A Facebook user has posted a number of scans of a 19th century pocket lexicon with about 80 pages of code in it. Can a reader solve it?
Today’s crypto mystery is described on the (public) Facebook page of an organisation named The Knights of the Golden Circle (thanks to Bart Wenmeckers for the hint). Chris Lyons, the author of the post, owns a pocket lexicon with about 80 pages of code in it. Here’s his description:
Jenkin’s Vest-Pocket Lexicon that was given to Bickley by Maj. Thomas B. Webber, 2nd Kentucky Cavalry of Gen. Morgan’s Division. The book has code written all through it […]. It is not the same code seen in Bickley’s prayer book held by NARA or the code exposed by Anthony Urban. The code doesn’t look like any confederate code that I’ve seen either. In the back it looks like Webber has drawn a picture of his cell.
To be honest, I don’t know Bickley’s prayer book or Anthony Urban’s code. These might be interesting topics for future blog posts or my encrypted book list. Here’s a scan of a Lexicon page:
I’m not sure whether this is an encryption code or a shorthand (or is it bad penmanship?). At least, it’s not Pitman, the shorthand used for a Civil War cryptogram I introduced recently. Here’s another scan:
I’m afraid, it is quite difficult to transcribe this script. The borders between the letters are not always clear. Here’s another page:
And, finally, here’s another encrypted passage:
My impression is that the author of these cryptograms was experienced in using this script. Some of the letters look a little too complicated for a shorthand, but it’s not a typical cipher alphabet, either. Can a reader tell us more about this code?
Further reading: The Top 50 unsolved encrypted messages: 40. The Beale cryptograms