Thursday, 19 March 2015

The Isdal Woman

On November 29th 1970, a  A university professor and his two young daughters discovered the charred remains of a naked woman between some rocks, in the Isdalen Valley, north of Mount Ulriken in Bergen, Norway.

Items found at the scene included:
-Pink Sleeping Pills (50 of which had already been ingested) 
-A burned out passport
-An empty Liqueur Bottle
-Two empty Bottles which smelled strongly of gasoline

After an investigation to discover the identity of the woman, the police linked her with some suitcases left at a train station in Bergen, containing:

-500 Deutsche marks hidden in the lining
-A bottle of prescription lotion with the label torn off, making it impossible to contact the doctor who prescribed them. 
-Clothing scrubbed of prints with labels removed
-Glass with a partial finger print which did not aid the search
-A coded diary

The diary was later decoded and revealed to be tracking her route of places that the woman had traveled to previously.

The autopsy revealed her death was caused by carbon monoxide poisoning and burns.’
It also suggested that she had been burned alive.
She had a stomach full of sleeping pills and a bruise on her neck which indicated a heavy blow.
The case of death was controversially listed as suicide. 

A young hitchhiker claimed to have seen the Isdal woman before her death. He noted that she was dressed elegantly, not dressed at all for outdoor conditions.
She looked distressed, and as he passed her they made eye contact and he felt that she was attempting to communicate with him, as she opened her mouth the say something, but seemed too scared to do so. 

Behind her, at a distance, two large men of ‘foreign’ appearance in black coats were following. 

He was told by police that the case would never be solved.

A composite sketch provoked response from witnesses around Europe to come forward and claim to recognize the woman. 
She was believed to have been attractive, very well-travelled, and fluent in many languages, including French, German, English and Dutch. 
When checking in at hotels she would always request a room with a balcony and signed her occupation as an antiques dealer or traveling salesperson. 
According to hotel staff she mostly stayed in her room, seemed to be on guard, and smoked a Norwegian brand of cigarettes. 

The police questioned an Italian photographer, with whom the woman had apparently dined with at Alexandra Guest House in Loen.
According to the police the man had a shelved rape case on his record.
In the Isdal woman’s suitcase a postcard featuring one of the photographer’s prints, which were sold throughout Europe, was found. 
The man told police the woman had revealed that she came from a small town north of Johannesburg in South Africa and was just traveling to beautiful places. Further questioning did not point to any new leads about the woman’s identity. 

Between the forensic evidence, local investigators, police sketches and Interpol, it was discovered that the woman had been traveling under a series of different identities, but nothing more seemed to be revealed, making the case one of the most perplexing unsolved mysteries in history.

1 comment:

  1. This case has intresting similarities to the Taman Shud Case, also known as The case of the Somerton Man. This occured in 1948 in South Australia. A man was found dead on the beach board walk. No cause of death was determined and the man was never identified. A suitcase was linked to the body, found in a near by hotel. All labels had been torn out of the clothing in the suitcase, no finger prints, no identification, nothing.
    There was a small piece of paper found on the body, hidden in a small pocket in the victims trousers, it had been torn from a book. It read, "Taman Shud". That fraze is from a poem called The Rubaiyat, and taman shud translates to "it is finished".
    An individual not related to the case later came forward with a rare copy of the Rubaiyat he had found in the back seat of his car; which was parked near to where the body was found. Someone had deposited the book through his cracked window. Inside the book, on one of the inner covers was a cypher code, which to this day has never been decoded.
    There are so many congruencies between these cases. It makes me wonder if they are somehow connected, perhaps the murders; as murders they certainly are, were perpetuated by the same shadow organization.