of us who have actually met and listened extensively and intensively to some of them"
Leaving aside that this is completely irrelevant to the point I was making about pinkmoon, we have not all seen my tendency to dismiss any judgements formed by those who have met and listened "extensively and intensively" or otherwise, nor could any reasonable person have thought I was doing any such thing. It is a false statement.
A point I have consistently made is that anyone who met Mike in the years after 1992, during a time when he was actually hospitalized for alcohol abuse, is hardly going to be able to form a reasonable view of his abilities prior to 1992.
As for Anne, well so many people who met her believed her story and these turn out to be the same people who now tell us she must have been lying all along!!! Go figure.
Today must be Groundhog Day considering the repeats of all the old arguments that have been done to death.
Today we are told that "Even Baxendale wasn't fool enough to suggest the writing was less than a year old when he examined it, never mind just a couple of months."
Yet, according to the Sunday Times of 19 September 1993, "Baxendale concluded it had probably been written recently, in the past two or three years".
That time period incorporates any time from 1989 to 1992.
But today's posts simply confirm my suspicion that some people simply do not understand the science of dating inks and fail to appreciate that it's literally impossible to identify the date ink has been put onto paper. A solubility test can do no more than say if the ink is recent or not and that's it.
"His own argument was that writing using a Victorian style gallotannic ink couldn't be dated unless it was examined within a year of the ink drying, or at the outside six months, if certain conditions had allowed for it to have stabilised that quickly."
The ONLY person to examine the diary within six months of April 1992 was Baxendale.
And when was the next solubility test conducted on the diary? It's not ever clear if anyone ever did one, certainly not within a year or six months of the ink drying.
We go round and round again. I already dealt with the views of Melvin Harris back in September 2016. Here is what I said:
"I can only go by what Melvin Harris has put in writing and I note that he said of Barrett in 'A Fact File for the Perplexed' (with my bold highlighting):
"I never at any time believed that he was the sole creator of this forgery, but he did have inside knowledge…"
If, however, he said he was merely a "front man" but you don't accept it, why should I or anyone else accept his opinion that Barrett did not have the capacity to forge the diary?
And are you saying that Harris opined that neither Mike nor Anne wrote the diary? If so, where did he say this?"
To which the feeble response was:
"There is no reason why you, or anyone else, should accept Melvin's opinion on anything. Be my guest and accept or reject at will. I do. Few people are right or wrong about everything.
Wrote as in penned. I believe Harris had Anne down as composer of the text (ha ha) and I do remember him clarifying on the boards once upon a time that he had both Barretts down as handlers and pushers but the handwriting was not theirs.
Again, please feel free to take it or leave it."
To which I responded:
"...what I'm really trying to establish is: what are the reasons for thinking that Mike and Anne did not compose the Diary, whether it's you, me, Harris or anyone else doing the thinking?
If the main reason is that Mike is not believed to have had the 'capacity' prior to May 1992 then what is the basis of this belief?
And what about Anne? Why the "ha ha" in your email when it comes to her as composer of the text?"
The long response to that was as follows:
"Very many apologies for my tardy - and necessarily brief - response. You would really need to have had personal experience of what made Anne and Mike tick, to get a proper insight into what they may, or may not, have been willing to do, or capable of doing, in respect of the damned diary. There is also the watch, of course, about which the Barretts always claimed total ignorance. Mike never suggested he masterminded that in addition to the diary, for instance.
Their personalities, combined with examples of their handwriting and creative writing skills, have given me no confidence in their ability - individually or together - to have produced anything like the diary as we know it, but of course that doesn't mean they could not both have been living a charade for years, even decades, to put investigators, friends, associates and family members off the scent. So in that respect, no amount of published, verified examples of their handiwork is likely to convince those who were suspicious to begin with and remain so all these years later.
If none of the above changes anything for you, I can only add that I have absolute faith in Keith Skinner's research skills, his objectivity and integrity, and I do know what his Battlecrease provenance is based on (I have been right there from the start of the 'new' investigation, following publication of our Ripper Diary) and completely understand why he finds the evidence so compelling."
This was the very chain which led into a discussion of what Keith Skinner's current views about the Battlecrease provenance were and, as we have seen in this thread, they are by no means as strongly held as we were led to believe - and he certainly does not find the evidence "compelling" in the normally understood sense of the word.
In short, I have never received a sensible response as to why Mike or Anne, singly or jointly, did not have the capacity to compose the Diary.
It's incredible. I made a very simple point, a very simple correction, namely that the Rendell team did NOT settle on a "prior to 1970" date as had been claimed. And I was, of course, right because that was a date settled on by just one member of the Rendell team.
All that needed to happen was a graceful acceptance of that fact.
Instead, in an obvious distraction technique, we get one irrelevant question after another about the basis of Rendell's personal beliefs. Questions that need to be addressed to Rendell, not me, because I'm neither a mindreader nor Rendell's spokesman.
And then, not having mentioned Rendell's personal beliefs, I'm supposed to explain what relevance they have to another discussion!!! Absolutely incredible.
Perhaps her spelling and punctuation weren't infallible either, Caz. I don't know much about Anne but I've no reason to believe that she was significantly more literate than her spouse. She certainly wasn't averse to committing certain grammatical blunders, as we already seen.
(Seen what I did there? )
Nice one, Gareth. But I also 'seen' why you felt the need to explain, in case anyone who didn't know you, and had not read any of your other written work, might have analysed your post and concluded your grammar was poor [and I don't mean that your grandma never had two ha'pennies to rub together ].
The fact is, I often find myself slipping into 'common' in casual conversation, depending on the circumstances, and the locals here in Sidmouth think I talk Cockney. But when I'm communicating in writing and being serious about it I try my best, with my A grade O level in English language from 1970, not to let myself down. Anne worked as a secretary, so unless she was considerably more literate than Mike was, bless him, I'm not sure how she'd have held down a job like that for long. It would have been pretty much a basic requirement, probably more so than for other lowly clerical posts such as filing clerks and office juniors. Martin Fido was surprised, if Anne helped forge the diary, that she allowed it to go out like that. But if she had written it out herself to Mike's dictation [as secretaries used to do when their boss dictated anything], it would have been down to her alone to make sure the spelling, punctuation and grammar [if not the handwriting!] was - WERE suitable for the purposes of forging the diary of James Maybrick. Did she not posses - POSSESS - a dictionary, for example? Did she not think to consult one?
One more question: is there an art to disguising one's normal handwriting, using an old-fashioned dip pen and ink, or can anyone do it with a bit of practice? I've not tried it myself, so I have no idea how I'd go about it or how it might turn out on the page, never mind 63 of the buggers, but I'd find it pretty daunting if my better half finally managed to find a book that was 'suitable for forgery purposes', an ink and dip pen that were equally 'suitable for forgery purposes' and then told me to get on with it and not to make an amateurish mess of it, because he wanted to show it off in London in a few days' time as definitely not my own work.
__________________ "Comedy is simply a funny way of being serious." Peter Ustinov