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Yesterday I helped my grandfather clean out his attic and amongst some old papers I found a peculiar message, that seemed strange to me. Upon asking my grandfather what this was about, he told me that he and a few of his friends founded a club of sorts and anyone that could figure out the pass phrase could join.

This was the message:

-..- ...- ...- .-.. . ..-. ... .-. . .- --- -.. 
-. . -.-- ... .--- -.- .-- .--. 
...- --. .--- .-- .--- ..- -..- .--- .-- - -.. 
.--- -. .--- -. ...- ... ..- -..- .--- 
.- -.. ..-. . ...- .- .-.. .-. -.-- --.. .... ..-. 
.. .-.. -..- -... -..- .-.. 
.-.. .-. .-- ..-. . .-- 
.- . -.- --.. . ... --.. ...- 
.-- .-. ..-. .... .-- .. -.-- 
-.- .- .-- .-- -.- .--- .. 
.-. ... .--- -... .--- ...- 
-.- .-- -.-- ..-. ... .--- -- .--- --.- - -.-- --.. .... ..-. 
.-- ... - -.-. -... .-.. . ..-. ... --.. .-.. .-.. 
.--- ..-. .-- -.- .- 
..-. .-- -- -.. 
--.. -.- --. .--- - --.- .-. .-- 
-.- .... .-. .- ...- -.- --.-   


R.W., S.T., R.F.         22.11.1963

Can you help me figure it out?

EDIT

My grandfather gave me some clues to help me figure it out.

Hint 1:

2 Men will help you decipher the message. First an 19th Century American from Charleston. Then a 16th Century Frenchman from Saint-Pourçain-sur-Sioule.

Hint 2:

The Frenchman can find it quick once he figures out the Hidden Key

Hint 3:

"If you want to hide something, do it in plain sight"

Hint 4:

Sometimes you need to look on things backwards

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  • $\begingroup$ My first guess was morse code.. but that just outputs this: XVVLEFSREAODNEYSJKWPVGJWJUXJWTDJNJNVSUXJADFEVALRYZHFILXBXLLRWFEWAEKZESZVWRFHWIYKAWWKJIRSJBJVKWYFSJMJQTYZHFWSTCBLEFSZLLJFWKAFWMDZKGJTQRWKHRAVKQ $\endgroup$ – n_plum Mar 4 '17 at 1:31
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    $\begingroup$ @n_palum It certainly looks like morse code. I think we need to apply some kind of cipher...? $\endgroup$ – Wen1now Mar 4 '17 at 4:12
  • $\begingroup$ @Wen1now I have no idea what that cipher is so far.. The letters just look like initials and the numbers the date $\endgroup$ – n_plum Mar 4 '17 at 4:50
  • $\begingroup$ Hello fellow puzzlers, I talked to my grandfather today and he said we are on a good track. Also he gave me some clues to help out. $\endgroup$ – Bojan B Mar 4 '17 at 7:55
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    $\begingroup$ @Wen1now No I made it up, to add something extra to the puzzle $\endgroup$ – Bojan B Mar 4 '17 at 10:22
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The first step to decode the message ...

... is clearly to convert the dots and dashes from Morse code:

XVVLEFSREAOD
NEYSJKWP
VGJWJUXJWTD
JNJNVSUXJ
ADFEVALRYZHF
ILXBXL
LRWFEW
AEKZESZV
WRFHWIY
KAWWKJI
RSJBJV
KWYFSJMJQTYZHF
WSTCBLEFSZLL
JFWKA
FWMD
ZKGJTQRW
KHRAVKQ

The generous hints tell us ...

... that we should apply a Vigenère cipher with a key hidden in plain sight and possibly read backwards. The ititials at the bottom read backwards are FRTSWR, which decodes the message to:

Sectionalism
Infantry
Confederacy
Surrender
Emancipation
Musket
Parole
Enfilade
Rampart
Theater
Yankee
Reconstruction
Abolitionist
North
Navy
Ironclad
Slavery

These words ...

... are related to the American Civil War.

The secret pass phrase is:

SIC SEMPER TYRANNIS

It can be found by taking the first letter of each word. John Wilkes Booth claimed to have said it after shooting President Abraham Lincoln.

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  • $\begingroup$ Great Job, with perfect explanation :) $\endgroup$ – Bojan B Mar 4 '17 at 10:00

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