Activity

Use the steps Poe outlines in the "The Gold-Bug" to solve the following cryptographs.

1. Identify the probable language of the cipher based on the context in which it appears. (Since this page is in English, it is likely that the following cryptographs are in English as well.)

2. If there are divisions between words, look for single letters. They will probably be either "a" or "i." Use this clue as a starting place for solving the puzzle.

3. If there are no divisions between words, make a list of the letter that appears most frequently. In English, this letter is probably an "e." If not an "e," it is likely to be: a o i d h n r s t u, in that order.

4. Experiment with an "e" in the position of the most dominant letter.

5. Does a three-letter word ending in "e" appear frequently? If so, it might be the word "the." Experiment to see if this is correct. Then use your knowledge of the identity of "t" and "h" to fill in those letters.

6. Look for possible words based on the letters you have already solved.

7. As you confirm words, continue plugging the established letters back into the remaining spaces.

Note: Each cryptograph requires a different cipher to solve it.


#1 From "The Tell-Tale Heart"

Solve the first cryptograph


#2 From "Murders in the Rue Morgue"

Solve the second cryptograph


#3 From Poe's story "The Black Cat"

Solve the third cryptograph