Wednesday 28 February 2024



Reviewing the posts that covered the man PAVEL IVANOVICH FEDOSIMOV a New York-based Soviet Diplomat who was to disappear in August 1948, I came across this VENONA cable dated 12th November 1944. This casts Fedosimov in an entirely different light, here he is in discussions regarding THEODORE HALL  the young spy who is regarded as the key figure in the ATOM SPYstory even though he was just 19 years of age.

If you follow on from the Fedosimov mention, you will see a cover name BEK. This is a man known as Sergey Kurnakov aka Sergei N. Kournakoff. A one-time Tsarist Cavalry officer, Kurnakof relocated to the USA and became a prominent figure in the American Communist Party, at one time working for GOLOS Publishing. For those who have read on the subject, GOLOS was known as a 'shoemaker' that is someone who had great expertise in forging identity documents. Golos supposedly died in 1943 but there is a question mark over that event. His name appears in one of the partial decrypts of the Somerton Man code page,

You can read more details here: 

The Fedosimov story has been covered at length on this blog, he disappeared in August 1948 never to be seen again although his name cropped up numerous times after that date, there have been no photographs found of this man after the 1947 image I was able to locate and purchase.

For the record, renowned US author and historian James Earle Haynes believed that FEDOSIMOV may be a Pseudonym. 

Given the serious doubts about the Carl Webb claim, Fedosimov is still a candidate but there are other reasons for posting this article at this time.

This link will take you to more posts about Pavel Fedosimov:

The image of the VENONA cable comes from this YouTube video:

Some wise and very informed words from UK Author NIGEL WEST in the video...


Sunday 25 February 2024



..Apart from this famous gesture (which he apparently made by mistake when this photo was taken), Churchill was renowned for his sharp wit and great quotes. The quote in question today is regarding Truth..

"In wartime, truth is so precious that she should always be attended by a bodyguard of lies."

For those who believe that Australia and other countries were not at 'war' in 1948, perhaps you would do well to rethink that position.

The war was very much a Cold War, a full-on arms race coupled with an intelligence war without parallel in those years and, in Australia at least, rumblings of an insurrection organised, coordinated, and paid for by the Soviets in league with the Communist Party Of Australia.

There were casualties, many died in this war, mostly discretely and without fanfare, a Spy Versus Spy affair that went on for some years.

Those who have spent any time reading through the Milliers Hat, the story that it is said gave Ian Flen=ming the idea for Operation Mincemeat, could draw some but not that many parallels with that operation and the case of the Somerton Man. The relatively recently released files by UK Archives provide quite some detail but sadly it is not a digitised offering.

Amongst things that we may learn from it include the comparative ease in which a Coroner and a pathologist were drawn in to 'help' with the provision of a body and all that that entailed, the meticulous attention to detail in setting up the documentation that was to accompany Glyndwr on his final journey was astounding, the work was so good that the case didn't have a hint of being an organised 'litter' job. 

In common were the two bus tickets, the matches, the cigarettes, and small change we can tick off. No watch for our Somerton Man nor a Love Letter from a lady named Pam. But the essentials were there except the missing soap and a flannel.

A comment was made about the condition of the body after it had been kept on ice for around 3 months, apparently, there were several power cuts and thus there would have been defrosting and refreezing that would have had an effect on the condition of the body which was meant to have been so bad that rumours spread amongst those in the know that the body was swapped at the last minute. That raises the question brought up in an earlier post as to whether or not there were power cuts that would have affected the condition of the body of the Somerton Man during its stay at the morgue.

One story is that Glyndwr's sister turned up to claim the body, her story was that Glyndwr had been mentally ill for some time. Shades of Paul Lawson's thoughts on the Kangaroo Island connection and the SS Warrawee, the Captain of that ship was a certain Captain Harkness I understand,

What can we get from this example? The involvement of officialdom during the war years, the clever and well-thought-out creation of the cover story including the pocket and suitcase litter. An unknown/undetectable cause of death, in Glyndwr's case he had taken rat poison which, according to accounts would be hard to detect in the body after death.

Having spent some years studying the SM case and having read widely on the subject added to my own earlier Police experience, whatever actions the Police may or may not have taken were planned actions. They had a job to do and they did it without question. Bear in mind that these men who were involved in the case had just come through WW2 and their job was to be the front line for Intelligence services who were well truly stretched in those years. It's well and good for the armchair gurus to make their rather unpleasant and often nasty comments about these men, but these same gurus were not there at the time and do not speak from experience. Relatives and descendants of these men read the blogs and we all should respect their feelings.

A last thought, Cholmondeley, a senior member of the XX team, remained in SOE until retirement in 1962. No doubt his expertise would have been called on whenever a body was to be used.


Monday 19 February 2024




Believe it or not, the microcode is hidden in the above image...

This year marks 14 years of involvement in the Somerton Man case. The first 2 years plus were spent on the original Adelaide University Facebook page. It was during that time that the whole microcode issue came to the surface and I spent much time attempting to convince Professor Abbot and others of its existence, which was a pointless exercise based on the level of ignorance and inability to see past their preconceived ideas on the nature of the case. In other words, what I had found would upset the applecart and their agenda would be undermined. Welcome to the real world.

Don't get me wrong here this post is not about calling the detractors and nay-sayers stupid or ignorant, I really don't have time for that. The purpose today is to show everyone just how simple it now is to uncover concealed microcode from beneath printer ink. In fact, all that is needed is to be found at the foot of this post...

In the image at the head of this page, there are 5 listed instances where the microcode may be hidden, if it's there it will be beneath one or more of the blue lines that you can see. the question is, is it there?

Yes, it is there and here it is for you to view at your leisure:

The image above is the negative of the image in the header at the top of this page. Four of the numbered instances have short descriptions alongside them, the line numbered 2. is the one with the question mark, it does not give a description for a specific reason.

Here's the negative of the result from one of the other printers in which I used a yellow coloured mark over:

here are the individual images shown as black'white and also black yellow to make it easier to see the darker written characters:

1.  This image below shows the microcode as 'INK OVER PENCIL'. The code was handwritten in pencil and then covered with a layer of ink. you can see the code in a grey colour within the marked area. It is confusing at first but once you see it as grey it is easy to see, you can't unsee it. The numbers are 123419 :

2. The trap! There is a question mark alongside this marked-over area because there is no code beneath it. This was done to demonstrate that whilst you might see darker patches, you need clear definable shapes as in letters and/or numbers to confirm the presence of code and those characters need to follow the shape of the mark over:

3. In this image the example is of an inked-over area with the code written in pencil on top of the ink, hence 'PENCIL ON INK'. Once again the characters that you're looking for are those in a light grey against the white background being X 12365:

4. In marked area 4, you can see that we have created typical INK H concealment, a sandwich if you like. First, a layer of ink is applied then the code is added in pencil and then, to minimise the risk of detection from a bright light for example. another layer of ink is added to complete the concealment hence the label INK/PENCIL/INK.  Interestingly, the additional layer of ink gives the code letters and numbers a 3D appearance, 123 XCA:

5. In this final example the format is INK ON INK. A little more difficult to find but it can be detected with more effort, in this case, we at least can see some discernible shapes that tell us that there is something there but just what it is, is the issue. I know what it is simply because I put it there but you will have to try and guess it at least for now. In practice, another recovery method is used. A clue for you, the previous examples are of pencil on ink whereas in this example we have INK ON INK...

To carry out and complete this test, I used inkjet printers, 3 of them in fact. two were loaded with pigment-based inks whilst one had a black pigment ink and then dye-based colours. All three are Epson models with one, an XP970, being used for quality photographs and the other two used for office and business tasks. In other words, these are standard inkjet printers. The other components needed are a decent camera and bright sunlight. And that's it. Couldn't be simpler. Over the years camera and printer technologies have leapt ahead and that has made this task so much easier that even a child could do it.

To test the example for yourself, you could download the image at the head of this post and then turn it negative. If you don't have the facility to do that then several online tools will turn an image negative for you and for free.

Here's one:

When you get there, scroll down the column to the left and choose 'invert colours' you can download the result from that page.


Thursday 15 February 2024



...Jestyn Signature from the Boxall Rubaiyat...

Originally posted February 8th. 2016

This post, slightly modified and updated from the original, shows the test and results of recovering microcode details from a photograph of a photograph that was then scanned, and still, we can recover the code hidden by ink just as occurred in 1949 when the letters of the original code page were inked over.

By way of background, the original Police photograph of the code page was taken using Glass Plate photography, this method is known for its very fine detail.

The letters found as indentations on the original photograph of the code page was not inked over. It would have been a negative image in the first instance as was the case with 'Glass Plate' photographs. Thus it was that having inked over the indentations, another photograph was taken 

 An original image would have been kept on file and a black and white photograph was kept with copies being sent to the press including the Adelaide Advertiser who kept that copy until 1997 when they digitized all their photographs including the Somerton Man code page image. It was scanned and set to 400 DPI for printing purposes, 300 DPI is regarded as the norm for a quality photograph. 

It is a copy of that file from the Adelaide Advertiser which was given to me by ex-Detective Sergeant Gerry Feltus that I have used in other posts to show the presence of micro-written codes. In this post, you will see the process I used to recover the hidden codes.


This demonstration shows just how the details of hidden writing be recovered from a photograph To be more precise,

You will see that whoever it was that inked over the original photograph would have seen what was really there before it was released for the public to see. 

The methods I have used are based on the exact methods used by SOE and other agents to hide and then later retrieve concealed messages, the one difference being that they were working with the originals whilst here, we are working with photographs. This particular method is that which was described in a 1943 SOE manual, it was called INK H. This method involved the use of cursive written words which had very small penciled code added to the individual letters of a word or words and which were then inked over

At the risk of boring the many who have read this here before, the process was devastatingly simple, write normal-sized letters in ink, add microcode in pencil in some or all of those letters, and add another layer of ink to all of the letters to properly conceal the microcode and that's stage 1. The reason the second layer of ink is added is that if you did not do that and a sharp-eyed enemy used oblique lighting on the page containing your letters/code, they would pick up the tell-tale glint from the pencil marks. 

The additional layer of ink prevents that. The final step in this clandestine method of communication was for the recipient to 'develop' the message which they did by immersing the page containing the letters and code into a strong, 14%, solution of Sodium Hypochlorite, bleach in other words. In those days a 14% solution was normal, today the norm is considered 10% for less for household use, and 14% is known as industrial strength. This immersion had the effect of gradually removing the ink but leaving the tiny penciled code visible. 

Step 1. Penciled code inked over, this is a photograph of  a photograph of
the original demonstration image:

Step 2. Immersed in bleach for about 15 seconds, code began to show.

Step 3. 1-minute immersion. You can see how the ink is breaking away and dissolving leaving the penciled code coming into view. Notice how dark it is?

Step 4. 3 minutes immersed, the code is now clearly visible and this is the photograph:

Step 5. Using the photographic image above, the code is again inked over, the nib on this pen is around .7 mm in width. Having made an extensive study of the page for some time now, I think that the actual marking of the larger letters on the original code page photograph was done with a brush, a very skilled job:

Step 6. The image is of the revealed code after it had been inked over in the picture below. You can see the ruled edge showing sub 1 mm for most of the coded letters/numbers. It is this picture, the photo of the photo, that we will use to develop the code and make it visible again:

Step 7. Image from step 6 is immersed in bleach, the image shows the effects of 2 minutes after immersion:

Step 8. The image is developed and the code once again becomes visible. Please bear in mind that, even though the code page was written many years ago, the tools and techniques used by Police and Intelligence services were extremely good. Glass plate photographs were capable of producing extraordinarily fine details and the use of various chemicals, including Iodine vapour,  would reveal every single fibre in a document and if it had been modified in any way.

This image is a little hazy but legible, and with more time I would have improved the quality but I think you can get the picture.

What this post did  8 years ago and has done again today is to clearly demonstrate that by using a digital image of another image in fact the final image above was a scan taken at 400 DPI, you are indeed able to recover concealed code/messages or signatures. And the Somerton Man documents contain such concealments.

This is exactly what I have been able to do with the Somerton Man code page as well as the torn piece and Verse 70 from Jestyn's book inscription to Alf Boxall.

this demonstration underscores the claim that the Somerton Man was involved in clandestine communications and espionage.

NOTE: The printer used for this demonstration was a Canon Pixma model, an inkjet printer and it was set to fine-quality printing. Bleedproff paper was the stock used. A Laser printer will not produce these results. Dye-based inks produce a better quality outcome. I have since used Epson and Brother inkjet printers for the same demonstration with similar results.

I would like to acknowledge the impetus for writing this post received from JP who commented in a very constructive manner back in 2016.


Tuesday 6 February 2024



This example is quite astonishing, it shows a part of the Lord's Prayer that has been engraved by hand on a 2mm pin head by Graham Short, a resident of Birmingham in the UK. This level of micrography requires a great deal of skill and is created with the aid of microscopes and special hand tools. It requires the engraver to control their breathing and at times make use of Beta Blockers to slow their heart rate. I believe it took him 3 months to complete.

Here's another example from last year, in this instance, Graham engraved the prayer on a tiny speck of gold and embedded it inside the eye of a needle:

And next, we have a special piece from the 1600s, it is a fine work of art and you will be able to see how one portion of it has been magnified. The artist has skillfully added an almost invisible layer of text across the entire work as seen under the magnified section. For all intents and purposes, it looks like a watermark but on very close examination, you can see what it rea;lly is.

the key in the above image is to use a slightly different colored pencil to write the text and below you will see a far more recent example of a similar technique, I have had to use a darker filter to show the character markings a little more clearly.

A glimpse into the world of micrography to show a little of what is possible.


Friday 26 January 2024



...The ‘tamamshud’ torn slip has been found to contain a concealed message that had been handwritten in a cipher format. The cipher has been identified as a Soviet-era NIHILIST cipher...

As a result of several requests, this post, the first of a short series, sets out to explain the nature of the NIHILIST cipher, how it evolved from a tool developed by a pre-Soviet era extremist group into a WW2 and early Cold War front line and relatively secure communication method between Moscow Centre and various spy groups in the field.

In this journey you will learn more about the torn slip, the construction of the cipher and the concealed message itself.

1, The NIHILIST cipher was first developed and used in pre-Soviet Russia during the 1800s it was based on a POLYBIUS grid:

'The Nihilist Substitution cipher dates back to around 1878 when it was used by Russian Nihilists in their war against the Tsarist regime. It is a variation of the checkerboard using a Polybius square to create a numerical cipher to which is added another numerical key to disguise the simple substitution effect of the checkerboard to make it more secure. The Polybius square was devised by the Greek historian and writer, Polybius (circa. 200 BC - 120 BC) and used a 25-letter alphabet written into a 5x5 grid with rows and columns numbered 1 to 5 '

2. What a cipher does is to take messages that are originally in ‘plain text’ and turn them into ‘cipher text’, A SERIES OF LETTERS AND/OR NUMBERS, these can be in pairs but more commonly in groups of 5. This cipher text can be protected by ‘keys’ sets of letters or numbers that must first be entered to view the message concealed in the text. 

Here's an example of a plain text message:

'Meet at the Northern end of Victoria Square, carry a belt in your left hand and a black leather briefcase in your right hand, and wear a brown trilby hat' (this was an actual instruction given to a Soviet agent in the 1940s)

And here's the same message encrypted with a basic Nihilist cipher:

76 44 43 77 49 77 66 76 53 73 73 46 79 63 33 59 82 44 72 55 76 56 73 77 63 77 73 46 66 47 42 89 92 47 45 44 56 47 35 59 96 47 44 44 68 77 53 86 96 74 82 46 68 44 45 90 72 47 72 55 49 73 44 60 54 66 46 54 67 66 33 60 86 63 43 46 47 46 53 57 65 54 46 53 46 64 62 100 83 83 45 46 66 57 52 90 72 47 72 55 49 73 44 98 53 47 45 47 47 46 63 98 82 77 45 64 68 45 76 76 56 77

And this is how a part of it sounds in a Morse code transmission:

As you will read in the next post, the evolution of the cipher included the ability to vary the number of digits in a group and to simultaneously include letters and digits in a group plus other innovations.

3, The Soviets, seeing the flexibility that the cipher offered, used it as a platform and developed numerous iterations of the cipher incorporating ‘layers’ of complexity that enhanced its overall strength and resistance to ‘cracking’. Effectively, the cipher could be readily ‘customized’ right down to individual operators' requirements. 

4. In practice, this meant, for example, Moscow Centre, could have one cipher for one agent and another cipher for a different agent. Both ciphers are NIHILIST but customized as required.

5. For our purposes and recognizing that cipher text can be, and was on occasion, sent by regular mail or by radio, thus an ‘agent’ can also be a radio operator.

6. In these days there are online software tools that can quickly recognize a NIHILIST cipher based on its basic ‘construction’. However, this step does not do more than identify in terms of probability, the type of cipher that it pertains to. Decrypting the cipher text is on an entirely different and more complex level.

At the time of writing this post, the identity of the man in whose pocket the ‘Tamam shud’ torn slip was found is still unknown. The claim that he was a man known as Carl Webb has not been proven with several facts emerging including that the DNA analysis process was deeply flawed and the facial features, notably the ears, do not match the two images of Carl Webb.


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Saturday 20 January 2024



.....The diagram above sums it up. Thanks to the recent input of our new group member '73' and the ongoing input and advice from the other members of our group through this journey, we can now clearly visualize the core of the Somerton Man case. And whilst the identity of the Man certainly has relevance, it is only a part of the puzzle. We are awaiting the results from the coroner's investigation but it would be true to say that we may never know this man's identity. My view is and has been for some time, that he is not Carl Webb.

We will however know the circumstances leading up to hu death. We will know the details of the messages contained on the code page and just what it was that the man had written in the Nihilist Cipher on the torn slip, TAMAM SHUD.

The recent information that proves the existence of a listening station and intercepts being passed on to Naval Intelligence in Melbourne has been extraordinarily useful. Whilst the volunteers will have passed on many such intercepts, they would not know what those messages were and who may have sent them. I am sure that they would also not be in a position to speak of such messages and that is to be expected and respected.

In the background to the diagram, there are numerous agencies, as yet not positively identified, who may be involved they would include, MI5, MI6, CIA, Australian Military Intelligence, Mossad, Czech Intelligence, the various 'special branch' wings of the State police, the subversive squads and more


At this point, I would like to make everyone aware that having spent a lot of time on the Tamam Shud slip and learning about how ciphers can be double-encoded,, I have been able to show and prove that the microcode on the code page is a NIHILIST cipher as used by the Soviets in the 1940s through until the 1950s. Both the torn slip and the code page used the same cipher.

Here's a screen grab of the Cipher Identifier showing the groups and the result, a 100 % finding of the NIHILIST Cipher:

Here's the full TAMAM SHUD phrase extracted ciphertext:

And here is the 'Cipher Breaker' out put:

I have highlighted part of the break, it shows the word 'MENTIES'. The issue here might be that if I had wrongly transcribed or if the Somerton Man had wrongly transcribed one of the cipher text letters, that word could be MENZIES.


The latest news on the analysis work is that having identified the code page was also written in the Nihilist Cipher, there are some direct comparisons, one of which is the fact that the first group of cipher text found in the torn slip had 6 characters, all numbers and the first group of the microcode found in the first letter M, also has 6 characters and again all numbers. This is important because thanks to the information written up by Alexander FOOTE, ( A member of the Soviet Spy Group, ROTE DRIE) we know that the Soviets specified that the first key in their messages should contain 6 letters and further that they should be from the top 8 most frequently used letters of the English alphabet.

The focus is on breaking the first key cipher. When we have that we will know the intended recipient of the message by title but not by name. We will also be able to see the numbers associated with the keyword/second key needed to crack open the entire cipher text. Those numbers are very likely a book code, they will comprise a page number, (2 digits), a line number (2 digits), and finally a word number,(single digit)a book code. The question will be which book? Will it be as simple as the Rubaiyat?

That is the theory, but there is a possibility that there could be another level of complexity in the cipher text as in the breaking up of the messages with the use of both letters and numbers.

The next step is to break the second key cipher. Again, thanks to Alexander Foote, we know how the second key was constructed and where it might be found.


Once the torn slip and code page have, hopefully, been decrypted, attention will be turned to the Boxall Rubaiyat to uncover the nature of the microcode written by both Alf Boxall and Jestyn. It does necessarily follow that, even if the code is shown to be Nihilist, that Alf and Jestyn were Soviets, there are reasons to believe that Jestyn may well have been a 'sparrow', someone planted in the CPA to obtain and pass on information to Military intelligence, Alf Boxall.


Obviously, the work has yet to be completed, the decrypt is on its way, and just what that contains we do not know. Will it mention names? Will it mention secrets?  Will it find yet another layer of code?

I am aware that there are a few groups overseas looking at the cipher text as I write this post. It could be that they will be the first to crack the messages and that's OK, the main thing is that they get it cracked and I would be more than happy to thank them for their work.


Friday 19 January 2024



Our latest member of the group, known here as '73', not only has a strong connection to the Somerton Man case, but he is also an experienced radio man. In this post, he provides us with valuable information regarding the operation of the Somerton Park Listening Post and shows how and when they became involved with Australian Security Services.

The following is an extract from a document, it contains the names of those involved but I have obscured them to maintain their and their descendant's privacy.

Somerton Park Monitoring Operations:

Under the auspices of Australian Security Services, operating 24/7, a specialist team of four men started monitoring operations in 1942, using Hallicrafters receivers. Their duty was to listen to specific frequencies, record stations, and report any suspicious activities. Messages with five-letter ciphers were forwarded for decoding by experts. 

Unusual Message Intercepted:

In the summer of 1942, the team intercepted a message that didn't conform to the usual five-letter groups. After decoding, it turned out to be the names of boats in Port Adelaide and Outer Harbour spelled backward. The purpose behind this message remained unclear.

Contribution to the Sydney Harbour Attack: 

The team also detected an unusual signal resembling a homing signal in May 1942. This signal coincided with a subsequent attack on Sydney Harbour by three midget submarines. The team's reports contributed to understanding the events.

Understanding High Frequencies: 

This article highlights the importance of understanding high frequencies, skip distances, and ground waves in monitoring activities. The Adelaide team was instructed to listen on specific frequencies during certain time slots covering the 24/7 operations

Diplomatic Messages: 

The team intercepted diplomatic messages originating in Berlin and destined for Tokyo but relayed via a delayed relay in Burma. The Melbourne authorities commended the team's work, recognizing its significance.

Secrecy of War:

Detailed stories of such operations were not shared during the secrecy of war. Recollections, documented years later, provide valuable insights into the team's contributions to monitoring illicit transmissions and enemy signals. Some events remain unpublished.

It is not known when the installation ceased it's monitoring operations.

It is hoped that we will be able to provide more information on this subject, please check in again over the coming weeks.



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