Though technically they’re probably not in cipher (rather, they’re almost certainly three wobbly dictionary codes), they definitely form an historical mystery: and even today, the Beale Papers’ promise of 19th century treasure continues to inspire people to borrow a distant cousin’s mini-diggers and covertly dig implausible holes not too far from where Buford’s Tavern once stood. Which is, of course, both foolish and most likely illegal, so don’t expect me to condone anything like that for a microsecond.
What I’m far happier to praise is Andrew S. Allen’s animation “The Thomas Beale Cipher”, which I’ve already mentioned a few times along the way. Anyway, now that its tour of independent film festivals is (presumably) over, Allen’s very generously placed a copy of his film on the web right here for all to see (but expand it to full screen for best effect). You should be pleased to hear it doesn’t offer a faux solution (how gauche that would be) or even the pretense of a clunky explanation, but just the lightest touch of 1940s G-man cryptological paranoia amidst a glorious barrage of vintage textiles. Oh, and a nice brass-section soundtrack too. Go and have a look: I think you’ll like it a lot! 🙂