Talk:Beale ciphers

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Interesting reference to this article[edit]

I just finished listening to the audiobook of Simple Genius by David Baldacci... and in an authors note at the end he specifically mentions this Wikipedia article as a reference for the Beale cipher. Worth a mention? PageantUpdater 10:28, 11 July 2007 (UTC)

I too have just read David Baldacci book with similar Interest and note here and there everyone talks of the key document and seeks another documant for the other two cyphers, but where did Beale or anyone suggest there are other key books? It occurs to me that the simple knowing the first letter of the numbered word gives the 2nd cypher meaning, and he never gave the other cypers a key. So common sense says to me it is the same key document just a different lerrer order. Has anyone tried deciphering using the last or second 3rd etc letters of that same document to give meanings that can be used? -- (talk) 01:43, 1 May 2009 (UTC)

Something that annoys me[edit]

"Others have also questioned why Beale would have bothered writing three different ciphertexts (with at least two keys, if not ciphers) for what is essentially a single message in the first place.[5]"

The reason is obvious, he would have wanted to have compartmentalised security so that cracking one code does not give an attacker all of the cyphertext at once. I'm not saying that it's a hoax or not, just saying that this is a silly reason that it might be a hoax. (talk) 05:27, 25 September 2010 (UTC)

If you care enough to make sure the next of kin get their shares to the extent that you encrypt their alleged names, why then separately encrypt the location of the treasure so that some stranger could just crack that and keep all the money themselves? And why not have notified the next of kin that, hey, we buried this treasure in Virginia somewhere and if someone else finds it and claims it's his, you have this proof that it's yours?

Of course, just because it's the logical thing to do doesn't mean it's what someone would do ... in fact, given that all the cryptanalysis has suggested Beale, assuming he existed and wrote the plaintext, was rather an amateur, it would follow that he took a self-outsmarting amateurish approach to security as a whole. Hmm ... Daniel Case (talk) 16:31, 19 July 2011 (UTC)

  This sounds just like what we (well, my grandfather) called a "pirate's code". There are 3 coded texts, the Will, and several texts used to decode the ciphers. The Will basically is a plain text letter given to 1 or 2 people to be used to locate the ciphers as well as a clue to how to decode the first cipher (the Preamble). In the event that the giver dies, the people who have the Will shall retrieve the ciphers and decode the first cipher using the text that the clue refers to (the clue is usually something memorable like "The song we all sang together on the night your brother first went to sea" and each person who has the Will will know what song is being referred to). The first cipher will lay out what is to be distributed to those who will receive a portion, it is to be shown to all the people listed in the second cipher. The second cipher is decoded using the Will with the words usually intermixed with the key referenced in the clue (first word text 1 followed by first word text 2, followed by second word text 1, and so on). Each person listed in cipher two is to be shown the decoded first cipher. Once shown that (so that everyone knows what is to be divvied), each person contributes an individualized written letter or a memorized phrase that was given to them by the creator of the ciphers which is then used (in order listed in cipher two) to decode cipher three which gives the location of the goods to be divided among all recipients.
  The reason for the convoluted nature is to make sure that each person who is to receive something is present to receive their portion (no one person can run off with everything without everyone else knowing about it). It was mainly used by some US Southern families who did not trust banks nor lawyers (nor individuals in the family) to divvy up an inheritance.
  This Beale Cipher sounds like it may have been constructed the same way (even though the numbering of each cipher seems to be different, cipher 2 should be 1, 3 should be 2, and 1 should be 3). If that is the case, nobody will be able to decode BC #1 without decoding #3 and getting all the texts or phrases that were in the possession of the people listed in it. And nobody will be able to decode BC #3 without having the original Will-letter.
al-Shimoni (talk) 22:36, 2 December 2014 (UTC)

The exact method to decipher Beale paper no.2[edit]

Beale used a version of 'Declaration of Indepedence' different from the original. To extract the hidden message, the following 5 modifications must be applied to the original DOI text:

  • 1. after word 154 ('institute') and before word 157 ('laying') one word must be added (probably "a")
  • 2. after word 240 ('invariably') and before word 246 ('design') one word must be removed
  • 3. after word 467 ('houses') and before word 495 ('be') ten(!) words must be removed
  • 4. after word 630 ('eat') and before word 654 ('to') one word must be removed
  • 5. after word 677 ('foreign') and before word 819 ('valuable') one word must be removed


  • The first letter of the 811th word of the modified text ('fundamentally') is always used by Beale as a 'y'
  • The first letter of the 1005th word of the modified text ('have') is always used by Beale as a 'x'

Finally, in the decoded text there are 4 errors, probably due to wrong transcription of the original paper:

  • 1st error ---> ... 84(should be 85) 63 43 131 29 ... ---> consistcd ('consisted')
  • 2nd error ---> ... 53(should be 54) 20 125 371 38 ... ---> rhousand ('thousand')
  • 3rd error ---> ... 84(should be 85) 575 1005 150 200 ... ---> thc ('the')
  • 4th error ---> ... 96(should be 95) 405 41 600 136 ... ---> varlt ('vault')

After these modifications, I successfully decoded the exact text. ;-)

Mirko —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 10:51, 4 January 2008 (UTC)

I would suggest that Beale didn't actually use a different version of the DOI, but rather misnumbered the words when encoding the cipher. He probably numbered two consecutive words with the same number, or skipped a number, or in the case of #3, skipped 10 numbers (467, 468, 469, 480, 481 ....). Web1X (talk) 04:00, 28 March 2011 (UTC)

Another likely explanation that fits the evidence for the "10 words that must be removed" is if he had lost count and accidentally started back at 480 after 489, rather than going to 490; that is, if the numbers go "480 481 482 483 484 485 486 487 488 489 480 481 482 483 484 485 486 487 488 489 490" — Preceding unsigned comment added by 2605:A601:657:8901:6C90:5314:4B71:426B (talk) 04:48, 8 July 2015 (UTC)

Removed a spurious reference to a fictitious "Dr White"[edit]

Someone - probably someone to do with the recently released (2010) short film "The Thomas Beale Cipher" - had inserted a reference to a non-existent "Dr White" in the "Truth or Hoax?" section here (which I removed). While I wish them every luck with their film, I don't think that subtly vandalizing a Wikipedia page is the best way to achieve wider public awareness of their work. Perhaps go and do some interviews instead? Nickpelling (talk) 18:11, 1 July 2010 (UTC)

Has Anyone seen This?[edit]

There is a site ( claiming to have actually solved this cypher and to have posted pictures of the Beale vault. Is there any way to verify this? Toddcarnes (talk) 05:15, 5 February 2011 (UTC)

Anyone can take a picture like that and write a webpage up. Believe me (or, should I say, Beale-ieve me?) if someone solves B1 and finds the treasure, or where it might have been, it will be reported in the the usual places.

Till then, it's just one of the "solutions" people have claimed to have found for years. Daniel Case (talk) 16:22, 19 July 2011 (UTC).

I too was skeptical so I followed up on the reference. The site says that the vault was already open and presumably the contents were already removed. A latitude and longitude are given (+37.3510, -79.6892), and when plugged into Google Maps (copy/paste the numbers given here, as they are, into the search box), a location in Virginia is pulled up: 4096-4194 Quarterwood Rd, Thaxton, VA 24174 168 ft NW. There is a street view but not close enough to the location to be able to view anything.
Three images are provided on the website showing the claimed decryption of Beale Cipher 3 by one Daniel Cole, and the plain text. The last page of the worksheet has the embossed mark of a notary public, one Harry J Federle, state of Ohio, an expiration date of his commission October 5, 1993 (the last digit is blurred but I think it's a 3), and Harry's signature but no date. I researched the name Harry J Federle and found an entry that matches the name but not the claimed location (it's Michigan). A Harry Federle (no J) is listed with a Social Security number that apparently indicates Ohio: 290-24-1810. Both are deceased - one in 2002, one in 2005. Convenient. The source page is Another Harry Federle (Ohio) was deceased in 1970 and so is not a candidate IMHO.
That's as far as I have time to go for now.AncientBrit (talk) 02:29, 3 February 2013 (UTC)
I researched further by taking the decryption of the third paper that is published on the site and creating a simple worksheet of numbers as used in the document and the letters associated with each number. There is considerable inconsistency. One would expect each unique number to be associated with a letter (so for example the number 18 should always be associated with the same letter, but a given letter may be associated with various numbers) and that is not the case.
When a tagsort of numbers with letters is performed, so that the numbers are sorted in ascending order and all letters associated with each number are sorted in ascending order, within the first 100 letters examined there are up to six letters associated with the same number. For example, the number 18 is variously associated with the letters A, D, E, K, R and T.
Barring occasional errors, only one letter should be associated with number 18. Based on this serious discrepancy, I conclude that the site is a hoax. However, that does not mean that the Beale Cipher is a hoax. AncientBrit (talk) 23:38, 5 February 2013 (UTC)

Possible Beale cipher 1 solution[edit]

If you assume that it is a hoax then there must be a "joke" somewhere in it. I took Jim Gillogly's decipherment of cypher one where he used the Declaration of Independence. there are 26 x 20 letters and at 26 x 7 =182 or 183 =1 ="A" P N R B A B F D E F G H I I J K L M M N O Then subtract the alphabet in order starting with P-A =16-1=15 etc. you will get 15, 12, 15, 2, 4, 4, 1, 4, 4, 4, 4, 4, 4, 5, 5, 5, 5, 5, 6, 6, 6. On a 26x26 alphabet square; G intersect G = M M-A= 12 O intersect O =c C-A =2 L intersect L = W W +4=A D intersect D = G G-A =6 With this code you only get even numbers so, odd numbers are "null" This would spell "Gollllllllddd. You can argue about the plus 4 equals L but I think it works. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Mark stahley (talkcontribs) 19:10, 3 May 2011 (UTC)

Error Noted[edit]

Not sure who should be told about this, so I'm placing the info here. One of the three images of the Beale Ciphers embedded in the article has at least one error.

Image 2, line 18 at the end, the last digit (2) does not have a comma following, and so anyone (such as me) attempting to replicate the decryption will obtain a value that is wrong (2270, the result of 2 being concatenated with the next value, 270) when copy/pasting the values into a spreadsheet. AncientBrit (talk) 01:01, 3 February 2013 (UTC)

"If you assume that it is a hoax then there must be a "joke" somewhere in it." I know I laughed out loud when I read about it in Singh. I think the clue is in the "price fifty cents". And I think a useful bit of research would be to find out how many copies the author sold. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 22:47, 20 February 2013 (UTC)

Where does the middle name of Beale come from?[edit]

It is not in the s:en:Beale Papers.--Inspector (talk) 03:24, 21 February 2013 (UTC)

gold value (silver too)[edit]

gold is valued in the article at $63m ... $63m = $63,000 ... I think you mean $63MM, $63,000,000

same issue with the silver, etc. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 15:13, 24 October 2013 (UTC)

Website with extensive evidence about Thomas J Beale and the Beale Ciphers[edit]

I came across this website that makes a pretty strong case for Thomas J Beale and the Beale Ciphers being true. The website also talks about why the ciphers didn't need to be decoded.

Qewr4231 (talk) 18:33, 6 March 2015 (UTC)

Latest Developments and Discoveries sources?[edit]

This seems to be a long, rambling account of one particular person/group's activities with no sources at all. Does it belong on the page? If so, can someone please provide sources and citations? (talk) 10:21, 3 April 2015 (UTC)

I agree, it looks as though it's been lifted from a text (talk) 21:09, 3 April 2015 (UTC)

I am the codebreaker and individual responsible for the discovery. I am new here, please help let me know if I have made any mistakes in coding if you can assist. Otherwise my talk handle is GLDNONE (talk) 18:31, 5 April 2015 (UTC)

@GLDNONE: Welcome to Wikipedia. There are a few issues with the material you've added. The most critical is that it lacks citations to reliable sources. These are necessary for any sort of contentious information. Secondly, it's strongly discouraged to add information about yourself. If you are making an announcement about a discovery you've made, it would be best to do so through other media. Then references could be made here to neutral, third-party sources such as newspapers and peer-reviewed journals.
I am removing this section for now, until suitable citations are added.
Another, minor point is that it's only necessary to sign Talk page entries with four tildes. Signatures should not be added to the body of articles. Nick Number (talk) 22:37, 5 April 2015 (UTC)

Not to act smart, but if nobody knows to reference my work, and I am the first to discover these facts, and comprise them using my own due dilligence, who am I supposed to reference? You can see the dilema seeing as I am the only known reference to search for this information online at this time....just the fact of why I included my name. do I upload graphics to clarify the information at hand? (talk) 02:50, 6 April 2015 (UTC)

What you are asking about is original research. Put simply, Wikipedia articles should not contain original research. You should take your discovery to another venue, such as a newspaper, magazine, or academic journal. Once a neutral reliable source has published the story, that could then be referenced here. Nick Number (talk) 03:44, 6 April 2015 (UTC)
Gotcha all the other guys cracking codes and posting their theories, those aren't their own code breaks?....seriously thought the talk pages were for this type of post and discuss your DIY stuff, and that those rules about original materials are for the MAIN WIKI's only...... — Preceding unsigned comment added by 2601:6:2980:7C00:B9E3:5A4C:E14:CE74 (talk) 23:54, 8 April 2015 (UTC)
I'm taking the liberty of moving your last comment to the bottom of the thread, for ease of reading in sequence.
That aside, I'm not sure I follow what you're saying. From the first paragraph of Wikipedia's talk page guidelines:

The purpose of a Wikipedia talk page (accessible via the talk or discussion tab) is to provide space for editors to discuss changes to its associated article or project page. Article talk pages should not be used by editors as platforms for their personal views on a subject.

My comment regarding original research was referring to the addition of unsourced material to the Latest Discoveries and Developments in Solving the Riddle section. As you (assuming I am still conversing with GLDNONE) mentioned that this material is based upon original research, it should not be added to any articles. It also does not belong on the Talk page, any more than is necessary to discuss its addition to the article. Nick Number (talk) 01:57, 9 April 2015 (UTC)

Here is the Link to the new website created for this affair to be discussed, including work on the ciphers and mapping. Please stop editing my information if I am posting links and other sources for the purpose of getting the addition of these facts and related information out to the board. We have numerous finds that are pertinent and should be granted the ability to present them here if within the rules. Please see that I am trying to work with Wiki rules and have never used this forum. I believe the information to be involved in the plots. If you would like to comment here I would be happy to cite references as well from my work to have a more intellectual meeting on the grounds of solving the Beale. To be honest there are some theories here that are completely off-base, and should also be edited for clarity. I should not be the focus of arguments to erase my work each time, while leaving completely erroneous statements linked above, that clariify little, if any information posted from the Beale. They do exactly the opposite. I hope you will actually read the information in full through the links posted. There are numerous people who can benefit from this info, and instead of erasing my work, try assisting me as I previously asked?GLDNONE (talk) 22:01, 11 April 2015 (UTC)

This is still original research, and linking to a self-published source does not help. As I stated earlier, you should take your discovery to another venue, such as a newspaper, magazine, or academic journal. Wikipedia is not the place to publish new discoveries. Nick Number (talk) 22:53, 11 April 2015 (UTC)

Authorship of the Beale Papers[edit]

See — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 01:44, 8 March 2016 (UTC)