Graffiti encryption solved: Did the creator give himself away?
The day before yesterday I blogged about a scrambled graffiti on a water reservoir. Thanks to tips from my readers, today I can present not only a solution, but also an extremely astonishing background story.
Last Saturday, the weather was glorious. I took the opportunity to go jogging. I started in Wellendingen near Rottweil (Baden-Württemberg) and ran to the 275-metre high Thyssenkrupp test tower, which looked particularly impressive against the bright blue sky.
Unexpectedly, however, another structure I passed that day proved to be much more interesting: a water reservoir located near Rottweil.
Before I return to the topic at hand, I would like to mention that Web.de has published an article about the Zodiac killer in which I am quoted several times. Cipherbrain readers Dave Oranchak and Jarl Van Eycke are also mentioned.
In addition, several other readers have published interesting articles:
- Richard SantaColoma has written a new article on the Voynich manuscript.
- Nils Kopal has published (together with Michelle Waldispühl) an article on deciphering encrypted messages from the 16th century in Cryptologia (unfortunately with costs).
The encrypted graffiti
But back to the aforementioned water reservoir. Although I have passed this reservoir many times, I have never noticed that there is graffiti on its wall. And it is probably already a few years old.
Last Saturday I noticed this lettering for the first time and photographed it immediately. Although the symbols look like encryption, the topic seemed too unimportant for a blog article at first. Later, I had the idea to include the graffiti in an article mainly about the encrypted inscription of Barga – in the broadest sense a graffiti of the Middle Ages. I didn’t expect too much from the water reservoir story, though.
But then things got exciting. Blog reader Marcel wrote in a comment that the seven graffiti symbols are Greek letters that can be read as KALMBACH: Kappa, Alpha, Lambda, My, Beta, Alpha, Chi.
This plain text did not seem particularly spectacular to me at first, because as far as I know there is no place or body of water called “Kalmbach” in the area in question.
But then I received another reader’s reference. This referred to the only inhabited building that exists in the area of the water reservoir. It is a former brickyard where a couple now offers various pet-related services. This couple is called Kalmbach.
But that’s not all: the family also includes the artist Simon Kalmbach, who should be about 26 years old today. Here is a newspaper article about him. Simon Kalmbach must have studied art in Berlin in recent years. I couldn’t find out more about him.
A graffiti by Simon Kalmbach?
Now I don’t want to imply anything, but according to the state of affairs the following question must be allowed: Does the graffiti on the water reservoir come from Simon Kalmbach? It would not be particularly wise to leave his name behind in such a forbidden action, but the inscription is, after all, encoded. And who would expect such graffiti to be analysed at some point by leading code breakers?
Unfortunately, I don’t know Simon Kalmbach’s e-mail address. Perhaps he can get in touch and comment on this. In terms of criminal law, the spraying is probably already time-barred.
If you want to add a comment, you need to add it to the German version here.
Further reading: Was bedeutet dieses Graffiti in unbekannter Schrift?