The History and Mathematics of Codes and Code Breaking

Why are People Still Trying to Solve the Beale Ciphers?

The first, most obvious answer to this question is that people are still attempt the Beale ciphers for the possible monetary gain. 20 million dollars is a lot of money, and solving the ciphers would be a relatively low effort way of acquiring all that money and getting rich. When I say relatively low effort, I mean that it doesn’t require years of schooling, starting a business, or somehow becoming wealthy in the way the average millionaire does. In a sense, solving the Beale ciphers is like winning the lottery, except that it actually requires skill.

The Beale ciphers appeal to people because they believe that they don’t have to do too much to solve it, and that if they somehow did, the benefits would be worth it. I think that as people continue to try the ciphers and rule out certain ideas, it makes newcomers confident that they’ll be able to figure out a new possibility. Hypothetically, if everyone on the planet were able to try a method to solve this multiple times a day, It would slowly be narrowed down until somebody figured it out. This could take many years, but it would still be solved eventually. This group effort is a possibility for why people still want to try it. In addition, someone could just use the second letter for clues, and find the treasure without actually solving the rest of the cipher, which takes out the intellectual effort and really makes it like winning the lottery. All they would have to do is dig up a whole bunch of holes 4 miles from Buford, and eventually, they may find it.

The last reason why it might still be appealing is that its just fun to try. A lot of people love solving puzzles and stuff like that, and this isn’t all that different fro Harajuku Madness from Little Brother. It’s the same kind of thing that draws people to things like Cicada and Geocaching and other things like that. Also, who wouldn’t want to be the person known for solving a 200 year old cipher and getting 20 million dollars?


The Appeal of an Unbreakable Cipher


What raised the popularity of ciphers among the public


  1. albert mistrall

    what should you do if you think you have solved it?

  2. albert mistrall

    the reason i ask, is that i have attempted to decode it, and my 1st line of the text reads, shalnotfindonpiagesone, shal not find on pages one. which is why i think i may be onto something.

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