Reading List

Sunday, 21 March 2010

Coded love

In her comment last week, About Postcards said she enjoyed cracking coded messages. I love doing this too. In fact, one way or another, all of my favourite cards are written in secret languages.

I'm not sure exactly why this is. But I reckon it's got something to do a concept JJ Abrams (creator of 'Lost') calls "the mystery box".

When you have a moment, have a look at a seminar Abrams gave on good storytelling - link is below. He talks about being drawn to things which have "infinite possibilities" and uses the example of a box of magic tricks he is fascinated by because it's never been opened.

For me, postcard messages offer a similar means for firing imaginations. They might be a bit pedestrian, especially compared to special-effect-driven adventures on desert islands, but mysteries are there to be enjoyed.

And with coded messages you get double your intrigue.

The code presents the obvious challenge, working out the words the author wanted to hide from the postman. But even when you've deciphered the message you are still only left with one moment, one piece of a dialogue. The before and the after remain hidden.

So, to this week's cards. I've put two up. The card in block capitals is at the Easy end of the code spectrum. If you're struggling there's a clue at

Brace yourself for the message to Miss Gertrud. It is Super Fiendish and I'm afraid I have no answers. The mystery box it seems remains firmly sealed. Any ideas?


  1. Hello again.
    Your Miss Getrude postcard message has been written using a Masonic Cipher (also referred to as Freemason's cipher, or Rosicrucian cipher). Each symbol is a letter substitute, sometimes keyword driven.

    If you try a Google search for the above cipher types you'll get some help and with a little effort you'll soon work out the message.

    Have fun


  2. Thanks Linda. Will give it a go!

    There's already a bit of a sad story behind this card. When I bought it there was another right by it written to the same Miss Gertrude, in the same code. But it cost £15 and so I had to let it go. I've always regretted not buying it. I don't like the idea I split a pair.



  3. Guy, that's very interesting. Codes are a ..."darling" of deltiology.
    Bravo, Linda!

  4. Very, very interesting post. Happy PFF.

  5. Very intriguing. In films they never seem to have any problems cracking codes but I'd need an enigma machine.

  6. Dorincard - Ha ha! I'm with you on that.

    Hey Bob - great to hear from you. Glad you enjoyed the post. Happy PFF to you too!

    Hi Joy - I reckon either of these two cards could inspire a film don't you?