A strange document found in East Berlin at the end of the Cold War has puzzled scientists for centuries. The 100 page document, known as the Copiale Cipher, was written in an unknown language, contained bizarre symbols, and until this week, no one knew what it said.
USC computer scientist Kevin Knight and two Swedish researchers have cracked the Copiale Cipher code. According to the LA Times, the Copiale Cipher “revealed the rituals and political observations of an 18th century secret German society, as well as the group’s unusual fascination with eye surgery and ophthalmology.”
So why should we care about an ancient German societies fascination with eye surgery?
Knight says that by breaking the Copiale Cipher, a door has been opened to other hard to crack codes. Knight cites several modern ciphers that have been puzzling scientists and law enforcement agents. Knight points to the communication of the Zodiac Killer, the Krpytos sculpture, and the Voynich manuscript from the 1400s.
“This opens up a window for people who study the history of ideas and the history of secret societies… There are these books and ancient languages of real historical value that contain historical information that we just can’t get out yet, and that’s of interest to a lot of people.”
Here’s a video of Kevin Knight explaining how he decoded the Copiale Cipher.
The Copiale Cipher remained a mystery for more than three centuries until Knight took his unique approach to crack the code. Do you think Knight’s work will help unravel some of the world’s mysteries?