So a few days ago, a Reddit user named delverofsecrets went on to Reddit to explain that he had been handed a mysterious grid cipher by a scruffy guy on a subway train and needed the site’s help to decipher it.
After the post shot to the front page of Reddit, the code was cracked, as users used a combination of English, Cyrillic, Basque and Hebrew alphabets.
Once the code was broken, delverofsecrets had to delete his Reddit account and go off the internet after receiving threatening phone calls, in which his life and the life of his family was threatened. The caller knew names and addresses.
Then things get weird.
UPDATE 1: Reddit user delverofsecrets has edited his/her original post to include a private message from a user called 2220944379 who claims to be “Mr. Input” himself. It contained personally identifying information and a new code to crack:
“You may not believe me, but I will remind you of your personalized backpack [PERSONAL INFORMATION REDACTED]. You have recruited the help of friends, the offer is now on the table for them too. I cannot have strangers inquire about me, rather we will use a proxy. Here is the next step: DWY JLRR QUBPKSJ IL NDLM OQD OUCEQMW KGXI CSH RFRM XL WEZUXKJ. YME QLPRBAZ OQD TPVJG HPM UK CQJS H. PPVD BFSRST NJYT KR. BFPU EWP BMHY BTK WL VGB FXK R PXFE DTC GPBQL QWHKI JFA QRPE EJW EYC KLJ HCB JHGN.”
UPDATE 2: Reddit user icedmilflopr seems to have deciphered the new code:
YOU HAVE MANAGED TO FIND THE MESSAGE WITH THE HELP OF FRIENDS. YOU CHANGED THE RULES NOW SO WILL I. JULY TWELVE FOUR PM. FIND THE BLUE JAY AT SIX AND A HALF AND FIFTY SIXTH AND TELL HIM YOU ARE THE LAST
Also of note, Redditor new_b connected the numerical username of Mr. Input to an IP address located at Fort Huachuca in Arizona, a military base used for intelligence training.
UPDATE 3: Delverofsecrets has updated his original post again: “I plan to be there today, and I figure that as long as its a public place, I should be safe. I have a date tonight around 6, so I wont be home until around 11. I’ll post any developments then.”
UPDATE 4: Reddit user delverofsecrets arrived at the new meeting location at around 4:45 p.m. EST and was greeted by crowds anxious to get the full story. Read the full report.
UPDATE 5: Delverofsecrets has deleted his Reddit account and updated the original post after receiving threatening phone calls. He writes that he does not plan to follow through with the meeting on July 19.
“I bumped into a raggedy dressed man as we got on and he shot me a quick smile. I [thought] nothing of it until he went to get off at 14th street and he handed me a $50 bill along with a note. Before I could even open my mouth to ask him a question, he was gone,” delverofsecrets writes in the post. “I’ve been looking at the note all day, and needless to say, I have no idea what it means. It’s handwritten on a 3X3 square piece of paper with no identifying marks and no watermarks. There’s a handdrawn grid and at a couple spots, the cells of the grid are combined. The note has random character written throughout it and the bottom quarter is filled with random shapes and numbers.”
Within three hours, Redditors had identified some of the characters were written in Russian, Basque and Hebrew. Specifically, user SirSpam28 determined that the note referenced its own encryption, and that the “key” is something called a Bifid Cipher — a turn-of-the-century algorithm that would decode the secret message.
Some Redditers seem to have traced some of the evidence back to the US Department of Defense, so it could be some bizarre spy game that some random dude got in the middle of, or it could be some sort of viral marketing. Or aliens.
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