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The Somerton Man Mystery

On the morning of December 1, 1948, the body of a fully-clothed man was found slumped against a sea wall at Somerton Beach, south of Adelaide, South Australia. An autopsy revealed the man had died during the night, but failed to determine his cause of death. A thorough search of his pockets produced no identifying documents, and all name tags had been cut from his clothing. Police did find in a hidden pocket a piece of paper with the words ‘Tamám Shud’ - translated as 'it is ended', torn from 11th-century Persian poetry collection, ‘The Rubáiyát’. The originating book was found some months later after it was thrown into the open window of a car parked near the beach. When the back page of the book was treated with iodine during a coronial inquest, five lines of handwritten code appeared, which experts have never managed to decipher. In the back of the book was also a phone number belonging to a nurse, known as Jestyn, who lived near where the body was found. Jestyn denied any knowledge of the man, although many theories suggest she was not telling the truth. The Somerton Man remains one of South Australia’s most enduring mysteries, as police have never been able to establish the man's identity nor the circumstances surrounding his death. Theories range from a man trying to visit his illegitimate son, to a Soviet spy murdered during the beginning of the Cold War.

NOVEMBER 18, 1989: ADELAIDE, SA. Undertaker, funeral...
By Kevin Bull
18 November, 1989
CIRCA 1985: ADELAIDE, SA. Undated picture from...
By Bert Stanbury
01 January, 1985
NOVEMBER 19, 1973: ADELAIDE, SA. Plaster cast...
By News Ltd
19 November, 1973
NOVEMBER, 1973: ADELAIDE, SA. Grave of the Somerton...
By News Ltd
01 November, 1973
JULY 13, 1970: ADELAIDE, SA. The grave of the...
By News Ltd
13 July, 1970
JULY 13, 1970: ADELAIDE, SA. Plaster cast of the...
By News Ltd
13 July, 1970
JULY 13, 1970: ADELAIDE, SA. The grave of the...
By News Ltd
13 July, 1970
JULY 13, 1970: ADELAIDE, SA. The grave of the...
By News Ltd
13 July, 1970
JULY 13, 1970: ADELAIDE, SA. The grave of the...
By News Ltd
13 July, 1970
JULY 13, 1970: ADELAIDE, SA. Tombstone of the...
By News Ltd
13 July, 1970
MARCH 27, 1970: ADELAIDE, SA. Pat Burgess with...
By News Ltd
27 March, 1970
MARCH, 1966: ADELAIDE, SA. Grave of the Somerton...
By News Ltd
01 March, 1966
MARCH, 1948: ADELAIDE, SA. The location at Somerton...
By News Ltd
01 March, 1966
JUNE 21, 1949: ADELAIDE, SA. SA police officer,...
By News Ltd
21 June, 1949
JUNE 17, 1949: ADELAIDE, SA. Plaster cast of the...
By News Ltd
17 June, 1949
JUNE 14, 1949: ADELAIDE, SA. Salvation Army Captain...
By News Ltd
14 June, 1949
JUNE 14, 1949: ADELAIDE, SA. Salvation Army Captain...
By News Ltd
14 June, 1949
JANUARY 18, 1949: ADELAIDE, SA. (L-R) SA police...
By Bill Krischock
18 January, 1949
DECEMBER, 1948: ADELAIDE, SA. Police detectives...
By News Ltd
01 December, 1948
DECEMBER, 1948: ADELAIDE, SA. The contents of...
By News Ltd
01 December, 1948
DECEMBER, 1948: ADELAIDE, SA. The scene at Somerton...
By News Ltd
01 December, 1948
DECEMBER, 1948: ADELAIDE, SA. Persian poetry book,...
By News Ltd
01 December, 1948
DECEMBER, 1948: ADELAIDE, SA. The headstone at...
By News Ltd
01 December, 1948
DECEMBER, 1948: ADELAIDE, SA. The handwriting...
By News Ltd
01 December, 1948
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