The entire hundred plus year trail to a treasure has never even been established as fact. The story begins that the so-called Beale ciphers, which are cipher texts, include three different ciphers; one allegedly discloses a location of a buried treasure worth a reported 30 million dollars. The other two ciphers are said to describe the treasures contents, and the next of kin of the treasure owner. This story began with a pamphlet in 1885 which detailed a man named Thomas Beale burying a treasure somewhere in Virginia in 1820. Beale left the encrypted messages with a man named Robert Morriss and was never seen or heard from again. Before Morriss died, he gave the three ciphers to a friend. This friend spent 20 years trying to decode the messages and was able to solve one. It gave details of the treasure and a general location. Many attempts have been made to decipher the other two cipher texts, but none have been successful.
Thomas Beale was said to have obtained the treasure in what is now Colorado. He reportedly led 29 people on the discovery, but there has never been any proof of Beale or his men has ever been found. What may be legend has it that Beale put the cipher texts in an iron box and left them with Robert Morriss in 1822. Beale was to have a friend mail the key to Morriss but the key never surfaced. After 20 years, Morriss opened the box but could not solve the ciphers. He later passed the box and the ciphers onto a friend, who was able to decipher one of the texts. The papers were published by James B. Ward, who claimed he was not the “friend” who received the cipertexts. Further, the story goes on to say that he owned a home in which a Sarah Morriss died at the age of 77, so perhaps he was that friend.
All of this, which may someday prove to be an elaborate hoax, has led hundreds of people on treasure hunts to discover the treasure. No valid proof of any part of the story has ever been established.