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:
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:
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’ 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:
Dawson managed to break the encryption. Here’s how the cipher works:
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.
In 2015, I published my first article about the Dors cryptogram (in German). There were a number of comments, but nobody came up with a convincing explanation of what Dors’ message is about.
Here is the TV documentary (Andrew Clark appears sevaral times):
There used to be a website about this documentary, which is still available via the Internet Archive.