Jack the ripper?? Interesting guy even without the tag
Jack the ripper?? Interesting guy even without the tag
Don't think he really was the ripper.
Gididi Gididi Goo.
I have my doubts 2 Max, maybe Chris could help?
Hi Simon and Max
The first I heard of the Maybrick Diary in 1993 I thought it was going to be a dud. I knew about the Maybrick case
of 1889 from my grandmother, having grown up in Mossley Hill on Aigburth Hall Avenue, which is an extension of Riversdale Road running up from the Mersey, as
you probably know. When I was a boy, my grandmother had shown me one of the chemist's shops where Florence Maybrick bought the flypapers supposedly to bump
off James -- though she claimed she was doing it to obtain arsenic for a hair remover. The Maybrick case was world famous in its time, and it just seemed to
me too good to be true that two such famous Victorian murder cases, the Maybrick and the Ripper case, could be so joined. And since the handwriting of the
Diary is not in James Maybrick's handwriting and the Diary mentions such things as the Post House on Cumberland Street which was not called by that name in
1888-1889, the whole thing is a contrived hoax. No evidence puts James Maybrick in London at the time of the murders, so his candidacy is really a
nonstarter. It's just that somebody was cunning enough to pick this man who died so conveniently on May 11, 1889 as the Ripper.
Thanks Chris, maybe then Mike Barret deserves, his name listed, as its still a fasinating bit of fiction, shame to see Maybricks headstone
is smashed at Anfield cem.
You, can tell by my spelling i
couldnt have forged it, wonder who did ?
Hello Simon & Kev
The jury is still out on who precisely hoaxed the Maybrick Diary, but there are a number of facts that are incontrovertible. First, it is not in James Maybrick's handwriting. Second, it cannot be dated back any further than 1992/1993. Third, there is nothing to connect it to the Maybricks -- and this is probably the biggest defect, that the Diary has absolutely no provenance to say that James Maybrick ever owned it. Fourth, there are no major new facts about the Ripper crimes in the Diary, and what is in there is a rehash of what can be gleaned about the case from popular books, including emulating the style of the Jack the Ripper letters, which most authorities on the case think were probably hoaxes in and of themselves.
The Barretts, Mike Barrett and his former wife Anne Graham, have come up with two different stories about how they came by the Diary. The first story was that Mike got the Diary from a friend, Tony Devereaux, a former typesetter for the Liverpool Echo, who subsequently died before Mike could get the full story of where the Diary came from. Later Anne Graham came up with a revised story that the Diary had been in her family for years, at least back to 1950 in a trunk owned by her father, Billy Graham.
Ms. Graham said that she gave the Diary to Tony Devereaux to give to Mike to give him "something to do" as he was a part time writer. Separately, Mike has given several confessions that he in fact forged the Diary, that he obtained a Victorian commonplace book or scrapbook, removed the opening 63 pages with a Stanley knife because they contained photographs (there is evidence on the remaining pages that photos had been in the book) and that he wrote the Diary using Diamine ink bought from the Bluecoat School. Since Mike has had alcoholic episodes and periods of incoherence his stories don't quite add up.
Mike Barrett's confessions are not bought by Keith Skinner, Seth Linder and Caroline Morris, authors of the 2003 book, Ripper Diary: The Inside Story. While Skinner and his co-authors don't come up with any answers on who was responsible for creating the Diary, their chronicling of the whole Diary mess is worth reading.
i always walk past battlecrease house and can't help but have a look....to think of what has gone on in there is quite amazing...
Yes it is amazing to think of the goings-on at Battlecrease House in those heady days of 1888-1889. The age gap between Florence and James Maybrick, 26 years, was amazing in itself and I think almost bound to cause problems of itself. I get the impression, sorry, that Florence was a bit of an airhead. In her autobiography, My Lost Fifteen Years, she actually calls the place where she lived "Aigwerth" rather than "Aigburth" although of course that could have been a typo in the book. By the way, I noted your comment I think in the Toxteth thread about having held Dr. Solomon's book about his Balm of Gilead. I have also held that book as well as Florie's book. By the way the Irving Famous British Trial series The Trial of Mrs. Maybrick often comes up for sale on ebay at a fairly inexpensive price and is worth getting if you have not got a copy. I bought a copy there recently.
All my best
hey chris...i will be sure to look out for that!
i have just finsihed reading 'bedside book of murder' by richard and molly whittington egan....excellent!!
Nice one Ste, has anyone got any pics of battlecrease other than the ones im the book?
Hi everybody, this is my first post and I can't help chuckling to myself about the subject matter! I'm not a nutter (honest guv') but I am a keen Ripperologist and a beleiver in the Diary (sorry Chris! HA HA).
I read with interest Chris George's comments about the Maybrick diary and I agree that there are many puzzling questions to do with the diary that cannot be explained by either of the pro/against diary camps.
For me however the diary is simply too good a piece of work to be fake. By this I mean (and I say this as an Author myself) that IF the diary was to ever be conclusively proven to be a fake (to everybody's satisfaction!) then it would quite simply be the most impressive piece of work EVER BAR NONE.
I should say also at this point that as well as being a writer I have for many years suffered with depression. The psychological profile that the diary paints of the writer (and the succession of mood swings it portrays) I have to say is quite typical of how one does feel. In my opinion NO WRITER regardless of ability could so accurately and faultlessly artificially reproduce this.
One other thing that strikes me about the diary is that it begins half way through a sentence. As a writer I think it extremely unlikely that any potential forger would begin a piece of work in this way. It is pretty much fundamental when writing to structure a clear beginning, middle and end.
Well Chris that should get you up on your high horse!! HA HA HA
I look forward to being 'shot down' and welcome anyone's thoughts on the subject!
Ello Tony - a bright and breezy welcome from me. Do me a favour? The photo in your sig: Can you move to and use it as your avatar? If u can't I'll do it for you, cheers
Nice to meet you. It is clearly a fake because it is not in James Maybrick's handwriting, plain and simple. If it was real it would be written in Maybrick's handwriting, and have a clear provenance traceable to Maybrick, which it hasn't.
You say, "One other thing that strikes me about the diary is that it begins half way through a sentence. As a writer I think it extremely unlikely that any potential forger would begin a piece of work in this way."
Well there are as you know, 63 pages cut out at the front of the book. The Diary itself is some 63 pages long. This could indicate that the first part of the book contained an earlier version of the Diary. At any rate, for whatever reason, pages were removed which left one sentence beginning mid-sentence. I don't find it that inconsistent that someone, a forger, was trying to hide something or that a forger might think that beginning in mid-sentence might make the beginning of the narrative seem more plausible.
You might be right that the psychology displayed in the Diary is consistent with Maybrick's, and I grant you that David Canter and others have found what is in the Diary to be realistic. However that still doesn't make the Diary the real McCoy.
It is also highly melodramatic and reads as if it is a story meant to be read by the public at large rather than a private diary or journal, which it purports to be.
Once again though we have to get back to the fact that the forger did not take care to try to match Maybrick's handwriting - so how good a forger or hoaxer were they?
Hi Kev, Hi Chris
Firstly an answer to Kev. Yes you can swap my picture to whatever 'Avatar' is. I'm not at all good with these computer things so you will have to do it for me! Was the photo I uploaded too large or something?
And now to you Chris!
You shot me down so fast I'd hardly got into the air! HA HA HA
To be honest with you the subject of the handwriting in the diary is one of the most contentious issues to devide the pro and the against camps. I am not so bothered by the fact that the handwriting in the diary does not match the known examples of Maybrick's. I personally believe that a persons handwriting could change quite dramatically when they might be in such a state of mental torment (and/or possibly suffering with a multiple personality disorder). For me it is what the diary actually SAYS that is most important. I used to have a schoolmaster years ago called, funnily enough, Mr May whom I asked once for an example of his handwriting (there had been an article in a national newspaper at the time of how you can tell a lot about a person from their handwriting and I had developed an interest in the subject). He said to me before he wrote anything that he had three different styles that he used for different things. He then in front of me wrote the same passage of words in three completely different styles. For this reason alone I am not prepared to dismiss the diary purely on handwriting alone.
I also think it very likely that either Edwin or Michael Maybrick wrote the will of James's that survives today. Michael Maybrick was an odd character and I would like to see examples of his and Edwins handwriting. The other person I wish we all had more info on in all of this is Maybrick's best friend George Davison. Davison I'm sure (in the end) knew James's secret and if I'm not wrong died not so long afterwards in mysterious circumstances. The epitath 'There shall be no more death' on Michael Maybricks grave at Ryde on the Isle Of Wight intregues me. Michael was known as a pretty cold fish yet he eventually married (well beneath him) his house keeper. Could it be possible that she had somehow come to know the Maybrick families 'Big Secret' and he (a very prominent Freemason) had married her to prevent the scandal from coming out?
Yes Chris, I know this is all wild conjecture and unsustainable by the facts but isn't it just this kind of discussion that makes the Ripper case so facinating and enjoyable!
I shall expect to be further 'riddled with bullets'!
All the best,
this a great debate guys, I myself am very interested in the diary, and would love to believe it is real...however, I very much doubt it is.Although, I don't want to get into this debate...with 2 experts!!
This "multiple personality disorder" theory really is a get-out for the apologists for the Diary, beginning with authors Shirley Harrison and Paul Feldman, to get around the fact that the writing in the Diary does not match Maybrick's writing. Multiple personality disorder is apparently very rare and there is no evidence that James Maybrick had it.
I don't know about Michael Maybrick being such a strange fish. He had a very successful career as a songwriter and performer under his writing and stage name of Stephen Adams. He was also, as you know, mayor of the town of Ryde on the Isle of Wight, where he is buried. So he had to have been acceptable to the artistic community and his audiences as well as the townsfolk of Ryde. You may or may not have seen the photograph of his tomb in Ryde. I show it below.
As for Michael Maybrick being a Freemason. Well, so what, many men in Victorian society were, as are men in our society. Does it really mean anything? It seems to me that Freemasonry is used as a code to imply all sorts of things that may not have occurred at all.
Michael Maybrick's tomb in Ryde Cemetery courtesy of Ryde Social Heritage Group
Thanks very much for posting the photo of Michael Maybricks grave, I'd not seen a picture of it before. I agree that multiple personality disorder is very rare and I conceed that there is no evidence that James had it but as I said I have seen with my own eyes somebody write in very different styles so I cannot discount the validity of the diary purely because of the handwriting.
As far as the diary being written in a very melodramatic way, James Maybrick was a man that had lived entirely in the shadow of his much more successful brother Michael. He was approaching 50 years of age (a significant milestone and one that quite likely to have caused a 'mid life crisis' within him regarding his virility), had financial worries, was addicted to eating arsenic and was a known hyperchondriac. To my mind bearing all this in mind it is not surprising that James would have written in such a way to convince himself that he was every bit as 'clever' as Michael and in fact 'cleverer' or that he would constantly refer to feeling 'better than ever' or 'stronger'. From personal experience I can say that whenever you're feeling at your lowest ebb your mood changes can swing violently from hopelessness and pacifistic thoughts to agressive and very dominant thoughts. For these reasons as I said I find what is SAID in the diary more important to take note of than the handwriting it is written in. This said I do agree (as I previously conceeded in a previous mail) that we would all be extremely unwise to accept the content of the diary without questioning all angles. I tell you what Chris I'd love to be present later this year at the proposed 'Trial Of James Maybrick' to be held I understand in May at The Cricket club behind Battlecrease house. I bet there will be some very 'lively' debates over the three day's don't you! HA HA HA
As far as potential forgers of the diary go I can't think whom from the candidates that we know of (those that stood to gain from the provenance of the diary) could have produced such a stunning piece of work. I think perhaps you and I will at least both agree that it most certainly wasn't Mike Barrett.
Just for interests sake who do you feel was most likely to have been the ripper and why?
Getting ready for more flak HA HA
I have already booked for the Maybrick event at the Liverpool Cricket Club in May and will be coming over from the United States, where I live especially to attend it. Yes it should be an interesting weekend. Tony, if you are going to be there, I look forward to meeting you then.
In regard to the melodramatic nature of the Diary narrative, it is a bit too melodramatic and convenient. It reads, as you said, like a story with beginning, middle, and end. Thus I think unnaturally so, as if, as I said before, it was written for an audience, not the way such a "diary" would read if it was just a man's private thoughts as it purports to be.
Yes the speaker does seem to be jealous of brother "Michael" (evidently meaning Michael Maybrick) but implies throughout that he thought Michael wrote the words for songs or poetry and that his success was as a versifier. In fact Michael Maybrick aka Stephen Adams was a musician who wrote the music for "The Holy City" and other works, while his collaborator Frank Weatherly wrote the lyrics. This to me is just one of the mistakes the forger makes.
Another thing is that the forger reveals little about the Whitechapel murders that we don't already know -- if the Diary was genuine we might expect to hear about some unknown information but we really don't.
To me, as a Liverpudlian, the "Whitechapel, Liverpool - Whitechapel, London" phrase the writer uses early in the Diary shows how contrived the story is. The man did not have to go to London to murder prostitutes to gain revenge (supposedly) on wife Florie who was cuckolding him -- there were plenty of prostitutes to murder in Liverpool. Thus James Maybrick is only a convenient Victorian candidate on whom to pin the murders.
Im loving this debate guys, my thread come good, keep it going! Chris can you explain Anne Barretts family connection to Maybrick, via Florence,? has the content of the second book ever been proved/ disproved?
I don't believe Anne Barrett or Anne Graham, as she calls herself now by her maiden name, has any connection to Florence Maybrick. It seems that this "connection" was "made" by the odd investigative techniques the late author, Paul Feldman, used when researching Jack the Ripper: The Final Chapter.
In other words, Mr Feldman held long conversations with Anne and her father Billy Graham and more or less convinced both himself and them that they had some sort of connection to the Maybricks. It turned out to be, though, not what he was expecting, a connection to James Maybrick but to Florence Maybrick. This seems to have been done more through power of suggestion rather than actual hard evidence. Feldman even stretched things to the extent that he thought that because Florence Maybrick used the name Graham at one time after her release from prison that this proved a link with Billy Graham, and also that Billy Graham's father, born in the northeast of England, was actually Florence Maybrick's illegitimate son. Again, this all seems to be wishful thinking rather than actual and there is nothing proven about any connection.
Sorry, Simon, I am not sure what you mean when you say, "has the content of the second book ever been proved/ disproved?" Are you talking about Anne Graham's book The Last Victim? If that is what you mean, the book contains some legitimate history on the Maybricks, though dependent on the unproved idea that James Maybrick could have been the Ripper and that Florence was a tramp, making all things possible in terms of that unproven connection between Anne Graham and Florence Maybrick.
Thanks Chris, thats fine, i was refering to Feldmans claims of them being, related, As you said wishful thinking!, just wondered if anyone had done a geneolgy trace to disprove the link?
thought so, it was all to easy to suggest a link, but i still cant help feeling whoever did create the diary must have been helped by ripper fanatics wanting to create a stirr,as it is an amazing insight into a potential suspects thoughts, Liverpool forgers? highly educated ones, will we ever know?
There is a strong school of thought that the Diary may have been created by someone who knew both the Ripper case and the Maybrick case and who wanted to cause a stir in the Ripper community by producing a "Ripper diary" about the time of the centennial of the case in 1988. In that case, it could have been meant as a prank, but that somehow things went awry and the Diary ended up in the hands of other people who saw a way of making money off it.
This might assume for instance that the original story of the Diary was true, that it came through Tony Devereux who either did not know where the Diary had come from, or else he died before he could explain the origins of the Diary.
It is true that the person who wrote the Diary does show something of the psychology of a drug addict and a person morbidly addicted to the idea of killing. I still think that a good writer could simulate all of that, so I am not sure that either that a genius would be needed to come up with the Diary or that it need in any measure be true.
There is an element of contrivance in the Diary and even the way the entries are set out on the page look as if they are written by someone who knew they were applying lines of poetry, etc, to be read, with lines scratched out by someone who was not actually writing poety at the time but trying to make it look as if they were actually composing verse when they were not, if you understand me.
There is also a school of thought that while the Diary purports to have been written over a year or two with numerous separate entries, it was actually written in several sessions of writing with the writer pretending to be writing about separate episodes at different times.
It's been really interesting reading the latest posts. I must say though that I disagree with you Chris quite strongly on one point. I personally do not feel that the diary would be devalued even if it could be proven that more than one entry had been written at a time. I myself keep a diary and quite often (through lack of an opportunity at the time) actually write entries for quite a few days in one session. In fact I would go as far as to say that if it could be proved that more than one entry was written at a time it would actually INCREASE my feeling in it's genuineness.
I feel that James may have used his diary writing sessions as a way to temporarily allay his desires to kill again during periods when business did not allow him a legitimate reason to visit London, Michael and therefore Whitechapel.
I also feel my position on this point is further strengthened by the fact that at no time in the diary do any of the entries begin with what most people would expect a regular diary writer to begin with...the day's date.
I've been trying to find an old box of mementoes that I have in my attic. In it I believe I may still have the piece of paper with the three examples of handwriting I witnessed my schoolteacher write. If I find it I will try somehow to post it on here for you all to see. The only thing that worries me about doing so is that Chris will accuse me of pulling an artifact like the 'Maybrick Watch' out of the bag! HA HA HA HA HA HA
I am a terribly sentimental person and have a real difficulty in throwing personal things away is all I can say in my defense really!
To be totally honest however, I haven't looked that closely at the writing that I'm talking about for years. I might find myself to be very dissapointed if I do find it (and the writing styles are not so different as I remember they were at the time). Whatever, IF I can find it I promise you Chris I will be honest about what I find!
I truly wish I could make the Maybrick Trial in May but I can't. I work for a very small firm and we are not allowed to have time off if someone else is away that week. As my luck would have it some ******* has already beaten me to that week! HA HA
I accept your point that some of the entries were probably written at one go and that diarists do this. However my point is that the text would lead us to believe some entries were weeks apart but the penmanship appears to indicate they might have been written at the same time.
As for the point that no dates appear in the Diary except for the last page, I might say that the writer was cunning in doing that. Of course the signature at the end, "Yours truly, Jack the Ripper" emulating the "Ripper" letters and then "Dated the third of May 1889" -- conveniently eight days before Maybrick's death on May 11 -- to my mind looks even more suspicious.
There are images of the Maybrick Diary for those interested at
Tony, sorry you won't be at the Maybrick event in May. Let's keep in touch and continue to debate the Diary!
All my best
I'm glad that you seem to be enjoying our debate as much as I am Chris. I just wish that more people within the Ripperology (and the whole world!) could be so happy to debate things. For some reason the vast majority of people I find can never debate they only seem to want to argue. I think it is great that you hold strong beliefs and are prepared to 'put your head on the chopping block' so to speak. A lot of the things you have said so far I will admit have made me stop and think and I will also conceed that I don't have answers for them all. I hope you have also been made to question your own beliefs in this way. For example you mentioned how James/the writer of the diary perpetually gives the impression that Michael wrote lyrics or poetry/was clever with words. As his brother (and apparently close one) you would have expected that James would have known that his brother was a composer. Perhaps however James was thinking more of Michael's days as a singer and could have been under the impression that at this time Michael had been a lyricist. Mind you we are talking about the same James Maybrick here (if you believe that he wrote his will) that spelt the name of his own daughter incorrectly!
I do think however that perhaps in a bizarre way it is actually a GOOD thing that the diary can not be proven to be 100% foot perfect on every detail. The reason for this being that very few of us ever remember events etc entirely accurately anyway and more importantly if the case for the diary was an 'open and shut case' it would strike me as 'too good to be true'.
I have read quite a lot about the Kennedy assasination and through this read a book by Chuck Giancana called 'Double Cross'. Chuck was the brother of the famous 1960's crime boss Sam Giancana and in the book he tells how Sam once remarked to him that 'if anything in life looks to be an open and shut case you can bet your life it's a set up cos' real life's not like that'.
I do agree with you on another point you made actually Chris. Even I thought that Paul Feldman's revelation of a family connection to Florence Maybrick was not conclusively proven. I'm not saying that it could not have been true but as you said I think Paul just got so deeply involved in the story of the diary (I think it seriously damaged his personal life) that by that stage he simply WANTED there to be a connection. For anyone out there that is interested in learning more about James Maybrick I would recommend the books 'The Poisoned Life Of Mrs Maybrick' by Bernard Ryan and particularly 'Etched In Arsenic' by Trevor L Christie.
All the best for now,