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On March 8 2009 I posted,  The fake Drake Plate was created by Conan Doyle and mentioned I would give some reasons for my asserting that claim. I don’t want to make it too easy for you so I will merely tell you what the clues are and see if you or anyone else can discover them. Let me warn you that since that date I have given a good quality printout of the Plate of Brass to several people with the clues on them and they did not agree with me that they were clues. So if would be a good idea for you to do a little experiment, which will help you to understand just how difficult it is for what is suggested is more than random chance.

Try and find your personal name written into the plate! You can do it any way you choose and if you can find your personal name please let me know and I will post it. Surely out of 6.8 billion people there will be a huge number who can find their name. Let me say that if your name is Doyle it will be easy. If you choose to do a crossword puzzle style search let me suggest you scan first for the most unusual letter in your name because it will save you some time. For example, the most unusual letter in Doyle’s name is the y because it infrequently used in normal writing. After you find your most unusual letter look around that letter for an adjacent letter which is adjacent to your name in the already found letter. My experience with this method was that it was easy to find a couple of examples of the most unusual letter but not so easy to find one right beside it which was adjacent to it in the sought for name and that a third letter was very unusual.

After playing that silly little game for a few minutes with your first, middle and last name try it with Sir Conan Doyle and see what you come up with. In that case here are 13 letters in a continuous wiggly string. This string of letters is single clue alone but there are lots more clues. Think of the possibilities of word games being played by a man world famous for playing mysterious games, especially word games and letter games. Remember the Sherlock Holmes story The Adventure of the Dancing Men.

After you have worked your mind on that funny little game, try and discover Conan Doyle’s name in the very top line of the text. Doyle always puts his name at the very top of his works, it is like he said “you are nothing until you have your name on the spine of a book” or at the most prominent place on an  infamous hoax. This particular clue isn’t just with the letters so say out loud that top line several times. Say it fast, say it slow and with different rhythms. You will soon hear what I hear. After you do hear, then consider what the word men means to a knighted Englishman.

Next, you might consider the strange CC at the bottom of the plate. It has befuddled scholars for some 70 years. You may know from your high school French that d’oile (Doyle) means of the eye, to see. Also, that in plain old English con means not only to cheat but also to look and to see, as on the con of a ship or the conning tower of an airport.

That is enough of a brain strain for a while but assuming you are willing to work through those clues and realize just how idiosyncratic they truly are you will be on your way along one of the most exciting Adventures Sir Conan Doyle ever created. I don’t want to spoil your fun but just to point the way and assure you there is an interesting path to be beaten. AWAKE! IRREGULARS! Being a prolific man Doyle did a lot of whatever he did and he did a lot of things including hoaxes.

Radiograph

X-ray of Drake's Plate of Brass from MIT

The original plate was on display for a half a century as the prize possession of the Bancroft Library in Berkeley but it is no longer on display at the library because it is a proven fake. It is now hidden in deep storage in their basement vault. I would like to see it restored to its former place of—most valued document!