In 1909, a woman living in Toledo, Ohio, received an encrypted postcard. Can a reader decipher it?
For some reason I don’t know, the US state of Ohio seems to be a good source for interesting cryptograms. In addition to the train station robbery cryptogram from Lima, OH, several other encrypted messages created in the “Buckeye state” have been covered on this blog: a postcard from Clinton, OH, a postcard from Gageville, OH, a postcard from Toledo, OH, an encrypted gravestone located in Ohio, a hidden message in an Ohio needlework, and a message from an Ohio prison.
My friend Tobias Schrödel …
… (readers of this blog know him as comedy hacker, encrypted postcard collector, and crypto book expert) has now provided me two more encrypted postcards from Ohio. This post is about the first one, the second one will be covered on Wednesday.
A postcard sent to Toledo
The first postcard Tobias provided me was sent to Toledo, a city in the northwest of Ohio.
A (hand-written?) note on the picture side explains that the motive of this card is Maumee (a suburb of Toledo) seen from Fort Meigs (a fort near Maumee). Both sides of the card bear a stamp, but I can’t read much, except the year 1909.
The receiver is a woman named Nellie Huntsman (?) living in Adams Street, which is one of the major streets in the city center of Toledo. This woman is not identical with the recipient of another Toledo postcard I blogged about in 2016. The sender of the card probably was Nellie’s lover (most encrypted postcards were written by young men to their lover).
The cipher used is apparently a variant of the Pigpen cipher. The colons probably stand for the whitespace character. If this assumption is correct, the first word has only one letter, which means that it stands for “a” or “I” (provided that the message is written in English).