Thomas Horan's Zodiac Killer Book

As you very well may know, Thomas Horan recently published a short ebook: The Great Zodiac Hoax of 1969. I will address the subject of that book in a later post. Unfortunately, I need a place to put some of the comments from Thomas et al. regarding his book since they have completely derailed a different article on this site. Therefore, I'm creating this post.

In the interest of providing something in the way of meaningful content, here is an interview which Thomas gave this past December.

On a related note, I now have an official comment policy...

Michael Cole


  1. Thomas Horan 3 August, 2012 at 13:30 Reply

    [Editor’s note: This comment was originally published on a different article, hence the slightly out-of-place context.]

    Secret evidence? Secret investigators? Law enforcement agencies do not keep secrets from themselves. They do not withhold evidence from themselves. They do not hide their identities from each other. That’s TV series material, not facts.

    The first three letters, concerning the Lake Herman Road, Blue Rock Springs, and Paul Stine murders, prove there was no “Zodiac Killer.” Contrary to popular myths, those letters are full of WRONG information about the crimes. That’s also true of the two prank phone calls—they’re full of WRONG information.

    This isn’t even a secret. ANYONE can read the letters and the actual case files (dumped by the FBI years ago after a FOIA request) and see that for themselves. There is no mystery; there never was. Just tabloid journalism and a “book” by a cartoonist whose primary sources were Don Cheney, Pam Suennen, and (supposedly) Jack Mulanax. But the actual files prove him wrong, too.

    Sorry, kids. There was no “Zodiac Killer.” If you want help reading the letters, read this:

    • Thomas Horan 7 August, 2012 at 21:56

      Note: this comment is in reference to Mr Kelleher’s claims about secret evidence, etc, under his “Zodiac Endgame” thread.

    • Alfin Tau 8 August, 2012 at 08:52

      Having read the other article, the writer made no claim to “secret knowledge.” Rather, he stated that he had no special knowledge and that the knowledge was accessible to anyone. The writer said that the knowledge was not available to people online.

      Forgive my english, not my first language.
      Alfin Tau (ND)

  2. G Gluckman 6 August, 2012 at 06:28 Reply

    Hi Thomas,

    I read your book.

    Your theory is interesting. Looking at the general form of your arguments, you seem to have two primary tracks of argumentation going on at once:

    1 the writer(s) / caller(s) never demonstrated accurate and unique knowledge (i.e.: not previously published or available) of the crimes, therefore they must not have been the same person as the (purported) serial killer


    2) since we conclude that the writers and callers were not the same person(s) as the (purported) serial killers, we can deduce who the letter writing conspirators must have been

    I would consider it better form if you would separate out the two lines of argument so that you are not mixing arguments from track 2 with arguments from track 1, since track 2 depends on track 1. I presume you did so out of feelings of confidence in your conclusions about track 1.

    The argument that interests me the most, actually, is the bit about Paul Stine’s shirt. I am curious about your suggestion that the blood coagulation can be used to prove that the pieces that were mailed had to have been taken from the shirt at a later time. If you can build on this, I would like to know more.

    Overall, it is interesting as a hypothesis, but it is not a home run.


  3. Thomas Horan 6 August, 2012 at 08:50 Reply


    Not quite. It’s not just that the letters and phone calls lack accurate knowledge, it’s that they all contain a lot of WRONG knowledge. And those wrong details can be traced to very specific sources. The final edition of the book (in a couple months or so) will track specific suspects who had access to those sources, but the edition of the book out now simply compares the letters and phone calls to the facts and sources. Regardless of who perpetrated the hoax (there may not be any connection between the prank caller(s) and the letter writers) the letters and phone calls are clearly hoaxes.

    For example, according to the first letter, Darlene Ferrin was wearing “patterned slacks.” But she wasn’t wearing ANY slacks; she was wearing a thing called a “slack dress,” a kind of miniskirt length contraption often worn with jeans or slacks or a swimsuit. The hoaxer(s) had access to a carbon copy of the Solano Coroner’s office evidence inventory/transferral sheet that was garbled when the deputy misaligned the forms on his clipboard. The original reads: “1 BLOOD STAINED AND SPATTERED SLACK
    DRESS.” No slacks or pants of any kind are mentioned, only the dress.

    The hoaxer didn’t know what a “slack dress” was (ask your mom) and was probably in a hurry, anyway.

    Etc, etc. The phone calls were not necessarily made by the same people, but the first one may have partly inspired elements of the hoax.

    So far as I have seen, nearly all the original PD and FBI files are available all over the net. I have seen a few things that may be “missing” from these sites, but nothing vital to the material in the book. ANYONE can see what I see, but if you want a “study guide,” you can read the book (which was prepared as a “study guide” for some detectives in CA.)

    Anyone who can’t wait, and pays the 99 cents now for the redacted version, will get an email from Amazon as soon as the final edition (which will contain more than just the “redacted” sections of this edition) allowing them to buy the next edition at a discounted price of 1.99, instead of 2.99.

    Thanks for your reply, and keep reading!


    This is not two separate tracks; it is one track: compare each phone call and letter in the chronological order they were received, against the facts, as recorded in the actual case files and contemporaneous newspaper clippings. That’s it.

    SFPD did not even notice that there was ONE piece of Stine’s shirt missing, let alone two, UNTIL the third letter arrived at the Chronicle. The rest of their files show a completely sloppy “investigation.” It is no wonder that SFPD has ranked dead last in America for over 60 years in cases cleared—less than 40 percent, year after year.

    One possible motive for the hoax was to expose or otherwise ridicule Solano County Coroner Office (a department of th Sheriff’s Office) and SFPD incompetence.

  4. Sandy Betts 6 August, 2012 at 10:01 Reply

    Tom H. I doubt the so called “slack dress” had anything to do with a mini skirt.
    They were called “jumpsuits”, they were a one piece outfit, that connected a top to the slacks or pants, most often had a bell bottom shape back then, making them look like a long dress. ( often had a very long 36 inch zipper .) I owned several myself is how I know, they were still popular through the 70’s.

    I am curious about the two parts of Paul Stine’s shirt you mentioned that were missing ? From the pictures I have seen of the shirt, it looked like one large piece that was cut/ torn, but was sent in the two letters as two smaller pieces ? Leaving yet some of it not accounted for. There could still be more of it saved for yet another taunt perhaps ? Please correct me if I am mistaken, I do want to know the true facts in this case , and where these facts can be found. Thank you for your interesting Z investigating , I will be looking forward to reading your book.

    • ggluckman 10 August, 2012 at 05:43

      Apologies, I was trying to figure out what a slack dress might be from Sandy’s perspective. I thought I might have found what she was describing, but hadn’t noticed that I had mistakenly substituted the term slack pants for slack dress. I guess I am one of those men who has a very limited vocabulary for women’s clothing: blouse, slacks, dress, skirt. It was all so simple, until this. Blame my folks for not giving me any sisters. 🙂

    • ggluckman 10 August, 2012 at 06:03

      To which I might add that if I had been the person writing up the article–or the person writing the letter, for that matter–there is no way in hell I would have gotten it right.

      My bet is that both the cop (or was it the coroner) and the writer of the letter (let’s call him Z) got to the point where they were about to describe the outfit, paused becaused they didn’t know what to call it, picked up their respective cell phones, and each called home from the office, described the clothing as best they could, and asked their wives what to call it.

      And, if I am any judge, Z’s wife got it right.

      My book will be coming out in the spring. Meanwhile I am turning my findings over to LE so they can do more detailed investigation. I will note that the perptrator’s prints are on the phone. I have no idea why any of you so-called experts couldn’t figure this out.

      No more questions till you read my book.


    • Thomas Horan 9 August, 2012 at 07:23

      “From the pictures I have seen of the shirt” is what I’m talking about. I have no access to any “secret” files, surprise witnesses, undiscovered evidence, or anything else that anybody else doesn’t have access to. I have seen a couple of things, including crime scene photos, that others apparently haven’t seen, but none of those materials are all that important.

      I haven’t looked at every single file on Voigt and Butterfield’s websites, but it looks as though they probably have, between them, collected enough for them or anyone else to see at least most of what I have seen—1. There was no “Zodiac” killer, because 2. The letters and phone calls were clearly a hoax. And any files not on their websites are available, trust me.

      I do have a couple of sources at a few LE agencies, but my book contains NOTHING that has not been in the public domain for years.

      Lastly, this is a slack dress:

      It is not a jumpsuit. It is a dress. Also, some women call a short dress meant to be worn with pants a “slack dress.” And all the PD files clearly fail to mention any “slacks” or “jump suits.” Graysmith claimed Darlene was wearing a jumpsuit, but whatever his true motives, he may have simply been conveying information that Darlene was wearing homemade clothes without interfering with VPD’s investigation. In 1986, the FBI et al had not yet dumped their files. But whatever Graysmith’s motives, Darlene was NOT wearing a “jumpsuit.”

      Lots of women her generation, including my mother, made their own clothes. Therefore, it seems probable that Darlene was wearing a dress, not a jumpsuit, she made herself from the recycled material from a pair of slacks, like the one shown in the above link. A dress.

      But it’s not just that the files say, “slack dress.” It’s that the files clearly show where the hoaxer got confused by a garbled carbon copy. By tracking the sources of all the errors in the letters and phone calls, I was able to find the person whose handprinting matches “Zodiac’s.” That’s a pretty strong corroboration.

      I’m not going to retype the entire book on a blog comment section. But if you or anyone uses an example FROM THE BOOK, I’ll see about responding to questions. I think that’s more than fair.

  5. Thomas Horan 6 August, 2012 at 19:46 Reply

    One large piece of Stine’s shirt is still missing. That one was probably torn off by the shooter, for whatever reason. Unfortunately, no one at SFPD seems to have noticed any pieces missing until the second piece started showing up in “Zodiac” latters. This second swatch, a narrow strip which was quite clearly torn off after the first one, was returned, in two pieces, one mailed to Belli, the other to the Examiner/Chronicle. No piece of that swatch is missing; the whole thing was mailed in two letters.

    It’s not just that there are two distinctly different tears. The second, narrow strip has unmistakable bloodstains which show that the second strip of cloth was torn off AFTER the body had been rolled over onto the seat by Dousette, the ambulance steward. These stains (the technical term is “blot”) are identical to the stains on the rest of the shirt. They do not show any signs of this strip of cloth having been used to wipe any surface, but of course, that alone doesn’t prove much, since the story of the killer wiping down the cab is an exaggeration by Graysmith, and not what the witnesses actually reported at the time. But the second tear is glaringly obvious, and so is the pattern of blood stains.

  6. G Gluckman 6 August, 2012 at 20:09 Reply

    So, if I understand you correctly: there was a particular pattern of bloodstains on the unripped portion of the shirt that we can determine were not there prior to Dousette rolling the body over onto the seat, which resulted a new and distinct pattern of stains, which must have also “imprinted” itself on the as yet untorn second shirt piece. So, after the second piece was torn, we can match the pattern.

    Is that it?

    • Thomas Horan 7 August, 2012 at 11:07

      Sorry, G, I didn’t see your post right away.

      In short, the anwer to your question is yes—according to SFPD patrolman Pelisseti, who was first to arrive at the scene, Stine was lying facedown across the front bench seat with this head resting on the floorboard, passenger door closed. This makes sense, since the cockamamie theory that the shooter cradled Stine’s head in his lap makes very little sense. The actual witnesses reported no such thing. They did not, as is commonly believed, have a very clear view of the scene, and could not see into the passenger side of the cab at all. So the shooter most likely leaned over the body as any person would, and Pelisseti’s report would appear to confirm that.

      The crime scene photos taken by SFPD show Stine on his back, his arms hanging out of the open passenger door. Dousette was the first to roll Stine over onto his back to check for vital signs, etc. When the photographs were taken, Stine’s jacket and shirt were pulled up partway over his head, almost as if someone had tried to remove them. The shooter may have done this while tearing off the large, still-missing rectangle of cloth from the striped shirt. Dousette may have done it while checking for possible, further gunshot wounds and so forth.

      Either way, the upper portions of the shirt clearly show that the jacket protected that part of the shirt from picking up, or “blotting,” pools of blood from the seat. So does the second strip of shirt, that was mailed in two pieces in two Zodiac letters. Some of the stains are contiguous, that is, shared across, both the shirt and the second strip, indicating the stains were blotted at the same time. Lastly, the second strip of shirt fails to show any signs of having been used to “wipe down” the cab, which, again, may not have actually happened, even with the first piece of shirt.

      Lastly, the shirt, and the second strip of shirt, clearly show that the second strip of shirt could not have been torn off first—it could only have been torn off after the first piece. It could not have been torn off OF the first piece, as the second tear is plainly visible on the shirt itself (my book goes into more detail on all this.) And lastly, the blots show it was torn off AFTER the body had been rolled onto the seat.

      All of this plainly visible to the naked eye. Under the microscope . . . , well, read the book.

  7. Thomas Horan 6 August, 2012 at 21:01 Reply

    I’m not going to retype the entire book on a blog, comment by comment. But, in brief:

    1. Short answer to your question: Yes.
    2. Slightly longer answer: Not “must have” been imprinted on the strip of shirt in question, but rather, most definitely were. That is, there are distinct “blots” (as opposed to drips—and yes, there is a way to tell the difference, but even more importantly, they are identical to, and in some cases, contiguous with, blots on the rest of the back of the shirt) on the strip of shirt in question, but no smears.

    In addition to trying to explain all this in words, I will be making some short videos about the shirt and possibly a LHR shooting reconstruction. So far as publishing photos of the shirt, that is another one of those legal questions I still need a couple of months to get consensus on.

    I’ll recap those issues while I’m at it:

    1. Suspect N, whose handprinting matches “Zodiac’s” completely, is still alive, so far as I can determine. No, I have no intention of interviewing this person. That’s the PD’s job. I don’t even know if N knows I know. They may be a hopeless Alzheimer’s vegetable at this point. But alive they are, and sooooooooooo, even though my claims can be substantiated in court with zero trouble, by me or law enforcement, that does not mean I plan to volunteer for a nuisance “libel” lawsuit that would take years to win and cost umpteen gazillion dollars I could never recover because this old coot is probably as broke as everybody else. If N is arrested, then I could report on that. But since N is not a likely murder suspect, there will be no arrest. Besides, I’m sure this person never killed anybody, just jerked some chains, to an extent beyond anyone’s wildest dreams. Is that a crime to hound some poor old geezer into their grave for? Not by me.

    2. I cannot publish the exemplars of N’s handprinting in toto, because, guilty or not, they are entitled to privacy, and publishing the exemplars in toto without permission would be an invasion of that privacy. Ditto for the details of the evidence linking N to Bryan Hartnell’s car.

    3. It looks like I will be able to publish a pretty extensive letter-by-letter comparison of at least most of the letters of the alphabet in the exemplars. Several matching, distinctive features of the handprinting will probably remain unpublished for the usual reasons of evidentiary caution, (ditto for the evidence linking N to Hartnell’s car) but I think I can publish enough to satisfy the average true crime fanatic.

    4. But—which images can I use? The ones I have sufficient rights to, are not the highest quality. It’s looking like I will not be able to publish the highest quality images. Bummer. But even in the lower-quality images, the average person can see the obvious match.

    5. Issues 1-2 will obviously resolve themselves as soon as Suspect N kicks the bucket. Cold? Maybe, but remember, at best, this person was a viciously irresponsible jerk. Maybe still is.

    6. Suspect F, the person who obtained that piece of Paul Stine’s shirt, and may have left his fingerprint on the cab and the “little list” letter, looks pretty dead, so far as I can see, so I don’t think I’ll have any trouble publishing those details. Ironically, that piece of shirt not only nails the coffin shut on the hoax, but nailed the hoaxers, too. It’s interesting to note that after Stine’s murder, and that third letter, “Zodiac’s” access to unpublished crime scene data instantly dropped to zero from then on. The remaining letters aren’t even worth reading. They are full of nothing but bluster, lies, bluffs, and hooey. And some lame plagiarism from newspaper stories.

    Other possible hoax suspects will be examined, as well. N and F may well have had at least one more accomplice. Paul Avery, for example, sure had a motive, and had access to LE, and got ALL of the “anonymous” tips. On the other hand, outright fraud doesn’t seem to have been Avery’s MO. However, another Bay Area journalist . . .

    • iidzodiackiller 12 September, 2012 at 12:54

      You and I have traded some comments on twitter n the past month or so on the subject of the Zodiac Killer case to some extend. here with more space to clarify issue with you I will say that outright disagree with your assesment that the Zodiac Killer case is some vast complex mix of a murder here and there which someone was able to cobble evidence and from each and make it his own. Although I would love to have time to read the many adventures of all those who have produced books on this most fascinating of cases, I simply do not have the time as i have spent the last 4 years, day in and day out, gathering as many Zodiac documents firstly, then going in search of the man without outsiders clouding my thinking process. Something I believe at one Detective should have done in the beginning of the case but I am sure they did not have digital camera and the use of almost endless ability to produce images from the many Zodiac Killer letters, postcards and ciphers. Had they had this advantage I am sure that the dedication of Detective Toschi would have eventially paid off for him. I purchased a digital camera four years ago and almost immediately stumbled across something which lead me down this path to investigating the Zodiac Killer. After reading many of the document I began to get the feeling that the document had some artful backrounds to them and began documenting these as a beginning to my investigation. But something about the 340 cipher was different. I had the sense that if the Zodiac was going to give up something, anything, it might just be hidden in that cipher. My approach, although was not new as I`m sure others have tried it before, was to go to a dark room with some black lights which were the thing back then and take a few photos of the Zodiac Killer 340 cipher as it hang from a mirror.As i snapped away a every concievable angle, one popped and caught my eye immidiately and I pressed the button. After getting those images developed, as was my practice when I first started my investigation, that image which popped so well was, and I am sure will become known as the first tangable piece of evedence ever developed which I am also sure will soon place a man squarely in the sight of those still actively wishes to find and prosecute the Zodiac Killer. After places it on youtube and getting some response I removed it and put the developed imaged of the 340 cipher on the backburner while continuing on with other of the document, photographing them as well at unusual angles also. This process was repeated for the next few years until I began to see a pattern developing. With that knowledge I returned recently to the 340 cipher and began snapping away again and to my surprise I began to be able see things which could not be seen before. I`ve come to the conclusion that the Zodiac Killer target symbols are clues to the angles for which to snapped the shot that will yield real results to the Zodiac Killers reasoning behind his many murders. Although I believe the Zodiac Killer had to have used precise measuring devices to achieve his goal to process his many communicated documents to hide the true writting for a future generation to solve, I also believe he felt he may be long dead before anyone discovered them. That however is not the case but this could change if notice is not taken of my finding soon. I won`t bs anyone here and admit that at times I went down the road you have chosen thinking a vast conspiracy was taking place, but I however still always looked back to the first time I lay eyes on the 340 cipher I developed I spoke of earlier. This helped tremendously in fighting off those feeling of a possible conspiracy. I was beginning to see a pattern the Zodiac Killer was using to hide messages within his documents which are seen by everyones naked eye. Using every tool I could think of to get a closer look at my developed 340 cipher i began to see the letters r, e and f. Investigating more I found the name Ray to be the r and comingled were a name starting with an e and what I believe would be his last name starting with an f. These discoveries were made several months back and my investigation had to be put on hold because of a family tragedy. After returning to the case and getting back online, eventially checking my email, mindful of my most recent development of those letters r, e and f still upfront in my mind I checked my email and it hit me like a ton of bricks. there was a man emailing who I had already seen was prowling through the Zodiac killer sites and serial killer sites with a profile claiming he is a retired LAPD/Homeland Security Agency expert trained to help the city of LA if need arises. I didn`t open the email for fear, which struck instantly upon seeing it, that this man is well connected as I remembered what he had written in his twitter profile and it possible he could get enough info on me to come make a personal visit. Putting those thought aside I got busy trying to see if it was possible this same man may have put his own facial image on the Zodiac Killer 340 cipher and I have to tell you I was not surprised to find it. You and any of the public can view this image at my facebook page, Ray Iam, or on twitter at iidzodiackiller and make your own assesment of its value but as I have only found this facial image and the two and two`s are making four I will and have already made significant improvements to that facial image including what I percieve to be a pretty good image of his pupil. That pupil image could be the test for this emerging technology of pupil technology. Maybe this will happen but i`m not holding my breath for that and and moving forward every and will be posting my inproved images and continuing to ask this man thru enuindo how his face got on the Zodiac Killer 340 cipher in hopes he will soon answer this question online only at my sites previously mentioned. Stay tuned as I do believe I have the right man but also I will be mindful he claims to be well connected to LA politics which also makes my mind wonder about the possibility of how he managed his climb. Conspiracy, maybe, but this only begs the question of did he have an even more connected co-conspirator. Like I said, stayed tuned, image is everything and its already out there and getting clearer.

  8. G Gluckman 6 August, 2012 at 21:12 Reply

    You mentioned that “…no one at SFPD seems to have noticed any pieces missing until the second piece started showing up in “Zodiac” latters…”.

    Did you give any thought to how the person(s) responsible for stealing the second piece of shirt would have conceived the idea?

    That is, if the original missing strip had gone unnoticed, what led the perpetrators to think of doing such a thing?

  9. Thomas Horan 7 August, 2012 at 07:33 Reply

    “Did you give any thought to how the person(s) responsible for stealing the second piece of shirt would have conceived the idea?”

    1. Speculation is the hallmark of this entire mythos. So I don’t do it. I only consider facts.

    2. According to the letters themselves, the motive for writing the letters was to convince the public—not the police, who immediately saw the letters were a hoax—that a cult loony had murdered David and Betty Lou. For reasons not entirely clear, VPD made a BIG deal out of that first prank call, even though, again, anyone involved in the case knew first-hand it was also a prank. NCSO also made a big deal out the second prank call. Interestingly, neither Rust nor Lonergan seem to have swallowed the bait, only Narlow and Lundblab. That’s one of many good reasons detectives always work in pairs, never alone.

    3. Suspect F’s fingerprints may be on at least one letter—the “little list” letter. Maybe not. It’s possible that Suspect F was duped or otherwise taken advantage of. (This will be covered in detail in the final edition of the book. Hang in there.) But if his prints are on at least one letter, that was most likely because he did the actual mailing of the letters from SF PO boxes, and was therefore a knowing accomplice. He may have been blackmailed. Who knows? I only publish what I can prove, and I can prove in court Suspect F is the only person in the whole world who COULD have snatched that piece of shirt. So far as motive is concerned, someone besides me will have to ask N directly.

    4. Since the massive cleanup of LAPD in the 1950s, SFPD has reigned year in year out as America’s worst metropolitan PD. The other Bay Area PDs were, first and foremost, overwhelmed by a booming population that, to this day, refuses to pay for adequate fire and police protection. Lundblab had handled two homicides prior to his last, most famous case, and they were cakewalks. Narlow had handled zip. Since WWII, Napa has compiled no less than 25 unsolved homicides, which for a farm town the size of Napa, takes the cake. The federally-funded “cold case” unit of NCSO has recently cleared one of those 25. Rumor has it they are ready to clear one more.

    In the BRS case, Lynch and Rust both did a lot of heavy lifting. In the LHR case, Buttberbach did all the work, and Lundblab did all the posing for pictures. In the Lake Beryessa case, Lonergan did all the work and Narlow did—well, I don’t see much evidence Narlow did much of anything except modify his “reports” to conform to the Zodiac theory. In the Paul Stine case, Toschi and Armstrong did nothing at all, except supposedly interview Arthur Leigh Allen in 1971, but the source for that story is Graysmith, who claims his source is Mulanax, a beat cop who inherited the BRS case from Lynch when Lynch retired. Graysmith’s version of that interview is at least 90 percent baloney. In all fairness, SFPD’s “system” for assigning homicide cases to untrained “detectives” like Toschi was brainless, resulting in situations like Toschi and Armstrong being overwhelmed with cases at the time. And Toschi’s record was even worse than SFPD’s overall 60 percent failure rate.

    The blame for all of this starts with California tax”payers” who have never ponied up the dough for adequate police forces.

  10. G Gluckman 7 August, 2012 at 22:16 Reply

    “1. Speculation is the hallmark of this entire mythos. So I don’t do it. I only consider facts.”

    That seems like sage advice. I have a bad habit of going the speculation route. I am new to this, so I will try to stick to facts. Let me rephrase my question:

    Fact 1: You mentioned that “…no one at SFPD seems to have noticed any pieces missing until the second piece started showing up in “Zodiac” latters…”.

    Fact 2: Per your theory, a second strip was stolen some time after the murder had occurred and the body and shirt were in police custody.

    Fact 3: If nobody other than the murderer was aware of the missing shirt piece–the first missing piece, that is–until after the “Zodiac” letters were sent out, then it logically follows that the person(s) responsible for stealing the second piece had to have conceived of the idea of ripping off the second piece independantly.

    My question is, does your theory accomodate the idea that the original killer and the letter writer came up with the ideas independantly?



    • Thomas Horan 9 August, 2012 at 07:08

      Ahhhhhhhhhh, a well-thought out and expressed question. Now, we are getting somewhere.

      So far as the exact relationship between Suspect N (the hand printing) and Suspect F (the piece of shirt/fingerprint on Stine’s cab:)

      1. I don’t know. There is a link, but I can’t discuss that until I can discuss N’s identity, which won’t be until after N either kicks the bucket, or is arrested. F looks dead, but that doesn’t matter, because my identification of F does not concern F’s privacy the way it does N’s.

      2. If you want to know why they did it, ask N. But the stated motive of the letters was to link the murder of Darlene Ferrin to the murder of Jensen and Faraday, in the minds of the public, not the police. Why? The “Zodiac” was supposedly a cult loony. Maybe someone was just trying to “educate” the public about the dangers of the sudden wave of occultism erupting around the Bay Area. It’s possible they were trying to boost the Chronicle/Examiner’s circualtion in the midst of a brutal circualtion war that just so happened to be raging at the time. It’s possible they were trying to give someone an alibi for one or more murders, but PD was not the target audience of the letters.

      The murder of Jensen and Faraday was not “unsolved.” David Wally Ott and his gang look pretty guilty, conviction or no. Ott and two of his gang were in jail the night Ferrin was murdered, so they don’t need an alibi for that murder. Therefore, the letters might give them an “alibi” for the murder of Jensen and Faraday. Might. But they seem too stupid for a prank of this scale.

      The murderer of Ferrin, on the other hand, needs an alibi. Law enforcement (except for Lundblab) saw straight through the letters hoax. The hoaxers may have prevailed upon an acquaintance for a piece of crime scene evidence to substantiate the hoax, and the Shepard and Stine cases were simply the first opportunities (I’m oversimplifying a bit.) None of which is my concern. It is probably no coincidence that the hoaxers went straight to Belli for legal help as soon as the third letter, with the piece of Stine’s shirt, was received by the Chronicle/Examiner, but again, this no better than the usual “Zodiac” speculation. But “Zodiac” never got within a mile of another crime scene or PD file after that third letter. Not once.

      “it logically follows that the person(s) responsible for stealing the second piece had to have conceived of the idea of ripping off the second piece independantly.”

      It does?????? Let me put it this way—the person responsible for noticing a BIG secion of Stine’s shirt was missing may have failed to report that fact BECAUSE they were the one who went ahead and grabbed a second piece. Except, of course, that failing to report that fact obviously makes them look guilty. Soooooooo, I thought it was more likely that the person who snatched the second piece assumed that others HAD done their jobs (in fact, I think they were COUNTING on it,) and therefore, did not realize that by snatching that second piece, they would expose themselves. ‘Cuz they sure did. And yes, I will explain all that in the final edition of the book.

      “does your theory accomodate the idea that the original killer and the letter writer came up with the ideas independantly?”

      IF by “original killer” you mean the junkie who accidentally shot Stine when the worn-out, hair-trigger 5 dollar “gun” he bought at the pawn shop went off in his hand when Stine breathed funny, then, yes. Contrary to wild exaggeration, no witness saw the killer “wiping down the cab.” The plethora of fingerprints found all over the cab disproves that claim, anyway. It is possible the shooter tried to render first aid, saw the situation was hopeless, grabbed Stine’s wallet, and fled.

      On the other hand, IF the shooter DID wipe down the cab as some believe, then that would mean that a very, very short list of people are responsible for those prints. And guess who is the only person in the whole world who COULD have left that print on the drivers side door? F, that’s who. And that print is a partial match for a print found on the “little list” letter. Again, I will cover all that in the final edition.

  11. morf13 8 August, 2012 at 13:09 Reply

    I have toned down this response to Mr. Horan’s book/theory. I will try to keep it brief and to the point. First of all, I admittedly have not read Horan’s book, but I am pretty familiar with his theory, and since his book is based on his theory, I feel it is fair for me to comment here.

    Correct me if I am wrong, but in a nutshell, Mr. Horan, you propose that there was no real ‘zodiac killer’, am I correct so far? You believe that the entire ‘Zodiac’ persona, was a hoax perpetrated against everybody. Am I still on track? Furthermore, you believe that all of the Zodiac case letters, and phone calls were not made by the actual killer, but rather as part of this ongoing hoax, is this correct? Assuming I have my ducks in a row, I would have to say that what you are proposing is simply impossible, and I will explain why.

    Start with the Lake Berryessa attack from September 1969. At the crime scene, the victim’s car had a written note on the door. That written note was verified to be from the same author of all the Zodiac letters. Therefore, the letter writer must have been at the crime scene. The only other possibilities you could be proposing are that one of the NAPA investigators was involved and wrote on the car door to keep this hoax going, or that the people involved in the hoax just happened upon the scene, and decided to write on the victim’s car…both of which are hard to swallow. In addition, the attacker wore a hood with a crosshair symbol on it, same as in the letters. So, that would seem to make it look like the hoaxer was intending to make the couple think he was the real Zodiac, would you agree? If you agree, then that would seem to rule out any NAPA PD involvement in the hoax, wouldnt it?

    Next, let’s take the SF Stine murder. In his case, his killer cut a piece of Stine’s bloody shirt. Two separate zodiac letters were received including pieces of Stine’s shirt. The author of those letters was the same author of the other Zodiac letters. Therefore, the letter writer must have been at the crime scene. If this is not the case, then as in the scenario above, you must think SFPD was involved in the hoax and sent a piece of the shirt in, or the hoaxers just happened upon the murder scene and took the shirt, again both of these are hard to swallow.

    Now, let’s take the phone call made shortly after the attack at Blue Rock Springs. That caller gave specific info including weapon, caliber, etc. Again, your theory would seem to indicate that the person making the calls, was either a first responder or cop(who had gotten there and quickly was able to determine gun model, caliber, etc to include in his hoax call to Nancy Slover), which would now involve 3 separate law enforcement departments in 3 separate jurisdictions,or somehow, you are thinking that the hoaxers somehow happened upon the scene, quickly did ballistics on the crime scene, and came up with enough info to make the call to Nancy Slover.

    Either way, you have to be theorizing that law enforcement/first responders at 3 different crime scenes in 3 different jurisdictions were involved in some massive hoax, OR that the hoaxer(s) were able to be at all 3 of these crime scenes around the time of the attacks, and get enough information to use for their hoax. Both of these theories are hard to swallow. Insinuating that one police department was involved in a hoax is bad, but if you are insinuating that 3 separate ones are involved, come on, how realistic is that?

    Mr. Horan, you also state that you believe that you know who the author of the Zodiac letters is, but you are unable to mention them by name for fear of being sued, am I correct? If so, have you handed your information about these hoaxers and your theory over to police? If so, what was the outcome? If not, doesnt it bother you that you may be hindering a police investigation?

    I hope to read your reply soon, and look forward to you touching on each of these points I have brought up. I truly think there is no merit to your theory, but would like to hear your side of things.


    • Thomas Horan 9 August, 2012 at 07:28

      “I admittedly have not read Horan’s book,” So, why should I bother responding to your questions? it’s 99 cents. Better yet, you can borrow it for free from the Kindle lending library, a project funded 100 percent by Amazon. the answers to your question are in the book.

      IF you can quote ONE example from my book where you feel you can provide evidence contradicting a claim in the book then I will respond.

      If you think that’s horribly unfair, then take it up with Mr Cole.

    • Zodiac Revisited 9 August, 2012 at 07:48

      Borrowing from Amazon requires membership in Amazon Prime, which I’m sure most people do not have. Even if somebody does have Amazon Prime, users are limited to borrowing one book a month and therefore they likely would choose to borrow a book that’s more expensive. I tried it for a short time, but found it too limited.

      What you choose to respond to is clearly up to you, of course. As with everybody, as long as the comments are on topic and not abusive, I’ll publish them.

    • Thomas Horan 9 August, 2012 at 10:19

      Anyone with adequate internet access to post a reply on a blogsite can also read a free sample of my book at Amazon.

      I’m not demanding anyone debunk the entire book sentence by sentence. Unless they think they can. I’m only asking that just one person, on this website or any other, quote one sentence from my book and “debunk” that, instead of changing the subject, putting words in my mouth, or falling back on movies like Fincher’s as “evidence.”

      What could possibly be so impossible about that?

  12. morf13 8 August, 2012 at 19:36 Reply

    Mr. Horan, I hope you will respond to some of the quotes below that I have used from your tv interview:

    You said-“I had a chance to see some case information that’s not been widely published, I came to the conclusion that the letters were probably a hoax, and some of the investigators at the time thought so”

    Please explain what material you have seen, that none of the rest of us have seen, because personally, I think a lot of us have seen a lot of stuff, and if you have seen something we haven’t, I would be surprised. Also, who were the investigators that thought the letters were a hoax?

    You said- “found a person whose handwriting looked like a dead match to the Zodiac letters”

    Have you consulted with a writing expert, or are these your observations?

    Lastly, did you ever turn over the name of your suspect to police, and where does that stand?

    • Thomas Horan 9 August, 2012 at 07:45

      1. “Not widely published” does not mean unplublished. I am 100 percent certain you will be able to see everything I have seen.

      2. Yes, I passed this along to LE. The current version of my book, which was rushed into publication a few months early, is simply a temporarily redacted version of the report I sent them. One “detective” is publishing his own “Zodiac” book this month (surprise! surprise!) but the rest are doing what they’re supposed to be doing, namely their jobs. So out of respect for them, I’m giving them a chance to finish checking out N as a murder suspect before I publish the final book. The final bookwill also cover things like “common Zodiac myths.”

      3. I am a handwriting “expert,” but I’m not certified to testify in California courts as a Quentioned Documents Examiner. But I will be able publish a fairly extensive comparison of the handprinting in the final edition of the book which will at least show the average person a glaringly obvious match. The only difference in the two is that the hoaxer rotated the paper about 90 degrees and used a felt-tip pen in order to create an exaggerated, elongated right-hand slant. And yes, I have verified that the provenance of the exemplars is absolutely beyond any doubt.

      You may have noticed that California right now is B-R-O-K-E. Homicide detectives are literally working shifts as traffic cops. One of CA’s bright ideas was to privatize various services, like QDE. The going rate, last time I checked, for a QDE opinion was $2500.00 and up. And guess how much a “Zodiac” letter costs? Investigators just spent a horrifying amout of money on some “touch” DNA tests, so unless N holds up as a murder suspect, the general feedback I got indicates they will be unable to justify the expense of a certified QDE’s opinion. But they all agree (“off the record”) that the handprinting matches, and the corroborating evidence checks out.

      In the fall of 1969, two fingers did point toward N as a suspect in the murder of Cecelia Shepard. But since N seems to have an alibi, no handprinting or fingeprints were sent to the FBI or QD.

      LE did not seem surprised that I fingered N as the author of the letters. They were flabbergasted that I suggested the letters were a hoax. But since they need N to be a viable murder suspect in order to justify the expense of a QDE, let alone any other warrants, I have and will continue to give them every opportunity to look into N as a murder suspect. And yes, it is possible the hoax was intended to give someone an alibi for at least one murder.

      But N’s (or anyone else’s) identity aside, the letters and phone calls were clearly a hoax(es.)

    • ggluckman 9 August, 2012 at 07:18

      Hi Tracers,

      It would be especially interesting to know what information Casey Storm had available to be able to determine exactly what Darlene Ferrin wore.

      Best regards,


    • Michael D. Kelleher 9 August, 2012 at 09:11

      In one pre-production meeting with Fincher, in 2007, we talked for quite a while about sources and case material. The point of the conversation was to address the accuracy of the scenes in the movie and how true they were to the known facts of the case. As I mentioned elsewhere, there is a good deal of material not yet made available to the public. This included many photographs. Fincher’s producer (Fischer) had unprecedented access to this material. The bottom line is that, in this instance as in many others, Fincher was true to the actual case files and did, in fact, faithfully re-create the victim’s outfit. There is a widespread opinion that Fincher’s movie took a wrong turn with the Graysmith connection. However, the screenplay was based on Graysmith’s first book and Fincher was also true to that aspect of the saga. In other words, Fincher told Graysmith’s story as much as that of Zodiac. In this regard, he did a fine job.

      Because of my personal connection with Fincher and the production, I can assure you that he was faithful to the facts in re-creating his scenes and that he did it with integrity and openness. The fact that his Producer had such great access to the case material makes a strong statement about how both Fincher and Fischer handled this task in a professional way.

      At the risk of repeating myself needlessly, it’s very important to understand that the public simply has not seen a good deal of important Zodiac material. What is available on the Internet is not nearly the entire story.


    • ggluckman 9 August, 2012 at 12:27

      Hi Mike,

      Do you think there would be a way to see the original photos that were used, or is that too unlikely?


    • Michael D. Kelleher 9 August, 2012 at 15:23

      Hello, G.

      There would be no way at this time for the reasons I’ve mentioned elsewhere, among other good reasons. However, in time, I believe they will be made available along with other interesting case material. The important point is that there exists such material and that various theories need to be carefully scrutinized for accuracy and faithfulness to the facts of the case. In this specific instance, Fincher’s depiction of the outfit was very accurate.


    • Thomas Horan 10 August, 2012 at 06:40

      BS. You know the “Leigh” character’s costume, which includes the “Wing Walker” shoes, is BS, based on Graysmith’s book, right? So, you claim the “Darlene” costume is accurate, based on case file material that Hollywood costume designers have access to, but not Voigt or Butterfield or you?

      You know that lots of Steinbrenner Shoe Company “Thorogood” uniform shoes had those soles, right? The Acorn Avon soles. Not only “Wing Walkers” but also “Academy” police uniform shoes, right? Anyone could buy shoes with those nonskid soles from any shoe store that carried Weinbrenner Thorogood shoes. You know that, right? Or did you?

      Don’t worry. It’s not necessary to cover Graysmith’s BS by showing us this “secret” photo of Darlene’s dress. Aaaalllllll you have to do is compare the first two letters, sentence by sentence, to the actual case files, which have been in the public domain for years, and prove, once and for all, that I am full of it. I make zero claims to “secret” evidence. I only rely on the real case files and newspaper clippings. [Deleted]

      We’re waiting.

      [Moderator: Edited per comment policy]

    • Thomas Horan 10 August, 2012 at 08:39


      Okay, let’s all “address the accuracy of the scenes in the [Fincher] movie and how true they were to the known facts of the case.”

      You know that, in real life, Arthur Leigh Allen was not actually wearing “Wing Walker” shoes, right? You know that, in real life, he did not make those self-incriminating statements, right? You know that, in real life, neither Ron nor Karen Allen actually believed that Leigh was the Zodiac, right? Let alone make those statements they make in the movie, right? You know that, in real life, Cheney’s first statements to police were different from the one in the movie, and that he has changed his story multiple times over the years, right? You know that, in real life, Cheney had a motive for “getting” Leigh, that his kids accused Leigh of improper behavior (all to credible. But that doesn’t make him a serial killer.) right? You know that, in real life, Paul Avery did not get a piece of Stine’s shirt mailed to him, right? You know that, in real life, the Chronicle and Examiner were owned by the same publisher and operated out of the same offices and printing plant, right? You know that, in real life, Fincher’s movie is based on Graysmith’s book, and nothing else, right? Is that what you, as an expert consultant, verified the accuracy of? The movie compared to the book? Or are you seriously claiming that Hollywood costume designers and whatnot are given access to PD files that the FBI, not to mention “experts” like Tom Voigt, don’t have access to? The ones that prove that Darlene’s costume in the movie is accurate, and not just based on Graysmith’s book?

      The movie is about Graysmith and his interest in the murders and letters and ciphers. It’s not even about the murders per se. The first shooting isn’t even covered in the movie. And Hollywood hype about “based on a true” story is no more “evidence” in this case than it is in cases like “The Limbic Region,” or “The Boston Strangler,” or “JFK.”

      [Moderator: Edited per comment policy]

    • Thomas Horan 9 August, 2012 at 08:07

      This is precisely what I’m talking about. You people think that a PR interview publicizing a movie based on Graysmith’s “book” is EVIDENCE?????????????? You think costume designers get access to EVIDENCE that has been withheld from the FBI???????????? Where is this photograph? Why can’t the self-proclaimed Zodiac “experts” get their hands on “evidence” that’s available to anyone calling themselves a “costume designer???????????”

      Why am I the only person on this plantet who has noticed that all of the “evidence” that supposedly “proves” there was a real “Zodiac” killer is secret, and that the actual evidence in the actual police files and evidence lockers is all wrong? Why is it necessary to believe that no less than four police departments are all incompetent, just to go on believing that Graysmith is right?

      Try this: use a piece of real EVIDENCE to debunk ONE SINGLE SOLITARY claim I have made in my book, or even in a blog post. Why is that so impossible? Why doesn’t one single solitary Zodiac “expert” step up to the plate?

      You people do realize that Fincher’s movie also depicts an “interview” with the Arthur Leigh Allen character at work that shows him wearing “Wing Walker” shoes, even though that didn’t really happen. Right? You also know Ron and Karen Allen never, ever believed that Arthur was the Zodiac, right? You know Don Cheney has changed his story multiple times, right? You know that the Chronicle and Examiner were not only owned by the same publisher, but that they were in the same building, right? That is, you know that movie is full of BS, but you think the Darlene Ferrin costume is “evidence?????????????” To the extent that you think the SCSO thought Darlene was wearing a thing called a “slack dress,” and not a jumpsuit, as “proven” in a BS Hollywood PR interview? Really? You people are that gullible?

      Your silence concerning the actual case files is deafening.

    • morf13 9 August, 2012 at 12:02

      LOL, yes we do know that the David Fincher movie included things that are not entirely factual. Do you suggest that you know more than all of us?

    • Thomas Horan 10 August, 2012 at 06:31

      I’m suggesting that you have been fooled by Robert Graysmith into believing in a Zodiac Killer who never existed. I’m not publicly accusing Graysmith of deliberately fooling anybody; I’m only accusing him of being fooled, too.

      You think “Darlene’s” costume in the movie is based on unseen photos that everyone and his dog has access to except the self-proclaimed Zodiac “experts,” even though you know the “Leigh” costume is based on Graysmith’s BS. Why? What is so convincing about Darlene’s costume that you don’t believe that actual case files, which clearly state Darlene was wearing a dress????????? What do you have at stake in your belief in “The Zodiac?”

      I don’t know a single thing (well, okay, one or two things) that EVERYONE on this discussion can’t go straight to Voigt and Butterfield’s websites (between the two of them, they have 99 percent of everything I’ve seen. This stuff has been in the public domain for years, for Pete’s sake) and see for themselves. Why didn’t Voigt or Butterfield or Kellher read ANY of it? Why haven’t you? You don’t have to read them all. Just read the VPD and SCSO files, compare them to the firt two letters sentence by sentence (don’t forget the newspaper clippings, but a couple of them might not be on those websites. Ask Voigt and company) and prove that the letters are “correct” in their details. Piece of cake. You’d get all the glory. Don’t use Grysmith’s book or interviews with Hollywood costume designers. Just the actual case files.

      We’re waiting. LOL.

    • Zodiac Revisited 9 August, 2012 at 08:29

      You do know that most people who have seriously considered this case don’t believe that Arthur Leigh Allen was the Zodiac, right?

      Anyway, given your reaction to the point that Fincher’s staff recreated Darlene’s outfit by hand based on police photographs of the evidence, I really find it difficult to believe that anyone is going to be willing to invest time and effort addressing any of your points.

      I am sure there is nothing any of us could say to convince you that your are incorrect. And, at the same time, I know of no one among us who believes your theory. Attempting to reconcile those two irreconcilable differences clearly would be nothing more than a waste of time – something akin to attempting to convince Penn or Graysmith that they are wrong regarding their respective beliefs.

      So, for my part, I’ll just say: good luck with that. I wish you all the best in proving that the Zodiac Killer never existed. And I’ll look forward to reading all about it once you’ve convinced the rest of the world…

    • Thomas Horan 9 August, 2012 at 10:24

      So, you admit that the costume of the Arthur Allen character is fake, but the costume of the Dalrene Ferrin character is authentic????????????? Why? How? Fincher’s movie is based directly on Graysmith’s book, but you think it’s more authentic than Graysmith’s book? How? That’s your excuse for not even reading the actual LE files, let alone my book? What are you afraid of?

    • Thomas Horan 9 August, 2012 at 10:28

      There is one thing you could do to convince me and the entire world that I’m wrong. Quote one single claim from my book, instead of putting words in my mouth, and prove it wrong with evidence, and not Graysmith’s “books.” Just one.

    • morf13 9 August, 2012 at 11:57

      I have to second that,good luck with the book & your theory, so far you have avoided at all costs responding to some valid points & questions that I, and others have presented to you. I think your goal is to get people’s attention in either a good way or a bad way(any publicity is good publicity),and you have done just that at the expense of our time. If you ever choose to respond to the valid questions above, I think you could go a long ways to getting people to be more interested in your project.

  13. morf13 9 August, 2012 at 05:51 Reply

    I started to read thru the Blog at Horan’s site and I felt my blood pressure rising so I quickly exited. Again,I am still awaiting responses from Mr. Horan fpr the things I mentioned above. His entire theory fails to explain how evidence from multiple crime scenes, in multiple jurisdictions, is linked to multiple Zodiac letters & calls. They are all linked together. And people that have asked him about these holes seem to get ignored or they get accused of just wanting to argue with him or discredit him. Who would have access to evidence from multiple crime scenes, in multiple jurisdictions? This must be the person(s) that Horan believes was the hoaxer(s). These multiple jurisdictions had trouble communicating with each other and sharing information, yet somehow, they seem to be in on a big hoax. Funny

    • Thomas Horan 9 August, 2012 at 08:09

      I’m waiting for you to quote one sentence from my book. Better yet, I’m waiting for you or anyone else to quote one sentence from one PD file. Why is that so impossible?

  14. morf13 9 August, 2012 at 09:40 Reply

    Sounds like you are avoiding a direct answer. I already told you that I have not read your book, but as your book relates to your theory, and I find your theory flawed,I don’t plan to read your book unless you can give an answer to the questions & issues above that I have presented to you. As far as reading reports, or quoting from them, what does that have to do with you answering a few legitimate questions? Yes,I have read all of the reports,I have read 1200+ pages of FBI reports, and am currently awaiting recepit of 1200+ never before seen pages. I have obtained previously unreleased questioned documents pertaining to the Zodiac case. All of this is available on my website. So again, what is the importance of me quoting from these reports? What does me quoting reports have to do with your theory?

  15. morf13 9 August, 2012 at 09:46 Reply

    Robert Graysmith, a published author, read the reports as well,and incorrectly reported in his book that on the night of 12/20/68, a witness driving home from the late shift at Humble Oil passed the LHR crime scene. I went thru the reports and had to correct this glaring and important mistake, that being that the witness was not coming home from his midnight shift at Humble,but rather was going TO his midnight shift at Humble. I also caught the fact that in one statement to police, this witness stated that Zodiac’s car was parked 3-4 feet away from the victim’s car,but in a second statement to police, this changed from 3-4 feet to 10 feet apart. So yes, I have read the reports. Now will you answer some of the above questions?

    • Thomas Horan 9 August, 2012 at 11:29

      Good. Then please explain why you didn’t read the one that said Darlene was wearing a dress, and not slacks.

    • Tracers 9 August, 2012 at 16:45

      The page says “blood splattered slack dress”

      The link you show of a dress made from a pair of slacks does not prove a thing about what Darlene was wearing in 1969. The link you post is one showing a dress some woman recently made from a pair of pants. Why do you assume this one current photo of a woman’s sewing project proves Darlene was wearing a traditional dress made from slacks?

      Do you really think Lynch or Horan would be able to tell if a dress was made from a pair of slacks? Would YOU be able to tell that dress you posted as “proof” was made from a pair of slacks/pants if the woman who took the picture had not identified it as a “slack dress”? I doubt it.

      I also doubt men Lynch would had any idea what to call a pantsuit back then. (Many men today do not know what to call such items.) He would look at the article of clothing and see it resembled a dress, since it was one piece that covered top and bottom, yet had legs like slacks/pants. I can easily see how Lynch would call the item a slack dress.

      Why do you conclude Fincher or his costumer are lying about producing a replica of the slack/pant suit Darlene was wearing? Why would they bother to lie about something like that?

      Bottom line, imo, if the article of clothing had been a traditional dress, Lynch would never have referred to it as a slack dress. Just my two cents.

      Since I didn’t quote your book, you can feel free to ignore my post. I simply wanted to post my take on the slack dress issue and why I think your take on it is wrong. I doubt I will be bothering to discuss the issue further here since I said what I wanted to say.

      Have you even watched Fincher’s Director’s Cut? If so, you should know that Fincher viewed the clothing and other evidence from the BRS attack.

    • Tracers 9 August, 2012 at 21:15

      I apologize for the typos and grammatical errors in the post I made above. I should have proofread it more carefully after editing it and before hitting the “submit” button.

    • Thomas Horan 10 August, 2012 at 07:31

      The page says “blood splattered slack dress”


      The carbon copy, which the hoaxer saw, is garbled: “XXXXXXXXXXXERED SLACK

      Hence, his mistake. This does not only prove that the letter writer was wrong. Far more importantly, it proves, as you can plainly see, that he got his information FROM THIS FORM, and NOT from being at the crime scene. Right? Where else did he get “patterned slacks?” Why did he think that the exact phrasing, “paterned slacks” would be authenticated by police?

      “Lynch would never have referred to it as a slack dress. ” He didn’t. The deputy in the coroner’s office did. Darlene was DOA at the ER, so she was taken straight to the funeral home for an autopsy. The coroner’s deputy who took her clothes and personal effects to the evidence locker filled out the form. It doesn’t even matter if the dress was literally a dress made from a pair of slacks (a popular item among women like my mother who made their own clothes). All that really matters is that the letter hoaxer got his info from this form, and not from being at the scene of the murder. See?

      Now, keep going. Sentence by sentence. It’s not just this one “fact” that proves the letters were a hoax. There were lots, and they can be traced just as precisely to very, very, specific sources. Do the same with the transcripts of the phone calls. Hoaxes, too, although not necessarily by the same person.

      “Why do you conclude Fincher or his costumer are lying about producing a replica of the slack/pant suit Darlene was wearing?” I don’t. The evidence in the real police files, not Kelleher’s imaginary “secret” files, seems to indicate that Fincher relied on Graysmith’s book, and nothing else. The “interrogation” of Allen at work proves that. The “interview” with Ron and Karen Allen proves that. The search of Allen’s trailer proves. Besides, the movie is about Graysmith and his interest in the murders, not about the murders. And, by the way, “Based on a true story” is just Hollywoood hype. Always is. You know that, right?

      I’m not publicly accusing Graysmith of trying to fool anybody. In 1986, the actual case files had not been released [the FBI dumped their copies of all the files after a FOIA request(s). That’s where Voigt and Butterfield got theirs. But they’re in the public domain.] so Graysmith prudently changed a fact that was not crucial to his book. But that does not make Graysmith’s book MORE reliable than the actual evidence.

      I know Graysmith’s books are convincing. But they’re distortions, not reality.

      My book, (at least the brief version available now on Kindle) is nothing more than a study guide anyone can use to do what you just did—read the letters and case files for themselves and see how the case files not only prove the letters were a hoax, but even identify where the hoaxer got their information, both right and wrong. Follow that trail, and you should be able to find Suspect N, just as I did.

      You can do it without the book, especially now that you get the idea. You don’t need anyone’s book or movie. But if you want a study guide, I think 99 cents is fair.

  16. Thomas Horan 9 August, 2012 at 11:55 Reply

    Here’s a good example of why I’m not answering your questions: “Again, your theory would seem to indicate that the person making the calls, was either a first responder or cop(who had gotten there and quickly was able to determine gun model, caliber, etc to include in his hoax call to Nancy Slover),”

    Instead of bending over backwards putting words in my mouth, why don’t you quote one sentence from my book? you clearly have internet access. You can “Look Inside The Book” on Amazon and get a good free sample. How hard is that?

    • Dave 10 August, 2012 at 05:09

      I think you are confusing “applying logical inference” with “putting words in my mouth.”

      If you are establishing a hypothesis with a given set of facts, then a set of logical inferences can be made from them, and must be addressed. Morf has taken the things you’ve assumed to be true in your hypothesis, and demonstrated what must be logically concluded from those premises.

      For example, if my premise is that 1+1=3, then people will respond that it destroys the rest of mathematics. But then I could say “well, you’re just putting words in my mouth – I never claimed it destroyed mathematics!” But I still have to prove that 1+1=3.

    • Thomas Horan 10 August, 2012 at 06:22

      Stop making excuses and just quote the book. How hard is that? What are you avoiding? If I’m so wrong, why is it so hard for ANYONE, you, or Voigt, or Butterfield, or Kelleher, to find just ONE case file that proves me wrong? Why do you have to hide behind “logical inferences?” Destroy me once and for all and get it over with.

      We’re all waiting.

    • caresut 10 August, 2012 at 22:35

      I’m with you Michael….Not interested at all. Horan’s theory
      is flawed in so many ways it is not worth mentioning. He should be
      banned from this site as he has been from others, imo.
      People seem to be making a couple of connections and writing
      books before anything is proven. Seems to be a trend.
      Go away Mr. Horan, your theories leave us disappointed.
      Just go away, I enjoy this site for its honesty and you leave me

  17. morf13 9 August, 2012 at 12:28 Reply

    Although I didnt plan to comment again,to be fair(and also to prove your theory wrong)I downloaded the free Amazon sample of your book, and it’s too bad, you don’t get to read very much ofyour book. So in essence, you think that the calls made after the attacks were ‘pranks’. You also mention various radios & scanners that were available,etc. There’s not much there I can debate you on. So now, that I read a preview as you asked, I come back to the same points….

    1- The lake berryessa attacker had the Zodiac logo sewn on his hood. After his attack, he wrote on the victim’s car door. That writing matched the various Zodiac writings.

    2-After the Stine murder, the killer took pieces of his shirt. He mailed them along with more written letters. Once again, these letters matched the car door at berryessa,and the other Zodiac letters.

    This links 2 separate attacks,in 2 separate jurisdictions,and also links the 2 attacks to the Zodiac letters.

    Suppose for a second that your theory is right and your hoaxer(s) heard about the various atttacks on the scanner radios….specifically the Berryessa attack, did they just get lucky by making a call to the police afterwards,when they didnt know that the attacker was wearing a crosshair logo on his hood?(that detail was not released over the radio). Did they race to Berryessa, find Hartnell’s car,and scrawl a written note on it without any of the police & EMT’s on the scene seeing them do it?

    Again, the thing you will have to explain is that two separate crime scenes are linked via physical evidence to each other, and furthermore linked to the Zodiac letters. How would a hoaxer be able to be at two separate crime scenes in two separate jurisdictions? It’s just not realistic,but if you want to explain,I would love to hear it, so i will ask one more time…please explain.

    • Thomas Horan 10 August, 2012 at 06:19

      1. “There’s not much there I can debate you on.” Sooooooooo, you admit I’m right, at least about that first phone call? The one the facts prove was made by someone who was NOT at the scene? Or you just give up trying to prove me wrong?

      2. “1- The lake berryessa attacker had the Zodiac logo sewn on his hood. After his attack, he wrote on the victim’s car door. That writing matched the various Zodiac writings.” The answer to this question is in the book. Read the book. Quote it here, with your evidence that I’m wrong. I am not going to retype the entire book on a blog comment section.

      3. “2-After the Stine murder, the killer took pieces of his shirt. He mailed them along with more written letters. Once again, these letters matched the car door at berryessa,and the other Zodiac letters.” The answer is in the book. Read the book. Quote it, then prove me wrong. I am not going to retype the entire book on a blog comment section.

      Quit stalling. Read the book. [Deleted]

      [Moderator: Edited per comment policy]

  18. Tom Voigt 9 August, 2012 at 15:29 Reply

    Please pardon my common sense.

    Darlene was sitting across the car from the Zodiac and her lower body was under the steering wheel and dashboard. It was dark aside from Zodiac’s flashlight, which he used to help aim. The encounter was quick and Zodiac had quite a bit to concern himself with other than memorizing clothing. Based on the circumstances he probably never saw her legs. In short, it was obviously a simple mistake that could have been made by anyone.

    Oh, and by the way…the sgt who described Darlene’s “slack dress” in the report might not have been an expert on women’s clothing, especially the fashions of 1969.

    • Thomas Horan 10 August, 2012 at 06:05

      Then HTF did he come up with the word “Slack Dress,” if he didn’t know what it was????? This is your evidence that there was a Zodiac Killer? The police reports are all WRONG? The only person who ever, ever claimed Darlene was wearing a “jumpsuit” was Graysmith. You have the world’s most complete collection of “Zodiac” files. Where is your copy of the mysterious “photo” of Darlene’s clothes that everyone in the world, including Hollywood costume designers, has apparently seen, except you? While you’re here, please explain why you haven’t read ANY of the files you’ve collected on your own website. We’re waiting. I do it for you, in the final edition of the book, but you might want to try and get ahead of the ball. If you can.

      In the mean time, you could regale us all with your “discovery” that Darlene and Dean lived in Albany New York. That one’s a real hoot.

      I must, however, thank you, and Butterfield, and Kelleher, for NOT endorsing my work. The easiest way to destroy my credibility would be for one of you to agree with me.

    • Thomas Horan 10 August, 2012 at 18:09

      Sorry, Mr Voigt, I didn’t notice your reply right away.

      Sooooooo, how is a “mistake” evidence that the letter is really from the killer?????? But, as I and Tracers (using a page from YOUR website, btw) pointed out, the letter writer didn’t make a “mistake.” They got the “paterned slacks” from a garbled carbon copy of a VPD form that clearly says Darlene was wearing a dress, not slacks.

      Also, why hasn’t Kelleher noticed that you disagree with his assertion that a “secret” photo proves Darlene was wearing a pantsuit identical to the one in the movie? What’s going on here? Trouble in Paradice?

    • Tracers 13 August, 2012 at 03:09

      I never agreed with Horan that Zodiac got his information about the slack-dress from reading a police report. How he can read my response and conclude that I agree with him on that point is just typical Horan, making assumptions, jumping to conclusions and turning them into “facts” that suit his purposes.

      And for Horan to assume Tom has not read the police reports is actually quite funny. Horan seems to think that if anyone does not agree with him, it must be because they haven’t read the reports. Why can’t he just accept that we have read the reports and, despite that, don’t believe he has proven his theory?

  19. Tracers 9 August, 2012 at 15:43 Reply

    When Mr. Horan was posting at, he did much the same thing he is doing here: picking and choosing which questions he would answer. There were many questions raised by board members that he studiously avoided answering, even after these said questions were repeated a number of times.

    I believe that is why his posting privileges were ultimately revoked there.

    In January of 2012, Horan posted the following at
    … I’ve read everything posted on this site over Xmas break, and I’m pretty sure you can see everything I’ve seen, so far as proving to yourselves that the person who wrote those letters was not only not present when Stine was shot, but was nowhere near the scene of the crime at all that night. Yes, I’ve seen a few things not leaked here, and I’ve examined tons of other “evidence,” but I’m pretty sure none of that is necessary to see a hoax.

    You can do it. If you want to. But I’m not going to make you do it if you don’t want to. And I’ll keep saying this over and over—like it or not, I am simply not going to do anything or publish anything or say anything unethical or illegal, period. People here, including Mr Voigt, claim to have access to some of the players in the investigation. Great. Ask them to reveal information I can’t reveal.

    When I said you’d all been enormously helpful, I wasn’t joking. And no, I don’t take the snide remarks personally. My haters make me famous. The more, the better. But one of the things you’ve been helping me prove is how astonishingly easy it is for all of us, all human beings, to see things that aren’t there. I specifically study how our minds construct realites from what we read. Everything from “Gosh! The Book of Revelation is coming true right now!” to “Gosh! History’s greatest criminal genius murdered four (or possibly five) young people in California!” No matter how much real evidence there is to the contrary. I mean, even some of the investigators themselves began to believe they were chasing the “Zodiac.” Fascinating. And lucrative.


    • morf13 9 August, 2012 at 19:01

      Tracers wrote-
      “When Mr. Horan was posting at, he did much the same thing he is doing here: picking and choosing which questions he would answer”

      Well this continues to be his M.O. here. He can’t answer the tough questions or supply a reasonable explanation,so he chooses to be silent. His silence is quite telling.

    • Thomas Horan 10 August, 2012 at 06:14

      Speaking of “picking and choosing which questions he would answer,” try quoting one sentence from my book, instead of trying to change the subject. Go ahead. Prove that the actual case files don’t way what I say they say. Most of them are on your buddy Voigt’s website. It should be easy. You should have done it already. You’ve had eight months. All you have to do is quote one sentence from my book and destroy it with the real evidence. So, why don’t you? How hard could it possibly be? What on earth is your excuse?

      You don’t actually have to read my book. Aaaallllllll you have to do is do what I did, compare the letters sentence by sentence to the actual case files and prove that each claim “Zodiac” makes is true. That’s all you have to do. It’s only the first three letters. The rest are nothing but BS. In fact, just do it with the first letter.

      Anyone? Voigt? Butterfield? Kellher? [Deleted] Anyone? Anyone?

      Your silence is growing more deafening by the day.

      [Moderator: Edited per comment policy]

  20. morf13 10 August, 2012 at 09:00 Reply

    Okay, my last response on this subject, your answer is…read the book. Why would I? You have refused to answer the most basic of scenarios and say the answer is “in the book”…so i have to pay to read about a rediculous theory? I will make you a deal,send me a free copy and I will read it thru and give an honest opinion of your work, but spending, even a dollar, would not be worth it to me. Best of luck with it. And by the way, bashing all of the people who disagree with your theory or book wont win anybody over.

    • Michael Kelleher 10 August, 2012 at 14:39

      Well, I thought that your questions were well-presented, along with those posed by G. However, I am laboring under the delusion that there really was a Zodiac killer.

  21. Tracers 10 August, 2012 at 13:56 Reply

    IMO, we’ve been beating this dead horse far too long. For now, I will simply say we’ll have to agree to disagree, Mr Horan. Oh, and best of luck with getting your “haters” to make you famous.

  22. Stacey J. 11 August, 2012 at 00:08 Reply

    A cop not knowing what to call an outfit helps lead to a fake Zodiac theory. That’s classic!

    It’s like a shoe-hat. A slack dress is impossible. It had to be one or the other. Since Zodiac mentioned pants/slacks, and since the VPD have the ACTUAL outfit and there are ACTUAL photos, not to mention family who knew very well what she was wearing, I’d say Zodiac got it right. Her outfit had legs.

    These are the types of things Horan uses to prove his theory. Who’d a thunk slacks would be Zodiac’s downfall? lol

  23. Tahoe27 11 August, 2012 at 12:50 Reply

    via Horan’s Aug.10, 2012 post above:

    “You know that, in real life, Paul Avery did not get a piece of Stine’s shirt mailed to him, right?”

    Now, let me quote Horan from Jan. 4, 2012 post at the message board:

    “C. For the record, three pieces of Paul Stine’s bloody shirt were mailed—to Paul Avery, Melvin Belli, and the “Editor” of the Chronicle. Lucky them.” (see pg 2)

    Gee…I wonder how Horan figured THAT one out? A few months ago he was sure Avery got a piece of the shirt. Then Horan comes to sites like this and throws it out there like he knew it all along.

    For the record, Graysmith never says anything about Paul getting a piece of the shirt–so Fincher’s flick didn’t go soley by Graysmith’s book, “Zodiac”.

    Also, did you all know Darlene’s name was actually Marlene? Or wait, it was Charlene too. It was written in the Vallejo police reports…must make it accurate right? (sarcasm)

    Funny how some can slam the police departments for being so incompetent, but suddenly think they are brilliant and know what to call womens’ fashion garments.

    • Tracers 13 August, 2012 at 11:52

      I had forgotten that Horan originally posted that Avery received a piece of Stine’s shirt and that people at had to set him straight. And, yes, since Horan insists that Darlene was wearing a dress because the police report states “slack-dress” it would follow that the police reports which misspell Darlene’s name are talking about another person.

  24. smithy 30 August, 2012 at 08:33 Reply

    Mr Horan continually says he relies on just the letters and reports, but he refers to some other interesting things in his report, which I’ve read and enjoyed. (He also speculates of course).

    Anyway, in respect to “I’m only asking that just one person, on this website or any other, quote one sentence from my book and “debunk” that, instead of changing the subject, putting words in my mouth, or falling back on movies like Fincher’s as “evidence.” …”

    I’ll offer three, for three other answers.

    I didn’t like:
    “The man is wearing a homemade disguise on which he has appliquéd a reticle symbol.”
    This idea of “Zodiac – master Tailor” is amusing. It wasn’t needlework though, nope.

    “This swatch of Paul Stine’s bloody shirt, mailed in two separate pieces, one in this letter, and one in a letter to Melvin Belli..”
    There were three pieces in three different envelopes, two to the Chron and one to the Belli.
    Ho ho.

    “This second swatch of Stine’s shirt was mailed in two pieces in two “Zodiac” letters.”
    I just told you there were three! (OK, so I cheated, so what? It’s a different sentence.)

    Quid pro quo?

    1) “Why call attention to himself by wiping off those prints? A far more plausible explanation also happens to be the simplest”
    What IS that explanation?

    2) “The fact that the hoaxer( s) not only stopped “publishing” inside crime scene details but also sought out legal counsel…”
    Wait – the Belli letter was an attempt to appoint legal counsel? Forreal?

    3) Re: “…that print appears to be a decent, if not legally conclusive, match for one found on the “little list” letter.”
    Are the prints in the public domain? Who made this comparison?

    BTW I got a kick out of:
    “….why would he be in the back seat, if there were only two people in the car? It’s like saying, “It was after sunset.”….”
    Umm, why would two young people be in the back seat of a car?
    We need to call a detective! (Please excuse my little joke).

    I hope Mr Horan’s not been “run off”. I fear he may have been.

  25. sandy betts 17 August, 2015 at 17:24 Reply

    Mr Horan sent me an email yesterday about Donna Lass. He blocked my reply ,because he can’t stand for someone to disagree with him. Little did he know that I was not disagreeing with him.

    Last year or the year before , I was able to show Thomas Horan a picture of a Pant Dress /Slack Dress/ Jumpsuit. They are all the same outfit ,only different words used to describe them. He was very pleased that I was able to find the picture and show him, so case closed on the Pant dress Darlene was wearing on July 4th 1969. Expect some breaking news this coming year on the Hoaxer Zodiac !

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