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Author Topic: New development in the "Tamám Shud" mystery  (Read 3291 times)

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April 24, 2021, 09:51:59 AM
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RMK


The "Tamám Shud" case is one of my favorite unresolved mysteries; its Wikipedia entry is pretty thorough.  It concerns the identity, and circumstances surrounding the death, of the "Somerton man"--a deceased John Doe found on Somerton Park beach, near Adelaide, South Australia, on December 1st, 1948.  Well, the police in South Australia just got an exhumation order authorizing them to dig up the Somerton Man's body and attempt to extract DNA from it!  So, we might get at least a partial resolution of this long-standing mystery in the foreseeable future.  We'll have to wait and see if they can actually extract any usable DNA from his remains.

Personally, I've always thought the Somerton Man was a Soviet spy.  I think either he was a double agent in the Australian or British intelligence services, or he was from the USSR and was recruited to spy in Australia because he happened to be able to completely pass as ethnically Anglo-Celtic.  If the latter case is true, then his earlobe type (which is rare in Caucasian populations) might be due to Asian admixture in his family tree.

If I'm right that he was a spy in enemy territory, then at least two possibilities come to mind regarding the circumstances of his death.  One is that he found out his cover was blown, and committed suicide to evade capture.  Another is that his cover was blown, but he didn't know it, and was covertly assassinated by Australian counterespionage agents.  In either case, I suspect he was killed by some hard-to-detect poison.

Edit: a third possibility is that he was a double agent in the intelligence services of the USSR (or some other Eastern Bloc country), and his employer found out he'd been passing secrets to Western governments, and had him covertly assassinated in Australia.
« Last Edit: April 24, 2021, 02:43:03 PM by RMK »
 

April 25, 2021, 02:48:08 PM
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marieuk


very interesting.  it looks like the lady did know who he was, as he appears to be the father of her son!  What do you think of the coded message?  I noticed in the last line you can almost make out 'am samstag mit'  give or take the odd letter.  Could it have been a message for somebody to meet him?   Maybe it's in more than one language?  The lady's daughter says her mother spoke Russian, but refused to say how she knew it.  All very strange. Be interesting to see what happens with the DNA tests.  Oh not forgetting he has the legs of a ballet dance?
 

April 25, 2021, 05:46:34 PM
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RidgeWatcher


I have always been interested in this case as it is so unusual but there is the woman who could have possibly cracked it open. Thanks. As far as I know the only people to be found with tags and labels missing from their clothes are in the intelligence agencies.
 

April 25, 2021, 08:28:33 PM
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KFinn


I would love to see an expert analysis of the code, not to decipher but because the way the letters are formed, to me it doesn't look like someone whose native alphabet is English.  To me, it looks like a native Cyrillic writer.
-Ren
 

April 28, 2021, 03:09:32 PM
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marieuk


It does sound like the plot for a spy book.  Please keep us posted if you hear any more.  I'd love to  hear some more about the code too.
 

April 30, 2021, 08:21:37 PM
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Jacques-Emile


And ski travelers have well toned legs. Is GRU in this storyline as well?
 

April 30, 2021, 09:35:15 PM
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Manti


I have not heard about this case before...

Upon reading about it, my first intuition would be that it was suicide. Several reasons: The body being in such a public place, wouldn't be anyone's first choice to place someone's body they have just killed. And the piece of paper torn from the book: I think the plausible explanation is that he tore it from his book and placed it in his pocket. A killer wouldn't want to do this, it's something that will potentially help police to find them.

I would love to see an expert analysis of the code, not to decipher but because the way the letters are formed, to me it doesn't look like someone whose native alphabet is English.  To me, it looks like a native Cyrillic writer.
Hm, why Cyrillic? I was wondering about those letters too... The R in the first line looks very natural, and Cyrillic has no R although it has я. But several different A letters are written in different styles... and the S letters in the last line look like the writer was either intoxicated or never wrote an S before...
 

May 14, 2021, 08:40:03 PM
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sigaffa


The case of the "Somerton Man" has always been a personal favourite - if not for any other reason than I walk past the place where the victim's body was discovered nearly every week!

Professor Derek Abbott, a senior Professor at our local Adelaide University, has been arguing for the exhumation of the "Somerton Man" for a number of years, in order to perform DNA analyses. In a rather bizarre twist to the case, he has a somewhat personal interest in the victim's DNA. It is possible that he is married to the grand-daughter of the "Somerton Man"! See:

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-10-15/a-marriage-and-a-mystery-somerton-man-romantic-twist/11377458?nw=0

for more on this.

Professor Abbott has also undertaken extensive research in an attempt to de-cypher the mysterious code associated with this case.

Kind regards
... I try to get nearer, but as it gets clearer, there's something appears in the way
 

May 15, 2021, 03:15:02 PM
Reply #8
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RMK


Upon reading about it, my first intuition would be that it was suicide. Several reasons: The body being in such a public place, wouldn't be anyone's first choice to place someone's body they have just killed. And the piece of paper torn from the book: I think the plausible explanation is that he tore it from his book and placed it in his pocket. A killer wouldn't want to do this, it's something that will potentially help police to find them.
You make a fair case that it was probably suicide.  A few random thoughts...  First, if it was suicide, why would the Somerton Man seemingly go to such lengths to conceal his identity, but ensure that his body would be found on a public beach?  That seems odd...unless he routinely carried no identification, and routinely removed the labels from his clothes...which brings us back to the possibility of espionage.  Second, if he was murdered, maybe the killer put the "Tamám Shud" slip of paper into the man's pocket, and left him in a public place, to send a message to someone?  Jessie Thompson, perhaps?  She lived less than a kilometer from where the body was found.  Third, whether it was murder or suicide, whoever was responsible made it difficult to determine a cause of death (the official explanation is apparently digitalis overdose, which seems reasonable to me).  Fourth, what if it wasn't homicide or suicide, but a misadventure?  That's hard to believe, though.

The case of the "Somerton Man" has always been a personal favourite - if not for any other reason than I walk past the place where the victim's body was discovered nearly every week!

Professor Derek Abbott, a senior Professor at our local Adelaide University, has been arguing for the exhumation of the "Somerton Man" for a number of years, in order to perform DNA analyses. In a rather bizarre twist to the case, he has a somewhat personal interest in the victim's DNA. It is possible that he is married to the grand-daughter of the "Somerton Man"! See:

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-10-15/a-marriage-and-a-mystery-somerton-man-romantic-twist/11377458?nw=0

for more on this.

Professor Abbott has also undertaken extensive research in an attempt to de-cypher the mysterious code associated with this case.

Kind regards
Thanks for the link, sigaffa.  Have you ever read any books on this case?  I've only ever read stuff online about it.
 

May 15, 2021, 06:22:36 PM
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sigaffa


Upon reading about it, my first intuition would be that it was suicide. Several reasons: The body being in such a public place, wouldn't be anyone's first choice to place someone's body they have just killed. And the piece of paper torn from the book: I think the plausible explanation is that he tore it from his book and placed it in his pocket. A killer wouldn't want to do this, it's something that will potentially help police to find them.
You make a fair case that it was probably suicide.  A few random thoughts...  First, if it was suicide, why would the Somerton Man seemingly go to such lengths to conceal his identity, but ensure that his body would be found on a public beach?  That seems odd...unless he routinely carried no identification, and routinely removed the labels from his clothes...which brings us back to the possibility of espionage.  Second, if he was murdered, maybe the killer put the "Tamám Shud" slip of paper into the man's pocket, and left him in a public place, to send a message to someone?  Jessie Thompson, perhaps?  She lived less than a kilometer from where the body was found.  Third, whether it was murder or suicide, whoever was responsible made it difficult to determine a cause of death (the official explanation is apparently digitalis overdose, which seems reasonable to me).  Fourth, what if it wasn't homicide or suicide, but a misadventure?  That's hard to believe, though.

The case of the "Somerton Man" has always been a personal favourite - if not for any other reason than I walk past the place where the victim's body was discovered nearly every week!

Professor Derek Abbott, a senior Professor at our local Adelaide University, has been arguing for the exhumation of the "Somerton Man" for a number of years, in order to perform DNA analyses. In a rather bizarre twist to the case, he has a somewhat personal interest in the victim's DNA. It is possible that he is married to the grand-daughter of the "Somerton Man"! See:

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-10-15/a-marriage-and-a-mystery-somerton-man-romantic-twist/11377458?nw=0

for more on this.

Professor Abbott has also undertaken extensive research in an attempt to de-cypher the mysterious code associated with this case.

Kind regards
Thanks for the link, sigaffa.  Have you ever read any books on this case?  I've only ever read stuff online about it.

Hi RMK ... I am only aware of two books published about the "Somerton Man" case. I have read one with great interest, and abandoned the other.

The first was by Gerry Feltus, who was a police investigator who had responsibility for the case for a number of years. His book was a very well written, fact-based presentation of the case. Regretfully I think it is out of print now, although copies can still be borrowed at a couple of our local libraries. A lot of what was in his book has made it onto on-line sources ... my comment would be that if you see anything on-line referenced directly to him that you can take it as "gospel". He has a small on-line presence - but no updates since 2018.

The second book, by Kerry Greenwood, seems to still be available for purchase. I didn't finish it. I found it dis-organized, poorly researched, and very much written in the vein of sensationalist "crime fiction". For me, it offered nothing that I couldn't find elsewhere, and I couldn't cope with the writing "style".

Like the DPI, on-line sources are probably the best to keep up with the "Somerton Man" case, but like the DPI you need to wade through the information with great care and an open mind (and don't even get me started on the micro-writing  bang1 )

Kind regards

... I try to get nearer, but as it gets clearer, there's something appears in the way
 

May 16, 2021, 07:20:39 PM
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Manti


About the labels that have been removed from his clothes.. Did clothes at that time even have labels?

I would think if clothes are tailor made, why would they even have labels. If it's from a store, sure. I don't know how wide spread "fast fashion" was at the time. Plus someone might remove the labels because these irritate their skin? I do this for example.


Although I read that even the label of his suitcase was removed... that is indeed odd. Again I don't even know why a suitcase would have labels or how common it was at the time... and let's say suitcases had labels and it was not removed and it's a foreign brand. Would that really reveal anything about his identity for example if he was a spy? If a country goes to great lengths to run a spy programme, surely they have budget to buy a few suitcases and clothes made in the "target" country so nothing raises suspicion?
 

May 16, 2021, 08:30:41 PM
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sigaffa


About the labels that have been removed from his clothes.. Did clothes at that time even have labels?

I would think if clothes are tailor made, why would they even have labels. If it's from a store, sure. I don't know how wide spread "fast fashion" was at the time. Plus someone might remove the labels because these irritate their skin? I do this for example.


Although I read that even the label of his suitcase was removed... that is indeed odd. Again I don't even know why a suitcase would have labels or how common it was at the time... and let's say suitcases had labels and it was not removed and it's a foreign brand. Would that really reveal anything about his identity for example if he was a spy? If a country goes to great lengths to run a spy programme, surely they have budget to buy a few suitcases and clothes made in the "target" country so nothing raises suspicion?

When the TSM's body was examined, before autopsy, his clothing was also examined & photographed, and all of those items of clothes that he wore that originally contained labels had the labels removed, For example, this photo of his jacket was taken which clearly shows a place where a label had been before it was cut out:





The contents of his suitcase were a slightly different story. Some items of clothing in the suitcase did show that they originally had labels, which had been removed (similar to the jacket he wore). However, on some items of clothing labeling did exist. These labels fell into three categories:

1. Original manufacturer's labels - e.g. one shirt had a 'Pelaco' label - this was a popular Australian brand of shirt made at the time of TSM's death.
2. Cleaning/Laundering labels - there were a couple of items that had labels which suggested that they had been sent to a retail cleaners to be laundered. It was common for these cleaners to add labels to clothing to identify it with the customer.
3. Handwritten labels - an example is the famous 'white tie' - on the back of this was written "Keane" - which was assumed to be somebody's name? Here is a photo:





Kind regards.
... I try to get nearer, but as it gets clearer, there's something appears in the way
 

May 17, 2021, 06:13:58 AM
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WinterLeia


Actually, I cannot remember where I saw it, but I did read that there was an expert analysis done on the code, and they said it was weighted heavily with letters that begin words in the English language. They hypothesized that it might be a memory device, such as how some people memorize the nonsense word PEMDAS to remember the order in which a math equation needs to be done (Parenthesis, exponents, multiplication, division, addition, and subtraction).

And where did the idea come from that his clothes were tailor-made? If they were, they were most likely not tailor-made for him. Clothes were in short supply due to the recent war. Even people who were reasonably well off were wearing clothes that were second-hand items. That is why the police didn’t believe that the name T Keane was his. It had probably been the name of the original owner and the garment had found its way into a second-hand store. The other labels that were found were dry cleaning labels, which the police believed might have been ones that were missed, meaning that the labels that were torn off might have been the same thing.

Something I have always found interesting is that no care was taken with how the labels were ripped off. Considering that clothes were such a hard to come by commodity, the only logical explanation is that whoever did it knew he would not need the clothes anymore because he would be dead or was dead. Thus, it is hard to argue natural causes for the death, as if he had a heart attack (or whatever) and died on the beach, there would be no reason for him to believe that he would not be wearing those clothes again, and nobody else would care about the labels if they were not trying to cover their tracks.

Personally, I don’t know how the woman could not have known him. It would make for some really improbable coincidences. Plus, her reaction is not what anyone would expect for someone who is telling the truth. However, the Soviet spy theory is at odds with the personal thread, in my opinion. Why would he risk a woman he love (or loved) by carrying around information that could lead investigators back to her and the child, if he knew about him? And I’d be surprised if she was a spy too. I’d assume she’d be more proficient at lying. That being said, an undetectable poison does seem to hint at more than someone murdering him out of jealousy or something. Unless it was a chemist, which is possible, but not something that I would assume with no other evidence.
« Last Edit: May 17, 2021, 06:32:51 AM by WinterLeia »
 

May 17, 2021, 09:25:14 AM
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Jacques-Emile


From this case I bury the Somerton man as well, in respect for the Spirit.
We see what we wish to see. "TKeane" some see. I see the letter gimel for the first, I cannot cypher the last. Прощай навсегда
 

May 17, 2021, 05:48:05 PM
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sigaffa


Actually, I cannot remember where I saw it, but I did read that there was an expert analysis done on the code, and they said it was weighted heavily with letters that begin words in the English language. They hypothesized that it might be a memory device, such as how some people memorize the nonsense word PEMDAS to remember the order in which a math equation needs to be done (Parenthesis, exponents, multiplication, division, addition, and subtraction).

Greetings WinterLeia ... you are quite correct, there have been many analyses done of TSM "code" and one theory (which I personally like  wink1 ) is that it is a 'memory abbreviation' - like you said a series of letters that would help the author remember a series of words. I tried for a long time to make these letters fit TSM's travels here in Adelaide as I figured (as most do) that if he was not a local person he might have written the letters as a guide to remember how he should travel from the Railway Station to the suburb of GLenelg - alas I had no luck making the two "fit"!

And where did the idea come from that his clothes were tailor-made? If they were, they were most likely not tailor-made for him. Clothes were in short supply due to the recent war. Even people who were reasonably well off were wearing clothes that were second-hand items. That is why the police didn’t believe that the name T Keane was his. It had probably been the name of the original owner and the garment had found its way into a second-hand store. The other labels that were found were dry cleaning labels, which the police believed might have been ones that were missed, meaning that the labels that were torn off might have been the same thing.

Once again, agreed - I don't believe any of TSM's clothing was tailor-made, and I don't recall ever ready anything to do with the police investigation that suggested they were? I think it is possible that many/all of his clothes might have been second-hand (see comment below), and this might be backed up by the fact that the police investigation showed that one of the shirts in the suitcase was a size different to the shirt that the body was found to be wearing.

Something I have always found interesting is that no care was taken with how the labels were ripped off. Considering that clothes were such a hard to come by commodity, the only logical explanation is that whoever did it knew he would not need the clothes anymore because he would be dead or was dead. Thus, it is hard to argue natural causes for the death, as if he had a heart attack (or whatever) and died on the beach, there would be no reason for him to believe that he would not be wearing those clothes again, and nobody else would care about the labels if they were not trying to cover their tracks.

I did read on a TSM site that someone stated that it was very common at this time for second-hand clothing shops (what we would call "charity shops") to remove clothing labels from clothing they received, before they re-sold it. This author of this comment said that this was done because it was on the label that the original owner would routinely identify themselves for the purpose of laundering. I spoke to my mother about this (who worked in a large Adelaide Laundry in the 1950's, and she confirmed that nearly all customers identified their clothing with markings on the labels, or by labels that were purpose stitched into their clothes. From this, it is easy to conceive that when clothing was received at a charity shop, not a lot of care would be taken if the clothing had to be removed. Please remember that other items of his clothing did have labels. IMHO, the clothing TSM was found in, and the clothing (and other items) found in the suitcase suggest only that TSM was a man of limited financial means that took care of his appearance of himself and the care of his clothing.

Personally, I don’t know how the woman could not have known him. It would make for some really improbable coincidences. Plus, her reaction is not what anyone would expect for someone who is telling the truth. However, the Soviet spy theory is at odds with the personal thread, in my opinion. Why would he risk a woman he love (or loved) by carrying around information that could lead investigators back to her and the child, if he knew about him? And I’d be surprised if she was a spy too. I’d assume she’d be more proficient at lying. That being said, an undetectable poison does seem to hint at more than someone murdering him out of jealousy or something. Unless it was a chemist, which is possible, but not something that I would assume with no other evidence.

Oh dear - Jessie Harkess/Thomson/Prosper  whist1 - here is a woman with a personal history to be reckoned with!! It seems that her entire history is clouded with deceptions. I absolutely agree with you - that JHTP knew TSM, and that he visited her on the day he died. From my examination of JHTP's timelines and locations, I also believe that Robin was not fathered by Prosper Thomson. Even though the two were acquainted - during JHTP's pregnancy - it seems probable that JHTP fell pregnant - in Sydney, before she had ever met Prosper in Melbourne. This is where current events get exciting. If DNA from TSM is successfully extracted and analyzed, it could be used to confirm whether Robin Thomson was, in fact, fathered by TSM (via Robin's daughter's DNA analysis). Of course there is also the well-documented hypodontia and ear peculiarities which suggest that this could be the case - and even the "ballet connection" - but as we know from the DPI, there are as many people that argue for these hypotheses as there are that dismiss them!

I am sorry that I cannot make comment on any TSM spy theories, nor on whether TSM could have been murdered. Like the DPI, TSM's case abounds with explanatory theories that range from straight-forward to highly fanciful, but with both cases I get more enjoyment from investigating the known facts rather than trying to force information towards conclusions.

Kind regards.
... I try to get nearer, but as it gets clearer, there's something appears in the way
 

May 17, 2021, 06:01:38 PM
Reply #15
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sigaffa


I thought this might put a smile on the face of TSM enthusiasts. Our National Historical Trust has just held an event here in Adelaide specifically on TSM:

https://www.nationaltrust.org.au/event/82019/

It made me think how wonderful it would be if it was as easy to organize a similar event for those of us so passionate about the DPI?!?

Kind regards.
... I try to get nearer, but as it gets clearer, there's something appears in the way
 

May 17, 2021, 07:10:26 PM
Reply #16
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KFinn


Actually, I cannot remember where I saw it, but I did read that there was an expert analysis done on the code, and they said it was weighted heavily with letters that begin words in the English language. They hypothesized that it might be a memory device, such as how some people memorize the nonsense word PEMDAS to remember the order in which a math equation needs to be done (Parenthesis, exponents, multiplication, division, addition, and subtraction).

And where did the idea come from that his clothes were tailor-made? If they were, they were most likely not tailor-made for him. Clothes were in short supply due to the recent war. Even people who were reasonably well off were wearing clothes that were second-hand items. That is why the police didn’t believe that the name T Keane was his. It had probably been the name of the original owner and the garment had found its way into a second-hand store. The other labels that were found were dry cleaning labels, which the police believed might have been ones that were missed, meaning that the labels that were torn off might have been the same thing.

Something I have always found interesting is that no care was taken with how the labels were ripped off. Considering that clothes were such a hard to come by commodity, the only logical explanation is that whoever did it knew he would not need the clothes anymore because he would be dead or was dead. Thus, it is hard to argue natural causes for the death, as if he had a heart attack (or whatever) and died on the beach, there would be no reason for him to believe that he would not be wearing those clothes again, and nobody else would care about the labels if they were not trying to cover their tracks.

Personally, I don’t know how the woman could not have known him. It would make for some really improbable coincidences. Plus, her reaction is not what anyone would expect for someone who is telling the truth. However, the Soviet spy theory is at odds with the personal thread, in my opinion. Why would he risk a woman he love (or loved) by carrying around information that could lead investigators back to her and the child, if he knew about him? And I’d be surprised if she was a spy too. I’d assume she’d be more proficient at lying. That being said, an undetectable poison does seem to hint at more than someone murdering him out of jealousy or something. Unless it was a chemist, which is possible, but not something that I would assume with no other evidence.

I think you misunderstood my desire for an analysis on the cipher, though admittedly I could have articulated better.  I would love to see an analysis of the hand, the formation of the lettering, not of the code itself.  There are little differences that appear in the formation of letters when the writer isn't using his native alphabet...I guess one could compare them to the accents that occur when someone speaks a foreign language.  Trace experts can sometimes point out those accents in a person's writing, by looking at the letter formation, strokes, ascenders, etc. 
-Ren
 

May 17, 2021, 07:52:45 PM
Reply #17
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sigaffa


Actually, I cannot remember where I saw it, but I did read that there was an expert analysis done on the code, and they said it was weighted heavily with letters that begin words in the English language. They hypothesized that it might be a memory device, such as how some people memorize the nonsense word PEMDAS to remember the order in which a math equation needs to be done (Parenthesis, exponents, multiplication, division, addition, and subtraction).

And where did the idea come from that his clothes were tailor-made? If they were, they were most likely not tailor-made for him. Clothes were in short supply due to the recent war. Even people who were reasonably well off were wearing clothes that were second-hand items. That is why the police didn’t believe that the name T Keane was his. It had probably been the name of the original owner and the garment had found its way into a second-hand store. The other labels that were found were dry cleaning labels, which the police believed might have been ones that were missed, meaning that the labels that were torn off might have been the same thing.

Something I have always found interesting is that no care was taken with how the labels were ripped off. Considering that clothes were such a hard to come by commodity, the only logical explanation is that whoever did it knew he would not need the clothes anymore because he would be dead or was dead. Thus, it is hard to argue natural causes for the death, as if he had a heart attack (or whatever) and died on the beach, there would be no reason for him to believe that he would not be wearing those clothes again, and nobody else would care about the labels if they were not trying to cover their tracks.

Personally, I don’t know how the woman could not have known him. It would make for some really improbable coincidences. Plus, her reaction is not what anyone would expect for someone who is telling the truth. However, the Soviet spy theory is at odds with the personal thread, in my opinion. Why would he risk a woman he love (or loved) by carrying around information that could lead investigators back to her and the child, if he knew about him? And I’d be surprised if she was a spy too. I’d assume she’d be more proficient at lying. That being said, an undetectable poison does seem to hint at more than someone murdering him out of jealousy or something. Unless it was a chemist, which is possible, but not something that I would assume with no other evidence.

I think you misunderstood my desire for an analysis on the cipher, though admittedly I could have articulated better.  I would love to see an analysis of the hand, the formation of the lettering, not of the code itself.  There are little differences that appear in the formation of letters when the writer isn't using his native alphabet...I guess one could compare them to the accents that occur when someone speaks a foreign language.  Trace experts can sometimes point out those accents in a person's writing, by looking at the letter formation, strokes, ascenders, etc.

Two interesting facts about the evidence relating to the code that appeared in The Rubaiyat (apologies if this is already common knowledge to readers.

1.  The code is really quite small. Based on the fact the size of  the edition of The Rubaiyat was recorded as 11.4cm x 13.97cm. If the photograph of the page with the code is taken to be the page in it's entirety, then this photo shows the approximate size of the code compared to the book (outlined in black), in turn compared to the size of an A4 page:



2.  As far as I am aware (and please someone correct me if this is not the case), no photo's exist of the original code (as it was written, in what was believed to be very faint pencil) Police investigators who discovered the code needed to use UV light to enhance it's visibility, and then used pen and ink to trace over the letters. Given the codes dimensions, it could be questioned that the code as we see it is just a "close enough" tracing of what the police investigators saw and bears only an approximate indication of the author's true hand. To be sure, this fact about the code, in and of itself have led some TSM theorists down interesting paths of conjecture in that if it was written so small and so faintly then it must have been done to keep some degree of secrecy.

I stress again, could anyone please correct me if my comment above is incorrect and a verified original and un-tampered photograph of the code (that is before it was "over-written" exists?

Kind regards.
... I try to get nearer, but as it gets clearer, there's something appears in the way
 

May 18, 2021, 12:01:32 AM
Reply #18
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WinterLeia


The police never had the actual page with the writing on it. They only had the indentations. So I don’t know if handwriting analysis would yield anything worthwhile. I’m not sure that even tracing it could preserve the author’s penmanship. However, I’m not an expert, so it may be possible.
 

May 20, 2021, 12:55:37 PM
Reply #19
Online

RMK


Well, they carried out the exhumation yesterday.  Now we'll have to wait and see about the quantity and quality of DNA samples they can extract.
 

May 20, 2021, 01:05:49 PM
Reply #20
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KFinn


Well, they carried out the exhumation yesterday.  Now we'll have to wait and see about the quantity and quality of DNA samples they can extract.

Here is hoping!!!  What an interesting mystery!
-Ren
 

July 24, 2021, 06:13:10 AM
Reply #21
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Manti


Recently I have read about a case with similar details, for example all identifying tags removed from belongings: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Isdal_Woman
 

July 26, 2021, 09:29:25 AM
Reply #22
Online

RMK


Recently I have read about a case with similar details, for example all identifying tags removed from belongings: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Isdal_Woman

I'm familiar with the case of the Isdal Woman.  It's another case where I really do think it's possible that the deceased John/Jane Doe was a spy.  I also think there's a strong possibility that the Isdal Woman was not a spy, but instead a sophisticated scam artist, which is why she apparently had passports for least 8 aliases.  You know--for impersonating other people, or for adopting the identity of some nonexistent person, all as part of various fraudulent schemes for money.

Jennifer Fairgate (a.k.a. Jennifer Fergate), who also died in Norway, is yet another case where I think the unidentified decedent could be a spy.  I don't really know of a good source for this case, but this seems reasonably complete.
 

July 26, 2021, 09:40:36 AM
Reply #23
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KFinn


Recently I have read about a case with similar details, for example all identifying tags removed from belongings: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Isdal_Woman

I'm familiar with the case of the Isdal Woman.  It's another case where I really do think it's possible that the deceased John/Jane Doe was a spy.  I also think there's a strong possibility that the Isdal Woman was not a spy, but instead a sophisticated scam artist, which is why she apparently had passports for least 8 aliases.  You know--for impersonating other people, or for adopting the identity of some nonexistent person, all as part of various fraudulent schemes for money.

Jennifer Fairgate (a.k.a. Jennifer Fergate), who also died in Norway, is yet another case where I think the unidentified decedent could be a spy.  I don't really know of a good source for this case, but this seems reasonably complete.

Thank you!!!!  I've been racking my brain trying to remember Fairgate!  I knew it was a similar case but could not remember the name! 
-Ren
 

July 26, 2021, 11:23:38 AM
Reply #24
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RMK


Here is a very thorough write-up about the Jennifer Fairgate case.
 

July 29, 2021, 11:03:26 AM
Reply #25
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Manti


So she said she is from Belgium, but spoke German without an accent, and then on the check-in card at the hotel, wrote down a fake Belgian address and then country as "Belgium"?

But that is not the spelling of the country's name in either German, French/Walloon, or Dutch/Flemish (languages spoken in Belgium), or even in Norwegian. Very odd...
 

July 29, 2021, 04:12:24 PM
Reply #26
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RMK


So she said she is from Belgium, but spoke German without an accent, and then on the check-in card at the hotel, wrote down a fake Belgian address and then country as "Belgium"?

But that is not the spelling of the country's name in either German, French/Walloon, or Dutch/Flemish (languages spoken in Belgium), or even in Norwegian. Very odd...
That's a perceptive observation, Manti.

The instructions and prompts on the paper registration form are in Norwegian and English.  I wonder if that psychologically primed her to use the English name of the country when writing out her address? 

Or perhaps, when she memorized that fake address, she assumed she would only need use it within Belgium.  Then, when she filled out the form, she wrote out the address and squeezed in the country name almost as an afterthought (which seems plausible from visual inspection of the form).  And, when she did so, she wasn't sure what the country was called in Norwegian, so she used the English name for it, knowing that the hotel staff spoke English.  I admit, that's not a great explanation though, because we know some of the hotel staff spoke German, and at any rate, the meaning of the German "Belgien" should be plain enough. 

And, from a different angle: assuming she'd only use the fake address inside Belgium doesn't exactly say "competent international spy" to me.  So, maybe she wasn't a spy.  Or maybe she was, but not a very good one, and that's why she ended up dead under mysterious circumstances.
 

July 30, 2021, 05:44:54 PM
Reply #27
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Manti


Yes I was also thinking that it doesn't look like she was a spy.

A spy would have "real" documents with valid addresses, they wouldn't want to be uncovered when someone simply checks whether the street really exists.And also a spy wouldn't use a black market gun. Although maybe it wasn't her gun.
And anyway they would only be a concern for the Norwegian state's counterintelligence, who I assume would want to capture and question her, instead of murdering her in this way...


Anyway the article is very thorough but one thing I found odd is that there is no mention of CCTV at all. Surely there was CCTV in the hotel and also on the streets and they could at least have an idea of the times when she left/returned to the hotel based on that?
 

September 25, 2021, 04:48:38 PM
Reply #28
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RMK


Something weird that sticks out in my mind about the Jennifer Fairgate case is the fact that she had rented room 2805 for three nights in a row, but had no payment arranged with the hotel.  No credit card on file, no money down via cash or check, no hold-of-funds on bank card.  Did she have an accomplice (for lack of a better word) among the hotel staff?  Or was there just some dysfunctionality in the hotel's operations at the time, without which the Fairgate case might never have turned into much of a mystery?

Yes I was also thinking that it doesn't look like she was a spy.

A spy would have "real" documents with valid addresses, they wouldn't want to be uncovered when someone simply checks whether the street really exists.
Yes, and she did not even consistently spell her surname in the same way.

Anyway the article is very thorough but one thing I found odd is that there is no mention of CCTV at all. Surely there was CCTV in the hotel and also on the streets and they could at least have an idea of the times when she left/returned to the hotel based on that?
Another good point.  The lack of any reference to CCTV makes me suspect that the coverage depth of the hotel's CCTV cameras was so limited that it was obvious that the footage wouldn't show anything relevant to the case.  There would be a lot less mystery about the case if there were informative CCTV footage.  In particular, if there was extensive CCTV camera coverage, the hotel might be able to definitively show that no mysterious person exited the building during the time between when security guard Espen Næss descended from the 28th floor after hearing a gunshot, and when the head of security arrived at room 2805.  Naturally, the more extensive the coverage, the easier it would be to rule out the possibility that an assassin (perhaps the mysterious Lois Fairgate?) fled room 2805 and left the hotel during that approximately 20-minute time window.

I should mention here that I do think suicide, which is the official manner of death for both Jennifer Fairgate and the Isdal Woman, is the most likely explanation in both cases.  I have little doubt that the Isdal Woman committed suicide, but I do find it believable that Jennifer Fairgate might have been murdered.

So, if these two women weren't spies, what were they?  One of the more interesting theories I've encountered about the Isdal Woman is that she was a spy, but not on behalf of a nation-state, but rather, of a terrorist organization, such as the Red Army Faction (a.k.a. the Baader-Meinhof Gang).  I've already stated my suspicions that the Isdal Woman was an identity thief and/or con artist--perhaps in the same mould as El Dorado Jane Doe.  As for Fairgate, I guess I'm partial to the theory that she was an expensive prostitute who serviced rich clients from high-end hotels in big cities.  All of this is speculation, of course.
 

September 29, 2021, 02:08:25 PM
Reply #29
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KFinn


I've often wondered if Fairgate was a human trafficking victim (in the sex industry) rather than a spy.  But, as that was the focus of my master's thesis, I tend toward thinking that when I see unidentified women.  It is completely conjecture on my part, but would explain the lack of identifying information, the inconsistency in spelling and such, etc.
-Ren