The Great Zodiac Killer Hoax of 1969

The Great Zodiac Hoax of 1969

Thomas Horan has published a short ebook entitled The Great Zodiac Hoax of 1969. The current version of the book is heavily redacted starting from, approximately, the two-thirds point. Supposedly, a less-redacted and otherwise augmented version of the book will be made available in the future.

The fundamental premise of Horan's book challenges the most basic, seemingly self-evident, assumption in the case of the Zodiac: that the killer even existed.

While I appreciate the general idea of questioning all that is known and accepted, I must be honest and point out that I find little value in Horan's arguments. In my estimation, they simply are not compelling.

It's tempting to address the contents of Horan's book in a reasonably thorough manner. However, it's impossible for me to conclude that doing so would amount to anything more than a waste of time. Clearly, as is the case with so many other Zodiac-Killer theorists, there is nothing I (or anyone else) can say that would change Horan's mind regarding his beliefs. Furthermore, I don't know of a single person besides Horan who finds his theory compelling (if you are someone who is swayed by Horan's arguments, please say so in the comments). Hence, any time and effort invested in discussing and/or refuting Horan's reasoning will have a net value of nada. Since time is an especially valuable commodity, I choose to spend mine elsewhere. In fact, I already regret the amount of time I've spent on this book...

Add to this the argumentative and antagonistic style Horan uses when responding to legitimate questions about his positions (simply see the comments from this post), and my desire to do anything to help the author all but evaporates.

The best thing I can say about the book is that it's relatively short and inexpensive. If you agree with observations such as the ones below (all of which are taken from the book, in essence), you may find it worth reading. Otherwise, I'd advise you to spend your time elsewhere.

  • During the calls to police following the attacks at Blue Rock Springs and Lake Berryessa, the fact that the caller did not say "This is the Zodiac speaking" is strong evidence that the caller was not the Zodiac.
  • The failure of Bryan Hartnell and Cecelia Shepard's assailant to verbally identify himself as the Zodiac suggests he was not the Zodiac.
  • It's a reasonable possibility that a person who was not the attacker but was the letter writer wrote on Bryan Hartnell's car door following the attack at Lake Berryessa.
  • The fact that the Stine letter describes the location of the crime scene as "by Washington St. + Maple St." is a clear indication that the letter writer did not know the location of the crime scene and was not the murderer.

I'll also note that the editing of Horan's book leaves something to be desired as well. There are spelling mistakes and factual errors. As an example of the latter, Horan describes the first three letters sent by the Zodiac (whoops, did I just say that?) as "...three verbatim copies of one text." Of course, that's incorrect. The three were similar, but there were important differences - the most significant of which is that the letter to the Chronicle was the only one of the three to include the sentence: "In this cipher is my idenity (sic)."

Normally, I would give somebody a pass on this type of stuff. But, Horan has been screaming at the top of his lungs that he's the only one who's bothered to actually read the relevant documents (blah, blah, blah) and he's been insulting people who have made significant and meaningful contributions to the status of the case. Therefore, I see no reason to give him a pass on anything.

I'll close by recollecting something that my seventh-grade science teacher used to say: "When the whole world looks crazy, it's time to look at yourself." Thomas Horan, I'm guessing the whole world is looking crazy...

Michael Cole


  1. Bayarea60's 10 August, 2012 at 22:41 Reply

    Thank You for your reply…Took the exact sentiment I was feeling. Any time someone has to attack a fellow Z slueth that’s when I know it’s time for me to move on.

  2. Gabe Harling 11 August, 2012 at 00:09 Reply

    Awesome write up. I can honestly say thin is the only site I can deal with and keep my sanity. I appreciate your approach and it is much needed.

    I have become so sick of all the agendas that I gave Horan credit for his theory but after reading your take I see why it is extremely unlikely.

    Thank you!

    • Thomas Horan 16 August, 2012 at 14:36

      It would be a whoooooole lot easier to see why it’s “extremely unlikely” if Mr Cole, or anyone else, could cite just one single solitary example. Why not? How hard could it possibly be? Does the “Zodiac Killer” mean that much to you?

  3. Tracers 11 August, 2012 at 00:59 Reply

    IIRC, Horan has also suggested that Avery could have been involved in the hoax and that Ken Narlow was inept and shady.

    • Thomas Horan 16 August, 2012 at 14:39

      Not shady. Over his head. His partner, Lonergan, had a lot more on the ball. But he didn’t swallow the Zodiac baloney, either, so no one even notices that he did almost all the work on the Shepard case. They don’t want to know that. They want to see the bogeyman that Narlow believed in.

      Can’t any of you people do anything except try to put words in my mouth?

  4. Thomas Horan 11 August, 2012 at 04:42 Reply

    Ha! In the time you “wasted” typing out this excuse, you could have proven just one thing that contradicts my conclusion. For example, you could have “proven” that Darlene was wearing “slacks” and not a dress. But you didn’t. It’s not ONLY that the “killer” forgot to to say, “This is the Zodiac speaking” in the first prank call. And the second one. It’s also that:

    1. He got the location of the crime wrong. As “he” did in the Lake Beryessa call. AND the third letter.

    2. The prank caller claimed the murder weapon at LHR was a “Luger.” But it was a Browning Hi-Power. The shell casings found at the scene were “9mm Luger,” but a Luger only holds 8 shots. And the ejector markings are those of a Browning. That wasn’t known until the ballistics expert did his work later. Why didn’t “Zodiac” know the make of his own gun????? Because the only info cops at the scene relayed to Shook for an APB was to be on the lookout for a “heavyset WMA in a brown vehicle” with any weapon containing or capable of firing 9mm Luger ammo—and that includes .38s, .356s, .367s, and 9mms. And that’s ALLLLLLLL the prank caller knew—9mm “Luger” shell casings had been found. He didn’t know 9 shots had been fired.

    3. He also didn’t know Darlene was driving a Corvair coupe. He only knew “brown car” because, as in the other things he got wrong, “he” only knew what the actual PD files prove had been broadcast by police dispatcher Shook, and NOTHING else. And that includes the WRONG information, like the scene of the crime.

    4. But here’s where you and the other “experts” hang yourself: those files, IF you had read them, also happen to identify a person who admitted making that call. And that person knew exactly the information in the phone call, and nothing else. I left that out of the redacted version of the book in order to do what you just did: prove the so-called “experts” either don’t know the facts, or pretend not to.

    Your “review” is a flat-out admission to anyone who reads the free sample of the book at Amazon, let alone the whole book, that you are deliberately ignoring the facts in order to maintain the myth of the “Zodiac Killer.” They don’t have to believe me, let alone like me. All they have to do is read the letters and PD files themselves, with or without my book as a guide. And just because you “experts” don’t allow people to post comments on your website corroborating my claims doesn’t mean they don’t try to post them.

    Thanks for proving, on your own website, that you “experts” not only don’t know anything, but you refuse to learn anything.

    • Tracers 11 August, 2012 at 13:21

      Mr. Horan we have all read the letters and police reports. We don’t agree with your theory. Get over it.

      What sites have blocked posts made by your supporters?

    • Thomas Horan 16 August, 2012 at 15:49

      No, apparently, you haven’t read them. That’s what I’m talking about. None of the “experts” has. If you had, you would have noticed years ago that Darlene was wearing a dress when she was shot, not slacks. But sinc eyou have, why don’t you shut me up once and for all and use just one of them to prove one of my claims wrong? How hrd is that? You’ve typed and typed and typed on this blog and Voigt’s, and all you’ve accomplished is proving that you still haven’t read any of them. Te name of the person who admitted making that phone call to VPD is fit there in the files. Why haven’t you noticed it?

    • Zodiac Revisited 16 August, 2012 at 16:33

      This is ridiculous…

      I’m certain that you haven’t spent one half of one percent of the money that Tom Voigt has spent attempting to move this case forward. For you to say that you are the only one that’s read the material is just plain insulting to everyone that takes this case seriously, myself included.

      You’re running around claiming that you’ve proven “beyond any reasonable doubt” that the Zodiac Killer letters were a hoax, that the FBI knew it, etc., etc. Then you come here and keep yelling, “prove me wrong.”

      You have a very troubled relationship with “proof.” I have read your book (there are 45 minutes of my life I’ll never get back). You have proven nothing, absolutely nothing. You interpret statements in ridiculous ways (the “slack” issue is a perfect example), you make tortured inferences and then you declare your conclusions proven “QED.” And when anybody tries to apply a bit of common sense to the conversation, you act incredulous, type in all caps and try to convince people by ending your rhetorical questions with a dozen question marks.

      Do you even know how the FBI was involved with this case? Your comments make me think you don’t.

      Here’s an argument equivalent (albeit, perhaps more plausible) to yours.

      The Zodiac murders were all committed by a guy wearing a big pink bunny suit.

      Well, Thomas Horan. Prove me wrong. All it takes to make me go away is for you to cite one sentence in the Police record that proves me wrong. HOW HARD CAN IT BE????????? We’re all waiting.

      Anyway, it’s hard for me to take you seriously. You’re adding very little (if anything) of value to the discussion of the Zodiac. And you’re insulting pretty much everybody (other than yourself) on this website. Not to mention, you’re running over to your so-called blog on blogspot and writing articles that insult me directly.

      I’m finding very little reason to let you continue commenting here…

    • G Gluckman 16 August, 2012 at 21:17

      Hi Mike,

      I just realized that it was something I said that probably brought him to your website in the first place.

      I had written a comment to Mike K in his guest post titled “A Zodiac Killer End Game Scenario” and I mentioned Mr H’s name in passing.

      Evidentally he must have a habit of searching the web for his own name and happed upon that post, because that is where he magically appeared.

      Naturally, I am sorry for visiting this nuisance upon you. I assure you it was by accident.

      For what it is worth, I believe the only way to actually get rid of him is to trick him into saying his name backwards.



    • Zodiac Revisited 16 August, 2012 at 21:40

      No worries, G…

      At the time Horan first commented, I had already read his book and was planning on writing something about it. Like a Greek tragedy, there was no avoiding our ill-fated destiny. It was simply a matter of time.

    • Tracers 17 August, 2012 at 13:43

      Okay, who admitted making the call to VPD after the BRS attack?

      And what sites have been blocking your supporters?

      I don’t actually expect to get any direct answers.

  5. G Gluckman 11 August, 2012 at 07:45 Reply

    Hi Mike,

    If I look at Mr Horan’s core proposition–that the letters and calls were a hoax–I do in fact find them interesting. That should not be a surprise to anybody, as I am a rather peculiar duck with rather peculiar interests. One of my more recent fascinations is with the rather abstract challenges of theory building.

    After I started trying to assemble my own theory, I began to realize that the task of building a non-trivial theory about the Zodiac Killer has many peculiarities that make it vastly different from most other theory building domains.

    Among other things, I have become keenly interested in understanding how Z-theories should be built: determining the options for creating Z-theories; identifying the structure of theories; analyzing how the structure of a theory can limit what can and cannot be proved or otherwise accomplished; observing how different theorists go about their work (for better or worse). Oh, and trying to figure out what constitutes appropriate ways for communities to share and validate theories. (I have noticed that we typically treat theories as individual property than as a community project.)

    At any rate, I do find Mr Horan’s theory interesting. (As an outlier in the Z research community, I am somewhat immune to some of his taunts. Most of them are directed at people with expertise. I have none, so I feel free to compliment or criticize his efforts without any supposition of rancour on my part.) I spent some time looking at the structure of his theory, based on the heavily redacted first release of his book.

    In my opinion, he makes some worthwhile points, but may suffer from the same theory blindness that all theorists seem to be prone to, myself included. Theory building, especially in the Z-domain, requires about 35% ingenuity and the remaining 25% self-delusion. 😉

    My initial examination of the structure of his theory suggests that he may not actually achieve the heights of proof that he likes to believe. In fact there are some serious weak points to the strucure of his arguments. That would not necessarily be a problem–most theories have weak points–if it were not for the rather extensive scope of his claims.

    I personally think that a more dispassionate look at his work could be in order, but that would be a more enticing task if Mr Horan were to adopt a more cooperative style. I have to say that his manner of sharing his theories are extremely off-putting, with the taunting and distractive behavior, and the often convoluted responses.

    The worst thing about his theory, in my opinion, is his tendency to recycle his downstream conclusions back into his upstream premisses, so it is quite fatiguing to keep track of the opportunities for circular reasoning. This is such a drag to work through that I find it tiring to think about his theories for long.

    In the earlier post–the Pandemonium Post, as I think of it–I noted that there were two tracks of argument presented as one, the second being dependent on the first, and suggested that he separate them out. I suspect if he did, it would quickly become obvious that the premisses of the first track are much more fragile than he seems to think. Mixing them together obfuscates matters and lends bulk to his presentation, but has no merit as a method for sharing a theory with the community.

    Many thanks,


    • Zodiac Revisited 13 August, 2012 at 11:53

      G, you’re entirely too reasonable for this subject…

      Sure, you find Horan’s arguments interesting. But, do you believe he is correct? Do you honestly believe that there never was a Zodiac Killer?

      I find The Great Zodiac Hoax of 1969 to be interesting the same way I find Times 17 interesting. The problem is that neither is interesting in the way that their respective authors intended. Rather, they are both interesting from the perspective of case studies into what this story does to people.

      I suppose Thomas Horan gets some points for writing something you find to be interesting. But I’m still waiting for one person, besides the author, who is convinced to the point of believing that the Zodiac Killer never existed.

      To borrow a phrase from the author: we’re all waiting…

    • G Gluckman 29 August, 2012 at 18:01

      Hi Mike,

      I find it very interesting to examine theories of all kinds, whether or not they are compatible with my own. There is a lot to learn from them in my opinion, whether or not we agree with the conclusions of a given theory or whether or not we admire the author, there is a good chance we will be faced with some of the same challenges when it is our turn at the plate. If you dislike a particular theorist, the best revenge is to have learned from his or her experience.

      A theory, even a very wrong one, can bring new observations to the fore. It can throw a spotlight on hardly noticed coincidences and inconsistencies (I, for one, have learned the hard way that swatting away an annoying inconsistency is often a mistake of the first order). A theory can often suggest new relationships between pieces of information, or suggest a better model or method of analysis. Sometimes they can force a debate about issues that many of us unconsciously avoid. , At minimum, they may show us what doesn’t work. There are many benefits to theories, even ones that are incorrect.

      All this to say that I am interested in many theories, including Mr H’s. Sometimes just as something to mull over. Other times as plunder: something to pick through and pilfer anything that seems to have the slightest value for my own.

      For the last little while, I have been returning to Mr H*ran’s observation about the splattered slacks.. I think he has raised a very intereseting observation about the similarity between the words splattered and patterned. Somebody glancing at the word patterned quickly could easily confuse the words.

      What surprised me about his argument is that he seemed to insist that a hoaxer must have glanced specifically at the messed up copy of the report and misread the word splattered instead of patterned. When I looked at the copy, I immediately got the sense that, if such a mistake were made, it would have more likely been as a result of reading the original very quickly (or perhaps upside down).

      Possibly Mr H will clarify why he apparently discounts the original as the likely source of the (hypothetical) error.



    • G Gluckman 30 August, 2012 at 22:12

      Hi Mike and anybody who cares to respond,

      Maybe I am alone in this, but perhaps there is at least one rather interesting alternate hypothesis to explore here.

      The words spattered and patterned really do look similar at a glance. As somebody who misreads words a lot, I can say that Mr H is right on that point at least.

      I would like to explore the ASSUMPTION that the writer did see the words written on a report. Mr H insists it had to be FROM the copy. As staated in my previous comment, to me it seems more likely that it would have been from the original.

      BTW, Tom Voigt indicated it is just as likely the killer didn’t even see her clothing well enough to have known whether she had slacks or something else. (I hope I have that correct, Mr Voigt.) I certainly can’t disagree. But if that is true, it almost seems as if we might actually be agreeing with Mr H, because that would mean the writer did not know the correct answer, and so wrote something that he did not personally know to be true. Then, by some weird coincidence, what he wrote in his ignorance turned out to be very strangely similar to what was written on the report: only he wrote patterned instead of spattered.

      So, do we explain it as mere coincidence?

      Please feel free to vote on the matter. My thought is that Mr Hor*n might actually have been right about the patterned vs spattered observation, but he may have been wrong about his larger conclusion.

      Whatever your opinion, I would ask you to suspend any disbelief on that point, if you can, and ALLOW for the rest of the discussion that the writer–whoever he (or she) was–did somehow see the report and misread the words, and thereby wrote an incorrect statement in the letter.

      What is curious about Mr H’s conclusion is that it seems to have involved a funny little dance around the suggestion that the writer specifically misread a garbled copy of the report, rather than the clearer original report itself.

      It seems that, Mr H is insisting that the misread had to have come specifically from the copy. Assuming he can make that point, it seems he hopes to further isolate the list of people who could possibly have obtained, uand subsequently misread, the copy of report, and that would lead him to his purported hoaxer.

      But, I have a problem with the last few steps of his reasoning. i don’t see the proof.

      Let us allow, for the sake of argument, that the writer, whoever he or she was, did read the word spattered and misinterpret it as patterned. I think it is more likely that the mistake came as a result of reading an original copy, perhaps reading it quickly, or upside down, than from the garbled copy. I saw a photocopy of the garbled report, and it was pretty hard to read, let alone misread. On the other hand, the original would presumably have been easy to see at a glance–a glance quick enough to misread.

      [Aside: I don’t know how we can prove which way it would most likely have actually happened, but since I am only claiming a hypothesis, I only need to establish that it is reasonable and plausible. It is my opinion that my hypothesis would be more likely, but that is just my opinion. Mr H, on the other hand, is claiming conclusive proof, so the burden is on him to establish that my hypothesis is false. (By the way, logic dictates that if he can’t prove this point, then what he really has on his hands is a conjecture, or a hypothesis, just like mine, but not a proof.)]

      At any rate, it appears to me that there may be a problem with Mr H’s larger conclusions (again ALLOWING that the writer got the phrase patterned slacks by way of a misread of the phrase spattered slacks) in that he may not actually be able to establish which version (original, copy, other) of the report it came from, except by guessing and supposing so. And, if that much is true, he might have a harder time establishing with any certainty where the report had been, and who might have had an opportunity to see it. (Hmm, are reports subject to chain of custody controls?)

      So, this leads me to the questions, how many people might have been able to see the report? And, for that matter, where might they have seen it–even to just glance at it? Especially just glamce at it?

      Perhaps you see where I am going with this. The question I am really itching to ask is: does it seem conceivable that Z could have been bold enough to show up at the hospital, at the funeral parlor, or any place the report may have been, and glanced at the report?

      Also, would such a manouever be feasible, and would it be consistent with our suppositions about Z’s nature?

      I am tossing this out as a hypothesis only. Any thoughts?


    • Thomas Horan 16 August, 2012 at 14:27

      “In fact there are some serious weak points to the strucure of his arguments.”

      For example???????? Page after page after page of whining about my personality, but zero actual examples. Just one example. How heard could it be? In the time you’ve spent typing all your posts about nothing, you could have typed one example. Why not? How hard could it be?

  6. G Gluckman 11 August, 2012 at 10:29 Reply

    Incidentally, my use of the tern Pandemonium Post was not a shot at anybody. It was just that there were so many lines of argument going at once and I was trying to make sense of everything in snatched moments at work on my smartphone.

  7. James Wood 11 August, 2012 at 20:23 Reply

    Mr. Horan…..This is real easy. As you say there have been tons of experts, well now you’ve kind of added yourself to the list. The things you have omitted is the name, or name(s) of the shooters, stabbers & the proof. The name of the caller(s) and the proof. After that it’s all easy. Kind of like solving ciphers. Lots and lots of solutions, and if you ask each author they’ll tell you their’s is the only correct one. Well only one can be right.
    What you’re stating here doesn’t matter. I only want to know who killed each one of these people. I have a theory, and it’s a good one. Can I prove it? Nope, not yet. That’s why it is only my theory. No proof, putting the person at the scene with the weapon used. That’s proof.
    I really think you are speaking of your theory. And you would apparently like all to believe your theory is better than other’s theories. But you can’t. It is only a theory, unless you’re saying you have proof on each one of these cases. By all means, please stop the madness and produce your proof. Otherwise, you’re like the rest of us mortals, another theorist.

  8. Tracers 13 August, 2012 at 02:33 Reply

    Horan updated his site

    He entitles a new piece from August 11, 2012 Cole Chickens Out of Reviewing The Great Zodiac Hoax

    He starts off by saying

    “Michael Cole, a bush-league Tom Voigt, has been desperately trying to badmouth my book, The Great Zodiac Hoax of 1969, while frantically avoiding actually reading it and and comparing it to the facts in the actual police department files. Voigt, “tracers,” and several other trolls have been on Cole’s site trying to discredit me, while, as always, avoiding facts.”

    He also calls us “vultures” and claims someone concedes Darlene was wearing a dress! lol

    Apparently he is upset that Mike C. and the rest of us are not providing detailed analyses/critiques/discussions of the so-called “facts” he presents in his book.

    Horan’s site also has a piece from August 10, 2012 in which he challenges Kelleher “to prove that the information in those “Zodiac” letters is accurate, and not erroneous.”

    If Horan thinks we are trolls, vultures, non-experts who have not bothered to read the police files, etc., why is he so miffed that we haven’t reviewed his piece in the extensive manner he desires? I would think he would be grateful that his work wasn’t being analyzed by a bunch of idiots, but apparently that’s not the case.

    • Zodiac Revisited 13 August, 2012 at 12:00

      I can find one thing to agree on:

      Stop by and let them know what you think.

      Yes, please do. Sadly, for Mr. Horan, I doubt any reasonable person is going to come down on his side…

    • Tracers 13 August, 2012 at 18:25

      According to Horan, his supporters have been trying to post at unspecified boards, but the board Admins are blocking their posts. Really?

    • Zodiac Revisited 13 August, 2012 at 18:48

      I have refused to publish a number of his replies. But it’s not because he’s proved anything (he hasn’t – surprise, surprise…). Rather, he’s consistently disrespectful to people, including Mike Kelleher, Tom Voigt, You, Morf, or me… If he’d just reply in a respectful manner, I’d publish it. I’m a reasonable person. But he’s not interested in respectfully defending his position. He wants to misrepresent, name call, harass, etc. The way I see it, people can go over to blogspot if they want that.

      As for his “supporters”, I don’t know of any…

    • Zodiac Revisited 13 August, 2012 at 12:03

      I wouldn’t really call what I have here a review, although I started out intending to write one. I think of it as more of a warning.

      If I wanted to write a review, I would probably borrow Moses Hadas’s line, which feels incredibly fitting:

      I have read your book and much like it.

    • Thomas Horan 16 August, 2012 at 15:51

      I’ll say it again: I’ve asked for ONE example. You don’t have to debunk the whole book. Just ONE example. Why, why, why is that so hard???

  9. morf13 14 August, 2012 at 21:16 Reply

    The guy will sell 6 or 7 books, and then vanish into obscurity like the DebPerezes of the world. Personally, I would say “good riddens”. The fact he thinks there is no Zodiac killer is a slap in the face to the Zodiac’s victims and their families. This guy’s crazy stuff isn’t worth the energy or the effort. He has been asked repeatedly,by multiple people, to show some proof of his theory being true, and instead, he simply says “read my book”, to which I say..NO THANKS

    • Tahoe27 20 August, 2012 at 10:42

      I agree morf. My problem with stuff like this isn’t the idea of their being hoaxes, more than one Zodiac, etc. I take issue with the things he comes up with to make his conclusions. A while back he was writing about the person taking credit for the LB crimes and that the person who called in the attacks had heard it on a scanner. I must have asked him at least 5 times why the caller reported a double murder. Never an answer. Of course had this person heard it on a scanner, he would have known they were very much alive.

      6 months ago Horan thought Paul Avery received a piece of Stine’s shirt. Enough said.

  10. morf13 28 August, 2012 at 06:09 Reply

    As much as this is a waste of time,I have to ask…..

    Mr. Horan, you posted this on

    “Bottom line: Without those letters, there is zero link between any two of these murders, let alone between all of them. The two hoax suspects I have identified by name have ironclad alibis for at least one murder apiece. Poof goes the Zodiac.”

    Okay,so where have you identified these two ‘hoax suspects’ by name? You seem to be very sketchy in any details at all about these individuals,but here you claim to have identified them “BY NAME”….knowing their names and not sharing them with everybody is NOT the same as identifying them by name. Please enlighten us

  11. ggluckman 28 September, 2012 at 08:04 Reply


    I am pleased to see that Mr Grant has continued to address a key aspect of Mr H*ran’s theory: specifically the matter of Paul Stine’s shirt.

    Despite Mr H’s incomprehensible behavior, his theory is significant for a number of reasons, one being the unique theoryspace it make a claim on. In addition, there are a small number of important observations (surrounded by some vastly inferior “supporting” observations) that deserve attention, even if he uses them to draw specious conclusions.

    Of the various parts of his theory that should be answered, the most important is the matter of Stine’s shirt which Mr G has been responding to on his site at There are currently 3 pages dealing with the [email protected] Shirt arguments.

    The next in importance, imo, is the question of DF’s spattered/patterned slacks/dress. Not sure if Mr G will care to address this question. Personally, I think the core observation about the similarity of the words is especially interesting, though with different implications than Mr H foresaw.

    The third most important observation, imo, is the directions given by the caller referencing the Columbus Parkway. Mr H’s logic on this is weak as presented, but the observation itself is a good one.

    Anyway, Mr Grant’s responses have been very interesting and I will keep an eye out to see if he has more to say in the future on this topic.

    Best regards,


    • Michael D. Kelleher 28 September, 2012 at 09:07

      Hi, G.

      As I recall, his very first premise was that there are no overt links among the canonical Zodiac attacks other than those provided by the letter-writer himself. As far as documentation in the public domain is concerned, this is correct. It was a good jumping off point for a workable theory and one that has been (is being) looked at in other quarters. However, he chose to not work in a collaborative way and became immediately combative, adding assumptions and working alone with a really nasty approach. Had he gone about this in a more professional way, he would have had a number of folks willing to help him along. However, he made his choice and what is done is done.


  12. ggluckman 28 September, 2012 at 10:45 Reply

    Hi Mr K,

    As regards his behavior, I agree. It’s a shame, a pity and a waste of potential.

    Would very much love to know about the work being done in other quarters.

    All in the fullness of time, I suppose.



  13. smithy 29 September, 2012 at 13:01 Reply

    If there’s “work being done in other quarters” I’d love to take part. I certainly find Mr Horan’s theory HIGHLY compelling, as should be well known by now.

    • Zodiac Revisited 29 September, 2012 at 15:23

      Really Smithy? I respect your opinions, but I’m having a little trouble understanding why somebody would truly buy into this theory. Is there any particular part of it that you feel is especially compelling? Or are there collateral beliefs that complement and influence your opinions on the theory? Are you on board with just the general idea that there never was a Zodiac Killer or do you also believe that Horan is correct with respect to the people he’s putting forth as suspects?

      I hope you appreciate that I’m not trying to be argumentative or a pain; I just want to understand why you find the theory compelling.

  14. smithy 29 September, 2012 at 18:09 Reply

    Really, Mike, yes, I find the theory compelling, and no I don’t think your question’s at all argumentative or painful!

    The idea’s not new. We’ve all discussed the number of half-truths and downright lies there are in the Zodiac correspondence. We’ve always been suspicious of the widely different circumstances in the “canonical” crimes. Yes I’ve always had an “extra” collateral belief that the letters could have been an escalating “publicity campaign”. That they might just be well-crafted pieces of journalism always seemed feasible to me, from my own background working with newspapers.

    Right now, I’m using “Suspension of Disbelief”. I’m setting aside the enormous difficulties of Berryessa and the Presidio and their physical evidence, and I’m just looking for confirmation that a hoax was possible. So far I believe that I’m being shown that yes, it was really quite quite possible.

    It’s tough! For an intrigue to have lasted this long, it’s bound to be. If it weren’t the product of some audacious risk-taking, blind luck, strange complexities and ridiculous happenstance – it wouldn’t have lasted more than forty years.

    Yes I’m still on board, then, with the idea that there was never a Zodiac Killer. I can now consider and examine the seperate MO’s, “believe” all the physical descriptions, and look at the eleven facts in the first two letters dispassionately. I can wonder at how they were written – the language employed – and doubt them all. I can see where the first caller might have got his facts, imagine why the call might have been politically useful (at the least), and I’m about to the point that I can count the shirt pieces that were posted in. Two. How it was perhaps acquired, and Berryessa “in toto”, still awaits.

    Do I believe that Mr Horan is correct with respect to the people he’s putting forth as suspects? I’m honestly not aware of who they might be, as yet. I don’t care, either. If the methods aren’t believable – and at times the methods do indeed stretch the imagination – then who Mr Horan believes may have perpetrated it isn’t the least important. I’ll cross that bridge later – if indeed I come to it.

    • G Gluckman 1 October, 2012 at 20:49

      Hi Smithy,

      It would be interesting to know about what you see as the strong and weak points of H’s theory.

      For myself, even though I don’t subscribe to his views, I found 3 points of interest:
      1) Paul Stine’s shirt,
      2) Darlene F’s patterned/spattered slack(s)/dress
      3) the directions given referencing the Columbus Parkway

      (I might add the matter of the way Betty Lou’s body was lying as a possible fourth.)

      It’s been awhile now since I last read his book, so I may be forgetting things, but as I recall the rest of the ideas presented seemed to me to add little of value or interest.

      Would you mind commenting on your findings with regard to any of the above points, or any other points that you consider particularly noteworthy?

      Many thanks,


  15. smithy 3 October, 2012 at 10:06 Reply

    Hi there G., well, now you’ve asked me.

    Subscribing to his views is one thing I think – exploring the possibility of a hoax, quite another. I don’t mind diluting the messages, here, (and possibly misinterpreting things – what the heck, I’ve paid 99 cents) – in fact I’m going to! And as a bonus I’ll throw something in of mine own too. You should be reading the blog material for yourself though, you know.
    OK here goes.

    Paul’s shirt was torn across the back by the shooter, who used a large piece of it to wipe his prints from the cab. It was then re-visited by someone else, who secured a further piece to tear into two – sending one piece in a letter to the Chronicle, and one to Mr Belli. How that process was undertaken and by whom – coming soon to the blog.
    I’m still looking for further pictures of shirt pieces to confirm their number. It seems at the moment that yes, there were only two posted in – which is a bit of a surprise.

    The argument rages over that um, garment. In the police reports it’s referred to as a “blue and white flowered slack dress” by Sgt Lynch; he calls it a “slack dress” on another occasion, too. The letter describes it as “patterned slacks”. The obscurity of the description on the police report leads Mr Horan to conclude that the letter writer used the information that he’s misread from the police report – which was his only source for the information. Everywhere else, including on the big screen, Darlene does indeed wear slacks. (Well, a sort of jumpsuit, actually). It’s a very big deal.

    Re: the reference to Columbus Parkway – I suspect you mean the content of the first call. There’s more to it, but in respect to the directions, the suggestion is that the caller made that remark based on information heard over the radio – information which gave the ambulance team directions to the location of the crime scene at Blue Rock Springs. The “if you will go one mile East”, specifically.
    I can see how this is feasible, personally, since I conjured myself a little map via Google. It’s not recieved much comment as yet, but I’m not downhearted.
    There. I believe you now owe me about 3 cents.
    (All mistakes herein are mine own).

    Best regards,

  16. G Gluckman 4 October, 2012 at 21:32 Reply

    Hi Smithy (or anybody who might care),

    The Stine Shirt sub-theory is especially interesting. When thinking in terms of the structure of Mr H’s theory, it is the most asymmetrical element. In terms of its contribution to the whole theory, it is probably the single most important argument. It is one of the few sub-theories that have the potential to hit a home-run. By the same token, if this argument falls apart, it will be a severe blow to his larger hypothesis, so ,either way, it is a good place to start.

    I am always happiest if I can find the logical essence of an argument. I was having a great deal of difficulty with the Paul Stine argument because it hinges on matters of which I have zero expertise. Plus, I was having trouble visualizing the scene and the photos were too confusing to follow. To make matters worse, there seem to be quite a number of moving parts: fingerprints, floorboards, bench seat, Doussette, car door, blood, plasma, blood solids, blotting, piece one, piece two, one letter, another letter, culprit one, culprit two, and on and on.

    But as I was re-visiting Mr Grant’s timeline discussion ( on the Shirt sub-theory, I realized that we can ignore most of the moving parts and focus on one thing only: BLOTTING. This is the logical core of Mr H’s argument, and it alone is where Mr H’s Shirt argument stands or falls. None of the other moving parts actually matter.

    From reading Mr H’s comments (as quoted in Mr Grant’s post) it is clear that his arguments all hinge on the presumed blots on the pieces of the shirts that were sent in the letters. It also doesn’t really matter whether there was on piece of short or multiple pieces. Nor does the discussion about contiguity of blood stains actually matter.

    IF Mr H’s (explicit or implicit) premisses about blood science and specifically blotting are accurate, AND IF we can safely carry out that scientific analysis based on visual inspection of the available photos of the shirt pieces, THEN we must be able to safely conclude that the stains on the cloth happened after the killer had departed the scene, thus proving Mr H’s theory.

    Conversely, if Mr H’s blood (blot) analysis fails, his theory fails.

    I am not sceptical of Mr H’s intelligence, but I am very sceptical about his qualifications as a blood scientist, splatter expert or hematologist. It would surprise me greatly if so much could be deduced from photos with any precision, but as I understand it, that is what the argument about the Stine Shirt pieces comes down to: all the other discussions are just distractions.

    Many thanks,


  17. smithy 5 October, 2012 at 08:44 Reply

    You’re right, there’s very little physical evidence in the case – the Stine shirt and the Berryessa door are the “links” chiefly – and of the two the shirt’s surely the least “accessible” by a long shot, so why not focus on that, indeed?

    Mr Horan would loathe that, I think. He’s been challenged – immediately – about just those things on ALL the Z. web sites he’s attended. I think it’s a pity that we do (and we always do), challenge on just those things too, since to do so is to ignore the seperate MO’s, weapons and physical descriptions and even the more obvious stupidities of the letters – but true, if the shirt’s a believable component, why bother with the rest?

    Now, to do so, – bother with the shirt, I mean – since I have no experience with “blotting” blood, either, my simple yardstick is “Does it look as if someone wiped something with that piece?” Before going even that far, though, on the contrary, it matters a great deal how many pieces there were!
    If it looks as if a seperate piece or pieces of the shirt could have been sensibly removed by someone else other than Paul Stine’s killer – pieces which make sense in respect to their location and general description, on we go. If we can’t make sense of step one, then my next step of strewing sauces around in the kitchen won’t be required. There’s some current active discussion on this very subject, which you’re missing.

    To backtrack a little, you make no comment on my marvellous graphic, or my fumbling attempts to highlight the possible “One mile East” line from the phone call as interesting, I note. I’m hurt. When one looks at that, thinks on it hard, and realises that it does perhaps undermine the reference to that phone call made in the second letter, well, it generates a healthy sceptecism when speaking of shirts too, I’m sure.
    (Well, it did for me.)

  18. G Gluckman 5 October, 2012 at 19:03 Reply

    Hi Smithy,

    A few thoughts, not necessarily in the most logical order:
    -I agree that there are a number of things in (the putative) Zodiac Killers writings and actions that open up questions of credibility, possibly even to point of questioning the entire persona. Although my own theory efforts are focused in a different direction, I very much support research being carried out on that front. It is a theoryspace that needs attention, and it is important to have serious researchers are covering that area.
    -My understanding is that you are exploring that terrritory and there is overlap between your ideas and the ideas expressed by Mister H. One important distinction is that he has claimed to have proven his ideas, while you (at least by my impression), like most of the rest of us, are primarily engaged in exploring an important theme, with a possible view to building a theory. (Correct me if I am wrong.)
    -Because he has claimed to have *proven* his thesis, and because his claim is so extraordinary, he has effectively opened up his claim to the challenges and fierce debate that befit a claim of proof.
    -He has thrown down the gauntlet and neither offered quarter nor asked for it, so it is proper that he should expect a rough go–as good as he gives. That said, I understand your point about the pity of it. My answer is that theories get the gloves, proofs the gauntlet: whatever the outcome of the H*ran debate, it is important to continue encouraging research in this area: the questions still need answering.
    -as I said above, I am interested in exploring the possibilities, which means that I am interested in your personal findings as well as thinking about how to test Mr H’s claim of proof. While I may be directing my thoughts toward you, I do not mean to suppose you are Mr H’s apologist. Still, you are probably light years ahead of me in knowing the details that relate to his theories.
    -I want to re-emphasize my assertion that the questions about blotting are the only thing that really matters in the Shirt debate. I am going to be sticky about this point because is a matter of parsimony. As I see it, it comes down to this: if Mr H can establish that his science is so accurate that he can identify the characteristics of blood stains with such precision from a photograph that he can deduce that the stain only occurred after the killer left the scene, then it doesn’t matter whether there was one piece of shirt or fifty. If such a piece ended up being sent anywhere, the matter is conclusive: a hoax has occured and and the rest of the details are just details. Conversely, if he cannot establish his science to be that accurate, his claim is finished. Either way, when it comes to testing his claim of proof, the rest of the details are mere distraction.
    -As far as your graphic and the other topics go, I am definitely interested. The only reason I didn’t mention it is that I thought it better to go topic by topic. The map reminds me of some thoughts I had about that discussion, so I am eager to hear what you have come up with.

    I have some more to write, but it’s closing time at Starbucks. More to follow.



  19. G Gluckman 5 October, 2012 at 21:07 Reply

    Hi Smithy,

    Me again. There is another Starbucks a few blocks away that stays open a bit longer.

    I wanted to talk about the DF garments. This is a fascinating topic, IMO. Frankly, I think Hor.n deserves credit for his observations on this issue. I am skeptical about his subsequent reasoning, but I believe he has made some outstanding observations that deserve fair treatment. I believe others have made similar observations, but to my knowledge they didn’t take it as far as he did.

    There are two points of interest: the apparent discrepancy between type of garment (slacks or pants vs slack dress) and the curious coincidence about the similarity of descriptive words used (spattered vs patterned => *patter*ed).

    Mr H is right to call out the apparent discrepancy. It requires discussion. And he was absolutely on target in pointing out the possible significance of the similarity between spattered and patterned.

    This discussion is one of the other places where he has the possibility for a home run–at least as judged by the strength of the swing–but I think he might have hit a pop fly instead.

    It seems to me his efforts to tie this to a hoaxer depend on his supposition that the writer must have read a garbled copy of the report that describe the clothing DF wore. And, while I think it is an idea worth exploring, it is far too speculative to be considered proof.

    There are many ways to look at this theory, and many ways to dispute it. But if, for the sake of discussion, we allow that the writer (Z or not) did try to borrow a phrase from the report on DF’s belongings–but misread spattered as patterned, I think we see some other interesting possibilities.

    IMO, it would be much more likely that the writer (Z or whoever) read the original report, not the garbled undercopy. From the photo I saw, it was hard to discern any words on the garbled copy. It would have taken some time and close staring to decipher the wording. The difficulty of reading the garbled copy may have figured into H’s supposition that the mistake had to have come from the copy, not the original, but my own experience leads me to think the contrary.

    Thinking from my own tendency to misread things, I believe it would have been more likely that a misread would come from reading the clear (ungarbled) original in a hurry than from the garbled copy.

    If that is true, it would seem to me to suggest that the report could have been read at several possible junctures. I am going out on a limb here, since I don’t know the timeline of the report from when it was written till when (and where) it was filed. I presume the original would have been more exposed to prying eyes longer than the copy.

    The reason I mention this is that such a scenario seems to open a new possibility (which I mentioned in comments on another post)–namely that the (putative) Zodiac Killer himself followed had stealthily inserted himself back into the equation–perhaps at the funeral home and managed to catch a glimpse of the (original copy of the) report, which he looked at quickly–and accidentally misread. The mechanism is much as Mr H suggests, but implications are different.

    I know this is highly speculative, but I would hold that it is no more speculative than Mr H’s hypothesis on this matter. Now that I have taken it this far, I guess I might as well go ahead with another thought on the matter. More speculation to be sure.

    The letter that led to this debate was one of three. I don’t recall for certain of Mr H mentioned this detail or not, but only one letter mentioned “patterned slacks”. The Times Herald and the Examiner letters both wrote “patterned pants”–pants instead of slacks. The Chronicle letter mentioned slacks.

    I am given to wondering why he wrote the two messages one way, and the third differently. I would like to speculate that it was deliberate and that it was intended as a taunt, but it fizzled into obscurity for the very reason that Mr H pointed out: Z misread the words “spattered slack
    as “patterned slacks”.

    So let me toss around out a (very speculative) scenario/hypothesis from the beginning:
    1) Zodiac Killer attacks DF and MM. (As Mr Voigt suggested, events happened quickly such that he did not notice what DF actually wore.)
    2) He escapes, but stealthily follows events.
    3) He follows DF’s body (perhaps to the funeral home?), where he poses as somebody with a valid pretext to be in the area.
    4) He sees an LE official involved in the investigation and approaches him, perhaps exchanging a few words. As he does so he sneaks a surreptitious glance at the report. In doing so, he sees and misreads the words at the top of the report. He thinks he read “patterned slacks”.
    5) He privately exults over his exploit.
    6) When writing the 3 letters he wishes to taunt the LE officials by subtly drawing attention to his choice of wording: he varies the wording in 2 of the letters with the expectation that LE will wonder about the significance of the variation. He expects that the person he spoke with to recognize that the words in the 3rd letter exactly matches the words on the report. Then they will know that they were face-to-face with the killer and missed him. The only problem is that he flubbed up and didn’t realize his mistake–that he had misread the words on the report. The author of the report would probably never recognize the intended similarity.

    Well this Starbucks is closed and I am sitting on their outdoor seats in the dark with my IPad, so I need to bring this comment to an end.

    In the end, I just want to reiterate that H’s speculation on this point is interesting, and deserves further attention–despite the acrimonious discussions on the matter a few weeks back. But I need to emphasize that it looks as highly speculative as it is highly interesting. I don’t see any proof here. I think my counterspeculation just as interesting, though probably completely unprovable.

    If you have any thoughts on this topic, wherever you stand on it’s provability or likelihood, I would be interested to hear them.

    Time to skeddadle on home.


  20. smithy 6 October, 2012 at 06:03 Reply

    “Mr H’s apologist.” Actually, that’s a role I’ve fallen into a lot, latey. Why, I wonder?!

    No, I have no theory of my own and no “POI”, and I never have had – just the healthy scepticism I’ve always had about the case and the letters in particular. I’m usually occupied getting nowhere at all with the 340 cipher – and in trying to understand what I can about the rest of the facts of the case to shed some light on my experiments there – so I’m not adding much to Mr H’s theory. Just ignorance and naivety – which have been useful in some small way, perhaps.

    Did he need to read the report at all, GG, if he was there, and shot them? Why?
    If he DID need to read the report for some reason – this killer – and he wanted to “lift” an official description of Darlene’s clothes, to include it in a letter, if he read the original copy, where “Blue and white flowered slack dress” was clearly legible, would he have pursued a subtle course, do you suppose – calling the dress “patterned slacks” and “pants”? Would he not have just written down what it was?

    Nooo, sorry, I don’t think that’s good enough. Although I admire the subtlety of your little mind-game, I tend to believe Mr Horan’s quite possibly brought an issue more fundamental than that, to light. Examine that and also the other elements of that first letter again, sceptically GG. What do you make of the language it uses btw? I’m interested to know.

    You’ve prompted me into fetching a cup of coffee.

    Oh! And I’m pleased we’ve dropped the shirt just for a second. I find I wasn’t able to count the pieces it was in, recently. There were three mailed in of course. Silly me!

  21. G Gluckman 6 October, 2012 at 13:02 Reply

    Hi Smithy,

    Perhaps I should not have used the word apologist. It may have framed things in the wrong way. I just meant to say that I don’t assume that because I am directing my comments about Mr H to you that it is your job to answer for him. As I see it, you are exploring the reality that Z said and did a number of things that raise doubts about his credibility on many levels, whether or not it coincides with Mr H.

    Anyway, let me proceed by responding to some of your questions:

    Q: “Did he need to read the report at all, GG, if he was there, and shot them? Why?”

    A: Your question seems to presuppose that the killer, whoever he was, had to have noticed and remembered what Darlene F was wearing. Personally, I am inclined to expect otherwise. I believe I am typical of men in that I can be in the company of another person for hours on end and have little recollection of what that person was wearing. (I sometimes do notice a woman’s clothing, but that is generally only when my observation is accompanied by a precipitous hormonal spike. The rest of the time I am mostly garment oblivious.) It seems questionable that a man who is intent on committing a murder then escaping–events measured in minutes, excitement and narrowness of focus–should be assumed to remember details of of a woman’s clothing, even if the woman happens to be his murder victim. So, as alluded in the speculative scenario I outlined above, I agree with Tom Voigt when he suggested that it was unlikely that the killer noticed what Darlene F was wearing.

    Q: “If he DID need to read the report for some reason – this killer – and he wanted to “lift” an official description of Darlene’s clothes, to include it in a letter, if he read the original copy, where “Blue and white flowered slack dress” was clearly legible, would he have pursued a subtle course, do you suppose – calling the dress “patterned slacks” and “pants”? Would he not have just written down what it was?”

    A: As to whether the killer ‘needed’ to read the report, I don’t suppose that, although I acknowledge (as discussed above) that he very well may have been unaware of what she wore. I am more likely to suppose that reading the report was the result of a chance opportunity that presented itself when–as per my speculative scenario–he approached an LE official who happened to have the report.

    Referring now to your mention of the phrase “Blue and white flowered slack dress”, I am not sure we are referring to the same document. My understanding from H’s comments (elsewhere) is that we are discussing this document: I do not see the phrase you quoted. Please correct me if I have missed something–quite possible as I am not that familiar with all the documents.

    Assuming I have looked at the correct report, you can see that it is the garbled carbon copy that Mr H referred to. It is very hard to see, as the carbon copy form was misaligned, just as H said it was, such that the first line of handwriting, where the words “1 BLOOD STAINED AND SPATTERED” are garbled almost to the point of unreadability (from what I can see).

    I have not seen an image the original form that overlay the garbled carbon copy, but I understand that the words would have aligned normally with the form and the words would have been more clearly visible. I don’t think Mr H disputes that, so I will assume it as fact.

    Even though writing the original upper form would have been clearer, according to speculative reverie that I posited earlier, there is a built in problem: the killer is not likely to be able to read the report at a leisurely pace–he would more likely have only been able to get a quick, surreptitious glance at the report, which may well have been in the hands of the LE officer at the time. The report may have been partially obscured. We can’t know the conditions, but it would seem more likely to me that he would have read it under less than ideal conditions, increasing the chances that he would make the very kinds of mistake that Mr H himself proposed for his own scenario.

    So, the short answer to your question, “Would he not have just written down what it was?” is no–for pretty much the exact same reason Mr H said the hoaxer didn’t write down what it was.

    Q: “Examine that and also the other elements of that first letter again, sceptically GG. What do you make of the language it uses btw?”

    A: I haven’t had a chance to re-review the elements of the first letter as yet, but I will do so. Still, that is a broad request. Can you elaborate a bit on what I am looking for? If it is to convince myself that many things Z said are highly questionable, I am already there. There is much he said that casts doubts upon his credibility.

    Up till now I have spent a lot of time on presenting my counter-speculation. Since it is clearly speculation, what is my objective.

    Well, my first objective is to say that I find the possibilities very intriguing. That applies to both hypotheses, but I am especially interested in the idea that Z, assuming he existed (as most of us do), might actually have been interactive in ways the police never realized.

    Bottom line, though, is that it is pure speculation. It’s only virtue, apart from hopefully being interesting, is that it is not inconsistent with any of facts known to me, and is therefore, to that extent, plausible.

    Which leads me to my second objective.

    What I am trying to do is juxtapose my own speculation with the scenario that Mr H claims as proven. He has claimed that he is able to narrow the list of people who would have accessed the report down with sufficient precision as to be able to identify his (purported) hoaxer(s). As I understand it, his argument relies on the supposition that the misread could only have come about had the person doing the misread seen the garbled carbon copy. In other words, it seems as if his so-called proof depends on a point that seems highly questionable.

    What I have done is to take virtually the same set of assumptions as Mr H as my premises but have arrived at a vastly different hypothesis–a hypothesis that is highly speculative, but perfectly plausible. If the same set of premisses can lead to two plausible conclusions, then neither can be taken as proven.

    This leads me to the following conclusion about Mr H’s Darlene Ferrin clothing debate:

    Mr H has made a brilliant observation, and I consider his theory that it could have been a hoax to be interesting, just as I find my own counter-hypothesis to be interesting. But, for now, his theory does not rise above that. It is speculation. Worth pursuing, perhaps, but still just speculation. Certainly not proof, based on any argument I am aware of. His claim of proof is specious at best.

    I would like to discuss the Columbus Parkway business next, if you haven’t died of boredom yet. You can be thankful I will have less to say about that topic. Anyway, it will be awhile as I have a quite a few chores I have been neglecting.



    • smithy 7 October, 2012 at 02:42

      No, really, I thought “apologist” was funny, really!

      OK – why did he write about her clothing at all then, if he was indeed garment-ignorant? Plenty other things to write about! Yes, we’re talking about that same document – in amongst that mess, that’s what it says – “blue and white flowered” on that top line. There’s nothing of “blood spattered” there. If you think about it, that would be very unlikely language, since those same adjectives would have to have been used to describe lots of items of clothing. Please don’t think of that as fact. (I hope this helps.)
      “Precipitous hormonal spike” eh? Ah, I was young, once.

      Were I to tell you what to look for, I might prejudice you further, I think. As I mentioned, consider the facts in the letters (the first two), and the language used – ask yourself do they sound like everyday English – and take it from there. Since you’ve looked at that report about the dress, have a look at the next, say, twenty pages too. Speculation’s fine. It’s been around for more than 40 years already, all this information, so why would we rush?

      As to the “definitive answers” and the fact that speculation leads us to different conclusions and perhaps even individuals, that’s no matter. I’m still exploring the notion that it’s a hoax. I begin to think it might have been, you know.

  22. G Gluckman 7 October, 2012 at 03:38 Reply

    Hi Smithy,

    OMG!!!! This is hilarious!!!!!

    Okay. You win that one.

    On the matter of the “blue and white flowered” vs “blood stained and spattered”, if you are sure about that wording, I am more than willing to concede.

    As I said, I had trouble reading the garbled line and I never saw the original. I took Mr H’s word for it.

    That’s one reason it is so funny. He is the guy who keeps asking if everybody even reads the document. Naturally, I thought it would be safe to take his word for it.

    ( One place he said it was right here on Zodiac Revisited:

    The other reason it is so hilarious is that, unless there was yet another document that Mr H was referring to, it completely blows his second most promising theory out of the water.

    Please tell me he was referring to another document. Because if not, when he finds out, he is definitely going to fire you as his apologist. 🙂

    I am going to spend my day re-reading whatever you suggest, but I will try to slip in a break a bit later to talk about “potential home run number 3”. 😀

    Take care,


  23. smithy 7 October, 2012 at 08:45 Reply

    No, I’m quite sure he WAS wrong about that. See? I’m not his apologist, nor would I wish to be. Now, whether you think that the person who wrote the letter saw “patterned” in that mess of words there – in fact had the same difficulty as you and Thomas Horan both did when first looking at it, well that’s the point!

  24. G Gluckman 7 October, 2012 at 10:32 Reply

    Hi Smithy,

    Very nice!

    So, it seems there is no basis for my little Zodiac fantasy for the exact same reason there is no basis for Horan’s claim that he can trace the (purported) hoaxer’s mistake to a misread of a certain document–because the document didn’t say what he said it said.

    I know this sounds a little dirty, but to put it a different way, my fantasy was inextricably bound to his fantasy. If his fantasy was fun, mine was too; if his fantasy flops, so does mine. That’s because mine depends on his premisses.

    (It’s like quantum entanglement for fantasies. It’s the new rage.)

    Anyway, it seems our little conjoined fantasies have flopped, Smithy, and we both have you to thank for it. LOL.

    So, where does that leave us?

    There is still a problem to be considered. Why then would the (putative) Zodiac Killer have (apparently) written the wrong thing about DF’s clothing?

    Now, if I resort back to my garment-ignorant argument, then you resort to your earlier question: “OK – why did he write about her clothing at all then, if he was indeed garment-ignorant?”

    And the significance changes, because we don’t have H’s little fabrication to muddy the waters.

    So…it seems the tables have turned back in your favor, Mr Smithy.–or should I say…Mr. Bond?


  25. G Gluckman 7 October, 2012 at 10:32 Reply

    Hi Smithy,

    Very nice!

    So, it seems there is no basis for my little Zodiac fantasy for the exact same reason there is no basis for Horan’s claim that he can trace the (purported) hoaxer’s mistake to a misread of a certain document–because the document didn’t say what he said it said.

    I know this sounds a little dirty, but to put it a different way, my fantasy was inextricably bound to his fantasy. If his fantasy was fun, mine was too; if his fantasy flops, so does mine. That’s because mine depends on his premisses.

    (It’s like quantum entanglement for fantasies. It’s the new rage.)

    Anyway, it seems our little conjoined fantasies have flopped, Smithy, and we both have you to thank for it. LOL.

    So, where does that leave us?

    There is still a problem to be considered. Why then would the (putative) Zodiac Killer have (apparently) written the wrong thing about DF’s clothing?

    Now, if I resort back to my garment-ignorant argument, then you resort to your earlier question: “OK – why did he write about her clothing at all then, if he was indeed garment-ignorant?”

    And the significance changes, because we don’t have H’s little fabrication to muddy the waters.

    So…it seems the tables have turned back in your favor, Mr Smith.–or should I say…Mr. Bond?


  26. G Gluckman 7 October, 2012 at 17:12 Reply

    Hi Smithy,

    I am re-reading the letters and the 20 or so pages of documentation as you recommended. It’s a lot of homework, so it’ll take awhile.

    Meanwhile, talking about the Columbus Parkway discrepancy, tell me what you see. I only have one or two thoughts on the topic, but I think it’s interesting.



  27. G Gluckman 7 October, 2012 at 20:39 Reply

    Hi Smithy,

    Curiously, I just came across a reference to a pair of pants that were taken from Darlene Ferrin.

    The link:

    The quote:
    “Received from coroner Dan HORAN the clothing that had been worn by Darlene FERRIN 1 pair blue shoes, 1 blue and white flowered slack dress , 1 pair white pants and 1 white brassiere. These items tagged and put in ID evidence locker.”

    The key difference between this and the other form (the “Evidence/Property Record: is that one says pants where the other says panties. The name is obscured on the carbon copy, but it appears to be the same officer (Lynch) whose name appears on both sheets.

    Hmmmm. Pants or panties?


    • smithy 8 October, 2012 at 08:40

      Not “trousers” GG, or “slacks” hmm? Not “patterned slacks?” – nope, pants. Underwear I’d think, wouldn’t you? Since no other items along that line are mentioned, I would. Interesting eh?
      If she HAD been wearing a pair of patterned slacks – then perhaps you might have also read “blouse”, or “top” or somesuch hmmm?
      And yes, it’s Sgt Lynch, who still doesn’t know what a pair of patterned slacks are, or, even, what a trouser suit or jumpsuit is. Odd eh?
      Now – Hollywood has it that she was wearing something like I have in this link here – confirmed, perhaps, by other sources.
      And yet Sgt Lynch says not. Odd!

    • G Gluckman 8 October, 2012 at 20:21

      Hi Smithy,

      Personally I would say 60 to 75 % probability that it should have been panties, but not higher.

      Most people wore them, but it was the 60’s.

      So, 25 to 30 % probability for pants.

      Either way, it Lynch wasn’t paying close attention. Did he even look?

      Was there a separate document from Dan Horan?


  28. smithy 8 October, 2012 at 03:33 Reply

    Good! The work’s hard, but I found it fruitful.
    Not 100% convincing maybe – what is? But fruitful!

    Re: Columbus Parkway, I now see the possibility that the broadcast by Shook to give the ambulance directions, may have been used by the caller, perhaps. The way an ambulance would get to BRS from the Kaiser would be to take Tuolomne (is it a coincidence the call came from a callbox there?) to Redwood Parkway, then turn right onto Columbus Parkway and “go East, for about a mile”.
    I think that’s rather neat. Especially since “If you will go one mile east on Columbus Parkway to the public park” doesn’t make much sense, otherwise.

    Now, Interstate 80 was completed by the end of 1964 – but where’s the fun in that?

  29. G Gluckman 8 October, 2012 at 22:08 Reply

    Hi Smithy,

    After spending some time looking at the old letters, etc, the one thing that stood out the most for me was something that has become quite mundane.

    It was the second sentence of the first trio of letters:
    “…To prove this I shall state some facts which only I + the police know…”

    The reason it stands out is that it implies that the writer was actively tracking three categories of information (or claiming to):
    1) What he himself knows, as well as what he would be expected to know
    2) What the public knows and doesn’t know
    3) What the police know

    Obviously, the first category must have been the easiest for the real killer to know, but probably trickier for a hoaxer.

    For the second category, he presumably paid close attention to the media, which is completely consistent with either the Zodiac or the hoaxer.

    For the third category, we can’t know for sure how he would have tracked that information (unless we find clues in his later words and deeds): the Zodiac Killer might surmise what the police know that the public doesn’t from the combination of his personal experience and the information in the media. A hoaxer could not draw on the real killer’s knowledge.

    Still speaking of the third category, the Zodiac Killer might also try to gain direct insight into what LE does and doesn’t know by stealthy means, such as finding ways to get near enough to the investigation to figure out what they know. On the other side of the equation, if the hoaxer wanted to track what the police know, he would have no other real option than to try to obtain authentic police intel.

    One curious thing about this third situation is that it suggests conditions under which the Zodiac Killer would find it in his interest to cheat–to say things that he himself knows not to be true, simply because he believes the police to think them true.

    So, we have a kind of parallel set of motivations here: the Zodiac Killer’s contrasted against the hoaxer’s. They are similar at some points and different at others. Can they help us to interpret the actions of either the Zodiac Killer or a hoaxer?

    Well, if we take the phone call that was placed after the events at BRS, and think in terms of the Zodiac Killer, we might be seeing a killer who, rather than focusing on making good his escape, behaves consistently with the motivations described above: he repositions himself in town, near the police HQ, and presumably nearer to the center of future activity, where he might have the best chance of getting near the action and the investigation itself.

    In his ebook, Mr H indicated that many people had access to radios and scanners at that time. It would seem to me even more likely that the Zodiac Killer would have such a thing. It is perhaps inconceivable that he wouldn’t, in light of his category 3 motivation.

    If he did have a radio capable of monitoring a police band, how likely it be that he intercepted directions to the murder site?

    Anyway, it’s late, and I need to get some shuteye, but I would be curious to see how this little framework applies to either the putative Zodiac Killer or a hypothetical hoaxer.

    Good night,


  30. smithy 9 October, 2012 at 05:49 Reply

    Why did the killer wait 30-40 minutes (opinions vary) before making that call?
    I’ve always wondered. And no, it’s not all that near the police station, really. It’s on the ambulance route, and it’s on the same street as the administration building and the justice department – but that’s probably not necessarily pertinent either. There was a bar and bowling alley on Toulumne. 🙂

    I shan’t carp about “pants” with you, except to say “knickers!”, and re:
    “…To prove this I shall state some facts which only I + the police know…”
    Bravo! Indeed!
    Please continue to weigh up this knotty little question, and see which side you come down on. If you come down on the side of the radio-listening game-playing LE-watching master criminal, you’ll still be in good company, after all.
    Once you’re into a mindset, though, I’ve found everything looks suspicious. It’s a real nuisance!

  31. G Gluckman 9 October, 2012 at 16:29 Reply

    Thirty to fourty minutes?

    That doesn’t seem very long at all, does it? Let’s see: make getaway, lay low to make sure not observed, brush oneself down to clear off guilty debris, get vehicle out of site, listen to radio scanner, maybe change appearance in some way, casually stroll down street…

    What else is there? Help me out, Smithy, I haven’t done this kind of thing since at least the late sixties or early seventies.

    Ambulance route? That would fit with the Z scenario.

    I think what is needed here is a more systematic approach. Can you think of one?


  32. smithy 10 October, 2012 at 03:27 Reply

    Wait a second! Ha!
    The systematic approach has to be the same one as used by the letter writer. (You’re the guy wanting to jump to the shirt now GG, you remember?!)
    Start with the first letter and the call, see what you believe, move on to the second call, etcetera. Only if you doubt the premise of The Zodiac Killer by the end of, say, the second letter, is it really worth moving on from there I’d say.

    Yes, 30-40 minutes between the shooting and the call, to travel the 4 miles (Usually about 9 minutes, says Google).
    So I shoot two “kids” in a parked car – I drive away slowly “So as not to attract attention (although you may want to check this with the reports) on this little phone errand. (I have no need to brush myself down to clear of guilty debris, since I was standing outside a car on the other end of a 9mm, on this occasion.)
    Do I go home? Establish an alibi with my drinking buddies?
    What do I do next?
    What I do next (according to established theory), is wait around those 30 to 40 minutes and then make a telephone call which advises police where the crime scene is, using the same language as was used in the directions given to the scene by the dispatcher, while standing on the route used by the ambulance.
    I also quote, in that call, information JUST given out from the crime scene about Luger 9mm shells (except I say the weapon’s a Luger), and the Brown car.

    Do we doubt any of the contents of that call, with this “new” view in mind?
    Indeed should we? Should we look at the timing involved and think, “Huh?”
    The reports GG, and the letters and the call.
    It was pointed out to me that the contents of the call were actually only fornally written down….
    Well. Go have a look for yourself. 😉

  33. G Gluckman 10 October, 2012 at 20:47 Reply

    Hi Smithy,

    I had a few things in mind when I suggested a more systematic approach.

    Actually, I had three things in mind:

    The first is that we are guests on somebody else’s website, so for the sake of others we might do well to find to gather our input more efficiently.

    The second is that we can look at the same info and have very different ways of processing that info, so perhaps we can agree on some common way to examine it.

    The third, closely related to the second, is that we may not have the same objectives in mind, so perhaps we can try to make sure we are looking for a similar result.

    My suggestions for eachof the points are as follows:

    1) Looking at your last comments, I wonder if you might prefer to simply follow the order of topics in the initial chapters of Mr H’s ebook. He first looks at the caller’s words, then steps through the letters, more or less line by line.

    2) For each topic of interest, perhaps we can examine it from the posssible point of view of the (putative) Zodiac Killer and contrast the same points from the point of view of the (purported) hoaxer. Earlier I suggested a framework for thinking about how the writer would be tracking the knowledge of the killer, the public and the police. Perhaps that framework would be of use to us.

    3) Perhaps most important, it would be nice to be sure what outcome we are both hoping for. Are we just casually exploring possibilities (in which case maybe we don’t have to worry too much about how we process info)? Are we doing preliminary analysis to see if there is enough data to warrant a theory? Are we trying to actually build a theory? Are we trying to say we have a theory and it’s a contender? Or are we saying we have proof and we are looking to either convince or kick arse?

    At one point, I thought perhaps we were just doing some loosey goosey exploration, but now I am wondering if you see stronger possibilities.

    [By the way, when I first sparked up this conversation, I was focused on discussing Huran’s would-be proof. I had already spent some time looking at the structure of his arguments. I had appraised them and rated them and concluded that there were no more than 3 or 4 that were his top contenders, and the rest didn’t matter much. The top one was the shirt argument. That was why I discussed it first. It was not for lack of systematicity.]

    Best regards,


  34. smithy 11 October, 2012 at 02:41 Reply

    I’ll be brief! I’m following Mr Horan on his blog and bouncing around in his theory doing some research, occasionally, because it’s of interest to me. I’m finding it very intriguing for several reasons. To address your point one, I used the approach afforded by the study guide, because it was a helpful “red pill” to ease out of the Zodiac Matrix with. It may not work for you. Point two, I’m now not comparing and contrasting, at all. I’m looking at everything as “a hoax” and seeing if I can believe that it is. It’s quite refreshing. Last point, I’m not an evangelist, or a researcher preparing materials for a book or a paper. I’m far too capricious and disordered. If you have an ordered approach you’d like to use then by all means do, and if you’d rather email me instead, then ask Mike and we’ll get off his board; my time “in public” with this theory is drawing to a close too – I have a life to go back to!
    Salutations. 🙂

  35. G Gluckman 11 October, 2012 at 20:15 Reply

    Hi Smithy,

    Okay. I think I get it. It sounds like the object is mainly to explore a theme like “Z was a fraud” or something close. No attempt to justify at this point in time–just look for anything that might support theme.

    I could see the output being useful as a reference for anybody who might be thinking about creating a theory on a similar topic. It might also be a useful reference for people who believed the opposite. We should be careful to make it clear that this is deliberately biased.

    In the interest of efficiency, perhaps we could reproduce the text of the BRS phone call and the first letter(s) then try to identify the lines that we want raise questions or make annotations about. We could do a trial run here, but I wonder if this kind of thing would work best on some type of collaborate site.

    In a minute I will go fetch the quotable material and post it as a separate comment.


  36. G Gluckman 11 October, 2012 at 20:20 Reply

    BRS phone call (BRS-PH)

    1) I wish to report a double murder.
    2) If you will go one mile east on Columbus Parkway to a public park, you will find the kids in a brown car.
    3) They have been shot by a nine-millimeter Luger.
    4) I also killed those kids last year. Good-bye

  37. G Gluckman 11 October, 2012 at 20:55 Reply

    San Francisco Examiner

    1) Dear Editor
    2) I am the killer of the 2 teenagers last Christmass at Lake Herman + the girl last 4th of July.
    3) To prove this I shall state some facts which only I + the police know.
    4) Christmass
    5) 1 Brand name of ammo – Super X
    6) 2 10 shots fired
    7) 3 Boy was on his back with feet to car
    8) 4 Girl was lyeing on right side feet to west
    9) 4th of July
    10) 1 girl was wearing patterned pants
    11) 2 The boy was also shot in knee.
    12) 3 Ammo was made by Western
    13) Here is a cipher or that is part of one.
    14) The other 2 parts are being mailed to the Vallejo Times + S.F. Examiner.
    15) I want you to print this cipher on the frunt page by Fry afternoon 1 Aug – 69,
    16) If you do not print this cipher, I will go on a kill rampage Fry night.
    17) This will last the whole weekend
    18) I will cruze around killing people who alone at night un till Sun Night or untill I kill a dozen people.


  38. G Gluckman 11 October, 2012 at 21:24 Reply

    Hi Smithy,

    Well, we have some reference material in the previous 2 comments. (I meant to give the second comment a code like LTR-SFEX-1 so that we have a quick notation for which lines we are referring to. (Is that too geeky?)

    So, I might annotate some of my thoughts as follows:
    -Could caller have overheard police or ambulance report suggesting both victims died?
    -What directions was caller referring to? The instructions appear to be the same as instructions to ambulance givn over airwaves, suggesting caller may not have understood the directions.
    -other reports suggest that a different weapon type was used, should have been a brownie.
    -Sounds like caller didn’t know anything about his victims– why not say boy and girl, or something more descriptive–did he not know who he supposedly killed.
    -Why did it take so long for caller to place call? Why not just minutes later given how close the BRS crime scene was? Could the caller have been slower because he was reacting to the police and ambulance radio bands?

    -Why does writer assume need to prove who he is? Is it because he felt like a fraud?


    Hopefully, this gives the idea. Iam quite exhausted now, but maybe this would be a handy basis for building a set of observations. We would just need to be clear that this is deliberately biased as part of the exercise of exploring the theme that the Zodiac was a fraud.

    What do you think?



  39. smithy 12 October, 2012 at 02:43 Reply

    We should acknowledge bias? Yes. I hadn’t thought of that, but yes, let’s admit to being completely biased in favour of the hoax theory and see what happens.
    You gave me an unintentional laugh with “Brownie” (was that a 9mm Brownie?) and of course I HAD to mention it, because that’s what I’m like, but the rest? Excellent.

    I’ve been using the Wikisource for this material:
    …since it’s just the text, and seems reasonably accurate. Good to have the call details too though.
    May I fill in some background please? And outline a philosophy, before pursuing items through your framework?

    A: Some notions about how to be “an effective hoaxer”.

    1) You’d need to try and make sure the crimes “you choose” won’t result in someone’s immediate arrest. That would be inconvenient! At the start then, to establish bona fides, you’ll need a juicy crime for which no-one’s been arrested and in which the police are stumped. Better yet, one after which a decent interval has already passed, to make sure. If later on in your hoax someone’s arrested for a later crime, you can laugh it off. By then it will be too late for them to deny your existence.
    Once established maybe you could even deny an early one. Who knows?
    You’re at risk because of this though, and you’re going to need to be lucky – so wherever possible you’re going to try and make your own luck by choosing crimes in small jurisdictions with limited resources to start with, perhaps, where the odds are in your favour.

    2) You’re going to need facts. To get those you’re going to need to read the newspapers exhaustively and compare and contrast coverage, at the least. You could do that by being a journalist! It would help, but it’s probably not completely necessary.

    3) You can enhance things immensely with inside information, access to crime scenes (although again, you’ll need to pick the right ones – see rule number one), and best of all, physical evidence. If you can get some of this you’re home free, you’ll convince the doubters and then you can say, do and suggest just what it is you want to, however “out there” it might be. If you could start out with this level of access, also great – but perhaps it might be better to “start small”. Getting caught red-handed at your first crime scene visited (not the first one you CLAIM of course – the earlier one(s) you’re going to claim will be cold) would be a nuisance.

    4) Think of a name. It’s been done before after all. “Jack the Ripper!” Hmmm. “The Cipher Slayer”, boring. “The Code Killer”, terrible!

    5) You’ll need resources, will, attention to detail and you’ll need time. If you’re chasing crime scenes with a radio, quite a lot of it. If you’re reading a lot of newspapers, time for that too. You’ll need to be well-ordered, thorough and take a lot of notes. So much the better if you’re paid to do that anyway – but if you aren’t, then be prepared to invest time money and concentration, especially early on in the series.

    6) You’ll need a motive. You’re talking some risks that could land you in jail – especially if you do tamper with crime scenes. (I believe Mr Horan and I might fundamentally disagree on this point BTW, although I can’t confirm that, of course, until his “suspect N” emerges – and I’m digressing. Quite unfairly.)

    7) Know when to stop! If you continue to try and ride the wave of “borrowed” crimes, things WILL come crashing down around your ears, one way or another.

    B: Had this been tried before? Do we think the successful hoaxer did this right first time, won over a newspaper and an audience and just got on with it? Probably not.

    How about Riverside, for a first try at fulfilling the criteria in 1? Was it a dry-run? I think it probably was, you know. Was Riverside one of several earlier attempts to capture a newspapers attention? Yep. Was there a follow-up which never made it to the public eye, or did the writer on that occasion not find another meaty state-wide crime to “claim”, and therefore let the idea die? I wonder. ’66 to ’69 is a long time to sit on a big ideal. Say – I wonder if there’s one BEFORE ’66? Hmmm.

    The Riverside Press: Article: “RCC Coed, 18, slain on campus”
    Article: “Butchered Coed’s Body Discovered” . RIVERSIDE – (AP)
    Article: “One clue in Co-ed’s death”. RIVERSIDE – (AP)

    These articles were published on the day of the murder (in the first instance), in the following week in case of the second, (it mentions “was found Monday”), and in the following week in the case of the third (which also states “was found early Monday”). The latter two both quote the Associated Press newsfeed, which would mean the stories were available for reproduction to any subscribing newspapers, not just in the immediate area, but in theory, world-wide. I think comparing these articles to the Confession letter (it’s homework I know. And I’ve already done it anyway, if you want to go Google, GG) is interesting. I believe that The Confession could have been written without access to any other crime scene information whatever. That’s just my opinion – and whoopee it doesn’t matter if I’m wrong either, since I have no POI.

    Are there other major crimes in the Bay Area (and perhaps slightly further afield), which drew similar letters, that aren’t in the public eye? I’d bet a dollar.

    OK that’s the background and my personal little theory, how about your hard work?

    BRS phone call – that’s all good, and I think stepping through the rest might also be interesting. How about when the call was written up? Did you find the report detailing the call contents? I found that interesting when it was pointed out to me.

  40. erwin makinde 13 October, 2012 at 04:54 Reply

    The purpoted solution to the 340 bares some correlation to the Chicago 1946 “lipstick” murders grafitti.
    Contrary to popular perception, the Bay Area ZODIAC killings were but a fraction of a series of long-running transgressions that intermitently reared in America. The ZODIAC PROJECT was connected to Black Dahlia, Rochester “ALPHABET” killings, the 1980 murder of Sheila Shepherd in Saratoga Springs, New York …and several other mystery theatre stagings in modern America.
    Obviously incredulous. But not unbelievable and most definitely not untrue.

  41. G Gluckman 13 October, 2012 at 06:35 Reply

    Hi Smithy,

    Sorry for the delay. My life keeps barging in on me.

    We are now at the part that matters the most to me: the metatheory. It’s the part that really interests me about all Zodiac theories, and it’s the part that I think the community can benefit the most from. In descriptive terms, it’s the question “What options are ther for building Z-theories?” In prescriptive terms, it’s the search for best practices.

    Because this is the part that interests me so much, I hope you won’t be too annoyed if I sound off about it a bit.

    As I got working on my own theory, a few things dawned on me:
    First, building theories can be tricky (on many levels);
    Second, every domain has its own unique challenges;
    Third, Z-theorists are building theories using their own intuitive, but unexamined ideas about theory building (sometimes to the good, sometimes not)
    Fourth, Z-analysis could be improved if we improve our metatheory;

    I call these the Four Noble Truths. 🙂

    As I thought about it, I became convinced that the whole community might benefit from discussions about how we build our theories. Naturally, most people will be eager to get on with it–to get down to the core business of figgering out whodunnit. Or, in your case, whoneverdunnit. But for those with the patience, I believe it can help the community greatly, though that remains to be proven.

    I also think an interest in this topic could potentially help the various parts of the community find topics to discuss that help bring them back together again, although I may be being too much of dreamer on that point.

    One benefit of focusing on how we build theories is that we identify and replicate methods that seem to work. A very recent example is Mr Grant’s excellent timeline of the Bates murder. He did a very public mental walk-through of the last hours of her life, pulling together every piece of useful information he could draw on. There were aspects of his analysis that required a degree of insight that not all of us could replicate, but his general method is replicable. Mike Kelleher saw that and has talked about it publicly a few time, including in a post on this website. Then yesterday, he (Mr H) made good use of it himself when he applied a similar methodology to the Stine case and made a very convincing argument that the Stine murder must have been opportunistic.

    So, Ray Grant did us a double service: he brought out some brilliant insights about the Bates case, but, perhaps even more importantly, he did it in a way that we can all learn from and replicate to some degree. Meanwhile, Mike Kelleher, by discussing Mr G’s method in various places, drew attention to it, and then demonstrated it in action, increasing the likelihood that it will be replicated by others.

    (Incidentally, when we talk about replication, we are talking basic memetics, a relatively new idea about how ideas survive, reproduce and evolve. It’s a metatheory concept that might benefit the Z-community.)

    People might want to throw up their hands at my saying this, but people who may vehemently disagree over theories might feel more snuggly at the metatheory level. Mr G demonstrates a great theory-building approach, Mr H notices and replicates the method, then Mr B comes along and praises the work done by Mr H. Maybe a rapprochement might be a little much to expect, but I think on some level there is a recognition that something positive was shared by all. (Don’t shoot me, I am only the meme replicator.)

    In a similar way to Mr G, you are now exposing your method to the masses. That may set you up for criticism, but it also makes means your methods are transparent, capable of replication, capable of modification, and even capable of collaboration. Wherever your efforts lead in terms of determining whether the Zodiac story was a hoax, hopefully, your methods will themselves contribute to the overall effort to find the truth of this matter.

    Okay, I have just gotten a chance to rave about my pet topic–metatheory. I will shut up now. I have to get a lot of chores done, but I will get back on track with our earlier discussion a bit later today.

    Thanks for listening,


    P.S.: The brownies thing was funny. I meant to say Browning, as I believe that was the weapon that was suggested as the murder weapon. Most of my comments are written in the brief periods when the rest of the house is asleep. Unfortunately, I am usually exhausted and not thinking too clearly.

  42. G Gluckman 13 October, 2012 at 06:42 Reply

    Sorry, just noticed that I was several times wrote ” Mr H” when I meant to write “Mr K”. My apologies. Half-asleep. Plus mixing acid and crack cocaine with Gin. No real similarity between them. g

  43. smithy 14 October, 2012 at 10:40 Reply

    I’m pleased you’re happy with the methodology and that you feel there’s something to be gained from going through the process(es) correctly. Your interest in metatheory I found very interesting.
    In respect to progress on the theory as a whole, it seems Mr Horan’s gone “back the beginning” over on his blog. May I suggest a visit over there for the next steps. Plan?

  44. G Gluckman 14 October, 2012 at 11:40 Reply

    Hi Smithy,

    I visited his site a couple times and found it to be rather unusual.

    Not unlike National Lampoon. (Does it still exist?)

    But, as I am already having an insane week (for unrelated reasons), it sounds like a plan.



  45. G Gluckman 16 October, 2012 at 21:23 Reply

    Hi Smithy,

    The “Birth of the Zodiac Killer Myth” post is quite something. I commend you on your patience and willingness to wade repeatedly back into that morass.

    It certainly reinforces my belief in the importance of metatheory and the development of improved methods for theory building.


  46. G Gluckman 19 October, 2012 at 21:09 Reply

    Hi Smithy,

    Just a quick note to let you know I am still thinking about our discussion. I have had little time to focus on it lately, but I am still mulling over some of the things we talked about, and especially your 7 points on how to be an effective hoaxer.

    I actually had been writing a reply, but after a couple hours of writing, I realized I need to rethink what I saying. Unfortunately, it is late again. it’s has been a hard day and I am too groggy to continue, so I hope to start over tomorrow. So, with apologies for dragging this out…

    Talk to you again soon,


  47. G Gluckman 21 October, 2012 at 20:55 Reply

    Hi Smithy,

    I keep writing long comments on your 7 points on “how to be an effective hoaxer”, only to end up crumpling up my emails and throwing them in the e-waste basket.

    There is a lot I want to say, but it occurred to me that I am complicating matters. One.. thing I really want to know is whether you mean to imply one hoaxer only.

    One of the weaknesses of H’s theory was the multiplicity of hoaxers and hoaxer-confederates.

    Do you have any thoughts on what limits should apply?



  48. NecessaryEVIL 29 December, 2012 at 14:27 Reply

    no offense and not trying to add anything bad about this debate. did Z mention the dress as well? cus there is apparently a few pictures of her wearing a dress that looks very similar to that before the murder..

  49. Sean 3 February, 2013 at 10:08 Reply

    I don’t have anything to say on Horan’s theory itself, however it does raise one issue that I’ve been thinking about for years and what it might mean, if anything.
    That would be Zodiac’s instruction to Vallejo police on where to find the victims. Zodiac himself and the police station is a few miles south of that location and it seems odd to me in the circumstances, that he would identify a starting point coming from the opposite direction.
    Surely the most natural thing would have been to point north…On Columbus two miles north of springs road (which is almost exactly what it is). Curious too having given those directions, that he would get the distance wrong by half. From the start of Columbus to the crime scene is two miles and he says 1 mile.
    I know from old that St John mine road is exactly one mile from the crime scene and others have suggested in the past that Z may have been hinting at something here.
    However (not that that’s incorrect) in looking over this again recently, perhaps the more obvious connection (if there is one at all) would be right across the road….Solano Community College. Formerly Vallejo High School, it became SCC two years earlier and offered courses to an extended area, servicing Travis air force base among others
    I just wonder if it was an unconscious slip by Zodiac…would it be more natural for someone who attended /worked there and travelled Columbus on a regular basis, to come up with that?
    Remember too that Z came and went from the scene in the direction of springs road to the south……What if anything would this set of directions say about Z’s familarity with the area….local or outsider?
    On more possibly point of interest….The older part of Vallejo is to the North East…most of the housing around BRS was not there at the time, it was a rural area.
    Just as an example (and not implying anything about him in relation to the crime)…but if we take a person like witness James Owen, who lived in Vallejo and worked in Benicia…he like many others would travel that exact route…..from North east Vallejo, onto Columbus, passed BRS crime scene, and onto LHR passing the first crime scene and passing at a time when Z’s victims would be there.

  50. ggluckman 8 February, 2013 at 06:48 Reply

    Hi Sean,

    The instructions that Z gave the Vallejo police are a true anomaly.

    While I am not persuaded by Horan’s larger collection of arguments, I consider this an important insight.

    In my line of work–troubleshooting–I have found that the temptation to dismiss anomalies is a huge mistake. Very often it is the detail that doesn’t fit that can lead the willing mind to a new way of arranging the facts, and sometimes a new paradigm, that breaks through all the merely adequate theories that are blocking our ability to see the truth.

    For that reason, I think it is important for Z-researchers to keep poking away at this particular oddity. At some point, it may reveal something very new and worthwhile.

    As for my personal thoughts on the subject–no breakthroughs yet, unfortunately. My one thought is to wonder–having stolen and rearranged H’s ideas–whether Z might have made use of a police radio scanner, or similar device.

    I can not imagine any way to prove whether he did or did not use such a device, but as I think about it, I would almost be surprised if he did not. We know with some certainty that he followed newspaper accounts of his killings. We know that such technology was readily available and easy to obtain. Why wouldn’t we expect that he was interested enough to follow the immediate feedback on his crimes. And, in doing so, mightn’t he tend to adjust his behavior to that feedback?

    If that was the case–and I realize that it is speculation, but perhaps reasonable speculation–if that was the case, then Z’s behavior might begin to make sense. The question is, how might that change our thinking?

    One idea that occurred to me is that we may be assuming that Z was highly aware that he was making a phone call from near the police station. What if the location of the police station was not something he gave thought to?

    If that happened to be the case, and if he was using a radio scanning device to follow the emergency response communications, he may well have been basing his directions on information he picked up from messages he picked up online. Accuracy may not have been important to him, but announcing his crimes was.

    I throw this idea out as just one possibility? The important thing is that you are right for focusing in on the matter of why Z gave such odd instructions. It is an anomaly that begs an answer.

    Best regards,


  51. BayArea60s 8 February, 2013 at 09:05 Reply

    ■During the calls to police following the attacks at Blue Rock Springs and Lake Berryessa, the fact that the caller did not say “This is the Zodiac speaking” is strong evidence that the caller was not the Zodiac.
    ■The failure of Bryan Hartnell and Cecelia Shepard’s assailant to verbally identify himself as the Zodiac suggests he was not the Zodiac.
    ■It’s a reasonable possibility that a person who was not the attacker but was the letter writer wrote on Bryan Hartnell’s car door following the attack at Lake Berryessa.
    ■The fact that the Stine letter describes the location of the crime scene as “by Washington St. + Maple St.” is a clear indication that the letter writer did not know the location of the crime scene and was not the murderer.

  52. BayArea60s 8 February, 2013 at 09:40 Reply

    ■ ■

    After reading through you 4 main points again I have to say I totally disagree with your reasoning…..

    Your First Point: “During the calls to police following the attacks at Blue Rock Springs and Lake Berryessa, the fact that the caller did not say “This is the Zodiac speaking” is strong evidence that the caller was not the Zodiac.”
    Z never identified himself as Zodiac in any phone conversation, at any time. And at the time of BRS, Z had not even come up with his persona of Z. He didn’t reveal his name until July 31, 1969… but you call this “Strong Evidence”? Where? There’s no evidence. It’s not even weak evidence. It doesn’t exist.

    Your 2nd Point: “The failure of Bryan Hartnell and Cecelia Shepard’s assailant to verbally identify himself as the Zodiac suggests he was not the Zodiac.”
    Zodiac never identifed himself in any phone conversation, ever, as the Zodiac. So it doesn’t suggest this wasn’t Zodiac at all. He had already left his calling card on Brian’s car door. Z knew they’d figure it out when they saw the door.
    And this 2nd point is just a repeat of your 1st point.

    Your 3rd Point: “It’s a reasonable possibility that a person who was not the attacker but was the letter writer wrote on Bryan Hartnell’s car door following the attack at Lake Berryessa.”
    First Z never wrote a letter about LB. Second, to suggest it’s a “reasonable possiblity” that someone other than the attacker wrote on Brian’s door, isn’t reasonable at all. It’s rather obsurd. That someone else would have had to write on Brian’s door and put the matching symbol that was on the attacker’s chest. Of course how would the ghost writer know what symbol was on the attacker’s chest? You call it reasonable in a remote location, limited parking, timeframe a big factor. I don’t understand this thinking.

    Your 4th Point: “The fact that the Stine letter describes the location of the crime scene as “by Washington St. + Maple St.” is a clear indication that the letter writer did not know the location of the crime scene and was not the murderer.”
    Now this theory has been around for a while, usually in the realm that Z didn’t know the neighborhood, and that’s why he wrote “by Washington & Maple St.” You call it a “Clear Indication”. What if Z, knowing what was written in Stine’s log book, simply wanted to solidify that he was the fare and the killer. He didn’t need to mention Cherry St., that was kind of obvious. but to remove any doubt that the killer and fare were one and the same person, he wisely, says it’s by Washington and Maple St”. Knowing that the log book is right there for LE to read. In case they had any doubt.

    • Zodiac Revisited 8 February, 2013 at 09:56

      Just to be clear, those points – from the original article – were my characterization of Horan’s arguments. I certainly do not agree with them. Also, I suspect Horan may take issue with how I’ve characterized them (seeing as he tends to be argumentative). However, from my perspective, they are fair characterizations.

  53. Sean 8 February, 2013 at 09:44 Reply

    Hi G,
    Well there is a significant time gap to be accounted for between the time of the murders and the time Z made the call. The route from the scene to the location the call was made from, couldn’t be more straightforward and in any other circumstances is only a 5 minute drive at best. ( I even wonder how many phone booth’s he passed to make that particular one). One wonders what he was doing in the interim….it is possible he did have a police scanner and listened in…but then why follow up with the call at all?…especially with such a direction. Without the scanner, he would be entitled to believe (since the area was rural at the time….as in the later case with LB) that the crime would go undiscovered for a while, at least until he told them. I think he’d want the credit for that.

    With regard to the idea that the directions came over the airways as instructions to ambulance response units, there is another potential problem. I could well be wrong here but I have doubts that (Redwood Hwy I think) the road in question was even extended to Columbus Parkway at the time. I haven’t been able thus far to locate an old map, however in looking at Google earth, which brings us back to 1993, you can see how rural everything was even then. The road in question looks no more than something under construction for future housing. We’d need to confirm that.
    Regardless, it is fascinating to analyize these first two crimes in particular, in terms of Z movements and how it translates to his knowledge of the area.

    It is also interesting to consider these ideas in relation to LB…in that instance he directs police 2 miles north of park headquarters, when the distance was less than half of that….almost the exact opposite to BRS. A distance of two miles puts us in the region of Spanish Flats, you would wonder if he was identifying with the cabins there.
    Yet again, we have a period of time unaccounted for, with the call coming much later than the time it would have taken to reach Napa.

    Obviously too, while he was lucky to get out of Presidio heights he could still have made a call to claim responsibility….would it be fair to suggest one of the reasons he didn’t was because he knew cops were already there?

  54. ggluckman 9 February, 2013 at 06:44 Reply

    Hi Sean,

    You mention the time gaps between the actual murders (at both BRS and LB) and the phone calls. That’s a good point–those gaps had slipped my mind.

    I don’t pretend to have thought this through in any detail, but it seems to me that using a scanner might very well account for some extra delay.

    He might have two reasons I can think of for using a scanner.
    1) The first is a lurid interest in the reaction to the murders. In other words, a purely emotional reason for listening in: to hear people’s horror; to enjoy the pandemonium; to bask in the afterglow of his crime, and so on.
    2) The second is purely tactical and precautionary: to be able to know what the police are doing; whether they found any clues that may be problematic for him; whether they are imminently on his trail, and so on.

    In either case, his time might be accounted for by the following points:
    1) Listening in on a scanner is an activity that would require a degree of privacy. He would either need to drive around listening, or–perhaps more likely–find a hiding spot where he could sit and pay attention to the communications, without being noticed. He would likely want to do this activity as inconspicuously as possible. At any rate, this suggests an activity that had to happen well prior to going to the phone booth.
    2) However much time it took for the main flurry of airwave activity to abate, he might well have listened in somewhat longer, either out of cautiousness, or in hopes of enjoying the excitement to the last drop, soto speak–in keeping with the two likely motives for eavesdropping mentioned above.

    If I may be permitted to compound my speculations–a heinous crime, I am sure–I have long wondered if Z was being careful to hide clues in his voice.

    In the first place, each description of his speech seemed to me to point in that direction: as I recall, he was described variously as speaking slowly as though reading from a script, speaking in a monotone, or as having an odd drawl that was hard to place. (This is from memory–I really should go find the actual quotes–so, I apologize if I am distorting the facts.)

    In the second place, he was quoted as saying, “If you will go one mile east on Columbus Parkway…”: the inclusion of the word “will” in this sentence suggests to me a speech habit that one would not expect from a native Californian, but perhaps somebody who learned English as a second language–or at least somebody who might have grown up around speakers whose first language was not American English. Somebody with distinct language habits that might give him away unless he was sure to disguise them.

    Where I am going with this is to say that I suspect he took time to plan out the message he was going to deliver on the phone. He may have taken a little extra time to make sure he had it right. The phone calls were (presumably) relatively new behavior, so he may have needed to rehearse a bit.

    This, of course, would have been a use of time that would not specifically relate to the use of radio scanners, but interesting nonetheless.

    You also make a good point about the fact that he did not make a call at Predidio Heights. Your reason may very well explain the matter. It might also have been a further refinement: possibly the phone calls did not provide much payback, in whatever terms he considered rewarding, so he simply dropped it. Either way, I think any theory needs to consider this variation of method.

    As far as the specifics of Z’s directions are concerned, I think this is an interesting topic. You raise the matter of the how the maps have changed in the intervening decades. That is a problem. I would like very much to see a map from the time of those events. Perhaps I will spend some time looking around eBay or elsewhere to see if there are any about.

    Anyway, I am due to run some errands, so I must go for now.

    Best regards,


    • Sean 9 February, 2013 at 09:45

      Hi G,
      While I would agree with you, that it is quite possible Zodiac would be someone who could very well own a police scanner, I would have a problem attributing those “time gaps” between murders and phonecalls, to Z sitting somewhere listening in.
      Here’s why….Taking either of the crimes mentioned…let’s start with LB…but for the fact that Z didn’t finish off Brian Hartnell, it’s highly unlikely those victims would have been found, until the next morning at the very least. Even if cops came across the car up on the road and thought something suspicious needed checking out, it could have taken half the night to locate the bodies.
      Similarily, (though not as straightforward) it was practically midnight when he killed at BRS, theirs was the only car there in a rural car park. Would it be fair to say that the majority of those using BRS as a lovers lane area would be there before then?
      I agree with all of your reasons why Z might own a scanner and why he might listen in but I don’t see him sitting around waiting for that, when there was no gaurentee it was going to happen, without him first alerting police.
      Now it could have been that he had a police scanner on, while putting distance between himself and the crime scene but I don’t have any solid reason to believe a scanner played a part, in his follow up calls. I find it much easier to believe that he simply made those calls, believing the victims were dead and that he was the first
      to call them in.
      As for the time gaps, I’d want to limit the chances of being stopped or pulled over and maybe head for home in a roundabout way. If I was risking making calls I would’nt want to be carrying physical evidence…maybe change clothes, remove and hide weapons etc beforehand.

      I agree that there is definitely evidence in speech and writing that suggests he was exposed to a foreign influence at sometime in his life. I would be more persuaded by a link to another english speaking counrty, as opposed to english being a second language.
      That said, he does appear to have been a person (despite the massive risks he took) who was well versed in anti detection methods. There’s a long list there of things he did and said that support that. I wonder how far he actually took those.

      be good

  55. ggluckman 9 February, 2013 at 10:33 Reply

    Hi Sean,

    Your argument that Z could probably not anticipate that the crimes would be discovered so quickly makes very good sense and I do agree with it.

    That would suggest to me that it is less likely than I supposed that he would have moved into a hiding spot to sit and listen. Listening to the scanner while putting distance between himself and the crime scene would then seem to be the more likely variation of this speculative scenario.

    As to the justification for thinking there might have been a scanner…so far there is only one: that it might explain the odd directions that Z gave to the crime scene. That is the real objective. So far, I admit, it is not a strong explanation for that anomalous behavior, but so far it seems (to me) at least as strong as any other. I am very interested to hear alternatives.

    On another note, I am very interested in something else you said. You mentioned being more persuaded by a link to another English speaking country. May I ask you to elaborate on your thoughts about that?



  56. BayArea60s 10 February, 2013 at 08:12 Reply

    Calling in I’m sure was a complete after thought. One Clue we have is that Nancy Slover always stated it sounded like a scripted message, like he was reading something. so that’s probably how he spent the majority of the 40 minutes, writing the script, what he was going to say.

  57. Sean 10 February, 2013 at 09:14 Reply

    Hi Guys,

    I wouldn’t be as confident as you Bay, that the call was an afterthought and I’ve always thought that Nancy Slover’s comments were unfortunate, in the sense it gave rise to the idea that Zodiac had to have a scripted message before calling….but who knows, I wouldn’t be shocked if either was true. If it is as you think, then the directions given become all the more curious.
    As to reasons other than the scanner idea for such directions I can only think of 3
    1. An unconscious slip (meaning he was most familiar with that route)
    2. Some type of truthful clue to be discovered. (deliberate)
    3. Deliberate diversion

    In thinking about Z over the years, I’m always brought back to a famous quote from the Exorcist…”He is a liar,the Demon is a liar. He will lie to confuse us. But he will also mix lies with the truth to attack us. The attack is psychological and powerful”

    As to the foreign influence G, I used the word “definitely” in error, in the sense that he actually lived elsewhere. While I think there are obvious british hints, I wouldn’t be at all confident how Z came to be influenced.Of course the big one that sucks us in is his use of “I shall” as opposed to “I will”. Other phrases (while not exclusively british) such as “I am mildly curious (cerous), “I am rather upset” and “the most delicious pain” to name a few, hint in that direction in my opinion.
    He also uses an I and Y in spelling Cipher/Cypher…although in the latter he seems to inserted an I later….Cyipher. According to wikipedia “american and english differences” Cypher is a UK spelling while Cipher is US.
    Others have tackled this subject more comprehensively around the various boards as does Mike Kelleher in his book, which is well worth the read if you haven’t already.

    I initally wondered (Zodiac apparently being a movie buff) if he was simply influenced by the films of the day, which (while not dominated) had many more British actors and british type dialogue.

  58. ggluckman 10 February, 2013 at 09:17 Reply

    Hi BayArea60s,

    I agree that he probably spent some time preparing what he was going to say.

    But, if he was preparing what he was going to say, does that not suggest that calling in was a pre-planned action?

    Just trying to understand why you say it was a complete afterthought.



  59. ggluckman 10 February, 2013 at 09:57 Reply

    Hi Sean,

    The reason I picked up on your remarks about a link to another English speaking country is that I originally got involved in Z-research because of my theory that Z had links to British Columbia, Canada.

    My theory was not based on language traits, but I have often wondered about Z’s language habits and whether he may have needed to cover up certain speech habits. Talking slowly and deliberately might be an indication, but the placement of the word “will” in his statement to Nancy Slover always seemed very odd to me.

    Most Canadians who speak English as their mother tongue would sound similar enough to Americans that the differences might go completely unnoticed, or could be rather easily disguised. There are exceptions of course. Some speakers from the Eastern seaboard have rather distinct accents, but westerners, by-and-large would speak rather similarly to many Americans.

    Going back to the odd insertion of the word “will”, that seems to me decidely non-North American to me., though I have never heard anybody else say the same. To me, it sounds like a person who has misjudged how we would conjugate the future tense of the verb “to go” in everyday colloquial speech (in a similar sentence). Interestingly, I looked for the same quote in Jake Wark’s summary of the Zodiac story and noticed that he had left the helper verb “will” out. It’s as if his English sensibilities unconsciously saw it as not belonging, so it was left out.

    So, to me, even though I theorize a Canadian connection, I am inclined to wonder if there was a non-English influence of some kind. One word is not much to go on, but a need to cover up could help explain why his speech was script like, or monotone, or even had an odd drawl.

    Anyway, your thoughts are greatly appreciated. I like the way you reason. Please keep it up.

    Best regards,


  60. ggluckman 10 February, 2013 at 12:35 Reply

    Hi Sean,

    Going back to your alternatives to the scanner possibility, I agree with your list. I am particularly interested in your 2nd alternative: Some type of truthful clue to be discovered. (deliberate)

    In the case of three murder sites, BRS, LB and Presidio Heights, Z gave odd information about the locations.

    I am inclined to believe Z’s choices of at least two locations were selected specifically as deliberate clues. I recently presented an argument suggesting that Highway 132 may have been specifically chosen as a clue in the Kathleen Johns abduction:

    I have also previously suggested that the Washington & Cherry vs. Washington & Maple mixup was not accidental, but a deliberate clue pointing to the British Columbia connection that I have suspected:

    So, I have previously considered that Z’s apparent mixups about the locations of the BRS and LB murders may have been deliberate clues of some sort. To date, I have not seen what such clues might have signified, but I am interested in any possibilities you might be considering



  61. Sean 10 February, 2013 at 13:14 Reply

    Hi G,
    Well, as we know (though insisting it wasn’t out of line for Calfiornia) Brian Hartnell did think there was “something” about the way Z spoke/accent, that he’d heard before but couldn’t put his finger on. Others believe he may have been first generation American, so you could be onto something there. As for the quote itself “If you will go”…it does seem odd but I have no clue what it might point to.

  62. lastfatalhour 28 August, 2013 at 07:46 Reply

    Yes personal attacks are not OK. But I for one find Horan’s ideas compelling. There are some things that have always bothered me and his theory makes sense. Think about it. 1. Serial killers do NOT drastically change m.o. 2. How many newspapers do you suppose the Chronicle sold whenever “Zodiac” sent a letter or was in the paper? 3. When you watch the interview with Mike Mageau, its obvious that he is either not 100% OR he’s not telling everything. (Probably both). His account even varies in the MIDDLE of his telling of it. 4. This (Horan’s theory) also accounts for why they could never pin it down to any 1 person and we still can’t now. These are just my thoughts.

  63. Bayarea60s 22 September, 2013 at 06:34 Reply


    1. I never saw where Z drastically changed his m.o., most serials will change over time, they tend to be creatures who react to the circumstance they’re in, and when they’re feel the need to kill.
    2. Or was on TV News. I think the newspaper publicity angle is very weak.
    3. We know for sure Mageau is not 100%, he knows it. We know his stories do vary. he has had a hard go in life you know.
    4. There are hundreds of thousands of unsolved homicides and mysteries since 1969, Z is just one of them.

    • lastfatalhour 22 September, 2013 at 07:37

      This is true, they will change MO SOMETTIMES, and over time. But why would he shoot 5 (possibly 7) and stab 2? He could’ve easily cut stein’s throat if he liked knives. He could’ve easily shot the couple he stabbed. Just seems a bit odd to me.
      As for the newspapers and sales idea, I’ll give you an example: the ripper letters. With the exception of 1 (and that 1 is very “iffy”), nearly all modern ripperologists believe the letters are hoaxes- sent in by none other than a reporter! We all know people will do anything to make a dime. Another example: a reporter called elizebeth shorts mother when her body was found, told her she (liz) had won a beauty contest. Got enough info for his article and hung up. The next call the mother got was to inform her that her daughter had been cut in half! Newspapers and writers will do anything to sensationalize and make $$$$$$$$

    • Bayarea60s 22 September, 2013 at 13:17

      That was my point, serial’s don’t always operate they way we would like them too. We got to remember their nuts, so to try an reason the why’s becomes a futile exercise. Maybe at LB he didn’t want to use a gun because the sound would travel and he knew there were folks not too far away? Or maybe he wanted to stab them since he had his outfit on, most of the blood would go on that and once removed, he’d be clean? Maybe it was another way of him invoking more fear, not just to the victim’s, but once it hit the press, the general populace would fear being stabbed more than being shot? We can go on and on.
      Odds are Z worked somewhere, but to use that analogy, and limit it to newspapers, when there are tons of occupations that benefit from known serial killers, again the list become endless. Just about everyone back then got papers daily, and if Nam, Manson, and all the other activity in Bay Area wasn’t enough to keep the readers reading. Sales would go up the day a communication would come out but then what? No communication for months?

  64. stvjns 29 May, 2017 at 15:49 Reply

    Thanks for your review. Now I know that you recommend I read YOUR book instead of your competitors book.

    • Michael Cole
      Michael Cole 30 May, 2017 at 15:08

      The good thing about Mr. Horan’s books is that they are inexpensive. If you find my argument unconvincing, then by all means, read his books…

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