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The CIA’s Unsolved Mystery Code

An unsolvable piece of mysterious art containing a code named Kryptos lies just outside the CIA Building in Virginia…what does it say? Why is it there?

A secret message, still yet to be solved, lies outside the CIA headquarters in America, but why?

On November 3rd 1990, in Langley Virginia, at the Central Intelligence Agency head office, local artist and sculptor Jim Sanborn presented his mysterious masterpiece named Kryptos, to CIA director William Webster, along with a sealed envelope. Four copper plates, mounted on petrified wood, have been carved with two thousand individual characters that spell out an encrypted code.

The secret code is incredibly advanced and Sanborn worked closely with the retired chairman of the CIA Cryptographic Center, Ed Scheidt, who designed the cryptographic system specifically for Kryptos.

Sanborn promises that the Kryptos code contains four riddles, that point to a location on the CIA property, that will offer some sort of proof that the riddle has been solved.



The first three riddles were solved by the end of the decade, but the final riddle remains unsolved almost twenty five years later.

In 2006 and again in 2014, Sanborn finally gave the world a clue, several in fact. He revealed the translations of the last two words of the final puzzle. And he also announced that the first three solutions contain the clues needed to solve the fourth.

As of yet, Kryptos remains unsolved, and we have several decades to wait before that sealed envelope becomes declassified.

But why does Kryptos exist? There must be a purpose for its existence and creation beyond that of just art….


This video contains imagery licensed as creative commons by:
Jim Sanborn

Use of the “The Leviathan” picture permitted by Jeff Chang. Check out the rest of his work at

Video credit to Strange Mysteries YouTube channel