Some days ago, a young man came into my grandfather's antique shop and wanted to offload some of the old stuff that once belonged to his father. Among them were three really old journals. They were pretty fragile, but otherwise in relatively good shape. As my grandfather flipped through them carefully, three entries caught his eyes. He could not remember the exact words, but he remembered them as follows:

15 October 1583 - Hard

Our son was born a month ago. My wife was in so much pain while in labour, but thankfully, she and the baby made it through the night. By the morning, her fever has all but gone and the baby was sound asleep. I have dreamt of this day when I have become a proud father to a son. My family would be delighted to see him tomorrow. Hopefully this year's winter would not be as cold as 10 years ago when the nearby lake was frozen.

12 September 1752 - Richmond

I met my her today. She was so beautifully dressed and was accompanied by an entourage of maids. Each a beauty in her own right. But she stood out among all, like a black swan among the geese. Her hair smell of rosemary, her eyes clear as day, her smile brings the sun from behind the clouds. She was the most beautiful creature on Earth. Well, at least the most beautiful here at the Gate House. I should have asked her name. For now I can only dream about her, just like how my ancestor dreamt about being a father.

31 December 1926 - Batman

New Years Eve today. Due to the flood earlier in the year, no one was really in the mood for any celebration. That flood has wiped out an entire district. My grandson was sick because of the flood and my daughter has been complaining about how her son was always sick and never seem to be in any sort of good health. We are not rich, and so cannot afford good doctor. We will have to do with whatever we've got. Please be strong, my grandson. How, o how, did my forefathers dream of being a father and dream of beautiful woman when my family has to suffer.

Evidently the diaries were written by three different people. It seemed like the journals were passed down through generations.

My grandfather asked me whether these journals were genuine. He mentioned that the entries have more than enough clues as to point me in the right direction to determine the genuineness of the diaries.

Should he buy them off the young man? I am afraid that he would be duped into buying something that are fake and are completely worthless.

Please explain why you think they are genuine (or not).

  • $\begingroup$ I have had exactly this idea for a puzzle but I haven't gotten around to making it yet. You've done a better job that I would have, I think. +1 $\endgroup$ Nov 10, 2015 at 13:09

3 Answers 3


Edit: didn't realize we were talking about 3 separate books. That's what late-night puzzling will do to you.

Re-Edit: And once again, answer changes because I just can't let it alone, lol!

I believe:

All 3 are fake.


All 3 carry dates that are among the ones dropped due to the change from the Julian Calendar to the Gregorian Calendar in their area.

Journal 1:

This part of Austria switched in 1583, skipping from 4 October to 16 October. The 15th was skipped.

Journal 2:

We're clearly in England (the Royal residence at Richmond, which includes the Gate House). Adoption took place in 1752 here, skipping from September 2 to September 14. The 12th was skipped.

Journal 3:

We are in Turkey here. The reason this is fake is twofold. First, this area would likely be using the Islamic Calendar, with completely different months and year numbering. Second, and more to the point of the puzzle, the Gregorian switch took place at the end of 1926. Since they switched so late, they had to drop 13 days this time. The calendar skipped from 18 December, 1926 to 1 January, 1927. Once more, the date on the entry was skipped.

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ About the dates: it's not like the people of the time all immediately both a) knew about the calendar change and b) acquiesced to it. That said, for the purposes of the puzzle, it seems like it's still a likely clue. $\endgroup$ Nov 10, 2015 at 12:14
  • $\begingroup$ Exactly the answer I was looking for. Well done. $\endgroup$
    – Eli
    Nov 10, 2015 at 19:27

31 December 1926 - Batman

This diary is fake, because "Until the 1950s, Batman was a village, called Iluh ...". The flood in the year 1926 is mentioned in the article as well: "The entire district disappeared in the early 1926 due to the flood of the Batman River."

  • $\begingroup$ Actually, Batman's first appearance was May 1939. ... ;) $\endgroup$ Nov 10, 2015 at 15:59
  • $\begingroup$ @IanMacDonald And now we know where the first fan club was created. ;) $\endgroup$
    – Sleafar
    Nov 10, 2015 at 18:56

But she stood out among all, like a black swan among the geese.

The diary is a fake one, as black swan was not yet discovered in 1752.


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