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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, 15 April 2018



Might be that I missed this being published elsewhere but here goes! What Mr. Cowan is saying by default is that the poison wasn't taken by mouth. That being so, how else was it administered?

Was it Hydrogen Sulphide as per the later mysterious deaths by unknown poisoning, Bogle and Chandler. Was it an early nerve agent? A gas gun or spray? Mr. Cowan's statement seems quite specific and I think worthy of more research although in the article he does almost distance himself.

I wonder if anyone has any knowledge of sewage outlets near the spot of Somerton Beach at that time? Is it possible that some foul and toxic waste was pumped out at night by a rogue chemical manufacturer? Quite honestly I wouldn't know but I am not at all certain that the thought has been previously pursued; if it has then my apologies.

You can find the full article here:


Thursday, 12 April 2018




As many will know, Trove ( is an invaluable resource for both new and experienced researchers/investigators.  The last few days I have spent what spare time I have had liaising with Clive and following up on some of the comments that have been generated.

The outcome is interesting, Clive came across a ship that had departed Fremantle in April 1948 and it had a link to a number 7171, the name of the ship was 'William A Graham', it was headed to the UK. Being the thorough bloke that he is, he quickly uncovered that the number referred to the tonnage of the vessel. It doesn't necessarily rule it out but it looks less promising than at first thought.

I carried out a search on all three sets of numbers, removing the forward slash and just treating them all as 5 digit numbers. In cryptology, there is a precedent for surplus numbers or characters being inserted into some kinds of messages.

Here's what we turned up:

Dated September 1947, the ad above relates to second-hand motor vehicles and a Government tender in Western Australia. Followers of the SM case will recognise the significance of second-hand vehicles there being a possible link to Jestyn's husband who was in that business.

The ad below relates to a property portfolio that contained a Pin number, 43933 from Perth Western Australia, a name to follow up on perhaps?

This final ad below was found in an issue of the Melbourne Age dated 10th April 1948, a chemist and his wife looking for accommodation in Melbourne. Chemists have always been persons of interest in this case due mostly to the suspected use of a rare poison on the Somerton Man. The box number is 71717.

Our recent anonymous commenter thought that the numbers referred to, in sequence, dates, that being so it would mean that the numbers on the pocket were written in reverse order?

That's all we have for now, will update this post as and when we manage to retrieve items of possible interest.

Monday, 9 April 2018



A very brief post for now but I think it interesting enough to warrant a heads up for all those interested.

Thie photograph appeared on 15th January 1949 in the Mail. This is quite probably the very first image distributed. It is a little blurred but if you look at the first number set at the top, it looks to me to be 7171/7 and not 1171/7.

Is that number difference significant, I honestly don't know but I do know that we now have 3 different images of what is supposedly the same set of laundry marks, yet all have apparent differences.

Both Clive and I have been pouring over all of the Trove articles in an effort to find further photographs of the laundry marks but without success to this point. If anyone else can take a look that would be great.

There's more very interesting information to add to this post but other commitments prevent spending more time until tomorrow.

Original Police Photograph of Suitcase Contents

I made an effort to enhance the laundry marks but the image is not of sufficiently good quality. If someone has a better one that would be appreciated.

Thursday, 5 April 2018



This image, amongst a number of others, was taken by Police, likely Jimmy Durham, at some time following the discovery of the Somerton Man's body on December 1st, 1948.

The marks were found on the rear pocket of the Elasta strap trousers he was wearing at the time of the Somerton Man's death. At least this is what has generally been accepted albeit without much proof apart from this one photograph and a distant image showing two Detectives displaying the man's garments and contents of the suitcase. In the latter photograph, these markings can just be made out whilst they are much clearer in the image above.

My contention has been that the laundry marks, much like the letters of the code page, had been overwritten by the Police or some other agency.

And today, this image turned up:

Notice the brand marking to the top right, this does not appear on any other photographs from the files, it suggests that this may be a hitherto undiscovered photograph.

The comparison image below shows more revealing information:

On the left is the image that has long been available and on the right is the image discovered today. Notice the differences?

1. The first set, 1171/1 in the image on the left is at an entirely different angle to the image on the right

2. The second set, 4393/3, is far bolder in the image on the left compared to the image on the right

3. The last set, 305-3/1 includes a clear dash in the image on the left but not so in the right-hand image. Again, the numbers are noticeably bolder for the set on the left.

Of these 3 sets, the first one, 1171/1, is most curious, the image on the left seems to be completely different to the set on the right not only because of the angle but because of the shapes of the numbers.

LAUNDRY MARKS: Video Comparison/Overlay

In this short video we overlayed the recently found image of the laundry marks on to the pre-existing photograph of those laundry marks. You can see that they are a match. 

The first set, 1171/7 at first appeared to be at a slightly different angle but in this process you can see that they are the same, th differences relate to the forward slash which is thicker in the older image.
The second set 4393/3 the forward slash looks to be longer in the older image.

The third set 305-3/1 has a number of variations, the 0 seems to have a 'bobble' on the top which is more pronounced in the newer image, the top stroke on the number 5 seems to be quite rectangular in shape and the forward slash is much broader in the older image.

What do we get out of this?

We have found a hitherto 'hidden' image of the laundry marks, hidden in plain sight really, it was in a newspaper article which for some reason had remained overlooked by us all since 1949.

There are apparent differences between the two groups of markings as described above.

You can also make out what appears to be strings of numbers faintly in the background running horizontally from left to right on the overwritten image.

From this information, it is reasonable to assume that the image on the right pre-dates the image on the left. To my knowledge, this has not been noticed before. It provides evidence that the police photographed the laundry marks prior to them being written over and then photographed them again after the publication of this latest image. A photograph had slipped through the net.

Here's the Newspaper article, Brisbane Truth, Sunday, 30th January 1949:

I believe that we can now make a reasonable assumption that the Police files included, before and after, marked up photographs of the code page.

We will add this to the list of discoveries made by this blog unless someone has evidence of it being found earlier.

Sunday, 1 April 2018



Some 5 years back I posted a question regarding just how unusual was the apparent suicide of the Somerton Man. By that, I mean that given that the statistics are available, just how many males were believed to have ended their own lives in let's say, the period 1945 to 1950?

This is a question for the researchers amongst us so Clive, JS and perhaps Milongal may take this on as a small project. 

Here's the criteria:
1. Unidentified males between the ages of 40 and 50 years
2. The period between 1945 and 1950 (A year by year comparison might be interesting)
3. Death by poisoning
4. Found on a beach

Please feel free to further qualify the research, for example, you might want to add the criterion 'death by unknown poison.'

Over to you...