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.

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.

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.

The World’s Most Famous Palimpsest

You were thinking Archimede’s palimpsest?  As of this writing, August 6, 2009, you might be correct.  Within a few short days, you will be mistaken.

Ladies and Gentlemen, I can not contain my silence any longer.  I’ve been given the “go ahead.”  Keep an eye on, because in a few short days a very powerful secret about the CIA’s sculpture, “Kryptos” will be revealed.  Here is what you will learn:

…who it is that made the discovery and why this researcher was chosen to reveal it.

…what, exactly, is buried out there that Langley should know about and after twenty years still does not.

…the meaning of the coordinates and the steganography sought out for so many years.

…what exactly was totally invisible, how it was made invisible, and how it will hereafter forever be made visible.

…what information was gathered and transmitted underground, and where exactly that place is.

…how the earth’s magnetic field was used.

…the ultimate lesson for the CIA that could “change personalities,” cause them to “think less seriously about what is encoded,” and give a new perspective on the history and installation of this world famous puzzle.

…how this may give new insight into what k4 really is and why it has not been solved.

This is, perhaps, the final layer of the puzzle that was likely not meant to be discovered except by a rare chance or occurrence of an event that has not occurred.  This event would be what Jim Sanborn refers to as why Kryptos is slowly unraveling itself.  Fortunately for all of us, we don’t have to wait for this chance event to occur.  I will make it happen, and you will see it clearly for yourself with the aid of skilled manipulation.

The gears are now in motion, and without further announcement, at some future time that is already designated, that truth will be revealed, and the mystic chatter about Kryptos will ensue once again.  Get ready.  This is going to be big.

From the researcher who revealed Leonardo’s masterful encoding of the St. Bartholomew Chalice comes another revelation soon to be the world’s most famous palimpsest.

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.

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.

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