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“If the body of the deceased was not that of the man mentioned the difficulties disappear.”

Following on from the last post after dealing with ‘The Devil’s Advocate’ (DA) it becomes pretty apparent that for some folks nothing much has changed since 1948. What is most disappointing though is that any new finding that contradicts this ingrained knowledge is simply dismissed out of hand, or in some cases, inexpertly and illogically challenged.

Take the box of matches DS Leane swore were found on the body. The box of matches everybody accepts was found on the body. The box of matches that has made its way into every publication, TV coverage, blog and conversation about the case for over seventy years. The box of matches coroner Cleland accepted as being found on the body. Proof the Somerton Man was able to light the half-smoked cigarette found wedged under his chin.

Then read this.

“Constable John Moss, of Brighton, who received first advice of the mystery over the telephone, said to the Truth this week, “When I saw the body on the beach I could not resist the feeling that there was something about it not quite suggestive of sudden death from natural causes.

For instance, the fingers of the dead man were heavily nicotined and yet, although there was half a packet of cigarettes in one of his pockets, he didn’t have a match on him.

It occurred to me as rather strange that if a man who was obviously such a heavy smoker was going to spend a little time on the beach he would have gone there without matches.”


Then there is Gordon Strapp’s deposition where he described the trousers as being worn by the man he was watching on the evening of the 30th as being striped.


When the man found dead the following morning was wearing a plain faun-brown pair.


And finally, the considered judgements.

Was it Murder or Suicide?

Thomas Erskine Cleland – Coroner.

I cannot say.

John Matthew Dwyer – L.Q.M.P

Death was not natural.

Robert James Cowan – Senior Government Analyst.

Death more likely due to natural causes.

Lionel Leane – Detective Sergeant.

There is no fact that I know of which points towards suicide and abolishes the possibility of murder.

Leonard Brown – Detective.

As far as this death is concerned, there is no context into which the words (Tamam Shud) can fit.

John Burton Cleland – naturalist, microbiologist, mycologist and ornithologist. Professor of Pathology at the University of Adelaide.

Death was almost certainly not natural, and in all probability that some poison had been taken, with suicidal intent.


What has yet to be discussed is how these judgements might have changed if the men involved in making them took proper notice of the sworn evidence.


Coroner Cleland.

” I have been discussing the circumstances on the footing that  the body on the morning of 1st December was that of the man seen in the evening of 30th November. But there is no proof that this was the case  .. If the body of the deceased was not that of the man mentioned (seen the night before) and if the body had been taken to the place where it was found, the difficulties disappear. If this speculation, for it is nothing more, should prove to be correct, the original assumption that it was the deceased who left the suitcase at the luggage room, bought the rail and bus tickets, removed the clothing tabs, and put the words “Tamam Shud” in a pocket, would require revision.”

Well, he got that right.

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