Secret Theories

Jim Sanborn said,

“The greatest chart we have for decoding is the Rosetta Stone.  Cracking that code gave us the ability to understand an ancient language.  What the CIA does now, as far as encoding and decoding, is a very similar kind of sleuthing: word sleuthing as opposed to physical sleuthing.”

Word Sleuthing.

The Rosetta Stone had a single text inscribed three times in multiple languages.  Knowing the first two provided a means of interpreting the last.  Imagine, conversely, inscribing a single text once with multiple meanings.  If one could hide the meaning, or the existence of alternate meanings, we would be confronted with steganography.  If those words were reused with different meanings, we would have a palimpsest.  A palimpsest of word meanings.  Words reused.

Ed Scheidt discusses with Nova ScienceNow how the art of steganography is hiding the notion that a secret message exists at all.

Word sleuthing.

“Between subtle shading and the absence of light lies the nuance of illusion.” means: Between my ambiguity in word meanings and your ignorance of my technique, you are deceived into interpreting the deciphered Kryptos text at face value.

“Of the part that’s been decoded already there is certain ambiguity in the last few sentences and it’s been open to interpretation, as has the whole piece.” – Jim Sanborn.

Howard Carter’s journal means something different too:

“Slowly, disparately (sp?) slowly, the remains of passage debris that encumbered the lower part of the doorway was removed…”

The ciphertext is considered a passage of text.  K4, the unsolved part of Kryptos, is debris, and it is to be removed.  This is why all attempts at cracking K4 has failed.  K4 does not exist as 97, 98, or even 100 letters.  K4 does not exist in the text at the bottom of the sculpture. However, the text isn’t simply to be disregarded as useless debris.  Even debris comes from something once constructed!  There is an algorithm of applying that text as a tableau grid over the oddly-worded K2 (and other sections) to create a null cipher. A cipher where overlapping characters are removed. Those letters are passage debris, and ultimately, debris gets removed.  It gets discarded.

Identify the debris.

“When you use the last part and you get the solution you should take out all the spaces and run [the remaining characters] all together.” – Jim Sanborn (2009) (in response to an inquiry as to whether or not he would acknowledge a solution posted online.  See Null-Cipher Theories posted in dozens of forums since 2004)

“With trembling hands, I made a tiny breach in the upper left-hand corner…” refers to the raised letters of the K3 ciphertext.

A breach, as in a break-through.  A breach, as in a discovery.  A breach, as in compromising a relatively secure system — those raised letters in the upper left-hand corner of “Layer Two.”

“And then, widening the hole a little, I inserted the candle and peered in…” means:  We apply the Null Cipher Technique.  We shed light on the true meanings of the deciphered text.

“The hot air escaping from the chamber caused the flame to flicker…” could imply a chamber of people — officials, perhaps — an organization.  A flame is a criticism or violent, intense passion.  The flicker harks back to the raised letters as actual, physical portions of the new text as a guide (or grain of Kryptos Sand).

“‘Kryptos brought me back to my first love. Like my childhood programming days, I was once again free to pursue a challenge that didn’t have the limitations of ‘this is how to do it’,” Phillips told The Guardian in 2005.  (continuing) “Mr Sanborn admits he would feel a tinge of regret if Kryptos is solved.”

Regret that people finally figured out his puzzle?  Regret for what the message says?  Perhaps a flame against the CIA?

“But presently, details of the room within emerged from the mist.”  Mist is an ambiguous term that implies something obscured or hidden from meaning or view.  In context, it means “a hidden document.”

“I’ve made a statement which is straightforward, but that leads to something else. There’s another deeper mystery. As you peel off a layer of an onion, the myst – you get closer to the heart of what it is. And so y’know I just wanted to make it…  you had to go deeper and decipher something else. It’s in English, it’s in plain English, it’s in text, and you can read it, but that isn’t necessarily the whole story.” – Jim Sanborn

“Can you see anything?”

It is certain that we could be understanding the real power of art and Sanborn’s disposition as a Natural Scientist toward certain philosophies of institution.

“[The sculpture] could corrupt, somehow…” – Jim Sanborn.

“Just knowing Jim – in talking to Jim, he has philosophies that he would like to portray, and this is a medium for him to do that.” – Ed Scheidt

Details of this theory forthcoming.

Kryptos Employs a Fibonacci Sequence?

Does that CIA Sculpture, Kryptos, employ a Fibonacci Cipher?  Vorlath, a.k.a. “Krazy Kryptos,” has been spinning his Kryptos wheels for some time now.  He proposes at his blog that the misspellings in Kryptos are a clue to be used in conjunction with the misaligned letters of K3.  The position of those misspellings form a Fibonacci Sequence as observed by other sleuths years ago.

What Vorlath suggests is that endYAhR (capital letters depicted here are actually raised letters in the sculpture) is a reversed Fibonacci sequence.  Matter-of-factly, he is correct, and I think the correlation between this and the misspellings is noteworthy if nothing more than one of the hundred thousand insignificant coincidences we could fine in the sculpture.  However, there are other anomalies that suggest “a reverse” of something.  We have the backward ciphertext or tableau.  We have “Antipodes (look up the meaning),” the CIA sculpture’s sister sculpture at the Hirshhorn Museum, and we’re aware of other oddities that may tie a Reverse Fibonacci Sequence into Kryptos.

When Sanborn asked, “Has anyone figured out what those are?  They’re important,” he implied that the misaligned letters could be interpreted with some finality (not to imply certainty) that leads us into the entire algorithm that unlocks the cipher known the world over as K4.  Is, “Yes, Mr. Sanborn, we know what those are.  Now what?” get us any closer to the answers?  I certainly think it’s worth the effort to pursue at this point in time.

Go check out Krazy Kryptos’ recent article: “K3 DYAHR Curiosity

and then peruse the rest of his blog to see the untamed inner-workings of a person who loves puzzles.

Unexplained Metaphor & Other Kryptos Oddities

A new topic at explores “Unexplained Metaphor,” which can be found within the pages of “In-Depth Analysis.”  Discover some of the stranger anomalies in Kryptos.  In his Exhibition catalog for the Covert Obsolescence Installation, James Sanborn said, “Metaphor has always been important to me.  Petrified trees and fossils were once moving, growing, and living, but have been somehow transfixed — turned to stone.”

The Internet is flooded with old, rehashed information about Kryptos, and this section of the web site is intended to look at the more obscure elements of the CIA sculpture.  For example, did Jim Sanborn sign his artwork?  Find out here.

Disinformation or Lazy Maintenance?

Many rumours about Kryptos flood the Internet.  It is difficult to distinguish between fact and fiction when it comes to the sculpture, especially to those who have only recently been exposed to it.  A new document entitled “Misconceptions” at will attempt to track some of the more widespread claims about Kryptos and distinguish truth from deception through articles and sources directly produced from James Sanborn’s own words.  Much of the disinformation about the sculpture — or Misinformation — is not a product of intentional misdirection, rather it is often attributed to earlier perceptions of Kryptos that has since become outdated or reformed in light of more precise focus over time.

For example, Kryptos Part Three (k3), is commonly understood to be encoded by a Triple or Keyed Columnar Transposition.  A decade ago, that was anyone’s best guess, and it seemed elegant at the time.  Since then, a much simpler, artistic cipher called a Double Rotation Transposition has been demonstrated to also be the solution to that part of the code, and it makes the old technique seem overly-complicated and confusing.  This is one such example of new information that is difficult to discover online because of the overwhelming number of references to outdated material.

One way to stay abreast of new information is to subscribe to the network blog RSS feed (comments can also be subscribed on an individual-article basis through the web site) and to bookmark as your up-to-date source for Kryptos Sculpture information.  We know you’re busy cracking the code, so we’ll make sure you’re informed with the latest breaking news and discoveries.

Gary Phillips writes about Kryptos, the sculpture at CIA Headquarters in Langley, Virginia, at his web site

Sanborn’s CIA Sculpture: Kryptos Copperplate posted a new article this week about the origins of the Kryptos Copperplate.  Learn about the font Sanborn purchased for his CIA sculpture, and discover the methods he used to cut out nearly 2,000 characters in the Kryptos Copper Scroll.  Find out how one researcher extracted that font from dozens of photographs in 2005 and the techniques required to remaster the entire Kryptos Font in 2009.

The font, which includes both monospaced characters and a complete International Morse Code set, can be downloaded for free.

The history of the Kryptos Copperplate is revealed by a group of Kryptos Enthusiasts who met with Sanborn in 2005.

Sanborn’s CIA Kryptos Sculpture in Time Magazine

An excerpt from a Time Magazine (Grapevine) article published Sunday, June 24, 2001 and reported by David Ellis has been referenced in the network: CIA Kryptos Sculpture by Sanborn: Time Magazine (Tribute to Information)

The original story can be found at Time (Grapevine).

Kryptos Sculpture in The Wall Street Journal

An excerpt from The Wall Street Journal entitled CIA Sculpture ‘Kryptos’ Draws Mystery Lovers originally published Friday, May 27, 2005 and authored by John D. McKinnon has been referenced in the network: CIA Kryptos Sculpture by Sanborn: Wall Street Journal

The original article can be found at The Wall Street Journal Online and the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.  The Wall Street Journal lists this article under an alternate title: The Secret Passages In CIA’s Backyard Draw Mystery Lovers

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