10 Interesting Facts on the Somerton Man Mystery and Unsolved Code

somerton man mysteryHelp solve a mystery!  Who was the Somerton Man? On December 1st, 1948, a man was found dead on Somerton Beach in Adelaide, Australia.  His true identity remains unknown today.

Below are 10 interesting facts about the Somerton Man and the mystery involved.  It will be noticed the facts seem to lead to more questions than answers, and although a tragedy, it is an intriguing mystery with multiple twists and turns.

It’s possible the only way to ever discover who the Somerton Man was is by the solving of a mysterious code found linked to the Somerton Man.  What the code reveals could open doors for who he was and the secrets he kept.  Can you solve the code?

1) The Somerton Man was Poisoned

The Somerton Man is believed to have died from a poisonous dose of Digitalis.  This poison is not thought to have been self or accidentally ingested.  He is believed to have been murdered.  He was found sitting up against the wall of the Somerton beach but had displayed signs of lividity not conforming to the way found. The lividity of his body indicated he most likely died lying down, and this suggests he was then placed on the beach in the position found.

2)No Identification of Any Kind Was Found on the Somerton Man

The mysterious Man did not have any money or form of identification on him.  Some labels on his clothing had been removed as well. He was found wearing brown trousers, white shirt, tie, knitted pullover, coat, socks and shoes.  Also found on his body was a handkerchief, underpants, a singlet, train ticket to Henley Beach, a bus ticket, Juicy Fruit gum, two combs, box of Bryant and Mays matches, and an Army Club Cigarette Packet- but the 7 cigarettes inside were of a different brand; Kensitas.

3) The Words Tamam Shud Were Discovered on a Hidden Slip of Paper

Later, upon further inspection of the Somerton Man’s clothing, a tiny piece of rolled up paper was found in a fob trouser pocket that he was wearing.  Written on this paper was ‘Tamam Shud’, which is Persian for ‘The End’.  This one clue was later linked to a mysterious book, code, phone number, and gave indication that the Somerton Man may have been a spy.

4)The Words Tamam Shud are Linked to a Book

The book, to which the piece of paper with the words Tamam Shud was torn from, was realized to be from a popular book of poems entitled the Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam.

5) The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam is Found

The matching book with the missing page was incredibly handed over to Police in July 1949, months later, after the Police had released Press Notices requesting the public’s assistance to find the book.  On the night of November 30th, 1948, a copy of the Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam was tossed inside a car parked near Somerton Beach.  The owner of the car placed the book in his glove box thinking it was his brother-in-laws who had left it in his car.  But after the Police had realized the slip of paper belonged to a page from the Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam, and called upon the public for help, the man remembered the book and asked his brother-in-law about it.  It was not his.  When retrieving the book from the glove box, it had the missing page.  The Police were able to match the book to the slip of paper which had the words ‘Tamam Shud’ on it.

6) A Phone Number was Found in the Book

The book was noticed by police to have a phone number written on it.  This was the Police’s first major lead since finding the dead man on Somerton Beach. This number belonged to a nurse living in the area.

7) The Nurse ‘Jestyn’ Gave a Copy of the Rubaiyat to Alf Boxall

The Police questioned the Nurse who matched the number (referred to as Jestyn), and she claimed to know nothing about the Somerton Man (However, this would later be questioned as when she was shown the likeness of him on a later date, she was clearly distraught upon seeing it).  During questioning, she told the Police she had given a copy of the Rubaiyat to a man named Alf Boxall in 1945.

8)Alf Boxall Was Not the Somerton Man

Thinking the mystery had been solved, and the dead man found on Somerton Beach was Alf Boxall, it was then a surprise for the Police to find him alive, and able to produce the book the Nurse had given him.  But this was even more strange, because here was a woman linked to two different Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam books.  And upon further investigation, it was discovered another man, Joseph Marshall, with a Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam in his possession, was found dead under mysterious circumstances as well.

9)Was the Somerton Man a Spy?

This occurrence of multiple Rubaiyats linked to suspicious situations, supported other details found in the mysterious book of the Somerton Man.  Besides the phone number of the nurse, it was noticed there were letters.  These letters were believed to possibly be a code of sorts.  Because of this, it was theorized the book could have been used as a One-Time Pad to encode/decode secret messages.

The strings of letters have never been understood, and if a code, they might hold the key to solving the mystery of the Somerton Man.

The Supposed Code consisted of five lines of letters with various markings throughout. It is shown below:

somerton man unsolved code

The Unsolved Code in the Boook

If solved, the message might reveal a secret which could lead to who the Somerton Man was.

10)Hidden Code Remains Unsolved

The Police aggressively attempted to discover the identity of the Somerton Man and solve the code.  Numerous Press releases, describing the man as a physically fit man, believed in his 40’s, were distributed, urging the public to come forth with any and all information on persons which could fit the Somerton Man’s profile.  There was no success.

And Professional codebreakers were brought in to break the code in order to discover the hidden message.

There has been no success on solving the code either.

Can you solve the code and help solve a mystery?  Discussion can be made in comments below or on the MW Forum.


AND this post followed the receipt of the winning answer for the MW Treasure Hunt Game in the MW Newsletter!  

The answer was SOMERTON.  

Congrats to Moon Shadow!

The puzzle was:  The Mystery starts here: P4B2M1C4N3T6N2S3  

Clues of Poison, Book, Murder, Code, Nurse, Ticket, Note, and Sand were given.  The beginning letter of the word, and numbered letter of that word spelled out SOMERTON.  (P4= S (poiSon), B2=0 (bOok), etc…..

Thanks all for playing and be sure to Subscribe to the MW Newsletter if you haven’t already for other hunts and prizes!



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3 Responses

  1. HeadedDown says:

    Sounds a bit like that movie Conspiracy Theory, where Mel Gibson’s character is “hypnotized/ brain washed” and his trigger is the book The Catcher in the Rye. Fascinating post. Thanks Jenny

  2. Iron Will says:

    Grats Moonshadow! I knew what the subject of the code was about, but my brain could not see the P B M, etc lol Nice job.

  3. Moon Shadow says:

    Thanks Iron Will! I admire you a lot, so that means a lot to me!

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