Paved-Steyr

A hidden message has been found on a paved square in Steyr, Austria. Now, the creator of this steganogram has to cover the costs for removing it.

Earlier this week, I reported on hidden messages in tombstone inscriptions. Blog reader Robert Latzin from Austria has now made me aware of another object that bore a steganographic message: the pavement of a central place in Steyr, Austria. Of course, I would have liked to include this steganograpic sight in my Cryptologic Travel Guide, but apparently the message has been removed after it was discovered.

The story began, when the city administration of Steyr, Austria, decided to renew the pavement of a public area in the citiy center. This project was surveyed by a city servant named Franz-Michael Hingerl, who also is a member of the city council. As it seems, Hingerl is a friend of steganography (perhaps, he has read my book Versteckte Botschaften), and so he decided to hide a message in the new pavement. He instructed the road workers to encode seven letters with cobblestones: H, I, N, G, E, R, and L. As these characters were spread on a distance of 50 meters, it was not easy to see that they spelled out the surname of the city servant.

For copyright reasons, I can’t include a picture of the message here. However, there is one available in this article published by the Austrian newspaper Der Standard. This article contains a hidden message, too, by the way. Can a reader find it?

In my view, it was a great idea to hide a message in the pavement of a public area. I’m sure, many steganography enthusiasts would have visited this place to see the inscription. However, the Steyr city administration was of a different opinion. Steyr’s mayor Gerhard Hackl even stated: “It’s like the prank of a twelve-year old – completely stupid”. He immediately ordered the removal of the steganogram. As it seems, Franz-Michael Hingerl will have to cover the costs for this work.

I hope, the removal of the message won’t be too expensive. After all, Mr. Hingerl has written steganographic history. The city of Steyr should thank him for this.


Further reading: The London kerbstone code mystery

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Kommentare (4)

  1. #1 Spritkopf
    8. November 2018

    However, there is one available in this article published by the Austrian newspaper Der Standard.

    That was quite easy. However I have to confess that without your hint I wouldn’t have spotted it.

  2. #2 Jerry McCarthy
    England, Europa
    9. November 2018

    Indeed, quite easy :-) (and the comment by “c. pedersoli” is not irrelevant)

  3. #3 leo
    https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joseph_Kyselak
    10. November 2018

    Typisch österreichisch ein sich entwickelndes Talent zu zerstören.

    Wenn er jetzt noch ein "Joseph Kyselak" werden will,
    muss er wie viele Österreicher vor ihm ins Ausland gehen
    und die Hauptplätze der Welt pflastern.

    Erst wenn er das geschafft hat wird er auch daheim gefeiert,
    und die Österreicher knien vor ihm nieder (siehe Schwarzenegger).

  4. #4 ulv
    Hamburg
    14. November 2018

    Something similar happened in Hamburg when bricklayers from Poland put stones of slightly different color into the wall above the entrance of the “Hanse-Viertel”, a shopping mall in the city center.
    The inscription reads “Polen” (german for Poland) and is only readable at some weather conditions.
    The architect found it amusing …