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Thread: Factchecking the Companion Book (long)

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    turkeymonkey's Avatar
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    Default Factchecking the Companion Book (long)

    Two weeks ago I offered to post a list of the oddities and errors I've found in the companion book. Apologies for my delay in writing this post; I've just been kinda lazy lately. Anyway, here goes ...

    First, though, I should explain what led me to start looking for errors in the CB. To begin with there was the NOT WHOLE = KNOTHOLE theory. Then, when I saw the FIND THE TREES HOLE phrase on p.63, I started to wonder whether there were other kinds of holes we might need to be looking for. As I read and re-read the stories in the CB, I got extra curious about the Voynich MS, and all the odd detail that Stadther gave in describing the text. Especially the part that reads:

    "The Voynich manuscript is about 6 by 9 inches. It contains the equivalent of 246 quarto pages. There are 212 pages with text and drawings, 33 pages contain text only. The text is written in an enciphered script, and the drawings are colored in red, blue, brown, yellow, and green."

    The page counts really caught my attention. Maybe it's my day job in publishing that made these numbers scream out, "We don't add up!" 212+33=245. So, one missing page. And when I went to the Yale's Beinecke Library, sure enough, page 12 was missing from the original MS. Oddly, the same page number used in YE NOMECLATURE OF FAERIES. As if that wasn't odd enough, when I kept digging I learned that most experts think the Voynich MS is an indecipherable text, that it's essentially a fraud.

    So, this got me to thinking, holes ... holes ... maybe we're supposed to be looking for holes in the stories! I know, I know, it sounds silly to be looking for direct answers in an optional, supplemental text, but I was desperate.

    Still, all these stories about unsolved codes and treasure hunts had me wondering if maybe, just maybe, Stadther was using these mysteries as a springboard for his own hunt? If every story proved to be some kind of hoax, what if Stadther was trying to undo the hoaxes by providing real solutions to the age-old enigmas? Each TT jewel would require you to use pieces from Voynich, Beale, Oak Island, etc. to solve their puzzle. "A Treasure's Trove" wouldn't just be his own hunt, it would also bring these mysteries to some sort of satisfying conclusion. Anyway, that was my thinking. Here's what I found (sorry if I skip around):

    #3 - Beale
    -The Declaration of Independence used to solve cipher 2 is non-standard. Word 79, AND, is not in the regular Declaration we know and love. Word 95 is INALIENABLE, as opposed to the usual UNALIEABLE.
    -Also in the translation of cipher 2, the word STAMPEDING is not believed to have been part of the English vocabulary in 1822.
    -Most experts believe that the Beale ciphers are actually a hoax, probably created by James B. Ward.
    -Poe experts believe that "The Gold Bug" was based in part on the Beale treasure hoax.

    #12 - Kryptos
    -on p. 45 of the CB, the first line of the Vigenere cipher transcription is incorrect. The entire line has been moved one position to the left from the way it actually appears on James Sandborn's sculpture.
    -To date, no one has solved Kryptos, despite having the best minds in crytography and at the CIA working on it for years. Some theorize that it gives the location of a hidden treasure on the grounds of Langley, but many believe there really is no solution to the right-hand side of the statue.

    #13 - Masquerade
    -Very simple: The winner of Kit Williams' treasure hunt did not actually solve the book's puzzle. Ken Thomas, who later turned out to be Dugold Thompson, found the buried golden hare by pumping Williams' ex-girlfriend for information, using a few ancillary clues, and firing up a metal detector. In other words, the hunt wasn't a hoax, but the victor was.

    #2 - Oak Island
    -Most experts think that the Halifax professor's translation of the stone cipher is a hoax. The main problem is that there simply aren't enough letters to discern a substitution cipher. Nevermind the odd crossed-out "F."
    -An additional stone tablet with 4 symbols was found, although using the 1866 translation doesn't appear to yield anything.
    -Other untranslated letters: C, G, H, J, K, Q, V, X, Z
    -Measurements on the stone tablet are in feet, which wouldn't make sense for something found in 1795. Many believe that the stones themselves are phony.


    #4 - King Tut
    -First of all, Tut changes his name twice, from Tutahkhaten to Tutankhamun to Tutankhamen.
    -The inscription in the CB is incorrect. The actual inscription on Tut's tomb reads, "Death shall come on swift wings to him who distubs the peace of the king."
    -There are two theories about Tut's death: One, that he died of a bug bite to the cheek (in almost exactly the same place as the fatal bite that killed Lord Carnevon -- and, interesting, the same cheek that Rusful appears to have masticated flesh on); two, that he was shot by his chief vizier, a man named Aye (which is what I initially thought p. 66 said instead of FARIES).
    -The number of deaths attributed to the Curst of King Tut is vastly overstated, as are the circumstances of some of the peoples' passing. Many websites call the curse a hoax invented by the novelist Mari Corelli (Mackay).

    #7 - Voynich
    -I've already mentioned the missing p. 12.
    -Experts believe that Voynich may be an indecipherable manuscript, possibly created with a grille cipher. The name most commonly attributed to it is Roger Bacon, the Franciscan Friar.
    -On p. 35 of the CB is a picture of p. 78 of the Voynich Manuscript. Every other line of this page has been intentionally whited out. As Hunting4Treasure pointed out earlier, this may be because Stadther borrowed the image from the website of a Voynich MS scholar, who believes that to solve the manuscript one must use every other line to create a cipher. (That is, the whited out lines probably aren't Stadther's doing, just a poor choice of artwork nabbed off the web.)

    #15 - Ciphers in Literature
    -In "The Gold Bug," a solid gold beetle is used to track down Captain Kidd's treasure.
    -The stickmen message pictured in the passage about the Sherlock Holmes story does not match the translation given. The stickmen actually spell out, "Elsie, prepare to meet thy God!"
    -Like the Oak Island cipher, the dancing men cipher only uses 17 of the 24 letters in the English alphabet, leading many to speculate that the solution provided in the story is incomplete. Indeed, some of the characters are used are not consistent from one message to another. Of particular vexation is the stickman without arms, which could mean at least two different letters.


    OK, this post has gone on waaaay too long. But you get the picture, I hope. As I mentioned before, after the author's admission that the missing Beetle in the text was a mistake, I started to wonder if some of these things I noticed (including what look like altered pictures, out-of-order alphabets, misspellings) were just that -- mistakes. I contacted Stadther with a handful of the things I'd noticed, and he responded almost immediately:

    To: turkeymonkey
    From: mstadther
    Date: Thursday, January 27, 2005 8:41 AM
    Subject: Re: Question about the companion book

    Ted,

    sorry if any typos have bothered you in the PBC but it is just what is appears to be-- a stand alone book of puzzles to get you thinking.

    any mistakes are just unfortunate occurances of me hurring to get the book out the door. but, on most of your points, i used material as it was given to me by my sources, suce as the non standare DOI and the arabia photos.

    thank you for bringing these to my attention and i will try to get any mistakes corrected in the next editions.

    mike
    So, although I still feel strongly that the CB does have clues and interesting new ways to look at ATT, I don't think any of the book's mistakes and oddities are THE KEY. They're interesting, yes, but not necessarily what we should be looking for. Better to look to these stories for examples of what kinds of treasure hunts Stadther admires, and -- crossing my fingers -- a general framework for how his hunt's puzzles might work.

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    Wow!! Don't worry about that post being too long turkey, great work.

    any day above ground is a good day

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    osmaster is offline Junior Twelever Bronze osmaster is an unknown quantity at this point
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    Default Nice Job TurkeyMonkey

    Nice Job Turkey Monkey!

    Some Applause with " Buzzz " Kill



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    All I can really say is that I'm glad you're spending so much time analyzing the CB and not ATT, if you know what I mean

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    You can add to this and error in #5 Khufu's Great Pyramid. The photo actually shows Khafre's pyramid, not Khufu's.

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    Default Vignere code

    TurkeyMonkey,

    The Vigenere code on page 49 of the companion book is ok, right?
    i've been using it (or trying) quite a bit.


    whisper

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    Ya know, he says that the CB is a stand alone book, but it contains the morse code that we found in ATT. It would seem the morse code wouldn't be an important clue then?

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    Whisper, I hope you're kidding. The Vignere cipher in the CB is yet another one of the "holes" -- the "x" and the "y" on the top lines are switched around.

    Cheese, yes there was morse code in the CB as well as ATT, but the morse translation in the CB was incorrect. One of the letters (can't remember which one right now) had the wrong series of dots and dashes.

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    Good catch on the Khufu Pyramid picture, rdshackleford! As with all the other oddities of the CB, I have no idea what to make of it. It could easily just be another incorrect photo mistakenly lifted from the web (like the whited-out Voynich page, the flipped Arabia pic, or the rotated Phaistos disc).

    Still, I'm perplexed as to why MS would include so many of these stories and pictures in the first place, and the Khufu story is right at the top list of "wha huhs?" For the life of me, I can't see a connection to ATT.

    A little Googling taught me that the Egyptians may have created the three Giza pyramids (including Khufu and Khafre) to replicate the the pattern of the stars in the constellation Orion. But that really seems like a stretch. Maybe the pyramids stories are suggesting that we should be using triangles or geometry in our solutions? I dunno. The mystery continues ...

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    Turkey,

    Your mention of the pyramids reminded me of something... The pyramids were supposed to be laid out in a representation of Orion's belt, known to the Egyptian's as part of Osiris' constellation.

    On page 90, "a flickering shaft of sunlight suddenly pierced the clouds and struck the jewels, making them sparkle and glitter – as if Zac held a handful of stars. "

    Perhaps the jewels are laid out around the US in the shape of one of the constellations?
    Anyone know any good 12 (or 13) star constellations?
    What is the sound of one hand clapping?

    Beetleboy

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