The Mystery of the Somerton Man

Link to Episode

Tonight!!! On a very special episode of Drunk Mysteries, we use all of our “koala” fications as mystery solvers and take you down under for one crocodile of a mystery. Strap in listeners, because on this episode we are going to take you to a mysterious land filled with vicious beasts, hidden treasure, native cannibals and of course…. Murder!!!

Yes my darling children of Kane, your ears do not deceive you. What you are about to embark upon is a journey into the heart of Australia, a land in which everything wants to kill you. Which is exactly what happened to one poor fellow. A gentleman who just so happened to find himself, dead, deceased and rotting on a beach. But this murdered chap is quite unlike any other corpse you have ever heard of.

The murdered gentlemen we are going to tell you of tonight sparked Australia’s largest murder investigation, involves espionage, poison and most intriguing, the man we are going to tell you of has never been identified. Until now…. Join us as we examine the Mystery of the Somerton Man. Named after a well dressed, middle aged man who was found dead on the Australian beach of Somerton.

This man has never been identified, had a variety of strange items on him and his cause of death remains uncertain. Be warned listeners, for what we discuss tonight, will rock the very fabric of society and may, drive you completely insane. Lets dive in.

A Dead Man is Found on The Beach

On the windy morning of December 1st, 1948, Australian police were contacted after the body of a man was discovered on Somerton beach. The man was found lying in the sand. He was lying back with his head resting against the seawall, with his legs extended and his feet crossed.

A search of his pockets revealed an unused second-class rail ticket from Adelaide to Henley Beach, a bus ticket from the city, a narrow aluminium comb, a half-empty packet of Juicy Fruit chewing gum, an Army Club cigarette packet containing seven cigarettes of a different brand, and a quarter-full box of matches.

Police noted the man was “british" in appearance and thought to be aged about 40–45; he was in "top physical condition".He was about 6 ft tall, with grey eyes, ginger-coloured hair, slightly grey around the temples,with broad shoulders and a narrow waist, hands and nails that showed no signs of manual labour, his big and little toes that met in a wedge shape, like those of a dancer or someone who wore boots with pointed toes; and pronounced high calf muscles like those of a ballet dancer.  

He was dressed in a white shirt; a red, white and blue tie; brown trousers; socks and shoes; a brown knitted pullover and fashionable grey and brown double-breasted jacket of reportedly "American" tailoring.  All labels on his clothes had been removed, and he had no hat (unusual for 1948) or wallet. The body was clean-shaven, including his pubic area and carried no identification. His teeth did not match the dental records of any known living person.

The autopsy showed that the man's last meal was a pastry eaten three to four hours before death. Pathologist Dr. Dwyer, who examined the body concluded: "I am quite convinced the death could not have been natural..” and he concluded that the man’s death must be poison, although no poison could be found in the body. Other than that, the coroner was unable to reach a conclusion as to the man's identity, cause of death, or whether the man had been seen alive at Somerton Beach before his death, The body was then embalmed on 10 December 1948 after the police were unable to get a positive identification.

Also noted, was the size of mans “gargantuan penis”. It was circumcised, leading many to believe the man was either Jewish, American or possibly… Both. His penis was roughly 9 inches long and almost 2 inches thick in diameter. When weighed, his penis weighed a shocking 1.5 pounds, unheard for the time period. This would be the largest recorded penis of all time until the world was exposed to current record holder for worlds largest penis, Jonah Falcon, some 60 years later.

Falcon gained media attention after appearing in the 1999 HBO documentary; Private Dicks: Men Exposed, in which 25 males were interviewed in the nude about their penises. Rolling Stone published an article in 2003 that reported Falcon's penis as measuring 9.5 inches in length when flaccid and 13.5 inches in length when erect.

When becoming and being erect a large amount of blood flows to his penis and, Falcon has reported he experiences lightheadedness. Falcon appeared on The Daily Show on March 2, 2010, and stated that he can completely envelop a doorknob with his foreskin.

A mysterious Suitcase is Found

On January 14th, 1949, staff at the scenic Adelaide railway station in south Australia discovered a brown suitcase with its label removed, which had been checked into the station cloakroom. It was believed that the suitcase was owned by the man found on the beach. In the case were a red checked dressing gown; a size seven, red felt pair of slippers; four pairs of underpants; pyjamas; shaving items; a light brown pair of trousers with sand in the cuffs; an electrician's screwdriver; a table knife cut down into a short sharp instrument; a pair of scissors with sharpened points; a small square of zinc thought to have been used as a protective sheath for the knife and scissors and a stencilling brush.

Our senior producer Rick Warren used his connections in Australian law enforcement to give us the following information: Also in the suitcase was a thread card of Barbour brand orange waxed thread of "an unusual type" not available in Australia. This is significant because it means our mystery dead man, is likely not of Australian origin. It should be noted however, that Rick is currently experiencing the early stages of dementia, and his information is not always accurate.

Suddenly there was a breakthrough. All identification marks on the clothes in the suitcase had been removed but police found the name "T. Keane" on a tie, "Keane" on a laundry bag and "Kean" (without the last e) on a singlet, along with three dry-cleaning marks. Police believed that whoever removed the clothing tags either overlooked these three items or purposely left the "Keane" tags on the clothes, knowing Keane was not the dead man's name.

A Mysterious Message

Soon a mysterious message would land in police hands. A tiny piece of rolled-up paper with the words "Tamam Shud" printed on it was found in a pocket sewn within the dead man's trousers. Public library officials called in to translate the text identified it as a phrase meaning "ended" or "finished" found on the last page of the Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam, which is an ancient persian book of poetry. The paper's verso side was blank. Police conducted an Australia-wide search to find a copy of the book that had a similarly blank verso. A photograph of the scrap of paper was released to the press.

Mysteriously, police soon located the exact copy of the Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam, the page in the dead man’s pocket was torn from.

There is much uncertainty about the circumstances under which the book was found. One newspaper article refers to the book being found about a week or two before the body was found. Former South Australian Police detective Gerry Feltus (who dealt with the matter as a cold case), reports that the book was found "just after that man was found on the beach at Somerton".

  1. However the book was found, it had a mystery all its own within its silky pages.

  2. In the back of the book were 5 lines of text that represented some sort of code. They read;


  2. MLIAOI (crossed out)




No one has been able to decode the text because there are too few symbols for a cryptographer to work with. Can you?

  1. A Dangerous Liaison

  1. An unlisted telephone number was also found in the back of the book,belonging to a nurse named Jessica Ellen Thomson –  who actually lived just about 400 metres (1,300 ft) north of the location where the man’s body was originally found. When she was interviewed by police, Thomson said that she did not know the dead man or why he would have her phone number and choose to visit her suburb on the night of his death. However, she also reported that, at some time in late 1948, an unidentified man had attempted to visit her and asked a next door neighbour about her.

  2. In his book on the case, the writer, scholar, journalist and notorious ladies man, Gerry Feltus, stated that when he interviewed Thomson, he found that she was either being "evasive" or she "just did not wish to talk about it". That was until Feltus used his powers of seduction to make sweet sweet love to the now 83 year old Jessica Thompson. What she lacked in youth she easily made up for in enthusiasm. “It just happened so fast.” Gerry stated. “First, she closed all the windows, turned off the air conditioning and closed the doors, and then like a ravenous beast she jumped on top of me. Ripping off my clothes and biting my neck. Soon, I was deep inside of her, thrusting, her elderly body shriveling with every pump. I could feel myself deep inside of her. I orgasmed. But it was not over yet. She began to lick and gag on my now flacid penis. Her tong, exploring every crevice and cranny. She licked for another thirty or 40 minutes before it was my turn. Her vagina was huge, like one of the granite quarries I worked in my youth. My tongue danced inside of her ancient hymen until nightfall. It was easy to get lost in there. So many pathways. The older a vagina becomes, the more it grows.”

  3. Despite this, Gerry Feltus still felt that his lover was being evasive when asked about the dead man from so long ago.

Benjamin Potesky