Bruno Borges, a Brazilian student who has mysteriously vanished from his home, left behind several encrypted books. A publishing company has now published one of them. It has entered the Brazilian bestseller list.
A book I recently wrote about has entered the bestseller list. No, it’s not my own book Versteckte Botschaften (I hope this one will enter the bestseller lists, as soon as it is published next month) and it’s not Craig Bauer’s Unsolved!. Instead, it is a book written by Bruno Borges, a Brazilian student who has mysteriously vanished from his home.
It’s certainly a surpise that Borges’ book sells so well. I doubt that its content is terribly interesting and it was probably never meant for publication. On the other hand, cryptograms related to potential crimes are an extremely popular topic – especially when both the crime and the cryptogram are unsolved. For this reason, my blog posts about the Zodiac killer, the Debosnys murder, the Ricky McCormick case and a few others all rank among the most-read in the history of Klausis Krypto Kolumne.
The Bruno Borges case
Bruno Borges (the following picture is taken from Facebook), a 24 year old psychology student from Brazil, was known among his friends as an alien enthusiast. He was working on a mysterious project, asking several relatives for funding.
In early April this year Borges vanished from his family home. A bizarre video of the inside of his bedroom was leaked online. Apparently, Borges had turned his room into a shrine to the extraterrestrial world. He removed all the furniture and put up a statue of Renaissance polymath Giordano Bruno (1548-1600). Bruno Borges admired Giordano Bruno not only because of the common name “Bruno”, but also because he was one of the first to believe in the possibility of extraterrestrial life. For readers of this blog it is note-worthy that Girodano Bruno is one of the many Renaissance scholars that have been believed to be the author of the famous Voynich Manuscript.
14 encrypted books
What makes Borges’ vanishing interesting for this blog is the fact that he left behind 14 encrypted books (encrypted books have a long history, as can be seen on my encrypted book list) and that the walls in his room have been found covered with cipher writing.
Meanwhile, the cipher Borges used for the major part of his books and other encrypted notes is solved. It’s a simple substitution code (i. e., a monoalphabetic substitution cipher, also known as MASC). Here is the substitution table (taken from a page that automatically transfers Borges’ symbols into standard letters):
The cleartext of Borges’ writing is in Portuguese. Here are a few lines of it:
Por milhares de anos o ser humano vem tentando encontrar respostas para perguntas como “qual o sentido da vida”? A filosofia que ao que tudo indica, parece ter se iniciado com Tales de Mileto em meados de 700 a.C. visa encontrar vestígios de perguntas sem respostas. A pesquisa profunda pela verdade absoluta advém da filosofia, e quando falamos a respeito de caminhos fáceis ou difíceis estamos nos referindo a esse tipo de teorema.
This paragraph translates into English as follows (thanks to Thomas for posting):
The Hard Way
For thousands of years the human being has been trying to find answers to questions like “what is the meaning of life”? The philosophy that seems to have begun with Tales of Miletus in the middle of 700 BC seems to find traces of unanswered questions. The deep search for absolute truth comes from philosophy, and when we talk about easy or difficult paths we are referring to this type of theorem.
A Brazilian publishing company has now published the cleartext of Borges’ first encrypted book. This work is titled TAC – Teoria da Absorção do Conhecimento. The title page shows Giordano Bruno.
TAC immediately entered the Brazilian list of best-selling books on position 20 last month. Borges’ second work is already set for release.
Especially popular in India?
My recent blog posts about the Borges case are currently very popular due to the enormous interest this story and the best-selling book have stirred. What surprises me is that, according to my WordPress statitics tool, by far most page views come from India. Does this mean that the Borges case is especially popular there? Or did the statistics tool confuse India with Brazil? Maybe readers from Brazil or India can tell me more about this.
An unsolved mystery
While most of Borges’ writing has been deciphered, there are still a few text passages that remain unsolved. Here’s one part:
Here’s another part:
If a reader can break this encryption or if a solution is already available somewhere, please let me know.
Further reading: An encrypted notebook that waits to be solved