Cipher-searching Scripts

by Terry Ross

I have put up three scripts or programs for anyone interested in testing Penn Leary's methods (or my criticisms of them). All three are heavily commented.

The first script, bacfind.txt, is the text of a UNIX shell script that will search any file for strings of characters that count as instances of Bacon's name in cipher according to Leary's rules, and will then send a count of those "bacons" and the lines they occur in to a file. This script probably undercounts the number of "bacons" in each text it searches, because it arranges each text into very long lines and only reports a count of the number of lines that will produce at least one "bacon" (some lines have more than one); moreover, it only searches for "bacons" that can be found in strings of consecutive characters, while Leary also has found some in alternate characters, in the first letters of successive lines, in the letters only of capitalized words, and so on. Nevertheless, the numbers this script produces are much larger than Leary's and are certainly large enough to make my point that "bacons" may be found anywhere, not just in Shakespeare.

The second script, bplus4.pl, will translate any file into Bakish: that is, it will change the file to a 21-letter alphabet, and it will then shift every letter to the one that is four places later in the alphabet ("A" becomes "E", "B" becomes "F", and so on).

The third script, bminus4.pl, is sort of a reverse of bplus4.pl: it will change a file to the 21-letter alphabet and then shift every letter to the one four places earlier in the alphabet. Leary thinks Bacon also used this method on occasion, but most of the time he used that of bplus4.pl. You might want to run bplus4.pl on a file and then run bminus4.pl on the result to see what that does to it.

Penn Leary has written a program in Basic called Skip10 to translate English into ciphers, and both bplus4.pl and bminus.pl are derivations and translations of his efforts.

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See The Code that Failed, my essay on Penn Leary's Baconian Ciphers
See Leary's reply to the essay.
See Hiawatha's Cryptographing, my response to his reply.
See a list of over 700 English words that, according to Penn Leary's cipher, contain the signature of Francis Bacon.
Go back to the Shakespeare Authorship home page.