They also said about the authorship doubters that “They must be given something better than derision, if only to reassure them that they are not the victims of a merely emotional reaction on the part of those who often have a material interest in the affair. They are entitled to a courteous and – wherever possible – a scientific examination of their arguments.” Their book was to be at least a start in this honorable approach.
They said that they were only reviewing what they felt were a representative group of ciphers supposedly showing Bacon’s authorship. At the end of their book they gave some advice for those who wanted to continue looking for them.
So I’m going to present what I think are some of the best Baconian cipher signatures and that either were not discussed by the Friedmans, or that were dismissed prematurely, probably because they needed some additional analysis for their value to be recognized. Plus I found many new potential ciphers that have not been seen before. The Friedmans described this particular approach as the researcher having the view that “Bacon wrote the plays as plays, and was conscious of their worth, but felt all the more obliged to assert his authorship in hints here and there—short snatches of sotto voce meant to put him right with posterity” [Pages 283-4]. They had faulted the instances he examined because “they could so easily have happened by chance.”
The findings in this paper, all together, and some in particular, seem to me beyond chance and exhibiting intentional design beyond the outward plays themselves. The evidence presented is not primarily meant for “Shakespeare scholars” but should, ideally, be evaluated by cryptology or probability experts, or maybe those experienced with legal or scientific analysis. This is especially so since it was a cryptology expert, often using probability analysis, who first reviewed the early ones, even though most of the “ciphers” are more like hidden word puzzles. It is their expert judgment on this that will matter, especially since this is a highly political topic with great prejudice on all sides. So, readers, if you know someone with the appropriate background then please ask them if they might try evaluating the evidence here. And as I said, there is plenty of non-cipher Baconian evidence that has been offered as proof of authorship that has not been fairly examined and which could satisfy those making an honest evaluation.
The cipher candidates presented here are the ones I like the most and should stand or fall on their own merit. I don’t take the exact stand just mentioned by Freidman as one approach. That is, I don’t necessarily believe that Bacon wrote the Shakespeare works purely as plays and then only inserted clues to his authorship. There may be more cipher text in them than just the supposed signatures and congruent terms, figures and ideas that I’ll present. I don’t know. My focus has been narrow into only looking for hidden signs of his authorship. Also, I’m not including all potentially high-probable ciphers that I’ve seen. There are some that others have offered that look worth examining. The ones I’m presenting here are either ones that I’ve discovered or that I’ve found to be especially meaningful. When mentioning the discoveries of others I’ve tried to note either the discoverer or at least where I first found the cipher example.
One thing to keep in mind is that when looking at the Shakespeare and Bacon writings, as well as other contemporary works I stay with the original spelling as that is often very important. Also, in resorting to online facsimiles of the Shakespeare First Folio, it’s understood that they may be compilations of the best pages of multiple copies, just as is the Norton First Folio. Any such compilation would seem to add randomness to the facsimile used and decrease the probability of any hidden design, making the finding of some of the hidden signatures even less likely.