Lost in Translation: The Unsolved Beale Ciphers | 374

Season 15 | Episode 374
49m | May 29, 2024

“I have deposited in the county of Bedford, about four miles from Buford's [Tavern], in an excavation or vault, six feet below the surface of the ground, the following articles, belonging jointly to the parties whose names are given in number three, herewith: 

The first deposit consisted of ten hundred and fourteen pounds of gold, and thirty-eight hundred and twelve pounds of silver, deposited Nov. eighteen nineteen. The second was made Dec. eighteen twenty-one, and consisted of nineteen hundred and seven pounds of gold, and twelve hundred and eighty-eight of silver; also jewels, obtained in St. Louis in exchange to save transportation, and valued at thirteen thousand dollars. 

The above is securely packed in iron pots, with iron covers. The vault is roughly lined with stone, and the vessels rest on solid stone, and are covered with others. Paper number one describes the exact locality of the vault, so that no difficulty will be had in finding it.” - Thomas Jefferson Beale, from the second cipher text of the Beale Papers, allegedly written in 1822.

Is it time to channel your inner Gus Chiggins and get to hunting for gold? Or maybe all of this a cunning ruse or just a flat out lie? We explore that and more this week with The Beale Ciphers on Hysteria 51!

Special thanks to this week’s research sources:

Books and Papers

Nickell, Joe. “Discovered: The Secret of Beale's Treasure.” The Virginia Magazine of History and Biography, vol. 90, no. 3, 1982, pp. 310–324. JSTOR,


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