The world is a place full of mystery and obscurity. Throughout time, hundreds of civilizations have left behind all types of writing systems which have yet to be fully understood. In modern times, we can also find plenty of examples of ciphers used by artists, experts, and even criminals. In this article, we’ll describe 18 unsolved codes that no one has been able to crack.
In late 2014 the movie The Imitation Game sparked interest in the World War Two Enigma Code as well as the machine which was used to crack it. Despite being able to successfully break many of the ciphers, a large amount of them remains unknown.
Ricky McCormick, a resident of Missouri, was found dead near a cornfield in June of 1999 by casualty. Upon inspection, it was revealed that his body contained a series of mysterious codes, which were eventually released by the police. To this day no one has managed to decipher them, and the reason for his death remains unknown.
Two highly sophisticated writing systems – Linear A and Linear B – were used by the ancient Greek civilization. The Minoans came up with the system, but unfortunately they left no clue on how to interpret the system. In the 1950s the Linear B system was cracked, but the same cannot be said for Linear A, which remains incomprehensible.
In December of 1948 an Australian man was found dead near the beach in his local town, Somerton. In his jacked was a ripped piece of paper from a book containing the phrase “it is over”. Later, during the following investigations, the same book from which the paper was taken was recovered, with a blank page containing a mysterious code which has never been solved, although it is widely thought that the victim was a spy.
The Indus Script, used by the Indus Valley civilization (India) between 3500 and 1900 BC, remains a complete mystery to researchers. Experts cannot even agree on whether this writing system was actually an alphabet or just a set of insignificant symbols.
On the night of 26 of October 1984, a German man named Gunther Stoll was viciously attacked by a group of four men while driving in his car. On the way to the hospital, he attempted to explain what had happened, but the culprits managed to escape. With them, they left a mysterious code which has not been decoded to this day.
This fascinating writing system was discovered in the 19th century in Easter Island. There is a lot of confusion as to whether it actually constitutes an independent writing system. If it does turn out to be one, it will be one of the most exotic writing systems ever found.
The Voynich Manuscript is a 240 page book thought to contain some of the first descriptions of modern medicine, including the use of herbal and mineral remedies. It was discovered back in 1912 by a book dealer, and was originally written in the 15th century. The manuscript has been studied by many professional and amateur cryptographers, including world famous American and British codebreakers from World War II. No one has yet succeeded in deciphering the text, and has become internationally renowned.
Forest Fenn – an affluent artist and art dealer – buried treasure valued at around $1-3 million somewhere in the Rocky Mountains. He left a mysterious map detailing where the treasure is found, but no one has been able to locate it. Many have tried and died in their attempt to retrieve the prize.
The Beale Papers are a series of codes which detail the specifics of hidden treasure from the 1820s. The documents include information about the location, the treasure itself, and who its owners are. Unfortunately, the elaborate numbers have never been cracked and the treasure remains lost.
The Phaistos Disc, a puzzling set of stamped shapes and symbols dating back to the late Minoan Bronze Age, remains one of the biggest unsolved mysteries of our time. Researchers have stated that unless other comparable discs are found, their meaning may never be cracked.
An English composer named Sir Edward Elgar sent a letter to his friend Dora ‘Dorabella’ Pennt who was unable to understand the complicated set of symbols. Since then, no one has managed to understand what the letters mean or what the original intention of the letter was.
In 1939 the D’Agapeyeff Cipher was published in the book ‘Codes and Ciphers’ as a fun challenge for keen readers. However no one has been able to discover exactly what the code means, not even the most intelligent enthusiasts.
This bewildering series of codes was discovered in an abandoned book in Hungary in the late 19th century. It was found completely by accident, but its meaning is completely unknown to this day, despite the efforts to decode it.
A horrifying series of assassinations took place during the 1960s in California. The culprit – the so called ‘Zodiac Killer’ – left a series of ciphers to the local police, who were unable to identify the message. Only one of the letters has been solved, but the others remain a mystery. They could hold clues on who the man who murdered 7 people was.
One of the world’s oldest writing systems used between 4500 BC and 4000 BC was discovered in 1875. Used mainly for religious purposes, this odd system has been the center of attention for many investigators since then, but it is still to this day not completely understood.
This series of codes was carved onto a monument located at Shugborough Hall in Somerset during the 18th century. Since then, many attempts at deciphering the codes have taken place with no conclusive results.
Situated at the headquarters of the CIA, this sculpture contains a series of codes and ciphers created by Jim Sanborn in 1990. Experts and enthusiast from all around the world have been working hard to comprehend the meaning behind the codes, but have only had partial success.