Here is a summary of the main arguments that have been made to show
that The Beale Papers is a work of fiction:
There is not a shred of evidence, not
even an eyewitness report, that the original papers, eg. the letters from
TJB to Morriss and the three pages with the ciphers, ever existed. In the Hart
Papers, George Hart states "If the story was not
based upon fact but something prepared with the idea of making money from the
sale of it, why was it allowed to remain in the printing plant until an
accidental fire consumed practically all copies of it?" The fire was in May 1883, two years before the pamphlet was
released. We now know from subsequent news in the Lynchburg Virginian
that everything was destroyed, including printing equipment and all
The Gillogly strings are a strong argument that the
codes are a hoax.
In his paper, How did TJB
encode B2?, Dr. Hammer, despite being a believer, makes several disparaging remarks
about the ciphers:
...seemingly lazy and inefficient process..
TJB was certainly not beyond making clerical
TJB went about his task rather sloppily to say
TJB was not a professional cryptographer
TJB botched his job rather badly
The C2/DOI solution only works when The Beale Papers version of the DOI is used, with
its known flaws. It is incredible that the original coder would have used a
DOI with the same identical errors.
Louis Kruh, in his articles in Cryptologia, has presented a strong argument
that The Beale Papers and the letters from T. J.
Beale to Morriss were written by the same person. If true, then the whole
story is obviously false.
The genealogy of the Beale personalities on Page 20
explains how certain persons who would have witnessed the events described in
The Beale Papers
were never heard from. Major questions result about the whole story.
Many believe that C3, with 618 codes, is too short to
contain the names of the 30 adventurers, their residences and their heirs.
How can 30 adventurers all disappear without trace? No
bones found, no Indian stories about a battle, no letters to relatives, no
relatives looking for their inheritance.
In The Beale Papers Morriss says, "It was in the month of January, 1820,
while keeping the Washington Hotel, that I first saw and became acquainted with
Beale." That is impossible, as Morriss only opened the Washington Inn in 1823, per a
notice in the Lynchburg Virginian, dated 2 December 1823.
In his letter of January 4, 1822 to Morriss, Beale used the words
"stampeding" and "improvised", but the earliest known printed source
for them is 1883 and 1837 respectively.
Thomas Beale died in New Orleans in September, 1820, well before he
was supposed to be still living in The Beale Papers.
Literally thousands of the world's best cryptanalysts,
working over several decades, have been unable to solve the ciphers.
A large number of excavation expeditions in Virginia
have not found the treasure.
Steven Stav reports a glaring error by the author:
Morriss states "The box was left in my hands in the Spring of 1822..."
Yet, that box contained the letter dated
January 4, 1822, which states "It was at this time I handed you the
The second statement is in the past tense, at a time before the event happened.
Brad Andrews provides us with the next two items. The
anonymous author informs us "To systematize a
plan for my work I arranged the papers in the order of their length, and
numbered them, designing to commence with the first...". Yet, later,
when he solves cipher 2 with the DOI, the cleartext includes the following:
"..belonging jointly to the parties whose names
are given in number '3,' herewith" and "Paper number "1" describes the exact locality of the
vault... ". How can that be? He just numbered
the papers himself. This proves that the author of the cleartext is not TJB
but the same author who wrote the story, and therefore that it is
In his letter of January 4, 1822, T.J.B. states
"About the first of December (1817) we reached
our destination, Santa Fe, ...Early in March (1818) some of the party, ... and
weeks into a month or more (now mid-April 1818) before we had any tidings of
the party. ... and request my presence with the rest of the party, and with
supplies for an indefinite time... (Allow two weeks to assemble the supplies
and travel 300-350 miles, it is now May 1, 1818)... Under this arrangement the
work progressed favorable for eighteen months or more, (now November 1
1819)." So how could the deposit have been in Virginia in November
1819? But then he states "Matters went on
thus until the summer of 1819, when the question of transferring our
also can't be.
Skip Steller points out that the story is not credible because Beale
selected Morriss based solely on his "reputation
of the sternest integrity, unblemished honor, and business capacity"
and, as such, Morriss was honor-bound to open the box at the appointed time.
Morriss, however, knowing from Beale’s last letter to him that the box
contained letters and codes vital to recovering the treasure and that a key
for the codes would be sent to him, and without the slightest regard for what
time-sensitive and crucial information may be in the box to obtain the key and
recover the treasure, Morriss arbitrarily determined to wait thirteen years
past Beale’s appointed time. This obviously shows a complete lack of integrity
by Morriss and is hardly the action of an "old
Virginia gentleman sans peur et sans reproache". Since Morriss' reputed
integrity is shown untrue, it follows that the entire story is fiction and
that this twenty-three year span in the story is a ploy by the author to
bridge the large gap of time between 1821 and 1885.
Clearly, the author of The Beale Papers made several
factual errors in weaving his complex tale.