A Well Dressed Corpse

SomertonMan2 Photo courtesy of Wikipedia

A well-dressed corpse is found on the Somerton Beach in 1948 setting off a mystery of astounding proportions. A strange note was found sewn into a hidden pocket in the man’s pants. The words Tamam Shud were typed upon a scrap of paper. The translation is, “It is finished.” Seventy-one years later and no one can figure out who this man was or who killed him. Was he a spy? Who knows?

The Somerton Man: Seven Decades Later

Unless more evidence appears soon, the death of the Somerton man will forever remain a mystery. The issues surrounding his death were not the only mystery, but his identity and his killer’s identity remain unsolved by forensic science.

On the first day of December 1948, Neil Day was riding his horse on the Somerton beach when he discovered the body of a man. There wasn’t any form of identity on the Somerton man. The stand out features was that he was clean shaven, wearing a bespoke brown suit and staring into the sky while sitting in a gentleman position. The night before, people claimed to have seen a man that looked like the Somerton man. The assumption is that he’s either drunk or in a deep sleep.

For anyone hearing about the case of the Somerton man for the first time, the poser will be; how will a well-dressed man in a suit be sitting on the beach wall alone? Or is his death pre-mediated with the torn page of the book found in his pocket? This is one mystery that remains a hard nut to crack for the intelligence units of Australia, The United States, and Scotland.

Who is The Somerton Man?

In a case that went down as Australia’s most baffling cold case, the identity of the Somerton remains one of the biggest unanswered questions of the case.

It’s somewhat baffling that a man with such a display of means had no identification on him. A small amount of cash was found on the man, but his wallet was missing.

Since no one is aware of the identity of the Somerton man, the next will be to ascertain which nationality he is. It was confirmed that he was not a local man as no one knows him or have ever seen him before.

With his clothing and the items found on him, there was a strong indicator that the Somerton man had an American link. However, when his fingerprints were sent to the American authorities, it came back without any results. Investigators found on him; a railway ticket to Henley Beach, an American metal comb, and some other items that did little in revealing the identity of the Somerton man.

Where Is The Somerton Man Going: The Suitcase At The Adelaide Railway Station?

While the entire world was still grappling with the shock and mystery surrounding the news, investigators find his brown suitcase and hope it will lead to answers.

The contents of the bag were a modified knife, a screwdriver, pencils, scissors, clothes, and a stenciling brush.

What kind of job would require these types of things? He was a clean cut, well-built man with hands that looked as if he hadn’t done a day of manual labor in his life.

The Rubáiyát and The Tamam Shud: What’s The Somerton Man Trying To Say.

In less than a month when the mystery of the Somerton man caught everyone unaware, another piece of evidence was found. One of the items found in the pocket of the Somerton Man was a rolled piece of paper with “Tamam Shud” written on it. In Persian, it means “it is finished. What is finished? Another new question added to the numerous ones.

No one knows where the paper came from until a man walked into the police station with the book titled; The Rubáiyát. The back page of this book had been torn, and after investigating further, they found the scrap to fit the page perfectly.

Why did this man have the book?

The man claimed he was driving along the beach and parked his car there the night before the body was discovered. He went for a walk with his friend, and when they returned to the automobile, a book was on the floor of the car. The two men didn’t pay any attention to it until the story of the Somerton man broke on the news. In the book, there were two phone numbers; one was a dead end, and the other went through to a lady; Jestyn.

Jestyn and The Rubáiyát: A Twist to The Story

Interestingly, Jestyn lived nearby to the Somerton beach. Even though she claimed never to know the Somerton man, she was close to fainting when she saw the cast of his face. Jestyn never wanted to talk to the police. She later admitted that she gave a copy of The Rubáiyát to a man named Alfred Boxall. When that lead was followed, the man still had the copy of the book with the last page intact.

Recent Discoveries and Theories

The story of the Somerton man is still a subject of debate. Many are still wondering what could have killed the man. The theory of being a spy tops the list. Another angle is that he must have committed suicide or poisoned with an untraceable poison. So also, it was believed that the death of the man could have been natural due to the position he was sitting. More recently, DNA evidence traced the Somerton man to the US East coast, and he could have been related to Thomas Jefferson.

The following links are for the benefit of Synova’s readers and are not an all inclusive source listing.


ABC News

Buzzfeed Unsolved 

All information used to create this content is a matter of public record and can be easily found online. Any participation or alleged involvement of any party mentioned within this site is purely speculation. As the law states, an individual is Innocent until PROVEN guilty. ©2017-2019. All rights reserved.

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Each week Synova highlights obscure cold cases on her blog as a victim’s advocate with the Missouri Missing organization. She never charges for her services. If you’d like to help support Synova in this worthy cause, please check out the affiliate links below and on the sidebar of this page. By purchasing one of her books or using these links, you will be supporting Synova’s work on cold cases and will ensure her ability to continue to give a voice to the victim’s family. Thank you.

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