To say the internet is a breeding ground for tribalism would be somewhat of an understatement. I’m sure we can reel off terminology and phrases over the past ten years, which has its roots on social media and discussion forums. The terms I refer to are specific to those who like to label someone’s opinions and viewpoints as general categorisations. Perhaps it is human nature to put people in boxes and label them without any due care or notions of nuance.
DEFEND, DEFEND, DEFEND!
This neatly brings me to the phrase “Diary Defender”. It is a box I have been buried in on the casebook.org forum. Those buried with me in the same box are people of slightly differing views. Essentially anyone who does not ultimately rule out that the Victorian scrapbook, presented as ‘The Diary of Jack the Ripper’, could be of that period.
As I said, many slightly differing views exist, but we are all damned to the same box. If you are new to the saga of the Victorian scrapbook, then perhaps you should acquaint yourself with some of the basics surrounding the whole affair. It might make this post and others a little more sensical. There is a decent attempt at explaining the basics here on Casebook. I have also written a very brief account here.
I do not identify as a “Diary Defender” but more of a “Non-Diary Damner”. I am not convinced the artefact is entirely a modern hoax, as many seem to believe. I feel that is a fair assessment for the majority of us branded as “Diary Defenders”. It would be churlish to deny there are issues with the scrapbook, but as of yet, such criticisms are mild and can be argued against.
NO KILLER BLOWS
Of course, others disagree. The handwriting seemingly does not match any known writing of James Maybrick. There also is not a great sample pool to work from either. The language is accused of being modern, using phrases unlikely to have been known or used in the late Victorian period. Critics cite “One-off”, “Bumbling Buffoon”, “Top myself”, and others. Indeed, Google Ngrams viewer would support that.
However, there are many issues with using such a tool to analyse historical language. Accurate transcription is the main one. Also, examples of “one-off” have been found in newspaper reports of the time, and there is no reason to believe more instances will not be found in due course.
Examples of topping oneself have been found as early as 1878.
I have found “Babbling Buffoon” incidents in newspaper reports from the mid-19th century. Hardly a great leap to use the word “Bumbling” as an adjective. Minor cuts to the authenticity, but no killer blow as yet.
There are also questions around the ink, but to be succinct, this is inconclusive also.
The most cited criticism comes with provenance. For that, I would need a whole new website to untangle the web of lies and misdirects made by the party which initially brought the scrapbook to light. In a nutshell, Mike Barrett was not entirely honest in how he came into possession of the book. That is enough for many to write the whole thing off as a hoax. I am not so quick to condemn. I believe I know how he got it, which did not involve him or anyone he knew faking the document.
Also, Mike’s numerous confessions (and subsequent retractions) as the hoaxer pretty much nailed it case closed for those who damned the diary. That’s if you believe what Mike confessed to was true. Knowing the case, I have a mental picture of the man Mike was. Much of this has been confirmed by people who had direct dealings with him. He was overwhelmed, proud, pitiful, arrogant, lost, bitter, spiteful, but primarily confused. Sadly Mike passed away and can no longer provide any further insight.
SEE THE WATCH
So do I truly believe that James Maybrick wrote this document? Not 100%. I can see some of the challenges presented. It remains inconclusive. There has not been enough killer evidence to demonstrate that Maybrick didn’t write it. Do I believe James Maybrick was ‘Jack the Ripper’? Absolutely. As I have always stated, the watch did it for me. If there ultimately is proof the document was a hoax, it may have been done to support the finding of the watch. A watch with scratches in itself is not a smoking gun. It would never in itself be enough. Perhaps someone knew this and thought they could make the case stronger by creating this document. I do not know. I believe both the watch and scrapbook came out of Battlecrease House on the 9th of March 1992. How they got there, I do not know.
The embedded aged brass particles in the base of the engravings on the watch date that artefact at least 20 years before 1992. If it is a hoax, it is not a modern one. No scientific evidence suggests that the scratches could not have been from the late 1880s. Maybrick’s signature is also uncanny to his marriage licence. Take close notice of the double loop at the top of the K, which appears on both.
James Maybrick’s family motto was “Tempus Omnia Revelat”.
“Time Reveals All.”
Those particles in the base of those engravings keep me believing that Maybrick is our man.
JACK THE RIPPER: THREADS
Think you know Jack the Ripper? Think again.
In ‘Jack the Ripper: Threads’, Jay Hartley presents a compelling fictional exploration of the idea that the infamous serial killer was actually James Maybrick, a cotton merchant from Liverpool. Using a mix of fact and fiction, this historical crime thriller brings to life actual events and characters from the era in a way that will challenge everything you thought you knew about this unsolved case.
With gripping prose and meticulous attention to detail, Hartley paints a vivid picture of Maybrick’s life and his possible involvement in the gruesome murders that terrorised London’s Whitechapel district in 1888.
But the story doesn’t end there. Did one of Maybrick’s family members murder him in 1889, bringing an end to the Ripper’s reign of terror?
This debut novel will keep you on the edge of your seat as you follow the clues and try to piece together the truth behind one of history’s most baffling mysteries.
So if you’re ready to challenge your assumptions and dive into a world of intrigue and deception, ‘Jack the Ripper: Threads’ is the book for you.