One of the many overlooked challenges in understanding Kryptos is that we don’t know what Kryptos really is. We think we know what it is, but after all these years, it’s obvious we’re missing something critical. That’s the whole point of a mystery like this- deception. Deceit can take on many forms and be used for many purposes as we will discover in this blog.
I’ve always thought it a great disservice in pursuing k4 to have had the Morse Code, Vigenere Ciphers, and Rotational Transposition Cipher solved for us. Some might consider this an advantage, an insight, a head start. Unfortunately this makes it easy to focus more on the decrypted plain texts than the clues that emerge in solving them when pursuing the lower part of the Kryptos copperplate. I’m confident this diversion is by design. What could we gain by looking at Kryptos as if it were an object that merely has the appearance of encryption but is something entirely different- or something more?
So far all who have taken interest in Kryptos have also taken the position that we are supposed to intercept messages meant for someone else. We’re eavesdropping, so to say. That’s the visible part of the story: here’s a code; crack it. On the other hand, there is a subtle cry for help hidden in Kryptos, and someone should hear that cry amidst all the other distractions that take the form of the encrypted puzzle. Kryptos isn’t entirely what it seems.
I don’t want to detract from the important lessons learned in decrypting Kryptos from the beginning, but by not doing so, we miss what is otherwise virtually invisible.
Among many obscure phrases in the Morse Code at the entrance to the CIA’s New Headquarters Building is a peculiar “SOS” that, aside from the “YR” (or is it RQ? You’ll find out that it’s both in a future post), stands out. All of the other Morse Code on the strata are physically arranged into two parallel texts.
Take a moment to read Wikipedia: Distress Signal. I don’t want to take this concept too far at this point given the limited clues we are pursuing, but in the context of distress signals, the Kryptos copperplate resembles a flag, and part of it is backward. A precursory look at Kryptos indicates someone or something is in trouble. We can take note of the Morse Code SOS, which is SOS regardless of your physical orientation.
We may need to shift our focus from “spying” to “detecting distress signals,” the antipodes of what, by all accounts, everyone is presently doing. If someone wanted to send a message without the competition knowing the message existed at all, in what ways could that kind of steganography transpire?
In Kryptos, mistakes are hidden distress calls.
All that glisters is not gold;
Often have you heard that told:
Many a man his life hath sold
But my outside to behold:
Gilded tombs do worms enfold.
Had you been as wise as bold,
Young in limbs, in judgement old
Your answer had not been inscroll’d
Fare you well, your suit is cold.