Deciphering the Cryptograms

A Preview Compilation of Ed Burns'
Trilogy Messages with their Decipherments

William Heirens' message written in red lipstick on the murder victim's beige wall

If LAPD's hush-hush Black Dahlia files do not contain all decipherment shown below, shame on 1947 LAPD!

First Note

Second Note

Translations of Messages
I/Ed or Heirens [is] Dahlia's now. Bet on George [Murman] / Heirens murdering her. Letter to follow.

Elizabeth Short and Ed B. are in a triangle.

Ed, George [Murman], and Betty are in a triangle.

Bett was killed and bisected in The Hirsh Apts.

Elizabeth Short and Ed B. were in a triangle

Heirens, George Murman, and Suzanne Degnan, in parallel w' Ed. Had Murder Man fun at police: Ed Burns murdering Suzanne Degnan [while] George Murman/Heirens murdered the Black Dahlia.

Ed, the Dahlia and [Degnan Hero] George Murman were in a triangle. Ed "won" and. to proclaim victory, displayed the Black Dahlia remains in a Degnan Boulevard lovers lane.

Have [regained] my mind, you/LAPD. [This was] not George Murman and Suzanne Degnan. Dahlia murder I did was just, if I [am] Ed.

I/Ed killed and bisected the Dahlia in a hotel at 300 East Washington.

Have changed my mind [about] why you would not give me sex.
[Your] murder, which I committed, was justified.

First Stage Deciphering of First Two Messages
The 1st message contains an allusion to Heirens.

Here is

Then we have "Dahlia's," after we detour Ed's dangling-left quote ploy.1 In the jumble of purposeful disparity below this, three huge letters stand out. They were cut from the same letter block. The insertion mark above the huge N is a tab marker down here. The only other big datum down here is a zero, not an O. It says, "Head this way, and use letters exactly like the big N." So start with the large N at the tab . . . and N-O-W we have it. And now we see why Ed used the crummy-grammar "is." It bolstered the allusion, then was a true-message word. An "are" would've muddled the allusion and fogged the true meaning of this message. Ed did none of this by chance. He did it so the message would make the strange declaration:

Heirens [is] Dahlia's now.

The 1st message has more buried info than the line above. Rest of deciphering is on pages to follow.

The 2nd message ends with the vengeful word "Avenger." During the mid-to-late-1940s, "Avenger" conjured up "Grumman" as fast as "Hickory-Dickory" conjures up "Dock" So take "Grumman," an anagram if we ever saw one, switch the "r" and first "m" and there's Heirens' bad boy, George Murman.

G Murman

The mere word "Avenger" was encryption. Ed wrote the note by hand. This message implicitly and definitely makes the crazy statement:

Black Dahlia [was murdered by] G Murman AKA Heirens.

The 2nd message has more hidden info than the line above. Rest of deciphering is on pages to follow.

1Ed's left single-quote mark was part of his encryption, and it was a cunning ploy. He wanted color-blind cops using B-and-W dupes to know he'd out "Dahlia's" from a red Herald headline. Ed used the January 20 red print to insinuate that he'd begun his 1st message before he'd seen the January 22 Examiner. He did not want LAPD to know that the guy in the photos with Betty was now a murderer "gone postal" because the cops had picked up his scent, and had pics of him . . .

A Deeper Look into Ed's First Message
When we first scanned this message we knew we had a dummy with an embedded cipher right off the bat. If not, then why was the Degnan triumvirate palpably spookifying an up-front message? We spotted the Heirens allusion. We saw G and S. George Murman and Short/Suzanne Degnan, attached to opposite ends of the italicized "ing." Ed chose an italicized "ing" to spotlight G and S, and for another to-be-clear reason.

Xerox copy of Message
First Note (with  added lines)

After segueing from a Heirens allusion through a ready-to-use "Dahlia's" and an assembly-is-required "now" to sentence ending, we turned our mental radar on and rescoped the scene. We learned enough to draw lines that'll help us peer into Ed's cipher works. Our next unraveling spot will be at "GingS." Ed has George doing something to Short/Suzanne. Now what could that be? If we jump to a conclusion we'll be right, but let's let Ed's puzzle tell us. Insertion markers can point up or down. A "T" and a huge zero are directly and unrandomly below "ing." And "T" and the flat left side of the zero point upwards at "ing." The vectors intersect smack dab in the middle of "ing." It looks like "T" is winching zero up to fuse it with "ing." The fusing is what Ed wants us to see. So George is zeroing Short/Suzanne? Yes, where zeroing means offing, snuffing, rubbing out, killing her. And we've almost zeroed the cipher . . . We notice the "T's" tilt goofily in "Letter." The 1st "T" points directly at the wobbly-appearing "e" in "BeloNGingS": it says, "We belong together." The 2nd "T" points at the area between L and 0: it says, "After you insert, skip L." And the front edge of the "e" slab is an insertion marker aiming at the 1st "T": the dutiful slot between the "e" and L slabs shows where the "e" slab edge is aiming; the "e" slant emphasizes the function of the slab edge. So we have: "Bet on George killing Short/Suzanne." Because of previous work, and because Betty is now a Suzanne Degnan doll, we can pronoun the sentence to: "Bet on George murdering her." Second-stage decipherment of the 1st message is:

Heirens [is] Dahlia's now. Bet on George [Murman]/
Heirens murdering her. Letter to follow.

A Cleaner, Sharper Look into Ed's First Message

Let's get a cleaner, clearer copy of Ed's 1st message. OK . . . Now we'll see
whether or not we missed anything. Let's examine the top/address line; and we'll
deal with the suspicious shapes of  two slabs . . .

                                           Xerox Copy of Message 


     Does anything jump out at us from the top/address line? Yes . . . At least three
things. The word "OTHER" is strange. Why is this word conspicuously capitalized
and italicized? The encryptor wanted us to notice it and mull it over. OK . . . The
"O" is spaced to stand out from the other letters; and the "R" is oriented to stand
out. The encryptor wanted us to perceive "OR" as separate from "THE" . . . In
the "papers" we see a weird "p." We'll find a "p" in Ed's 2nd message which looks
just like this 1st message "p." Pretty peculiar . . .
     Now let's recheck the 2nd line. Look at words "Here" and "is": note that each
is intactly contained in a single newscutting slab, and that each of the two slabs has
a conspicuous pointer in the upper right corner. And we see that Ed the Encryptor
shaded each pointer. I'd say Ed did this to point peepers at pointers, and to more
clearly show where each pointer points. Hmmmm . . .
     And where does each pointer point? OK, I see . . . there, and there. And there
must be at least one more pointer directed into the address line . . . And I spy two
more: that versatile, bidirectional exclamatory device, and the single left quote. So
let's draw, and find out what Ed lined up for us . . .
     Ed's pointer targets are: "E," "i," "O," and "R." The contextual decipherment of
this is: "I/Ed or . . ." You and I know "E" means "Ed." Neither of us knew this on
receipt of Ed Burns' 1st message. But Ed's three messages comprise a trilogy, not
three unrelated messages. Several times in his next two messages, Ed will assure
us that sans "S" in the blend, "E = Ed" is truth throughout his trilogy. So we aren't
forsaking rigor in using the equation in decryption of  Ed's 1st Black Dahlia trilogy
installment . . .
     Third-stage decipherment of the 1st message:

                         I/Ed or Heirens [is] Dahlia's now. Bet on George
[Murman]/Heirens murdering her. Letter to follow.

The Symbolic Love Triangles in Ed's First Message

Wow! Crypto-guy Ed Burns was resourceful with dummy data. And we are
not finished with his 1st message. So let's erase pointer lines and rescope his 1st
message . . . And while rescoping, let's cogitate these ponderables: (1) A hybrid
cryptogram might mix crypto text with crypto graphics; (2) Ed's 1st cryptogram
already has Ed Burns competing with Heirens for the Dahlia's affection . . .

                                           Xerox Copy of  Message 

     . . . OK . . . we're still eyeballing . . . And we're searching for some rectilinear
graphic which alludes to a Burns, Heirens, Black Dahlia competition/triangle. We'd
expect Ed to use initials to define sides or vertices . . . And sure enough, we "see"
two triangles defined by initials of the Black Dahlia-murder makers.
     Let's draw the two triangles, then survey the geometric situation . . . Are these
triangles a random fluke? Don't bet on it. Odds against it are prohibitive, like odds
against Dahlia remains having been remains of  two women. Can we be sure of
this? Absolutely . . . Here's why:
        They're two triangles in close proximity; they're isosceles triangles; they're
   similar triangles; they were born in a cryptographical neighborhood; they ditto
   neighborhood gossip. Burns ensured that thinking people of at least average
   intelligence would deduce that these triangles were not born of chance.
     The larger triangle has vertices E, S and B. This triangle lends itself to a legwise
interpretation. Encryptor Ed saw the three legs of this "love" triangle as the players:
rightside-leg ES equals Elizabeth Short; leftside-leg EB equals Ed B. Elizabeth and
Ed share vertex E. Decryption of the larger triangle is:

                              Elizabeth Short and Ed B. are in a triangle.

The smaller triangle has vertices E, G and B. Ed saw the three vertices of  this
love triangle as the players: vertex E equals Ed;  vertex G equals George; vertex B
equals Betty. Decryption of the smaller triangle is:

                              Ed, George [Murman], and Betty are in a triangle.

A Deeper Look into Ed's Second Message
At first glimpse of this message we saw essential content. But more was going on than Avenger/Grumman/G Murman anagrammatism.
In his 1st message, Ed sank a broken word of his true message in a sea of dissimilarity. In his 3rd message, start letters of words he truly wanted to say were start letters of "dummy" words. And he had throwaway data: the words in small, dull print.
These are common encryption methods. There are many methods with countless variations. Last letters of dummy words could be start letters in a hidden message. If there's a pattern, the data is decipherable. And a key would be helpful. In Ed's case, the constant key/theme was "Suzanne Degnan murder."

Xerox copy of Message
Second Note (with added lines)

Like Finibrown said, this message starts with an allusion to Heirens. And Ed has his "insertion marker": a T-stem aimed at the missing N . . . Let's draw a line through the middle of letters ending the first two lines. Let's next draw a line through the letter in the middle of the 2nd line and the letter ending the 3rd line. Our two lines look to be perfectly parallel. As if Ed had planned it. He had. One line connects a G and an M, the other line connects an S and a D. And familiar players in Ed's twisted show are about to show: George Murman and Suzanne Degnan. And we see that any Wed A.M. would've been fine w' Ed.
Second-stage decipherment of the 2nd message is:

Heirens, George Murman, and Suzanne Degnan, in parallel w' Ed, had Murder Man fun at police: George Murman/Heirens murdered the Black Dahlia.

Why didn't Ed tip us off about the WED to w' Ed thing? He did. The top of W isn't as high as the top of E, but with days of the week and with all other words in Ed's first four lines the first letter is the highest letter. Look at J in Jan. Why didn't W in WED get the same treatment? Because cap E in "w' Ed" didn't want it. But the Degnan trio did want to be w' Ed for parallelism.

Cryptography on the Address Side, Part 1
Part 1 is a primer for Part 2. It sizes up the Euclidean situation

Los Angeles Examiner Tuesday, January 28, 1947

The expert is eyeballing the Avenger side of the postcard. But did he scan the address side? Ed Burns took his cryptology to the far side of his Dahlia Murder Sphere. I think we should backstop the expert. See the Xerox of the address side of the card? Give it your best-shot perusal . . .

Well, did you see them? The gang's all there: Elizabeth Short and Ed Burns, and William Heirens an even the murder motive are there symbolically . . .
You didn't see all of them? That's OK, we'll puzzle out Ed's cryptowork piece by piece.
Scene-stealer Ed is in the letter column directly above the peculiar splotch mark. The bold mark is under an Examiner E and the Broadway D. This mark serves as a Burns "T function": it's a tricky column marker . . . And surely it is pure coincidence that the perfectly columnated "ED" letters are directly above the bold mark. Riiiiight! You and I know it's pure Ed Burns. Let's pretend we don't know that. Let's say the letters refer to an "Ed," or to someone with initials "E, D" or "D, E."
OK, what is the wispy mark in the lower left corner all about? Measurement shows that the goofy marks plus the apex of the LA A define a perfect isosceles triangle, with the marks defining the base. Address-side encryption is just about triangles? No. If so, the marks would be look-alikes. This encryption is about letters E and D, and triangles . . .

Cryptography on the Address Side, Part 2
In Part 1 we found three points in need of a perfect isosceles triangle. Let's let them define a perfect isosceles triangle.

The encryptor made the triangle isosceles so that: (1) LA A and the strange marks would loom as potential vertices; (2) There would be no doubt that the triangle was "meant to be."
But we drew two triangles. After we drew the 1st one, two "Is" inspired us to keep drawing. The lst "1" points at the LA A, and says: "Here's the apex vertex of an isosceles triangle." The 4th "1" points at cap E, and says: "Make this guy an apex vertex in an isosceles triangle." We did.
The "alpha" triangle has vertices E, S and B. Letters "E" and "S" allude to Elizabeth Short. We now can resolve that ambiguity involving letters "D" and "E." Simple logic tells us they allude to an "Ed." And Ed has sent us a convoluted "love" triangle. The leftside leg, ES, is the Elizabeth Short leg. The rightside leg, EB, is the Ed B leg. Ed and Elizabeth share vertex E. But Ed and Elizabeth are a duo. How could they be a triangle? To Ed it was elementary: Elizabeth was a couple; she carried William Heirens into the geometry via her Degnan-murder obsession.
The decryption of the address side supplements the decryption of the 1st message. It also smooths the segue to the 2nd-message decryption. The decryption of the 1st-message proclaims, "I/Ed or Heirens is Dahlia's now." Decryption of the address side of the Avenger postcard is:

Elizabeth Short and Ed B. were in a triangle.

So now we know . . . Ed Burns chose the LA Examiner because of its mailing address: "L. A. Examiner, 1111 S. Broadway" provided fertile fodder for his Black cryptography.
OK, Black Dahlia-puzzle fans, let's flip the postcard and deal with Ed's 2nd/Avenger message . . .

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