Damned be the not-working Search option -- this was discussed only last month. This discussion describes various weird character codes and ways to get rid of them (and throws in a GREP backgrounder for free): http://forums.adobe.com/thread/825587?tstart=0
I have remnants of a placeholder element tag used in a data merge being picked up with the content when called by the script:
set pageData to contents of (every text frame whose label is frameLabel)
AppleScript does not know how to display this InDesign metacharacter in terms that allow me to address it as an object so I can remove/ignore it, and it took a bit of fiddling in ScriptDebugger just to that there was a byte of data in there at all.
I have also tried
set pageData to text of...
to the same effect.