One of the greatest mysterious cases Australia has ever encountered is the one known as the Somerton Man.
A body is found on the beach.
In 1948, a mysterious case emerged when an unidentified body washed up on the shores of Somerton, Australia. A mysterious piece from the book “Rubaiyat” by the Persian poet and philosopher Omar Khayyam was found in his pocket, leading to the case being referred to as the “Tamam Shud” case.
The Tamam Shud case, as it came to be called, garnered attention not only in Australia but also worldwide.
The identity of the man, where he came from, and why he came to Australia remains unsolved.
The fact that forensic doctors were unable to determine how this man, also known as the Somerton Man, was killed only added to the mystery.
In the early hours of the morning, around 6:30 am, a report came in stating that the body of a middle-aged man was found on the Somerton Beach in South Australia.
Identification cannot be established.
Despite it being December, the summer season, the fact that the man was wearing thick clothing and not wearing a hat (at that time, it was expected for everyone wearing a suit to wear a hat) surprised the police. The police officers who searched his pockets and tried to determine his identity found neither an ID card nor a passport.
The man, believed to be in his 40s, was sent to the forensic medicine for examination. The officials first started investigating his clothing and noticed that all the labels had been completely removed. When his fingerprints and dental records were compared, no results could be obtained.
The nails and hair are freshly trimmed.
The forensic doctor reports the following about the elegantly dressed Somerton Man: “He is healthy, his nails are freshly trimmed, and his hair has recently been shaved. There are no calluses on his heels, indicating that he is not someone who walks constantly, but rather uses transportation. His legs are more muscular than those of an average person, and his toes are well-aligned and not crushed, likely due to wearing luxury shoes.
“Immediately after the analysis, the doctor’s first focus was to determine the cause of death of the unidentified man. The skull was examined first, but no signs of trauma were found. As the doctor proceeded towards the internal organs, striking details emerged.
The spleen is three times larger
One of the first notable findings is that the spleen is abnormally enlarged.
The doctor notes in the forensic report that the spleen is three times larger than normal.
All the veins leading to the man’s heart and his lungs were completely blocked, and there was blood in his intestines.
Is the mysterious bag related to Tamam Shud?
Exactly 45 days after the discovery of the body, an unattended bag is found near the Adelaide train station, close to Somerton Beach. The police, suspecting that the bag may belong to the Somerton Man, seize it.
Inside the bag, they find everyday clothes, personal care items, small knives, and brush-like objects. What catches the police’s attention the most is the stitched Keane T on the edge of a laundry bag.
The police believe that the thread used in the clothes is typically used in America and initiate a new investigation into the name Keane T. As you can guess, no significant information is obtained from Keane T either.
The body is helplessly buried
The police, believing that keeping the unidentified body in the morgue would serve no purpose, decide to bury the Somerton Man, who has no known identity or any identified relatives.Before the burial, they commission a sculpture of the man with exact measurements and detailed facial features for future investigations.
Despite not obtaining any significant leads, the police continue their investigations with full force. Four months after the discovery of the body, officials who re-examine the man’s clothing from the beginning make an intriguing discovery. They find a hidden pocket in the man’s trousers, and within this hidden pocket, they uncover a page from a book.
What’s the connection to Ömer Hayyam?The book that was found is titled “Rubaiyat” by Ömer Hayyam, and the torn page is the final page of the book with the words “Tamám Shud” written on it, meaning “ended” or “finished.”
The police, eager to find the book to which the torn page belongs, initiate an extensive search in Australia. Simultaneously, the images of the Somerton Man are published in newspapers with headlines asking, “Do you know this man?”
After eight months of thorough investigation, progress begins to emerge. An unnamed man visits the police station and provides the following statement: “A few days after the discovery of the Somerton Man, I found this book in my luggage. Initially, I thought it was insignificant, but recently, I saw your advertisement in an old newspaper page. It immediately came to my mind, and upon checking, I noticed that a part of the book’s last page was torn.
“The police promptly examine the book and confirm that the torn page matches perfectly. Surprisingly, the man who found the book is not added to the list of suspects, and the authorities focus solely on the book.
The back cover of the book contains a protrusion believed to be handwriting and a telephone number. The first step is to investigate the ownership of the phone number. It is discovered that the number belongs to a woman named Jessica Thomson, who resides near Somerton Beach. She is immediately brought in for questioning.
Jessica Thomson’s involvement in the case:
According to police reports, Jessica is visibly distraught throughout the entire investigation. When she sees the sculpture of the man, she becomes nearly faint. Despite her tears and fear, Jessica consistently insists that she does not know the man. She claims to have given the book to a man named Alfred Boxall.
Initially, the police are hopeful that the Somerton Man is Alfred Boxall. However, further investigation reveals that Alfred is still alive. The police then visit Alfred’s residence, where he presents the book and demonstrates that the page is not torn.
During the ongoing investigation, a hidden detail emerges: Jessica has been concealing a baby. The identity of the child’s father remains unknown, but the child bears a striking resemblance to the Somerton Man.
This detail further raises suspicion among the police. However, despite being cornered, Jessica continues to insist that she does not know the man. Without sufficient evidence, the police ultimately release her.
For 74 years unsolved codes
The police discovered a coded message from the protrusion on the back cover of the book. The message contains the following letters: ‘WRGOABABD, MLIAOI, WTBIMPANETP, MLIABO AIAQC, ITTMTSAMSTGAB.’
To decipher the meaning of these letters, dozens of code experts were involved, and the letters were examined in many foreign languages, attempting translations.
The Tamam Shud case continues to be investigated, even after decades have passed. In fact, approximately 5 years ago, the daughter of one of the main suspects, Jessica, made striking statements on a television program.
60 minutes Show
The woman makes the following statements on the TV show “60 Minutes”: “My mother had a truly dark side. She had told the police that she knew nothing about the Somerton Man, but that was a complete lie.
She told me that she knew who that man was but that the police couldn’t handle this case. She kept saying, ‘the police can’t cope with this, it’s much bigger than they think.’
“The statements that the case was beyond the police’s capabilities brought one thing to people’s minds: the Somerton Man could have been a spy.
According to what was said, this spy had come to gather information about the uranium mine and military research center near Adelaide, where Somerton was found, and was killed after being identified by high-level officials.
The Tamam Shud case has maintained its mystery for a solid 74 years.”