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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.

Tuesday, 28 October 2014

Somerton Man: Evidence That The Mold Was Intact After The Plaster Bust Was Made. May Still Be In Existence

Does The Mold Used To Create The Plaster Bust Still Exist?

DNA Could Be Recovered..

As followers of this blog may be aware I have posted on the view that the Mold made by Lawson may still be in existence. 

What this means is that if it is still around then it would be a rich source of DNA that could be scientifically examined and the results may help reveal his identity. Having researched this matter for some time and I have found the evidence that shows the Mold was not destroyed and disposed of at the time.

The Evidence

The evidence is amazingly straightforward and we are fortunate in that there is an extremely good video clip that shows us a mold being made of an upper body and describes it in detail. You will see that the mold is made in two sections with a special technique used to seamlessly join both halves. You will then see the mold being broken away from the subject, in this case an upper body model, and then it is ready to be reused. The only real difference between the methods used in 1948 and now is the types of material used, the process remains the same.

First the video, (quite lengthy at just over 23 minutes but well worth watching for the serious investigator), and we'll follow that up with further evidence:

1. The Wiki describes the manufacture of the mold almost to a 'T' as shown in the above video:

'Lawson's method was to build a wooden frame around the upper body, plugging up any gaps with clay. He then poured in plaster of Paris, to create a mould. The process was then repeated with the body turned over, to make the second half of the mould. Then the ears had to have individual moulds made. The man's hair appears neatly in the final bust, as Lawson employed a trick of combing liquid soap into the hair so it wouldn't stick to the plaster. Once the moulds were completed at the City Morgue, Lawson was then able to take them back to his lab to finally cast the bust and ears, and stick the ears into place. For the casting process he used plaster of Paris reinforced with sisal fibres. The original mould does not exist today as it had to be chipped away from the bust and discarded. Because, the body had been lying on a morgue slab for six months the back of the head appears flattened.

Before the ears were moulded, Lawson first had to convert the plaster mould of the ears into a wax mould. Then the ears were cast in the wax mould. This is because the ears were fragile and the wax mould could be easily melted away at the end of the process."

Notice that according to the wiki, the mold had to be 'chipped away from the bust' Although it had been reinforced with 'Sisal' that's a hemp type plant that was used to create a net or hessian  like fabric.

1.The problem here is that in a Reddit post, Professor Abbott told me that the Sisal made the plaster mold brittle and that's why it had to be chipped away. That's incorrect, Sisal was used to reinforce the plaster in the mold to prevent the mold from becoming brittle and from cracking, it did the job well because in the first instance in order to remove the mold from the subject, it had to be 'broken away' so that it could then be used to create the plaster bust.

The fact is that you would only use Sisal to make a reusable bust.

'Broken away' is the term used in Lawson's diary when describing the work and the term used by those engaged in this art to describe the careful removal of the mold from the subject. Sisal reinforcement was used in Lawson's process to reinforce the mold/cast of the Somerton Man's upper body. Hence, because the process was properly carried out using sisal reinforcement, we can safely say that the mold was not chipped away and discarded. It is only when you don't reinforce the cast/mold leaving just the plaster that you need to chip away at the cast. Sounds like a minor difference but it is critical.

2. Nowhere in the ten pages of the diary that we have covering the period of time does he mention that the mold had been destroyed.

3. Take a look at this image of the bust, notice how 'clean' it is, no additional marks that could have been caused by an accidental slip of a chisel.

4. Notice the hair on the bust, it had been treated with a liquid soap, it is called mold soap and it is used as a release agent, it's applied to the subject or the inner part of the mold to ensure you get that clean removal and preserve the features of the mold. 

5. In Lawson's diary he makes mention of meeting the Director to discuss 'duplicate copies' of the bust. He did not say 'make a new mold to produce duplicates of the bust', he said what he meant and he must have done so knowing at the time that the mold was still in existence. 

Sadly Professor Abbott's response to my last question on Reddit on this matter has somehow been lost and is no longer visible on Reddit.

With regards to the Wiki, I think it highly likely that it is a case of the statement made by Lawson being misinterpreted, he may have said 'broken away' or 'chipped away' in it's professional context and 'into pieces meaning  'in two pieces', I understand that he was of a fairly old age at the time of the interview and thus could easily have been misunderstood.

Whatever the case the above information and video provide evidence to support the view that the mold was still in existence as the mold making process was one that was designed to create a reusable mold and not a one time throw away version. In fact I would doubt that a two part, full surround type mold could be a throw away due to it's very nature. What I mean is that the two part mold had to be broken apart from the upper body of the Somerton Man and without the sisal reinforcement in the mold material it would have been rendered useless. If anyone has information to the contrary with supporting documents/images, it would be welcomed and it would be published.

There is more to be said about the Somerton Man bust and Jestyn's reaction and importantly more to be said about the appearance of the face, the next Post will reveal more.

I stand by my statement that according to this evidence, the mold from which the bust was made was not broken into small pieces and discarded, it was properly 'broken away' from the subject as you will see in the video above


Anonymous said...

GC: where was the pic taken? .. and those are the shoulders of a man who did regular, heavy lifting.

Gordon332 said...

Pete, He did have big shoulders, whether that was down to physical training or his occupation is a question. In the autopsy report it was stated that he hadn't been used to manual labour so I would guess it would be down to either an occupation that wasn't specifically manual labour but certainly kept him fit or it was a hobby/interest.

The pic. I think was at the SA Police Museum, When you look at this one and others it does make you wonder whether there is/was more than one cast made hence the interest in Lawson's comments about 'duplicate busts'. More on that in the next post.

Anonymous said...

Gordon, how many references have you found for his height, and are they all the same?

Gordon332 said...

Seen a few references in the various documents, all around the 5 ft 11 inch mark.

You can roughly check his height by looking at the image where Lawson is being interviewed, he shows his first, second and third finger in that clip. You can measure your own fingers across and then compare the width of Lawson's fingers to SM's head in any of the close ups you can find. This will give you an approximate height of head dimension. After that the rule of thumb is that a person is as tall as roughly 7.5 times the height of their head. Sorry about the convoluted method but Lawson's 3 fingers were the best I could get. I will be interested to hear what dimension you get :) You can thank Leonardo Davinci for the calculation!

Gordon332 said...

Could also ave said hairline to bottom of chin dimension is 1/10th of a man's height.