A WARNING: Those site visitors of Aboriginal and Torres Straight Islander Culture should be aware that there are photographs and images of the deceased.

The author of this blog is a member of the Association of Former Intelligence Officers and as such the views and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not represent the views and opinions of the Association of Former Intelligence Officers, its staff or Directors.

Learn more about the Association including membership requirements at

The Somerton Man Case. The body of a man found on an Australian beach close to a major Atomic Testing ground, he was probably poisoned, a copy of the Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam and an unbroken Code page found and associated to him. Set against a Cold War background in 1948, was this man a spy? We think so and this blog focuses on the evidence that was left behind and in some cases missed, the Code page, Dry Cleaning numbers, A Poem and a small, torn piece of paper bearing the words TAMAM SHUD.

Monday, 26 May 2014

Somerton Man: CODE PAGE SECRETS FINALLY REVEALED (more images added 2nd June)


The above image was captured on 1st June 2014, there are some clear letters to be seen in the lower section. The reason for this post is to display more proof that micro writing exists and is not to be confused with digital 'noise' or unwanted digital 'artefacts'. There are has been some useful discussion on that subject in recent days and I have every respect for those in the discussion. Whilst they were quite eloquent in their argument, they did not or could not offer any examples of digital noise or artefacts that bore any resemblance to what we see here, in fact they offered none at all. In their defence, they have invested significant time into an approach, attempting to crack the letters on the page as a code, that has now lost credence due to our findings here.

Steganography or Semagram?
What you see here is a set of 'code page' images that prove once and for all that the 'letters' in the code are actually made up of micro written letters and numbers. In the image to the left, you can see the larger letter M and within each stroke that makes up the letter you can see micro numbers and letters have been written. Bear in mind that each of the letters in the code measure no more than 7mm in height. The micro letters vary in size between .3mm and .5mm in height. You can see traces of further micro writing in the larger letters that surround the letter M.

In the image to the right look at the letter I in particular and you will see the outlines of 3 distinct groups of letters/numbers.

Using micro writing in the intelligence/espionage field was a known technique, it was used across postage stamps as well as sometimes hidden behind them. It was used by German intelligence in WW2. The CIA make mention of it in a 2011 release manual. What's different here is that to my knowledge this is the first time that an example of micro writing shaped into the form of letters to disguise what is actually there, has been found.

Make no mistake as you can see in the images these are real and very small letters and numbers. This exercise has taken some 3 years to finally get to discover how to reveal just what lies beneath the trace marks made by SA Police.

Did the SA Police know about the micro writing?
I don't believe they did, remember that they saw only impressions on the page which they highlighted using UV lamps. They may not have seen the detail although there is evidence that they did see individual impressions as per the letters M and R in the first line of the 'code'. What we see is the direct result of having the felt tip ink applied and a residue has been left on the page that makes the micro letters appear. There are other reasons why we see them including the fact tthat it is very possible Iodine vapour was used by the Police which may have also reacted with the ink from the felt tip pen making the micro letters a shade or two darker than the surrounding inked areas.

Are there more images?
There are a number of images to review in this post, but nit all by any means are posted, EVERY letter and line contains micro written code, some are packed very tightly and some, as you will see in some of the images, there are spaces between sets of numbers/letters.

Of note is that in some instances parts the individual letters/ numbers fall outside the Police markings and some fall totally within them leaving a small space whilst others touch the edges. The importance of that relates to the suggestion that perhaps the characters are just smudge marks left by ink flow, they decidedly are not, for ink to flow and consistently produce what are now clear letters and numbers would be impossible.

Steganography Or Semagram?  
Steganography is said to be one of  2 types, Technical or Linguistic. Technical Steganography applies scientific methods to hide messages such as invisible ink or size reduction as you would find with microdots. Linguistic Steganography hides the message or code within another carrier. I think we have that in this case, Lingusitic Steganography which is also known as a Semagram and in this case it is not an open cipher but covered one.



peterbowes said...

Gordon: with regards to those 'ribbons' of letters that you claim make up the code, what type of surface would be used in the process?
I'm guessing that a perpetually sharpened pencil would need something hard underneath the page it was being applied to, glass perhaps. You've done it often enough, why do you use?

Gordon332 said...

Good question Pete, It would depend on whether whoever did this was using 'C' paper, a particular kind of carbon paper impregnated with chemicals such that when placed between two pages, the writer would apply a little pressure on the outer page which would transfer through the 'C' paper and onto the final page.If that were the case then a piece of cardboard or maybe zinc could be the backing rest.

Alternatively it could just be that the coded content was written directly onto the back page of the book and the book itself was the hard surface.

When you write small, you do not apply a lot of pressure, just enough to leave a pencil stroke, this kind of writing could still be transferred from one page to the next and then detected by the use of Iodine vapour which would show every mark. The pencils need to be sharpened regularly in the process and the paper dusted off with a small brush, in my case a soft paintbrush.

Finally, when I do micro calligraphy using a pencil, I use a small piece of smooth hardboard. If I use ink then I would use a softer backing such as a few sheets of paper.

peterbowes said...

What about the life of a message written that way - just the one pass? or handed around for a while.

Gordon332 said...

Fair question. To get an answer I think we first need to understand why we have five lines of larger letters. 4 beginning with the letter M and the fifth apparently beginning with a V although there is a feint outline that could make that last letter another M. The alternate styles of M is another interesting aspect.

Back to the lines, my estimation is that we could have up to 1500 micro letters on the code page which would be 300 sets of 5 if that's the way they're organised. A fairly big message it would seem. Either that or it is a series of separate messages and they were all very likely written on the back of the book which was torn off. The question is would you leave some of the lines of code sitting there on the back of the book for someone to find or would you have spent some hours writing up the whole page at one sitting?

Personally I don't think it would have been handed round, way to risky.

I think there's a good discussion to be had on the 2 distinct styles of the letter M.

peterbowes said...

another question: would the message writer use a type of shorthand rather than common english? Something that would save time.

Gordon332 said...

Possible, if the codewriter was from a Military background it would be unlikely that they would create their own script but if it was a cell of some form they may have done that.

peterbowes said...

Why use something archaic, when coding systems had been developed?

Gordon332 said...

Hi Pete, I think you'd have to put yourself in the position of the person who wrote this. A field agent perhaps, they were trained to make use of every day items to pursue their goal and with field agents that goal was generally to gather and then disseminate valuable information. The writer then encoded thier message in a very basic but highly effective way, the SM code page has had a lot of good people with the best brains baffled for years as they strove to decode a set of letters that weren't really a code. There was nothing archaic about using a pencil/steganography to encode their message, lots of examples of hidden messages in everyday items such as drawings, needle work and even knitted clothing, in fact the technique is widely used today although mostly in a digitised format. I would say questionably archaic but highly effective in this case and others.