Zodiac Killer’s Infamous Cypher Decoded More Than 50 Years After It Was Sent to Journalists
Australian mathematician, Samuel Blake was one of the people who helped decrypt what's known as the “340 cipher.”
A 50-year-old mystery was recently solved when a group of intellectuals decoded a message allegedly sent by the infamous Zodiac killer.
The message was sent to the San Francisco Chronicle in November 1968 from someone calling himself Zodiac. Zodiac claimed to have killed at least 37 people in the Bay Area in cryptic messages that were sent up until 1974. However, law enforcement officials connected Zodiac to five killings.
Australian mathematician Samuel Blake was one of the people who helped decrypt what's known as the “340 cipher.”
“The chances of solving this after 50 years was next to zero and so being able to play a role in this is fantastic,” Blake told CBS News.
Blake says earlier this year he joined a group of scientists already working to decode the message and he was able to enlist the help of a supercomputer at the University of Melbourne.
"It was such a long shot. We tried several hundred thousand incorrect ways of solving the cipher and just by chance we happened to sort of stumble upon a fragment of how it could be solved and using that fragment we reverse engineered the entire solution and got the entire message out from the Zodiac,” he said.
The achievement of decoding the message was more exciting than the message itself.
It reads in part: "I hope you are having lots of fun in trying to catch me... I am not afraid of the gas chamber because it will send me to paradise all the sooner, because I now have enough slaves to work for me."
It did not identify Zodiac, as other messages had promised, and the case remains unsolved.
The FBI released a statement saying, “The Zodiac Killer case remains an ongoing investigation for the FBI San Francisco division and our local law enforcement partners.”
While it wasn’t the outcome many were hoping for, Blake says he does hope it can be of some help to investigators.
“I hope this decryption may lead to better narrowing down who this person is but I guess we'll have to wait and see. In regards to the other two ciphers that he sent, we're looking at those to see if there's ways in which we can use the work that we've done on the '340' cipher to solve those but none of that is clear at this stage,” Blake said.
There are still two remaining ciphers from Zodiac that have yet to be decoded and Blake says he and his team will now work in the hopes of finally putting this case to rest.
The story of the Zodiac killer was brought to the silver screen in 2007 by director David Fincher in his film "Zodiac" where he explored how the serial killer brought havoc to Northern California.
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