The Mysterious Death Of The Somerton Man Revisited
This. Week for the season finale of BuzzFeed unsolved, true crime and in celebration of our 100th. Episode we. Pay respect to our own history, by revisiting the first case we ever covered, the, Somerton man. 100. Episodes, that's right what a journey hundred, yeah the century mark yeah, I'm, destined off old cases and this is the first case it, is and one that I was not here for one. That I was deeply fascinated, with even before the show began so I'm very excited to hear it now the first time we looked at this case Brent was still alive, and you. Know we didn't really go over the case in the way that we traditionally do, in this show through we didn't really present any theories it was a very much a brief look, at it we're gonna take a little bit more of a robust look at the case at large go into some theories and try. And crack open this cold case with a little bit more I guess about, what. The hills magnifying. Glass. So. This will be a more thorough, up and down okay. Let's, get into it on December. 1st 1948. 16. Year-old Neal day was, riding horses with a friend, along Somerton, Beach in Adelaide, Australia I, didn't want to jump into the story this quickly but I did want to say it sounds fun to ride horses on the beach with a friend I rode a horse one, time I think he was in Hawaii I had a horse whose nickname was crazy, that. Was actually his name and then, he went rogue and then tried to buck me off and ran into a little creek what, happened to you I'd. Like to think I survived oh oh I. Just. Started fading away right now what if your world just started to solving into vapor Oh like yeah like like I was being hypnotized, by Mysterio, yeah your best oh that's at the end of the sixth sense and like it all just could use a minute it just cuts to a montage of a bunch of times where it's obvious, I remember. All of my bones breaking. When. They passed the body of a man lying in, the sand the friends, didn't pay much attention thinking. The man was simply napping, on the beach when, they came back to find the man in the exact same position they. Discovered. He was actually, dead, the. Man was clean-shaven wearing. A dry and neatly pressed suit and tie, oddly all, of the tags of his clothes had been removed and, he was found with no belongings, or form of identification, his. Fingerprints, were not in any database, and no, one came forward to identify the man spy. Probably. Why. You immediately, goes by well I don't know how robust our fingerprint, database is at this point like nowadays they get everybody's little fingerprints from their baby in the first episode, I actually posited. I believed, that, every, baby was fingerprinted when they were born and therefore their their their fingerprints were in a database I don't know if that's actually in place now either way I don't know if they did that to this man obviously they didn't because there was no identifying, marks or he, had them burned off like that machine they have a minimum behind black, would. Always look so goddamn painful feel like we've referenced that on this show before we have hey hundredth episode no rules, call back baby my, mom also said that you know the scanner thing at the grocery store she said if I put my fingers on it you would erase my finger bumps funny as hell she, once took a wig put, it hanging out of the washing machine and told, me my mom had been abducted and then my real mom was stuck in the washing machine and I could go look for proof and then she showed me the washing machine and I saw the wig sticking out and I cried your, mom's the funniest lady I've ever met a post-mortem.
Revealed The man had a strikingly, enlarged. Spleen an internal. Bleeding in his stomach and liver there, were no indications, of violence, and no traces, of poison, symptoms. Of poisoning, such as vomiting diarrhea. Or convulsions, were also not present the. Coroner, also found a pasty, in his stomach in the official publication of the investigation. The coroner, wrote quote I am unable to say who the deceased was I am unable to say how he died, or what was the cause of death and I. Wouldn't. Say this guy blew it he's examining, an alien spy, corpse it's. A you think it's an alien is that one of the theories no it's not but I'm just saying it's a very. I can't. Think sure I'm gonna take this off cuz are you toasty it seems I, don't know yeah season, finale I could do what I want I suppose I've never even been back there, you haven't have, you ever left that chair no. They. Turned the lights out and I remain like, animatronic, so. He, is a bad, corner whatever. He. Has he's got nothing to go off of he was dealt pretty bad cards, yeah, in January, 1949. A month, after, the body was found a suitcase, was, uncovered, in the cloakroom, of the Adelaide railway station, the suitcase, dropped off the day before the body was found contained, among other odds and ends clothing, with the labels removed and a. Waxed. Thread not, sold, in Australia, but of the type used, to repair the trousers, found, on the body many. Of these objects, indicated, that the man whoever he was had, recently, been in the United States the, name Keane ending. In E and Keane ending. In n were found on some of the items according. To an Adelaide, newspaper, authorities. Concluded, the named Keane had, been left on the belongings, to intentionally. Obscure, the man's true, identity. Look I'm not a spy I have, never need to disclaim that and once is that perhaps, the easier, way to obscure. The identity, would be to not put, any, names on it thank you could, you imagine your gangly, ass chasing, down another spy through a real, ways to do it how ridiculous, that I could do it I'd. Be like jaws from, from your feet bounding, over a little children's heads amazing. I could do that I'm very fast you. Fell while walking. Rippling, and you, also fell well walk it was a big, rock and I, walked into it so anytime there's any element, that's in them it's. Rapid. That's the only time I've fallen in my life how many bones have you broken dipshit, zero oh really. Yeah I mean. We. Never broken any bones in. April, 1949. Police. Came upon a mysterious, clue, that had been overlooked, in the four plus months since the body was found, sewn, into the waistband, of the man's pants, was a secret. Pocket which, contained, a tightly, rolled piece, of paper with the Persian, words tammim, should typed, on it the, paper appeared, to be torn from an 11th century, book of Persian, poems the Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam, or simply. The, Rubaiyat beams, of the Rubaiyat center, around life's, transience. And in English tammim, should roughly, translates, to the end or, finished. The discovery, of the secret pocket in its haunting, message was enough for coroner Tomas Cleland, to declare the man's death was quote, not. Natural, and, this. To mom should think should shed some light on, this situation. What, do you think about that a secret pocket and a secret little note from, a rare, book so you, know I love, that whoever, is responsible for, this whether it be the corpse itself or, someone, who murdered, this person, they really could. Have had a successful job. In. The current era as like, an Arg. Advertising. Agent, you ever get sucked down one of those rabbit holes, I mean. Sure they're likely orgies. Alternate. Reality, games sure. Man movies coming out you send, some videos out on the internet get people what's, going on here what's going on here oh there's.
A New Fast and the Furious film, how about instead of talking about alternate. Reality we talk about reality I don't care for it I'm surprised, at you to be quite honest because you are a big fan of spy tales I'm serving, you one up on a platter here I'm still enjoying the story yes, what do you want for me I don't know there's, like maybe. Some. Insight, into what it may mean, we, don't know. We. Never know. On. July 23rd. Three, months, after police discovered the, tammim, should paper a businessman. Who had read about the unidentified body in the paper came, to police with a copy, of the Rubaiyat the. Man claimed, that he found the book in the back seat of his car after, parking, it near Somerton, Beach with the windows, down sure. Enough a section, had been torn, of the last page of the book that perfectly. Fit the piece found in the unknown man's, pants, on the, back cover of the book police, discovered, five lines, of letters, apparently. A secret, code and what, appeared to be a phone. Number to. This day the, code has never been cracked and the Australian, Navy determined, it to be virtually, unbreakable, explaining. Quote there, is an insufficient. Number of letters for definite conclusions, to be based on analysis. The letters do not constitute, any kind, of simple, cipher or code a reasonable. Explanation would, be that the lines are the initial letters of words of a verse of poetry, or such like end quote. Yeah no I got nothing it's, a bunch of letters you know I actually, when, we first covered this case I did pour over this code for a bit and I. Don't have any code-cracking capability. So I looked at it for probably a good hour strained. My little eyeballs and was like mysterious. While. The code failed to yield any new leads the, phone number found in the back of the Rubaiyat led, investigators, to 27. Year-old nurse Jesse Joe Thompson's, doorstep, just hundreds. Of meters from, where the body was found eight months prior, Thompson. Admitted to once owning a copy of the Rubaiyat but, claimed she'd given the copy to a man named Alfred, Boxall upon. Investigation. Box'll. Turned, out to still be alive, and in possession of, a fully intact, copy of the Rubaiyat by. This time, the, still anonymous body, had been buried but, not before a plaster, cast had, been made for investigative, purposes. According. To Detective, Sergeant Lionel lien when, Joe Thompson was shown the cast in the hopes of identifying it, she, looked like she, was about to faint nevertheless. Thompson. Denied. Knowing, the man Thompson. Died in 2007. Still, claiming she, did not know the man found on the beach, lots to unpack there yeah the, book thing is bit, of an enigma obviously.
How Many people have a copy of this book maybe it's a page-turner. I guess so what's interesting to me is that Joe, Thompson clearly. Recognizes. This person no one sees a picture of a person faints, gets, back up and goes run on that person well she was shown a cast of a, dead man's face I don't, know maybe she's got some hangups man perfectly, normal I don't think she's suspicious with, an unnamed, dead body, an 11th, century, book of Persian, poems and an uncrackable. Code it's. Time to lay out some theories, surrounding what, happened, to, the Somerton, man our. First theory is that the, Somerton, man was responsible for, his own death and killed, himself. This, could mean he put the paper reading tammim should in his own pocket to be found as a sort of suicide, note, supporting. This theory are the similar elements, of another suicide that. Of immigrant, George Marshall in June, 1945. Marshall, was found dead in Mossman Australia. After poisoning. Himself with barbituates with. His corpse was another copy of the Rubaiyat while. Another dead man turning, up in Australia with the same collection of Persian, poems may sound like too large of a coincidence, to overlook, the, Reuben apparently. Had become quite popular in Australia during. World War two since, the work deals with life and mortality it's, possible, both men could, have had similar inspiration. To have at least a piece of the book with them during their final moments. Read. This book. If. It's a ring o, 7-days, ring. Situation. I don't remember much from it except that when you watch the. VHS. Tape you, get a call saying you're gonna die in seven days so in this case and this is but yeah that's our entirely, plausible. Scenario. That anyone who reads this book what. Let me let's take that back eyes on a beach what do you think about this theory at large though possible, if he was this I mean it's weird to explain the. Fingerprints, obviously. Or maybe, he'd been compromised, he knew it was coming to an end because he is a spy and he figured just take control, of the situation that's, maybe I could see that I don't know I don't know if this is the strongest theory to me yeah, our, next, theory is that the man was murdered, by Russian spies the, body was found at the dawn of the Cold War and paranoia. About Soviet spies loomed, large, a few, months before the discovery, of the corpse, a Soviet, embassy, spy, ring had been uncovered, in Canberra, Australia. A statement, given in 1959. By a man who was on Somerton. Beach the, night the unidentified man, died, claims, to have seen quote a man, carrying, another, on his shoulder, near the water's edge end quote, in. 2013. A theory, came out that Joe Thompson the, woman whose phone number was found in the back of that copy of the Rubaiyat may. Have been a Soviet. Spy the, woman who publicly, suggested. This theory was, none other than Kate Thompson, Joe, Thompson's, daughter, in, a 60 Minutes interview Kate. Thompson, said her mother had quote a dark. Side a very strong. Dark side she, said to me she knew who he was but, she wasn't going to let that out of the bag so to speak there's, always that fear that I've thought that maybe she was responsible, for his death, end, quote, yeah that would be hard to wrap my head around no. My mom did pretend, that she, was. Abducted wait your mom's not a murderer, if. Your mom's a murderer she's an Isis murderer I've ever met yeah she's, a regular Norman. Bates everyone thought he was the nicest guy they. Shouldn't have though that guy was a creep yeah everyone I always thought that was larger he's a sweet man he's got so many stuffed, birds. There. Was a bunch of red flags in the first act of that love the way how he doesn't blink yeah. Sweet. Guy I love, how he smiles in moments where it doesn't make sense to smile according, to Kate she, would hear her mother speaking in rushed quieted, Russian to someone over the phone her mother had also mentioned she, was teaching English, to newly, arrived, immigrants, from Russia, Kate remembered her mother at one point seeing something along the lines of quote oh I, can still understand, Russian, end quote, though, she, never mentioned, where she learned it hang, on a second, do.
You Think that, her mother went. To the same school of mothering as your mother I see. That her mother's playing a little funny prank what's, the funniest thing to do in the world if you have kids I mean, kids are a lot of work I Americ, them into thinking you are a spy, yeah or that's. The funniest shit in the world trick them into thinking you're an alien same. Train of that's exactly, right either this woman is a spy or one. Of the funniest mothers I've ever heard, of it's possible you know what I would say that seems impossible, until I realize my own mother did that to me so then maybe maybe, she is just playing off on a little gag sounds, like that's one funny, mummy oh. Yeah. If, the Somerton man met his end thanks, to Russian spies whether, Joe Thompson was involved or not there's, also the question as to how, he died, at the, time a well-known, professor, Sir Cedric Stanton, Hicks proposed, that the man had indeed been, poisoned, but with an extremely rare variety. Which would decompose, soon, after death this would of course explain the absence of poison, found in the corpse in court. Hicks refused, to say the name of the poisons, he was referring to aloud believing. They were too dangerous, sir, Hicks did however write, two types of poison, down on paper and gave it to the coroner, digitalis. And strophanthus now, you're just reading it aloud all, right. You. Really turned the corner on that one it. Should be noted that Joe Thompson worked, as a nurse, and perhaps could have known about and had access to some. Rarer poisons, such as those written down by Hicks while. Spies might explain the mysterious code, in the back of the Rubaiyat there, is admittedly, no, physical evidence Joe, Thompson was ever involved, with Russians, in any capacity, much, less associated. With espionage. Still one, could always argue this, only means Thompson, was a very, good, spy, you, can't get, away from the fact that her number was written in the back of the book that was linked to the dude that makes me think she was not a very good spy oops. Yeah walk out there with my phone number. Probably. Not a good spot do you think of anything worse to leave behind at a crime scene than, your numbers, will leave your business card. Spy. Or, your note. Yeah I did it it is me or she, just has very bad luck and somebody. Took her no I don't get yeah I can't, get around the fact that her name is in the book that's linked to him so be that as it may I don't know maybe he was peeping on her was, like. Or. Lovey-dovey. Or. He's maybe, later we might talk about how they might have been romantically, linked and he had her number written down maybe he was reading the Rubaiyat at a bar strikes. Up a conversation with, a lovely lady she. Gives him her number she writes, it down in the book because that's what he has at the time maybe that's what it is all. Right maybe we cracked it maybe she's not a spy maybe she just struck. Up a conversation she's. Got a heart, our. Next. Theory is that the man was killed as the result of a romantic, relationship gone, awry this. Is a relatively, recent theory, and it comes thanks to the tireless work of university of adelaide engineering, professor, Derek, Abbott, Abbott, discovered. That about a year before the man's body turned up on Somerton, Beach Joe. Thomson, had, given birth to a son named, Robin, Thompson, Robin. Grew up to be a professional. Ballet dancer which, meant it was easy for Abbott to track down photos, of the man based, on photos Abbott, found that Robin, had a similar strange, ear feature to the Somerton man additionally. Both Robin, and the man found on the beach were, missing their incisor, teeth a genetically. Inherited trait. This, information. Along, with the fact that Joe Thompson was unmarried, the year Robin, was born, let abbott to conclude, joe and the Somerton man quote, had a liaison, together and she had Robin and quote. By, the time Abbott made this connection, Robin, had already died, however. Abbott, was able to track down one Rachel Egan the biological. Daughter of Robin, Thompson, who is living in Queensland, in what, might be the craziest reveal, in history full of strange, twists, Abbott. And Egan, eventually. Fell in love and got married I. Love. It that's sweet that's crazy. That's, something that's never happened in the show before the person who's theorizing, about a case meets, one of the people he's theorizing, about and it falls in love with that person love it one. Thing that just crossed my mind is, that not that but, people. Ask you all the time how you met your significant, other you. Imagine, it was pretty good also, what. Do you think about first. Off Joe, Thompson having the son Robin who bears a resemblance to the mystery man I think I think, yeah, I'll buy it I'm there cuz.
That That will fit my thing that I was saying earlier about the number being something he scribbled down to the book when he met her at a bar or something like that I've never met anyone who who, didn't have incisors, you know I don't walk up to everyone and inspect their mouth like a horse that's what my dad does in late 2018. While, inspecting the original, plastic cast police made of the body the, same one that allegedly, made his grandmother, in law nearly faint Abbott. Found, three hairs which, he believes could contain, DNA, evidence of a genetic link to his wife if the Somerton man was her son's dead father that. Could explain Joe Thompson's, near fainting upon, seeing the plaster, cast while. The hairs had discovered may not be able to provide a conclusive answer. It. Is the, most promising, lead in the case so far, even. If professor, Abbott is able to prove his wife's relationship. To the Somerton man many, questions, remain unanswered, such. As who he was how, he was killed and why, he was left dead on the beach, Joe Thompson or another man for instance the one spotted carrying a body on the beach could have been angry at the Somerton man for not taking responsibility for. The child that resulted, from his love affair or perhaps, Joe Thompson the, dead man or even both were, spies, and weren't, supposed, to get involved, in a relationship if. The man was Robin Thompson's, father and Rachel. Egan's grandfather, perhaps, the biggest question of all is why. Was Joe Thompson, so unwilling to identify, the body it. Feels like we have a little piece of this puzzle enough. That, I'm satisfied, sure. There's a mystery, but out of that mystery was born love are. You the type of guy that gets like 75, percent done. With a jigsaw puzzle and go yeah that's enough I could kind of see the picture I get it yeah, it. Kind of looks like the box we could walk away from this right you're never gonna finish the whole thing anyways, I'm gonna go usually, a piece missing or something most frustrating, thing in the world why bother you know where it's, been over 71. Years since two friends, riding horses along the Australian, beach came upon a dead man lying in the sand despite. Decades of effort, and no shortage of cryptic. Clues the, man's identity his. Killer's identity, and the way the man died are all still, unknown. Perhaps. New DNA, evidence and the steady march of time will finally, provide some answers to the many questions surrounding. This, case but. For, the, mystery, of the Somerton, man remains. Unsolved. I. Feel. Like both he and Joe Thompson may have been spies yeah, that'd be cool and that is the reason why she could not say the identity, of the man because it would both compromised her and him. And the resulting family that, is my theory and I'm, sticking to it I mean, it's highly, probable, because, spies. You know it's probably easier to love another spy here's a question at large that, encompasses the whole series, if you Shayne Maday disappeared. Under mysterious circumstances, or. You died and we didn't know how it happened would you want people to know how it happened, no not for your loved ones you, know I I'd prefer that they knew what happened but I'm gonna tell them right now don't worry about it obviously. As a living. Person I care about my loved ones I want them to be safe if I disappear, if, I'm still alive, you know I'll pop out there eventually. I'll show up somewhere and be like hey Here I am sorry, about that chilling. In Costa Rica sucking on coconuts, but if I disappear, for sure and you don't see me I'm dead 100 percent don't worry about it all right maybe I got that sky burial I've always been hoping for.
Yeah. What about you of course I'd want people to know what happened to me not for me but because it would drive I know my mom insane to not know what happened yeah of course it'd be tough for the loved ones and I sympathize. It's, not on me to look. Into your disappearance, though right I can just I would hope you would I'm, not qualified I'd, look into your disappearance, very. Kind of you huge. Waste of time well that does it for this season I guess we'll see you guys for some ghost hunting in supernatural, another. Incredible, season, of many, many questions and, zero, answers, another. Season of mysteries yeah. Well. Almost forgot my coat.