The Nosferatu Cryptogram
In the silent movie classic “Nosferatu” an encrypted message is shown. The solution of this cryptogram is not known to me.
Lately, I’ve been blogging more often about coded messages in movies and TV series. This is partly because my readers have given me many interesting tips. The following list gives a few examples:
- In the feature film “Enola Holmes” there is a cryptogram that has not yet been solved.
- In the credits of the thriller “Fair Game,” letters are marked that together make up a possibly encrypted message. The tip came from Ralf Jäger.
- In an episode of “Inspector Barnaby” (“Midsomer Murders”), a cryptogram is shown, which Magnus Ekhall pointed out to me….
- In the fantasy thriller “Old” a cryptogram plays a role, which reminds of the Zodiac killer. The tip came from Dave Oranchak.
- The Alfred Hitchcock film “The Lady Vanishes” is about a melody in which a message is said to be encoded. Thanks to Ralf Bülow for the hint.
Some of these messages are metacryptograms – they are not part of the plot, but have the purpose to pose a riddle to the viewer.
The Nosferatu cryptogram
Apparently, the subject of encryption in film has not been exhausted, because my readers keep pointing me to new examples. The latest tip comes from Cipherbrain reader Knox and refers to a particularly old movie: “Nosferatu”, a German silent classic from 1922. Although the content of this horror movie is rather brazenly stolen from “Dracula”, “Nosferatu” is considered a masterpiece and a milestone in film history.
There is the entire film for free on YouTube:
Twice in this strip, a note with a coded message can be seen. At 5:11, the front is shown:
At 24:31 there is the reverse side.
Admittedly, I haven’t watched the movie in its entirety. But I assume that this encrypted message has no influence on the plot, but is only meant to underline the mysterious personality of Count Orlok. In the table of contents on Wikipedia the cryptogram is not mentioned at all. So it is probably a metacryptogram.
The next question is whether this text is solvable at all. All in all, the cryptogram seems quite striking. Probably the optical impression it was supposed to convey was more important than the content. It is therefore quite possible that there is no readable content at all.
Despite a Google search, I am not aware of any website that even mentions the Nosferatu cryptogram. Apparently, no one has shown much interest in what is written on this note. On the other hand, this means that someone who can decrypt this text would make movie history.
So it’s worth taking a closer look at the Nosferatu cryptogram. Is there more to discover in it than a meaningless sequence of letters? I will gladly accept any hints.
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Further reading: A cryptogram in the preview for the new Batman movie