The Evolution Of Self Destructing Messages: How They Began And What They’ve Become

Self Destructing Messages

The history of self destructing messages is quite long and complicated, starting with Morse code in the 1830s and 1930s where an operator would send a message in morse code to an individual, who needed to know how to decode the message. In fact, it was during World War I that radio waves were first used for this purpose.

The First Self Destructing Messages

The idea of self-destructing messages seems to have begun in 1907 when Sender, the organizer of an art glass paste up, wanted to send a private note message back to the art glass houses that were selling his work. The glass houses were being looted and vandalized by other artists and so he wanted to send a message back at night as well as a note that he was selling his paste up for 5 dollars. This was done by using morse code which could be deciphered by a telegraph operator. The morse code representing Sender’s 5 dollars.

During World War I

During World War I, radio waves were used as a means of self-destructing messages. The radio waves would be used so that messages could be sent out and received across great distances by many individuals at once. However, in England, this was frowned upon and only one self-destructing message was sent out during the war.

The First Self-Destructing Message in A Book

The first self-destructing message in a book was written in 1938 by Raymond Beckenstein. He sent out the message with 5 short lines from the book “Who Ran the Road?” and if someone did not return the book in under 24 hours he would send a self-destructing message out of it. The note itself read, “Mr. Beckenstein writes: ‘This is a self-destructing note; don’t throw this book away. It will explode in seven seconds. Please return to the librarian at once.

The First Self-Destructing Message In Print

The first self-destructing message in print was sent out in 1946 by a Colonel James C. Davison. He sent out his note along with a small box of dynamite and it read, “LORD WITHIN THE BOOKES”. The note was received by Bernard Beckerman and both were then met with a visit from the FBI.

The First Self Destructing Message In The Press

The first self-destructing message in the press was sent in 1954. The note read, “This is the end, a truly remarkable book.” It was written on a piece of paper attached to the last page of “The New World Atlas” by Stanley Kubrick. It was received by Bill Walton and an FBI agent came to his apartment to investigate.

You might also like