Criss-Cross Letters

If you received a letter that looked like this, would you expect 1) it was written by a person with psychiatric problems, 2) it was written by a penny-pincher who was trying to save paper, or 3) it was sent to you in order to cause grave emotional trauma? All of these are possible, but there is one correct answer — and many letters like this were written and painstakingly deciphered. More inside.

The Tree Wireless — 1919

Using living trees as antennas was an important element of inventor Maj.-Gen George O. Squier’s system of telephony, which was developed for use during WWI as a way to intercept enemy messages which had been electrically transmitted, as well as to receive and transmit messages from just anywhere with a living tree nearby. More about Squier’s odd-sounding “tree wireless” inside.