In a 1984 video clip by British Heavy Metal band Iron Maiden, several messages consisting of strange symbols can be seen. Can they be decrypted?
As frequent readers of this blog will know, there are quite a few movies, TV series and video clips that contain encrypted or hidden messages. Here are a few examples:
- There is an encrypted message in the German TV series “Operation Mozart”.
- In the intro of the German TV film Im Namens meines Sohnes, a message is hidden.
- Fringe, a successful US TV series, contains a hidden code. It has been solved by fans of the series.
- In the end credits of the 2010 movie Fair Game, some letters are marked. Do they spell out an encrypted message? Ten years after the release of the film, this question is still unanswered.
- The Professional, a French movie with Jean-Paul Belmondo, involves an encrypted telegram.
- The movie Wanted (starring Angelina Jolie and Morgan Freeman) contains a steganographic message.
- In the 2006 British-American mystery thriller The Prestige, a stage magician keeps an encrypted journal. Some passages of it can be seen in the movie.
- A video clip by US rock band Linkin Park shows a wall with an encrypted inscription.
- In the TV series Sneaky Pete, an encrypted message can be seen.
The Iron Maiden clip
Blog reader and comedy hacker Tobias Schrödel has recently made me aware of another potential encrypted message of this kind. This one is contained in a 1984 rock music video by British Heavy Metal band, Iron Maiden. The title of the song is 2 Minutes to Midnight. The clip is available on Youtube:
The video starts with something that looks like a cipher disk:
This scene shows two seemingly encrypted messages:
Here’s another encrypted (?) text:
I don’t know what this is:
The following cryptogram is the most interesting one in the video:
A later scene shows a man who decrypts this message with a special-character keyboard:
Do these messages have a meaning?
Although this video clip is 36 years old, the symbols and the messages shown in it have never received much attention in the crypto community. I haven’t found an Iron Maiden fan page that mentions these cryptograms, either. I hope that this article will make these messages a little more popular.
The most interesting question is, of course, whether these glyphs can be decrypted at all or whether they represent just meaningless nonsense. If solutions exist, it is high time to find them – after all, the video has been around for almost four decades.
If a reader can make sense of any of these cryptograms, please leave a comment.
Further reading: A cryptographic challenge from the German TV show “TV total”