There has been a great deal of research over many years into the cryptography found in connection with the works of Shakespeare, disclosing Francis Bacon’s name and the possible whereabouts of his grave which might contain valuable manuscripts.
Although the various methods employed have been considered by some to be legitimate, they have suffered greatly from the critique of Colonel William Friedman an American professional Cryptologist who published in 1957 The Shakespearean Ciphers Examined, in which he declared that there were fatal flaws in the methods employed at that time, and in whose opinion, none of the cryptograms found constituted ‘cast-iron’ proof.
Walter Conrad Arensberg, a scholar and patron of the arts to whom Colonel Friedman devoted a whole chapter in his book, firstly discovered in Dante’s writings a system called ‘the compound anagrammatic acrostic’ and in 1922, after applying this method to Shakespeare’s works he published The Cryptography of Shakespearein which he wrote: ‘The numerical key-cipher employed by Francis Bacon and by members of the Rosicrucian Fraternity is a method of representing a text by a number which is represented by another text’ judged by Friedman to be a ‘sound statement’ and indeed, ‘the only comprehensive one in the book!’ However, Arensberg never returned to this earlier ‘value for unit’ method although later publishing other booklets, and after handing over his art collection to the Philadelphia Museum of Art in 1950, he died in 1954, so was unable to address personally the several objections to his work which nevertheless were later raised in Friedman’s book.
Walter Arensberg had in fact enlisted new devices in his ‘anagrammatic acrostic system’, including ‘The Magic Ring’ which is the general name he gave to the process of extracting messages in turn from The First Folio of Shakespeare and The Advancement of Learning by Bacon. He himself appeared dissatisfied with his method, and in the absence of any key or keys to be used, according to Friedman: ‘there is bound to be justifiable scepticism in the eyes of any unbiased observer’.
THE BURIAL OF FRANCIS BACON. There are several identifiable symbols referred to by Arensberg, including Aeneas as expressed by Virgil the poet, ‘The Golden Bough’ and ‘The Ring of Francis Bacon’ for example, which he interpreted as pointing to the whereabouts of the grave he had found encoded within the play Cymbeline, having certain ‘value for unit’ correspondences.
KEY-VALUES. Replacing ‘value for units’ with a new Auxiliary Key = 137, the 33rd Prime Number hence the 33rd. degree and 33 being the numerical count of the name: B A C O N, – a fresh interpretation of the meaning of these Ciphers when taken together with several others so revealed now begin to ‘speak for themselves.’
Peter Welsford, 2004