10 Mysteries That Apparently Exist Solely To Mess With You

10. The Tamam Shud Case

By Australian police [Public domain or Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

In the long, regrettable and storied history of weird deaths, the Tamam Shud case holds a special place as something that seems to have been written for a particularly quirky, blackly humorous murder mystery. Except this one doesn't have an ending, and it's real.

On 1 December 1948, a man's body was found on a beach near Adelaide in Australia. And that's about the only thing that's certain about any of this. He had no ID, or even labels in his clothing.

The only clue was a scrap of paper bearing with words tamam shud, the end line from a 12 century Persian poetry called the Rubaiyat. This rare book was later found in a local taxi cab. It may have had a secret code written in it, but no one has ever translated it.

Tamam shud means 'the end'.

No one ever worked out who the guy was, how he died or what he was doing there. It's possible he was a Cold War spy travelling deliberately incognito, but that just makes things weirder.


Ben Counter is a fantasy and science fiction writer, gaming enthusiast, wrestling fan and miniature painting guru. He was raised on Warhammer, Star Wars and 1980s cartoons that, in retrospect, were't that good. Whoever you are, he is nerdier than you.