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  1. #1
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    Australia - Taman Shud Case - Male, Dec 1948

    (excerpted from Wikipedia)
    At about 6:30 on the morning of December 1st, 1948, the body of a man was discovered on Somerton beach in Adelaide, Australia. The man was believed to be 40 to 45 years old, and in excellent physical condition. He was described as having fair hair, greying at the temples, and had wide shoulders and a narrow waist. His big and little toes met in a wedge-shape, and his calf-muscles were formed "high on his leg, consistent with someone who wears high-heeled shoes". He was dressed in a gray and brown double-breasted suit, white shirt, red and blue tie, with brown pants, shoes and a brown pullover sweater. All the labels on the clothes were missing, and the body carried no identification.
    A check of his pockets by police revealed only cigarettes, a comb, a used bus ticket to Glenelg (a neighboring town) and an unused rail ticket to Henley Beach. A check of his dental records revealed no matches. An autopsy revealed that his stomach was congested with blood and that his heart failed, indicating poisoning. However, no foreign substances could be detected. The autopsy did not determine the cause of death or any clue to the man's identity. Several missing persons were investigated but none matched "the Somerton man", as he came to be known.
    On January 14th of 1949, a brown suitcase was found at the Adelaide Rail Station. It had been checked into the station at around 11am on November 30th, 1948. It contained a red-checked dressing gown, red slippers, pajamas, shaving gear, light brown pants with sand in the cuffs, a stencilling brush, a table knife cut down to a short, sharp instrument, and a pair of scissors "as used on merchant ships for stencilling cargo". The suitcase also contained cotton "of an unusual type", that was the same as that used to repair the pockets of the pants the dead man was wearing. Police found the name "T Keane" in three of the items, but all other identification had been removed, leading police to believe the names had been left on the clothing since it was not the dead man's real name. A missing sailor from the area, Tom Keane, was determined to not be the dead man nor did the items belong to the missing sailor.
    Police, after checking train records, believed the man had arrived by train from Sydney, Melbourne, or Port Augusta. Afterward, he purchased the unused rail ticket to Henley Beach, but instead bought and used a bus ticket to Glenelg.
    In April of 1949, he investigating pathologist discovered in the dead man's pants pocket a slip of paper with the words "Taman Shud" printed on it. Meaning "the end", the phrase is from the last page of the poem collection The Rubaiyat by Omar Khayyam. When this information was made public, a local doctor from Glenelg came forward stating he had found a copy of The Rubaiyat in the backseat of his unlocked car on the night of November 30th, 1948. The book was missing the words "Taman Shud" and tests proved the paper in the dead man's pocket came from the book found by the doctor.
    The back of the book contained four faint lines of pencil writing:
    MRGOABABD
    MTBIMPANETP
    MLIABOAIAQC
    ITTMTSAMSTGAB
    Code breakers have been unable to decipher the code.
    Also found in the back of the book was a woman's phone number. When contacted the woman stated she had owned a copy of the book but had given it to an army leiutentant during WWII. The leiutenant was located, alive and well, and still in possession of the book the woman had given him. The woman now lived in Glenelg but denied knowing the dead man or why he would be near her home. She asked police to not record her name due to reasons of privacy, and incredibly the police agreed.

    Various details have come to light since the discovery of the body, such as flowers mysteriously appearing on his grave, and reports that a strange man had stayed in a hotel across from the railway station, leaving a medical case and hypodermic behind. Repeated attempts to crack the code have failed, and the man's identity and cause of death remain a mystery.

    In looking into this case, I found a few interesting details of my own. The report of the man's wedge-shaped toes, well-developed calves, and overall excellent physical condition, made me think of a dancer, most specifically ballet. While checking records on the National Library of Australia's website, I discovered that the Lambert Ballet from London England was touring Australia at the time the body was discovered. In fact, the ballet troupe was in Adelaide from October 20th to November 13th. They then travelled to Melbourne, performing from November 19th to December 20th. After spending a few weeks in Perth, the company returned to England. However, the articles indicate that members of the company stayed behind in Australia.
    One point in this...The police believed the man had arrived by train to Adelaide from Sydney, Melbourne, or Port Augusta on November 30th.
    The company was in Melbourne on November 30th.

    All in all, the twists and turns in this case are still intriguing 60 years later.
    Last edited by Cubby; 04-30-2010 at 01:49 PM.

  2. #2
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    If he came with the ballet from London perhaps a check of missing persons in the UK around 1949 is in order to see if anyone reported someone missing there, or just reported that they never heard again from someone they knew traveling in Australia. Although ballet dancers based in London or Paris and such come from various countries (especially so shortly after the war, an era during which many East Europeans settled in the West) which may explain why the authorities in Australia could never ID him, it would be very difficult

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    This is a very intriguing case...I've never heard of it.

    I also thought about a ballet dancer when they said his calf muscles were "high on his legs." At first, I thought that the Lambert Ballet would have missed someone from their company but I guess it's possible one of the members could have gone back to Adelaide from Melbourne on the 30th of November. It also said in the Wikipedia article that the Adelaide News put his picture on the front page on December 3rd. Adelaide and Melbourne are over 400 miles apart so if the ballet company was in Melbourne when his body was found, they probably wouldn't have seen his picture in the paper if it was only on the front page of the Adelaide newspapers.

    The codes are very interesting, too. It's amazing that no experts were ever able to crack them!
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    I find it funny they immediately thought he wore high heeled shoes. Hello?! Runners have muscles like that too! Also dancers...

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    Yes, but runners toes are not shaped the way his were. It could only be from dancing or wearing high heeled pointy toed shoes. Maybe he was a cross-dresser? But, more than likely a dancer.

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    I thought of a cross-dresser, too and almost mentioned it in my previous post. But he would have to be wearing high heels virtually all the time for a number of years for his muscles to have been that way, I would think. A dancer sounds more likely as it takes some time for muscles to build up that way.
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  7. #7
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    The interesting points of the case are:

    1. The man's exceptional physical condition. Extensive martial arts training could have the same effect as dance training.

    2. The total absence of anything identifying

    3. The encrypted message found with the body

    4. His possible military link (through the woman who seemed to give out copies of the Rubaiyat to male friends)

    5. The probability that he died or was killed by poison

    I don't see this man as a dancer, unless that was part of his cover. Why go to such lengths to conceal a dancer's identity? More likely he was with MI6, or was a double agent. Killed and left on the beach as a warning, perhaps?

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    Quote Originally Posted by MaryBeth View Post
    The codes are very interesting, too. It's amazing that no experts were ever able to crack them!
    I agree, that being so shortly after the war there were many former military intel personnel around who had been familiar with many codes and code-breaking but despite this they couldn't crack it. Because of this it's quite likely that the code was meaningless and thus impossible to decipher.

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    Quote Originally Posted by KarlK View Post
    I agree, that being so shortly after the war there were many former military intel personnel around who had been familiar with many codes and code-breaking but despite this they couldn't crack it. Because of this it's quite likely that the code was meaningless and thus impossible to decipher.
    Right. They had some very expert code breakers in England during and after the war. There was a pretty good English film (I thought) from around 2000 about code-cracking during WWII called Enigma. I think it was only loosely based on a true story though. But anyway, you would think if the codes found on the guy were valid someone from the UK could have deciphered them.
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  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by MaryBeth View Post
    Right. They had some very expert code breakers in England during and after the war. There was a pretty good English film (I thought) from around 2000 about code-cracking during WWII called Enigma. I think it was only loosely based on a true story though.
    I haven't seen the movie but I am somewhat familiar with the Enigma encrypting machine used by the Germans and the remarkable fact that the British and the French had managed to keep from the Nazis the fact that they had busted the codes even before the war started.

    But anyway, you would think if the codes found on the guy were valid someone from the UK could have deciphered them.
    It's quite likely, yes. But who knows maybe they should be run through code breaking software which can try millions of keys in a very short time.


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    Australia-"Taman Shud Case" - Unidentified Man - Mysterious Circumstances



    This case is pretty fascinating.

    On December 1st 1948 a middle aged man was found lying dead on Somerton Beach is Adelaide, Australia. He was in very good shape, his feet indicated that perhaps he was a dancer, he had nice hands and feet, he was well-dressed yet all the labels had been taken off his clothes, a half-smoked cigarrette was on his lapel. LE found a used bus ticket and an unused one way ticket to Henley Beach.

    At autopsy they found his heart had failed and his stomach had a lot of blood in it causing them to suspect he had ingested poison but they toxicology tests did not detect anything.

    A month and a half later on January 14th a suitcase was discovered at the bus station. It had been checked in at Nov. 30th at 11am and never picked up. Amongst other things a pair a felt slippers were found and a knife typically used in stenciling cargo on ships. They also found a unique type of cotton that was used to repair the insides of trousers and that same cotton was found in the mans pants.

    Most bizarre is the piece of paper found in his pocket that said 'Taman Shud' or The End which is from a collection of poems called The Rubaiyat. LE released a picture of the text to the media and a doctor came forward claiming he found an english translation of The Rubaiyat in the backseat of his car. On the last page, sure enough, the words Taman Shud had been ripped out of the book and under analysis they were able to match the two pieces and confirm it came from the same book. On the back of the book was some strange writing that seemed to be in code. Pics at the link. They also found two phone numbers in the book and contacted those people. One woman claimed she had ahd a copy of The Rubaiyat but had loaned it to a man name Boxall who she had dated. LE were able to find Boxall alive and with an intact copy of The Rubaiyat.

    There is much more at the link:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Taman_Shud_Case
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  12. #12
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    I read about this somewhere before, very weird
    England's dancing days are done...

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    Quote Originally Posted by badhorsie View Post
    I read about this somewhere before, very weird

    If he did kill himself he went to great lengths to make sure he was not identified. Which of course begs the question - why? Why did he not want anyone to know who he was? Why would most of the labels on his clothing be gone but the label for T. Keane was not? Why would he leave the book in the car? Was it all just to create mystery for the hell of it?

    If he was murdered whoever killed him obviously did not want the body to be identified and it seems they wanted it to look like he killed himself by planting the verse in his pocket. He was seen around 7:00pm the previous evening alive but seemingly drugged or drunk.

    It is speculated he might have been a dancer or ballerina and if that is the case then surely he would have been missed by many people.

    It is interesting they are pretty sure he was poisoned or he poisoned himself yet they could not find any traces of poison in his system. That indicates that either he or his killer had might have had extensive knowledge of chemicals and knew what to use that could not be detected.

    The whole issue of the cryptic code-like writing on the book is a whole other issue. I don't even know what to think about that.


    http://www.policejournalsa.org.au/0004/16a.html

    http://wapedia.mobi/en/Taman_Shud_Case
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    I wonder if his "dancer's legs" and the toes that were squashed somewhat together are indicative of a transvestite? I'm just throwing that out there.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr. E View Post
    I wonder if his "dancer's legs" and the toes that were squashed somewhat together are indicative of a transvestite? I'm just throwing that out there.

    I thought the same thing. I actually thought I had mentioned that in the post above but I guess not. If he was I don't think that was a reason why he was killed (thinking hate crime) because typically those tend to be violent attacks whereas this was different and great lengths were gone to to conceal his identity.
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