The solution to what is known as 340 Cipher, one of the most baffling mysteries in the deadly Zodiac Killer saga, was found by a code-breaking team from the United States, Australia and Belgium.
The cipher, sent in a letter to The Chronicle in November 1969, has been baffling authorities and amateur investigators since it arrived 51 years ago. The investigators are hoping Zodiac who killed five people In the Bay Area in 1968 and 1969, his name would be revealed in one of his many codes, but no such name exists in the 340.
According to code-breaking expert David Oranchak, the code text includes: “I hope you have a lot of fun trying to catch me. … I’m not afraid of the gas chamber because it will send me to Heaven (sic) sooner because I now have enough slaves to work for me.” .
Oranchak, a 46-year-old web designer living in Virginia, has been working on zodiac codes since 2006.
“This is exciting,” Oranchak said in an interview on Friday. We have been sitting on the solution since last Saturday. When I started looking at zodiac zeros all those years ago, I thought, “Oh, I can just write a computer program and solve it,” but he’s been kicking me – all this time. So far.”
Cameron Pollan, a spokeswoman for the San Francisco FBI, confirmed Uranchak’s claim on Friday. In a statement emailed to The Chronicle, she said:
“The FBI understands that cryptography attributed to the Zodiac Killer has recently been resolved by private citizens. The Zodiac Killer case is still under investigation by the FBI San Francisco department and our local law enforcement partners.
“The Zodiac Killer has terrorized multiple communities across Northern California, and although decades have passed, we continue to seek justice for the victims of these brutal crimes,” she said. “Due to the ongoing nature of the investigation, and out of respect for the victims and their families, we will not provide further comments at this time.”
This is the second time the zodiac code has been broken. The first long cipher sent to the papers The Chronicle, the San Francisco Examiner and the Vallejo Times-Herald in 1969, was resolved by a Salinas teacher and his wife.
Known as Blade 408, he said a little further: “I love killing because it’s so much fun.”
To crack code 340 – so named because it contains 340 characters – Oranchak teamed up with two fellow code-cracking enthusiasts and ran a bewildering set of codes through special software programs. His colleagues were Sam Blake, a mathematician in Australia, and Jarl Van Eyck, a warehouse operator in Belgium.
“I wouldn’t have done this without them,” said Uranchak. “We all discovered in the crypto community on the Zodiac that cryptography has taken a step further than just figuring out which letters the symbols belong to, and that’s exactly what we found here.”
Oranchak’s findings are starting to leak into some of the many zodiac amateur investigation forums, such as zodiackillersite.comOver the past two days, causing a lot of excitement in this vast world of true crime hobbyists.
In most zeros, like 408, the solution basically consists of knowing which characters are represented by specific symbols. In Code 340, it turns out that the alignment of words goes diagonally down the page, sometimes even being offset over a column.
It is a complicated part of creating the code, Oranchak said, but a basic blueprint for it can be found in at least one code guide for the US Army from the 1950s.
As the team began to decipher the methods in encryption, they unpacked a few phrases that let them know they were on the right track. There were references to “The Gas Room” and “The TV Show,” which appear to refer to Jim Dunbar’s “AM San Francisco” show on KGO TV that was broadcast in October 1969. On this show, Dunbar and attorney Melvin Bailey received a call from someone claiming It’s the zodiac sign, and he said, “I don’t want to go to the gas chamber.”
In the resolved code, Zodiac wrote: “I wasn’t (sic) on the TV show.”
Kevin Fagan talks about the Zodiac on the radio
Fact reporter Kevin Fagan will speak on Zodiac at 1:06 PM with Pat Thurston on KGO Radio (810 AM) and at 2:20 PM with Jeff Bell and Patty Rising on KCBS Radio (740 AM).
Cipher decoder 340, according to the Uranchak team:
I hope you have a lot of fun trying to catch me which was not mine on the TV show that brings a point about me, I am not afraid of the gas chamber because it will send me to Heaven soon because I have now done slaves to work for me where everyone else has nothing When they reach Heaven so they are afraid of death, I am not afraid because I know that my new life is life it will be easy in the death of the individual
To watch a video about decoding, go to: //bit.ly/2W8muCC
“We knew we got something because of the Dunbar Show,” said Uranchak. “One of the interesting things about this is that it enforces a minimum cipher creation date – he might have had one and he modified it, but it couldn’t be that way before October 22nd, when the Dunbar Show was broadcast … when The Chronicle got message 340.” . The Chronicle published a story about the letter and the cipher on November 12th.