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Breakout
Username: Breakout

Registered: 7-2006
Posted on Wednesday, October 04, 2006 - 6:49 am:   

I have been thinking for awhile that Zodiac was at least an avid reader of newspapers if not a college student or even a post-graduate. He sent letters to newspapers from So Cal to the SF area. Would it be (or have been) possible at one time to cross-reference subscribers living in the SF/Vallejo/Napa area? Did newspapers have anykind of structured record system for subscribers? Are those records now gone? If they are available it would be nice to look at female as well as male subscribers to multiple newspapers as Z could have had them sent in care of a family member. I would think that the time period 1965-1970 would lend itself to fewer people subscribing to multiple newspapers. Would mail delivery people remember residences where multiple newspapers were received? Sorry, just a barrage of questions that have been simmering.

Also, I know several people, including Hartnell, have suggested that Z was uneducated. I am not so sure. His letters, although filled with grammatical errors (which may be intentional), flow quite well (coming from an ex-English teacher's point of view). Was Z a college grad or even a post-grad. Is the Stine connection more than just coincidental (Stine was only months shy of a doctorate in English).

So, here is my post, thrown to the lions!
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Douglas_oswell
Username: Douglas_oswell

Registered: 4-2006
Posted on Wednesday, October 04, 2006 - 7:49 am:   

Breakout, they weren't grammatical errors, but rather, spelling errors that look to be deliberately contrived. His grammar is actually very good. Notice also how he slips in the August 3 Examiner letter by using the semicolon correctly in a number of places--something he never does again, because I'm sure he thought it too revealing.
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Vallejo_dave
Username: Vallejo_dave

Registered: 4-2006
Posted on Wednesday, October 04, 2006 - 8:00 am:   

I had similar feelings about the Stine connection. At one point, we were trying to get access to his records at SF State. It might be helpful to see what courses he had, and who was in the classes with him. I also wondered if he was involved in the student strikes, wherein may lie a motive.---I have a B.A. in English myself.
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Breakout
Username: Breakout

Registered: 7-2006
Posted on Wednesday, October 04, 2006 - 11:35 am:   

Thanks Douglas. I meant to put spelling errors- not grammar errors. I wasn't thinking clearly this morning.
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Ed_neil
Username: Ed_neil

Registered: 5-2006
Posted on Wednesday, October 04, 2006 - 11:54 am:   

Doug is correct, Z's spelling errors were intentional (although there may have been some genuine errors as well). That's a very good point about Z's use of the semicolon; how many people actually use it (besides me, lol)? I counted two on the first page of the August 1969 letter.

It was Kaczynski's unique use of certain phrases that identified him as the Unabomber, such as "eat your cake and have it too" (I think that's how it went), so while it's definitely a longshot, how many possible suspects would have commonly used a semicolon in their writing (and I don't necessarily mean known suspects either)? Using known examples of writing from 1969, I wonder if that could help in identifying Z?
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Douglas_oswell
Username: Douglas_oswell

Registered: 4-2006
Posted on Wednesday, October 04, 2006 - 12:05 pm:   

I'm not absolutely certain, but I think not many people use the semicolon routinely. Kaczynski used it quite a bit, which is probably typical of someone with his grammatical abilities.

So far as writing comparisons are concerned, I've devoted an entire chapter to them in my almost-completed work, The Unabomber and the Zodiac. At last count I had 48 distinct similarities, though not all of these were grammatical--some were stylistic.
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Ed_neil
Username: Ed_neil

Registered: 5-2006
Posted on Wednesday, October 04, 2006 - 2:45 pm:   

I don't tend to see it used a lot, and while I do on occasion, I don't always. If it's use truly is uncommon, then it might be another point of comparison between Z and any possible suspects... for instance, con artist Anna Anderson, who claimed to be Grand Duchess Anastasia (it was proven through DNA in 1995 that she was in fact Franziska Schanzkowska, the Polish factory worker who she had been identified as back in 1920!), wrote the word "darling" in a rather unique way: dar'ling. No one ever spells it that way, except one person, and that was Czarina Alexandra, and even then, that was not how she spelled it.

How is that, I hear you ask? Well, a researcher came across some letters written by Nicholas and Alexandra reproduced in a book, and in one written by Alexandra, she ended one line with the word "darling", but the comma at the end of the line above was written in so low that it appeared between the r and l in "darling" in the next line, so it appeared to be "dar'ling." Quite distinctive, but that is not how she ever actually wrote that word; it is, however, something that a con artist would use in an attempt to to appear as authentic as possible, and it's one of the things besides the DNA that indicated she was nothing more than a fraud.

So, while the use of the semicolon is hardly unique, not everyone uses it and even then, how many use it in a grammatically correct way? Since Doug has brought it up, I am now thinking that this is one definite point to consider when looking at anyone as a possible Z suspect, along with fingerprints, writing and DNA...
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Douglas_oswell
Username: Douglas_oswell

Registered: 4-2006
Posted on Wednesday, October 04, 2006 - 3:58 pm:   

Ed, if the fingerprints and DNA match, I think we needn't worry about the semicolons.
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Ed_neil
Username: Ed_neil

Registered: 5-2006
Posted on Wednesday, October 04, 2006 - 5:53 pm:   

Those come afterwards... I meant as a primary point of interest. In other words, the guy looked like Z in 1969, was the right height, weight etc, was in the right places at the right time, the writing looks similar, and then there's the frequent use of the semicolon. Fingerprints and DNA would later prove the suspicions correct...
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James78
Username: James78

Registered: 7-2006
Posted on Wednesday, October 04, 2006 - 6:03 pm:   

Well the semicolon would possibly mean he is educated. I doubt he was using it to be a fraud. It might make is spelling errors look like fraud, which most of them are. Sometimes people say and spell things one way because they think its funny or its their humor. So Z writing christmass is probably his humor. I do it and my Grandfather did it too. My Father does it from time to time.
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Douglas_oswell
Username: Douglas_oswell

Registered: 4-2006
Posted on Wednesday, October 04, 2006 - 9:40 pm:   

Another thing to consider along these line is Zodiac's use of literary allusion to drop hints as to his motivations--his identity so to speak. That's not something you'd expect from a philistine.
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J_eric
Username: J_eric

Registered: 6-2006
Posted on Thursday, October 05, 2006 - 1:40 am:   

Zodiac wouldn't have had to subscribe to newspapers; he could get them at newsstands or in coin boxes, etc. Even the L.A. Times would have been easy enough to find in San Francisco; maybe even Vallejo. And despite him appearing ilitterate, I think his mispellings were intentional, too.

I never got a degree in English, dar'lings, pero yo lo tengo uno en Espanol. Anna must have been behind all this, somehow.
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Breakout
Username: Breakout

Registered: 7-2006
Posted on Thursday, October 05, 2006 - 5:44 am:   

Hi Eric,
Yep, they probably would have been readily available at newsstands. I just pictured the Z as someone who probably would be so devoted to coverage that subscription was the quickest way to get all his papers together. I figured he would have had to have gotten the Modesto Bee at some point too. Maybe something from Riverside. The LA Times. The SF Chronicle. Whatever is for Napa and Vallejo, plus others. Bad grammar is intentional here.
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Deoxys
Username: Deoxys

Registered: 5-2006
Posted on Thursday, October 05, 2006 - 6:48 am:   

Personally; I can't use a semicolon to save my life but; I agree that Z was probably more edumucated than his spelling would indicate.

Doug; can you give some examples of how Z uses literary allusions to drop hints about his motivations? Are you thinking of the references to the Mikado?

Tom made a good point some time ago about how all kinds of meaning were read into BTK's spelling and grammatical errors. Turns out that BTK was truly grammatically challenged. I tend to agree that Z was different but I'd be interested to hear why everyone thinks so.

Yeah, an analysis of semicolons might not stand up in court but the discussion about Z's grammar or lack of it is worth discussion, IMO.
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Vallejo_dave
Username: Vallejo_dave

Registered: 4-2006
Posted on Thursday, October 05, 2006 - 7:43 am:   

There was some discussion on the old board about Z possibly working for a newspaper distributing co. This would give him access to many papers, and the op to use his credit card at Phillip's 66 stations, plus prowl the area.

IMO, use of the semicolon is noteworthy. Many people use the colon, but you rarely see the semicolon.
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Colette
Username: Colette

Registered: 4-2006
Posted on Thursday, October 05, 2006 - 9:44 am:   

Many different newspapers are and were available at libraries.
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Douglas_oswell
Username: Douglas_oswell

Registered: 4-2006
Posted on Thursday, October 05, 2006 - 9:47 am:   

Deoxys, there are quite a few, actually; some of them obvious, and some of them not so obvious. The ones I can mention offhand are, of course, the Connell story "Most Dangerous Game," the allusion to Melville in "Melvin Eats Blubber," (homosexuality) the very obvious allusions to "The Mikado," where you have the figure of the Lord High Executioner, executing people caught in the act of flirting, and the little Tom-Tit, who dies of "blighted affections." There's also the coded message ILIADALEX in the Mt. Diablo cipher, with its reference to Homeric Troy, the mirroring of the plot of Conrad's "Secret Agent" in the setup of the Mt. Diablo map; the Exorcist reference in the 1974 letter, the poem "Agatha" from the Monticello card, and a modern poem titled "The Conjugation of the Paramecium," hinted at in the strange symbol on the bottom of the Exorcist Letter.
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Deoxys
Username: Deoxys

Registered: 5-2006
Posted on Thursday, October 05, 2006 - 2:44 pm:   

Interesting, Doug. Thanks.

Some are speculative but it does seem that Z had some cultural knowledge to work with. I'm curious about the last reference regarding "The Conjugation of the Paramecium", which I've heard you mention before. I know of the poem but are you saying the Exorcist Letter symbol is supposed to represent conjugating paramecium?

http://www.poets.org/viewmedia.php/prmMID/15667

I promise to buy your book anyway if you explain here... :-)
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Douglas_oswell
Username: Douglas_oswell

Registered: 4-2006
Posted on Thursday, October 05, 2006 - 4:24 pm:   

Well, Deoxys, the book doesn't hinge on it, so I think it'll be allright. Here's a sneak preview from the first draft:

Because Zodiac sought to link The Exorcist with The Mikado, which he had already referenced by the time the Exorcist Letter was composed, it seems likely that both contain common elements which he perceived as pertaining to himself. At first glance, the two have very little in common, the one a dark tale of demonic possession and the other a lighthearted frolic meant simply to amuse. In The Exorcist, however, there exists an underlying theme of chastity in the strong contrast between the gross excesses of the possessing entity — nearly all of them sexual in nature — and the transcendent virtue of the priests who perform the rites to exorcise the demon. Christian love, which triumphs in the end, is presented as a pure love that exists beyond the realm of the merely sexual. In The Exorcist, the latter form of love is typified by those sophisticated laypersons — nearly all of them Hollywood types — who require the services of the exorcist. As in Parsifal, only chaste love bears the power to destroy evil and defeat the power of demons and magicians.

The Exorcist Letter offers a final clue in the form of the strange symbol appearing at the bottom of the note. This inscrutable device has baffled all attempts at decipherment. Some have seen it as a stylized exemplar of Chinese writing, while others have tried, with great manipulation, to extract a name from the main body of the symbol, by rearranging its elements to form certain letters of the alphabet. Such machinations have yielded nothing in the way of a satisfactory result. Most of the resulting “solutions” are simply too strained to be taken seriously.

In looking at the device, however, one is struck by the fact that it appears to consist of two distinct components, one upon the left and one upon the right.

The leftmost of those components consists of a small circular dot, above which can be seen a second dot with a line emerging from its lower end, about twice the size of the dot itself. There is nothing at all inscrutable at least in this part of the symbol. It immediately strikes one’s eye as the pictorial representation of an ovum and a sperm, with the latter having “overshot” the former.

This, of course, jibes quite nicely with the concepts of chastity and sexual continence contained in Zodiac’s allusions to The Exorcist and The Mikado. This is particularly so, since the sperm is not uniting with the egg, but appears either to have passed it by, or to be disassociated with it altogether. In this context, the meaning behind the second portion of the symbol may be slightly easier to discern. Sperm and ova are microscopic entities, and it would by no means be illogical to impute the same quality to the objects comprising the larger portion of the Zodiac’s device. Plainly stated, those objects look like specimens of the single-celled protozoan called paramecium, as they appear when viewed beneath the microscope. Like paramecium, each object is of oblong shape, pointed at one end and rounded at the other. They are arranged seemingly at random in relationship to one another, mirroring the appearance of the paramecia as they swim about; some free, and some colliding or nearly colliding with each another as they go.

Although this assessment cannot be other than subjective, certain qualities of the paramecium serve to lend it a form of credibility not obtainable by a visual comparison alone. Like all single-celled organisms, paramecium reproduces by the process of division, whereby a single representative of the species produces two identical copies of itself. Yet unlike other one-celled species, paramecium also has the unique and fascinating ability to reproduce by a process called conjugation. This is a form of sexual reproduction, in which two individual paramecia conjoin, or unite, for the purpose of exchanging genetic information. Like sexual reproduction in higher species, the purpose behind this complex pattern of behavior is the creation of diversity within the species. It is a kind of sexual reproduction, complementing the asexual reproduction most typical of one-celled creatures.

This subject has spawned at least one major work of literary endeavor, in the form of a poem entitled The Conjugation of the Paramecium, penned by the radical poet Muriel Rukeyser in 1968:

The erotic aspects of this poem are immediately apparent. One can only wonder whether the wealth of knowledge possessed by Zodiac included this work in particular, or whether it is only coincidence that such a work exists, in light of the obvious connections that seem to arise from the inferences contained within the poem, the symbol, and his overt allusions to The Exorcist and The Mikado. Whatever the case, the symbol appearing at the bottom of the Exorcist Letter, when seen as consisting of two closely-related elements (the sperm and egg on the left-hand side, and the paramecium on the right) conforms very closely to the themes of chastity and sexual continence presented in the letter. On the one side, the sperm has not conjoined with the egg, which indicates both sexuality and asexuality. On the other side, we see the Paramecium, with both sexual and asexual components of its own. Given the circumstances, including what we know of his past behavior, Zodiac is using these allusions to offer yet another clue as to his identity: namely, that he lives his life as an asexual, devoid of sexual companionship.
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Vallejo_dave
Username: Vallejo_dave

Registered: 4-2006
Posted on Thursday, October 05, 2006 - 5:55 pm:   

Maybe Z was a biology major, interested in Zygotes and Gameetes, and the food nutrition within the cell? That could place him at any of the many colleges and community colleges in CA.
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Deoxys
Username: Deoxys

Registered: 5-2006
Posted on Thursday, October 05, 2006 - 8:28 pm:   

Fascinating, Doug.

Be prepared for plenty of skepticism but I think the analysis is fascinating. If Ted K. created this symbol, do you see it as purposeful or something coming from his unconscious? Do you have any indication that Ted was familiar with this poem or interested in this kind of radical poetry?

I confess that the idea interests me partially because of my own person/groups of interest's fascination with biology and radical poetry. BC's best friend from Wichita, Michael McClure, for instance, is somewhat renowned for his radical "meat science" poetry and was close friends with Francis Crick, the co-discoverer of the double helix structure of DNA.

http://www.thing.net/~grist/l%26d/mcclure/mc-crick .htm

I've said before that I think symbology was important to Z since he used a symbol to represent his own identity and created at least two other personal symbols in the Halloween Card and Exorcist Letter.
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Douglas_oswell
Username: Douglas_oswell

Registered: 4-2006
Posted on Friday, October 06, 2006 - 12:43 am:   

Deoxys, Kaczynski was steeped in literature of all kinds, although I can't imagine he'd have had much respect for the kind of poetry Rukeyser wrote, which is really nothing more than pithy prose chopped up into segments meant to resemble verse. However, he wasn't averse to using any kind of literature to get his point across, as witnessed by his use of the Sloan Wilson novel "Ice Brothers" in the 1980 bombing of Percy Wood. I can't say for certain where he might have originally encountered the Rukeyser poem. I, for example, am no big fan of Leroi Jones, but I was forced in college to sit through a series of "black poetry" lectures, and I'd be perfectly capable of alluding to him if the occasion arose.

The thing that struck me most about these Exorcist allusions was their common theme of chastity, which was mirrored by Kaczynski in what I've argued in the book were very clear and understandable allusions to the Wagnerian opera Parsifal. Kaczynski used Parsifal, along with several other clever devices, to hint of something that was for him a defining element, namely, the state of chastity in which he had spent his entire life. So we can see these two notorious killers each using literary devices that allude to a common theme and a relatively rare condition. That, to me, is the truly interesting aspect of what we see in the Exorcist Letter, and not the fact that he knew about Rukeyser, or understood some fundamental facts about biology.

I can, however, understand your interest in this from the perspective of your own suspect, and I think Arthur Allen theorists might be interested, too. Allen was, after all, something of a biologist, if I'm not mistaken.

And you're very right about the symbolism--that's one of Zodiac's defining traits.

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