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

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93 Comments on "The Great Zodiac Killer Hoax of 1969"

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Bayarea60's
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Bayarea60's
4 years 7 months ago

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.

Gabe Harling
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Gabe Harling
4 years 7 months ago

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
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Thomas Horan
4 years 7 months ago

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?

Tracers
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Tracers
4 years 7 months ago

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

Thomas Horan
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Thomas Horan
4 years 7 months ago

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?

Thomas Horan
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Thomas Horan
4 years 7 months ago

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
Guest
Tracers
4 years 7 months ago

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
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Thomas Horan
4 years 7 months ago

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?

G Gluckman
Guest
4 years 7 months ago

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.

Best,

G

Tracers
Guest
Tracers
4 years 7 months ago

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.

G Gluckman
Guest
4 years 7 months ago

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,

G

G Gluckman
Guest
4 years 6 months ago

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.

Regards,

G

G Gluckman
Guest
4 years 6 months ago

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?

G

G Gluckman
Guest
4 years 6 months ago

(Note: Wow! I wrote that late a night when I was very tired. It shows. Hopefully my point is clear, though.)

Thomas Horan
Guest
Thomas Horan
4 years 7 months ago

“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?

G Gluckman
Guest
4 years 7 months ago

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.

James Wood
Guest
James Wood
4 years 7 months ago

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.

Tracers
Guest
Tracers
4 years 7 months ago

Horan updated his site

http://zodiachoax.blogspot.com/

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.

Tracers
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Tracers
4 years 7 months ago

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

Thomas Horan
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Thomas Horan
4 years 7 months ago

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???

morf13
Guest
morf13
4 years 7 months ago

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
Guest
Tahoe27
4 years 7 months ago

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.

morf13
Guest
morf13
4 years 7 months ago

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

Mr. Horan, you posted this on zodiackillerfacts.com

“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

ggluckman
Guest
4 years 6 months ago

Hi,

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 http://zodiackillertimeline.com/. 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,

G

Michael D. Kelleher
Guest
Michael D. Kelleher
4 years 6 months ago

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.

Mike

ggluckman
Guest
4 years 6 months ago

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.

Thanks,

G

smithy
Guest
smithy
4 years 5 months ago

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.

smithy
Guest
smithy
4 years 5 months ago

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
Guest
4 years 5 months ago

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,

G

smithy
Guest
smithy
4 years 5 months ago

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,
S.

G Gluckman
Guest
4 years 5 months ago

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 (http://zodiackillertimeline.com/Horan_Hoax.html) 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,

G

smithy
Guest
smithy
4 years 5 months ago

GG,
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.)

G Gluckman
Guest
4 years 5 months ago

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.

Tks,

G

G Gluckman
Guest
4 years 5 months ago

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
dress”
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.

G

smithy
Guest
smithy
4 years 5 months ago

GG
“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!

G Gluckman
Guest
4 years 5 months ago

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: http://www.zodiackiller.com/DFR2.html. 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.

Regards,

G

smithy
Guest
smithy
4 years 5 months ago

GG,
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.

G Gluckman
Guest
4 years 5 months ago

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: http://zodiacrevisited.com/thomas-horans-zodiac-killer-book/)

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,

G

smithy
Guest
smithy
4 years 5 months ago

GG
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!

G Gluckman
Guest
4 years 5 months ago

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?

G

G Gluckman
Guest
4 years 5 months ago

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?

G

G Gluckman
Guest
4 years 5 months ago

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.

Thanks,

G

G Gluckman
Guest
4 years 5 months ago

Hi Smithy,

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

The link: http://www.zodiackiller.com/DFR14.html

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: http://www.zodiackiller.com/DFR2.html) 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?

G

smithy
Guest
smithy
4 years 5 months ago

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
Guest
4 years 5 months ago

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?

G

smithy
Guest
smithy
4 years 5 months ago

GG
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?

G Gluckman
Guest
4 years 5 months ago

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,

G

smithy
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smithy
4 years 5 months ago

GG
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!

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