Q: What are the Beale ciphers?

A: The Beale ciphers are one of the greatest unsolved puzzles of all time. In 1819 amd 1821, a fellow by the name of Thomas J. Beale supposedly buried two wagons-full of gold and silver filled pots in Bedford County, near Roanoke. There are local rumors about the treasure being buried near Bedford Lake.

He wrote three encoded letters telling what was buried, where it was buried, and who it belonged to. He entrusted these three letters to a friend and went west. He was never heard from again.

Several years later, someone examined the letters and was able to break the code used in the second letter. The code used the text from the Declaration of Independence. A number in the letter indicated which word in the document was to be used. The first letter of that word replaced the number. For example, if the first four words of the document were "We hold these truths", the number 3 in the letter would represent the letter t.

One of the remaining letters supposedly contains directions on how to find the treasure. To date, no one has solved the code. It is believed that both of the remaining letters are encoded using either the same document in a different way, or another very public document.

For those interested, write to

The Beale Cypher Association P.O. Box 975 Beaver Falls, PA 15010

or check out the Beale home page at:

http://www.ruhr.de/home/zaphod/beale.html

Item #904 is the 1885 pamphlet version ($5.00). #152 is the Cryptologia article by Gillogly that argues the hoax side ($2.00). A year's membership is $25, and includes 4 newsletters.

Evidence in favor of a hoax-

. Too many players. . Inflated quantities of treasure. . Many discrepancies exist in all documents. . The Declaration of Independence is too hokey a key. . Part 3 (list of 30 names) considered too little text. . W.F. Friedman couldn't crack it. . Why even encrypt parts 1 & 3? . Why use multi-part text, and why different keys for each part? . Difficult to keep treasure in ground if 30 men know where it was buried. . Who'd leave it with other than your own family? . The Inn Keeper waited an extra 10 years before opening box with

ciphers in it? Who would do this, curiousity runs too deep in humans?

. Why did anybody waste time deciphering paper 2, which had no title?

1 & 3 had titles! These should have been deciphered first?

. Why not just one single letter? . Statistical analysis show 1&3 similar in very obscure ways, that

2 differs. Did somebody else encipher it? And why? Check length of keytexts, and forward/backward next word displacement selections.

. Who could cross the entire country with that much gold and only

10 men and survive back then?

. Practically everybody who visited New Mexico before 1821, left

by way of the Pearly Gates, as the Spanish got almost every tourist:-)

. A stylometric analysis by William Poundstone indicates that

the author of "The Beale Papers" and the author of the Thomas Beale letters are one and the same, which is pretty conclusive evidence that the whole thing is a hoax.

References

"The Beale Treasure: New History of a Mystery", by Peter Viemeister,

Bedord, VA: Hamilton's, 1997. ISBN: 1-883912-04-0. 211 pages.

"The Codebreakers", by David Kahn, pg 771, CCN 63-16109.

1967.

"Gold in the Blue Ridge, The True Story of the Beale Treasure",

by P.B. Innis & Walter Dean Innis, Devon Publ. Co., Wash, D.C. 1973.

"Signature Simulation and Certain Cryptographic Codes", Hammer,

Communications of the ACM, 14 (1), January 1971, pp. 3-14.

"How did TJB Encode B2?", Hammer, Cryptologia, 3 (1), Jan. 1979, pp. 9-15. "Second Order Homophonic Ciphers", Hammer, Cryptologia, 12 (1) Jan. 1988,

pp 11-20.

"Biggest Secrets", William Poundstone, William Morrow, 1993, ch. 13

TEXT for part 1

The Locality of the Vault.

71,194,38,1701,89,76,11,83,1629,48,94,63,132,16,111,95,84,341 975,14,40,64,27,81,139,213,63,90,1120,8,15,3,126,2018,40,74 758,485,604,230,436,664,582,150,251,284,308,231,124,211,486,225 401,370,11,101,305,139,189,17,33,88,208,193,145,1,94,73,416 918,263,28,500,538,356,117,136,219,27,176,130,10,460,25,485,18 436,65,84,200,283,118,320,138,36,416,280,15,71,224,961,44,16,401 39,88,61,304,12,21,24,283,134,92,63,246,486,682,7,219,184,360,780 18,64,463,474,131,160,79,73,440,95,18,64,581,34,69,128,367,460,17 81,12,103,820,62,110,97,103,862,70,60,1317,471,540,208,121,890 346,36,150,59,568,614,13,120,63,219,812,2160,1780,99,35,18,21,136 872,15,28,170,88,4,30,44,112,18,147,436,195,320,37,122,113,6,140 8,120,305,42,58,461,44,106,301,13,408,680,93,86,116,530,82,568,9 102,38,416,89,71,216,728,965,818,2,38,121,195,14,326,148,234,18 55,131,234,361,824,5,81,623,48,961,19,26,33,10,1101,365,92,88,181 275,346,201,206,86,36,219,324,829,840,64,326,19,48,122,85,216,284 919,861,326,985,233,64,68,232,431,960,50,29,81,216,321,603,14,612 81,360,36,51,62,194,78,60,200,314,676,112,4,28,18,61,136,247,819 921,1060,464,895,10,6,66,119,38,41,49,602,423,962,302,294,875,78 14,23,111,109,62,31,501,823,216,280,34,24,150,1000,162,286,19,21 17,340,19,242,31,86,234,140,607,115,33,191,67,104,86,52,88,16,80 121,67,95,122,216,548,96,11,201,77,364,218,65,667,890,236,154,211 10,98,34,119,56,216,119,71,218,1164,1496,1817,51,39,210,36,3,19 540,232,22,141,617,84,290,80,46,207,411,150,29,38,46,172,85,194 39,261,543,897,624,18,212,416,127,931,19,4,63,96,12,101,418,16,140 230,460,538,19,27,88,612,1431,90,716,275,74,83,11,426,89,72,84 1300,1706,814,221,132,40,102,34,868,975,1101,84,16,79,23,16,81,122 324,403,912,227,936,447,55,86,34,43,212,107,96,314,264,1065,323 428,601,203,124,95,216,814,2906,654,820,2,301,112,176,213,71,87,96 202,35,10,2,41,17,84,221,736,820,214,11,60,760

TEXT for part 2

(no title exists for this part)

115,73,24,807,37,52,49,17,31,62,647,22,7,15,140,47,29,107,79,84 56,239,10,26,811,5,196,308,85,52,160,136,59,211,36,9,46,316,554 122,106,95,53,58,2,42,7,35,122,53,31,82,77,250,196,56,96,118,71 140,287,28,353,37,1005,65,147,807,24,3,8,12,47,43,59,807,45,316 101,41,78,154,1005,122,138,191,16,77,49,102,57,72,34,73,85,35,371 59,196,81,92,191,106,273,60,394,620,270,220,106,388,287,63,3,6 191,122,43,234,400,106,290,314,47,48,81,96,26,115,92,158,191,110 77,85,197,46,10,113,140,353,48,120,106,2,607,61,420,811,29,125,14 20,37,105,28,248,16,159,7,35,19,301,125,110,486,287,98,117,511,62 51,220,37,113,140,807,138,540,8,44,287,388,117,18,79,344,34,20,59 511,548,107,603,220,7,66,154,41,20,50,6,575,122,154,248,110,61,52,33 30,5,38,8,14,84,57,540,217,115,71,29,84,63,43,131,29,138,47,73,239 540,52,53,79,118,51,44,63,196,12,239,112,3,49,79,353,105,56,371,557 211,505,125,360,133,143,101,15,284,540,252,14,205,140,344,26,811,138 115,48,73,34,205,316,607,63,220,7,52,150,44,52,16,40,37,158,807,37 121,12,95,10,15,35,12,131,62,115,102,807,49,53,135,138,30,31,62,67,41 85,63,10,106,807,138,8,113,20,32,33,37,353,287,140,47,85,50,37,49,47 64,6,7,71,33,4,43,47,63,1,27,600,208,230,15,191,246,85,94,511,2,270 20,39,7,33,44,22,40,7,10,3,811,106,44,486,230,353,211,200,31,10,38 140,297,61,603,320,302,666,287,2,44,33,32,511,548,10,6,250,557,246 53,37,52,83,47,320,38,33,807,7,44,30,31,250,10,15,35,106,160,113,31 102,406,230,540,320,29,66,33,101,807,138,301,316,353,320,220,37,52 28,540,320,33,8,48,107,50,811,7,2,113,73,16,125,11,110,67,102,807,33 59,81,158,38,43,581,138,19,85,400,38,43,77,14,27,8,47,138,63,140,44 35,22,177,106,250,314,217,2,10,7,1005,4,20,25,44,48,7,26,46,110,230 807,191,34,112,147,44,110,121,125,96,41,51,50,140,56,47,152,540 63,807,28,42,250,138,582,98,643,32,107,140,112,26,85,138,540,53,20 125,371,38,36,10,52,118,136,102,420,150,112,71,14,20,7,24,18,12,807 37,67,110,62,33,21,95,220,511,102,811,30,83,84,305,620,15,2,108,220 106,353,105,106,60,275,72,8,50,205,185,112,125,540,65,106,807,188,96,110 16,73,32,807,150,409,400,50,154,285,96,106,316,270,205,101,811,400,8 44,37,52,40,241,34,205,38,16,46,47,85,24,44,15,64,73,138,807,85,78,110 33,420,505,53,37,38,22,31,10,110,106,101,140,15,38,3,5,44,7,98,287 135,150,96,33,84,125,807,191,96,511,118,440,370,643,466,106,41,107 603,220,275,30,150,105,49,53,287,250,208,134,7,53,12,47,85,63,138,110 21,112,140,485,486,505,14,73,84,575,1005,150,200,16,42,5,4,25,42 8,16,811,125,160,32,205,603,807,81,96,405,41,600,136,14,20,28,26 353,302,246,8,131,160,140,84,440,42,16,811,40,67,101,102,194,138 205,51,63,241,540,122,8,10,63,140,47,48,140,288

CLEAR for part 2, made human readable.

I have deposited in the county of Bedford about four miles from Bufords in an excavation or vault six feet below the surface of the ground the following articles belonging jointly to the parties whose names are given in number three herewith. The first deposit consisted of ten hundred and fourteen pounds of gold and thirty eight hundred and twelve pounds of silver deposited Nov eighteen nineteen. The second was made Dec eighteen twenty one and consisted of nineteen hundred and seven pounds of gold and twelve hundred and eighty eight of silver, also jewels obtained in St. Louis in exchange to save transportation and valued at thirteen [t?housand dollars. The above is securely packed i[n? [i?ron pots with iron cov[e?rs. Th[e? vault is roughly lined with stone and the vessels rest on solid stone and are covered [w?ith others. Paper number one describes th[e? exact locality of the va[u?lt so that no difficulty will be had in finding it.

CLEAR for part 2, using only the first 480 words of the Declaration of Independence, then blanks filled in by inspection. ALL mistakes shown were caused by sloppy encryption.

0----5----10---15---20---25---30---35---40---45---

0 ihavedepositedinthecountyofbedfordaboutfourmilesfr

50 ombufordsinanexcavationorvaultsixfeetbelowthesurfa

100 ceofthegroundthefollowingarticlesbelongingjointlyt 150 othepartieswhosenamesaregiveninnumberthreeherewith 200 thefirstdepositconsistcdoftenhundredandfourteenpou 250 ndsofgoldandthirtyeighthundredandtwelvepoundsofsil 300 verdepositednoveighteennineteenthesecondwasmadedec 350 eighteentwentyoneandconsistedofnineteenhundredands 400 evenpoundsofgoldandtwelvehundredandeightyeightofsi 450 lveralsojewelsobtainedinstlouisinexchangetosavetra 500 nsportationandvaluedatthirteenrhousanddollarstheab 550 oveissecurelypackeditronpotswithironcovtrsthtvault 600 isroughlylinedwithstoneandthevesselsrestonsolidsto 650 neandarecovereduithotherspapernumberonedescribesth 700 cexactlocalityofthevarltsothatnodifficultywillbeha 750 dinfindingit

TEXT for part 3

Names and Residences.

317,8,92,73,112,89,67,318,28,96,107,41,631,78,146,397,118,98 114,246,348,116,74,88,12,65,32,14,81,19,76,121,216,85,33,66,15 108,68,77,43,24,122,96,117,36,211,301,15,44,11,46,89,18,136,68 317,28,90,82,304,71,43,221,198,176,310,319,81,99,264,380,56,37 319,2,44,53,28,44,75,98,102,37,85,107,117,64,88,136,48,154,99,175 89,315,326,78,96,214,218,311,43,89,51,90,75,128,96,33,28,103,84 65,26,41,246,84,270,98,116,32,59,74,66,69,240,15,8,121,20,77,80 31,11,106,81,191,224,328,18,75,52,82,117,201,39,23,217,27,21,84 35,54,109,128,49,77,88,1,81,217,64,55,83,116,251,269,311,96,54,32 120,18,132,102,219,211,84,150,219,275,312,64,10,106,87,75,47,21 29,37,81,44,18,126,115,132,160,181,203,76,81,299,314,337,351,96,11 28,97,318,238,106,24,93,3,19,17,26,60,73,88,14,126,138,234,286 297,321,365,264,19,22,84,56,107,98,123,111,214,136,7,33,45,40,13 28,46,42,107,196,227,344,198,203,247,116,19,8,212,230,31,6,328 65,48,52,59,41,122,33,117,11,18,25,71,36,45,83,76,89,92,31,65,70 83,96,27,33,44,50,61,24,112,136,149,176,180,194,143,171,205,296 87,12,44,51,89,98,34,41,208,173,66,9,35,16,95,8,113,175,90,56 203,19,177,183,206,157,200,218,260,291,305,618,951,320,18,124,78 65,19,32,124,48,53,57,84,96,207,244,66,82,119,71,11,86,77,213,54 82,316,245,303,86,97,106,212,18,37,15,81,89,16,7,81,39,96,14,43 216,118,29,55,109,136,172,213,64,8,227,304,611,221,364,819,375 128,296,1,18,53,76,10,15,23,19,71,84,120,134,66,73,89,96,230,48 77,26,101,127,936,218,439,178,171,61,226,313,215,102,18,167,262 114,218,66,59,48,27,19,13,82,48,162,119,34,127,139,34,128,129,74 63,120,11,54,61,73,92,180,66,75,101,124,265,89,96,126,274,896,917 434,461,235,890,312,413,328,381,96,105,217,66,118,22,77,64,42,12 7,55,24,83,67,97,109,121,135,181,203,219,228,256,21,34,77,319,374 382,675,684,717,864,203,4,18,92,16,63,82,22,46,55,69,74,112,134 186,175,119,213,416,312,343,264,119,186,218,343,417,845,951,124 209,49,617,856,924,936,72,19,28,11,35,42,40,66,85,94,112,65,82 115,119,233,244,186,172,112,85,6,56,38,44,85,72,32,47,63,96,124 217,314,319,221,644,817,821,934,922,416,975,10,22,18,46,137,181 101,39,86,103,116,138,164,212,218,296,815,380,412,460,495,675,820 952

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