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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, 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.

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