The Grave of the Tamam Shud Man

Who doesn’t enjoy a good mystery?

Well, here is one just waiting for more insight Take a trip to Adelaide, Australia, visit the West Terrace Cemetery, and look up the plot identified as “The Unknown Man.”

The Tamam Shud Man

“Here lies the Unknown Man who was found at Somerton Beach 1st December 1948,” it says on his gravestone. The man, first thought to be a drunk, was found dead sitting up against a seawall with no identification and no obvious signs for reason of death.

An autopsy performed revealed only excess blood in some of his organs, opening the possibility of death to be through poisoning, yet no traces of any poison were found through toxicology. News of the man found and a lack of clues to his identity and reasoning of death began to percolate around the area. Some came forward saying they had noticed the man on the beach the night before, and believing he was drunk, ignored him.

With more questions than answers, authorities decided to look for any unclaimed luggage held at the local railway station and came upon a briefcase checked in days prior to the man’s body being found. In it was a spool of orange thread which matched a repair on one his pockets. Some clothing items in the case were labeled with the name T. Keane, although for some reason this was ruled out as his name.

Months later the pocket repair was further investigated to hold a small pocket watch. Within that was a tiny rolled-up scroll, on it said the word “Tamam Shud,” which translated from Persian, equates to “It is ended.”

Now a Never-Ending Cold Case

The last two words of a popular poetry book, The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam, were Tamam Shud. Two men came forward saying they had found a copy of the book in the front seat of their car parked near the beach that prior December. Each thinking it belonged to the other, it was tossed into the glove compartment and forgotten about until one read of the developing mystery. The last page had been ripped out.

The final result of the case, still unclosed today, was that the man could have been jilted by his lover, perhaps a nurse by the name of Jestyn, or Jessica Thomson, who claimed at the time she did not know the man, and/or he was a Russian spy.

Inside the book turned into the police, was found an inked in code, which only shown when placed under a black light. Neither naval intelligence at the time, nor backyard sleuths were able to decipher the code, nor has anyone since.

It is the nurse’s daughter, Kate, whose father was unknown to her growing up, who said, she believed the Tamam Shud man to be her father. In 2013, she said during a 60 Minutes interview, she further believes her mother was a Soviet spy, and the Tamam Shud man to have been a Russian agent.

Prior to the 60 Minutes story airing, Jessica’s granddaughter, Rachel, fathered by Kate’s half-brother, along with an Adelaide University physicist studying the cold case, had requested the Taman Shud’s body be exhumed. Her hope was to garner insight into her ancestry. The request was denied, and the case continues to linger.

We wish Stephen Spielberg and Tom Hanks would get on his one.

Gippsland Lakes Bioluminescence

Located in Victoria, Australia, the Gippsland Lakes are a network of connected inland waterways that stretch over 250 square miles.

The three main lakes in the network are Lake King, Lake Victoria, and Lake Wellington. Everything you could ever want to do on a lake can be done here from fishing and boating, to swimming and kayaking.

However, in 2008 something really spectacular occurred here: a bright blue bioluminescent bloom.

What is Bioluminescence?

Bioluminescence is a quite simply light created naturally in a living organism. Fireflies are an example bioluminescence found on land, however most bioluminescent organisms live in the sea or in brackish water. Bioluminescence can be found primarily in jellies, bacteria, and fish.

Curious travelers can find bioluminescent kayaking and boating tours in areas where bioluminescent algae blooms occur regularly. Kayaking is a great option for seeing bioluminescence because the rowing of the oars activates the algae, surrounding you with a brilliant blue glow. Clear kayaks are especially popular for these experiences for obvious reasons. 

Bioluminescence at Gippsland Lakes

According to the reports of travel blogger and photographer Phil Hart, in the summer of 2008 something peculiar and wonderful occurred at the Gippsland Lakes. Due to a series of events including raging brush fires and extensive flooding, a mix of soil nutrients and an excess of salt water entered the lakes. These additions created just the right conditions for the bloom, or population surge, of Noctiluca scintillans. These organisms emit a blue light that are every photographer’s dream. 

Unfortunately, bioluminescence sightings are unpredictable and the blooms at the Gippsland Lakes are no exception. An updated post by Hart revealed that the blooms had returned in 2013 but to a lesser degree than the previous blooms.

Though the lakes themselves are worth the visit, it would be best to check with local experts before planning your whole trip around a chance at seeing this rare phenomenon.