The Bizarre Tamam Shud Case

On 1 December, 1948, authorities were called to Somerton Beach in Adelaide, Australia. They discovered a deceased man strewn across the sand. Inside his pocket was an unused train ticket from Adelaide to Henley Beach. As well, they discovered some personal belongings such as a comb, chewing gum, cigarettes, and matches.

The man had no identification on his person. Witnesses reported seeing a man who fit his description on the beach the previous day. He had extended his arm before limply dropping it by his side. Another witness reported seeing a well-dressed man carrying a man on his shoulders. He was believed to be between 40-45 years old. The case became known as “The Tamam Shud case” due to the bizarre note discovered in his trouser pocket which read “tamám shud” which means “ended” or “finished” in Persian.

The note was written on a torn page of Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam. Following a public appeal, the copy in which the page was torn was located and there was a phone number and an encrypted message, which has not been deciphered to this day. The identity and the cause of death of this mysterious man remains unknown.