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"Raggedly Dressed Man" Offers Mystery Note 

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Old 07-17-2012, 06:14 AM
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"Raggedly Dressed Man" Offers Mystery Note

A cipher developed in 1901 has been used to crack a cryptic message which a New York man says was handed to him by a "raggedy dressed" stranger on the city's subway.

The message, written on a $50 note and a small white card, has created a stir on the social news website Reddit, whose users have become intrigued by the mystery.

The New York man, identified only by his first name Ali, claimed in a post on the site yesterday that he randomly encountered the stranger while aboard the train.

"I bumped into the 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," he wrote in the post yesterday.

"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 hand drawn 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."

"The 50 [dollar note] may have something to do with it, the only thing out of the ordinary that I saw on the bill was a number written along the back of the bill, but the "7" on the bill doesn't match the one on the note."

Within a few hours, other Reddit users had identified the symbols as a mix of Russian, Basque and Hebrew.

User SirSpam28 determined that the note referenced its own encryption, and that the key to cracking the code was an old algorithm known as the Bifid cipher.

Using the cypher, the note was translated to read:

There's plenty more money to make.
Figure this out and prepare to meet July 19th, 56th & 6th.
There's a hot dog stand outside Rue57 cafe. Ask for Mr. Input.

The thread quickly captured the imagination of the site's community, attracting nearly ten thousand comments to date, some of which speculated that it was all a clever marketing campaign.

But the mystery was far from over — soon afterwards Ali claimed he had received a personal message on Reddit from a "Mr Input".

The message cited Ali's backpack tag, and included a new code:

A Reddit user, with the username new-b, noticed "Mr Input" was using a 10-digit numerical username which looked like an web user’s IP address.

An online search of the supposed IP returned the location of Fort Huachuca — an Arizona military base used for intelligence training.

Further deepening the already bizarre connection, Ali said in a post that the numerical username was also his phone number backwards.

Reddit user icedmilflopr then claimed to have deciphered the code in the new message to read:

You have managed to find the message with the help of your friends. You have 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.

Ali, as well as a journalist from the website Mashable and several Reddit users, followed the instructions in the latest message and went to the cross street at 4pm yesterday, but did not see any "blue jay".

One particular man who fit the description of the "raggedy dressed" stranger did catch the attention of the crowd, yet after a brief, garbled exchange, he walked off.

This prompted another Reddit user to suggest that he may have been H. Keith Melton, a spy author and espionage collector, who runs a spy exhibit in the city.

Users have speculated the entire mystery may have been concocted by him to generate buzz for the exhibit, but this has not been confirmed.

Ali and other Reddit users are planning to meet again at hot dog stand outside Rue57 cafe on July 19th, as the original message requested.

Documenting Reality



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Old 07-17-2012, 02:20 PM
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Re: "Raggedly Dressed Man" Offers Mystery Note


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Old 07-17-2012, 07:05 PM
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Re: "Raggedly Dressed Man" Offers Mystery Note

i was a bit confused as i thought the guy got the note in 1901.. thought he was still alive and trying to decipher this on reddit.. lol.. had to take a break from reading. this sure is interesting and a bit scary.

evil side of me hopes they all get raped.. irreversiblE style.

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Old 07-17-2012, 07:34 PM
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Re: "Raggedly Dressed Man" Offers Mystery Note

Mr input? Could think of anything better!

It is intersting though. I thought it was a death bed confession when I first heard the story.

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