Mystery Behind The 1948 Tamam Shud Case : The Somerton Man

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Who is the Somerton man and What is the Tamam Shud Case?

This is another case, just like the 1940’s Time Travelling Hipster On the shores of Somerton Beach, a body was found. He wasn’t breathing at all. He was dressed extremely formally in a great suit, which was very odd. He was unknown to anyone and neither did he have any sort of identification on him.

He was not listed among the missing persons. Since no one knew who he was, the investigators’ only theory was that he passed away from natural causes while he was close to the beach’s shore. Over the course of more than 65 years, numerous investigations into this body have been conducted, but the mystery remains unsolved.

On 30th November, 1948 around 7am, a married couple walked by the body of this elderly man. They ignored him and continued on because they assumed he was probably drunk. Just a few minutes later, another group of people went past, but they all ignored him. When the married couple returned to the beach the next day, they discovered that the same man had been lying there in the same place. The married couple immediately dialed the police after sensing an issue.

In fact, he appeared like he was just chilling at the beach, except that he was dead.

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Tamam Shud Case: A close up picture of the Somerton Man

The Royal Adelaide Hospital received the body, which underwent a thorough investigation. An unused train ticket from Adelaide to Henley Beach, a bus ticket from Adelaide to Glenelg, a pack of Juicy Fruit gum, some Bryant & May matches, an aluminium comb, and a pack of Army Club cigarettes that contained seven cigarettes of a more expensive brand called Kensitas were all discovered in this man’s pocket, according to the police.

The physicians’ autopsy the following day revealed various things. This man’s foot, according to the doctor, was strangely twisted, leading them to believe that he frequently wore formal footwear, such as heels. His pupils were smaller than usual, and his liver was bloated. All the doctors said this man could have been poisoned. However, they didn’t find anything harmful in his body.

A bag was located in the cloak area of the nearby train station a month after the body was discovered. It included clothing with missing labels and wax thread, both of which were not available in Australia at the time. Given that it was left at the station the day before the Somerton man’s death was discovered, it is assumed that the suitcase belonged to him.

Some of the belongings in the luggage had the words “Keane” and “Kean” written on them. Keep that in mind since it will be crucial later.

Here’s where things start to get strange…

In April 1949, four months after the body was discovered, investigators discovered a covert pocket sewed into the man’s trousers. A tightly rolled piece of paper with the words “tamám shud” was discovered inside the pocket. It turns out that the phrase is Persian and approximately translates to mean “it is over” or “it is over.”

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Now we know why this case is called The Tamam Shud case.

The Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám, a poem, was where the paper was actually found. The book also contained the phone number of a young nurse called Jessica Thomson who lived close to Somerton Beach and an odd collection of handwritten letters that were thought to be a hidden code. Thomson claimed that she has never known this man.

Theories about the Tamam Shud Case

As a result, there are several theories regarding the Somerton man’s death. The most plausible theory is that he committed suicide. There are suspicions that the slip of paper found in the man’s pocket was a suicide note because the Rubáiyát is all about mortality.

Some also claim that he was killed by Russian Spies. However, they couldn’t explain about the strange poem book and the codes.

The Somerton man’s book contained the nurse’s phone number, and in 2013, Kate Thomson, the nurse’s daughter, revealed to 60 Minutes that her mother had lied about not recognising the body.

It was revealed in the 60 Minutes segment that the Somerton man and Jessica Thomson were allegedly having an affair while also being Soviet spies, which was fairly bizarre. Additionally, the Robin’s family stated that they now think the Somerton man was actually Robin’s father.

They appeared on 60 Minutes to support Adelaide University physicist and Somerton man specialist Professor Derek Abbott in his efforts to persuade authorities to permit him to exhume the remains and conduct DNA testing to identify it. In 2022, the body has finally been recognised, bringing us to the current time.

So have they identified the Somerton Man ?

If you’ve fallen down the spy rabbit hole, you might be a little disappointed by the outcome of Prof Abbott’s attempt to obtain the Somerton man’s DNA.

Carl “Charles” Webb, a 43-year-old engineer from Melbourne, was the person they believe to be, according to him and American genealogist Colleen Fitzpatrick.

A hair lodged in the plaster bust of his skull was compared to samples uploaded by millions of people worldwide in internet family tree databases to determine the answer.

Although the match hasn’t been legally verified, Proff Abbott is confident that it is real because there was a DNA match on both the paternal and maternal sides of Webb’s family.

Abbott once jokingly claimed that the code in the book was nothing more than the initials of racehorse names. What do you know, it seems that Webb loved horse racing. Of course, there is no way to know for sure if that is what the scribble in his book actually meant, but it is more likely than secret Soviet messages.

Oh, and did we mention? Remember how some of the man’s belongings in his luggage had the name “Keane” written on them?

It turned out that Thomas Keane, Webb’s brother-in-law, lived close by in Melbourne. Maybe he simply borrowed his things?

All of this is incredibly enlightening, but it still doesn’t explain how he died and  the manner he did. The Tam Shud case is still unsolved.

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The Tamam Shud Case : Memorial of the Somerton Man

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