(For those uninformed or unaware, that headline reads: Morse at QU.)
First, a little about myself: Indiana Jones (yes, all four movies) and National Treasure, and even the sequel, rank among some of my favorite movies of all time.
I even consider myself an amateur Indiana Jones. I’m just waiting for my mystery to unravel and treasure to find so I can make my mark on the history books. (Heck, I even have the infamous leather jacket.)
Though it’s not the Ark of the Covenant or a map hidden on the back of the Declaration of Independence, I have found and cracked my very first secret code – and it’s been right under your feet the whole time here at QU.
That’s right folks, the intrepid Andrew Vazzano (he of such dashing good looks), has unearthed a secret message scattered about the Carl Hansen Student Center: There is Morse Code in the tiles!
It all started upstairs in the student organizational hallway. I was tipped off to the fact that the floor contained a mysterious message, locked in the pattern of the tiles. It wasn’t long before I figured out the cryptograph and started to unearth the message.
IN FOR T5E LONG HALL!
(And yes, that “5” is deliberate. Someone screwed up and put one too many dots, changing what should have been an “H” into a “5.”)
Aha! How punny! I had solved my first puzzle, even it was misspelled and a sad excuse for a joke. I started sharing my new knowledge with all that passed by, or lingered a moment too long outside my door.
But wait, there’s more!
While walking down the hallway en route to the Student Center, I noticed the tile on the floor for the first time. It’s all in straight lines, the copper tiles standing out among the muddy brown ones. Right under the tables that line the hallway and steps from the bank door, another code lie underfoot.
Hurriedly, I ran upstairs, grabbed my code-breaking devices (a.k.a. my BlackBerry and a notebook) and dashed down to my latest unknown cipher.
Words suddenly began appearing on the floor under me.
LEARN. HONOR. SERVE. DISCUSS. QUESTION. READ. DISTEN.
“Disten?” What the heck is “disten?”
It seems, and this is the code-breaking part of my brain talking, that tiles were being replaced without any knowledge of the secret words they held. In fact, there are other spots amongst the tiles where letters go missing, seemingly by replacement error.
Oh, and here’s the kicker. Each time you walk into those doors right outside Alumni Hall, the clues are directly beneath you. On either side of the hallway, stretching the whole way down the hall, is the alphabet spelled out in Morse Code.
A hidden gem on campus, one that took me nearly four years to find and decipher, has finally been cracked.