Here’s a postcard written in English that contains two kinds of encryption. Can a reader decipher this two-part cryptogram?

I wish I could tell you where the old building depicted on the following postcard is located:


To my regret, I can’t. My guess is that this house (or is it a castle?) stands somewhere in Great Britain. At least, the inscription “Gentle airs whispering to the woods” is in English, and I don’t believe that a building of this kind can be found in America.

A look on the text side of the postcard would be helpful, but the only scan I have doesn’t show the address:


I have found this postcard on the website Thank you very much to Richard SantaColoma for the hint.

As can be seen, there are three kinds of text on the postcard: cleartext, text encrypted in a dot-and-dash code, and text encrypted in an ordinary alphabet.

The cleartext part contains a passage I read as “from Walt, February 16, 1907”. Readers of this blog might know that many of the encrypted postcards one encounters were written in the first decade of the 20th century. So, the year 1907 is quite typical. Most encrypted postcards were written by young men to their spouses. In this case, the young man might have been named Walt.

The dot-and-dash part could be a Morse code message.

The second encrypted part consists of 14 letters: WMVBaJLD / DIbDWY. In my view, this is not an encryption in the classical sense but an abbreviation code. Probably, every letter represents a word initial. It is clear that such a code is difficult, if not impossible, to decipher. At least, there is no unambiguous solution.

Can a reader find out more about this postcard? From where was is sent? What do the encoded text passages mean?

Further reading: Unsolved: A strange encrypted postcard from Newton, Iowa


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Kommentare (9)

  1. #1 Patric Hausammann
    18. Mai 2018

    Over the above mentioned “WMVBaJLD”, I can clearly read “Hope it will be fair humorous”. So I guess, it might be a joke, a poem or both. ^^

  2. #2 Torbjörn Andersson
    Kalmar, Sweden
    18. Mai 2018

    It’s morse code, the slanting strokes being dashes and the dots being – dots.
    “I will forgive you …” etc.

  3. #3 Rich SantaColoma
    18. Mai 2018

    “I will forgive you, if I have anything to forgive you, dear. I don’t think there is, dear. I wish we were married, dear- don’t you?”

    I hope they got married!

  4. #4 Dampier
    18. Mai 2018

    @ #1

    I can clearly read “Hope it will be fair humorous”

    I read “Hope it will be fine tomorrow”.

  5. #5 David Allen Wilson
    18. Mai 2018

    There are periods after some of the letters, and not after others:


    Perhaps the lower case “a” is _not_ an abbreviation, but simply the _word_ “a”. The letters with the periods are in fact, abbreviations.

    Also, I don’t think the third-to-last letter is “J”.

  6. #6 Gerd
    19. Mai 2018

    Please remember that Morse code is not an encryption, Morse code is cleartext.

  7. #7 Gerry and Andrea
    21. Mai 2018

    The postcard is definitely from the UK. There are two also from 1907 on ebay, one posted in Brighton and one in Great Yarmouth. Frederick Hartmann, a postcard publisher from London, printed his halftone postcards in Saxony. He is said to have issued the world’s first divided back card.

  8. #8 Davidsch
    22. Mai 2018

    Just a long shot::( W.M.V.B.aF.LD.)

    Walt Marries V(era) B(..lastname)
    a Friend of the Lake District (England; caring for the countryside in the Lake District and Cumbria)

    In cumbria there is a ruined castle, it is Kendal Castle. But matching the image to 1907 seems be difficult.

  9. #9 Thomas
    26. Mai 2018

    Somebody on reddit found out that the postcard shows Neidpath castle in Scotland which nowadays provides a wedding setting, but back in 1907… who knows.