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The Carl Webb Anomaly Portfolio

Let me count the ways …

Carl Webb was a professional instrument maker who had none of his own tools, a tradesman with no working clothes or work boots, a man employed building metal tools who had trimmed, clean fingernails and clean un-calloused hands, a man who rarely wished to go out when married but travelled over 700 k’s to Adelaide, who arrived there in summer though dressed for winter, who wore highly polished shoes yet didn’t have a polishing cloth, an individual who was missing eighteen teeth yet had the appearance of a well-fed body builder, a man without a watch when most men wore one, a known wife-beater who had abrasions between the knuckles of his right hand, a man suffering from a variety of illnesses yet who carried no medication, who carried a tin of shoe polish yet didn’t have a brush to apply it, a letter writer who didn’t have a pen, a man who had no spare socks yet travelled with seven handkerchiefs, a man who failed in his first suicide attempt and appeared to be successful in his second, a traveller nobody remembered when lodging his suitcase or selling him a ticket, who died lying down yet was found propped up, who was found with a partly smoked cigarette yet had not the means to light it, a man who had no hat when most men wore one, who arrived in Adelaide by means unknown, whose purpose for coming to Adelaide remains a mystery.

A man whose luck appeared to have changed twice: once from a simple tradesmen to a well-dressed intra-state traveller, then once again when found unexplainably dead.

One Comment Post a comment
  1. a lurker #

    Allow me to play Devils Avocate since noone else has:
    No tools/workclothes: He didn’t come to Adelaide to work or live. He was there for a limited time only
    Clean hands (which had once seen labour, but not recently I thought) – He had moved on from his role, either upwards (working in the office managing staff rather than machines) or total career change. How much of his work would be hands on and how much would be pushing buttons?
    Rarely went out but went to Adelaide – I feel they’re 2 totall different things. I’m anti social and dislike going out, but I don’t mind travelling. Plus he may have had a reason to travel.
    Summer dressed for winter – Firstly and pedantically he arrived end of Spring, but more to the point we assume he came from Melbourne. Melbourne has a reputation for English weather – it gets hot there, but I think not until the new year. He was dressed for Melbourne in Adelaide – not entirely surprising if that’s where he came from. Also despite people constantly saying it was hot, it wasn’t – it was hot the following day.
    Polished shoes – This one’s a little clutchy, but would shoe shiners have been common back then. Might he have found one in Glenelg to account for the shiny shoes despite all his wanderings?
    Missing teeth – Maybe a boxer at some stage? Maybe a footy brawl at some stage? Or maybe as some speculate illness. Probably a bit odd that it was (I think) back teeth missing, whereas I’d expect punchups more likely to lose you front teeth
    Without a watch – Exactly same as wallet. Someone may have lifted that from the body.
    Don’t really get the wife beater anomally. The abrasions would be consistent with that, wouldn’t they? In any case he’d presumably not seen her for a couple of years.
    Illnesses and no medication – gotta go to a quack to be diagnosed and a chemist to get some drugs. A lot of people are probably sick and either don’t know it or don’t bother visitng the quack.
    Hankies but no socks – This one’s more difficult and I’ll leave Prunzinskys suitcase out of it. Can’t explain the lack of socks, but lots of hankies might be for wrapping up something illicit that your giving someone or receiving from them
    Shoe polish – Changed my mind on some of the above. He used hankies to polish his shoes – both apply and buff, and then threw them away. I think it’s been asked before, but any possibility the black stuff on the brush was shoe polish? (bugger, he had brown shoes, didn’t he….)
    Suicide attempts – one of them’s gonna work eventually. Wasn’t this his 3rd? I thought Doff described 2.
    Not noticed by anyone – very few people are unless they cause a rukus or stand out from the crowd. Another plausible thought I read somewhere is everyone was asked whether they saw a man fitting his description. Suppose he was travelling with someone else then he wouldn’t come to mind because people are trying to remember 1 person. Further, the 2nd person might be the one who bought the tickets and lodged the suitcase. From memory there were 2 Henley tickets sold in that timeframe.
    Letter writer – he had pencils though. More interesting that IIRC he had envelopes but no paper. Maybe they’re for sending little booklets to people he hasn’t met yet.
    Cigarette/Matches – Well, depends who you believe. If he’s hanging around with a smoker he may have no need for a match or lighter. Or perhaps he had a nice lighter and it went the same place as his wallet and watch.
    No Hat – Sudden guts of breeze and he couldn’t be arsed chasing it. Dunno this one, but no biggie for mine.

    Sort of comes across as a Jack of All trades, Master of none doesn’t he?

    November 3, 2022

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