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The Rubaiyat Indentations: where are they?





It certainly looks like whoever went over the letter ‘P’ was very careful in maintaining a smooth appearance, the bottom end of the curve is wider. (Clive)

The code mark up was done with a brush, probably a photographers retouching brush, not a pen. That is why the widths of the strokes vary and why there are thinning tails on some of the characters. (Byron)

I did some experiments and I found that 1949 type inks (non etching inks) give a “step ladder” effect due to the stuttering caused by a mismatch of the hydrophilicity between the ink and the clear overlay. (Byron)

Why no stutter on the letter A on either stroke? (Bowes)

The strokes that constitute the “A” are straight and done quickly. The most stuttering occurs on curves. (Byron)

The appearance of the verticals on next two letters (N and E) is an argument against that proposition. (Bowes)

What I found in my experiments was that a significant mismatch in the polarity between the ink and the substrate would cause the features that you have pointed out. The contact angle between an ink drop and the substrate is a good measure of the degree of polarity mismatch. I found that the following would also lead to variable outcomes:

a) the speed at which the line was drawn. Slower speed tended to produce a stutter or a drawing up into unconnected blobs.
b) the amount of ink spread on the substrate. Too little ink increased stuttering. Too much would lead to large separate blobs forming.
d) the degree of stuttering or “blobbing” varied with the width of the line.

This system is close to being chaotic in that small changes in the input states can lead to different outcomes.

Adding to the above variables are the variations in the polarity of the surface of the substrate (paper etc) that can be caused by manufacturing or caused by contamination such as oily finger prints. One can sometimes see this with cheap writing pads where a ball point pen refuses to write on one area of the paper.

In short, the system is close to being chaotic. (Byron)

The step-ladder appearance on the curve of the letter P is too uniform to be called chaotic. (Bowes)

They (the “Judders”) have almost certainly to do with with the interaction between the pen (whether laundry pen, Pelikan pen or whatever) and the support medium (Pelling)


Detective Brown said the telephone numbers were written in ‘tiny writing’ underneath the code.

Thanks to Gordon Cramer for some of the images. Others are taken direct from the Wiki page.

5 Comments Post a comment
  1. gordon1552 #

    The original mention of ‘indentations’ came from GF and he added that the image was turned negative ‘in the process’, It tells me that the process was alomg these lines:

    1. Viewing the page at an oblique angle against some light would show indentations
    2. Next step would be to try non chemical methods of recovering the ‘letters’
    3. Infra red was around as was UV and both may have been tried
    4. Given the appearance of the code page paper, it seems to me that it was treated chemically to lift the details on the page
    5. The only agent I am aware of that would have done that to reveal the fine detail we have is iodine vapour
    6. I am not certain that the original page would have survived that process
    7. I am as certain as I can be that glass plate photography was used to photograph the code page
    8. A glass plate photograph is a negative image thus the negative plate was probably photographed with a standard camera and then developed.

    The results achieved in recovering the microcode in recent days have shown a marked improvement. There are a number of reasons for this, the most important of which is the use of bleedproof paper to print out the work. Bleedproof effectively instantly dries the ink from the printer, certainly faster than the normal ink drying process. The ink therefore does not run we get a clearer image of the code page with more detail. I will make that image available although people could do this themselves. It needs a good quality inkjet printer set to high quality print out.

    Hope this helps.

    January 30, 2019
  2. Byron Deveson #

    I agree except that the standard way of converting a negative glass plate image to a positive print is by using an enlarger. I am certain Jimmy Durham would have had an enlarger as they were essential equipment for a photographer in the 1940s.
    I note that people at the Uni of Adelaide were experimenting with infrared imaging systems in the late 1940s and UV methods were well known by 1949.
    I have used iodine vapor development professionally in my previous work as an Official Analyst and I have conducted experiments using 1940s paper to see if I could gain any insights into how the “code” page was created. In the case of paper iodine vapor is selectively absorbed on the broken ends of paper fibres so it is only effective where the paper has been disturbed. I don’t think this would be the case with the “code” page. Iodine vapor images are “developed” with a soluble starch spray (the starch reacts with the iodine to form a blue color) so I agree that the original page would have ended up as a mess if this was done, so iodine is unlikely to have been used.

    The East Germans had developed an electronic gadget by the late 1940s to recover faint indentations in paper so it is possible that such a gadget existed in Australia in 1949. I lean towards this explanation because there are so many anomalies with the photographic explanations of the “code” page. I even entertain the idea that the “code” page is a total fabrication.

    January 31, 2019
  3. Clive #

    Hi Byron, Interesting that the East Germans are mentioned, as Gordon has long suspected the possibility that the Soviets were involved in this case..

    January 31, 2019
  4. gordon1552 #

    Byron, Agreed, IR photography was in use in both world wars, it caught the attention of amateur photographers in the 30s when Kodak first introduced IR sensitive film so it was one option.

    Iodine vapour I still think could have been used, my reasons for saying this include the appearance of the paper, it doesn’t look like a close up of the pages found in the ROK and has a ‘weathered’ effect as though it had been immersed in a fluid. If it wasn’t iodine vapour, I think it likely that there were other document recovery techniques available in the 40s. Had iodine Vapour been used, then the code page would have been destroyed and that’s a distinct possibility, why would they need it when they had quality photographs.

    I wouldn’t say that the page was a total fabrication, in fact I say that it’s a very real example of a set of 7 coded messages. If it were a fabrication, someone went to a whole lot of trouble to record details of allied ship movements, number sets prefixed with an x which could be telephone numbers or even ‘x message’ reference numbers from Feldt coast watchers. (Incidentally, that would mean that whoever it was that wrote the code page would have had access to x-messages either in the field or via reading the reports of others). Add to that an estimated total of approximately 2000 code letters/numbers across the larger letters and marked over areas found on the code page.

    I would suggest that a more likely possibility is that the code page and book were recovered much earlier than reported, we have evidence that the existence of microcode was covered up. Consider the report from the ‘local’ Naval code expert, carefully phrased as you no doubt know. The wording focused purely on the fact that nothing could be made of the ‘letters’ themselves. True, but as for what those letters contained, that was skillfully avoided.

    It’s not as if it were the code page alone that contains microcode and indentations, Verse 70 most definitely contains them as well. That’s been proven and reinforced this week in fact. Having those two examples in the one case is about as conclusive as we will get given today’s techniques.

    Everyone is entitled to their view, as for me I am progressing with what I know and believe in and that’s the Somerton Man case is an espionage case and it involved the use of microcode, Ink H and associated clandestine concealment methods.

    It is now almost 8 years since I began studying these techniques, not only seriously study them but demonstrate their use and actually apply the techniques and am able to write, for example, words and numbers at a size of approximately .25mm, the size you will find on the code page and Verse 70. If I can do it then they most certainly could. The Clifton Gardens ‘meeting’, was in my view a training session.

    I have used various recovery techniques including Iodine Vapour and at a field level, sodium hypochlorite solution at 5.25 and 6 % strengths. The latter work very effectively on quality inkjet prints. Is that an experiment you would undertake Byron? It would be good to get your opinion on that method.

    In closing this comment, I think we all need to be mindful of the fact that Australia was just coming out of the war, Police forces and agencies worked closely together in those war years sharing resources and techniques to contain any potential home based threats, those links didn’t suddenly disappear and fall into disuse in 1945. The country, for many, was still under threat from communism, it was not deemed to be a remote threat but a distinct possibility hence the existence of ‘The Association’ and/or ‘The White Army’. ‘The Association’ being well represented and active in Adelaide at the time of the discovery of SMs body.

    February 1, 2019
  5. avachat #

    Byron: Grant ‘Jim‘ Beaumont’s service record has now been posted.

    February 7, 2019

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