Tamam Shud / Somerton Man

On the morning of 1st December 1948, an unidentified man was found dead on Somerton Beach just south of Adelaide: he is usually referred to as “The Somerton Man” or sometimes “The Unknown Man”.


Six weeks later, a suitcase apparently containing the same man’s property was retrieved from Adelaide Railway Station’s cloakroom, where it had been deposited at around 11am the day before his death. However, apart from three items marked “Kean”, “Keane”, and “T. Keane” (nobody with that name was missing), nothing indicating the man’s identity was found in those belongings.


Tucked into a tiny fob pocket in the dead man’s trousers was a small scrap of printed paper ripped out of a book: mysteriously, it contained the Persian phrase Tamam Shud (i.e. “It Is Ended”, or “The End”).


This was quickly recognized as being the final words of the Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam, quite a popular book at the time. And then some months later, a particular copy of the Rubaiyat surfaced with part of the final “Tamam Shud” page removed: it was claimed that the book had been thrown into a car parked near the same beach where the man had been found.

The Writing

At this point, the mystery of the case was compounded by the discovery of some faint writing on the rear page of the book. This included a local phone number (“X3239”), and several lines of cipher-like writing. Careful analysis of this suggests that it is more likely to be an ‘acrostic’ (i.e. the first letters of a text or poem, possibly as a mnemonic aid for remembering it) than a cipher, because its letter frequencies are more similar to the letter frequencies of the first letters of English words than to those of normal English text.


The phone number X3239 turned out to be that of a nurse called Jessica Ellen Thomson (née Harkness) living at 90A Glenelg Street, not far from the same beach. When quizzed by the police at the time, she said that she did not know who the deceased was. All the same, when she was later shown the plaster cast bust of the dead man, she was “Completely taken aback, to the point of giving the appearance that she was about to faint” (Feltus, p.178), giving rise to a strong suspicion that she knew more than she was letting on.

She did tell police that she had independently given a copy of the Rubaiyat to a man called Alfred Boxall, who she had met at the Clifton Gardens Hotel in Sydney in 1944 while she was training to be a nurse at the nearby Royal North Shore Hospital. However, Boxall quickly proved to be very much alive and living in Maroubra (and not the dead man found on the beach), leaving both him and the police somewhat baffled.

Just Jestyn?

Up until Thomson’s death in 2005, this was as much as anyone knew. However, in a 2013 interview for the Australian “60 Minutes” current affairs TV programme, her daughter Kate revealed that her mother had told her that she indeed did know more about the Somerton Man, but had deliberately not revealed it to police. She also revealed that her mother was able to speak Russian; suggested that her mother may have been involved in some spy-related activity; and that her mother thought that the whole Somerton Man affair was above “a State Police level”. This has, of course, unleashed a torrent of speculation, though with not a shred of external evidence to back any of it up.

Also: one unusual feature of Boxall’s copy of the Rubaiyat is that the nurse had apparently signed it “Jestyn”, though her name at the time was actually Jessica Ellen Harkness. By way of resolution, Kate recently commented that:

When nursing, all the other nursing pals in her year called her tina because she was only 4ft 11inch and slim. Xmas cards sent to her in her later years from her nursing pals either said dear tina or dear tyna. Seen it as they were put on display at home. mum said its an easy explanation put jess together with tyna and u have Jestyn.


Gerry Feltus confirmed that when many years ago he talked to various RNSH nurses who knew Jessie Harkness, they also said that she “sometimes referred to herself as Tina“. However, getting from there to “Jestyn” still seems something of a stretch (if not an outright leap): so perhaps there may yet be more to be uncovered here.

The Sealed Room

In many ways, the whole Tamam Shud case is a perfect murder mystery (‘murder’ insofar as the coroner suspected poisoning but was not able to prove it), to the point that there’s no way of knowing whether a murder actually took place (many people propose suicide as an explanation for many features of the mystery), who the victim was, what the murder weapon was (if indeed it was a murder), or who the perpetrator was.

Yet a curious feature is that despite having been found with his head propped up against the sea wall, the dead man’s body had extensive lividity (blood pooling) at the back of the head, suggesting that his body had spent some considerable time after dying with the head in a quite different position (i.e. lying on its back face up, yet with the head slightly below the rest of the body). Oddly, there was a half-smoked cigarette in his mouth on the beach, which (when taken together with the lividity) would strongly suggest that the corpse had been actively posed by person or persons unknown. This combination of facts would seem to rule out suicide.

Even so, useful and actionable facts about the case remain painfully few, very far between, and continue to be difficult to connect with each other. It’s true that if we could identify the man himself, we might possibly gain enough context to understand his cipher: but based on the evidence we currently have, I think the odds would seem to be strongly against either mystery being resolved any time soon.

…but we shall see!


* ABC Inside Story documentary, episode “The Somerton Beach Mystery”, first screened Thursday, August 24th, 1978: Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3, all on YouTube. Highly recommended!
* Professor Derek Abbott’s primary evidence page (includes scans of the inquest reports, etc).
* Professor Derek Abbot’s secondary evidence page (includes newspaper reports, transcripts of a 2009 ABC Stateline TV documentary, etc).

Finally: the best book on the whole Tamam Shud mystery is without much doubt Gerry Feltus’ detailed (2010) The Unknown Man. If you want to know more – OK: much, much more – about the Somerton Man, this is surely the first thing you should buy for yourself. It’s a little bit pricey (mainly because of Australian book taxes), true, but well worth the money, in my opinion.

236 thoughts on “Tamam Shud / Somerton Man

  1. Three people wrote on the fly-leaf. How does that rub you?

  2. Brian Miller on January 11, 2014 at 2:32 am said:

    When I first read of this case years ago, I recall, much was made about the particular copy of the Rubiyat found in the car being unique, or matching no known edition. I don’t see anything in the current discussions or articles about that issue. Has that aspect been resolved? Was it a non-issue? Or do I misremember?

  3. How does that rub YOU, Nick?

  4. Petebowes on January 12, 2014 at 3:07 am said:

    earth to dome ..

  5. … nothing there skipper, dome is out of range. Our job is done.

  6. Brian, he’s ignoring you as well. Perhaps this might help, and please remember that I am at your service in these matters.

    By 1889 five editions of the Fitzgerald translation had been loosed by the publishing houses.

    Then there was –

    Graf von Schack, Friedrich von Bodenstedt, Edward Henry Whinfield, J.B. Nicolas, John Leslie Garner, Justin Huntly McCarthy, Richard Le Gallienne, Edward Heron-Allen, Franz Toussaint, A.J. Arberry,Robert Graves, Omar Ali Shah, Peter Avery, John Heath-stubbs, Karim Emami, Ahmed Rami and Ahmad Saidi, all of whom had a shot at translating the old quatrains.

    There were translations into Russian, German, Polish, Swedish, Afrikaans, Malayalam, Telugu, Hindi, Bengali, Oriya, Kannada, Welsh, Italian, Jerriais, Swahili, Cornish, Mandarin, Scottish, Arabian, Thai, Estonian, Dutch, Kurdish, Armenian, Assyrian, Sureth, Syriac, Finnish, Hungarian, Czech, Slovene, Serbo-Croation, Vietnamese, Galician, Bengali, Greek, Sanskrit and Japanese.

    The rubaiyat influenced author Rex Stout, playwright Eugene O’Neill, author Agatha Christie, science fiction writer Lan Wright, composer Granville Bantock, author O. Henry, author H.P. Lovecroft, illustrator Edmund Dulac, filmmaker D.W. Griffith, writer Jose Louis Borges.

    By 1919, 447 editions of Fitzgerald’s translation had been published, and during the first decades of the 20th century, the rubaiyat made its way into nearly every facet of peoples’ lives . A century ago, the average American and certainly every poet writing in English could quote stanzas verbatim. At the turn of the century, Fitzgeralds’ translations mushroomed from an elite phenomenon into a popular sensation.*

    Nevertheless, and despite the fabulous, sustained and worldwide popularity of the book, the fact that a couple of people in Australia were connected to both the book and each other points to a conspiracy so deep, so obscure and so utterly unfathomable it (the conspiracy) may never be understood. May being maybe.

  7. *The Harry Ransom Center, University of Texas website.

  8. Brian: contrary to what hairy-headed Pete would have you believe, I’m not ignoring you, I’ve just been tied up dealing with trolled birth certificates. 🙁

    As far as the Rubaiyat goes, Gerry Feltus devotes a fair amount of effort to it in his Appendix 5. In fact, he devoted a lot of time and effort to tracking down copies that might match the fonts and quatrain numbering etc, but never found one that matched the details released by the police at the time.

    Unfortunately, his further analysis would seem to suggest that many (if not most) of the things presumed true about the particular Rubaiyat may well not be true. For example, the “Tamam Shud” image released to the newspapers at the time may not be quite representative of the original: and there may well have been a name on the rear of the Rubaiyat, but this has never been properly confirmed. It’s a mess, and all the physical evidence seems to have been discarded long ago.

  9. Pete: the “t” in “Jestyn” closely matches the t’s on the rest of the page, so there’s no obvious reason to see those as two hands. Which leaves us the matter of (a) the two inks, and (b) the “e” layer. This is properly a codicological matter (i.e. examining the handwritten document to determine its construction method and sequence) rather than a cryptological matter: so it would perhaps be good to have a closer look at the “Jestyn” signature under a microscope, to try to work out what physically happened before we start getting too speculative about the whys and wherefores etc. 🙂

  10. I shall defend to the tea-break any blogger’s inalienable right to ignore anyone they please!

    .. but only to the tea-break because, when all is said and done, chocolate Jaffa biscuits are the single greatest incentive to harmony that the world has ever known. (excepting religion and IMO and similar caveats).

  11. Diane: mmm… biscuits…

  12. Blind Freddy, Nick ..
    .. he’s just called and said he could see three inks and three different writing styles as well .. asked me to pass it on, he also thinks you have a problem with the nose in front of your face, because there are some things even he can see with his eyes shut.
    That should do it.

  13. Pingback: This gets technical, but only because everyone else is. | the somerton man. the tamam shud mystery

  14. SteveofCaley on March 26, 2014 at 6:52 am said:

    I do enjoy the occasional look at the Somerton Man mystery – it’s all so obscure, isn’t it?
    Has anyone put together a WIKI site to exhaust some of the obvious possibilities? For instance, the couplet of couplets “ABAB” is in the title of the book, “AMAM” and, backwards or forwards, what’s the history of substitution reconstructions? (There’s only 676 in English, most of them absurd.)

  15. Qantessa on March 26, 2014 at 9:09 pm said:

    the [Swearing] [Swearing] did it, [Swearing] the [Swearing]

  16. “Tucked into a tiny fob pocket in the dead man’s trousers”
    Nick: this is shameful, this ‘tiny’ fob pocket. It was a standard fob pocket in a standard pair of trousers sold by the thousands in Australia.
    This alluding to hoary folklore, and blind adherence to Mr. Cleland’s testimony may not be good enough, now that we know more.


  18. hakan on June 4, 2014 at 12:13 pm said:

    The autopsy report seems to be compatible with portal hypertension, cirrhosis

  19. Knox on June 5, 2014 at 4:12 am said:

    Pete, a small tightly rolled piece of paper in the fob/watch pocket might have felt like a seam to the first searcher. Imagine the story without the second probe, which could have been an impulse. No phone numbers, no Jestyn, no Boxall, no Tamam Shud.

  20. Pete on June 5, 2014 at 10:12 am said:

    Knox: try it, we know the dimensions of the slip, the type if paper, so try it. I did.

  21. Nick: Gordon has got it! … exuberance be buggered, GC has SCOOOOORED!!!!!!
    .. pardon the exuberance, I’m a believer.

  22. misca on June 10, 2014 at 1:35 am said:

    Um Pete…Where did everything go?

  23. Sydney Sitters on June 20, 2014 at 1:26 pm said:

    I have just extracted the weirdest thing from the ‘code’ text it goes as follows:

    ‘Q Testament set out to determine and
    Wednesday. Similar from approximately
    Czech. The Q from M as’ sofar I got some text through an very unlikely method, but ‘wednesday’ and ‘testament’ came out so I thought it as strikingly coincidental…

  24. Michael the Somewhat Civilized on December 7, 2014 at 10:48 pm said:

    Has anyone done any testing of DNA that might remain?

    The variations in the spelling of “Kean” could suggest that the names were phonetic renderings of a name that was unfamiliar to the writer.

    Who had the phone number before Thompson had it?

  25. Escher7 on January 5, 2015 at 10:56 am said:

    A little off topic but here is a cute video of the nature of the rocket research at Woomera which may have been (was?) the subject of spying. Very high value target.


  26. Escher7: nice little Pathe video (though only worked on Firefox for me). 😉

  27. Nick: is there any evidence you are aware of that substantiates the claim(s) that (phone / bank) numbers existed on, or in the rubaiyat ?
    I can’t find any – and GF has stopped answering emails.

  28. Anonymous395016116380 on January 14, 2015 at 12:57 pm said:

    That’s really interesting. I wonder if that woman had something to do with his death since her phone number was there and she signed the book under a different name. Hmm . . .

  29. B Deveson on January 30, 2015 at 1:24 am said:

    I was re-reading the details of Prosper’s marriage to Queenie Thomson, and I noted two things that do not appear to have been mentioned previously.

    Prosper McTaggart Thomson, salesman, age 23 married Queenie Elizabeth Constance Willder, hairdresser aged 20 at Mentone (Victoria) Church of St. Augustine (C of E) 11th July 1936. Details for Prosper: Bachelor. Birth place Charters Towers, Queensland. Occupation salesman. Age 23. Present address: 7 Williams Street Mentone. Usual address: Blacktown, NSW. Father: Ernest Thomson, investor. Mother: Alice Fortune Hawkes.
    Details for Queenie: Spinster. Birth Place Rosebud, Victoria. Occupation: Hairdresser. Age 20. Present address: 7 Williams Street Mentone. Usual address: 7 Williams Street Mentone. Father: Alfred Charles Willder, builder, deceased. Mother: Emily Merry. The witnesses were H.R. Burch (spelling?) and A.C. Willder. (Ref: Certificate of marriage No: 8783).

    Two interesting points. Prosper stated that his usual place of residence was Blacktown, NSW (which is a suburb of Sydney). Jessie is said (Feltus page 20) to have been born in Marrickville, which is another Sydney suburb, and she was studying nursing in Sydney 1942-46 (Feltus pages 20 and 26). Perhaps Jessie met Prosper when he was living at Blacktown or visiting his parents who were living in Concord in 1936? Prosper’s father owned a small block of land (9 acres) in the Shire of Blacktown in the 1920s and 30s.
    The second interesting point is that Prosper’s father was an investor. Anyone investing during the Depression would have probably done very well financially when things improved after WW2. So, it is quite possible that Prosper’s father was quite wealthy when he died in 1956. Prosper’s parents, Ernest Chalmers Thomson and Isobel Alice Fortune Thomson are listed as living at 32 Burwood Road in the 1936 electoral roll for the electoral sub-division of Concord. 32 Burwood Road is in the Sydney suburb of Concord.

  30. Jessie’s family was also living in Mentone at this time. It’s quite possible that they met there???

  31. Did you know that Queenie Elizabeth Thomson was involved in a plane crash on Ansett Airways maiden flight from Sydney to Adelaide reported in the Advertiser 18th May, 1946?

  32. The phone number for Thomson X3239 was listed in the Classified Advertising section of The Advertiser. The ad reads “New black sedan hire car available for weddings, country trips at special rates.’ Phone Thomson X3239.

  33. Perhaps someone made a note of it on the back of their rubaiyat. Interestingly, Mr Thomson’s as appears just after the Funeral notices and just before the clothing section, including Australian American disposals and ballet shoes. A piece of trivia : X3239 is also a Shirley of Hollywood Plus size for a Scallop lace chemise and perhaps someone’s US Army discharge number. Have a nice day.S

  34. BTW Queenie survived the crash, so conveniently before their divorce.

  35. Susyn on April 8, 2015 at 10:38 am said:

    If Prosper was married in 1936 to Queenie, and he was 23 in 1948, it means he was 11 when he got married!

  36. Susyn on April 8, 2015 at 10:40 am said:

    Sorry, he was 23 when he got married in 1936, so in 1948 he would have been 35.

  37. zzzzzzzzzzzzzzz!xcbg zzzzzzzzzzzz, somebody wake up

  38. pete: I’m reading your posts, just because I don’t comment on every page – even the plausible made implausible stuff – doesn’t mean I’m not. 🙂

  39. Pete on May 31, 2015 at 10:37 am said:

    This is the internet, Nick, everybody got to HURRY, that’s the rule that grants instant gratification,

  40. Pete: yeah, I always meant to get round to providing instant gratification for everyone, I’ll add that to my list of things to do… soon-ish. 🙂

  41. pete on May 31, 2015 at 11:00 am said:

    Baited breath old man, I can hardly wait. See you soonish.

  42. Dennis on June 5, 2015 at 4:29 pm said:

    Latest article recently published here

  43. Misca on June 6, 2015 at 4:33 am said:

    Dennis – Good article. Some new stuff. Thanks for sharing. It might seem like no one is interested but we are!

  44. pete on June 21, 2015 at 9:10 am said:

    Just passing through on the way home from HK …. This is not a loaded question: What was Jessica’s religion in her youthful years? I remember somebody saying she was converted to Judaism.

  45. Misca on June 28, 2015 at 3:47 am said:

    There doesn’t seem to be a birth certificate for Jessica. Nothing. Not from family. Not from filed records. Odd. Isn’t it? Did GF search for one?

    With all of then attention this case has had, it seems strange that her provenance is still not known.

  46. pete on June 29, 2015 at 2:32 am said:

    Do you think that if I tossed DA a couple of bucks he might have an answer?

  47. pete: 525AUD should cover it, don’t you think?

  48. Pete on June 29, 2015 at 8:43 am said:

    For that much I might get a striped tie as well.

  49. Pete: no need for your money, the Indiegogo campaign has already raised 525 AUD. Should be enough for a striped tie for each backer. 🙂

  50. Pete on June 29, 2015 at 9:54 am said:

    Nick: baby, you’ve gone mighty quiet on the whothefuckisthatdeadman mystery … Is there an elephant in the room?

  51. Pete: I’m preparing a post on the subject of wtfitdm, as it happens. For what it’s worth, I suspect there is an elephant in there, but he’s not wearing George Smiley’s overcoat. 😉

  52. George on July 9, 2015 at 3:07 am said:

    Just putting it out there….

    With a disclaimer that I am no handwriting specialist, I would suggest that either the note was written by lots of diffferent people (unlikely) or the authorities have managed to pick up lots of different layers of a busy scratchpad (more likely, I think)

    Some observations:
    A: are almost all different – different slopes on the bar (in fact different slopes on the letters); some sloppily runove outside the A (sometimes on either side) – there are definitel at least 3 different A’s (lean, curvuture/straighness of legs, crossbar)
    B: some have more flourish than others, and line 3’s is better defined than line 1 or 4
    C/D/E – only one of each – but note how horizontal the bars on the E are (like some of the A’s)
    G: the top line is rounded and the bar in it is not very pronounced. The bottom line less round, but a very clear bar (although that might be from the flourished AB)
    I: hard to tell any difference (although the beginning of the last line might be a scribble, rather than an I
    L: both look the same
    M/W: there appear to be at least 2 hands here….the M’s on third line (5th character) and fifth line (4th char) are less hurried than 4th line (char 1) and 5th line (char 8) (less hurried = look at the middle bit, and the relative length of each leg)
    O/Q: Somebody writes nice neat O’s (so you can’t see where they start or finish, but a very lazy Q that is a little disconnected (and one of the O’s is more oval while the other is more egg-shaped)
    P: both P’s look ever so slightly different – the first meets the stem and is flowing back around and down, the second has a more triangular loop and finishes above the stem pointing upward
    R: Would have expected more consitency with the B (&P)….
    S: fairly consistent
    T: most sloping upward to right, some have a slightly curved bar – interestingly, most of the I’s seem to have a consistent lean, but the T’s don’t…

    I think these imprints are the result of different owners of the book at different times, or at least different people, happening to rest something on the book to write….and that the scratchings that were found under UV light have picked up many different excerpts.
    I think the lines are generally unrelated (and probably the ‘X’ too)
    The letter sizes are all different and in different hands.
    With a bit of imagination – especially imagine a copper trying to find the most defined lines in a busy scratchpad – the 4th line could almost be “Marlborough” (as in Marlborough St).
    The spaces between the characters is a little bit all over the place too…..the two MLIA are a stark contrast in terms of spacing, letter width and letter height….

    Of course, that being the case, it does seem a little interesting that there are no numbers….and you wonder a little why people would use the INSIDE of a book to lean on, when efen a paperback would be firmer on the outside than inside.

    Either way, I’m convinced there’s several different handwritings in all those letters – and I think it suggests that it’s meaningless scribbles that have been picked up. It’s always looked unusually messy but increasingly I think it’s because the letters are disconnected….

  53. Callen on July 12, 2015 at 10:47 pm said:

    The note seems more referential to “regret”, as addressed in the book itself. And, suggests a suicide note. The note in his pocket could be a talisman, to “finish” the regret.

    I would offer : (I suggest using “M”, though “W” could work with “While” and “Would” for the first and second sentences)

    Many regrets go on after birth and before death
    May this be in my pocket and not Ellen Thomson’s pocket
    (Hoping she has no regrets, unlike himself)
    (Unfortunately, no one suggests she ever used Ellen as her name…)
    My life is all but over and I am quite calm (I had found this blog when I searched “Somerton” and “my life is all but over”, as posted above by “Rob” >> I am in agreeance with you. )
    It’s time to move to south Australia, Moseley Street thank God Almighty Bye
    (last line is attributed in wiki to retired detective Gerry Feltus, with an alternative for the last four words)

  54. Enigma on July 26, 2015 at 6:56 am said:

    Time to look at unknown boy stealing motor bike at Broken Hill then apparently dumping it at Adelaide 24 hours later, in 1948, Broken Hill to Adelaide, dirt ,corrugated potholed road, in the evening, fuel refill? boy, on a stolen bike, in the dead of night? Broken Hill to Adelaide is approx 500 kms. In the dark, on a very bad dirt road. The beginning of this story is very strange and not quite right.

  55. Nate Sebastian on August 4, 2015 at 4:09 pm said:

    The handwritten ‘code’ in the back of the Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám book might be a MUSICAL NOTATION, not necessarily written by the Somerton man. It makes sense for at least 90% of the code so far, still working on it :

    A, B, D, G : chords or notes, for example on a guitar. This is an internationaly adopted notation style, the writer could have spoken any language besides English.

    | : not a capital ‘i’ but a bar line.

    O : play open string.

    OX : crossed ‘O’ : damp the string, don’t play the string.

    Q : same as above : thinking of music while writing it down adresses different parts of the brain. Doing both at the same time could result in unvoluntary doodles : ‘I know I have to cross the ‘O’ but I’m allready thinking about the next chord.’ It’s something I would do if I was in a hurry to write down a chord progression in a eureka moment and when no other recording equipment was at hand.

    –X—– horizontal line to indicate the nut of a guitar. The ‘x’ appears to be in second (5th) position : don’t play 5th string.

    W, M, N (?) : the writer appears to have some difficulties forming an ‘M’, at least in the beginning. The ‘M’ becomes more fluent towards the end as if they haven’t written in a long time or don’t write much (capitals) overal. Maybe the ‘second line’ was added afterwards ? Maybe ‘M’ has 2 meanings. The first ‘M’ looks like a crown : ‘Play this on the instument with the crown-logo’. It could be a custom character to indicate the time signature. Metronome maybe ? If this was written with a ballpoint the clumsy first ‘M’ could be explained by trying to get the dried out ball rolling.

    M : Middle finger ?

    T : Thumb ?

    R and L : could refer to Left hand, Right hand

    PAN : could mean ‘slide’ : Middle finger, pan to E, Thumb (is that a period ?) Pink (little finger)

    S or G (?) : the 5th and 8th character from the back : not sure what this is, probably not a ‘G’, they write the ‘other’ 2 G’s differently, both times.

    Last 2 lines could be read vertically : ‘Play A with Thumb, B with Middle finger…

    Final ‘B’ : this is a ‘glorious B’ : ‘I did it ! .. and now I’m done!’

    You’re welcome – Glorious ‘e’

  56. Nobody can solve this case without
    1.persian knowledge
    2.backtracking every step and possiblity to Jessica Ellen Thomson or her relatives whom she might have let something on.

  57. anyway it is quite clear that the death has not occurred on somerton beach and that the body was lying in another position for long time before it was posed beside the home for cripples.every tag from the body was removed.So it is quite possible that the piece of paper was just a distraction.

  58. Hi Enigna, The stolen motorcycle from Broken Hill is, I suspect, tied up with this case, I just can’t put my finger on it. If you were stealing a motorcycle, a joyride? why would you have a suitcase with you, surely it would have made sense to dump it asap after taking the bike. Why did the youth, Pruzinski, drive to Adelaide, did he have relatives/friends there? He told the police the clothes were inside the suitcase when dumped at Somerton Beach, so, if only the clothes were found-where did the suitcase end up? In Adelaide Railway Station? The trousers in the suitcase, I read, had sand in the turnups. The only link between the suitcase & the Somerton Man was the Barbour thread..

  59. Re; Broken Hill etc. two things that stick in my mind is 1: Prosper drove to Broken Hill quite often and dealt with rifle sales. 2: The name Pruzsinki-isn’t this Hungarian in origin, the SM looked east European, just a thought!

  60. Clive: sure, we have a little evidence of Prosper driving to Broken Hill, and a little evidence of Prosper trying to buy a rifle. However, nobody at all from the Pruszinski family seems to have dropped off the radar during that period… so it’s all a bit of a thin soup for the moment. 😐

  61. Nick, we have more than a little evidence of Prosper wanting a rifle – he placed an ad for one during the inquest.
    Rifle (wanted), automatic Winchester, model 63 or similar, for cash. Thomson 90A Moseley Street.

  62. pete: I would agree that we have exactly a little evidence of Prosper wanting to buy a rifle on one occasion, though no evidence that he actually bought one, or even ever owned one.

    All in all, this falls a fair way short of what Clive asserted in his comment, which was that Prosper “dealt with rifle sales”. That’s a lot of jam balanced on a very small piece of bread. 😐

  63. Semantics: you must butter your toast with them in the morning, Nick.

  64. Nick, Ok, I agree, Prosper may have dealt with rifle sales on one or two occasions and Broken Hill did have its rifle clubs. Still find it odd that Pruzsinki found his way to Glenelg/Somerton Park beaches-why not Largs Bay, Henley Beach, West Beach, all further North. Unless, of course, it had been arranged previously. And why dump the bike and walk down to Pt Noarlunga-was it out of fuel?

  65. pete: they’re delicious with marmalade, too. 😉

  66. I’m sure they are, Nick, and just as indigestible.

  67. Maybe he is known maybe the people of his comunity dont care about him didnt want to speak up maybe some were scared to speak up maybe some thought who cares about him

  68. Maybe he loved deciphering

  69. Re. no name in the shoes because they were bespoke (Abbott). There might have been individual shoemakers who did not “brand” their shoes but the current general rule seems to be:
    “… a leather ‘sock’ bearing the shoemaker’s name is inserted inside, …”.

    Loake shoes use numbers such as 204b (found in SM’s shoes). This is an old establishment and might have made shoes to order in the 1940’s. Was there a branch in the US at the time?

    “Made-to-order is extreme customization—when a customer takes an existing style and selects the color, materials, and details. Bespoke is when an item is made from scratch to a buyer’s specification.”

    Today’s costs are from $3500 to over $100000. How well did the shoes fit? Is it possible the maker’s name was excised? If it was, the shoes might not have been made-to-order or bespoke and the maker imitated the location of the name from more expensive shoes instead of stamping it. If they were, and the name was not removed, then new shoes with a good fit for SM’s feet would have been an extraordinary find in a used clothing store. No conclusion can be had because people die with shoes in the price range mentioned that have hardly been worn and those could be donated to a second-hand store. The odds are not good enough that I’ll go looking for new $5000 shoes in salvage stores.

    Re. the mended clothing. Rich or poor, some people are maintenance-minded. Indications are that SM had another container apart from the suitcase and he surely had a wallet. There is no single explanation for missing tags. His financial circumstances are unknown.

  70. An interesting idea about the code, which I don’t believe to be true, is that it’s a “Chronogram”. The idea is just that most of the code is garbage, except the letters that are valid Roman Numerals. The garbage letters are used as distraction. This leaves us with MMMMDCLVIII = 4658.
    And what about the X? Well, it fits the Glenelg phone number pretty well: X4658. That could explain why the X sits above the text, to avoid getting added to the Roman Numerals.
    Turns out that the chances of 43 random letters containing a valid Roman Numeral sequence is about 10%. I was disappointed to find that. It’s just interesting enough, but not significant to tell us anything.
    The phone number doesn’t trigger anything interesting in the newspaper archives. I don’t think it’s the solution, but is something to think about.

  71. The elusive Donald Sterling and his unknown history would make anyone crazy. Clever, clever, clever as teen writing code for a three year old. Adam Tokowitz anyone!

  72. I really hope this doesn’t fall into the category of trolling, it’s intended as a thought I had which I hope may help.
    I was thinking about the abnormal splenic enlargement, did a google search and one cause stuck out to me….malaria, now, I think it’s unlikely malaria was the direct cause of death (although not impossible) but it does cause splenic enlargement as well as sometimes blood related issues that could explain the ruddiness on parts of his body.
    If the SM was indeed a traveller (as seems likely) it’s not impossible he acquired it during his travels, or possibly even during military service.
    I don’t claim any evidence for this, it’s purely speculative, but it is one possible explanation to a somewhat peculiar detail of the case.
    Even if it were proven I’m not sure it’d help identify him or the cause of death, but maybe it’s a tiny jigsaw piece that helps the overall picture….or not?

  73. Joe: malaria is certainly a possibility (and suggesting something so sensible is a very long way from trolling, thanks!), but as far as jigsaws go, it’s perhaps no more than a small piece of sky… we’ll need many more such pieces before things start to interlock in a satisfying way. 😐

    Incidentally, am I the only person who sometimes likes to do jigsaws upside down? Perhaps that’s some kind of prerequisite for wanting to take on cipher mysteries. 😉

  74. Rick A. Roberts on November 9, 2015 at 8:53 pm said:

    Here is my work on this cipher, looking at it from right to left. The first line is, ” DBABAOGRM “, or ” TAMAM SHUD “. The second line reads, ” IOAILM “, or ” PSNMPTD “, “P S EMPTIED “. The third line reads, ” PTENAPMIBTM “, or ” UEYNMUDPAED “, ” MONEY DUE PAID “. The fourth line reads, ” CQAIAOBAILM “, or ” ILMPMSAMPTD “, ” SAMPLE EMPTIED “. The fifth line reads, ” BAGTSMASTMTTI “, ” AMHERDMREDEER “, ” A DEEP(ER) MURDER MYSTERY “. The message reads, ” TAMAM SHUD – POISON SAMPLE – MONEY DUE PAID – SAMPLE EMPTIED – A DEEP(ER) MURDER MYSTERY “.

  75. Rick A. Roberts on November 9, 2015 at 9:00 pm said:

    The second lined out line is, ” P S EMPTIED “, or ” POISON SAMPLE EMPTIED “.

  76. Rick a. Roberts on November 15, 2015 at 5:40 am said:

    Could it be that the poison used was Quinine ? It was used to treat malaria.

  77. Hi Nick,

    I grew up at Brighton near Somerton Beach shortly after the mystery man’s body was found. I am currently working on a novel (fiction revolving around real events), and the Somerton Man, Woomera and Parkside/Glenside Hospital are all background to the book. Reading your great site (as recommended by Pete Bowes) I saw that Keith Waldemar Mangnoson attended Parkside Hospital. The last entry I could find was 27 April 1950 – a report that he had been found after escaping the hospital. I have not been able to get permission to view hospital records, but am curious if he spent more time at Parkside. Another (possibly dubious claim) says that Jess Thompson worked there as a charge nurse sometime during the 60s. Once again I was not allowed to view hospital records, but would be interested to know if this was true. I’m not familiar with the protocols of asking such questions to you (or the blog site) so excuse me if I have approached this the wrong way.

  78. John: thanks for dropping by! Don’t forget that Trove has a 60-year rule (only sidestepped in a few cases), so if anything made its way into the newspapers after 1953/1954 concerning Keith Mangnoson, Trove won’t tell us about it for a while. Having said that, the Internet surely presents less than 1% of the world’s databases to Google’s panoptic eye, so there are plenty of other databases out there for determined researchers to ferret out and search.

    For example, have you thought about submitting an information request to the relevant state’s Police archivists? They may well have records relating to the whole sad Mangnoson affair that they deem are now historically ok to release at this distance of time.

    Incidentally, I’ve been thinking for a long time about trying to compile a book listing 10,000 sources of research information that aren’t available on the Internet – things you have to go and consult for yourself. It’s a big world out there, and digitization is a slow, expensive process.

  79. Does no one think it’s a little strange that Abbott married Rachel, who may have been the SM’s granddaughter? Don’t eat where you ****, and all that? And the correlation between Robin’s ears and hypodontia and the SM’s is really telling.

  80. Nick – in the interests of sharing all the bounty: a lady over my way has a gentleman named Keane, ProsperT and a noted Communist functionary all in the one place and at the same time in South Australia.
    “Donald David Thomson, Prosper and Thomas Keane were all together at Heidelberg Hospital in Victoria in 1943.”
    Her story is academically extensive and totally without support of any kind, but it’s been a long time between drinks as far as Somerton fiction is concerned.

  81. Pete: I indeed saw the comment over at your site. Good luck with trying to find more on the 115th Heidelberg Military Hospital / 115th Australian General Hospital / 6th RAAF Hospital.

    It’s certainly true that Prosper Thomson was briefly there in 1943 (he was transferred from Prince Henry Hospital to “115AgH” on 28/6/1943, but discharged two weeks later on 10/7/1943):

    As to the rest… we shall see!

  82. Rick A. Roberts on January 22, 2016 at 6:26 am said:

    I went back and looked at my message that I posted on 09 DEC 16 . The coded message is ; ” TAMAM SHUD “, ” POISON EMPTIED “, ” MONEY DUE PAID “, ” SAMPLE EMPTIED “, ” A MURDER MYSTERY ” . I believe that I have it correctly deciphered now.

  83. The deal was never completed, Rick, but I like one, two and four.

  84. Fred Smith on February 4, 2016 at 3:53 pm said:

    The Somerton Man and Jestyn were both spies having an affair. He wrote her number in his copy of the Rubaiyat which she gave him, like she gave a copy to Alf, with whom she could have supposedly had some sort of romantic relationship (i read somewhere that he made romantic gestures but she rebuffed them because she was married? Maybe more happened than she let on, i mean she wrote a poem in it for him?) So it makes sense she might have given Somerton Man one too if they were seeing eachother. Somerton Man was an enemy spy which could explain why he wrote her number in the back of the book so lightly it could only be seen under ultraviolet light; he obviously couldnt write it in his diary could he? The code could be something only known by and relevant to Summerton Man and Jestyn, hence why it was written next to her number. I think i saw somewhere the writing could have been Somerton Man’s? (Don’t know if there is any evidence to support this)
    Well anyway, ~someone~ found out about their affair, poisoned him, dumped him five minutes away from her ON PURPOSE, and put the end of the book she gave him in his pocket as a message that their relationship was “finished” – “tamam shud” and threw the book into a random person’s car knowing they’d probably put two and two together and turn in as evidence, serving as a message to Jestyn. It wouldnt have mattered if said person had just thrown the book out upon finding it and given it no thought anyway because the “Tamam Shud” had enough significance to her to publicly send her a message.
    This would explain why his luggage was so mish mashed.. He was a spy, he travelled a lot, hence the different origins of the clothing and such. He could have packed any mish mash of clothes to avoid it looking suspicious when going through customs. His luggage is that of someone visiting briefly. Perhaps he was going to see their supposed son?
    Her reaction, going extremely white to the point where she looked as if she was going to faint when being shown the cast of the man, again backs up my theory: she wasn’t in on it. It was done to hurt her and send a message.
    Sucks that the code is still a mystery though. Correct me on any facts if I’m wrong.

  85. I posted elsewhere…Keith Mangnoson was also at the “115AgH” in 1944.

  86. Jennifer on March 27, 2016 at 12:28 pm said:

    Are you Russian Misca?

    You have done some lovely and extensive research. What’s your story?

  87. Jennifer on March 28, 2016 at 11:27 am said:

    Because surnames are passed down from father to son in many cultures, and the Y chromosome is passed from father to son with a predictable rate of mutation, people with the same surname can use genealogical DNA testing to determine if they share a common ancestor within a genealogical timeframe.

  88. Galaxy Fan Fan on March 28, 2016 at 1:58 pm said:

    Could it not just be that he commited suicide and the stuff with the book in the third paragraph there is either mischief-making or completely coincidental?

  89. Galaxy Fan Fan on March 28, 2016 at 1:59 pm said:

    “Because surnames are passed down from father to son in many cultures, and the Y chromosome is passed from father to son with a predictable rate of mutation, people with the same surname can use genealogical DNA testing to determine if they share a common ancestor within a genealogical timeframe.”

    I understand your angle Jennifer. 😉

  90. Galaxy Fan Fan on March 28, 2016 at 2:03 pm said:

    Does no one think it’s a little strange that Abbott married Rachel, who may have been the SM’s granddaughter? Don’t eat where you ****, and all that? And the correlation between Robin’s ears and hypodontia and the SM’s is really telling.”

    I think it’s great Taman Shud brought these two lovers together Emma. But as Rachel is an adoptee and not legally a Thomson she is not really going to get anywhere! 😉

  91. GalaxyFanFan: the Tamam Shud wriggles out of all such explanatory devices with practised ease. You’ll have to try harder!!!!

  92. B Deveson on April 13, 2016 at 12:25 pm said:

    Nick, I can’t find a proper place to post this.
    I don’t remember seeing this before. I don’t buy the H.C. Reynolds story but the following is a bit of a coincidence.
    I don’t remember having seen this before.

    The Argus (Melbourne) 5th December 1947 page 1
    Publican’s car stolen after warning ignored A man walked into the Phoenix Hotel, Flinders st, city, last Saturday and warned a barman that a car belonging to Mr H. C. Reynolds, the proprietor, would be stolen. On Wednesday night the car, a 1940 model Chrysler Imperial sedan, number BU-054, ,was removed from Collins place, city. Mr Reynolds last night offered a £50 reward for its recovery. He said the barman had told him that a gang of thieves intended to steal the car and had already obtained a set of duplicate keys for it. At first he discounted the story,’ thinking it was only “beer talking.” He forgot the warning until a barman reminded him yesterday.

  93. Byron: it’s certainly an interesting coincidence. I mentioned the story before back in 2011 where I wrote:

    […] he was the proprietor of the Phoenix Hotel, 82 Flinders Street, Melbourne (which is due to be demolished next year [2012] and rebuilt as apartments 29 storeys high). However, this was presumably also the same H. C. Reynolds who transferred a hotel licence for Phoenix Hotel Co not long before 27th April 1950, so we can almost certainly rule him out […].

  94. Byron: …but re-reading it, it’s not half as clear-cut an argument against him as I seemed to think back in 2011 (however light a lead it may be), because the H. C. Reynolds mentioned could well have died in the preceding licence period (two years?). So perhaps it would be interesting to look at T. J. Fitzmaurice and Ettie Lilian Powers a little, see where they lead. 🙂

  95. Byron: ah, Hubert Cyril Reynolds and Powers got the hotel licence back in December 1951 – http://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/article/23095956?searchTerm=tom%20Fitzmaurice%20phoenix&searchLimits= while Tom Fitzmaurice was a retired sportsman. (This page wasn’t on Trove back in 2011). 🙂

  96. Manchester City!!!!!!!!!!!

  97. Dss: errm… more like North Melbourne, acksherly. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tom_Fitzmaurice

  98. Hey Nick,

    I just wanted to let you know that I have the Taman Shud decoding on my website http://cosmicorderoftarot.com/ He was indeed a spy and the letters are mainly military acronyms. For example, Line 1 M/W RGOABABD is for Men/Woman Regimental (R) Ground (G) Operations (O), Amphibious (AB) & Airborne Division (ABD). The Airborne Division’s usual acronym is ABD. On this line he’s indicating the American Army and as well on Line 2, but the other lines outline British and Australian military acronyms. I also have the Shugborough Decoding on my website and another jewel of a decoding that’s quite extensive. I’ll be doing more decodings as time goes by… Contact me if you have any questions.

  99. Sue d'Nimh on April 15, 2016 at 6:52 am said:

    Have recently been trying to follow up on something I had previously dismissed and wondered what other peoples thoughts were. Has anybody investigated a possible link to the case of Senator Richard Valentine Keane’s Trunk?

  100. SirHubert on April 15, 2016 at 8:24 am said:

    Sue: Firstly, senators’ trunks, like old wives’ tales, can now be removed under local anaesthetic. Secondly, just to say that I liked your choice of username but this would properly be pronounced ‘Pseudeniv’.

  101. Sue d'Nimh on April 15, 2016 at 8:43 am said:

    I was thinking NIMH as in ‘The Rats of NIMH’
    (cos’ I could probably use their services)

  102. SirHubert: mhery good! 😉

  103. buttercup on May 9, 2016 at 4:53 pm said:

    I wonder if anyone has looked at the numbers as Longitude or Latitude.. Just a thought.
    4 8 15 16 23 48
    lati: 48,15
    long: 16,23

    place: Wien, Austria.

    lati: 48,151
    long: 62,342

    place:somewhere in Khazakstan

  104. buttercup on May 9, 2016 at 5:20 pm said:

    Also nobody thinks the writting is a language but has anyone tried to translate it.. IT can be several different things when tried for example”

    loailm : Authorization weather
    MLIAOL: Lao weather in estonesian : Loa in vietnamese is speakers:
    MLiABOAIAQC : VItabolic or MILAN CATANIA which are locations when letters are switched..

    People have been using combinations of letters for years, or spelling things out backwards in another language to confuse people..Look at the Harlem Shake when translated it means Down with the Terrorist.. Yet, few noticed or looked at that.. Hidden meanings in front of your face -so-per-say.. Just another thought..

  105. Sue d'Nimh on May 10, 2016 at 6:53 am said:

    Where have numbers [4] [8] [15] [16] [23] [48] come from?
    (They look like the numbers from LOST).

  106. Sue d'Nimh on May 10, 2016 at 7:01 am said:

    It has been pointed out by many people that if you reverse the first line of the code…

    then this could be TAMAM SHUD.

    Has anyone tried reversing the entire code and filling in the letters as a simple cipher.
    Could it reversed enciphered Malay? I suggest Malay because Boxall’s copy of the Rubaiyat was a dual language edition in both English and Malay. And of course Marshall was Malaysian.

  107. Rick A. Roberts on May 11, 2016 at 2:30 am said:

    Sue d’Nimh,

    Please see my solution to the code that I posted on 09NOV15 and 22JAN16 . I took each line and reversed each one in English . Check out my work and give me your feedback . Thank you very much .

  108. John sanders on May 23, 2016 at 11:12 am said:

    Nick: Did you ever consider that the old bugger H. C. Reynolds may well have died in 48 and yet arose again, he being prop. of the PHOENIX hotel….ah forget it lets get serious. Did anyone ever give any thoughts to the Bickford family a very secretive lot you never met and of course owners of the big pad overlooking S.M’s beach. Quite a few were born in the early 20th century, some even in the old house and one may have had the yen to see the old place one more time. Just a thought and by the bye, check out the profile picks of actor Charles Bickford, a spitting image of S.M on the slab.

  109. nickpelling on May 23, 2016 at 12:51 pm said:

    John sanders: yeah, there’s been a fair bit of talk about the Bickfords here recently, but only really in connection with pharmaceutical malpractice. 🙂

  110. Johan on May 25, 2016 at 9:01 am said:

    Here is a interesting result applying a standard vignere encryption(http://rumkin.com/tools/cipher/vigenere-keyed.php) on the code in the rabayiat.

    Encrypting MLIABOAIAQC using MTBIMPANETP as passphrase you get YEJINDAVEJR which is bacically two names YEJIN and DAVE JR

    Seems a bit coincidental to me

  111. nickpelling on May 25, 2016 at 10:15 am said:

    Johan: I’m sorry to say that to my eyes, YEJINDAVEJR looks like the kind of “micro-match” that has so plagued Zodiac Killer cipher research. Basically: the Rubaiyat text resembles an English acrostic cryptogram 100x more than it resembles a Vigenere cryptogram, so you would seem to be on a “losing wicket” with this one. 😐

  112. Johan on May 25, 2016 at 10:39 am said:

    I have no idea about probabilities 😀
    Would be interesting though if the name ZE-JIN or DAVE JR was around back then in Glenelg. Heck, the book might not even be related to the man on the beach. Is there any strong relation between the tamam shud note in the mans pocket and the book? Same font matching that edition for example?

  113. nickpelling on May 25, 2016 at 10:47 am said:

    Johan: finding a mysterious piece of paper in a dead man’s pocket with “Tamam Shud” on it… and then later finding the book from which it (almost without any doubt) had been removed in a car less than a mile from where the man was found dead… is quite a funky coincidence, wouldn’t you say?

  114. Johan on May 25, 2016 at 10:56 am said:

    Yes, if the finder of the book wasn’t just pulling a prank, ripping out the tamam shud text from his book after police announced the finding of the note. The ripped out portion does not match the note directly.

    A mismatch of font in the book would rule out the note coming from that book. I have not found any note relating to a checkup of this which is a little strange to me. Was the book so rare? Some copy of it would be around wouldn’t you think?

  115. nickpelling on May 25, 2016 at 11:19 am said:

    Johan: people (most notable of whom is Gerry Feltus) have been searching for a matching copy of the Rubaiyat for decades without any luck. That is a mystery on its own: perhaps one will turn up in the future, who knows?

    We don’t know for certain if the ripped out portion matches the copy or not, because (a) it has long been said that the police did not show the actual ripped out hole in their photographs (to prevent people from ripping a matching hole in a copy), and (b) the Rubaiyat itself was discarded long ago (though the “Tamam Shud” still remains).

  116. Johan on May 25, 2016 at 1:09 pm said:

    Thanks for your reply and thanks for a great site.

    By the way did you notice that both ciphertext and passphrase were taken from the note? If I were to choose whatever passphrase I like of course I could produce anything but to get a somewhat meaningful answer by just using data from the note seems coincidental. Normally you would get total gibberish doing something like this, try to choose some random passphrase yourself 😉

  117. nickpelling on May 25, 2016 at 1:36 pm said:

    Johan: yes, I noticed just fine. But… did you notice that MLIABOAIAQC has three As and two Is, while MTBIMPANETP has two Ms, two Ts, and two Ps? Given that your “YEJINDAVEJR” has two Es and two Js, your Vigenere decryption has the effect of flattening the frequency instances, which is the statistical opposite of what a cryptologist would expect. Just so you know. 🙂

  118. Johan on May 25, 2016 at 6:19 pm said:

    Nick: yes, flattening of the frequency would be expected as I do a ENCRYPT(if you read back) operation not a decrypt.

    I just say there is a coincidence. We don’t know if the text is an attempt to decrypt or encrypt. Maybe what we see is a failed attempt to encrypt YEJINDAVEJR? Or some other attempt involving said text.

  119. milongal on May 26, 2016 at 4:23 am said:

    CLutching at straws/coincidence….
    Aside from:
    1) Yejin = rare name (esp in Australia back then)}
    2) Dave Jr is a bit odd without a surname
    3) Any number of other issues you might have with the decryption

    What’s the point of sending ciphertext and key together – especially when the text is so “random” that people would immediately think there’s some trick to reading it?
    Does not make an iota of sense in my mind.


  120. nickpelling on May 26, 2016 at 6:29 am said:

    milongal: all fair enough – but my point was rather that because of the letter repetitions, neither of the two strings looks much like a Vigenere ciphertext in the first place. 😐

  121. Johan on May 26, 2016 at 6:34 am said:

    milongal: We don’t know the purpose of the text. It might not be meant as a message, maybe it’s just scribblings for another purpose. Maybe the writes received a message he/she is trying to decode but failing for some reason not a message he/she is sending, or the final message is sent elsewhere. ZEJINDAVEJR might be the passphrase shining through. Lots of possibilities here.

  122. nickpelling on May 26, 2016 at 8:27 am said:

    Johan: from a codebreaker’s point of view, there are actually very few possibilities here that aren’t directly contradicted by the statistics (e.g. the letter instance frequency distribution).

    Early on, the page was run past the great Australian codebreaker Eric Nave (without any real doubt, because he’s described elliptically in the newspaper reports), who quickly eliminated cipher systems such as Vigenere and came to a conclusion that still stands, 60+ years on – that because the choice and distribution of the letters are entirely typical of the first letters of English words, what we are looking at here is an acrostic text.

  123. Johan on May 26, 2016 at 8:36 am said:

    Nick: Yes, I totally see that point. But in honest I think the number of letters we have in this cipher is too few to make any statistics on. Especially considering the fact that we don’t know the purpose of the letters. It might be several attempts at the same, maybe very short, phrase.

  124. nickpelling on May 26, 2016 at 9:31 am said:

    Johan: as a rule of thumb, you should be able to solve a simple (monoalphabetic) substitution cipher with roughly 30 letters, or even with less if the text or context happens to offer you some help.

    For the Rubaiyat cryptogram, we have roughly 44 letters, which should (if the transcription isn’t completely broken, which is always possible) be enough to break it. But it’s not that kind of a thing. 🙁

  125. Johan on May 26, 2016 at 10:23 am said:

    Nick: Or we have 9-12 letters in different configurations. As there is no way at this point of knowing the context of these letters I think any assumption about them is limiting the understanding of them.

    As I understand the letters are not even written in the book but indentations caused by writing on another paper laying on top of the indented page. Am I right?
    If this is the case the letters and markings might not even be written at the same time for the same purpose. Overlaying different markings, like the line though the first MLIAOI might not be a strike through but another line related to other lines on the paper.

  126. nickpelling on May 26, 2016 at 10:53 am said:

    Johan: there’s a lot yet to be written about the code page (which is a great deal more subtle than you give it credit), but that’s a post for another day. 🙂

  127. Johan on May 26, 2016 at 10:57 am said:

    Nick: Interesting 🙂 Looking forward to read about that.

  128. milongal on May 27, 2016 at 1:23 am said:

    @Nick – absolutely agree, my point was more aimed at Johan.
    @Johan – agree this isn’t necessarily a message and could be a decryption attempt (It sort of makes the MLIAO strikeout interesting in some respects). And I can even see (though not really agree) that in that case yevindavejr might be a key shining through – but that wasn’t the statement I was replying to (because I don’t think it had been made).
    My point was more that Yevin and Dave Jr being something significant that’s been decrypted seemed rather unlikely….

    And I 100% agree that there’s a veritable shedload of possibilities….which is one of the reasons noone has managed to come up with any “solution” to it (and if it is the first letters of words, as many would believe, we could speculate on the exact meaning forever – I don’t know we can ever be certain, in that case, that any solution is correct).

  129. SirHubert on May 29, 2016 at 9:16 am said:

    Hi Nick: curious about your claim that 30 letters is a viable message length to break a mono-alphabetic substitution cipher. Is that a length at which it’s theoretically possible or normally doable? If that’s the industry standard I have a long way to go!

  130. nickpelling on May 29, 2016 at 9:39 am said:

    SirHubert: it strongly depends on the nature of the underlying message, so there is no fixed figure. But if you download a programme such as CryptoCrack and put 30-character-long enciphered messages into it, you will almost always see the message (or something very close to it) in its list of best guesses.

    Of course, if you have some hint about the contents, or the message includes some unusual combination of letters, or it’s an aristocrat rather than a patristocrat (etc), you can often solve much shorter messages. But that’s more like crossword solving than pure cryptology, of course. 🙂

  131. SirHubert on May 29, 2016 at 10:18 am said:

    Thanks – very interesting 🙂

  132. SirHubert on May 29, 2016 at 11:11 am said:

    …and goes to show that a sophisticated computer program can combine a variety of techniques far more effectively than I can!

  133. (1) Are the end words “Tamam Shud” only found in FitzGerald’s First edition and no other edition?
    (2) Has DNA samples and hair been recovered in the SM’s grave? And who puts the flowers there?
    (3) Why would a seaman smoke ” Kensitas” cigarettes when his pack was Army & Navy brand ?
    (4) Why would the SM be interested in Tetra Antennas?
    (5) The WRE’s first launch from range F was on the 22nd March 1949, 112 days after SM died, however earlier UP’s launches at Port Wakefield with primitive electronic equipment for training staff was initiated.

  134. nickpelling on May 30, 2016 at 4:01 pm said:

    Hal: (1) I believe that “Tamam Shud” is at the end of pretty much all of them.
    (2) No, the hair samples were embedded in the plaster cast that was taken of his body in 1949. No DNA samples have been taken (yet).
    (3) Was he a seaman? If you were poor and a smoker, you’d smoke what you could get, I’d guess.
    (4) Why might you think there was anything connecting the Somerton Man to “Tetra Antennas”?
    (5) Errrm… given that that’s a statement rather than a question, I guess I’m off the hook now. 😉

  135. milongal on May 30, 2016 at 10:48 pm said:

    Can I have a turn Hal?
    1) I think though all (or almost all) versions end with Tamam Shud, the Fitzgerald is of interest because:
    a) There’s no further writing on the back
    b) The colour of the paper is consistent
    c) the police are “certain” they found the book it was ripped from (I suspect there’s a lot of cynicism about the certainty – of course once you start doubting the police are giving the true story then you can’t believe anything (and I suppose to be fair I could think of relatively benign reasons they’d lie as well as the highly conspiratorial ones)
    2) The assumption (I think) is that Jestyn used to put the flowers on the grave. I’m a little curious that we apparently know it was “a woman” (so obviosuly she’s been seen) but I don’t know there was ever any effort made to intercept her. I have a recollection that at some stage some stones were found placed on the grave (which is consistent with Jewish faith/tradition) which adds fuel to the speculation as Jestyn converted to Judaism later in life (and is buried in the Jewish section of Centennial Park).
    3) I used to smoke, and there were probably times when I’d scabbed off my friends (or stolen from my parents) for whatever reason and had B&H or Marlboro smokes in an otherwise empty Escort packet (and probably know people who would have either of those brands in a Holiday or Horizon packet at some stage – which at the time would have been the budget end of the spectrum (although not sure that B&H or Marlboro were particularly high-end, just a little more upmarket than Escort)) – we also used to carry cassette-tape boxes to store smokes in – because their hard shell stopped them getting broken in your pocket. I don’t know what the price/status difference between Kensitas and Army & Navy would be….althoguh I’ll grant it’s perhaps curious for a grown man.
    4/5) No idea.

  136. (1) My information is that only the first edition of FitzGeralds has this ending.
    (2) It’s important to get long strands of hair for nuclear analysis.
    (3) His suitcase was full of seamans – officers equipment.
    (4) The tetra antennas was in his coded message.
    (5) If his girlfriend spoke Russian and her daughter said she knew that she was a spy in a later TV doco, therefore the only activity the Russians were interested in was WRE electronic equipment as the captured German Wurzburg & Seetakt systems were not up to speed. Australian security was at this time very risky as the Americans blackballed Australia from all access to secrets.

  137. nickpelling on May 31, 2016 at 10:31 am said:

    Hal: (1) where did your information come from?
    (2) according to Derek Abbott, it’s difficult to get DNA from an old hair, even from the hair’s root
    (3) the suitcase had stuff that could be interpreted in many different ways, though none conclusively just yet
    (4) why do you think this? Did you decrypt the message, or are you relying on someone else’s decryption?
    (5) to my eyes, that whole romantic narrative still seems to rest more on wishful thinking than on any solid evidence per se. Unless you have evidence you can point me to?

  138. Bob Crane on June 29, 2016 at 6:18 pm said:

    The reason she passed the book, is because it is the cypher. Without the original and knowing what page, paragraph, etc. you will never figure it out.

  139. shirley de cock on June 30, 2016 at 5:45 pm said:

    To whom it may concern :

    I am a 32 year old Belgian woman and I believe to have discovered important breakthrough information on an Australian cold case : The Tamam Shud case aka The Somerton man.

    I have found a huge breakthrough in the case of the Somerton Man : I have figured out HIS JOB. The job is such a specific one, that it narrows down the possibilities for his identity in a significant way.

    My theory combines several of the different facts in this case.

    First of all – as many – I believed the Somerset man to be involved with music of some kind. This due to the Rubayat being a book with quatrains and the ‘code’ which I believe had something to do with music as well.

    My theory also explains his very particular calve muscles, and the contents of his suitcase.

    As I believed he was a musician I went looking for a link between this calve muscle and an instrument. I found that an organ player would often have strongly developed calve muscles (due to their playing)

    Also organists would have pointy shoes to hit the right pedal … as I went on in my research I found more and more clues leading to the same conclusion.

    When I came to the suitcase contents, most of them are in a basic repair set for an organ. I mean the zinc square, the stenciling set, the wax threat … are were commonly used for the repair of organs at the specific time.

    At the time it was also noticed that the Somerton man shoes were very neat, which is a trait typical for organists as well.

    At some point I read about a hotel receptionist stating ‘a weird man had stayed there, who had a case not uncommon for a musician’ and when an employee had looked into it, he had seen a needle of some sort. There is such thing as an organ needle …

    I think all above proves that we are no longer looking for a missing person, but a missing organist. There are only few cases of missing organists and I invite you to all look into it. I believe the end is near and our Somerton man will be identified any time soon. Please contact me asap by email : Shirleyshowdown [at] gmail [dot] com


  140. nickpelling on June 30, 2016 at 6:36 pm said:

    Shirley: I’ve searched through Australian newspapers on Trove, but can’t find any obviously missing organists. The nearest was an organist in the RAAF who was thought to have been in a plane crash in 1945:


    …so I suspect you may possibly be out of luck. 🙁

  141. milongal on June 30, 2016 at 11:56 pm said:

    The organist is an interesting theory and I think “strong calf muscles” could particularly relate to someone who had to pump the air themselves (eg a harmonium) – although I suspect even the pedalboard would give the legs a fair workout. What I think is particularly interesting, is that there was some mention that he had perhaps been in the habit of wearing women’s shoes (I think). Many years ago when I wanted to learn the organ (I didn’t get very far) the first things I was told was that you need small (preferably pointy) shoes, and that you really want leather soles (although I’m suspecting in the 40s all shoes had leather soles?). (good) Organists play the pedalboard by feel, not by sight (expert ones probably just “know” where the pedals are), but so you kick for gaps between the “black” (often not actually black on an organ pedal board, but not sure what you call them) keys. They also play with 3 parts of the foot – the toe, the heel and (when they have to reach extremes on the pedalboard) the side of the foot. Large clunky shoes make this difficult, and risk you hitting two keys when you play with the toe. Additionally, when there’s any pace in the bass (by organ standards, even crotchets are probably fast – but you do get music with even shorter notes) you need to be able to slip around the board quickly, and leather sole shoes are delightfully slippery for such a task (as opposed to rubber ones which stick a little bit).

    Extrapolating a little bit, the front of the shoes on a less experienced organist would scuff with all the kicking for gaps, however I would imagine that the shoes themselves are normally reasonable quality, and an organist might be forever polishing their shoes (no point just polishing the scuffed toe), so I think there’s certainly a plausibility to the idea.
    Adelaide is small, however, and has few organs – although (I think) there would have been at least 4, possibly 5 within the city – Town Hall, St Francis Xavier’s Cathedral (Catholic), St Peters Cathedral (CoE) and I’m fairly sure Pilgrim Uniting already had one – although online research suggests that they may have had 4 churches in the city, of which at least Flinders St and Pirie St ones make mention of (historically) significant organs. Elder Hall (aka Elder Conservatorium of Music (aka “The Con”)) within the University may also have already had one – but technically the South side of North Tce is outside the city square mile isn’t it? It’s probably likely that any theatres in the city also had organs so there could have been 10 or so. While there is some sharing of organists (even today) this would mean that there’s probably 10 or more organists of reasonable talent wandering around (I know SFX used to have 3, one of whom was well known in musical circles, another would probably be familiar in similar circles (and also played the organ in another city church), and the third I think was basically equivalent to a home-hobbyist, and while over time that has changed a little, the basic theme remains – only the principal organist is renowned. It is entirely possible that there’s no report of a “missing organist” simply because he was a small-time/hobby organist or a secondary organist rather than a musician of any note (::rolleyes::). But I suppose in this case, my point is he may have played the organ, but that’s of minimal help (which I guess is basically Nick’s point above too).

    I don’t particularly buy into musical links to the rubaiyat – but then I tend to think the significance of the rubaiyat is over stated and over-analysed most of the time.

    So I’ll leave you with this thought: Musicians are temperamental…90% temper and 10% mental.

  142. milongal on July 1, 2016 at 12:38 am said:

    NB: I think Adelaide’s most famous organist at the time was James Govenlock (who later moved to Melbourne) – but he might have come a bit later too….and he definitely lived well beyond the 50s.

  143. Diane on July 1, 2016 at 5:28 am said:

    sounds to me like Strachan’s in the wind. 🙂

  144. Matt on July 1, 2016 at 4:09 pm said:

    Sorry to burst any bubbles, but the calf muscles related to organ playing is not a theory worth pursuing. At all.. Pushing down on a light weight wooden pedal is less strenuous than walking…or even standing. The champion organ player in my high school advanced music class was a 50kg girl with stick legs. And my 80 year old Nana still plays the organ. With stick legs… I think we’re straying from the point. To be honest, enlarged calf muscles like SM had, as well as the issues he had with his toes, can realistically point to ballet….if you consider them both bodily features that have resulted from a particular activity. But if we’re open to suggestions, is it unrealistic to assume that maybe he was born with both?

  145. John sanders on July 2, 2016 at 7:34 am said:

    Just going through some of the old pruszinski stuff and wondered if anything came of the response to gain information from friends and rels is a great idea but if it didn’t produce results I guess a direct approach to the players must be considered. Unfortunately they all seem to have gone to heaven or left town. Don Carlin has moved and may still be with us and as for the siblings Joan Jack and young Don they would all still be in their 70s but perhaps not recall much about their brother’s doings in 1948. The other thing we cannot be really assured of is whether the charged offender Frederick William & Richard Frederick are one & the same. I’m not sure about it at all and one reason is that although the same age our thief doesn’t appear to share the same ethics and social standing of dead ‘fred’. It seems that this family had been in The BH area forever bred like newts to boot and its more than as likely not that another 17 year old with a less socially reliable background might be our man. I know that this has already been raked over by others more SM knowledgeable than I but alas the name Fred hits a nerve and I’d like to give it another spin. Please advise if any other info has surfaced.

  146. shirley decock on July 4, 2016 at 11:01 am said:

    if you want detailed info on the theory of organist, please send me an email at shirleyshowdown [at] gmail [dot] com and I will send you my file, still writing on it, but perhaps you can help me. I can explain almost every object in his suitcase, the loupe, the wax string, etcetera, etcetera

  147. shirley decock on July 4, 2016 at 11:05 am said:

    I am only sure about the organist theory, it would help us a great deal because that would narrow down the possibilities enormesly … I will ivestagate Lawrence K Whipp, who went missing (american in paris) after the war. During the war a lot of churches were occupied by the german, who kept the organist for entertainment reasons and after they were always in strange positions as they were often seen as collaborating. Not saying this is the case, but it is an option. On the organist, however, THAT i am sur eabout

  148. shirley decock on July 4, 2016 at 11:08 am said:

    The loupe, for example, could easyliy have been one for searching organ needle breakage. The razor strap, was not a razor strap, in fact but an organ bellow. those look exactly the same … there are so many clues … glas somebody is finally picking up on it ..

  149. shirley decock on July 4, 2016 at 11:18 am said:

    As I am located in Belgium I could use some help locating all organs … Jestyn being a nurse perhaps hospital organs also?

    When looking for missing organist, please keep in mind that he might be an alien …

  150. nickpelling on July 4, 2016 at 2:05 pm said:

    shirley: I’m not sure I want to ask my blog readers to go searching for alien organs, sounds a bit too ‘Spooky Mulder’ for me. 😉

  151. milongal on July 6, 2016 at 2:29 am said:

    Regarding the Organ (or more specifically about dismissing the idea because some little old lady plays the Organ), I have two thoughts…
    – some organists may practice (or even play regularly) on a harmonium or similar (where you pedal the air yourself) – and those pedals need more strength than the pedalboard on an organ (you constantly twist your foot pivoting at the angle – I could believe that developing your calf)….In fact, I think a lot of smaller churches probably had harmoniums (or pump organs) – in Adelaide which was already developing it’s reputation as “the city of churches”
    – There’s organ players and there’s organists. I think there’s a difference between someone who plays once a week at Church (and maybe a couple of times practicing) and someone who regularly practices and performs. Aside from the obvious fact that the latter would play far more often (so there’s a repetitive factor irrespective of the weight of the pedals), Church Organ is very different to Performance Organ. I know people who could play hymns beautifully (where the Bass is normally quite simple – and you often just act as though your left pinkie is tied to your left foot), but would struggle with the pedal component to a Wedding March (like Widor’s toccata). In fact, as I wrote this it occured to me that there’s plenty of organists on Youtube. If you look for “Diane Bish Widor” you’ll find a video of her playing, and at various points (eg 1:40) it shows her working the pedalboard, and because of the light clothes she’s wearing (as opposed to most organists I’ve found who wear black trousers) it certainly appears like her calves are getting a good work out

    The more likely (in terms of a missing person) is the harmonium – since the skill required to play one is essentially just keyboard, so there would be very many around potentially, and one going missing would be barely noticed – certainly not enough for people to say “an organist went missing”. The latter, well, probably there are few enough organists proficient enough that (especially in a small place like 1940’s Adelaide) if one went missing it would be national news. Of course, it could be a prominent European organist displaced by the war…but we digress.

    IMO, the Organist angle is certainly possible, even if unlikely (or useless – knowing someone was an amateur/Church organist doesn’t help us identify them).

  152. g llewin on July 8, 2016 at 12:07 pm said:

    I remain convinced that this was a failed attempt to decipher a message hence the tragic circumstances of the incident. the first line of the puzzle is compatible with possible values ascribed to ”TAMAM SHUD ” reversed.
    a few people have noted this of course.
    I wonder if the probably deleted line M LIAOI should be rendered
    ML / ABO with the presumed I as /

    the peculiar ”c” after the Q is more likely an unfinished S

  153. nickpelling on July 8, 2016 at 3:47 pm said:

    g llewin: quite a few people have pointed out – and for a whole range of different reasons – that the police’s interpretation of the letters on the Rubaiyat code page may not have been 100% accurate. Sadly, until someone finds more / better photographs or a higher resolution scan, that’s all we have to work with here. 🙁

  154. gor llewin on July 9, 2016 at 2:15 pm said:

    thanks .
    yes, of course. but if its to be assumed that M LIAOI is deleted, then I think my suggestion for ML/ABO might, if not take us far, then point in a new direction. I maintain the final line ITTMT… etc is itself a tragic failure to solve an encoded message and cannot be read as a ”solution”. like the phaistos disc, most of the suggestions offered read like crossword clues, whereas the real solution would most likely be precise and unobscure

  155. John sanders on July 10, 2016 at 3:40 am said:

    Like a lot of other contributors I’m going over the 116 hospital business re staff, patients (POW returnees) and its a real can of worms but feel that I’m coming up with stuff that is very interesting and possibly relevant. However there are some peripheral aspects that I should comment on that are related and I think might create some discussion. We’ll start off by commenting on the apparent lack of labelling on some of the clothes which have caused a lot of theoretical comment over the past 68 years. I believe a simple and logical reason might be that these items could well have been factory seconds that had their manufacturers tags removed prior to sending off to people like the Red Cross, naafi, asco or other service related charities, hospitals and the like for distribution men returning from POW internment or the like. Of course other companies like ‘marco’ for instance may not have seen the need to do this with their discards but you might recall that both the stamina and Marco trousers had what might well have been maker imperfections (mended pocket and maybe an imperfect fob pocket stitching. If you’re happy so far than the following should be a no Brainerd. The English shoes with the impression Mark 204b which is a number that related to boots & not shoes is a logical extension of the same theory and likewise with two of the three Rubaiyats which were probably editorial mistakes which deemed them to be unavailable to the public but OK for distribution to hospitals or troops as part of their help the war effort policy. With regard to Alf Boxall’s 1941 copy in English and Malay the easy answer is that the addition would probably have been for distribution in the F.S. of Malaya but unfortunately the Japanese invasion made the deal unable. I do feel that my synopsis is worthy at least of some merit and would like to see some input from others either for or agin.

  156. John sanders on July 10, 2016 at 5:10 am said:

    My apologies of course I meant 115 Heidelberg hospital where many POW’s went for treatment and rehabilitation following their internment by our Japanese brothers in 1945/46.

  157. nickpelling on July 10, 2016 at 12:11 pm said:

    Gor: there is definitely something different about the final line, but it’s hard to quantify what that is exactly. There’s a post here about that, I’ll try to ferret it out for you…

  158. John sanders on July 12, 2016 at 7:55 am said:


    The foregoing was revealed whilst analyzing the shadowed rift within the
    letter I forming the first letter in the word implicitly. Another message in plain advises not to believe anything that might be found under the letter Q.

  159. Bumpkin on September 7, 2016 at 1:59 am said:

    After almost 68 years are we any closer now to knowing SM’s name than on the day his body was found?

  160. Bumpkin: that depends on who you ask, and who you believe. 🙂 For myself, I suspect that we’re much closer to the answer than we’ve ever been, despite the ridiculous amount of distracting noise that the Internet presents.

  161. Bumpkin: as a post-script, I’d add that I would now be unsurprised if I have seen the Somerton Man’s name on, say, a passenger list without even knowing it. That is, I think we’re looking at the right kind of names for the right kind of reasons, so I’m optimistic that we’ll achieve a good result.

  162. B Deveson on September 7, 2016 at 7:07 am said:

    Bumpkin, DA’s group have been able to recover mitochondrial DNA from a sample of the hair trapped in the plaster bust. DA has said that the mtDNA haplogroup is H. If the H haplogroup defining SNPs can be recovered then there is a reasonable chance that more specific typing SNPs can be recovered. From memory there are now more than a hundred sub-types of the H haplogroup and I think it is quite likely that DA’s group will identify a sufficiently small sub-group so it becomes possible to enlist the help of people who have tested and been found to carry the haplogroup in question. Genealogists would fall over themselves looking for lost relations that fit the SM profile. So, yes, I am hopeful that SM will be identified within the next five years.

  163. There were two suicides in Adelaide in December 1948.

    We know that two middle-aged male bodies occupied shelves in the same refrigeration unit at the Adelaide mortuary from the 15th of December to the 23rd of February, both had been poisoned, both had similar autopsy incisions. One man had left only his name in a hotel register, the other body had no identification when found.

    During this period there were many visitors to the mortuary, all claiming to know the man whose face and profile had been published by the local press. These photographs were of the body discovered on the 1st of December and were taken by Police Photographer PJ Durham on the 3rd.

    No photographs of the body discovered on the 15th of December were released to the press.

    Laurie Elliott, a skilled embalmer, returned to Adelaide from England in early January and was invited by the police to visit the morgue where he was asked if he could embalm one of the two male bodies stored in the refrigeration unit. Elliott obliged and commenced work on the 10th of January assisted by Const Sutherland, who observed the body had three small scars inside the left wrist, one inside the left elbow and a scar or boil mark on the upper left forearm.

    One body was buried on February 23rd. The other remained in the mortuary and under Elliott’s maintenance until June, when taxidermist Paul Lawson made one plaster cast of its head and shoulders and one each of its ears. The flesh of the head, by all accounts, was in an advanced state of rot despite the embalming.

    Prior to casting the ears and removing the hardened plaster covering the body’s head and shoulders and piecing it together Lawson was visited by the police. Then he received a call from Police Photographer PJ Durham.

    Lawson and Durham talked about the disposal of the original body (see Lawsons’ notes). Some think they were talking about the first body found, in particular its ears as Lawson had yet to commence making his ear casts. They think the shape, size and structure of the ears Lawson attached to the bust were the result of the conversation he had with Durham, and were not those of the body he was working on.

    The Somerton body – 5’11”, eyes hazel, hair gingery turning grey, well-built, slight scar on the upper left arm*, about 45 years.

    Tibor Kaldor’s body – 5’6″, eyes grey, hair brown turning grey, build medium, 45 years.

    *GF p93.

    Laurie Elliott embalmed a body with five scars, Dwyer LQMP examined a body with one.

  164. pete bowes: as cockup scenarios go, it’s all ~possible~, but how does it actually help explain who the Somerton Man was? We know exactly who Tibor Kaldor was, and he was someone else.

  165. Pete bowes on September 9, 2016 at 7:20 am said:

    I don’t do answers, I’m in it for the information these days, and now you have more than you did an hour ago. If you can’t use it fair enough, others might have the energy to look further.

  166. Pete bowes: isn’t it strange that the Internet is full of information but almost devoid of knowledge?

  167. Pete bowes on September 9, 2016 at 8:50 am said:

    Clive chanced upon a newspaper article that changed everything …
    But everything remains the same here.

  168. Pete bowes: I don’t yet see how Gordon’s posts have changed anything. For a start, Tibor Kaldor was buried on 23 February 1949, and Lawson started on the plaster cast on June 2nd 1949: so Lawson can only ever have had one of the bodies to work with, and so we can eliminate all they-got-the-wrong-ears scenarios straight away.

    In which case, the only partially plausible scenario Gordon and Clive have is the shit-we-buried-the-wrong-body-let’s-hope-nobody-notices scenario. And that’s quite a hard sell. 😐

  169. Pete bowes on September 9, 2016 at 9:42 am said:

    .. as I said, everything remains the same here. I’ve enjoyed our little cross-blog chat, good luck with Dave and his gran, and the letters, we must not forget the letters.

  170. Pete bowes: good luck with Gordon Cramer and Xlamb on your side, I’m sure my ‘Dream Team’ would have a quite different line-up.

  171. bdid1dr on September 9, 2016 at 2:43 pm said:

    @ Pete and Nick: I’m laying bets on two of Nick’s frequent reply-ers: Misca and Milongal.


  172. Nick. Do you support or oppose the effort to exhume SM and do a DNA test? If yes, why. If no, why not. I support it because I believe this is the best and probably only way to ID him.

  173. Nick. After all these years, what do we know for certain? Are we certain Jestyn knew SM? Are we certain SM is her son Robin’s biological father or any relation at all? Are we certain Robin is Rachel Egan’s biological father? Are we certain SM was in Adelaide to meet Jestyn or Prosper? I say “No” to all these questions. Maybe, back in 1948, Jestyn told the truth. That she did not know who he was. Maybe, this family is a dead end.

  174. Bumpkin: all the while the primary reason for exhumation remains DNA fishing, something big is missing from the picture. Australia has excellent archives, what is missing is the historical imagination to make full use of them.

  175. Nick: No disrespect intended but I have no idea what that means. I merely asked a few simple questions and would appreciate a few simple answers.

  176. Nick: I first discovered the Tamam Shud/ Somerton Man case when it was featured on Wikipedia’s “On this day…” back in 2012. A year later, 60 Minutes- Australia had an interview with Nurse Jestyn’s daughter Kate and Jestyn’s presumed granddaughter Rachel Egan. At the time, I thought this was a major break in the case. However, since then, nothing. Absolutely nothing. What am I missing when I say “Maybe, this family is a dead end.”

  177. milongal on September 18, 2016 at 10:42 pm said:

    @Bumpkin if I may:
    After all these years, what do we know for certain?
    We know a body was found on a beach with a few posessions (including bus and train tickets). We know that some time later a suitcase left at the Railway station was most likely related. There’s a whole bunch of speculation, extrapolation, assumption etc that gives a much bigger picture, but I can’t help but feel even some of the “absolute definites” (eg “the bus ticket was sold between King William St and the corner of West and South Tces”) are built on assumptions, recollections and frankly a whole bunch of human factor which is not incorruptible (eg, with the tickets (or for that matter the suitcase stub) we rely on people after the fact making statements based on recollection and notes they may (or may not) have taken. What if the conductor didn’t write down the right ticket sequence number? What if he forgot to record any number and then had to cover his arse? The more recent MH370 debacle is a good example how a series of lies, misinterpretations and butt covering can lose a large aircraft – this case is far smaller scale and only needs a few white lies to create a totally different situation to what happened). Basically, we know very little for certain, but we have deduced a reasonable scenario which on the balance of probability explains a lot of what happened those days – just without the level of detail we want. We have no name, we have no identity. Without them, we can only speculate what SM was doing in Adelaide (or at Somerton). And we’re really good at the speculation – there’s a bout 10 different (relatively plausible) scenarios floating around (and a couple less plausible ones).

    Are we certain Jestyn knew SM?
    We have the curious reaction when she was shown the bust. Personally, I think this suggests she knew OF him, but didn’t necessarily know him (and I could also believe that she expected to see someone else, and that surprised her). It is sort of worth noting that her reaction is according to 2 people present (although they both said it at different times, and the memory is easily influenced by what other people say – and the reactions are described somewhat differently). I think a lot is read into the reaction, but I could quite easily explain it away (at least to some degree). For me the woman at the cemetery is more interesting (or at least a massive missed opportunity) – but there’s nothing to say it was Jestyn either….

    Are we certain SM is her son Robin’s biological father or any relation at all?
    Not even close to certain. Speculation of the highest degree, based around ears, I think.

    Are we certain Robin is Rachel Egan’s biological father?
    I assume so, but have never really followed that line at all.

    Are we certain SM was in Adelaide to meet Jestyn or Prosper?
    Not really. There’s some handy connections (the phone number, Jestyn’s reaction) and some more vague speculation (the unused train ticket to Henley Beach where Prosper had a house or property + the bus to Glenelg where they lived), but as I say little assumptions can quickly send us way off course. Of course, it’s also entirely possible that SM either lived in Adelaide (with no acquaintances) or was in Adelaide for other reasons and happened to run into them at some stage. IMO, the more theories lean toward government and military secrets the less I can see the Jestyn and/or Prosper connections. They don’t strike me as “normal” enough people to be spies (Prosper’s dealings are way too public (and dodgy, by the sounds)). Maybe Hollywood has shaped my perception of what a spy should look like (and maybe the fact that I dismiss them as likely spies shows that they could have been), but I struggle to see it…

    I suspect there may have been involvement between SM and this family, however I’d lean more toward it being business than pleasure.


  178. Milongal; Thank you for the responses. Do you support or oppose exhuming the body to do a DNA test?

  179. milongal on September 19, 2016 at 11:22 pm said:

    TBH I don’t really see the point – but perhaps I come from a strange angle. Firstly someone has to bear the cost of an exhumation (and I don’t think that should be the State Govt), and secondly, even if someone raised the funds for it (as DA might have? TBH I haven’t really followed much of his stuff, other than occasionally ending up on a Uni of Adelaide Electrical Engineering page when I’m googling) I don’t really see the justification. To me, any research into SM (or indeed any other long-unsolved mystery) is primarily for our own edification and doesn’t really benefit anyone.
    It’s possible there is a family who knows stuff but doesn’t want publicity – who stand to be offended/involved by people digging up their dead. I guess I don’t really see what it gains (as I said earlier, I think we all have an interest in an identification, but it’s not really for any greater good). Even if some of the conspiratorial theories about body switches were demonstrated to be likely, I’m not really sure what digging a body up would do (other than potentially prove it).

    I’d probably describe myself as fairly apathetic to the idea – I definitely don’t support it, but I wouldn’t lobby against it either. It may answer some questions, or it may create a lot more (as seems to happen all too often in this case). It does, however, sort of lead to an interesting question – at what point do we consider this to be solved? Does knowing who SM was (as in name and family) appease us, or do we need more? In many respects, I’m far more interested in how/why he ended up dying at Somerton Beach (or how his body ended up there) than the specifics of his heritage (and while knowing who he was might help a little toward tracing his movements, it also might not. Even if Robyn was an illegitimate son he fathered, that only connects him to Jestyn who we sort of already connect him to – and it still may not tell us who he is).

  180. milongal on September 19, 2016 at 11:41 pm said:

    Totally off topic, this morning as I waited for a bus it occurred to me (as may have been discussed to some degree) that we can’t really connect SM to the train station. Let’s forget about the suitcase for a second (even if it was his, or linked to him, there’s nothing to say HE left it at the station). His personal belongings are difficult to resolve. He had spent money on 2 tickets (and possibly a pasty), yet had no wallet and no money (pretty unusual to have planned far enough ahead to know that you carry exact change for 2 tickets (at least 1 unused – Wiki insists that the bus ticket could not be proven to be used, although my understanding is that it was linked to a series that was sold by a conductor on board) and a pasty – it’s possible to use up the money exactly without pre-planning (eg that’s why he had a pasty not a pie, or something) but it deserves attention. Of course, someone going to the beach wouldn’t necessarily need a wallet – but he was hardly dressed for the beach. So someone took the wallet – nothing particularly unlikely in that…except the unused Train ticket. Surely a train ticket is something you put in your wallet if you pre-purchase, to me it doesn’t seem like something you thrust into your pocket if you intend to use it (and had purchased it some time before travel). So the presence of the unused ticket in his pockets and the absence of any money seem to ask a lot of questions – in fact it’s almost suggestive of (at least the train ticket) having been deliberately planted, and at that point we have to question all the belongings in the pockets. These days, there’s a 2 hour transfer on Adelaide public transport. I don’t know whether that would have been the case back then (certainly rail and bus ticketing were independent then, but not sure whether an MTT bus ticket might have been valid for transfers on any MTT service), however for whatever reason he also kept this used bus ticket (ok, that one’s easier to explain away – people do that (although the buses used to have a “used ticket” bin by the centre door – and the old buses used to have signs “please exit via centre door” (NB: When I lived in Canberra I used to get confused because rear doors were only used at interchanges – even in artics, so you almost always alighted by the front door)). So these two tickets which tie SM to the railway station (the bus one was believed to have been the 6th of 9(?) sold between the railway station and the corner of West and South Tce. I don’t really know what the routes were like back then, however I know West and South is identifiable as a Section change (with the entire city square mile being 1 section). The insistence “between railway station and” to me suggests the bus cut in at the railway station (ie that was it’s first stop), because if it had travelled the length of North Tce as they do now then the ticket could have been bought anywhere on that stretch (not knowing public transport of that era, I suppose there’s a possibility that cross-town routes changed number at KW St (ie the railway station), but I think that’s unlikely because it would make a lot more sense to change route number as you enter the city (as they do now)). Certainly I would think back then the Railway Station would be the busiest stop between there and Anzac Highway, so 6th ticket is quite plausibly sold there).

    Sorry that drifted a long way. The tickets bug me – and to me at least one of them seems to be planted (so why not both). This in turn means that there is no direct link between SM and the railway station that day (well, other than that pesky suitcase – for which he didn’t have a stub? – this possibly strengthens the idea that his wallet was stolen; or that he didn’t deposit the suitcase there) – and all the speculation about him going to the baths (for which he didn’t have a ticket?) starts to get a little flaky. Of course, once we start to get into evidence planting we’re suddenly getting into conspiratorial territories where I don’t like to go. Not that it implies government involvement (which I’ve read in a few places was confirmed at some stage – although only by descendents of Jestyn (who likely wouldn’t know), not people directly involved at the time), but it does imply a more organised (even pre-meditated if you think about the tickets had to be purchased that morning) murder rather than an opportunistic one…

    Alternatively, perhaps the perpetrator(s) were looking for something in the wallet. Perhaps there they found one or both tickets and left them. So perhaps we can explain the absence of a wallet and the presence of the tickets without evidence planting. But what were they looking for then? If you’re looking for money you only need open a wallet, not take anything out (and if you want money and have killed someone you’d likely take the wallet and look at it later). Were they (for whatever inexplicable reason) looking for the Tamam Shud fragment? Was there something else they wanted (possibly which they found)?

    Once again we just raise more questions than we answer….

  181. IMO, this case will be solved when, if at all possible; A) Somerton Man has been positively identified. B) The manner and cause of death has been determined. C) If this was a homicide, a person of interest has been identified. As to who should pay for the exhumation; IMO the government, that is, the tax-payers of South Australia should. Why? Because that’s what governments are supposed to do.

  182. milongal on September 20, 2016 at 10:52 pm said:

    Not to play devil’s advocate but….
    A) What do you consider “positive identification” – is a name enough, or do we actually need to understand his “place in the world” (for lack of a better term)? There’s been plenty people buried (with name and all) where noone really knew their real identity (in the early 90’s I remember someone from a church I was going to at the time being found dead. No relatives could be found, and noone claimed the body. I can’t remember whether he was given a pauper’s funeral or whether someone within the church funded the funeral, and he was buried under the name everyone there had known him by – but from memory there was some question as to whether that was actually his real name.
    B) I suspect this will never be anything but speculation – we might refine some of the knowledge we have now, but I think we’ll never categorically know (that is, if we don’t trust the current “official” cause of death (poisoning by digitalis ) why would we trust another? I think we could (but not necessarily will) get a much clearer picture on how he came to be poisoned, and perhaps by whom and I suppose that might make the cause clearer too….
    C) I don’t particularly see that there’s anything in the public interest to be gained through exhumation, and disagree the burden should be on the taxpayer (that is, I don’t see that the state or the people in the state actually achieve anything by it). That said, there are probably plenty of examples of money worse spent in the state and (I’d imagine) an exhumation would be relatively cheap in comparison. I also don’t think (from a government point of view) that closing a 70 year old cold case is all that important.

    WARNING: Rant ahead….
    This case is interesting (read: weird) to us because there’s an unknown element and any hint of the mysterious brings out the Sherlock in all of us. But just because we have a academic (used very loosely) interest, doesn’t really mean it means anything to the state. I guess the pragmatist in me asks what would we gain through an exhumation and who would that gain benefit? I tend to think whoever benefits can chip in the coin – especially since if there is an identity to be found through exhumation it was suppressed by relatives of the people now demanding the state allow them identification (that is, if SM is Robin’s dad and Jestyn knew he was (or even could have been) then she had plenty of chance to say so (either officially or to others in the family quietly) – if her descendants now want to know they either need to pester relatives who might have been told, or cough up the dough).


  183. Milongal: Thank you for your responses. I assume Nick feels the same way. I guess this mystery this is fated to go unsolved.

  184. Bumpkin: not for the first time (and hopefully not for the last), I see the Somerton Man evidential landscape completely differently from everyone else, and am highly optimistic we will make progress before very long. 🙂

  185. Nick; without a DNA test, how will we ever know for sure?

  186. Bumpkin: there are a millions other ways to be sure, DNA is but one path of many that stand a chance of steering us in the right direction.

  187. milongal on September 22, 2016 at 10:38 pm said:

    At the moment Gordon is going interesting directions. He still hasn’t convinced me that the direction he’s going is related to SM (mainly because I can only really see hints of microcode on the “bank” notes, not in most of the other places they’re claiming it – and they seem to have found an incredible amount of “microcode” but remarkably haven’t been able to read most of it), but there’s certainly some interesting stuff there irrespective.

    trademark digression….
    IMO it all still comes back to what we consider to be “solved”. Does knowing a name mean we’ve “solved” it? I can’t help but think that it will never be conclusively “solved” – or at least no matter what the evidence, there will always be people who read it differently, or insist that there’s some more complicated conspiracy going on. Personally I think things will turn out to be (relatively) mundane. In particular, claims that higher authorities were suppressing the investigation don’t really make sense to me – AFAIK (I think I read it somewhere) this was the first time a “John Doe” was embalmed in SA – hardly the sort of thing that would happen when a higher authority wants the “John Doe” forgotten, inaccessible and unsolvable IMHO. Further, the whole Rubaiyat doesn’t fit in with suppression – even if the fragment is found by lower authorities unaware of the higher authority interest, the twists beyond that (eg the conveniently (so conveniently people speculate it’s an obvious plant) found rubaiyat book) is totally unnecessary (and therefore unlikely to be deliberate).
    To me (almost) every “flag” that there was some higher authority at work are actually strong indications of the opposite – while they may appear to deliberately confuse the investigation, they are totally unnecessary and only serve to promote interest in what would otherwise have become a soon forgotten “suspicious death” – and that’s surely the opposite of what the higher authority would want. Dead “John Doe’s” are easily forgotten if investigation can go nowhere – but this case seemed to throw up more and more avenues of inquiry over time…which is really the main reason some of us are interested in it today.

  188. milongal: is there anything vaguely connected to the Somerton Man that hasn’t yet had microcode ‘detected’ on it?

  189. milongal on September 22, 2016 at 11:19 pm said:

    Oh, and today the shiny shoes bother me. There was polish in the suitcase left at the station, but that couldn’t have been used after the suitcase was checked in. So at a minimum (assuming he shined his shoes immediately before checking the case in) we’ve walked from the station to the bus-stop (this was before the underpass and escalators/elevators obviously, so that’s a (relatively steep) flight of stairs to North Tce, then crossing North Tce (I *assume* the bus-stop is where W1is now (outside the Strathmore hotel (I had in my head that there used to be some other Strath* (Strathmont??) in the city, but google suggests I’m just crazy)….there did used to be a stop West of that outside the hotel there (Stamford Plaza?) and another one East (where EDS (probably HP now) House is now) – and there’s nothing to say he boarded anywhere near the station either (other than potentially time constraints). The old buses would have had fairly steep steps in them too (a whole 2 of them to get on), and it’s often hard not to kick stuff under the seat in the bus). Then as far as I can tell, the closest the St Leonard’s bus came to Glenelg is the corner of Adelphi Tce and Anzac Hwy (there is a bus stop on Adelphi Tce today, and there is also 100m or so West of it on Anzac Hwy) – but that’s somewhere in the order of 2km walking (about 30 minutes), over terrain that may have included unsealed roads and paddocks back then). And given that was AM that was only the beginning of his day…and he’s already had plenty of opportunity to scuff up his shoes…

    The comment about the shoes being unusually unscuffed is (to me) odd – especially when they say something like “for someone who had walked around the beach all day”. Most Adelaide beaches (like all beaches?) have 2 different textures of sand – soft dry sand closer to land, and compacted, harder, wet sand closer to the sea. The softer stuff is hard to walk in, and gets into your shoes, but I’m not sure it would scuff them any, and the harder stuff tends to stay put (unless you actually walk really close to the water where you might sink in a little). As such, I’m surprised they talk about the (absence of) scuffing in relation to the beach as opposed to the rest of his travels that day….

    I sort of think if we can explain some of the apparent anomalies in the small scale, the bigger picture might start to come into focus….

  190. Nick and milongal; Thank you for your responses. Re: DNA, I must respectively disagree.

  191. Nick; Unless their is a major breakthrough in the case, I have nothing else to contribute. Bumpkin

  192. milongal on September 25, 2016 at 10:34 pm said:

    @Nick: Well, I’m waiting for the bus and train tickets to surface – they’d surely be good candidates for some microwriting, wouldn’t they?

    Of course my favourite so far is on the cover of GF’s book….

  193. milongal on September 25, 2016 at 11:11 pm said:

    As you have likely seen, the blogspot site has published a SAPol document from 1959 summarising the case….
    there’s 2 things (other than the absence of microcode) that strike me as interesting about the document:
    1) It’s purpose is the investigation of a possible kiwi connection
    2) the layout of the code in the document (each line has been split in 2 inconsistently) and some of the letters are wrong

    Regarding #2 above:
    The first ‘D’ on line 2 is the first ‘B’ on line one in the picture that normally
    circulates (this I would otherwise dismiss as a mistake in transcription).
    All the M/Ws appear to be interepreted as ‘M’ (which TBH was my original instinct)
    The ‘W’ in line 4 of the transcript is clearly an ‘N’ in line 2 of the ‘original’ (W and N are nowhere near each other on a typewriter, and there is little ambiguity if it was transcribed off the code page as we see it today (I also think the ‘D’ could be a ‘P’)
    The lines are split roughly in half, however line one and 4 is split smaller half then larger half, lines 2 and three are larger half then smaller half – and there’s no apparent reason to split the lines – there is a lot of room on that page to have transcribed them in the same line lengths (there is hints of spaces at some of those breaks, I suppose (definitely line 3) – but to me the flourish on the AB at the end (and the length of that line) would indicate a signature…which is far less subtle than changing spaces in the text….
    So….The code potentially looks (to a suspicious and conspiratorial mind) that the code was transcribed by someone who had some idea of how it should be laid out. While I struggle to convince myself that there is anything more than the mundane explanation (someone just arbitrarily split the lines and made some mistakes in transcription), it bothers me rather a lot – at the very least I think it shows how the police were thinking about the code at the time….

    Totally randomly, it also occurred to me while reading that letter that if ‘KEANE’ were printed (rather than written with a texta) and you only had one of each letter it would become ‘KEAN’ unless you were willing to print twice. In fact I say printed, but the bit that got my attention was that (the laundry bag at least) was STAMPED according to the document. (Although as I think I’ve said before I think Kean(e) is somewhat irrelevant…..it is either unrelated or was put there as a smokescreen – in which case it’s relatively useless too).

  194. I’d say, by the look of it, that Gordon Cramer is a lot further on than you are, milongal.

  195. Petebowes: if only we could gauge our distance from the truth by counting the number of words written. Only in that world, in my opinion, is Gordon making progress.

  196. You’ve got more than a few of your own written down here.

  197. Petebowes: you’ve written a lot yourself, even if you have taken it all down a few times. 😐

  198. Pete bowes on September 26, 2016 at 10:01 pm said:

    After years of research you are still in the same place you started, not a position to judge in my view, so perhaps you could consider a hard pruning.

  199. milongal on September 26, 2016 at 10:32 pm said:

    @pete – There’s no doubt he’s a lot further than I am. I’m just not certain he’s further in the right direction. There’s certainly aspects of his research that are very interesting, and he (and Clive) certainly seem to have researched their angle very thoroughly. I’m just not convinced it ties together with SM quite as well as he asserts….

    But who knows, he may yet prove me wrong.

  200. petebowes: as far as the Somerton Man goes, you clearly have not the faintest inkling of what I’ve been researching over the past couple of years, nor how far I’ve got with it. Which is good.

    If I say that it includes about as much microcode as can be found between my toes, that’s probably not giving too much away, though.

  201. Pete bowes on September 26, 2016 at 11:42 pm said:

    I remember you telling the Americans who wanted you in their podcast that you had something sensational coming up and couldn’t spare the time for the ten minute interview, that was six months ago.
    Promises are one thing, delivery is another.

  202. Milongal: What “blog spot” are you referring to?

  203. Pete bowes: I was very close to posting my Somerton Man research around then, but lost interest thanks to the intensely personal attacks I was receiving on a regular basis.

    But you’ve pruned all that from your site, so your conscience is presumably clean now.

  204. Pete bowes on September 27, 2016 at 6:12 am said:

    You let Chloe loose … how convenient of you to forget the poor handicapped schoolgirl and her infamous accusations on this site. That was very poor of you Nick, and permanently fractured our online friendship.

  205. Pete bowes: what I saw was a series of posts made through a proxy within 50 or so metres of a Children’s support centre. You published the sender’s IP addresses and email address, and promptly got trolled by someone else.

    If you ever had any proof the original sender was a troll, you never shared it.

  206. You posted lies.

    With respect to your readers, who must be as sick of this as I am, goodbye.

  207. peteb: by openly publishing (what still seems to me to be, as I can see not an iota of proof otherwise) a handicapped minor’s email address on your blog, you acted irresponsibly and exposed her to all manner of trolling attacks.

    And even now you continue (a) to protest your innocence in the matter, (b) to blame other people (OK, specifically me) for your personal mistakes of judgment, and (c) to flounce off when discussion doesn’t go the way you would like it to.

    I reiterate (for the nth time), if you have the tiniest piece of proof that demonstrates that she is the troll you say she is, please feel free to share. Otherwise it just looks as though you made a series of errors of judgment you’d in retrospect rather were someone else’s fault.

  208. Nick; For the life of me, I don’t understand why anybody would ever troll anybody. Especially over a case that is almost 68 years old and is of limited interest to the general public. Don’t people have anything better to do with their lives?

  209. milongal on September 27, 2016 at 9:46 pm said:

    @Bumpkin: Gordon Cramer – tamamshud dot blogspot dot com

  210. milongal on September 27, 2016 at 10:22 pm said:

    @Bumpkin re trolls: This case seems to bring out the worst in a lot of people. There’s been a whole host of trolls all with their own agenda (usually some strange idea that they would gain some sort of infamy being directly connected to the case) – so much so it’s often difficult to gauge who is and who isn’t a troll.

    There’s a(n increasing) number of places online where the case is discussed (and in each of them some of the discussion turns nasty). IMO, they can sort of be sumarised by these 4 (+ anemptyglass which is briefly mentioned below):
    1) Professor Derek Abbott – a few years ago Prof Abbott (a professor at the school of Electrical Engineering at Uni of Adelaide) had some post-grads use the case for their project – I’m not sure the EE angle, but I think there was a Math angle analysing the code. I don’t really know whether his interest in the case came before that, but somewhere along the way he decided his wife was directly related and an exhumation was necessary. His site is pretty good for stating the original known facts of the case (although some of them seem to contradict across different pages – but that happens on all sites). I haven’t spent loads of time on his site, but I have found it the easiest place to find itemised lists of SM’s possessions and the like (Although anemptyglass has become a very good resource bringing together a lot of the facts and theories into a wiki-like site – I’m not certain, but I think the person running that originally posted a lot of ideas here).
    2) This site: (as you will have noticed) SM is not Nick’s primary interest, but at different times he has posted loads of information/research/speculation in quick succession. Personally, I like that on this site there’s a reasonably open mind that “anything is possible”, but with a lean toward “Occam’s Razor” (ie we don’t need elaborate spy conspiracies to explain this). This site has attracted a lot of fights, trolls and other interesting stuff – ironically often caused when bloggers from the other sites visit. I like the ideas on this site (asnd to me the Fred Pruzinski connection still makes a lot of sense), I get disappointed when Nick focuses on his true love too much (the Voynich Manuscript) and we go months without an SM blog (but in the current climate any post would likely just stir up some fireworks)
    3) Gordon Cramer’s site (tamamshud) which originally claimed to be more “properly” investigative than any other (he’s an ex-policeman from the UK, I think) and has a disclaimer at the top about an American ex-intelligence group who GC is apparently a part of (I actually had a look, and it didn’t appear membership was too difficult for non-American members – it included 1 question “are you willing to pay the yearly subscription?”). IMO this disclaimer (and the connection to this group) is a deliberate attempt to legitimise his site over all others. The comments on his site can be quite interesting, but often seem to be regular groupies whose best contribution is “wow, I wish we were awesome, because you’re right”). Sometime in the last year or two, it started to focus on some “microwriting” that was claimed to be visible (I’m very skeptical of it for lots of reasons, not least because I don’t think there’s a satisfactory explanation of how it could be on any of the current pictures of the code page that we have – but I could (and have) spend a lot of time arguing about that). This soon involved Gerry Feltus (whose book is considered by all the researchers I’ve mentioned to be an authoritative version of the state of affairs before they started researching their way) – and GC claimed there was microwriting on the cover of his book (and that some GF references proved he knew about the presence of this alleged microcode). More recently (but still based on the microcode) GC has drifted to a specific group of immigrants, one of whom happened to be poisoned in Adelaide around the same time as SM. The research into that group is certainly interesting, however for now I still think the link back to SM is hazy at best (but I’m not prepared to make the call that he’s definitely barking up the wring tree). I sort of get a feeling that he might stumble across the right identity, but not for the right reasons.
    4) Pete’s site (tomsbytwo). I find this site a little ironic. Pete is a fiction writer, writing a fictionalised story around SM, but is quick to accuse other people of making things up or not fact-checking properly. I originally found his site to be interesting, but found he was quick to engage people who disagreed with him and try to shut them down (sometimes quite agressively). He also seems to have his little troupe of supporters, however if you’re looking for facts around the case I’m not sure his is the best site to go to, simply because it deals in fiction. He also prominently posts here and on GC’s site….

    I’m one of the mad people who likes to post here (largely because I feel GC has blinkers once he comes up with an idea, and PB comes across as a bit abrasive)….but I’m sure some people enjoy the other sites too. To each their own, eh?

  211. Pete bowes on September 28, 2016 at 6:31 am said:

    Thanks Milongal, I’m slowly maturing with age and finding people easier to forgive.
    .. sound of door slowly closing again.

  212. Milongal

    I get disappointed when Nick focuses on on the Somerton man for posts on end, and we go months without a post about the Voynich Manuscript,

    – You know Aesop’s fable? of the man, the boy and the donkey?

  213. Diane: I wish the donkey hadn’t died (in many versions). 😐

  214. Nick,
    I wish they’d had two donkeys.. or some ear-plugs.


  215. Diane: I wish they’d had the courage of their convictions not to listen to the well-meaning (but contradictory) advice of others. 😉

  216. Milongal; Thank you for the responses and info. I, too, like this site the best, probably because Nick seems like a normal person and doesn’t have an ax to grind. By that, I mean, no pet theories. I have no interest in the Voynich Manuscript or any of Nick’s other passions. I wait, sometimes for weeks, for a SM update. You mentioned “empty glass.” What is that? Thank you.

  217. milongal on September 28, 2016 at 10:35 pm said:

    @Diane: lol – sorry, didn’t mean that as a criticism of Nick (or the site).

  218. Tammy Should on October 2, 2016 at 9:27 pm said:

    Adelaide papers today featuring the Prof.

    Not sure it’s new news, but they’re reporting that the DNA points strongly to East Coast USA origin.

    Does that nix any current theories?

  219. Shirley on October 7, 2016 at 8:20 am said:

    After extensive research on my ‘organist’ theory I have come to the conclusion that that has become a dead end. However, looking further into the suitcase contents I tried to find the origin of the items. I have found the tie to be a very particular one.
    I have found the exact same tie, different manufacturers but always with the ‘(king/queen) dragoon-guards-regimental-tie’ description. That is a cavalry regiment of the British Army that existed in many shapes and forms all over the world. If the SM belonged to this regiment, the items such as the stencil brush could have been his gun cleaning tools. It would also explain his good physical shape, the calve muscles (horseriding) and even the one collar stud, as the guards had detachable collars. As the army is very firm on shoe polishing and neatness that would also explain some known facts on the SM. Anyone interested in further exploring this?

  220. Shirley on October 7, 2016 at 10:18 am said:

    Has anyone researched the suitcase label? Would A48605 be a traveling label or is it a label police gave to evidence? Is it possible that the label is in fact a date, that would be 1948, 6th of mei of 5th of june?

  221. Anton Alipov on October 14, 2016 at 9:25 pm said:

    Just to throw in a consideration which occurred to me by way of idle association a couple of days ago. I found no better place for that than this thread. 🙂

    It is about that curios development of the man’s legs. It’s being said it was characteristic for a runner or a dancer. What about horse riding? I mean cavalry, of course.

  222. Anton: it has always struck me that this is likely to be a “one way” piece of evidence, that may make sense in retrospect (once we know who he was) but points in far too many vague directions simultaneously to be useful now. :-/

  223. Just a question. Has there been any photos of his hands. If he was a smoker he would have discolouration on two fingers. If not he did not smoke.

  224. Most smokers have an indent on their lip.

  225. Just found the answer. Was trying to work out a heavy smoker always has lighter/matches and smokes on them.

  226. Akhenaton_1611 on November 4, 2016 at 1:24 pm said:

    I got this: Abroad inmate ca(q)ao (island)…also…from other logic…:Embargo Slip….

  227. Akhenaton_1611 on November 4, 2016 at 1:29 pm said:

    much accurate…maybe is coco island (prison)….

  228. John sanders on November 13, 2016 at 8:13 am said:

    Akhenaton 1611: Prison Island, Cocos-Keeling group (Aust), possible transit stop for m.v. Tirranna on outward route Melb. to Mombasa with garrison supplies. Did passenger Mikkelsen have another lucky escape?

  229. Bumpkin on December 1, 2016 at 11:21 pm said:

    Nick; Well another year has come and gone. Are we any closer to ID’ing the SM today, than a year ago? I think not. Do you still oppose an exhumation?

  230. John sanders on December 10, 2016 at 8:54 am said:

    Don’t know what the Safpol property room was like in ’48 but I can tell you that in the seventies if one of the lads had a special date and needed some good kit, anything in the nature of wearing apparel could be ‘borrowed’ as long as it was not sealed and labelled as not for removal, and so long a it was signed for, then later returned clean and or polished. Of course the other thing about SM’s spit shined size nine bespokes is that they could have been schmicked-up for his big day at West Terrace and if I’m not mistaken it was some months after his confinement that Big Jack C. or Doc. Dwyer first commented on them. The only troubling aspect of this proposition is that I like most others are still trying to establish for sure that he had two pairs ie one for his funeral and a second pair for Mr. Littlemore’s event of ’78, if not then DA will probably find him bare footed. Speaking of DA is it true that the ‘some one who came knocking’ actually came to the house at Mentone and not Glenelg as I have always been led to believe, not so according to the prof’s blog 2 yrs & 3 myths back. According to wiki’s mostly accurate site it stated that the visitor called in late ’48 which would obviously support my held belief; were there two people seeking our Jessica at to different times & places. Any takers.

  231. I will try to solve the cipher. I will have paper, pencil, google translate, and my autistic brain to solve it.

  232. milongal on December 30, 2016 at 10:33 pm said:

    Here’s a “solution” to the cipher I’d not seen before…..of course, the suicide idea doesn’t sit well for a good number of reasons, nonetheless.

    http://recordsearch.naa.gov.au/SearchNRetrieve/Interface/ViewImage.aspx?B=7937871 [then jump to page 169 -Nick-]

    NB: I was reading some John Ruffles (the postman who in 1977 was convinced SM could have been a spy – although he seemed reluctant to say more than “could have” and “well it’s possible”). There’s certainly an interesting (and plausible) digression to Harry Gold meeting other spies using pages from books (that said, I’m not convinced the “code” itself is relevant – to me it doesn’t really make sense as anything other than a love poem acrostic (or similar))

  233. Autism: Good luck with your quest and don’t worry that many others have failed because with your unique autistic talents you may see things in a perspective that others cannot. Don’t feel so bad if it doesn’t work out for you because there is another cipher on this very site that we believe may be right down your alley and no one can make head nor tail out of it. The person who devised it was probably autistic and thereby much smarter in his own unique way than any of us who are obviously not equipped mentally to work out the logic. It’s the Ricky McCormick enigma and comprises two sets of apparently undeciperable sheets of his own written words that his mother refers to as ‘bird scratch marks’. If you happen to have some friends at your special school or workplace then perhaps you could all get involved with it as a joint project. Anyway good luck and all the best for ’17

  234. Pete bowes on December 31, 2016 at 10:34 am said:

    Ditto that on the Voynich Manuscript .. the guy who thought that up must have supped on every hallucination mentioned in Timothy Leary’s diary.
    Happy New Year John Sanders, and you Bids … here’s to notoriety.

  235. Pete: Fair go mate, talk about giving a dog a bad name. Nick: 19 to go and give us your best shots, I’m just an old counter puncher at heart and relish any fair challenge; your a good sport. As for you Gordon & Clive, something very very big is going down, but fifty years too late to help our old buddy on the beach. Thanks Misca, Byron, Milongal Anors. for keeping me honest; much appreciated and a huge happy to all you New Year Muppets for 2017. PS. o.k. NP I concede it wasn’t a Minx, it was a Humber Super Snipe. Cheers ‘hic’ everybody. js

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