Parasystole, Standing Waves

Known as ponderingman on YouTube, this Kryptos new-comer suggests that the raised letters YA and R are markers referring to the plaintext characters in those same positions.

Those letters would be WL and D from the following:


Furthermore, he suggests a reason for the misspelling of DESPERATELY.  By removing the W, L, and D (raised letters) from the plaintext, we get a possible new keyword, if somewhat out of order:



Jim’s talks about standing waves and layers gives this idea some credence.

Apex of Kryptos

“No, [Ed Sheidt] doesn’t know the solution.   I made that very clear that I didn’t want him to be able to decipher what’s going on … that I’d be modifying systems and developing my own, which would make it virtually impossible for him to decipher all of it. I intended the 80 percent (of the text) that’s been deciphered to be deciphered and to be deciphered in stages and relatively quickly. The final part is obviously the, you know, the apex of the pyramid there.”

– Jim Sanborn in WIRED

Here is a picture of the apex of the pyramid.  Perhaps it just doesn’t exist.

The Apex is invisble or just doesn't exist.

Published in: on October 17, 2010 at 7:39 pm  Comments (1)  
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Kryptos, Pyramid, Obelisk

From wikipedia: Obelisk

The obelisk symbolized the sun god Ra, and during the brief religious reformation of Akhenaten was said to be a petrified ray of the Aten, the sundisk. It was also thought that the god existed within the structure.

It is hypothesized by New York University Egyptologist Patricia Blackwell Gary and Astronomy senior editor Richard Talcott that the shapes of the ancient Egyptian pyramid and obelisk were derived from natural phenomena associated with the sun (the sun-god Ra being the Egyptians’ greatest deity).[5] The pyramid and obelisk might have been inspired by previously overlooked astronomical phenomena connected with sunrise and sunset: the zodiacal light and sun pillars respectively.

Does this not sound like Jim Sanborn’s description of the Corcoran installation?!

The Corcoran installation had some references to Greek mythology. There was a freestanding cylinder in the center of the room that was totally perforated with encoded text. Half of the cylinder was perforated text dealing with CIA operations. The other half of the cylinder dealt with KGB operations. The two existed side by side. A pinpoint light inside the cylinder projected these encoded texts, including the word Medusa, which was embedded in the texts, over the inside of the gallery, so that they covered every inch of its surface. It created an effect where Medusa’s gaze, represented by these bright texts, fell over one’s body as one walked through the room. There was a petrified tree in the room, a tree that had turned into stone. I felt as if the projected light was a visible ray that was as toxic as the information on that cylinder. It was a transformation from a text written to a text projected to a text that became toxic when it touched your body.

(Atomic Time book excerpt)

(see APEX of Kryptos Blog for more connections between Kryptos and Obelisks)

Phantom Key in the Water?

A significant clue to solving K3 may be discovered by looking into the whirlpool at the base of the Kryptos Tableau.  Sanborn mentioned in his 1989 letter to CIA Agency employees that he “also uses another symbol; water.  In a small pool on the plaza, partly surrounded by the copper plate, water will be turbulent and provocative…”  He later describes this movement of water as representative of the dissemination of information.  Water is central to the composition of his work.  “…between two massive outcroppings, water will be calm, reflective, contemplative.”

What would one see when peering into the swirling water?  If the surface is reflective, a phantom image would appear inside the well.  Depending on the viewer’s angle, either the Vigenere Tableau or the Kryptos ciphertext would appear as though it were inside this basin.  It would also have the appearance of some force attempting to twist or turn the text.

We now know that k3 is a rotational transposition.  Does this mean an agent in the field would be trained to discover a key or method by peering into water?  Looking into the whirlpool, a tableau appears to start turning.  What is reflected in the calm “reflection pool?”  Is there a key in that coy pond?  Consistent with the theme of Kryptos, the images appearing in the mirror-like surface of water gives the illusion that an alternate space exists below that surface — a space that doesn’t exist except through the antipodes of that which exists above it.  Could the water be drained from these containment areas, no phantom would exist.



Pad to 24 x 14 and rotate clockwise 90 degrees:


Pad into 8 columns, then rotate 90 degrees clockwise again:


Published in: on July 3, 2010 at 11:38 pm  Comments (4)  
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Details of the Room Within

Details of the room within emerged from the mist x can you see anything Q?


Details of the room within emerged from the missed X?  The missed X, when put back in, reveals “Layer Two.”  Can you see anything Q?

A mask layer with holes at the X’s reveals an answer to this question when placed over the breached Q in the upper left-hand corner.  The underlying characters are YES QQQ.

Can you see anything Q? Yes QQQ.

This masking technique may explain why K2 is worded so strangely — the official explanation being that it was designed to sound like a Morse Code transmission.  Could it be that k2 was forced after a mask was used to position characters at certain locations in the ciphertext?

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.

The Kryptos Project

Gary Phillips, the author of the “Kryptos Revisited” web site monitors various Kryptos-Sculpture-related web sites, blogs, and news sources to give you the best in originality and usefulness.  One web site that has stood as a beacon of information in the vast sea of endless Kryptos references is “The Kryptos Project” by Jew-Lee Lann.

Please visit her web site for original Kryptos sources at

This professional source is now among the other “Kryptos Revisited” recommended sites:

Material in Final Review

The research group will be releasing new information on a regular basis through Kryptos Revisited and related external web sites.  The group consists of Kryptos professionals and experienced enthusiasts who have volunteered their time and resources to compiling information related to Jim Sanborn’s CIA Sculpture, Kryptos.  New theories and possible insights to the sculpture will be reported along with interactive tools for public use.

Although the group is closed to invitation, you may direction questions to (remove dashes).

Gary Warzin’s Palimpsest Theory

Gary Warzin’s 2001 Palimpsest Theory has been reproduced as a permanent mirror (in memoriam) at!

Discover how this Kryptos enthusiast used Jim Gillogly’s CIA Sculpture report in conjunction with Simon Singh’s “The Code Book” to develop a theory about K4.  Warzin claims that Kryptos is a physical palimpsest with underlying alphabet characters from the Vigenere Tableau peeking through.

CNN B-Roll Transcript (June 2005)

A previously concealed B-Roll transcript from CNN Interviews in June 2005 has been made available at  The transcript was compiled and edited by CNN’s Justine Redman (producer) and Elonka Dunin.

Sanborn discusses details of his CIA Sculpture “Kryptos,” and reveals new information about clues leading up to K4.  He also discloses actual techniques and concepts about k4, noting how it might fit in to the rest of the puzzle.

Read the original transcript here.

Serpentine Yin-Yang: The Ribbon

Over the course of time, ideas about the nature of Kryptos becomes convoluted.  Every good researcher maintains a notebook with facts stripped of conjecture, and my notebook happened to be within arm’s reach of my laptop this morning.  Sifting through the organized collection of material I’ve collected about the CIA sculpture over the years, my eyes were drawn to a particular page with large words written on them.  In haste, and considering that the single-page document was compiled in several dozen sessions of study, sources were vague.  However, there is enough information present to trace these words back to Jim Sanborn himself, given the time to complete such a task.

The title of the page is “Jim Calls the Copper Scroll:” and is followed by this list (partially reconstructed here to focus on certain titles):

  • Yin-Yang (attributing it to balance)
  • Copper Ribbon (noting it furls from a tree that could represent a printer)
  • Serpentine
  • The Sculpture (distinguishing it from the other elements of his artwork at CIA)
  • The Source (of information that is disseminated into the whirling abyss below)

The mind has a way of automatically organizing its volumes of information over time, and “Copper Ribbon” brought several links to mind.  Suppose that petrified tree represents a typewriter, and the Ribbon represents its ribbon (as opposed to printer paper, the popular belief).  Typewriter ribbons are cyclic, which means they are reused by a single typewriter until the ink is diminished.  A ribbon is a prime example of a textual Palimpsest.  Evidence of previous writings can be found on a single ribbon, and a little detective work can result in decoding those plain messages.

“Copper Ribbon” is Jim Sanborn’s description of his sculpture.  When did this change?  Even he claims to have had loose lips in the early discussions, being ambiguous as to which interviews or publications.  “Copper Ribbon” comes from one of the earliest known official documentaries on his work at CIA.  This choice of terminology is what chooses to use, because it is one of the first, raw descriptions of what Sanborn did in that courtyard.  As a professional, you are urged to explore why it is you choose to describe works such as Kryptos in the way you do, and to be ready to answer when it all comes together.

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.

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