Just about everyone has heard about the controversy surrounding the question of who really wrote Shakespeare. Maybe you had a grumpy English teacher that casually passed it off as nonsense. There are literally hundreds of books on the subject and all claim to have found the answer. It was Francis Bacon, Queen Elizabeth, Edward De Vere, Ben Johnson, and the list goes on for nearly forty candidates. Looking into the subject however shows a shocking lack of evidence on both sides. But what are the codes everyone has mentioned and what could they mean? Today I’m focusing on three pieces of evidence that show that someone has placed hidden messages in some of the greatest English writing in history.
One of the most well-known Shakespeare code-breakers is Peter Amundson from Norway. He has found countless codes and ciphers throughout all the works. He was featured on on Timeline’s “Cracking the Shakespeare Code “about all his findings, he’s been on the show “The Curse of Oak Island” with his theories of buried treasure hinted at in the Tempest, and he has his own book. His best discoveries are found in the original folio of Shakespeare’s works, published in 1623, 7 years after Shakespeare’s death. Two of his actor friends assembled over 1000 pages under the three categories of Comedies, Histories, and Tragedies. On page 389 of Tragedies is a clear signature from the Rosicrucian brotherhood. There is the word Rosie surrounded by the word C-R-O-S-S in such a way that it forms a perfect 3-4-5 triangle. Hopefully you remember this from your high school geometry because this is legitimate. The Rosicrucian order thought of this geometry as sacred and also used it frequently in their designs and writings. The angles that are formed from this triangle are roughly 53 and 37 degrees. And wouldn’t you know, there are several other hints of codes on pages 37 and 53 of each of the sections. For example, the word Bacon only appears twice in all of Shakespeare’s works. And those two incidences are on pages 53 of Comedies and page 53 of Histories, despite the fact that the publisher had to skip pages 46 through 49 to make this happen. The reason Bacon is significant is because Sir Francis Bacon is one of the contenders for who really wrote Shakespeare.
Why leave so many hints though? Luckily for any Stratfordians out there (someone who believes that Shakespeare really did write Shakespeare), adding these little codes and messages into Shakespeare’s plays seven years after his death is little proof of original authorship. It does prove without a doubt that the Rosicrucian order had a heavy hand in modifying the plays. Their motivation for this might have been as simple as giving some of the best works in English history to the public. They were and still are big on enlightenment of the people. Peter Amundson goes a step further and suggests that it is all an elaborate treasure map. His work is compelling and fascinating and you can find out more on Timeline’s Youtube Channel.
The next set of codes is from an obscure video I found on Youtube called “Shakespeare, Bacon Enigma (1996)”. It was posted by John Huntly who seems to mostly post little videos from what must be his home-town in England. Most of the videos seem older as if he’s just trying to preserve some history. The Shakespeare video seems to have been filmed for a Mr. Dean and was not a public broadcast. It is filmed in a way that makes it feel secretive and their reputations are on the line for even suggesting these theories. It is hosted by Mr. Richardson a former producer for the BBC and covers a series of codes found in the sonnets written by William Shakespeare and discovered by Thomas Bokenham. The method is a type of cipher common for the era of lining up the words into blocks so that they form a grid pattern. What they find in several sonnets are anagrams that typically form the words Francis, Bacon, Tudor, Author, Prince, etc. They are never exactly perfect but they are almost always symmetrical.
It’s not the most impressive evidence, but it is interesting that it keeps popping up with the same similar letters in a grouping. If these codes were truly put there, then I think it proves that Sir Francis Bacon is probably the world’s greatest and most sophisticated graffiti artist ever known. The first publication of the sonnets was in 1609. Interesting because unlike the folio, this was made before William Shakespeare’s death on April 23, 1616. It was after one other’s death, however, who is the topic of our next set of codes.
The absolute best proof of codes are found on the title page and dedication poem of the original publication of William Shakespeare’s Sonnets. Discovered by Alan Greene, the title page of the Sonnets has some oddly placed dots and overall doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. If you literally connect the dots on the page, they create several, perfect right triangles. Furthermore, mathematically they form four points to create a perfect circle on the page. There are a ton of theories about this which you can read up on, but the best one comes from Alexander Waugh. His claim is that these two pages combined with the odd memorial plaque to Shakespeare under his bust in Stratford, the location of Shakespeare’s burial site is given.
Now a few things before we move on. Shakespeare was literally not dead at this point being 1609 when the Sonnets were published. This means that this theory entirely relies on someone else having been the author. Since the Tempest was written somewhere between 1610 and 1611, there must also be another author if it wasn’t William Shakespeare himself. Somebody had died however and he is the biggest contender to be the author. That person was Edward De Vere, the 17th Earl of Oxford.
Alexander Waugh starts off by showing that the first line of the memorial plaque, (Pylius with his judgement, Socrates with his genius, and Virgil Maro with his art) was probably referring to Beaumont, Chaucer, and Spenser with historical evidence to back that up. Interestingly, those three are buried next to each other in Poet’s Corner in Westminster Abbey in that same configuration. From there he goes on to show that the dedication poem in the Sonnets pamphlet can be laid out in a grid with 19 columns. He then shows a message that says Edward De Vere Lies Here, South Cross Ile St Peter’s at the Westminster. The fun part is that The Westminster is perfectly shaped like a mini representation of the Westminster Abbey layout. He concludes by showing that the title page can be interpreted as a map of Westminster Abbey with the exact location of Edward De Vere’s grave. Now neither Edward De Vere nor Shakespeare was officially buried at this location, but a statue of Shakespeare was erected in this location in 1740. His work is absolutely incredible and rock solid. All of the anagrams are perfect and he never changes his strict rules for what counts as a code. The chances of him being wrong are astronomical and you must watch the proof in its entirety. The most condensed version is a lecture available on Youtube called “Shakespeare was a fake(…and I can prove it)|Brunel University London”. He also has his own Youtube channel with many more discussions on the subject that expands beyond codes and proof with historical evidence.
After seeing all of these put together,the work of Shakespeare is riddled with ciphers and codes without any doubt. It made me think of the crazy people that come out with all kinds of prophecies and hidden messages from the Bible. However, the King James version of the bible was being written in the same time period. So, I will be investigating and can’t wait to see how many times Francis Bacon managed to get his name in the Bible.
I’m not sure what all of these codes in Shakespeare could possibly mean. The Sonnets seem to require heavy scrutiny given the amount of codes that can be found in the them. Although the most solid evidence of code is not in the works of Shakespeare itself, but in the dedications and poems surrounding it. None of these clearly state that Shakespeare himself didn’t write the plays. Just a few Rosicrucian signatures sprinkled throughout. So I think William Shakespeare from Stratford on Avon is still possibly one of the writers. It would be a shame if he really did these great works only to have the Rosicrucians hijack his work because they owned the publishing companies. There is much more to the theories that show evidence or lack-of of both sides of the argument. The answer to whether Shakespeare really wrote Shakespeare is still a hot topic for debate.
-R.C. Mystery Detective