The Zodiac Killer murdered five or more people and sent four encrypted messages to newspapers. The case and three of the cryptograms have never been solved.

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The Zodiac Killer was a serial killer who operated in the San Francisco area in the late sixties. He was never caught. He killed at least five people and seriously injured two.

Source: Wikimedia


The Zodiac Killer

There are four confirmed crimes the Zodiac Killer committed:

  • Dezember 20, 1968: The Zodiac Killer murders 16-year-old Betty Lou Jensen and her 17-year-old boyfriend David Faraday in Vallejo, north of San Francisco.
  • July 4, 1969: The Zodiac Killer kills 22-year-old waitress Darlene Ferrin in a parking lot in Benicia. Her 19-year-old companion Michael Mageau survives badly injured.
  • September 27, 1969: In a park near Lake Berryessa, a man dressed in black kills 22-year-old Cecelia Shepard and seriously injures her 20-year-old boyfriend Bryan Hartnell (see picture below).
  • October 11, 1969: The Zodiac Killer shoots Taxi driver Paul Stine in his taxi.

It is well possible that the Zodiac Killer committed even more crimes. There are several unsolved murders and murder attempts where at least it is not excluded that the Zodiac Killer had something to do with it.


Source: Schmeh

The Zodiac Killer wrote dozens of letters to regional newspapers and other recipients. In these notes he repeatedly made fun of the police and boasted of his deeds. Four of his letters contained encrypted messages. Three of them are unsolved to date.


Message #1 (Z408)

The first Zodiac cryptogram was received in three parts by three different regional newspapers in San Francisco on August 1, 1969. It is referred to as Z408 because it contains 408 letters.


Source: Wikimedia

Z408 is the only Zodiac cryptogram that was solved (in the picture above the plaintext is written above the ciphertext). The solution was found by a teacher couple who had learned about the encrypted message in the newspaper. Unfortunately this deciphering success did not help the police. The plaintext is reproduced in the following.


In the following video made by blog reader Nils Kopal the solution of Z408 is explained in detail:


Message #2 (Z340)

The second Zodiac cryptogram (Z340) was received on November 8, 1969.


Source: Wikimedia

This cryptogram comprises 340 characters and thus offers a relatively large amount of analysis material. Anyway, it is unsolved to date.

Considering that the first Zodiac message (Z408) proved to be encrypted in a homophonic cipher (i.e., a plaintext letter may have several ciphertext counterparts), it seems reasonable to assume that Z340, which looks similar, was created with the same kind of encryption. However, all attempts to find a homophonic substitution table that decrypts Z340 have failed so far. Apparently, the Zodiac Killer, after his first cryptogram had been broken within a short time, tried to make his second try more difficult. It is, of course, also possible that Z340 is a hoax.


Message #3 (Z13)

The third encrypted message (Z13, dated 20 April 1970) is as follows:


Source: Wikimedia

The encrypted part contains only 13 characters. It begins with “My name is”. Whether the Zodiac Killer really put his name on this, we don’t know.


Message 4 (Z33)

The fourth Zodiac cryptogram (Z33) is also quite short.


The encrypted part only contains two lines. Their meaning is unknown.


An unsolved mystery

Much has been published about the Zodiac Killer. In my books Nicht zu knacken and Codeknacker gegen Codemacher the topic is covered in detail. Craig Bauer’s book Unsolved! contains a chapter about the Zodiac Killer as well. Zodiac Killer expert Dave Oranchak once gave me an interview (only available in German).

The Zodiac Killer’s encrypted messages represent one of the world’s most spectacular and most popular crypto mysteries. For over 50 years experts and hobby codebreakers have tried to solve Z340, Z13, and Z33, but to no avail. The murderer has never been caught.

Further reading: Craig Bauer defends his solution of the second Zodiac Killer cryptogram


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Kommentare (20)

  1. #1 BREAKER
    11. Januar 2020

    The ciphers of the Zode were commemorated in the CIAs Art Installation piece at their new headquarters at Langley.

    They were originally involved in the affair, and somehow made the piece copying many of the traits of the ciphers, considering themselves to be the keepers of the secret, offering the person that cracks them a chance to “Bust The Zodiac”…..a strange recruitment test IMO.

    Anyways, I cracked the Z340, the Z13’s, and the other random cards that had not been solved, along with finding out how to plot their East Coast Operations on the map….laying the templates for their further Scorpion Ciphers as well.

    These Scorpion ciphers are considerably more difficult to crack but utilize the same templates as the older ones, being based on the same techniques.

    The other main ciphers of Layer Two were broken using the same template composition as the Z340 but had a twist that JS threw in as a mind fuck that required you to build the cipher step by step….Masonic-themed from an Architect’s desk.

    Enjoy the breaks, still looking for someone skilled in animated graphics to help with the documentaries.


  2. #2 BREAKER
    11. Januar 2020
    The codes were broken and the symposiums and the publications that cast the spell of confusion continued.

    These ciphers are clearly complex but the confirmation of them being tied to a covert operation is then showed when the second layer of the ciphers of Kryptos is broken.

    If this double posts please forgive me the last one didn’t register so I am moving to try to rewrite the post again.

    Hoping that someone here will want to work on a quality documentary with me at some point.

    Anyone interested?

  3. #3 Bill Briere
    Wyoming, USA
    12. Januar 2020

    @BREAKER Some have made successful pitches to the History channel for stories like this. The channel’s fans routinely and shamelessly eat this stuff up.

  4. #4 BREAKER
    13. Januar 2020

    The continued Hoax from their Hunting the Zodiac and the Curse of Oak Island ahows are some of the worst representations of the facts to date. For instance a man brought them the key to understanding one of the ciphers that Bacon wrote leading from the European continent to Oak Island, a part of a Biblical Mystery and from the writings in Shakespeare. This man Petter Amundsen was able to predict the location of a buried stone with markings based on his interpretations of ciphers and steganographic maps in the works of the Folios and other books related such as the Advancement of Learning.

    These are the facts behind these mockumentaries and the efforts to crack the Z340 are so weak that they even tried to program the supercomputer Carmel to recognize patterns that they had found years in the past from merely observing them by eye, just to create filler for their show. The evidence that I have found and deciphered would last a good two seasons, or at least 20 shows worth to cover all the bases in the letters, and that would not include any cameos from victims or the officers in the case. That would be only the work on the ciphers and to show the methods to break them one by one, in a staged and animated setting with a scientist that would be willing to narrate through them.

    This History Channel is another stall tactic, and Kevin Burns even produced some codebreaks for each show that included the fabled Le Formule cipher, which when translated into English, sent the messages “HARRAR JEW LIKED OVEN” and “TAKING NINE ENEMA”. You ever seen this cipher that they laid on the table at the War Room ib the show?

    Kevin’s intern was a female in a Hijab and was looking like she couldn’t keep the lie up long enough to fill the segment with her own “appearance” even though she was not really saying anything as Knight carried on the whole time.

    To be honest I reported them to the ADL for broadcasting their own slurs, as if they would do something about their own lie, but it seemed that it was merely meant to be a good laugh for their crew behind the scenes, who happen to be all of one ethnicity.

    The case of the exposure of the Z340 has caused problems for more than just the CIA and the Sanders/Aquino pair from the 4Pi Cult, as they were clearly navigating strategically in the old days of their first operations to take over the US in a “Business Plot” carrying on their objectives with Sidney Gottlieb, and the rest of these operatives post Kennedy. The Church Hearings were used to be a sort of redacted cover up as Aquino moved into Santa Fe, to take on the identity of a man called Forrest Fenn (from NBCs Thrill of the Chase), who was deceased at the time in ’72, and hid behind the front that Goldwater played in the act of the Hearing, with Leahy also portraying the role of a controller/handler when Sanders fled to Vermont.

    The Fairfield Letter coined the “This State Is In Trouble Letter” says clearly in plaintext that “I will go for the GoVerment life” and was made to create a threat and a warning that they were moving their own cult into VT, as they spread the 4Pi into the 4 corners of the US, with the Quarry known as the Rock of Ages being used to map out a series of killings of children that were abducted from Rock Point School in Burlington, which Sander’s wife Jane, conveniently took over and bankrupted as they sold it to a Beer Distribution Company to create condos overlooking the waterfront.

    The operations were an umbrella project and were made to continue afterwards into the Scorpion Ciphers where these killings were used to distract the authorities to continue to move drugs into their media monopoly-fed cabal, as well as to target and eliminate the AIDS researchers, that were gaining ground on tracking the newer investigations that were being published throughout media channels.

    The Z340 breaks down to recognize the first line is HER CLUE WRATH OF GOD and the clue is used to create a homophonic cipher by adding the key phrase to this operation in the first line of a Vigenere Tableau, shifting the tableau according to the phrase taken from the Israeli Operation Wrath of God, carrying through these affairs by using letters that were mailed to the victim’s families one by one, as they were assassinated. The phrase is WE DONT FORGIVE WE DONT FORGET Z. This is also the phrase that the “Hactivist Group” ANONYMOUS was using until their leader Julian “Assange” Hawkins was found to be using the same motto in his staging of the revival of this op and the operation Spring of Youth, with the “Springs” being navigated by ISIS and their affairs in the past going round and round using the same mottos like fools on a stage.

    They were called out recently and that is why Assange (which means Ass Angel) is being tried for more than merely breaking into computers for Manning.

    We are still seeing that same Mr. Z and the same mottos in the Amerithrax Letters as well with their admission of the creation of ISIS, their bioweapon AIDS and their threats to Africans across the globe. The Ciphers here show a strong mark of the man called Mr.Z….as in the continuance of these ciphers through the current eras, as well as the creation of these ciphers of the 5 Israelis from Urban Moving Systems, that were used to set up a series of targets, one of which was the computer programmer from Tigurd, OR at Swan Labs named Jared Townsley, and the other a famous award-winning cryptographer named Gareth Williams from the UK’s GCHQ….

    This is something that continually is growing through the use of an escalating series of ciphers as well into the 2014 date and onward phase of their operations called Project Architeuthis. This was a US Navy game that was spawned to originally corral cryptographers into a formal online challenge, that saw the templates for a Global War Game produced as they were plotting to bring down planes, subs, and ships.
    These operatives are being investigated as Klaus has also mentioned the discovery of their operational go codes and ciphers that were found in Alster in the Hamburg area, their “Messages in Bottles” and were examined by numerous people here locating info that showed that they were working on covert operations, again using the moniker Mr. Z and others in his crew, tying once again to these operations.

    These men should be exposed but the media refuses to accept there is something to speak about worth the people’s time so they plot their agendas out through the media to warp the public into a narrative that they claim to be presenting as “History”, with the interests of closing cases like they tried with the DB Cooper Case, after the suspect, Rafael Bienvenidos Cruz y Dias was railroaded into the public eye when Trump tried to bring about these facts to the public, in his speeches, but Trump merely was taking over their own trade in drugs and blackmailing them into silence.

    Also you should know that the way that History Channel works is that the show is not “pitched” to them, it has to be filmed by a production company, and then sold to them, so people with an idea are often not given the chance to create the program or help with any creative direction, as in the case of the Zodiac productions, which were merely another stall tactic put up by these NSA agents and their film crews that played along.

    There are a few main games that are being played in the media with people’s recollections of facts, and their attempts are merely to sway a mass of viewers through their monopoly and their side affairs at Netflix, being that in the Making a Murderer show and the SIKIKEY Letter and GIDGET Letters that were omitted as they are encoded with the same mottos and the same use of the Arcturus Constellations.

    I am currently engaged with the FBI and US Marshals office in the US about all of these affairs and they have a significant record of them on their files, so there should be some very interesting documentaries out sometime, as I was also given the Last Jedi cameo part as the Master Codebreaker……..the man to see at the Casino.

    James Simpson
    Eldorado Enterprises Inc.

  5. #5 QT
    18. Januar 2020

    @QT – whatever people think (‘Breaker’)…

    The 408 is broken and can be broken repeatedly with ZDK, the newer version.

    Z340 is super crackproof, so far, going for it since 6 years…maybe this year but this shall not be a promise.


  6. #6 Juha
    7. März 2020

    I have tried to solve (Z340) this way…probably wrongly

    H=T, E=H, R=I/R, q=I/N, V=O, P=D/E, I=A/E, T=P/I, G=E, N=I, u=T, B=E/S, O=A,U, D=I, W=A, Y=S/R, K=O/P,
    M=S/I, Z=E, S= P/N, R=R/I, C=A, F=W/V/C/I, Q=R, A=R, X=R

    marks +=G …

    I have tried to solve this (Z13) with same letters / marks

  7. #7 Marthy
    Maybe some clue
    20. Mai 2020

    Look at Zodiac english language, mistakes, how he wrote his messages. English was not his native language. Study how is cipher written. Rotated letters, astrological symbols, mirrored letters, letters written together. At envelole in left upper corner. There are dots and letters (L, F, Z).So you can read cipher from left to right or from right to left. From upper to down.

  8. #8 Juha
    26. Mai 2020

    I think that z340 is like a puzzle.
    Here is a start and end… propably wrong solved.
    Hard to find right letters (words and sentences)
    1. ThisisZodiacspeak
    2. ingegoaliasIdone
    3. eightsgteeagesocto (gh in same place)
    4. piieiht….

    18. ggeaasateuntilton
    19. avigateabosapsrat
    20. ssitininseatraying (i and n in same place)

  9. #9 Marthy
    To Juha
    28. Mai 2020

    I think the same as you. I am interested in symbols and their meanings. The cipher looks like a puzzle or scrabble. Work with letters an words. For example:winter testing (interesting or rest in). I think Zodiac never write I am… I live in… I kill because… Look at cipher. Rotated letters(read in both dirrctions), astrological, mathematical symbols. We must find key how to read and find in cipher. I think he was not english native speaker. A lot of mistakes how he wrote. Maybe combined english an his native language.

  10. #10 Juha
    31. Mai 2020

    Hey Marthy,
    The Z340 would be easier to solve if it had no errors.
    If 340 will resolved, can we rely on information?

  11. #11 Juha
    3. Juni 2020

    Does anyone investigate officially this Zodiac case anymore?

  12. #12 Marthy
    To Juha
    4. Juni 2020

    Hello Juha, i think, we can rely on informations after solving ciphers z408 and z340. We can find out much more about the killer. His thinking, psychology profile, his job and compare with letters he wrote to police. And my opinion is that for example letter A can be represented by more different letters than just only 1 letter. It depends on concept of meaning.

  13. #14 Marthy
    12. Dezember 2020

    Solution without some informations about killer or clues how to catch him, do not be blind. This new solution logically is not need to hide in cipher. Do you really think, that Zodiac make so hardcracking cipher to tell us just nothing?? Much more he told in the normal letters.

  14. #15 Gerd
    12. Dezember 2020

    Link to David’s explanation of the solution to the 340 message:

  15. #16 Anna
    1. Mai 2021

    Ich habe versucht den Z13 zu lösen:
    Mit dem Code von z340 kam nicht viel sinnvolles raus. Aber als ich die Buchstaben nochmal entschlüsselt habe stand dort :
    Ordnet man die Buchstaben erhält man:

  16. #17 Klaus Schmeh
    1. Mai 2021

    Interessant. Jetzt müsste man wissen, ob es einen Dr. Ronald Allen gab, der etwas mit dem Fall zu tun haben könnte.

  17. #18 Anna
    1. Mai 2021

    Der Bruder des hauptverdächtigen heisst ronald allen. Ich weiß nur noch nicht ganz so viel mit dem Dr anzufangen

  18. #19 Klaus Schmeh
    1. Mai 2021

    Ich frage mal Dave Oranchak.

  19. #20 Anna
    1. Mai 2021