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In 1948 the body of a man was found on Somerton beach in Adelaide, Australia. The man was never identified. Police found a suitcase which they believed was his containing clothing in which all but three items had their name tags removed. The name on the remaining items pointed them to a man who was later identified as not being the dead man. A small note in the man’s pocket said “taman shud” which is the last line of the Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam. It had been cut from a book. A doctor seeing the note on the TV contacted police to say that the book had appeared in the backseat of his unlocked car. It was the copy that had had the note removed. In the back of the book were coded markings which have not been able to be deciphered as yet:
A name in the front of the book led police to a woman who said she had given it to a man named Boxall during the Second World War. Upon seeing a plaster cast of the dead man she identified him as Boxall. This appeared to solve the mystery of who the man was, until Boxall was discovered alive with his copy of the book undamaged. Coincidentally the woman who identified the man lived in Glenelg – the last town visited by the dead man before he travelled by bus to his final destination. The woman asked police not to record her name as she was married and wanted to avoid scandal – they foolishly complied and her identity is now also unknown.
In the book, it is unclear if the first two sentences begin with an 'M' or 'W', and there appears to be a deleted or underline line of text that reads 'MLIAOI'. Although the last character in this line of text looks like an 'L', it is fairly clear on closer inspection of the image that this is formed from an 'I' and the extension of the line used to delete or underline that line of text. Also, the other 'L's have a curve to the bottom part of the character. There is also an "X" above the last 'O' in the code, and it is not known if this is significant to the code or not. Initially, the letters were thought to be words in a foreign language before it was realised it was a code. Code experts were called in at the time to decipher the lines but were unsuccessful. When the code was analysed by the Australian Department of Defence in 1978, they made the following statements about the code:
# There are insufficient symbols to provide a pattern.
# The symbols could be a complex substitute code or the meaningless response to a disturbed mind.
# It is not possible to provide a satisfactory answer
Decryption of the "code" has been started from scratch. It has been determined that the letter frequency is considerably different from letters written down randomly, the frequency is to be further tested to determine if the alcohol level of the writer could alter random distribution. The format of the code also appears to follow the quatrain format of the Rubaiyat supporting the theory that the code is a One-time pad encryption algorithm. To this end copies of the Rubaiyat (also the Talmud and Bible) are being compared to the code using computers to get a statistical base for letter frequencies although the code being so short may require the exact edition of the book used. With the original copy lost in the 1960s, researchers have been looking for a Fitzgerald edition without success. Abbott is traveling overseas in August in an attempt to locate a copy.
Originally posted by makeitso
Image of the code.
List of people connected to the Taman Shud Case
[edit on 8/1/09 by makeitso]