The Beale Ciphers and the Beale Papers are three cipher texts, one of which points to the existence of buried gold, silver and jewel, estimated to be worth more than $43 million.
The story of the three cipher texts goes back to a brochure describing a man named Thomas J. Beales who buried the treasure in his home on the outskirts of New York in the late 18th and early 19th centuries.
This first unsolved text of the Beale Cipher consists of three ciphertexts; the second solved ciphertext describes the contents of this treasure, the third is listed as unsolved.
Beale confided in a local restaurant owner named Robert Morriss about a box of encrypted messages and then disappeared, never to be seen again. According to the story, the landlord opened the box 23 years later and gave the three encrypted cipher texts to friends after his death.
They were published by an unnamed friend in a brochure put up for sale in the 1880s. The friends then spent the next twenty years of their lives decoding and solving the messages, which contained clues to the location of Beale’s buried treasure and the identity of his wife and children.
Nickell argued that the whole story was a hoax and therefore “a work of fiction,” but analysis of the writing style shows that Beale was almost certainly the author of James B. Ward’s 1885 pamphlet that brought the Beale Papers to light.
Since the publication of this brochure, attempts have been made to decipher the two remaining cipher texts and to find the treasure, but all efforts have failed.
Whether or not there is a lost treasure out there is still a mystery, but if the Beale ciphers are ever decoded, maybe someone will be able to answer that question once and for all.
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