A bizarre puzzle thought to have been sent 51 years ago by the infamous Zodiac Killer may have finally been solved by an international team of coding experts.
The three codebreakers believe they have decrypted the 340 cipher ― named for its number of characters ― and the solution may provide clues that lead to the murderer’s identity, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.
The Zodiac Killer terrorized Northern California from 1968 to 1970, shooting or stabbing at least five people to death while sending cryptic letters and notes to police and newspapers signed “Zodiac,” a moniker that was then adopted by police and the media.
The killer mailed the 340 cipher to the Chronicle in November 1969, a few weeks after a man claiming to be the Zodiac Killer called a local TV talk show.
The statements decoded from the cipher include:
“I HOPE YOU ARE HAVING LOTS OF FUN IN TRYING TO CATCH ME
THAT WASNT 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 ALL THE SOONER
BECAUSE I NOW HAVE ENOUGH SLAVES TO WORK FOR ME
WHERE EVERYONE ELSE HAS NOTHING WHEN THEY REACH PARADICE
SO THEY ARE AFRAID OF DEATH
I AM NOT AFRAID BECAUSE I KNOW THAT MY NEW LIFE IS
LIFE WILL BE AN EASY ONE IN PARADICE DEATH”
The FBI confirmed on Friday that they were aware the cipher may have been solved, but declined further comment.
In addition to this cipher, there is at least one other unsolved Zodiac puzzle, a letter that begins, “My name is,” followed by a series of 13 symbols. The codebreakers who solved the 340 cipher said the other code is so short that finding its solution would be pure luck, according to SF Gate.