Gravestones bearing an encrypted or hidden message are one of my favorite blog topics. Here’s a speciment I recently discovered on Reddit.

Gravestones with an encrypted or hidden message are rare. Even after years of research, less than 20 of these are known to me. The following list contains all the encrypted gravestones I am aware of. Almost all of them are listed in the Cryptologic Travel Guide.

 

Pigpen gravestones

Most of the encrypted gravestones I know stand on Freemasonic graves and bear a pigpen inscription (pigpen ciphers were especially popular among Freemasons):

  • The encrypted gravestone of James Lacey (+1796) is located in New York City, next to the World Trade Center.
  • The gravestone of James Leeson (+1794) is based in the vicinity of the World Trade Center in New York City, too.

Source: Schmeh

I still don’t know the exact location of the gravestone in Newcastle. Can a reader tell me, on which cemetery it can be found?

 

Non-pigpen gravestones

There are also encrypted gravestones that do not bear a pigpen cryptogram:

 

Steganographic gravestones

Finally, I know of three gravestones that bear a hidden message:

  • The famous Fuck-You gravestone, located in Montreal, Canada has an inscription with a hidden message.
Fuck-You-Gravestone-8

Source: Schmeh

Friedman-Grave

Source: Schmeh

 

An encrypted gravestone in Portugal

When I recently searched for terms such as “encrypted grave” and “encrypted tombstone”, I found an encrypted grave inscription I hadn’t known before. It’s number 18 on my list – a large gravestone with a long inscription.

The grave in question is located at the “Cemiterio dos Prazeres” (“Cemetery of Pleasures”) in Lisbon, Portugal. The person burried there is an Adelaide Baptista Neves (1858-1891), apparently the wife of a rich man. For copyright reasons, I can only publish a photograph of the inscription here, not of the whole grave:

For a photo of the grave, check here. If a reader can find more pictures of it, please let me know.

The Neves gravestone inscription was first mentioned on Reddit last year. Later, a more comprehensive description was posted in the same forum.

The cipher used here is, of course, a variant of the pigpen cipher. Contrary to all other pigpen gravestones I know, this one has no obvious connection to the Freemasons.

To my regret, the (Portuguese) plaintext of this message is not available on Reddit any more, except for the last line: PAZ A TUA ALMA. However, a Reddit user named arisoto has posted an English translation of the decryption result:

In memory of my beloved, dear wife, Adelaide Baptista Neves¹. She was born on the 27th of August, 1858 and lived 33 years, 2 months and 19 days². She passed away on 15th of November, 1891. This was built on behalf of her husband, Joaquim José Cardozo Neves on the 16th of November, 1894.
Peace, pure soul.

Can a reader decipher the rest of the original plaintext? It shouldn’t be very difficult if ones uses PAZ A TUA ALMA as crib.

Further reading: Who can decipher this encrypted inscription on a cigaret case?

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Kommentare (5)

  1. #1 Richard SantaColoma
    http://proto57.wordpress.com/
    7. Juni 2020

    A MEMORIA SAUDOSA DE MINHA QUERIDA. ESTREMOSA ESPCSA. ADELAIDE BAPTISTA NEVES NASCEU A 27 DE AUGUSTO DE 1858 VIVEU 33 ANNO. 2 MEZES E 19 DIAS. FALLECEU. A 15 DE NOVEMBRO DE 1891. MANDADO ERIGIR POR SEU. MARIDO. JIAQUIM JOSE CARDOZO NEVES EM 16 NOVEMBRO DE 1864. PAZ A TUA ALMA.

  2. #2 Richard SantaColoma
    http://proto57.wordpress.com/
    7. Juni 2020

    … I double checked “ESPCSA”, and I think I have that correct… but it should be “ESPOSA”, for “WIFE” I think… so maybe this is an error on the stone? Or did I do something wrong? Also, I get “JIAQUIM”, when the OP translation shows “JOAQUIM”, so maybe a variation? Or other error?

  3. #3 Gerry
    7. Juni 2020

    It should be Joaquim, as there is a Joaquim Cardozo Neves on familysearch.org who could him – in 1898 in Brasil remarried and father of a daughter. But as there are only the birth and death certificates of the daughter (and not his marriage record) we cannot be sure.

  4. #4 naja
    7. Juni 2020

    The stairs of the monument have the numbers 33-22-11 on them. (33 for her age problably?)

  5. #5 Klaus Schmeh
    8. Juni 2020

    Richard, Gerry, naja: Thanks for deciphering this message!