I've invited my friend and fellow Templar researcher, Jerry Lutgen, to offer a guest blog posting about his reading of the "90-foot Stone" cipher allegedly found on Oak Island. This post was written in anticipation of Episode 4, of Season 4, of the Oak Island show on History Channel, where rumor has it the long missing stone will be rediscovered. Jerry wanted to get his translation out before the show airs to see if he may have beaten them to the punch. What do you think?
Decoding the “90 Foot Stone” and the “La
December 4, 2016
Many readers of this blog may have seen a recent episode of
The Curse of Oak Island during which a local researcher named Doug Crowell
presented information relating to the so-called “90 foot stone.”This stone, allegedly from the “Money Pit”, contains
a coded inscription which has received a controversial reading of “forty feet
below are two million pounds.”
During the program Crowell also presented the La Formule
document which has come to be associated with Oak Island and the “90 foot
stone.”It appears that this document was
first shown to the public by McGinnis family of Oak Island fame in their recent
book “Oak Island Connection.”In their
book they explain that the La Formule document was of great importance to their
brother Jim McGinnis who told them that this document was only part of a larger
set of papers.
A quick examination of the document reveals two things.First, it uses a superset of the symbols
employed on the “90 foot stone.”Second,
as hinted at by Jim McGinnis, this document appears to have been excised from a
larger document in such a way that some words or letters are missing.
The reading cited above for the “90 foot stone” has been
rejected by many Oak Island researchers.Still I asked myself, what if that decoding is correct and can it be
used to help in the decoding of the La Formule page.It turns out that this reading of the “90
foot stone” is correct.It says “forty
feet below are two million pounds.”We
know this because it provides an unambiguous direct starting point that I was
able to use in developing a substitution cipher that decodes the La Formule
document into a very intriquing set of French text.Here is the French text followed by a
translation of the French into English.
terrer pas creuser a
quarante pied avec a angle quarante
cinq degre la hampe a cinq cent
vignt deux pied a vous entre lec?
?reidor a un mille ….. soixante cinq pied
atteinte la chambre."
"Halt do burrow not dig at
forty feet with an angle forty
five degrees the shaft at five hundred
twenty two feet as you enter ???
?????? a thousand sixty five feet
reached the chamber."
Each line in the French and English text are broken at
the same place as on the original La Formule document, as it comes to us.Because this document has been somehow excised
from a larger document it means that
some of the lines of the French text are incomplete.In some cases this means that there are
missing letters and in other cases it could even mean there are missing words.In order to make better sense of what has
been written I have taken the liberty of completing some of the beginning and ending
words in a way that makes linquistic and contextual sense.These additions are in blue.You will see that at the end of line four and
the beginning of line five I was unable to complete the missing French words.I have done my best with this adding of
letters to make sensible French words, but clearly this is a potential source
I was aided in the process of fine tuning the cipher and
translating the French into English by an experienced French translator.Again we have done the best we can, but given
the inherent vagaries of translating French from an unknown time and place as
well as the potential for deciphering and editing errors in the original French
we must accept that there may be problems with the resulting English.
There is one other bit of broken French text at the
bottom of the document.Someone has hand
written in French: “Vingt….La Valeur”
which translates as “Twenty…..the Value.”
What is the document telling us?Unsurprisingly, the document reads clumsily,
as if in some places there are missing wordsThe first line is a bit confusing.Is it instructing the reader of the document to stop burrowing and dig
in another way?In any event it clearly
seems to be some kind of instructions to find a chamber.Of course, our imaginations immediately turn
to a chamber associated with Oak Island, perhaps even the Money Pit.