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.

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.

No comments: