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Melvin Harris

First of all let me state that I make no apologies for the style and tone of my papers. I am not bent on wining a Pulitzer prize or producing a flowing narrative; or providing colourful prose; or offering woolly and wordy generalisations. I am submitting analytical material and it needs to be appraised as such. It demands close attention, patience and the exercise of logic.

And if I vent my feelings at times this is because I refuse to act like a desiccated calculating machine. Few readers know how much calumny has been directed at myself and others simply because our findings stood in the way of the Diary believers. And, as I've pointed out, Paul Feldman's book now adds to this by further misrepresenting my views and actions.

It only remains to add that I am not a Lone Ranger. My last analysis has been applauded and endorsed by many knowledgeable writers; these include: Don Rumbelow, author of 'THE COMPLETE JACK THE RIPPER': Richard Whittington-Egan, author of 'A CASEBOOK ON JACK THE RIPPER': Stewart Evans and Paul Gainey, co-authors of 'THE LODGER': Philip Sugden, author of 'THE COMPLETE HISTORY OF JACK THE RIPPER'.

In reading Mr Feldman's response I am struck by the fact that he ignores or distorts almost every point made by me. Is this due to haste, or does emotion colour his vision? How is it, for example, that he still can't see the progression in the "Eight little whores" poem ? The one saved by Gladstone exits from whoredom leaving "Seven little whores begging for a shilling,/ One stays in Henage Court, then there's a killing./ Six little whores, glad to be alive,/ One sidles up to Jack, then there are five...."

So we start with SEVEN whores begging, 'then there's a killing'. leaving SIX glad to be alive. But if six are still living after a killing and if the six are subsequently knifed to death, then we arrive at seven victims. Six and one still make seven for most people, as it did for the hoaxers.

What complete plan McCormick had in mind is irrelevant here, but it did not involve eight victims. On page 167 of his hardback of 1970 he hedges his bets by plumping for six victims (including Turner) while toying with Frances Coles as a possible seventh.

At this point Feldman chooses to misrepresent me once more, even though he has already been corrected in my analysis. He writes: "The 'Dutton Diaries' which Mr Harris once claimed were 'sheer fiction' he at last acknowledges that they existed." Fair-minded readers can now look back at my words and see that I have always acknowledged the one-time existence of these writings. The 'sheer fiction' applies to the bogus Dutton reminicences featured by McCormick. This was made plain in 1987 in my first book 'JACK THE RIPPER:THE BLOODY TRUTH.' And in that book I quote the words of Hermione Dudley, including the sentences left out by McCormick.

But Feldman has never read that book. Had he done so he might never have been taken in by Woodhall, by Spiering or McCormick, since all three are dealt with in that one work.

On the phantom farthings: Feldman fails to explain why he used that false story involving Dr Phillips. He evades the issue by dragging in yet another false story. He now states "Mr Harris' 5 text does not mention the evidence of Inspector Chandler at the inquest of Alice McKenzie." Sorry, but Inspector Chandler never mentioned the two farthings at McKenzie's inquest of 1889, or in any of his reports of 1888, or at any other time in his life. And if anyone would have known of such coins it would have been him, for he was there, on the spot, at the Hanbury Street murder site.

But Feldman finds it convenient to ignore Chandler's authentic reports yet praises the fiction of modern writers. On page 42 he says: "We should be thankful to Donald McCormick .. Robin Odell, also can hold his head up." In other words, both those authors were right about the farthings.

Were they? Let us look at their words, praised by Feldman, but never displayed by him. McCormick writes: "Two brass rings, a few pennies and two farthings were neatly laid out in a row at the woman's feet." (p43) Odell writes: "Neatly laid out in a row at the woman's feet were two brass rings.. together with a few pennies and two new farthings." (p35). Odell has obviously lifted his description from the earlier book and added the detail 'new' to the farthings. But both authors include details unacceptable to Fe~dman's theories, so these are not mentioned. The rings, for instance, clash with the Diary, so they are ignored because they don't suit his arguments.

But just a few paragraphs later Feldman comments on a report by Chandler and says: " It taught me that previous authors either ignored what they read because it did not suit their arguments, or they just did not read. " (p43). By any standards this counts as hypocrisy incarnate.

Feldman's distorted vision was earlier made visible in his video. On screen an actor recreates Inspector Chandler's search of the murder site in 1888 and there we see some articles left at Annie Chapman's feet; a piece of muslin, two combs and two farthings. As the voice-over tells us that Chandler's finds included: "...almost certainly two farthings.", the actor picks up the farthings and one of them flips over to disclose the head of the 20th-century monarch King George V, thus providing a most fitting climax for a bogus item!

(I will be presenting a complete study of the farthings myth at a later date.)

As for Anne Graham's surname, this is a common enough name, indeed one of the witnesses to Tony Devereux's Will is an A. Graham. And the Graham family does not even originate from Liverpool; in 1879 it was domiciled in Hartlepool in Durham.

The Florence fairy tale has her exporting her illegitimate son to Hartlepool and handing it over to a family whose name just happened to resonate with her old family name Ingraham. We are expected to believe that the baby was just dumped and forgotten and only remembered many years later, when it became important to hand on the Diary. Not a scrap of evidence supports this. No document links Florence with the blacksmith in Hartlepool. There is no covering letter from Florence, or from any one connected with her, which explains the history of the Diary and accounts for its travels. Furthermore, no attempt has ever been made to display a replica of the Diary in a prominent place in Liverpool. This should have been done back in 1992. It can still be done.

The Goodwin Avenue fiasco is glossed over. The birthday book quoted by Feldman is said to show a Mrs Johnson at 160 Goodwin Avenue. Is this an accurate transcription? What birthday date is shown? Why did Feldman fail to report that the family at 160 was not only unconnected with Albert Johnson, but had the distinctly different name of JOHNSTONE?

I have commented on the so-called family likenesses, and I find that aspect tiresome. It's like being told that Elvis Presley has been sighted in a supermarket. Both cases are equally impressive.

But the attempt to drag in "two respected solicitors" is unwise and unreal. Solicitors are not independent entities; they repeat the substance of statements made to them by their clients. Very often they have no means of knowing if they are being lied to or not. Mike Barrett, for example, has given quite contradictory statements to different solicitors.

My points about Mary Kelly involve textual comparisons only. They need no expansion.

Mr Feldman implies that he knew nothing about Roger Wilkes' 'Poste House' warning when Mrs Harrison's book was being written. But Keith Skinner knew about this anomaly from an early date, so I naturally expected that Feldman did as well. Perhaps Keith will tell us if he did? Even so, nothing can excuse the statement that the Forbes Winslow letter "...mentions a Poste Restante at the Charing Cross Hotel." As I've shown this is not true. The word Hotel has been deliberately added. And we know why it was added.

But what on earth has Feldman's MIBRAC fantasy to do with 1888? Let him quote one authentic document which shows that the police were ever hunting anyone called Mibrac in that year.

As for the Will. Since 1993 Feldman has been stating that the Will stored at Somerset House is NOT the original. In his letter to the editor of 'Fortean Times' ( 20 Oct 1994) he wrote this: "Clearly the Will that is at Somerset House cannot be the same document that was put forward for probate on July 29th 1889."

In September 1993 I sent Feldman a photocopy of the Certified Copy of this Will, and in a following letter (28th Sept 1993) I wrote: " As for the certified copy of the Maybrick will, I sent this to make absolutely certain that you had a copy in your hands.. .This certified copy is proof positive of MacDougall's waywardness on this score. And I should add that close study of the rest of his book shows him to be inaccurate and even devious many times over."

The significance of this Certified Copy is twofold. First of all it confirms the text of the holograph original dowm to the tiniest details. Secondly you can't cheat with this copy. Let me expand on that last sentence. The holograph Will is written on one sheet of paper folded to create four pages. This one document carries two texts written on different dates. In 1992-3 the Diary camp were distributing photocopies of the Maybrick Will that were defective. Only two pages were ever shown. The third, give-away page, featuring the later July text, was always missing (this can be confirmed by Richard Whittington-Egan and others). But the Certified Copy carries both texts on its two pages, thus the text written by solicitors on 29 July 1889 cannot be avoided.

This later, Granting statement is also quoted as integral with the Will in the MacDougall book. So, at one stroke, the Certified Copy demolishes the validity of the MacDougall text, since it was impossible for two distinctly different Wills to dispose of the same property, on the same day, to the same people.

The statement that:" There is clear historical references that prove that two wills were in existence the night before Maybrick died.",is once again false. Not even MacDougall claims this; all that man does is to report an incident on the 10th May when the office clerks, Lowry and Smith, brought some documents to the house for James to sign. Michael and Edwin then took these papers up to James. But what were those papers? No one knows. In fact, MacDougall himself asks: " If Edwin Maybrick did succeed in getting a signature to any document on that occasion- What was it? Was it a will? If so, what will?" (page 205)

The very idea that a will might have been involved rests soley on a second-hand report based on the guesswork of the revolting Alice Yapp, a veritable queen among gossip-mongers. But even she said no more than:".. .they had been trying to get him to sign the Will." p109. In any case, the whole illusion of 'two Wills' has always rested on the imaginary evidence of the 'MacDougall Will'. That 'evidence' has long been demolished.

Finally, since Mr Feldman seems to be in genuine trouble over the Life Insurance policies, I'll try once more. Each policy had to show who was meant to benefit from it. This could include executors, administrators, relatives, or friends. In Maybrick's case all policies, save two, were made over to his Trustees. The two Trustees, or Universal Legatees in trust, were meant to use all moneys from these policies to benefit the children, but not the wife. The two policies specifically made out in the name of his wife, were singled out for mention in his Will only because he wished to show that he had left her with enough extra money to " the means of keeping her respectably."

Mr Feldman now protests that the Diary does not claim two murders in Manchester, but one only. Yet for years he has been talking about the TWO murders in Manchester, agreeing completely with Mrs Harrison's words: "...he describes his seventh murder- once more in Manchester, as planned." (p110). And Feldman's video, as shown this year, states that the 'Maybrick watch' carries the intials of the five Whitechapel victims: " two more that the author of the diary had claimed he had killed in Manchester." Thus I am reporting his views with accuracy. So just why is it suddenly inconvenient for Feldman to find himself stuck with seven murders?

That same video proves that Dr Forshaw did not make the statement attributed to him by Feldman in his book. Feldman should re-read his own text and listen to his own soundtrack.

I have already stated that the issue of the DNA tests was introduced by Feldman and by no one else. We were all waiting for him to publish his results. If he wants to back down, that's up to him, but I have no interest in using my time to make good Feldman's broken promises.

As for Billy Graham, the question every reader would like answered is: have complete transcripts of the 'interviews' ever been made available to both critics and independent assessors?

Feldman's passage: " Mr Gustave Witt claimed that 'Maybrick ran his London business up until the day of his death. . . , uses a fake quotation. The passage in the single quotes is not from Witt who in reality wrote: "...he [Maybrick] was my partner in L'pool up to 1875 & continued to do my London's firm's business up to the time of his death..." In other words Maybrick continued to transact any Liverpool business needed by Witt's London office. He acted then as an agent, exactly as I once did in the 50's when, like Victorians, we still depended on cables and letters for most business transactions.

The point Feldman tries to make about the whooping cough is nonsensical.

When he proclaims that Michael Maybrick did write verse, he misses the point completely. Almost ever~iterate person in those days dabbled in verse at one time or another; it was part of the culture, but my passages are not concerned with that. He should now re-read them. I make it clear that Michael has never enjoyed renown or reputation as a writer of verse, either in the past or now. In fact, the comprehensive collection of his works held by the British Library does not list a single composition of his that has lyrics written by him. And this is where the fakers tripped up. My text deals only with their beliefs and actions, based on their limited, present-day, knowledge.

My analysis is developed in three stages. (1) The fakers imagine that Michael's songs were written by him, in their entirety. (2) They were misled into thinking that the Ripper taunted in verse and developed a fictional feud to account for such verse. (3) As part of their attempts at Ripper verses they drew on published verses, not realising that their major choice was a modern fake. Nothing that Feldman now says has any bearing on this.

It is wearisome to have to reiterate that the 'Minories' letter was unknown in 1888. The onus is always on the person making a positive claim to produce proof of that claim. If it can not be shown to have existed in 1888, then it has no relevance to 1888.

I have already stated that Maybrick was an arsenic imbiber. Having read the Trial records and the police list of over a hundred items bought from apothecaries, I know that he took all manner of medicines. But he was not hooked on personalitychanging drugs. There was one bottle of Solution of Morphia and one of Laudanum among his medicines, but these were standard remedies freely prescribed by doctors at the time. Mr Feldman now tells us that he was prescribed Cocaine. The implication being that this was significant. But is it? How much was prescribed, and when? And in what form? I think that readers have a right to have those questions answered. Vagueness is unacceptable. What we all need is exactitude.

Whe Feldman speaks of : "The curious connection between Michael Maybrick and Stephen Adams.", the mind reels. What can he possibly mean? Michael Maybrick and Stephen Adams were one and the same person!

As for Spiering, has he even examined my evidence? He still pretends there was no hoax. Very well, this entitles us to say that Feldman must believe that the Duke of Clarence confessed to being Jack the Ripper.

And he still insists that there was no 'Dutton Diary' hoax. Very well, let's just take one small section of that hoax. Will Mr Feldman, as a true believer, please explain to us all how, in 1888, Inspector Abberline came to be hunting Klosowski (Chapman) at a hairdresser's shop in West Green Road, Tottenham? And why was it that the police arrived at that address one day too late? And how was it that they then learned that Klosowski had now "..acquired a shop for himself in High, Road, Tottenham" ? All this, let me emphasise, in 1888. And all found in McCormick's book, on pages 121 & 124.

I am sure that every reader will now eagerly await the answers, especially when they learn that Klosowski did not work in West Green Road until 1894 and he did not take over that High Road, Tottenham, shop until 7th January 1895! Furthermore, I can name the corrupt source that was drawn on in creating this section of the hoax.

Mr Feldman now tries to pretend that Woodhall simply "made errors". Not so: he faked stories freely and even altered the text of published documents to suit himself. And the proof that the poem is bogus has already been presented. To repeat, and for the last time, he claimed this poem had introduced the public to the name 'Jack the Ripper' and that it had been widely requoted in the Press of the time. Both claims are lies. Feldman has been challenged to produce a single newpaper of 1888 that uses this poem. He has failed to do so. Is it not it time that he gave up bluffing and confessed that Woodhall's claims are untenable?

As for Anne Graham, perhaps she can start by explaining how a bogus poem that first appeared in 1959, came to be reflected in the Diary Text? And how does she account for "Oh costly intercourse of death" ? The opening of a poem so obscure that it is not even featured in 'Grangers Index to Poetry' (2 vols Columbia Univ.Press). But a poem easily found in that book owned by Mike. ( Refer back to my earlier text for more of Anne's anomalies)

I see that some others now imagine that they have discovered some type of defence for the hoax. Unfortunately the quality of their contributions is low indeed. 'Jack Maybri', to start with, is the very man who has been prepared to state that I attempted to tamper with the Diary ink samples in order to fake a laboratory test. (See the full details on: THE LIE FACTORY AT WORK.)

Up to now he has not had the honesty or the courage to withdraw that lie. Neither has he named the liar, or liars, who fed him that calumny in the first place. So much for his objectivity and powers of reasoning. And these defects show up readily in his piece.

At no point do I condemn Judge Hamilton because he "...offers support for the Maybrick diary..." But I do find his comments on the text risible, and I have given one example that speaks for itself by showing that the man was hopelessly wrong.

Much of what 'Maybri' writes is sheer waffle, and proof that he simple doesn't have the ability to deal with the text I wrote. No, the hoaxers did not need to read Woodhall. And my strength of feeling about the Woodhall hoax stems from the fact that Feldman has falsely stated that I believed in that faker's writings. That I find insufferable. And that I made clear.

His claim that I have "..discovered a map.. .drawn by the black magician, Roslyn D'Onston..." is quite simply, yet another lie. Perhaps he will now explain to us all why he crafted that lie.

He imagines that a Diary reference to "my business" negates my statement that the hoaxers never mention a London trip that involved work. Not so. In Britain the term 'business' is used to cover all manner of things unconnected with work. Prostitutes used to solicit with the words "Looking for business, luv"; nosey parkers were enjoined to "Mind your own business", and so on.

In short the word is frequently used quite indefinitely. And in Maybrick's case we even have it used euphemistically in Ryan's book when, after mentioning Maybrick's mistress, he writes: "James continued to travel often to London for a day or two 'on business'. But Florence could no longer feel sure of just where he was or what he was doing." In other words, the cloak of 'business1 smothered the rustle of petticoats!

His attempt to dismiss my point that "tin match box empty" is the Diary version of a police inventory item, flounders as soon as you apply the self-same standards to the line from Crashaw. That line in the Diary deviates from the authentic text of the poem at four points, yet not even 'Maybri' would dream of arguing that the one is not derived from the other. Just so with the inventory and its Diary variant.

As for the Diarist having problems finding a rhyme for Jim, this is crass. No authentic ripper-up of women would coyly shy away from using the familiar Victorian slang term : QUIM.

Finally, this man should re-read the section on Sir Jim. Mock titles are part of the English heritage. The solitary use of the term 'Sir James' was just an example spat out by an angry servant to young Miss Aunspaugh. But that child did not later record any other instances. Neither did she state that Maybrick ever knew of such a put-down. Yet that girl went out of her way to record that Maybrick was constantly addressed as 'James' by Mrs Briggs, and gave examples. The more colourful 'Sir James' would certainly have been remarked on by her, had it been customary. No, the hoaxers are simply drawing on commonplace usage, then and now, and the colour provided by the very few popular books they read.

Mrs Harrison's remarks are, unfortunately, misguided. She is a partner in 'The Word Team', a body that offers to provide research. I,therefore, expect a high standard from her; attention to detail; exactitude. But this is not forthcoming. Instead she misleads readers by stating that Michael Dibdin's novel on Holmes and the Ripper is obscure and not easy to locate. Really? I based my text on easy-to-find, popular material and I made the point that Dibdin's novel came out in paperback in 1989 and was then reprinted in 1990. She ignores this, and pretends that finding a copy would call for considerable effort. This is nonsense. The paperback was freely available in the 1990's when the hoax was created and I still see copies of it around at street markets.

As for Mike Barrett, I am not saying that both she and Doreen Montgomery knew the truth about him in 1992. But I am saying that they should have fully checked on his background at the time, because the knowledge of his flawed character, of his propensity to invent tales and pass them off as true, was well-known in Liverpool in that year. Given the dubious provenance of the Diary some searching enquiries were obviously called for. I certainly knew a good deal about him (and Robert Johnson) after just a few chats with contacts in Liverpool. What I found out made me very wary.

Mrs Harrison's references to Barrett's 1'research notes" written before he made sense of the Diary text, made me smile. This is one of the oldest dodges in the hoaxing business. While her claim that Barrett relied on two books, one by Paul Harrison, the other the Wilson/Odell work, does not match up with her book which states: " 'I bought all the Jack the Ripper books J could find, Mike recalled...". Now at that time there were many cheap paperbacks on the Ripper to be bought, both new and second-hand; books by Farson, Cullen, McCormick, Knight, Rumbelow, Underwood, Douglas, Fido. So the idea that he could only find two books does not make sense. And there were libraries, of course.

The computor disk search obviously had to take place before the disks were reformated and that option was once open; it was never taken.

Mrs Harrison now states that the misleading aquisition date for Mike's word processor was corrected in her paperback. Sorry, not in my copy. This still has Mike buying his machine after Tony Devereux' 5 death. (page 7)

To finish, let me correct a misunderstanding. I am not saying that the Diary has Maybrick writing an M on the piece of envelope.The hoaxers would never have claimed that, since they knew from Underwood that the envelope carried "...part of the handwritten address..." (p9). When I say that he left the capital M on the envelope I mean only that this could be achieved easily by simply tearing away the rest of the writing. This obvious idea allows the the hoaxers to gloat over the whores M. This is just gloating over a clue provided by serendipity.

And that simple fact makes the intervention of the strange lady Naomi Wooter seem gauche and immature. She wades in with a claim that she has understood the point about the M and J on the enve~ope, but I haven't. What this has to do with my piece is a mystery since I have never once mentioned the issue. Now, her sentences read oddly ,but I gather that she thinks that "The odds of a M and J being of valid clues... are alone 391876-1".

Alas her logic has deserted her! The overwhelming majority of letters of that era would carry an M at the start of the name and address on the envelope: M for Mr; Mrs; Miss; Master; Mistress. Only a small minority would deviate from this. Such as: members of the aristocracy, military ranks (except Majors), people in Holy Orders (except Monsignors), and medical personnel, with the exception of surgeons (always Mr). Probably more than 99% of envelopes found in Whitechapel lodging houses would carry an M. Thus her calculations are phony, since they would only apply if both of the two letters on the envelope were deliberately written and left as clues. This does not mean that I believe that an initial J was ever added to the envelope; I am simply taking her argument at its face value.

Related pages:
  Maybrick Diary
       Dissertations: 5th Int. Investigative Psychology Conf. 
       Dissertations: A Final Response to Mr. Harris 
       Dissertations: A Guide through the Labyrinth 
       Dissertations: A Nest of Forgers 
       Dissertations: An Article by Richard Scheib 
       Dissertations: An Article by Steven Fern 
       Dissertations: Bravo for Maybrick 
       Dissertations: Bristol University Surface Analysis of Maybrick Watch - 3... 
       Dissertations: Dear Diary 
       Dissertations: Facts Please, Not Fallacies! 
       Dissertations: Maybrick Hoax: Donald McCormick's Legacy 
       Dissertations: Maybrick Hoax: More Futile Floundering 
       Dissertations: Maybrick Hoax: The Roots File 
       Dissertations: Maybrick Hoax: Yet More Unacceptable Ploys 
       Dissertations: Maybrick Watch - Scientific Analysis 
       Dissertations: Platt Diary Report 
       Dissertations: Reflections on the Ripperologist Interview 
       Dissertations: The Caution was Given 
       Dissertations: The Maybrick Diary Analysis 
       Dissertations: The Maybrick Diary Ink 
       Dissertations: The Maybrick Diary Paper 
       Dissertations: The Maybrick Hoax: A Fact File 
       Dissertations: The Maybrick Hoax: Evasions are Valueless 
       Dissertations: The Ripperologist Interview 
       Dissertations: Turgoose Report on the Maybrick Watch - 23 August 1993 
       Dissertations: Where was the Caution? 
       Ripper Media: Jack the Ripper: The Final Chapter 
       Ripper Media: The Diary of Jack the Ripper 
       Suspects: James Maybrick - Index 
       Suspects: Michael Barretts Confessions 
       Suspects: Michael Barretts Confessions - January 25 1995 
       Suspects: Michael Barretts Confessions - January 5 1995 
       Suspects: Photographs of the Maybrick Diary 
  Melvin Harris
       Authors: Melvin Harris (1930-2004) 
       Ripper Media: Jack the Ripper: The Bloody Truth 
       Ripper Media: The Ripper File 
       Ripper Media: The True Face of Jack the Ripper