Wednesday, July 27, 2022

Codebreakers solved the mystery of gibberish advertisements that ran in the The Times between 1850 and 1855


In 1850, the English naval officer Richard Collinson was sent to the Canadian Arctic in hopes of finding any traces of the Franklin expedition, or at least figuring out what happened to the explorer and his ships. Collinson’s ultimately failed expedition lasted from 1850 to 1855, exactly the same time period of the encrypted ads published in The Times. 


The decryption revealed that the ads were messages sent back and forth between the Collinson expedition members and their relatives and families back in England.


they knew that no matter where the ship would go, that The Times was readily available in any city around the world


Unfortunately, as far as they can tell, the system worked only once in 1855, when Collinson obtained four copies of The Times when he was in the Indonesian town of Banyuwangi