Meaning of the rh at the end of the Desk Poem Message Board: Possible Zodiac Victim Cheri Jo Bates: Meaning of the rh at the end of the Desk Poem

By Howard Davis (Howard) ( - on Saturday, May 05, 2001 - 12:58 am:

I think that it would be of interest to post our comments on the possible meanings of the infamous rh at the end of the Riverside desk poem.

Here goes with a few of mine to kick things off:red herring,Roland (defender of early Christians)Heights(city near Riverside-did the killer have connections there?),RH or blood factor(lots of blood in poem-it's presence is called PH positive or absence PH negative-Patricia Hautz),Robin Hood(connected to occult practices),Ramona High(Cheri's HS),Roan High(my suspect's HS),Ron Hubbard(my guy's idol),Root Hor(occult character and mentioned by Aliester Crowley the occultist),rh is the abbreviation. for rhyme i.e. the poem?,Little Red Riding Hood(Bates?)-rh,red handed-'in the act of committing a crime',red hot,initials-including a middle name- of an unknown killer or suspect,like Robert Hall,reap havoc,"fake clew",right hour("this time/next time",repay her,as one poster said could have meant Patricia Hautz, but used wrong letter-an r,right hand,a musical term-desk reportedly found in music room,unknown pen name-like Z's latter RP,running hand-handwriting without lifting the pen,running head/headline-headline repeated on consecutive pages,R.H. Bradshaw-principal of RCC-Tom's,some poet's name/ writer,red hemorrhage-hemoglobin,are a few. Some are far out and some are could be's, what do you have? HD

By Ed N (Ed_N) ( - on Saturday, May 05, 2001 - 06:56 am:

Carl thinks "rh" actually stands for "Robert Hunter." What sort of idiot would write that poem and actually leave their initials at the end, especially since Carl thinks the author was so easily found? It must therefore obviously mean something else.

By Sylvie (Sylvie14) ( - on Saturday, May 05, 2001 - 08:45 am:

hi Howard:
Right Here, red heart, red head, Rock Hudson, Rita Hayworth, Ron Howard. I lean toward right hand though.

By Aubrey Jackson (Aubrey) ( - on Saturday, May 05, 2001 - 10:48 am:

What about Sandy's suspicious friend RH?

By Mike (Oklahoma_Mike) ( - on Saturday, May 05, 2001 - 07:16 pm:

Since I believe the poem had nothing to do with the murder of Miss Bates I believe that rh is simply the initials or pen initials of the author.
As other members of the board, including Peter H I believe, pointed out poets such as ee cummings were making a big point of nontraditional case in poetry and the author simply copied it.
I increasingly doubt that Zodiac wrote it, though it is not impossible. Even if Z was the author, there is NOTHING to connect it with Miss Bates.
I know several posters disagree with this, but I ask, "Where is the evidence? What are the facts?"

By Sandy (Sandy) ( - on Saturday, May 05, 2001 - 08:12 pm:

I think it was someone who was thinking about killing, who also liked to taunt. Maybe this person wrote the note long before committing the act. And because it was written long before, forgot that he left his initials? After he killed Cheri Jo,he sent his notes to the people he wanted to taunt, then remembered leaving his initials, decided he better get out of Dodge! The reason he didn't write that date on the Lake B. car, was because of the initials on the desk. That was too much of a clue to who he was. My R.H. was married to a girl named Donna, who just happened to work as a bank teller. Remember Cheri Jo worked at a bank with someone named Donna? Can we find out what Donna's last name was?

By Peter_H (Peter_H) ( - on Monday, May 07, 2001 - 09:24 am:

Simple explanation time, folks. I'm with Mike: it doesn't have a thing to do with Z, CJB or any other homicide; it's about a suicide -- contmplated, attempted or imagined -- and rh are the author's initials. Find student R.H. from that period and you have your author. Surely the student rolls, yearbooks, etc. would be easy enough to research.

By Tom Voigt (Tom_Voigt) ( - on Monday, May 07, 2001 - 10:03 am:

Peter, do you really believe that has not been attempted???

By Peter_H (Peter_H) ( - on Monday, May 07, 2001 - 01:54 pm:

Of course not. Since its such an obvious course, but I have never seen the results of such an inquiry, I was wondering what they might have been. Obviously negative, but not necessarily conclusive. If, for example there were any number of RH's that were identified but not interviewed, then I would have to conclude that there is a reasonable likelihood that one of them wrote the poem. I don't buy Ed's dismissal of the idea that the author would not have left real initials. If the author is of the profile I believe she is, then she certainly would have left actual initials. BTW, because of the circumstances of the poem's discovery, the poem could be as old as the desk, and the student enrollment records would have to be checked back that far, or at least to the mid fifties, in order to eliminate the student author. Were they?

By Ed N (Ed_N) ( - on Monday, May 07, 2001 - 04:16 pm:

Peter: we are still left with that nagging problem: according to Morrill, the hand is Z's. According to textual criticism, the thoughts that motivated the authorship of the poem are those of a troubled young woman.

My dismissal is based on the assumption that Z wrote the poem. If, however, it was written by a suicidal young woman, then yes, the letters "rh" are almost certainly her initials. Thus, in my view, we have:

If poet = Z, then the letters "rh" are not his initials.

If poet = suicidal young woman, then the letters "rh" are her intials.

By Howard Davis (Howard) ( - on Monday, May 07, 2001 - 08:41 pm:

I will stay with the world's foremost Expert on Zodiac's hand printing/script as Peter is not qualified professionally to prove Morrell wrong.

If we examine Zodiac's background and literary tendencies we find it is very possible Z wrote the poem/ode.

We have an example of self identification/substitution when Zodiac quotes from The Lord High Executioner :" He plunged him self into the billowy wave and an echo arose from the SUCIDES grave..."(EMP mine).

I believe he wrote the poem in regards to Cheri and her 'sucicide'.It reminds me of Bruce Davis' statement that Shorty Shea(they found his remains years later and the skeleton showed signs of multiple stab wounds by the bone markings)-one of his murder victims,"committed suicide with a little help"!This was this murderer's thinking in 1969 why couldn't a distorted personality like Zodiac in 1966 think the same way and as was his habit write it down?

Since, Zodiac signed his name a "RP" in 1974 why could he not sign as "rh"(or "Z"-this was not his real name either- unless his parents were cruel!)in 1966?The authenticated 1967 notes were all(thanks to Esau's discovery)signed with a Z and-once again, I will stay with the Expert on this symbol.

So Zodiac was not only capable of writing this kind of a poem about his future(?) victim, but also sign on with initials only he truly knew the meaning of.Yes,the Red Phantom has an "RP" on the envelope,and he signs out with "(red with rage)";in the poem we have the word "red" used twice and the word "blood" used once-so using Zodiac's literary penchant it could be RH relating to 'blood'-"r" for red.A dual meaning could have been used- a Z trait- and we could have "right hand', a music term( a possible illusion to using his hands and a knife-'cut clean and right hand'.

The problem here is poets(and mental health practitioners) would naturally see a poem , and the suicide factor-"Sick of living/unwilling to die "per se ,and miss the very well established fact Zodiac utilized literary devices relative to murder and his victims-and even himself!I have also pointed out the fact(whether we agree or not) that some very popular mind cults taught that all murder is 'suicide or 'self murder', as the victim cannot bear to kill themselves, so they unconsciously draw a person into their lives that would kill them.

I remember a researcher on television informing the audience that he acquired the counseling records of some 200 murder victims and he stated they had all revealed feelings of self loathing and how they seriously thought about taking their lives. The good doctor said that all of them were at the wrong place at the wrong time.Some were sitting in an area where it was widely known a murder was stalking victims!

I know all of this is debatable and I am not interested in this part- only what young Zodiac could have had as a mind set at that time.

Tom did not ask Peter the question that he did, as to whether or not there was a check done on the "rh" students by chance or for fun, as he, as well as I, are aware that the police had every student with those initials- and many that didn't- checked out and interviewed, not once ,but in some cases, several times! All of their writing exemplars were sent to CII to be compared ,and to this day there never has been a match! With all the publicity and the intense student PD interviews, the poem generated no one even called or wrote and said 'I etched the poem'.

By Peter_H (Peter_H) ( - on Tuesday, May 08, 2001 - 08:55 am:

Ed: What is the direct source of information on Morril's ID?

If Z wrote the poem, then rh is Z and you can speculate till the cows come home and you won't find a conection. As you said, what kind of idiot would leave his own initials on a poem that tied him to a murder? What kind of idiot would leave anything on a writing that tied him to a murder? Z never did, despite his claims that "you will have me". Therefore, if rh is Z, and if rh is any kind of clue to actual identity, they are just as likely (or unlikely) to be real initials as not.

Howard: Same question: what's the direct source on the Morrill ID? Reason I ask, is that as we saw in the LB II discussion, there was only a report 5 days after the crime of what "additonal investigation revealed", which we infer came from Morrill.

On your statement that the police checked every student: going back how far? As I appreciate it RCC is a two year istitution, or was at the time, which means that if the police only checked current enrollment, they only hit a very small percentage of the possible candidates. The poem obvioulsy went unnoticed until the janitor removed it. It may have sat there for years before that. How old was the desk? How long had it been in place before the janitor removed it for storage? Say the desk was ten years old; its statistically far more likely that the poem was written in the first eight of those years than i the last two. That's how far back the police would have to check R.H.s in order to eliminate a student as author. Was this done? If so, did they really get all the RH's? I doubt it. And again, what's the source for nformation an what was done?

By Linda (Linda) ( - on Tuesday, May 08, 2001 - 09:02 am:

If the poem was the work of a female contemplating suicide, one other possibility could be the name "Rh"onda...and she just (purposefully or not) didn't finish out her name. Wonder if there were any Rhonda's enrolled during that time frame.


By Mike (Oklahoma_Mike) ( - on Tuesday, May 08, 2001 - 09:25 pm:

It is useless to speculate on the "rh" at the end of the suicide poem (I first identified it as such and will call it that until I see EVIDENCE that it is related to Miss Bates death) if the poet used a pen name, as I mentioned in my last post. Lots of would-be poets do. The permutations are endless, maybe last name first, first and middle name, mothers' maiden name, arranged in what combination? Each and every one of these conventions has been used by writers at one time or another. Go through every yearbook and registrar's list, it will suggest some things and PROVE nothing.
When I first read Graysmith about 9 yrs. ago I accepted the connection of Miss Bates being a
Zodiac victim, the desktop poem, the whole thing.
After studying several of my fellow posters sites I realized I had been gullible and last fall decided to re=read Graysmith with a skeptical eye.
That's when the fact that the desktop poem was a suicidal description or fantasy jumped out at me. I felt foolish for not seeing it the first time. Had I questioned all the 'connections' and 'established facts' in this entire fascinating case I would have seen it earlier.
Again, I am not saying Z couldn't have written the poem, nor saying it had to have been written by a female. Depressed male patients are less common than female, but there's plenty out there. Do men poets or writers have suicidal thoughts too? Ernest Hemmingway and Jerzey Kozinski come to mind as good examples.
As far as the murder of Miss Bates goes, the suicide poem has always been a red herring.

By Ed N (Ed_N) ( - on Tuesday, May 08, 2001 - 11:21 pm:

Mike: this is kinda like whether Foukes and Zelms spoke with Z or not. There is evidence for and against, and at this point, I make no judgment, but just accept that at this point, it seems to be unprovable either way.

As far as the poem goes, according to Morrill, it is written in Z's hand. As you pointed out, the thoughts behind it are those of a suicidal young woman. So, where are we at? I don't know about everyone else, but considering that it's now apparent that CJB was probably not murdered by Z, I lean towards the suicidal young woman theory. However, since both sides have evidence for and against, I make no judgment, but just accept that at this point, it seems to be unprovable either way.

In the end, the desktop poem might turn out to be just like the horn-rimmed glasses found at 10050 Cielo Drive, the scene of the Tate murders and the beginning of Helter Skelter, glasses that belonged to neither the killers nor the victims (Helter Skelter, pp. 10, 24, 94-95, 97-98, 125, 149, 200-201, 388-389, 456 and 548). Maybe the poem has nothing to do with Z at all. But until there is a trial, we'll never know for sure.

By Mike (Oklahoma_Mike) ( - on Tuesday, May 08, 2001 - 11:54 pm:

EdN, I think you are right. We may never know for
sure.Check my back posts as I wish to point out that I have related before that while the subject of the poem is female, the author could have been male. I still hold firmly to my point that the author was depressed and relating either a suicidal event or a fantasy of one. But it could have been written by a male fantasizing about a female suicide. Depressed people often fantasize about their own and other's deaths. Even if written by Z, I doubt it had anything to do with Miss Bates death. I'm with you, the circumstantial evidence points towards "Barnett" by several orders of magnitude over Zodiac.
To all posters, I'm going on vacation, have at it and I'll catch up when back.

By Ed N (Ed_N) ( - on Wednesday, May 09, 2001 - 03:43 pm:

Mike: quite right. Regardless, the poem, as you point out, is more suicidal than homicidal, and still seems to be at odds with Z. On the other hand, maybe Z himself was suicidal at the time he wrote the poem. Perhaps the reason for his apparent homosexual tendencies (as commented on in the Chronicle, of all places) is that he felt he was "trapped in the wrong body" or whatever, and therefore wrote it from a female point of view. That would explain how the writing could be Z's, but the thoughts apparently not.

I still think it'll turn out to be like those horn-rimmed glasses from the Tate murders; no one will be able to figure out what significance, if any, the poem really has.

By Sylvie (Sylvie14) ( - on Wednesday, May 09, 2001 - 05:23 pm:

The poem seems to be written by a man, and I agree, about a woman. It reminds me of certain Sylvia Plath poems. The other thing to keep in mind is that if the desk had to be manually turned up side down to be written on, well, unless it was an unusually light desk it would be very awkward for a woman to do (unless she is like Chynna). But Ed, I think it is an interesting theory-- that of Z being a woman wannabe, who knows living in S.F. and all, maybe he was as such and did become a transsexual, thereby possibly curing his homicidal tendancies.

By Douglas Oswell (Dowland) ( - on Wednesday, May 09, 2001 - 06:04 pm:

Just like Kaczynski, no doubt.

By Howard Davis (Howard) ( - on Wednesday, May 09, 2001 - 06:08 pm:

Ed-It is a tough case from every vantage point and the poem is another rung on the ladder up to solution. I am positive this case will unravel in due course and evidence like the poem will be in better focus in relation to the whole Zodiac spectrum.

I do not see any problems with the internal structure of the poem in regards to Zodiac literary traits like leaving off the apostrophe in "someone ll" and placing one in "don't." We have the period or dot over the "wait" but no dotted i for "time"( and Z liked the word time and its here).The caps are at some sentences and not at others-a Z deal.A grammarian told me there was nothing in this poem that did not lead him to think that the author was'nt the same person that wrote the known Zodiac missives.The traits are the same.

I will say again, that the printing is similar to Zodiac's and I have put it through some 30 different modules since 1987.

Of course, the world's ONLY authority on Zodiac writing/printing Sherwood Morrell, affirmed it was Zodiac's. Unless someone has found some factors in the printing that were missed ,then I will side with the only real Expert-to date- and that's Morrell. It is not a poet's case here , it's printing and other traits-including content.

Zodiac write about his own depression in the 12/20/69 letter-he said he was "drownding" and he makes 4 references to needing "help"!I pointed out how he identified with the LHE in the Mikado and writes "sucides grave"!

And like the poem,Zodiac fanticizes in his letter/s of 7/24/26,70 about death and uses G and S's lines in the Mikado to relate to his OWN inclinations and desires.

The poet/mental health practioner are stuck in their own backgrounds are are not seeing Z's traits and history,etc.There is-as Dave Peterson a Zodiac expert plus-has said, 'nothing here that would deteract from the belief that this "poet" was not the future Zodiac!'I agree!

By Ed N (Ed_N) ( - on Wednesday, May 09, 2001 - 11:44 pm:

Douglas: I knew that would get a TK comment! And it does fit in with him, that's for sure.

Sylvie: I was not suggesting that Z ultimately became a transsexual, but that he had homosexual tendencies and perhaps was even effeminate. If he couldn't come to grips with that, perhaps he thought of suicide in a fit of depression, and wrote the poem.

Now (to carry my original thought further), if Z was the killer of CJB, perhaps he did in fact ask her out, in order to feel more manly or whatever, and when she "brushed him off," she may have destroyed what little self esteem he had left. If that triggered a murderous rage, he may have liked the power over life and death it gave him, and so he became Z in the years afterwards.

Now, this is all "what if," but you just never know...

By Douglas Oswell (Dowland) ( - on Thursday, May 10, 2001 - 12:43 am:

Good for you, Ed, but I'm not so sure about the desktop poem. I can't understand how Morrill could have come to a definite conclusion based on the handwriting. Printing is so "generic" that almost everyone shares traits in common with the Zodiac writings.

By Sylvie (Sylvie14) ( - on Thursday, May 10, 2001 - 02:20 pm:

If Morrill has definitively deemed the desk poem to come from the hand of Z, I am inclined to believe it is correct, he made it very clear, he didn't just say that Z couldn't be ruled out.
But I have always thought a huge clue could lie in the apparent fact that the poem is underneath the desk. This leads one to believe that the author would necessarily be either an enrolled student or an employee such as a janitor.

By Howard Davis (Howard) ( - on Friday, May 11, 2001 - 12:33 am:

Doug: I was close to Dr. Henry Silver(now deceased) one of the world's foremost authorities on handwriting and who won most of his cases in court over a period of 50 years.

He told me that printing was the same as script, in that one follows the same rules in making an ID.

You look for pen depression and pen lifts, lineal base pattern, proportionate heights between letters and on to some 100 or more 'tests' and you weigh the "preponderance of identifying characteristics" between both printings or scripts.

I was shown some documents by the late Wm. Kaye(he had about 35 years experience),and then he told me to look at the same document under a Transaillumator and what a difference! With powerful magnification and ultra violet light(and different filters) a whole world of ID marks show up!

Mr. Kaye, would sit looking through his special microscope for hours and days(!)checking each letter and comparing each to the Questioned Document. After that he would look for the scores of characteristics between both samples and later do a follow through ,and then tabulate the "preponderance of similar characteristics "and make a final opinion.

The desk poem/ode matched Zodiac's later printing samples. For example, the 12/20/69 letter was all in print and on it goes.There was an abundance of samples to compare!

By Howard Davis (Howard) ( - on Friday, May 11, 2001 - 01:25 am:

Ed:Those horned rimmed glasses that were found at the Tate home were left there by Manson and Davis. After his killers came back Manson decided to see if they had done a good job(no work no pay!)so early that morning he and Bruce Davis went to the crime scene.M said "Whatever they did, it would be the same as if I had done it with them."

M said that when he went back "I carefully wiped the car[that night Tex had shot a boy 4 times with a .22 as he was sitting in his station wagon]clean of possible finger prints[seems like Z!]..the two of us took towels and wiped every place a finger print could have been left."

They wanted the public to think that blacks had done the crime(this is one of the reasons they wrote PIG on the front door as the blacks, especially the Black Panthers, would call the police pigs, etc.) so they tried to hang Sharon on one of the rafters and then they tried the front porch as rope had been placed around her neck earlier ,so that it would look like ,as Manson later said "A reverse of the Ku Klux Klan thing;that way it will put the heat on the blackies."

They decided not to hang her,so Manson said they left Bruce's glasses as "a misleading clue for the police"(he didn't wear glasses)or as another says"a fake clue"." M said "We carefully wiped the glasses free of prints and dropped them on the floor."

It worked ,as these glasses were examined by experts and bulletins went out describing them both to the public and to optomerterists.The papers did stories on this "hot clue", but nothing came of it.Manson exulted in this fact!

Manson said he had"... my private laughs at the theories and speculations of the police and reporters as they announced possible motives for the slayings...and he wanted for them to be out...searching for victims, random victims, so many of them that the deaths would shock not only the area but the whole world."M later claimed 35 victims.

By Mark (Mark) ( - on Friday, May 11, 2001 - 09:27 am:

Howard-sorry to "leapfrog" back over the glasses post, your previous one brought up a couple of questions. I finally saw the handwriting sample that Allen did for the SFPD and was really taken aback by how similar it was to the Z letters. I'm just a lay person but it seemed extremely close! It did look like he was attempting to disguise it as the police claimed. I'm aware that Morrill examined this sample and said it wasn't a match. Did you ever talk with him about this and perhaps the particulars on why he dismissed it? Also, did Dr. Silver have a look at it as well? If so, what were his findings, did he come to the same conclusion? The desk top poem certainly looks like the work of Z and if Morrill said it was a match I'm inclined to believe it. As far as the rh is concerned, it's probably red herring or referring to blood as you mentioned. The initials don't match any of the major suspects and so far I haven't come up with anything in letter manipulation or names they stand for that have any meaning. Strange that they were Riversides Presidents initials but it's just a coincidence and nothing more. Must've been fascinating to enter the world of handwriting analysis!

By MDB (Michael_D_Brown) ( - on Friday, May 11, 2001 - 12:23 pm:

Howard Davis, is that a "transilluminator" you're referring to?

By Howard Davis (Howard) ( - on Saturday, May 12, 2001 - 01:40 pm:

Mark: Silver was working on many cases at the time and we did some work together. We never discussed the Zodiac case as I was focused on another historical project at that time.

One of the things that an Expert in Questioned Documents must learn is to determine when and if someone is manipulating his or her printing/script. It shows up in minute 'slips' if the person is good and is more prominent if they are not.

I was shown some samples of handwriting/printing that were contrived ,as the perp was attempting to disguise his true writing(which is foolish, as other samples before the 'interview' are usually collected and scrutinized )but under intense magnification it shows up clearly and he was found guilty.Silver told me he had no problem spotting writing manipulation.

I never met Morrill but understand him to have been one of the finest in the profession-a total perfectionist that would examine every detail and he trusted no one he would check everyone's writing to make a careful opinion.

One example is when Morrell even checked out police reporter Paul Avery's writing after he brought the original Z notes/envelopes, etc. from Riverside Nov. 70. I would say he was professionally obsessive!

Morrell would have loved to validate Allen's writing at time of examination as he knew that Toschi and the others that were working the case were 'high' on Allen, but he could not find a solid match.Of course,investigations have proceeded into this mysterious case.

By Howard Davis (Howard) ( - on Saturday, May 12, 2001 - 02:14 pm:

Peter: Some articles from the Press Enterprise say:"Notes[4/30/67]written to police and the Press Enterprise in the wake of the murder[Bates] and a POEM scrawled on an RCC desk HAVE been identified as the work of Zodiac. 11/18/70;"...a lengthy poem scratched into a desk at RCC that experts also believe to be Zodiac's.The macabre ode was signed with the initials "rh"."11/19/70;"It is that handwriting[the poem]that a state expert[Morrell]has identified as the SAME as that on notes sent to a San Francisco newspaper by the Zodiac killer.The writing on the desk was in the form of a poem which police believe has a connection with the death of Miss Bates."11/24/70;"It was then that a state handwriting expert ruled notes sent to the Riverside police after the death of Miss Bates in 1966, and a poem found written on a desk at RCC were in the SAME handwriting as that of the Zodiac."12/11/70(EMP mine).

I think it is of interest that Zodiac seemed to accept the information (and correct writing ID)the police "stumbled across"and I believe this refers to the handwritten messages(including the poem) in Riverside-after all it was handwriting that brought this case to the forefront at that time!

By Peter_H (Peter_H) ( - on Monday, May 14, 2001 - 10:49 am:

Howard: Thanks for the press references. Its a step. Aside from questioning a paper that reports the desktop verse as "a lengthy poem", and that experts have "ruled" (they don't) we still only have a report in the paper, not Morril's work itself or any first hand description of it. As fragile a faith as I have in Morrill's work (I know, he's the best, but I still can't shake that 1978 thing), I have less in a reporters' rendition of it. Remember, we also had similar press reports of "preliminary" police IDs of fingerprints at Berryessa, which never panned out. I like to remove as many levels of hearsay as possible in these things. Has anyone here actually seen any of Morril's own work on any of this? Tom? What abpout that apparently comprehensive DOJ report you have posted the cover of? Anything direct in there on Morrill's work?

By Jake (Jake) ( - on Monday, May 14, 2001 - 01:58 pm:

Nothing specifically on Morrill, but there's an interesting passage on handwriting: "The [DOJ] Bureau of Investigation maintains a file of all suspects that have been eliminated as a result of handprinting acomparisons. Pending receipt of any additional evidence, handprinting is the most positive method of identification or elimination of suspects."

"This is the Zodiac Speaking..."

By Peter_H (Peter_H) ( - on Monday, May 14, 2001 - 03:12 pm:

Interesting, indeed. One important corrolary of the passage would be that handprinting -- rather than personation, MO or even crime scene knowledge evidenced in the Z letters -- would also be the most positive method of linking Z events and perhaps the most imortant method of linking Z to any event. It could still turn out, for instance, that the earlier letters claiming BRS and LHR do not show sufficient inside knowledge of the crimes to link the writer conclusively with those events (after all, there are discrepancies, such as the speed of the escape from BRS, and the fictional witness to the BRS phone call) and that ONLY the LB handwriting links Z with any of the three scenes. Makes one wonder why there isn't a more thorough discussion of the analysis that linked LHR, BRS, and LB, (as well as PH and RCC). Or is there? Jake: can you share any more of the CDOJ report? To me, one of the most fascinating aspects of this whole case is the way the official investigators link the events through the writings. Was there enough in the letters before PH to link the writer conclusively with LHR and BRS? It sure seems like knowledge of the ammo, number of shots, etc. would have done it, but were the investigators convinced at the time?

By Jake (Jake) ( - on Monday, May 14, 2001 - 03:51 pm:

Mostly, the DOJ report is a synopsis of each incident and the evidence recovered thereafter. It accepts all of the known Z cases -- including Reiverside -- as givens. There is a little explanation that Z offered occasional proof, but there isn't much in the way of critical hypothesizing.

"This is the Zodiac Speaking..."

By Howard Davis (Howard) ( - on Monday, May 14, 2001 - 07:50 pm:

Peter: Hang on a while as I am working on something. The Sacramento papers carried stories on Morrill's opinions and that was DOJ territory.

They interviewed him and not once did he or the DOJ state that the papers were in error relative to his opinions. You would think at least once Morrill would have given a statement that the stories were false or in error concerning certain points relative to his opinions .Police Reporter Dave Peterson -who was with the case from Day One, knew and worked with certain people who were in the know at that time and he affirmed to me on a number of occasions that all of Morrill's opinions were correctly reported.

Lets say that Morrill was in error relative to the '78 letter. Do we reject a consummate Expert on one case? No,it does not work that way. If that is the case, then all experts would be of no use as all humans make mistakes!

You examine an Expert's track record and over all experience and position, etc. Morrill was HEAD of the Documents Dept.and he TAUGHT other Experts in the field. He was the acknowledged Expert on Zodiac's writing and I place my confidence he knew what he was talking about.

Dr. Silver, now deceased, won many cases and he was on many ocasions the only dissenter concerning a Questioned Document among the Experts, and it was later proven,upon confession of the perp ,that he alone was right!

One historical example is Dr. B.J. Palmer the genius( he was proficient in a legion of subjects, possessed a photographic memory and made many discoveries that most know nothing about) and Developer of Chiropractic-a world wide profession. He fought pitched battles with the hard headed medical profession and even his own profession and he alone was right. I am an expert on his life and work and know this to be so.The "one" can be right as history shows us time and again.

So what if the Experts said the '78 was a fake? Does that mean that they are correct and Morrell wrong? He was the authority on Z's writing not them!There was a lot of politics surrounding that letter at that time and Toschi caught it big time!More later.

By Howard Davis (Howard) ( - on Monday, May 14, 2001 - 07:56 pm:

Another name for Ron Hubbard was "Red Head-rh." I just found that out recently.They had this thing about red hair as Hubbard wrote about the subject. Guess he thought it was a superior color- along with some genetic babble he threw in. Some even tinted their hair red to be like Hubbard !FWI

By Mark (Mark) ( - on Monday, May 14, 2001 - 08:53 pm:

Jake-the DOJ comment is certainly eyebrow raising for sure, the handprinting being the most viable way of IDing Zodiac. What date was this report made, quite awhile ago or within the last few years? Peter I also think you bring up a valid point on the BRS and LHR information from the letters, like alot of people I assumed that the Super X ammo "list" was enough knowledge about the crimes to make them legit. Possibly this info could've been gathered by someone close to the investigation and wasn't the killer at these scenes. I think there was something odd going on within the Napa PD anyway with Darlene Ferrin and the drugs,etc. It's possible that that "someone" merely claimed to have done the BRS and LHR killings and was up close and personal at LB and the Stine murders but it's quite a reach. I'm inclined to go with the idea that Z did do them all though. Well the way the Riverside DNA situation is (or should I say isn't!) going we may never know whether or not Zodiac merely claimed the Bates killing and that's depressing. So I guess we're left with conjecture...

By Peter_H (Peter_H) ( - on Tuesday, May 15, 2001 - 10:31 am:

Mark: Hey 90 percent of what goes on in this case is conjecture. But your comments suggest to me a theory old Occam could get behind: IF the Ghia writng is a positive connect between LB and Z the writer, but the connection between the first Z letters and LHR BRS is not conclusive based on inside info, then Z the writer did LB and Stine but not LHR and BRS. Explains the all the differences as well as the similarities: he wasn't trying to copycat LHR and BRS through MO and personation, but was simply claiming them, then outdoing them through the escalation evident in the latter two. Another variant is that Farraday and Jensen were random, and Z jumped in the game at BRS. Two circumstances support this: the appearance of the letters and phone calls only after BRS, and the relative time intervals between LHR and BRS on the one hand (6 months) and BRS, LB and PH on the other (a few weeks). Z reads about LHR, digests it for a while, and when nothing happens after 6 months decides its not some other serial killer and fair game to claim as his own.

SO: Just how strong IS the link between Z the writer and LHR/BRS? Strong enough that only the killer and the police could have known, as the writer claimed or was enough published that the writer could have pieced it together? Were the investigators actually satisfied with the response to the early request for more info? Recall that the followup letter added almost nothing about LHR: only the falshlight gunsight explanation which no witness or investigator could verify. As for BRS, he added only details about the car door window, Mageau's leap into the back seat as an explanation for shooting him in the knee. If investigators were unsure about LHR, the flashlight information could add nothing because it could not be verified. That leaves BRS. If the initial info was not enough, did the followup letter clinch it? Was the additional knowledge about the car door and window and the details of Mageau's struggle sufficient? It sure seems a lot stronger than the flashlight info on LHR, and tends to support the idea that Z only jumpoed in the game at BRS: no conclusive link to LHR and Z-like conduct only after BRS.

By Ed N (Ed_N) ( - on Tuesday, May 15, 2001 - 01:02 pm:

Peter: based on our previous discussions, specifically, your arguments for LB not being Z's work, I've been saying things along those lines for a few months now.

By Jake (Jake) ( - on Tuesday, May 15, 2001 - 02:21 pm:

Mark: The report is from 1971.

"This is the Zodiac Speaking..."

By Peter_H (Peter_H) ( - on Tuesday, May 15, 2001 - 07:21 pm:


I never read you to say that the writer of the letters might not have done either LHR or BRS. AU contraire, the argument seemed to be only whether the LHR/BRS perp also did LB. Now it becomes clear that it may be more useful to speak in terms of "the Writer", "the LHR perp", "the BRS perp" and "the LB perp" etc than to speak of Z as if we all agreed that it was one individual. Actually, your characterization of my point "that it was not Z's work" depends on how you identify Z: the writer of the letters or the LHR/BRS perp. I only meant that Z the LHR/BRS perp is unlikely to be the LB perp IF the letter writer is conclusively the LHR/BRS perp AND the Ghia handprintig is not conclusive. The assumption of the previous discussion, as I made explicit early on, was that the early Z letters tied the writer conclusively to BRS and LHR. Change that, and you change significantly the set of facts that any theory must explain. Remember, I am into finding the simplest explanation of all the facts, not proving that change in MO means X, Y, or Z. Change the assumption that the writer did LHR or BRS, and you change the entire premise of the problem. We now have a statrement to the effect that handprinting, not knowledge of the LHR/BRS crime scenes is the strongest link between any suspect and the crimes. If handprinting is more important than letter content, AND if the Intro of Z letter did not conclusively establish unique knowledge of LHR or BRS crime scenes, AND if the Ghia writing conclusively establishes that Z the letter writer did LB*, ergo, therefore, hence, so, and consequently, it becomes much more questionable whether the Z writer and Z the LB perp actually did LHR, and slightly more doubtful that he did BRS. Hence the present question: how and why are we so sure that the writer of the letters did LHR and BRS?

*Recall that the DOJ report of handprinting analysis (attributed to Morrill) says that the writer of the Z letters was the Ghia graffitician. It does NOT say that the Ghia writing was made by the LHR/BRS perp.

By Ed N (Ed_N) ( - on Tuesday, May 15, 2001 - 09:57 pm:

Peter: read Harry Martin's cockamamy "theory" (for want of a better term). I think it'll fit your side of Occam's Razor, since, in it's final form, he claims there was a minimum of four killers involved in "Team Zodiac" (Riverside & LB = Bruce Davis, LHR = Danny Price, BRS = Paul Petri, and PH = Larry Kane), and a fifth (Robert Hunter Jr.) who didn't kill anyone but wrote all the letters. I think that should take care of who knew what when, who wrote what, who was where and who killed who. Different perps, different letter writer. Everyone's happy (except Toschi and Narlow). End of story.

By Peter_H (Peter_H) ( - on Tuesday, May 15, 2001 - 10:19 pm:

Nope; conspiracies are always more complicated than lone actors. Can't Procrustreate me into that one, Ed. I'm looking at two perps, max, on the Core Four, and no connection whatever with Riverside. Explains everything that is otherwise incalculable about LHR, BRS, LB and PH. Any number of two-perp scenarios is simpler than explaining the psychology of any one creep doing all four. And if you go beyond the Core Four, you get off any sane chart. One perp did the Core Four plus CJB, KJ and/or DL? Occam's Odds against approach infinity to one.

Why don't you answer the question: is there or is there not a conclusive tie-in with the letter writer and LHR, BRS, and why? Show your work. 20 minutes, 100 points.

By Sandy (Sandy) ( - on Friday, May 18, 2001 - 09:38 am:

If the man who has been Id'd as Kane is Z ,then the clews he has given me, pertain to four main culprits. He being one of them. At the time I was given that clew,I didn't have a name for my stalker. It all started coming together after I found Pam H. and was introduced to Harvey Hines. That is the first time I was given Kane's name. The next time was the picture I took of this stalker,(while he was stalking me) and showed it to the Capt. at Vallejo PD. he confirmed the picture to be that of Larry Kane. I have seen him as recently as two weeks ago.

By Sylvie (Sylvie14) ( - on Friday, May 18, 2001 - 10:54 am:

Kane's handwriting appears to be incredibly similar, in my opinionn to Zodiac's.

By Tom Voigt (Tom_Voigt) ( - on Friday, May 18, 2001 - 11:27 am:

That's the crack cocaine talking.

By Sandy (Sandy) ( - on Friday, May 18, 2001 - 05:45 pm:

Sylvie, I have other printing of his that is even closer. When Kane wrote the note I think you are referring to,he was trying to change the way he wrote. I have the real thing! Maybe some day Tom will post it. But as you can tell from his last post, he has been working too hard, he gets cranky when he hasn't had enough sleep.

By Oddball (Oddball) ( - on Monday, May 21, 2001 - 01:59 pm:

I'd be interested in seeing the note you have, Sandy, as I believe that Kane might have been involved in the Z case(to me, he looks more like the sketch on the SFPD poster than any of the other suspects--and while I'm perfectly aware that this doesn't mean squat, I find Kane an interest-
ing suspect nonetheless).
Personally, I don't think Kane wrote the Z letters, but new stuff is always worth a look! Maybe Tom will eventually see fit to post the note.

By Howard Davis (Howard) ( - on Monday, May 21, 2001 - 06:51 pm:

Of course, Kane's writing was analyzed and there was no match. Just FYI

By Sandy (Sandy) ( - on Saturday, May 26, 2001 - 03:49 pm:

I have some printing that was not asked by the police for Kane to print. I can see that he did try to change his printing for them, I wonder why? The printing I have was analyzed,I was told that it was too much like the Zodiacs to be his! I am sorry if I have to keep repeating myself, but some of you are new to this board, and may not have seen this old post. I do wish Tom would post it,I would like others to also analyze this note. It is a short note,not signed by anyone,given to me, with clues to who the Zodiac is.

By Howard Davis (Howard) ( - on Monday, August 13, 2001 - 12:32 am:

Just another rh for the thread.In the 50's and on there was the Time Master with Rip Hunter.The Rip associated with the manner in which Bates died ("I ...cut her throat")and ,of course, Hunter speaks for itself-"I am stalking your girls now."Time Master or master of time.Some have seen Zodiac as being obsessed with time .Three times the word time is used in the '66 letter and twice by implication-"about seven" and "after about two minutes."Time- x (some see the S.F. EX- aminer here too)in connection with Bates.The choice of papers:Vallejo TIMES Herald, S.F.CHRONICLE(chronos gk. for time),L.A.Times,etc.

With a mind like Zodiacs it is quite possible that in his formative years he was immersed in fantasy ("I lay awake nights thinking about my next victim")and adventure, so comics could have been an influence on him in his latter day creation of the Zodiac crimes.He had a symbolically oriented mind set("This is the Zodiac speaking") steeped in heroes, codes,the occult("reborn in paradise",etc.),gun magazines,anti detection books,mens magazines ,mysteries and true crime probably found in cheap detective magazines.He probably read the papers as we know the adult Zodiac kept track of his exploits from reading the newspapers, but this could have reflected a habit also. Count Marcos column is an example.Just a theory though.

Eduards Batman sites premise is probably not too far from what may have influenced Zodiac.Such characters as Rip Hunter as Time Master could have been part of the mind stack and ,hence, another candidate for the meaning of rh.There are Rip Hunter sites-just a big FYI to be sure.

By Spencer (Spencer) ( - on Tuesday, August 14, 2001 - 12:51 pm:

Yet another rh for everyone:

I was flipping through a copy of The Lewis Carroll Book (you can find several editions listed at the following website, and noticed that at the end of the editor's foreword/introduction, he signed it r.h., his initials. This is interesting because in his article, "Portrait of the Artist as a Mass Murderer" (California Magazine, November 1981), Gareth Penn makes repeated references to the works of Lewis Carroll as a possible inspiration for Z.

The editor in question was named Richard Herrick, and discussed the duality in the personalities of
Charles Dodgson and his pseudonym, Lewis Carroll. Within this analysis, Herrick mentioned the "death" of Carroll (dated as of his last work under the name), which occurred several years before the death of Dodgson.

Just something to think about, as it may have (however unlikely) been the inspiration for the rh in Riverside.


By Sylvie (Sylvie14) ( - on Tuesday, August 14, 2001 - 08:55 pm:

For a film buff, and we know that Zodiac was, I recently thought of Ross Hunter, the producer (in 1966) of "The Pad and how to use it", which is about a young man terrified of the opposite sex while growing up. The next film he made was "Thoroughly Modern Millie" set in San Francisco.

By Howard Davis (Howard) ( - on Wednesday, August 15, 2001 - 02:46 am:

Interesting comments as Scientology and the Process(both of which my suspect was involved in)used Carolls Alice in Wonderland in their processes.I have read of people that were in one or both cults and have mentioned how they quoted parts of Alice in their 'counseling excercises.'I am glad for some sharp posters on the site and I enjoy their insights.

Sylvie hit on a good one too. Z was into combinations and a multiple symbolism kind of person and bi -and even tri level interpretations -were part of his manifest characteristics in the whole Zodiac scenario to be sure!

By Socal (Socal) ( - on Wednesday, August 15, 2001 - 05:57 am:

Does it mean Rob Huffman?

By Howard Davis (Howard) ( - on Saturday, December 28, 2002 - 12:54 pm:

Another rh speculation(thanks to Ricardos 12/02 post) was the Red Hood in the Batman series.The Red Hood appears at a college and later turns into the Joker ,a psychopathic,but clever criminal.
See Google and the Red Hood.

By J Eric (J_Eric) ( - on Monday, April 14, 2003 - 12:07 am:

I don't think it's an "rh" at all! A lower-case "h" can be made by superimposing an "l" with an "n." Hence, "r" "el-en" or my favorite Z suspect, Arthur Allen!

By Howard Davis (Howard) ( - on Thursday, September 04, 2003 - 11:14 am:

I am researching the possibility that "rh" could stand for R.H.Blyth,a poet that lived in Japan, who promulgated an Oriental form of poetry called Haiku.
There were groups in S.F.,Berkeley,Los Angeles and elsewhere,that were very interested in R.H.s work and the Haiku form of poetry in the 60's.
I have several reasons for holding this premise up for inspection,but I am ready to drop it PDQ!I want to see what you think.
The Haiku could explain the unusual structure and content of the desk poem and that mysterious rh at the end.
We do know Z was into the Mikado,a play with a Japanese background.There is that oriental like character in the 1/29/74 note.

By Alan Cabal (Alan_Cabal) ( - on Thursday, September 04, 2003 - 12:30 pm:

I've always figured it stood for "red herring."

By Bookworm (Bookworm) ( - on Thursday, September 04, 2003 - 06:20 pm:

There is a history of Haiku. It evolved over centuries. If I remember correctly, in its first form the verses were contributed by different individuals. Then it became more humorous with a play on words (sounds like Z).

The desk-top poem does roughly sound like Haiku. I like your idea. I wouldn't drop it.

By Nick (Nick) ( on Friday, September 05, 2003 - 12:15 am:

You are right Howard.

It reminds me of Haiku.

There could be a link.

By Howard Davis (Howard) ( - on Saturday, September 20, 2003 - 01:54 am:

I am still researching my premise...

By Douglas Oswell (Dowland) ( - on Saturday, September 20, 2003 - 11:38 am:

It reminds me of bad teenage poetry. Little structure; little style; highly emotive in a personal sense, and conveying very little meaning.

By Alan Cabal (Alan_Cabal) ( - on Saturday, September 20, 2003 - 02:47 pm:

It made a cute song. I agree with you, Doug. It's kind of like LAST HOUSE ON THE LEFT meets the 1910 Fruitgum Company.