Unsolved Taman Shud Case

BlueE

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Eliminate the DNA for now

Does the paper trail disappear IE do you have an unaccounted Otis Pierce

Otis Norton Pierce 1912-1985 is one such trail
Do you have a photo? I'm using the deep dig by dance lines on the Otis Pierce who toured Australia with the Russian Ballet.

We know this person that called himself Otis Pierce;
- was a rich "baby faced" American who said he was born in 1912.
- travelled to England in mid 30s and stayed with Anton (Pat) Dolin, male principal ballet dancer.
- flew out to Australia with Anton Dolin. A flight that took 6 days of flying.
- was assistant to German Sevastianov, (known as Gerry, was the manager of the tour and one of the right hand men of the Ballets Russes’ boss, Colonel de Basil and married to ballerina Irina Baronova) of in the Russian Ballet tour of Australia, NZ in 1938/39.
- listed and danced as a character dancer in at least one performance and also performed at a club in Sydney.
- drove a large black Buick.
- he seems to disappear and not in the life of Anton Dolin once the ship took them back to USA, and was not accounted for during the war.
- two photos of him show was around 5'11" fit looking with broad shoulders and largish hands, with light coloured hair and receding hairline.

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BlueE

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Strange this was the first photo of SM
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This was the next.
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This is his actual hair stuck in the mould that was made of him.
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And his description in two sworn statements to the Coroner was 5'11", ginger blonde hair, receding hairline with no part, pushed back.

Even in the first two black and white photos the hair looks dark brown and not ginger blonde.
 

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BlueE

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GreyCrow how did you go finding any photos of Otis Pierce?

I think I found young Otis, at around 15 years old compared with him around 28 on the Ballet Russe tour.

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BlueE

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Different ears
Adult Otis has top of his ear obscured and the bottom is very good match for "young Otis". "Young Otis's" ear looks very close to the description of SM's ear from the Inquest.

Looking at the plaster SM's ear, its not so clear but they did describe how difficult it was to make a plaster copy in exact detail.
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peteb what do you think?
 

peteb

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BlueE .. Here's a well-known dancer and friend of an even better known ballet dancer falling off the map. Otis disappeared from view, vanished without a trace. I don't know if the yanks have an equivalent of our National Archive that might be searched. Speaking of which, there is no trace of Jessica Harkness in the NAA and the few knowledgeable researchers I know haven't been able to find her birth certificate on any official record.
So, we have a well-known American disappearing without a trace and a little-known Australian appearing without a trace. Both of them connected to ballet.
 

GreyCrow

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BlueE .. Here's a well-known dancer and friend of an even better known ballet dancer falling off the map. Otis disappeared from view, vanished without a trace. I don't know if the yanks have an equivalent of our National Archive that might be searched. Speaking of which, there is no trace of Jessica Harkness in the NAA and the few knowledgeable researchers I know haven't been able to find her birth certificate on any official record.
So, we have a well-known American disappearing without a trace and a little-known Australian appearing without a trace. Both of them connected to ballet.
How do you know he disappeared without a trace? Where was he born? Did he marry?

Do you have a full name we can search? Otis Pearce born in the US in 1912 died in 1985

Pierce Otis 1912 1985 1985 Social Security Death Index New York, United States

Born 1912 died 1998 but in Tennessee , I prefer the NY one

Pierce Otis V 1912 1998 1998 Social Security Death Index Tennessee, United States

Pierce Otis N 1912—1948 New York Passenger Lists & Arrivals Americas

Just some of the searches made
 

BlueE

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How do you know he disappeared without a trace? Where was he born? Did he marry?

Do you have a full name we can search? Otis Pearce born in the US in 1912 died in 1985

Pierce Otis 1912 1985 1985 Social Security Death Index New York, United States

Born 1912 died 1998 but in Tennessee , I prefer the NY one

Pierce Otis V 1912 1998 1998 Social Security Death Index Tennessee, United States

Pierce Otis N 1912—1948 New York Passenger Lists & Arrivals Americas

Just some of the searches made
There is no middle name but adult Otis did hit the social pages from mid 1930's in England where he was visiting his close friend Anton Dolin and as an assistant in the Russian Ballet Tour in 1938/39. Two known photos, while on this tour. He gives his name only as Otis Pierce born 1912 on ship passenger lists. Said to be a rich American when in England and paid for Dolin to fly from England to Australia for the start of the tour, which was not only expensive it took 6 days. Was driving a black Buick car in Australia. Not clear whether he was living in Australia beforehand, which is why he had the car or he bought or borrowed the car when the Ballet troupe arrived.

Seems he left back to America on the same ship as the rest of the Ballet. But even though he had a very close friendship with Dolin was never again seen with him or the ballet.

It would be great if you can trace the NY Otis for any information and photos to see if it is the same man? Being rich and regularly in the papers in England and Australia when he was there it would be surprising if there is no photos of him in America.
 

BlueE

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BlueE .. Here's a well-known dancer and friend of an even better known ballet dancer falling off the map. Otis disappeared from view, vanished without a trace. I don't know if the yanks have an equivalent of our National Archive that might be searched. Speaking of which, there is no trace of Jessica Harkness in the NAA and the few knowledgeable researchers I know haven't been able to find her birth certificate on any official record.
So, we have a well-known American disappearing without a trace and a little-known Australian appearing without a trace. Both of them connected to ballet.
Grey Crow might be able to find something on American Otis. I don't know how much ballet dancing he actually did and was more character actor while here on tour and he did have another job as assistant to Gerry Sevastainov. However I'm very surprised as he had a close friendship with Dolin for at least 4 years as documented in the newspapers he was never with Dolin again. Also being around 28 when America entered the war, I'm surprised there isn't a record of him there.

I haven't heard anything about Jessica and being involved in ballet or that there is no record of her birth in Australia. Could you please expand on that?
 

GreyCrow

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There is no middle name but adult Otis did hit the social pages from mid 1930's in England where he was visiting his close friend Anton Dolin and as an assistant in the Russian Ballet Tour in 1938/39. Two known photos, while on this tour. He gives his name only as Otis Pierce born 1912 on ship passenger lists. Said to be a rich American when in England and paid for Dolin to fly from England to Australia for the start of the tour, which was not only expensive it took 6 days. Was driving a black Buick car in Australia. Not clear whether he was living in Australia beforehand, which is why he had the car or he bought or borrowed the car when the Ballet troupe arrived.

Seems he left back to America on the same ship as the rest of the Ballet. But even though he had a very close friendship with Dolin was never again seen with him or the ballet.

It would be great if you can trace the NY Otis for any information and photos to see if it is the same man? Being rich and regularly in the papers in England and Australia when he was there it would be surprising if there is no photos of him in America.
Grey Crow might be able to find something on American Otis. ?
Hang on. Why do I have to do the work.

You made the assertion he "disappeared" without any basis behind it.

I questioned how you could do that without the research
 

peteb

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Grey Crow might be able to find something on American Otis. I don't know how much ballet dancing he actually did and was more character actor while here on tour and he did have another job as assistant to Gerry Sevastainov. However I'm very surprised as he had a close friendship with Dolin for at least 4 years as documented in the newspapers he was never with Dolin again. Also being around 28 when America entered the war, I'm surprised there isn't a record of him there.

I haven't heard anything about Jessica and being involved in ballet or that there is no record of her birth in Australia. Could you please expand on that?
Nobody has found record of her birth ... that's one. Her son, Robin, was a ballet dancer, that's two.
 

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BlueE

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Hang on. Why do I have to do the work.

You made the assertion he "disappeared" without any basis behind it.

I questioned how you could do that without the research
Sorry Mr Crow, it's just that I consider you the expert on Ancestry, and thought you could follow up on the person know st Otis Pierce in America. Was one of those records have him dying in 1948 or was that an arrival list?

The research I used from "dance lines" that found news paper reports of Otis from England and quite a few in Australia as well as photos and the ships lists from Australia to NZ. There was no other information in America although Anton Dolin was found to be dancing with an American ballet company, which he continued through the war. Nothing at all on the Otis that was in England and Australia. These people researched and looked thoroughly in a variety of sources as far as I could tell.

Maybe your ancestry contacts can find something, especially photos as we know what he looked like. If not the claim from the other researchers will stand for me.
 

peteb

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Hang on. Why do I have to do the work.

You made the assertion he "disappeared" without any basis behind it.

I questioned how you could do that without the research
Several members of a ballet forum have been asking the same question, both in America and Australia. They know their game and none of them know what happened to him after he left Australia.
 

BlueE

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Nobody has found record of her birth ... that's one. Her son, Robin, was a ballet dancer, that's two.
So are you saying its possible she was born in another country and may have been a ballet dancer herself? Could she have come to Australia initially with the Russe 1938/39 tour?

Another question I have is did the room attendant who possibly spoke to SM in the hotel think he may have a foreign accent. I think the quote was "He didn't exactly mangle the language" or similar?
 

BlueE

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Several members of a ballet forum have been asking the same question, both in America and Australia. They know their game and none of them know what happened to him after he left Australia.
My thought was he could have left the ballet but it would be unlikely he would have left Anton.

Unless he went to Europe and was involved in the war there with another country?
 

GreyCrow

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Sorry Mr Crow, it's just that I consider you the expert on Ancestry, and thought you could follow up on the person know st Otis Pierce in America. Was one of those records have him dying in 1948 or was that an arrival list?

The research I used from "dance lines" that found news paper reports of Otis from England and quite a few in Australia as well as photos and the ships lists from Australia to NZ. There was no other information in America although Anton Dolin was found to be dancing with an American ballet company, which he continued through the war. Nothing at all on the Otis that was in England and Australia. These people researched and looked thoroughly in a variety of sources as far as I could tell.

Maybe your ancestry contacts can find something, especially photos as we know what he looked like. If not the claim from the other researchers will stand for me.
Sure thats fine and Ive given a couple of possibilities. The Pierce 1948 is into NY on shipping lists. My concern is how does he get back by December of 1948

But my point stands. You cant make a claim that he disappeared without following up.

'' I havent the knowledge to look up records but I dont think he exists after 1948 , can someone help look for him before I comment'' might get a better response :)
 

peteb

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So are you saying its possible she was born in another country and may have been a ballet dancer herself? Could she have come to Australia initially with the Russe 1938/39 tour?

Another question I have is did the room attendant who possibly spoke to SM in the hotel think he may have a foreign accent. I think the quote was "He didn't exactly mangle the language" or similar?
So are you saying its possible she was born in another country and may have been a ballet dancer herself? Could she have come to Australia initially with the Russe 1938/39 tour?

Another question I have is did the room attendant who possibly spoke to SM in the hotel think he may have a foreign accent. I think the quote was "He didn't exactly mangle the language" or similar?
Ina Harvey was a receptionist at the Stratham Hotel, not a room attendant. And it is possible Jessica was born elsewhere, remembering what her daughter, Kate, said about her in the 60 Minutes interview. 'She was a strong secretive woman.' In other words, she even kept secrets from her own family.
 

peteb

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GreyCrow

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GreyCrow

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Valerie Lawson calls herself a journalist yet it took 15 minutes on google to establish a few things. But JFC why am I doing her work??

http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article161941817


Pat Cape was caught by tho candid camera in Sydney on Saturday pinning a rose on Otis Pierce - Boston Millionaires Son. The photo appeared in the city morning newspaper. Miss Cape is the daughter of Mr and Mrs Cape of Melrose Leadville

And here is the picture http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article247604931 (further note is its difficult to spot but the ears dont look split to me)


So Boston. December 27 1912 (from shipping records) translates to ''estimated 1913''

Fix this text
Name: Otis N Peirce
Titles and Terms:
Event Type: Census
Event Date: 1930
Event Place: New Bedford, Bristol, Massachusetts, United States
District: ED 135
Gender: Male
Age: 17
Marital Status: Single
Race: White
Race: White
Relationship to Head of Household: Son
Relationship to Head of Household: Son
Birth Year (Estimated): 1913
Birthplace: Massachusetts
Immigration Year:
Father's Birthplace: Massachusetts
Mother's Birthplace: Massachusetts
Sheet Letter: B
Sheet Number: 3
Sheet Number and Letter: 3B
Household ID: 55
Line Number: 99
Affiliate Name: The U.S. National Archives and Records Administration (NARA)
Affiliate Publication Number: T626
Affiliate Film Number: 892
GS Film Number: 2340627
Digital Folder Number: 004951073
Image Number: 00190


Household Role Sex Age Birthplace
Andrew Peirce Head M 66 Massachusetts
Helen H Peirce Wife F 59 Massachusetts
Andrew G Peirce Son M 22 Massachusetts
Otis N Peirce Son M 17 Massachusetts
Alexander S Peirce Son M 13 Massachusetts
Bessie O Donnell Servant F 51 England
Carl G Johnanston Butler M 43 Sweden


Oh but wait. 20 more minutes and we find this.

http://www.locateancestors.com/otis-pierce/


OTIS PIERCE

106-18-4876 December 27, 1912 - July 1, 1985 72 years CA92262 (Palm Springs, Riverside County)




Citing this Record:
"United States Census, 1930," database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:XQLW-P94 : accessed 29 March 2019), Otis N Peirce in household of Andrew Peirce, New Bedford, Bristol, Massachusetts, United States; citing enumeration district (ED) ED 135, sheet 3B, line 99, family 55, NARA microfilm publication T626 (Washington D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 2002), roll 892; FHL microfilm 2,340,627.

Please no more of this Otis Pierce being Somerton Man ffs
 

BlueE

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The millionaires son from Boston, who is described as the Otis Pierce who toured Australia confirmed by the picture in the Dunedoo District News that you quoted and in the excellent research done by dance lines.

The dance lines web site also had information on birth and death records of this Otis N Pierce (I presume the Peirce is your spelling mistake, or is it?) who was 17 in 1930 census born, bred and living in Massachusetts and later moving to Palm Springs, dying July 1 1985.

As I said any photos of this Otis after 1939, or information from the war and later in other records could confirm if he is the same man. However there seems to be no such records, until a death record in 1985. Not enough information for me to say this Otis that died in 1985 is the dame Otis that toured Australia in 1938/39 with the ballet.
 
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BlueE

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But its been repeated without critical thinking
Not sure if you mean it's repeated without being critiqued. My critique is this is excellent historical research providing photos, first hand information with many original quotes, historical records including ship manifests and news articles that traced Otis Pierce from mid 30's until just 4 months before the war started which is generally thought to be September 1st 1939.

Many posters on here have applied critical thinking to this research, some of mine I've already expanded on. Dance lines research has clearly shown Otis travelling with the ballet, good friends with Dolin in particular, and assistant to German Stevainov, although he's not listed as a dancer or assistant in the official list although he danced once in a character role in the last performance in Sydney.

My application of critical thinking to this information is that Otis has attached himself to the tour for some reason. Maybe it's his close friendship with Anton or maybe because he's an idle rich man with an interest in Ballet or he could be using the ballet as cover for intelligence gathering.

Other critical thinking I've applied related to the original police reports, FBI response from Edgar Hoover, Coroner reports from 1949 and 1958 and other information from researchers who have spent many hours finding and collating information is that Ballet Otis is the man found dead on Somerton beach on Dec 1st 1948.

This has lead me to "Young Otis" who not only has ears very similar to the cast made of the body but has relatives that have similar teeth formation to SM. He also has links to a well known family who lived in the upper eastern coast of the US.
 

BlueE

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https://trove.nla.gov.au/work/35333906?q&versionId=43935406

A cropped version of the photograph first appeared in the newspaper 'The Dominion' (Wellington) on 24 February, 1939. Photograph includes 74 people including dancers, members of the tour's management and backstage team, and musicians from the orchestra. It does not include the entire company as several male dancers who were in the company are not included"--Information from acquisitions documentation.

Close of the photo. Names of most are on the link. Arrow = Otis?
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