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Kryptos is a sculpture / encrypted puzzle located at CIA headquarters in Langley, VA.
It was designed by sculptor James Sanborn and retired CIA cryptographer Edward M. Scheidt.
It was created in the early 90's, and withstood scrutiny for many years. It was only in the late 90's that it gave up some of its secrets.
Parts 1-3 were solved independently by Jim Gillogly, a computer programmer, and David Stein, a CIA analyst.
However, part 4 has remained a mystery, refusing to give up its secrets... till now...
Part 4's initial metaphorical solution was found by John B. Wilson, on 5 Sept 2003, and details have been emerging ever since.
Kryptos is composed of several different layers. It uses 4 main types of encoding.
Sec.0 - Morse
Sec.1 - Vigenère
Sec.2 - Vigenère
Sec.3 - Modular Transposition / Row-Column Transposition
Sec.4 - Metaphorical (inc. Cipher Wheel, M-94?) and possibly some other...
There are numerous clues and hints throughout the sculpture and slabs.
0th Section: (Kryptos sculpture + Other stones)
The Kryptos sculpture has two "pages", a cipher side and a Vigenère tableau side.
|Cipher side||Tableau side|
Other elements around the Kryptos sculpture:
Jim Gillogly's Kryptos Pictures, including the Kryptos sculpture, compass, and Morse code segments
Compass, needle attracted by lodestone, south-end pointing approx. 15-30 degrees N of E
Several 4-layered stone blocks/slabs, 2 of which are on either end of a small pond
Pyramid design on corner of a "kite/shield-shaped" block
A couple of large colored (one white, one reddish-brown) stones near the sculpture itself
Morse code phrases on copper plate covering part of granite slabs:
. . ...- .. .-. - ..- .- .-.. .-.. -.-- . | . . . . . . .. -. ...- .. ... .. -... .-.. .
e e V I R T U A L L Y e | e e e e e e I N V I S I B L E
-.. .. --. . - .- .-.. . . . | .. -. - . .-. .--. .-. . - .- - .. -cut
D I G E T A L e e e | I N T E R P R E T A T I -?
D I G e T A L E e e | I N T E R P R E T A T I -?
. . ... .... .- -.. --- .-- . . | ..-. --- .-. -.-. . ... . . . . .
e e S H A D O W e e | F O R C E S e e e e e
.-.. ..- -.-. .. -.. . . . | -- . -- --- .-. -.-- .
L U C I D e e e | M E M O R Y e
- .. ... -.-- --- ..- .-. | .--. --- ... .. - .. --- -.
T I S Y O U R | P O S I T I O N
... --- ...
S O S
The Morse code lines on the individual slabs appear to be parallel to one another, but not necessarily parallel to lines on the other slab.
The following are the decryptions of the main Kryptos sculpture:
1st Section (Poetry)
|BETWEEN SUBTLE SHADING AND THE ABSENCE OF LIGHT LIES THE NUANCE OF IQLUSION|
2nd Section A (Secret Message) - HardCoded Version on Sculpture
|IT WAS TOTALLY INVISIBLE HOWS THAT POSSIBLE ? THEY USED THE EARTHS MAGNETIC FIELD X THE INFORMATION WAS GATHERED AND TRANSMITTED UNDERGRUUND TO AN UNKNOWN LOCATION X DOES LANGLEY KNOW ABOUT THIS ? THEY SHOULD ITS BURIED OUT THERE SOMEWHERE X WHO KNOWS THE EXACT LOCATION ? ONLY W_W THIS WAS HIS LAST MESSAGE X THIRTY EIGHT DEGREES FIFTY SEVEN MINUTES SIX POINT FIVE SECONDS NORTH SEVENTY SEVEN DEGREES EIGHT MINUTES FORTY FOUR SECONDS WEST ID BY ROW_S|
2nd Section B (Secret
Message) - Corrected Version *Sanborn Apr 19, 2006*
|IT WAS TOTALLY INVISIBLE HOWS THAT POSSIBLE ? THEY USED THE EARTHS MAGNETIC FIELD X THE INFORMATION WAS GATHERED AND TRANSMITTED UNDERGRUUND TO AN UNKNOWN LOCATION X DOES LANGLEY KNOW ABOUT THIS ? THEY SHOULD ITS BURIED OUT THERE SOMEWHERE X WHO KNOWS THE EXACT LOCATION ? ONLY W_W THIS WAS HIS LAST MESSAGE X THIRTY EIGHT DEGREES FIFTY SEVEN MINUTES SIX POINT FIVE SECONDS NORTH SEVENTY SEVEN DEGREES EIGHT MINUTES FORTY FOUR SECONDS WEST X LAYER TWO|
Sec.2 is solved by using the primary keyword KRYPTOS with the
secondary keyword ABSCISSA, using Vigenère decoding.
ABSCISSA keyword hinted at by examining the 1st letters of the K1 Poem - ABSence,light=C,Iqlusion,Subtle Shading,And
UNDERGROUND is misspelled as UNDERGRUUND
*Note* On Apr 19, 2006, Sanborn went through some of his notes and saw that well-known K2 solution had the wrong ending (ID BY ROW_S). He informed Elonka that one of the X's that appear in the K2 plaintext was missing after the word WEST. By simply inserting the extra character (S in CT, which leads to X in PT), the correct ending is revealed (X LAYER TWO). That one gets sensible text from the omission is quite a coincidence (on the order of being staggering if it was indeed random) for Vigenere encryption.
3rd Section (Howard Carter @ Tutankhamen's Tomb, 26 Nov 1922)
|SLOWLY DESPARATLY SLOWLY THE REMAINS OF PASSAGE DEBRIS THAT ENCUMBERED THE LOWER PART OF THE DOORWAY WAS REMOVED WITH TREMBLING HANDS I MADE A TINY BREACH IN THE UPPER LEFT HAND CORNER AND THEN WIDENING THE HOLE A LITTLE I INSERTED THE CANDLE AND PEERED IN THE HOT AIR ESCAPING FROM THE CHAMBER CAUSED THE FLAME TO FLICKER BUT PRESENTLY DETAILS OF THE ROOM WITHIN EMERGED FROM THE MIST X CAN YOU SEE ANYTHING Q (?)|
4th Section (The Krypt)
Kryptos Proposed Metaphorical Solution:
Yes, Wonderful Things!...
Sec.4 can be metaphorically solved by using a metaphorical
decoding: Reread the section 3 decryption as instructions, then carry them out on section 4.
The primary keyword is KRYPTOS,
QUA crypt, and the secondary keyword is CANDLE. The
? is the "doorway" between sections 3 and
4, and is the position where the "tiny breach" is made. Part of the
instructions resemble the use of an M-94 Cipher Wheel (notice the single M at
pos 94 in the final section, reading R-to-L)
Since this section is non-standard, I will give a little more explanation.
The various keywords are "hidden" throughout the sculpture and other pieces. Each section has clues for solving the next section.
(0) There is a plainly visible Vigenère table with primary keyword KRYPTOS. The entire sculpture appears like an ancient scroll or PALIMPSEST.
(1) The decrypted poem of section 1 leads to ABSCISSA by examining the first letters of the poem.
(2) The decrypted secret message of section 2 gives the hint ID-BY-ROWS, as well as references to "TUT" in the first letters of the words.
(3) The decrypted account of Tut's Tomb Discovery of section 3 can be reread metaphorically as instructions to carry out on the last section.
(4) The decrypted "Krypt" of section 4, when combined with a "source" document, is revealed as a digital hieroglyphic scroll.
The main point here is that there are clues to the decoding of each section, which are found in the preceding sections.
Also, the Morse code phrases are important clues for solving section 4.
The main clues that section 4 is a virtual crypt and recreation of the opening of King Tut's tomb are as follows:
KRYPTOS - Meaning hidden/cryptogram/code/crypt --> KRYPTOS QUA KRYPT! Kryptos is a crypt!
Jagged edges (rubble) above a smooth 4-row section (the tomb) on right edge.
There are clues in each section for decrypting the next section. Assume that this continues to hold for Sec.4...
Each decrypted section can be reread metaphorically to pertain to a single event - the opening of a hidden crypt, Kryptos itself!
The keywords hint at the use of section 4 as an interactive PALIMPSEST by using the ABSCISSA "x-coordinate" and "cutting away" concept..
The word "DIG" at the bottom.
Begin by treating section 3 as instructions for decoding section 4...
The superscript chars (YA_R) are the opening to the passageway to the tomb.
There is a symbolic "RQ" compass and lodestone in encrypted section 4, which indicate the correct position to insert the CANDLE.
The "SOS" message is very near this location as well, mirroring the "tiny breach" where the real "SOS" phrase is.
It is only after the metaphoric instructions are followed that "details emerge from the MIST..."
Can you see anything? - LOOK!
There is multiple metaphoric use of all clues, hints, keywords, and decryptions.
Ultimately, Kryptos is both a virtual crypt and a virtual hieroglyphic scroll, the inner code mirroring the outer structure.
There are details which can be found in decrypted section 4 that mirror the text from the "Ancient Egypt" source document.
The M-94 cipher wheel analogy of turning the letters in Sec.4, which has it's only "M" at position 94 is highly coincidental.
Mathematical analysis of the sec.3 decoding shows that only 1-of-113,569 possible ways give the particular encoded details which are in the source document.
Although it is easy to fall prey to the "Bible Codes" fallacy, in this case we are dealing with only 869 characters, essentially a part of a page, not a whole book.
The statistics are positive, not random chance.
Finally, the solution form was intuitively guessed before the actions were carried out, i.e., I knew it was going to work before I did it! ... and it works!
The words/symbols were all "totally visible", but "virtually invisible", until the context of the solution was known.
From a few pages further (from the quote in K3) in "The Tomb of Tut*Ankh*Amen": Surely never before in the whole history of excavation had such an amazing sight been seen as the light of our torch revealed to us... Let him [the reader, or in this case, the decrypter] imagine how they appeared to us as we looked down upon them from our spy-hole in the blocked doorway, casting the beam of light from our torch -- the first light that had pierced the darkness of the chamber for three thousand years -- from one group of objects to another, in a vain attempt to interpret the treasure that lay before us.
The fact that the very suggestive words TUT, COFFINS, GOLD, EGYPT, & maybe ANUBIS don't exist until after you follow the instructions and insert the CANDLE, etc. gives great credit to the theory that KRYPTOS is indeed a virtual crypt. Further strengths are that A,I,R can be found directly under the inserted CANDLE, causing it to flicker, and that the M,I,S,T rises to the "T is your position" observation point at letter "T", just in front of the candle, as in the real tomb, again with emphasis on the M-94.
|Kryptos is the virtual recreation of the opening of King Tut's Tomb. Tut is encrypted, in both senses (cryptographically and metaphorically). It is very clever.|
see *John's KRYPTOS Part 4 Solution* for coffins and King Tut + a lot more...
Kryptos in the Turkish News
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