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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.

Thursday, 18 September 2014

Somerton Man: What do his fingerprints tell us? His occupation maybe?

A Closer Look:

When you look closely at the Somerton Man's fingerprints and in particular the right thumb, forefinger and middle finger, you will see quite noticeable areas of wear. Compare them to his left hand and you will see the the difference. I have separately found and examined numerous sets of fingerprints and compared them to these shown above. Of around 20 randomly sourced specimens only 1 had similar markings but unfortunately there was no mention of the mans occupation. More work to be done.

For this reason I say that the Somerton Man was right handed and that he worked with some kind of tool, probably metal, which caused the wear patterns. One tool that comes to mind is an engraving tool, quite heavy and made of metal, such tools were used for wood carving and of course for carving metals.

Returning to the tools found in the suitcase, the knife the scissors even the brush could make up an engravers kit and possibly used by those engaged in the printing industry.

This fingerprint example is interesting for a variety of reasons:

This man was in fact a possible SM candidate. Byron, you would be interested in this, Mr. Michaelson was a prospector. He arrived in 1931 on the Eridan, add 17 years to this man and who knows? Would prospectors use a hand tool similar to an engraving tool for some purpose?

Was he involved in printing?

As mentioned another option for SMs occupation would be in the printing field. The tools found in the suitcase, the knife, the scissors, the screwdriver and the brush, may all have been used in the printing process. But perhaps most interesting is the combination of various chemical elements that were found via the Mass Spectrometry tests carried out on samples of the mans hair, the three items most of interest were found to be:


In the printing field and in those times, lead was used in fonts, tin was added to the lead and silver was used in the gelatin silver process to enhance printing of images. This particular process was first used by Richard Leach Maddox in 1871 so it was a well tried and proven element of printing technology. The lead was not considered a health risk as long as normal precautions, washing of hands etc, were followed. However if the lead type was stored in 'damp' conditions then lead oxide, the dangerous stuff, would form. It was practice in those days to remelt the lead type for further use and it is the high temperatures needed in that process that produced a highly toxic environment. These were the immediate post war years and there was a huge focus on re use of all sorts of materials including those used in the printing industry.

In summary, the foregoing has served to confirm he was right handed and that he very probably used some form of tool similar to those used in the engraving, carving and printing fields. The next step is to see just where this part of the puzzle fits.


Anonymous said...

Hi Gordon, Quite interesting stuff. I seem to remember theories, I think, on Pete Bowes site that he was a sign writer of some sort? Just a thought. Clive

Gordon332 said...

Hi Clive,
That's correct, Pete did make mention of that, I think it was when we were discussing how the larger letters of the code were put in place first as the layout and then micro letters/numbers inserted. This was much the same process that sign writers use.

Anonymous said...

Michaelson looks quite a lot like him. Comparing ears, hairline, philtrum, etc. Many similarities. Isn't there a fingerprint expert that could look at a possilble match of the sets of fingerprints?

Gordon332 said...

Good point, we can check that out. When you compare them roughly the prints form the right hand don't appear to match as there's no wear, but then again the Michaelson document was dated 17 years earlier so maybe the wear wouldn't have occurred at that time. There are some other references to him being discounted, I'll chase them down.