Samuel Bean, a Canadian doctor, had a tombstone erected in Rushes Cemetery near Crosshill, Wellesley Township, Ontario, for his first two wives, Henrietta and Susanna. The original stone was carved in the 1860s and became badly weathered; the following picture shows the more durable replica made to replace it in the 1980s.


What is the message encrypted on the stone, and how can it be decrypted?

Note: the solution is already known, so you could find it by Googling. But it'll be more fun if you manage it by yourself, so and no cheating! :-)

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ It says "aged 23" in the middle in plain text $\endgroup$
    – Richard
    Aug 23, 2015 at 16:36
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @Richard True. What about the rest of the text? :-) $\endgroup$ Aug 23, 2015 at 16:38
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ I also see "lies" and "RIP" $\endgroup$
    – Richard
    Aug 23, 2015 at 17:26
  • $\begingroup$ The 2 bottom lines have an interesting pattern. $\endgroup$
    – Sleafar
    Aug 23, 2015 at 17:40
  • $\begingroup$ Is Susanna died in storm. $\endgroup$
    – Numberknot
    Aug 23, 2015 at 17:48

1 Answer 1


The message is written in this jagged spiral:1]

In memoriam: Henrietta, 1st wife of S. Bean, M.D., who died 27th Sep. 1865 aged 23 years 2 months & 17 days, & Susanna, his 2nd wife, who died 27th April 1867 aged 26 years 10 months & 15 days. 2 better wives 1 man never had. They were gifts from God but are now in heaven. May God help me, S. B., to meet them there.


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