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Stew
Username: Stew

Registered: 12-2006
Posted on Tuesday, January 16, 2007 - 3:17 pm:   

Either Zodiac developed a completely new way of writing a "p" in this letter which contradicts every known proven Zodiac letter previously - or this letter is not written by the Zodiac IMHO.
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Davidmm
Username: Davidmm

Registered: 12-2006
Posted on Tuesday, January 16, 2007 - 3:36 pm:   

As I discovered in another thread about the ciphers, the FBI received a working key to the three-part ciphers in 1969, and it was signed "a concerned citizen." By all appearances and logic, that was from Zodiac. I think that letter was what initially made them take notice of this later "citizen" letter.

Since he's not signing these letters, it's easy for me to believe that he deliberately changed his handwriting.

Also, IF these AREN'T from Zodiac, then they should logically be covered in fingerprints, because any "normal" writer wouldn't seal off his fingers with glue. I'm guessing that this angle hasn't been pursued, like many/most forensic opportunities.
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Bomaye
Username: Bomaye

Registered: 1-2007
Posted on Tuesday, January 16, 2007 - 3:45 pm:   

Davidmm,

As asked before... what is this "working key" you are speaking of? Last time I asked you, you directed me to the 340 cipher. I would like to see this "working key" you keep referring to.

Thanks.
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Douglas_oswell
Username: Douglas_oswell

Registered: 4-2006
Posted on Tuesday, January 16, 2007 - 4:22 pm:   

The major difference in the "p" is that in the bulk of the Zodiac letters it was drawn using two pen strokes with a single pen lift. That's a pretty sure sign of an attempt to disguise the writing, because most people, when writing fluidly, make the "p" in a single stroke, moving vertically down and then re-tracing the first stroke upward before making the "bowl" of the character--all in a single motion.

If you enlarge the color photo of the Stine letter you'll see that in some instances the "p" is actually made with three strokes--you can tell this by the way the ink pools where the pen stops.
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Ed_neil
Username: Ed_neil

Registered: 5-2006
Posted on Tuesday, January 16, 2007 - 5:29 pm:   

I'd wondered about this one too, but after Penn (of all people) pointed out that the word "time" (line 10) appears to have been written in first with the rest of the letter composed around it, that made me reconsider any doubts as to authenticity. It appears to be in the center of the page, and it's also in the center of the main body of the text: there are 9 lines before it and 9 lines after. It's been suggested that Z had a fixation with time, and with that word standing out as it does, well...
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Davidmm
Username: Davidmm

Registered: 12-2006
Posted on Tuesday, January 16, 2007 - 5:34 pm:   

Bomaye,

The thread that I directed you to included the links to see the FBI report about the letter & key that was received by them. It also contains the discussion about it. I've not found a photo of the letter, but it's quoted and described in detail in that report.

Douglas Oswell posted it here

http://mysite.verizon.net/douglas.oswell/3-Part_So lution.pdf

This thread is about the handwriting, so I don't want to get off topic here.
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Douglas_oswell
Username: Douglas_oswell

Registered: 4-2006
Posted on Tuesday, January 16, 2007 - 5:52 pm:   

The notation on that "key" document has the same general "flavor" as the Hautz Letter--deliberately stilted, as it were. "I hope the enclosed key will prove beneficial to you in connection with the cipher letter-writer". I get the same sense, too, from the Citizen Letter.
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Davidmm
Username: Davidmm

Registered: 12-2006
Posted on Tuesday, January 16, 2007 - 6:03 pm:   

Also notice that he doesn't refer to the "Zodiac Killer" or "Cipher Killer," but to the "cipher letter-writer."

Zodiac only thinly disguises both his attitude and handwriting, IMHO. He wants to write "side" letters, but Z was such a narcissist that he wouldn't, or couldn't, do something completely anonymously.
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Stew
Username: Stew

Registered: 12-2006
Posted on Tuesday, January 16, 2007 - 6:17 pm:   

My only point is that if the only evidence to link this letter with the Zodiac is the handwriting, then the way the "p" is formed is a direct contradiction.

If we were sure this letter was from the Zodiac (ie it included a bloody swatch) then we could rationalize that he must have disguised his handwriting earlier. But as far as i know, there is no other evidence to link this to the Zodiac.

Once we start rationalizing differences in handwriting between this letter and other known Z letters, we lose the basis for linking this letter in the first place.

Can someone see my logic or do I have my neural wires in a tangle?

Furthermore, of the similar letters (b,d,g,q), p is unique in the way it is constructed if you use a continuous stroke. Also I'm not sure how unusual it is to use two strokes on a p when printing. I do it for example. Also it is hard to imagine Z being able to write in a disguised fashion at the pace he was seemingly writing, without making at least a few errors of construction. From what I understand, Z's neatness certainly varied but there aren't too many examples of where he changed his letter construction.
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Stew
Username: Stew

Registered: 12-2006
Posted on Tuesday, January 16, 2007 - 7:31 pm:   

Ed - that Penn "time" thing is a doozy.

1. The word "time" is not in the center of the page, it's about 1/2 a line above center if Tom's copy shows the page boundaries.

2. The break in the direction from the preceding word can easily be explained. If you notice in the line above he gets similarly off-line with the word "most". When he gets to the "n" in killing on the next line he realizes he's going to run into the line above if he keeps on going in his present direction, so he starts correcting with the "g" and then the next word "time". This is common when a person writes in waves and not linearly across the page.

3. He makes the same non-linear irregularities on a couple of other occasions. The "most" depicted above and "murder-glorification" below.

4. 99% of letters have a word that falls near the middle of the page.

5. It is very difficult to write a word in first at the middle of a page and then write a coherent letter around it.

6. What's the point in his drawing attention to this word. Unless you were looking for it as Penn was, you would never find it. Remember, if arguably this letter was written by Z, he was not imagining anyone giving this any undue attention as a Z letter.

It seems to have less creedence than people finding images of Jesus in cookies.
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Nachtsider
Username: Nachtsider

Registered: 12-2006
Posted on Tuesday, January 16, 2007 - 8:26 pm:   

Or images of Elvis in the burnt patches on toast. Or Quran verses in transverse sections of aubergine. Or...

Seriously, though, everyone, the only way we could pin down whether or not the word 'time' in the 'Citizen Letter' was written before all the other words would be to chemically analyse the ink used to pen the missive. I've heard of tests that can determine - down to the last character - exactly when the ink in a document went onto the paper. Such procedures were instrumental in exposing the purported 'Diary of Jack the Ripper' as a forgery not too long back.
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Howard_davis
Username: Howard_davis

Registered: 4-2006
Posted on Wednesday, January 17, 2007 - 3:13 pm:   

Stew,
See the 7/31/69 letter to the Examiner the last line "No Address."Note the second upper case D in address.
This D is unlike standard Z upper D's.This is only one example.He was capable of anything.He mad his own rules not the other way around.

One Document Expert from the SF crime lab asked did Zodiac ever make a D such as was found in the '78 mystery KCAL letter(we will stay on topic Tom!).Anothewords all of Z's D's were pretty much the same,etc.;and the one or D in the KCAL '78 letter was 'different' than all previous Z missives.Yes,and it's found in the 7/31/69 Examiner letter!
He could and did change whenever he wished.He was in charge as Jim Nelson always says.

Since 1987, I have, from time to time, gone through,with magnification and ultraviolet light,each of the Z letters and noted each character(checking linear base patterns,proportionate character heights,etc.) also noting all similarties and differences and they are all there!

Z had to be aware that Experts were going over each word in his letters-as most news accounts mention this fact.He would know this anyway.

It would seem that after the 1/29/74 missive or "note,"as Z called it,that his letters were styled to 'appear' like they were from ordinary 'citizens'or newspaper readers.

Doug is correct in his 1/16/07 post.The"stilted" reference in his other post too,in my view.
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Howard_davis
Username: Howard_davis

Registered: 4-2006
Posted on Wednesday, January 17, 2007 - 6:48 pm:   

Also,where the writer says "in light of recent events"can only refer to the "Zebra"murders (blacks killing whites.Indictments were transpiring in May of that year or 1974 according to newspaper accounts and TV news shows according to reference schedules for 1974 online.
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Deoxys
Username: Deoxys

Registered: 5-2006
Posted on Thursday, January 18, 2007 - 12:28 am:   

Howard, I've offered the opinion before that the second "D" in "NO ADDRESS" at the bottom of the August 1969 Debut letter is an example of Z attempting to correct his spelling. He seems (or perhaps feigns) to have no clew about when and when not to use double letter combinations and appears to have squeezed a second D in when the word didn't look right. You can be the judge:

http://www.zodiackiller.com/ZLetter3.html

He likely does the same thing, IMO, in the 7/31/69 Times-Herald letter, initially spelling "cypher" and then adding an "i" because the word didn't look right. The word is then spelled correctly in the two other letters from the same day and thereafter.

http://www.zodiackiller.com/VTHLetter1.html
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Douglas_oswell
Username: Douglas_oswell

Registered: 4-2006
Posted on Thursday, January 18, 2007 - 12:41 am:   

I agree absolutely, Deoxys. Zodiac didn't mind deliberately misspelling a word, but he was very anal about getting his meanings right. Look at the Belli Letter where he starts to write "lose complete" and crosses out "complete" and substitutes "all." He must have started to write "complete" and then realized that if he says he's lost "complete" control there will remain an inference that he still retains some level of incomplete control, or, in other words, he won't have lost the totality of his control. So he replaces it with the more accurate "all."
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Deoxys
Username: Deoxys

Registered: 5-2006
Posted on Thursday, January 18, 2007 - 2:20 am:   

I do agree about Z's "analness" (is that a word?) about getting his message across, Doug, but as you know, I now tend to view the misspellings as being unintentional or at least the result of being very careless about spelling, especially in the "manic" letters.

I know I'm in the minority here and any intelligent suspect certainly COULD have attempted to misspell words in the same consistent manner Z appears to. I personally view the possibility of someone doing that so consistently over many years to be unlikely but a guy like Ted would certainly have the ability to feign mistakes consistently.

It may be a point we need to agree to disagree on...
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Yarbchris
Username: Yarbchris

Registered: 9-2006
Posted on Thursday, January 18, 2007 - 6:50 am:   

Like I have always said, Zodiac intentionally misspelled his words because he was a bad speller. By making it look as though his spelling mistakes were done on purpose, any real mistakes would be less noticeable by authorities. This would save him face and also make it harder for him to be identified by any words that he regularly misspelled. Notice that Zodiac uses the word "kiddies" in one letter and "cid" in another. I think he knew better than to spell kid with a "c." It appears he was trying to shroud poor spelling by making it appear as though his mistakes were intentional.
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Warren
Username: Warren

Registered: 4-2006
Posted on Thursday, January 18, 2007 - 7:31 am:   

Yarb - that's an interesting take that I hadn't thought of and it makes sense when you think about it. I should do the same thing since I can't spell worth a damn.
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Davidmm
Username: Davidmm

Registered: 12-2006
Posted on Thursday, January 18, 2007 - 10:19 am:   

I agree on theory that the "planted" misspellings were there to hide his other unintentional mistakes.

To stay on topic, some people can effortlessly make up music, disguise their voices, fake an accent, or mimic someone else's body language, while most other people can only do it with enormous deliberate effort. Also, there are people who have the unique skill of producing multiple handwriting styles. I know that introduces a lot of confusion when using handwriting to eliminate suspects, but it's a real issue. Considering how easily Z could have typed letters, I think that he was confident that his handwriting wouldn't identify him, or else he wouldn't have written so much by hand.

I dated a woman for several years who had five distinctly different handwriting styles that she could whip out, seemingly effortlessly. They were internally consistent too. It was a sly tool that she would use to annoy teachers. She loved it when they would accuse her of turning in someone else's work. It's a rare skill, but it's out there.
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Douglas_oswell
Username: Douglas_oswell

Registered: 4-2006
Posted on Thursday, January 18, 2007 - 10:20 am:   

That would be something like a Mongoloid idiot interjecting some advanced trigonometric functions just to throw investigators off the track.
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Douglas_oswell
Username: Douglas_oswell

Registered: 4-2006
Posted on Thursday, January 18, 2007 - 10:35 am:   

In reference to my post above regarding the Belli Letter, Mike Cole has asked me to be sure that everyone understands that the "complete control" idea was his original thought, and that I credit him with it. It was indeed an original thought, and I, for one, was duly impressed by the powers of observation that went into it. Thanks, Mike, and you can be sure I won't use this in the future without properly crediting you for it!
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Yarbchris
Username: Yarbchris

Registered: 9-2006
Posted on Thursday, January 18, 2007 - 1:20 pm:   

The idea that Zodiac may have been a poor speller does not mean that he wasn't intelligent. Many people, even of genius status, have trouble with spelling. But then, I don't recall Zodiac using any advanced trigonometric functions.

Regarding the citizen letter, I notice the author uses the word "glorification" in reference to violence. Zodiac had written that there was more "glory" in killing a cop than a kid. The fact that the letter was signed "a citizen" instead of with a real name obviously points to someone who wants to be heard but does not want to be identified. It may not be real Z letter, but signs point to yes.
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Douglas_oswell
Username: Douglas_oswell

Registered: 4-2006
Posted on Thursday, January 18, 2007 - 2:20 pm:   

Yarbchris, it may not seem on the face of it that Zodiac used any advanced trigonometric functions, but when you've got an instance of a device that's a dead ringer for a unit circle, along with a hint involving radians, for the purpose of determining the location of a hidden object, you've really got to wonder.
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Deoxys
Username: Deoxys

Registered: 5-2006
Posted on Thursday, January 18, 2007 - 2:22 pm:   

Yarb, to me it's the apparent consistency of Z's spelling errors over a several year period and his apparent attempts to correct spelling of important words that lead me to believe that they are unintentional. Sure, any intelligent person could have schemed to present himself as less intelligent by calculated misspellings but I just don't see this as being contrived.

In the Citizen Letter, the words "consternation" (after initial error), "murder-glorification", "justifiable" and "sensibilities" are all spelled correctly. To me, the only thing remotely connecting this letter to Z is Morrill's opinion on the handwriting.

The ideas re: spelling are expressed here:

http://www.zodiackiller.com/discus/messages/28/739 .html?1162197605
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Stew
Username: Stew

Registered: 12-2006
Posted on Thursday, January 18, 2007 - 8:49 pm:   

Originally in the thread I was inviting posters to give the evidence that has convinced the concensus (or just Morrill) that this is a Z letter. I don't want to even mention the Red Phantom letter for fear of distracting this thread.

There seems to be some very intelligent people here who know much more about handwriting than I do.

My question is, What evidence leads to the conclusion that this is a Zodiac letter?

On my cursory analysis, a lot of the characters are costructed similarly but I can't find any examples in Z's other letters where Z has changed direction of the line going across the page in a sharp discontinuous manner. The writer here does it three times (between "1959" and "more"; "killing" and "time"; and "of" and "murder-glorification"). The Z letters have lines that bend (usually down) but I can't find any of these sudden changes in level.

There are other character differences such as the "b" which uses one stroke in this letter but two in other Z letters.

Furthermore if there are only minor discrepancies in the handwriting, are we to conclude this is Z's normal handwriting (he wouldn't seem to want to have this letter identified as Deoxys points out, it seems to show Z was faking spelling errors earlier).

If it is his normal handwriting, that means all he did was change his p and his b (there may be more). Why wouldn't he change the slope or many other easier changes to distract police?

p.s. Doug, I took a closer look at my "p"'s when printing and some are one stroke and some are two. Apologize for saying differently before.
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Stew
Username: Stew

Registered: 12-2006
Posted on Friday, January 19, 2007 - 5:44 pm:   

Is anyone out there?

Howard - I can't find the "No Address" line you refer to in the 7/31/69 Examiner letter but I found it in the next Aug 69 "Debut of the Zodiac" letter as Tom refers it. If this is the one you are referring to, I don't understand the significance of the second "D". It is pretty obvious he has inserted it after writing "Adress" and realizing it didn't look right, so he squeezed it in. It was a clever ploy if he was intentionally making spelling errors, because it implies he was willing to make corrections if he noticed a wrong spelling (ie his spelling errors were real errors).
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L2829tad
Username: L2829tad

Registered: 4-2006
Posted on Saturday, January 20, 2007 - 4:44 pm:   

Stew, In all Zs letters he uses a very distinctive "+" instead of the word AND....JMO...Check it out......thardu......
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Stew
Username: Stew

Registered: 12-2006
Posted on Saturday, January 20, 2007 - 5:38 pm:   

I speculate many people write + for "and". A lot of people who have had any college experience taking notes for example. I don't think that habit reduces the net of possible authors much in my view. Certainly not to be the smoking gun that identifies the author as Z. JMO.

The reason I bring up this question is that there possibly is a lot of stuff out there that is accepted as evidence in the case,that may be not so. In Kellehers book, Dr Van Nuys' interesting analysis was almost solely predicated on Z's correspondence alone. The "Citizen Letter" was a piece of the jigsaw that led to his possible diagnosis of Z as having a multiple personality disorder. But he assumed it was a Z missive.

I can see the motivation to have letters labeled as coming from Z. The investigators for one, police handwriting analysts for two, Newspapers for three, people like Graysmith for four all benefit to some degree by the perception that Z is still out there. It keeps the investigation alive.

IMO either the handwriting is a match, or if we believe Z disguised his handwriting, we can't assume what it looked like undisguised. Of course I am no handwriting expert, hence I invite those more qualified to explain there reasoning.
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Stew
Username: Stew

Registered: 12-2006
Posted on Saturday, January 20, 2007 - 5:44 pm:   

I've been reading Z letters so much I'm starting to make grammatical and spelling errors. I should have written "their reasoning" on the last line. Their's no excuse. ;-)
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Douglas_oswell
Username: Douglas_oswell

Registered: 4-2006
Posted on Saturday, January 20, 2007 - 5:49 pm:   

One of the best handwriting experts in the world had John Karr pegged as the author of the Ramsey extortion note. It's hardly an exact science.
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Yarbchris
Username: Yarbchris

Registered: 9-2006
Posted on Saturday, January 20, 2007 - 6:25 pm:   

I agree about handwriting not being an exact science. I would even go as far as to say that a biased expert might fail in giving a thorough analysis.

On first look, I would peg the citizen letter as genuine. I get the feeling from the citizen letter that it was written with less attention to style or detail compared to other letters. This could mean different authors, or it could mean different moods, or states of mind. Compare it to the Exorcist letter and you will find differences in the dotting of the i's and Even the overall uniformity differs. While the Zodiac letters are rather untidy, the citizen letter lacks the tighter text style of the other letters. He seems to care less about the writing style, perhaps even disinterested. Of course, this is just a layman's take on the letter.
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Ed_neil
Username: Ed_neil

Registered: 5-2006
Posted on Saturday, January 20, 2007 - 11:09 pm:   

I think handwriting analysis is more of an art than a science, and is therefore subject to an expert's opinion. And regardless of whether it is an art or a science, experts are only human and they still make mistakes. Morrill authenticated the forged 4-24-1978 letter, and I also have a hard time believing that the Desktop Poem is Z's work, despite Morrill's authentication.
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Douglas_oswell
Username: Douglas_oswell

Registered: 4-2006
Posted on Sunday, January 21, 2007 - 12:05 am:   

One problem is that handwriting analysis is best done on connected script, and not on printing, which tends to be more uniform from writer to writer.
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Yarbchris
Username: Yarbchris

Registered: 9-2006
Posted on Sunday, January 21, 2007 - 12:11 am:   

Sometimes experts results are politically motivated, as well.
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Ed_neil
Username: Ed_neil

Registered: 5-2006
Posted on Sunday, January 21, 2007 - 1:22 am:   

And forgers always strive to fool the experts. Many an expert has been made a fool of by expert forgeries, and the 78 letter is no exception...
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L2829tad
Username: L2829tad

Registered: 4-2006
Posted on Monday, January 22, 2007 - 1:34 am:   

Sorry for the slow come back but what I ment by "distinctive" was that the + was written with a single stroke...95% of writers use 2 strokes..70% horizontal-vertical..25% V-H.....thardu....
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L2829tad
Username: L2829tad

Registered: 4-2006
Posted on Monday, January 22, 2007 - 1:44 am:   

P.S. Out of the 5% of 1 strokers, 4% are "Lefties"...tad....
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Ed_neil
Username: Ed_neil

Registered: 5-2006
Posted on Monday, January 22, 2007 - 2:06 am:   

Stew wrote:

I speculate many people write + for "and". A lot of people who have had any college experience taking notes for example. I don't think that habit reduces the net of possible authors much in my view. Certainly not to be the smoking gun that identifies the author as Z. JMO.

I don't know the numbers, but I'd bet a fair percentage, probably the vast majority, abbreviate "and" as "+". How many people use the ampersand ("&") instead? I do myself, but I don't recall seeing anyone else who actually bothers to write (draw?) it instead of the more usual "+". And it's too bad Z didn't, because I would imagine the suspect pool would diminish quite a bit (assuming Z wasn't using it to throw LE off his trail)...
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Yarbchris
Username: Yarbchris

Registered: 9-2006
Posted on Monday, January 22, 2007 - 3:26 am:   

I have often used the + sign instead of the ampersand. However, I never really considered it a plus sign, but as an "and" sign. I never really thought about it until this thread, but the loops (or the line that connects two ends of the symbol) seemed to be as much a part of the symbol as the two crossing strokes. I don't know if I am making my point, or not, but here's a pic:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:Ampersand-handw riting-2.png

and an excerpt from Wikipedia:

"In everyday handwriting, the ampersand is sometimes simplified to a backwards 3 superimposed by a vertical line, like a $ sign, this too seems to be a contraction of the Latin et. Sometimes it appears as nothing more than a + sign, or a t with a loop; the loop is the remnant of a lowercase e. It could be argued that this type of ampersand is indeed simply a + sign, resulting from sloppy writing causing the extra stroke to appear on the paper. These forms are all generally acceptable and recognized, but some might see them as sloppy and inaccurate."
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Stew
Username: Stew

Registered: 12-2006
Posted on Monday, January 22, 2007 - 2:40 pm:   

I thought we were using "+" only because it is easier to find on the keyboard. L2829tad - where do you get these percentages from? I write the ampersand (like the one Yarbchris has linked to) with one stroke. It seems others do. I'm familiar with most other people writing it with one stroke. As Yarbchris mentioned, I never even considered it a plus sign either as I would never write a plus sign in math like this. Where do you get that only 1% of righthanders do it with one stroke?? Are you perhaps mixing it up with a plus sign? I'm not meaning to be accusatory as I don't have the numbers you seem to have, it just doesn't seem to make any sense.
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Howard_davis
Username: Howard_davis

Registered: 4-2006
Posted on Monday, January 22, 2007 - 7:29 pm:   

Stew,
It was from the '69 August production!The D I refer to could have simply been mishapen due to Z's writing habits/patterns which were not always in fine form!
The speed of writng can cause one to collapse a character.

Sorry.Z didn't care most of the time if certain words 'seemed right' or not.
We know this from his legion of spelling errors,sloppy style(which changed attimes as per 12/20/69)alone.
At times, to probably create confusion (he knew experts were examining every word jot and tittle he wrote!)he corrected himself,but generally,he wrote what he wanted.As Jim Nelson posted-'Z made his own rules as he went.'

If Zodiac spelled a word correctly or not as long as it conveyed what he wanted to say it stood-most of the time,at least.

He spells couples as "coupples."No correction because it 'looked wrong.'
"Squealling" is another example.No effort to add or subtract a letter or two.,etc.
Then he spells possibly as "posibly"with no attempt to insert the s in the 12/20/69 missive.

Christmass,woeman,clews,boughten,etc.,are up in the air as to being true misspellings as they were and are spelled this way in the UK.
I have read many posts and writings,poems,etc., from people that live in the UK and many spell Christmas with two s's.

The UK/Z connection(for whatever reason) is real as far as I am concerned.
True crime writer/researcher Michael Kelleher felt there was some sort of a British influence in Z's writings.
Most feel he is careful and conservative in his assessments.See his book, This is The Zodiac Speaking.See index.
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Stew
Username: Stew

Registered: 12-2006
Posted on Tuesday, January 23, 2007 - 12:11 am:   

Hi Howard,

Yes the Z made up his own rules. It is interesting that he never delivered on any threat he made. However, despite efforts by him to write neater in certain letters (eg. Belli letter 12/20/69 - if you assume that's a legitimate Z correspondence, start of the "Little List" letter 6/26/70, etc.) it is surprising how consistently he constructs the individual characters in his letters. He has idiosynchrosies such as the manic "d", his "q" to name a few, that remain reasonably constant.
In any case we are getting away from the essence of the question I asked which is - How can you claim a letter is a Z letter solely on handwriting when the handwriting doesn't match? In nearly all the previous Z letters you could see the signature in his handwriting. In this letter, which is not signed by Z, doesn't have a bloody swatch or crime scene detail, and doesn't talk at all in Z's voice, on what grounds do you match it to Z. I can see that the slope is slanted. Some of the letters match. He made some spelling errors. He wrote on non-lined paper. He seeemed angry (how many letters to a newspaper are angry in tone). He signed it with an anonymous pseudonym. Yeah, I can see some similarity. However, if you want I'll explain all the differences (I've mentioned a few in other posts above).

My argument for the fourth time in this thread is - how can you ascertain/certify that a letter is from Z based on handwriting if the handwriting doesn't match? If you start assuming what his handwriting may look like undisguised IMO you've (in the generic sense)lost the plot and the rationale for matching it in the first place. Remember the author is not even claiming to be Z.

There seems to be, for some reason, a motivation to widen the Z net to include anything that might keep the Z mystique going. Part of the job of new analysts I feel would be to cull the stuff that shouldn't be there. IMO the Belli Letter is questionable (though learning the context of this letter makes it more plausible as sarcasm), the Citizen Letter is very, very debatable, the Red Phantom letter is a fantasy match, and there are so many inconsistencies in the 1978 CN letter, together with the press attention Z was getting at the time, that it makes it an odds-on forgery.

My point in the "NO ADDRESS" is that it screams to me that the second "D" is an added post script. I find it hard to believe anyone else not getting that impression. Notwithstanding that debating this point is meaningless. Just because Z may have felt "NO ADRESS" looked wrong (and added the "D") doesn't imply that every spelling error he made looked wrong. This point has been debated before and I am with Douglas Oswell, Ed Neil, and others in concluding that he made purposeful spelling errors.

And I have read Mike Kelleher's book. I too feel that there is some merit in the British connection (though I believe it was Dr. van Nuys who came up with this - not MK). What has that got to do with this thread or my post???

Whilst the book was generally helpful in adding value as Dr. van Nuys has a qualified independent view, I was a little disappointed that he was only given the letters of the psychopath to do his profiling. The context of the letters (not given to Dr. VN), and the other crime scene evidence is also valuable IMO. Also Dr. VN assumed that a lot of Z's letters were written truthfully (he didn't have any other facts to compare with) and he was given the above letters, may 1974 onwards, as certified Z correspondence. This contributed much to his "multiple personality disorder" diagnosis which Dr. van Nuys spent a majority of his conclusion on. He (Dr. van Nuys) didn't know anything about the context of what Belli was doing in the media at the time of the Belli Letter.

I am not trying to be personal here Howard as I don't know you as you don't know me. I realize that you are a long term contributor here and seem to be a friend of Tom's. I am just in disagreement with some of your analysis that's all and healthy debate is what messageboards are about to some degree (as long as it leads somewhere positive).

Regards.
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George
Username: George

Registered: 4-2006
Posted on Thursday, January 25, 2007 - 7:29 pm:   

Stew,

I may misconstrue your intent you when you write that the Belli letter is "questionable" (as being an authentic Zodiac letter). The Belli missive contained a section of Paul Stine's shirt which makes the thing pretty much of a lock as a genuine Zodiac note.

By the way I'm with you regarding Citizen and Red Phantom or anything afterward as the work of the Zodiac. I don't believe that they are and I think that Red Phantom is as ridiculous as you do as concerns the Zodiac as author. Welcome to the minority.
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Ed_neil
Username: Ed_neil

Registered: 5-2006
Posted on Thursday, January 25, 2007 - 11:24 pm:   

I'm 50-50 with the Citizen letter, but after seeing the Red Phantom letter, I honestly have no idea why anyone would think it's Z's writing. The SLA letter's questionable, the April 78 letter is a forgery and the May 78 letter was probably just written by some crank who didn't even bother to try to make his writing look like Z's. It would appear the last genuine Z letter was the Exorcist letter.
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Stew
Username: Stew

Registered: 12-2006
Posted on Friday, January 26, 2007 - 12:44 am:   

George -
Thanks for the info/correction on the Belli Letter. That certainly puts it in the Z file.

Ed - I'm with you (perhaps 5% on the Citizen letter though IMHO). Taken individually, the letters seem fairly innocuous even if they're erroneously attributed to Z. Its amazing though how many times these letters come up in books and other discussions being quoted as illustrating some Z characteristic.
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Ed_neil
Username: Ed_neil

Registered: 5-2006
Posted on Friday, January 26, 2007 - 11:03 pm:   

Stew, that "time" thing is what makes it more 50-50 for me...
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Douglas_oswell
Username: Douglas_oswell

Registered: 4-2006
Posted on Saturday, January 27, 2007 - 12:25 am:   

Also look at page 3 of the Little List Letter. The word "dates" is almost exactly in the center of the page.
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Stew
Username: Stew

Registered: 12-2006
Posted on Saturday, January 27, 2007 - 2:13 am:   

As I have stated before, even with evidence that this is unintentional, what is the point of putting "time" in the middle of the page. If Z had intended this letter to be perused for meaning with a magnifying glass, why would he attempt to write it in a non-Z voice, with non-Z handwriting and not sign it as Z. What would be the point when he never intended this to be regarded as a Z missive???
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Nachtsider
Username: Nachtsider

Registered: 12-2006
Posted on Saturday, January 27, 2007 - 5:17 am:   

My personal opinion is that the 'Exorcist Letter' was Zodiac's last communication. But if the 'Citizen Letter' and subsequent notes were, in fact, the work of Zodiac, the only possible explanation I can think of as to why he would pen such non-threatening, moralizing, wholly un-Zodiac-like missives would be that whatever issues drove Zodiac to kill had been sorted out during his pre-1974 three-year hiatus, and that he had turned his back on crime and devolved into a harmless presence. If that were the case, it would also mean that Zodiac may have left fingerprints all over the ‘Citizen Letter’ and succeeding dispatches - it would be great to know if any such findings were made. A lack of prints could mean that although changed for the better in certain respects, he still feared capture and punishment for his gruesome deeds. The letters may thus have been his own cowardly way of telling the public that they no longer needed to fear him.

Mind you, the scenario I put forward here may also apply if the ‘Exorcist Letter’ was Zodiac’s last – those palm-prints law-enforcement found on it (discussed here) could have been left by a rehabilitated Zodiac who no longer saw any need to wear gloves or fingertip guards when writing the press. Notice how he no longer used his familiar call signs ("This is the Zodiac speaking" salutation and cross-hair signature) even then – this suggests that he had already abandoned his 'Lord High Executioner' persona and related behavior.

As a variation on this second theme, whatever awakenings Zodiac may have experienced during the period 1971-1974 may have filled him with remorse for his actions, and he committed suicide as penance after mailing the 'Exorcist Letter', which was an announcement of his slaying both himself and his persona. Being suicidal, he would no longer have cared to avoid leaving fingerprints behind, and the Exorcist reference was a pathetic attempt to explicate his acts as being the result of demonic possession.

This is all just speculation, of course, so take it all with at least a pinch of salt.
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Douglas_oswell
Username: Douglas_oswell

Registered: 4-2006
Posted on Saturday, January 27, 2007 - 7:01 am:   

Perhaps, having "signed off" with the Exorcist Letter he felt he couldn't in good faith bring the Zodiac persona back. Yet he remained as opinionated as ever, and couldn't resist the temptation to put his two cents' worth in on contemporary issues, i.e., the SLA events, a popular movie, or the contemporary debate over violence.
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Stew
Username: Stew

Registered: 12-2006
Posted on Saturday, January 27, 2007 - 2:05 pm:   

The question to ask is`"Did Z write it", not "Why did Z write It".

As`yet no-one has given me any reason to class this as a Z letter, despite repeated requests.

Doug - I find Z's letters to be narcissistic and egotistical, but surprisingly unopinionated. Given what was going on at the time of his letters that were hugely in the minds of the general populace, ie the moon landing, the Manson killings, etc. he makes no reference to them in his authentic letters. He doesn't mention anyone personally, victims or investigators. He does mention Melvin Belli, but it seems sarcastic. And even in the card to Paul Avery, he only mentions him on the envelope and disrespects him enough to get his name spelt wrong. This is a guy who lived in his own world, who didn't want to give anything else the repect of a mention, or the attention it would engender. Stereotypical psychopath.
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Yarbchris
Username: Yarbchris

Registered: 9-2006
Posted on Saturday, January 27, 2007 - 2:57 pm:   

Zodiac had a sick sense of humor, which he often expressed. The Exorcist letter is just another example of this. Just because it isn't a carbon copy of previous letters, doesn't mean it isn't authentic.
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Stew
Username: Stew

Registered: 12-2006
Posted on Saturday, January 27, 2007 - 3:46 pm:   

You're right Yarbchris, we can't categorically say that Z didn't write it, just like we can't say for certain that anyone in San Francisco, or you and me, didn't write it. Just IMO the probability of Z being the author is much much lower than a lot of people who consider it is 100% certain.

I can picture these letters being initially included on the basis that you can't rule out the possibility that Z wasn't the author. Then the next guy picks up the case file and assumes that the letter has been 100% authenticated. Then everyone goes into analysis on Z's displayed alter personality and state of his mind at the time of writing the letter, based on the contentious assumption that Z wrote it. The Z letters almost seem like children to the Z case that everyone is defending on principle as being "part of the family". This letter can only be included on the basis of handwriting, I don't want to belabor the point again but there are at least half a dozen major differences with the style and hand-writing in this letter. So are we saying we know what Z's writing looks like when it is undisguised??

And lets not go into the other post January 1974 letters which are a joke, and I challenge anyone to prove otherwise.

The exorcist letter on the other hand does match handwriting, it is written in Z's voice, and the author is signing it indirectly as Z (not that this makes it authentic) by giving the score 37-0.
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Davidmm
Username: Davidmm

Registered: 12-2006
Posted on Monday, January 29, 2007 - 3:08 pm:   

>As`yet no-one has given me any reason to class this as a Z letter, despite repeated requests.

As I see it, the reason this "Citizen" letter was even noticed in the first place is that it looks, sounds, and is signed the same (Concerned Citizen) as a little-known letter that LE already considered to be an authentic Zodiac correspondence. We don't have access to a photo of that letter, but, from the description in the FBI files, it matches up with this Citizen letter. That letter included the key to the three part cipher and was not distributed to the public, which makes this "Citizen" letter extremely unlikely to be a copycat.
Without that prior, similar, "authorized" letter, this one does seem random and unimportant.
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Howard_davis
Username: Howard_davis

Registered: 4-2006
Posted on Monday, January 29, 2007 - 7:02 pm:   

Good one Davidmm!
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Mike_cole
Username: Mike_cole

Registered: 5-2006
Posted on Monday, January 29, 2007 - 9:45 pm:   

Davidmm, you wrote:

"...as a little-known letter that LE already considered to be an authentic Zodiac correspondence."

I personally doubt that: (a) the key was from Z and (b) LE considered it to be authentic.

Apart from the fact the correspondence was tested for fingerprints, which is nothing more than standard due-diligence investigatory precaution, there is no evidence to suggest LE considered this key to be from Z. Furthermore, there is reason to believe the key was not from Z.

Firstly, the Hardens solved the cipher after approximately “20 hours, off and on”. With all due respect to the Hardens’ accomplishment, this was not a Herculean effort. The fact of the matter is that the subtle differences in length and symbol count between the 408 and the 340 make the 408 cipher much easier to solve. Given that the key was mailed very near the time the Hardens made their decryption, it’s not unlikely that someone else solved the cipher after a comparable effort.

Secondly, there were some mistakes in the key. Such mistakes are consistent with someone arriving at the key via cryptanalysis; the Hardens’ original published solution had similar mistakes. While it’s possible the author of such a cipher could mimic these mistakes, it’s more likely they are genuine.

Thirdly, Z never felt a similar compulsion to provide a key for the 340. What compels him to send a solution to one cryptogram after about a week while never sending a solution to the other? In the absence of compelling evidence to the contrary, it’s more likely he provided solutions to neither, IMO. Furthermore, the increased difficulty of the 340 appears to be a direct reaction to the speed with which the 408 was solved. This reaction makes less sense in the case that Z was sending in a solution to his own cipher contemporaneously with the Hardens publishing theirs.

In all likelihood, the key was provided by someone who also solved the 408 but preferred not to be identified publicly.
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Douglas_oswell
Username: Douglas_oswell

Registered: 4-2006
Posted on Monday, January 29, 2007 - 10:06 pm:   

I don't know, Mike. The Hardens' solution was essentially an act of serendipity. He assumed that a killer would begin with the words "I like killing ...." and took it from there. Had he not been correct, who knows how long it would have taken, or whether he would have been able to solve it at all?
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Davidmm
Username: Davidmm

Registered: 12-2006
Posted on Tuesday, January 30, 2007 - 10:16 am:   

If the 408 cipher didn't require a "Herculean effort," then why couldn't all the professionals (and there were many) crack it before the Hardens?

I think Zodiac would have been more desirous of his proclamation to be read, than for it to remain a inscrutable jumble of nonsense.

The key was different, in some points, from the Hardens', so it wasn't just a copy. If it was just sent in by another resourceful armchair detective, then they were unfortunate to choose a style and monicker that would later be replicated in the "Citizen" letter.
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Davidmm
Username: Davidmm

Registered: 12-2006
Posted on Tuesday, January 30, 2007 - 10:25 am:   

>I personally doubt that: (a) the key was from Z and (b) LE considered it to be authentic.

I should have thrown in the qualifier, "MAY have considered it to be authentic."

All we have to go on with these questions is the write-up in the FBI files. I'm not an FBI agent, but I doubt that they fingerprint every letter they get nor do they write it up in their case report with so much detail.

If they didn't consider it significant, if not authentic, then their later interest in the dotering "Citizen" letter is truly perplexing.
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Stew
Username: Stew

Registered: 12-2006
Posted on Wednesday, January 31, 2007 - 6:02 pm:   

Hi Davidmm

I'm guessing here but I would think that signing a letter "A Citizen" or even "A Concerned Citizen" would have to be the most obvious, generic pseudonym to use for an anonymous letter to the newspaper.

If the supposed 408 key 'Concerned Citizen' letter matched handwriting to the Citizen Letter, then these two letters would have to be exhibit A in the evidence chain. You would have a good chance that this was Z writing when he wasn't Z. However, I suspect that the handwriting doesn't match up (otherwise you would have mentioned it in your earlier post). Forgive me please if I'm wrong.

Why isn't the "Concerned Citizen" letter even in the file??

Come on guys - Howard, I thought you could do better on my request than "Good one Davidmm". I thought you weren't around.

We can understand why these letters are included in the file, even if there is a less than 3% chance Z authored them. At worse they are a distraction, at best they might help crack the case. But let's not forget that they are low probability Z letters instead of regarding them as 100% Zodiac authorship and writing books based on them.
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Stew
Username: Stew

Registered: 12-2006
Posted on Wednesday, January 31, 2007 - 6:26 pm:   

Let's not forget that before the age of word processors, if you couldn't or weren't able to type a letter, then you had to freehand it. Since a lot of people's cursive can be hard to read, printing the letter for legibility wouldn't have been that uncommon IMO (Nothing's worse than reading your letter in the paper and they've got a few words wrong).

I think my handwriting matches Z's pretty well (maybe as well as the Citizen letter). If I'd used a psuedonym, I could have got in the case file without even trying, well before the Red Phantom at least.

AHHH, missed my 15 minutes of fame.
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Howard_davis
Username: Howard_davis

Registered: 4-2006
Posted on Wednesday, January 31, 2007 - 6:46 pm:   

Stew,
Well taken!See General discussion Time.
For some 20 years I have compared Z's letters and each character under magnification and different lights-including natural light- noting all of the differences,etc.
I don't find where this Time missive,including the envelope rules out Zodiac authorship.

How old are you Stew we need to compare your writing! LOL
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Stew
Username: Stew

Registered: 12-2006
Posted on Wednesday, January 31, 2007 - 7:02 pm:   

Howard, on what basis would you rule it (or any letter) out. Notwithstanding IMHO there is an infinitessimally small probability that this letter is`written by the same guy who wrote the authentic Z missives.

Howard, I'm still reeling from your contention that a lot of the k's in the Bus-bomb letter (11-9-69) were written using two pen strokes. I'm not meaning to demean your research effort, just question your powers of observation.
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Howard_davis
Username: Howard_davis

Registered: 4-2006
Posted on Wednesday, January 31, 2007 - 7:09 pm:   

Stew,
Forgot to mention that the San Fran on the 5/8/74 envelope is a Z trait.I don't think all or most of the envelopes were made public up till that time.
Now,there are no periods after the San Fran as we have on other Z envelopes,but we find this absence of periods,which is rare,on the 11/9/69 and 12/20/69 confirmed(by bloody swatches)Z letters.

The May 8 has the SF,as most of Z's letters or envelopes,but without the abbreviation marks.
This is unique as all previous evelopes have it to the best of my knowledge.
But on only one envelope does Z use a !.There are other examples of a one time use by Z in his letters and envelopes.

The 5th-mission on the May 8 without the St,designation is like the 10/27/70 envelope.
All FYI
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Stew
Username: Stew

Registered: 12-2006
Posted on Wednesday, January 31, 2007 - 7:39 pm:   

Thanks Howard for the info/analysis. How common would you say the use of "San Fran" as an abbreviation is? I'm not being sarcastic, I don't know.

IMHO, if we start rationalizing too many "one-time" occurrences, then we can let anything pass. There are a lot of "one-time" occurrences in the May, 1970 Citizen letter handwriting IMO.

No, I'm not Z as I'm about Tom's age. But it wouldn't be surprising if Z does, or has posted here.
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Stew
Username: Stew

Registered: 12-2006
Posted on Thursday, February 01, 2007 - 5:22 pm:   

Sorry, I meant May, 1974 letter.
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Howard_davis
Username: Howard_davis

Registered: 4-2006
Posted on Monday, February 05, 2007 - 5:49 pm:   

Stew,
Toschi said in an interview,"He[Z]seems to be taking more time...He's more deliberate and careful in his printing now[he is referring to Red Phantom and Citizen letters 1974 period-i think the 1/29/74 note may be included].
Insp.T made this statement after consulting with Expert/s and,od course,he saw the actual Zodiac letters since 1969 up to those two '74 missives.

Until the day Morrill died he never could confirm any suspect's writing matched that of Zodiac's.So far,no expert had confirmed this.

I have collected many articles about Morrill even rom his earliest days.He was quite a pioneer in forensics.

The pace or speed in which a person writes influences style,etc.,etc.This factor is checked in every examination.

Referring to Zodiac's k's Sherwood Morrill who had some 39 years of experience and was world authority on Z's writing said,"
"What about that unusual k?"At first we[experts] thought that was consistant,but he[Z]got away from it[three stroke].He made it in three seperate strokes instead of the more usual two,said Morrill."

This is not unusal as an observation as we find when we take all of Z's letters and examine each character that he does change the style or form from time to time even WITHIN the SAME letter!This is easily verified by going through each letter.

I believe I found some two k's that could be a two strokers in the 11/9/69 missive.Anyways,other letters thst wrote had the two stoker's in some cases.

It really is no big deal as we know Z did form some charcters differently in some letters leaving his former style.
Also,are we to say he used three stroker's in his real or actual writing?Do we KNOW this beyond all doubt?
These'changes'were due,no doubt,to misdirection he totally knew experts were cerefully examining each and every letter like hungry hawks!)and/or writing speed,etc.
There were lots of tracing techniques-some were very simple and one small tracing device was sold in magazines for about 3.98!We just don't know his real writing for certain.
We do speculate,though,especially those of us that have a suspect!

I hope to post blow up's on my site.Jim has had problems with the site(and before tht projects he had to do),but he is now switching ISP's so that will end the delays-I hope!
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Howard_davis
Username: Howard_davis

Registered: 4-2006
Posted on Monday, February 05, 2007 - 6:12 pm:   

In another Feb.'74 interview Morrill said he had worked some 3,300 cases coevering every kind of case imaginable.
He had retired in Dec.of '73,but he still examined some 3-4 samples of possible Z writng each month for LE.
He said he had to date,examined some 10,000 samples of indivudual writing to determine if they were a match to Zodiac!
He was still working on lots of cases after his retirement.
One thing he said was that he used scaled/grided glass to examine handwriting to determine various writng traits for his comparisons.FYI

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