Posts Tagged With: Bedford county

Beale ciphers…The Beale Letters….lost gold


The Beale ciphers are a set of three ciphertexts, one of which allegedly states the location of a buried treasure of gold, silver and jewels estimated to be worth over USD$63 million as of September 2011. The other two ciphertexts allegedly describe the content of the treasure, and list the names of the treasure’s owners’ next of kin, respectively. The story of the three ciphertexts originates from an 1885 pamphlet detailing treasure being buried by a man named Thomas Jefferson Beale in a secret location in Bedford County, Virginia, in 1820. Beale entrusted the box containing the encrypted messages with a local innkeeper named Robert Morriss and then disappeared, never to be seen again. The innkeeper gave the three encrypted ciphertexts to a friend before he died. The friend then spent the next twenty years of his life trying to decode the messages, and was able to solve only one of them which gave details of the treasure buried and the general location of the treasure. He published all three ciphertexts in a pamphlet, although most of the originals were destroyed in a warehouse fire.
Since the publication of the pamphlet, a number of attempts have been made to decode the two remaining ciphertexts and to locate the treasure, but all efforts have resulted in failure.
The deciphered message..Message #2…
I have deposited in the county of Bedford, about four miles from Buford’s, 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 for silver to save transportation, and valued at thirteen thousand dollars. The above is securely packed in iron pots, with iron covers. The vault is roughly lined with stone, and the vessels rest on solid stone, and are covered with others. Paper number one describes the exact locality of the vault, so that no difficulty will be had in finding it.
The second cipher can be decrypted fairly easily using any copy of the United States Declaration of Independence, but some editing for spelling is necessary. To decrypt it, one finds the word corresponding to the number (e.g., the first number is 115, and the 115th word in the Declaration of Independence is “instituted”), and takes the first letter of that word (in the case of the example, “I”). Note that this method of encryption is slightly different from a standard book cipher.

Message #1
Beale_1.svg
Message #2..Decrypted 
Beale_2.svg
Message #3
656px-Beale_3.svg

Categories: Civil War, Lost Treasure, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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