back to top

If You've Never Heard Of The Case Of The Isdal Woman, It's One Of The Most Odd Cases You'll Ever See

The front of her body and face were burned beyond recognition, but the backside was not burned.

Posted on

This week's (and previous) episodes of BuzzFeed Unsolved are now available on Hulu, Amazon Instant Video, and Roku TV. On this episode, Ryan and Shane investigate the Isdal Woman.

View this video on YouTube

BuzzFeedBlue / Via youtube.com

On November 29, 1970, a family on a Sunday hike in Bergen, Norway discovered the body of a woman wedged between large rocks.

One of the first people on the scene was Police Lawyer Carl Halvor Aas. He said that one of the first he noticed was the strong scent of burnt flesh. She was referred to as the Isdal Woman.
BuzzFeed

One of the first people on the scene was Police Lawyer Carl Halvor Aas. He said that one of the first he noticed was the strong scent of burnt flesh. She was referred to as the Isdal Woman.

The women's body was severely burned and her arms were in the "boxer" position in the air, which is common in burned bodies.

The front of her body and face were burned beyond recognition, but the backside was not burned.
BuzzFeed

The front of her body and face were burned beyond recognition, but the backside was not burned.

Items recovered from the body and scene included jewelry, a broken umbrella, bottles, a watch, remnants of nylon stockings, and rubber boots.

The jewelry and watch were found beside the body, as if they'd been placed there. All of the identifying labels on her clothes had been removed and the bottles found with the body had their labels rubbed off.
BuzzFeed

The jewelry and watch were found beside the body, as if they'd been placed there. All of the identifying labels on her clothes had been removed and the bottles found with the body had their labels rubbed off.

An autopsy on the body revealed around 50-70 sleeping pills in her stomach.

Her bloodstream hadn't fully absorbed the pills before her death. They also found smoke particles in her lungs, indicating that she was still alive while she burned.
BuzzFeed

Her bloodstream hadn't fully absorbed the pills before her death. They also found smoke particles in her lungs, indicating that she was still alive while she burned.

Three days after the body was found, two suitcases were discovered at a train station.

Inside of one suitcase was a pair of non-prescription glasses with a fingerprint on the lens. The fingerprint matched the Isdal Woman's body, linking her to the suitcases and the items inside of them.
BuzzFeed

Inside of one suitcase was a pair of non-prescription glasses with a fingerprint on the lens. The fingerprint matched the Isdal Woman's body, linking her to the suitcases and the items inside of them.

Inside of the suitcases were clothes, wigs, a comb, hairbrush, makeup, money from Germany and Norway, coins from Belgium, Switzerland and the UK.

A tube of eczema cream was also found, but its prescription label had been removed.
BuzzFeed

A tube of eczema cream was also found, but its prescription label had been removed.

There was another item that stood out as particularly strange.

A notepad with a code written in blue ink. This code couldn't be cracked at first, but it was eventually discovered to correspond with the woman's stay in different cities. She had multiple passports and registered at different hotels, under different identities.
BuzzFeed

A notepad with a code written in blue ink. This code couldn't be cracked at first, but it was eventually discovered to correspond with the woman's stay in different cities. She had multiple passports and registered at different hotels, under different identities.

Some believe the Isdal Woman was a spy who was murdered.

The ongoing Cold War add to that speculation.
BuzzFeed

The ongoing Cold War add to that speculation.

Others believe it was a suicide.

This would explain the 50-70 sleeping pills found inside of her stomach.
BuzzFeed

This would explain the 50-70 sleeping pills found inside of her stomach.

While there are some known facts about the Isdal Woman, there's so much mystery surrounding the case that it's difficult for experts to be certain about anything.

Despite all of the details Ryan and Shane cover in depth, whether the Isdal Woman's death was a murder, a suicide, or an accident remains unsolved.
BuzzFeed

Despite all of the details Ryan and Shane cover in depth, whether the Isdal Woman's death was a murder, a suicide, or an accident remains unsolved.