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The Beale Papers, Containing Authentic Statements Regarding the Treasure Buried in 1819 and 1821 Near Bufords, in Bedford County, Virginia
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The Beale ciphers are a set of three ciphertexts, one of which allegedly states the location of a buried treasure of gold and silver estimated to be worth over 30 million US dollars in the present time. The other two ciphertexts allegedly describe the content of the treasure, and list the names of the treasure's owners' next of kin, respectively. The story of the three ciphertexts originates from an 1885 pamphlet detailing treasure being buried by a man named Thomas Jefferson Beale in a secret location in Virginia in 1820. Beale entrusted the box containing the encrypted messages with a local innkeeper named Robert Morriss and then disappeared, never to be seen again. The innkeeper gave the three encrypted ciphertexts to a friend before he died. The friend then spent the next twenty years of his life trying to decode the messages, and was able to solve only one of them which gave details of the treasure buried and the general location of the treasure. Since the publication of the pamphlet, a number of attempts have been made to decode the two remaining ciphertexts and to find the treasure, but all have resulted in failure.
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