Secret Message Oct 1, 2008

So I'm camping in the woods one night, sitting by my nice warm camp fire waiting for my can of beans to cook. I'm writing by the firelight with a pen into a notebook I bought at a store on the way here just for the very purpose it now served. Nobody around. And I get a weird feeling like I'm being watched. So I look around. Nothing. Shrug, back to writing.

Then I see it—a flash of light out in the woods. I stare blankly for a minute or two until it flashes again. Then it begins flashing rapidly. Short, long, short short, long. I know what it is immediately. Or at least, I know what it could be. I never have been one for remembering all those letters and dots and dashes. I start jotting them down.

Eventually I notice the pattern repeats. Once I record two full repetitions (correcting my mistakes along the way) and verify that the next sequence is a third repetition, I put my pen down. It keeps going for a few more repetitions and then stops.

And that's the end of the story. The next morning I tried to find the spot where the flashes came from, but there was nothing. I'm no ranger, and it's hard to estimate distant location in the dark, but I searched pretty thoroughly and it was just leaves and trees and rocks.

I've never been able to decode the message. I checked it against a table of Morse code letters to no avail. I showed it to a few friends, some of them more interested than others, but none of them had any enlightening suggestions. Here it is, just as I copied it down that night:

.-.-.-.----.......---.----..---.-----.-..--..-.------.----
------.-------..---.----.-...-..---.......-.---....--...-.
.-..-...-.-..---.---..----..---.--.--.....-...--.-.--.-.--
--.-..-.--.--..--.-....------....--.-...-.---.----.-.---..
-.....-..-..-.--.----.--..-.-.-----..---.---...-.---.-..--
-.....-..--.....--.......-..-..---.--..--..-.....-.-..-..-
-.-..---..--.-.-.-.--.-.-....----.--.--..--.-.--.......-.-
...-....--.---.-.-..--.--...--.--..--..-..---.-....------.
.-.-.-...-.-.---.-.--.---..--........--......--..-------.-
..--......----.....-..--.-.---..---..--..-.-.-.--.-.--...-
.--..-...-.--.---.-..----..------..--.-..--..--..-.....-.-
---..---------.-...-.---.-..--..-...-.--..-.--.--....-----
-.---...--.--.--.-.....-.-.-.-.-.--.---..-.--.-.---.-....-
.-.---..--..---.-......-.---...-...--.----.-.--...----..-.
-.-..-.---.--.-.--.-.---..---------...-...-----.--.-....-.
-.-..-........--.--.-..-.-..-.-...-.--..-.....--..-....-.-
-.---------------..-----.-....------.---.--..--.-.-.-.-..-
-.---..-..---.-....-.--.--.-..-..-----..---.-..-----....-.
--..--.-.-.-...---....----...---...--..--.-.-..-...-...-..
-..----.----.-....-..-...---.---.--......-.....---..-....-
-..-..-...-...-..-..----.----.-....-..-..-.---------.-----
.-..--.---..-.....--.---.--.------..-.---.-..---.....-..--
..--.--.-...----.-.-.....-.------.-----.-.---.--.-..---..-
-.--.---.------..--.-...---.---.--.-.....-..---.----.-----
..---.---.--.---..-.------.--.-.--...-.-----.......-...-..
-.----...--.---------.--.-....-.-....--.----.-...--.----..
...-....-.-..-.-.....--.--.---....---.-...-..---...-..--.-
....-.-..--.--.--..--.----......---..----.-...-.---...-...
-.--....-..-.--.----..--....----.----.......-...-..-.--.--
-------..----..--..--..-.-..-..-..-...-.--.-...--.---.....
-.-..-.-....-..-..-..---.-...-.--.-..-..-.---..--.---.---.
..-.-.-...---.---.--....-.----......--.---.-.---...--.--.-
--..-.-.--.--.---..-----.-..---.....-.--.----.-..-...-.-..
..-.---...------.-..-..-....-..-...-
(from here it repeats)
.-.-.-.----.......---.----..---.----- (and so on...

Note: The message is 1950 flashes long. It took ten or fifteen minutes per repetition, and the transmission speed varied considerably (pausing up to ten seconds at times) but was occasionally fast enough that I screwed up a few parts. If it hadn't repeated so many times this would probably be a disclaimer as to the accuracy of my transcription.