In 1905 and 1906 a man named Harry sent a series of encrypted postcards to a friend named Charlie. Can a reader decipher these messages?

Tobias Schrödel is certainly known to most readers of this blog for his frequent appearances on Stern TV and as Germany’s only comedy hacker. Check here for a video of one of his performances.

On February 8, 2019, Tobias and I will give talks at the Kryptonight, an event organized by teacher Felix Brüstle at the Gymnasium Ottobrunn in Ottobrunn near Munich. Tobias and I hereby invite all readers of this blog who live in the Munich area to attend. The Kryptonight will start at 1900. Apart from the talks, there will be several showrooms. An agenda is available at the end of this article.

 

Nine encrypted postcards

Tobias is also a collector of encrypted postcards. He recently provided me a series of nine encrypted cards, which were sent by a certain Harry to a certain Charlie, both living in Nottingham, UK. Contrary to most other encrypted postcards, these ones were not sent by a young man to his (female) lover. It is, of course, possible (and very likely) that Harry and Charlie were young people. It is also possible that they were (homosexual) lovers. However, Charlie clearly was a man (though the name “Charlie” in general may also refer to a woman), as he is addressed as “Mr.” on the card. I guess that Harry was a man, too, though it is certainly an option that the name is a pseudonym or a short form of “Harriet”.

In the address section of the cards, Charlie is referred to as C. H. Thompson, living in 29 Broad Street in Nottingham. This place still exists and is only a ten-minutes walk away from the Cryptology Escape Room I visited in 2016.

1905-10-30

1905-11-02

1905-11-07

1905-11-11

1905-11-25

1905-12-12

1906-01-27

1906-02-07

1906-04-07

The encryption system Harry used is probably a simple letter substitution (MASC). As the spaces between the words are visible, it should be possible to solve these messages by word guessing. If you can break these cryptograms, please leave a comment.

 

Kryptonight in Ottobrunn

Here’s the agenda of the Kryptonight on 8 February 2019 in Ottobrunn near Munich (all talks are in German):

19:00 Uhr: Eröffnung und Grundlagenvortrag

19:30 Uhr: Erkundung der Räume

20:30 Uhr: Vortrag von Tobias Schrödel

21:30 Uhr: Pause

21:45 Uhr: Vortrag von Klaus Schmeh

22:45 Uhr: Weitere Erkundung der Räume

23:30 Uhr: Podcastaufnahme zu sicheren E-Mails

24:00 Uhr: Ende der Veranstaltung

Admission is free. If you plan to attend, please send me a mail for registration.


Further reading: A postcard with a Sherlock Holmes type encryption

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Kommentare (4)

  1. #1 Armin
    25. Januar 2019

    1905-12-12:
    HOPE YOU HAVE
    MADE IT ALRIGHT
    WITH LILLIE
    DID YOU KISS HER
    ON MONDAY NIGHT
    DONT BLUSH
    HARRY

  2. #2 Thomas Bosbach
    25. Januar 2019

    1905-10-30

    Mind how you go
    on to night
    with Maud dont
    forget to give
    me a good
    character

  3. #3 Michael Schroeder
    1905-11-07
    27. Januar 2019

    you. cant. see. any.
    horse. tod. on. this.
    or. canarys. either.
    can. you. see. that.
    old. ant. cocking. his.
    leg. up. and. what. did.
    mary. say. … … yes. …
    and. the. echo. answered.
    liar.

    Harry

  4. #4 Klaus Schmeh
    27. Januar 2019

    @Armin, Thomas, Michael:
    Thank you very much!
    As it seems, each of the three postcards mentioned a different woman: Lillie, Maud, Mary. Quite interesting.