Tuesday, 16 February 2016

Somerton Man; What Is Wrong With These Images?

Before you read further, an apology, there are some fairly macabre images in this post and you really should be aware that images of dead people are contained within it.

In earlier posts, we looked at the issue of the original images of SM released in the week he was found on Somerton Beach. It was said then that the initial images had been altered. This has since been proven to be correct, there is a difference of opinion as to the degree of the alteration.

The images shown here add more weight to the argument that the man shown in the initial images is likely not the man of whom the bust was made.

There are three sets of comparison images to the right.The top images are the initial profile and full face view.

Next we have the images taken just before the cast was made. The full face image has some questions about it. In the earlier post on this topic the difference between the pre bust profile image and the initial SM profile image was examined in some detail.

Finally we have still images from the 3D laser scan taken by Adelaide University some two years ago. This was the bust that caused Jestyn to almost pass out, as you can see these last two images bear little if any resemblance to the the initial SM images.

There will be those who will say that the differences could be attributed to the deterioration of the body which had been preserved. I don't believe that to be true and am inclined to believe that the full face image in the Pre Bust set has more than likely been altered. If you compare the pre bust full face image with the 3D scan full face on the left  you will understand the reason why I think this way.

Here's the comparison of the SM initial full face view with the 3D scan version. There does appear to be noticeable differences, discounting the ears which Lawson had said caused him a great deal of difficulty.

The metrics seem all wrong and that is something that needs to be researched and measured carefully. At first and second glance, there are quite different facial features. The lower image shows a much more rounded face whilst the upper image seems longer in the face and quite a bit narrower.

Could you put this down to some form of bloating and/or the casting process? Reasonable questions and your views are seriously invited.

Comparing the pre bust profile image with the 3D scan profile, they look to be correct and not a great deal of difference between them that couldn't be explained by the pressure applied during the cast process.

The image below shows a death mask being made in the early 1900's.

The last comparison images here raise more questions than answers. The comparison between the SM initial profile and the 3D scan profile which supposedly is the same person.

In this first comparison the two profiles look distinctly different.

Of note is the absence of the bump along the forehead in the 3D scan, it can be seen in the SM initial profile image.

The next step was to try and overlay the 3D scan onto the SM initial profile, I used the head height and forehead shape and height/width and the bridge of the nose to align both images, below you can see the result:
Does this mean that there were two bodies? Could be, especially if you take into account Lawson's diary comment about the 'disposal of the original body'. It could also be that the full face and profile images have been altered with the pre bust profile and 3D profile apparently not having been altered.

I try in every Post, to walk people through the process and to provide them the images and techniques so that they can try the process themselves. This is no exception. I have provided all the images I used and have others if you need them. Your feedback and thoughts are invited and would be appreciated.



  1. The body on the beach had an overbite. The bust shown to Jessica had an underbite.

  2. Hi Gordon, As if this case didn't have enough questions, Lawson's curious diary note of 'original body' and his 'tender ground' interview remark gives credence that it was not the SM's body in the coffin but a substitute? Perhaps, when Jessie saw the bust, she realized it wasn't the man she expected to be represented-she knew more than one man is my theory. Clive

    1. Hi Clive, The pics do pose some additional questions. I found trying to reconcile the 3D scan full face image with that of the full face taken just prior to the creation of the bust to be just about impossible. Trying to reconcile the pre bust profile with the full face was equally concerning. I have to tell you that the same applied to the initial profile and full face pics, almost as if a deliberate effort was being made to cover the mans real full face view. It has been acknowledged now that the initial images were altered despite a lengthy argument with DA, he eventually agreed that was the case but reserved judgement as to just how far that alteration went. On the same point, the initial profile image from Gerry Feltus's book is decidedly different in detail to the images that have been published elsewhere. It shows that the hairline had been altered with additional hair added and then darkened especially above the right ear. You might also notice that the bump line across the forehead seen in the initial image is no longer there in the 3D scan nor in the pre bust images.

      It does not appear to be that the person in the initial image is the same person in the 3D scan. It could be that 2 people died that day.

      This leads to another question, just how many coffins were in tha West Terrace Cemetery grave? Another reason why the exhumation has been vehemently opposed perhaps? This is of course conjecture, but it has become a real option that should be reviewed.

      I agree that Jestyn wasn't expecting to see the person represented by the bust, she may well have seen the images in the press.

  3. Thanks for the comment. I agree on the overbite and under-bite that you mention, this may be explained by the practice, when embalming a body, to wire or glue the mouth shut.That in turn could produce the effect, what do you think?

  4. Clive and all, a question for you. If you are going to hide a second body, where would be the best place? Intriguing isn't it?

  5. Hi Gordon, Wow, what a question and what a dilemma! If the grave at West Tce was deep enough, I suppose a second body could have been buried there, during the night? The "official" burial ceremony of the SM with the press attending could just have been a sham, the real identity only known to a few? Clive

    1. There was known to have been two other coffins in that grave, one of a young child and another for a lady. At least that was the information. That could be correct but it wouldn't stop another being added. It is not a very pleasant subject but it is worth considering as a real option. Think about the depth of a normal grave and the depth of a coffin. This grave has 3 acknowledged coffins, there would be a space between each. In NSW there are some standards and the rule is that the last coffin should not be less than 900 mm from the surface. There is also a standard for a triple depth grave which is originally dug to hold 3 adult coffins. I am not sure of the years of burial for the other two occupants, it would have taken some foresight to make provision for a third.

      Last point is that my understanding is that SMs grave was sealed in concrete, supposedly that had something to do with the water table. I think that there are some regulations that deal with decomposition and the resultant odours that also apply and may be another reason for the concrete. I am sure there are other reasons to be thought about.

      Any thoughts and ideas would be very welcome despite it being a difficult topic.

      Could be a book in this Clive, yet another slice off the salami..

  6. https://fourfatladies.files.wordpress.com/2016/02/sm.jpg?w=636&h=560

  7. Hi Gordon, Gerry's book mentions that the police chose that particular section because it wouldn't be subject to any water penetration, in case the body had to be exhumed. I wonder if they thought about that when the other two burials took place. Was the SM's grave concreted to stop possible body snatachers? Clive

    1. hi Clive, I guess that's one explanation. Another might be the ruling that existed in NSW at least which stated that the top coffin could be 900 mm below the surface if it was sealed. That being the case then not much excavation to do for an exhumation?

  8. Here's a question. Why did they make a bust at all? GF believed that the man on the beach was just a local and Jessica told someone that she knew who it was. They had pictures. Could the bust have already been available? Could it have been someone that would cause shame to Jessica?

    1. Good question! According to some literature, death masks and busts were made so that in the eventuality of a relative turning up some years later, they would have an almost lifelike representation of the deceased person. That would then decrease the likelihood of an exhumation with its attendant costs.

      I would have to admit that Jessica's response on seeing the bust for the first time was odd, then again, I would say it was highly likely that she had seen the photo published in the press and was therefore expecting to see a bust that looked like that which, from the images above, it simply doesn't. Much depends if she was told of the bust before she attended the interview?

      It might be worth getting a photo realistic job done on the 3D image, it would present a more lifelike appearance of the face that caused that response from Jessica.

      Thanks for the comment.

  9. A note for TomsbyTwo followers, you may have noticed that Pete Bowes blog has apparently closed down. I think that's sad because Pete certainly adds spice to the proceedings and a bit of colour. I hope he reinstates it and would wish him all the very best no matter what the cause is.

    I also note the www.fourfatladies.wordpress.com blog, which arrived on the scene in the last few days only to be closed to non members today I believe. Again that is sad as the articles I read were very promising and well constructed, a welcome addition to the conversation.

    Curiouser and curiouser :)

  10. Hi Gordon, I just noticed Pete's blog looking rather sombre. I thought you might know something. I hope he is ok. I don't contribute much, just a guilty bystander, but I take an interest in a couple of the blogs and I agree Pete has been an engaging contributor. Thank you for your efforts, too. R

    1. Hi Robert, I emailed Pete and he tells me he is going to focus more on marketing and promoting his book. I see that this morning he has a page back online. Pleased about that.

  11. Thanks, Gordon,
    That's good to know. I shall keep following! Best wishes, Robert

  12. Gordon,Pete did a good job, he was always looking for the 'story' angle, fact or fiction. That just leaves you in Australia doesn't it? There can only be you and one other on topic.

  13. Swords14, What I do here is focused on the hard evidence that was left behind or that survived the Police cull. SO any angles that crop up do so directly as the result of examining the evidence. The blog has some good numbers and it is a single focus and not a shotgun approach. Having said that, I will be doing posts on concealment techniques used by agencies of various persuasions over the years. Not really that far off topic and it will hopefully give everyone an insight into the way that these techniques were used. Their ingenuity ever ceases to amaze me. Needs must I suppose.

    Thanks for the comment! I'll keep trying to bring you good stuff :)

  14. How are you GC?
    I've got over the bout of blog fever, thanks, and am ready to engage again. It must be the weather.
    With regard to your last post, I think the luggage find was the result of Len Brown's work, he was given the responsibility of contacting all the lost luggage offices in Adelaide, as well as using his newspaper contacts. I read that in GF's book somewhere.
    As far as arriving by train, I've always thought he flew in, possibly after an international flight and connection from Sydney or Melbourne. The other matter that has always confounded me is why GF didn't include the pullover in his cover image.
    I've often wondered what brand it was, and where the wool may have originated.
    By the way, I've done the overnight trip, way back in the 60's in the fruitpicker's carriage, on the way from Sydney to Melbourne to Adelaide then onto Mildura.
    It was as you said.

    You can put this up as a comment.
    All the best

  15. Hi Pete,
    Glad that you're back in the swing of things!

    It's interesting, in Gerry's book,' North was contacted by Police and he produced the suitcase for them' no mention of Det. Brown, it was in fact Leane, the man that went on to join ASIO the following year I think. They must have been impressed with his work history. Other items were unclaimed at the cloak room from the same day but no mention of details. I am conscious of the fact that this information was made after the fact, bear in mind the 5 day lag between the case being found and the Police collecting it.

    What are your thoughts on this, there is no doubt, in my mind, that Naval Intelligence in Melbourne knew of the real nature of the code, that the torn piece was and is an essential part of puzzle as it contains code and that it was, to all accounts at least, found first. The Police and others wanted everyone to believe that they only sent the marked up copy of the code page to NI, that would have to be a world first if it were the case. So, you find a code in suspicious circumstances and then you cover it with ink in the form of letters and send it to Intelligence who in turn comment only on the marked up letters and not the original image of what was really found on the code page. In addition you had earlier a torn piece from the same book that contained the code page and this torn piece was rolled up tight and hidden and hard to find in a fob pocket on an unidentified deceased male who had no ID on him whatsoever and labels torn from his clothing, and you don't send that torn piece to NI for examination.

    Too many holes and I personally don't believe that SAPOL ever were that slack, just look at the effort put into the investigation. Would they really have spent hundreds of man hours on just another suicide?

  16. Four fat ladies was made private because the researchers emails have all been hacked, emails wiped and accounts closed. Their research group has also been made secret in facebook I believe. Also their names and photos are being used fraudulently across the internet to stir up trouble and upset people. I believe they have been communicating with a family who genuinely knew of the Somerton Man and the family had extentuating circumstances as to why they haven't come foward. Does anyone know how to contact any of these researchers before they have been impersonated all over the place before nobody knows if they are talking to the right people. I gather they were impersonated as an attempt to farm and extract information from the family that knew Somerton Man.

  17. Hi Gordon, Glad that Pete's back on track, I think he may have been a bit overwhelmed with all the comments etc I also noted that the fourfatladies website had gone private-such a shame as they seemed to be really in to the SM case with some new news. Clive

  18. Hi Clive...

    Something really rang true about the site you are referring to. I genuinely believe that there is positive news. Does anyone know how to contact them?

  19. Hi Gordon, I just hope that the "fourfatladies" will have a re-think and open up on the web. They seemed to me, for all their short "open" stint on the web, that they were quite genuine in the search for info. on the SM. Having seen how Pete's and other sited been "trolled" you can understand what they have done to their site-Clive

    1. Clive, Looking back at earlier times, there is a ring of Trolls about the FFL matter. I have had a number of troll type comments that I will not publish.

      On this subject, there is an approach called the 'Dead Cat' approach. Essentially what it does is to divert attention and give trolls a field day.

      Here's the explanation, if you can imagine a room filled with people seated at a big table, all discussing various aspects of a particular topic. Everyone is fully engaged and focused when suddenly a new member of the group, or an old one in disguise, throws a dead cat on to the main table. Everyone stops, aghast! Someone asks the question, 'Is that a dead cat? then another, What's it doing here? and again, Who put that there? What does it mean? and so on uintil everyone is thoroughly distracted from the course they were on. In this case enter the trolls determined to have a field day.
      So, having looked at the FFL website after being contacted by a lady called Pearl on my private FB account, asking me for my opinion on the photograph she had attached. I did that by giving a quick critique, wished her well and offered assistance if I could.

      A day or so later her site is taken down. By the way the site had only 2 stories on it and two names of researchers. Bear in mind that the unpleasant and foul comment left on the Cipher Mysteries site was from someone with the FFL avatar.

      Here's the challenge, if the FFL people are genuine and they're reading this then please contact me with a phone number and location and I will undertake not to share that information with anyone.

      By the way, what Nick did by publishing that comment on his site was low and unforgivable, I cannot say that I was surprised by his doing that, he does have a reputation.

  20. Hi Gordon, Why do individuals act as "Trolls"? I may be simple, but I cannot understand their mentality (they do have a brain?) Some of these individuals have obviously escaped from certain institutions. As for Nick's comments, no amount of apologising can wipe the slate clean, it doesn't do his reputation any good whatsoever-Clive

    1. Hi Clive, I am sure there is a psychological issue in play. In many ways they are to be pitied. There's more than a hint of narcissism about their behaviour as indeed I think there may be in the way that Nick behaves.

      I spent some time last year taking him to task on some of his posts about my work and I proved that he was acting out of ignorance and was arrogant into the mix, in addition I was able to show that he had misled his audience into thinking that he had used the methods I had in all good faith shown and discussed with him. He had not done so but gave that impression.

      He has made comments about his background bing in Computer Science yet he showed an astonishing lack of understanding of digital imaging with no understanding at all of digital forensic methods.

      The great pity is that I am sure that he he is an intelligent man but he consistently has to act either out of delusions of grandeur or as the wounded innocent party. If you're reading this Nick, people are over it and you should get past it as well.

  21. My goodness you and Pete always complain about poor old Nicky, yet you seem to poke that dragon quite deliberately (as in your latest post) - and all primarily because he is willing to challenge your claims. While his manner sometimes (ok, often) seems a bit blunt I'm not sureI understand why you and Pete on your blogs continually seem to try to re-engage him - but not for his expertise, simply for some entertainment value or something. I'm not sure that the debacle(s) that have occured on his site (which from memory had plenty of input and fuel added from Pete, not sure about you) are any worse than the persistent crap you and Pete post apparently to, well, troll him.

    Nick's site became awkward through the trolling. Pete's,totally unreadable through his constant attacks on Nick (often endorsed in the comments by yourself, I notice) - and it seems yours is headed the same way.
    It's a real shame because between the people visiting all 3 of these sites some pretty good ideas and theories seem to surface....but it seems all of you are keen to pick a theory and run with it at the exclusion of all others - and get incredibly nasty to anyone who dares question your ideas....
    Pete's site would likely have calmed after his book is eventually released, and Nick's only ever treated SM as a "passing interest" and he may well have lost interest anyway....but between the 3 of you you seem to do a lot of hard work researching different angles and avenues and then bore people away from your sites with constant, boring, bullish bickering.

    1. Thanks for your comment. If you would take some time and visit Pete's blog, you will see that, regarding my last post, I was responding to Nick's ill informed and I think deliberately misleading statement. I do not post on Nick's site at all because of the troll issue.

      If, by re-engage him, you mean respond, then I will do that as and when I see fit. Nick has an unfortunate habit of making rash and ill informed or maybe even deliberately misleading statements and I have yet to see him provide anything by way of substantiation of his claims. Those things seem calculated to get a 'hot' reply. I will always substantiate my statements with evidence be that photographic, links or documents because that's the way I do things.

      I think you will also find that I do not get 'incredibly nasty' with anyone who comments here or elsewhere, if the comment is in my view a troll comment it doesn't get published. But, if you have an example of where I have done that please send me the link and if I have stepped outside the normal acceptable standard then I have no problem apologising.

      If anyone wants to make any comments or give their views on any of the work I do then that's fine as long as they do so constructively and are willing to put forward their reasoning plus any reference materials to support their views. If they are not willing to do that, then this is not the right blog for them and I wish them well.

      I really do urge you to go back and look at the comments that Nick has posted about this blog. I reserve the right to respond. Nick will of course go back and edit some of the less flattering posts to better suit his purpose. That is actually one of the reasons why I copy blog posts at the time when refer to this blog.

      The main theme for this blog has almost exclusively been surrounding the physical evidence associated with the case. I try hard not to get involved in the creation of possible scenarios but sometimes that does happen and normally that would be in response to a comment or message.

      On the book front, I will probably be publishing one in the next month or two and have heard that there are a couple more in the pipeline from others. If any book adds to the discussion that's a good thing.

      This blog has been going since January 2013, in that time, with a couple of short breaks, we have had 122,000 visits with more than half being in the last 13 months. For a single focus blog I don't suppose that's too bad but it really is more about the quality and consistency of information. You can have a million visitors but the important ones are those who are really interested and who contribute. Apart from comments that are left I receive a good number of emails and messages that aren't published by request of the senders.

      I don't believe that I am constantly 'bickering' but I do respond when I think it demands it.

      I leave all my posts intact or if I have edited them I state that.

      I think that covers it, I want to thank you for taking the time to write in, we may not agree on everything but we can discuss the issue.


  22. This comment has been removed by the author.

  23. Hello, Mo problem, you can find Pete Bowe's blog here: www.tomsbytwo.com. Pete recently completed his book but still posts quite often.

  24. I think it is entirely possible it is the same man. I have seen how fast death changes a face. A dead body laying on it's back will result in everything flowing downwards as it decomposes. The difference in the shape and fullness of a face is one of the earliest effects visible. This can explain both the head shape and face in the pre-bust photos.

  25. Hi from Ukraine! Are there any other widely accessible pics of the body exist, I mean original police photos made on the beach? I can hardly believe that the file contains just a pair of photos of the unknown man that was made only after the autopsy (I mean the 'iconic' pair of pics widely represented in mass media)... Where is the rest of ORIGINAL images from the original file? And where is the file itself? Does it still exist?

  26. My wife and I were talking about this case earlier and I've just come online to see what happened with the DNA test from way over a year ago trying to link him to the son. It made a compelling case but the fact that there is nothing about it, does it suggest it was a dead end?