A hobbyist codebreaker named Corey Starliper claims to have broken the code to the Zodiac Killer’s infamous 41-year-old “340” cipher, which confirms that long-time suspect Arthur Leigh Allen was indeed the Zodiac Killer:
According to Robert Graysmith, in “Zodiac”, tips received by police after Darlene Ferrin’s murder indicated that the killing was connected to the U.S Virgin Islands. Starliper believed that the “340” of the 340 cipher was significant, and had some tie-in with the U.S. Virgin Islands. It was then that he found out that 340 is the area code for a portion of the U.S Virgin Islands — not an insignificant connection.
“So that’s what I started with,” said Starliper. “I thought, there’s no way … that Zodiac is going to be prosaic enough not to mention the U.S. Virgin Islands in this code. This is where it gets even creepier. 3+4+0=7. Right. So you get 7+0=7. 707…707 are the area codes for Vallejo, Napa, and Solano. So I figured, why not start this with Caesar code using 3,4.”
This doesn’t mean the 340 is such an easy task to decode, considering the fact that the original 340 cipher is full of symbols: >, +, and ▲ being just a few of the signs found in the code. To combat this problem, Starliper extracted symbols and changed them to letters they could correspond with. For example, a ^ or < symbol could be interpreted as inverted or sideways “V”s.
After two sessions of 6 hours and 3 hours, Starliper was left with this message:
“KILL SLF DR HELP ME KILL MYSELF GAS CHAMBER AEIOUR DAYS QUESTIONSABLE EVERYY WAKING MOMENT IM ALIVE MY PR IDE LOST I CAST GO ON LIVING IN THIS WAY KILLING PEOPLE I HAV KILLD SO MANY PEOPLE CANT HELP MYSELF IM SO AN GRY I COULD DO MY THINK IM ALONE IN THIS WORLD MY W HOLE LIFE FUL O LIES IM UNABLE TO STOP BY THE TIME YOU SOLVE THISI WILL HAV KILLD ELEVEN PEOPLE PLEASE HELP ME STOP KILLING PEOPLE PLEASE MY NAME IS LEIGH ALLEN”.
Many have claimed to have solved this cipher with different results, so if you’re a skeptic, this is your cue.