The Somerton Man Identified: A Major Breakthrough in the Baffling Case

In our article ​​”3 Secret Codes No One Can Crack,” we spoke extensively on the Somerton Man case. It is a case that has stirred the imaginations of sleuths across the globe, with many believing that it is simply beyond solving. Well, while questions still remain, a man named Derek Abbott recently solved a vital piece of the puzzle. Today, we’re going to take a deeper look at the Somerton Man case and reveal a revelation that brings us one step closer to unlocking the mystery.

What Is the Somerton Man Case?

The location where the Somerton Man was found
The location where the Somerton Man was found
Source: Wikipedia

On December 1, 1948, on the shore of Somerton Park Beach in Adelaide, Australia, a man’s dead body was found. Bearing no signs of injury or assault, he was carrying nothing that could identify him. An autopsy proved that he was most likely poisoned, a cause of death is almost certainly associated with murder.

Months later, police discovered a strange clue. In a hidden pocket of the man’s pants was a small, rolled-up piece of paper, on which the words “tamám shud” were typed. This is a Persian phrase that translates to, “It is finished” (quite fitting given the circumstance).

The code found in the copy of The Rubáiyát
The code found in the copy of The Rubáiyát
Source: Wikipedia

After thorough investigation, police concluded that the paper was torn from a book of poetry called The Rubáiyát by Omar Khayyám. Coincidentally, a copy of the very same book was found on the shore of the Somerton Park Beach. And believe it or not, this very copy had part of a page torn from it, that which read “tamám shud.” This was the exact copy that the paper in the Somerton Man’s pocket came from. 

Who Was Jessica Thomson, and What Is Her Relation to the Somerton Man?

The burial of the Somerton Man
The Burial of the Somerton Man
Source: Wikipedia

Things took an even stranger turn when police examined this copy of The Rubáiyát. On the back, someone had written a mysterious code (pictured below) and a phone number. The number belonged to a local nurse named Jessica Thomson. When police interrogated her, she insisted that she knew nothing of the Somerton man.

Unfortunately, she died in 2007. However, in 2013, her daughter Katie claimed that her mother had told her that she did in fact know the identity of the Somerton Man, a secret she would supposedly take to her grave.

With the death of Jessica, many thought that efforts to identify the Somerton Man were futile. But now, almost 80 years later, we finally know who he was.

The Somerton Man’s Identity Revealed

The plaster made of the Somerton Man's face
Source: Wikipedia

Derek Abbott—a University of Adelaide professor who had been studying the case for decades—recently claimed that the Somerton Man was actually Carl “Charles” Webb, a 43 year-old electrical engineer from Melbourne. How did Abbott ascertain this information? Well, he and his team of experts used strands of the man’s hair that were trapped in a plaster mask made by police in the 1940s.

“We managed to find a first cousin three times removed on his mother’s side,” Abbott told CNN.

The CNN article continues, “By March, Abbott said he had already established Webb’s name through years of painstaking work with Fitzpatrick to build a complex family tree of around 4,000 names that led to Webb, whose date of death had not been recorded.”

So, we now know the Somerton Man’s name. But who was Carl Webb, really? Can information about his personal life give us a greater clue as to who may have killed him?

Who Was Carl Webb?

Believe it or not, much of the information we have regarding Carl Webb’s personal life comes from his divorce paperwork. Dorothy Jean Webb applied for a divorce three years after the death of her husband. (She of course had no idea he was dead.) He had apparently abandoned her in 1947. What he was doing between that year and 1948, the year of his death, we don’t know. Some speculate that he had been having an affair with Jessica Thomson, which via an unknown series of events, led to his murder.

Webb loved poetry, so it was only natural that he would own a copy of The Rubáiyát. However, why he had the “tamám shud” page in his pocket is anyone’s guess. As for the strange code written on the back of the book, there is some speculation as to what it may have meant. Some say that each letter represented a word in Webb’s own poetry. (Why would he not have simply written the words out though?) 

Another theory stems from the fact that Webb loved to bet on horses. It states that the letters are abbreviations for the names of horses he was betting on. We must note that both theories are merely speculative and have no concrete evidence to back them up. 

What Do We Still Want to Know?

At the very least, the discovery of the Somerton Man’s identity can put to rest the common misconception that he was some kind of spy. However, will this revelation eventually lead to our identifying his killer? We can only hope. Unfortunately, with the death of Jessica Thomson, we may never get the full story. 

Still, we personally believe that the answer may lie in the code written on the back of The Rubáiyát. All explanations of his significance are purely speculative, and we’ve yet to read a theory that has truly convinced us. 

Do you have a theory as to what the code could mean? Who do you think killed Carl Webb? Let us know in the comments!

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