College grad says she found secret message in classic poem

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Pictured is a copy of John Milton’s Paradise Lost which is believed to be the only book known to have the signatures of two founding fathers, Thomas Jefferson and James Madison. “The American Enlightenment: Treasures from the Stanford University Libraries,” an exhibition that will display rare books from the great age of intellectual discovery and innovation that produced the American Revolution among other events, will open at Stanford’s Green Library on February 7, 2011. It is curated by Caroline Winterer, Professor of American History at Stanford University, in collaboration with John E. Mustain, Curator of Rare Books at the Stanford University Libraries. (Dai Sugano/Mercury News) (Photo by MediaNews Group/Mercury News via Getty Images)

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MEDFORD, Mass. (AP) — A recent Massachusetts college graduate believes she has discovered a secret message in the epic poem “Paradise Lost,” by John Milton.

The Boston Globe reports 23-year-old Miranda Phaal found what she believes to be an acrostic while reviewing the poem about the biblical story of Adam and Eve as a senior at Tufts University last year.

An acrostic uses the first letters of poem lines to spell a message.

Phaal says the first letters of eight lines in one section spell “fall” three times, referring to the falls from grace of Adam, Eve and Satan. She says it could be a coincidence, but says Milton enjoyed secret messages.

Phaal published an essay on her discovery in an academic journal in August.

Scholars have found what appear to be other “Paradise Lost” acrostics, including one discovered in 1977.


Information from: The Boston Globe,

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