FBI Confirms Zodiac Killer’s Infamous 340 Cipher Has Been Decoded, And His Message Finally Revealed

A team of codebreakers decided to try and crack the code specifically because they knew it would be a challenge

David Oranchak, Sam Blake, and Jarl Van Eycke used software to help them break the cipher, first by finding the many possible reading directions that could be used if the cipher was transpositional. By sheer luck, Oranchak found that one solution for how the cipher could be transposed revealed fragments of messages, including “hope you are,” “trying to catch me” and “or the gas chamber”.

This gave them clues that the message wasn’t transcribed in one big block as it was presented, but instead was broken into three smaller blocks of text made up of nine lines, followed by nine lines, followed by a final two.

By starting in the top left hand corner, then moving down one line and across two spaces to get the next letter, a key which could be translated into letters and then words emerged. The letter “B” for instance, was represented by “□7”, “c” by a simple “9” and “A” by a whole load of symbols unavailable on a keyboard. You can see these neatly shown in the video released by the team below. 

Through use of this method, and some slight adjustments by ignoring a few words that stood out before transposing the text, a message was revealed:

I HOPE YOU ARE HAVING LOTS OF FUN IN TRYING TO CATCH ME
THAT WASNT ME ON THE TV SHOW
WHICH BRINGS UP A POINT ABOUT ME
I AM NOT AFRAID OF THE GAS CHAMBER
BECAUSE IT WILL SEND ME TO PARADICE ALL THE SOONER
BECAUSE I NOW HAVE ENOUGH SLAVES TO WORK FOR ME
WHERE EVERYONE ELSE HAS NOTHING WHEN THEY REACH PARADICE
SO THEY ARE AFRAID OF DEATH
I AM NOT AFRAID BECAUSE I KNOW THAT MY NEW LIFE IS
LIFE WILL BE AN EASY ONE IN PARADICE DEATH 

“Of all the things that stood out was the line ‘that wasn’t me on the TV show’,” Oranchak explained in the video. “At this point I jumped out of my chair because I knew the cipher was received on November 8, 1969, which is about two weeks after someone calling themselves Zodiac called into a TV talk show hosted by Jim Dunbar. While the caller was on the air, he said ‘I need help, I’m sick, I don’t want to go to the gas chamber.'”

This for Oranchak made the solution seem real, as it fit with the events around the time it was received. The rest of the message also seemed quite in character for the Zodiac Killer. 

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Author: HP McLovincraft

Seeker of rabbit holes. Pessimist. Libertine. Contrarian. Your huckleberry. Possibly true tales of sanity-blasting horror also known as abject reality. Prepare yourself. Veteran of a thousand psychic wars. I have seen the fnords. Deplatformed on Tumblr and Twitter.

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