A Postcard from “The Devil’s Punch Bowl”

The above image is a postcard of a place known as the “Devil’s Punch Bowl” in Windsor, Nova Scotia. It is said to be one of the first places where hockey was ever played in Canada, but that is not what intrigued me most when I came across this card in the archive at the West Hants Historical Society. For you see, it comes from a series that was taken around the turn of the 19th/20th century, and on the back, I believe it is dated January 25th, 1911. It was sent from Wolfville, Nova Scotia, to Miss Dolly Gray in Upper Clements, and was written in either an apparently esoteric form of short hand, or else an actual cypher.

I’ve been trying on and off to decipher it for the past few years, suspecting that it’s a simple substitution cypher, but because its been written in pen and some of the symbols seem to bleed into each other, I’ve not been able to break it. I’m now curious enough to send it out and see if anyone else has the skills/time to decipher it.

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