The Book of the Dead Message Board: Ciphers: The Book of the Dead

By Scott Bullock (Scott_Bullock) ( - on Thursday, August 01, 2002 - 10:29 am:

I felt that this article was a good basis for a discussion on ciphers. It left me believing that anything that can be encoded by man can be decoded by man.

Check it out: \topurl {http://Sumerian}.

With the article in mind, what conclusion can be made about the 340-character cipher?

FYI: I called this thread "The Book of the Dead" as homage to Sam Raimi, the man who created the Evil Dead Trilogy. Why? Because in those films, the characters happen upon "The Book of the Dead." They also find a tape recording left behind by an anthropologist who is heard saying, "I believe I have made a significant find in the Candarian ruins, a volume of ancient Sumarian burial practices and funerary incantations. It is entitled: Morturom Demonto -- roughly translated, Book of the Dead. The book is bound in human flesh and inked in human blood. It deals with demons and demon resurrection and those forces which roam the forest and dark bowers of Man's domain. The first few pages warn that these enduring creatures may lie dormant but are never truly dead. They may be recalled to active life through the incantations presented in this book. It is through the recitation of these passages that the demons are given license to possess the living."

Interesting, isn't it? Two different interpretations of Sumerians and specifically Sumerian Texts and/or books. However, there can only be one correct solution, which implies that one must be fact and one must be fiction. It's kind of like the 340-character cipher, is it not? Who can tell the difference?


By Scott Bullock (Scott_Bullock) ( - on Thursday, August 01, 2002 - 10:39 am:

Woops! Let me try that again: Sumerian Texts

By Alan Cabal (Alan_Cabal) ( on Thursday, August 01, 2002 - 06:25 pm:

I've done a fairly extensive amount of research into Sumerian religious practices based on my interest in "occult" matters in general and the "Simon" version of the Necronomicon.

Peter Levenda is a world-class snake oil salesman who did a brilliant job of cobbling the Necro together from sources including the archived works of Samuel Noah Kramer at the University of Pennsylvania and a few things from the rare book collection in the NY Public Library. If you own one of the 333 signed copies of the 3rd printing of the hardcover, that's my forgery of Simon's signature inside. He was disinclined to attend the signing so I stood in for him.

All that said, the Necronomicon was a figment of H.P. Lovecraft's fevered imagination. The Sumerians are highly overrated in the theurgy department. I've done the rituals, in the original language, as best as we can tell at this time. The pronunciation is uncertain.

Occultists tend to repeat each other's mistakes because they rarely go back to the original source material. Then hack writers get hold of lurid stories with no basis in fact and sensationalize them. These urban myths then get repeated as truth by hysterics looking for something to blame for the human condition.

Few journalists will let the facts get in the way of a good story; cf. Ed Sanders or Maury Terry, for instance.

By Scott Bullock (Scott_Bullock) ( - on Friday, August 02, 2002 - 07:21 am:


I've never heard of the "Simon" version of the Necronomicon or of Peter Levenda. Would you care to elaborate?

". . . the Necronomicon was a figment of H.P. Lovecraft's fevered imagination. The Sumerians are highly overrated in the theurgy department."

Yes, you are correct in both statements. Just so we are clear, Sam Raimi merely attributes "The Book of the Dead" to the Sumerians, and the magical power that the book supposedly possesses is also a figment of Raimi's imagination; he's a narrative filmmaker, not an occultist. Somehow, I get the feeling that you already knew that though.

Nevertheless, the point I'm trying to make is that, if humankind can decipher Sumerian texts that date roughly to 3500 B.C., then why not a cipher composed of only 340 characters? The only thing that makes sense, in my opinion, is one of two things: Zodiac's 340-character cipher has never been properly and thoroughly analyzed, or the key to the cipher simply doesn't exist.



By Alan Cabal (Alan_Cabal) ( on Saturday, August 03, 2002 - 07:06 pm:

Do a Google search on "The Voynich Manuscript."

By Ed N (Ed_N) ( - on Thursday, August 08, 2002 - 07:20 pm:

After reading about the Necronomicon (I've only read one Lovecraft story, "The Dunwich Horror," but have some familiarity with his other works), I was quite surprised to see a copy in Waldenbooks (I believe it was) some years back, especially since I figured it never really existed outside of Lovecraft. It's good to know it's actual origin.

By Peter H (Peter_H) ( - on Friday, August 09, 2002 - 12:52 pm:


I get it. ALA was Roger Bacon in previous life.


My vote is "doesn't exist". The Sumerian texts were in a real language. The 340 has been examined every way possible, including, I believe by USN Intel. If its legit and the USN didn't crack it, I'm worried.

By obiwan (Obiwan) ( - on Friday, August 09, 2002 - 06:23 pm:

Scott, in answer to your asking what connection I saw between sumerian texts and the 340 cipher, I agree with Peter, I don't see any. The cipher characters, loosely astrologically based, are certainly not cuneiform. In fact it is thought they are derived from a certain astrology book which has a table including most of the characters Z used, I believe. Don't know the name of the book off hand. Dees anyone have a link to that table?

By Ed N (Ed_N) ( - on Friday, August 09, 2002 - 08:35 pm:

obiwan: check out my post from Theories: CHASING THE RADIAN: X Marks the Spot (Continued) on Friday, November 17, 2000 - 10:46 pm. I believe that's what you're looking for.

By obiwan (Obiwan) ( - on Wednesday, August 14, 2002 - 06:45 pm:

Thanks Ed, that is what I was looking for. And the main point of your post is that in fact NO Z did not derive his symbols from that book, since the book was published after the Z ciphers.

By Scott Bullock (Scott_Bullock) ( - on Thursday, August 15, 2002 - 05:14 am:

"Scott, in answer to your asking what connection I saw between sumerian texts and the 340 cipher, I agree with Peter, I don't see any."

Obiwan, you may want to reread why I chose to create this thread. It has nothing to do with the 340-character cipher resembling Sumerian texts. What I'm suggesting is that, if Sumerian texts can be figured out, then the 340-character cipher should also be capable of being deciphered. When Peter said, "doesn't exist" he was referring to a solution to the 340-character cipher. I happen to agree with him.

By obiwan (Obiwan) ( - on Thursday, August 15, 2002 - 06:03 pm:

Scott: Thanks for the clarification and sorry for my misunderstanding. I too believe, perhaps naievely that the 340 code can be deciphered by man or woman to produce a readable text which does not require anagramming. THat's why I'm trying first to solve Ray N.'s cipher, because I know it has a solution, (so I'm not wasting my time) and the methods I use to solve it could possibly be of use in the 340. ps. Ray' I'm getting closer...

By obiwan (Obiwan) ( - on Thursday, August 15, 2002 - 06:21 pm:

ps. I wouldn't quite yet conclude that the 340 is uncrackable. Recall that it took 150 years to crack Poe's cipher (admittedly without computers most of those years). As cipher expert Glen said, the 340 " it falls well below the threshold of unambiguous solution by purely mathematical/automated means. " So It is possible that due to the high number of symbols (63/340) the NSA's computers could not produce a unique, certifiably correct solution. However by incorporating additional knowledge of the case, perhaps including knowledge of hypothetical authors of the cipher, we could resolve this ambiguity.