A video clip of US rock band Linkin Park shows a wall with an encrypted inscription. Can a reader decipher it?
Earlier this week Chester Bennington died. I have to admit that I neither knew him nor his band Linkin Park. As it seems, I was born in the wrong generation to listen to this kind of music.
However, the many obituaries I saw in the press made me curious. I decided to watch a few Linkin Park video clips on YouTube. The second one I tried was titled In The End:
I stopped this video after a few seconds because I saw something I really hadn’t expected – a wall with a strange inscription:
There’s no doubt that this is a text encrypted with a pigpen cipher (or an imitation thereof).
The pigpen cipher
The pigpen cipher (also known as Freemason’s cipher, because it was popular among the Freemasons) is known in several variants. Usually, the cipher alphabet is derived from four tables in the following way:
Using this scheme, the cleartext X MARKS THE SPOT is encrypted as follows:
Sometimes a randomized order of the letters in the four tables is used to make the system more secure. In addition, there are pigpen variants based on only three tables (i.e., the STUV part and the WXYZ part in the figure above are replaced by another 3×3 table with two dots in each field).
The Linkin Park cryptogram
Hiding a message in a video/movie/telecast to create publicity is not necessarily a new idea. Here are a few examples (does a reader know more?):
- The Fair Game code
- The Twin Peaks code
- In the TV series Breaking Bad a character sequence can be seen that might represent a code.
- Walt Disney’s The Lion King contains a scene that shows the word SEX or SFX formed by stars in the sky.
Although the cryptogram in the Linkin Park video clip is clearly visible, there seems to be not much information available about it. When I typed in terms like “Linkin Park cipher” or “Linkin Park pigpen” on Google I didn’t find anything.
If the message in the video is really a pigpen cryptogram it should be possible to solve it. Can a reader do so?
Further reading: How FBI codebreakers found out what “K1, P2, CO8, K5, P2” means