The world has its fair share of serial killers, with some who have not been caught and are probably running in the wild freely with their real identities still unknown--such as the case of the Zodiac Killer, the pseudonym of an American criminal that was active in the 1960s to 1970s in Northern California who has left several ciphers that have been puzzling the law enforcement for decades.
Zodiac Cipher 340 Decoded
Among the ciphers left behind by the infamous serial killer--who is still unidentified to this day--is the Cipher 340, which is aptly named because it contains 340 characters, a coded message sent to the San Francisco Chronicle in 1969.
According to Gizmodo, the cipher is one of the unsolved coded messages of the Zodiac, which has left experts stumped for five decades.
Nevertheless, a three-person group of amateur decoders claims they have finally deciphered the code.
David Oranchak, one of the coders, shared part of the decoded text, which reads: "I hope you are having lots of fun in trying to catch me. That wasn't 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 [sic] all the sooner because I now have enough slaves to work for me."
The Journey to Deciphering the Message
The amateur decoders hail from different parts of the world, and they have captured their journey of breaking Zodiac's Cipher 340 on video and uploaded it on Youtube to one of the coder's channels.
Oranchak broke the code with fellow amateur codebreakers Jarl Van Eycke, a warehouse operator from Belgium, and Sam Blake, a mathematician from Australia, with Oranchak saying he wouldn't have cracked the code without them.
In their video "Let's Crack Zodiac," the team showed how they broke the infamous cipher: by running around 65,000 simulations to get the right reading direction of the characters in the code.
"This is exciting," the amateur decoder said in an interview with the San Francisco Chronicle, the same newspaper the codes were initially sent to when the Zodiac was still active.
"We've been sitting on the solution since last Saturday. When I first started looking at the Zodiac ciphers all those years ago, I thought, 'Oh, I can just write a computer program and solve it,' but it's been kicking my a** all this time. Until now."
FBI Confirms the Deciphered Message
Oranchak, a 46-year-old web designer who resides in Virginia, USA, has been working to solve Cipher 340 since 2006.
After cracking the coded message, the team sent their solution to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), which sent an email to the Chronicle, confirming Oranchak's claim.
Nevertheless, the FBI did not add any further comment out of respect to the loved ones left behind by the victims of the Zodiac Killer decades ago, especially as the cases are still ongoing and the law enforcement is still working to unmask the Zodiac and take him in for his crimes.
The first Zodiac Cipher that was decoded was known as the 408 Cipher, which has been solved by a Salinas school teacher and his wife.
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Written by: Nhx Tingson