6 Things I Found Out About The Unsolved Mystery Of The Somerton Man

And some of the many questions I still have.

Like many people, I find true crime intriguing.

I watch documentaries, I listen to podcasts and I read about it. So I thought to myself, why not write about it too?

I particularly find the unsolved cases interesting, so I thought that would be the best place to start.

I first learned of the Somerton Man after listening to an episode of Casefile podcast.

What happened?

On December 1st 1948, the body of a man was discovered on Somerton Park Beach in Australia.

He had no identification in his pockets, no wallet or money, there was an unused train ticket from Adelaide to Henley Beach, a bus ticket stub from Adelaide to Somerton Beach and a packet of cigarettes, however, the cigarettes inside differed from the brand of the packet

18 of his teeth were missing and all the labels had been cut from his clothes. A trouser pocket had been restitched, using tan thread, which was later found to be made in the UK.

Cause of death

It is thought that he died of heart failure, although, his heart was in a good condition, however, some other organs were not. As there were no signs of external trauma, it is possible that he could have ingested a poison, maybe intentionally, although test results were negative for poisoning.

The Suitcase

A suitcase was later discovered at Adelaide train station, checked in the morning before The Somerton Man was discovered. The labels had been removed, and among the contents was some tan thread.

The thread matched that used to restitch the trousers, leading police to believe the case belonged to The Somerton Man.

There were also more clothes in the case, all with the labels removed, apart from 3 items, which had the name “J Keane” written on them, however, there was no one of that name listed as a missing person.

A coat was found in the suitcase, with unique stitching found to be used by American sewing machines, the coat was also thought to be tailor-made, however, nothing further came of these clues.

The Note

5 months after the body had been discovered, a pathology professor discovered a hidden note in a watch pocket in the trousers. The note had been torn from a book and the words printed on the paper were “Tamam Shud”, meaning ended or finished in Persian.

It was discovered that this was torn from a book of poems called Rubaiyat, written by Omar Khayyam.

There was an extensive search to track down the book which the note was torn from and in July 1949, a man, who wished to remain anonymous, brought in a copy of the book which had been in the car of his brother-in-law. 

The shape of the tear matched the scrap of paper found on The Somerton Man.


A phone number found written in the poetry book, led to a woman who the the police called “Jestin” She was later identified as Jo Thomson, who was formerly Jess Harkness.

Jestin was a nurse, living a short walk from where The Somerton Mans had been discovered. She was shown the cast made of The Somerton Man and despite saying she did not recognise him, she appeared to be hiding something.

It was also said by a neighbour, that a man matching The Somerton Man’s description had been at her house looking for her before the body was discovered, but she was not at home at the time.

When she was questioned about the book, she said she had given the book to a man called Alf Boxall, an Australian Army officer.

Alf Boxall was not only found to be alive, but he also still had his copy of the book, with a written note from Jestin inside.


Beneath the phone numbers in the book, were some barely decipherable letters. Once they were under a UV light they could be identified as 5 rows of random capital letters, some of which were crossed out.

It was believed to be a code.

The code was sent to military code-breakers and was also published in Australian newspapers but it was not deciphered at the time.

Questions and Theories

There are so many questions and theories surrounding this case, here are some of mine.

Where was The Somerton Man from? Items of clothing had links to both the US & the UK and his body was found in Australia.

Who was the man with the book?

Did Jestin really know who The Somerton Man Was?

Missing Pieces documentary & Conspiracy Theories Podcast give us some great insight into some possible theories such as the Somerton Man being a spy and the father of Jestins son.

The Somerton Mans’s body was exhumed last May last year, where forensic experts were hoping to extract DNA.

No further updates have been published.

What are your thoughts? ♥️

Photo by Nick Fewings on Unsplash
2022-06-28 06:00:00

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