Researchers in Australia claim they have identified the Somerton Man, a very mysterious case of a John Doe who died of unknown causes on Somerton Beach south of Adelaide in 1948. It’s also known as the Tamam Shud case cause those words (Persian for something like “it is finished”) were written on a scrap of paper in his pocket.
They’re saying his name is Charles Webb, who went by Carl. He was an electrical engineer from Melbourne. Honestly I was expecting the Somerton Man to be have had a more interesting occupation than this.
Why Webb was sitting against the seawall on Somerton Beach, with a scrap of paper bearing Persian words in his pocket and all the labels on his clothes removed, and what he died of, remains a mystery.
The police have yet to confirm the ID, hence my question mark in the title of this blog post. It makes me nervous that they haven’t commented yet. I’ve been burned so many times.
Some articles from a variety of sources, both paywalled and not, pick your poison:
- Mystery of Somerton man’s identity solved after 73 years, researchers in Australia say (The Guardian)
- DNA Researchers Name the Somerton Man, Australia’s 73-Year-Old Cold Case (The New York Times)
- A body found in 1948 became an Australian obsession. Now, there’s an ID. (The Washington Post)
- Identity mystery of Australia’s ‘Somerton Man’ solved with DNA after 74 years (UPI)
- Somerton Man identified as Melbourne electrical engineer, researcher says (ABC Australia)
- Mystery of Australia’s ‘Somerton Man’ solved after 70 years, researcher says (BBC)