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The Somerton Man Case. The body of a man found on an Australian beach close to a major Atomic Testing ground, he was probably poisoned, a copy of the Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam and an unbroken Code page found and associated to him. Set against a Cold War background in 1948, was this man a spy? We think so and this blog focuses on the evidence that was left behind and in some cases missed, the Code page, Dry Cleaning numbers, A Poem and a small, torn piece of paper bearing the words TAMAM SHUD.

Thursday, 30 May 2013

Somerton Man: Did he take his own life or was he murdered?

There has been a lot of discussion on numerous blogs and groups on this subject. Did the Somerton Man die by his own hand or was there someone or some other factor involved? Our main question and focus is did he take his own life.

As you will read here, whatever other factors were involved, it seems highly unlikely that the Somerton Man took his own life.

In this post we will briefly examine the options, we will be using the assumption as per the autopsy docments and evidence given that the cause of death was heart failure and that an unnamed poison directly contributed to that heart failure.

There are 3 main options here, firstly suicide, in South Australia in 1948 140 males took their own lives.

Next there is murder and there were 18 men murdered in South Australia that year none by poisoning as far as can be ascertained to this point and other statistics are hard to find. As soon as appropriate stats are found they will be published here.

The final possibility is accidental poisoning but the figures available on that possibility are also hard to find.

One way we can get some direction is to examine the statistics on suicide by males.

The information that we have and data from the Australian bureau of Statistics state that in South Australia in 1948:
  1. The Someron Man was in the age group of 45 to 54
  2. 140 males took their own lives
  3. Of the 140 males, according to ABS stats, 10% from the defined age group of 45 to 54 took their own lives
  4. Again from ABS stats, 9% of males who took their own lives did so with a poisonous substance as opposed to poisoning by gas/ exhaust fumes
We are now venturing into probability theory. The question posed is of the 140 males who died, what is the probability of them being in the age group of 45 to 54 AND taking their lives using a poisonous substance?

The answer according to standard probability equation is .009 of the total.

The statistics used covered Australia for the period 1921 to 2004. you can download a pdf from the Australian Government website here:

If these figures are correct, and I see no reason to doubt them at this stage, that means that the likelihood of the Somerton Man committing suicide in South Australia in 1948 and using poison to do that was highly improbable.

More work needs to be done on this topic, regular updates will be published as that work progresses.

Please feel free to comment, your input is appreciated.

As usual, please consider signing the petition below, in this way the Somerton Man can be given a name and be properly laid to rest.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...


I have a question. There used to be a facebook group, created by D. Abbott that was a great updating resource into this case. I used to be a member and now I can't find it. Was the group closed? Relocated?

I appreciate your help. FTR