During research into the controversial poem The Nameless One, I contacted Professor Lucy McDiarmid in New York. Sometime in the late 1990s she had found in NYPL a ms with the mis-spelled title The Namless One; she was the first person to report the existence of this ms. Later she published a photograph of the ms in her book The Irish Art of Controversy. On 24th March, 2021, I received an email from her in which she stated “… I want to be on the record as saying the NYT [NYPL] ms is authentic …” By early July I had completed research and I sent a copy of Naming the nameless one to Professor McDiarmid asking for her comments. I received no reply.
In late September I wrote to inform her of forthcoming publication of the article and asked again for her comments. I added the caveat that a no-response could be interpreted as a change of mind. After 15 minutes a reply came and this was followed by a brief exchange of emails which gave me the strong impression that Professor McDiarmid no longer wished to be ‘on the record’ concerning the alleged authenticity of the ms in NYPL. Since her emails did not refer to the poem or to my article and amounted to a ‘no comment’, I concluded that she had indeed changed her mind in light of the new evidence in the article. This change of mind spurred me to elaborate further the deeper significance of what I had discovered in respect of the 1957 publication of the poem.
The evidence I presented is of a quality which makes it impossible to construct a coherent fact-based argument for authenticity of the poem and only those afflicted by severe cognitive dissonance would be tempted. Professor McDiarmid was not tempted. It is self-evident that the hitherto unheard-of poem was composed in 1957 in order to combat the widely publicized book by Alfred Noyes.
The full significance of this forgery is revealed in the following considerations. A long-standing suspicion of forgery cannot be dispelled by a later act of forgery. It is axiomatic that persons innocent of forgery would not resort to forgery to demonstrate their innocence. Only those aware of a prior forgery would risk a second forgery hoping to cover up the first. In 1957 the following was decided; ‘let’s tell a lie about him that proves we never told lies about him’. However, a lie cannot prove another statement true.
This is the reasoning which became clear to Professor McDiarmid when confronted by the irrefutable new evidence set forth in Naming the nameless one. There is nothing dishonorable about changing one’s mind when faced with previously unknown evidence. It is an exercise of intelligence, integrity and humility and as such is a credit to Professor McDiarmid and an example to others.
Among those others are a number of Irish academics, mostly historians who, as Professor Ferriter has confirmed, have not carried out primary source research on the vexed matter of the diaries. They have been content to recycle the ‘official’ version as consolidated dogma. Many of them prefer to keep a safe distance from the diaries but one academic is not afraid to engage with the issue. Former Attorney General Michael McDowell, now also an adjunct professor of law, has stated his position in his own ‘stylish’ way. I had already seen some comments by Professor McDowell which seemed to refer to my research.
‘That “research” looks like ludicrous, puerile Qanon fantasy. I don’t agree with the conspiracy theorists. The majority of his biographers no longer argue for fabrication. On what planet does the so-called researcher reside. Some of the forgery nuts actually believe the typed diaries precede the manuscript version. Look at Casement’s poetry.’
This certainly differs from a remark received at the same time from President Higgins describing my research as ‘very important scholarship’. But it was McDowell’s reference to poetry which spurred me to follow his advice and research the most controversial poem The Nameless One, a task which occupied me for four months. Professor McDowell was advised of the resulting article now published in Village (Oct-Nov, 2021) and his response was invited.
After a week of silence it seemed reasonable to conclude that Professor McDowell no longer wished to engage with the issues and, given the outspoken, dismissive tone of his earlier remarks, it seemed that his reticence could be explained by a change of mind about The Nameless One as happened with Professor McDiarmid. If so, that he chose not to challenge the published analysis and conclusions indicates a tacit acceptance of the evidence that the poem is a forgery. Professor McDowell is a distinguished barrister and it is unthinkable that he is unaware of what this forgery implies for the alleged authenticity of the diaries. It is axiomatic that a forged document cannot be evidence for the authenticity of other documents. The forged document can reasonably be considered strong evidence against the purported authenticity of other documents by the common-sense principle of falsus in uno, falsus in omnibus.
To conclude; the absence of evidence for authenticity of the diaries made it necessary to forge evidence. It is irrational to believe in authenticity when the only evidence is false.
Publication of Anatomy of a lie in April 2019 provoked complaints from persons named in the book and after a few months the book was withdrawn from sale to avoid the risk of costly litigation. In the event no litigation took place and the book is due to be re-issued.
Anatomy of a lie is only the third book to present extensive arguments that the diaries are forged. In 1937 Maloney’s The Forged Casement Diaries provoked a forged letter sent to Maloney’s friends ‘for private consumption’ allegedly written by a TCD professor; the letter insinuated a threat to Casement’s status as ‘national hero and martyr’ by exposing him as ‘a pervert’. Again in 1957 the publication of Alfred Noyes’ book The Accusing Ghost provoked the forgery and publication in the Sunday Times of a compromising poem attributed to Casement. Therefore, it would not be surprising if at some time Anatomy of a lie also provoked a comparable reaction intended to discredit the evidence for forgery.
Among those arguments is that in Chapter 4 where it is demonstrated that there is no independent witness evidence testifying to the material existence of the bound diaries in 1916. Only the police typescripts were shown at that time. This argument might now attract hostile attention in the following way. A hitherto unknown document purporting to confirm the showing of the bound diaries to an independent witness might now be ‘discovered’. This uncanny ‘discovery’ would indeed replicate the 1957 ‘discovery’ of a hitherto unknown poem to coincide with publication of Noyes’ book. Such a convenient ‘discovery’ in the future would merit the greatest suspicion whatever purported provenance was claimed. Both the timing and the motivation would be sufficient for a conclusion that the document was a forgery. This would hold good for any similar attempt to discredit Anatomy of a lie.
The events of 1937 and 1957 are explored in The Bigger Mystery and Naming the nameless one available on www.decoding-casement.com. Both involved forged documents.
Paul R. Hyde – October 20, 2021.