Unsolved Mystery #2: Taman Shud Case

Let’s start the week with a BANG! Here we are with another unsolved mystery.

1948, an unidentified man was found dead on Somerton Beach, South Australia. On a scrap of paper found in a hidden pocket of the man’s trousers there was printed the phrase “Tamám shud” meaning “finished” or “ended” in persian. This turned out to have been removed from the final page of a particular copy of The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam.

This case gained international coverage, as the police widely distributed materials in an effort to identify the body, and consulted with other governments in tracking down leads.

The jeweler John Bain Lyons and his wife were walking along the beach of Somerton, a few miles south of Adelaide. As they walk they noticed a smartly dressed man lying on the sand, with his head resting against a wall, his legs stretched out and the feet crossed. As the couple reported, the man stretched out his right arm up, then dropped back to the ground. Lyons thought that the man was drunk. Half an hour later, another couple noticed the same man lying in the same position and thought that he was sleeping. The following morning Lyons came back from a morning swim and approached the place where he had noticed the man. He saw a figure slumped on the sand, finally realizing that he was dead. So the police was called.

Three hours later the body was brought to the Royal Adelaide Hospital where Dr. John Bennett Barkley found that the death occurred not earlier than 2 a.m., and declared that the cause was likely to be a heart failure with suspected poisoning. But the repeated tests carried out by chemical experts failed to reveal any trace of some kind of poison so finding the main cause of the death was rather impossible.

Many questions hovered on this mysterious corpse starting from the contents of his pockets: train tickets from Adelaide to the beach, a packet of chewing gum, some matches, two combs and a pack of Army Club cigarettes but with seven cigarettes of a different brand inside. There were no cash nor a wallet so not any I.D. was found. None of the man’s clothes had a label and in one of them the manufacturer’s label had been carefully cut away.

The authorities had a real puzzle in their hands, thinking that the only explanation of the death could be the use of a very rare poison that leaves no trace after death.

Six weeks later a suitcase apparently containing the same man’s property was retrieved from Adelaide Railway Station’s cloakroom, where it had been deposited at around 11am the day before the mysterious man’s death. However, apart from three items marked “Kean”, “Keane”, and “T. Keane”, (nobody with that name was missing) nothing indicating the man’s identity was found in those belongings.

Then some months later, a particular copy of the Rubaiyat surfaced with part of the final “Tamam Shud” page removed – it was claimed that the book had been thrown into a car parked near the same beach where the man had been found. On the back there were slight pencil marks, some annotations that look a lot like a secret code.

As you might imagine rumors were spreading around saying that this man would have been a Russian spy poisoned by unknown opponents keeping in mind that the death occured at a time of heightened tensions during the Cold War. These kind of rumors were “helped” by the fact that the man died in Adelaide, the capital closer to Woomera a missile base and top-secret intelligence center. Three months before Harry Dexter White, a member of the US Treasury Department, accused of being a sovietic spy, died from digitalis poisoning.

The case is still unsolved as the identity of the man.


Located in London’s Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, Brompton Cemetery is arguably one of the most stunning Victorian cemeteries in the world. It opened in 1840 and was originally known as the West of London and Westminster Cemetery. Consecrated by the Bishop of London in June 1840, it is one of Britain’s oldest and most distinguished garden cemeteries and houses 35,000 monuments, from simple headstones to substantial mausolea, mark the resting place of more than 205,000 burials.

Half-hidden amongst the shrubbery, one very mysterious mausoleum, which is believed to be a Time Machine.

An imposing construction, decorated with elaborate Egyptian-like figures, houses a mysterious trio of spinsters about whom almost nothing is known.  The wealthy Courtoy spinsters, an unmarried mother and her two daughters are reputed to be buried inside, but the key is missing and the huge bronze door has not been opened in more than 120 years.  Nor can any plans can be found for the mausoleum, setting it apart from other structures in Brompton cemetery, which required careful planning and schematics to be approved.

The imposing trapezoid of dark polished granite is twenty feet tall and decorated with narrow bands of carved hieroglyphics – not surprising, when one discovers that the builders of the mausoleum were Samuel Warner, an english inventor, and Joseph Bonomi, an architect and Egyptologist.

Bonomi was part of the team that first deciphered the hieroglyphic texts found on papyri in Egypt’s Valley of the Kings.  Some speculate that the text he studied discussed the possibility of time travel, a topic which fascinated the Victorians.

At the time of his death, Samuel Warner was in negotiations over his plans for aerial bombs and sea mines with Duke of Wellington, and his unmarked grave lies nearby.  Sixty feet away, Bonomi’s gravestone bears similar hieroglyphic carvings to those found on the mausoleum, including a portrait of the Egyprian God Anubis, Protector of the Dead.  Anubis appears to be sitting on a depiction of the mausoleum and staring in its direction.

To add to the mystery of the site, some people believe that Samuel Warner was either murdered to prevent his designs for weapons falling into the wrong hands, or by someone who stole them from his dead body. Others believe that Warner was a fraud and a charlatan whose inventions never worked.

Together, Bonomi and Warner may have developed plans to build a time machine, and gathered financial support for their venture from the wealthy, eccentric Courtoy ladies.

Maybe the women wanted to cheat death and travel into the future.  Perhaps they felt no one would suspect that a building in an isolated corner of a graveyard could be an experimental doorway through time.  After death, they vanished as surely from the face of the world as if they had stepped out of this era and into another, for there is also almost no trace of the Courtoy spinsters; they left no records of their existence, even though the opulence of their tomb suggests they were immensely wealthy.

In 1853 as the Courtoy mausoleum was completed, the Irish Peer Francis Jack Needham, the 2nd Earl Kilmorey, sought permission to build an Egyptian-style mausoleum in Brompton Cemetery for his mistress, Priscilla Hoste.  After much quibbling and at great expense, the Kilmorey mausoleum was built, but frustrated by persistent bureaucratic red tape, Needham moved it to the grounds of his house at Chertsey Park in Weybridge in 1863.  Why did the cemetery officials give Needham such a difficult time?  Perhaps they felt that one mysterious, eccentric Egyptian-style time machine on their grounds was quite enough?!

Kilmorey Mausoleum

Elle. x

The Midnight Society #2: The House That Dripped Blood

It’s the Midnight Society time again! Oh I’m sooo in love with it, especially because I have the chance to write about spooky stories, and I love to write them!


593 west 11th street San Pedro, California it was where Jackie Hernandez lived and in which a documented poltergeist attack was caught on tape. Dr. Barry Taff, cameraman Barry Conrad, Jeff Wheatcraft and a local journalist Larry Brooks were called to investigate the home when they too found samples of human blood pooling and dripping from the ceiling and walls of the home (Taff managed to get a sample done of the liquid at a forensics lab at UCLA and it was confirmed to be human blood plasma).

The unseen force in Jackie’s house manifested itself in form of disembodied head, black shadows, moving objects, strange smells and flying orbs, Jackie also claims to have seen apparitions of a dead old man.

At the very beginning Wheatcraft was quite skeptical while listening to Jackie’s account, however it did not take so long for Wheatcraft’s skepticism to fade out when the group suddenly heard a large pounding emanating from the attic. Before leaving, Conrad asked Wheatcraft if he could climb into the attic and shoot a couple of photos, Wheatcraft agreed and while standing atop a washing machine, he began clicking away. Suddenly, without warning, the group heard a scream, Jeff bolted down from the attic. As he approached the investigation team, he held out his trembling hands, his face as white as a ghost, indicating that something had happened. Everybody was on edge. They noticed that Jeff’s camera was indeed gone. He went on to describe the fact that he was about to shoot his third picture when all of a sudden he felt a violent pull and the camera went flying-to where, he didn’t know. As the group tried to calm him down, Conrad felt an intense adrenaline rush and shot to his van as quick as he could to lay out his cumbersome video equipment.

Nearly one month later, on September 4, 1989, Barry Conrad and Jeff Wheatcraft received a frantic call from Jackie, telling them that she would not stay in her house anymore as the poltergeist activity escalated and became more violent. Wheatcraft and Gary Boehm (one of his former classmates) decided to venture once again into the attic. Soon after Wheatcraft and Boehm ventured into the attack, Barry Conrad, Jackie and her friend Susan all reported hearing three loud snapping sounds. A loud groan was heard seconds after the sounds. The moan was of Jeff Wheatcraft, who had been hung with a tied piece of rope by an invisible force onto a nail that was attached to a rafter beam of the attic ceiling. Boehm, noticing Wheatcraft was in distress, quickly took several pictures of Wheatcraft hanging from the ceiling, then proceeded to help him off of the nail. The rope was attached so tightly around Wheatcraft’s neck, Boehm had to bend the nail down to unhook him. Wheatcraft, who lost his glasses in the ordeal, exited the attic with the group downstairs waiting for him. He still had the wire wrapped around his neck and looked very shaken. Boehm believes if he had not been in the attic with Wheatcraft, he would have strangled and died. Wheatcraft had red marks on his neck and a very bad headache for several hours later.

Jackie Hernandez moved out but still lives in San Pedro, claiming that she’s been “attacked” by a couple of other presences.

What do you think about this story? I find it very interesting, but of course I can’t deny that I have few doubts about it, but I mean… how can you explain human blood plasma coming out of the walls?

Elle. xx

The Ghost Town of Galeria Antica

There are a couple of versions about the origin of Galeria Antica – a little abandoned village near Rome. The most validating one claims that the city was founded during the Etruscan period due to the clear presence of some etruscan necropolis. Then the etruscan dominations was broken by the Roman conquest and then again Galeria decayed and was probably abandoned during the Germanic invasions, before being repopulated only during medieval times.

Shortly afterwards, the Saracens invaded the Tyrrhenian coasts and destroyed the city, Galeria was rebuilt in the thirteenth century and began to flourish, but eventually the city handed round many important Italian families of the Renaissance.

1271958583473_11042010837.jpg_effectedThe city changed its aspect, from a fortified town to a simple rural farm, of course the population was affected by this profound change; in fact it witnessed a disturbing demographic reduction of the city. The decrease of the residents reached its peak with the arrival of malaria during the XVIII century, an outbreak that infested the entire area. Galeria was completely abandoned in 1809.

Now, let’s talk about the mysterious desertion of Galeria – because even if the most reasonable theory talks about malaria, what it is intriguing is the abandonment of the residents of the city since the beginning of the nineteenth century. Local people fled the city with particular rush, so as to leave not only the tools and ornaments, but even the bodies of dear ones on carts that would have been buried far from the city. The bodies were found a few years after the abandonment of Galeria and were buried half a century later.

galeria1.jpg_effectedThere are no statements nor testimonies about what really happened, the only thing we have is a big, massive mystery… and a few ghosts, like some people claim. But the true story of this small ghost town will remain unknown.

Elle. x

Stephen Mackey

Hi y’all! I’m so sorry for the lack of posts but I’m experiencing some technical difficulties, plus it’s so hot that even my brain is about to melt. Summer and I don’t go hand in hand, I’d rather have autumn during the whole year.

Anyway, I’ve just found my new favourite artist. His name is Stephen Mackey and I just love the aesthetic of his paintings, so whimsical, dreamy and mystical. I haven’t found a proper bio on the web so I guess I will let his paintings do the talk.

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