Fun with Baconian Ciphers
Most of the best Baconian cipher/code evidence is related to, and often dependent upon, certain significant numbers. Most of these have now been mentioned in those numbers representing the first, last, and full name of Francis Bacon. Another one, which at first I was going to ignore but found I could not is the number 287. This number was asserted to have been found in nearly every Shakespeare work and many others of the same time period but not all by the same author. But how the number was obtained in various counting methods in all these works is very much open to question. Still disregarding all, or nearly all, of the clearly ambiguous counts for this number, it still stands out from the rest of the numbers not directly associated with Bacon’s name. The Friedmans disparagingly called it a “magic number”. But the Baconian researchers never said there was anything “magic” about it. They merely found it as significant in that they kept encountering it. What we can fault them for is what appears to be an excessive eagerness to find it such that they didn’t seem to develop rigid rules for their counting methods that would stand up to scrutiny in each of their assertions.
So let’s look at this number. It may have been first found in the examination of the long word
H O N O R I F I C A B I L I T U D I N I T A T I B U S
8 14 13 14 17 9 6 9 3 1 2 9 11 9 19 20 4 9 13 9 19 1 19 9 2 20 18 = 287
This word is on page 136 of the First Folio in Love’s Labor’s Lost, Act V, scene 1.
An abridged version of it is also found on the Northumberland manuscript (which is shown later), the document that mainstream scholars seem to try to ignore, and which has the name of Francis Bacon on it along with the name William Shakespeare which is preceded twice by the word “your”. Several references to Shakespeare works are also listed on the document. Here again, the Friedmans, like many others, were quick to dismiss this extremely important document of the period despite the many connections between it and Francis Bacon. Without acknowledging any of the important connections to Bacon and Shakespeare in it, they just say “a scrivener linked the names (both pretty well known to Londoners) of Bacon and Shakespeare on a page of rough notes,…” Too many of those in positions of authority have taken the easy out of dismissing a highly interesting finding when what should be done is to examine it carefully in great detail to learn all we can about how it came to be. This has been a problem with much of the evidence touching on the Shakespeare authorship question.
The form of the long word in the MS is abbreviated as honorificabilitudini. Now, neither Bacon nor Shakespeare invented this word. It’s been around in one form or another since at least 1187, though it seems that either Bacon or Shakespeare was the first to use it in the Elizabethan period. There were a few Baconian researchers that early on had a fascination with anagrams and would try making various phrases out of the word’s letters, the most infamous being: “Hi ludi F. Baconis nati tuiti orbi” meaning “These plays, the offspring of F. Bacon, are preserved for the world.” But other researchers showed little or no interest in such an anagram and focused on the word’s other properties.