This letter, mailed to the Vallejo Times-Herald newspaper is similar to the San Francisco Chronicle and San Francisco Examiner letters, containing Part 1 of a trinity of ciphers, which totaled up to become known as the 408 cipher, due to each part containing 136 characters.
The letters claimed credit for the first two attacks at Lake Herman Road on December 20th 1968 and Blue Rock Springs Park on July 4th 1969.
Betty Lou Jensen and David Faraday died in the December Lake Herman Road attacks, but in the following encounter with the Zodiac Killer at Blue Rock Springs, Michael Mageau survived despite being shot four times, however, his companion Darlene Ferrin was not so fortunate and succumbed to her injuries upon arrival at Kaiser Hospital at 12:38 am.
On August 8th 1969, just over a week after the arrival of the three letters, the 408 cipher was cracked by Donald Gene and Bettye June Harden of Salinas, California, who both used homophonic substitution to identify a solution.
The decoded cipher turned out to be the killer's thoughts and ramblings, containing numerous spelling errors either by design or otherwise, yet despite the Zodiac Killer claiming he would reveal his identity within the cipher it turned out he was not so forthcoming. See also;
San Francisco Examiner and Part 2 of Cipher
San Francisco Chronicle Letter and Part 3 of Cipher
I like killing people because it is so much fun. It is more fun than killing wild game in the forrest because man is the most dangerous animal of all. To kill something gives me the most thrilling experence. It is even better than getting your rocks off with a girl. The best part of it, is that when I die I will be reborn in paradice and all the (people) I have killed will become my slaves. I will not give you my name because you will try to slow down or stop my collecting of slaves for my afterlife. ebeorietemethhpiti .
THE 18 UNSOLVED CHARACTERS [PT1]
THE 18 UNSOLVED CHARACTERS [PT2]
THE 18 UNSOLVED CHARACTERS [PT3]
THE 18 UNSOLVED CHARACTERS [PT4]
On August 11th 1969, a letter was received by Sergeant John Lynch of the Vallejo Police Department under the title of a concerned citizen, containing a brief typewritten message and the key for the 408 cipher. The card read: Dear Sergeant Lynch, I hope the enclosed "key" will prove to be beneficial to you in connection with the cipher letter writer. Working puzzles criptograms and word puzzles is one of my pleasures. Please forgive the absence of my signature or name as I do not wish to have my name in the papers and it could be mentiond by a slip of the tongue. With best wishes. concerned citizen. For a three part analysis of this correspondence, click here.
I am the killer of the 2 teen-agers last Christmass at Lake Herman and the Girl last 4th of July. To Prove this I shall state some facts which only I + the police know.
1 Brand name of ammo Super X
2 10 Shots fired
3 Boy was on back feet to car
4 Girl was lyeing on right side
feet to west
4th of July
1 Girl was wearing patterned Pants
2 Boy was also shot in knee
3 Brand name of ammo was Western
Here is a cyipher or that is part of one. the other 2 parts
have been mailed to the S.F. Examiner + the S.F. Chronicle I want you to print this cipher on your frunt page by Fry Afternoon Aug 1-69, If you do not do this I will go on a kill ram page Fry night that will last the whole week end.
I will cruse around and pick of all stray people or coupples that are alone then move on to kill some more untill I have killed over a dozen people.