The Zodiac Killer has hit the cinemas again. In a new film titled “Awakening the Zodiac” the code of the killer is broken.

Most readers of this blog are certainly familiar with the Zodiac Killer case. The Zodiac Killer was a serial killer who operated in Northern California in the late 1960s and early 1970s. He sent four encrypted messages to local newspapers, three of which have never been deciphered. His identity remains unknown.



Zodiac movies

The Zodiac Killer has inspired dozens of film makers, musicians, and game developers (see Wikipedia entry Zodiac Killer in popular culture). There are two movies that tell the story of this case:

  • Zodiac (2007), directed by David Fincher, is the more popular screen adaption of the Zodiac Killer case. This 158 minutes movie covers virtually every detail of the case. In my view, Zodiac is especially worth seeing if one already knows the case. Otherwise one gets easily overwhelmed by the long, fast and detailed plot.
  • The Zodiac (2005) is generally considered the less successful of the two Zodiac movies. The plot covers only a part of the original case, which makes this motion picture easier to follow than the Fincher production. In my view, this film is better than its reputation.

In both films the Zodiac cryptograms are mentioned, but they play only a minor role.


A third Zodiac film

Now a third Zodiac movie has hit the cinemas (for US readers this might be old hat, but here in Germany the premiere was only on August 3). It’s titled Awakening the Zodiac (check here for the film website). Here’s the official trailer:

To be honest, I didn’t know about this film until reader Eric Danielski told me about it yesterday. As it seems, Awakening the Zodiac did not receive much attention in the German media. Too bad, I always appreciate it when crypto history topics get publicity.

To be precise, Awakening the Zodiac is not a screen adaption of the Zodiac case. In fact, it tells a story that is set in the present time, i.e., almost five decades after the murders took place.

The plot is about a young couple, Mick (Shane West) und Zoe Branson (Leslie Bibb), that uncovers an old film reel depicting two gruesome murders taken by the Zodiac killer himself. Assisted by their friend Harvey (Matt Craven) the two set out to solve the mystery and claim the $100,000 reward. But the situation quickly changes, as the hunters become the hunted.

In my view, Awakening the Zodiac is a conventional thriller. If you like films of this genre, you will probably like this one, too. However, the critiques it has received are mostly negative.


The crypto part

Compared to the other two Zodiac films, Awakening the Zodiac cares a lot more about the encrypted messages. One of the protagonists even manages to break one of the hitherto unsolved cryptograms. The encryption method used turns out to be a combination of a Caesar, a Vigenère and a Pigpen cipher. Readers of this blog should know these methods quite well. Unfortunately, no details about the deciphering are given.

The movie even introduces a new Zodiac cryptogram. It can be seen on the following screenshot:


Can a reader break this encryption?

Further reading: The Fair Game code: Here are the complete screenshots


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Kommentare (3)

  1. #1 BREAKER
    12. August 2017

    The Zodiac Ciphers have been cracked to a degree that the identity of the subjects in question can be identified.

    The original teams were operatives post Kennedy, and that the assassination teams that were used there in Dallas carried over to operations in LA, where they began to craft a psychological warfare project in their trails leading to San Francisco.

    There the Church of Satan Founder, Lt. Col. Michael Aquino, and Temple of Set Founder Anton La Vey conspired to create killings, abductions, and cult practices on their victims as young as 2 or 3 years old through their military base connections at the Presidio, and other bases like Offat in Nebraska.

    In the beginning days of their plans they wanted to create a sick fantasy that would creep into the minds of the copycats that were being continually experimented on at psychological hospitals and other locations in prisons. These experiments were conducted with LSD, and numerous other psychoactive agents and other hypnotic and electronic devices used to induce states of mind that were literally ‘programmed’ into their minds.

    Their objectives were part of an umbrella project. Anton La Vey was an Informant for Interpol and had a job at the San Francisco Police Department in the Forensics Office, giving him access to key evidence to plant and also to secure to convince the police there was a serial killer on the loose.

    They conducted the first killings themselves in hopes that it would spawn a continual repetition of them, and catered their first letters to carry similar themes and names shown in “Obvious” manners that they wanted to implicate in their affairs, following them and using their whereabouts for a cover, and masking their cards and letters in similar writing styles and themes from other people’s lives, as if to be setting it all up for someone to take the bait.

    They wanted Arthur Leigh Allen to accept the role and he wasn’t able to imitate it very well, finding out that he was watched they ended his attempts. The other figure they used to lure LE away was the theme derived from using Richard Gaikowski as the main interest to mold into a suspect. Using his Cuban and Socialist Theater productions to call in bomb threats and piecing their second letter together with short bits of his name, they tried to have a figure come forward to implicate him as the Zodiac AFTER he died, a figure called GOLDCATCHER”.

    There have been many media dress up games. This whole thing was done through the subversive acts of a few agents acting as a splinter group, that spread the agendas and the blackmail through their tell all letters.

    The coded letters were all hinted at holding a Military Intelligence influence in their composition, as well as being the formal styling of classical ciphers that held “Treasure Map Themes” as their keys and guides, taken from Classical Ciphers.

    On one face the letter was a murder tale, while in the plaintexts of the ciphers themselves and the steganography of the cards acting as maps they passed along their messages between two teams of agents.

    The two began the Cult to mask their drug running and abductions for their practices…..human trafficking and sex slaves used for torture and satanic practices.

    They made sure to mask their tales with a few reminders. One letter was not released until 2013, the one called the This State Is In Trouble Letter, hinting at another agent that was a part of a second facet of the operation in an East Coast Team. This man IN THE HOOD and ON THE BUS was responsible for the killings of Percy’s Daughter with a bayonette, and Martin Luther King, finding his way afterwards to become a Politician in Vermont, conducting more killings in that state as he was trying to create murders like Dhamer and others.

    These Hints and Clues were woven into the many letters showing both the Blueprint to their Killings, their directions, and location, and the Operations that they conducted……

    Get ready for a mindbender…..its real though they plotted the whole thing out before using the media to broadcast their plans in the event that there might be a leak, and now there are major players all carrying the “Z” themes like a scare tactic from their Cabal in secret.

    Watch as not only the two teams play us all, and are fighting eachother at the same time, throwing coded insults around in the Amerithrax Letters, shortly after they brought down the WTC complex and destroyed the evidence that was being gathered by:

    The Eldorado Task Force.

  2. #2 BREAKER
    12. August 2017

    Also to be noted is the likeness to other character portrayed as the people involved.

    The Michael Aquino/Forrest Fenn character acts the role of the Press and Media affiliate……and the person involved in the decoding of the ciphers is a Bernie Sanders like character.

    To note that they are both killed off early in the movie, and a code is written that is on the outside of the door.

    YOU O ME ? are the last parts of the phrase.

    The system is a similar one but offers little hope for a clear message, more geared to pass to insiders.

    Also noted is this abscissa looking arrangement in the movie where the ciphers are hung on the wall.

    This seems to be a farfetched and invented version of a path cipher……

    The likeness of them being “REAL CIPHERS” is slim but the chance they mean something else is much greater and related to the themes in the movie.

    He started killing in the San Fran area….then it said that he moved his killings all the way across the country…..and the main character was featured in rural area similar to vermont, where the Fleur d’ Lis could be seen tattooed on his arm, so the images are all pointing to this fact, BUT this is a Canadian Film and they use that as a symbol that there is a growing awakening of these ciphers as they relate to another objective politically, and this is a good thing, as opposed to the fact that they refuse to address a series of ciphers that were involved nor did they approach a leading crypto guy or gal to solve some of them, nor even MENTION Gene and Betty Harden’s solves, basically imitating them later on to derive a Homophonic Key.

    He later translates this onto a place on his cell phone and goes to find his missing girlfriend…..

    Really shotty entertainment using a massive case that can be really put into context if they would stop playing fronts for media allures.

    Kinda discouraging that they will even make something professional when the ciphers are revealed to be cracked as I have shown in the ORANGE THEORY.

  3. #3 Alexander Uliyanenkov
    20. Januar 2018

    Here’s a possible solution:

    string #1 – sign on the top is a Zodiac signature.

    string #2 (1st part) – may be “ZOO”

    string #3 – probably abbreviation of “NYPD” – New York Police Department

    string #4 – you = 0

    string #5 – me = 2 or 7 (probably killed and hidden ?)

    String #2 (2nd part).

    – we see mirrored “F” – that may be means that we should read the word from right to the left.

    – “F” looking to the left – may be that tells us to replace “F” by previous letter “E”

    – next is mirrored “B” which looking to previous letter “A” – may be we should use “A”

    – next is black square – my assumption was that there is a combination of 2 letters “S” and “T” (same like in my solution for Zodiac Postcard of 25th of September 1990 (celebrity cipher) –

    – next one is identified “O” (from ZOO)

    – next one is identified “N” (from NYPD)

    – next one is not identified by me, but may be “S”,,,

    So, from the right to the left we have “EASTON…” or “EASTONS” “ZOO”