Two months ago, US book author A.J. Jacobs showed me the encrypted journal of psychologist Abraham Maslow (1908-1970). My readers did a good job in analyzing this cryptogram. Now, A.J. asks for additional help.
Earlier this year, I met journalist and book author A. J. Jacobs in New York City.
A. J., who has an English Wikipedia entry and a German one, wrote a number of great books, three of which I have read so far: The Year of Living Biblically (German title: Die Bibel & ich), The Know-It-All (German title: Britannica & ich) and Thanks A Thousand.
At the moment, A.J. is working on a book about puzzles. He plans to include crossword puzzles, the Rubik’s Cube, mathematical puzzles, jigsaw puzzles, mazes – and cryptographic challenges.
If you don’t want to spend money on a book, try A.J.’s 2010 article Will doing EVERYTHING my wife tells me turn me into the most perfect husband?.
Maslows encrypted journal
During our meeting in New York, A. J. showed me scans of an encrypted journal written by renowned U.S. psychologist Abraham Maslow (1908-1970). Here’s a page from it:
For more scans, check my blog post from March 6, 2020. The blog readers Gerry and Erica published a few intereting comments on this cryptogram. Apparently, Maslow used several Caesar ciphers with different keys to encrypt some passages of his journal. However, most of the ciphertext is still unsolved.
A. J.’s Reddit post
Of course, A.J. would like to have the complete journal deciphered. So, he asked me if I could blog about it again, which I am doing now. In addition he published a post on Reddit. Here’s what A.J. wrote:
I’m in possession of the encrypted diary of pioneering psychology Abraham Maslow (inventor of the famed Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs).
I got the pages from my friend Scott Barry Kaufman, a psychologist, who just wrote a great new book about Maslow called “Transcend.”
He gave me permission to put the encrypted pages here to see if anyone here can help crack the code.
The code also was written up a couple of weeks ago on the blog of Klaus Schmeh, and some commenters made a bit of progress.
One cryptographer in particular has been working on it, and making some really interesting insights. But we both decided it was best to try to get help.
I’m posting the diary pages (the first part of which are in plain English, the last part of which is encoded)
Can’t wait to see what you all find.
It would be great you, dear readers, could take another look at this encrypted journal. The encryption used by its author appears to be more complex than most other diary encryption systems I have seen so far. Nevertheless, I’m sure that this cryptogram can be broken. If you can help to solve this crypto mystery, please let me know.
Further reading: The encrypted diary of Ignaz Meyer