The History Channel’s new Karga Seven-produced series “The Hunt for the Zodiac Killer” has just started: it features top Zodiac Killer researcher Dave Oranchak, Copiale Cipher cracker (and Voynich Manuscript fanboy) Kevin Knight, long-time Zodiac researcher (and University of North Texas CompSci professor) Ryan Garlick, Cryptologia editor (and author of “Unsolved!”) Craig Bauer, and a Google engineer guy called Sujith Razi who I’ve never heard of. But I’m sure is a lovely bloke.

The film makers also have a retired homicide cop and a cold case searcher both talking to people on the ground and raking over hitherto unseen archives. Overall, the televisual conceit they try to sustain is that the whole process is unfolding right before our eyes in sort-of real time, which is a decent enough fiction to structure this kind of thing by.

The first episode tries to link the Zodiac Killer with the unsolved 1966 Riverside murder of 18-year-old Cheri Jo Bates, a connection that has been floated (yet also denied) many times. The suspect they quickly move to is a certain Ross Sullivan, who was a student who also worked in the library where Bates was studying the evening of her death: Sullivan took a cryptography class, wore army boots, disappeared the day after Bates’ death, came back with fresh clothes a few weeks later, etc etc etc.

The programme alludes to DNA comparisons, to reconstructing faces purely from DNA, and to cracking some part of one the Zodiac Killer’s ciphers in the following episodes, but we’ll have to see which of these promises they keep. If all they ultimately serve up on their delightful silver platter is Craig Bauer’s ALFREDENEUMAN hopeful crack of the Z13 cipher (whose first three cipher letters are also “AEN”), I’m not 100% certain the cryptological ticker tape and marching elephants parade will be on duty that day. But, as always, we shall see.

Incidentally, my personal favourite of the homophonic solutions for the Z13 listed by Dave Oranchak are “Sarah The Horse”, “All Banana Alan”, and “Trove Behemoth”. Ever since I read that, I’ve been deeply distrustful of anyone called Sarah The Horse: I therefore advise all Cipher Mysteries readers to keep some sugar cubes in a convenient pocket, just in case this particular worst-case scenario is correct. What, me worry?

The Hunt for the Zodiac Killer

Anyway, I’m not sure how long the following embedded video will stay live for, but it’s courtesy of well-known site Tagtélé:

Enjoy! 🙂

15 thoughts on “Karga Seven’s “The Hunt for the Zodiac Killer” commences…

  1. I’m also quite fond of “Laura Catapult” for Z13. 🙂

  2. Josef Zlatoděj Prof. on November 18, 2017 at 11:33 am said:

    Hello big buddy Dave Oranchak. Several years ago. I’ve been working on the Zodiac killer case. Very nice case. I tanslated several of his letters. At the same time I started looking for him. Aftre a few months he managed to track me down. I know how she looks and where she lives. Getting a Zodiac will be complicated because he worked for CIA. It has very good coverage. Give the address and I’ll send you his foto ( picture zodiac ).

  3. Gene Rhea Tucker on December 6, 2017 at 8:43 pm said:

    I just watched episode four, and even if they do “solve” any ciphers, it is clear to me that Zodiac didn’t leave his name in a code. The Alfred E. Neuman crack above might be spot on. At the end of episode four the guy who says he solved Z340 sends a partial decryption that is seen fleetingly on the screen. The vaunted “name” at the bottom of Z340 is RICHARD M NIKSON. NiKSon instead of NiXon. Zodiac playing games… if the decryption is accurate… which we will have to wait and see…

  4. Gene: the guy is Craig Bauer, and we’ll see properly in the season finale. Of course.

  5. Engrossed in the Hunt for the Zodiac, like so many. A few days ago I checked my DVR to make sure the 5th episode was set to record with priority over other upcoming recordings, so as not to miss it. The 5th episode was set for a 3 hour show, this Sunday (12/10). I was setting up something else to record today, and I noticed that not only is there NO show this Sunday, but the 5th episode is now scheduled for a week from Sunday (12/12) and it’s only scheduled for 1 hour. Just curious if anyone noticed this too, and/or if they know why…

  6. Beth: the series finale is scheduled for this Tuesday 12th December, and I’m pretty sure it’s only an hour long.

  7. Thomas on December 8, 2017 at 6:42 am said:

    I bet Tricky Dick had alibis…

  8. Shirley on December 8, 2017 at 1:53 pm said:

    I also noted the Richard M Nikson at the bottom of the of the decoded cipher. I googled for this and found a post dated Aug 18, 2015 from someone who was asked to produce a documentary on the Santa Rosa Hitchhike Murders. It seems that they were having difficulty raising funds for the documentary. The post says: “I don’t know that many rich people. I’m afraid any pleas by me for funding would come off like those emails I get from someone who wants to give me millions of dollars. I got one just this week from Richard M. Nickson, can you believe!” That gave me chills because the Santa Rosa murders have never been solved and one of the key suspects is the Zodiac killer. Here is the link:

  9. Shirley: all I can say at this point is that – cryptologically, at least – Tricky Dicky seems to be completely in the clear for the Zodiac Killer murders. 😉

    Besides, if they had cracked the Z340, how would they ever make a Series #2?

  10. Shirley on December 8, 2017 at 2:18 pm said:

    No – I am not saying that Nixon had anything to do with it. But, there are many Richard Niksons & Richard Nicksons living in California. Maybe Zodiac did give his name and it just happened to sort of match an ex-pres. I can not wait to see the full decipher next week.

  11. Shirley: I would add that cryptologically there seems to be no good reason to suspect anyone called Richard M. Nixon, however spelled. I’m much more comfortable with Alfred E. Neuman, which was Craig Bauer’s previous crack attempt.

  12. Danny La Rue on December 9, 2017 at 1:24 am said:

    Wotcher, mates!

    Well, this explains the “Albany” letter handwriting comparison fiasco!

    Just when I thought things couldn’t get any worse in “Hunt for the Zodiac.” . . .

    If the cipher academics and experts on History Channel’s “Hunt for the Zodiac” are making such a bold 340 cipher SOLUTION claim by Ep.4 (“RICHARDMNIKSON” in the last line), then why is one of their lead members stating this, TODAY?:

    I wonder what the academic institutions that award degree/teaching credentials and hire these cipher experts have to say about their sensationalist TV approach. I would think the affiliated colleges & universities want to maintain the highest integrity for education, research, and publishing. I’m finding it hard to reconcile this conflict with how the participants are obviously complicit in deceiving the public regarding real assault and murder tragedies.

    So if we only “stay tuned” to this Tuesday’s season finale, all the egregious misinformation, ads, shameless self-promotion, and pantomime drama will turn out to be one bad dream sequence? I think not, my poppets.

  13. Thomas on December 9, 2017 at 7:41 am said:

    That means Craig Bauer and Kevin Knight kept the solution of Z 340 secret from Dave Oranchak? Top secret! Series #2: “Opening Ciphergate”

  14. Christian hood on December 13, 2017 at 4:16 pm said:

    Interesting but what if his name really is Richard.m.nikson. Everyone seemed to dismiss this proclaimed relative recently and he gave the initials of his uncle as “R.N.” as the zodiac.

  15. Christian hood on December 13, 2017 at 4:39 pm said:

    Who donated to help fund a zodiac documentary back in 2015.. Richard.m.nikson

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