Blog reader Dominique Eggerstedt has found a bottle post in a canal in Northern Germany. It contains some text parts that look encrypted. Can a reader solve this mystery?
Bottle posts containing encrypted messages are very rare. Until recently, I only knew about two cases: a Civil War bottle post from the 19th century and a Russian bottle post (“Kaliningrad’s second mystery”).
A message found in a canal
Blog reader Dominique Eggerstedt has now added a third case to this collection. Three weeks ago, when standup paddling on the Isebekkanal (a canal in Hamburg flowing into the Alster), she found a small liquor bottle containing a sheet steming from a cigar box as well as a photo copy of this sheet. The following picture shows this finding (note that the photo copy was included in the bottle, it was not made by the finder):
As can be seen, a message is written on the rear side of the sheet. Here’s the message in detail:
Here’s a second picture of the message Dominique provided me (click on it for a higher resolution):
There’s also a short text on the front side of the sheet:
What does it mean?
Dominique provided me the following transcription:
E X T R
2 A 6 6ELRRNTI 6EBILDRTI ANS6RBILDRT,
E E [upside down] E!
KÖRPRRNOSWLICH WSON ERTÜCHTIGT;E! [circle with a point]
ZEHEN-I]YNI]YWÄRW MÄDCHEN! <IDM,
VOEPSTR DHZAKRSEWSKi, AHRS7APKRS7
VRRAU6TTTT: DH dh DR dr Oo.ZZAKRSITW5u!
TNT [circled] 6ESCHIRR! ThZIW STÜRMRRIN
<DHMKTAHAZ > STÜRMRRIW IW TuZIN!
2036 ca 1956201560 DHAHRS7APKRS7KZerM6T DHZ
200156 n A
This cryptogram contains German words, like MÄDCHEN and UHR. Some words are misspelled. Most of the letter sequences don’t make sense to me at all.
Does a reader know what all this is about? Does the message have a sense? Can it be decrypted? Why was a copy of the cigar box included in the bottle? Any comment is appreciated.
Further reading: An encrypted notebook that waits to be solved