Michael Cole has a great recent post on his site concerning the flood of web traffic again generated by the interest in Corey Starliper’s debunked claim of a solution to the 340-character cipher. Michael’s indictment of shoddy journalism is spot on.
If Corey Starliper walked into your office and announced that he had cured cancer, would you write the story: “Tewksbury Native: I’ve Cured Cancer” without seeking input from a medical professional? If he walked in and claimed to have solved one of math’s currently unsolved problems, would you write the article without doing something to evaluate the validity of his claim? I hope the answer to those questions is “No.” But, for some reason, if he walks in and says he’s solved a cipher that’s remained unsolved for the last 40 years, the Tewksbury Patch has no problem publishing an article without doing anything in terms of evaluating the probability that his solution is actually correct. His solution is garbage, pure and simple. Point me to one person with real cryptographic expertise who endorses Starliper’s solution. I’m going to go out on a limb and say that you cannot because I’m fairly certain one does not exist.
Those of us who have definitively shown Corey’s solution to be incorrect are often criticized for being “jealous” of him for solving the code, or for not having a solution that is better than his. What those critics fail to understand is that I would be among the first people to celebrate a real solution to any of the unsolved Zodiac ciphers, no matter who comes up with it! To be rid of another long-standing mystery would be a great relief to us all. In the meantime, there is no reason to sit back and accept unsubstantiated claims without evaluating their merit.
The killer’s first cipher was solved rather quickly by amateur codebreakers because they guessed that the killer would use words such as “I” and “kill”. Can similar guesswork help us solve the unsolved 340-character cipher? This is something people have been trying for years. But nobody has yet unlocked the mystery.
Zodiac sent many letters over the years, taunting the public about his crimes. From this collection of plain text, we can see what words he really likes to use in his writings.
Here are the results of an experiment that uses an algorithm to detect phrases and words that repeat in his writings. Perhaps somewhere among the results is something that might appear in the real solution of the 340-character cipher, if it indeed contains one.
Welcome to the Zodiac Ciphers blog. Here I will try to post all the latest news on efforts to solve the mysterious Zodiac ciphers, which, with only one exception, have remained unsolved for over 40 years.
The Zodiac Killer was a serial killer who claimed several victims in Northern California in the 1960s and 1970s. He terrorized the area with his crimes, letters, and taunts, and has never been caught. Some of his letters included mysterious cryptograms. Only one has been solved definitively. Do the rest of them contain any real messages? If so, would they shed any light at all on the identity of the mysterious killer?
Read more about the Zodiac Killer here.
The old Zodiac Ciphers wiki, which was previous found at wiki.zodiac-ciphers.dreamhosters.com, was being overrun by loathsome spammers, so I had to take the site down and convert it over to the new location, where I have been able to lock it down:
Let me know if anything appears to be missing!
Also, contact me if you are interested in contributing content to the Wiki, a place to collect fact-based observations, experiments, and analysis of the Zodiac ciphers.