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Code Key mailed 8/10/69 to Vallejo PD

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morf13
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Jake Wark wrote:
"A little-known letter containing a key to the cryptogram was sent anonymously to the Vallejo Police on August 10, one day after the Harden solution was made public. It was postmarked San Francisco, and the typewritten address was to a VPD sergeant.
The key was handwritten on a sheet of white paper, and was accompanied by a short typewritten note on a 3×5 index card expressing hope that "the enclosed key will prove beneficial to you in connection with the cipher letter writer." It was signed " concerned citizen." The key was described in an FBI report as "generally valid" and "substantially accurate", but this is unsurprising since the author probably read the decryption in the newspaper and simply made his own key letter by letter. One useful palmprint was found on the envelope, but it was never matched to any individual
."

Thru the Freedom of information act, I was able to obtain a copy of this key:

There is more than one way to lose your life to a killer

http://www.zodiackillersite.com/
http://zodiackillersite.blogspot.com/
https://twitter.com/Morf13ZKS

 
Posted : March 29, 2013 7:33 am
vasa croe
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Was there anything on the last two pages that appear blank here, or were they actually blank? Would seem odd to include blank pages unless the letter writer used them to wrap the rest of the correspondence in so that nobody could hold it to the light and see through the envelope or something.

 
Posted : October 9, 2014 9:03 pm
 Soze
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Unless, I have forgotten, this is the first I am seeing of this.

I wonder what the thoughts are of this being the work of the Zodiac?

Gut would say so for me but that’s all there is. Nothing else, except possibly, the concerned citizen part.

The thing that is really striking for me is the line of text:

"I hope the enclosed key will prove to be beneficial to you in connection with the cipher letter writer."

Why not just "…in connection with the cipher"?

Or, least likely, "….in connection with the cipher writer"?

I know that I believe each letter is a cipher and perhaps I am placing too much emphasis on this but it just seems like "letter" is a bit out of place for the topic of the day.

Soze

 
Posted : October 16, 2014 9:08 pm
morf13
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Unless, I have forgotten, this is the first I am seeing of this.

I wonder what the thoughts are of this being the work of the Zodiac?

Gut would say so for me but that’s all there is. Nothing else, except possibly, the concerned citizen part.

The thing that is really striking for me is the line of text:

"I hope the enclosed key will prove to be beneficial to you in connection with the cipher letter writer."

Why not just "…in connection with the cipher"?

Or, least likely, "….in connection with the cipher writer"?

I know that I believe each letter is a cipher and perhaps I am placing too much emphasis on this but it just seems like "letter" is a bit out of place for the topic of the day.

Soze

I think it’s likely Z. It was too fast for it to be anybody else. Just think how fast(or slow) the code was solved by the Hardins, yet the FBI,etc couldn’t solve it that fast. I find it hard to believe two separate citizens could solve it, making this likely to be z. By the way,I have gotten many pages like these in the FBI files, not sure if they are supposed to be blank or what

There is more than one way to lose your life to a killer

http://www.zodiackillersite.com/
http://zodiackillersite.blogspot.com/
https://twitter.com/Morf13ZKS

 
Posted : October 16, 2014 10:20 pm
(@masootz)
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then why did he make the 340 so hard? he bragged about the code not being solved then made his next code super hard. that doesn’t make sense if he wrote the key to solve the first one.

 
Posted : October 16, 2014 10:24 pm
 Soze
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then why did he make the 340 so hard? he bragged about the code not being solved then made his next code super hard. that doesn’t make sense if he wrote the key to solve the first one.

It does if he wanted you to waste your days and nights cracking his coded nonsense. And that’s what I think his 340 cipher will ultimately be found to be, nonsense, just like the 408.

Soze

 
Posted : October 16, 2014 10:44 pm
(@masootz)
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then why did he make the 340 so hard? he bragged about the code not being solved then made his next code super hard. that doesn’t make sense if he wrote the key to solve the first one.

It does if he wanted you to waste your days and nights cracking his coded nonsense. And that’s what I think his 340 cipher will ultimately be found to be, nonsense, just like the 408.

Soze

i meant in the context of this thread. in responding to your post – why would he NOT do that with the 408? if i understand, your theory seems to be he made the 340 really hard but not the 408. that doesn’t make sense.

 
Posted : October 16, 2014 11:16 pm
morf13
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Oranchak might want to chime in on this, but from my amateur understanding, the shorter the code, the harder to solve. I personally think Z wanted his codes solved, and would not intentionally try to make it impossible, he had a big ego and wanted people to know what he had to say

There is more than one way to lose your life to a killer

http://www.zodiackillersite.com/
http://zodiackillersite.blogspot.com/
https://twitter.com/Morf13ZKS

 
Posted : October 16, 2014 11:23 pm
vasa croe
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Oranchak might want to chime in on this, but from my amateur understanding, the shorter the code, the harder to solve. I personally think Z wanted his codes solved, and would not intentionally try to make it impossible, he had a big ego and wanted people to know what he had to say

I believe the same. That coupled with the fact he scratched out a letter and wrote another in on the 340 cipher….the reverse K. Makes me think that the K must have some major significance in that cipher to have been scratched out and ruin the flow/look of it.

 
Posted : October 16, 2014 11:27 pm
(@masootz)
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Oranchak might want to chime in on this, but from my amateur understanding, the shorter the code, the harder to solve. I personally think Z wanted his codes solved, and would not intentionally try to make it impossible, he had a big ego and wanted people to know what he had to say

i completely agree. i think he thought the 408 would take longer but would be solved. i think it was a hit to his ego that some mom and pop solved it so quickly. i think the 340 has a twist, to make it harder, but was still something he figured would be solved. i think the 340 has some legible text when decoded but i doubt it’s any more useful than ‘i like killing people blah blah blah’.

 
Posted : October 16, 2014 11:29 pm
morf13
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Oranchak might want to chime in on this, but from my amateur understanding, the shorter the code, the harder to solve. I personally think Z wanted his codes solved, and would not intentionally try to make it impossible, he had a big ego and wanted people to know what he had to say

I believe the same. That coupled with the fact he scratched out a letter and wrote another in on the 340 cipher….the reverse K. Makes me think that the K must have some major significance in that cipher to have been scratched out and ruin the flow/look of it.

Also shows Z was too lazy to go back and re-write the whole thing over :lol:

There is more than one way to lose your life to a killer

http://www.zodiackillersite.com/
http://zodiackillersite.blogspot.com/
https://twitter.com/Morf13ZKS

 
Posted : October 16, 2014 11:41 pm
doranchak
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the FBI,etc couldn’t solve it that fast

Do we know how long it took for the FBI to solve it?

I think someone posted an excerpt of a police report or similar, wherein it says the FBI (or maybe some other agency) compared the Hardens’ solution against their own previously existing solution. But I can’t recall where the excerpt is posted.

I tried to explore possibilities (including handwriting comparisons) in my article about the "Concerned Citizen" code key here: http://www.zodiackillerciphers.com/?p=224. But I couldn’t draw any strong conclusions. A baffling thing about the code key is that is says the "Q" symbol translates to "F, K, L, and M". We know that the "Q" and "backwards-Q" symbols translate to "F" and "M", respectively. But where the hell do "K" and "L" come from? The anonymous key also says "L" decodes to "L", which is not in the Hardens’ key. If someone was responding to the publication of the Hardens’ plain text, maybe the code key author was simply misreading the symbols due to poor quality reproductions of the ciphers in the newspapers. Maybe someone can look through the various copies of the cipher text in the newspapers and find symbols that resemble "Q" but are known to be other symbols which stand for "K" and "L". Or maybe someone else transcribed the cipher text with some errors and gave the faulty copy to the code key author for him to derive the key.

I find it hard to believe two separate citizens could solve it, making this likely to be z

You still have to rule out Harden. There are some handwriting similarities. But it would be weird for him to send the key anonymously the day after his solution bearing his full name was published. And with errors in the key (unless there’s some good reason for them that I’m not aware of).

BTW, here are more details of the differences between the Hardens key and the Concerned Citizen key: http://zodiackillerciphers.com/408/key.html#5. It includes my interpretation of the FBI’s cryptanalysis of the anonymous key.

The shorter the code, the harder to solve

Yes, this is generally true, since much of codebreaking involves statistics, and you have to have a long message for statistics to be meaningful.

http://zodiackillerciphers.com

 
Posted : October 17, 2014 1:42 am
morf13
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Thanks Dave

There is more than one way to lose your life to a killer

http://www.zodiackillersite.com/
http://zodiackillersite.blogspot.com/
https://twitter.com/Morf13ZKS

 
Posted : October 17, 2014 3:48 am
duckking2001
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the FBI,etc couldn’t solve it that fast

Do we know how long it took for the FBI to solve it?

I think someone posted an excerpt of a police report or similar, wherein it says the FBI (or maybe some other agency) compared the Hardens’ solution against their own previously existing solution. But I can’t recall where the excerpt is posted.

It’s in the FBI report. It doesn’t say how long it took them, but they didn’t even evaluate it until after the Harden’s had already solved it. I don’t know if they tried to solve it entirely on their own, but my impression is that they just checked the Harden’s solution and saw that it was right.

 
Posted : October 17, 2014 9:00 am
glurk
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It always kind of irks me when people say that the FBI, NSA, Navy, etc., "couldn’t solve it." Because from numerous accounts that I have read, the Hardens – Bettye especially – worked on the damn thing nonstop, without sleep, until it was solved. I doubt that any Gov. agency had that sort of dedication. And once the Hardens had solved it, there was no need for any further solving….

I have no doubt that even if the Hardens had never existed, the 408 would still have been solved in mere days. The FBI may even have actually been first, who knows. It’s not like they would have announced it publicly if they had.

-glurk

——————————–
I don’t believe in monsters.

 
Posted : October 17, 2014 12:09 pm
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