During the summer of 2009, a man claiming to be Peter Bergmann arrived all alone in an Irish town, only to turn up dead four days later. It’s a case that has been the subject of intense speculation for years due to the victim’s identity, as well as the strange events leading up to his death.
When authorities made an effort to investigate, they discovered that Peter Bergmann didn’t exist.
Detective Inspector John O’Reilly, who was in charge of the investigation, believes the mystery man went to great lengths to erase every trace of his existence.
In director Ciaran Cassidy‘s hauntingly beautiful short documentary The Last Days of Peter Bergmann, he explores the final days of this mystery man’s life.
After exiting the bus in Sligo, CCTV footage shows the middle-aged man checking into the Sligo City Hotel under the alias and a false address (one that led to a vacant lot in Austria). The footage also reveals he frequently left the hotel with nothing more than a purple bag in his possession. This bag appeared to be halfway full each time he left, but upon return he would be empty handed.
O’Reilly alleges he was disposing of his personal belongings during these unusual outings. However, subsequent searches for these items were never successful. Somehow, he was able to avoid being seen by the security cameras during his jaunts.
Why was this guy so intent on concealing his true identity before his death? What did he have to hide?
Before vanishing into anonymity, he visited the General Post Office on Saturday, June 13, to purchase some 82-cent stamps and airmail stickers, though the recipients of those posted letters have never been traced.
On Saturday, June 14, the day before his death, he asked a taxi driver where the quietest beach was where he could swim. After taking a drive down to Rosses Point, he decided that would be the best place and then traveled back to the hotel.
When Sunday rolled around, the man checked out of his hotel carrying a black shoulder bag and the peculiar purple plastic bag, but was without his original dark colored luggage he had at check-in.
Security recordings show him walking to the bus station and ordering a cappuccino and a sandwich. While sitting down, he kept pulling out a piece of paper from his pocket and examining it — shortly before ripping it up.
Then, he climbed aboard a bus and purchased a one way ticket to Rosses Point.
Witnesses on the shore described his behavior as erratic, saying he was walking parallel to the water and pacing back and forth.
His naked corpse was later found washed up on the beach, with his clothes and belongings scattered along the sand, including a black leather jacket, jumper, pants, shoes, socks, a wrist watch and some cash.
But the story gets even stranger. Despite the fact that his body appeared to wash up on shore, the autopsy revealed he didn’t drown. There was also no signs of foul play.
The man’s autopsy also showed that he had advanced cancer of the prostate, bone tumors and had previously suffered from heart attacks. What’s more interesting is that the toxicology report showed there weren’t any painkillers in his system, which is rare for someone who was suffering from such ill health.
Upon further inspection of his things, authorities realized that all the tags in his clothing were also cut out.
It’s an unsolved case of an unidentified man who was found dead. Just watching the CCTV footage is enough to give you the chills.
What kind of items was he disposing of in that purple bag? Who did he send those letters to? What was written on that piece of paper he tore up? If he didn’t drown how did he die? Did he actually plan to commit suicide? Why did he want to erase his identity?
There are so many questions, but no answers. I’d love to know what those letters said.
No one will probably ever discover who he was or where he came from.