250-year-old Secret Text Decoded

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New technological advances have allowed researchers into an ancient world of secret texts that once seemed nearly impossible to decode.

Noah Shachtman’s article in Wired, titled “They Cracked This 250-Year-Old Code, and Found a Secret Society Inside,” explores how new computer generated algorithms are opening doors into secret societies. Shachtman writes:

The decoding effort started as a sort of game between two friends that eventually engulfed a team of experts in disciplines ranging from machine translation to intellectual history. Its significance goes far beyond the contents of a single cipher. Hidden within coded manuscripts like these is a secret history of how esoteric, often radical notions of science, politics, and religion spread underground. At least that’s what experts believe. The only way to know for sure is to break the codes.

The decoded texts expose a secret society that performed ritualistic eyebrow pluckings by a master in a blue-eyed amulet, Freemasonry, Benjamin Franklin, and much more.


Pat Johnson is currently working on his master’s in Fiction Writing at San Francisco State University, and is the owner and editor of the satirical news website The New Porker. When Pat’s not reading or writing he’s likely squeezing a lime into a Tecate and headed to the dance floor. He also creates short films, documentaries, and sketch comedies. Pat is completing his first novel, The Virgin and Marilyn Monroe, and writing a book of Creative Non-Fiction short stories. More from this author →