The Bizarre Mystery of Somerton Man
In 1948, the body of a man was found on Somerton beach in Adelaide, Australia. Police found a suitcase which they believed was his containing clothing in which all but three items had their name tags removed. The name on the remaining items pointed them to a man who was later identified as not being the dead man. A small note in the man’s pocket said “taman shud” which was cut out from the last line of a book of poems, The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam. The words translate to “The End” but is actually spelled “tamam shud”. Once the press misspelled the words, they were never corrected.
A doctor seeing the note on TV contacted police to say that the same book had appeared in the backseat of his unlocked car with the last words cut from the book. In the back of the book were coded markings (original shown above) which have not been deciphered.
A name in the front of the book led police to a woman who said she had given it to a man named Alfred Boxall during the Second World War. Upon seeing a plaster cast of the dead man, she identified him by the name of Boxall. This appeared to solve the mystery of who the man was, until a man named Boxall was discovered alive with his copy of the book undamaged. Coincidentally the woman who identified the man lived in Glenelg – the last town visited by the dead man before he traveled by bus to his final destination.
This is considered to be one of Australia’s most profound mysteries. Researchers and crime enthusiasts are still trying to solve the case to this day. An exhumation of Somerton Man’s body was requested but denied with the court stating that its purpose would only be for publicity and not for trying to solve his murder. To that extent, I disagree. There is no statute of limitations on murder and even thought the perpetrator is likely deceased, it is a case that has held the world in awe of the many intertwining mysteries it holds.