The Tamam Shud case, also known as the Mystery of the Somerton Man, is an unsolved case of an unidentified man found dead at 6:30 am, 1 December 1948, on Somerton beach, Glenelg, just south of Adelaide, South Australia. It is named after the Persian phrase tamám shud, meaning "ended" or "finished", printed on a scrap of paper found months later in the fob pocket of the man's trousers. The scrap had been torn from the final page of a copy of Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam, authored by 12th-century poet Omar Khayyám.Tamam was misspelt as Taman in many early reports and this error has often been repeated.
Following a public appeal by police, the book from which the page had been torn was located. On the inside back cover, detectives were able to read – in indentations from handwriting – a local telephone number, another unidentified number and a text that resembled an encrypted message. The text has not been deciphered or interpreted in a way that satisfies authorities on the case.
The case has been considered, since the early stages of the police investigation, "one of Australia's most profound mysteries". There has been intense speculation ever since regarding the identity of the victim, the cause of his death and the events leading up to it. Public interest in the case remains significant for several reasons: the death occurred at a time of heightened international tensions following the beginning of the Cold War; the apparent involvement of a secret code; the possible use of an undetectable poison; and the inability of authorities to identify the dead man.
In addition to intense public interest in Australia during the late 1940s and early 1950s, the Tamam Shud case also attracted international attention. South Australian Police consulted their counterparts overseas and distributed information about the dead man internationally, in an effort to identify him. International circulation of a photograph of the man and details of his fingerprints yielded no positive identification. For example, in the United States, the FBI was unable to match the dead man's fingerprint with prints taken from files of domestic criminals. Scotland Yard was also asked to assist with the case, but could not offer any insights.
And now, a story.
Two of my friends were spending the night at my parent's house. we were all still in high school. My bedroom was a room away from the kitchen, connected by a pantry and hall way. I heard the backdoor handle jiggle, which meant a cat wanted to go outside. So I went to let it out and get a drink.
As I walked into the kitchen I noticed there was no cat there, and the door to the basement was wide open - which we always left closed and locked. So I closed and locked the basement door, a tad unnerved but it didn't matter. Next to the basement door was a staircase that went upstairs to the second floor (this is relevant later.)
A couple hours later I hear the fridge door close. I noticed that because I didn't hear it open, but it was in a different room so that's not too weird. What made it weird was that I didn't hear anyone walk down the stairs, or by my bedroom from the front of the house. The back stairs to the second floor are really loud and creaky, so I would've heard something.
Unnerved, I took a knife and went into the kitchen. I see no one in there, but immediately notice smoke coming up from under the basement door. I opened it up and it was filled with smoke.
Closed it, got my parents up. Call the fire dept, go get ready to sleep in my car for the night as it was about 4 AM at this point.
A fire fighter comes and tells us it's okay to go back into the house now. For some reason the furnace had caught fire inside, and was filling the house with carbon monoxide.
Had my friends and I went to sleep we'd all be dead. Still have no clue what jiggled the door knob or closed the fridge, but it kept me alive.