This is not the only time that Edgar Allan Poe may have played a part in a cryptic message mailed by the Zodiac Killer. It could have been the essay A Few Words on Secret Writing that inspired the creation of the 13-Symbol cipher mailed on April 20th 1970 by the Bay Area murderer. A cipher that could have been devised sometime between October 22nd 1969 and November 8th 1969, and belatedly mailed by the killer some 6 months later, with the accompanying text about the murder of San Francisco police officer Brian McDonnell on February 16th 1970.
It could be argued that this cipher was not only created because of the newspaper article, but designed based on what was contained within the article - in particular the works of Edgar Allan Poe. This would be right up Zodiac's alley, devising a cipher based in the text of the newspaper article. Here is an excerpt: Dr Marsh told the Examiner today: "The killer wouldn't dare, as he claimed in letters to the newspapers, to reveal his name in the cipher to established cryptogram experts. He knows, to quote Edgar Allen Poe, that any cipher created by man can be solved by man. Zodiac has not told the truth in his cipher messages to the Examiner, the Chronicle and the Vallejo Times-Herald. Zodiac has not done this, because to tell the complete truth in relation to his name-in cipher code-would lead to his capture. I invite Zodiac to send The American Cryptogram Association a cipher code, which will truly and honestly include his name". We can see in the Edgar Allan Poe offering of A Few Words on Secret Writing, that the very beginning of the essay shows the alphabet being split into two halves of thirteen letters:
"Were two individuals, totally unpractised in cryptography, desirous of holding by letter a correspondence which should be unintelligible to all but themselves, it is most probable that they would at once think of a peculiar alphabet, to which each should have a key. At first it would, perhaps, be arranged that a should stand for z, b for y, c for x, d for w, &c. &c.; that is to say, the order of the letters would be reversed. Upon second thoughts, this arrangement appearing too obvious, a more complex mode would be adopted. The first thirteen letters might be written beneath the last thirteen, thus:
n o p q r s t u v w x y z
a b c d e f g h i j k I m; and, so placed, a might stand for n and n for a, o for b and b for a, &c. &c. This, again, having an air of regularity which might be fathomed, the key alphabet might be constructed absolutely at random".
Throughout the newspaper article Professor D.C.B. Marsh is urging the Zodiac Killer to give his name, which clearly the Zodiac wasn't going to achieve with any reasonable possibility of decryption, but he may have played a game with D.C.B. Marsh by offering us another cryptic message within the cipher. We contended previously that the 340 cipher and 13-Symbol cipher could possibly have been created at the same time because of the interconnectivity between the two. The name Zodiac appeared to be numerically carried forward from the 20th line of the 340 to the 13-Symbol cipher in the form of three circled 8's. This was achieved by placing the correct spelling of Zodiac alongside the 'near Zodiac' and numerically counting the difference between the columns. This produced perfect numerical symmetry, as did placing A to M (half the alphabet) alongside the 13- Symbol cipher. For this to be achieved, it was argued the two ciphers must have been created with each in mind, and therefore both crafted at a similar time. See image here for explanation.
"In Christian numerology, the number 888 represents Jesus, or sometimes more specifically Christ the Redeemer. This representation may be justified either through gematria, by counting the letter values of the Greek transliteration of Jesus' name, or as an opposing value to 666, the number of the beast". Wikipedia.
Curiously, if you visit the English gematria site here and enter Edgar Allan Poe into the calculator, 666 is achieved.
Was the Zodiac Killer playing games, giving us the name Jesus in the form of a numerical value and depicting himself as the savior of souls for the afterlife?
The creation of these two ciphers together is a plausible explanation for a correlation between the two, with the inspiration of Edgar Allan Poe in the construction of the 13-Symbol cipher, based upon splitting the alphabet down its center, was ultimately born from the article by Will Stevens. Edgar Allen Poe stated that "any cipher created by man can be solved by man". Could it be claimed that any cipher created by Zodiac can be solved by Edgar Allan Poe?