Code cracked: Minnesota woman's mystery writings solved after 18 years


Thanks to a decoding site on the Internet, a former Minnesota woman is finally getting answers to the mystery of what her dying grandmother wrote down on index cards more than 18 years ago, Minnesota Public Radio reports.

Janna Holm, who now lives in the mid-Atlantic region, posted on MetaFilter a series of letters and markings her grandmother, Dorothy, wrote down before she died of brain cancer in 1996. According to MPR, Holm tried unsuccessfully to crack the code when she was a child.

"In my grandmother's final days battling brain cancer, she became unable to speak and she filled dozens of index cards with random letters of the alphabet," Holm wrote on MetaFilter Monday. "I'm beginning to think that they are the first letters in the words of song lyrics, and would love to know what song this was. This is a crazy long shot, but I've seen Mefites pull off some pretty impressive code-breaking before!"

In addition to posting the contents of the index cards, Holm provided some personal details about her grandmother for the would-be mystery-solvers.

Mere minutes after she put the code online, Holm had an answer from one of the site's users about what was written on the back of the one of the index cards: It was "The Lord's Prayer."

The code OFWAIHHBTNTKCTWBDOEAIIIHGUTDODBAFUOT AWFTWTAUALUNITBDUFEFTITKTPATGFAEA means "Our Father who art in Heaven, hallowed be thy name ... etc etc etc," the user wrote.

"Holy cow! 14 minutes to solve the back of the card that has been bugging my family for 20 years! That is amazing!" Holm responded in the thread on the site. "I never thought of her as super religious, but we did grow up in a Lutheran household, so that makes sense. Any further insights on the front of the card?"

Holm told MPR in an email that users of the site were trying to break more of the code, and began to suspect they were going to find more prayers on the index cards.

“My dad thinks that she was so worried about losing her memory that she was just copying down the first letter of words to remind herself of common prayers," Holm said.

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