Eight words and a question mark. That’s the content of an old encrypted postcard from New York City. Can a reader decipher it?

Do you know Tobias Schrödel? Tobias is not only a professional comedy hacker, book author, blogger, and TV expert, but also a crypto bibliographer and collector of encrypted postcards.


Most of all, Tobias is a friend of mine. And he has provided me lots of interesting input for this blog. For instance, earlier this week, he sent me scans of an encrypted postcard. Here’s the address side:


Apparently, the recipient was a Miss Emily Thomas, living in 438 East 35th Street in New Nork City. Today, this place is located next to the NYU Medical Center in Manhattan …


… and in the neighborhood of both the United Nations Headquarters and the Empire State Building.

Here’s the picture side of the card with the encrypted text:


The picture shows the Battery Park, a famous public park located at the southern tip of Manhattan, …


… close to the World Trade Center and James Lacey’s encrypted gravestone.

The postcard is not dated. However, I found a card with the same motive written in 1906. The card in question here might have been sent at about the same time. My guess is that the sender was the spouse of the recipient and that the cleartext is a love message (readers of this blog will know that most encrypted postcards were written by young men to their loved ones).

The ciphertext is very short and therefore not easy to analyse. Can a reader decipher it anyway?

Further reading: Who can solve these pigpen postcards?

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Kommentare (6)

  1. #1 Paradiselost
    9. März 2018

    Do you think you could find this on ACE?
    (just shift any letter minus 1)

  2. #2 David Allen Wilson
    9. März 2018

    zpv uijol zpv dpvme gjoe

    Caesar shift:

    you think you could find

  3. #3 Rich SantaColoma
    9. März 2018

    David A.W.: That looks pretty good. How about, for the last two words “this place”?

    So, “D.O.- You think you could find this place?”

  4. #4 David Allen Wilson
    9. März 2018

    Ah, yes, “Do you think you could find this place?”

    I don’t know why there are periods (.) between the letters E.P. It seems unnecessary.

  5. #5 Rich SantaColoma
    9. März 2018

    David! I’m such a dope. Of course it is “Do…”, and not “D.O.”. I missed the obvious there… not initials, simply “do”.

    Anyway, if your solution is correct, and I think you are… I had tried many other three letter words, and “you” just works, while others simply don’t… then I suppose, or imagine, or guess… the gentleman who sent this wanted to meet Emily in Battery Park.

    Wonder how it worked out?

  6. #6 Rich SantaColoma
    9. März 2018

    Out of curiosity, I tried to look up a “Miss Emily Thomas” at this address. That address is in Census Ward 21:


    The only Emily Thomas I could find in this Ward was married… so I looked back at the postcard above, and I think it does say “Mrs.”, not “Miss”. In any case, the census E.T. was 56 years old in 1910. Since this is the only Emily Thomas I could find in that Ward, I would think it could be her.

    Do we know the year of the post card? Since she does not appear at that address in the 1900 census or before, perhaps it dates from a bit earlier. Was a 40 something year old Mrs. Thomas having a clandestine meeting in Battery Park in the early 1900’s? A man who encoded his suggestion on a card to her?

    This Emily didn’t work, and her husband John R. was an Insurance Auditor, and they didn’t have children… at least, not living with them, by 1910.

    Or maybe her husband wrote to her, himself, as a little joke… or who knows? Not enough to go on, but it is fun to speculate.