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What evidence is there to suggest he was a ballet dancer?

(1) His wedge-shaped feet. A physical peculiarity often shared by ballet dancers.

(2) The unusual, muscular development of his calves. A physical development often shared by male ballet dancers.

(3) His highly developed physique. A physical development often shared by male ballet dancers.

(4) His large hands, smooth palms and well-tended fingernails. A common adjunct to the overall appearance of professional male ballet dancers.

(5) The tools found in his suitcase. Suitable for making / repairing ballet slippers.

(6) The dark powder shaken from a brush found in his suitcase. Possibly dark rosin powder of the type used by ballet dancers to prevent slippage.

(7) His lower body suntan. Not unusually found on the bodies of male ballet dancers, many of whom were known to visit metropolitan beaches whilst performing in Australia.

(8) The heavy metal traces found in his hair. An ingredient present in many make-up compounds commonly used by ballet dancers.

(9) Sand found in the cuffs of a pair of his trousers. Not unusually found in the clothing of ballet dancers who were known to visit metropolitan beaches whilst performing in Australia.

(10) A possible influence on Robin Thomson, his alleged son, who became one of Australia’s better known ballet dancers.

 

 

12 Comments Post a comment
  1. Byron Deveson #

    Pete,
    I think that SM might have had a connective tissue syndrome (CTD) such as Ehlers-Danlos (EDS) and the associated joint hyper-mobility can be an advantage in ballet dancing. Smooth and relatively hairless skin that occurs with some forms of CTD would also be an advantage.

    Paul Lawson noted that SM had smooth skin and limited body hair. Paul was an amateur wrestler, a taxidermist and a body builder so I think it is reasonable to assume that Paul would have grappled with enough bare flesh in his wrestling days and would be a keen observer of muscles, skin and flesh in general to recognise that SM’s skin was unusual. Given the limited state of knowledge of Ehlers-Danlos and connective tissue disease in 1948-9 it is unlikely that anybody would have known what to make of SM’s soft skin.

    I have previously noted there are genetic syndromes, collectively called connective tissue disease such as Ehler-Danlos or Pseudoxanthoma Elasticum, that could produce all of the physical features we see with SM and also some of the suggested medical conditions. I previously compiled a list of these features as they relate to Charles Mikkelsen but they could relate to any other person with a connective tissue disease. I should note that the full scope of the medical issues involved with connective tissue disease is not generally recognised. The human body is largely (30%) composed of connective tissue so any biochemical defect in connective tissue can affect almost any organ in the body, and affect almost any bodily process. Connective tissue disease can produce almost every symptom under the sun – a constellation of symptoms in fact. It can even directly cause psychological issues and it has recently been discovered that 70% of patients with Ehlers-Danlos syndrome have borderline personality disorder. How this is caused by faulty connective tissue I don’t know but it is clear that somehow the brain is affected.

    Paul noted that SM had very high and very well developed calf muscles but he was unable to say what exercise, sport or profession might cause this. I agree that certain sports or professions can produce enlarged “high rise” calves but my research indicates that the sports and professions that have been suggested just don’t produce an extreme enlargement. You are born with enlarged “high rise” calves; you can’t do any exercises to form them. But if you are born a toe walker then you will develop enlarged and “high rise” calves. Various commentators have previously suggested that SM might have been a toe walker. OK, but so what? Well, connective tissue disease is associated with toe walking (maybe this is connected to the borderline personality disorder? Toe walking seems to be associated with psychological anomalies.).

    Notable things about SM that are consistent with connective tissue disease (CTD) are:

    enlarged and high rise calves (caused by toe walking).
    Smooth, velvety skin.
    Loss of all his back teeth although he appears to have been fastidious about his appearance. Connective tissue disease is often associated with gingival hyperplasia and this often causes early tooth loss, particularly loss of the back teeth.
    CTD is associated with Hashimoto’s disease (hypothyroiditis) which can result in scanty body hair and loss of the outer margin of the eyebrows. As I have previously noted I think this is the case with SM.
    CTD is often associated with an athletic body build, even when the person has never lifted anything heavier than a $100 note.
    CTD can be associated with various dysplasias, such as have been suggested in the past for the features seen with SM.
    Large testicles and a need for adequate support. I note that SM wore jockey shorts at a time when these were only just coming on the market.
    Sleep apnea. This can cause sudden death.
    Enlarged spleen.
    Iris coloboma. It was noted that SM had irregular pupils.
    SM was over dressed for the day (Raynaud’s syndrome?). Raynaud’s syndrome often occurs with EDS.
    an enlarged spleen containing a strange pigment. Some ADS syndromes can cause calcification of a wide range of body tissues; almost any organ can be calcified. Maybe the pigment was calcified material (it’s rare so that might be why it was not identified)
    some peculiarity with the liver tissue, the liver lobules (calcification? As above)
    hypodontia. EDS is known to be associated with ectodermal dysplasias.
    paralysis of the heart muscles with an otherwise apparently normal heart. EDS can cause a “right bundle branch block with a high risk for sudden death with a normal heart” says the literature
    broad shoulders and a narrow waist (a relatively common feature with some variants of EDS)
    pronounced gastric bleeding (known to be associated with some EDS variants)
    abnormal pupils of his eyes – smaller than normal and with an uneven edge (iris coloboma?). Known to occur with some variants of connective tissue disease.
    large hands but normal sized feet (Known to occur with some variants of connective tissue disease)
    Sweaty hands and/or feet (hyperhidrosis). I note that SM’s shoes had been very well maintained but the inside lining of the shoes was very sweat stained. Maybe SM didn’t usually wear socks and that is the reason why there were no socks in the suitcase?
    It has previously been suggested that connective tissue disease would preclude ballet but I have recently discovered that this is not the case. Rather the opposite in fact.
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3512326/
    “Interpretation of generalised JHM (joint hyper-mobility) is not always straightforward and needs a holistic perspective. In fact, JHM is often experienced as an asset for some occupational and sport activities, such as ballet, gymnastics, and playing instruments [13]. At the same time, generalised JHM is the physical marker of various HCTDs. Distinguishing between benign, asymptomatic JHM and an HCTD is of utmost importance for preventing potential life-threatening complications and/or early detecting and managing long-term disability.”

    February 23, 2019
  2. Byron Deveson #

    An obvious question is “why does it matter if SM had a connective tissue disease?”
    Well, this might help to narrow down possible relatives. People with connective tissue diseases/syndromes seem to join on-line groups discussing their disease/syndrome so it is possible that a blood relative of SM is already on-line somewhere. Such people generally have an interest in the genetics of their disease and often have genealogical trees and have undergone DNA testing. All we need to do is to generate a list of possible blood relatives and then post the genealogical details on the various connective tissue disease/syndrome blogs. For example an inquiry could be made seeking anyone with connective tissue disease having forbears with any of the surnames Kean, Keane, Keen or Keene.

    February 24, 2019
  3. Good thinking. I’ve just applied to join a Facebook group that concerns itself with the condition …

    February 24, 2019
  4. Byron Deveson #

    That’s great Pete!

    I have just posted an inquiry on the Geni site to make contact with anyone with H4a1a1a mtDNA and Kean, Keane, Keen or Keene forbears. The Geni site has about 1,590 members who have H4a1a1a mtDNA so we may get a strike.

    February 24, 2019
  5. Clive, where are you? This stuff is right down your alley ..

    February 24, 2019
  6. Clive #

    Well, I think that Byron has got all the angles covered on this matter. I must say that Byron is a mine of information on CTD etc. If there are only 1590+ members on the Geni site then there would seem to be a good chance of someone, having a relative by the name of Kean(e), coming up with the pot of gold! Well, a name would be a good start!

    February 24, 2019
    • We surface, Clive, like ravenous sharks, sensing a choice morsel.

      February 24, 2019
  7. Clive #

    Yes, we could end up having a whale of a time?

    February 25, 2019
  8. I’m having a whale of a time finding anyone else with as many matches as to what SM may have been … Gordon C is fixated on micro-coding, which, to my mind, he has already proved in his letter Q finding. Pelling comes over as a complete nonsense in that he cannot, will not entertain anything to do with espionage, despite the times .. and Derek Abbott, who probably holds the key to Jessica’s mysteriously unrecorded life beyond nursing, probably has an eye on a lucrative lecture circuit at some later date.
    Other than that, Clive old son, it’s all steam ahead.

    February 27, 2019
  9. gordon1552 #

    Hi Pete, Yes to a degree you are correct. I do focus on micro writing because it keeps turning up. From the Hay bank notes to verse 70, the code pages, the torn piece and more. It is because of that consistency that I pursue it. The more recent thoughts on ‘The Association’ and as you rightly point out, the nature of the times of SM are another focus as is the role of the RSL.

    Does any of that mean that SM couldn’t have been a ballet dancer? No, neither should it. I have my own views as you know but I wholeheartedly support you in your focus and questioning of just who SM was and what clues exist as to his likely occupation.

    February 28, 2019
  10. Clive #

    At his assumed age 45+?, if he had been a ballet dancer, then he would not have been still performing. So, with his unsoiled hands, clipped nails, body in top condition (for his age)-the question is, of course, just what do retired ballet dancers do for a living? Was ballet dancing just a ‘cover’ for intelligence work or, was he some type of racketeer collecting debts?

    February 28, 2019
    • Older dancers sometimes teach younger dancers. My betting is that there may have been a few such schools in Melbourne ….

      February 28, 2019

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