A Reddit user has posted an encrypted note he found in a family member’s personal effects. The cleartext is not known. Can you solve it?

Readers of this blog might know that the /r/Codes group on Reddit is an interesting source for cipher mysteries. Many an encrypted note I have blogged about stems from this group. For this reason, I check /r/Codes occasionally looking for topics I can write about.

During my last check, which took place about 30 minutes ago, I discovered a new post that introduces an unsolved cryptogram. The author of this post is a user who calls himself RetroSA. Here’s the scan he published:


According to RetroSA, this is a note he found in a family member’s personal effects. No additional information is given.

Here’s a transcription of the cryptogram (as provided by a Reddit user named NickSB2013):


A few more Reddit users have commented on this mystery, but the solution is still unknown.

My guess is that this ciphertext has been encryption with a MASC, i.e., a one-to-one letter substitution. If the cleartext language is English, the single letter in the third line (trranscribed as T) probably stands for A or I, the only common one-letter words in the English language. The first letter of the last line might be a word of its own, too (though NickSB2013 has not transcribed it this way). If so, there are two letters we can guess. However, as we don’t know much about the background of this note, other cleartext languages are possible, as well.

Can a reader solve this cryptogram?

Further reading: A famous unsolved crypto mystery: the D’Agapeyeff cryptogram

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Kommentare (3)

  1. #1 Gerry and Andrea
    25. September 2018

    Re transcription: M and T look the same, and the last character on line 1 does not look like a cross (so the last character of OPBD is not D). Too bad that this does not lead to a MASC solution either.

  2. #2 Pascal
    14. Oktober 2018

    Ancient Hebrew alphabet clearly contains most of the characters seen in your mysterious family note
    Which in turn was mostly derived from similar characters in ancient Phoenician

    So this note is probably related to Judaism or Biblical studies. Using the known relationships between Phoenician, Moabitic, ancient Hebrew, this note could be represented in modern Hebrew. Torah scholars would know about this

  3. #3 Pascal
    15. Oktober 2018

    At this link is a partial transcription of the proto-Hebrew characters used in the note.
    So the linguistic source of the scripts is now known

    But it will require some more knowledge of Hebrew and ancient languages to complete and interpret the note.
    It is probably not a substitution code for anything in English language. The writer of the note seems to have been very comfortable with the script and had their own handwriting style using it. This points probably to someone like Biblical scholar, linguist, archaeologist making a transcript from another source