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If it’s not a W and not a H – What is it?

Here we go again with the code  … as if it hasn’t been flogged to death a hundred times. A thousand if you include Gordon Cramer’s contributions in the mix: that bloke is everywhere but still not getting us anywhere.

Just for once I’d like to see GC do the same z-ray, ultra-violet, acid-wash routine with a photo of the inside of a Rubaiyat the same vintage as the one given to Boxall to see if he gets the same result.

But that’s not going to happen.


I reckon the five lines of code are in fact four and line 2 didn’t belong where it was first put, was crossed out, corrected and transferred beneath the X as line 3. The correction being to drop the I and add A I A Q C.

Who are those digits? What are they?

And the reason it was transferred was that is didn’t have that weird thing that isn’t really a W and not really a M as the first character. It’s not as if the person who wrote them couldn’t do a regular M, there’s 4 more in the code to prove it, despite the wiggle on the M in the last line.

So, if the weird one isn’t a letter from the Roman alphabet it can only be something else, and I’m thinking it’s not from another language because who would do that?

Is it an ‘arrangement’ of something? All the not W’s and not M’s on top of the X, everything else under it, the real M and the I.

Like X is the delineator. Meaning X determines the placement of whatever the four lines of characters represent. Either above or below.

And what’s with all the letter A’s? Isn’t E supposed to be the most commonly used letter of the alphabet?

So many questions, but the more of them you ask the better chance of having one answered, right?

So, go ahead, answer one and make our day.

9 Comments Post a comment
  1. пожалуйста #

    Wondering why the first not-W / not-M (along with some other characters, notably the less-not-M directly below) are considerably more ‘stippled’ in the inking execution?

    There’s a hesitancy? An uncertainty?

    January 28, 2021
    • Put that down to the cop doing the mark-up – whoever he was. Seems the original pencil markings were pretty faint. Leane needed a glass to see them properly according to GF.
      I remember bringing this stippled effect up with Byron some years ago, in that some of the ink-ups had different ink pooling on some of the characters. He put it down to the physical characteristics of the photographic paper used for the job.

      January 28, 2021
      • пожалуйста #

        Increases the likelihood the the ink mark up is not representative of the pencil lines. Once we get to a certain level of faintness, we’ve arrived at the same issue that GC has exposed: at the edge of perception, pareidolia takes hold.

        January 28, 2021
        • That doesn’t explain the W/H times two. One confirms the other.

          January 28, 2021
          • пожалуйста #

            The second one (line 3) looks like a completely different letter(s) again. Note how the diagonal downstroke from the centre continues past the start of the following diagonal upstroke and joins with the vertical final stroke at around half its height. This forms a triangle within the supposed w/m/h shape.

            It doesn’t look like any kind of single letter to me.

            January 28, 2021
  2. All we have are the cards we are dealt with .. and neither is recognisable as a letter from the Roman alphabet .. so they are something else.

    January 28, 2021
  3. пожалуйста #

    That’s exactly where the risk of pareidolia comes in. Someone has drawn some lines with the probable a priori intent of representing some script, because they were told “trace the tiny writing on this paper”.

    The tracing isn’t necessarily an accurate representation of the original because it is likely informed by those a priori assumptions.

    And those assumptions are carried forward into our consideration of the tracing. We’re now trying to interpret an interpretation, so to speak.

    But yes: it’s the card we’re dealt.

    January 28, 2021
    • What is clear is that the lines that commence with the mystery letter are separated by the letter X …

      January 28, 2021
  4. MyName #

    The ‘W’ shapes don’t entirely even look like each other, although that is probably the interpretation by the inker.
    Sort of interesting if you zoom in you can see other lines around the 2nd one of them. Seems odd they wouldn’t have been highlighted – it’s as though the people doing the tracing though they knew which bits were and weren’t important.

    I still lean toward a lot of the letters being misinterpreted by the tracers who assumed they were Latin letters. Main reason is the lack of consistency between multiple examples of the same letters, in particular:
    The ‘R’ on top line is formed tih a double stroke that you don’t see in any ‘B’
    The 2 ‘G’ are totally different – 1 looks a hurried, deformed 6, the other has a pretty definite crossbar (or is that from the ‘A’)
    All the ‘A’ lean in different directions, some are rounded on one side, or the other, or both, sometimes the crossbar leaks out of the ‘A’, sometimes it’s perfectly contained within. The bottom ‘A’ in particular looks wierd.
    The ‘B’ are different too – compare the roundness of the loops as well as how the top loop meets the stem and all of them are different. The one in line 3 looks especially special.
    Formation of both ‘O’ are different, and they lean different ways. If we add the struck out one, then it almost looks more like a ‘D’. And neither of the nice complete ‘O’ are consistent with the haphazard and incomplete ‘Q’
    The ‘D’/’P’ characters have a very pronounced loop (although how they link to the stem is inconsistent). the 1st ‘P’ on line 2 is a lot rounder than the triangular ‘D’/’P’ at the end of lines 1 & 2.
    The last ‘B’/’R’ is sort of similar to this, but the others are very flat in comparison.
    The ‘L’ look like they have a curved base. Might not be significant, but worth noting.
    the ‘M’ on line 2 (I’m ignoring the strikeout) is like the first on the last line, but the one on line 3 (‘MLIABO’ is more like the 2ns on the last line. The latter are closer to the ‘M’/’W’ character at the beginning of lines 1 and 2, but agree not similar enough to be same.
    The ‘S’ doesn’t look like an ‘S’ – the downstroke is almost deliberately straight, not curved even though we’ve got nothing agasinst curves (see other points above). One ‘S’ has a stroke at the top (similar to the ‘C’ that is too small after the ‘Q’) and the other has one crossing the centre (but you could imagine it starting at the top perhaps).
    The ‘T’ appear quite consistent at first, but some have more pronounced angle on the crossbar than others, and some even curve upward. Some cross more neatly than others too. Compare these to some of the crossbars on the ‘A’ – occasionally there’s a similarity in the flourish and/or angle, but not always
    The spacing in the crossed out line is signifcantly bigger than MLIABO
    There’s also a large space between 1st and 2nd char, and between O and A on the 3rd line (and maybe on the 1st).

    Some of those things I’m probably imagining and are normal, but the number of inconsistencies is really odd and for mine suspicious. Of course it might be down to the person tracing it, or it might be down to it being written by many different people, or it might be down to trying to force known shapes to light patterns, or it might be something else. One way or another, I think there’s good reason to be highly suspicious of the page as we know it.

    I do sort of like a suggestion I heard somewhere that the diverging lines and the ‘X’ separating the lines might be some sort of a crude map of something.

    Perhaps the ‘W’ are something like Ш or Щ or what about Ж – or perhaps it’s someone struggling to get their head around a backward ‘N’ ie И (ok clutching straws perhaps) – or found these ones in glagolitic script Ⱞ, Ⰼ
    Perhaps the ‘G’ that looks like a 6 is Ъ or Ҕ
    Some of the weird ‘A’ might be down to Д
    Of course the presence of a lot of ‘I’ – which is the most consistent letter, but that’s hardly surprising when it’s so simple – sort of makes Russian (which some of the suggestions above come from) rather unlikely.

    And in all cyrillic languages I find, ‘Q’ is problematic. Not there at all, and nothing that closely resembles it – Theta, Koppa, and Phi might if the ‘Q’ didn’t appear so definitely a ‘Q’

    Finding some alphabets with some interesting formations for some of the anomalies in the code page (e.g. I could clutch a straw at ‘G’, ‘S’ and maybe ‘Q’ in Armenian) – but no language that encompasses all of them all – and they oftenhappen to be quite obscure and/or archaic (e.g. I don’t think people would be noting things in a Gregorian script)

    February 1, 2021

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