On the 11 June, 1994, someone using the pseudonym Publius cryptically posted to the usenet group alt.music.pink-floyd through an anonymous mailer service, inviting the newsgroup-reading public to look at Pink Floyd's new album - The Division Bell - with open minds. Publius promised a tangible prize to the one who could solve a riddle, the enigma, in the album:
You have heard the message Pink Floyd has delivered,
but have you listened?
Perhaps I can be your guide, but I will not solve the enigma for you.
All of you must open your minds and communicate with each other, as this is the only way the answers can be revealed.
I may help you, but only if obstacles arise.
If I don't promise you the answers would you go.
After much scepticism throughout the newsgroup, Publius posted again:
While I am encouraged by the positive response to my last post, I understand that many of you still doubt my authenticity. It is for those of you who now believe, as well as for those of you who still may doubt, that I have arranged for an extremely visible and conclusive demonstration of my truthfulness.
To validate the trust of those who believe, as well as to reconcile the doubt of others, I have gone to great lengths to plan the following display of communication:
Monday, July 18
East Rutherford, New Jersey
Flashing white lights.
There is an enigma.
P.S. I am not the Publius of any other newsgroup. Any similarity in signature is purely coincidental. I have never posted anywhere other that here.
At the Pink Floyd show in East Rutherford that evening, the lights at the foot of the stage spelled out "ENIGMA PUBLIUS".
On 20 October 1994, Pink Floyd played at Earls Court in London. During the transition between two parts of Another Brick in the Wall, the word "Enigma" was projected on the screen above the stage, surrounded by mathematical equations, before being hastily scribbled out by the phantom sillhouette of a hand. Eight days later, Publius posted again:
The signal has been delivered.
Over the past few days, many of you have
already observed it. A great many more
will see it on November 1st.
You need only look at the Circle in The Wall-
the Enigma has been announced worldwide.
It's my understanding that there may even be more clues to find...
On the first of November 1994, the show was pay-per-view televised in the US. In June 1995 the concert was released in video form, but the word "enigma" was, although still visible, mysteriously concealed with extra strokes.
Towards the end of 1994, A Momentary Lapse of Reason was released on MiniDisc format. Inside the accompanying booklet, the words "PUBLIUS" and "ENIGMA" were clearly visible in white type on seperate pages.
The late Douglas Adams, a close friend of Pink Floyd, and the person who suggested the name of their album The Division Bell, denied any involvement. In May 1995, it was reported that neither Durga McBroom nor Jon Carin, two supporting performers on the 1994 tour, were aware of the enigma. When questioned in an interview, David Gilmour denied all knowledge of the enigma.
The Publius Enigma has since been featured in articles in the New York Times and the Toronto Star, but today the enigma is still no closer to being solved.