The Mysterious Tamam Shud Case

(PCM) The Tamam Shud case, otherwise referred to as the Mystery Of The Somerton Man, is one of the most baffling unsolved crimes in the world. On December 1, 1948 at approximately 6:30am, the body of an unidentified man was discovered on Somerton beach, Glenelg, just south of Adelaide, South Australia.

It was not until a later autopsy of the man’s body and belongings that it was discovered that tucked into a tiny hand-made pocket in the man’s trousers was a tiny scrap of paper that was torn out of a book that simply contained the Persian phrase “Tamam Shud” which translates to “It Ended” or “The End”.

A suitcase, which was believed to belong to the unknown man, was located six weeks after his body was discovered in the cloakroom of the Adelaide Railway Station. It was said to have been left there around 11:00am , the day prior to the discovery of the body. Found within the suitcase were three items that marked with the words “Kean”, “Keane” and “T.Keane”, however no one with that name was reported missing and did not lead investigators to the man’s identity.

Here is where things take an even stranger turn. The words “Tamam Shud” were discovered to be the final words from a very popular book at the time titled “Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam”.  Several months after the body discovered a copy of that particular book was found with the final page containing the words “Tamam Shud” torn out. The copy of the book as said to be found tossed into a car parked near the beach where the man’s body was found.

But that’s not all! Upon further inspection of the book investigators were able to discover some faintly written handwriting that was only visible under UV light on the rear page of the book. The writing contained a local area phone number and various lines of cipher-like writing. It is thought that the cipher could be the first letters of a poem or letters from a text that were being used as a mnemonic aid to help someone remember it, but unfortunately despite many a cipher cracking expert looking at the text no one has been able to crack the code.

The phone number belonged to a nurse by the name of Jessica Ellen Thomson who lived near the same beach, but when questioned by authorities she claimed to have no recollection of the deceased man, however when she was shown plaster cast bust of the dead man, her shocked reaction lead authorities to believe she knew more than she was telling them.

Thomson did reveal to police that she had given a man named Albert Boxall a copy of the book while she was studying in nursing school in Sydney in 1944. Further investigation revealed that Boxall was very much alive and well and certainly not the unknown man dead on the beach. These facts left investigators even more frustrated and confused. Thomson passed away in 2005, however in 2013, her daughter gave an interview that revealed that her mother knew more about the “Tamam Shud” mystery than she let on.

According to, the daughter “revealed that her mother had told her that she indeed did know more about the Somerton Man, but had deliberately not revealed it to police. She also revealed that her mother was able to speak Russian; suggested that her mother may have been involved in some spy-related activity; and that her mother thought that the whole Somerton Man affair was above “a State Police level”. “

Could the unknown man have been mixed up in some sort of Russian spy business? Even his cause of death remains a mystery as many are still not sure if it was a murder or a suicide. No murder weapon was ever discovered nor the identity of the alleged killer. The autopsy revealed a lot of blood pooling in the back of the unknown man’s head, meaning that the body may have been in a different position for quite some time. Also, the fact that a half-smoked cigarette was discovered in the victim’s mouth lead some to believe that the body was purposefully positioned on the beach and certainly rules out suicide as a cause of death.

Talk about a perfect murder mystery! The case remains unsolved to this day, although tons of conspiracy theories circulate the net. We just wonder if this case will ever be solved or forever remain a mystery!

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