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Thursday, December 4, 2014

The Beale ciphers: Proceed at your own risk

An ongoing discussion about the Beale ciphers was begun in an older post. Those comments have been split off and moved to this new post.

Proceed at your own risk! Before you decide to take a shot at decrypting the Beale ciphers -- or even to post in the comments section below -- it might behoove you to read the following advisory, which the unknown author of the first published copy of the ciphers included in his pamphlet, after his own failed attempts at decipherment:

“... [D]evote only such time as can be spared from your legitimate business to the task, and if you can spare no time, let the matter alone. Should you disregard my advice, do not hold me responsible that the poverty you have courted is more easily found than the accomplishment of your wishes, and I would avoid the sight of another reduced to my condition. Nor is it necessary to devote the time that I did to this matter, as accident alone, without the promised key, will ever develop the mystery. If revealed by accident, a few hours devoted to the subject may accomplish results which were denied to years of patient toil. Again, never, as I have done, sacrifice your own and your family’s interests to what may prove an illusion; but, as I have already said, when your day’s work is done, and you are comfortably seated by your good fire, a short time devoted to the subject can injure no one, and may bring its reward.”


Ken Bauman said...

OK, Robert Patterson's cryptogram is deciphered by Dr. Smithline. What must one do to get the Beale Papers cryptogram C1 looked at? I have published the short plain text: ere fen due red knee ....which can be googled for online viewing. There is an incredible amount of information that is associated with this discovery. Please contact me to discuss this project.

[Editor’s note: This comment has been moved from its original location. It was originally posted July 11, 2009 at 10:45 p.m.]

BreakingCodes said...


The Beale ciphers are hardly being ignored. Many individuals and groups continue to actively analyze these, and several (such as yourself) have even proposed partial solutions.

I must admit that I find your "initial 16 letters" to be strained and unattractive, but it is interesting to note that they exhibit characteristics of plaintext not consistently appearing elsewhere in the cipher.

You state that there's "an incredible amount of information that is associated with this discovery." I would be willing to look at that and possibly to give it a venue here -- perhaps even to the extent of opening up (yet another) clearinghouse for discussion of this topic.

In the interest of full disclosure, I subscribe to Jim Gillogly's assertion that the first Beale cipher, while not entirely random, doesn't contain any meaningful plaintext. However, I would allow for the possibility that I'm wrong and that the snippets of nonrandom structure (the so-called "Gillogly strings") found within this cryptogram might be evidence of an aperiodic system with enciphered keys embedded throughout -- although I don't see anything like that showing up at the seventeenth letter.

[Editor’s note: This comment has been moved from its original location. It was originally posted July 12, 2009 at 8:03 a.m.]

Ken Bauman said...

My plain text was deciphered on July 30, 2005. I published the book: National (Beale) Treasure....At Red Knee in 2007. (Rosedog Books...title can be googled).

There is a historical treasure hunt afoot. The treasure was identified in Philadelphia (not validated yet) and in Virginia (not validated yet)and the Beale Papers are the house for two treasure maps. Edgar Allan Poe had a hand in creating especially the plain text in C1.

ERE FEN DUE RED KNEE says "dig or plow an unusual spot at exactly the tarantula". The "tarantula" is the target word in the tale by Poe: The Gold Bug. Hidden in The Gold Bug is a missive using literary steganography of the mansion in question.

The cryptanalyst, tired of enciphering C2, simply put a short plain text in the beginning of C1. The reverse plain text is definite hint of human doing.

I have studied Jim's article thoroughly. Jim missed what I found. He admits that C1 "may" be a hoax, so he's not sure. The C1 is essentially all hoax except for the first 16 digits in reverse and using the last letter of the word in the DOI. There are also two signatures of POE in the Gillogly strings.

See for the information on the Virginia side.

Looking forward to our correspondence Bill.

[Editor’s note: This comment has been moved from its original location. It was originally posted July 12, 2009 at 12:18 p.m.]

BreakingCodes said...


I haven't reviewed your book and wouldn't have the time to do so at present. However, if you would be willing to subject it to the scrutiny of, say, three independent cryptanalysts selected by me, please send an e-copy for that purpose.

Until more evidence can be shown, I remain unconvinced of your interpretation of "ERE FEN DUE RED KNEE." Perhaps your book makes the case better than what I have read on the subject elsewhere. And maybe it also explains how the epigraph at the beginning of The Gold-Bug (What ho! what ho! this fellow is dancing mad! He hath been bitten by the Tarantula.) makes "tarantula" the "target word" of the story. Lastly, the "two signatures of POE in the Gillogly strings" are a bit underwhelming.

I don't doubt that Poe's writings contain many more curiosities than initially meet the eye. (I've noted that the treasure-hunting character "Legrand" in the Gold-Bug is an anagram of "EDGAR LN," for example.) However, I'm skeptical about the supposed treasures yet to be found at unspecified locations in Philadelphia and Virginia or that Poe had anything to do with steganographically suggesting such a thing.

I feel that my criticisms may be somewhat unfair, so feel free to use this space to persuade us with whatever aces are hidden in your book sleeve.

Thanks for bringing up your interesting theory about the Beale ciphers. If your subject matter generates enough interest, I may move this discussion to a blog post of its own.

[Editor’s note: This comment has been moved from its original location. It was originally posted July 12, 2009 at 4:24 p.m.]

Ken Bauman said...

I understand your skepticism. Jim Gillogly was skeptical too.

I will not be able to send an e-book although I like the idea of the independent analysis. I've sent free books to others before and been burned. If anyone wishes to purchase the book they can dial 1-800-834-1803 during normal business hours.

Why would Poe be involved in a hidden treasure (that he could not access and steganographically at that)? Poe was a Republic Intelligence Officer: see "The Purloined Life of Edgar Allan Poe" by Jeffrey Steinberg. The article can be googled. Poe was more than a writer of poetry and tales.

My book does make the case for the C1 plain text, the connection of C1 to The Gold Bug through the Red Knee tarantula and the establishment of signatures of POE in the Gillogly strings. The book is a must read; however, remember that it was written two years ago. There is new information and evidence to stack upon the book.

I'll gladly specify where the gold is suspected in Philadelphia. In the quoins of the mansion called "Mount Pleasant" in Fairmount Park.
Built in 1761 prior to the Revolution, the money comes from Scotland. Their are 16 quoins or corners of the three Mount Pleasant Philadelphia for a look at the building. This treasure is no secret. The one in Virginia is more hush hush. I am personally in contact with its investigator; however, I can not reveal any more information than is available at at this time. Validation of the existence of gold in the mansion may get permission as early as later this summer...there is an attorney on the case.

My nom de plume is Legrand; however, the American Cryptogram Association would not let me have that nom so I selected GNARLED instead...close enough to Legrand.

The gold, I'm quite certain, is there in the mansion, Bill. I'm also quite certain that something will be found in one time earlier I thought the Beale Papers held only one map to the mansion, I have since changed my mind having communicated with Roy Dallas.

American Cryptogram Association

[Editor’s note: This comment has been moved from its original location. It was originally posted July 12, 2009 at 7:43 p.m.]

jdege said...

"ERE FEN DUE RED KNEE" says "dig or plow an unusual spot at exactly the tarantula."

How, exactly?

And given that Poe was 11-years-old when the Beale treasure was purportedly buried, how much involvement could he have expected to have had? "The Gold Bug" wasn't written until 25 years after the Beale ciphers, so it couldn't have been the key.

And if Ward's story isn't entirely fiction, Morris didn't make the ciphers known to anyone until 1862, thirteen years after Poe was dead, so it seems unlikely that Poe was somehow inspired by the ciphers.

[Editor’s note: This comment has been moved from its original location. It was originally posted July 14, 2009 at 9:39 a.m.]

Ken Bauman said...


ERE generally is defined as "before". Archaically, however, ERE means "dig or plow". In olden day, this would have been the usage of the word ERE - to dig or plow. To extrapolate further would be to "look at" or "discover"; this extrapolation is simply the essence of the word ERE.

Dictionary define the words....what do they say - what do they mean?

ERE = [dig or plow]...look at or discover.

FEN = [low land marshy bog] unusual spot in the land.

DUE = [exactly]....exactly.

REDKNEE = [tarantula]....tarantula.

So, when we read ERE FEN DUE RED KNEE, we CAN see the essence of the sentence as:

"Look at or discover an unusual spot exactly (at the) tarantula".

The reader can start to see what "literary steganography" is in the literary understanding of ERE FEN DUE RED KNEE. The phrase directs one to another location where something else is hidden; in this case, Poe's tale The Gold Bug hides a steganographically hidden message....a description of Mount Pleasant.

Now - these are my thoughts on the Beale Papers:

The idea conceived by Poe just before mid 19th century. Poe assassinated in 1849 (he may have been an early member of the KGC (1846) which continued the grand diddle into and past the Civil War). Educated person(s) continue the venture of exposing mansion treasure and hiding Virginia treasure.

Beale story perhaps entirely fictitious. However, two treasures are mapped within the fictitious story. The first and oldest is identified by the short plain text in C1 (ERE FEN DUE RED KNEE) and the second is a code deciphered by Roy Dallas at One treasure in Philadelphia (not a secret) and the second in Virginia (currently private investigation).

The creator(s) of the story used Poe's writing style and in 1846 until the Virginia treasure was hidden and the story ready for publication, The Gold Bug was already done with embedded message (1843). The reason for using Poe's writing style was to alert the future cryptanalyst to look to Poe writings when C1 was deciphered. Therefore, the "tarantula" would alert the cryptanalyst to The Gold Bug just as I was alerted when I made the connection. From Poe writing style to "Redknee" to the "tarantula" in The Gold Bug to the missive steganographically hidden in the tale to Mount Pleasant. Brilliantly constructed!

Poe influenced the Beale Papers but he didn't finish them. Poe wasn't inspired BY the ciphers, HE INSPIRED essentially C1. His idea was built into C1 by someone else.

All my educated supposition must remain as theory until the gold is validated at the mansion...this ties all the ends together.

There are scary truths uncovered by this historical project. Devastating is the best word I can acquire to describe the impact to Americans. However, the truth sets one free.

It's soon time....

The shot shall be heard round the world.


[Editor’s note: This comment has been moved from its original location. It was originally posted July 14, 2009 at 10:34 p.m.]

jdege said...

All we know about the Beale ciphers is what is in the pamphlet that Ward published in 1885. According to the pamphlet, the ciphers were written in 1820, and kept hidden until 1863.

If that is true, Poe could have had no involvement in the ciphers. They couldn't have been inspired by his story "The Gold Bug", because they were written 20 years before it. Poe could not have been inspired by them, because Poe died before anyone other than Morris had seen them.

So your explanation rests on the premise that Ward's story is a fraud. If Ward's story is a fraud there's no problem with it being inspire by Poe's "Gold Bug". But there's also no reason to believe that it's anything other than fiction.

As for Poe, your claim that Poe was anything other than a drug addict and a drunk is based on the claim that his letters and diaries were forged. In other words, again, you're claiming as truth what is contradicted by the evidence on nothing other than a claim that the evidence is fraudulent.

And again, as for Poe, if he was anything other than a self-aggrandizing hack with respect to cryptography, he certainly never showed it. Remember the vig he couldn't solve. He published it as evidence that he was being sent cryptograms that he could prove weren't actual cryptograms, but were, in fact, random text. Except, of course, that it wasn't, it was a Vig. If Poe were really connected with the cryptographic community, he'd have recognized it, and known how to deal with it. Babbage notes show him routinely cracking Vigs in 1846. Poe's notes show him copying frequency tables out of old encyclopedia articles.

[Editor’s note: This comment has been moved from its original location. It was originally posted July 15, 2009 at 6:30 a.m.]

Ken Bauman said...


I feel sorry for you. Rufus Griswold and his kind have made the water muddy for you. I was warned of the "naysayers" recently.

The Beale Papers were fraudulent for a reason; their mission was to hide treasure maps...that's all. The story is moot...they were not written in 1820 and treasure was not hidden in 1820. I claim this as true only if gold is validated at the mansion and this is ongoing.

Character assassination is stupid and simply a diversion. You rolled right over the majority of what I wrote previously. Someone hid ERE FEN DUE RED KNEE for a purpose...this is where the focus should be. Let's stick to that.


[Editor’s note: This comment has been moved from its original location. It was originally posted July 15, 2009 at 9:42 a.m.]

jdege said...

"The Beale Papers were fraudulent for a reason; their mission was to hide treasure maps...that's all."

You have no evidence as to what the reason was. And no evidence that Poe was involved. All you have is an argument as to why the evidence that points against you is not to be trusted.

Fine. But if we've thrown out all evidence that we do have, we could just as easily create an argument that connects the documents to anyone we choose. Why not argue that Admiral Francis Beaufort was involved? After all, we have evidence he actually was involved in cryptological conspiracies, which we do not have for Poe. And he knew more about cryptography than did Poe, and he worked closely with some of the most brilliant minds in cryptography that have ever existed, where Poe merely cribbed some basic stuff out of old encyclopedia articles.

And as for "Someone hid ERE FEN DUE RED KNEE for a purpose" - I'm by no means sure of that. Given a text of that length, strings of not-quite-gibberish of that length are inevitable.

Have you read Friedman's book on the Shakespearean ciphers? Seems to me you're doing exactly what he had been warning about.

You claim that "ERE FEN DUE RED KNEE" is a cryptic clue rather than random semi-intelligible nonsense. Fine. Support that claim.

Explain exactly how you found it, and provide a statistical analysis of how likely such a string would be likely to appear in a text of that length. Because strings of semi-intelligible nonsense do appear randomly in text of any length. The assumption, on finding some, has to be that it's random chance unless there is solid evidence to indicate that it is not.

So, where's your evidence?

[Editor’s note: This comment has been moved from its original location. It was originally posted July 15, 2009 at 10:48 a.m.]

Ken Bauman said...


"If revealed by accident, a few hours devoted to the subject may accomplish results which were denied to years of patient toil".

I can tell you've toiled for some time on the Beale Papers; you seem me? at my decipherment? You're demanding. I'll try to comply; however, I am not a cryptanalyst...I've just dabbled in it.

There is plenty of subjective evidence - parts of a puzzle together begin to show a picture, even before the puzzle is complete - synthesization. This goes against your scientific (cryptologic) nature, jdege. We must see things from a different angle to understand the impact of ERE FEN DUE RED KNEE. It was discovered by "accident" in about two hours from printing off the Beale Papers story.

You assume the plain text is random gibberish...why assume this rather than admitting it was human ingenuity that encoded the message backwards! at that. This is far from random in my opinion.

The evidence and support that you call for with ERE FEN DUE RED KNEE is simply "in the pudding". It stands on its own - prima facie!

You've read my explanation of ERE FEN DUE RED KNEE on Joe Crump's site, correct? If not, you can google ERE FEN DUE RED KNEE and find the explanation you ask for.

Rather than use statistics to prove this wrong, let's see what proves it right! Here I'll refer the reader to my book "National (Beale) Treasure....At Red Knee". Yes, I would like to sell books...but, more importantly, I would like all to understand where this plain text was uncovered and how it has impacted this project of mine.


jdege said...

I've never toiled on the Beale ciphers, I've simply read a fair amount about the history of crypto. And no, I'n not angry, simply frustrated, sometimes, by the human capability for self-deception.

You say there is plenty of "subjective evidence".

I'm sorry, but there's no such thing as subjective evidence. Hunches may sometimes be effective at telling you where to search for evidence, but they aren't evidence.

As for your "ERE FEN DUE RED KNEE", having read your explanation, I think you're being misleading.

You attempted to decode C1 using the last letters of the words in the DOI, instead of the first, and found: "een?dere?dnefere", where the '?' represents numbers that didn't have corresponding words in the DOI.

You reversed that to get "erefend?ered?nee".

And then you assumed that the '?'s represented 'u' and 'k', for no reason that I can see other than that only they would make up intelligible words.

If, in doing that, you had found a process that found other intelligible words elsewhere in the text, you'd have been following a hunch to a conclusion. But you didn't. You simply followed a hunch to no end.

The only meaning in what you have found is what you have put in it.

Ken Bauman said...


I find it intriguing that you would begin to argue with me about this subject prior to reading my explanation of decipherment; you all but admitted that you just read this document(after I suggested you do so in my last post). Don't you think this is a bit irresponsible? Your argument seems to have become less vehement after reading the explanation.

There is subjective evidence...we see a cloud yet it supports no weight and signals an oncoming rainstorm. This discussion is moving into philosophy and likely epistemology. Hunches become evidence at the effective end, yet they were likely only pointers in an effective direction. It's not unlike circumstantial evidence in the court room which does, at times, bring a conviction. ERE FEN DUE RED KNEE is not a hunch, however. It is a plain text of a human made cryptogram. The evidence of its value is what it leads to which is the hidden missive in The Gold Bug and this is where this discussion will need to eventually go. Of course the end is the gold in the mansion which is vitally important to the birth of a string of evidence which you so desire. Think outside your box from a different angle. You must conform to the crypto-system in whatever form it was encoded. This is how you solve codes...even this very simple one. Oh, how effective it's stumped them all for so long.

Be careful of "self-deception" here lest it be a boomerang.

"last letters of the words in the DOI, instead of the first"....clever wasn't it? I mean on the part of the author of the cryptogram. Think outside the box!

"that the '?'s represented 'U' and 'K', for no reason that I can see other than that only they would make up intelligible words."

The problem here is that you don't see. I explained the reason fairly clearly in the explanation as to why the author selected DOI digits over the number of words in the DOI. Read it again, carefully, in that spot. To understand this concept is to add subjective evidence to the likelihood of human ingenuity and the human creation of the cryptogram.

The author was tired of digging for words in B2 and enciphering the Roy Dallas code. So, when it came time to encode The Gold Bug lead, he did so with a very short, reversed and effective plain text in B1. He was tired....sometimes the best way to hide something is simple and sometimes in plain sight. Gee...this is the definition of steganography. Look it up in the dictionary....better be an old and large dictionary or else you won't find it. There is reason for this.

I follow bread crumbs...even they have more weight than a cloud, but not much. I don't put meaning into anything that isn't a bread crumb.


jdege said...

"Your argument seems to have become less vehement after reading the explanation."

My estimation of the probability of your text being anything other than random chance has declined dramatically, since reading your explanation.

Finding sixteen adjacent semi-coherent characters in a random text strictly by chance is possible. Finding nine semi-coherent characters close to each other in a random text is a certainty.

"There is subjective evidence...we see a cloud yet it supports no weight and signals an oncoming rainstorm."

Clouds exist. They can be seen and measured. Nothing exists in reality simply because you imagine that it does.

BreakingCodes said...


I don’t have a horse in this race, but I’m with jdege. You haven’t made a case at all. This isn’t anything personal; it’s just my opinion of the material you’ve presented so far. If you’ve got anything else, now would be the time to bring it out. I’m not sure that anyone reading this discussion would be inclined to purchase your book at this point, so giving us a glimpse of a few choice “teasers” wouldn’t hurt sales.

My offer to forward an e-copy of your book to three cryptanalysts for independent reviews stands -- and I would be willing to submit it also to three additional reviewers who are not cryptologists. You and I could negotiate a neutral third party to select reviewers who have not previously published opinions related to the Beale ciphers. We might also agree that we would both make their reviews available on the Internet, regardless of their conclusions. I don’t see how you could get “burned” by this, other than by getting bad reviews -- and if you have confidence in the strength of your proof, then this should be a risk you would be willing to take.

If a treasure is ever indisputably connected to the Beale texts in a way that is consistent with your thesis involving “ere fen due red knee,” I promise to purchase a minimum of five copies of your book at full price and to promote it in this blog. (If we end up with a disagreement about that “indisputably” part, I would be willing to work with you on putting together a panel of judges to make a binding determination.) Of course, if you are able to claim the treasure, my token purchase would amount to little more than an admission of having been wrong -- for whatever that’s worth.

Convince me. My offers are on the table.

Ken Bauman said...


"Clouds exist"....but only at a distance - as a microcosm, inside the cloud, there is nothing but fog and nothing to measure, and the cloud still will not hold a man. Are you piercing this problem too minutely to the point of not seeing through the fog? Step back and see the cloud again and don't aggressively dismiss my explanation of the plain text. Step back and see that letter by letter a short plain text emerges - strained a bit, yes, but only due to human (author) error. ERE FEN DUE RED KNEE was meant to be unusual "semi-coherent" diction - a better protection. Don't miss the forest through the trees!

You're placing 21st century cryptic scrutiny on a simple 19th century cryptogram. A short cryptogram is a short cryptogram - forget about random chance in only 16 digits - this thinking is causing the microcosmic fog in your view point. My explanation is logical.

"Nothing exists in reality simply because you imagine that it does".

Not correct, jdege.


All apriori exist in reality:
through apriori comes imagination:
therefore, some imagination is reality.

A very strong intuition inspired the solution of C1.

I worry that if one day I sit upon the validated "pile of gold" that you will say I was lead by luck rather than a string of clues. But this is your nature. You would have no other explanation for my success and this is too bad.

"Science is apt to cloud the mind...." - Emerson


By whose rules must I make a case?

With all due respect, I've "brought out" all that's necessary for the ERE FEN DUE RED KNEE solution to be understood and I don't like to "tease".

By "burned" I meant that I received no scholarly discussion for what I offered free.

I've received to date two denials to scan the mansion - "metal detectors are not allowed in the park" and the other was that "my proposal was not appropriate". A national historical project of this magnitude and these are my answers!?

Thank-you for your offers, Bill.


BreakingCodes said...


Thanks for pursuing your concept even in the face of our tough scrutiny. Maybe one side or the other will eventually have a change of mind on this topic, or maybe we will have to always agree to respectfully disagree. Either way, I'm glad you're still with us.

I know this discussion must be frustrating for you. You've been decent, persistent, and passionate throughout, and it's probably very hard for you to understand why others don't accept the proposed solution that you strongly believe in. However, I am just as sure that your proposal is incorrect.

Addressing your last questions and comments ...

"By whose rules must I make a case?"

Keep the target audience in mind. Different people may be persuaded in different ways. Cryptanalysts will have a higher standard for proof of the validity of a cipher's solution than many others. If you want to make your case to me, then you must demonstrate that your proposed solution is not the result of random chance or wishful thinking.

"With all due respect, I've 'brought out' all that's necessary for the ERE FEN DUE RED KNEE solution to be understood and I don't like to 'tease'."

You may have brought out all that's necessary for me to understand your proposed solution, but it is not enough to persuade me that it's correct. Others may find that what you've presented is convincing; I do not.

"By 'burned' I meant that I received no scholarly discussion for what I offered free."

I would hope that my serious offer of putting your material through an honest evaluation could stand on its own merits and not be judged by what others have done or not done for you.

"I've received to date two denials to scan the mansion - 'metal detectors are not allowed in the park' and the other was that 'my proposal was not appropriate'. A national historical project of this magnitude and these are my answers!?"

The negative responses you received are code for "You haven't made your case." ;)

"Thank-you for your offers, Bill."

Let me know when you're ready to take me up on them. While those remain on the table, I'll add another -- a challenge for you, one that should clearly demonstrate the weakness that I see in your solution: Make up a clue for me, a clue that's more or less similar in form to the one you are defending, by giving me a string of characters containing 14 letters and 2 question marks (wild cards), and I will "prove" that it discloses the location of a treasure.

Ken Bauman said...


You are genuinely intelligent. I appreciate a conversation of this nature. Thank-you for your kind words and straight forward critique. Even though we disagree, it helps me.
You're an educator? Do you mind telling me where and your credentials? By now, you've discovered my background I would suppose.

I wasn't sure what you meant by "clue". Do you mean a short cryptogram? I'm assuming so and have created a string of letters with one question mark to make similar to the Beale book cipher; however, this is not a book cipher. But its plain text (if there is one) will be not too much unlike ERE FEN DUE RED KNEE. We can learn from each other!

"You haven't made your case". I agree with that! The "make your case" project is in full swing. That's all I'll publish on that right now.

Well, here's the letter string:


Good luck and this should be fun. I'll look forward to seeing you prove this letter string can lead to a treasure...I may be able to do the same.


BreakingCodes said...


Me, a teacher? No, I’ve guided students, but they are their own teachers. I ain’t never learnt much of nuthin’ in school myself, so I believe in self-teaching. The only educational credentials I have are either incomprehensible or unavailable.

So, I thought that my unwritten past life in the cryptologic arts was behind me, until I received a mysterious message one day that changed everything.

It was sent through the ether and displayed in full view to the oblivious masses:


When I laid eyes upon its silhouet?e, I felt a chill run down my spine; and my thoughts began to darken -- turning at once pathetic and poetic -- and ... strangely ... Poesque.

Presently, images forced their way into my mind's eye -- images of a past life that had once been carefully forgotten: reminders that I had been -- and am I yet? -- a spy. With that light title had come weighty responsibilities. With eager delight, conjuring up answers at once -- and, daresay, ne'er getting them wrong.

Hearken! and observe how healthily -- how calmly I can tell you the whole story. You should have seen how wisely I proceeded -- with what caution -- with what foresight -- with what dissimulation I went to work! ... Tear up the planks! -- here, here! ... But, no, no ... the solution to the mystery of the tantalizing cryptograph must wait until the morrow ...

Ken Bauman said...


The autodidactic silhouette...the mind of a mind...

I so loved Good Will Hunting and A Beautiful Mind.

"Tear up the planks!...Bill. I'm about to introduce you to a silhouet?e of a stego-system. When you're ready though. Cryptogram ho!


BreakingCodes said...


I can imagine infinite paths to the solution of your 10-letter puzzle, but I’ll take a simple one, dispensing with most details, for the sake of time and space ...


The obvious starting point: a simple substitution cipher -- a Caesar shift of a single letter forward (A=B, B=C, etc.). That yielded SZWYTUXJ?X, which, broken down, is:


The meaning is clear: “Is the Wyoming tuxedo J.C. Penney’s?” I mean, what else could it possibly be? You apparently had seen the photo of me on this site, wearing my Wyoming tux.

I'm sure of this interpretation, because, since you know so much about me, you would surely have known that I (and very few others) would be aware that James Cash Penney established his first store in Kemmerer, Wyoming.

So, the question mark is "Cash" and the X is “Penney’s,” at least at this point (the ? and X may be wild cards).

This decipherment proved that the message was intended for me and for me only. (Is there anyone else from Wyoming wearing a tux on this page?)

Now why were “Cash” and “Penney’s” superenciphered? Of course, they’re references to money!

But surely there was more to the thing than this. Also, I would have difficulty persuading others that it was correct, so I sought additional information and corroborating data embedded in the message, to make an airtight case. One plaintext message may be coincidence, but several could not be.

Back in a moment ...

BreakingCodes said...

Where were we? Oh, yeah.

I tried another simple Caesar shift, back 4 letters, which produced NURTOPSE?S. No apparent message there, so I reversed it:


The missing letter in this instance was obviously “E”: SEE SPOT RUN.

From Wikipedia, I learn that “See Spot Run is a 2001 comedy film about a mailman that takes in a stray Bullmastiff only to learn that it is an FBI drug-sniffing canine that has escaped from a witness protection program ...”

Again, this was confirmation that this cipher was meant for me personally and that you were telling me that you knew about my past. How on earth had you figured out that I had been a mailman? Or that I had dabbled in security activities that sometimes targeted illegal drugs? These details are not posted anywhere, so you must really have done your homework. And, furthermore, you knew about my adopted dog, Spot, and his clandestine past. No one knows about my dog. But you ... you ... you knew. How was that possible?

Regardless, you enciphered your cryptogram in a form that you knew could only be solved by me. What cunning! What devious cunning, indeed.

Now, why? You have secretly indicated to me that you know about me and my past -– that much is clear from the intimate details in your cleverly hidden message. Therefore, you must know that I would be very pleased to have someone hand me the instructions to a buried treasure.

Surely, there must be further instructions, a map of some sort. Am I to wait for a second message? No. You are too clever for that. Any additional information must be contained in this one-and-only message. You would not risk further communication, and time is of the essence (as it always is with these things).

More to follow ...

BreakingCodes said...

Continuing the story ...

I next placed my plaintext string over the filled-out ciphertext string, thusly:


Note that the ciphertext letter immediately below the final letter of the plaintext word SPOT is “X.” X marks the SPOT! You were telling me that there is a treasure buried ... where?

I anagrammed the ciphertext letters, looking for some connection to Edgar Allan Poe (since he always figures into these sorts of things).

I came up with: TRY SEWER SIX V W POINT US (Clearly, this means "Try Sewer 6-V, West Point, U.S.")

Poe had spent a couple of years at West Point Military Academy, before being expelled in 1831, so this made complete sense. The base later became a Treasury depository, which only adds to the overwhelming evidence that my decryption is correct.

I have made repeated appeals to the U.S. Mint at West Point to allow me to enter the sewer grid at 6-V, but they have denied me (“metal detectors are not allowed” and “your proposal is not appropriate”).

I am sure that a vast treasure of gold and silver is locked up at the West Point Mint. But, for those who remain unconvinced, and for those who find weaknesses or errors in my logic, I have provided further proof in my 8-page tome, The Original West Point Code: An Odyssey in Hip Waders, which is available online for only $199.

Quod erat demonstrandum.

Ken Bauman said...


Wonderful spoof...brilliantly constructed.

I thought the "Wyoming tux and J.C. Penney" part was a stretch. And did you think I would find out about your past in 3 hours and 53 minutes on the 18th of July (your challenge came at 3:04 PM and I answered at 6:57PM)? Honestly Bill, I didn't know you were a mailman....

For all we know, there may be a treasure of sorts at West Point...

Aw, let's get to business. At least West Point is on the way to Concord, Massachusetts. You're close in that respect.

I was confident that you would expose the plain text without difficulty. Cryptogram covers stego-message, however.

Now, do you know what's embedded in "See spot run" or are you holding back another expose?


BreakingCodes said...


I wasn't sure before that you had intentionally hidden anything, but I think I'm understanding now that "SEE SPOT RUN" was in your original design. Any steganography within that phrase would have to be something that would have survived the initial substitution and be compatible with the fact that you didn't use any special formatting.

Hmmm. I'm wondering if you're using a too-broad definition of steganography and if your method might actually be better defined as substitution or transposition (including anagraming). That would open things up to endless interpretation.

Can you confirm that you're using actual steganography? Otherwise, as we know, one can produce anything one wants from the given string of letters.

Ken Bauman said...


Still LOL....I promise I am not related to Sonny T. ...your dog is safe!

Yes, "See spot run" was my original design. I'm not sure what you mean by "special formatting".

Steganography, from what I can derive from definition, is something hidden and no one knows it's hidden. In contrast to cryptography where everyone knows a message exists...they just don't know what it is until deciphered.

I think I can confirm that steganography is in a matter of fact, I have coined a phrase "literary steganography" that indicates secondary meaning in lines or phrases of poetry most notably with very unusual diction. Or, in other words, poetry that is not very well understood. Not all poetry of this nature is intended to hide secondary meaning. It's not easily detected; however, the eye can become more piercing to it as one operates more with it.

Here goes:

A poet or operator in "literary steganography" has a notion, an idea or message that he/she wishes to shorten and change in appearance to another notion, thought or idea. Hense...

"Recognize a particular part made from molten material".

The poet wants to hide a reference to a object on a statue in this missive or short notion phrase.

(I promise this has nothing to do with Sonny T.) ;)

Now, to shorten this sentence and morph it into a coded phrase one simply breaks the sentence into parts that can be defined using a dictionary. Hence...

"Recognize / a particular part / made from molten material".

Recognize can be defined as SEE.

A particular part...SPOT.

Made from molten material...RUN.


Now the notion is a running dog...message confined in a short line of poetry.

These are valid definitions using various dictionaries. The key is, generally, a certain theme runs through the message to help select the correct definition as many words have more than one. Generally, by using the essence of the words definition, one can know the correct definition to use. This is a subjective is not scientific. A cryptanalyst must remember this.

"See spot run" can possibly create say two or three other sentences. The key in deciphering "loaded" poetry is to know the theme of the message hidden by the author (if possible) and use the essence of the words definition. This doesn't guarantee an exact reproduction of the authors' message, but what is produced is close and can lead to the target location. This is the case in much of Emerson's work and some of Poe's writings to include The Gold Bug. We haven't talked much about that yet.

What's hidden in this...Bill?

"The passive master lent his hand to the vast soul that o'er him planned".

Quod erat faciendum.

Oh, and I just love the "Phantom of the Opera"...but I'm no "Music Man". ;)


BreakingCodes said...


Since you've been an interesting guest, I'll take a shot at your puzzler -- but no more after this one! I'm a cryptanalyst, not an astrologer.

"The passive master lent his hand to the vast soul that o'er him planned."

Emerson. No idea what it means, but it seems to have a religious "essence."

With the aid of my handy stegothesaurus, I produce this:

"The passive master / Lent his hand / To the vast soul / That o'er him planned" becomes "The Omnipotent One, who free will gave, / offered himself, as if a slave, / to his creation, one and all, / Though they conspired with thorns and gall." (It seems to suggest John 3:16 and vicinity.)

Quae nocent, saepe docent.

Ken Bauman said...


"The passive master lent his hand to the vast soul that o'er him planned"

Stegomessage plain text is:

"In that inert one who has the power of disposing of something, furnished things belonging to him, a person considered as a source of supply; specifically, in that huge inspirer of some action or movement; (in) a thing over his method of thinking out acts and purposes beforehand".

As you probably know, the stegomessage came from Emerson's "The Problem" is some more "loaded" verse from that piece:

"The word unto the prophet spoken
Was writ on tables yet unbroken;
The word by seers or sibyls told
In groves of oak, or fanes of gold,
Still floats upon the morning wind,
Still whispers to the willing mind.
One accent of the Holy Ghost
The heedless world hath never lost."

Poe's missive hidden in The Gold Bug is the tales cryptogram plain text:

"A good glass...."

This stegomessage holds a cleverly hidden message about Mount Pleasant. Fascinating, huh?

...yet the sound increased - and what could I do? It was a low, dull, quick sound - much such a sound as a watch makes when enveloped in cotton...

A prioi.
The Pure Transcendentalist...from "The Transcendentalist" - Emerson.
Matthew 10:34


BreakingCodes said...

The words of the philosopher Riley Poole come to mind:

"Albuquerque. See, I can do it too. Snorkel."

Ken Bauman said...

To Whom It May Concern...

What's the loss of freedom when we are enveloped in evil?

...I scare not.

"Truth and beauty; the communion with God, exist as a pebble in a large pool of evil phenomenal water. The pebble survives - barely - amongst the seemingly forever envelopment of the world of liquid. God's plan, though, protects the pebble in its savage existence until the Miracle of evaporation, which frees the pebble to breath deeply the once known oxygen of life. Once again beauty, truth and mysticism take their proper life, a life in God where all will understand the teaching of the interior of the seed rather than its fruit".

--author unknown.

I shall now take my ball and go home as I've heard the dinner bell of my family.

Matt. 5: 11, 43-48


BreakingCodes said...

O Quintus, absit iniuria verbis!

"Vale" dicis et "ave" dico. -- Scarabaei

Si hoc legere scis (My Atin-lay is a little usty-ray and oppy-slay), verbum amicabiliter sapienti satis est ...

I. Saltus in demonstrando "quo errat demonstrator" est. :) Laudanda voluntas est, tamen desint indicii.

II. Fere homines id quod volunt credunt. Sed non teneas aurum totum quod splendet ut aurum, et suppositio nil ponit in esse.

III. "Labor omnia vincit," et "fortes fortuna adiuvat"; sed experti crede.

Ut proverbium Horaci loquitur ... "Si quid novisti rectius istis, candidus imperti; si nil, his utere mecum."

Haec olim meminisse iuvabit. ;)

jdege said...

Feles mala! Cur cista non uteris? Stramentum novum in ea posui.

BreakingCodes said...


This might help Felix with his problem.

Anonymous said...



8SHIFT8 said...

Ne nuntium necare!

BreakingCodes said...

I won't have time to look at 8SHIFT8's cipher for a couple of days. Anyone want to take a shot at it in the meantime?

It's a transposition in Latin -- double, route, railfence, or something else. The asterisks are spaces. It appears to be using a relatively limited number of different words (note the lack of M, X, Q, etc. that we would normally expect to appear in a Latin text of this length), possibly indicating that several of the words or phrases are repeated.

His or her short follow-up comment can be translated as "Don't shoot the messenger."

8SHIFT8 said...

Attention Gnarled

How do you kill a dragon?
If only you could be a
wolf, this wouldn't be
a concern.

BreakingCodes said...

Another puzzler from 8SHIFT8 for anyone to try out until I can get to it ...

This one uses steganography. Each letter's font seems to appear in one of four styles: normal, bold, italic, or bold italic.

BreakingCodes said...


I see that the shorter message turns out to be a simple Baconian cipher (normal and italic, punctuation excluded), plus an anagrammed word (bold). I'll try the bolded word as a key to the earlier message, when I get some time.

8SHIFT8 said...

I will take a look at your books It's to bad you took your ball and went home some people are stuck in their own perceived reality

Anonymous said...



Ken Bauman said...


Thank-you for looking at my books - I think you'll benefit from reading them.

Your lengthy cryptogram is very challenging; however, the "dragon" missive was informative. Bill responded.

Dinner is finished and
I can come back with
my ball and play.

O Marcus, Felix understands!


BreakingCodes said...

8SHIFT8: In your short message, it was easy enough to get "I CAN PLAY ALSO" and "TANGENCY," but your other message looks like it might take more time to break than what I have at present. It appears to be a numerically keyed transposition cipher with an incompletely filled matrix. If it's a double transposition, I'll probably take a pass on it for a long time. ... E-mail me at

MB: Glad you're enjoying this. Any observations?

Ken: Welcome back. I hope you understand that it's your proposed solution that is under fire, and not you personally. ... I see part of your plaintext ("CZECH ..."), but I'm wondering if there's a mistake somewhere after that. The word hidden in bold would be "CONFIRM."

Ken Bauman said...


My mistake. The "y" in "my" should have been italicized. The sentences are independent of each other. I'm still getting used to these HTML tags.

I've decided to send you the e-book. I have it purchased and downloaded, but still have to send it to you on e-mail. This may be a few hours or a day until accomplished.

Many unique parts make a whole...synthesizing.

Looks like 8SHIFT8 has a iron box of a cryptogram...

Glad to be back.


8SHIFT8 said...

It's nice to see you back.
I'm glad you like the cryptogram, I figured you would like it seeming how you strike me as an individual who likes a challenge. I am sure you will like it IF you break it. Time to watch know1ng... talk to you all later...

BreakingCodes said...

Ken: It looks like you transposed the italics on the two letters in the word "my." If so, you meant the plaintext to be "CZECH MATE" for the first sentence and "WHY" for the second (with enough letters left over to yield a probably unintended "A" at the end).

Ken Bauman said...

To all,

The Roy Dallas expedition is reporting new information and update. Something has been found!


I think I'll leave the "iron box" to the experts. Looks like an effective cipher.

Really enjoyed the movie Knowing myself. Proof and Flash of Genius were good too.


"Czech male". The essay you can also place to scrutiny if you wish.


Anonymous said...

One main observation:

I am not a code breaker.


BreakingCodes said...

Ken: I found "CZECH MALE," but that didn't seem to make sense in any context here, so I thought "CZECH MATE" was a clever possibility. Are you referring to Václav Havel, by any chance? I see that Roy Dallas has a quote from him posted at his site. ... I also don't understand what you're looking for with the one-word question in the second part ("WHY") and the other hidden word ("CONFIRM"). ... I've received the e-copy of your book and will arrange for the promised reviews. ... I didn't think that the "news" at Dallas' site was all that informative. (The new information, in its entirety as of this posting, reads: "Found: The Map Box.")

8SHIFT8: What did you think of "Know1ng"? I was disappointed with it. I thought that the story concept and the actors had a lot of potential but that the movie failed miserably on both those counts.

MB: Since you're not a code breaker, you might have an interesting perspective on the current topic. Feel free to comment.

Ken Bauman said...


This is strange. Prior to July 26, Roy Dallas' site showed only part of a quote: "The real test of a man is not when he plays the role that he wants for himself,"...on July 26, the new update showed the rest of the quote and the name "Vaclav Havel". I posted my "Dinner is finished...." on July 25 at 12:50PM! which, of course, hides "Czech male". Honestly, Bill, my message was a play on words for "check mail". I was not aware the first part of the quote was from a "Czech male". Strange...I mean that of destiny.

Did you receive The Gold Bug Latitudinal Discovery essay in e-mail okay? Your thoughts?

"WHY" and "CONFIRM"...just words...for now.

I'll call you soon.


BreakingCodes said...


Yes, I've received your cartographic essay on the Gold-Bug (the hyphen is Poe's). My work load is pretty heavy right now, so I might pass it on to a map expert for analysis.

Feel free to call at any time. It'll be nice to put a voice to the name. Blogs and e-mail can be impersonal to the point that it's easy to forget that we're dealing with real people. Looking forward to talking with you.

8SHIFT8 said...


I don't know what to say about the movie. It was bland at best. Not very impressive. I agree with you though it had the potential.
So what are your thoughts on the Roy Dallas find,as of now? Besides it not being "all that informative." Just wondering.

BreakingCodes said...


I don't have any information about Dallas' alleged find, other than the four words he posted on his site on July 26, 2009: "Found: The Map Box."

I'm not at all impressed with his "Beale key," which uses the numbers 1, 2, and 5 to selectively locate clues in the papers. What he fails to observe is the overwhelming number of examples that do not serve his theory. One could make just as good a case with any given numbers.

To Roy, Ken, and all the others who believe they have the keys to the treasure chest, I say, "Show me the money." If they eventually produce their millions in gold, then I'll be the first to congratulate them and to beg for their forgiveness of my stupidity.

Ken Bauman said...


If we do find the never would be qualified as "stupid" because you didn't understand the method of discovery. Imagination is the key...the answers, or at least some of them, swim in imagination and are formed then by hard science, not only hard science. You'd never be stupid...again I say, we must entertain the method or system of encryption even though it goes against our grain...if it's hidden there, in reverie then I will swim.

A cartographer...good idea. The math is right, Bill. Thank-you for passing it on for review.

Did you see the movie Proof? Gwyneth Paltrow's discovery was a surprise and perhaps accidental?


jdege said...

"To Roy, Ken, and all the others who believe they have the keys to the treasure chest, I say, "Show me the money."

The money was swiped, years ago. But Daniel Cole has pictures of where the money used to be:

BreakingCodes said...

Ken: Haven't seen the movie "Proof," but looks like it might be worth checking out. ... Sorry I missed your call yesterday during a long period of hibernation. Maybe we'll finally get a chance to chat today.

jdege: Yeah, I saw that. Bummer.

Ken Bauman said...


I'll plan to call sometime this weekend.

Slamdunk said...

Thanks for leaving the link to this page on my blog---very interesting discussion and I am glad to see that so much effort is still being put into this old treasure hunt.

BreakingCodes said...

Slamdunk: Thanks for stopping by. Here's a link to your Beale post, in case anyone else wants to check it out. Your in-depth coverage of several crime mysteries might also be of interest to some of my visitors, so I'd encourage them to take a little time to look around your blog.

Ken: Thanks for the very cordial phone conversation last night. You're a gentleman and a scholar. The worst thing I can say about you is that you're a dreamer -- and there really isn't a whole lot wrong with that, is there?

Ken Bauman said...


I swim in the pond of reverie...yes, however I see, especially as the result of our conversation, that I must reach out to the scientific world and show how one of several possibilities equates to success and that there is a means to the end. My attempt to bring solid scientific evidence to the table is in the essay The Gold-Bug Latitudinal Discovery. This is a math based proof of what Poe hid in his tale and coincides with the literary steganography in the tales' plain text. Can you link the essay to this blog for everyone to see it? It truly is fascinating.

Thank-you for the nice are quite the gentleman and scholar yourself.


Do join in. I experienced the 8th grade class on the subject of the Beale Papers and this project. They were all ears and lots of questions afterward. It was a wonderful lecture...the school even did a DVD of the event.


Our "iron box" still stands. Maybe it will be valuable to someone someday? I mean to the...offers on the table. Let's stoke up this blog again!


BreakingCodes said...

Ken: I'd be happy to give everyone an opportunity to see your essay, The Gold-Bug Latitudinal Discovery. So here it is.

Ken Bauman said...


BreakingCodes said...

You're welcome, Ken!

Lee said...

Ken, your solution/arguement is so weak - even an amateur like myself can see that. I mean just look at the C2 'solution' of the Beale papers: "I have deposited in the county of Bedford....."
Compared to your "ERE FEN DUE RED KNEE" - well you see my point i'm sure. Please feel free to prove us all wrong by locating the treasure :)

Mr BreakingCodes - I loved your entitled RYVXSTWI?W 'An Idiots guide to breaking codes: how to do it the wrong way', it summed up Kens issues perfectly.

PS I just had my first attempt at the Beale cipher and for a nanosecond thought that i'd cracked it first started off with I HA.... and i thought i've got it! alas it went rapidly downhill from that point onwards! Wishful thinking me thinks!!!

BreakingCodes said...


Welcome to the conversation.

Although I agree with you that Ken's case is weak, I feel the need to step in and stand up for him as a person.

I've taken a few jabs at him, too, but I've found him to be a sincere, determined, friendly person. I'd encourage you to join me in respecting his choice to believe in his theory, even though ours may be quite different.

Ken Bauman said...


Did you happen to get installment number eight?

I do feel that Roy Dallas has cracked the Beale Papers.

He wrote me personally that B1 cipher could hold the encryption ERE FEN DUE RED KNEE in the first 16 numbers. Of course Redknee points to The Gold-Bug, the tarantula, the mansion, etc...

Things seem to be moving on my side of the quoin.

Sorry I've been away Bill, I lost my father on September 3...been a tough time.

Let's get this show on the road.

Incidentally, the very last latitudinal coordinate in The Gold-Bug Latitudinal Discovery should be 42*27'11" instead of 41*13'. If you can make the change, I would appreciate it.

Thank-you and will look forward to hearing from you.


BreakingCodes said...


I'm sure that everyone here joins me in offering condolences for the loss of your father. Mine passed away a few years ago, nine months after being diagnosed with brain cancer, so I know how hard that can be. There's very little that anyone can say in the way of comfort, but know that we're thinking of you and your family during this difficult time.

It's good to have you back.

I've made the correction to the posted Latitudinal Discoveries document that you previously sent.

As for Roy Dallas' theory, you know I'm not a fan of his method. I've seen the first six of his eight installments, but some of them are no longer available. As of this writing, he has replaced Installments 5-8 with the following message:

"The final installment was made available for viewing on 10/10/2009 for approximately one and ½ hours. At that time, I received an email containing an offer from an experienced, well known source. We are now in discussions about a partnership and how his resources could possibly be used to overcome the challenges, enabling us to proceed with the project. If our discussions do not work out, all of the installments, including the final “Locality of the Vault” will be reinstated."

I obviously can't comment on the two parts that I haven't seen, but the other six continue the same methodology that I disagreed with before.

Ken Bauman said...


Thank-you to everyone for your thoughtful condolences; I know first hand about brain cancer as my father passed from the same cancer, Bill.

I feel Roy Dallas' theory is rather complex and not easily understood; however, I'm not ready to consider dismissing it especially since he has an apparently stout supporter now; this can indicate validity of one's methodology. It's certainly OK to disagree on this subject.

There is progress in making our case concerning project Redknee, Bill. The day will come, I suspect, when I can share with this blog some of the details - it's rather sensitive right now and probably should remain under the hat until some future date.

I'm surprised no one has discussed the apparently irrefutable mathematics in The Gold-Bug Latitudinal Discovery essay? Let's talk about this elephant in the drawing room.

Good to be back, Bill. Thanks for welcoming me.

BreakingCodes said...

For any who would like to follow progress on Ken's theory, check out his new blog. You'll find links to several of his papers there, along with excerpts from his books. Also included is the full text of Edgar Allan Poe's The Gold-Bug.

Ken Bauman said...

Thank-you Bill for posting the link to my blog. When I clicked on it I received "Error 404" might be my computer, I don't know. Anyway, here is the blog:

BreakingCodes said...

Oops! I cut and pasted an incorrect bit of HTML code there somehow. I guess that's why I'm more of a cryptanalyst than a cryptographer.

Here's a clickable version of the correct link.

BreakingCodes said...

For fans of Roy Dallas' work (and that doesn't include me, for the record), he's posted the following update at his site:

"All parties have reached an agreement, and on-site signs continue to be positive. The property owner has agreed to underground imaging which will take place as soon as equipment is available and weather permits. The imaging results will determine the next step."

Ron Gervais said...


If it looks like a duck, quacks like a duck, and waddles like a duck, then it must be a duck.

And so it it that The Beale Papers is a dime novel written by John W. Sherman, a prolific dime novelist, employed by Charles W. Button, owner of
the publisher Virginian Book and Job Print, and cousin to James B. Ward who applied for copyright on his behalf.

Recent research into his other novels have revealed many plot similarities. He was a one-story novelist with variations. His first novel, Out With General Crook, published in 1883, already established his technique of blending real historical personalities (General Crook, Indian Chiefs) and events (Indian wars) with fiction. Treasures, fortunes, gold mines, caves and
secret tunnels, letters, codes and secret messages, Indians, inns and tavern keepers appear in every one of them. See details on Page 24 of my website, Beale Ciphers Analyses.

The professional cryptological community, and I have been in touch with many, is ashamed to admit that their ranks have been boondoggled for so long by such a simple trick. Treasure hunters don't want to abandon their dream of striking it rich.

And so the world turns.

BreakingCodes said...


Thanks much for the update. Ever since you and I corresponded some time ago, I'd been eagerly awaiting this new information about the Sherman books.

I encourage everyone to read your excellent Beale Ciphers Analyses (30 pages). It's the most complete study of "the Beale novel" that I have come across.

If memory serves, my impressions of the Beale papers were shaped largely by the documentation in your site, particularly pages 27 and 29, which describe a plausible method by which the ciphers' slightly-less-than-random gibberish may have been produced.

The Beale papers are unique in their broad appeal to treasure hunters, amateur and professional cryptanalysts, kids of all ages, and even debunkers. We can all agree that there is something to learn from this puzzle.

Ken Bauman said...

Hi Bill...

I think the Beale Papers is a treasure map and more than just a dime novel.

Interesting anomoly...

In March of 2009 when I documented my research for The Gold-Bug Latitudinal Discovery, Wikipedia showed the latitude of Mount Pleasant at 39*57'52" North. Now, today, when I call up Mount Pleasant in Wikipedia it shows latitude of 39*59'0" North. I even noticed the same anomoly for the Minuteman statue...there is a slight deviation there too! How odd? Google Mount Pleasant Philadelphia wikipedia to see for yourself. My research in March is firmly documented...not to worry. I'm sure you can see the implications of this small deviation in throws off the conclusion!

There is much happening on my validaton issue...

Are we going to talk about the essay?

Ken Bauman said...

Google: Mount Pleasant mansion philadelpia wikipedia.

BreakingCodes said...


I don't bring any special cartographic experience or orienteering interest to the table, but others are welcome to comment here about your essay.

There's another update at Roy Dallas' site: "Imaging accomplished and results indicate previous large excavation. Images submitted to expert for definitive interpretation."

BreakingCodes said...

Roy Dallas' page has been revised. He begins with this recap:

"The solution to the Beale Ciphers was published on this site in eight installments during the past several weeks. The eighth and final installment, which revealed the specific long/lat coordinates, was only viewable for 1 1/2 hours. At that time, I received a partnership offer from an experienced source -- which I accepted. Updates are posted below as events occur:"

He then lists some highlights from previous updates, along with some new information (below). He has removed the links to his installments.

"11/01/2009: The property owner has agreed to underground imaging, which will take place as soon as equipment is available and weather permits. 11/14/2009: On hold until Virginia flooding subsides... 11/22/2009: Imaging accomplished and results positive. Images submitted to expert for definitive interpretation. 11/30/2009: Images have been confirmed showing multiple targets. Excavation planning is in progress, and additional updates will be published as the project progresses."

It will be interesting to see what those "multiple targets" are. But, for the record, faithful readers, I have not made any revisions to my own belief that the Beale treasure has never existed.

BreakingCodes said...

On Dec. 6, Dallas added an image of those "multiple targets" to his site.

BreakingCodes said...

Dallas has changed "multiple targets" to read "multiple metallic targets."

Ken Bauman said...

How is it possible for the Beale enigma to be without validation when Roy Dallas has located specific items and clues at the exact lat/long coordinates derived specifically from the Beale story contents?

Is there a connection between what Roy has discovered and the suspected cibola at Philadelphia? This issue is still inconclusive.

Professional archaeology is on board with the effort at Philadelphia. For clue to the cibola, check out the symbol created in 1782 to see how the founding fathers hid clue to what the nation is built upon...

See the US Great Seal (Reverse).

Progress is rapid...we'll know soon.

Anonymous said...

Joking aside!

Faustino said...

Iso I read through every post on this page.. I must apologize though I have not yet taken the time to visit any of the external links. I just very recently stumbled upon this while discussing the Zodiac ciphers with coworkers. I've never attempt to break any kind of codes and fully disclose that I'm an absolute novice, at best. I do, however, have interest in the topic and was curious if anyone had more updates to post. Has it been found? Did it ever really exist? What happened with Ken's supposed solution(which I personally have found very interesting. Although not entirely convinced, I wouldn't discount it entirely either). Or this "Roy Dallas" that I'd never heard of before reading this page.. I also have not yet googled him. Anyway, is there any new information?

Ken Bauman said...

Hello Faustino...

You wrote:

Faustino said...

Iso I read through every post on this page.. I must apologize though I have not yet taken the time to visit any of the external links. I just very recently stumbled upon this while discussing the Zodiac ciphers with coworkers. I've never attempt to break any kind of codes and fully disclose that I'm an absolute novice, at best. I do, however, have interest in the topic and was curious if anyone had more updates to post. Has it been found? Did it ever really exist? What happened with Ken's supposed solution(which I personally have found very interesting. Although not entirely convinced, I wouldn't discount it entirely either). Or this "Roy Dallas" that I'd never heard of before reading this page.. I also have not yet googled him. Anyway, is there any new information?
September 8, 2010 1:52 PM

There is suspected a Concord, MA treasure, a Philadelphia cibola that consists of two locations in Philly, and Confederate States of America cache hidden in Virginia. There is no gold or silver hidden in 1819 or 1821 as specifically outlined in the Beale Papers. The treasures cited above have not been found yet...the time is near, however, to know of their existence or not. See ...Roy Dallas is close! I work closely with Roy Dallas and Ron Gervais on very recent discoveries as to the author(s) of the Beale Papers...we think we have the knowledge to support the physical search of the treasures. The Beale Papers is home for a cipher game that hides information to locate Virginia and Philadelphia treasures...the essay Bill has so kindly linked above ("Gold-Bug Latitudinal Discovery") links Philadelphia treasure to Concord via Poe. Faustino...thanks for finding interesting my theory...stick with it and I think you'll be rewarded. If gold does not exist where I think it is...this investigation shuts down. Bill...are you interested in becoming involved in our think tank?


Ken Bauman said...


This should get you to the essay: "The Gold-Bug Latitudinal Discovery".

See Bill's post at October 15, 2009.


Anonymous said...

I am writing as the sole man {for a few years} in the field in virginia on a project of roy dallas {bealekey}..i can attest to the FACT that his research is correct...the beale codes {at least a part of} date to after the civil war, as roy dallas has found and proven without a doubt {although possibly still under wraps till the game is played to the end} that the codes for the most part could only have been written after a certain date, which is well after 1820, or 1862..I can also say that after centering on a "in the ballpark" location, i was given several sets of coordinates, at which, roy dallas was certain *something* would be the first coordinate a single rock was buried, {in an area completely devoid of rocks}..this rock was shaped by nature and hand to resemble something, and had engravings/carvings all over was oriented to be pointing in a distinct direction, and along that line, at an exact measurement as taken from the codes by roy dallas, was found again, several buried clues and another pointer, which, when a third location was derived from the codes by dallas, was on a direct line with a third burial, which again was several more clues, one of which was another rock, again shaped both by nature and man, this one showing of the danger below, which could have proven quite deadly if you were not prepared for it..
these locations are but 3..dallas found reference to several other sites which were used by us early on to pinpoint exact each of these sites were found clues of one type or another which all worked toward a common area...there is no way possible that these things could be something else and accidently found and/or interpreted as clues..and each of them, at least the buried ones, had been in the ground a very long time...i would suggest that anyone studying the beale codes closely follow roy dallas' website..the info may look questionable but once we end the game, i am sure he will release the key, which will put everything into prespective for many people....i can not say more due to a word and a handshake....
also there are many that think ken bauman's research is unexciting to say the least..i personally have looked over a certain small part of it and can also attest that ken has found something..i can not say exactly what or how i know, but he has i am certain...ken has honored my request to keep quiet concerning the *how* and i am honoring his request as to the what....ken you know me..i am not posting my name here due to confidentiality issues but you know me...keep up the work...

Anonymous said...

one other thing..i personally think the ciphers/codes relate at the least, to 3 seperate and distinct treasures, just in case anyone cares for an opinion......


Now ive found the letter which was never sent to Mr Morris because its been in our possesion all the time,i can prove there are messages in the Beale Treasure Codes,and the proof is in my book BEALE TREASURE CIPHER SUCCESS,ByFASTPRINT PETERBOROUGH ENG Stan Clayton

Anonymous said...

Concerning Ken's research...

Better check out the new movie:

"Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close".

Object > Miracle.

Something's happening here.

February 16, 2012 "Annonymous" - right on!

Write me at

Cat Darensbourg said...

Hello everyone -- I sent in my observations to "Breaking Codes"about Cipher I and II having references to troop movements during the Civil War. This is not to say everyone else is wrong -- as I explain there are most likely several codes piggy-backed onto each other. If anyone is interested in what I discovered at this point, drop me a line. Perhaps in my novice work I have a last tidbit of what you have been looking for.

Anonymous said...

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