Hello Chris, and thanks for your well thought out post. Apologies for the editing as I am trying to be concise.
Originally Posted by Chris Jones
... 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...
... 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...
Yes, that pesky line along with other items right out of Collard's notes.
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.
What were the books on Jack the Ripper? Were they pre 1959 (Donald McCormick)?
See this is the conundrum with a pre 1920 hoax. The only viable source would be 1888 newspapers, which would be difficult to archive at the time unless the forger had been around and kept newspaper clippings during the murders, or was a member of the Met or City police of London...and had access or knew someone with access to Battlecrease in Liverpool...and know about the Maybricks...then this would be a monumental undertaking; then to only place the fruits of their labor in a place where it may never be found.
... 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...
Yep, that one pesky line again
When evidence is not to be had, theories abound. Even the most plausible of them do not carry conviction- London Times Nov. 10.1888
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.
Thanks for the post and info!
May I tentatively offer another scenario – which is similar to the Michael Maybrick option.
That is, the diary may have been written by the murderer i.e. JTR (but someone other than Michael Maybrick) who was pretending or fantasising that he was James Maybrick. IMO highly unlikely but thought I’d mention it to cover all bases.
IMO the diary is either written by James Maybrick or is a modern post 1987 forgery.
I don’t exclude the old forgery scenario but the ‘tin match box empty’ text is problematic and I remember Martin Fido saying something like the description of the murders is not what someone would come up with in say the 1920’s.
For example, the diary author (and watch) takes credit for the canonical 5 where this is a relatively modern understanding. If someone was to forge the diary pre-publication of MacNaughton memorandum you’d expect them to include other Whitechapel murder victims e.g. Emma Smith.
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
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?
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.
Now you're looking for the secret, but you won't find it, because of course, you're not really looking. You want to be fooled.