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Knox

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Ciphers in Literature - Mystery of the Sea
« on: June 02, 2013, 11:36:30 AM »

The Mystery of the Sea by Bram Stoker
http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/42455

On the HTML version, there are six full lines of handwritten symbols and a short series of smaller symbols above the end of the last line. The name of the image is "gaelic.png".

Below that is:
 “To win the mystery o’ the sea,
“An’ learn the secrets that there be,
“Gather in ane these weirds three:
“A gowden moon on a flowin’ tide;
“An’ Lammas floods for the spell to bide;
“An’ a gowden mon wi death for his bride.”

"[Gælic verse and English translation.]"

I didn't win the "mystery o' the sea". I can't make any sense of it.

Is the handwriting really Gaelic? What kind of Gaelic? It doesn't look as if it would rhyme.

Then, after the contents, is a series of single digits separated by spaces.
I thought it would be a simple substitution so I paired the digits:
32 33 36 21 43 31 81 94 72 33 12 38 29 34 11 86 21 34 42 75 16 11 34
23 33 16 81 46 33 52 19 36 48 15 32 13 82 63 43 18 43 21 31 44 32 45
71 68 11 32 03 43 51 66 16 18 16 32 27 11 28 59 23 64 11 81 24 37 36
28 10 12 43 35 44 99 63 43 61 61 42 38 23 12 37 41 28 11 61 81 28 16
16 21 14 61 13 81 16 18 90 61 26 72 13 22 32 33 64 11 88 14 27 36 12
32 12 63 18 12 43 31 61 49 11 84 33 16 84 81 14 11 88 16 91 10 64 51
03 32 13 14 38 31 23 12 43 34 53 26 14 32 33 22 34 39 66 14 25 32 33
22 33 14 81 81 32 43 31 04 33 27 66 12 62 37 32 23 55 21 25 47 21 80

Skimming the text, I found:
(a) Bacon's Cipher mentioned. Also, something about using fingers of both hands to sign [25 different] letters.
(b) Method of breaking a long cipher, which I think is not in the text.

There might be a reference to the series of digits in the text but I didn't see it.

It developed that, as I arranged them, there are 62 distinct pairs of digits, 34 repeated.
 Rank pair   freq.  count
    1   32   6.5217   12
    2   33   5.4348   10
    3   11   4.8913   9
    4   16   4.8913   9
    5   43   4.8913   9
    6   12   4.3478   8
    7   81   4.3478   8
    8   14   3.8043   7
    9   21   3.2609   6
   10   61   3.2609   6
   11   23   2.7174   5
   12   31   2.7174   5
   13   34   2.7174   5
   14   13   2.1739   4
   15   18   2.1739   4
   16   28   2.1739   4
   17   36   2.1739   4
   18   22   1.6304   3
   19   27   1.6304   3
   20   37   1.6304   3
   21   38   1.6304   3
   22   63   1.6304   3
   23   64   1.6304   3
   24   66   1.6304   3
   25   03   1.0870   2
   26   10   1.0870   2
   27   25   1.0870   2
   28   26   1.0870   2
   29   42   1.0870   2
   30   44   1.0870   2
   31   51   1.0870   2
   32   72   1.0870   2
   33   84   1.0870   2
   34   88   1.0870   2

Repeated pairs of pairs
11-88  2
12-43  3
16-18  2
32-33  4
33-16  2
33-22  2
43-31  3
63-43  2
64-11  2

Doubles
16-16  1
61-61  1
81-81  1
I might have missed some.

« Last Edit: June 02, 2013, 11:50:45 AM by Aaron »

Knox

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Re: Ciphers in Literature - Mystery of the Sea
« Reply #1 on: June 02, 2013, 11:46:45 AM »
Correction.
"On the HTML version, there are four lines of handwritten symbols ..."
Should be:
"On the HTML version, there are six full lines of handwritten symbols ..."
« Last Edit: June 02, 2013, 11:50:23 AM by Aaron »

Aaron

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Re: Ciphers in Literature - Mystery of the Sea
« Reply #2 on: June 02, 2013, 11:50:01 AM »
There's a modify button for your posts... ;)

I've not heard about this cipher before, nice find!

« Last Edit: June 02, 2013, 11:54:16 AM by Aaron »

dodonovan

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Re: Ciphers in Literature - Mystery of the Sea
« Reply #3 on: June 04, 2013, 12:51:14 PM »
Knox,
I'm not able to help with your cipher, but the riddle isn't too difficult:

“To win the mystery o’ the sea,
                                          [to learn mastery of maritime skills]

“An’ learn the secrets that there be,
                                          [if you'd know all there is to know]

“Gather in ane these weirds three:
                                          [bring together these three things/words]

“A gowden moon on a flowin’ tide;
                                      [calculation of tides by the moon i.e. full moon, high tide]

“An’ Lammas floods for the spell to bide;
                                     [remain at home in harvest time; or don't venture  August's high tide.  A traditional saying was that "August is a wicked month" . Don't ask me why.

“An’ a gowden mon wi death for his bride.”

        [the golden man is probably Orion, whose rsing  brought an end to the sailing season.  After losing an entire fleet, one Roman emperor famously blamed himself for ordering it to sea though Orion was risen. Other possibilities exist]

I'm surprised there's no mention of winds evident.  But these may be implied, or the riddle invented.

Cheers
« Last Edit: June 04, 2013, 12:54:27 PM by dodonovan »

dodonovan

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Re: Ciphers in Literature - Mystery of the Sea
« Reply #4 on: June 04, 2013, 01:06:45 PM »
Sorry - I forgot to specify. The three weirds are three roads (as in dree my weird):

the way of the moon,
the way of the harvest - the sun's road and agricultural roster cf. Works and Days
The way of stars, but Orion here too as beginning and end.

D.

Knox

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Re: Ciphers in Literature - Mystery of the Sea
« Reply #5 on: June 25, 2013, 05:18:08 PM »


I finally got back to this and found some information in the appendices.

Bacon writing in 1605: "to write Omnia per Omnia, which is undoubtedly possible, with a proportion _Quintuple at most_, of the writing infoulding, to the writing infoulded."

[At MOST 1:5 plaintext to ciphertext]

Eighteen years later he writes:
"that the infoulding writing shall contain _at least five times as many letters_ as the writing infoulded"--

[At LEAST 1:5 plaintext to ciphertext]

Stoker assumes the Bacon brothers, Anthony and Francis, exchanged letters in an "at most" cipher and the later published statement (about the "at least" cipher) was to draw attention away from Francis' former statement.

Stoker's protagonist goes on to develop a multi-step cipher beginning with a verison of Bacon's supposed "at least" cipher. This is the method used to create a third writing at the beginning of the book, that I did not mention in the first post, and which our hero deciphers.

Phase One:

Let the odd numbers according to their values stand for "a":

      a=1
     aa=3
    aaa=5
   aaaa=7
  aaaaa=9

and the even numbers according to their values stand for "b":

      b=2
     bb=4
    bbb=6
   bbbb=8
  bbbbb=0


  Thus aaaaa will be as shown 9
       aaaab will be as shown 72
       aaaba will be as shown 521

I should not have paired the digits.

Some of the original 5-letter groups are not needed and can be put to other uses.

There is a table to show the final substitutions to make a dot cipher.

Stoker wrote:
It is however manifest from certain evidence, that Bacon practised his special cipher and used it for many years. Lady Bacon, mother of the philosopher, writing in 1593, to her son Anthony, elder brother of Francis, speaking of him, Francis, says, "I do not understand his enigmatical folded writing."

Too bad we don't have Anthony's diary.





 


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