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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.

Friday, 29 July 2016

Somerton Man: Other Perspectives

Profile Image Dated 1948

Take a very close look at this image of SM. To my knowledge, this is the only 'coloured' image that has been published. 

It has a colour tinge to it and you can see the colour of his hair, but not only that. 

Note the 'mole' mark close to the corner of his mouth and the overbite which is more noticeable in the vertical aspect view to be added shortly.

Look for any straight lines, they're quite clear. Also look for distinct differences of shade. It is the latter that shows where the face of the man was very probably superimposed.

The shape of the ear is clear to see but the facial image appears to have been significantly altered.

I should qualify this by making specific mention of Pete Bowes blog, to his credit, Pete is in the business of writing a book based in part on fact and in part on invention. He has applied himself to that task and I applaud the manner in which he consistently pursues his lines of enquiry. I do not always agree with some of his ideas but, certainly, would encourage him.

This image does raise some questions as you might expect. It was originally from the Sydney Morning Herald. Does that mean that all of the images of the SM case distributed by the South Australian Police, were in colour and only converted to Black and White by the various newspapers at the time? Was this image recoloured in more recent times? Was it simply passed through a filter? Any thoughts?

What you are seeing here is not some conspiracy theory as is often muttered by the 'muppets' on blogs that somehow consider themselves as experts even though they have no direct experience, knowledge, skill or exposure. In fact, it has now been recognised that the original post-autopsy images had been altered as was suggested in an Advertiser article on December 3rd. 1948, the question is, to what degree? Here on this blog, the posts are devoted to the hard evidence that remains and as such it  is where real Police work can be examined and experienced without hype and sweeping generalities.

More will be added to this post.


Fred Udengaf said...

I am merely one of these "muppets" who is an expert despite no due diligence on my research, however I can't find the article you mention. Dec 3 1948 "The Advertiser" only has a small article. Adelaide's 'other' paper, "The News", however, has an article (with photo) that says "...made a photographic re-construction..." - is this the article you're referring to?

Gordon332 said...

Welcome. Correct, the term was used, I think, also in the Advertiser? In addition, Professor Abbott having at first stated that the image had not been altered subsequently changed that view such that he now agrees that it was altered. The issue is to what degree?

As an expert you would no doubt understand that a couple of small 'cosmetic' changes to a photograph can make a big difference.

This link is to the earliest post on the subject which shows reasonably clearly where it appears changes were made:

This makes the postmortem image a 'questioned' document.

When a comparison was made with the profile image from the PM and the profile image pre-burial, they seem to be images of different people, you'll see an overlay that demonstrates that in the previous post. Professor Abbott's view was that the pre-burial image couldn't be relied upon due to the poor quality of the embalming process used. Nonetheless, Jestyn reacted strongly to the sight of the plaster bust which was made shortly after the pre-burial images were taken. It's therefore not unreasonable to assume that she recognised that person as represented by the plaster bust.

For that reason I worked on another photo-realistic full face image that you can see to the right of this post. That image exactly matches the plaster bust in its detail. I used my best guess for his colouring. The ears were an issue for Lawson and thus they are not to be regarded as an exact likeness of SM's ears.

In a diary entry by Mr. Lawson, he makes reference to the Police and the 'disposal of the original body' an unusual turn of phrase. In that same document, there are a number of erasures and evidence of indented writing. These issues make the diary a 'questioned' document.

The bottom line is that we have the postmortem images questioned on at least two counts, a questioned document in Lawson's diary as it relates to the body of the man and raises the possibility of a second body and finally on a positive note, we have for the first time an accurate colour image of the face of the man that caused such a reaction by Jestyn.

Given this information, I would say:

1. It is quite possible that there was more than one body
2. That the image of the man from the bust is likely a reasonable representation of how SM looked when alive.
3. We are, of course, now left with more questions.

Hope this is of some use for you.

Gordon332 said...

I thought there was another article:

I believe there is another which specifically stated that there would shortly be another picture of the man following a reconstruction of the photograph.

Gordon332 said...

Mystery resolved. There was another article, Melbourne Argus, a photograph 'will be circulated', date of this article was 4th December.|||anyWords|||notWords|||requestHandler|||dateFrom=1948-12-01|||dateTo=1948-12-06|||l-advstate=National|||l-advstate=ACT|||l-advstate=New+South+Wales|||l-advstate=Northern+Territory|||l-advstate=Queensland|||l-advstate=South+Australia|||l-advstate=Tasmania|||l-advstate=Victoria|||l-advstate=Western+Australia|||l-advcategory=Article|||l-word=*ignore*%7C*ignore*|||l-illustrated=*ignore*%7C*ignore*|||sortby=dateAsc

What is interesting is that the only newspaper that published an image the week that he was found, was the News, and that was a thumbnail image albeit on the front page. No other press published it, it rated mentions in Queensland, Victoria and WA apart from Adelaide of course. I believe the Sydney 'Truth also published an image but it was hardly well publicised. In all fairness there was a shortage of paper which had reduced the number of pages in most publications so space would have been at a premium. I would think it probable that the space they had would have been prioritised/reserved for local stories.

Not sure just how material the name of the newspaper may be. Perhaps another muppet could clarify that :)