Thomas Beale Treasure...In the spring of 1885,
Back ] Home ] Next ]


  In the spring of 1885, James B. Ward published a twenty-one page pamphlet in Lynchburg, Virginia entitled, The Beale Papers. The anonymous author of this pamphlet conveyed a story of an epic journey of exploration that resulted in the discovery of a fortune in gold and silver which led to the creation of secret ciphers that would reveal the location of that treasure.  In the one hundred and sixteen years since its publication, The Beale Papers has become legendary in the cryptography and treasure hunting worlds because the ciphers have never been broken and no treasure has ever been discovered.

             That the ciphers contained in The Beale Papers are currently the oldest unsolved codes in United States history is a fact upon which I take great pride, as I was once a fairly accomplished cryptographer.  I do not intend to reveal the solution to these ciphers now, or ever.  I can wait as long as the Egyptians did for the decipherment of my codes.  I would, however, be grateful if someone would recognize me as the author of this mystery and the creator of the codes.  I seek this recognition, not so much for myself as for my beloved Virginia, who always took such pleasure at my little successes. 

 Knowledge that I am the author of The Beale Papers should stimulate research into this mystery.  Perhaps some Dupin or Holmes of your time, knowing that I was the creator of the Beale codes, would more easily unravel the ciphers and discover my hidden message.  Therefore, I propose to provide a few clues to assist the researchers of the present who may take an interest in this matter.  When I think that one of my old letters recently sold for over one million dollars, I realize that there may be some pecuniary reward to be had by the discoverer of a heretofore unknown writing by myself.  The possibility of fame and fortune is as powerful a motivator tit was in my time.

 I recommend that those of you unfamiliar with The Beale Papers read them now, in order to make some sense of the information presented below.  A reading of The Gold Bug, The Murders in the Rue Morgue, The Mystery of Marie Roget, The Purloined Letter and The Journal of Julius Rodman may also be helpful. For the rest, I offer the following clues.