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Mystery Puzzle Solved After 18 Years

A mystery that has eluded the family of a Minnesota cancer victim for nearly 20 years is on its way to being solved thanks to internet sleuths.

On Monday Janna Holm posted images of two index cards, covered in a seemingly unbreakable code, that her grandmother, Dorothy Holm, had written just weeks before her death in 1996.

Less than 15 minutes later the code was on its way to being solved after a web user spotted a possible method to the madness of jumbled letters.

Mystery: The back of one of the index cards appears to be the first letters of each word of the Lord's Prayer 5

Mystery: The back of one of the index cards appears to be the first letters of each word of the Lord's Prayer

Final thoughts: Dorothy Holm wrote the coded index cards before her death in 1996 5

Final thoughts: Dorothy Holm wrote the coded index cards before her death in 1996

When she posted pictures of two of the index cards on Metafilter, Ms Holm, who works at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, explained her grandmother had lost her ability to speak when she wrote them.

Ms Holm said the family had been trying to find meaning in the jumble of letters that covered 20 index cards ever since her grandmother died from a brain tumor.

'My cousins and I were between 8-10 years old at the time, and believed she was leaving us a code. We puzzled over them for a few months trying substitution ciphers, and didn't get anywhere,' she wrote.

The family's best guess had been that the letters were perhaps lyrics to songs, but shortly after images of the cards were circulated online, a user known as harperpitt suggested they were prayers.

After suggesting a sequence of triple As on the card could represent 'Amen Amen Amen', harperpitt and another user, jessamyn, cracked part of the code, pointing out that the letters matched the Lord's Prayer.

'Holy cow! 14 minutes to solve the back of the card that has been bugging my family for 20 years! That is amazing!' Ms Holm wrote.

Once the theory behind the letters was revealed, web sleuths set about cracking other parts of the index card, which showed what appeared to be a personal prayer.

'It was kind of relieving to have an answer, even if we dont know what every single word says,' Ms Holm said.

'Its nice to know that they were prayers, and kind of gave some insight into what she was thinking and what she was focused on in her last couple weeks.'

She added that her grandmother hated being in the spotlight 'so she would totally hate all of this [attention],' but Ms Holms said that she was grateful the mystery had been solved.

The family had almost forgotten about the cards until Ms Holms's father found one of them again, sparking the curiosity of what they had meant.

Ms Holms was just 11 when her grandmother died. Dorothy Holms, who lived in Shakopee, was diagnosed with lung cancer that formed a brain tumor.

The kindly grandmother, who was married to a Second World War submariner, 'never flew in a plane and never drove a car (scared of both), and hated having her photo taken,' she remembered.

But she was always ready with a stash of coloring books and crayons for when her grandchildren visited,' Ms Holm said.

In her final weeks, Dorothy Holm wrote line after line of capital letters on about 20 index cards, sparking her the curiosity of her grandchildren.

Ms Holm said that she, her brother and two cousins - ranging in age from 8 to 12 - spent a few months trying to figure out what the letters stood for, but failed.

The associate director at Johns Hopkins has offered more details about her family, and gave their initials, in the hope that a message for them may be contained in the prayer.

Hidden message: Janna Holm posted this picture of one of her grandmother's index cards online to see if anyone could break the code

'As for first initials, my family's show up in one string (TVJE is my parents, myself and my brother), but no one else seems to. Her husband's initial was L, but he goes by a nickname starting with B,' she wrote.

'Her children are G, T and J. Her daughter G is unmarried with no children. Her son T is married to V and has J & E as children. And her daughter J is married to M and has L & E as children.'

A large portion of the card has been solved, but code-breakers are still needed to complete the puzzle.

Enigma of a dying grandmother's final thoughts: The partially solved message

Please dear God NHBOBVPNSNHANAOENCNANHPNCPND,
NUOCPNNPNAPNMSMDKBMLPOWP, NAP.
NEENTGBTMLSHHSSSTMALHFFTMOFPANSTP,
NIOOIPNTPNROANTRSANTOTTAPOD,
Please let us all (or always) DONNOANPBOOLL,
Please keep us all safe and sound in mind and body, praise and glory Amen.
Please MOM T and V, M and J AMMSSSLLABAPMUTTCTCCATFGSHHILANRNPHTAOLP.
Please see that we are all happy and safe in our lives and in our work,
Please see that we all LOJTHTPATP,
Please see that we all GAOKWOCWAS and please see that we ADVGWAIIRARBOSAO,
Please see that we all HPPAAETWW,
Please see that we all HTPMAESTCWE.
Please see that all of us COOTI One Who hears all my prayers and please see that the pain does not hurt anymore,
Please see that we are all happy and safe, praise and glory Amen,
Please see that we are all in excellent health and please see that we are reunited in Heaven.
Please see that trouble, pain and injury (or illness) do not befall T, V, J, E, or any of us, praise and glory Amen.
Please see that those of us who worship the Lord with those of us whose suffering lingers will dwell safely with God our Blessed Savior,
Please see that we are HSAHVASASBTATWARHSFAOT,
Please see that we all have bodily perfection in the next realm, see that none of the rest of us have to bear painful memories
{OR Please see that we all have blood pressure in the normal range & see that none of the rest of us have to take blood pressure medication}
Please see that VCADAFLAFESJMPLGBGBMBA the rest of us RSSASFOHP.
Please see that WAGAVWWOA, praise and glory Amen.
Please see that everyone is free from all wants/worries and unhappiness.
Thank you Almighty God for protection from grief.
Thank you Almighty God for listening to my prayers and answering them.
Thank you Almighty God for everything, Amen.
Thank you Almighty God for everything, Amen Amen Amen