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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.

Sunday, 1 April 2018

SOMERTON MAN: A QUESTION OF RESEARCH?


SM, SUICIDE? THE NUMBERS...


Some 5 years back I posted a question regarding just how unusual was the apparent suicide of the Somerton Man. By that, I mean that given that the statistics are available, just how many males were believed to have ended their own lives in let's say, the period 1945 to 1950?

This is a question for the researchers amongst us so Clive, JS and perhaps Milongal may take this on as a small project. 

Here's the criteria:
1. Unidentified males between the ages of 40 and 50 years
2. The period between 1945 and 1950 (A year by year comparison might be interesting)
3. Death by poisoning
4. Found on a beach

Please feel free to further qualify the research, for example, you might want to add the criterion 'death by unknown poison.'

Over to you...

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

"just how many males were believed to have ended their own lives in let's say, the period 1945 to 1950?"

Hm. There's a bunch of problems with the way you presented this. e.g. Define "were believed to." Does this mean the stated cause of death and according to whom?

Then there's your criteria: Whether 'on a beach', or 'by unknown poison' tells us nothing about the suicide rate of men of a certain age during those years. It may tell us--again, depending how you define suicide in the first place--what percentage of men did kill themselves, but to what end? To be sure the suicide rate of former spies in the post-war years, as compared to other periods, might be helpful but good luck with that one. ;) Percentage of suicides from poison unknown where body is found on beach: .000013; so now what? Consider it wasn't a suicide then? Decide our buddy was certainly special?

I'd need you to be more and highly specific about what it is you'd like to learn. However, I went to Art School so maybe better you don't discuss this with me at all. ;)

Cheers!

flea

Gordon332 said...


Well, 'flea' and others who might be interested.

In the world of blogs there are generally two kinds of commenters, the first is someone who reads a post having a response in mind most often along with a desire to, shall we say, change the topic/create a diversion to something that is more familiar to them. Enter the argumentative/extend the debate commenter who has no real interest in the original post but would rather extend the debate into, in this case at least, one of semantics. This my friend flea, is where you sit. One giveaway is the way in which you couldn't resist turning the spotlight on yourself, the humble Art School graduate.

The next type of commenter is one who reads a post and seeks not to construct a fine sounding response but to understand and perhaps contribute to the subject of the original post.

In stark contrast to your effort Flea, whilst you were busy beavering away at your work of 'genius', others were taking on the challenge, amongst them is Clive. And he did indeed uncover some new information over which you may shortly cast your inexpert eye. You may even learn something.

Anonymous said...

According to government figures:

1945: 86 male suicides (40-50 yrs)
1946: 86 " "
1947: 116 " "

1948: 113 " "

1949: 119 " "

1950: 97 " "

I'm not sure just how accurate these figures are as 69 died from poisoning in 1945, 90 died from poisoning in 1946, 72 died from poisoning in 1947, 99 died from poisoning in 1948, 98 died from poisoning in 1949 and 101 died from poisoning in 1950. These figures just don't add up! I wonder if SM was the only man to have been found dead on a beach in Australia from poisoning, as you state it's unbelievable.

Clive

Gordon332 said...


Thanks Clive, Yet another interesting discovery, I am not absolutely certain but I think that this is the first time that anyone has put the effort into researching this particular question. And what do you know, a whole bunch of anomalies has appeared. At the very least the numbers should be researched further and perhaps measured against the total numbers of male suicides by whatever method in each State over the period, perhaps even look at a comparison with later years, 1950 to 1960 for example?

Young 'flea', can I respectfully suggest that you gain more knowledge on the subject of suicides? The reason why the term 'believed to be suicide' is used is very simple, very often there is no real evidence to say that a man died at his own hand so a decision is reached based on the balance of probabilities. A sad example of that is the high number of single vehicle, single occupant fatal accidents, investigations might reveal a history of custody battles or false allegations of abuse, yes, even in those days. But as far as absolute proof is concerned, precious little in the way of hard evidence may exist unless there is a note but even then these things can be faked.

Anonymous said...

With that set of criteria mate, there can be only one answer and you must know all too well what it isn't. As an aside to whatever point you're trying to make, it is unlikely that a forty three year old man, intent on self destruction, would bother heading to the beach with a pastie and a phial of foxglove to end it all. Beach suicides are always done with the intention of causing maximum physical damage and shock to the public; also being mindful to dress up for the occasion, it is unlikely that our intendee would forget his belt and/or braces...

Gordon332 said...

Correct, it wasn't suicide. We agree.