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Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Dear Donald: This is the worst fake ever...

So I found this image of a supposed birth certificate today here.  I thought I would let you know some issues I see with it.

It was captured from the linked site as follows:  Zoom to the full page size (on a Mac).  Captured to the clipboard by Command-Control-Shift-3 and pasted into PhotoShop.  This image is saved without change other than flattening as a PNG file (a file type which has some quality loss).

Now the very first problem I have with this being any sort of "original historical document" is the fact that the green cross-hatched check background runs off the area of the birth certificate and onto the larger background (to see the details clearly please inspect the full sized original - the snippets here were pulled from PhotoShop and saved as .PNG files compatible with Blogspot):

You can see this right along  the supposedly curved page edge where it says "State of Hawaii".  You will see that the vertical and horizontal background marks transition from one area to another.

In the 1960's this "safety printing" as it was called, was common on checks to ensure that someone didn't forge them.  Now if the "birth certificate" portion were an actual document there would have to be some sort of border or boundary between the document and the background.

This is none.

Another issue is the file on the web site  and its Flash format.  An odd format for this type of proof.  One would expect to find a hi-res TIFF file instead.  TIFF allows the image to be stored 'without loss'.  Image formats such as JPEG compress the file be removing some information.  TIFF can be saved as "loss-less" which means that all the original pixels remain in the output.

The next problem is that you will see a white boarder around all the black printing.  In the 1960's a document like this supposed state records ledger would have been printed on some sort of printing press.  Typically the "safety paper" would be produced separately and then the black printing for the legal portions of the document (the portions not filled in until the birth) would be printed in a second pass over the the top (supposing some sort of offset printing or letter press).  I think this is very unlikely to have been printed as a full color printing job at that time and for this purpose.

So there could be no white boundary around each and every letter in the document.  If there was it would imply that the "safety paper" area around each letter was removed or printed with white.  Well beyond any technology available at that time for a document like this.

Further you will notice that round the signatures the same white boundary appears:

To me this indicates that the same process, whatever it was, was used to place the supposedly black pre-printed document background text as the signatures.

The next problem you will notice is that the resolution of much of the black background text appears to be a far different resolution than the "safety printing".

For any legitimate photograph or scan of a document you would expect all the pixels to have the same resolution.

Since they do not appear to its is to me very likely that the black text and safety background were scanned at two different resolutions.

The next problem is the white backgrounds surrounding each letter.

Typically copying black text in a program like PhotoShop involves collecting only those pixels which match a specific color or range of colors - in this case blacks and gray.  The white ghosting is typically the result of using too broad a color selection to pick the black text from its original (supposedly white) background.

(Look under the 'h' in Witchita - its completely white under the hump of the 'h'.)

A document of this era would most likely have been typewritten on a mechanical typewriter.

(Among other things they only marked the paper black - not black and white.  Even a self correcting typewriter would not produce this sort of output.)

Using a machine of this age you would expect that there would be certain characteristic elements in the type.  For example, the letters on the mechanical arm that struck the paper through an ink-soaked black ribbon should all have the same appearance, e.g., an 'O' would have characteristic flaws that would create a signature for that typewriter (just like bullets and gun barrels are used to forensically match guns to crimes or boot or tire prints to match clothing and cars to crime scenes).

Normally the same letter, in this case 'O' would appear the same everywhere.

Looking at 7b. the word "Oahu' demonstrates that the 'O' is not on the same imaginary "base line" as the remaining letters.  You will see that for much of the document capital letters used preceding lower case letters appear to be slightly above this imaginary line ('K' in Kansas, 'W' in Wichita, etc.)

However, in 5b. this is not the case with P.M. where the 'M' appears different  than everything else and yet still typewritten as opposed to manually written.

One would expect other documents filled in the same state office around the same time to exhibit these same characteristics.

I wonder if they do.

Then there is the issue of the date stamps and numerical order stamp used under 'Department of Health'.

A quick inspection of this:

Shows that the last digit '1' in '61 10641' is not nearly as dark as the other letters.  It is also at a different resolution (the pixels are much smaller for this last '1' than the other two).

If this were a simple document scan you would not expect to see anything like this.

Donald - I have spent a large portion of my life working on commercial printing and marketing documents.  I have made numerous corrections to such documents and I am experienced with the results of PhotoShop and other applications.

At first glance I do not believe that if this document were a direct mail piece for an ad circular, for example, it not would pass quality or branding.  Its too badly done.

Secondly I do not believe what you are being shown was ever "printed", i.e., existed on physical paper, for the reasons I site above.

Certainly I am no expert - just a professional doing his job.  But I believe that this raises far more questions that it answers.  I think that if you have your own experts inspect this document it will raise questions for you as well.

I hope that you, with your resources, find objective, third party experts to examine this online document (and also the original if possible) to resolve all of these issues I mention.

Personally if I were required to produce my original certificate of birth I would merely take a quality photograph (or have a professional do that for me in front of a notary).  That way I could provide the complete camera-output as proof (digital cameras stamp the images with camera model, date, time and so forth).  I would make the camera, notarized document and image files available for inspection.

I am sure you would do the same as I know others, such as John McCain, have done in the past.

That way the matter will be laid fully to rest.


The Lone Wolf


  1. I hope you wasted a shit load of time on this.

  2. No - only about 10 minutes... Sorry.