The Beale Cryptograms
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Thread: The Beale Cryptograms

  1. #1
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2001
    Helsinki, Finland

    The Beale Cryptograms

    I wondered a bit that we didn't have a thread about one of the most well-known cryptography-thing, The Beale Treasure.
    It's said this guy, Thomas J. Beale, buried a great treasure in 1819 somewhere in the vicinity of Bufords, in Bedford County, Virginia. The value of it would now be about 30 million dollars. Beale left three encrypted papers about the treasure to Robert Morriss. Papers looked like this:
    "71, 194, 38, 1701, 89, 76, ......."
    and they would tell exact the location of the treasure and Morriss was to get the decryption key later. He didn't get the key, so he worked for three years on the papers, got bored, and handed them to James B. Ward who managed to decode the 2nd paper by using the US Declare Of Independence (DOI for short from now on).
    The DOI words were numbered:
    "When(1) in(2) the(3) course(4) of(5) human(6) events(7) it(8) becomes(9)......."
    and the first letter of the word the number in the papers were taken. So if the sequence was "1, 6, 2, 4, 6" it'd be decoded to "which". You got the point.

    Now the problem is that dozens of people have tried to find some key to decrypt the first and the third paper (1st is more interesting since it tells the exact location, 3rd only the actual owners... ) but have failed.

    The main links I used for this:
    The Beale Cryptograms
    The Beale Papers
    The Beale Chipher - A Dissenting Opinion

    So, one of you might want to solve this (or at least share some thoughts)?-)
    Q: Why do computer scientists confuse Christmas and Halloween?
    A: Because Oct 31 = Dec 25

  2. #2
    AntiOnline Senior Member souleman's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2001
    Flint, MI
    I doubt the other 2 are actually book ciphers. The man was paranoid. He wouldn't have done them all the same way. The first one may be some form of book cipher, but if so, there is something else going on with it also. Possible a book cipher and another cipher also.

    Acually, the first probably needs the third and maybe the second, to be docoded first.
    \"Ignorance is bliss....
    but only for your enemy\"
    -- souleman

  3. #3
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    May 2002
    Someone already solved one and they KNOW that it's a book cipher. But you're right, he almost definitely did not use book ciphers for all the others.

  4. #4
    Senior Member The Old Man's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2001
    Hmmm, the pessimist in me says it's all an elaborate hoax back in the days when hoaxes centered around gold and silver... but the adventurist part that's always been on top says "Thar's Gold In Them Thar Hills, just for the deciphering of a bunch of numbers... AU, AU, AU!"

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