Ep 36: The Somerton Man Mystery, Part 3 – The Theories


Photo Gallery:


1) Kim Philby, British-Russian double agent, and perhaps the most notorious and successful spy in the history of military intelligence. Is there a direct connection between Philby and the Somerton Man? 2) Donald Duart MacLean, British diplomat and one of the “Cambridge 5” spy ring. 3) Guy Burgess, British radio producer, intelligence officer, Foreign Office official and another member of the Cambridge 5. 4) Anthony Blunt, another Cambridge 5 member and Professor of Art History at the University of London, director of the Courtauld Institute of Art, and Surveyor of the Queen’s Pictures. His treatise on the French painter Nicolas Poussin, is regarded as a seminal work to this day. If you’ve listened to our Oak Island series, you’ll remember that Poussin painted the cryptic and mysterious Et in Arcadia ego which some believe may give clues as to what is buried at Oak Island. Everything is connected! 5) John Cairncross, thought to be the “Fifth Man” or the 5th member of the Cambridge 5. Some disagree as to his total involvement in the Ring of 5, although he publicly confessed to spying in 1951 and was named by both Blunt and Oleg Gordievsky and considered by some authorities as the most adept and successful of the ring. 6) Roger Hollis. Hollis was a British journalist and intelligence officer, and Director General of MI5 from 1956-65, who was also long-suspected of being a “mole.” Hollis was also in Australia around the time the Somerton Man was discovered , when he was part of the VENONA Project. This has fueled speculation that Hollis may have had something to do with The Somerton Man’s death and involvement with espionage. 7) The John Edgar Hoover letter obtained via the FOIA by Professor Abbott 8) TSM’s Fingerprints 9) The Tamam Shud Scrap found on TSM’s body 10) Jesstyn in her younger years. 11) Jesstyn’s Inscription to Alf Boxall in the copy of the Rubaiyat she gave him. 12) A Young Robin Thomson (TSM’s likely Son) 13) Robin again with his future wife, Roma. 14) Robin at the peak of his ballet days 15) Jesstyn’s School Photo 16) Robin and Roma when they toured together.(all personal photos courtesy of Professor Abbott 17) The Collection of Poetry Books with the Whitcomb & Tombs Rubaiyat from New Zealand 18) Listener Corryn Wilma who won the auction for us to get the books 19 – 36) Various photos of the W&T Edition of the Rubaiyat from New Zealand.

What you see additional are the Astonishing Legends copy of the Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam from New Zealand.



In death, The Somerton Man remains a mystery. But what was he in life? A Russian spy? Was he a black market racketeer, a professional dancer on holiday, an estranged lover saying goodbye one last time, or perhaps a combination of all of the above? Tonight in our final episode on the mystery of The Somerton Man, we look at most of the major theories put forth, and until that day a breakthrough in the case comes to light, we say, Tamám Shud… It is finished.

Tonight’s Quote:

“Please be advised that a search of these prints through the Identification Division of the FBI has failed to disclose any record. Sincerely Yours, John Edgar Hoover.”

— Excerpt from a January 1949 Letter to the Adelaide Police Commissioner obtained by Professor Abbott through the Freedom of Information Act regarding the Somerton Man’s Fingerprints.

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Episode 036 – “The Somerton Man, Part 3: The Theories” Produced by Scott Philbrook & Forrest Burgess; Ryan McCullough Sound Design; Research Assistance by Tess Pfeifle and the astonishing League of Astonishing Researchers, a,k.a. The Astonishing Research Corps, or “A.R.C.” for short. Copyright Scott Philbrook & Forrest Burgess 2016. All Rights Reserved.