Having spent 10 years of my life with the National Security Agency, it is difficult for me not to look for ciphers of various sorts in everything from company logos to Fenn’s Book. (Logos? Really? I once spent a week with EXXON. Take a good look at it the next time you see it.)
Here is a potential cypher in Fenn’s book I find intriguing. (Although I have yet to make anything of it.)
Counting the Epilogue, Fenn’s book, “The Thrill of the Chase,” which includes a chapter on the story of the treasure he hid, is comprised of 26 chapters. (Coincidentally, the same number of letters in the English alphabet.)
Most of the chapters in the book are preceded by a photograph recorded in, what seems to me, a time contemporary to the subject of the chapter that follows. I say most, because not all of the chapters are preceded by photographs, e.g., pg 20 “No Place for Biddies.”
Of the chapters which are preceded by photographs, 20 of them include a postmark as a graphic device, similar to the one in the attached photo from TTOTC/pg 23. Several of the postmarks are duplicated on the inside front and back cover of the book.
There are 6 chapters which do not include a postmark at the beginning, even though some of them include a contemporary photo. They are:
- Pg 1 Important Literature
- Pg 20 No Place for Biddies
- Pg 32 My Spanish Toy Factory
- Pg 104 Blue Jeans and Hushpuppies Again
- Pg 134 Dancing With the Millennium
- Pg 144 Epilog
Of the 20 postmarks, the YEAR of the postmark is illegible on 6, (e.g., pg 46) and there are 6 that are “embellished” with additional information, (e.g., pg 56). (The embellishment on pg 121 is difficult to see without an eye loupe.)
(I’m not going to make a big deal out of 6 of this, 6 of that, and 6 of something else. And, if you comment on it, I won’t approve it.)
The postmark that intrigued me the most, and was the basis for this blog post, is the one on pg 72, preceding the chapter entitled “My War for Me.” (This chapter contains 31 pages of the 146 page book, taking more 20% of the book for itself.)
The postmark reads, SATURDAY 27 DEC and the YEAR is illegible. There is a photo on the same page of the Fenn’s the date they were married, with the caption, “Our wedding, Dec. 27, 1953,” There were obvious differences in the manner in which the two dates were presented, one making the YEAR illegible, and the other not including the DAY.
That curiosity led me to a www.dayoftheweek.org where I entered “December 27, 1953” and clicked “Go.”
The response was “December 27, 1953 is the 361st day of the year 1953 in the Gregorian calendar. There are 4 days remaining until the end of this year. The day of the week is Sunday.”
Who gets married on a Sunday?
Apparently, Fenn. I wrote him to ask about it, and he graciously replied that, indeed, he and Peggy were married on a Sunday, according to her mother’s wishes.
So, why “SATURDAY” on the postmark? One of Fenn’s intentional mistakes to see if we noticed?
I entered the information for the 13 other postmarks in which the YEAR was legible.
Not one of the DAYS are correct, according to the DATE and the YEAR.
Could Fenn’s graphic artist have not been interested enough to check? Well…yes. It’s possible.
But even then, you’d think there would be at least one of the postmarks in which the DAY/DATE combination was correct.
My opinion: the placement of the postmarks, the illegibility of some and embellishment of others, and the DAY/DATE errors are intentional.
I’ll leave it up to you to figure out why.