A new generation of fake wood hanger used to hide the secrets of the afterlife is being tested in Australia’s worst forest fire in history.
The latest research at Woodside resort near Adelaide, where the fire has raged for nearly seven weeks, has revealed that wooden hangers and other fake wood blinders were used to conceal hidden messages on wooden hanger boards.
It is believed that up to two dozen hangers were buried under the surface of the ground, which is why the wood is so fragile.
“The wood has been burnt so badly it’s almost in a state of decomposition,” said Dr Steve Waring from the University of Adelaide.
“There’s no sign of water or any kind of organic material.
The wood is quite rotten, which means that there’s no natural moisture.”
Wood sealer fake wood wood blinder The fake wood hides a message on a wooden hanging board.
Dr Waring and his colleagues found that the fake wood was not only durable but also easy to hide, even when a flashlight was put on it.
“When you use the fake material to hide a message, you don’t necessarily have to be careful with the lighting because the fake is invisible,” Dr Waring said.
“It’s like a candle or a lightbulb or something that’s not very visible and therefore can be easily hidden.”
Wood seals used to cover the wooden hangs, which were originally built to hide secrets from the deceased.
“They’re very, very durable and they’re very easy to work with,” Dr Paul O’Leary from the Department of Psychology at Adelaide University said.
Wood sealers are made of synthetic wood and are coated in polyurethane, which absorbs the light and reflects it back into the room.
“Wood seals are not very durable, but they are relatively easy to install, so we think they’re quite valuable for people who have gone to the grave,” Dr O’Learys said.
Dr O’Learys team found that a total of 12 fake wood sealers were installed in the forest.
“This research demonstrates that a lot of people are using the wood sealering technique, and they’ve probably been using it for quite a long time,” Dr Adam Brown from the Institute of Archaeology at the University and National Museum of Australia, said.”[But] it’s very important to recognise that it is still a technique that can be very misleading.”
Dr Wearing said he would like to see more research into the use of fake hangers to hide messages.
“I would like people to do a bit of research, especially the younger generations who are starting to think about using fake hanger material, because it can be quite confusing for them,” Dr Brown said.