A coded message sent 51-years ago by the Zodiac Killer was finally cracked last week. Between 1968 and 1969, the suspect killed at least five people. He often targeted couples, with the first two murder victims being high school students who were parked in a car on their first date.
The Zodiac Killer is the pseudonym of an American serial killer who operated in Northern California from at least the late 1960s to the early 1970s. The unidentified killer originated the name in a series of taunting letters and cards sent to the San Francisco Bay Area press. These letters included four cryptograms.
During the murder spree, the Zodiac Killer sent a series of letters to the police-force, taking credit for the brutal actions whilst implying he'd never be caught! To prove the letters were authentic, the killer released details and included evidence from the crime scene. One evidence included a blood-covered cloth of one of the victims.
After killing the remaining two known victims, the killer sent one of three cryptograms containing 340 characters to the police. Ever since then, the FBI and even amateurs have worked to crack the case.
To be successful in this mission relied on a combination of technology and human skill to make sense of the odd symbols. The team looked through 650,000 variations until some words appeared.
The deciphered message said:
"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 all the sooner because I now have enough slaves to work for me where everyone else has nothing when they reach paradice so they are afraid of death. I am not afraid because I know that my new life will be an easy one in paradice death."
And yes, he really spelt paradise as paradice. Unfortunately the killer may have been right about never being caught. 51-years have passed and he is still yet to be identified.