Dorothy Holm was dying of brain cancer. Her cancer had spread to a point where the woman from suburban Minneapolis, Minnesota, could no longer talk to her family. So, she started writing a series of notecards. When she passed, her son put them away in the attic for safe-keeping. One day, he stumbled upon them again and e-mailed a picture to his daughter Janna. She made the fateful decision to post them on Ask Metafilterto crowdsource the cypher.
"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.
The mysterious post also caught Abbey Kos' attention. That's when she got to work trying to cracking the code, but the more she learned, the greater the mystery became. Who was Holm? Why had she written this code? What did this message from the grave mean?