This could be a bit of a breakthrough
Some days everything falls into place, like why the Freeman Rubaiyat wasn’t made available for a front page pic in the Adelaide Advertiser after it was found. Maybe there was an inscription that could have helped too, they were common enough in the old versions. And why not a pic or two of the pages?
Then again, somebody at Naval Intelligence may have been working on the pages, applying all sorts of chemical compounds onto the paper in the hope of raising anything hidden between the lines. It’s not as if it hasn’t been tried before.
Like Piny the Elder, who holds the record for being first up as he discovered that milk of the tithymalus plant (goats lettuce) written on a body, then dried, would produce letters when ashes were sprinkled upon it. Philo of Byzantium c. 280-220 B.C. in Alexandria advised the use of crushed gallnuts dissolved in water to write upon a body, and then the use of a sponge soaked in virrol (ferrous sulfate) rubbed gently over the writing to reveal the letters.
Not only that … During the Revolutionary War invisible transmissions were written between the lines of letters and coded with an “F” for fire or an “A” for acid to clue the recipient in on what method to use to unveil the hidden ink.
So what might the first letters in the code represent?
But then there’s this ..
In 2011 the CIA released six World War 1-era documents dealing mostly with invisible ink. One formula containing starch has a recommendation of hiding the ink by ironing it in to a handkerchief, or the starch of a shirt collar, then soaking the article in water to release the ink for writing. These de-classified CIA documents can be viewed in their Electronic Reading Room by searching “secret writing”.
Then, unbelievably, this:
Another interesting story of clothing impregnated ink involves George Vaux Bacon, a Minnesota born spy working for the Germans in America. Bacon traveled to Rotterdam as an American journalist and began to send transmissions by writing between the lines of his reports using invisible ink he had smuggled, painted in the tops of his socks, then soaked in water to reveal the ink for writing.
Maybe that’s why we’ve never seen the book …
And why his spare socks disappeared.
You know it makes sense.