In a series of short, spaced apart words and in the
occasional medium length word that might pop out of their deciphering
effort," he says.
Treasure may lie four
miles from this shop on sites of old Buford's Tavern.
Historical context is ignored. For example, Beale's method of
enciphering may have been diabolical, but the instructions for deciphering would
have to be simple for an innkeeper like Morriss to follow.
"I don't think we have skimmed the surface yet,"
Holst says. "Instead of just taking a first letter, he could have taken
every second vowel, or even every second letter after a vowel,
which is mathematically very difficult without a key, but from an
instructional point of view simple."
"Let's face it, we are a bunch of crackpots," jokes
Carl Hammer, "but we have a lot of fun."
Farmers and landowners in Bedford and Botetourt Counties,
Virginia, are not so amused by the "crackpots" who tramp their
property with magnetometers, Geiger counters and metal detectors.
Cattle fall in the holes left by bulldozers. Dynamite
explosions frighten people. And worst of all, under Virginia law the treasure
belongs to the finder-even if he or she trespassed to find it-unless the direct
descendants of the original owners are identified within a year.
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