Dancing Men Alphabet
From The Arthur Conan Doyle Encyclopedia
The Dancing Men alphabet is a cypher created by Arthur Conan Doyle in 1903, and used in his Sherlock Holmes short story The Adventure of the Dancing Men, published in Collier's and The Strand Magazine in december 1903.
The alphabet is a simple character substitution. Each symbols may have two forms : a dancing man and the same dancing man holding a flag to represent the separation of two words.
In his manuscript, Conan Doyle used 18 symbols for the 18 letters needed in his cyphers. 8 letters (F, J, K, Q, U, W, X, Z) were not used and then have no known symbols.
Note that P and V have almost the same dancing man symbol (in the V the foot is slightly sloping to the left).
The symbols and cyphers below are taken from Arthur Conan Doyle's original manuscript (1903) :
- ↑ There is an error with the final letter, which is the symbol of the B, the cypher would be NEVEB.