On December 11, 2020, a team of three people — American Zodiac cipher expert David Oranchak, Australian mathematician Sam Blake, and Belgian software developer Jarl Van Eycke — announced to the world that they had solved the Zodiac’s 340 cipher, 51 years after it was first published in the San Francisco Chronicle and the San Francisco Examiner. The exact timeline of the solution is documented on David’s wiki. The following is the announcement video that provides more details about the solution and its discovery.
The FBI confirmed the validity of the solution with the following tweet. Of course, as I and others anticipated, the correct solution really needs no external validation. In my humble opinion, it’s unfortunate that the FBI chose to say so little.
The solution, with spaces and periods added, reads:
I HOPE YOU ARE HAVING LOTS OF FUN IN TRYING TO CATCH ME. THAT WASNT ME ON THE TV SHOW WHICH BRINGS UP A POINT ABOUT 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 WILL LIFE BE AN EASY ONE IN PARADISE. DEATH.
There is an additional phrase embedded in the cipher, “LIFE IS,” that likely is intended to go with the final standalone word to form the combined phrase of:
LIFE IS DEATH
What the killer may have been trying to convey with this phrase is, of course, unclear.