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

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  #1  
Old 02-03-2018, 06:52 AM
Chris Jones Chris Jones is offline
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Default Who was the author of the 'Maybrick' diary? Some options.

I very rarely read or post anything on these message boards. The main reason for my inactivity is that in the past, when I organised the Trial of James Maybrick event in Liverpool, I was the subject of some quite unpleasant and, in some case, totally untrue statements. I also found that too many of the people who contributed to the Maybrick debate had fixed opinions on the diary saga and were simply not prepared to listen to the views of the other camp. Despite my misgivings, I have decided to put my toe back in the water of the diary debate and venture a few opinions on the subject.

I think there are four (main) possible sources for the author of the diary. I remain open-minded about all four; however, I think the weight of evidence points to it being a forgery.

Firstly, it was written by James Maybrick, either because he actually was Jack the Ripper or because he was a fantasist. This viewpoint, though in my opinion unlikely, is too easily dismissed by some diary critics. After all, twenty-five years after its appearance, the diary has not definitely been proved to be a forgery. Also, some very prominent criminal psychologists have said that the diary text does indicate that its author was someone with a very tortured mind-set. Some circumstantial evidence has pointed at Maybrick being a credible candidate to be JtR, such as his knowledge and visits to London and his erratic behaviour at the time of the Ripper murders due to chronic drug abuse. On the other hand, there are clearly major problems with the diary being the genuine article. For example, why is not written in James’s own handwriting? He clearly wasn’t hiding his identity so there was no reason to disguise his handwriting. Could a sick and dying man really place the diary under the floorboards of his room without anyone hearing or discovering the fact? Very unlikely, if not impossible. There are mistakes and inaccuracies in the text of the diary and there is that crucial ‘tin match box empty’ quote. Those four striking words cannot be easily dismissed as some have sought to do.

Secondly, it was written by Michael Maybrick. This is a very unlikely view, but it has to be dealt with following the publication of Bruce Robinson’s brilliant, but deeply flawed book. He suggests that Michael wrote the diary to frame his brother. This of course, doesn’t explain why he didn’t write the diary in James’s handwriting or why he hid the diary if he wanted it to be discovered. The book also contains numerous factual errors in relation to the Maybrick story (which I have previously outlined in an article for the Whitechapel Society journal). These factual errors are so damning that I feel that this viewpoint has little credibility.

Thirdly, it is an old forgery. This viewpoint is rarely discussed but it ticks a lot of the question boxes. Interestingly, a few people closely connected with the Maybrick case, came to live at Battlecrease after the Maybricks moved out. For example, Fletcher Rogers, who was the chairman of the jury at the inquest into James Maybrick’s death. Such people would have known a lot of the personal details of the Maybricks’ lives, such as James Maybrick occasionally being referred to as Sir James. If the diary was written in the 1920s as one of the scientific tests suggested, there are other possible suspects for the author of the diary, at least one of whom lived in Battlecrease and had a probable dislike of the Maybricks. Someone living at the house could have also very easily placed a diary under the floorboards (if that actually happened).

Fourthly, it is a modern forgery. If this is the case, then Michael Barrett has to be involved in some capacity. Having spoken to Mike on several occasions and meeting him once in his house, I am totally convinced that if he was involved, he did not act alone. If the diary is a modern fake, it is not a crude one, but is a very clever one. Effort was made to intertwine two narratives, the Ripper and Maybrick stories. An authentic Victorian album was bought and care was taken to get ink that could be mistakenly identified as Victorian in origin. If it is a modern forgery, then a post-1987 date would appear likely as that would help explain the ‘tin match box, empty quote which I think is a highly significant line in the diary.

One final thought for you. Could the information in the diary about the Maybrick story and the Ripper killings be easily gleaned from modern or from old sources? The answer to that is, yes. I know that for a fact as I have completed that exercise. Try it yourself. I used just two pre-1988 books on the Ripper murders and one pre-1988 book on the Maybrick saga to rather easily and successfully recreate what the diary has to say about these two story-lines. The only line that caused me a problem was the ‘Sir Jim’ reference; however, that line fits in with the text that precedes it and could have easily been written by a clever forger. I used one old Maybrick book and one old Liverpool newspaper (from different dates) to again easily and successfully recreate what the diary has to say about the Maybricks and the Ripper murders. Again, I had a problem with just one line, this time it was the ‘tin match box empty’ reference. Let me give you just one example of my efforts:

Extract from the diary (page 60) – ‘Fuller believes that there is ‘very little the matter with me.’

Old Forgery (?) Extract from the J. H. Levy (1899) book (page 78) – [Dr Charles Fuller giving evidence at Florence’s trial] “The examination last over an hour…I told him there was very little the matter with him.”

Modern forgery – extract from the B. Ryan (1977) book (page 42) – ‘Michael recommended his doctor, Charles Fuller…he told the patient that he could find very little the matter wrong with him.’

So which of the four options listed above is my preferred selection. Well for those of you who are going to the event organised by Chris George in Baltimore this April, you will hear my considered choice and I will be expanding on my views in much more detail and providing evidence to justify my selection. For the moment, let me just say that while I am still exploring all four options, I do NOT think that the diary was written by James Maybrick. In an article I am currently working on, I have identified (so far) twenty-three reasons why James Maybrick was not the author of the diary, e.g. such as the handwriting issue I mentioned previously.

What option would you select and why?
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  #2  
Old 02-03-2018, 08:59 AM
James_J James_J is offline
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Hi Chris!

Just passing this along from Keith. Speak soon!

Best, James


TO CHRIS JONES


Thanks for your post Chris.

Only a few questions from me...


Are you able to identify the dates when you spoke with and met Mike Barrett?


On those occasions, was Mike saying he had or hadn’t created the diary?


Mike was scheduled to appear at your event in Liverpool in May 2007 (The Trial Of James Maybrick). He didn’t turn up. Was he coming to make the case for him (Mike) faking the diary or not faking it?


And did he ever give a reason why he failed to appear?


Every Good Wish, Keith
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  #3  
Old 02-04-2018, 03:48 AM
Chris Jones Chris Jones is offline
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Hi James and Keith.

I cannot give you all the dates that I spoke to Mike Barrett. Most of them were phone calls from him and they could occur at any time, day and occasionally, night. I went around to his house in Ainsdale in 2008. He was extremely pleasant and hospitable, he had even made me some salmon sandwiches. I must have been there for some 2 to 3 hours. He talked at length about how his life had been turned upside down by the diary and he openly admitted some of his mistakes and drinking issues. As to the provenance of the diary, he had returned to his original (1992) account, that it was given to him by TD and that he did not fake it. He said that he made up the stories about him faking the diary at a time when his life was in freefall; his marriage was breaking up and he was drinking heavily. I left his house feeling quite sorry for him. If he did fake the diary, he may have made some money, but the personal cost out-weighed any financial gain.

One thing he did do during our time together, was to show me some of his own writing. His handwriting was very different to that of the author of the diary. Also, the text that he had written contained numerous spelling mistakes and grammatical errors. Of course, it could all have been an act to mislead me, but I do not think so. If he was involved in a modern forgery, then someone else certainly helped him and that person did the actual writing.

As to the trial event that I organised, I did not originally invite Mike. He rang me one day, a few weeks before the trial, and demanded a slot at the event so he could give his version of what happened. (I do not know exactly what he was going to say.) I gladly agreed to his request, but sadly he did not turn up. He gave no reason at that time for his non-arrival. Later, when I met him, he said he didn't turn up as he had issues with some of the people who were going to the event. He did not elaborate on that statement and I did not ask him any further questions on that particular issue.

Best wishes, Chris
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  #4  
Old 02-04-2018, 04:45 AM
John Wheat John Wheat is offline
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It was clearly written by Mike Barrett or someone close to him.
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  #5  
Old 02-04-2018, 06:37 AM
Iconoclast Iconoclast is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John Wheat View Post
It was clearly written by Mike Barrett or someone close to him.
This may not be as accurate as you would wish it to be.

There you go, that's how you post an irrelevant post, mate.
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  #6  
Old 02-04-2018, 06:47 AM
John Wheat John Wheat is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Iconoclast View Post
This may not be as accurate as you would wish it to be.

There you go, that's how you post an irrelevant post, mate.
Thanks for that Sgt Bilko
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  #7  
Old 02-04-2018, 03:39 PM
phantom phantom is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris Jones View Post
Hi James and Keith.

I cannot give you all the dates that I spoke to Mike Barrett. Most of them were phone calls from him and they could occur at any time, day and occasionally, night. I went around to his house in Ainsdale in 2008. He was extremely pleasant and hospitable, he had even made me some salmon sandwiches. I must have been there for some 2 to 3 hours. He talked at length about how his life had been turned upside down by the diary and he openly admitted some of his mistakes and drinking issues. As to the provenance of the diary, he had returned to his original (1992) account, that it was given to him by TD and that he did not fake it. He said that he made up the stories about him faking the diary at a time when his life was in freefall; his marriage was breaking up and he was drinking heavily. I left his house feeling quite sorry for him. If he did fake the diary, he may have made some money, but the personal cost out-weighed any financial gain.

One thing he did do during our time together, was to show me some of his own writing. His handwriting was very different to that of the author of the diary. Also, the text that he had written contained numerous spelling mistakes and grammatical errors. Of course, it could all have been an act to mislead me, but I do not think so. If he was involved in a modern forgery, then someone else certainly helped him and that person did the actual writing.

As to the trial event that I organised, I did not originally invite Mike. He rang me one day, a few weeks before the trial, and demanded a slot at the event so he could give his version of what happened. (I do not know exactly what he was going to say.) I gladly agreed to his request, but sadly he did not turn up. He gave no reason at that time for his non-arrival. Later, when I met him, he said he didn't turn up as he had issues with some of the people who were going to the event. He did not elaborate on that statement and I did not ask him any further questions on that particular issue.

Best wishes, Chris
Hi Chris

Thanks for the info.

IIRC Anne Graham’s handwriting has also been cited and excluded as author of the diary? I’m at work now and haven’t got access to Feldman or The Ripper File.

But does anyone know if a sample of Tony Deveraux’s handwriting has ever been obtained and compared to the Diary?

Cheers
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Old 02-04-2018, 03:46 PM
James_J James_J is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris Jones View Post
I must have been there for some 2 to 3 hours. He talked at length about how his life had been turned upside down by the diary and he openly admitted some of his mistakes and drinking issues. As to the provenance of the diary, he had returned to his original (1992) account, that it was given to him by TD and that he did not fake it. He said that he made up the stories about him faking the diary at a time when his life was in freefall; his marriage was breaking up and he was drinking heavily. I left his house feeling quite sorry for him. If he did fake the diary, he may have made some money, but the personal cost out-weighed any financial gain.
Evening Chris, All,

Just passing this on from Keith :-

We refer to this incident on pp 226-227 in Inside Story which gives an insight into the relationship between Michael Barrett and Anne Graham in September 1998, eight years after, according to Mike’s sworn affidavit of January 1995, they decided to go ahead and write the Diary of Jack the Ripper.

Mike Barrett’s surname is spelt BarrAtt throughout.



Liverpool Daily Post, September 12,1998



‘This should prove the case about the Ripper Diary’



He’s a forger and an alcoholic... but Michael Barratt is not a man of violence



All I cared about was to protect my daughter’s name.


THE Jack the Ripper diaries have fascinated historians, criminologists and psychologists since they appeared on the scene in 1992. But yesterday the man who claims he forged those diaries found himself at the centre of a court case with Jack the Ripper playing a bizarre role in the proceedings.

A jury at Liverpool Crown Court yesterday took just over an hour to acquit Michael Barratt of threatening to kill his ex-wife. Mr Barratt, 46, claims he was behind the forging of the “diary” of Liverpool cotton merchant James Maybrick, supposedly exposing him as the Victorian serial killer and about which controversy still rages.

The court heard that the alleged death threat was sparked by a Sunday Express article last year about author Paul Feldman’s Ripper book, which claimed that Mr Barratt’s ex wife was directly descended from Maybrick’s wife, Florence. Afterwards, outside court, Mr Barratt, said: “I’m delighted. It proves I’m not a violent man and it proves my wife is a liar. “This should prove the case about the Diary of Jack the Ripper. I stopped the fraud but nobody believed me. I feel totally vindicated. I’ve gone through five years of hell. It proves I’m not illiterate and that I am a professional writer. I’ve cleared my name and it’s come out in court that my daughter is not related to Jack the Ripper.”

Mr Barratt, 46, of Hero Street, Bootle, formerly of Brooke-Road West, Waterloo, denied making a threat to kill Ann Graham. The court heard that on August 29 last year, he went round to his ex-wife’s home in Delamore Street, Walton, and pushed a note under the front door. He allegedly banged loudly on the door and shouted threats to Miss Graham. It was accepted that this was one of a number of similar visits to Miss Graham’s home by Mr Barratt since the couple divorced in 1994. The court heard that in the note Barratt said: “So help me God, push this one step further and I will kill you. I want you to know you can never walk the streets in safety. If you use Caroline and label her a Maybrick I’ll blow your head off and I mean it.”

Mr Barratt, an alcoholic, told the court he was horrified when he later saw the note. Asked if he intended to kill his ex-wife he replied: “No. Not in a million years.” He said he was “totally upset and angry” after seeing the Sunday Express article, and that he only wanted to see his daughter and thought that his ex-wife would take the note “with a pinch of salt.”

Florence Maybrick was jailed for the murder of her husband, and the claim in the book linked his daughter to two murderers he said. He described how he and Miss Graham concocted the diary by adapting an old photo album bought at auction, and that he composed the text while his ex-wife hand wrote it in a manuscript ink. He took the diary to a London publisher in 1991 and said he had been given the old black ledger by Liverpool print worker, Tony Devereux, who died in 1991.

The diary resulted in The Diary of Jack the Ripper, by Shirley Harrison, and last year Paul Feldman’s book, Jack the Ripper – The Final Chapter, appeared. Miss Graham told the court that her ex-husband began drinking heavily in 1988, claimed he was abusive and violent, and that he harassed her after she went to live elsewhere.

She described Barratt’s claims about forging the diary as “ridiculous.” She said her father claimed he was the son of an illegitimate child of Florence Maybrick, but it was Barratt who brought it to the public’s attention.


Best, KS
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  #9  
Old 02-04-2018, 08:39 PM
Abby Normal Abby Normal is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by James_J View Post
Evening Chris, All,

Just passing this on from Keith :-

We refer to this incident on pp 226-227 in Inside Story which gives an insight into the relationship between Michael Barrett and Anne Graham in September 1998, eight years after, according to Mike’s sworn affidavit of January 1995, they decided to go ahead and write the Diary of Jack the Ripper.

Mike Barrett’s surname is spelt BarrAtt throughout.



Liverpool Daily Post, September 12,1998



‘This should prove the case about the Ripper Diary’



He’s a forger and an alcoholic... but Michael Barratt is not a man of violence



All I cared about was to protect my daughter’s name.


THE Jack the Ripper diaries have fascinated historians, criminologists and psychologists since they appeared on the scene in 1992. But yesterday the man who claims he forged those diaries found himself at the centre of a court case with Jack the Ripper playing a bizarre role in the proceedings.

A jury at Liverpool Crown Court yesterday took just over an hour to acquit Michael Barratt of threatening to kill his ex-wife. Mr Barratt, 46, claims he was behind the forging of the “diary” of Liverpool cotton merchant James Maybrick, supposedly exposing him as the Victorian serial killer and about which controversy still rages.

The court heard that the alleged death threat was sparked by a Sunday Express article last year about author Paul Feldman’s Ripper book, which claimed that Mr Barratt’s ex wife was directly descended from Maybrick’s wife, Florence. Afterwards, outside court, Mr Barratt, said: “I’m delighted. It proves I’m not a violent man and it proves my wife is a liar. “This should prove the case about the Diary of Jack the Ripper. I stopped the fraud but nobody believed me. I feel totally vindicated. I’ve gone through five years of hell. It proves I’m not illiterate and that I am a professional writer. I’ve cleared my name and it’s come out in court that my daughter is not related to Jack the Ripper.”

Mr Barratt, 46, of Hero Street, Bootle, formerly of Brooke-Road West, Waterloo, denied making a threat to kill Ann Graham. The court heard that on August 29 last year, he went round to his ex-wife’s home in Delamore Street, Walton, and pushed a note under the front door. He allegedly banged loudly on the door and shouted threats to Miss Graham. It was accepted that this was one of a number of similar visits to Miss Graham’s home by Mr Barratt since the couple divorced in 1994. The court heard that in the note Barratt said: “So help me God, push this one step further and I will kill you. I want you to know you can never walk the streets in safety. If you use Caroline and label her a Maybrick I’ll blow your head off and I mean it.”

Mr Barratt, an alcoholic, told the court he was horrified when he later saw the note. Asked if he intended to kill his ex-wife he replied: “No. Not in a million years.” He said he was “totally upset and angry” after seeing the Sunday Express article, and that he only wanted to see his daughter and thought that his ex-wife would take the note “with a pinch of salt.”

Florence Maybrick was jailed for the murder of her husband, and the claim in the book linked his daughter to two murderers he said. He described how he and Miss Graham concocted the diary by adapting an old photo album bought at auction, and that he composed the text while his ex-wife hand wrote it in a manuscript ink. He took the diary to a London publisher in 1991 and said he had been given the old black ledger by Liverpool print worker, Tony Devereux, who died in 1991.

The diary resulted in The Diary of Jack the Ripper, by Shirley Harrison, and last year Paul Feldman’s book, Jack the Ripper – The Final Chapter, appeared. Miss Graham told the court that her ex-husband began drinking heavily in 1988, claimed he was abusive and violent, and that he harassed her after she went to live elsewhere.

She described Barratt’s claims about forging the diary as “ridiculous.” She said her father claimed he was the son of an illegitimate child of Florence Maybrick, but it was Barratt who brought it to the public’s attention.


Best, KS

Ya know what? This is a bunch of huge stinking buffalo ****. Why do we bother?I feel sorry for him mike Barrett actually reading all this . Airing this poor sad sacks dirty laundry gets us where?

Sad.

I’m out.
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but a dream within a dream?"

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

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Last edited by Abby Normal : 02-04-2018 at 08:54 PM.
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  #10  
Old 02-04-2018, 10:22 PM
Scott Nelson Scott Nelson is offline
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Yeah, well then go Mr. Normal. You don't have anything useful to add to the discussion. All you do is quote an entire post, then add a one or two sentence reply.
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