The ciphers may be genuine, but the treasure may have
It could be a hoax, or a cover up for a Civil War bank robbery
or a hijacking of federal gold.
Buford family graveyard is
possible site of treasure.
It could also be a joke perpetrated by someone like Edgar
Allan Poe, an expert cryptographer who attended the University of Virginia
briefly in the 1820s.
A few speculate the National Security Agency already has
cracked the ciphers and absconded with the treasure.
We will never know, they say, because it's classified.
Within the Beale Cypher Association, nonbelievers are
distinguished by their willingness to share information, says Frank Aaron, a
Florida computer systems consultant who is working on a book on Beale with a
do-it-yourself guide for home computer buffs.
"If someone believes in the treasure, you bet they are
very secretive about their work. They want to know what you are doing,
Only historical research will solve the Beale mystery, says
Carl Nelson, who, with the patience of a veteran CIA
agent, is cross-checking Beale's story. Did Beale go West as claimed? Did he
find the gold, and if so, what did he do with it?
Nelson's sleuthing has taken him all over the country, from
Virginia court houses to Kansas, Missouri, Texas, New
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