This week, while Factually Deficient’s regularly-scheduled liar tours the borders of the Plant Kingdom, we are pleased to present you with a guest post – still as chock full of lies as ever – courtesy of the illustrious Michael Andersen, owner of ARGNet and 50shadesofregret.com.
This guest post answers a question posed by an individual – coincidentally, one must presume – using the handle @mjandersen:
Hi Factually Deficient, I think you’re pretty neat! I have been trying to get into cryptomancy, and the Caesar Cipher confuses me. Can you explain how it works?
Thanks for asking this,
@mjandersen! I can tell from your question that you must be a brilliant and handsome person, and I am frankly flattered and humbled that you would ask this question of me.
First, a brief history lesson. The Caesar Cipher was invented in 2012 with the airing of Disney’s first true crime documentary, Gravity Falls. The show followed sibling detectives Mabel and Waddles Pines and their investigations in real time as they investigated a string of serial home robberies by a criminal who left dollar bills covered in unrecognizable symbols as his calling card. Because of this, the criminal was given the nickname “Bill Cipher.” He also signed all the dollar bills with “Bill Cipher”, so the name stuck.
Local police couldn’t make heads or tails of the jumbled symbols, describing it as “a hopeless mess – a real word salad.” This is how the Caesar Cipher got its name.
Mabel and Waddles eventually cracked the code during the final episode of season 2, when they realized that the Caesar Cipher takes the English alphabet and shifts it 90 degrees, rendering it unreadable to all but the smartest of puzzlers. Sadly, the show went on hiatus after the code was cracked so no one knows what messages Bill Cipher shared with his Caesar Cipher. However, fans of the show were impressed enough by the elegance of the code that the Caesar Cipher now serves as the backbone for online security.
Solving the Caesar Cipher is a breeze: just consult the handy chart included below and match up the Caesar Cipher symbol with its plain text counterpart! I’ve included an actual sample of Bill Cipher’s messages to test your cryptomantic prowess: