If you like mysteries and treasure hunting, then you have heard of the Beale Papers. I spent a good 6 or 7 months combing through trying to decipher #1, the locality of the vault. (image from rationalwiki.com)
Here’s the story behind the famous Beale Papers.
Thomas Beale supposedly buried a treasure in the Virginia Hills in 1819 and 1821. Beale drafted three encrypted ciphers of “numbers” that reportedly gave the directions to the vault where the treasure was buried, who was involved, and what was buried. These ciphers were given to Mr. Robert Morriss for safe keeping in 1822. Once an unspecified time went by, a “key” to the ciphers would be given to decode the ciphers. But the key never arrived nor was there ever any communication with Mr. Beale again. Mr. Morriss forgot about the box that contained the papers until 1845, in which he finally opened the box. And eventually the papers were found and were published in 1885, by J.B. Ward.
Now, cipher #2 has been decoded. Using the Declaration of Independence (since it is the only known document where the words were numbered) taking the numbers from the cipher and matching the number to the words in the declaration, then taking the first letter of the word that is that number. So for instance, the word “unalienable” is number #95. So if you find the number 95 in the cipher, then 95 represents the first letter of “unalienable” which is “u”. Get it. It’s a simple cipher code.
Anyway, the translation of the #2 cipher and I quote is:
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 partied whose names are given in number “3”, herewith:
The first deposit consisted of one thousand and fourteen pounds of gold, and three thousand eight hundred and twelve pounds of silver, deposited November, 1819. The second was made December, 1821, and consisted of nineteen hundred and seven pounds of gold, and twelve hundred and eighty-eight pounds of silver; also jewels, obtained in St. Louis in exchange for silver to save transportation, and valued at $13,000.
The above is securely packed in iron pots, with iron covers. The vault is roughly lines with stone, and the vessels rest on solid stone, and are covered with others. Paper number “1” describes the exact locality of the vault so that no difficulty will be had in finding it.
So there you have it. The famous treasure. The last letter from Mr. Beale to Morriss was on May 9, 1822 in which he states that the “key” was left with a friend and was addressed to Mr. Morriss and to be delivered to him in June 1832. The letter also hints that Mr. Beale and his associates were engaged in “perilous enterprises” and was a “game they will play to the end”. (image below of solved #2 cipher from library.thinkquest.com)
Mr. Morriss waited until 1845 before finally opening the box, for he expected to see Mr. Beale again. But he never did. He never could decipher the “numbers” after trying and trying. Not until 1862, that he trusted someone enough to reveal the secret about the box.
In a letter dated January 1822, Mr. Beale explains where he and his associates found the treasures. About 300 miles north of Santa Fe, in a small ravine, they discovered a cleft in the rocks and saw gold. They worked for 18 months to dig this gold and silver out. They put it in common receptacles and agreed that each had an equal share of the treasure. They even got some Indians to help with the labor. The men decided to transport the treasure to Virginia, in a cave near Buford’s tavern. They also agreed that Mr. Beale would pick a person to carry out the provisions of the group to their relatives, in case of any accident to them. So Mr. Morriss was picked. Now he knows why he was given this task and the box.
Mr. Morriss was to divide the treasure in 31 equal parts, with one part for him, and distributed to the names given in the #3 cipher.
So that’s it. That’s the story. Has anyone ever decoded the other ciphers? Well, some claim that they have, and even claim that they found the spot where the treasure was hidden. But the spot was empty of treasure of course and they did not provide the public with how they decoded the cipher. So the answer is really no, no one has decoded the other two cryptograms. (image right of cipher #3 from akorra.com)
Most people think the other two ciphers are hoaxes. Especially due to the fact that a few words in the published version and some of the letters to Mr. Beale weren’t in use until after the 1840’s, making the letters written much later than claimed. And why would you write 3 ciphers and have more than one key to solving them? Only the Declaration of Independence is a key for only one cipher and not the others. And cryptologists have long analyzed the other two ciphers to no avail. So it seems that they must be hoaxes and just a lot of hogwash. And the third cipher is quite short, and it’s suppose to list all 30 members with their relatives and residences. I don’t think so, it’s too short.
But it is a mystery and we all love a good mystery. I spent way too much time on this one, along with the Zodiac ciphers. It is easy to get obsessed with these cryptograms and go crazy. But you just have to stop and say “okay, I’m done with this” and put it aside and live life. Go on. There will always be mysteries.
(image of the pamphlet from 1885 from abebooks.com)
View the Source Article> Here
View the Wikipedia page on The Beale Papers Here