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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.

Saturday, 7 March 2015

Somerton Man: The Letter Q Continued

This post is really a response to a comment and some valid questions from Nick Pelling, you'll see his comments later in the post below. Effectively if I read it correctly Nick sees the micro letters and numbers but needs to know just how I actually got to them So here I will do my best to provide first of all a quick overview and will follow up when back in a good coverage area to do a second more detailed job

Before I start let me explain that I am out bush at the moment with some very 'iffy' internet and even worse mobile phone coverage so apologies in advance.

Here is a short but not complete list of items that I made use of:

1. Code page from the University Tamam Shud wiki, same dimensions as Nick's copy and at 400 DPI. I should mention that earlier attempts at delving deeper into the code page were frustrated by there only being a 72 DPI and then 96 DPI version available. I then took 3 copies of the 400 DPI page, one at 10% size reduction, a 15% reduced version and finally a 20% reduced version. I did this to provide some kind of comparison as I understand that by using a slightly reduced size you effectively will boost the DPI proportionately.

2. I made use of a 20 megapixel Olympus camera

3. I used a 28 Watt X 200 mm diameter LED natural white downlight inverted as a back light

4. I used a 20 Watt CFL ES fitting UV globe fitted into a standard desktop light.

5. I used a couple of different tripods, one small and one large. Important to keep the camera as steady as possible.

6. Also made use of natural daylight for some images not included at this stage.

7. I also made use of the 12 megapixel camera in my mobile which showed up some surprisingly good images.

In all over 4 years I took more than 4500 pics of the code page and individual letters from many different angles and using many different techniques including oblique lighting, various angled shots, back lit images and combination back lit and UV images. Relatively recently I read of how a US Library team had recovered an altered word from the Declaration of Independence which was at first thought to be a smudge. This team used a 32 Megapixel camera and an array of LED lights in different colours in their efforts. Not being the US Library of Congress and short on budget I used what was closest to hand and available.

I am not surprised at Nick's comment about not getting the same result, I made many attempts to get the required detail to show up without success so don't feel too bad about it Nick :)

Very quickly, and I will follow up with more detail, my first step was to make slight adjustments to the brightness and contrast of the whole 400 DPI page and the other 3.

Then using various lighting techniques including the LED backlight combined with UV light I took a series of images of many of the letters on the page. For our purposes I will focus on the Q which was part of a group as can be seen in the previous post.

The resultant images showed clear signs of letters and numbers that were still partially obscured by the overwritten markings of the Police.

I decided to remove the lighter shades of grey that covered the darker markings. The aim was to get those darker markings to show up more sharply and by removing the lighter shades of grey (10th March. Note, this is actually a colour replacement so th grey was replaced by lighter colouring) I was able to get the appearance that we see in the image. Nick makes a comment of a process that produces an artificial element which I don't agree with or could well have misunderstood. Nothing artificial was created, some colouring was removed and replaced with a lighter shade which served to sharpen the images of letters and numbers already observed. In fact in the past, Prof Abbott made comments that the images I had shown were too blurry and smudged and needed to be sharper to show details. That's what I have been working on.

As you can see I included parts of adjacent letters in the image, this was done to show that they too have underlying markings that have signs of letters and numbers and, in fact, that is correct because when they were similarly examined, letters and numbers show up quite well. In fact, I would say each letter on the code page contains micro written letters and/or numbers. I should explain that during the 4 years, I examined 100 or more samples of handwritten letters, I will discuss them in a later post.

I will have to sign off now, the connection is going from bad to worse. I hope this helps Nick and I will post the rest in a day or so.

Nick's Comment:
Gordon: working from the most reliable (1802 x 1440) images of the scan I know of,

If that's either the one I forwarded to you or the one from the Wiki and it's 400 DPI then we have the same base document

I can't get anything like the images you are showing here, no matter how I sharpen or contrast enhance the 'Q', particularly around the area you're focused upon.

Don't be embarrassed about it, it took me many attempts to find a way to properly reveal the darker markings beneath the Police write over marks. There are other things that you should do as per the earlier comments in this post above.

It seems as though you originally contrast-enhanced the image, visually annotated it (with boxes), printed it out onto paper, examined it under a magnifying glass, and them photographed the Q at a slight angle.

Not quite, a few extra steps involved as per the comments in the above post. Interesting that you mention the 'photograph at a slight angle' I took the picture in the earlier post from the same angle that I believe the micro writing was written in to the larger letters. Look carefully at it and you'll see they are left to right and in caps. Using caps was standard procedure for writing code certainly in WW2 and if you look at any of the Russian coded messages or the code names of those mentioned in Venona, they too are all in caps. the image appears the same whether you include the red box annotation or not, that was done to simply highlight each letter.  Be interested to hear your feedback on the slight angle issue.

 Is that an accurate description of what you did? Can you say (even roughly) what processing steps you took to get to that final image? It looks to me as though you have selectively removed bands of grey-scale levels to produce a set of artificially quantized edges, but it's hard to be completely sure.

The removal of lighter coloured shades was to bring what was already visible into greater relief. I wouldn't say it was to produce artificial edges, it was done to remove any blurring as per the Prof Abbott discussions. 

Tuesday, 3 March 2015

Somerton Man: Code Page: The letter Q beyond doubt contains micro writing

It's a fairly straightforward claim one even the most experienced and infallible academics would be able to understand :)

In the images below, what do you see?



Theoretically this should show those who are uncertain about the presence of micro written letters/numbers within the outline of larger letters of the code that they are indeed present in the Q and for that matter in all of the letters on the code page. If you look carefully at the inner tip of the letter you should be able to make out grey markings beneath the overwriting done by SAPOL or whoever it was that did that work. These are where the underlying letters were partially skipped.

Given the recent release of an SOE manual in the UK that describes the insertion of pencilled letters within previously inked letters and then a top cover of ink applied, I am confident that this was the approach used and it is known as the 'INK H' technique. The fully inked letters and the paper that they were written on were developed by immersing the whole in a strong bleach solution. This removed the ink leaving only the darker pencil/carbon marks visible. It is that process that was, in my view, used in this case.

If you have any proof or argument against what is now abundantly clear, then please put it forward. It is simply not acceptable to rest on your reputation real or imagined and pass an opinion that isn't based on sound and supportable evidence.