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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, 26 June 2016

Somerton Man: Another Letter With Microcode, Mind Your Ts and Qs

The letter Q with it's micro writing is now joined by another letter, the letter T:

In the highlighted cross bar of the letter T found in the sequence MTB on the third line of the code, the three letters V X D are clearly seen. The image was first found more than 3 years ago and has been kept along with others for publication at what I believe to be the best and most appropriate times.

Below left you can see how the image was first found using back-light and colour enhancement. The right hand image was better focused and an image 'sharpening' tool was used together with contrast enhancement.

More images of microcode will be released over the coming weeks and months.

Saturday, 25 June 2016

Somerton Man: The Books, The Code Page & The Aspect Ratio

"O! What A Tangled Web We Weave When First We Practice To Deceive.."

Sir Walter Scott: Marmion

Was there a deception in the Somerton Man Case?

The devils in the detail and deception is the devils work 

In this case, the 'detail' primarily relates to the proportions of the book, for those who may be unaware, it's called the 'Aspect Ratio' and what that means for the copies of the Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam is the ratio of the width of the book to the length of the book. The book was printed and published by Whitcombe & Tombs and it is thought that the print run was 1942.

For the enthusiasts, Whitcombe & Tombs had printing, retail and wholesale facilities in all major cities in New Zealand with offices in Melbourne and Sydney which city also had a retail shop.

Importantly, there was also a distribution office and later retail store in London from 1930 onwards. Read more.about W&T history. It raises the question, could SM have bought his copy in the UK?

Let's first take stock of the available evidence from the case and then arrange that into a form where we can draw some reasonable conclusions. 

The Evidence

1. An image of what we believe to be the copy of the book as found and associated with the Somerton Man. This book was identified as being from a Whitcombe & Tombs Courage and Friendship series, Edward Fitzgerald First Edition, a pocket edition in fact. It is assumed that the pages of the book, which appears to be in good condition, were white in colour with each page having a distinctive and elaborate background design. This image to the right shows a torn out area just beneath the last quatrain of the book.

2. On the left, an image of a book cover said to be from the same book that was associated with the case; this is a very grainy image and of poor quality: More recently, another image of that same cover of the book has been released, it is a 'cleaner' image and was organised by Professor Abbott. He informs me that this was arrived at by first reducing the size of the older image.

3. A full set of images of every page of a Courage & Friendship series Rubaiyat known as the JW version is contained in this link to a PDF download. This book is a paperback version with yapped edges. ('Yapped' means that the book cover is slightly larger than the interior pages of the book so that it folds over the edges of the assembled book block within the cover thus affording additional protection for those pages. This book contains images of the Copyright page, a Biographical Note page and also a Triangular Trade Mark with a written phrase beneath it found on the back of the last page of verses. The book and images are of good quality. In particular note the back page to the left, it shows the Yapped edges quite clearly as a squarish inner area of the page.

4. This is where it gets interesting! The image below is of the back cover of the JW Rubaiyat, you can see the darker lines that indicate the location of the 'yapped' edges: You can also see that it's been rotated and is on its side. The image has an aspect ratio of very close to .79:1, that is the width as you now see it is equal to 1 and the height is.79 in comparison.

5. Now here's the code page, it also has an aspect ratio of .79:1. This is really important because the code page matches almost exactly the ratio of the back cover of the JW Rubaiyat:

5. This next image below highlights the 'Yapped' edge which matches the Yapped edge surround of the JW Rubaiyat. What has been done here is to match the code page to a copy of the Courage & Friendship series produced by Whitcombe and Tombs. Why is this important? Because as far as I am aware the code page has always been thought to have come from a copy of the Rubaiyat as represented in item 2 above showing the grainy covers. That book cover has a ratio of .75 to 1, well short of the .70 ratio of the JW version.

6. This image below shows how the code page could have looked on the back cover of the paperback book, I have edited it so that it has a transparent background, that allows us to view the letters of the code in place on the back of the book. You should still be able to make out the faint lines of the Yapped edges beneath. Bear in mind that the Police say they only saw indented writing and that with the aid of a UV light.

You can download the next image, the transparent image of the code page:

There is a free editing tool you can download, IrfanView, that you can use to view and magnify the above image. I think you may be surprised at what you see amongst the letters and the shaded areas when magnified. The image that you see here is a transparent one against the black background of the blog page

7. The final image for this post shows the complete book as it was said to have been found by a Mr. Francis.

The Code page as published on the University of Adelaide Wiki, and as obtained from the Advertiser Newspaper had dimensions of 1800pixels X 1402 pixels and at 400 DPI which converts approximately to 11.4 cms X  9.2 cms. The aspect ratio was based on that set of dimensions. The dimensions of the back page of JW Courage and Friendship version of the Rubaiyat are 11.4 X 9.2 cms. You can expect a slight variation in dimensions due to wear and tear on the book cover

This completes the first of a few such posts that hopefully will provide everyone with a clearer understanding of the nature of the Rubaiyat that was found. Comments are very welcome.

The next post will look more closely at another most interesting aspect of the Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam book found and associated with the Somerton Man.

I use a number of different software tools including IrfanView, it is a free photo viewing tool that you can download here.

With this tool you will be able to quickly load and enlarge any of the images you find in this or other posts. 

Thursday, 23 June 2016

Somerton Man: A Note for Dave

Well Dave, the followers of your site have been busy! Lots of troll-type comments, slander and defamation running amok.

The sadness is that you started off with some good information and quickly went downhill. I wrote a decent article and left it open for people to make their own decisions, in fact, you commented on that. Unfortunately, on that same day, the trolls began their attacks on this blog and via the contact us page. That led me to believe in quick order that you and the trolls were linked.

A comment was made on your blog about the fact that IP addresses and other information is tracked and recorded here which it most certainly is and it is done to protect the privacy and security of the many good people that visit this blog.

As you know, Trolls also have a habit of hacking email accounts, facebook accounts and have even been known to take bank details from their unsuspecting victims. I owe it to visitors here to look after their interest as best I possibly can and prevent Trolls accessing this blog.

On that subject of recording information, I have to tell  you that all email addresses, telephone numbers, physical coordinates, addresses and IP addresses are being recorded on your blog right now. Every name and contact details are captured and have been pretty much from day 1.

I suggest that you inform everyone who visits your blog that this is the case and that the information could well be shared. There is no hiding place for the slanderers and those that would defame and denigrate me or anyone else that is mentioned on your blog for that matter.

Remove the defamatory and slanderous remarks Dave.

Tuesday, 21 June 2016

Somerton Man: More on Dave's Rubaiyat?

The Cover From Dave's ROK

MISCA & DIANE, This could be of interest for you both, I think you can see what the situation is and that at least here you will find factual information.

As you can see, the cover contains a list of 9 titles that were in the Courage & Friendship series published by Whitcombe and Tombs.

At the base of the list and highlighted, it clearly states that all 'Attractively Produced in Two colours' Yet, on the right of the page in the second highlighted area you can see that it is in black and white or grayscale.

W&T established in Christchurch in 1882 with offices in major cities in NZ and an office and distribution facilities in 332 Collins Street, Melbourrne dating back to the 1930s I understand, produced thousands of books with printing work for the Australian Government including Miltary Manuals (12)(Tommy Gun, Rifle & Bayonet), can you honestly see a large and expanding company put their reputation at risk by producing shoddy, amateur work as is shown in Dave's hardback copy?

I had advised Dave he should do two things:

1. Have the book examined by the NZ Print museum, they would be able to immediately tell him the nature of the book.

2. Produce images of the Copyright and Publisher information page that are in all of W&T's books.

To help out a little, here's a link to a download of a full copy of a Courage & Friendship series version of the Rubaiyat. You will see that it does indeed have a Copyright and Biographical Note page and even an inscription. This is a later version having 11 titles in the Courage & Friendship series. Notice, in particular, the quality of the binding and the spacing. I have placed hidden watermarks etc in this downloaded version.

For the serious minded, I did a local library search and there is a 1942 W&T Fitzgerald first edition copy of the Rubaiyat in Melbourne University Library and available to the public. I do not know what series it is or whether it is hardback or paperback. Worth a call.

For all those who have posted derogatory comments on Dave's site regarding this blog and myself, get your facts straight and read what I have said carefully before launching into personal attacks.

I publish facts here, I don't stray from that and I will continue to stand by that rule.

Friday, 17 June 2016

Somerton Man: Infrared Luminescence Images, Initial Results

Initial Images: IR Project

The image above is an example of what can be achieved using Infrared Luminescence as a method to uncover obliterated writing. As you can see the results can be quite astounding. The advent of LED IR lights plus strobe effects certainly does make a big difference for those involved in forensic document/image examination

The equipment requirement for effective recovery of obliterated writing is quite expensive so at this stage, we have to innovate and adapt to the current situation.

The first image is the word 'Repentance' from line 1 of Jestyn's verse 70 to Alf Boxall. I have marked up two areas, the R and the t, that have shown up quite well given that this is the first effort with the IR technique. Bear in mind we are talking about code that is sub .5mm in height.

Next, the focus is on the dash from line 2 of Verse 70 written by Jestyn for Alf Boxall. For the first effort with an improvised IR rig, it is not too bad. You should be able to make out the string of micro numbers beginning with an x in the lighter area of the dash, the sloped line into the letter B next to the dash also contains microcode but not as clear.

Finally a group of letters from lines 3 and 4 of Verse 70. The C and then the S from the word 'Spring' and then the upstroke of the letter P and the T from 'Penitence'. In each, you will be able to see microcode.

I would like to make it very clear, that the formation of letters and numbers all properly aligned within larger letters in a digital format is not present by accident. The microcode was put there by hand. I have read recently how one untrained, unskilled and unqualified observer made the totally incorrect statement that 'letters and numbers can be found in any digital image' Well, that's called unconscious incompetence, you don't know what you don't know. 

There is more work to do and some learning ahead in getting the right settings to ensure a clear output and hopefully, we can get to the standard shown in the first image at the top of this post.

I have done some initial views of the torn piece and the code page and they are showing a lot of promise. In particular, the code page top right, the area between the end of the first and second lines and the dark stain, has some really interesting numbers showing up. Again, more work is needed at this time.

Wednesday, 15 June 2016

Somerton Man: The Book Hoax?

SM Copy of the Rubaiyat

I'll keep this post short and to the point. I should make it clear that this post is really meant for the inhabitants of another blog.

It seems to me that our friends at the other blog are having some difficulty in grasping the issues associated with the recently 'discovered' copy of the Rubaiyat.

Could it be that I haven't given them enough in the way of hints and clues?

In the previous post, I described the copy that Dave put forward as being remarkably similar to the JW version and waited for, what I thought would be, the outcry from the another blog declaring that they had 'found the real problem', I was to be disappointed. More on this shortly.

Not only did I say that Dave's copy was remarkably similar, I had also described how I had used the JW copy and turned it into greyscale for comparison. Still no response.

I thought I'd give it another shot and posted a comment in Pete Bowes', tomsbytwo blog stating that I thought that Dave's book was a scan, that got a response, at least from Dave. But. sadly not the response I expected so let's go through it again.

On the right is the copy of Dave's book that he posted on an image sharing site. You can see the pages quite clearly and you can see it's wrongly cropped by virtue of the crescent moon to the top right, it's far too close to the top edge of the page. Printers are a funny lot, they like to do things precisely. You can also see the thread in two locations and there is too much space between them. You might also note that there are no 'crease marks' where the pages should have, at one time, met. But there is something else. Let's move on to the comparison image.

In the image below you can see the JW version on the left, the SM original version as published in the SA press and finally the version presented by Dave on the right.

Now, what do you see? If you are still having some difficulty, let me help you. On the left is the JW version of the page, in the centre, is the SM version and to the right is the version presented by Dave. What is it about them that is surprising?

Got it yet?

Yes, that's right, they are all greyscale images including Dave's copy. The courage and friendship series to my knowledge was not printed in greyscale and especially not in a grey scale that so closely matched the JW version, a version that was originally in colour. SM's copy, when published wasn't in colour it was in greyscale because the press, at that time, didn't show coloured images.

Now you know why I think that Dave's version was scanned. I have to hand it to you Dave, you had them all convinced, especially when you pointed them back, not once but twice, to the original post on this blog where the comparison of all three as greyscale was first shown. It made me smile and I seriously appreciate the way it was done.

Saturday, 11 June 2016

Somerton Man: The Book: A Collection

1. The Image Released by SA Police in 1949

You can see where a piece was torn from the book, some contention about the shape, in fact the Police released only folded over copies of the torn piece ahead of the book being found. The reason for that was to ensure that if someone came forward with a copy of the book, that the claim was genuine, then they would be able to match the torn piece to the book.

ADDED 14th June:
There is a view expressed by Nick Pelling:

"It’s far from clear to me whether the edges of the Tamam Shud piece were deliberately folded over by the Police (as he asserts), cropped for clarity by the Police, or whether cropping the image tight to the letters was a decision by the picture editors at the News and the ‘Tiser. Just so y’know"

 Nick, I know that investigative work can be challenging so I would really like to help you out here. The facts of the matter are that the piece was folded over by the Police and handed to journalists at the inquest. As a young Detective, one of the first things I learnt in the SOCO attachment was the need to sometimes keep parts of the evidence from the public as a fail-safe method when checking witnesses statements. Quite logical really. Anyway, you can verify that is the case for the torn piece with Professor Abbott, we had a discussion on this some years ago and confirmed it again yesterday.

And just for you Nick, some choice words from one John Saunders, he posted a comment on your site which I thought to be quite apt:

"To trick by planting faulty seed which down an endless path shall lead
Can only cause contempt to breed amongst the others of thy creed
To take another’s word or deed and use the same to serve thy need
The evil consequence of greed is apt to fail, cannot succeed
Thou who repenteth can be freed seek out thy brother beg and plead
Forgiveness shall be thine indeed peace be to thee indeed, indeed"

As it turned out, the only way the Police were able to match the torn piece to the copy of the book was because of the similarity of the fibres in both the book and the torn piece, the shape was not at issue.

What does need to be carefully considered of course is the issue of tradecraft, the techniques and methods used by agents of all persuasions for hundreds of years. One of those methods was to match two pieces of a document, a button, a beermat or of a coin as a form of identification, very simple but quite effective because, as is the norm for tradecraft, it relied on every-day items but put to clandestine use. In this British Pathe video on the left, you can see some of the methods used in the Cold War, note that the date for this video was 1963, you can take it as read that they would not be releasing anything top secret in a video so these methods would have been used for a long time.

But, the torn piece was not a perfect match at least according to the copy of the book at the commencement of this page. Having said that Detective Brown in his later years was quite adamant that it was a fit and yet recent research and documents from the time spoke of how they used the fibres from the book and the torn piece to arrive at their conclusion that it was a match.

The question is then, if the shape wasn't a match, what was the purpose of the piece? And why was it secreted in a 'hard to find' fob pocket? Given that we have the code on the back of the book, then just maybe the torn piece provides the key to the micro-code, the earlier examination of the piece does indeed show micro written numbers inside some of the Tamam Shud letters. What good would a code be without the key? What good would the key be, in the shape of the Tamam Shud letters that carried micro-code, if it had been left in the book? I am certain that this was the purpose of the torn piece and of the fob pocket, a custom fob pocket according to the evidence from the manufacturers of the Elasta Strap trousers.

Never, ever underestimate the resourcefulness of those engaged in the espionage field. Never ever think that any aspect of tradecraft is too old for use in that field. Toni Hiley, Director of the CIA Museum actually said that in a recent interview.

It is important to note that the book was always said to have been white in colour. The released image at the head of this post is black and white, so we really wouldn't know from this image if it was white in its original state. Below you will see an image that demonstrates this. The colour of the torn piece which is still in existence gives us the only clue to the original colour as you will see.


Here's a copy of the same page with a representation of the torn piece accurately placed within the torn out area. Of particular interest is the fact that the overlaid image from the SA Police released version has been placed against an accurately sized image of the W&T copy of the book released in 1942. You will note that the Police copy is somewhat narrower which might be explained by the fact that it was cropped but, as you will see further down the page, there is a very likely additional reason.

You may also want to make note of the distance between the crescent moon at the upper edge of the cropped page and the top of the page. Again you will understand why as you move down this post.


Moving on to an image of a 1942 Whitcombe and Tombs copy of the book which we will refer to as the JW version. This is the cover a paperback version. In discussions with Gerry Feltus some years ago, he was quite certain that the book was a pocket version, the kind that you could stow away in an inside pocket of a jacket for example. Gerry has an extensive collection of the book.


In the image below we can see the W&T triangular trade mark, notice its placement on the page of the JW version. You can also see the distinctive artwork surround for the page, it matches precisely the art work shown in the image released by the SA Police in 1949.

Next, we have an image of the inside of the fly-leaf of the book, JW version, you will see that it is from the Courage & Friendship series produced by W&T in 1942.

Below is the 'Tamam Shud' page from our 1942 or JW version. Notice the artwork on the surround of the page. Also, notice again the colour of the page and the location of that crescent moon to the upper right of the page.


Whilst the above image is cream, I have used a standard editing tool to change the image to a grey scale image, you will be able to see that it now very closely matches the SA Police released version. You may also be able to make out a faint triangular mark above the word Tamam Shud, that's the W&T trade-mark


In this next image I have used an editing tool again to highlight the Triangular W&T trade-mark which you should be able to see more clearly than in the previous image, again note the location of the crescent moon to the upper right, you may also want to  note the locations of the thread used for binding the signatures within the centre of the book:


Next is a comparison of the JW version of the book, on the right as you look at it, and the image of the cover of the book which, I understand, was published by SA Police in 1949. The width looks similar but the height quite different:

This next image of the SM book cover sourced from the web, seems to be of a sharper quality.


Now, here is the Tamam Shud page that was provided to me earlier in the week by 'Annonymous', I received this on Thursday evening, 9th June. Note, in particular, the location of the crescent moon in relation to the top of the right-hand page. Also, note the location of the thread binding, in book -binding, waxed thread is used to firstly tie together the 'signatures' or groups of printed and folded pages and then the signatures are in turn bound together to form the 'block'.  In this case, the threads can be seen starting just above the letter A in 'Among' and then below the last line of the quatrain ending in 'Glass'. There is no sign of a lower thread which should have been in vision just below and at the centre to the words 'Tamam Shud'.

Note also that there is no sign of the triangular W&T trademark in this image. That could be because of the direct light from above that would tend to 'drown' the faint trademark image. This book is different in that it is hardback version. The majority of hardback books that I have seen use a different quality of paper in their paperback versions.


Next, we have a comparison image of the same page from the JW version, the SA Police version and the 'Dave' version, the colouration is very similar, note the location of the crescent moon and the thread:


To round off the dozen, this is an image of a W&T version, which we will refer to as the JP version, in hardback from the same era, note the paper type and the layout, the ads joining the signatures are properly spaced and whilst you don't actually see the thread, you can see where the pges are slightly pulled in. The Tamam Shud page is on the left and not the right side as per Dave's version and the font used for the hardback copy is totally different.

So why this post? Well it does seem to me that the images of the hardback book presented by Dave have a remarkable similarity to the JW version which is a paperback, but there are some unexplained differences that raise questions. As for conclusions, I am not drawing any, I leave it to the audience to review and come to their own.

Dave, if you read this, if you have more images which show the trademark however feint or in fact can show a full set of the pages, there should be approximately 54 in total if you include the cover and frontend and backend papers, then I would look forward to seeing them.

For those with an interest in the Marshall case, I have some images of a Methuen Version 7 that you may want to add to your collection, please leave a comment and I will send you copies of the ones I have.