Twenty Years After Her Death, This Grandmother’s Mystery Was Unraveled by Total Strangers

During Dorothy Holm’s final days, she created a puzzle that would end up stumping her entire family for twenty years.

Dorothy was suffering from brain cancer, and before her death in 1996, it got to the point where she could no longer communicate with her loved ones. That’s when she began creating a series of coded note cards.

After she passed away, they attempted to figure out what was written on those cards, though they only encountered dead ends. What did all those capital letters really mean?

But when her granddaughter, Janna, posted the mystery on the Internet, a total stranger was able to finally decipher what was written.

“At the time that these cards were written in the 1990s. The Internet as we know it didn’t really exist. There was no community like Reddit or MetaFilter where you could go to with these problems and have people spend their time on it,” said cryptographer and Johns Hopkins University professor Matthew Green.