Such a key I have left in the hands of a friend in this place,
sealed, addressed to yourself and endorsed not to be delivered until June
1832." That was the last Morriss heard from Beale.
Carl Hammer, using
computer, has spent 35 years trying to break Beale ciphers.
In 1845, 23 years after receiving it, Morriss opened the box.
"I had the lock broken," he later testified, "and, with the
exception of two letters addressed to myself, and some old
receipts, found only some unintelligible papers covered with figures. ..."
The unintelligible figures turned out to be three ciphers.
According to Beale's letters to Morriss, the first cipher described the exact
location of the treasure.
Cipher Number Two described the contents of the vault and
Number Three listed the names and addresses of the people involved.
Seven teen years later, a year before he died, Morriss handed
the box and its contents ,over to James Ward, a trusted family friend.
A gentleman of independent means, Ward worked day and night on
the codes until he finally succeeded in breaking Cipher Number Two by using a
key based on the Declaration of Independence.
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