A man’s body was found on Somerton Beach in Australia in 1948. The man was thought by some passerby to be simply napping at first. However, upon finding him in the same position hours later, they contacted the authorities. Little did the police know that the crime they were responding to would open up one of the most bone-chilling mysteries in true crime history.
Police immediately noticed that the man on Somerton Beach bore no identifying items. He didn’t have a driver’s license, a passport, or even any tags on his clothes. Images of his face were widely circulated, but no one came forward to tell authorities that they knew the man.
An autopsy concluded that the man’s cause of death was indeterminate. This is bizarre, as it’s very difficult for someone’s life to end in a way that autopsy reports can’t detect. Authorities speculated that perhaps an untraceable poison was used, but it is impossible to prove or disprove this theory.
The case came to be known as the “Tamam Shud case” when authorities made a bizarre discovery in the man’s pockets. In a fob pocket, hidden in the man’s trousers, a scrap of paper bearing the Persian phrase “Tamam Shud” was found. The phrase translates to “it is done,” or “it is finished”. Police determined that the paper was from a published book and put out a request for anyone who knew where the scrap of paper may have come from.
A person came forward who claimed to have found a copy of the Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyám, a popular Persian collection of poetry, in the backseat of their car one day after spending time near Somerton Beach. An investigation determined that the person had been parked near where the man’s body was found, on the same day that authorities were contacted.
The scrap of paper indeed came from this copy of the Rubaiyat, and an investigation into this specific volume yielded yet more mysteries.
The copy of the Rubaiyat recovered by police contained impressions of a phone number that turned out to be a dead end. Authorities also detected impressions of a number that has not been definitively tied to any meaning and a phrase that seems to be written in some kind of cipher.
The bizarre facts of this case have led many to theorize that something occult must have transpired on or near Somerton Beach in 1948. The man’s mysterious death from no apparent causes, the presence of a book regarding the transience of life and an unsolved cipher, and the man’s lack of identifying markings make the case a truly upsetting mystery.
Who was the Somerton Man, and what truly led to his end? The world might never know.