; Phantoms and Monsters: Pulse of the Paranormal

Friday, July 22, 2011

Just the Facts? - 'Zodiac Killer' Code Cracked and Searching For Sea Monsters

Massachusetts man claims he cracked 'Zodiac Killer' code

To most, the word “Zodiac” conjures up images of astrological symbols and the positions of stars. Corey Starliper, a Tewksbury, Mass. native and hobby code-cracker, thinks of a serial killer of the same name.

Starliper also thinks that he has solved a cipher devised by Zodiac that has remained unsolved for over 40 years.

Zodiac was the name taken by a murderer who operated in the Bay Area, including Napa, Solano, and Vallejo counties, in 1968 and 1969. Zodiac sent encrypted communication to area newspapers, taking credit for killings and warning of more to come, according to Robert Graysmith, who personally investigated the murders and wrote several books on the case.

Police attributed seven murders and two attempted murders to Zodiac because of information he was able to provide that was unavailable to the public, though the number of unconfirmed victims may be much higher.

The first coded communication was a three-part cipher sent in portions to the Vallejo Times-Herald, the San Francisco Chronicle, and the San Francisco Examiner on July 31, 1969, according to “Most Evil”, written by Steve Hodel. The complete cipher contained 408 characters and was published on August 2 and 3, 1969 in accordance to Zodiac’s demands. It took just a few days for the code to be deciphered.

“The first one was cracked by a history teacher and his wife,” said Starliper. “What I’m driving at was the first code was cracked by amateurs. So they figure that any communication after that would be able to be cracked by amateurs.”

After the decryption of the first code, Zodiac sent many more communications to law enforcement and the media, including his most famous: a 340-character cipher, mailed to the San Francisco Chronicle, according to zodiackillerfacts.com. To this day, the cipher has not been completely cracked.

Starliper, however, believes he has found the solution to that code.

“The first time I saw this code was a couple of years ago, and I knew that it could be cracked,” he said. “It was just instinct, I had a gut feeling that it could be cracked. Any code created by man can be cracked by man.”

A 2007 movie entitled “Zodiac” was what sparked interest in Starliper about the case.

“I saw the movie first, and when I saw the movie, (I had) instant interest in it,” he said, snapping his fingers. “When I read the book, I was ... just hungry for more when the book ended.”

Starliper describes the Zodiac serial killer case as “extraordinarily consuming.”

“I became absolutely obsessed with the case, to the point that I’d look up from Graysmith’s books ... and realize that I’d actually forgotten to eat.”

Starliper said that after becoming interested in the code, he abandoned it for some time, but after that, an idea for breaking the code came to him almost by “accident.”

According to Robert Graysmith, in “Zodiac”, tips received by police after Darlene Ferrin’s murder indicated that the killing was connected to the U.S Virgin Islands. Starliper believed that the “340” of the 340 cipher was significant, and had some tie-in with the US Virgin Islands. It was then that he found out that 340 is the area code for a portion of the US Virgin Islands — not an insignificant connection.

“So that’s what I started with,” said Starliper. “I thought, there’s no way ... that Zodiac is going to be prosaic enough not to mention the U.S. Virgin Islands in this code. This is where it gets even creepier. 3+4+0=7. Right. So you get 7+0=7. 707...707 are the area codes for Vallejo, Napa, and Solano. So I figured, why not start this with Caesar code using 3,4.”

Caesar code is a substitution type cipher where an encoder has “simply replaced each letter in a message with the letter that is three places further down the alphabet,” according tohttp://www.simonsingh.net/The_Black_Chamber/caesar.html.

This doesn’t mean the 340 is such an easy task to decode, considering the fact that the original 340 cipher is full of symbols: >, +, and ▲ being just a few of the signs found in the code. To combat this problem, Starliper extracted symbols and changed them to letters they could correspond with. For example, a ^ or < symbol could be interpreted as inverted or sideways “V”s. “I first went in there and I did that,” he said. After everything symbolic had been interpreted alphabetically, he started applying reverse Caesar shifts. He found the first two letters to be “K” and “I”. “What are the next two going to be? right? I figure, what’s the first word he’s going to throw in there? Kill,” said Starliper. “And I was able to keep going from there.” For the first few lines, the pattern remained constant, but it changed beyond that. He said he was able to figure out the non-patterned series that by finding “similarities in the numerical sequence.” Starliper split his work into two sessions of 6 hours and 3 hours. When he was done, he had decoded the following text: KILL/SLF/DR/HELP/ME/KILL/MYSELF/GAS/CHAMBER/AEIOUR/DAYS/QUESTIONSABLE/EVERYY/WAKING/MOMENT/IM/ALIVE/MY/PRIDE/LOST/I/CANT/GO/ON/LIVING/IN/THIS/WAY/KILLING/PEOPLE/I/HAV/KILLD/SO/MANY/PEOPLE/CANT/HELP/MYSELF/IM/SO/ANGRY/I/COULD/DO/MY/THING/IM/ALONE/IN/THIS/WORLD/MY/WHOLE/LIFE/FUL/O/LIES/IM/UNABLE/TO/STOP/BY/THE/TIME/YOU/SOLVE/THIS/I/WILL/HAV/KILLD/ELEVEN/PEOPLE/PLEASE/HELP/ME/STOP/KILLING/PEOPLE/PLEASE/MY/NAME/IS/LEIGH/ALLEN/ Arthur Leigh Allen was a prime suspect during the Zodiac investigation. When Sherwood Morrill, a handwriting expert, examined Allen’s writing, he told investigators that the writing was “similar, but not the Zodiac killer’s”, according to “Zodiac Unmasked” by Robert Graysmith. Allen also passed a polygraph exam during the investigation. These facts don't bother Starliper. “Leigh Allen in that situation was forcing his handwriting to look different from the way that he normally wrote,” said Starliper, referencing the work of detectives. Allen died in 1992 at age 58. The discovery of a solution to the code wasn't “disturbing”, as Starliper said he had heard it described, but invigorating. “To me, I found it exciting, that I was actually able to get into his head when nobody had for over 40 years,” said Starliper. “It was a high. One of the best highs I had ever experienced was cracking something that nobody else had cracked in over 40 years.” Starliper didn’t let it rest at just solving the code. He tried to get in touch with the counties where the murders originally took place and received little response. “But Napa, after I sent them the solution to the code, said that they would delve into the case later on in the year. Which to me means, 'you know what kid ... leave me alone.'” Along with a lack of progress contacting Solano, Vallejo, and Napa counties, Starliper has contacted the San Francisco Cold Case Unit and Special Investigative Unit without response. “I didn’t want it getting lost in the mix. I wanted to contact someone directly,” he said. “It’s frustrating that ... interest in the case has dropped off, because at one time it was one of San Francisco’s highest priorities. It’s disheartening to know that the authorities have basically shut the door on it.” He even sent the code to a cryptographer, who, after looking over the solution, said that it appeared “not valid,” according to Starliper. “That really ticked me off,” he said. “With a code that constantly changes a pattern ... you can’t attack it using brute force. There are people who have tried. Out of all of the solutions that I’ve seen this one has the highest readability and probability for accuracy that I’ve ever come across.” What Starliper hopes to do is to apply his number patterns to the other unsolved ciphers that Zodiac sent to the police. “What I really mean to do by cracking these codes ... my main goal, is to figure out, for one, exactly who did it, and to bring peace to the families of at least some of Zodiac’s suspected victims,” he said. - belmont-ca.patch


Cape Cod man delves into sea serpent mystery

During the 1800s and early 1900s eyewitness reports and newspaper articles about a sea serpent in the waters off Gloucester and the South Shore abounded. The serpent, said to be 100-feet in length, so fascinated folks that a scientific commission was formed to study it.

No credible explanation for the accounts ever surfaced and in the last 60 years there has been little mention of the creature.

But a man looking out his enormous plate glass windows that provide a panoramic view of Nauset Beach may have unraveled the mystery late last month.

Edward “Kin” Carmody, who lives on Callanan’s Pass on a bluff overlooking the beach, is a talkative, engaging man who has found time for various hobbies since he retired as a top marketing man for Kraft Foods 10 years ago. And if he isn’t working in his garden or creating new varieties of day lilies he’ll relax by sitting in a particular white wicker chair in his living room, look out at the Atlantic and watch for whale spouts. And on June 29 around 3 p.m. he saw something that is now etched in his memory.

“I saw, slightly to left,” he said pointing, his binoculars on the table beside him. “Quite a commotion of whales.”

He knew they were minke whales because they have a dorsal fin.

That was when he saw a common animal exhibit and uncommon behavior. It was a behavior that just may explain why people over the centuries have sworn they have seen a snakelike creature swimming in the water.

“As soon as I saw it I said ‘Oh my God, that may be the answer to a 1,000-year old mystery’,” Carmody recalled.

Then taking out a pad of paper on a recent sunny morning he sketched out what he saw that day: a chain of minke whales, nose to tail, whose backs looked much like the coils of the iconic sea serpent.

“They were in a chain line, they curved. It was synchronized exactly,” he said. “It was just like a gigantic snake.”

And then he pulled out another drawing.

“That is the classic sea monster that people see,” Carmody said, having quickly sketched the undulating body and dragon-like head.

The obvious difference between the two pictures is the missing head and tail in the whale drawing, but, said Carmody, the mind is a powerful thing. It will often create what you want to see, as evidenced by various mind games where your brain fills in missing words and the famous unreliability of eyewitness accounts.

First he thought the six, maybe eight, whales were playing, but then thought that was something that happened often. This ritual would need to be unusual, so he believes it may determine who the leader of the pod will be.

“That’s my hypothesis,” he said.

Scott Landry, director of the disentanglement program for Provincetown Center for Coastal Studies, said there are an abundance of minke whales around. But, he explained after the caveat that the whales are poorly studied, they are usually solitary creatures – mainly because they have to eat so much a day – and don’t have a herd structure.

Still, it’s quite possible that the minke whales were in a group because there was a lot of fish or sand lance around. The line could have been “coincidental,” Landry said.

Sightings such as Carmody’s are probably one of the reasons myths develop, he added.
Carmody’s fascination with the sight may have stemmed in part from his knowledge of paleontology, another of his hobbies. (In fact he has a few fossils in his basement.) He knows there is no fossil record of anything resembling a sea serpent and he also knows that when snakes swim they swim left to right, just as they coast across the land. They don’t propel themselves up and down as a sea serpents have been depicted.

Carmody isn’t professing that he is made one of the greatest scientific discoveries of the century; he is in fact concerned, he admitted with a chuckle, that his wife will be less than pleased that he has given folks the opportunity to say he is a little nutty. But there has been nothing that has been able to explain why so many people have thought they have seen a sea serpent.

Until now perhaps. - wixkedlocal


Ethical rules needed to curb 'Frankenstein-like experiments' on animals

A new report into experiments which transplant human cells into animals for medical purposes said scientists may not be far from giving apes the ability to think and talk like humans.

Concerns about the creation of talking apes should be taken seriously along with "what one might call the 'Frankenstein fear' that the medical research which creates 'humanised' animals is going to generate monsters", it was claimed.

A regulatory body is needed to closely monitor any experiments that risk creating animals with human-like consciousness, spawning hybrid human-animal embryos, or giving animals any appearance or behavioural traits that too closely resemble humans, the report said.

Scientists would, for example, be prevented from replacing a large number of an ape's brain with human cells – as has already been done in simpler animals like mice – until much more is known about the potential results.

Under the new guidelines the power to regulate tests on animals containing human material would be transferred to a body with wider responsibility for animal testing within the Home Office.

While there is no risk from experiments currently being carried out in Britain, it is possible that without careful scrutiny ethical boundaries could be crossed within the next few years, the experts said.

Professor Thomas Baldwin, a member of the Academy of Medical Sciences working group that produced the report, said the possibility of humanised apes should be taken seriously.

He said: "The fear is that if you start putting very large numbers of human brain cells into the brains of primates suddenly you might transform the primate into something that has some of the capacities that we regard as distinctively human.. speech, or other ways of being able to manipulate or relate to us.

"These possibilities that are at the moment largely explored in fiction we need to start thinking about now."

The warning echoes the new film Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes, in which scientists searching for an Alzheimer's cure create a new breed of ape with human-like intelligence.

Prof Martin Bobrow, chair of the Academy working group that produced the report, said: "The very great majority of experiments present no issues beyond the general use of animals in research and these should proceed under current regulation.

"A limited number of experiments should be permissible subject to scrutiny by the expert body we recommend; and a very limited range should not be undertaken, at least until the potential consequences are more fully understood."

Lord Willis, chair of the Association of Medical Research Charities, said: "AMRC only supports research that is absolutely necessary and where no suitable alternative methods are available.

"New techniques to incorporate human cells or genetic information into animal models have the potential to find solutions to conditions that are currently life threatening or debilitating, and the Academy’s proposals will give scientists that opportunity without compromising tough regulation." - telegraph


Roswell UFO Controversy: Former Air Force Officer Says Gen. Ramey Lied To Cover Up Space Ship Crash

The Roswell UFO controversy may be 64 years old, but it shows no sign of heading into retirement.

One thing we know for sure: On July 8, 1947, the front page of the Roswell Daily Record proclaimed that a flying saucer had been captured by the Roswell Army Air Field.

The U.S. Air Force had issued a press release that day stating that a flying saucer had been "captured," and startling photos were released of soldiers examining bizarre metallic objects.

Then the controversy began. At a press conference later that day in Ft. Worth, Texas, Air Force Brig. Gen. Roger Ramey essentially recanted the entire story, announcing instead that the debris was simply pieces of a fallen weather balloon.

Speculation of what really happened has never truly ended. George Filer, a retired Air Force intelligence officer, told The Huffington Post that he believes Ramey was forced to lie about the Roswell incident. Continue reading at Roswell UFO Controversy: Former Air Force Officer Says Gen. Ramey Lied To Cover Up Space Ship Crash


New Information to be Revealed at UFO Conference in K.C.

Speakers will present new testing results on UFO site artifacts at the Midwest UFO Conference August 27, 2011 at Unity Temple on the Plaza, 707 W 47th Street, Kansas City, Missouri 64112 from 9:00 AM to 9:30 PM.

Kansas City, MO (PRWEB) July 21, 2011

The Midwest UFO Conference will be held August 27, 2011 at Unity Temple on the Plaza, 707 W 47th Street, Kansas City, Missouri 64112 from 9:00 AM to 9:30 PM. National speakers will lecture on the UFO phenomena, and popular vendors will have UFO and related products for sale.

The conference is sponsored by UFO Midwest Magazine, with members of Kansas and Missouri MUFON volunteering at the event. Editor Margie Kay expects a large turnout this year due to the recent increase of UFO sightings nationwide.

Speakers and topics include Dennis Balthaser, retired Civil Engineer, “Scrutinizing Roswell, Area 51, Underground Bases and the Pyramids of Giza”; Grant Cameron, UFO researcher,“Roswell, UFOs, Myths, Conspiracies and Realities - The Rest of the story”; Debbie Ziegelmeyer, State Director of Missouri MUFON, “Missouri UFO Investigations”; Art Campbell, author and UFO researcher, “New San Augustin Crash Evidence”; Chuck Zukowski, ex-deputy Sheriff, “Roswell Debris Site Investigative Procedures and Artifact Analysis”; and Margie Kay, Editor of UFO Midwest Magazine, “2012 – is a Global Change Coming?” Much information will be presented for the first time at this conference.

Todd Sheets, host of Nightwatch Radio Show, will MC the event. The conference will be filmed by Benchmark Investigation Group, and DVD's will be available for purchase. - benzinga