A few words in figures

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Published on February 8, 2013

Author: BillHoyt

Source: slideshare.net

A Few Words in Figures Breaking the John Brown, Jr., Cipher William J. Hoyt Pittsburg State University

Who is John Brown, Jr.?Oldest son of Abolitionist John BrownCame to Kansas in 1855 as a Free StateSettlerIn 1861, was rumored to be raising anarmy to invade the South by himself.Raised a company of “FightingAbolitionists” and returned to Kansas tofight slavery.

What is a cipher?It is both a message and a method,designed to hide information “in plainsight.”In this Caesar Cipher, the words “A CAB”are printed “D FDE” A “Caesar” or “shift” cipher

What is a cipher?Ciphers can use letters, numbers, orsymbols.The Pigpen cipher with variations was usedby Masons, Rosicrucians, and other secretsocieties, including the anti-slavery Danitesin Territorial Kansas. A “Pigpen” cipher

What is a cipher?Ciphers can use letters, numbers, orsymbols.The Pigpen cipher with variations was usedby Masons, Rosicrucians, and other secretsocieties, including the anti-slavery Danitesin Territorial Kansas. A “Pigpen” cipher

What is Brown’s Cipher?Up to 30 columns of numbersper page.No letters or symbols.Minimal punctuation.So where do we start?

We have to start smallExamine the numbers.Analyze the groupings.Look for oddities.Identify punctuation.Make some guesses and start testing.

Discoveries1. “00” appears only with “08” and “24” – that means it’s a filler to hide one- letter words, and “08” and “24” likely represent “i” or “a,” the most common one-letter words.

Discoveries1. “00” appears only with “08” and “24” – that means it’s a filler to hide one- letter words, and “08” and “24” likely represent “i” or “a,” the most common one-letter words.2. If “16” is “e,” we can seek a pattern: 24 __ __ __ 16 __ __ __ 08 __ __ … A B C D E F G H I J K

Discoveries1. “00” appears only with “08” and “24” – that means it’s a filler to hide one- letter words, and “08” and “24” likely represent “i” or “a,” the most common one-letter words.2. If “16” is “e,” we can seek a pattern: 24 __ __ __ 16 __ __ __ 08 __ __ … A B C D E F G H I J K3. Here it is: 24 22 20 18 16 14 12 10 08 06 04 … A B C D E F G H I J K

Discoveries1. “00” appears only with “08” and “24” – that means it’s a filler to hide one- letter words, and “08” and “24” likely represent “i” or “a,” the most common one-letter words.2. If “16” is “e,” we can seek a pattern: 24 __ __ __ 16 __ __ __ 08 __ __ … A B C D E F G H I J K3. Here it is: 24 22 20 18 16 14 12 10 08 06 04 … A B C D E F G H I J K4. The numbers descend even to L=2, then ascend odd from M=1.

Discoveries5. The cipher is numeric *and* positional – columns are read bottom to top, right to left.

Discoveries5. The cipher is numeric *and* positional – columns are read bottom to top, right to left.6. Words are read the same way, like this: FE DC BA

Discoveries5. The cipher is numeric *and* positional – columns are read bottom to top, right to left.6. Words are read the same way, like this: FE DC BA7. The picture on the right is read: 02 16 15 15 16 11 13 / 08 3 / 14 8 12 17 11 16 13.

Discoveries5. The cipher is numeric *and* positional – columns are read bottom to top, right to left.6. Words are read the same way, like this: FE DC BA7. The picture on the right is read: 02 16 15 15 16 11 13 / 08 3 / 14 8 12 17 11 16 13.8. Which decrypted reads: L E T T E R S / I N / F I G U R E S.

Discoveries“When the war is over if I live, it seems tome that my greatest preasure (sic) will beto make a beautiful and happy home. Ithas come to be one of my strongestdesires. ”-- to Wealthy Brown, Jan 26, 1862.“Colonel Jennison has succeeded in gettingalowed (sic) to me for my recruitingexpenses the sum of six hundred dollars.He sent me a draft for this sum, andyesterday I sent it to Leavenworth and gotit cashed…”-- to Wealthy Brown, March 25, 1862.

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