The Publius Enigma
Photo taken during a Pink Floyd concert
showing the words ‘Enigma Publius’
The Publius Enigma
The Publius Enigma is named after a messenger known only as Publius who posted clues on the Pink Floyd internet newsgroup, alt.music.pink-floyd, soon after the launch of The Division Bell world tour. These cryptic posts claimed that there was an enigma hidden within the artwork, music and lyrics of the album, and that an unspecified reward awaited the person or persons who solved the puzzle.
“The Division Bell is not like its predecessors. Although all great music is subject to multiple interpretations, in this case there is a central purpose and a designed solution. For the ingenious person (or group of persons) who recognizes this – and where this information points to – a unique prize has been secreted.”
Many Pink Floyd fans were skeptical, so Publius agreed to provide proof of his authenticity. On July 16th, 1994 he delivered a prediction:
“Monday, July 18, East Rutherford, New Jersey. Approximately 10:30pm. Flashing white lights. There is an enigma.”
On the night in question at approximately 10:30 p.m., white lights in front of the stage at the Pink Floyd concert in East Rutherford spelled out the words ENIGMA and PUBLIUS. (See photo at top of this page) Video of the Giants Stadium event can be seen on YouTube. (See video at bottom of this page)
The identity of Publius remains unknown, but the DavidGilmour.com FAQ contains an allusion:
“I’ve always wondered why in the lyrics to my favourite Division Bell song, ‘Take It Back’, there is a dash between the g and d in G-d. Some people simply take offence at taking the Lord’s name in vain. It was publishing’s very subtle way of keeping people from complaining about the abuse of God’s good name – and perhaps also to keep people focused on trying to figure out who Publius was instead!”
Current status of the Enigma
In April 2005, during a book signing of his biographical work Inside Out: A Personal History of Pink Floyd, Pink Floyd drummer Nick Mason stated that the Publius Enigma did exist, that it had been instigated by the record company rather than the band, and that the prize was to have been a “crop of trees planted in a clear cut area of forest or something to that effect.”
“That was a ploy done by EMI. They had a man working for them who adored puzzles… He was working for EMI and suggested that a puzzle be created that could be followed on the Web. The prize was never given out. To this day it remains unsolved.”
Apparent clues to the existence and validity of the enigma which have appeared in Pink Floyd related media:
The artwork for the MiniDisc release of A Momentary Lapse of Reason contains the words “PUBLIUS” and “ENIGMA”.
The words “Publius Enigma” can be heard spoken just before the song One of These Days on the 2003 DVD release of Pink Floyd: Live at Pompeii (Universal). Storm Thorgerson’s cover for John Harris’ book “The Dark Side of the Moon”, published by HarperCollins in 2005 prominently includes the word “ENIGMA” alongside an ellipsis (a regular feature of Genesis’ clues). Page 13 of the The Division Bell’s CD booklet contains an anagram of the word “enigma,” hidden in the third column from the right of the lyrics to Wearing the Inside Out.
- The page numbers of The Division Bell’s CD booklet are written in various languages and printed on silhouettes of the head statues shown on the cover of the album. Page 11 shows two head silhouettes. Printed on either one is the German word for eleven, “elf,” resulting in “elf elf,” or, “eleven eleven.”
- The trailer for the 2009 film 11:11 features the song “High Hopes.” “High Hopes” is the 11th track on The Division Bell.
- The release date of David Gilmour’s On An Island, March 6, 2006, is exactly eleven months and eleven years after the U.S. release date of The Division Bell, April 5, 1994.
- On June 11, 1994, Publius made his first enigma post to the Pink Floyd newsgroup. Eleven years later, on June 11, 2005, Roger Waters, David Gilmour, Nick Mason, and Richard Wright agreed to reunite as Pink Floyd for Live 8. During the broadcast (and as seen on the Live 8 DVD), the band took the stage just shortly after 11:00 p.m., and by 11:11, Pink Floyd were playing together as a four-man lineup for the first time in twenty four years.
Video clip of Pink Floyd Concert where “Publius” appears on stage.
It appears at 3:40 in this video.