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Life in general, Mystery Cipher

Cipher Mystery: Dead pigeon solved (AOAKN)


Ok so may of you may or may not know about the Mystery code that a guy found on a dead WW2 pigeon in his chimney.

AOAKN HVPKD FNFJU YIDDC

RQXSR DJHFP GOVFN MIAPX

PABUZ WYYNP CMPNW HJRZH .

NLXKG MEMKK ONOIB AREEQ

UAOTA . RBQRH DJOFM TPZEH

LKXGH RGGHT JRZCQ FNKTQ .

KLDTS GQIRU AOAKN 27 1525/6

If not then here is the article to read: HERE

I’ve been messing around with the code and there are several things to notice.

1) the first and last cipher is the same indicating a name or code word / book used. When I try to decipher this I come up with the word “BIBLE” so often it can’t be coincidence. Bare in mind this was supposed to be a pilots communication back to Bletchley Park and they used code books to help. Also the bible was probably one of the most available books around to use if he had no other material.

2)The combination letters ‘ddcrqx’ part of the 4th group and 5th group of letters interestingly come back as “AARHUS”. Now I wouldn’t have normally looked at this but from my limited military history ‘Aarhus’ in Denmark was a major WW2 place for Germans and was a target for bombing raids etc . So I’d love to know if this Sargent Stott had any missions to AARHUS. ?

3) The obvious tags as others have mentioned are the numbers 27 indicating 27 groups of code or the 27th day of the month. along with 1525/6 or 15:25 time and the 6th message sent that day.

4)  The first two codes together however come up with some interesting starts if the spaces are true for the first two codes.

See below (AOAKN HVPKD) :

EVERY SHORT

AGAIN FRUIT

EVERY SHARD

BIBLE COULD

AGAIN DEVIL

EVERY GUARD

EVERY THIRD

EVERY SPORT

EVERY SWORD

EVERY STORM

There are many more combinations to those and I’ve just shown a few. Some stick out more than others knowing the type of communication this was supposed to be.

Other longer combinations if taking the “BIBLE” part of the code out but to include the AARHUS location then I come up with this:

(HVPK DFNFJU YI DDCRQX SR DJHF)

TOLD AIMING BY AARHUS EH ANTI

TEMP AILING BY AARHUS OH ANTI

TEMP AIDING BY AARHUS OH ANTI

TYPE AIMING CD AARHUS OH ANTI

Or More interestingly moving one character on the first code to this (HVP KDFNFJU YI DDCRQX SR DJHF)

TED FAILING BY AARHUS OH ANTI

TED FAILING MY AARHUS OH ANTI

TOM JAILING BY AARHUS EH ANTI

TWO MAILING BY AARHUS EH ANTI

TOM FAILING BY AARHUS EH ANTI

Once interesting one I looked at was this: (HVPK DFN FJUYI DDCRQX SRDJHF)

ICED AFT FLOWN AARHUS KHALIF

Not sure where the KHALIF comes into it but keep in mind this was supposed to be a pilot and it translates to “Iced AFT flown AARHUS” …. HMmmm…

If you take the AARHUS out of the equation and see it as a red herring then you could get a more legable set from this:( HVPK DFN FJUY IDDCRQX SR DJHF)

CLOT SKY KING ASSURED MR SICK

LOFT SKY KING ASSURED MR SILK

INCH FLY LAUD EFFORTS MR FAIL

INCH SPY PLOT ASSURED MR SLIP

Some interesting things to ponder about.

MORE TO FOLLOW AS I FIND THEM

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About jobloggsexplains

Opinionated northerner

Discussion

35 thoughts on “Cipher Mystery: Dead pigeon solved (AOAKN)

  1. Working along the same lines as me, Im pleased to read. I also think its to do with the bible but the bit that persuaded me first was the 1525/6. The first printed bible was printed 1525/6.
    ”Printing began in Cologne (Germany) in 1525, but was interrupted when Tyndale was forced to flee southwards to the city of Worms. Printing of the New Testament then began again and was completed in 1526”

    Also, Im not certain its Sjt Stott we should be looking for, but sjt w stout of the 253 field coy, RE.

    Posted by Narissa Andrews | November 26, 2012, 3:11 PM
    • Interesting thoughts…. I’ve also been looking at the 1525 and different possible connections with the bible EG 15:25 as bible references to psams etc to see if they work as a reference for the codebook used.
      Its very interesting you said the first bible printed in germany in 1525.. I didnt know that so thanks for the info. Also interseting about the soldier you mentioned… I’d love to find out if either of those soldiers / pilots names had any connection to Aarhus Denmark for any missions at that time as well..

      Posted by jobloggsexplains | November 26, 2012, 4:18 PM
  2. Im pretty certain (which in my case means probably not very certain) that you are correct about aarhus and the reasons are as follows:
    Aarhus was comandered by x02 and they used 110 squadron. now where have we seen those numbers before :)

    Posted by Narissa Andrews | November 26, 2012, 4:30 PM
  3. Cool, I’m going to look more into that then. I know Aarhus was a major Gestapo location at Aarhus University and was bombed by the RAF and was later liberated but thats as far as my military knowledge goes with that so far.

    Posted by jobloggsexplains | November 26, 2012, 4:57 PM
  4. Very interesting!I almost agree with you,and work in the same way.
    I just think that “27 1525/6″ means Psalms 27 from Tyndale’s Bible…

    Posted by Sergey | November 26, 2012, 7:24 PM
    • Since 2nd bomber command only took 2 squadrons to aarhus and one of them was 110 squadron, then it looks likely that the word aarhus is in the message. There were hundreds of divisions in ww2 and they take 110, which happens to be written at top of message. Not a coincidence, I think its fact.
      Also AOAKN is probably attention operation aarhus KN. (Kn is radio code for only recipient is to reply)

      Posted by narissa andrews | November 26, 2012, 7:30 PM
  5. The 3rd quintet should read FNFJU, not FNFJW.
    The 17th quintet should read UAOTA, not WAOTA.
    The 26th quintet should read GQIRW, not FQIRW.
    All instances of the letter U have only straight lines (three sides of a rectangle). Also, all instances of the letter W have the center strokes meet at a vertex in the middle.

    Finally, you should take into consideration the periods present in the message. Without counting the last period after the numbers, there are four that are very clear and a fifth one that might be only a stain.

    See this version of the image file for more clarity: http://goo.gl/Wtwmn

    Posted by Chalk Da Stick | November 27, 2012, 12:24 PM
    • Thanks chalk, stupidly enough I actually did have them as U’s and not w’s but I posted the wrong version. I will rectify. And yep I know about the periods, so i’ll add those . thanks again.
      my silly fault for cut n pasting to try to save time…

      Posted by jobloggsexplains | November 27, 2012, 2:18 PM
    • I think you meant GQIRU, not GQIRW !

      Posted by Jean | November 28, 2012, 1:35 PM
      • Full message is probably formated like this :

        ***

        AOAKN

        HVPKDFNFJUYIDDCRQXSRDJHFPGOVFNMIAPXPABUZWYYNPCMPNWHJRZH

        NLXKGMEMKKONOIBAKEEQUAOTA

        RBQRHDJOFMTPZEHLKXGHRGGHTJRZCQFNKTQ

        KLDTSGQIRU

        AOAKN

        ***

        AOAKN is clearly a start/end delimitator.

        So there are 4 sentences, the last one being very short is maybe a signature.

        The main question is now where are the “space character” in the sentences ?

        Posted by Jean | November 28, 2012, 1:39 PM
      • Thanks Jean,

        I agree the hardest question is working out the spaces. It’s certainly fun playing around with it and getting peoples input. I hope my thoughts and ideas have helped others in their quest to solve it.

        Posted by jobloggsexplains | November 28, 2012, 1:45 PM
  6. It really does depend on how religious you are but on the 27th of October there was this “Mass concentration of German troops was reported in the Saar, along the Belgian, Dutch and Swiss frontier, and along the German North sea coast.” 27 being the date and closest numerical imperial number if you divide 1525/6 is 10 (10 1/64) a.k.a October if you use the French transfer from metric to imperial. Last quintet! And not only that but on that date this happened too “King Leopold III, in a broadcast to the USA, declared that Belgium is determined to defend its neutrality”. Probably a good date to set off from Aarhus

    Posted by Ben | November 27, 2012, 9:02 PM
    • Thank Ben, Its certainly good to know of things like this.

      Posted by jobloggsexplains | November 28, 2012, 1:46 PM
    • The space characters between sentences ar when 2 of the same letters are tigether side by side, such as ee, gg etc. Also, the aoakn is a start/beginning and stop/ending of the message. The 27 is the day sent, the 1525 is the time the message was coded, time of origin was the time the person finished writting the message, the bib 1625 is teh time it was attached to the pigeon and released. being there were 2 copies,, the nurp lines were the pigeons serial numbers, 2 messages were ssent by 2 different pigeons. The nurp was to avoid duplicate orders and to ferify it was a 2nd duplicate depending on if the other bird arrived first.

      Posted by roy rathbun | December 1, 2012, 7:24 PM
  7. I’ve been looking at lots of comments and yours are very interesting, I’ve been trying to crack it and it’s been very helpful. I would love to get my hands on the message (but that’s obviously not going to happen), just to make sure that the lettering is correct and if there are hidden areas, not only that is there anybody out there that does calligraphy because I think this could help too, also can anybody let me know where the NURP comes in at that time as well, I haven’t been able to find any traces! Stupid i know! Historians would be good now just to cover that time and any scientists that can analyse the age of the Pidgeon.

    Posted by Ben | November 27, 2012, 9:20 PM
    • From what I’ve read the word NURP is the call sign for the carrier pigeon. All pigeons in the service at the time had a NURP number assigned to them. This specific message had two NURP references which they think means he used two pigeons to send the whole message. EG part 1 of the message was with pigeon NURP 40 TW 194 and the second part sent on pigeon NURP 37 GK 76.

      Posted by jobloggsexplains | November 28, 2012, 10:12 AM
  8. Frequencies :
    2 SV
    3 BCLUWY
    4 EIXZ
    5 JMT
    6 DFGQ
    7 OP
    8 HR
    9 AN
    10 K
    JMT&K are not paired ?

    Posted by Gael | November 27, 2012, 10:32 PM
    • These are very interesting because from what I know of the most used words eg “THE” for example may help with the 5th frequency of JMT as a possibility or the word “AND” , and the most popular 2 letter words to match those.

      Also BCLUWY is an interesting one.
      The top matchups I can get from this are:
      TOWARD
      MYSELF
      SHOULD
      ITSELF
      OBJECT
      MAKING
      ALMOST
      ACTION
      TURNED
      NATURE
      DANGER
      ANSWER
      FRIEND

      Some of those you could really believe being used but others not so much.

      The only issue I have though is where is BCLUWY in the code.?
      or the other combinations mentioned

      Posted by jobloggsexplains | November 28, 2012, 10:08 AM
      • Don’t forget it’s a message sent from a pigeon… the writing space is limited and they probably didn’t use the “THE” word, as it’s kind of useless.

        The messages had to be short in length and still be efficients, probably in a “Telegram style” see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Telegram_style

        Posted by Jean | November 28, 2012, 2:04 PM
      • yes very true Jean, because of limited space, the more appropriate words added the better and thus cutting out connector words like you mentioned much akin to the telegram style. Which is one of the many reasons why it will be extremely difficult to get a full decode without the codebook.

        Posted by jobloggsexplains | November 28, 2012, 3:14 PM
      • BCLUWY is not part of the code, it’s all the letters that appear 3 times in the code.

        Posted by Jean | November 30, 2012, 3:44 PM
      • Ah sorry, I see what was said now… my mistake, I read it wrong. I tought that it was combinations … lol.. god you look at these things for long enough it drives you potty

        Posted by jobloggsexplains | November 30, 2012, 3:56 PM
  9. NURP = National union or unit of Racing Pigeons.

    Posted by Narissa Andrews | November 28, 2012, 1:11 PM
  10. Could ‘AOAKN’ be just encoded ‘XXVIJ.’, which stands for the 27. chapter of Tyndale’s bible? Wondering if the rest would work with that key…

    Posted by Luciana | November 29, 2012, 3:35 PM
    • Also, do you have any specific reason to go for decoding by replacing letter by letter, independent on the following ones? Was that a common practice at the time? I would assume the letter should not always transform to the same letter, either because the key is some character pattern (maybe from that bible indeed) or some shift but with the next letters in the set dependent on the previous shift…

      Posted by Luciana | November 29, 2012, 3:49 PM
    • I suppose there could be a valid reason for it being just encoded like you mention however the reason people from other articles and news stories about it think its the codebook name or term used to cipher the text. I guess thats why they are unable to decipher it themselves and have sent it out to the public so to speak because all known tests they know of arnt working. So they are open to all ideas.

      The reason for decoding it letter for letter is that was the known wartime taught practice. Using a ‘onetime’ codebook , but your right. I very much doubt this is a simple ceaser cipher type or shift pattern but like you said it will move much like the enigma machines etc. But unless someone can work out the codebook used then it will probably remain unsolved.

      What i’m trying to do is concentrate on small parts of the text.. To try to help recognise key words such as the “aarhus” section. This could then lead to others and slowly get snapshots of the message and hopefully lead to the full understanding . By concentrating on small parts, the “SHIFT” would be smaller than trying to decipher a whole sentence.

      Its v difficult but fun at the same time.

      Posted by jobloggsexplains | November 29, 2012, 4:04 PM
      • Thanks for the explanation. I agree the ‘Aarhus’ part can be a pretty good shot indeed, but still I’d give it a try to use such chunks (ddcrqx->aarhus, resp. +23 +23 +15 +16 +4 +21) at some other places of the message as a part of the pattern key (assuming the key is rather short and repetitive) rather than as a simple alphabet cipher. Unfortunately, the fact that the shift from ddcrqx to aarhus does not seem to have any sense (23 23 15 16 4 21 = CCKJVE, or the other way round 3 3 11 10 22 5 = WWOPDU) makes it more likely that either you are right, or aarhus is misleading, or there was a pattern key that had no real world sense at least in English. Well, let’s see ;-)

        Posted by Luciana | November 29, 2012, 5:13 PM
  11. As this blog has the most comments that make sense to me of all the comments on the pigeon cipher, Ive linked it on my cipher blog :)

    btw codebreakers, if you want a break from whatever you are cracking, I have set a challenge to crack my simple 5×5 grid substitution. First person will be published on blog. the 5×5 original grid must be submitted too and why i used it.
    XMEMU TZKYB RZTDV TLDTO NDKKY
    TOFFZ LZVXX YGREF NEPDR RXUXW

    more messages coming in next few days if no one cracks it. Its not random, so should be easy.

    Posted by Narissa Andrews | November 30, 2012, 3:43 PM
  12. @narissa

    This is what I have so far :

    TWO WIDELY USED AND RADICALLY DIFFERENT TYPS OF COMASSTITWIN NAVIGATION DIRECTIONS ON MAPS ARE EXPRESSED WITI REFERENCE TO GEOGRAPIICAL OXTXU ENORTIQQ

    lol

    Posted by jobloggsexplains | December 4, 2012, 2:56 PM
  13. Just curious, I’m a fanatic and have put in 30+ hours into deciphering this message. How did you happen accross “AARHUS”. As in what decypher algorithym did you use? BTW another helpful hint maybe i ran into the word “HYOSCINE”. Interestingly enough it was in fact used by Paratroopers in WWII as a motion sickness drug during Nomandy. And since X02 being a bomber command, they may have a relation. However this may be a coincidence.

    Posted by WaKushKa Cranston | December 17, 2012, 2:03 AM
    • I’ve read that article as well and I really don’t think it’s true. He has yet to prove his claim or show what the message is. This happens when something like this comes to light. Always someone has a Monet just found in an attic or the long lost city of Atlantis in their back yard. Until they advertise the codebook and solution I’m skeptical.

      Posted by jobloggsexplains | January 3, 2013, 1:10 PM
  14. Almost stunning!!!!!

    Posted by Shreyank | May 21, 2013, 8:58 AM

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