Dors-2-bar

English actress Diana Dors left behind an encrypted message. This cryptogram allegedly leads to two million pounds.

English actress Diana Dors (1931-1984) was once considered the British counterpart of Marilyn Monroe. In dozens of films, she played a seductive blonde, while her private life was worthy of that of a film diva. Diana Dors died of cancer at age 52. The following picture shows her with Dutch entertainer Rudi Carrell:

Dors-2

Diana Dors’ encrypted message

In 2015, at a symposium on the history of the Enigma in Poland, I met British cryptologist Andrew Clark. The following photo shows Dermot Turing (the nephew of Alan Turing), Clark, and me:

Warsaw-Turing-Clark-Schmeh

According to Andrew Clark, Diana Dors gave her son, Mark Dawson, an encrypted messsage, about a year and a half before her death. This message allegedly describes the whereabouts of two million pounds Dors left behind. Diana Dors was already suffering from cancer at that time and probably expected that she would not live much longer. Details of this story are told in a British television documentary, which is available on YouTube (see below; thanks to Peter de Boer for providing the new link). The following image of the encrypted message is taken from this documentary:

Dors-cryptogram

Dors’ third and last husband, Alan Lake, allegedly knew the encryption key of this message. He died only six months after his wife. When Mark Dawson tried to decipher the cryptogram, both his mother and her husband had already deceased. He therefore tried to decrypt the message with codebreaking means.

Today, Dawson probably would have to get this cryptogram published on Klausis Krypto Kolumne. However, this blog did not exist yet in the 1980s. Nevertheless, Dawson figured out that the first part of the cryptogram was encrypted in a Pigpen cipher:

Dors-Pigpen

Dawson managed to break the encryption. Here’s how the cipher works:

Dors-Pigpen-key

The cleartext is the following (with spaces added): LOCATIONS AND NAMES

Here’s a transcription of the second part of the cryptogram:

EAWVL XEIMO RZTIC SELKM KMRUQ
QPYFC ZAOUA TNEYS QOHVQ YPLYS
OEOEW TCEFY ZZEPI NYAUD RZUGM
SSONV JDAER SZNVS QSHRK XPVCC
WUAEJ JTWGC WQRCC NRBKZ VIITF
RZLTS VOAIB NQZOK VANJJ TFAJO
GYUEB XZHRY UFSDM ZEBRK GIECJ
QZHFY QBYVU FNEGD EDIXF YZHOM
PMNLQ XFHFO UXAEB HZSNO EAUIL
JXIWD KTUDN MCCGC EURDG SRBCW
GMNKC RLHER HETVP GWOGC WANVJ
NGYTZ RALTM TAYTL UUSKM QIRZH

Dawson couldn’t break this one. He therefore consulted a team of British cryptologists. One of them was Andrew Clark, who later told me about this story.

 

A cleartext that is not really clear

Clark and his colleagues started their codebreaking work by performing a few statistic analyses of the cryptogram. The results proved consistent with a Vigenère cipher. They had no trouble breaking it. The keyword turned out to be DMARYFLUCK (derived from Dors’ civil name Diana Mary Fluck). Here is how the first line is decrypted:

Ciphertext: EAWVL XEIMO RZTIC SELKM KMRUQ
Key:        DMARY FLUCK DMARY FLUCK DMARY
Cleartext:  BOWEN STOKE ONTRE NTRIC HARDS

The cryptogram decrypted to a list of surnames, each one followed by a city in England or Wales:

  • Bowen, Stoke On Trent
  • Richards, Leeds
  • Woodcock, Winchester
  • Wilson, York
  • Downey, Kingston Upon Hull
  • Grant, Nottingham
  • Sebastian, Leicester
  • Leigh, Ipswich
  • Morris, Cardiff
  • Mason, Slough
  • Edmundson, Portsmouth
  • Padwell, London
  • Pyewacket, Brighton
  • McManus, Sunderland
  • Coyle, Bournemouth
  • Humphries, Birmingham
  • Dante, Manchester
  • Bluestone, Liverpool
  • Cooper, Bristol

As far as I know, it is still unknown what this list means. Do the names refer to real people? If so, did they receive a part of Dors’ millions? The TV documentary does not provide any information about these questions. Apparently, Diana Dors’ son never found the millions his mother had allegedly left behind. It is even unclear whether the Dors owned so much money when she died. Although she had earned well during her career as an actress, she later had to declare bankruptcy.

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Kommentare (6)

  1. #1 Thomas
    10. April 2018

    The documentary (40:00) shows a bank account statement from 29.8.1979 issued by the Midland Bank (today HSBC), Chobham Road, Sunningdale, Ascot, Berkshire. According to this statement 100.000 pounds were paid on an account hold by “H. Bowen”. In Diana Dors’ black book concerning her cash earnings here son has found a notice that she previously had been paid this sum in cash. So most likely the encrypted list beginning with “Bowen” contains the names of the account holders (and their locations) to whom she transferred (parts of) her earnings. I’m no expert in British law, but I think someone who wanted to open an account had to show an identity card, so that she couldn’t hold accounts under false names. Presumably the account holders were trustees in her favour. But since the additional informations about the accounts got lost with her husbands death, there is no way for her son to get the money back.

  2. #2 Thomas
    10. April 2018

    As to “Bowen”:
    Diana Dors’ husband, Alan Lake, was born in Stoke-on-Trent, his mother was Millicent Bowen. Alan Lake lived and died in Sunningdale, where “H. Bowen” held the bank account to which 100.000 pds. were transfered in 1979. So “Bowen” could have been a relative of Diana Dors’ mother-in-law, living in Alan Lake’s place of birth.

  3. #3 Thomas
    10. April 2018

    Diana Dors’ father was a Freemason which might have aroused her interest in masonic ciphers (http://www.swindonadvertiser.co.uk/news/9974856.Opening_the_Dors_on_Diana_s_dad/). So “Mason, Slough” in the encrypted list could hint at the Masonic Centre in Slough, Berkshire.

  4. #4 Thomas
    10. April 2018

    “Dante” most likely refers to Troy Dante, a singer and actor (“Baby Love” with Troy Dante and Diana Dors) with whom D.D. lived in her home in Sunningdale in the sixties before she married Alan Lake (https://books.google.de/books?id=YWYjcw4b5TcC&pg=PA91).

  5. #5 Knox
    28. April 2018

    If the husband had complementary information that was insufficient in itself to recover the money, what could that information have been?

  6. […] Lake. Po samobójstwie Lake’a Dawson miał więc problem. Notkę odszyfrowano dopiero w 2003. Okazało się, że zawiera listę nazwisk i miejscowości. Kolejny syn Jason Dors-Lake miał również ciekawe […]