51 years after the reign of the gruesome and mysterious murderer, known as the Zodiac Killer, experts have finally solved the killer’s cryptic code.

The Zodiac Killer — who terrorised northern California in the late 1960s and still remains uncaught and unidentified — had a habit of boasting about his crimes and the police’s incompetency through letters. These letters were sent to the police and newspapers at the time, and consisted of threats, boastful praises for himself, insults to the police, and sometimes, cryptic codes. All this time, experts around the world tried to decipher it, but were unsuccessful, till 2020.

A trio of cryptography enthusiasts successfully cracked one of the coded message that was sent in November 1969 to the San Francisco Chronicle newspaper by the alleged serial killer. Its code consists of a series of cryptic letters and symbols.

In true Zodiac fashion, the trio said the message includes boasts and defiance of authorities without any real clues on motive or identity.


Police sketch of the man suspected of being the Zodiac Killer
Police sketch of the man suspected of being the Zodiac Killer


The 340 cipher is read diagonally, starting from the upper-left corner and shifting one box down and two boxes to the right. When the bottom is reached, the reader must go back to the opposite corner, said the expert in a video posted on his YouTube channel.

The message reads: “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 paradice (sic) all the sooner because I now have enough slaves to work for me.”

46-year-old American web designer, David Oranchak, put in years of his life, and utilised several computer programs to decipher the complex code he started working on in 2006. He was assisted by Jarl Van Eykcke, a Belgian logistician, and Sam Blake, an Australian mathematician.

“All of us in the crypto community on the Zodiac figured the cipher had another step beyond just figuring out what letters belonged to the symbols, and that’s just what we found here,” said Oranchak.