Joseph Newton ChandlerA relatively recent article has been generating quite a bit of Zodiac-related activity on twitter and other social media. In essence, a man named Joseph Newton Chandler III, who committed suicide 13 years ago in the Cleveland suburb of Eastlake, Ohio, turned out not to be the person he had been claiming to be. Specifically, the authorities determined the mystery man had stolen the identity of an eight-year-old boy who died in 1945. Some now speculate he may have been the Zodiac Killer.

I suppose the story is somewhat legitimate in that there is a U.S. Marshall who considered the long-shot possibility that the man was the Bay-Area killer. But honestly, nothing I’ve read makes this possibility seem even reasonable, let alone compelling.

So why the story and why the interest? The two answers are one and the same: traffic. There is undeniable interest in the Zodiac Killer. And if you can accuse somebody of being the long-elusive fugitive, people will pay attention and, more importantly, click on your links. Not surprisingly, the above article, to date, has been read a quarter of a million times and shared on social media some 60,000 times. In this sense, the article is just a slightly-elevated form of clickbait, in my humble opinion.

Could I be wrong? Sure, just like, for all I know, you the reader could be the Zodiac. If it turns out this mystery man really was the Zodiac Killer, I’ll be the first to admit I was wrong. Of course, I’m not going to hold my breath while I wait for that to happen…