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Knowledge of our past is our inheritance. What we do with that knowledge will shape our destinies...

Monday, July 29, 2013

Crime Tidbit: Weirdest Unsolved Crime EVER!: The Taman Shud Case

Unidentified Somerton Man
Early on the morning of December 1, 1948, the body of a man was discovered on Somerton Beach in South Australia. It was destined to be one of the most baffling cases in known history, and remains unsolved today.

The man was believed to be British--at the very least, not an Australian native. He was in peak physical condition with many traits that pointed to his being either a dancer or an avid runner. (Given that this was 1948, the latter is more likely.)

He had no identification on him, and only a negligible amount of money. Based on eyewitness reports and autopsy findings, it was believed that he was poisoned, though no trace of whatever was used could be detected in his blood.

The only other thing found on the body was a torn scrap of paper with the words "taman shud" and a phone number on it. This paper was found in a secret pocket of the man's clothes. Eventually it was discovered that the page was from a book of poems called The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam. The book the scrap was torn from was discovered in a car that was parked not far from where the body was found. The owner of the car had never seen the book before and didn't know how it got in his car. Police believed the killer tossed the book in the unlocked car to get rid of it.

The phone number belonged to a nurse who was familiar with the book of poetry. She'd given a copy to a soldier named Alfred Boxall. However, it was found that Mr. Boxall's copy was accounted for and neither he nor the nurse reported any connection to the dead man.

To this day, the man's identity has never been confirmed, nor his presence on the beach explained. In the years leading into the Cold War, many believed him to be a spy, and evidence was actually supportive of the theory, though that still didn't explain his murder or all the oddities in the case.

The case of the Somerton man remains open. No one has ever discovered what the significance of "taman shud" was.

What do you think the explanation for this case is?


  1. That would great a great movie Liesel.

  2. Wow! That sounds crazy. A mysterious dead man washed up on the beach... no one knows who he is, what his job was, or why he was murdered -- and the only clue is a scrap of paper with two seemingly nonsensical words written on it. *shivers* Sounds like a crime novel, or a horror story.

    It kinda reminds me of a documentary I watched about a man found drowned in -- where was it, England or France or some such place in Europe? -- who the Germans found. The man was carrying a briefcase of Allied confidential "plans", but it turned out that this was all a ruse by the Allies to throw the Germans off the REAL plan. And the man was some innocent who'd died of something else first, but his body made to look as if he'd drowned.

    All of which to say, I really don't know how to explain dead people or crime solving. I almost wish I was -- it seems sad to not have a name to put on this poor man's tombstone. But, mystery is what makes the minds of people turn.

    Have a blessed day!