Deciphering the Cryptograms-Part
Ed's Third Message/DahliaMurder Confession
Xerox copy of Message
Words "changed," "would," "Deal," and "was" are
in smallish, dull print. This tells us that: the 3rd Dahlia message is a dummy
message; more than one true message is enciphered in it; the data is recycled
between true messages. OK, we have a hybrid-variety cipher. Depending on the
message being deciphered, we ignore one or more of the flagged words and maybe
data to their left, or use the words as punctuation. Note that "Deal" is
capped. A killer is giving a hint: "Deal" deciphers to a proper word.
But he didn't want it to be too unambiguous for us. He didn't want it to beget
an unambiguous gassing for himself. And remember: give/G/George, me/M/Murman,
a/a/and, square/S/Suzanne, Deal/D/Degnan. The killer educated us with previous
Degnan allusions. And he cut "I"s, not"L"s, for "kiIIing." He
was saying I/he was in the killing. He did not say "murder": no way
to cut I/himself Into it. And he didn't explicitly say he'd done in the Dahlia.
He wanted to survive this bombshell: "justified" = "just if
i ed" = "just, if I Ed." The cuttings note had a sneaky space
between "t" and "i," so Ed gave a hint. Ed gave another
hint when he put "I" in the killing. "I" in "kiIIing" sans "if
I Ed" equals so what, and vice versa. And the ghostly question
mark above "ied" in "justified" is one more hot clue from
Ed. He's saying there's cryptic stuff in this area, we'd better have our thinking
caps on . . .
Have [regained] my mind, you/LAPD. [This
was] not George Murman and Suzanne Degnan. Dahlia murder I did was just,
if I [am] Ed.
A Second Hidden Message
A "." ends the 2nd line in the
dummy message. Syntax mode in the message is quasi-double space, save
the "a." combo. Ed wants us to think "next message" and
read his 2nd line as: "you would not give me a/ass/sex." He
hopes we now will perceive the gap in " y o," decrypt "y
ou" to "why you" and elaborate our sexual line to: "why
you would not give me sex." In this, we have cause, and ready Eddy
would assert the murder was justified. Libidinous Ed must've meant this
message for the Dahlia only:
Have changed my mind [about] why you would not give
[Your] murder, which I committed, was justified.
Look at Ed's Third Message
Why are punctuation symbols distanced from words? Did Ed give
us a connect-the-dots puzzle? Let's let his spacey punctuation and the
not-superfluous dot above "was" define three lines . . .
Abracadabra, a map of the Dahlia Expo area! Ed used "no" in "not" to
label Norton Avenue; he used "De" in "Deal" to label Degnan
Boulevard. And the precisely locus'd Norton line bisects a dot. As a stab at
geometry noir, Ed used the dot of "i" in "give" to
accurately show where he'd placed the Black Dahlia remains! He used a comma
after "mind" to avoid a two-dot dilemma in the Dahlia-dot line.
Ed the Scrabbler painstakingly plotted the 39th Street line to sever "changed" in
a way that gives us an "Ed" for "Ed."
And nonpareil-cartographer Ed "formally"affixed his name on
his mapwork. The dot ending the last line is twice as big as the other dots.
It's the correct size for a Morse-code dot. It's at the bottom, where a map
maker's name might be. A Morse-code one dot equals "e" or "E," and
it means "Ed" on this diabolic map.
Ed telephoned LAPD once. Part of his half of the phone duel maybe went about
like this: ". . . I am the real killer. Are you for
real? Did you find the maps of Degnanland I sent you? . . . Silence. Cooool.
But if you are a real dick, you might wonder about the "ve" word
partials I glued on one map. Here's a clue: my 've' does not mean
'Victory in Europe...'"
WE know, Ed. Your "ve" mrans "Victory for Ed." And you
used it two times: once for each Black Dahlia crime scene.
The Indoor Crime Scene in Ed's Third
Message, Part 1
Let's erase those lines we drew previously
and rescope Ed's 3rd message . . .
Ed's two victory flags do stand out. In post-WW
II America, victory-slogans were common. By "ve," Ed actually
might have had a succinct "Victorious Ed" in mind . . .
Note that the four small, dull-print words seem to cordon off the three big,
bold-print words to their left. It's as if they're cordoning off a crime scene.
They are! Words "HAve," "you," and "square" hold
a symbolic Black Dahlia crime scene.
So why is "square" so big and bold? Was Ed telling us to draw a square
or something squarish? Yes. Let's eyeball the crime-site area for clues . .
. OK, we see it.
Ed wanted us to draw four straight lines: line 1 starts at "H" and
rides the "A" cross-beam and grazes the "v" point and stops
in "e"; line 2 starts at "e" and skims the right side of
the "r" stem and stops at the bottom of "r"; line 3 starts
at the bottom of "r" and grazes "qua" cavern bottoms and
stops at "s"; line 4 starts at "s" and brushes the left
side of "H" and stops where line 1 began.
Ed Burns was precise as usual. He gave us the cryptic locus of perfect rectangle.
The Indoor Crime Scene in Ed's Third
Message, Part 2
Just a page ago, Ed Burns provided a pattern
for a perfect rectangle. Let's draw . . .
We have a rectangle. Is it perfect? Let's
draw diagonals and find out . . . They intersect in the dead-center.
Perfection: not an accident. And a "u" is in the middle of
the intersection. No accident. Let's extract data . . .
Clockwise from rectangle corners, we get "H," "e," "r," "s," and "H," or "Hersh." From
the center, we get "u."
In the vowels, I see two individuals we know. And this is the indoor Black
Dahlia crime scene via Ed Burns' rectangle. Let's do what Ed wanted: illuminate
the Dahlia and hide Ed; refine vowels "u" and "e" to their
contextual equivalents . . .
Vowel "u" is the self-sufficient part of "you" in "you
would not give me a/ass/sex." She's the Dahlia. Let's spotlight her as
herself . . . OK. Now we have the Dahlia in the rectangle.
Vowel "e" is the I of the encryptor: Victorious Ed. He's the "I" in "Dahlia
kiIIing" and the "i" in "just if i ed." We'll hide
him as "i," his equivalent . . . OK, Ed's hidden. Now we extract
the word "Hirsh" from the corners of the rectangle. Now we have what
Ed had in mind for us . . .
How'd we read Ed's mind? We trailed the ghostly question mark to Ed's 3rd meaning
of "just if i ed." Ed was trying to tell us that kiIIing was [done]
only when i [was] Ed. In other words, Ed wanted us to use "i" for "e" in
his killing-site rectangle.
The Indoor Crime Scene in Ed's Third
Message, Part 3
Now we have a symbolic hotel with a symbolic Dahlia inside
it. We have a victory flag labeling the hotel a crime scene, with Ed
the victor. And we have the word "Hirsh."
We got "Hirsh" from the corners of the hotel. Is that a hot clue
about the "A" to the right of "H"? Yes. "H" and "A" go
together. And with "A," Ed was alluding to "Apts.," trust
me on this.
OK . . . Then what's the scoop on "Hirsh Apts."?
The scoop is that "Hirsh Apts." is a word-combo the Black Dahlia
and Ed Burns saw many times. They saw the combo every time they went to their
secret place . . .
The Dahlia and Ed saw the striking Hirsh Apts. lettering on the front of the
hotel at 300 East Washington. And they saw it on the westerly side of the old
building. They couldn't miss the Hirsh Apts. lettering. It was as conspicuous
as a marquee, but it was not garish: it exuded somber vibes, a la lettering
on a mausoleum.
Two things about the hotel on Washington stood out: the moody lettering on
the front and side; the squarish shape. Ed alluded to these impressional features
to inform us that the building at 300 East Washington was the Black Dahlia
slaying site. The floor print of the place was a long, narrow rectangle, just
like the "square" Ed plotted for us.
Ed led us to his Black Dahlia death chamber! And he did more than that: he
told us why he killed the Dahlia. Ed's "ve" crimescene victory flags
come with a where and a why. The why of this one is on the line with "u," the
Dahlia. This why was statedabove in an isolated, personalized decryption. I'm
certain Ed did recite much, if not all, of his trilogy to a roped-and-gagged
Dahlia in the "Hirsh."
Isolated decipherment of Ed's indoor Black Dahlia crime-scene cryptography:
I/Ed killed the Dahlia in a hotel at 300 East Washington.
Ed Burns' Hirsh crime scene power-snuffs all doubt about
the identity of UnID'd Man. Here's why . . .
LAPD showed the famous photos to Hirsh managers. The managers ID'd the man
in the pix as the hombre who registered in the Hirsh with the Dahlia on BD
Day-3. LAPD called the hombre "unID'd," and UnID'd Man was born.
But by BD Day-1, one Hirsh manager was ready to call the man "dead":
man's auto was there, door was locked, no answer from room. And Ed would inform
us that the Hirsh had been the abattoir. UnID'd Man was Ed Burns. Positively!
The Why Beneath Ed's Cryptic Outdoor Crime' Scene
We know the' why of Ed Burns' outdoor crime scene. But
did he tell us the why? Ed was a master data-recycler. Let's
eye the picture. Maybe Ed recycled up heavy stuff about this one...
The Big Picture
We see familiar geometry. The second-message "love" triangle
is defined. Let's draw. The Dahlia's remains define the apex. The sides
are "g," "ve," and "Dahlia": George Murman,
Victorious Ed, and the Dahlia, respectively.
This full definition of the obsessional-love triangle confirms two assertions
made or implied previously: (1) The third actor in the triangle is George
Murman/William Heirens, a madding dynamic of the Dahlia's Degnan-murder obsession;
(2) The Degnan Boulevard-locality of the Black Dahlia expo site was an
allusion to the Suzanne Degnan murder.
The "ve" near the vertex declares Ed Burns the victor' in the triangle:
Ed dictated where and how Heirens and the Dahlia would be eternal lovers.
Decryption of the display-site triangle is:
Ed, the Dahlia and [Degnan Hero] George
Murman were in a triangle. Ed "won" and, to proclain victory,
displayed the Black Dahlia remains in a Degnan Boulevard lovers' lane.
The "What" of
Ed's and Others' Cryptograms
Ed was a clever cipherer, but not an innovator. All techniques
embodied in his hybrid cryptograms/ciphers have been around for at least
400 years. Cryptology is an old science.
There are two main types of cryptosystems: transposition and substitution.
There are countless variations of each type. In a transposition system, elements
of the original data, plaintext, are rearranged to form ciphertext.
A transformation used in the US Civil War is the "Rail-fence," in
which the original text is rearranged, two lines at a time, such that: the
1st, 3rd . . . elements go into one line; the 2nd, 4th . . . elements go into
the following line. An example:
The substitution systems involve substitution of ciphertext for plaintext.
The ciphertext can be obtained in many ways. One way involves shifting the
alphabet, with "wraparound." An example, where the cipher alphabet
equals the plain alphabet shifted six places to the right:
Plain alphabet ....ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ
Cipher alphabet .UVWXYZABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRST
Plaintext: WHEREISTHEDATA --Ciphertext:
The "ZODIAC killer" of the late
1960s used this type of cipher in some messages he mailed to San Francisco-area
And the 1947 Black Dahlia killer used another type of cipher in cryptograms
he sent to LAPD and the LA Examiner. His cerebral ciphers fall under the category
of "concealment systems." These systems include the various ways
of disguising a secret text or meaning. A message or code might be hidden in
the 1st letters of words in an otherwise innocuous text such as: "Give
me a square deal." Secret text might be concealed within the last letters
of words in cover text, or within the 2nd or 3rd letters, or cryptic text might
be indicated by pin pricks above significant letters or by shaded letters:
we saw this in Ed's 2nd message. And secret text might be hidden in last letters
of lines, or along "routes", through cover text: we saw this in
Ed's 2nd message. Grilles have been used in placement of elements of a secret
text, after which the rest of the innocent cover/dummy text was filled in:
Ed might have utilized a grille . . . And sage Sir Francis Bacon was doing
concealment systeming 350 years before Ed Burns. One of the most famous concealment
ciphers was invented by Bacon. He devised a 5-place-binary-counter/alphabet
table where 00000 corresponds to A, 00001 corresponds to B, 00010 corresponds
to C, 00011 corresponds to D, 00100 corresponds to E, and so on . . . And with
upper-case letters to represent "0"s, and lower-case letters to represent "1"s,
and a conceptual lumping of dummy-message letters into groups of five, Sir
Francis was into concealment. An example:
Baconian dummy text .......................... Baconian
EVeryTHiNG HeRe iS fine ...........................................HELP
Crypto-man Ed's Bag
Ed used two allusions and one anagram in his cryptograms; and S, D, G, and
M could be taken as code or more allusions. These were related to the Degnan
key. Where did Ed get the idea about burying the "N-0-W" in the flummoxingly
disparate setting? Maybe from magazine puzzles or color-blindness tests most
of us scoped when we were in grade school. And where did Ed get the idea for "0s" that
are conjoining with "ings"? Maybe from the same puzzle series I saw
in LA newspapers in the late 1930s and 1940s. One puzzle had a sketch of a
cat and a lemon with a "+" sign between them. The answer: "Sourpuss." Another
puzzle showed a sketch of a rolling truck and roadside Burma Shave-type signs.
On the signs: +ing _ _ _ _the _ _ _ _ _ _The correct answer: "Trucking
down the avenue."
The "Why" of Ed's and Others' Messages/Cryptograms
William Heirens scrawled a plain-language message on a wall, as a call for
help. And Heirens sent a ransom note, evidently in a fog of confusion. Zodiac
sent cryptograms and plain-language messages to three San Francisco-area newspapers.
The ciphers were of the substitution type: an amateur cryptographer's delight.
The wily Zodiac issued murderous threats to prod newspapers to print his ego
tonic. I think the Zodiac got off by scaring the public, jibing and frustrating
the police, and luring Bay-Area amateurs into a code-breaking frenzy. His cryptograms
gave him a feeling of empowerment and control.
But a rejection-zapped Ed Burns sent a different variety of cryptogram. His
thing with Betty began as symbiosis. It became sick, unrequited love. I think
Ed's arcane trilogy was to snuff all doubt about the five-sided triangle in
Ed's one-sided-love finale with Elizabeth Short.
It's now obvious that almost everything in Ed's messages was put there with
purposefulness and precision. But virtually no one knew that all they were
seeing was dummy text. Ed's concealment ciphers concealed. But why expend brain
juice to construct this type of cipher: why didn't Ed do a no-brainer stunt,
like making substitution ciphers? Ed did not make his serial brainchild for
the general public. Why did he make it? The answer is buried near the
Dahlia death lot, in a tour-bus-magnet LA oddity. Few people ever realized
that this Angeles landmark's sky-duster columns represent masts in an allusion
to an old sailing ship. But this didn't matter to Simon Rodia. Simon wasn't
playing to an audience of Los Angelenos. He built the structures as a monument
to his love. And Simon Rodia and his ladylove, Italy, knew the why of the fabulous
formations. They were her Taj Mahal. Most people would call them the Watts
Towers... Ed Burns' trilogy was an intrinsic part of the Suzanne
Degnan-murder mimicry. And this mimicry was Ed's Taj Mahal for Elizabeth Short.
Like Simon Rodia's towers, it was meant for a select audience. Ed's trilogy
was an affirmation or the few who would be privy to his occult monument to
his love. Ed knew that some of us who would "see" his Taj Macabre
might have lingering doubts, and wonder: "Can this be? Did the Black Dahlia
murderer actually do this outre thing?" Ed Burns' inside story gives us
the answer: "YES!"
for Additional Photos
Mumbo Jumbo and Common Sense
A "Down the Rabbit Hole" and "Through the
Looking?Glass" cryptanalysis of Ed Burns ' "Malice in Howlywoodland" drama. Click
for Hollywood Photos
Some people wonder whether the messages are cryptograms
having decryption that is derived in this book. My wonderment zapper
is an elixir containing a paradox, a saw, and a vouty of zonk talk. The
cull: Did any of the trilogy messages come from a kook? Very unlikely.
Ed Burns ensured that a thinking Dahlia-case sleuth would deduce that
all of these messages likely came from the Dahlia killer. With his first
message, Ed mailed the Dahlia's birth record. The word "papers" in
this message contains an oddball "p," with a diagonal bisecting
the stem: Ed was prevalidating his second-to-be message. In Ed's second
message, "police" "p" is a lookalike of his first-message "papers" "p," and "police" " p" has
a diagonal through the stem. And Burns' second-message long-stem "B" mocks
the Burns "B" he'd branded on the Dahlia's forehead. Burns
mailed his third message to LAPD: a clue in itself. Would a "publicity"-hound
kook send a publicity solicitation to the destination most apt to swallow
it up and keep it a secret? No. In his third message, Ed plotted a map
with Dahlia-remains i-dot: echoes of a map he had plotted in his second
message. And Burns' suicide-note signoff, "Sorry mare," was
his sayonara to the metaphoric horse he had modeled: an allusion to an
LAPD secret; ding, dong, the wicked werewolf was dead. So we were given
a killer culler, from the killer!
The paradox: LAvi Eja is a cryptogram carper because "Dahlia
case is closed" sounds strange to her; the strange case remains
open in 2003 because Vesti Dosazules didn't decrypt Dahlia-case cryptograms.
A shrilly saw says: "You don't get it? Do I have to draw you pictures?" Hey. How
about those triangles on the address side of the Avenger postcard...And that
rad rectangle and triumphal triangle in the 3rd message were picturesque. And
how do you like Gnarly Knifeman's maps of the display area? Those are pictures
Ed dotted for us. I bet he capped "Deal" but not "not" to
steer us to Degnan Boulevard, not Norton Avenue. And why did Ed mount the "ve" word
partials high on word poles? I say Burns had his Victory-for-Ed flags flying.
Remember the comics who'd mix moony mumbo jumbo and spoonerism with their spiel?
The first time they'd wap us with linguileptic rebop we'd almost understand
what they might have uttered, and we'd wonder . . . Are my ears freaking
out? Did he atter thut in the Linguige Anguish? . . . The next time
they'd do it we'd wax wiser, and soon we'd be hip to their shtick. Their being
on stage was a clue . . . So Ed Burns got on stage by displaying a Suzanne
Degnan doll in a Degnan Boulevard lovers' lane. Then he sent us a Degnan-theme
cryptogram. Then he hit us with another Degnan-theme cryptogram. Then
he sent a 3rd Degnan-theme cryptogram, and felt bad vibes. The Suzanne Degnan
homicide had made headline news in 1946 LA, but no one in 1947 LA fathomed
the obvious Degnan-murder symbology: a scalpelture of Suzanne Degnan in a Degnan
Boulevard locale. Ed was thinkin' weird stuff, but he wasn't a lycanthrope
so he bopped us with another cryptogram. This one bared his full name
in plain English. Now Ed figured we'd tune in his show.
Some folks may ponder . . . How do we know the decryptions are correct? .
. My response: "I'll ask the decryptor . . .OK. Here's a cryptologic axiom:
decryption validity and volume of same-likely-source input data are directly
proportinal. The decryptions you are judging evolved from a lot of input data.
And the decryptions "self-check." They are linked by story,
theme, player set, and a sequence as sure as left-to-right order of N, O, and
W in the 1st decryption. The 1st decryption advises: 'Bet on George murdering
her.' And George offs her in the 2nd-decryption murder fun. This victim-swapping
snuff stuff cuts George Murman and Suzanne Degnan into the diablo dance. In
the 3rd decryption, Ed says George and Suzanne weren't there at all: he'd lost
his marbles but he's OK now. The composite decryption scripts a monothematic
story which jells with hushy-hushy data. No part of the above is by chance,
no part of the decryption is mumbo jumbo. Common sense says the decryptions
are undoubtedly correct."