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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.

Tuesday, 25 April 2017



This weapon whilst looking very like a Colt 45 automatic, was in fact a high powered gas powered dart gun developed through and after WW2 as a lethal way in which to dispose of an enemy quickly and efficiently. It must be said that 'quickly' did not equate to painlessly.

The weapon had a range of 250 feet and the projectile that it fired was a super slim dart barely wider than a human hair.There were a number of poison options that were used some of which were more exotic than others but two of which are of particular interest to this case.


Whilst Digitalis, a 'heart' drug of the time and for the record the same medication that was taken by Russian Spy Harry Dexter White when he died back in August 1948. That was an extraordinarily busy month for those involved in the 'trade'. Back to the point at hand, it was thought by many experts at the time that Digitalis was the most likely cause of the Somerton Man's death but there was no trace of such a poison in his body, it was a drug that quickly dissipated into the system.

One aspect that puzzled me was the fact, I understand, that SM's heart stopped mid beat, that is a most unusual occurrence but I stand to be corrected. Perhaps Byron may like to contribute on that.

The bottom line is that we have a named but unproven cause of death.


What sort of poison is that could have put an end to SM's life? What clues, if any,exist that could point us in the right direction? We know that all substances leave behind a trace, a metabolite trace. 

But there was no such trace in the case of SM and that could be because the traces that were left were those normally to be found in the system. A perfect poison.

We know that our US friends and perhaps their enemies, were constantly working at new and improved methods and hence the headline and image at the top of the page. Some of the poisons being investigated for use included, shellfish toxin, crocodile bile, cobra venom and botulinum. There were two others, SUXAMETHONIUM, (called SUX) a drug used as an anaesthetic, and POTASSIUM CHLORIDE.

In the case of SUX, in sufficient quantities, it paralyses the muscles of the body and delivers a very painful death though quick, within a minute the victim stops breathing and asphyxiates. 

Researching this topic, it brought to mind the fact that SM was seen to wave his arm but then stopped. True to say that was some hours before his estimated time of death.

POTASSIUM CHLORIDE given in sufficient quantity however, acts somewhat differently. it causes severe heart arrhythmia and within minutes the heart spasms and stops, the victim dies.

Could it be that SM was given a smaller earlier dose of PC or SUX? Enough to disable him and then the final overdose was delivered at a safe distance? Both of these options would no trace for a doctor to uncover at an autopsy and both of which were tested for use in the early cold war years. 


One wonders about the watcher, the man in the hat who stood by the fence looking down at the scene and patiently watched SM as he slowly deteriorated.

Last thought for the moment at least, looking at Tibor Kaldor's death certificate and autopsy report, there are similarities in the description of the probable cause.


  1. First I heard of a man in the hat watching - do you recall where that was mentioned?

  2. Thanks for the question, the first mention of the man with the hat looking down at the Somerton Man was made by Olive Constance Neil, she and her friend, Gordon, noticed the man who was wearing a grey suit. You can read a little more about this here: