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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.

Sunday, 23 August 2015

Somerton Man: Hidden in Plain Sight, Tradecraft in action...


(Note: See Micro Writing Recovery Examples and more here

This post is in three main parts, the first, as you can see is the TAMAM SHUD torn piece and the results of an examination of the best image I could find which actually came from the Adelaide University Wiki site. The second is the results of an examination of the Verse 70 given to Alf Boxall by Jestyn. And finally we will look once more at the Code and some new finds amongst the letters. 

The post is in progressive mode! I have the first two parts included here with the Code page scheduled for this weekend.


TAMAM SHUD, The torn piece gives up it's secret

This has been a difficult image to examine, the first major issue was getting hold of a reasonable quality image and thankfully that was resolved recently. The next issue was to work through the various techniques including forensic methods and image adjustment techniques, including curve and contrast, to find that the answer was a combination of those two approaches in that I used strong backlight and sunlight ambience in the room as well as image work to achieve what you see below.

You should be able to make out a string of numbers across the T bar at the top with more in the upright section. These are not any kind of ink pattern that I can discern and have verified that against a number of other images of the word TAMAM SHUD from other editions of the book as well as from what is believed to be the same edition of the Rubaiyat but of a different colour. There is obviously more work to do on the torn piece and any volunteers would be welcomed especially if you have some good image skills and perhaps willing to learn some new techniques.

There are more letters and numbers in the torn piece yet to be examined but I saw this as being a reasonable start. I have no explanation as to what the numbers/letters may mean at this point. Cracking a code is not my area of expertise and hope that amongst the viewers of this blog someone with the right skills will take on the task.

The torn piece of which this is an image, is still in existence.

VERSE 70, Jestyn's Verse for Alf Boxall 

To view and examine the images on this page, you will need to download them, save them as .png or TIFF files and then view them in Irfan View or similar image management tools. It's recommended that you print out the images on the best possible printer setting and then take close up or macro lens photographs using a combination of backligh, surface oblique light and/or UV lighting. This follows Forensic document examination techniques which includes examining photographs. Thiese images are in the range of 300 dpi which is a recommended setting with 400 dpi being marginally better. It is a fallacy to believe that 1200 dpi will give you a sharper image. Watch for upcoming post on this issue. Many thanks to Professor Abbott for sending the better quality image to me, much appreciated.

Hiding messages and items in plain sight was and still is a common practice in the Intelligence Community. The Somerton Man case has some prime examples of the use of that approach. The idea is to hide code or other messages in amongst an apparently everyday item. Generally it's an everyday thing, something we all take for granted as being no more than what it appears to be, in this case a simple verse given by a lady to an Army officer.

It's only when you start to question what you're looking at and pay attention to the fine detail that it becomes apparent that there's more going on than first meets the eye.

Look closely at the image above and you'll note that some of the letters have been written over a second time. That's the tell-tale sign of the possible use of British Intelligence's INK H technique where an inked letter is first written down followed by micro written words/letters/numbers inserted in pencil into the inked letter and then a final; layer of ink. Under normal circumstances, the recipient of such a message would immerse it into a bleach type solution which would remove the ink and leave the pencilled message.

In this case and thanks to some standard forensic document examination techniques and the magic of modern image technologies, we don't need bleach. We rely on good lighting and a decent camera with a macro lens.

Below are some of the many examples of the technique found in Jestyn's verse 70. You'll need to look closely at the marked up/highlighted areas, but you should be able to see micro written letters and many numbers. They occur throughout the verse and I will add more to a special page I'll put together for these and other examples from the case.


A final note here, these are definitely not 'digital artefacts', nor are you seeing things. What you see here is a part of another  very significant document from the case and it contains micro-writing.

Here is a document that both Jestyn and Alf  knew about. The next document was found on the Somerton Man and the final one, of course, is the code page itself. This post will link all these documents, people and events together.

This book is still in existence.

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