The Copiale cipher is an encrypted manuscript consisting of 75,000 handwritten characters filling 105 pages in a bound volume. It is thought to date to between 1760 and 1780. It was first examined at the German Academy of Sciences at Berlin in the 1970s but did not come to public attention until 2011 when an international team announced that they had deciphered it. In April 2011, it was decoded with the help of modern computer techniques by Kevin Knight of the University of Southern California, along with BeÃ¡ta Megyesi and Christiane Schaefer of Uppsala University in Sweden. They found it to be a German text encrypted by a homophonic cipher, a complex substitution code.
A team of Swedish scientists paired with a USC researcher to crack the Copiale Cipher, thus revealing secret rituals and beliefs of a secret German society that had a fascination for ophtalmology. Thousands of old and obscure symbols filled over 100 pages of text which was found in Berlin towards the end of the Cold [...]