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Somerton Man

The Tamám Shud Case

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Somerton Man

"unparalleled mystery"

On the morning of December 1, 1948, the body of a man was discovered on Somerton Park beach near Glenelg, southwest of Adelaide, South Australia. Initial identification of the body was made impossible because the man carried no papers, however a suitcase found several weeks later contained items bearing the name Keane. Witnesses came forward who claimed to have seen the unidentified man at the beach the previous evening, and it was believed he may have died of natural causes. However, the autopsy revealed that poison was the most likely cause of death, and further attempts to confirm his identity proved fruitless. During the inquest, a tiny piece of paper was discovered in the dead man’s clothing inscribed with the words Tamám Shud, torn from the last page of a rare New Zealand edition of The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam, which only added to the mystery. The death of Somerton Man would eventually prove to be one of the most mysterious unsolved cases in Australian criminal history, while the most prevailing theory about the man’s identity involves a case of post-war espionage.

Written by Nucleus

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