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  • Originally posted by R. J. Palmer View Post

    Hi Caz. Many thanks for taking the trouble to confirm all that; I was sure that Mike's initial desire to stay "behind-the-scenes" had been alluded to in the past.

    But doesn't this entirely undermine the objections you raised in Post #586 and elsewhere?

    If Barrett was grotesquely ignorant about literary hoaxes and the protocols of dealing with questioned documents, then he may well have been naïve enough to believe that he would NEVER need to come forward--that he could simply sell the Maybrick Diary to a literary agent, and, after giving suitable excuses, FOREVER stay behind the scenes.

    Indeed, isn't that what he seems to have been trying to do?
    But exactly the same would apply if Mike had no idea what he had, but only knew how he had obtained it and from whom. He'd have been even more ignorant about literary hoaxes and what lay ahead in that case, but understandably wary of it all coming out in Liverpool if he, Michael Barrett, was on the verge of becoming a rich man off the back of an "old book" he had bought from an unsuspecting Saddle regular for a paltry sum.

    And if he convinced his partner in crime of this, then she wouldn't need to give a second thought to "having to trust Mike not to leave an incriminating record of the book he was trying to obtain for their funny little joint enterprise," etc., etc., because he had convinced her that his name (and hers) would never make the papers.
    I'm not sure Anne would have been naive enough to be convinced of this, coming from a man who was embarking on a journey into the unknown, involving potential publishers. I think she'd have been aware that the words 'publishing' and 'publicity' are related, even if Mike wasn't! She may have been horrified when she learned that Mike had contacted a literary agent - not if they had been planning for this moment for the last two years or so, but if she had no real idea where he had got the "old book" from, and knowing Mike like she did, suspected he had a dodgy reason for not being truthful about it. "Did you nick it, Mike?", she asked a year later.

    But fair enough, if you need Anne to be as naive as Mike, for your argument to work, so be it. But didn't you once argue that she had somehow set Mike up with the red diary purchase, so if the paper trail was ever revealed [as it eventually was], it wouldn't involve her beyond signing the cheque? Not so naive in that case? Of course, I realise that was before you decided they had both made 'little effort to disguise their purchase', and had to change your argument accordingly, to one of a joint naivety. Was Anne still naive enough in 1995 to imagine Mike's advert would never see the light of day? Or did she not know how it was worded, but couldn't have cared less?

    Of course, both you and I know this was delusional thinking. Robert Smith could hardly have marketed the Maybrick Diary as "a recently discovered document by a man who wishes to remain anonymous." There would have been howls of protest. Smith would have to provide SOME sort of provenance...even if it was a lame one. Thus, a reluctant Mike eventually stepped out of the shadows.
    Well I doubt Mike would have got further than his first phone calls to Doreen, had he not volunteered his real name before the meeting was arranged, and given her an account of how he, a Liverpudlian, had come by Jack the Ripper's diary of all things. He knew that much by 13th April 1992, so it's his fear of local publicity while waiting to see if a lucrative publishing deal could be secured in London, that is not so easily explained. Who was he 'extremely anxious' about, specifically in Liverpool, if only he and Anne, and possibly Anne's father, knew the diary existed at that point? Away from Liverpool, Mike seemed to have no such anxiety and enjoyed being the centre of attention. In early June 1992, when he and his daughter returned from London on the train, he was drunk and excited, and blabbed about the diary to a fellow passenger, who turned out to be, by sheer coincidence, the owner of a free newspaper in Liverpool. I wonder if Mike would have been more discreet had he known that? By late July he was back trying to keep a low profile where the Liverpool press was concerned.
    I wish I were two puppies then I could play together - Storm Petersen

    Comment


    • Originally posted by Kattrup View Post
      The confusion is caused by you stating for a fact that MB arranged to see the diary before committing to purchasing it.
      We know that was the case because Martin Earl said he: 'Always contacted [the] customer to talk through an item and get agreement for me to purchase from [the] supplier.'
      He added: 'I would have had to pay for the book from the supplier so there would need to have been an agreement from any customer for me to order and pay for any book located.'

      So the 1891 diary was described to Mike, together with the purchase price, and duly ordered for him and sent out on his request. But Martin didn't ask for payment in advance, as was his normal practice, and the diary arrived towards the end of March 1992, but wasn't paid for until the middle of May.

      There is no dispute about this, and no reason to think Martin had quite lost his senses on this one occasion. Any reasonable person would grasp that Mike was not committed to purchase the item sight unseen, on the basis of the description, or he'd have been asked to pay for it before it was ordered and sent out. Can you think of any possible reason why Martin would have paid for it out of his own pocket, if Mike was already committed to the purchase? He wasn't running a charity and he didn't know Mike from Adam.

      The very fact that Mike asked Martin to order this 1891 pocket diary, and Anne later agreed to sign a cheque for it when he was being chased for payment, would suggest that she'd had nothing to do with it, and assumed it was something Mike had ordered rashly, for no good reason. Had they both known it was ordered with Maybrick's fake diary in mind, it could have been returned promptly with no comeback, when they saw just how spectacularly unfit for the purpose it was. They weren't communicating very effectively as fraudsters if Mike kept the thing without Anne's knowledge and they finished up with a perfect paper trail back to the advert for it.

      As far as I know, they led very normal lives and weren't career criminals. Lots of people order things they end up having no use for, but they never actually return them and get their money back, even though they're entitled to it - that's how some internet shops make money, that's why shops love selling gift cards - people tend not to redeem them.
      I think you have it spot on with your first sentence. But things were different back in 1992, and £25 was a considerable sum to pay for something ordered by mistake. This was an ordinary household, living on Anne's modest income from her secretarial job, plus whatever Mike contributed from his unemployment or disability benefits. And don't forget, they had not actually paid for the 1891 diary, so it wasn't a question of having to return it if they wanted their money back, and possession is nine-tenths of the law. They kept it and then paid for it.

      I would suggest, if it had been ordered with fraud in mind, they'd have had even more reason to return it, not only to save themselves the £25, but also the record of the entire transaction. And they most certainly would not have been leading 'very normal lives' in the two years leading up to this purchase, if they were busy planning the criminal enterprise you have in mind. If they had been able to use the 1891 diary for this criminal enterprise, they would still have paid for it, leaving a record of the transaction to be discovered at any time.

      There could be many reasons why they did not return the diary, though, assuming Martin Earl would have accepted it - the most obvious simply being absentmindedness or laziness.
      Yes, but I would think that was more likely on Mike's part, failing to consult Anne until he was finally chased for payment. Why they didn't return it at that point is not clear, considering that the Maybrick diary had been seen in London by then, but if it was just laziness, I would question whether either of them had any inkling in 1992 that a little 1891 appointments diary might one day be seen as evidence that they faked the Maybrick one.

      Off the top of my head: neither MB nor AG were master criminals and therefore would not have been paying as much attention to traceability as you believe they would have, because you place the diary creator on a pedestal of infallibility while in the real world, the diary creators had to get a suitable volume from somewhere, which would, in the case of amateurs fumbling around, inevitably lead to a process which could be traced back to them if A) they had committed anything sufficiently illegal to really interest the police, or B) a strange internet subculture devoted 20 years to it.
      The Barretts were certainly very far from being 'master criminals' and yet, in the real world, these 'amateurs', supposedly 'fumbling around' to get a suitable volume from somewhere, did not 'inevitably' lead the scrapbook's origins and contents to be traced back to them. We will never know if the police could have proved anything, so it's pointless to speculate that they'd have done so if only they'd had sufficient cause to try. And as for the strange internet subculture, how much has been achieved in those 20 years devoted to tracing the diary's creation back to the Barretts? It's all still suspicion and speculation, with no substance.

      It seems that the Barretts didn't need to be 'master criminals' in 1992 to know that a bunch of amateur armchair sleuths nearly 30 years later would still be unable to touch them. And the less said about the mythical auction at the end of March 1992, which Mike supposedly attended [but dated back to January 1990] the better.

      Why would his agent care? As I've said before, MB took the diary to people with an economic incentive to sell as many books as possible and NO professional obligation to question its authenticity. The path of least resistance.
      I hope you were not judging others by your own standards on this one. If Doreen had no professional obligation to question the diary's authenticity, she did have her professional pride and reputation as a literary agent to consider, and of course she couldn't simply have taken the path of least resistance if she wanted to attract a serious author and publisher. Why were those most closely involved seeking professional opinions and advice from experts in all the relevant fields, if they only needed to publish a facsimile of the diary, bash out a book based on a couple of ripper and Maybrick sources, then sit back to watch the sales figures soar?

      And again, you're picking and choosing from your assumptions about MB abilities and those of the diary creator - usually in your world MB is an alcoholic and talentless fool or whatever abuse you see fit to heap on the poor guy - while the diary creator is a master criminal.
      But when presented with a scenario in which MB behaves like the fool you think him to be, you dismiss it as completely unreasonable. For instance, when presented with the offer of an unused victorian diary, albeit from a wrong year, MB forgets to ask relevant questions that would enable him to decide in advance whether the diary would serve his purpose or not. Seems pretty par for the course for the guy you imagine him to be - a drunken amateur. But oh no, you say, he surely would have made every inquiry and known in every detail how unsuitable the red diary was!
      So I'm the one heaping abuse on the 'poor guy', while you merely accuse him [and his ex wife] of fraud, many years after he retracted his last ever 'confession'? I think you have this arse about face. The onus is not on me to demonstrate that Mike was too talentless, too drunk or too stupid to have planned or created this diary in a million years, or that Anne was far too grounded to have allowed herself to be drawn into such a scheme with this man. The onus is on you, as a believer in the Barretts' guilt, to demonstrate that they were not only capable - physically, mentally, intellectually and psychologically - of doing this together, but that they actually did so, despite all the objections from the people who met and worked with them, or grew to know them well.

      But when he does make mistakes - i.e. did not maintain a perfect cover identity - to you that means he could not have created the diary, because why would he have made dumb mistakes, they seem incomprehensible!
      Ah, now this is where you are making a mistake. To make this argument, you first have to presume Mike did attend Orsam's awesome auction at the end of March 1992, and that he did choose to use the same alias to purchase the scrapbook as he had used earlier the same month for his initial contact with Doreen. At least you admit this would have been a mistake on his part, but nobody has yet demonstrated that he did anything of the sort. I wonder how many other mistakes made by Mike you'd be willing to take on board, in order to keep him as your faker, before you begin to wonder why none of them ever caught up with him. I'll give you a clue: he didn’t make those mistakes in the first place if he didn't fake the diary and didn't attend an auction, in 1992 or 1990 or at any other time. He had no need if he obtained it already written from a dodgy source. That was his one big mistake, and it ruined his life. The 'poor guy' was out of his depth from day one. Everything he said and did in relation to the diary bears witness to his lack of awareness, from 9th March 1992, of what he was letting himself in for.
      I wish I were two puppies then I could play together - Storm Petersen

      Comment


      • Originally posted by Caroline Brown View Post

        We know that was the case because Martin Earl said he: 'Always contacted [the] customer to talk through an item and get agreement for me to purchase from [the] supplier.'
        He added: 'I would have had to pay for the book from the supplier so there would need to have been an agreement from any customer for me to order and pay for any book located.'

        So the 1891 diary was described to Mike, together with the purchase price, and duly ordered for him and sent out on his request. But Martin didn't ask for payment in advance, as was his normal practice, and the diary arrived towards the end of March 1992, but wasn't paid for until the middle of May.

        There is no dispute about this, and no reason to think Martin had quite lost his senses on this one occasion. Any reasonable person would grasp that Mike was not committed to purchase the item sight unseen, on the basis of the description, or he'd have been asked to pay for it before it was ordered and sent out. Can you think of any possible reason why Martin would have paid for it out of his own pocket, if Mike was already committed to the purchase? He wasn't running a charity and he didn't know Mike from Adam.

        The very fact that Mike asked Martin to order this 1891 pocket diary, and Anne later agreed to sign a cheque for it when he was being chased for payment, would suggest that she'd had nothing to do with it, and assumed it was something Mike had ordered rashly, for no good reason. Had they both known it was ordered with Maybrick's fake diary in mind, it could have been returned promptly with no comeback, when they saw just how spectacularly unfit for the purpose it was. They weren't communicating very effectively as fraudsters if Mike kept the thing without Anne's knowledge and they finished up with a perfect paper trail back to the advert for it.



        I think you have it spot on with your first sentence. But things were different back in 1992, and £25 was a considerable sum to pay for something ordered by mistake. This was an ordinary household, living on Anne's modest income from her secretarial job, plus whatever Mike contributed from his unemployment or disability benefits. And don't forget, they had not actually paid for the 1891 diary, so it wasn't a question of having to return it if they wanted their money back, and possession is nine-tenths of the law. They kept it and then paid for it.

        I would suggest, if it had been ordered with fraud in mind, they'd have had even more reason to return it, not only to save themselves the £25, but also the record of the entire transaction. And they most certainly would not have been leading 'very normal lives' in the two years leading up to this purchase, if they were busy planning the criminal enterprise you have in mind. If they had been able to use the 1891 diary for this criminal enterprise, they would still have paid for it, leaving a record of the transaction to be discovered at any time.



        Yes, but I would think that was more likely on Mike's part, failing to consult Anne until he was finally chased for payment. Why they didn't return it at that point is not clear, considering that the Maybrick diary had been seen in London by then, but if it was just laziness, I would question whether either of them had any inkling in 1992 that a little 1891 appointments diary might one day be seen as evidence that they faked the Maybrick one.



        The Barretts were certainly very far from being 'master criminals' and yet, in the real world, these 'amateurs', supposedly 'fumbling around' to get a suitable volume from somewhere, did not 'inevitably' lead the scrapbook's origins and contents to be traced back to them. We will never know if the police could have proved anything, so it's pointless to speculate that they'd have done so if only they'd had sufficient cause to try. And as for the strange internet subculture, how much has been achieved in those 20 years devoted to tracing the diary's creation back to the Barretts? It's all still suspicion and speculation, with no substance.

        It seems that the Barretts didn't need to be 'master criminals' in 1992 to know that a bunch of amateur armchair sleuths nearly 30 years later would still be unable to touch them. And the less said about the mythical auction at the end of March 1992, which Mike supposedly attended [but dated back to January 1990] the better.



        I hope you were not judging others by your own standards on this one. If Doreen had no professional obligation to question the diary's authenticity, she did have her professional pride and reputation as a literary agent to consider, and of course she couldn't simply have taken the path of least resistance if she wanted to attract a serious author and publisher. Why were those most closely involved seeking professional opinions and advice from experts in all the relevant fields, if they only needed to publish a facsimile of the diary, bash out a book based on a couple of ripper and Maybrick sources, then sit back to watch the sales figures soar?



        So I'm the one heaping abuse on the 'poor guy', while you merely accuse him [and his ex wife] of fraud, many years after he retracted his last ever 'confession'? I think you have this arse about face. The onus is not on me to demonstrate that Mike was too talentless, too drunk or too stupid to have planned or created this diary in a million years, or that Anne was far too grounded to have allowed herself to be drawn into such a scheme with this man. The onus is on you, as a believer in the Barretts' guilt, to demonstrate that they were not only capable - physically, mentally, intellectually and psychologically - of doing this together, but that they actually did so, despite all the objections from the people who met and worked with them, or grew to know them well.



        Ah, now this is where you are making a mistake. To make this argument, you first have to presume Mike did attend Orsam's awesome auction at the end of March 1992, and that he did choose to use the same alias to purchase the scrapbook as he had used earlier the same month for his initial contact with Doreen. At least you admit this would have been a mistake on his part, but nobody has yet demonstrated that he did anything of the sort. I wonder how many other mistakes made by Mike you'd be willing to take on board, in order to keep him as your faker, before you begin to wonder why none of them ever caught up with him. I'll give you a clue: he didn’t make those mistakes in the first place if he didn't fake the diary and didn't attend an auction, in 1992 or 1990 or at any other time. He had no need if he obtained it already written from a dodgy source. That was his one big mistake, and it ruined his life. The 'poor guy' was out of his depth from day one. Everything he said and did in relation to the diary bears witness to his lack of awareness, from 9th March 1992, of what he was letting himself in for.
        For what it is worth I attend an auctions on a weekely basis, but before being able to bid, or leave a bid you have to regsister your details and a credit card. So I dont see how he could have used an alias at any of thse auctions to purchase any items.

        www.trevormarriott.co.uk

        Comment


        • Originally posted by Caroline Brown View Post

          We know that was the case because Martin Earl said he: 'Always contacted [the] customer to talk through an item and get agreement for me to purchase from [the] supplier.'
          He added: 'I would have had to pay for the book from the supplier so there would need to have been an agreement from any customer for me to order and pay for any book located.'

          So the 1891 diary was described to Mike, together with the purchase price, and duly ordered for him and sent out on his request. But Martin didn't ask for payment in advance, as was his normal practice, and the diary arrived towards the end of March 1992, but wasn't paid for until the middle of May.

          There is no dispute about this, and no reason to think Martin had quite lost his senses on this one occasion. Any reasonable person would grasp that Mike was not committed to purchase the item sight unseen, on the basis of the description, or he'd have been asked to pay for it before it was ordered and sent out. Can you think of any possible reason why Martin would have paid for it out of his own pocket, if Mike was already committed to the purchase? He wasn't running a charity and he didn't know Mike from Adam.

          The very fact that Mike asked Martin to order this 1891 pocket diary, and Anne later agreed to sign a cheque for it when he was being chased for payment, would suggest that she'd had nothing to do with it, and assumed it was something Mike had ordered rashly, for no good reason. Had they both known it was ordered with Maybrick's fake diary in mind, it could have been returned promptly with no comeback, when they saw just how spectacularly unfit for the purpose it was. They weren't communicating very effectively as fraudsters if Mike kept the thing without Anne's knowledge and they finished up with a perfect paper trail back to the advert for it.
          What was the point of Earl's description, do you think, if the customer could return the item anyway? Why would Earl pay for it out of his own pocket when MB was committed to the purchase, you ask?
          I really think you should go over it again with Martin Earl, it seems you don't quite understand how he earned his pay.

          You've repeatedly stated that it was a fact that MB/AG could have returned the diary, and you've failed to substantiate this claim. Any reasonable person would grasp that you owe the readers of this thread an apology, don't you think?


          As usual, you speculate about what could have happened and what you think should have happened, instead of sticking to what actually happened.

          Originally posted by Caroline Brown View Post
          I think you have it spot on with your first sentence. But things were different back in 1992, and £25 was a considerable sum to pay for something ordered by mistake. This was an ordinary household, living on Anne's modest income from her secretarial job, plus whatever Mike contributed from his unemployment or disability benefits. And don't forget, they had not actually paid for the 1891 diary, so it wasn't a question of having to return it if they wanted their money back, and possession is nine-tenths of the law. They kept it and then paid for it.

          I would suggest, if it had been ordered with fraud in mind, they'd have had even more reason to return it, not only to save themselves the £25, but also the record of the entire transaction. And they most certainly would not have been leading 'very normal lives' in the two years leading up to this purchase, if they were busy planning the criminal enterprise you have in mind. If they had been able to use the 1891 diary for this criminal enterprise, they would still have paid for it, leaving a record of the transaction to be discovered at any time.
          they mostly lead very normal lives, and planning this "criminal enterprise" would not have kept them busy for all of two years.
          Originally posted by Caroline Brown View Post
          Yes, but I would think that was more likely on Mike's part, failing to consult Anne until he was finally chased for payment. Why they didn't return it at that point is not clear, considering that the Maybrick diary had been seen in London by then, but if it was just laziness, I would question whether either of them had any inkling in 1992 that a little 1891 appointments diary might one day be seen as evidence that they faked the Maybrick one.
          They did not return it because Martin Earl of course would not have allowed that at that point. Why not check in with him again and have him explain it to you?
          Originally posted by Caroline Brown View Post

          The Barretts were certainly very far from being 'master criminals' and yet, in the real world, these 'amateurs', supposedly 'fumbling around' to get a suitable volume from somewhere, did not 'inevitably' lead the scrapbook's origins and contents to be traced back to them. We will never know if the police could have proved anything, so it's pointless to speculate that they'd have done so if only they'd had sufficient cause to try. And as for the strange internet subculture, how much has been achieved in those 20 years devoted to tracing the diary's creation back to the Barretts? It's all still suspicion and speculation, with no substance.

          It seems that the Barretts didn't need to be 'master criminals' in 1992 to know that a bunch of amateur armchair sleuths nearly 30 years later would still be unable to touch them. And the less said about the mythical auction at the end of March 1992, which Mike supposedly attended [but dated back to January 1990] the better.
          As I stated, what I wrote was just quick arguments, not really to be considered seriously but merely showing that the starting point, your musings that you complained that no one had commented on, was pointless. Which you now concede, saying that we will never know, so it's pointless to speculate.
          Disirregardless of anything, when faking the diary, the actual artifact used in the proces had to come from somewhere, so in any case, there would be the possibility of it being traced. This fact does not necessarily discourage fakers and scam artists, so it's no use pretending, for no reason whatsoever, that it would have played any large part in AG's decision.
          Originally posted by Caroline Brown View Post
          I hope you were not judging others by your own standards on this one. If Doreen had no professional obligation to question the diary's authenticity, she did have her professional pride and reputation as a literary agent to consider, and of course she couldn't simply have taken the path of least resistance if she wanted to attract a serious author and publisher. Why were those most closely involved seeking professional opinions and advice from experts in all the relevant fields, if they only needed to publish a facsimile of the diary, bash out a book based on a couple of ripper and Maybrick sources, then sit back to watch the sales figures soar?
          Her professional obligation would have been to represent MB and get the best deals possible for him. Not sure what you mean about her professional pride and reputation, are you suggesting that literary agents representing criminals in book deals are themselves criminals? Perhaps you should write what you feel a literary agent does for his or her clients, then we can explain to you what parts you're mistaken about.
          Why did the people involved in publishing the diary seek out experts? Obviously because the first experts consulted nixed the diary's authenticity, meaning they had to shop around to find some less damning testimonials. Why would they do that, you ask? Because they wanted to sell a lot of copies and selling "The FAKE Diary of Jack the Ripper" would not be as succesful as selling "The REAL diary of Jack the Ripper". That does not mean that they were involved in a deliberate scam, btw. Just in case you were ready to get all outraged on others' behalf.
          Originally posted by Caroline Brown View Post

          So I'm the one heaping abuse on the 'poor guy', while you merely accuse him [and his ex wife] of fraud, many years after he retracted his last ever 'confession'? I think you have this arse about face. The onus is not on me to demonstrate that Mike was too talentless, too drunk or too stupid to have planned or created this diary in a million years, or that Anne was far too grounded to have allowed herself to be drawn into such a scheme with this man. The onus is on you, as a believer in the Barretts' guilt, to demonstrate that they were not only capable - physically, mentally, intellectually and psychologically - of doing this together, but that they actually did so, despite all the objections from the people who met and worked with them, or grew to know them well.
          Before you get up on your high moral horse, why not consider the ethics of accusing innocent electricians of theft and lying?

          What we're discussing here is your way of arguing: inconsistently accepting MB's lack of talents when it suits you. But when that lack of talents works in favour of an argument that he was part of faking the diary, suddenly you no longer think so poorly of him.
          Originally posted by Caroline Brown View Post

          Ah, now this is where you are making a mistake. To make this argument, you first have to presume Mike did attend Orsam's awesome auction at the end of March 1992, and that he did choose to use the same alias to purchase the scrapbook as he had used earlier the same month for his initial contact with Doreen. At least you admit this would have been a mistake on his part, but nobody has yet demonstrated that he did anything of the sort. I wonder how many other mistakes made by Mike you'd be willing to take on board, in order to keep him as your faker, before you begin to wonder why none of them ever caught up with him. I'll give you a clue: he didn’t make those mistakes in the first place if he didn't fake the diary and didn't attend an auction, in 1992 or 1990 or at any other time. He had no need if he obtained it already written from a dodgy source. That was his one big mistake, and it ruined his life. The 'poor guy' was out of his depth from day one. Everything he said and did in relation to the diary bears witness to his lack of awareness, from 9th March 1992, of what he was letting himself in for.
          Again, not discussing the actual events, just your lack of consistency when proclaiming how good or bad MB was at something. You describe him as an alcoholic loser OR as a clever masterly scam artist capable of long-term planning, forensic awareness etc.

          Comment


          • Originally posted by Trevor Marriott View Post

            For what it is worth I attend an auctions on a weekely basis, but before being able to bid, or leave a bid you have to regsister your details and a credit card. So I dont see how he could have used an alias at any of thse auctions to purchase any items.
            I doubt if Barrett had a credit card in 1991; he was unemployed, and anyway, he clearly hadn't used a credit card when he purchased the red diary from Earl a short time earlier. Further, the spokesman for 0 & L Auctions didn't mention any such procedure.

            But, for the sake of argument, even if Barrett had left incriminating evidence, such as a credit card number, it only brings us back to this:

            "Oh yes, Mike really didn't want his name dragged into things in the early days. Doreen wrote to him in May 1992, reassuring him that she had not mentioned his name when writing to potential publishers, because Shirley had said he preferred to 'keep a low profile.'"

            Both 'camps' agree this is highly suspicious behavior, we just have different explanations as to why 'Williams' aka Barrett is behaving this way.

            The 'floorboards' theorists believe Barrett is playing camera shy because he bought stolen goods from Battlecrease.

            The modern hoax crowd believes Mike is playing camera shy because he didn't use all due diligence when buying the scrapbook, the ink, etc., and doesn't want to advertise his identity. As far as I am concerned, Mike believed he could simply bullshit his way into staying behind the scenes indefinitely, and thus never worried too much about a potential paper trail, so any handwringing along those lines is simply a waste of breath.

            As for Orsam's latest article, I haven't finished studying it yet, but there are several features of interest. The list of events in Maybrick's life, 1888-1889, not mentioned by the diarist and apparently unknown to her/him, is particularly important, as it clearly indicates the writer(s) had no knowledge of Maybrick's private life outside what was reported at Florrie's trial, as well as a few odd details mentioned in Bernard Ryan's book. In short, the diarist has the same blind-spots that we see in the modern books based on Florrie's trial--no knowledge of Maybrick's walking tour, his having sat multiple times for a portrait, etc.

            If a student were to present a paper to his history professor, and it didn't contain a single fact or insight that couldn't be found in the most popular book on the subject, the professor would quite rightly conclude that the student hadn't done any original research. The old hoax theorists have no credible explanation for this feature of the diary's text, and appear to be immune to the implications.

            Comment


            • Originally posted by Caroline Brown View Post

              We know that was the case because Martin Earl said he: 'Always contacted [the] customer to talk through an item and get agreement for me to purchase from [the] supplier.'
              He added: 'I would have had to pay for the book from the supplier so there would need to have been an agreement from any customer for me to order and pay for any book located.'

              So the 1891 diary was described to Mike, together with the purchase price, and duly ordered for him and sent out on his request. But Martin didn't ask for payment in advance, as was his normal practice, and the diary arrived towards the end of March 1992, but wasn't paid for until the middle of May.

              There is no dispute about this, and no reason to think Martin had quite lost his senses on this one occasion. Any reasonable person would grasp that Mike was not committed to purchase the item sight unseen, on the basis of the description, or he'd have been asked to pay for it before it was ordered and sent out. Can you think of any possible reason why Martin would have paid for it out of his own pocket, if Mike was already committed to the purchase? He wasn't running a charity and he didn't know Mike from Adam.

              The very fact that Mike asked Martin to order this 1891 pocket diary, and Anne later agreed to sign a cheque for it when he was being chased for payment, would suggest that she'd had nothing to do with it, and assumed it was something Mike had ordered rashly, for no good reason. Had they both known it was ordered with Maybrick's fake diary in mind, it could have been returned promptly with no comeback, when they saw just how spectacularly unfit for the purpose it was. They weren't communicating very effectively as fraudsters if Mike kept the thing without Anne's knowledge and they finished up with a perfect paper trail back to the advert for it.



              I think you have it spot on with your first sentence. But things were different back in 1992, and £25 was a considerable sum to pay for something ordered by mistake. This was an ordinary household, living on Anne's modest income from her secretarial job, plus whatever Mike contributed from his unemployment or disability benefits. And don't forget, they had not actually paid for the 1891 diary, so it wasn't a question of having to return it if they wanted their money back, and possession is nine-tenths of the law. They kept it and then paid for it.

              I would suggest, if it had been ordered with fraud in mind, they'd have had even more reason to return it, not only to save themselves the £25, but also the record of the entire transaction. And they most certainly would not have been leading 'very normal lives' in the two years leading up to this purchase, if they were busy planning the criminal enterprise you have in mind. If they had been able to use the 1891 diary for this criminal enterprise, they would still have paid for it, leaving a record of the transaction to be discovered at any time.



              Yes, but I would think that was more likely on Mike's part, failing to consult Anne until he was finally chased for payment. Why they didn't return it at that point is not clear, considering that the Maybrick diary had been seen in London by then, but if it was just laziness, I would question whether either of them had any inkling in 1992 that a little 1891 appointments diary might one day be seen as evidence that they faked the Maybrick one.



              The Barretts were certainly very far from being 'master criminals' and yet, in the real world, these 'amateurs', supposedly 'fumbling around' to get a suitable volume from somewhere, did not 'inevitably' lead the scrapbook's origins and contents to be traced back to them. We will never know if the police could have proved anything, so it's pointless to speculate that they'd have done so if only they'd had sufficient cause to try. And as for the strange internet subculture, how much has been achieved in those 20 years devoted to tracing the diary's creation back to the Barretts? It's all still suspicion and speculation, with no substance.

              It seems that the Barretts didn't need to be 'master criminals' in 1992 to know that a bunch of amateur armchair sleuths nearly 30 years later would still be unable to touch them. And the less said about the mythical auction at the end of March 1992, which Mike supposedly attended [but dated back to January 1990] the better.



              I hope you were not judging others by your own standards on this one. If Doreen had no professional obligation to question the diary's authenticity, she did have her professional pride and reputation as a literary agent to consider, and of course she couldn't simply have taken the path of least resistance if she wanted to attract a serious author and publisher. Why were those most closely involved seeking professional opinions and advice from experts in all the relevant fields, if they only needed to publish a facsimile of the diary, bash out a book based on a couple of ripper and Maybrick sources, then sit back to watch the sales figures soar?



              So I'm the one heaping abuse on the 'poor guy', while you merely accuse him [and his ex wife] of fraud, many years after he retracted his last ever 'confession'? I think you have this arse about face. The onus is not on me to demonstrate that Mike was too talentless, too drunk or too stupid to have planned or created this diary in a million years, or that Anne was far too grounded to have allowed herself to be drawn into such a scheme with this man. The onus is on you, as a believer in the Barretts' guilt, to demonstrate that they were not only capable - physically, mentally, intellectually and psychologically - of doing this together, but that they actually did so, despite all the objections from the people who met and worked with them, or grew to know them well.



              Ah, now this is where you are making a mistake. To make this argument, you first have to presume Mike did attend Orsam's awesome auction at the end of March 1992, and that he did choose to use the same alias to purchase the scrapbook as he had used earlier the same month for his initial contact with Doreen. At least you admit this would have been a mistake on his part, but nobody has yet demonstrated that he did anything of the sort. I wonder how many other mistakes made by Mike you'd be willing to take on board, in order to keep him as your faker, before you begin to wonder why none of them ever caught up with him. I'll give you a clue: he didn’t make those mistakes in the first place if he didn't fake the diary and didn't attend an auction, in 1992 or 1990 or at any other time. He had no need if he obtained it already written from a dodgy source. That was his one big mistake, and it ruined his life. The 'poor guy' was out of his depth from day one. Everything he said and did in relation to the diary bears witness to his lack of awareness, from 9th March 1992, of what he was letting himself in for.
              hi caz

              Kattrup:
              Originally posted by Kattrup View Post
              The confusion is caused by you stating for a fact that MB arranged to see the diary before committing to purchasing it.
              Your response:
              We know that was the case because Martin Earl said he: 'Always contacted [the] customer to talk through an item and get agreement for me to purchase from [the] supplier.'
              thats not quite seeing it beforehand is it?

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