Pigpen Cipher

Some substitution ciphers use geometric symbols rather than letters or numbers. For example, the classic pigpen cipher has ciphertext that looks like some alien language.

This is a geometric substitution cipher that replaces letters with fragments of a grid. To make the key, create two “tic-tac-toe” grids and two “x” grids. One with dots and without dots as follows:

Next, fill in the alphabet from left to right and top to bottom as illustrated.

Use the parts of the grid associated with each letter.

Pigpen Cipher Key

Now we can use the pig pen key to decode the message presented at the beginning of the chapter.

There are many variations of this type of geometric substitution cipher, you can even make up your own symbols for each letter!

Instead of geometric symbols you can use sounds or even light. For example, Morse Code is a type of substitution cipher that can transmit a message in these ways.

SOS is the standard emergency signal.


Mission 11: Decode the following pigpen ciphertext:

Mission 12: Encode the following message using the pigpen cipher:

the truth is out there

Next series post — Vigenère Cipher
Previous series post — ASCII Character Encoding

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