In early November 1941, a man walked into the New Yorker magazine office and paid cash for one large ad and 6 small ones for the Nov. 22 issue for a dice game called “The Deadly Double.” The first, placed toward the front of the magazine, depicted two dice under the heading “Achtung! Warning! Alerte!” One die displayed the numbers 0, 5, and 7. The other showed 12, 24, and the Roman numeral XX. The second ad appeared on page 86, with the same heading over a group of people in a bunker. The text described the game as “the perfect entertainment while sheltering from an air raid.” The ad was capped off with a stylized drawing of a double-headed eagle.
The other smaller ads featured dice with the numbers 12 and 7 — numbers not used on dice.
Two weeks later, on 12/7, Japan attacked Pearl Harbor.
The FBI believed that the ads might have been placed by a Japanese sympathizer or spy as a warning to their American agents that an attack was imminent. The prominently displayed numbers 12 and 7 was considered a coded reference to the date of the attacks — December 7 — and that the other numbers and the Roman numeral XX (or perhaps the symbol of the double-cross) were part of the coded message that identified the person who placed the ad.
The bigger ad on page 86 was even more telling, as it contained a drawing of what could have been the front parts of three bomber planes heading toward a target. The picture included what looked like search lights and an explosion. The words “The Deadly Double” seemed to represent Nazi Germany and Japan and the eagle looked similar to Hitler’s Third Reich symbol (Unfortunately I can not find an image of this ad).
The FBI’s investigation led to the Monarch Trading Company of Chicago, who were apparently behind the advertisement. The company itself only existed for a few weeks, leading some to suggest it was a dummy corporation.
The lone man who had placed the ads was tracked down by an LA Times reporter in May, 1942. His name was Roger P. Craig, and he was reportedly stunned by the revelation he apparently sent a coded message to Japanese in the U.S. warning of an impending attack. “I promise you,” Craig told the reporter while denying any connection to the Pearl Harbor attack and not directly addressing the question, “nothing travels as far and as fast as a grossly inaccurate and malicious rumor.”
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