The Beal Ciphers
More than a hundred years ago, a small pamphlet was published titled “The Beale Papers,” which contained three cipher texts. The mysterious codes supposedly gave directions to a treasure buried in a secret location in Bedford County, Virginia in the 1820s.
According to the story in that pamphlet a man by the name of Thomas J. Beale and 30 other men came across treasure in a mine located to the north of Santa Fe.They transported the treasure to Bedford County, and buried it in a secure location. Beale then wrote three encoded letters: one giving the exact location of the treasure, a second giving its detailed description, and a third giving the names and contact information of the 30 partners. He placed them in an iron box and gave them to a trusted friend (he was instructed to only open the box if Beal and his friends were unable to return from a journey they had set out on) —the local innkeeper named Robert Morriss —before disappearing, never to be seen again.
2 out of the 3 ciphers remain un-cracked to this day. Morriss tried to decode the ciphers but was unsuccessful so he passed it onto a friend (un-named) who spent years working on them. He was only able to decode one of them using The Declaration of Independence as a key. The decoded cipher read:
“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.”
2 of the ciphers remain un-cracked.They have been published as “The Beal Papers” so anyone who wants can try to decode them. While some will never be swayed in their resolve to find the treasure, some experts consider the Beale ciphers to be an elaborate hoax.