The 68 Year Old Mystery of the Somerton Man – Will We Ever Know Who He Really Was?

If you are a fan of Buzzfeed or other social media sites, you may have caught the articles on the Somerton Man. They are about a long-standing mystery surrounding a man, found dead on 1st December 1948, on Somerton beach, Austraila. To this day 68-years later no one has been able to conclusively identify him. Read on to find out more about this strange and haunting case.

The Body

First of all the body was found lying on the beach at 6.30am on 1/12/1928. There was no visible wounds or sign of a struggle, and the Somerton Man appeared to be sleeping. But when the police examined the body they found several strange things.

Firstly there were no outward signs of why he died, despite being in what doctors at the time called peak physical health. Secondly, the Somerton Man had on him several signs that he might, in fact, be American. These included a metal toothed come and a pack of half eaten Juicy Fruit Chewing Gum. Lastly, he also had a slip of paper with a word printed on it reading ‘Tamam Shud.’ This means ‘finished’ or ‘the end’ in Persian!

This lead to several theories about the identity of the man, one of which that he was an American Spy.


The Book

The real problems started to arise when investigators continued to be thwarted at identifying the Somerton Man. This mean they didn’t know who he was, why he was there, and they could even trace his relatives to notify them of his death. Remember there were no such thing as a skip tracer back then. So people couldn’t verify media stories and information as quickly as we can now.

After a nationwide search, a man produced the copy of Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam from which the page found on the Somerton Man had been torn. He said it had been shoved through his car window! It also contained a strange sequence of letters, which authorities suggested could be a code. Further strengthening the theory that the Somerton Man had links to the spy community.

Also in the book was the telephone number of Jessica Ellen “Jo” Thomson, known as Jen. When questioned by police she was evasive as best and said she had no clue who he was. Although a neighbor had mentioned that a stranger has been asking questions about her.

The Family

However later, Kate, Jen’s daughter suggested that her mother did, in fact, know the identity of the Somerton Man.

It was Derek Abbott from the University of Adelaide that took up on Kate’s lead. His team showed the remarkable and similarities between Robin Thompson and the Somerton Man.

Showing, perhaps that the Somerton man was Robin’s father. That means maybe Jen, did not to be associated with him or the case because she was in another relationship at the time?

A Happy Ending?

While there are many conspiracies around the case, the Australian authorities still refuse to have the body exhumed.  Meanwhile, some happiness has come out of the situation Abbott is now married to Robin’s daughter Rachel.

Image credits: Photo 1, Photo 2