Thomas Beale Treasure...Writing from the Grave
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Fun Games, Great Prizes

            Simon Singh, in The Code Book, his excellent treatise on the history of secret writing, observes that The Gold Bug has been suggested by some as an inspiration to the anonymous author of The Beale Papers.  


Others have also suggested myself as an inspiration for the Beale story.  


On the rare occasion that my name is suggested as a potential author, it is immediately removed from contention by the fact that I had been dead for 36 years before The Beale Papers was published.


            Let us examine this proposition.  Could a man buried in the good earth for 36 years publish a story by himself?  


Of course the answer is no! 


I was aided by a loyal and  patient friend.  


A close examination of The Beale Papers reveals how this assistance was arranged and what “help” was provided by my loyal assistant.


A close reading of the twenty-one page Beale story will show that one sentence, and possibly a few name references, are all that MUST have been written subsequent to my untimely departure from this world in 1849.  




The Beale story contains one reference to “the confederate war” that even I, with my analytical ability and gift for looking into the future, could not have precisely predicted.  


I could, and did foresee, however, that some calamity would befall our nation in the 36 years subsequent to my death.  


In fact, I would be a fool not to predict that a war, flood, fire or some memorable catastrophe would take place somewhere in the world that my assistant, publishing in the future, could inject into the story.


References to individuals, hotels and streets in Lynchburg may also have been placed into The Beale Papers for effect.  


Of course, even a town of ten thousand people may have some uncertainty about a man named Guggenheimer residing somewhere on Main Street.  


A hotel, however, is more likely to be recognized by the citizens of a municipality.  


It may be that I suggested to my assistant where and how to place the names of real people and places of 1885.  


The effect of this subterfuge is to deflect attention from myself and to maximize the utter surprise, awe and amazement, when the true identity of the author is finally discovered.  


            I could not resist trumpeting my scheme, albeit under false colors, when I discuss the relationship between Morriss and the anonymous Beale author:


“The reasons which influenced him in selecting me for the trust, he gave, and were in substance as follows:


First: Friendship for myself and family, whom he would benefit if he could

Second: The knowledge that I was young and in circumstances to afford leisure                               for the task imposed.

Finally: A confidence that I would regard his instruction, and carry out his wishes regarding his charge.”


            I won’t, of course, betray the identity of my devoted young friend.  It may be that his identity remains a secret even if the ciphers are broken and my identity as the Beale author is finally confirmed.  


It is also possible, even probable, that my devoted friend was a lady.  In either case, my discretion is assured.


The year 1885 also happens to be the 40th anniversary of the publication of my greatest work, The Raven.  


There is a certain symmetry regarding the number forty.  Besides being the span between the publishing of my greatest poem and my most ingenious hoax, it is also the length of years that I resided in the world of man.