New Sign of the Zodiac…No Sign of the Zodiac Killer

So, all the hullabaloo surrounding the new zodiac sign… “Ophiuchus”(which only applies to Sidereal astrology practiced in the far east and not Tropical so no your sign hasn’t changed if you’re a product of western civilization) well it got me thinking about the Zodiac killer, an unsolved mystery that I’ve always been somewhat interested in. They never found out who it was, and all of their longtime suspects have been cleared by DNA or fingerprint evidence. He’s still lurking out there, if he hasn’t died of old age(he would be about 65-75 years old.) So yeah, I guess you could say I’m yet another of those people obsessed with this case. Some of the zodiac’s ciphers are still unsolved after 40 years. In fact, only the first one he sent was solved. It is widely believed that since nobody has been able to solve them after all these years, that they cannot be solved through conventional methods of cryptography. Here is the unsolved zodiac 340 cipher:

A couple years ago, a guy named John Cecil came up with the idea of a 4 quadrant solution. He made a decent effort, but others have claimed his solution invalid saying the methodology he used would have allowed for too many possible solutions. So it’s not a valid solution, but I believe he may have been on the right track.

John Cecil’s attempted zodiac 340 solution

Actually the main thing that turns me off about the solution is that if you scroll down to some of his other blog posts there’s some far fetched claims about a certain “suspect” with some vague correlations and bizarre logic. These things are always a red flag to me and lead me to doubt other claims by the person.

Anyway, about a year after he mailed the cipher, the zodiac sent this halloween card. I believe he was disappointed that nobody could solve it and view his message and so he offered up some hints. If we utilize the Halloween card as a clue to the cipher…in my interpretation we have four sections: top left/top right/bottom left/bottom right. There would also be the center text vertically and horizontally.

zodiac halloween card

zodiac clue

I apologize for the jankified nature of this image as I just made it rather quickly with MS Paint.

It could be that there is a completely separate key for each section, and then you merely piece them together, and decipher the center text separately as well. Or you could experiment with using the center text as key for all the outlying sections and so forth. Or yet still, there could be markers for shift changes and cycling. Notice the locations of the “P” in “Para” and “D” in “Dice” are identical in both the cipher and the card.

I think the “4-teen” could be a clue as well as the “sorry no cipher” diagram on the outside of the envelope. I have a couple of decrypting programs, but I’m not an expert at cryptanalysis or anything, so I’m trying to study more and see if I can get anywhere from here.

Brief paper on Zodiac Ciphers from a University in Norway,
only 24 pages and no solutions offered but some interesting findings:

Cryptography and Murder –The Zodiac killer

Håvard Raddum
University of Bergen

San Jose St. U. students’ masters theses on 340 Cipher:

Pallavi Kanagalakatte Basavaraju
December 2009

Analysis of the Zodiac 340-cipher
Thá̆ng Đào
San Jose State University

I’m very interested in the ciphers. Whether or not they provide any useful information, I think solving them is a great challenge, and the victims deserve justice however long it takes. The problem seems to be that too many people want to take shortcuts and simply try to finagle words out of nonsensical partial solutions to find some sort of strained way to insert their suspect of choice. Personally I think there’s no way the zodiac would put his actual name in any of the codes(especially not the one where he claims to give a location to where a bomb is hidden.)

I think that if these codes are ever to be solved it will be by a combination of a mathematical approach(with the aid of computer programs) and some intuition regarding the zodiac’s psychological profile, writing style and word usage. The solution would be a clear message, easily recognized as being a solution by all.

By the way, the best website for all things relating to the Zodiac Killer is Don’t bother going to other sites because most of them are filled with nutty theories, bizarre accusations, misinformation, and the type of people who would call into the show “Coast to Coast.”


  • Mr. Adamson:

    Have you ever done a search on “Michael Butterfield” and “Coast to Coast”? Butterfield is exactly the type of person who has gladly APPEARED to advance his egomaniacal self on that show!

    Before you continue to promote the zodiackiller”facts”.com and its nutty, libelous webmaster, maybe you ought to follow this link:

    • Orson,

      Yeah I’ve seen that link before. It’s nonsense. A person with even the most bare bones level of critical thinking skills could recognize that saying someone possibly could have forged a letter is not on par with what the people at other Zodiac sites do, which is to flat out accuse people of mass murder. They do this with no evidence whatsoever. They even insist on coming up with wild schemes involving people who should never have been suspects in the first place, all on the basis of nothing except bizarre hearsay and theories from people not playing with a full deck. I’m not interested in personalizing debates about these subjects, and I don’t get emotionally involved with webmasters. I’m only interested in the facts. Since does not have any pet suspects which they are trying to fit the story around, it is much more useful to those studying and researching the case. Whether or not Michael Butterfield is perceived to be an egomaniac is irrelevant to me, as I’m only concerned with whether his site has the facts on it’s side. I think that like Ed Neil, Butterfield is genuinely interested in solving the case.

      I can also imagine how frustrating it must be for a long term researcher of this case to constantly have to dispel rumors and debunk nonsensical theories to the point where they would have a lower tolerance for that sort of thing than the average passerby.

      I’ve been to all of these sites… from Opordanalytical, Unizod,, Rodelli’s site, Lyndon Lafferty’s site, ZodiacZee(defunt?)
      Gareth Penn’s blog, to about a dozen others. While some of them are interesting in their own way, is by far the best source for legit information about the case, as well as the best place to participate in forum discussions that don’t officially sanction far fetched conspiracy claims regarding dubious suspects.

      Thanks for your comment though. Even though we disagree, it’s refreshing to get a comment that isn’t Russian spam.


    Just nonsense? Oh, and the thread accusing Graysmith of mailing a serial killer hoax through the U.S. Federal post? (Very serious charge by the way; ask the FBI) – The same thread that Butterfield has subsequently removed to COVER UP THE FACTS (“facts on his side” . . . “Best source of legit information,” you say?) – In that same thread, Ed Neil had his own posting that rashly & libelously accused Graysmith of fabricating and mailing the 1978 Zodiac letter (there was no “possibly could have forged” to be read between the lines from either of your two archetypes of the “genuinely interested in solving the case” researcher).

    If the accusations in that thread were so innocently hypothetical, why then did Michael Butterfield/Aud8us remove it? Did you or any other member ask them? Have they explained? You know . . . to get to the “facts.”

    You endorse Butterfield and his minions as “the best website for all things relating to the Zodiac Killer . . . . Don’t bother going to other sites.” Btw: I am familiar with every site you listed, and many more, but I’m neither member nor apologist for them. Your excuse for active membership at Zodiackillerfacts (read: endorsement of Butterfield, sorry but there’re no two ways of rationalizing out of that one) appears to be that he and his site are the lesser of other evils out there. A bare bones level of critical thinking skills would indicate that this is hardly the way to pursue facts or serious intellectual discussion on any topic – all the while lending credence to Butterfield’s “wild schemes,” and “bizarre hearsay” (not to mention his ego).

    Where have you been the last several years? Zodiackillerfacts’ forum discussions have been riddled with posts/threads giving pet suspects and even real names! I have all those pages saved. 😉 Only very recently did Butterfield issue another one of his edicts, this time to keep POIs to PMs and the Cantina, etc., etc. Talk about too little too late; and we know how well his moralizing decrees hold up, don’t we? (See link in my first post.)

    Well, that’s all I need to say. Thank you. I’ll let you get back to your Russian spam. Just don’t be so hard on Obama, remember he’s but our Webmaster, and we are but inconsequential posters on the Web page of isolationist America. How many billions of U.S. money did I hear recently that Hosni personally has stowed away for his rock rainy day? Of course, Mubarak (“long time” dictator) is probably just an egomaniac, but that would be irrelevant. LOL!

  • Orson,

    Saying that someone could possibly have done something, is not the same as accusing someone. If people couldn’t discuss hypothetical possibilities related to any of this, there wouldn’t be much to chat about. Also, Butterfield links to the thread you posted from the ZKF forum. It’s been discussed on there somewhere recently, but I can’t remember which section I saw it in. In any event, for someone like Butterfield who has been posting online for like 15 years…if that thread is the best his detractors can come up with, it’s pretty weak. There are a number of reasons he could have removed it, but my guess is that’s you assume it was to cover something up. I haven’t reached the same conclusion.

    Again, it seems as though people who have researched this case for a long period of time have developed bizarre interpersonal relationships and unique grudges with one another. This isn’t surprising, since a case like this will attract people with eccentric personalities. I’m not really interested in personalizing things. Your concern with ZodiacKillerFacts seems to be with Butterfield’s forum postings or some sort of personal falling out with him related to one of these discussions. My interest is in the website itself and it’s content. The detailed articles on suspects/victims and all things related to the case are very meticulously constructed and the best out there(just my opinion.)

    Other sites are useful for various things. for example is a good resource for documents. I haven’t paid the $10 to join the forums there, so I can only read the old archives…which feature a lot of interesting discussions between some of the folks being mentioned here. I’m turned off by that’s site’s taking Richard Gaikowski seriously as a suspect, as there is no evidence whatsoever and any reading of Blaine’s writings makes clear he’s a nutjob with no credibility….and when there is no evidence then credibility of the accuser is all one has to go on.

    My recommendation though, for people who want to avoid having any subsequent theorizing based on a false premise, is to start by studying the facts, at

    Anyhow, I have enjoyed this exchange and really appreciate your interest in taking the time to comment. And yes it is a shame we give so much money to foreign corrupt governments(as well as non corrupt governments for that matter.) Perhaps one day our leaders, regardless of political party, will finally ask themselves the trillion dollar question of why on earth we give any money to other countries when we are in enormous debt and have none of our own. The odds of that happening are about as likely as finding the Zodiac.

  • If anyone is interested, here is a new site containing news and resources surrounding the ciphers of the Zodiac killer:

    Come by, have a look, read about some of my recent experiments, dig into details about the ciphers, and play with cipher analysis tools.

    Despite what some people claim, only one cipher has been definitively solved so far. Come by and help solve the rest of them!

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