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Tuesday, 26 August 2014

Somerton Man, a Port Pirie connection? Elevated Lead Levels found in Sample of Hair.

The Port Pirie Connection?

Graph from Spectrometry Sampling
'The Most interesting Quality of the lead trace is how the level changes over time. The trace maintains a relatively constant level over the first half and then increases substantially over the second half.

From this we can infer that he had a significantly higher level of lead exposure in the last week or so before his death'

This information comes from the Adelaide University Electrical Engineering Department and a study carried out by Honours Year students in 2013.

Port Pirie, A Connection?

Port Pirie is situated North of Adelaide and on the main road to Port Augusta and eventually Woomera.
It's major industry was and is Lead Smelting to which was added that of Uranium Processing following the formation of the Combined Development Agency in 1948. Much of the uranium ore came from Radium Hill which had once again started production around 1947 following a break of 13 years.
Whilst it was 1952 before a fully operational Uranium Treatment Plant was established at Port Pirie, it is understood that some basic processing did in fact start in 1947/48 within the confines of the Lead Smelting plant.

At its peak, Port Pirie was exporting 3000 tonnes of lead per shipment to the UK and US plus an unknown amount of uranium.

'The Combined Development Agency (CDA) was established in 1948 by the governments of the United States and the United Kingdom to ensure adequate supplies of uranium for nuclear weapons development programs. In Australia, uranium ore was processed at the Port Pirie Uranium Treatment Complex (PPUTC), which was operated by the South Australian government’s mines department under contract to the CDA.

The PPUTC was situated north of the township of Port Pirie, approximately one kilometre west of the Port Pirie River. The £1.8 million complex commenced operations in August 1955 and closed in February 1962. It processed ore from Radium Hill and Wild Dog Hill (Myponga), 64 kms south of Adelaide.'

Read more about Port Pirie and its nuclear history here..

The significance of this plant within the context of the Somerton Man case relates to a mass spectrometry analysis of hairs taken from the plaster bust of the Somerton Man.

Whilst it appears that more work needs to be done, the tests show significantly elevated levels of lead in the man's hair which point to additional exposure during the last two weeks of his life.

Of possible interest to researchers is the fact that there was a regular sea service between Port Pirie and Port Adelaide operated by the Adelaide Steamship Company during the relevant period.

There is an interesting discussion to be found on this and related topics at Nick Pelling's

You can download a copy of the report here...

For further information and resources, if you Google 'TAMAM SHUD' you will find links to this site from Adelaide University which contains a mass of useful information.

Essential Reading From The World's Leading Authority on the Somerton Man Case..

I highly recommend the book, 'The Unknown Man' by Detective Sergeant Gerry Feltus, retired, South Australian Police. For those who do not know, Gerry Feltus is the World's leading authority on the Somerton Man case. As a Police Officer, Gerry had the files on his desk as a Cold Case and actually interviewed a number of people associated with it including Jestyn. Gerry is the source of much of the information put to use by Professor Abbott of Adelaide University.

More valuable information was contributed and shared with the University on the 'World Search for a Rare Copy of the Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam' Facebook page  by a number of dedicated independent researchers who unearthed a wide range of fascinating and important details. Much of the information on this and other blogs has its roots in the work of Gerry Feltus and the Facebook group as well as the work of Professor Abbott and Adelaide University students.

Saturday, 23 August 2014


It is a given that when a case such as the Somerton Man becomes 'Cold' then just about every man and his dog will pursue it with abandon. Theories and concepts abound with little though given to the actual evidence.

By focusing on the evidence our theories and concepts gain some credibility and at least some basis for building a case.

Where to start? There are still numerous documents around including the Autopsy Reports as well as some Police information.

For our purposes in this post the focus is the Autopsy Report and in particular comments made by Jimmy Durham the Police photographer on the Somerton Man case:

‘I also have copies of the writing found on the deceased’ (Exhibits C.7 and C.8 returned to Mr. Durham)
Next Paragraph:
‘I took a photograph of the paper found on the deceased and I produce copies of that.’

They appear to be 2 distinct and unrelated sentences.

‘Writing’ and ‘paper found’ are quite different. Mr. Durham would well know the difference between writing and types words. As Gerry says, no photographs and no negatives in the file so we are not able to go much further than to place a double question mark after it.

I did note that the original inquest file had to be returned to SA State Library Archives.

So here we have a statement made by Jimmy Durham telling us that there was writing found on the man or is it a case of a simple mistake but Mr. Durham was not given to making such errors, he was precise in every aspect of his work and was known for it.

Food for further thought.

Wednesday, 20 August 2014

SOMERTON MAN: Incredible Miniature Writing Skills

With Apologies to Nick Pelling..

In this post I intend to handover to the Bismarck Tribune and an article they published in 2012. In it they discuss the life of James W. Zaharee, one of, if not, the World's greatest ever miniature writers. After suffering horrendous injuries in an accident in 1926, James decided to focus up on a hobby, that of miniature writing. He won many competitions and prizes worth thousands of dollars and went on to become a major attraction at Ripley's Believe it or Not:

'Zaharee first won fame in 1929 when he wrote 20,000 letters on the back of a postage stamp. On it he wrote the Gettysburg Address 18 times, the complete alphabet 30 times, and his own name 30 times. Zaharee decided to move to smaller writing surfaces and began to focus on rice.

During the 1930s, one of the most popular newspaper features was Robert Ripley’s Believe It or Not. In 1935, Zaharee sent Ripley a single grain of rice containing more than 9,000 letters. After receiving it, Ripley was amazed to find that the letters were “perfectly legible under a high powered microscope.” He contacted Zaharee and asked him to come immediately to his “Odditorium” at the California-Pacific Exposition in San Diego and demonstrate his art there.'

You can read the full story here.

The moral of this post is that it doesn't pay to underestimate the ingenuity and skill of seemingly ordinary people like James W. Zaharee. All people have the ability to be extraordinary!

Micro writing is very real, it has played and may well still be playing an important role in the security of the Western world.