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The Somerton Man Virus, updated

Unlike Covid-19, the Somerton Man Virus doesn’t spread, it infects only one individual at a time. There is no contagion, just an infuriatingly singular infection that appears incurable despite the advances that have been made available to relieve the condition.

For instance. The patient in Ward 1.

This long-suffering patient lies abed with an infection that will only consider that our man was a petty criminal of low intent who habituated illegal gambling dens as a person who kept a stolid lookout in the wind and rain by the front door of an establishment while some illegal activity is being carried on inside. A man better known these days as a bouncer.

Bouncers didn’t earn big money in 1948, they subsisted on bugger-all and the small coin favours dropped into their calloused palms by the punters they allowed through the door of the baccarat den or whatever it was they were minding at the time.

Nit-keepers didn’t look like gentlemen, nit-keepers were paid to let gentlemen through the door. Nit-keepers were fighters and brawlers, violent men with a liking of the feel of knuckles on flesh.

But do you think this argument holds water with the man in Ward 1?  He’d rather die of the bug than consider taking the pill that might cure him.

What can you do for a man with such an unhealthy attitude?

Give up is what you do. Wish him all the best and walk out of the ward, drop by the mortuary and tell them they’ll have a another customer before too long.


Then there is the patient in Ward 3.

This individual is fixated on a home-grown cure that defies all rational argument as to its effectiveness. He has created a world indifferent to the logic that might cure his condition. He does not hear any voices other than his own as he lies abed, feverish and distempered, and when visiting therapists attempt to penetrate the armour he has built around his predicament, he closes his eyes and ears and feigns a fatal indifference.

Everything in the suitcase was planted, he says. Dark and mysterious forces were at work throughout, he says. Police were tempted by foreign influences, he says. Anything that could be simply explained was the complicated work of devious spy-masters. False trails were laid where none were necessary.

And everybody lied.

So what does the surgeon do with this fellow?

He looks back at the patient’s record and sees no improvement over the years, nothing has worked, the poor man’s eyes are blinded and his ears blocked.

So, the surgeon wishes him well, gives his hand a shake and bids him a fond farewell.


Then, lastly, there is the Quack, a make-believe surgeon who roams from ward to ward and makes easy with his entertaining ways. A lively joker, he assumes a knowledge borrowed from the work of others and in doing so gains a counterfeit respect from the near comatose patients he visits.

Sadly, in his case the virus is communicable.


The mortuary will be busy today.


“Sodium Thiopental  (Pentothal) can cause significant enlargement of the spleen.”

Tamam Shud Blogspot – 18 March 2020.

In other words, SM was a spy who had been injected with the truth drug and his enlarged spleen is my proof.


The moderator of said blog decided not to publish my comment regarding his claim when all I wished to point out was that an enlarged spleen can also be caused by infections, cirrhosis and other liver diseases, blood diseases characterized by abnormal blood cells, problems with the lymph system, or other conditions. Other causes of an enlarged spleen include: Inflammatory diseases such as sarcoidosis, lupus, and rheumatoid arthritis.

in addition .. an enlarged spleen can be caused by the following.

  • Viral infections, such as mononucleosis
  • Bacterial infections, such as syphilis or an infection of your heart’s inner lining (endocarditis)
  • Parasitic infections, such as malaria
  • Cirrhosis and other diseases affecting the liver
  • Various types of hemolytic anemia — a condition characterized by early destruction of red blood cells
  • Blood cancers, such as leukemia and myeloproliferative neoplasms, and lymphomas, such as Hodgkin’s disease
  • Metabolic disorders, such as Gaucher’s disease and Niemann-Pick disease
  • Pressure on the veins in the spleen or liver or a blood clot in these veins

There you have it, ALL the relevant info delivered to your doorstep free of charge, just the thing you need in these Coronavirus days.

10 Comments Post a comment
  1. Cop that, young Harry.

    March 20, 2020
  2. Baccarat nitkeepers weren’t fighters, their superpower was knowing the smell of plod, and not letting them go up to the school. It’s probably a reasonable guess that they needed some kind of physical presence, sure, but don’t confuse them with standover men, they were quite different.

    Sure, there were fights at baccarat schools, but they tended to happen inside schools (there are a number of cases documented in Trove, I can dig them out if you’re desperate to know), not outside.

    March 21, 2020
  3. dude47 #

    One last word before they euthnaise me. Whist I Think the “nitkeeper” connection is interesting personally Ive never hung my hat on Keane being the nitkeeper as mutually exclusive to his being a car thief.

    March 21, 2020
    • Lifted from Cipher M .. Trove article 26 Jan ’49.

      “Melbourne.- Two prominent Melbourne baccarat players who desire to remain anonymous, believe they knew the unknown man in the “Somerton beach body mystery.”

      They saw the man’s picture in a Melbourne newspaper and said they thought they recognised him as a “nitkeeper” who worked at a Lonsdale street baccarat school about four years ago. They could not recall his name.

      They said the man talked to few people. He was employed at the baccarat school for about 10 weeks, then left without saying why or where he was going.”

      Four years … that’s plenty of time to learn new skills.

      March 21, 2020
  4. dude47 #

    I think he WAS a car thief and I find it interesting that he was identified as the nitkeeper

    March 21, 2020
    • Пожалуйста #

      A good thought. In terms of “notation” it might be important to look at not just the letters and symbols, but also their arrangement.

      Assuming that they were pencilled on a sheet lying on top of the Ruby, we also should assume that that sheet may have had other content on it, e.g. printed words, graphics, etc.

      Is the code “filling in” a form or grid? “Marking up” a document? Does it (the format) fit any known “games” if the day , e.g. in newspapers ?

      Another question is: why lay the original sheet on top of the Ruby? Because there was no other flat surface available? The lettering looks rough, rushed. Was it done in the field? On a train? On a bus?

      Apologies if this is old hat.

      March 21, 2020
      • Пожалуйста #

        Just out of interest – and to illustrate what I meant by this – I looked (briefly!) at dance and acrobatics notation methods, since John Doe and his (putative) immediate family have an apparent connection to this domain.

        Needless to say, I drew a blank. There are a number of formal dance (ie choreography) notation systems, at least one of which is also (nowadays) used in the context of acrobatics and circus skills. But none of these appear to use the letters and symbols shown on the code page.

        Of course, this is exactly the kind of domain that lends itself to personal, informal and possibly mnemonic-based notation. So you couldn’t rule it out.

        Other domains, such as games (however frivolous or serious and high-stakes) may prove more fruitful.

        March 22, 2020
        • Years back I interpreted the entire code into ballet movements, like A for arabesque etc, then joined a ballet forum to put it to them as being feasible as a structured dance .. one of them said he was always up for a ‘sneaky’ ballet scenario but went on to say as a series of movements it made no sense. So that was that.

          March 22, 2020
  5. john sanders #

    The Flinders Street D’s dismissed the baccarat nit keepers ID along with 25 others in about ten days from memory, along with the duds and their dry cleaning marks. Not sure why NP persisted..

    March 22, 2020
    • Doesn’t mean it wasn’t a lead. But being four years old and the bloke not having a name wouldn’t have helped.

      March 22, 2020

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