The Mystery of a Dead Body inside a locked bank vault.

“Listen Doc, you have to go over there and see it for yourself!”, my friend the Chief of Detectives said. He sounded exasperated with me. Small wonder, I had just dismissed his objective to get me out of my house and go on another crime investigation.

“You know, don’t you that I’m retired right ?” I have to admit though, he perked my interest.

“I think I’ved got a fresh body…dead of course, I just need your confirmation.”
It was found inside a locked bank vault that was sealed years ago. The Chief liked to present puzzles like this to the retired Professor. He once said he was trying to keep my mind active so it wouldn’t decay with age.

“You ‘think’ you have a fresh dead body?” You’re trying to interrupt my retirement aren’t you? , I rejoined. He laughed as friends do when they realize that you get their real motives. I had helped the Chief many times over the years. He and I both had an unusual interests and differences when investigating all the clues that dead body’s always give up about their murderers. But in my mind, I was lecturing to him , tongue in cheek of course!, I was eager to tackle this murderous connumdrum. He knew it too!

Though of course I knew that the Chief didn’t have a sense of humor. He was my friend but I have to be honest too. The Police are often just like the politicians that hire them to serve. Don’t ask too many embarrassing questions. The Mayor appoints the Police Captain as a Commissioner to run the whole department without causing him political problems. And this metropolitan police are a large organization of 6800 Police officers.

I am Doctor Richard Grumblethorp, Philosopher, teacher, and amateur sleuth, and I retired from the university last year and am enjoying studying Jewish Mystical Philosophy with local Philadelphia Rabbi Moses Cordovero. We’re studying philosophical mathematics together. The Rabbi was a math student before he was ordained. He liked to investigate crime from his philsophical point of view. And he and I liked to get together with a couple others and debate on some very ancient and obscure texts that I had found in the Universities Antrhopology dept. Recently he presented his paper to the group. He calls his crime studying approach Zoharic ‘Gematria . I don’t understand all of it but it uses astrology and “Gematria’ (numbers for names) to solve the reality problem of crime. Rather unique approach I think.

“So Chief, what do you need for me to confirm for you, I asked. I noted to myself that he had me already intrigued by the physical mathematics part of how placing a dead body in a locked vault had happened. How did he get there and how did it get ‘dead’ inside an abandoned and locked vault. There were no witnesses placing the dead man anywhere near the building. And the existence of the vault really raised my interest more. No doubt the vaults cypher code had been lost and in the wind covered by the sands of time,— decades ago. Or so everyone thought! Everyone knew or suspected that a vault just had to be there. Until now the Nat Park Rangers wouldn’t confirm or deny anything. I wanted to see locking mechanism the vault.

The chief said: The Ranger at the National Park Service, reported the discovery of the open vault of the ex- Bank of the United States. And inside the vault was a dead body, of a man in his mid to late thirties, dressed only with shirt and trousers, sox but no shoes. We don’t know how to explain his being there. Dead! No identification ! Already tired, the Chief added, “Its another unsolved case for me! I’m working on a dozen unsolves at the same time.”

“When was the vault re-opened ?”, I asked puzzled by his too brief remarks. I knew that It was known in the community that the vault at that ancient bank structure had been sealed shut in 1845, when one of the officers of the Bank George M. Dallas left his job at the bank, and became Vice President of the U.S. And as far as anyone could tell, no one could get the authority to open it or even knew of the basement vault. Rumor has it that it was filled with Gold coins or bullion. Popular rumors are frequently wrong of course. The Rangers swore that they didn’t know the bank vaults combination either!

But the rumor mongers never asked the follow up questions that any investigator would ask. How do we know that its been locked and secure all these 168 years. Was there any political intrigue or a secret conspiracies afloat, though I knew positively that several Banks and even an American Legion Chapter had occupied the old Bank.

Practically speaking why would a person get himself into a sealed vault, and then expire from something. Poison? Gas? Of course that didn’t make sense. He had to have an accomplice somewhere.

Later that night, after we had finished a bottle of Claret and a delicious meal, I began to tell my friend the Rabbi Cordovero. But before I could get to the details or my questions. He wanted to share his philosophical findings with me. I just listened.

Okay…let me explain as clearly and briefly as I can, he said. Everything has a name which formed and shaped the objects. I’ll go over every object named in the environment of the murdered man and hopefully will solve this crime.
I am looking for patterns of energies as numbers.

For example , he added, when he realized that the wine and his wordy explanation, were making my eyes glazed over. . I had had too much wine.

He finished: “ Light has a sound frequency, so does thunder, or a volcano, or the sound of the ocean waves crashing on the beach.” But first study this original Hebrew ancient text. I’ll match it with these computer readouts and cross reference it with mathematics theory.

By the time he left , I was reenergized and couldn’t stop thinking about the problems.

“Listen Chief, show me what you’ve got so far?” He let me pour over the photographs and the medical examiners report, and read the interviews your men completed. I want to know every detail of the reports.

The investigation had been lolling along for over two weeks, getting nowhere. The identification of the dead man was still unknown. Hundreds of leads had been chased down yielding nothing. The local newspapers were wanting more information.

Calls to the paper covered every conspiracy theory anyone could think up. And the investigators needed evidence to make a case against somebody, anybody! Yet, I honestly praised the Chief for the good investigations his men were conducting.
“Under the circumstances your men have been doing a good job.” Harrumph he said, he knew I was politely lying.

I even had my own theory that I was diligently trying to validate with credible evidence. I did discover in my historical research that a Philadelphia Bank Co. suddenly decided to change the whole locking and pin emplacement mechanisms of all their vaults. I still didn’t know whether one of the successor banks had changed the tumblers or not.

Then one day my Rabbi fellow investigator called and said he would drop by and unravel everything for me. Skeptically I agreed, and asked my life partner “suspicious wife” to cook up his favorite recipe. She had been following all of these goings on in the press and snatching bits and pieces of my telephone conversations. She was also a pretty good gourmet cook.

When I opened the door in response to his knock on the appointed night. He just stood there and pronounced the name “Alfred Bielek”. “What, I stammered!” Who is Alfred Bielek, I retorted. He said: “That’s the name of the dead man found in the vault at that abandoned bank”, he manner of factually explained to me. Still in a state of unbelief, but wary because I knew my ordained scholar would not say something of this import unless he had proof of the validity of the issue. I already gave the name to Police Commissioner John Fenwick he said, he’s sent his men to interview the Capt an men on the freighter who docked here about a week before the break

You followed the infinite number of details about the crime scene and its background, I followed the Zoharic Gematria numbers and their equivalent meanings for the container named “Vault’. There is no doubt about my translation. The dead man is Alfred Bielek, and his fellow conspirators have already been arrested, confessing all. When he passed out, and they slammed shut the vault doors. They said his last words were “I’m cursed!” The Chief of Police interrogated them and is satisfied its solved. But Professor Grumblethorp is not so sure and expects more to develop about this mystery.

About Ric Ben-Safed

Technical and Freelance Writer, degrees in History,Psychology, and Master's in Social Policy and Planning. written hundreds of reports in regard to mental health, major research in genealogy and genetic genealogy as well as local history. I try to be and Independent leaning Libertarian but also like the cooperative anarchist ideas of L.Neil Smith, Murray Rombard, J. Neil Schulman. Fascinated by (Philadelphians, George Lippard ( 1830-1854). Gothic & City Noir, appreciate the Mystics of Philadelphia Mystic Johaness Kelpius (1667-1708), even "God may be a Verb!).
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