Now that we have determined the general form or construct of the Z32, the actual location needs to be determined. We can’t do that without coming up with numeric values for the longitude and latitude. This part took about two weeks. How can we convert the six characters between the delimiters on the first line and the five characters following the ‘X’ on the second line to numbers? Eventually, we have to get numbers that make sense. Let’s solve the first problem first and come up with a way to convert these Zodiac characters (or any characters for that matter) to numbers. I have to admit this was the most difficult part of the Z32 to solve.
I asked myself, ‘How can characters be represented by numbers?’ That was the breakthrough. For hundreds of years, man has been representing or encrypting characters with numbers. The characters that you are looking at on your computer screen now are actually represented by numbers inside your computer. Morse code could be used to represent characters. I could count the dots or dashes and create numbers from the characters.
But a big problem loomed: how would I know what the six letters decrypted to? What letter did the Zodiac map to a backwards ‘K’? What about the crazy ‘J’ like characters in both numeric values? Then I went back to my first rule of Zodiac cipher decryption: The Zodiac wanted this cipher solved. If he encrypted the letters representing the values, that would be a double encryption and almost impossible to solve. I will take the characters at their face value. The goofy looking ‘J’ like Zodiac characters I will assume to be ‘J’ or at least there would be a character that these ‘J’ like Zodiac characters resemble. I can come up with multiple solutions and see what works.
It is at about this time that I made two observations that were critical to resolving the numeric values. The first observation is that the six letters on the first line following the filled square that I’m taking to be the latitude’s numeric value are all backwards or ambidextrous (read the same in either direction, like ‘A’ or ‘W’). Perhaps I am looking at ‘FMAJKO’ but backwards? The second key observation is the character following the ‘X’ in the second line. This could be a simple letter ‘O’ or it could be the number 0 (although the Zodiac did not use numbers in his previous ciphers). Then I remembered an additional clue that the Zodiac provided after the Z32 was not quickly solved: “PS. The Mt. Diablo code concerns Radians”. Perhaps this ‘O’ with a dot in it meant ‘zero point’. That might mean that the longitude was something like 0.FDVJ. Remember that I am not certain about the ‘J’. But I will use ‘J’ for now and the then try other letters like ‘T’ that kind of resemble the strange ‘J’ character. Certainly if the numeric value on the second line started with ‘zero point’ it would have to be a radian value.