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There are only two possibilities, updated

It’s been seventy years since a body was found on Somerton beach and you can count the committed theorists on one hand.

Thedude47, Nick Pelling, Gordon Cramer and your gracious host. You’d think we’d have it covered by now. But we don’t. There is a chasm. On one side there are the spook theorists and on the other the black market proponents.

The only thing we have in common is we consider the TS slip and the book it was torn from to be identifiers in that they are meant to be matched at some stage of either scenario.

Pencils, cigarette lighter, tools and zinc scabbard (unfolded), brush handle etc. One screwdriver not shown

Dude took one look at this image, knocked off work, hit the pub and bought a few beers for a couple of knowledgeable friends in the second-hand motor business. He showed them the pic. They said and Dude agreed that you’d have to be Blind Freddy not to know their true purpose.

Go dude, but he had to wait for Nick to advance the proposition and include the TS slip.

Comment lifted from Cipher Mysteries …

30 Sept 2018

Pete, the book and the slip have always been central to my proposition. In fact Im pretty sure I was the first to suggest this being the case however Nick has refined it to a higher level which holds water to me in the car theory  ……  This was 1949 and and an interstate hook up between parties who are strangers engaged in dodgy business. The book and the slip could have been used in a number of ways as an identifier / receipt of deal/proof of purchase, secret handshake etc etc. Dude

Neither has been able to bring up a precedent that might provide a foundation for their proposition.


[4 Oct]

I’ve asked NP the question today on his Rubaiyat Car Theory thread.



32 Comments Post a comment
  1. Clive #

    Hi Pete, Might be of interest: “Geraldton Chronicle” 29-05-48 Page 1, Melbourne Car Deals

    October 3, 2018
    • Got it. Can you see a bit of paper torn from a book helping there?

      October 3, 2018
  2. Clive #

    I can see hundreds of bits of paper being shown, exchanged etc from torn books. Perhaps, but unlikely that, showing a piece of paper with the words: ‘Tamam Shud’ printed/written on it meant literally that that individual wanted out of the business and would not do deals anymore?

    October 3, 2018
  3. gordon1552 #

    Pete, the torn paper identification routine was standard for those engaged in espionage,a classic example is that this method was exactly what was used by Harry Gold and Fedosimov when they met at the Earle Theater in NY, 1947 I think.

    October 3, 2018
    • Sound of large dog slobbering at the thought of fresh meat …. please continue, Guru, what happened ?

      October 3, 2018
  4. gordon1552 #

    The Year was 1946, the meeting was at the Earl Cinema in the Bronx, the information comes from both FBI files and from the book ‘The Atom Spies’. This was the book mentioned by Senator Cavanagh, this is an excerpt from the blog:

    ‘…. he knew exactly how to confirm the identification of the person he was intended to meet. He had one part of a torn piece of paper that, in the Earl Cinema instance, had written instructions scrawled across it. Initially, one piece of that same paper was given to Gold by Anatoli Yakovlev, Gold’s handler, whilst the other was given to the man who would, in fact, meet Gold that day, the ‘toe walker’. If both pieces matched then the identification was confirmed by both parties.

    Yakovlev was to become known as the Russian’s most successful spymaster during the early Cold War years.

    At the prescribed time, Harry met up with the Soviet agent in the upstairs foyer of the Earl Cinema. A question was asked by the agent, “Do you know how to get to Paul Street?” and Harry responded with his part, “Yes I am going there myself a little later”. This short exchange was to be the initial identifier without which, nothing further would have happened. But in this instance, the two parts were spoken correctly and Harry dutifully produced his torn part of the scrawled message and so did the agent. Both parts matched and the identification routine was successfully completed. A short discussion followed in which the agent told Harry that his contact “John’ would be going on a trip the next day but he was to immediately go to a location where he could meet John for the final time.’

    Link to 2017 post on this topic:

    October 4, 2018
  5. gordon1552 #

    Pathe news showing a meet and ID:

    October 4, 2018
    • Thanks, GC, game on.

      Spooks V Occams.

      There’s only one rule : the more assumptions you have to make, the more unlikely an explanation.

      October 4, 2018
  6. gordon1552 #

    In the case of the Somerton Man, we have a code written on the back of a book that is found and directly associated with the man.

    The code turns out to have been written following the INK H method described in a WW2 SOE manual, meaning that it was, at the time of the Somerton Man’s death, a secret clandestine communication method.

    We also have evidence that a torn piece of paper containing the words TAMAM SHUD was found on the body of the man and that these same words are the ones missing from the said book. The paper types of both the torn piece and that used to produce the book were identified as being the same. This indicates that the torn piece was used as part of a standard tradecraft identification method.

    This method was as used in 1946 by a man who was known in the US as Anatoly Yakovlev, General Consul for the Soviets in New York and Russian spymaster, he tore a piece of paper in two pieces and gave one piece to Atom spy Harry Gold and the other to his comrade who turned up at the Earl Cinema in the Bronx for a pre arranged meeting. Following a preliminary ID, the two compared the torn pieces of paper that were given to them and they matched. A discussion then took place between the two men.

    October 4, 2018
    • Gordon, does the WW2 SOE manual make any reference to the steganographic method of secret messaging?

      October 4, 2018
  7. gordon1552 #

    Short answer is yes.

    October 4, 2018
  8. gordon1552 #

    SOE manual. Here you go:

    October 4, 2018
  9. gordon1552 #

    Here’s the blog link as well:

    October 4, 2018
  10. thedude747 #

    A word from Occams razor gang

    Identifiers of this kind (torn paper from a book) were to quote GC “standard for those engaged in espionage” and codes , such as that found in the ROK are standard MO in the spy bizz. Lets take that as read. All on the same page so far.

    All this has the spooks convinced that SM was an active spy in the process of completing a mission. He had a code, he was using identifiers, he was travelling incognito. The problem is after that the assumptions start to pile up a mile high.

    The spooks need to consider the possibility that just because he was employing techniques known to be used in the espionage business does not mean he was engaging in espionage at the time he wound up dead on Somerton beach.

    Fact is the post war black market economy was in full swing. Fact ex military dudes where the Mr Biggs of the post war black market economy. This was rife in Germany in particular along with the rest of Europe and Australia.

    To me its always been a simple case of a bunch of ex military dudes applying their previously acquired skills to avoid the attention of the coppers to create a nice little earner in the post war black market economy. This was happening all over with the ex military boys. They were beyond the 9 to 5 humdrum and up for earning the big bucks. Opportunities were everywhere.

    This is a better case for me and involves less assumptions than the spooks case because I can’t see what there is to explain the rest of the facts beyond the use of spying techniques.

    What stunning national secrets or possible use would little Jess the nurse have to share with SM?? Why would Jess give up boxal the spymaster in a heartbeat? Why kill the dude? Do you have a plausible explanation for the tool kit? All the spooks can provide to answer those questions are assumptions

    The facts stack up better that our man was in town to do some dodgy bizz with P Thomson a dead set back market car dealer. Admitted under oath in the DP case. He was also ex military and had dodgy connections in Melbourne.

    Fact is any dude who knows cars of that era worth his salt will tell you that the tool kit and every item has a direct purpose in liberating a car without the keys. Uses for some items have been floated in different themes but no theorist has been able to explain all the items outside the car theory.

    The most simple explanation is usually the correct one.

    October 4, 2018
    • Dude, you swinging here. Military dudes ?Who invited them ?

      October 4, 2018
  11. thedude747 #

    Ive always considered SM to be ex military.

    October 4, 2018
  12. thedude747 #

    That where he learned his craft and that why the spooks are convinced he was a spy and maybe he WAS .

    October 4, 2018
    • Was being before he started lifting cars, ….

      October 4, 2018
  13. thedude747 #

    Yes indeed. The money is better, the hours are better , the travel and perks are better.

    Image Alf Boxal for example coming of the adrenaline rush of WW2 and returning to the humdrum of fixing trucks back at the old yard. Shit money , lousy hours and rationing cards.
    Otherwise decent folk took to the black during that time to earn a living or subsidise a better lifestyle. Because of the perceived lack of fairness at the time a gap existed between what the law regarded as morally wrongful and what a significant segment of society viewed as such.

    October 4, 2018
  14. gordon1552 #

    Oh Dear

    October 4, 2018
  15. This is unsatisfactory. Dude, you have done the equivalent of leaning over the chess board, pinching my white knight, painting it black and putting in the space your knight occupied before I took it …. we need a mediator here.

    October 4, 2018
  16. thedude747 #

    Im not sayin btw that the whole gang were ex military. But I suspect SM was.

    October 4, 2018
  17. gordon1552 #

    Pete, Dude hasn’t been able to substantiate or point to a precedent instead there is nothing but assumptions that have been put forward.

    October 4, 2018
  18. thedude747 #

    Oh Gordon put way the grumpy pills.

    October 5, 2018
  19. Clive #

    Now, now boys, no need to fall out over SM’s occupation. There must have been a lot of military personnel, who, following the war were demobbed and went back to civvy street. Alf Boxall was in the intelligence game, yet he returned to a humdrum job. Others, no doubt, turned to criminal activities, easier than having a job? What if the SM was a spy, wouldn’t stealing cars etc be a perfect cover for him?

    October 5, 2018
  20. thedude747 #

    Gordon you have the same expression on your face that Mike Gatting did when Warnie bowled him around his legs that time so Im gonna spell it out for you old mate. AND btw this doesn’t mean you are entirely wrong.

    The Daphne Page case which by the way I didn’t come across until after I put forward the black market car theory is proof beyond a shadow of a doubt that Prosper Mctaggart Thomson WAS a black market dealer active during the period SM would up dead a few hundred yards from prospers front door. The DP case does “substantiate ” this as an indisputable fact, admitted , to his own detriment , in court under oath. He also had a previous conviction for car ownership fraud in WA.
    The book linked to SM was found in a car by a guy who insists on remaining anonymous ? why? Lyons didn’t want to remain anonymous, nor any of the other witnesses , just the mystery car owner with the ROK in his car, who took months to come forward. … Why??

    Then of coarse you have the car thieving kit in the suitcase belonging to mystery dead guy with the only Adelaide link being the phone number of the local the black market car dealer with dodgy Melbourne connections.

    They’re not assumptions old mate they are FACTS!!

    October 5, 2018
  21. Dude, one thing, Prosper used more than one telephone number at the time …

    October 5, 2018
  22. gordon1552 #

    Dude, All I am saying is that it is essential that you substantiate the information, by that I mean copy and paste the findings that you have, send any newspaper clippings to Pete for him to post. Right now and with great respect we have only words. For it to be viable and believable you really should do as I suggest here, I am not being rude and I hope you don’t think so. If you have all of that hard evidence then show it. That either dispels any argument or, it could raise more questions. I am all for that and have put up with it for about 11 years now.

    Again with great respect, the Car Ring theory was brought up on the Adelaide University FB page about 10 years ago, I wasn’t a proponent and didn’t take much interest in it at the time. A lot of work was done but no firm results. The aspect I was looking into at the time was related in a way to the car issue. I investigated the use of forged petrol coupons, it was a massive business at the time and I think that there were a few news articles regarding someone from Melbourne working the Glenelg area selling heaps of forged coupons in November 1948. The theory didn’t hold up for a number of reasons.

    So, all I am saying is that by showing and/or pointing us to the evidence others can make an assessment of what you are saying.

    October 5, 2018
  23. thedude747 #

    GC Mate I’ve been on the car theory for longer than 10. I grew up at Somerton and have followed the case for over 30 years.. All of those links have been posted by myself and others such as the DP case and prospers WA conviction . If anyone is in doubt the cases are easy to find on trove.
    As for the kit all I can say is talk to any car guy of the era or vintage car enthusiast and I’ve no doubt they will back it up…
    Have great weekend big guy!!

    October 5, 2018
    • Dude, that hundred? Is it in the mail, or what?

      October 5, 2018
  24. gordon1552 #

    You are entitled to your opinion and I would defend that right. I don’t know about you but in an earlier life I would have arrested a good few car thieves admittedly after the 50s. A question for you, what were each of the tools used for?

    I was being serious about putting the notes together into a presentable case, right now and with great respect you are just saying what you think. If you have the links then post them, if you have the newspaper clippings then show us where they are.

    You have a great weekend as well, flat to the boards here so won’t be posting for the next few days 🙂

    October 5, 2018
  25. thedude747 #

    Gordon you are a legend old mate , of that there can be no doubt. And I mean that sincerely.

    Mate tell me exactly what link you are keen to see, ie the DP case? the WA conviction? As far as the tool kit Ive spelled it out so many times now mate. Ask me about a tool and Ill tell you what its use is.

    October 5, 2018

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