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  • Ink: A Recipe for Madness

    Evening all,

    I've just been reading Sir Robert's chapter from The Diary of Jack the Ripper: Research and Conclusion (2017) entitled 'Ink: A Recipe or Madness and Death'.

    I am interested to hear some thoughts & reflections on the research & conclusions drawn. Does a detailed examination of the ink provide us with a clearer picture of who the Diarist may have been - or at least, who he was not ?

    I'm keen to hear how those opting for a 'modern hoax' factor in this information? Where does Michael Barret stand in all of this?

    ...just to get the ball rolling

    Best, James.

  • #2
    Originally posted by James Johnston View Post
    Evening all,
    I've just been reading Sir Robert's chapter from The Diary of Jack the Ripper: Research and Conclusion (2017) entitled 'Ink: A Recipe or Madness and Death'.
    Thanks for starting this thread.

    As I have said many times, the roots of the Diary and Watch saga are mired in theft and lies. It's not "our" responsibility to wrap the provenance neatly like the Whitehall Torso. But I deeply respect all the work you and Keith Skinner have done - and shared to date - on the issue of when and how the Diary and Watch came out of Battlecrease. And am excited no end about recent developments!

    But my attitude has been to work with things I can deal with here in New York: what the Diary says and what the Diary was written in. And which labs said what, and how they came to their conclusions. Etc etc. The tangibles so to speak. Actual evidence.

    I have given three talks at Ripper conferences that contained some degree of Diary material. York 2012 was about the ink tests, Salisbury 2014 touched on Maybrick's syphilis, and the recent Liverpool talk focused on who I believe wrote the damned thing. None of these talks mentioned Mike Barrett or for that matter Paul Feldman in anything but tangential fashion. Why? I not only can't explain half of what they did, I think they are irrelevant to the actual artifacts. As was Harris. Not a meaningful part of the narrative to me, as radical as that might seem at first blush.

    So to me everything starts with the issue of what the Diary was written in. And that we know courtesy of tests done long ago. I would note that Mike Barrett never identified the specific ink he supposedly wrote the Diary in; Diamine was suggested by others.

    The Diary ink isn't Diamine however. But it was a good but ultimately erroneous call, because the Diary ink is in fact blue black iron gall ink, also called registrar's ink, which is what Diamine happens to be. Unfortunately for the anti-Diary grifters, it also contains a modern preservative and a synthetic dye.

    But to start with basics....I would begin with the issue that registrar's ink was a business ink. An unusual choice for a forger. As of course was the use of a scrapbook. I'd have begun with a genuine 1888 blank Diary and used something more likely to have been used in an everyday manner at home.

    And I certainly would not have written an ending that foreshadows what the real Florence Maybrick was ultimately accused of doing; i.e. giving hubby a bit more of his "medicine" in helpful fashion.

    After all, I'm supposed to be dead in May 1889.
    Attached Files

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    • #3
      Did Mike not say somewhere that he gave leftover ink and pens to his sister? Was this ever followed up by anyone over the years?

      P

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      • #4
        As to the ink research ....... I still naintain there are avenues unexplored.

        But I understand why the owner wouldnt want to spend resoyrcws on them given the madness that usually follows the results.

        P

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Mr. Poster View Post
          Did Mike not say somewhere that he gave leftover ink and pens to his sister? Was this ever followed up by anyone over the years?

          P
          Hi Mr. P,

          If memory serves, Mike claimed his sister destroyed all this 'evidence' to protect him, while his sister denied ever receiving any such materials from him.

          But then, they would say that, wouldn't they, whether or not Mike was lying through his teeth about creating, or helping to create, his diary.

          When Mike was not in forger mode, and sober, his responses to being asked if he really did write the diary were quite endearing and self deprecating. He would thank the interviewer sincerely for the compliment [of even considering the possibility], but say no, a trifle regretfully.

          If he was lying on these occasions, he was a natural actor, slipping easily into the role of someone who would love to have had the skills involved to write it, but had to admit the task would have been beyond him.

          No doubt I'll be called gullible by people who have never met Mike, never listened to him and have no explanation for why he confessed to the forgery if he was responsible, unless he was proud of the fact and wanted the kudos, and why, if this was the case, he was never able to prove a scrap of inside knowledge of its conception and production, even long after he had sobered up.

          Love,

          Caz
          X
          I wish I were two puppies then I could play together - Storm Petersen

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Caroline Brown View Post
            When Mike was not in forger mode, and sober, his responses to being asked if he really did write the diary were quite endearing and self deprecating. He would thank the interviewer sincerely for the compliment [of even considering the possibility], but say no, a trifle regretfully.
            Originally posted by Caroline Brown View Post
            he was never able to prove a scrap of inside knowledge of its conception and production, even long after he had sobered up.
            You raise - as usual - excellent points, Caz.

            Why do people so blithely disregard what Barrett had to say AFTER he got sober?

            At the Liverpool conference, Keith Skinner told me that Barrett, when he was in "master forger" mode, told Keith he added sugar to the ink he used to write the Diary in order to "scramble the molecules".

            Ink that he could never identify, of course. And since we know the Diary ink isn't Diamine, the forger almost certainly would have had to create Victorian registrar's ink from scratch while avoiding the use of synthetic dyes or preservatives. Barrett never discussed how he did this, or in fact even claim he did it. Personally, I am incredulous at suggestions the man created his own ink. Of course it can be done, but not by Mike Barrett.

            In his later years, when the man finally got clean and sober, Barrett remained steadfast in his assertions that the Diary was genuine. Why shouldn't this get heavier weight than his earlier claims, claims that almost changed day to day?

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            • #7
              Hi Robert,

              I suppose it's because if people can't see the diary being anything other than a modern fake, created in the early 1990s, they have to treat it like a piece of cloth and make it fit round Mike and his forgery claims as snugly as possible. There isn't any other way.

              The modern hoax faithful can't see that they are the ones wearing the strait jacket - made to Mike's unique pattern.

              Love,

              Caz
              X
              I wish I were two puppies then I could play together - Storm Petersen

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              • #8
                I think the main difficulty as far as Barrett is concerned is trying to find rational explanations for the actions of what seems to have been a very irrational man.

                It's like the little red diary business. None of the explanations for him purchasing it so far are 100% satisfactory, including those that involve him in creating the diary himself. He obviously did purchase it, and presumably had good reasons for doing so in his own mind. The problem is that whatever that reason was, it probably wouldn't seem a particularly good one to the rest of us.

                If anything should be clear to us in 2017 with what we now know, it's that Barrett can be easily discounted as the diary's creator.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Paul Butler View Post

                  If anything should be clear to us in 2017 with what we now know, it's that Barrett can be easily discounted as the diary's creator.
                  One would certainly think so but it doesnt seem to have sunk in in some quarters.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Paul Butler View Post
                    If anything should be clear to us in 2017 with what we now know, it's that Barrett can be easily discounted as the diary's creator.
                    And the ancillary question is why any forger would have chosen willingly to work with him as the agent to reveal his work to the world??

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by SirRobertAnderson View Post
                      And the ancillary question is why any forger would have chosen willingly to work with him as the agent to reveal his work to the world??
                      On the other hand, with Mike's cheeky chappy persona and gift of the gab, I can see how he'd have persuaded Eddie Lyons that he'd be able to "do something" with an old book signed Jack the Ripper.

                      The answer to why Mike enquired about another Victorian diary with blank pages must surely be tied up with the thoughts buzzing round his head when he was first shown the diary on March 9th 1992. I often wonder how any of us would have reacted. He gave Keith Skinner the impression in 1994 that he couldn't believe his eyes and thought nobody else would either. How did he feel if he returned home that night without it, not knowing if he'd ever see it again? Might his thoughts have turned to how hard it would be for anyone to come up with something like that? How hard could it be to do one of his own? How many of us over the years have pondered the same question? How hard was it to create, if not the work of Jack the Ripper? After all, only two years on Mike was trying to convince the world that he had done just that. Does the little 1891 diary not stand as testimony to just how hard Mike would have found it, falling at the first hurdle? How does that fill anyone with confidence that he could have become a main player in a forgery conspiracy? Nobody since has been able to show how easy it would have been, by picking their own ripper, obtaining all the necessary materials and producing one of their own over that legendary wet weekend, which would then resist all scientific efforts to prove the ink was newly applied.

                      Once Mike had Eddie's diary in his hands, it quickly took over his world. His days and nights were filled to the brim with it. He "ate, drank and slept that diary". The excitement he felt when it all began to kick off must have been incredible. And we know that when Professor Canter invited him, along with a couple of his own students, to recreate the missing pages, he set about the task with relish, but unsurprisingly made a poor attempt to imitate the diarist's language, despite having lived with it for years by then.

                      Love,

                      Caz
                      X
                      I wish I were two puppies then I could play together - Storm Petersen

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                      • #12
                        A very succinct and insightful post Caroline. It explains quite a bit about Mike.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by SirRobertAnderson View Post
                          I have given three talks at Ripper conferences that contained some degree of Diary material. ... and the recent Liverpool talk focused on who I believe wrote the damned thing.
                          Hi Robert, who do you believe wrote it?

                          Because there is a total news blackout post conference the last couple of years. I used to enjoy reading about the goings on, but that's all stopped.

                          Roy

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