Return to the Antiques & Collectibles Forum | Post a Follow-Up

Cypher Book

Posted by WeepingAngel (My Page) on
Sun, Oct 14, 12 at 14:57

We came across this mysterious book at a library sale not too long ago. We can't figure out what it is and it irritates me to death! Please reply if you know what it is or have any idea at all! It's got a dark cover, typical trade paperback size. Inside the front cover is a handwritten number- 01639 - and "Hugo Antl.", as far as we can figure. There's no title page of any sort, copyright or title or anything. Inside there's a page number along the top, and then the numbers 1 through 30 going down the side. Then there're cryptic initials of some kind (W.M., S.D., J.D., T., etc.) There there appears to be some sort of dialogue, using a mix of capital and lowercase letters, with no spaces of any sort. Some lines end with question marks or periods, some with nothing. Some include parentheses, some dashes. I figure it's for an English-speaking entity, since there are occasional (See Code) in the middle of the text. Also, at the end there's an index at the end with the headings at the beginning of every section listed with their page numbers. Note that "index" is written in English. Page 52 is earmarked.

To see more pictures, see my post at:

Are the letters code, or abbreviations? Is it a court proceeding or a military interrogation?
What do the cryptic numbers on the first page mean? Is it a serial number? The number of books printed? A date?
Who or what or where is Hugo Antl.? "Antl" is followed by a period, so is it an abbreviation? A name with a simple dot added out of habit?

Any ideas?

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Cypher Book

I think Hugo Antl is the owner of the book, and I'll bet it's some sort of manual for a ritual of something like the Masons or other group.

RE: Cypher Book

There was a Hugo Antl, born about 1898, lived in LeSeur Co., Minnesota, a farmer. I just found him in census records. No idea about the book.

RE: Cypher Book

It's a cheat sheet! The letters are the starting letter of each word, so it's a prompt without actually putting the ritual into writing.

WM is "Worshipful Master", which is a Freemasonry officer.
SD = Senior Deacon
JD = Junior Deacon


Here is a link that might be useful: Masonic Officers

RE: Cypher Book


You're probably right about the officers, all the letters seem to work. From my first bit of research it looks like the Masons used a pigpen cypher though, in which the final product is symbols, not letters. Hmm...the mystery deepens.

The Hugo Antl you guys found is probably the right one, because I live in Minnesota!

 o Post a Follow-Up

Please Note: Only registered members are able to post messages to this forum.

    If you are a member, please log in.

    If you aren't yet a member, join now!

Return to the Antiques & Collectibles Forum

Information about Posting

  • You must be logged in to post a message. Once you are logged in, a posting window will appear at the bottom of the messages. If you are not a member, please register for an account.
  • Please review our Rules of Play before posting.
  • Posting is a two-step process. Once you have composed your message, you will be taken to the preview page. You will then have a chance to review your post, make changes and upload photos.
  • After posting your message, you may need to refresh the forum page in order to see it.
  • Before posting copyrighted material, please read about Copyright and Fair Use.
  • We have a strict no-advertising policy!
  • If you would like to practice posting or uploading photos, please visit our Test forum.
  • If you need assistance, please Contact Us and we will be happy to help.

Learn more about in-text links on this page here