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bullshitters, doubters and daydreamers

(1) The bullshitters.

When faced with this:

(a) “A naval spokesman said experts in Melbourne had worked on the code for weeks. Melbourne authorities had informed him that the frequencies of occurrence of letters, while inconclusive, corresponded more favourably with the table of frequencies of initial letters of words in English than with any other table.”

(b) “A reasonable explanation would be that the lines were initial letters of words of a verse of poetry or something like that.”

(c) “Before a copy of the code was sent to Melbourne, a local naval decoder expressed similar views.”

(d) “The police have also forwarded to Army headquarters, Melbourne, a copy of series of letters printed in pencil on the back of the book.”

They say this:

The Rubaiyat was quickly passed on to a well-known codebreaker (who was, without any real doubt, Captain Eric Nave): he determined that the letters seemed not to be a code or a cipher, but were instead an acrostic – the initial letters of a sequence of words.


(2) The doubters.

When faced with this:

“Paul Lawson stated that he was made aware Jessica had been collecting information on allied ship movements through Sydney Harbour, and he believed this information was passed to Jessica by Alf Boxall.”

They say this:

“It might be right, or it might be wrong.”


(3) The daydreamers.

They believe the Rubaiyat and torn slip were used as a means of identifying a car sold into the black market by a vendor intimately familiar with the dishonest methods used by the man he was selling it to.’

2 Comments Post a comment
  1. Pete: I am happy to say that I use contemporary newspaper accounts as evidence in historical research. And also that I read every single newspaper article in Trove from 1948 and 1949 relating to the Somerton Man (and a fair few advertisements too).

    And yes, when the Adelaide News refers to a local Naval codebreaker (Eric Nave lived in Adelaide, and at the time of the inquest was surely enjoying his 160 days of accumulated holiday), I have made the inference that it was Eric Nave, given that he was (and remains) Australia’s greatest codebreaker.

    So let me see: Melbourne’s codebreakers worked on the code for weeks and concluded it was an acrostic, while a “local naval codebreaker” (who I don’t see any reason to doubt was Eric Nave) had already come to that same conclusion (but far quicker). This is all in July-Aug 1949.

    And what is your alternative approach?

    July 14, 2017
    • What is this, make-it-up-as-you-go?
      And my alternative approach is available on Amazon. Softcover and e-book.

      July 14, 2017

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