Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Wednesday Weird

How fitting, that the third installment of Wednesday Weird should fall on Leap Year day!Also, happy birthday to all those people who were born on this day and really only get a birthday once every four years.

Onto the weird! Today, we're going to talk about an unsolved death. And not a normal unsolved murder like over at Slam Dunks's blog.

Nope, it needs to be weirder.

Like the Taman Shud Case.
The victim was found dead at 6:30 am, December 1, 1948, under a street lamp at Somerton Beach in Australia, which is why this is also called The Mystery of the Somerton Man. And that's pretty much all we know about this guy.

Of course, there's tons of crap we don't know, which is what makes this case so mysterious and weird.

All the identifying tags on his clothing had been removed and his fingerprints and dental records didn't match anyone. And not just in Australia, either. They looked almost everywhere for the identification of this man.

The autopsy came back with some congestion in his brain that would be consistent with poisoning, except there wasn't a trace of poison found on or in him.

They found a brown suitcase that belonged to the man, but it only held more clothing with the tags ripped off.

But, the best part, in my opinion, was the secret pocket in the man's pants which contained a scrap of paper with the words "Taman Shud" printed on it. The words mean "finished" or "ended".

The text was cut from a book, a collection of poems called The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam. Which isn't that crazy, but it turns out this scrap was from a specific, and extremely rare first edition, translation. So, you know, not just from the local library.

In the back of the book, the cops found a handwritten code:



And no, the letters aren't just random scribbles. They actually are some mysterious cipher. Just one that NO ONE has been able to solve. Ever. And people have been trying to solve it for over 60 years.

And that's pretty much it!

So we have an unidentifiable dead man, who may have been poisoned, with secret pockets in his altered clothing that leads to an, as of yet, uncrackable cipher in a rare, first edition, book of poems.

Yeah. Weird.

But it would make a great novel.

15 comments:

Maria Zannini said...

Poor guy.

That's some pretty good detective work for 1948 though.

I hope they never close the case.

Matthew MacNish said...

What language is Taman Shud? Arabic?

Emily White said...

He must have been a super secret spy. How cool! Of course, it's sad that the man was killed, but everything else about this story is awesome!

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Sounds like one you should write!

Shelley Sly said...

I love this series, because it keeps reminding me of things I learned back in college that I totally forgot about (or pushed out of my mind to make room for more things, because my brain is apparently small. :P )

Love the mystery surrounding this case! (But I feel bad for the guy.) I hope somebody solves it one day. I'd be so interested to find out who he was and why he was killed, assuming the code might tell us something.

Anne Gallagher said...

I love stuff like this. Intrigue, mystery, dead people with no identity. Poor guy.

Great post!

Michael Offutt, Tebow Cult Initiate said...

I love a good mystery. I hope someone writes a good story about this guy so that I can read it and be entertained and think "brilliant...why couldn't I have thought of that?"

Patti said...

Sounds like a 48 hours episode, which could be a great book.

Ninja Girl said...

Blew my mind again! This is so interesting, and you're right a ready-made novel with the room wide open for a spectacular ending. Inspires me to write a really Untouchables-like mystery w/loads of clues and conspiracy *shifts eyes* Thanks for bringing the weirdness Falen!!
Ninja Girl

DL Hammons said...

That's another great one. I'm enjoying this weird Wednesday! :)

Annalisa Crawford said...

Ooh, that's really interesting, and a bit creepy! Thanks for the comments you left on Sarah Pearson's blog today!

Teebore said...

He's probably DB Cooper.

(Yes, I know, the dates are all wrong). :)

Seriously though, that's awesome.

Christine Rains said...

Could be a really good book! ;)

Jamie Gibbs said...

Weirdly enough, I read about this a day or two ago - it's fascinating. I love ciphers and cryptography, and I want to incorporate them into fiction somehow. This mystery is pretty awesome.

Sarah Pearson said...

Definitely a spy! I hope they solve the mystery one day.

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