From the mysterious Voynich Manuscript, to the unsolved ciphers of serial killers and buried treasure, there are numerous codes and puzzles that have long baffled codebreakers and cryptographers. The Kryptos sculpture at the CIA, the Tamám Shud Case in Australia, and the Shugborough Inscription in England, among others, continue to intrigue and frustrate those attempting to decipher their hidden messages. Even supposedly unbreakable codes, such as the D’Agapeyeff Cipher and the Damm Cipher, have yet to be cracked. Despite countless attempts, the secrets behind these enigmatic codes and ciphers remain elusive.
1. Voynich Manuscript
The Voynich Manuscript is a handwritten book that dates back to the early 15th century. It is written in an unknown script and contains numerous illustrations that are equally puzzling. The manuscript has been studied by codebreakers and cryptographers since it was rediscovered in 1912, but its contents have yet to be deciphered.
Kryptos is a sculpture that is located on the grounds of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) in Langley, Virginia. It contains four encrypted messages, three of which have been deciphered. The fourth message, however, remains a mystery. Numerous attempts have been made to crack the code, but none have been successful.
3. Zodiac Killer’s Cryptograms
The Zodiac Killer was a serial killer who operated in California in the late 1960s and early 1970s. He sent numerous letters to the police and local newspapers, many of which contained cryptograms. Though several of these codes have been solved, some of them remain unsolved to this day.
4. The Beale Ciphers
The Beale Ciphers are a set of three codes that were supposedly created by a man named Thomas Beale in the early 19th century. According to legend, the ciphers contain information about a buried treasure worth millions of dollars. To date, no one has been able to crack the codes and locate the treasure.
5. The Tamám Shud Case
The Tamám Shud Case is a mysterious incident that occurred in in Adelaide, Australia in 1948. A man was found dead on a beach, and in his pocket was a piece of paper with the words “Tamám Shud” printed on it. The paper turned out to be a torn-out page from a book of Persian poetry, and it contained a code that has yet to be deciphered.
6. The Dorabella Cipher
The Dorabella Cipher is a code that was sent to composer Edward Elgar in 1897 by a friend named Helen Novello. To this day, no one knows what the code says. Elgar, who was an accomplished codebreaker, was unable to solve it.
7. The Shugborough Inscription
The Shugborough Inscription is a code that appears on a monument in Staffordshire, England. It consists of ten letters, some of which are arranged in a way that suggests they might be an abbreviation or acrostic. Despite numerous attempts to decipher the code, its meaning remains unknown.
8. The D’Agapeyeff Cipher
The D’Agapeyeff Cipher is a code that was published in a book called “Codes and Ciphers” by Alexander D’Agapeyeff in 1939. D’Agapeyeff claimed that the code was unbreakable, but in fact it turned out to be a simple substitution cipher. Despite its relative simplicity, the code has never been deciphered.
9. The Taman Shud Cipher
The Taman Shud Cipher is a code that was found in a hidden pocket of the clothing of the man known as the “Somerton Man,” who was found dead on Somerton Beach in Adelaide, Australia in 1948. The code has never been deciphered, and its meaning remains a mystery.
10. The Damm Cipher
The Damm Cipher is a code that was first presented in a paper by Czech cryptographer Václav Damm in 1928. Damm claimed that the code was unbreakable, but in fact it is vulnerable to a simple attack known as the “birthday attack.” Despite this weakness, the code has never been broken.