A medal that is depicted in a Freemason document from 1952 bears two encrypted inscriptions. Can a reader decipher them?
Four weeks ago, before I attended the Charlotte International Cryptologic Symposium, I had the chance to visit a number of museums, libraries and archives in New York and Washington. One of the highlights was the Livingston Masonic Library on the 23rd Street in Manhattan. There I spent a few hours searching for documents about Freemason ciphers.
A medal from Connecticut
In fact, I found some interesting material. For instance, I came across a booklet with the following title page:
In this Freemasonic document from 1952 a Freemason’s medal is depicted:
According to the booklet, this is an “old Masonic medal found in Norwich, Connecticut”. I have no further information about it.
On both sides, this medal bears an encrypted inscription (at the upper edge). It is easy to see that the encryption system used is a variant of the Pigpen cipher, which used to be very popular among the Freemasons (it is sometimes even referred to as “Freemason cipher” or “Freemason alphabet”).
Can a reader break these two inscriptions?
Another Masonic medal
Four years ago, I introduced a similar Freemason medal on this blog:
After a few days, blog reader Peter Lichtenberger from Austria posted the solution. Here’s the cleartext:
H. T. W. S. S. T. K. S.
These letters stand for HIRAM, TYRIAN, WIDOW’S SON, SENDETH TO KING SOLOMON. A few weeks later, the Freemason Library and Museum in London confirmed that this decryption is correct. Here is how the encryption works:
A|B|C J·|K·|L· S··|T··|U·· ----- -------- ----------- D|E|F M·|N·|O· V··|W··|X·· ----- -------- ----------- G|H|I P·|Q·|R· Y··|Z··
Now, let’s see whether a reader will find out how the Pigpen cipher used to encrypt the inscription of the medal from Connecticut works.
Further reading: Ten peculiar uses of the pigpen cipher