To Abbott, this coincidence was irresistibly suggestive, and he now believes a theory that might propel the Somerton mystery into the realm of solvability: that the man was Jo’s secret lover, and Robin Thomson their son. Another fact that Abbott cites as support for this idea is that Robin had a rare anatomical abnormality: He never grew lateral incisors, so his canine teeth, like the Somerton Man’s, abutted his front teeth.
No identical copy could be found. It appeared that the Somerton Man’s Rubáiyát was unique and published by a company in the habit of issuing, for obscure reasons, one Rubáiyát at a time.
Abbott’s code-breaking efforts, for which he initially held high hopes, stagnated. He tried to solve the code by treating it as a substitution cipher, in which every letter stands for another. He has tested that theory with computational models and conclusively ruled it out. He tried to determine if the letters were random, and even at one point had his students drink beer and write down random letters in progressive stages of inebriation to see if the letters resembled the patterns of those in the code. They did not.
(def src (slurp "http://www.gutenberg.org/cache/epub/246/pg246.txt"))
(def words (string/split src #"\W"))
(let [full-match [\w \r \g \o \a \b \a \b \d]]
(reduce (fn [[matches all-matches found] cantidate]
(let [letters (map first found)
cantidate (.toLowerCase cantidate)]
;; (println "matches" matches "found" found "cantidate" cantidate)
(cond (not (not-empty cantidate)) [matches all-matches found]
(= letters full-match) [(conj matches found) (conj all-matches found) [cantidate]]
(= (take (count found) full-match) letters) [matches all-matches (conj found cantidate)]
:true [matches (conj all-matches found) ])))
[  ]
We've found almost identical versions. The real version apparently was on plain white paper. However, the versions we found were on coloured paper. We've never found an exact copy on white paper.
In the war years, backyard publishers made money by doing rip-off copies of popular books from bigger publishers. These are called "false imprints."
It is possible we are dealing with a false imprint here.
We have found exact copies of Alf Boxall's and George Marshall's copies. It appears that Alf had a genuine imprint and George Marshall had a false imprint. False imprints survive and can appear on eBay just like any other old book. So it was lucky that another copy of the Marshall one appeared. But still nothing for the Somerton Man's copy. Keep looking folks!
We wonder whether a genuine mystery is being concealed here or whether any similar scrutiny of a minute section of time and space would yield similar strangenesses—gaps, inconsistencies, warps, and bubbles in the surface of circumstance. Perhaps, as with the elements of matter, investigation passes a threshold of common sense and enters a sub-atomic realm where laws are mocked, where persons have the life-span of beta particles and the transparency of neutrinos, and where a rough kind of averaging out must substitute for absolute truth. The truth about those seconds in Dallas is especially elusive; the search for it seems to demonstrate how perilously empiricism verges on magic.
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