The Unsolved Case of Isdal Woman

Isdal Woman is a nickname given to an unidentified charred, naked woman's body which was found on 29 November 1970 by a university professor and his two daughters while out hiking in the middle of the Isdalen Valley also known as Death Valley in Bergen, Norway. Unsolved Case of Isdal Woman is considered one of Norway's most profound mysteries since 1970. Over the years the case has been the subject of intense speculation regarding the identity of the victim and the cause of her death.

At the crime scene, next to her naked body there were an empty quart bottle of liqueur, a dozen pink sleeping pills, two plastic bottles of gasoline and a packed lunch. She had died from a combination of burns and carbon monoxide poisoning. Her neck bore a bruise, possibly the result of a blow. According to the investigators her fingerprints had been sanded away, and after the autopsy
showed traces of at least 50 sleeping pills in her body and her dental records returned no matches.
Later the local investigators discovered another clues when two of her suitcases were found in a safety deposit box at a train station in Bergen, but all of the clothing packed inside had been stripped of their labels. They also discovered several fake passports adorned with entrance stamps from Moscow, a prescription for lotion - though the name and address of the doctor had been peeled off, 500 deutschemarks sewn into the lining of one of the bags, and she also apparently wore a collection of wigs and wrote notes to herself in code.

Based on the fake passports, the police found out that the Isdal Woman travelled around Europe with several false identities: Alexia Zarna-Merchez, Claudia Nielsen, Claudia Tjelt, Elizabeth Leen Hoywfer, Finella Lorck, Jenevive Lancia, Vera Jarle, and Vera Schlosseneck.

Furthermore, over 100 eyewitnesses all claimed to have seen her several days before her death. Based on eyewitnesses' general description, she looked like an attractive foreign lady in her 30s or 40s, 164cm in height. They also said she would wear various wigs and spoke many languages including French, German, English and Flemish.

Isdal Woman
During her stay in various hotels around Norway, she used a handful of different names, all fake, and before she died, she met an Italian photographer (who had previously been questioned in an unrelated rape case) who had given the woman a lift and had dinner at Hotel Alexandra in Loen. He said the woman told him that she was an antiques collector from South Africa on a sightseeing trip, but he couldn't remember any useful details.

The final sight of The Isdal Woman was when she checked out of room 407 of Hotel Marlin, paying cash. She smoked cigarettes, appeared to be on guard and was heard saying the words "Ich komme bald" ("I am coming soon" in Germany) and leaving in a taxi. 

Three decades later, a man came forward saying he saw the mysterious woman walking into the forest in evening wear with two large men in black coats following her five days before the discovery of the woman's body. He said police had told him to keep quiet at the time. Her body was discovered a few days later, burned to a cinder, laced with alcohol and sleeping pills, and with evidence of blunt force trauma on the back of her neck.

The police were so baffled by every single facet of the case that they literally gave up, ruling the Isdal Woman's death a suicide. The case remains unsolved to this day, with most assuming that the Isdal Woman was a spy.


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  1. This case has intresting similarities to the Taman Shud Case, also known as The case of the Somerton Man. This occured in 1948 in South Australia. A man was found dead on the beach board walk. No cause of death was determined and the man was never identified. A suitcase was linked to the body, found in a near by hotel. All labels had been torn out of the clothing in the suitcase, no finger prints, no identification, nothing.
    There was a small piece of paper found on the body, hidden in a small pocket in the victims trousers, it had been torn from a book. It read, "Taman Shud". That fraze is from a poem called The Rubaiyat, and taman shud translates to "it is finished".
    An individual not related to the case later came forward with a rare copy of the Rubaiyat he had found in the back seat of his car; which was parked near to where the body was found. Someone had deposited the book through his cracked window. Inside the book, on one of the inner covers was a cypher code, which to this day has never been decoded.
    There are so many congruencies between these cases. It makes me wonder if they are somehow connected, perhaps the murders; as murders they certainly are, were perpetuated by the same shadow organization.

  2. Yes, I was going to comment the same thing about the Tuman Shud case. His belongings were also found in the train lockers with all labels removed.


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