Though his recent attempt at crowdfunding via Indiegogo fell well short of the mark he aimed for, Derek Abbott is back in the news again (well, Channel 9’s 9News, anyway).

Today, he’s revealed that his wife (Rachel Egan) has consented for her DNA to be put in a kind of DNA search engine: and that this has revealed potential matches with eight families in Virginia and six families in North Carolina, all of whom he has now contacted.

The particular family tree also has a connection to Thomas Jefferson, which was a nice media bonus: though that link wasn’t enough to get American crowdfunders to pony up for a ride on his seaside donkey when he partially revealed it earlier in the year. Oh well.

And there is always the possibility – I hate to mention it, but because it’s the blight of DNA paternity testing, I thought I really have to – that Rachel Egan’s grandfather was someone else entirely. Hence it could easily play out that, “Who Do You Think You Are?” final-reel style, she and Derek A will trace her grandfather but find him to be someone who definitely didn’t die on/near Somerton beach in 1948.

But, as Tamam Shudologists will be quick to point out, we have evidence of American stitching in his coat and some Juicy Fruit chewing gum in a pocket (though I’d point out he can’t have had much fun chewing gum with hardly any teeth): so it wouldn’t be a huge surprise if he was indeed an American.

Something to chew on, anyway. 😉

76 thoughts on “The Somerton Man, Virginia and North Carolina…?

  1. Let us know if one of the candidates went AWOL from an aircraft carrier, won’t you?

  2. Diane: as I understand it, the proposed familial match is all fairly probabilistic at this stage, so even if does turn out be correct, there would still be a great deal of ground to cover to see if that produces any suggested candidates at all. And, of course, there’s always the joker in the DNA pack of out-of-wedlock children… 😐

  3. There’s always the possibility – but I seem to recall that the tests are not just paternal DNA but involve the RNA in some way – sorry, medicine’s not my thing.

  4. bdid1dr on August 19, 2015 at 2:57 pm said:

    Diane, Nick:
    RNA is ribo-nucleic acid which transfers energy to the formation of de-oxy-ribo-nucleic-acid (Krebs Cycle). Depending on the mixing of male & female DNA (at the cellular level) the strings of DNA repeat the same sequence throughout the life of any individual. The DNA sequences repeat throughout the ensuing generations of any family line.
    Another name for the entire process is the Krebs Cycle.
    Genetic defects get repeated endlessly, also: Down’s Syndrome is one of the worst examples.
    Bi-polar disease is being cited as an inherited condition, also.

  5. Richard H on August 20, 2015 at 5:20 pm said:

    bdid1dr: not even wrong.
    Messenger RNA transfers *information*, not energy, from DNA to the ribosomes which synthesise protein. It does lots of other things, too.

    The Krebs cycle mediates energy transfer through a variety of compounds (which don’t include DNA or RNA), and has no noticeable connection to any specifically genetic processes.

    Down’s syndrome is not really caused by a genetic “defect” but by an extra copy of an otherwise normal chromosome 21.

    Diane: maybe you’re thinking of Y-chromosome Adam and Mitochondrial Eve? in other words, some genetic information can be traced specifically down the male or female line, although most is common to both.

    Disclaimer: all the above statements are gross over-simplifications; even Wikipedia would be a better source 😉

  6. bdid1dr on August 23, 2015 at 4:49 pm said:

    Richard H: Thanx for xpanding the discussion of the Krebs Cycle in terms which more clearly xplain the cycle of human cellular life.
    I am still grateful to our Nutrition teacher for her preparing us for the ‘mind grind’ of physiology, which was yet to be studied. It is especially interesting to me because I have cousins (two female, 1 male) who inherited their father’s very tall stature and intellect — and slowed thinking processes (and aversion to reading anything).
    Just look at what we’ve achieved with the arrival of DNA studies! Not too long ago, extensive DNA studies were performed on King Tutankhamen. Eventually, archaeologists were able to find and identify some 8 or 10 members of King Tut’s family line (and a number of genetic faults which came along with the intermarriages).
    Fascinating!
    bd id 1 dr —er
    😉

  7. Richard H on August 24, 2015 at 9:57 am said:

    One more time.
    The Krebs cycle has nothing to do with DNA.
    The Krebs cycle has nothing to do with, RNA.
    The Krebs cycle has nothing to do with any other facet of genetic information transfer.

    Citing it in this context is ipso facto evidence that the speaker knows less than nothing about the subject or, in the words of Wolfgang Pauli, is Not Even Wrong.
    “Das ist nicht nur nicht richtig, es ist nicht einmal falsch!”

  8. bdid1dr on August 24, 2015 at 3:59 pm said:

    Rich-H:
    Well, I shall go back to my books and refresh my memory of the deoxy-ribo-nucleic cycle’s role in the life of living beings.
    Thanx for the head’s up.
    Back to “Cheddar Man” for some of the earliest experiments in DNA studies.
    Grammar — and double negatives — can be somewhat disconcerting. So, was Wolfgang Pauli using double-speak as a two-sided compliment? (The equivalent of a slap in the face (snide)?
    ;-*

  9. bdid1dr on August 24, 2015 at 4:06 pm said:

    Brian Sykes “The Seven Daughters of Eve”
    Publisher: W.W. Norton & Co.

  10. There are two respected Australians with ties to Virginia and Isham Randolph. They are also related to one another. They are Sir Robert Randolph Garran and Randolph Isham Stow. I wonder if DA has looked into their family trees for a possible connection???

  11. Both of these men’s ties to Isham Randolph are quite clear and well documented. Most DNA tests done thus far (for genealogical purposes) have been done in the US so it’s not surprising that DA’s results came back with links to American families. (Particularly this one!) Given that there are related families in Australia, it seems much more likely that the connection is right there. So, perhaps, SM (if it is his genes that are involved in this) might not be American at all.

  12. There are very (many) descendants of Isham Randolph living in Sydney and in Glenelg. Many. (Those that could, had many children; grandchildren.) Lots of them graduated from University well before it became the norm. Many have been outstanding citizens who have impacted the judicial system and politics in Australia. Perhaps one or two could be interested enough to provide a little dna sample?

  13. Unfortunately, I have not yet found dancers in this very interesting family tree.

  14. bdid1dr on September 8, 2015 at 4:12 pm said:

    @ Misca: Maybe no dancers (quadrilles are more likely, or “Little Foot”). My first husband’s family tree had many very intelligent polymaths who seemed to lack in only one regard:
    spelling
    .
    bdid1dr

  15. Diane what was that about AWOL from an aircraft carrier?

  16. They mentioned a little Amerind, but no African-American in the mix of DNA? The American Randolph’s were a mixed lot, more so than just Sally Hemmings tree (Thomas Jefferson).

  17. Lastly, I think the first two lines are the code and the second two are just trying to figure it all out.

  18. Hi Nick. Your search function doesn’t seem to work very well. (Just wanted you to know.) It took me forever to arrive back here. There are so many descendants of Isham in Australia that DA should be embarrassed to suggest that SM had to be American. He may well be American but he could just as easily be Australian. The family reproduced a lot. Many of them were born in Adelaide. Lots of lawyers, some doctors, politicians…Direct descendants right there. At the very least, this should have been mentioned.

  19. Cheddar Man — first adventures into DNA studies.
    Brian (Bryan?) Sykes: “Seven Daughters of Eve”.

  20. Roma’s Grandfather was Michael James Egan. Her Grandmother was Margaret Ann Kavanagh. Haven’t found a connection from either of them to Isham Randolph as yet.

  21. Um. Sorry, that’s on the Paternal side. The Maternal side seems to be a bit more difficult to find. Roma’s mother was Marjorie Herring.

  22. John sanders on December 2, 2016 at 5:46 am said:

    Misca: re Isham Randolph’s antipodean links in Glenelg eg ; would that possibly include the original owners of ‘Alvington’, and another prominent old Adelaide ‘squattocratic’ family that the cordial makers became entrapped with through marriage a couple or three generations back. If so I’ll post an interesting photograph if I can figure out how to perform such a trick, and which if successful will be a first; so needless to say I’m somewhat excitedly hoping for an affirmative response.

  23. John sanders on December 2, 2016 at 9:17 am said:

    So Roma’s mum is Marjorie Rose Herring who’s dad, apart from being No. 2 general in the army ww2 and later Chief Justice of Vic’s Supreme Court was I believe some sort of lodge grand poo bah (here we go again). Rose married George Cecil Rhodes whose grandfather was I believe a certain simple gemstone fossicker from the Kimberly region of Zimbabwi which used to be called something else. And incidently one of Prosper’s pro bono lawyers and another grand poo bah who also got to a reasonable rank in the army, ended up Supreme Court Justice of South Australia and happened to be on the board of the crippled kiddies home opposite the steps down to Somerton Beach. Does any of this mean anything? Yep it simply means that we shouldn’t expect many earth shattering breakthroughs in the immediate future. May as well pack up and make like the pigeons what.

  24. John sanders on December 2, 2016 at 11:11 am said:

    Seems that George Rhodes dad was Cecil George and may not have been directly related to Cecil John who apparently had no issue that can be safely identified as he remained single; and wealthy no doubt.

  25. John –

    Randolph’s links in Glenelg could quite possibly include the original owners of “Alvington”. I have searched for that link and I am most interested in what you have found along with the photograph! (Please do post it. I’m sure Nick can walk you through the process.)

    Regarding Marjorie Herring – I have not found a link into the tree you describe. In fact, I have been unable to identify Marjorie’s parents. I’ll look into what you are suggesting but off the top of my head, it doesn’t quite fit. Might be two different Marjorie’s?

    Re Thadee – I found some letters that Thomas Armour wrote to a friend in 1937 in which he states: “Thadee only marked the steps as in a rehearsal – his dancing days are truly over. He is not so old but his “life” is telling.”….And also: “Slavinsky is not bearing up too well on this tour, I don’t know whether it is drink, disposition or both. He should be careful as his dancing days are certainly numbered now!” This might explain why there are so few photographs of him and could suggest an early demise due to illness or suicide? I do not know how to access death certificates in New Zealand; perhaps someone else knows?

  26. John sanders on December 2, 2016 at 10:35 pm said:

    Misca: There was an incident at a Sydney pub in 1941 where ‘Teddie’ got into an altercation with a chemist (Park-Davis) and some others which involved drink, subversive remarks and apparent fisty cuffs. Although he was exonerated by the police and military, it seems to suggest the possibility of a downward spiral for him, although in his final years with Borovansky Ballet, he was still billed as a dancer so what gives. With regard to Marjorie Herron, I confess I’m at a loss as to how I connected her to Sir Edward . I’m thinking that the nickname ‘Ted’ might have triggered a false hit and I’m reminded to be extremely carefull with family records.

  27. John – Saw the report about the incident. They let it go. Not sure what to make of it but it doesn’t seem to have led to much. They closed the file.

    He probably was still billed as a dancer. Not much other than the fact that he was a dancer. Seems like he had the initial potential to be a star and it somehow didn’t pan out…Other parts of his life may have interfered.

  28. John sanders on December 3, 2016 at 4:56 am said:

    Prospers pro bono lawyer was Sam Jacobs and he was in MPs I think SX10999. SX10998 was David F Cleland of the ‘Chateaux Tanunda Seppelt’ wine family and a second cousin to our J B cleland. Before Sam took silk and long before taking his place on the ‘big bench’ he appears to have been just your average working lawyer and probably represented clients of the RAA of SA so no big deal there and he may not have had any further dealings with our shady mate again. The other name that slipped my memory was of course Bickford and it only came back following a visit to my local Korean market this morning. This place does not sell Australian products apart from UHT milk, yet as I entered I noticed a ‘discount Bin’ in which I immediately spotted a litre bottle of Bickford’s peach flavoured tea essence attached by durex tape to a smaller bottle of Hunt’s honey mustard BBQ sauce. At the bargain price of three bucks Aud. I grabbed my prize and left almost without paying I was so enraptured that the gods of chance had seen fit to give me such a sign of hope. Has the name Hunt come up anywhere in this investigation as it does not mean much to me unless its intended as a ‘verbal’ incentive direction. Until I joined in on this caper about five months ago I had never heard of the Bickford’s cordial brand swelp me, but this little incident now gives me confidence that we shall indeed have a successfull outcome eventually , God willing.

  29. B Deveson on December 3, 2016 at 5:35 am said:

    The Telegraph (Brisbane) 25th June 1037 page 4
    “…. Mr Slavinsky had remained in Sydney so that treatment for a bone in his foot could be completed.” My brother-in-law is a musculoskeletal expert and tells me that damage to feet and hands can be very difficult to treat, even today.

  30. John sanders on December 3, 2016 at 2:51 pm said:

    Looks like a man who doesn’t know when to say that’s it’s over bearing in mind that he’s still getting dance contracts six years later and he’s got a school going at a flash address (9 Collins St. Melbourne) to boot. Maybe his marriage to Marie Doran brought him out of his malaise and he managed to overcome his problems that Mr. Armour commented on so precisely in 1937, and just maybe he played a good diversionary game of which there are certain hints evident throughout his career. I’d like to know what his ballet ‘Illusions’ performed by Polish Aust. Ballet was all about as it could provide us with some insight as to his subsequent mind-set. At the end of the day we must admit that his candidacy for SM is obviously stifled somewhat by his probable premature demise in 1945, however no body can doubt that he fits most of the other relevant criteria, and who’s to say that his very interesting personna will not have some bearing on our further efforts. I might just add that at least two other fellow artistes died prematurely during the Ballets Russes Australia/New Zealand tour period which may not have been properly accounted for and therein may lay grounds for more thorough causal vetting.

  31. John – There are a few interesting ballet candidates, no doubt. Robin’s father and SM might also well be two people with both having ties to Jessica. I agree that most of the criteria fits TS and that it may be relevant to further research efforts. The whole “Virginia” angle throws one for a loop but given the Australian families with same ties, perhaps not. Willing to vet on request.

  32. John sanders on December 4, 2016 at 11:12 am said:

    Misca: Tom Armour in his letters mentioned a couple of interesting things apart from the comments about TS. One related to shipboard games that he referred to as ‘crossword games’ using ballet terms and the confusing infusion of people’s names. Sounds more like some sort of cypher anagram or word substitution puzzle to me and could even have been formulated to get around the language barriers; it would have been readily adaptable to use as a reliable code amongst a knowing group or cell. The other point related to Mira Dimina where he commented on her illness but seemed confident of her eventual survival which unfortunately was not to be. In fact he made no mention of her death a couple of weeks later apparently from leuckemiamia (sic)

  33. John sanders on December 4, 2016 at 11:18 am said:

    Misca: Tom Armour in his letters mentioned a couple of interesting things apart from the comments about TS. One related to shipboard games that he referred to as ‘crossword games’ using ballet terms and the confusing infusion of people’s names. Sounds more like some sort of cypher anagram or word substitution puzzle to me and could even have been formulated to get around the language barriers; it would have been readily adaptable to use as a reliable code amongst a knowing group or cell. The other point related to Mira Dimina where he commented on her illness but seemed confident of her eventual survival which unfortunately was not to be. In fact he made no mention of her death a couple of weeks later apparently from leuckemia (sic), and from other reliable sources her main complaint was fatigue and a sore throat.

  34. Byron Deveson on January 12, 2018 at 10:08 pm said:

    There has been an interesting development in the attempt to obtain DNA sequence data from SM’s hair. There was a recent announcement from Prof. Abbott’s DNA team that offers hope that SM will be identified this year. See: ABC http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-12-14/somerton-man-cold-case-could-be-one-step-closer-to-solved/9245512 and various print media. The guts of the announcement is this: “…….. he recently had a huge breakthrough with the case. “I have found three excellent hairs on the [plaster] bust that have their roots at the right development stage for extracting DNA and I have given these to Jeremy Austin at the Australian Centre for Ancient DNA at the University of Adelaide,” Derek said.” But the results could take up to a year to process.”
    I have previously given the reasons why I think that even a very partial DNA sequence should be sufficient to identify relatives of Somerton Man. Once some relatives are identified it is just a relatively straightforward genealogical task to narrow down the identification to a small family group, even a single individual. DNA testing of likely close relatives (second and third cousins) would then clinch the identification.

  35. Bumpkin on January 13, 2018 at 4:43 pm said:

    NP; As BD has posted above, this could be it! I always believed that DNA was the only way to positively ID SM. I know you are suspicious of Prof. Abbott’s motives. Who here isn’t? That being said, I would appreciate an honest assessment of this potential bombshell. Thank you.

  36. bdid1dr on January 14, 2018 at 1:13 am said:

    @ Bumpkin (one of my children, I hope) :

    Not too long ago (and via Nick’s website, herein) I asked if it would be possible to get, at least, an RNA study of that poor, melting down dead man — whom I was positive was my sons’ grandparent.

    @Nick: Bless you ! # 1 for allowing me to ‘vent’. I’ve done the best I can to stay within your very patient and great understanding of my sometimes incoherent comments (tempest in a teapot, for one)……

    Lately, my heart beats have been somewhat irregular, even though I have an ongoing Rx for moderation of the condition. I thank you all for backing up (or at least reading) my many posts on Nick’s fabulous website !
    beady-eyed-wonder-r

  37. Bumpkin: in order to be able to positively ID the dead man, using DNA, you would have to work backwards , that is, match his DNA to a parent, or sibling …
    The match DA is looking for is heading in the other direction.

  38. john sanders on January 15, 2018 at 3:57 am said:

    I’d peronally be more interested in giving the old chap a brief airing to see if they can identify the juice that took him out; there being at least two others living in the same near vicinity that might be encouraged to give up their own death defying secrets. If the DNA route provides an easier, more ethical or sentimental path to that means than of course I’m all for it, even though I don’t see a chance in hades of that transpiring. I can understand why Bumpkin is so hot on the issue and I too would want to know if the fellow was once a family member in order to settle the issue re antecedants. It did occur to my doubting thomas side, that DA’s three prime hair roots, taken from the bust, could of course have come from Mr.Paul Lawson or even the chimp that he had been entertaining beforehand, according to his own notes. That’s not to mention all the other loose mortuary hair droppings blowing onto the wet plaster; generated by a big old G.E.C. standing fan, that most certainly would have been operating during the mould drying proceedure. I have a very sneaky feeling that the S.A. AG. may be entertaining more sinister motives, behind his reluctance to give the green light in this case and it likely has nought to do with any claimed moral rights for the dearly long departed. In his case RIP most likely stands for his desire for ‘Remaining In Parliament’, my sceptism letting me down once again.

  39. john sanders on January 15, 2018 at 4:48 am said:

    Bozo: What about a nazi fifth column sleeper, come into town by rail to do some banking, from his sanctuary at Summer Town, up in the Adelaide Hills. Spotted by Simon Wiesenthall’s two lads Tudor & Wolff, then lured off by Big Bob’s wet ops sanction team, working out of the ‘Black Bull’ kosher potato pie & pasty (sic) cart in Hindley Street. No shielas or ankle biters to stuff up the take down and later, no alien registered 4 x 2 expendable witnesses to report in or tell lies to the dumb arse wallopers who will likely run cold on the brief.

  40. So, that’s eight, is it?

  41. john sanders on January 15, 2018 at 9:01 am said:

    I make it nine, although I’ll concede its more like an extension of Clive’s, which we should refer to as eight, in all fairness to his ethical work practises and loyalty.

  42. Tibor is vapour.

  43. petebowes: what took you so long?

  44. John sanders on January 15, 2018 at 1:11 pm said:

    Bozo: Yes of course, Tibor the inert gas, Tudor was Prosper’s oyster fob watch; how remiss of me.

  45. Bumpkin on January 15, 2018 at 4:55 pm said:

    I believe you can work backwards to prove/disprove paternity. Even paternal grandpaternity in the case of Rachel Egan-Abbott nee Thomson. We shall see. As for the hairs not being from SM, there is always that possibility. All the more reason to dig the old boy up.

  46. Once again you misunderstand simple words, NP, and Sanders, you overflow with meaningless babble.

  47. Petebowes: for serial sense-of-humour failure, you really are an Olympian. :-/

  48. Try to keep it civil.

  49. john sanders on January 15, 2018 at 11:30 pm said:

    Bozo: Coming from a celebrated wordsmith of your steam and effluence, I’m somewhat flattered by your cacky handed compliment. Congrats yourself old man on fifty weeks straight, at the top of ‘War Cry’ (Nth. Rivs. Edtn.), with your latest piece of humourless fiction. Miles Franklin/ Booker can only be a light year away.

  50. john sanders on January 16, 2018 at 4:46 am said:

    Placard placed over ‘buck-a-book’ bin outside op-shop in NSW, Northern Rivers town…..
    ‘The Bookmarker of Napaul’..Fifty straight weeks on Red Shield best seller list, by fully discredited, Federally based and funded local fictional writer..Selling fast and a real hoot for the indiscriminate, compromised reader looking for lewd belly laughs galore..two for one clean skin real steal deal tomorrow only..

  51. {chuckle}
    I’d like to direct you to my humourless site where you are invited to give a one word response to a leading question regarding the Tamam Shud mystery.
    Bumpkin, come on over, you too Milongal … this is the new year, Pelling and Bozo are brothers in the quest once more, though on opposite sides of the fence
    Look at it like an Ashes series … pick a winner.

  52. Pete: one person’s “leading question” is another person’s trollbait, a dividing line that would seem to separate us far more than cricket.

  53. Fully illustrated in moving pictures, objective, succinct and without bias … this is ‘Troll Bait?
    NickP, please get over it, I have.

  54. Petebowes: trollbait is as trollbait does, it doesn’t matter how you dress it up. And as for “objective”… you may not have thought that through to the end.

  55. over and out

  56. john sanders on January 16, 2018 at 10:39 am said:

    Actually I never felt that old Judah Moss was a credible witness, though I’ll readily concede that this was perhaps not due to any deliberate efforts on his part to thwart the investigation. We can say with some degree of confidence that he was mistaken about the so called busy stairway which was of course under repair and not suitable for normal traffic. We have covered other aspects of his testimony that might raise doubts about his judgement; yet he was an officer who had vast experience, including having personally located other deceased on the beach, victims of both murder and self destruction; so we should not fault the man out of hand. He would not have been likely to overlook things like fob pockets in case money or documentry items suitable for identification purposes happened to be secreted there; this bearing in mind that no evidence of this type was found anywhere else. As far as being promptly on the scene and remaining with the deceased until he signed over lawful responsibility at West Terrace Mortury does do him some credit; its just frustrating that his efforts did not prove to be of any real assistance.

  57. john sanders on January 16, 2018 at 1:15 pm said:

    Just as I suspected; both Leane and big John Cleland go to some length describing the fit of the shoes and upper garments but all that they have to say about the two pair of trousers is that they are of equall length; so what length is that prey tell. Actually the makers label on the Marko Elasto-fits does give detail which includes the cuff size and some other inconsequential factory markings. What does stand out is the ‘regular’ inner leg size (32″) figure, which for me at least, at a little over 5’10” is an inch shorter than I would be comfortable with. So I ask once more where does SMs height of 5′ 11″ come from. Obviously it doesn’t and that’s most probably why Clelland was non committal in his own height estimation. So I’d say, that along with the size 7/8 footware and certain other factors previously avered to, that SM was almost certainly somewhat more diminuative than we give him credit for.

  58. john sanders on January 16, 2018 at 2:22 pm said:

    Paul Lawson gets assigned to make his ridiculous bust and when taken to the West Terrace mortuary, newly designated Det. Brown points out a body to him, but what frigging body would that have been Paul? Didn’t it have a numbered tag on it or some sich, so as to ensure that you’re on track with the tasked inquest commission; a tag number that you might like to jot down in your note book for the record. No not to worry, no one else has done anything similar for the past seven months so it don’t mean nuthin old man. What a bloody farce, Gerry’s book records all the reference numbers from other states called on for assistance, but narry a one from South Australia. Someone had once told me half jokingly that some certain less populated state forces didn’t need such convaluted details because all their Keane officers had that sort of information safely tucked away in their memory banks.

  59. bdid1dr on January 16, 2018 at 5:15 pm said:

    BTW: Not long after my husband and I arrived in Lake County, I signed up for the ‘group tour’. I was the only person who got on the bus — headed for that extremely loud, extremely warm, and fascinating huge belt. It stunk of sulfur. The belt, itself had a mattress covering. It took less than two hours to fill a ‘dumpster’ with ‘elemental sulfur’ . The sulfur was bought by our many wine vineyards — as required by the California State Officials.

    bd

  60. milongal on January 16, 2018 at 9:32 pm said:

    @Pete: Perhaps I still browse down your way occasionally….with little of consequence to add.

    @JS: GF’s book (which I’ve finally started reading) talks about a toe-tag and an indelible marker on the arm – but not sure whether he’s talking based on his own experience a few decades later or stuff he knows from the era.
    TBH I’m finding his book a touch difficult reading – largely because a lot of assumption (eg SM’s arrival into Adelaide and subsequent travel to Glenelg) seems to presented as factual (right down to meandering down to the baths) – when I think at best all of that is speculative based on the tickets (I still struggle with the idea that we have 2 tickets from that day, but no luggage stub, no third ticket (the train from Melbourne), no receipt/ticket from the baths – and no loose change. Clearly his pockets have been tampered with at some stage, but to me the presence of items must then be treated with as much suspicion as their absence). The bath ticket perhaps was left at the baths (as may have the inbound train ticket), but the luggage stub was still of value (and presumably the case was checked AFTER showering) – but even if it was checked before and inadvertently left behind it begs a question whether the Henley ticket was bought AFTER the baths then…etc – I’ve ranted about this many times…

    There were a couple of things that struck me as very interesting. The North Shore Hospital is (apparently) in St Leonards (NSW not SA) but certainly an interesting coincidence for mine. On St Leonards, GF seems a bit confused about the bus, and suggests it terminated at the end of Anzac Highway. It’s possible routes changed a lot back then, but my understading is the St Leonards route turned off at Osmond St (roughly what is now Tapley Hill Rd, I think) and into St Leonards. There was also a variant around that time that weaved it’s way in the opposite direction to Somerton Park (terminating about Whyte St, from memory) – which still appears to have been referred to as part of the St Leonard’s route (and even if by then the public didn’t, the bus people commenting on tickets may have still referred to it as such).

    The distances regarding witnesses seemed interesting too. Lyons and his wife were in pre-sunset light, ’14-18m away’ (why not “15-20m” – but I suppose if someone talked in feet and it was subsequently converted to metres it might be “45-60 feet”) when they saw the body. The beach there (even at low tide) is barely 10m wide. Assuming GF’s assertion that they walked to the Broadway isn’t just artistic license (it’s a reasonable supposition, but supposition seems to cloud fact too often) and assuming that they reached the beach at the end of Whyte St (where they live – and where today there is a ramp to the beach in part to allow access for the Somerton Yacht Club), then they must have passed closer than 14m to the man on the beach – and so Lyon’s claim he couldn’t be certain the body in the morning was the same guy is certainly interesting.
    IOt’s been mentioned by others before, but Lyons going home to ring the police seems odd too. 52 Whyte St is about 10min walk away (maybe 6 if you’re walking briskly, I suppose), but it suggests that he didn’t feel any urgency to involve the police (AFAIK there were already phone boxes around by that time, but wouldn’t have a clue how common they were). While a dead body obviously is less urgent than a person in distress, it seems very level headed for someone (other than a policeman, doctor, paramedic, nurse etc) to casually wander off to alert the authorities (and leave time for the pockets to be meddled with, I suppose). It does sort of lead to speculation about who was at the beach, and how did the group there decide Lyons would fetch the police. (Suppose there was someon at the beach that morning who realised there was no urgency and instructed Lyons that the police needed to attend but it wasn’t overly urgent. It’s one helluva stretch given that there’s no mention of such, but what if they were one of the horse riders and Lyons trivialised the detail in his head (in the 15 minutes it took him to summon the police). Of course, that person would be unlikely to be one of our significant players (despite some obvious candidates) because they’d have had plenty of opportunity to mention it (although….)).

    The location of Strapps and Neill also seems interesting. It sounds like they were at street level (‘He was about 9m below their position and 2m North of the steps….’) – and yet they had “…walked to a bench seat just South of the Crippled Childeren’s Home” – which would seem to suggest the seat in the picture (in which case they presumably came down the steps closer to where the person was, but didn’t notice him). I can sort of see at the bench that they were 9m (that’s awfully specific – someone measured it or were converting from an estimate ast 30ft?) away and slightly elevated, but that’s not quite what the language says….
    So why were they at the beach? They weren’t swimming, and the sun had apparently set before they arrived (so they didn’t go there to enjoy the sunset). They also only hung around for about half an hour. And if you want a cool refreshing breeze (which is GF’s interpretation) then you’d be better to wander the beach (near the water) than sit on a bench that’s sheltered from much of the wind. Obviously there’s the idea that they went down there for some snogging, but I’m just not sure that’s the best choice in the area necessarily….
    We discussed elsewhere that as there was no Daylight Savings, the sun set at 7:14, and civil twilight (ie some reasonable visibility without artificial light) lasted until 7:41 (when it becomes hard to distinguish things without a light source). It would seem that Olive has done pretty well to have identified brown trousers in fading light approaching nautical twilight (as the light fades I’d imagine colours are difficult to distinguish long before it’s hard to see in general).
    Then there’s the man looking down from the top of the steps (who they’ve noticed for “5 min” despite not being particularly interested (actually, to me this suggests the seat they were in might not have been the one in the picture, which would put this man behind them, but rather be something at street level – but that’s at odds with Strapps recalling seeing his legs “…as he walked up the steps”). They’ve also noticed ‘other people’ – the ones walking along the beach you can’t help but notice, but others sitting on seats as well?
    Perhaps I’m reading too much into it, but to me their statements sound like they’ve been made with a lot of prompting (eg “Do you remember if he had brown pants?” vs “Did you notice what colour pants he might have worn?”) and/or been heavily interpreted after the fact.

    TL;DR; = I think the book has a lot of speculation that seems to cloud the facts.

  61. bdid1dr on January 16, 2018 at 10:32 pm said:

    The sad thing about wind-power is the death of many flying birds.

    Oh yes — we also have water dams (for rivers and lakes00 which produce electricity also.
    bd

  62. Fair enough, Milongal, don’t let NP scare you off with his troll bait nonsense, We’re chasing a few lines of enquiry that might benefit from your opinion. You do put a lot of work in, more than most.

  63. Petebowes: when you have a “line of enquiry” that involves neither baiting your readers nor knock-off Le Carre spy conspiracies, please let me know.

  64. Milongal: the distances in metres would have been converted from yards, not feet. 🙂 And the luggage ticket (and, presumably, the return train ticket), money, and other stuff would have been in the man’s missing wallet. No great mystery there, sorry. 🙂

    But generally, I would agree that the biggest weakness of Gerry’s book is where he presents as facts various conjectural (and in many cases probable but not necessarily true) aspects of the narrative he believes to be true.

    The biggest example of this, in my opinion, is the “ROK randomly thrown in the back of the car” story: if this is not true, then the entire basis of Gerry’s Generally Accepted Narrative is utterly broken – yet he devotes precisely zero words to this.

  65. Nick, mate, that’s exactly what I’m doing. You should weigh in again. Your last scenario? Was there a problem with its reception?
    Of course not. Like I said, it’s the New Year.

  66. john sanders on January 17, 2018 at 9:22 am said:

    Yes Lyons attests to 15 or 20 yds. so if Milongal is correct in his estimate of the beach width of just 11 yds at low tide that puts them near the waters edge…..
    Hang on a mo!, I surely recall that the evening high of 6 ft. Some odd, was at just before dusk which may have put the couple a little closer to their subject than they realised (unless they were wading). In any case, with old SM propped up like jacky, even at the distance proffered, even blind freddy should have had a good bo peep at his face and features. Such a view should at least have been good enough to state categorically that it was the same man seen up close and in situ the following morn. This in all fairness was not far off of what he actually said at the inquest, amongst a number of other subjective things. Can we dispense then, with ‘the night of the body snatchers theory’?, I’d love to think so, as that and Gerry’s ‘man carrying man along the foreshore’ statement was making for undue complications. Reminds me of one of the naked gun movies where Harry, finding some documents behind is police locker, exclaims something to the effect that they go to prove a certain suspect had been been innocent of the crime afterall. At that, his quips in a stutter, “bbbbBut Harry, Lefty went to the chair ten years ago”. Oh well, so I’m not ashamed to say it; I still crack up about that one and I’m not even a movie fan, funny or not.

  67. john sanders on January 17, 2018 at 9:36 am said:

    Frank Drebin (not Harry) and his boss Captain Ed. Why can’t they do that stuff these days..What about when Frank and his dolly bird Jane are leaving the the Cinema having just watched Platoon, sides splitting with mirth… Don’t you just love the smell of napalm in the morning, or was that Apocalypse Now. Oh well I guess I didn’t grow up, thanks Christ.

  68. john sanders on January 17, 2018 at 10:28 am said:

    Try not to mention any thing to do with David Cornwell or The Night Manager movie when discussing all things John Le carre-ish. Pete is surely still smarting about being caught out on that one. So please respect his previously undetected sensitivity is all I ask; if just for the sake of being able to comment freely on his blog from time to time.

  69. Give us a break Johnno, if you were on a barstool in a crowded pub nattering on like this you would be all on your own.

  70. john sanders: ooh, you must have touched a nerve there. 😉

  71. Yeah, I’m sensitive like that. Maybe I should leave you two lads to it, after all, love is in the air.

    {chuckles}

  72. petebowes: yeah, nothing like a little bit of homoerotic innuendo to make sad old men chuckle.

  73. John sanders on January 17, 2018 at 1:44 pm said:

    And what about about Mordialloc College Pete; that must have taken about a good months worth of inconsequential chatter off your blog or am I pinning unmerited laurels on my puny chest.

  74. John sanders on January 17, 2018 at 2:03 pm said:

    Pete: Be assured, no love in the air there; Nick is a Guinness man and I’m into the flat Murphy’s. At the end of the day I wouldn’t care too much to share a jug of either with him. The man is straight and fair however; two words that are not in your vocabulary.

  75. John sanders: OK, then Bia Hanoi it is. 😉

  76. John sanders on January 17, 2018 at 2:55 pm said:

    Nick: Thirty years since I’ve had to force a litre or three of that swill down but I guess I could do it in a light to moderate following swell.

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