Entering the Cryptographic Hedge-maze

Illustrated here is the cascade of hidden references which leads to FB’s own recommended path towards penetrating into his Cryptological Hedge-maze.


From the beginning in October of 2023, the graphical motif of this website was always a leafy labyrinth, but the idea only came from some inkling or intuition at the back of the mind.

Then in January 2024 it at last became manifest that FB left explicit instructions on how to proceed initially, and from where. It was startling…


One of the secret decoded messages reads:

Reade easy lessons first, and forsooth the Absey (“ABC”) in the Life and Death of King John, act one, is a good one; it shewes the entrance to a labyrinth.

We open Elizabeth Wells Gallup’s ultra-classic “Biliteral Cipher of Francis Bacon” to page 166 we see:

There is a very terse footnote:

For the reader who squints hard enough, at the end of the footnote, it says:

Headings of the Comedies.

This is an indirect reference to her previous decoding of the First Folio’s I.M Poem. The I.M Poem is one of the 14 assorted items of the Prefatory Materials of the 1623 First Folio, along with The L. Digges Poem, The Principall Actors, and A Catalogve:

The text of the I.M. Poem reads:

To the memorie of M.W.Shakes-speare.

WEE wondred (Shake-speare) that thou went’st so soone
From the Worlds-Stage, to the Graves-Tyring-roome.
Wee thought thee dead, but this thy printed worth,
Tels thy Spectators, that thou went’st but forth
To enter with applause. An Actors Art,
Can dye, and live, to acte a second part.
That’s but an Exit of Mortalitie;
This, a Re-entrance to a Plaudite.

J. M.

The I.M. Poem is of no literary merit whatever. Its only purpose is to house a clew to aid the deciphering of the First Folio, encoded using the Biliteral Cipher.

In the 1890’s, Elizabeth Wells Gallup decoded the embedded Biliteral Cipher of the I.M. Poem and found that the secret message therein was:

search for keyes the headings of the comedies — francis baron of vervlam

Our Experiment Fourteen illustrates the validity of the above Gallup decoding, making use of one of the authoritative Riverbank Monographs:

But what does it mean?

Our hypothesis is that it means that if all of the sequential ‘Acts’ headers, always five per Play, and always in Italickes throughout the fourteen Comedies listed in the Catalogve, were concatenated in sequence, they constitute a block of Biformed text which can be decoded using the same technique as any other. Compare the Upper Case A’s below, there are two very distinct Forms. So there appears to be a binary-encoded embedded message.

The somewhat lengthy decoded text of the decoded secret message is in two sections, like paragraphs. The second part reads:

Reade easy lessons first, and forsooth the Absey (“ABC”) in the Life and Death of King John, act one, is a good one; it shewes the entrance to a labyrinth. Court Time, a sure leader, and proceed to his Alphabet of Nature. Learne well two portions, Masses, and the Rule, Search this out. — F. B.


The First Folio play, Life and Death of King John may be the least loved of the 36 plays, apart from the reviled Troilus and Cressida. Its Wikipedia article mentions recent live performances of all of The Plays Worldwide, and the most recent listed for this one is:

It’s a decidedly downbeat Real Stinker, though intentionally, in keeping with FB’s cunning design, as this way it wears a kind of Camouflage.


But how does decoding Act One Scene One enrich us in some way? What does it mean and how is it the key to unlocking the Great Riddle left by Sir Francis?

I am guessing that is beyond my abilities unless supplied a willow-basket full of just the right mushrooms.

Maybe A Phoenix is the one person in the World learned enough in the required multiple dimensions, Erudition, Intellectual Clarity, and Drive. But it can’t be me.

But my (F.B.D) participation will be to provision other researchers, and write computer programs to trick them (the computers) into doing all of the hard work for us.

And now that the entrance to the secret has been found out,
The world will wonder how it could miss it so long. —Fra Bacon


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The Tudor Rose

Respectfully dedicated to A. Phoenix, whoever you are

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