Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Nerd History: Let's Go Treasure Hunting!

Now that you've effectively spent all your money on the Steam holiday sale gifts for friends and family, you probably need some extra scratch. Good news - there's gold in them thar hills!

The Beale Papers were released in 1885, discussing some treasure buried years earlier in the hills of Pennsylvania. The papers consisted of three ciphers, of which, to this day, only one has been deciphered, saying the following:

I have deposited in the county of Bedford, about four miles from Buford's, in an excavation or vault, six feet below the surface of the ground, the following articles, belonging jointly to the parties whose names are given in number three, herewith: The first deposit consisted of ten hundred and fourteen pounds of gold, and thirty-eight hundred and twelve pounds of silver, deposited Nov. eighteen nineteen. The second was made Dec. eighteen twenty-one, and consisted of nineteen hundred and seven pounds of gold, and twelve hundred and eighty-eight of silver; also jewels, obtained in St. Louis in exchange for silver to save transportation, and valued at thirteen thousand dollars. The above is securely packed in iron pots, with iron covers. The vault is roughly lined with stone, and the vessels rest on solid stone, and are covered with others. Paper number one describes the exact locality of the vault, so that no difficulty will be had in finding it.

As with anything like this, the veracity of the papers are in question, but the story is phenomenal. It makes me want to go on an expedition, but I doubt that will ever happen. If you're into cryptology, however, now's your chance...

Speaking of which, I did trip up on a page full of unsolved ciphers, if you're looking for a way to burn the rest of your life away...

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