111 encrypted books

My list of encrypted books now has 111 entries. Today I present three new entries and one cold case.

Deutsche Version (translated with DeepL)

Are there other encrypted books besides the Voynich manuscript? Because this question is asked again and again and because it must be answered clearly with yes, I have set up my “List of Encrypted Books” eight years ago.

In the meantime my list has grown to 111 entries. I presented it (in the then much shorter version) at the NSA Symposium as well as in Cryptologia. Craig Bauer has cited the list several times in his book “Unsolved!“. And again and again, my readers have given me tips on how to expand or update the list.


A Cold Case

Most of the scrambled books on my list have already been solved. But there are exceptions, and these are, by their very nature, particularly intriguing. In particular, the Voynich Manuscript (00001) and the Codex Rohonci (00002) are among those encrypted books that are still waiting to be deciphered.

Quelle/Source: Schmeh

Of course, there are also some lesser known books on the list. For example, I find an encrypted diary (00092) that I discovered on Reddit interesting:


Quelle/Source: Reddit

Here is the transcription of it:

TIojI d YuIwCawouIo<...
tn<oud $arlIu<~ dcAx,
tbY yIva<jIq , b^q tn<oud $ar ,
t@<^w> , t@j^b> -r^cI, tO@,
LH<ou t$ar: tC*? ca w^% coTua{
c^wqIw3c , b^q t@XrAuIc, tw^$ yoV-O, tmouq
Oq^%>, tnbd Y0+T rAjc^u, tb<joz~ dcAx,
LtnTad bA?*S M0aT|ma4 bt|

I have presented this diary page on Cipherbrain before. Unfortunately, my readers couldn’t crack the encryption then. Is it possible to solve this cold case now?

New (1): A fake from Hungary

For today’s article, I have added three more encrypted books to the list. They are numbered 00109 through 00111. One of the new additions is the Gelle Prayer Book from Hungary. I became aware of it through the newly published book “The Rohonc Code” by Benedek Láng, which I will discuss in more detail on Cipherbrain soon.

The Gelle Prayer Book (number 00109 on the list) originates from Hungary and was created in the late 18th century – presumably by a priest. It is intended to give the appearance of being a copy of a much older work. However, the alphabet used was quite new at the time. Apparently, the creator wrote down some prayers in the mysterious-looking, but by no means ancient script, trying to deceive his contemporaries. It is therefore a forgery.

The following picture shows the first page of the work, with some of the plain text written under the ciphertext:

Quelle/Source: Benedek Láng, The Rohonc Code


New (2): An encrypted diary

I found another encrypted book (00110) on the Deviantart website. It is an encrypted teagebook, which should not be very old. Unfortunately only two pages are visible and the resolution is not very high:

Quelle/Source: Deviantart

The plaintext is not known to me. Will someone manage to crack the encryption?

New (3): The notebook of Emil Klein

Blog reader Matthias Axinger brought to my attention a few years ago a TV documentary called “Secret Underworlds of the SS – The Secret of Stechowice“. It is about an SS officer named Emil Klein who was imprisoned in the Czech Republic after the end of World War II. Allegedly, Klein knew something about a secret Nazi tunnel system near Stechowice, a town south of Prague. Rumor has it that the Nazis hid gold and other valuable goods in this underground facility. However, it is uncertain whether this tunnel system ever existed. In any case, the Czech secret service agents who interrogated and even tortured Klein got nothing out of it. Klein was not released from prison until 1964. He died seven years later. There is more on this here.

Among other things, Klein left behind a coded notebook. The following screenshots from the TV documentary show it:

Quelle/Source: ZDF

Quelle/Source: ZDF

Blog reader Armin Krauß solved this encryption using these screenshots alone – a great achievement that I’m sorry to say I haven’t covered on Cipherbrain yet. Until now, Klein’s notebook wasn’t even on my list. Now I’ve added it at position 00111.

The future of the list

I’m sure my “List of Encrypted Books” will continue to grow. I will gladly accept hints on further books and possibilities for improvement. I will run out of numbers only after list entry 99999. Until then it will take a while.

If you want to add a comment, you need to add it to the German version here.

Further reading: The Top 50 unsolved encrypted messages: 10. James Hampton’s notebook

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