This is a re-upload of my previous Somerton Man video with new information that has just broken in the case. Professor Derek Abbott announced that he and Colleen Fitzpatrick (I mistakenly call her “Fitzgerald” an embarrassing number of times in this video) have found the identity of the Somerton Man, an unidentified man found dead on an Australian beach in 1948.
On Tuesday of this week, July 26th, headlines around the world declared that the Somerton Man, the unidentified man found dead on an Australian beach in 1948, had finally been identified through DNA evidence.
And my inbox exploded; I literally got more links sent my way than I could count. And thank you to everyone who reached out and asked me to revisit this.
So here’s the deal – I was thinking of reuploading that video anyway because guess what… It got demonetized.
Yeah, YouTube’s been pretty bad about that lately.
Apparently one image we used of the body on the beach was a bridge too far for YouTube, the irony is that it wasn’t even a real photo, it was a photoshopped recreation, but anyway, I was thinking about taking that photo out and reuploading it, and now there’s new information, and a reason to do a new video.
So this video is an attempt to kill two birds with one stone, I’m going to include the original video in its entirety – with the exception of that one image – and then add the new information to the end of it.
So if you’ve already seen my Somerton Man video and just want to hear the new stuff, feel free to jump ahead, it won’t hurt my feelings, I’ll put time stamps so you can find it on the timeline here, or you can go to here… Just skip over to here… I don’t know as I’m recording this where here is so…
But if you have the time I would encourage you to watch the original because I’ve always been proud of this video, it’s a real roller-coaster of a story, and I do think it provides some interesting context to the new info at the end.
So, without further ado, let’s roll that title sequence again and pick up where we left off.
Which brings us to the next darn thing.
All right, so as I said at the beginning, on Tuesday the 26th, Derek Abbott announced that they have an identity for the Somerton Man, and the name is… drum roll please… Actually, we’re talking about a dead man, a drum roll doesn’t feel right – turn it off. His name was Carl Webb.
Actually his name was Carl but he went by Charles, thus affirming that he’s Australian.
He was born in 1905 outside of Melbourne, actually, the youngest of 6 kids, and not much is known about his early life but he grew up to be an electrical engineer and instrument maker, and would have been 43 when he died, assuming he was the Somerton Man.
He married a woman named Dorothy Robinson, who went by “Doff” Webb – because Australia – and she filed for divorce from him in 1947, claiming he had disappeared. And in fact there are no public records of him after this point, including no death certificate.
The next record they could find of Dorothy was in 1951, showing that she lived in Bute, South Australia, which is about 144km from Adelaide.
So it’s possible that he was in Adelaide trying to track her down. But that is just speculation.
There is one other thing that ties him to the Somerton Man case, as I mentioned the name T. Keane that was found on some of the Somerton Man’s clothes, apparently Carl Webb had a brother in law named Thomas Keane, and those clothes could have just been hand me downs.
But, before we go too far, you’re probably wondering how they landed on Carl Webb, well Professor Abbott was working with an American forensic genealogist named Colleen Fitzpatrick of the group Identifinders International – her name pops up a lot on these cases because she’s like a badass at this.
And they used the DNA that Abbott had extracted from the hair follicles from the plaster cast, specifically focusing on the halogroup H1a1a1a.
Yeah, it’s important to note, they did exhume the body, but as far as I could tell from the articles I’ve read, this has nothing to do with any tests that might have been done on the body, this is only from the hair follicles, so I’m going to assume further tests on the body will be needed to verify all this.
ANYWAY, they ran these DNA results against a genealogical database and found a living descendant that would have been Webb’s first cousin three times removed on his mother’s side.
From there they constructed a family tree that started with 4000 names, and were able to painstakingly trace it back and triangulate it to Webb, a man who disappeared right around that same time.
And though Fitzgerald and Abbott claim that they’re 99.999% sure Webb is their guy, this has yet to be corroborated by the South Australian police, and like I just said, this needs to match up with the tests being conducted on the body.
And by the way in case you’re wondering, so far they’ve been unable to find any photos of Carl Webb to verify his identity.
But like any good mystery, this kinda just raises a lot more questions.
Like what happened when he disappeared in 1947? Where was he for those 18 months between the divorce and his death? Why and how did he die? If he was from just one state over in Australia, why did nobody come forth to identify him when his picture was being shared all over the place for nearly 75 years? Why was Jo Thompson’s number in his book? What was that code all about?
This is where we enter speculation time.
As for the code, they claim to have evidence that Carl bet on horse races regularly, so they may have just been him keeping track of horses.
As for why he disappeared, you know, they found stencils in his bag and one theory was that he may have worked on a merchant ship because they often used those to label crates – maybe he had been out to sea during that time, maybe that explains why he had some items from America that weren’t available in Australia.
Perhaps he and “Doff” had had a falling out so he took a job like that to get some space, and then when he came back he found out she had divorced him and moved and he went to Adelaide to track her down.
As for Jo Thomson… Maybe Dorothy knew Jo, maybe they’d met in their past and she turned to Jo for help after her divorce, maybe moved in with her briefly. And in the course of tracking her down, he found Jo’s number and wrote it down in his book.
By the way, I didn’t mention this in the previous episode, a lot of people focus on how coincidental it is that there are multiple copies of this obscure book of ancient Persian poetry in this case, it was actually fairly popular back then, it had experienced a bit of a resurgence of interest in literary circles so it wasn’t that random.
To go deeper into speculation territory, and this is just the storyteller in me taking over… I can’t help but wonder if his relationship with Dorothy was toxic… Maybe even abusive. Maybe she took the first opportunity to divorce him and then moved away trying to escape him and turned to Jo for help.
Jo claimed to not know who the person was, but her reaction to his death mask suggested otherwise. Now that could have just been her being uncomfortable looking at a dead man’s face, but she did later tell her daughter she knew him but couldn’t say anything. Maybe she was protecting her friend.
And if he was someone unstable enough to pose a danger to her, then maybe he was also a danger to himself. And took himself out.
Like I said… more questions than answers.
Abbott and Fitzgerald haven’t found any living relatives that ever knew Carl Webb, and after all this time it’s unlikely they will but with 5 siblings, I find it hard to believe that there’s no photo of him out there somewhere. That’s what I want to see, I want to see a photo.
Maybe with this new exposure, someone in that lineage has an old photo album laying around that will come forward. That would be cool.
But what this new evidence does seem to prove is that Robin Thomson and his daughter Rachel Egan are definitely not descended from the Somerton Man. Which Abbott says is actually a relief to finally know the answer for her.
And I will say, you know, Derek Abbott had a theory that he had been working on for decades, and when the evidence pointed in a different direction, to his credit, he didn’t try to change the evidence to fit the theory, he changed his theory to fit the evidence. That’s admirable.
But the South Australian police have not made a statement on this yet – it’s only been a couple of days but as far as I know they’re still doing tests on the body, it’ll be interesting to see what they come up with. And like I said, there could still be some photo evidence out there that would help tie this up with a bow.
So, it’s not 100% over. There’s still many questions to answer and a lot of investigations taking place. It’ll be interesting to see what darn thing happens next.
And when it does, I’m sure I’ll get a million emails about it.
All right, thanks for watching – again – we’ll see if YouTube buries this one as well, but I’ll put links in the description to some articles so you can go check it out for yourself. And I’ll see you next time. Love you guys, take care.