Monday, 30 March 2015

Siriraj Hospital and the tale of Si-Oui :

You might need to break out a Chang beer for this one.

For those of holidaying in the land of smiles, how about a nice day out to the Siriraj medical museums pathological and forensic exhibit? 

The Siriraj Medical Museum in Bangkok, Thailand, for the layman, is a gruesomely fascinating formaldehyde pickled nightmare world, including a gallery of suicide, an exhibit of Siamese twins in jars, forensic evidence from crimes, cadavers cut in half and heads in jars. Although extremely valuable and educational for students in the medical field, it is not for the squeamish.



Siriraj hospital is home to preserved body of Chinese immigrant and serial child killer cannibal “Si-oui” (or Si Ouey) in a big glass display box.

Si-oui is probably Thailand’s most famous serial killer, responsible for the deaths of half a dozen young boys. He suffocated them and ate their hearts and livers as he believed the consumption of the organs gave him powers.

There is even a movie about him, here’s the trailer:


You're not allowed to take photos in the museum, so these are just a couple i found online.

As you can see on the map, you'll have to cross the river from this one. But it's not so difficult to find.

That's all for this one folks. 
Hope I didn’t ruin your Pad Thai.

Who put Bella in the witch elm?



It was 1943 in Worchester, England.
Four young boys were poaching on Lord Cobham’s estate in the woods looking for bird eggs and rabbits.
They happened upon an elm tree whilst out looking for bird’s nests, but instead discovered something much more macabre: a human skull, scraps of fabric, a wedding ring, and in a field nearby; severed hand. 
Knowing that they were trespassing, they decided to put the skull back and keep their discovery a secret. 
However, one of the younger boys eventually caved in and told his parents, who alerted the police.


The body, referred to by the name “Belladonna”, was sent to a professor at the Home Office Forensic Science Laboratory in the West Midlands, who determined that the woman had died around 18 months prior. She was estimated to have been around 35 years old, five foot tall with medium brown hair and had given birth at least once in her life.

There were no signs of trauma to the body and no signs of physical harm or disease were detected. It was ruled by the coroner that she died of asphyxiation, and was probably forced into the tree hollow just after death. 
Strangely, her mouth was stuffed with the high end silk fabric, taffeta.

Towards the end of the year, graffiti began to appear. Mostly the vandalized messages were variations of “Hagley Wood Bella” and “Who put Luebella down the wych-elm?” seemingly written in the same hand.

There have been a lot of theories about the Belladonna. Some speculate that she might have been a spy selling secrets to the enemy, some say a witch, some even say it was a black magic execution on account of the severed hand.

To this day, nobody is really sure who, or even why, someone put Bella in the witch elm. 

Saturday, 28 March 2015

THE LAST VICTIM : JASON MOSS

I recently remembered a book that I read in high school, titled “The last victim”.
On the front cover there was a black and white photo of John Wayne Gacy with the tagline “a true life journey into the mind of a serial killer” by Jason Moss.
Although I'm not sure that I agree this was a journey into the mind of John Wayne gacy per se, it was an interesting read as a teenager.
Jason Moss was an 18 year old man who was studying at UNLV, and had decided to correspond with incarcerated serial killers as part of his thesis.
He researched the inmates that he found most intriguing and began to shape personalities based on the types of person each killer would find appealing.
Moss was quoted as saying he was a cocky 18 year old, who thought that he could outsmart, or get the killers to confess and tell him secrets. He definitely bit off more than he could chew during this adventure and I'm not sure exactly what Moss thought he could get out of Gacy, posing as a victim. 

He also wrote to Charles Manson, attempting to appeal to him as a potential follower, and received some correspondence including a poem from Manson and a response letter.
He made the acquaintance of Ramirez, Lucas and Dhamer and also received responses and crudely drawn cartoons.

But the killer he would eventually establish a relationship with was Gacy, with whom Moss would share letters, seasonal greetings cards, photos, collect phone calls and two in person visits.

The pair exchanged letters, which started out relatively normal, but soon turned dark. They would talk in detail about dark and taboo sexual fantasies, with Jason Moss playing along.
Moss was eventually flown out for two, two hour sessions of unsupervised face time with the killer clown himself, where he was psychologically broken down, reduced to tears and almost sexually assaulted by Gacy.


The book is a very unsettling memoir; the letters exchanged between the pair are nothing short of disturbing.
How he could role play and confidently attempt to manipulate a man who was responsible for raping and murdering 33 boys and burying them in the crawlspace of his house, is perplexing.

So, as you can guess by the title, the book is an account of how a morbidly curious, overly confident young man with teenage feelings of invincibility set himself up to be Gacy's last victim.

I went to search for Jason Moss online to see what he was doing these days and unfortunately discovered that he has passed away.

Apparently he had committed suicide, shot himself with a shotgun.
His date of death was 6.6.06
He didn’t leave a letter.  

Rest in peace, Jason.

You can find videos of Jason giving interviews about his experience online.


See also:  "Dear Mr. Gacy" (2010)


Tuesday, 24 March 2015

The 27 Club and the Cross roads:



There’s some kind of 90’s revival going on right now where I’m at, and every time I see the goofy Nirvana logo or a picture of Cobain’s face, the first thought that comes to mind is the 27 club and the curse of the white lighter.

You’ve heard about that before right? How Jim Morrison, Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix, and Kurt Cobain were lefties who bit the dust at 27 years old and were all found with white Bic lighters in their pockets? 
Apparently disposable lighters generally came in either black or white back in the day, so there’s a 50% chance that a white lighter would be listed in an autopsy report for any dead rock star at the time.

The title “27 club” was coined after co-founders Jim Morrison, Brain Jones, Janis Joplin and Jimi Hendrix died at the same age and within 2 years of each other between ‘69 and ’71.

Morrison died in a bathtub in Paris, officially ruled as heart failure, but rumored to have been heroin related.

A cocktail of booze and drugs and a midnight dip in the pool of his English country mansion in Sussex secured Brain Jones his place in the club.

Psychedelic Acid rocker Joplin shot some over potent heroin for admittance and left behind $2,500 in her will for her friends to party with in the event of her untimely death.

Jimi Hendrix was notorious for boozing and nonchalantly chomping down fistful of whatever pills on a general basis, so it was only a matter of time before one final game of drug roulette claimed him for the 27 club.

Years later Kurt Cobain would follow suit, shoot heroin and then shoot himself with a shotgun, leaving behind him a suicide note and a hell of a lot of question marks.

(Previously unseen photos from Cobain's case, released 20 years after the investigation.)

Fellow grunge rocker Kristen Pfaff hit the Heroin, as did many others.
It comes with the territory I suppose.

The 27 club reaches as far back as Blues legend Robert Johnson who was allegedly poisoned by a jealous husband with a bottle of poisoned whiskey, after flirting with the man’s wife in a club he regularly played at. E
Or maybe his time was just up.

Johnson was rumored to have made a Faust-esq midnight deal with the devil at a cross roads near the Dockery plantation. Legend has it that a large black man, who is thought to have been the devil himself, showed up and turned Johnson’s guitar, before playing a few songs and handing it back to him, transferring the mastery of the art with it.

If that’s not creepy, then I don’t know what it is.

If you’d like to make your own cross roads deal, you might find this article at lucky mojo helpful in assisting you. Be sure to get back to us in the comments with your experience and we’ll just read it from all the way over here, from behind the protective shield of our monitors and tablets.
*thumbs up*

The article also claims that it was actually 20’s delta blues artist Tommy Johnson who made the cross roads deal. He was said to have performed a ritual characteristic of the rituals in the south, and met at the cross roads with a “Spirit”.

"If you want to learn how to make songs yourself, you take your guitar and you go to where the road crosses that way, where a crossroads is. Get there, be sure to get there just a little 'fore 12 that night so you know you'll be there. You have your guitar and be playing a piece there by yourself...A big black man will walk up there and take your guitar and he'll tune it. And then he'll play a piece and hand it back to you. That's the way I learned to play anything I want."

Despite everything I've been talking about in this post, I can't help but escape the feeling that the really creepy fact isn't OD-ing twenty something rock stars, but the surviving, vampiric, almost century old living rockers, the Ozzy Osbournes, the Iggy Pops, the Alice Coopers and the other walking corpses.
If anyone has made a real life deal with the devil, surely, they have.

Well that’s all for tonight folks.
Sleep tight!

Sunday, 22 March 2015

LAWANG SEWU : THE HOUSE OF A THOUSAND DOORS



A few years ago I found myself in Semarang, Central Java, Indonesia, in search of the infamous Dutch colonial era building nick named “Lawang Sewu”.

The locals told me about the place, after discovering my interest in history and the macabre, and suggested that we go to a night tour of the place.

When we showed up we were met by one man who would be giving the tour in Bahasa, but a friend of mine offered to translate any important points. There were also a few other tourists, some from Korea, and some from China, if I remember correctly, as well as some domestic tourists.

Lawang Sewu translates as “Thousand doors” and the building is called so on account of the many sections, doors, arcs and rooms built into its design. It took three years to build, with construction finally completed in 1907, and was initially built for the use of the first Dutch East Indies railway company, “Nederlandsch Indische Spoorweg Maatschappij”, up until the Japanese Invasion in ’42.
The Japanese took over the building for their own use and turned the basement of building B into a prison, where they also executed people.

On entry to the building, we were met by a grand reception room with a beautiful stained glass window on curving stair cases. It really was a great piece of architecture.
We ascended the staircase and were strictly told not to leave our small tour group or the tour guide, as it was easy to get lost.

I left to go rattle a few of those thousand door handles, some were locked shut with big rusted pad locks, some doors were ajar revealing empty rooms, save for carpets of dust and the odd piece of dilapidated furniture.

I trailed behind the group and was lead to an empty room, barren, with an unfinished wooden floor, a big ribcage of iron beams under the ceiling.

The tour guide stopped and told us the Japanese used to hang people from the beams, and that most likely we were walking through the ghosts of the hanged.
He also paused to offer us one of his free services, which was “opening our eyes to the dead”. 
He told us, with a deadpan expression, that he could do an old ritual that involved smearing either graveyard dirt, or the dirt from the floor of the room, over our eyelids, and that once we opened our eyes we would be able to see ghosts, instantly.
The only stipulation being, that we would never be able to un-see them, as there was no way to reverse the ritual.

No thanks.

After no one took him up on his offer- be it the fear of living in the constant horror of seeing gross old dead people 24/7, or the crust of bird shit that would inevitably be scooped up with dirt he was offering to smear near our eye balls, he lead us to the basement.

We had to wear rubber boots as it was flooded with about a foot of water, there were no lights so a few people in the group carried torches, but not enough to really illuminate the place.

A few of the locals in the group I was with were too scared to go down there and opted out, fearing that they might leave with a ghost of two attached to them.

The basement was in building B, which the Japanese had turned it into a detention center where they brutally tortured and executed people. My friend turned to me, the beams of torch light cutting past his face in the pitch black tunnel, and translated some of them to me.

“You see those square concrete things?”

He put his hand on my shoulder and turned me to a small door that one of the Korean tourists was checking out with their flash light. There was a concrete room, dark and wet, with rows of square vats.

“Well the Japanese would put around six prisoners in there and make them sit hunched up together, then the rain would come in and fill it with water. Can you imagine looking next to you and seeing your dead, bloated friend?”

“That’s where they would cut off people’s heads, and the blood would run down into that drain” he said, pointing to another room.

 “You see this?” He asked.

There were a row of small alcoves. Like really small.

“They are standing prisons. They would put up to twelve prisoners in there. Twelve! It doesn’t even look possible.”

 (picture from an online source.)

I stood in one of them to see how many of me could fit in there, and jolted by his slack jawed, wide eyed response, quickly jumped back out. It was a strange feeling, though, to stand in a spot that had soaked up the residual energy of so much pain and misery. 
One can’t help but wonder what would compel anyone to torture. How a mind can even conjure up such twisted ways to do so is beyond me. I had read a couple of Laurens Van Der Post books and his accounts of the Japanese during world war two, the things he had been through and seen and survived at the hands of the Japanese sent a chill down my spine.

In his book “Dawn of a new moon” Van Der Post had written about being a prisoner under the Japanese army in Sukabumi and Bandung. On the subject, during a depression, he was said to have written in his diary “It is one of the hardest things in this prison life: the strain caused by being continually in the power of people who are only half-sane and live in twilight of reason and humanity."

I couldn’t help but remember this quote at that moment.

People often visited Lawang Sewu as if it were a ghost house at a carnival. T.V shows shoot episodes there for entertainment, scaring their contestants out of the prize money with tales of ghosts and hauntings, but no myth or folklore or sighting could ever be more terrifying that what happened in the basement of building B to those Dutch prisoners and nationalist Indonesian youth who were imprisoned there.
Real life is horror.

The tour guide made us all turn off our torches and stand in complete silence in the pitch black. He was reenacting the scene from a famous episode from a reality paranormal TV show "Dunia Lain - Lawang Sewu" where a man sits in the exact basement we were all standing in, in the darkness, and they capture a ghost on the night cam.



I didn’t see or hear anything, bar a couple of nervously giggling Chinese tourists.

Our tour was over.

It was an unforgettable trip.

We met up with the friends from our group who were too afraid to join us in the basement and headed out into the night. I breathed a sigh of relief to be back outside in the open. Lawang sewu is like another dimention and it had really given me the creeps.

I heard that the Government attempted to rebrand it and make it into some kind of cultural center, but I’m not so sure that the house of a thousand doors will ever shake its gruesome history.




TJalan Pemuda, Komplek Tugu Muda, Semarang, Jawa Tengah 13220, Indonesia

his won’t be the end of my R.L.I.H Indonesian based posts. More to come.

Saturday, 21 March 2015

Backwards masking

“Oh, here's to my sweet Satan.
The one whose little path would make me sad, whose power is Satan.
He'll give those with him 666.
There was a little tool shed where he made us suffer, sad Satan.”


Last night I found myself in an old rock bar, and as I was looking around at all of the rock paraphernalia on the walls I noticed a picture of Robert Plant, you know, the lead singer of Led Zeppelin, with his shirt open, holding a dove.

It made me remember back when I was younger, how much it used to creep me out whenever I heard that audio file of “Stairway to heaven” in reverse.

So here we go, this one’s an oldie but a goodie:

The case of my sweet Satan:



At the time, the record label (Swan Song Records) dismissed the claims, with audio engineer, Eddie Kramer, calling the allegations "totally and utterly ridiculous.” Adding “why would they want to spend so much studio time doing something so dumb?"

Plant himself denied any deliberate intention of backward masking the track, saying "To me it's very sad, because 'Stairway to Heaven' was written with every best intention, and as far as reversing tapes and putting messages on the end, that's not my idea of making music."

He was quoted in a rolling stone interview as commenting "Who on Earth would have ever thought of doing that?



For a band that was rumored to have made a deal with the devil, lived in British philosopher and occultist Aleister Crowley’s Loch Ness mansion, and allegedly inserted a mud shark into a fans, ehem, nether regions, it doesn’t seem completely ridiculous that they’d attempt to cleverly insert something spooky into a song.

Team that with the fact that Plant, apparently, wrote the lyrics faster than any other song he’s written, almost with an automatic writing process.

Page claimed that "a huge percentage of the lyrics were written there and then"

Plant was also quoted as saying: “My hand was writing out the words, 'There's a lady is sure, all that glitters is gold, and she's buying a stairway to heaven'. I just sat there and looked at them and almost leapt out of my seat."

Zeppelin weren’t the only bands and artists to be accused of, or deliberately sneaking reversed messages into their tracks.
For your convenience, HERE is a link to a Wikipedia list of many known examples.


So what do you think about hidden messages in music?
Is Rock and Roll really the Devils work? Is Plant a puppet for the dude down stairs? Or do we all have too much time on our idle hands?

Regardless of our conclusions on this one, maybe it isn’t such a good idea to go searching for hidden messages in records, after all, it never did Charles Manson any favors.
But that’s a bed time story for another day kids.
Goodnight!



Friday, 20 March 2015

The Cecil hotel:

(Post has been recently updated) 
Have you heard of the Cecil hotel?


Built in the 1920’s, it’s a budget hotel with 600 rooms and grim, dark past.

You may know it as Richard Ramirez’ old haunt back in ’85.
Ramirez used to pay $14 per night and stayed on floor 14 for several months, and reportedly killed in the local area during his stay there.


Maybe you heard the rumor about Elizabeth short, the Black Dahlia, hanging out in the hotel bar before her disappearance and subsequent murder?

Maybe it’s Austrian serial killer Jack underweger’s stay at the Cecil in ’91 that rings a bell? Paying prostitutes $30 to climb up the fire escape where he welcomed them to his room before assaulting and murdering them, often times strangling them with their own bra’s.
Amazingly, Underweger was a crime journalist, who was actually paying homage to Ramirez.

But most likely, you’ve heard of this hotel since the story of the death of 21 year old Canadian tourist Elisa Lam went viral.


On February 2013, in true horror movie style, eerily reminiscent of the Japanese movie “Dark Water”, Lam was found dead at the bottom of one of the hotels water tanks, located on the roof, with no explanation of how she could have even gotten in there in the first place.

(Update: A reddit user named rockdrigoma pointed out in a discussion on the subject that from this google maps view, we can clearly see a security rail behind the water tanks. Although it was discussed that there surely would be an alarm system connected to the "staff only" door that lead to the roof, another reddit user in a different thread claimed to have stayed there and accessed the roof with his brother to take photos, and there was no alarm) 

In another post in Reddit Unresolved mysteries, a redditor who was a close friend of Elisa Lam gave this insight: 

"I don't know exactly what kind of mental problems she had, but I and her close friends know that she had some strange episodes before ( and she has disappeared before too). However,her family was always reluctant to talk about her problems like in this case when they refused to release any information regarding her mental problems. Once we found out that she was going though some therapy for 3 weeks and she has regular depressions. I didn't talk to her for a year so I didn't know why she was going to LA. I suspect it is connected to schizophrenia or some mental problems rather than recreation drug use. She was traveling alone and it is suspicious too..."

Maintenance workers found the body 19 days after the death, after guests of the hotel complained about low water pressure; and the disgusting and discolored tasting water, which was probably made sense after they saw the news reports.

It was noted that she was bipolar, and was said that they found no trace of recreational drugs or alcohol in her system. She, reportedly, had not been assaulted in any way and the report ruled it an accidental death, possibly linked to Lam's mental health issues and being in a manic / mixed state.

Elisa regularly updated her Tumblr blog up until her death, and posted updates about her life and mental health in the "life" tag of her journal. 

The hotel CCTV footage recording of the last time she was seen alive in the hotels elevator showed the Canadian tourist pushing all of the buttons, seeming paranoid and jumping in and out of the lift. Some people link the behavior to that of an episode attributed to her mental health. 



The customers of the Cecil inevitably sued, and the hotel has since re-branded itself as “Stay on Main”

So if you’re looking for a cheap place to stay in downtown LA, maybe don’t stay on main.

Thursday, 19 March 2015

The Somerton man

On the morning of 1st December 1948
An unknown man was found dead, slumped against some rocks, on Somerton Beach just south of Adelaide, Australia.


The previous night, witness saw this unknown man alive. Sitting with crossed legs, attempting to raise an arm up, probably to light a cigarette, probably drunk, they thought, and walked on.

Later another couple would see him, slumped against the rocks, mosquitoes in a cloud around his face. They’d joke that he really must be drunk.

One man reportedly told police that in darkness he saw one man carrying another over his shoulder, but it was so dark that he wasn’t a reliable account.

This is the case of the Somerton man.


Despite being a warm summer evening, the Somerton man was dressed in a suit with a knit pullover, and shined heeled shoes, a half smoked cigarette fallen to his chest.
The pocket of the suit trousers had been neatly mended with an orange thread.
There were no labels on his clothing, and unusually for 1948, he wasn’t wearing a hat.
There was no sign of a struggle and no identification on his person.


The items found on his body are as follows:

-An unused bus ticket from Adelaide to Henley beach
-Bryant and May matches
-An army club cigarette pack box, with seven cigarettes of a different brand inside (Kensitas)
-A pack of Juicy Fruit Chewing gum



Autopsy notes:
- His pupils were small
-His spleen was firm and 3x larger than it should have been
-His liver was congested with blood and distended
-His stomach also has blood as well as the remains of his final meal, a pasty, which was tested for traces of poisoning

Despite the suspicion of death by poisoning, the tests came back negative.

However it was later speculated by the coroner, a man named Thomas Cleland, that there were known poisons, namely digitalis and strophanthin, that decomposed quickly in the body and would have been impossible to trace by the time the autopsy was performed.

Another thing worth noting, was that despite being in his 40’s, the man had the legs of an athlete, with pronounced calf muscles and oddly shaped toes, like that of a ballet dancer. 

Despite the police taking and distributing his finger prints, printing his picture in the paper and inviting the families of missing persons to view the Somerton man, there was no leads and the man didn’t seem to exist on any official records. 

They had nothing to go on but the body itself, and so noticing that he wasn’t dressed for the Australian climate, assumed he was traveling.

They asked hotels, bus stations and railway stations if they had been any unclaimed luggage, and were informed by Adelaide railway station that a brown suitcase had been deposited there on the 30th of November, and never picked up.

By January 12th, it had been considered abandoned, and due to how long ago it had been dropped off, none of the staff could recall a visual ID of the person to whom it belonged. 

Amazingly, there was a small but important clue contained within the suitcase- a reel of orange thread, a brand unavailable to purchase in Australia, which matched perfectly with the orange thread used to make the repair on the unknown man’s suit trousers.



Coupled with the fact that it had been deposited the day before the discovery of the man, police concluded that it indeed must have belonged to him.

Sadly, as with the suit, the labels had been removed from the clothes inside of the suitcase, as well as the label inside the suitcase itself. The only tags that remained were signed with the name “T. Keane” but a search for any missing person under the name came back unsuccessful. The labels were concluded as only being left on the garments as any removal of them would damage the fabric itself. The police thought the name bore no connection to the man.


Notable items in the suitcase were:
-A stencil kit known to be used for stenciling cargo on merchant ships. 
(However, despite a search of shipping and immigration records, no trace was found.)
-A sawed down table knife
-Air mail cards for sending communication abroad
-A coat identified as being of American origin

The other items contained in the suitcase were:
Among general clothing there a few note-worthy items:
-Laundry bag also bearing the name “Keane”
-A pair of trousers with a sixpence coin (British) in the pocket.
-One vest with the name "Kean" without the E
-One singlet with name torn off.
-A shirt without a name tag
-Two airmail stickers
-pencils, mostly of the Royal Sovereign brand, three of which were size H




It had been 4 months without a lead.
John Cleland, who was the professor of pathology at Adelaide University, reexamined the body.
He discovered there was a small pocket sewn into the waist band on the unknown man’s trousers.



Inside of the pocket was a small, tightly rolled piece of paper, with the printed words “Tamám Shud.” 

The words were from a book that had become popular in Australia during the war. A twelfth century book of poetry, by the name of “Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam”

The words “Tamam shud” were printed a the end of the final chapter, and translate as”The end” or “It is the end”

The ominous find sparked fantasies that the Somerton man had possibly committed suicide due to heartbreak, as the theme of the poetry in the book was that of love and mortality, that he knew this would be his last day, that he had purposely removed the tags from his clothes and was removing himself from life.

The police began to search for a copy of the book that used the same unique font as the one of the unknown man’s. 

The searched high and low, they searched libraries and reached out to publishing houses to no avail and eventually a man came forward and brought a copy of the book to the police station in Adelaide.

The police turned to the final page to discover the words “Tamám Shud” had been ripped out. 

The rip perfectly matched up with the Somerton man’s piece.



The man who brought in the book said he and his brother had been driving around one evening, and parked their car near Somerton beach. The man had discovered the copy of the Rubaiya on the back seat of his car, but assuming it was his brothers, just put it in the glove box and thought nothing of it.

It was only when he saw the news report that he came forward with the evidence.

The book was tested and it was indeed the exact book the police had been searching for.

They discovered that it had been printed in New Zealand by a chain called Whitcombe & Tombs. However, the chain revealed that the copy they printed was slightly different to the one the police had in their custody. Their print had a similar cover, but had not been printed in that format. 

The same print could not be found anywhere else in the world.

The Somerton man’s copy of an extremely popular book seemed to be totally unique.

The book seemed to hold no clues.

But a Detective by the name of Sergeant Lionel, decided to take a closer examination, and found two phone numbers written on the back, as well as an impression left, as if someone had been writing on the final page before ripping it out.

Using a UV light, he discovered lines of code; one of which was crossed out.



The first phone number was the number of a bank, which yielded no new leads.

The second was of a nurse, by the name of Jessica Thomson (nee Harkness), who the police were protecting under pseudonym at the time, as she feared a scandal or gossip of a romantic relationship with the Somerton man, and was to be married to the man she was currently living with.

Or so she claimed.

She said she had given a copy of the book to a soldier she met while she was a military nurse.
She’d inscribed it with a poem, and the man’s name was Alfred Boxall. 



Police found Alfred Boxall alive and well, still with the copy of the Rubaiyat that Jessica had given to him.

Again, it was a cold lead.

Jessica was brought in to see if she could Identify the Somerton man, and despite only being shown a cast of his face and part of his upper body, the detective noted that she appeared as though she were about to faint.

Many said she seemed to recognize the man, but stuck with her story that she did not.

The only information she could supply them with, is that many years ago a neighbor of hers informed her that a man had come looking for her by name, but she was not home. 

She never saw this man and couldn’t supply a date.

With no information to go on, all they had left was the code.

Despite printing it in the newspaper, presenting it to the best code breakers and even naval intelligence, it remains uncracked. Naval intelligence stated that it was probably in English language and that that it is possibly some sort of verse or poem.

The unknown man remains unknown.

No one will ever be able to confirm or debunk the suspicions that Jessica Thompson did know his identity, as she died in 2007. 

So who was he?
And what about the spy theories of the rare copy of the unknown man’s Rubaiyat being some kind of a key or code pad?

After all, the Somerton man wasn’t the only person to be found dead, with a rare copy of a Rubaiyat somewhere on his person.
Take Singaporean immigrant George Marshall for example; who was also discovered dead in Australia a few years before, with a rare copy of the book near him. His copy was originally printed in London, and only 5 of his edition were in existence. 

This was only two months after Jessica Thompson had given an inscribed copy of the book to Boxhall, who was military intelligence.

And what’s with Jessica’s phone number also being in the Somerton man’s rare copy of the Rubaiyat? 

And what about a woman by the name of Gwenneth Dorothy Graham, who testified at the court hearing in relation to the death of George Marshall being found with slit wrists in her bathtub only a couple of weeks later?




Further reading: 
Here is a Reddit link to an AMA with Professor Derek Abbot who has been studying the Somerton man case for several years:

Also, a more recent article:


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.