USC, Swedish researchers crack Copiale Cipher

LOS ANGELES (AP) ? Scientists in California and Sweden have solved a 250-year-old mystery ? a coded manuscript written by a secret society.

The University of Southern California announced Tuesday that researchers had broken the Copiale Cipher ? the writing used in a 105-page 18th century document from Germany.

Kevin Knight, of USC, and Beata Megyesi and Christiane Schaefer, of Uppsala University, did the work.

They used a computer program to decipher part of the manuscript, which was found in East Berlin after the Cold War and is now in a private collection.

The book, written in symbols and Roman letters, detailed rituals of a society that was fascinated by ophthalmology and eye surgery.

The team tried 80 languages before realizing the abstract symbols ? not the Roman letters ? held the message.