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.
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
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.
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 REMAINDER OF THE STORY OCCURS PRIOR TO THE 1840’s.
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.
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.
however, is more likely to be recognized by the citizens of a
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
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
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