Saturday, March 29, 2014

The 18 Cryptograms of Western University (Part 2)

I found some time to think about the cryptograms since my last post. Apparently, there has been another found since then, putting the number to 19. Granted, I don't want to have to constantly rename it, so i'll keep it at 18 cryptograms for now.
The purported 19th page

The key fact I decided to consider was the fact that there are really only 4 letters- The Leaf letter, The Gem letter, the Feather Glass, and the Feather Table.The Importance of the picture over the content

To prove my point:
Here are the endings of two Gem pages. Notice how the symbols
are exactly the same. The only difference is that there are significantly
fewer symbols on the page on the right. The letters I listed above are
the ones with the MOST symbols and otherwise identical content.

Every other letter is just a variation of those letters with less content. Which makes me wonder why they exist in the first place. Why would you release letters without the full content? If you were writing a message to someone and sent them multiple, why would you send some that didn't have the full message?

There seems to be two plausible explanations for that:

  1. The missing symbols are supposed to highlight something
  2. The final symbols are not as important as the picture choice

Why Explanation 1 is probably wrong

Now, for the first explanation, this would mean that there was intentional effort spent trying to make sure that certain symbols vanished from the back. This means, it was not simply because they were formatted out. 

Here's how I tested it. I went on google and searched for the name of the objects such as "Box", "Table", and "Glass". Most of the pictures that showed up were essentially identical to the ones that were seen on many of the letters.
The 9th image on the first page is quite familiar.
The very first image appears to be the same one we find on our letters

From there, I decided to copy the image and scale it without changing the dimensions of it (the ratio between width and height stayed the same). And I proceeded to superimpose it onto our letters with a bit less opacity.

I matched the sizes of the boxes together. The whiter segment
is the boundaries of the original image
I superimposed the table onto the table. The sizes match and the
super-white parts determine the original boundaries of the image

So what does this mean?

Well as you can see, the Box image has lines of 6 symbols long beside it. While the Table image has lines of 7 symbols next to it. Additionally, the start between the symbols and the boundaries are the same in both images. 

Supposing google is where they got the images, it would mean that the author did not change the dimensions after acquiring the image. They may have scaled it, but they kept the dimensions the same.


Given that all the images with feathers had 7 full lines. It appears that the author scaled the images so that the height would allow for 7 full lines. However, the author did not care to deal with the width of the images.

That might not sound like much of a big deal, but that could be deceptive. It suggests that the author did not try to tweak the image's boundaries to make it so that an exact number of symbols was deleted. So for the author, the last few symbols didn't really matter. 

Instead there were two things that could have mattered more:
  1. The first 7 lines for the feathers staying intact (Added note: this is not the case for gems, nor leaves: see below)
  2. Having an image there, and keeping its width dimensions (ratio wise)

I should also make a note of something. Compare these two images
Look at the bottom of the glass. Notice how the one on the right
is slightly rounder than the one of the left? Also notice how it is
also more skinny and widens toward the lip?
What you'll notice is that the two images aren't the same. Well, the second image is one of the first hits you find on google. It's actually NOT where the author got his image. Unfortunately I haven't been able to locate where the author found his image as of yet.

The third image on google is NOT the image used by the author

The Interesting Case of Gems

I performed the same process of superimposing the pictures I found on google over the images on the letters to see if the boundaries had changed. While it became quite clear that the author had tried to scale the pictures in the feather image so that they were the same height (allowing for 7 full lines), it was a bit different for gems.

The Box superimposition was as expected
However, this one was different
The Gem box told a different story. Given the boundaries of the picture, it is very plausible that the document decided that it couldn't finish the 7th line. However, given that, the author did not attempt to remedy it (despite being so close). Which suggests that the 7 line may not have mattered so much for the author at all.

I couldn't find the images for leaves to test yet.

What does Explanation 2 suggest?

We've essentially established that the author didn't really care to bother keeping the last few symbols in the letter. Given that, what can we learn from that?

If the symbols were simply pushed out by the pictures, then it suggests that having the picture with its original height to width ratio is more important than having the full content of the symbols.

This suggests that the complete content of the letter (symbol-wise) is not actually the most important part of letter(after all, the author has no qualms or cares about getting rid of the last few symbols), and that perhaps the picture is meant to convey much more. 
However, it should be noted that all the colored symbols still exist. So perhaps they have some significance, and perhaps there is still something to be learned from the text before the final colored symbol.
I'll ponder it a bit more.


  1. In my humble opinion it's a mistake to rule your 1st explanation out so consequently.
    For example, the note with the picture of a table has 2 more symbols than the one with the box. Just like 'table' has 2 more letters than 'box'.
    As long as we don't know what the symbols actually mean or what they transcribe to (letters/numbers/whatever) it's way too early to claim the different length of the texts as not important. Especially because it wouldn't have been harder to copy the whole text and then resize the pictures till they match.

  2. You may be right that the length still means something, but my example was made to show that there didn't seem to be any attempt made to choose the number of symbols in the letter.

    From what I saw, in the feather letters there was an attempt to have all the pictures the same height (consequently or intentionally making 7 full lines). However, the dimensions and ratios between the height and width were not changed, meaning that the formatting was done without attempts to manipulate the picture's dimensions.

    To me, this either meant that the pictures were either just perfect in width (and that they found specific ones with a ratio like that), or that they didn't bother with trying to keep the last few symbols. The first idea just seemed very far-fetched to me, given the ease with which they could change the dimensions.

    But yes, it is possible, It just seems quite implausible. Does that make more sense to why I decided to rule it out for now?

    Thanks for your input!

  3. Woah, Mazia Strange/Sherlock Holmes your blog is extremely intriguing and well written! I'm really enjoying reading it. I wish you the best.

    1. Thank you :). I'll accept that compliment. You should come check back every now and then.

  4. You mentioned a fourth letter that was a feather with a vase. I haven't seen that one, or I missed it. What number was it?

  5. That was a mistake. It meant to say "Feather Glass".

    Sorry about that.