There are photos that are purported to be of the hotel room V.M. Straka was staying at in the Hotel San Sebastian in Cuba the night of June 5, 1946, when he was supposed to meet Filomela Caldeira for the first time. Pages x-xiii in the Foreword describe how FXC waited in the hotel restaurant for VMS until midnight. She persuaded the desk clerk to take her up to the room where she found the third-floor hotel room ransacked,
an open window, and what appeared to be a body in the alley being loaded onto a truck.
At least on photo is mentioned in “S”. Eric writes in the margins on xii…
JUST GOT WORD THAT A PHOTO OF THE SCENE IS UP FOR AUCTION. APPEARED OUT OF NOWHERE. I’M OFF TO NYC.
On p220, another conversation in the marginalia mentions the photo.
Here Eric and Jen are helping us understand that the doubt over the truth about what happened in Havana is strong.
Four photos appear on the site EOTVOSWHEEL.COM, which has generally been regarded as “in-game” to the “S” story, written by a Straka devotee not unlike Eric and Jen. The site is rife with great information regarding Straka candidates, the Santorini man murders, and more.
However, a closer examination reveals that the photos are fakes. Here are three reasons why…
The film used to take the pictures is revealed at the bottom-right-hand of each photograph: ILFORD HP5 PL (or PLUS). This film did not exist as HP5 until 1976, and as HP5 PLUS until 1989. If the photographs had been taken the day of the scene, another film entirely would have been utilized.
The date on the photographs is June 5, 1949. However, we know from FXC that she did not even visit the room until after midnight, which would have been June 6. These photographs are taken in daylight, which means it would have had to have been June 6 or later.
The Frame Number
My good friend Mike, aka @anabramsfan, pointed out that the frame number from the negative roll is the same for all four photos: 17. You can see it at the top of each photograph. What this means is that someone took staged photographs and used the same background template to form all four fakes – not bothering to worry about advancing the frame number.
Mike went so far as to find the actual source for the background template. It was taken by Kale Taylor Photography on April 10, 2011. You can tell it is the same template used in the fake photographs – check out the stock number 3965 at the bottom left of each photo. It matches the template. You might say this is truly a work of negative space (pun intended).
The Jen Heyward Tumblr Blog
Jen Heyward’s tumblr blog, which boasts the original ending to Ship of Theseus as written, so it is thought, by V.M. Straka, also has a photograph of his obituary. In the background of the obituary, you can see what appears to be a contact sheet from the “original negatives” of all four photographs. If this is true, and the photographs are fake, it means that Eric and Jen are the ones who faked them.
Others have pointed out before that the film was anachronistic with the supposed date of the photograph, but considered it sloppy production by the publisher. What if instead it was sloppy work by the in-story forger? And we are meant to discover this so that we can piece together the true story of “S” more accurately? This is just one more piece of evidence to prove that V.M. Straka did not die in Havana, Cuba.
One more thought. Note that in each photograph, there is a string of numbers and letters with the following pattern: two letters, six numbers, and a single letter. What if the forger knew that his intended audience would see these photographs and embedded a secret code into them so that he could get his/her message safely through? If so, then perhaps our next cipher is right here…