The movie “Wanted” (starring Angelina Jolie and Morgan Freeman) contains a steganographic message. Can a reader decipher it?
Hiding a code in a movie, TV series or video clip is an interesting means of gaining publicity. Here are the examples I am aware of (if you know others please let me know):
- I have published several blog posts about the Fair Game code, which is still unsolved.
- In the TV series Breaking Bad, a character sequence can be seen that might represent a code.
- Walt Disney’s The Lion King contains a scene that shows the word SEX or SFX formed by stars in the sky.
- A scene from the latest Zodiac Killer movie Awakening the Zodiac shows an encrypted message.
- An episode of the series Twin Peaks (season 3) contains a scene showing an airplane in flight with the windows flickering with special patterns. This might be a code. As far as I know, it is still unsolved.
- A video clip of US rock band Linkin Park shows a wall with an encrypted inscription. Readers of my blog solved it.
- There is a hidden code in the TV series Fringe. There is even an app for it (thanks to Merzmensch for the hint).
- In the series Alias, every location name contains a marked letter. In the linear sequence read, these marked letters resulted a word, a hidden meaning of the episode.
- In the intro of the German TV film Im Namens meines Sohnes a message is hidden. It is easy to solve.
The “Wanted” code
Earlier this year, blog reader Tony Patti informed me about another code hidden in a movie. This one is contained in Wanted, a 2008 thriller staring Angelina Jolie, Morgan Freeman, and James McAvoy. Here’s the trailer:
In the movie, a man named Sloan (Morgan Freeman) explains that 1000 years ago a clan of weavers discovered a mystical code hidden in a fabric. The code is based on mistakes in weave of the vertical threads. If the vertical thread is on top, it’s a “1”; if it’s below, it’s a “0”. Once decoded, the Binary Code reveals the name of the person that would die. Here is an example (thanks to Tony for the screenshot):
I don’t know the message that is encoded here. Can a reader find it? According to Tony, the Bacon cipher was used. The Bacon cipher encodes the alphabet with five binary digits (this picture is taken from Wikipedia):
Here’s another screenshot from the same movie Tony provided me:
As you see, the arm carrying a pistol bears a tattoo showing eight-bit sequences (also known as bytes in computer science). Does a reader know what these bytes mean?
I have searched for detailed information about these two codes online, but I didn’t find anything. If a reader knows more please let me know.
Further reading: The Top 50 unsolved encrypted messages: 29. The Pollaky cryptograms