Ravi loves writing within the cusp of relationships, history, and the bizarre, where boundaries are blurred and possibilities are immense.
The Man With No Past
Every so often we come across stories that leave us with an eerie feeling of incompleteness. It seems as if our brains put us on notice, forcing us to fill in the missing gaps until we get satisfaction.
And the Peter Bergmann case is one of those mysteries that has kept the police, journalists, and internet sleuths on tenterhooks for the past 11 years.
The story unfolds on a quiet beach in Ireland where a local person Arthur Kinsella discovers a human body on the beach. From first impression, it appeared as if the man had gone for a swim, got drowned, and subsequently was washed ashore after a low tide on the beach. Bergmann was found naked and his clothes were scattered along the shore.
But here was when things got stranger.
There was no documentation of any kind found inside his clothes confirming his identity. Stranger still, all the tags from his clothes right from his undergarments had been carefully cut away with scissors.
The police also could not find Peter Bergmann in the lists of people who arrived in the UK legally. And the address that Bergmann had left while checking in a local hotel turned out to be a fake.
Then things got even more bizarre. The last days of Bergmann were known to some extent thanks to an extensive network of CCTV cameras in Sligo, the town in Ireland where he stayed for 3 days. And video surveillance showed that Bergmann left his hotel at least 13 times with a filled purple bag. And every time he came back with an empty bag.
Here again, another strange fact was discovered about Bergmann. The man was a professional in evading cameras. It seemed that Bergmann knew from somewhere about the location of the cameras and used their “blind spots” cunningly to get rid of the contents of the bag without being noticed. The police even checked all over the city but found nothing.
What was inside that purple bag? What was he was doing in Sligo, a sleepy little Irish town in the first place? And why didn’t anybody ask for him in the last 11 years?
In 2013 a documentary “The Last Days of Peter Bergmann” was created to answer these questions and shed more light on the case. But so far nobody has been able to crack the jigsaw puzzle of Peter Bergmann.
The Mystery of Peter Bergmann
The port town of Sligo is tucked away in the northwest corner of Ireland facing out towards the North Atlantic Ocean. Outsiders visiting here is uncommon and outsiders visiting here purposefully to die is a rarity indeed.
The CCTV cameras capture Peter Bermann’s journey from the bus station of Derry from where he takes a bus to come to Sligo. Arriving in the late evening, he takes a taxi to the centre of the town in a bid to find a hotel to stay.
The 1st hotel he tried was full. The 2nd one, however, the Sligo City Hotel offered him accommodation. He registered in the name of Peter Bergmann and gave three days of payment in advance. It is a small place, and no one asked for identification.
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The next two days passed without any incident. Peter was captured multiple times coming and going out of the hotel. He also paid a visit to the post office where he purchased stamps and 8 envelopes. He smoked an occasional cigarette outside the hotel lobby but kept mostly to himself.
On Sunday, he took the hotel’s taxi and paid a visit to Rosses Point, an isolated beach some distance away from the city. He surveyed the beach for 15 minutes and then went back to the hotel.
On Monday he finally checked out from the hotel. He was going to the bus station to catch a bus to Rosses Point. Peter Bergmann’s last sighting alive was by a woman at 11.50 pm at Rosses point. He was carrying a plastic bag and walking along by the edge of the ocean. High tide was to arrive within half an hour.
The next morning his body was found washed ashore. He was found naked, his clothes scattered across the shore. The pockets were empty. No money, no wallet, no forms of identification. A Post-mortem revealed that he had advanced prostate cancer and bone tumors. He also had a long history of heart attacks. Strangely he seemed to be taking no medication despite his condition.
His Movements Were Puzzling
Now comes the bizarre part. The man was a consummate professional in evading CCTV cameras.
It soon emerged that Bergmann had left the hotel at least 13 times with each time carrying a purple plastic bag filled with something heavy. Every time he returned, the bag was empty. Sligo had CCTV cameras installed at a lot of public places. But despite that, not a single piece of footage showed Bergmann disposing of the contents of this bag, 13 times over.
Nor was there any evidence of Peter meeting somebody at Sligo at a hotel or public place or even talking on the mobile phone. It seemed that he knew where the CCTV cameras were and took great pains to avoid getting caught on them. And the interesting thing was that not one person in the small sleepy town of Sligo found him disposing of the contents of the bag somewhere in broad daylight.
As Detective Inspector Ray Mulderrig of Sligo Garda police station says.
"There seems to have been a purpose to it. Everything he did seemed to have had a purpose, from cutting the labels of his clothes and all the rest of it. The question you have to ask is: Why Sligo? If you want a scenic place to die, you're spoilt for choice across the west coast of Ireland or even Scotland for that matter. Something must have brought him here, even if we've never been able to say what that was."
So many questions about Peter Bergmann remain unanswered.
Why Sligo? Why dispose of all his belongings? Why give a false name? Did he ever post those letters? Did he die by drowning? And the biggest question of all, why no one of his near and dear came forward to identify him despite the Irish police’s relentless appeals to the public for the past 11 years?
As Ray Mulderrig says.
“It is now a waiting game that may go on forever. I liken it to a computer that has gone into 'sleep mode. When something new comes up, or someone credible comes forward, then we will move the mouse and it will spring back into action."
Over the years many theories have been postulated to explain Peter Bergmann.
Some say he was an intelligence officer while others say that he was a gangster on the run. Some also say he was an extra-terrestrial human being who was ‘lost’ on Earth. One theory says that Peter was the child of a Nazi criminal who wanted to hide his identity. The children of Nazi criminals often lived lives of anonymity wishing to hide from the notoriety of their parents’ crimes.
And some even say that the whole thing was an elaborate hoax. But then it cannot be a hoax as the crime had happened and it was documented and validated by the police procedures of Ireland and the Interpol.
Peter tried his best to be anonymous. He was at the last stage of his illness and perhaps wanted to die in peace and anonymity, something that he executed with uncanny thoroughness. Hopefully, someone would come looking for him and end all the riddles surrounding his mysterious death.
- The mysterious death of Peter Bergmann
- The Man Who Deleted His Past Before He Was Found Dead
- THE PETER BERGMANN CASE: THE MAN WITH NO PAST
- What you don’t know about Peter Bergmann
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.