Lake Berryessa: Behind the Hood Message Board: Cecelia Shepard and Bryan Hartnell: Lake Berryessa: Behind the Hood

By Ed N. (Edn) ( - on Thursday, February 15, 2001 - 05:26 pm:

Continued from Where Was Your Suspect...?

Esau: that's a good point, however, I think that hiding his face was incidental to the primary purpose of the hood, which I suspect meant more to him than just being anonymous to his victims. I've always felt (as much as I hate to use that subjective term in an objective investigation) that LB was special to Z because of the ritualistic feel to it, and if he was responsible for SB, then LB may have been his "absolution." The hood therefore becomes ritualistic in nature, is more signature aspect than MO, and LB makes more sense (to me, anyway).

Whether it was daylight or not was unimportant, because Z wasn't about to let his victims escape, which is why he had the gun. I don't believe he ever intended to use it to kill them (perhaps as a last resort should they escape), but rather used it to gain power over them and render them helpless, ie, by tying them up. That appears to have been his plan, and he carried it out successfully.

That he wore the hood to conceal his features was also unimportant, because he intended to kill them both, as evidenced by the phone call to NPD 70 minutes later. That they survived shows his basic incompetence with weapons (something I've harped on over the last year).

In retrospect, Z was undoubtedly glad that he wore the hood because of Hartnell's survival and the incidental concealment of his face.

Now that I'm thinking about it, perhaps LB was to be the culmination of the Z crimes, and maybe Hartnell's survival is the real reason for the murder of Stine. His "absolution" was not complete at LB because of the survival of his male victim, and so he was motivated to take one more male victim just two weeks later to make up for that.

The last two crimes (LB and PH), while attributed to Z and undoubtedly his work, don't exactly fit in with the first two, so perhaps this explains why.

Or perhaps Z just used the hood for sh*ts & grins to see what it would be like. We won't know until Z is identified, and even then, maybe not.

Anyway, just a few thoughts as to my position on the hood...

By Esau (Esau) ( - on Thursday, February 15, 2001 - 06:14 pm:

Ed, I agree that Stine's murder could have been for the purpose of absolution since Hartnell survived. What makes me agree with you on this is that the crime itself was a quick gunshot to the head. Not much room for error there. It seems as if the only purpose was to kill. No terrorizing like at Lake Herman Rd, Blue Rock Springs, or Lake Berryessa. Just a quick kill and a quick escape.

By Bucko (Bucko) ( - on Thursday, February 15, 2001 - 09:17 pm:

Ed N. wrote "Now that I'm thinking about it, perhaps LB was to be the culmination of the Z crimes, and maybe Hartnell's survival is the real reason for the murder of Stine."

Zodiac certainly planned LB well right down to the costume. Stalked the victims while getting into "position". Most interestingly, at least to me, is why he held such a lengthy conversation with the victims prior to the stabbing. While we don't know if conversations were held with Stine or at LHR, it seems doubtful. Zodiac seems to savor every aspect of LB right down to writing on the car door and the later phone call. I agree with you EdN. that Zodiac probably viewed this as his masterpiece, and used the costume accordingly.

I doubt that Stine was a revenge killing because Hartnell survived, however.(although it is a possibility) The survival of Hartnell and the following media coverage complete with costume description, etc. only enhanced the mystique and aura of the Zodiac. (at least in his mind) I believe this is something he would have enjoyed. Zodiac also lingers at the Stine crime scene a lot longer than necessary if his only goal is to kill.

By Scott Bullock (Scott_Bullock) ( on Wednesday, September 19, 2001 - 08:50 am:

Esau wrote: "It seems as if the only purpose was to kill. No terrorizing like at Lake Herman Rd, Blue Rock Springs, or Lake Berryessa."

Zodiac needed to authenticate himself in a way that was more spectacular than the letters alone. Hence, Stine's shirt; the real motive for Presidio Heights. Also, I imagine that David Faraday's death came pretty swiftly. I believe his sense of "terror" while in Zodiac's presence was, fortunately, minimal.

The hood at Lake Berryessa clearly had some perverted and personal significance to Zodiac for two major reasons: 1) He (someone) took the time to construct it for the sole purpose of committing murder. In other words, Zodiac could have simply worn a balaclava, ski mask, or Halloween mask, and accomplished the same goal. But instead, he chose not too. 2) Zodiac clearly intended to kill Bryan and Cecilia. Therefore, had Bryan died, there would have been nobody to convey any testimony with regard to the characteristics of the hood. If LB had been perpetrated flawlessly -- no witnesses, no survivors -- the hood would have had significance to no one but Zodiac.

In fact, Zodiac may have used the hood at Lake Herman Road, and may have desired to continue using it for various crimes that were to follow LB, but decided to discard it once it had been "compromised" by Hartnell's testimony. On the other hand, who's to say that LB was the only time Zodiac used the hood? LHR, as has been mentioned, is one such example. But what about any murders that he may have committed following PH? All we can say for certain is that, of the known Zodiac crimes, Lake Berryessa is the only instance where the Zodiac is known to have worn the hood.

Furthermore, assuming for a moment that Cheri Jo Bates was a Zodiac victim, he might have worn the hood on the night of her murder, as well. After all, it was the night before Halloween. Wasn't the mark of a new day on the Celtic calendar determined by sunset to sunset rather than the stroke of midnight? If so, sunset on October 30th would be considered the beginning of Samhain -- the Celtic "Festival of the Dead." Perhaps ironically, the signature emblem on Zodiac's hood also closely resembles the Celtic cross.

Some thoughts.


By Bookworm (Bookworm) ( on Wednesday, September 19, 2001 - 02:30 pm:

Scott, on p. 66 in Graysmith's book, it says that the Zodiac emblem was "a three-inch square cross placed over a circle."

I thought the emblem was a lot bigger than that. Three-inch square is about the size of a shirt pocket.

Also, when I read about Lake Berryessa, I got the impression the Zodiac may have wanted Bryan Hartnell to live, even as horribly as he was stabbed. If that was the case, then the Zodiac knew where to stab him without killing him. He would have died for sure if the right vein was hit.

By Tom Voigt (Tom_Voigt) ( on Wednesday, September 19, 2001 - 03:09 pm:

Bookworm, with all of the reports and such available to you at this site, why on Earth are you using that outdated yellow book as your main source of information?

If Zodiac wanted Hartnell to live, he wouldn't have stabbed him. Period.

By The Fife (Thefife) ( on Thursday, September 20, 2001 - 02:10 pm:

Somewhere I read that one of the stabs grazed his aorta. I don't think Z was giving him easy strokes here. If I wanted someone to live, I wouldn't stab him in his upper left-central chest.

By Ed N (Ed_N) ( on Thursday, September 20, 2001 - 04:28 pm:

Why would anyone think that Z would stab them in such a way that they would survive to report him wearing the hood? I think that's giving Z far too much credit where none is deserved. He wore the hood so that they couldn't see his face? Why then did he not wear one at BRS and PH, where there were at least six witnesses who saw him, four very clearly. His call to NPD is evidence that he expected they were dead, and so therefore the hood was not used to conceal his face, although it was a "side effect," if you will. It obviously served another purpose that was clear only to him.

By Scott Bullock (Scott_Bullock) ( on Thursday, September 20, 2001 - 05:26 pm:

I feel pretty confidant in saying that the mask was used to conceal his face, although not to Bryan and Cecilia. Because it was a daylight attack -- perhaps Zodiac's only -- I believe that the mask was also intended (in addition too Zodiac's own personal reasons) to throw off eyewitnesses in the event that there were any. If Bryan and Cecilia had both died, but someone else saw the attack, the mask would have been very distinctive to said eyewitness; distinctive enough to be described with greater detail than say, a balaclava, stockings, a ski mask, or a simple pillow case.

This, in my mind, is what makes the hood so fascinating: It seems to serve as an example of both MO and signature. MO because it served to protect Zodiac's personal identity from any potential eyewitnesses, and signature because, as demonstrated by Hartnell's testimony, it perpetuated the Zodiac's public identity. Of course, if nobody had ever seen the hood, it would only be significant in terms of its MO. That's my opinion, at least.


By Ed N (Ed_N) ( on Thursday, September 20, 2001 - 09:59 pm:

I would tend to agree with you Scott, but because Z wasn't particularly careful at BRS or PH about eyewitnesses (although Mageau surviving was unintentional on Z's part), I have to wonder if concealing his face from others was even on his mind at LB. So, I'm not so certain that it was meant for anything other than whatever ritualistic purpose it served for Z. But, anything's possible.

By Douglas Oswell (Dowland) ( on Thursday, September 20, 2001 - 10:27 pm:

Scott, we need to ask ourselves whether that hood signified anything special to Zodiac. I've argued the point that it would have been very easy to fashion the hood from a graduate's black gown and mortarboard. That would have symbolized something to Kaczynski, who, several months earlier, had abandoned the career (academia) for which he and his parents had dedicated his entire life up to that point.

By Tom Voigt (Tom_Voigt) ( on Thursday, September 20, 2001 - 10:36 pm:

Doug, you could make the same argument in favor of Allen. He lost his teaching career just a few months before Zodiac invented himself.

By Kevin (Kevinrm) ( on Thursday, September 20, 2001 - 10:54 pm:

Daytime or not, anyone wearing a hood like that would get a LOT of notice!

By Ed N (Ed_N) ( on Friday, September 21, 2001 - 10:05 am:

It would tend to attract more attention than someone who was not wearing one, wouldn't it? If I saw someone wearing a hood and standing over two people lying on a blanket, I'd be pretty interested in the situation, interested enough to watch for a while and see what's going on. However, if I saw a guy without a costume standing over a couple lying on a blanket, I'd assume that he was just shooting the breeze with them, and ignore them and go back to what I was doing before. Besides, from the closest vantage point (which is perhaps 200-300 feet away), one wouldn't be able to make out much in the way of facial features in order to produce a composite; by virute of Zodiac Island's remoteness, Z's face would have been protected.

I hadn't quite thought of it that way before; now, I'm more convinced than ever that the hood's purpose was not concealment of identity, but rather served some ritualistic purpose for Z. Now, the question is: what? Does this hark back to SB in 1963, as I (and others) opined before, or was it used for another reason entirely?

By Douglas Oswell (Dowland) ( on Friday, September 21, 2001 - 12:02 pm:

True, Tom. Allen may have lost his teaching career, but Kaczynski renounced his, because he couldn't cut it. And he fell from a much loftier height than Allen.

By Mike (Oklahoma_Mike) ( on Saturday, September 22, 2001 - 08:21 pm:

Re; the possibility that Z wanted at least one Lake Berryessa victim to live and thus tell the tale. It is impossible to stab anyone repeatedly in the torso, thoracic or abdominal cavities, and not be sure of hitting a vital organ. This is because everyone's internal arrangement is a little bit different, a blood vesel 2 inches to the right here, a kidney an inch lower, etc. This is why surgeons operate slowly and nowadays want CT scans and ultrasound images before operating. If you doubt this data, check with any surgeon, mortician or anatomy professor. The idea of shooting or stabbing someone deliberately to 'just miss' something vital is an old movie and novel plot device but has no bearing in the real world.

By Scott Bullock (Scott_Bullock) ( on Monday, September 24, 2001 - 12:09 am:

Ed wrote: "(I)f I saw a guy without a costume standing over a couple lying on a blanket, I'd assume that he was just shooting the breeze with them, and ignore them and go back to what I was doing before . . ."

Even if the guy was holding a pistol on the couple, had a knife attached to his belt, and was attempting to tie them up? For me, these things would meet the criteria to pique my interest in the situation, regardless if the guy was wearing a hood.

It's obvious that the hood held some special significance to Zodiac. However, the hood still has to be considered part of the MO at Lake Berryessa. It served to conceal Zodiac's identity from any potential eyewitnesses, whether it was intended for that purpose or not. Sure, Zodiac didn't wear the hood at BRS or PH. But we have to remember that MO can change from crime to crime though signature will not. I firmly believe that the hood had a lot to do with the fact that LB occurred during the daylight. Furthermore, Zodiac would have no way of knowing if there would have been eyewitnesses or not.

Having the hood at PH would have been impractical, despite the greater risk of encountering eyewitnesses. There would have been a greater risk of the hood falling into the hands of the police, which in turn would have immediately connected him (the perp at PH) to the other Zodiac crimes. On the other hand, maybe LB was a "lesson learned" experience for Zodiac. Perhaps he simply found the hood too awkward, cumbersome, or, for some reason, disadvantageous.

On another note, this whole idea of Zodiac not intending to kill Bryan Hartnell at LB is silly. There are way too many obstacles to overcome to find any merit in that argument.


By Ed N (Ed_N) ( on Monday, September 24, 2001 - 12:26 am:

Scott: that's assuming that one could see the gun and/or knife from their vantage point. Of course, had I seen someone with a gun, and while I might not charge down there and intervene, I would certainly do something like get the license plate numbers of each car in the vicinity, watch the suspect from a place of concealment to get a good look at him (if possible) to do a composite, etc. Of course, I do agree with you that regardless of Z's reason for the hood, it certainly did serve to protect his identity, but I think that was secondary to whatever his motivation was for wearing it in the first place.

By Kevin (Kevinrm) ( on Tuesday, September 25, 2001 - 11:53 pm:

Like I said before, wearing that hood in broad daylight would attract more attention than not wearing it, so I seriously doubt it was for hiding his identity. I mean, if you saw a guy wearing that, you wouldn't notice? Now his use of a knife there was probably for discretion, as it doesn't go "BANG".

By Ed N (Ed_N) ( on Wednesday, September 26, 2001 - 12:22 am:

Quite right, however, neither did the 9mm Z used on Stine. He held the barrel right up against his head, and it muffled the sound. Once Hartnell and Shepard were tied up, there was nothing to prevent Z from doing the same if he just wanted to execute them. But while I think that the hood was not purposely used to conceal his identity, it certainly did accomplish that as far as Hartnell was concerned.

By Scott Bullock (Scott_Bullock) ( on Saturday, September 29, 2001 - 09:33 pm:

Kevin wrote: "(W)earing that hood in broad daylight would attract more attention than not wearing it, so I seriously doubt it was for hiding his identity. I mean, if you saw a guy wearing that, you wouldn't notice?"

Of course I'd notice! However, saying that Zodiac didn't wear it to protect his identity is somewhat absurd. What if an eyewitness stumbled upon his activity at LB while he was in the process of committing his crime? His identity would have been protected long enough for him to escape without leaving behind any testimony with regard to his facial features and, at the same time, any testimony from potential eyewitnesses would have linked the crime to Zodiac because of the hood's strange emblem.

There's simply no way that Zodiac could have known if there would be any eyewitnesses at LB. Without such information, doesn't it make sense that he would have wanted to protect his facial features? Strong-arming himself out of the situation with the gun is one thing -- he would have gotten away but would have left valuable evidence behind -- but doing the same while wearing the hood is quite different -- he would have gotten away without disclosing his facial identity. Now, if Zodiac was such a smart fella, which scenario would seem more plausible?

Yes, I would have noticed a guy wearing a hood. On the other hand, I would have also noticed someone who was holding a gun on the couple, tying them up, and proceeding to stab them. The idea of "which would be more noticeable" simply baffles me. Are you really saying that you wouldn't have suspected something fishy was happening regardless of the hood? You wouldn't have noticed the gun, the knife, the rope, and Bryan and Cecilia's cries of agony? Sorry folks, but the arguments against his wearing the hood to protect his identity are very, very weak.

Just my opinion.


By Ed N (Ed_N) ( on Sunday, September 30, 2001 - 12:31 am:

Scott: I agree that the hood protected his identity, but that was not his primary reason for wearing it, in fact I think it was incidental, but that's what I think based on his previous and subsequent behaviour. Unless you're on one of the rises overlooking Zodiac Island or rounding the closest one from the south, you can't see the island, much less anyone on it. With three trees at the end under which they were lying, I think an accidental observer would be hard pressed to actually see anything at the end of the island anyway, but not having seen it with all three trees, I can't say for certain. If that was the case, then it's unlikely anyone could have seen Z holding a gun or a knife, and even then, no vantage point is close enough to afford an eyewitness a good enough look to provide facial details to a composite artist.

In any case, Z put his hood on only after approaching the island and standing behind one of the trees; he didn't put it on in the car and walk down to the island wearing it. I must wonder then, if he used it only for the purpose of concealing his identity, why then did he expose his face to potential eyewitnesses until he was almost upon his prey? If the reason he did so was because he was certain that no one was around to see him, why bother with the hood in the first place?

If last Thursday was any indication of what it was like at LB in 1969, and I suspect that Z was very familiar with the general area, then he knew that Oak Shores (as it's called now) would be deserted, or very nearly so. He felt safe enough to commit his crime with a nearly zero chance of being caught. Thus, no need for the hood at all, in keeping with at least one of his two previous and one subsequent crimes. Which brings me back to my contention that the hood served a ritualistic purpose and concealment of identity was only incidental. He didn't expect either Hartnell nor Shepard to survive, so he wasn't concealing his face from them.

That's how I understand this so far. What do you think?

By Kevin (Kevinrm) ( on Sunday, September 30, 2001 - 12:40 am:

Okay, here's a guy with a big square "bag" on top of his head, and a bullseye in the middle of it no less. That's definitely more noticable than a guy holding a gun, which could be somewhat concealed. If his purpose was to hide his identity, there must be a hundred ways of more effectively doing it. A stocking cap, wig, sunglasses, fake mustache, pantyhose, ballcap, etc, would sure have been a lot less noticeable that an executioners hood, and easier to put together. Actually, I've never heard of any other crime being commited where the perp tried to hide his identity with an executioners hood on, have you? I've never seen photo's of anyone robbing a bank wearing one of these, have you? You say there was no way he could have known there wouldn't be any eyewitnesses? Why not? Heck, all he had to do was look to see that there would be no eyewitnesses. I seriously doubt he would have done this with PEOPLE around. He looked first, and didn't see anyone nearby except the couple. Scott, I think your theory is the one that's weak here....

By Douglas Oswell (Dowland) ( on Sunday, September 30, 2001 - 07:28 am:

The hood apparently meant something to him. If all he wanted to do was conceal his features, a ski mask would have been much simpler. Secondarily, he might have wished to ensure that he wouldn't be identified if his luck at BRS held out and one of the victims survived. But given the symbolism involved, the primary purpose of the hood was to convey a meaning known only to him.

By Scott Bullock (Scott_Bullock) ( on Sunday, September 30, 2001 - 08:43 am:

Ed wrote: "(T)he hood served a ritualistic purpose and concealment of identity was only incidental."

I agree with this 100%! Why are you guys only reading what you want to read and ignoring the rest of the context? I've stated in several of my posts that the hood obviously represented something that was significant to Zodiac. However, to say that it served a ritualistic purpose and only a ritualistic purpose is rather naive. Zodiac would not have had to wear the hood from his car to the island because he hadn't done anything wrong yet. He put on the hood prior to attacking Bryan and Cecilia because he was about to murder them. Then, and only then, would he have a need to protect his identity.

The reason that he didn't use a more simple method to conceal his identity is for reasons that I've already stated. Had he been seen by eyewitnesses, the hood would have served to perpetuate his public -- not private -- identity. I feel that this is something that Zodiac would have wanted. He obviously had an agenda that superceded the act of murder alone -- namely, public terror. What better way to propagate that terror than by being seen wearing his macabre hood?

Ed, at least, seems to be understanding the point that I'm trying to make. Zodiac using the hood to conceal his identity was secondary to the ritualistic purpose it served. Okay, I'll buy that. But that it served only a ritualistic purpose? No way!

Before calling my theory weak, I suggest that you step back and have a better look at the entire picture. And please, by all means, read all of my previous posts on this thread. You'll see that I never suggested that the hood was only used to protect his identity. The ritualistic ramifications of the hood are quite clear to me. However, think of the ramifications that the hood would have served if he'd been seen by an eyewitness. It would have served to further connect Zodiac to the crime at LB without revealing his actual identity. Seems plausible to me. What do you guys think? Am I really that far into left field here?


By Scott Bullock (Scott_Bullock) ( on Sunday, September 30, 2001 - 09:07 am:

Ps. Kevin, I haven't seen any form of theory coming from you. All I've seen is half-baked ideas that are nothing more than speculation.

You wrote: "You say there was no way he could have known there wouldn't be any eyewitnesses? Why not? Heck, all he had to do was look to see that there would be no eyewitnesses."

Please! Zodiac spent somewhere close to half an hour with Bryan and Cecilia before stabbing them. Do you honestly think he was looking over his shoulder every 30 seconds to see that there were no potential eyewitnesses? No way! Why? He had no need too because he was wearing the hood and had a pistol that would have gotten him out of the situation if he had had the need. I spent an entire day at Lake Berryessa. Trust me, people popped up and disappeared without warning. Just because there were no eyewitnesses at the outset doesn't mean that there wouldn't have been any during the time that he spent with Bryan and Cecilia. Your claims are simply unrealistic and lack any investigative prowess.

By Kevin (Kevinrm) ( on Sunday, September 30, 2001 - 07:54 pm:


The reason you haven't seen a theory from me is because there isn't one. I just look at the basic facts, and the conclusions, on this aspect anyway, stick out like a sore thumb. I can't help it if you are reaching and no one agrees. This one is a no brainer. Your idea that he didn't use a more simple disquise in order to "perpetuate his public -- not private -- identity" just in case someone survived or saw him is ridiculous. You're rationalizing here to save face. Do you actually believe he thought that far in advance? Now THAT is pure speculation if I've ever seen it.

Real simple, in 1969 the population of the area was a lot less than it is now. The reason he didn't have to look over his shoulder every 30 seconds was because he knew the area, and had a very good idea that the place would be secluded. I'm sure if there were people there, they would have more easily noticed "a guy with the hood on his head" than someone with a simple disquise, and from a lot further distance. Nothing really big here, just common sense. He could have easily stayed there for an hour or more without being seen, considering that the site was rather out of the way. Hint: He planned it to be that way. It seems that he was right on the money because the only person to actually see this hood was his unintended survivor. Had it not been for Hartnell, we wouldn't know about the hood, now would we? Those are facts, not "theories".

By the way, I tend to lurk more than post. You must have mistaken that to mean I don't know much about the case. I've been studying the case since 1986, have been to several of the crime scenes, and my familiariy of the case surely surpases yours.

By Scott Bullock (Scott_Bullock) ( on Monday, October 01, 2001 - 12:30 am:

"I can't help it if you are reaching and no one agrees."

I'm asserting that the hood served a dual purpose, one of which was to conceal his identity. Your claiming that the hood wasn't used to conceal his identity at all. Yeah, I'm the one reaching here. How stupid of me to think that a serial killer, murdering in broad daylight, would want to protect his identity.

"Your idea that he didn't use a more simple disquise (sic) in order to "perpetuate his public -- not private -- identity" just in case someone survived or saw him is ridiculous."

Yeah, you're right. From what we know about Zodiac, it's obvious that he could have cared less about his public identity.

"You're rationalizing here to save face."

At least my thoughts are rational. You've yet to provide a single piece of rational thought as to why the hood didn't serve to protect his identity. Save face? With who?

"Do you actually believe he thought that far in advance?"

You're right again. Zodiac was notorious for not planning ahead. In fact, Lake Berryessa was purely a spur of the moment crime. It wouldn't surprise me to learn that Zodiac had constructed the hood while sitting in his car, just moments before attacking Bryan and Cecilia.

"The reason he didn't have to look over his shoulder every 30 seconds was because he knew the area, and had a very good idea that the place would be secluded."

That's right! Zodiac had ESP! I'd completely forgotten about that. Of course he would have known that there wouldn't be any eyewitnesses!

"I'm sure if there were people there, they would have more easily noticed "a guy with the hood on his head" than someone with a simple disquise (sic), and from a lot further distance."

Yeah, sure. And they also wouldn't have noticed Zodiac's gun, knife, rope, or Bryan and Cecilia's cries of pain while Zodiac repeatedly stabbed them. Whatever you say, smart guy. Common sense, indeed.

"He could have easily stayed there for an hour or more without being seen, considering that the site was rather out of the way. Hint: He planned it to be that way."

Oh really? So I suppose Zodiac knew that Mr. Fong and his son were about to stumble across the scene, so he hurried to finish his business and left before that happened? Hint: Zodiac had no way of knowing if there would be eyewitnesses or not. If he'd stayed with Bryan and Cecilia for "an hour or more," as you claimed, there would have been two additional eyewitnesses: Mr. Fong and his son. Your statements become more absurd with every word you write. It's patently obvious that you've never been to Lake Berryessa because, if you had, you'd realize how uninformed your statements are.

"It seems that he was right on the money because the only person to actually see this hood was his unintended survivor."

Response: 1. Same as above. 2. Zodiac was very, very lucky.

"Had it not been for Hartnell, we wouldn't know about the hood, now would we?"

If he'd stayed at the scene for as long as you thought possible we'd know about it, now wouldn't we?

"I've been studying the case since 1986 . . ."

Oh geez, not another graduate from Graysmith's School of Stupidity! I should have known better than to bang heads with such an informed person as yourself.

". . . have been to several of the crime scenes . . ."

I've been to all of the crime scenes, more than once. What's your point?

". . . my familiariy (sic) of the case surely surpases (sic) yours."

Oh yeah, you're an absolute encyclopedia of Zodiac knowledge. You'd better stick to lurking, because your posts certainly don't reflect the familiarity that you claim.


By Ed N (Ed_N) ( on Monday, October 01, 2001 - 01:24 am:

Now, while I (hopefully) understand where both Scott and Kevin are coming from, I don't fully agree with either. Scott's angle is that Z's hood was intended to be both ritualistic and protective in nature. Kevin's angle is that it was purely ritualistic, and was never intended to serve any other purpose.

My understanding of the purpose of the executioner's hood, if I'm not mistaken (and correct me if I'm wrong), was not originally ritualistic, but rather served to protect the identity of the executioner from the crowd at public executions. Why? So that the relatives of the criminal to be executed wouldn't then track the executioner down and kill him in vengeance.

Over the centuries, it's purpose changed from concealment of identity to ritual, especially today, where it's synonymous with the business of execution. Since we know who the executioners are these days (those present get to see their faces, unless I miss my guess), the use of an executioner's hood today would be to instill fear, not to protect identity.

Relative to Z, the primary purpose of his "executioner's hood" (if that's what it was intended to be) was known only to him. Secondarily, I'm now thinking that it was used to instill fear in his victims (or so he hoped). Thirdly, and incidentally, it protected his identity; since he expected both Hartnell and Shepard to die, it's purpose was not to conceal his face from them in case they could identify him.

It's possible that while the hood did protect his identity, and I think it was incidental, I'm not certain that was uppermost on his mind that day, but rather served purposes 1 and 2. After he heard that Hartnell survived, he was relieved that he did wear the hood, because purpose 3, which he may not have even considered at any time prior to that crime, was served by the hood.

By Howard Davis (Howard) ( on Monday, October 01, 2001 - 02:18 am:

I see the Zodiac costume as possibly being 'inspired' by Ned Kelly,Aleister Crowley,Batman,Lord High Executioner,and Zaroffs'costumes.'See my posts.
Since my guy was into the Druids(means "Oak"-trees at LB)Celts,Odin,Norse(also,see Zs 'Valentine'note 2/14/74 where he mentions a "Norse" word and Eduards BM site comments on Zs symbol)mythology ;Z's black hooded costume fits quite nicely with my suspects mind set.
Manson said in a book: "Living in movieland's make-believe ,we began to play-act at making ...[fantasies]...imaginings became real...[some would] at being the Queen of Sheba...we all played characters to fit their whim...If one of the guys,including myself,had a desire to come on as King Richard,Pancho Villa,Lucifer,[Zodiac?]...everyone joined the cast.Pretending occupied our time and our minds and,aided by some dope[surely Z was on drugs at LB!],the play acting became so real that sometimes long after the scenes were over,the feeling of really having been that person lingered so strong it became real life."
Another reason for the hood and dark costume was to frighten the victims.Manson had told some of his people to-at times-'to scare your victims to death possible.'
A former follower stated that he saw films of certain Family members and they were "dressed in black and were wearing crosses...Some wore black hoods...Q.Was this during a Full moon?...Ans.Or full moon,whatever...the witness saw a young woman dead in the film...It didn't show anybodies face.It just had everybody ...with the black hood...Q.Black hoods with eyeholes?Ans.(Nods affirmativly)Q.What else?Ans.You know,long black type dresses...It was all black and with these kind of straight[!]things to go over their faces with SLITS[EMP mine]...One time they had crosses on...They had twelve inch Bowie knives."All FYI.
Of course, Zodiac was concerned with covering his face with the hood in broad daylight.For fun see Beatles song Day Tripper on a Beatles song site.
Possibly he remembered Mageaus survival!
After all,did he not write of his "disguise" at S.F.and that he used it when he "did his Thing"and that the "rest of the time he looked entirely different"?S.F. was bold and risky and he used a disguise to withhold his identity and I believe it was the same at LB.The remoteness of the area would negate- as his SOLE purpose-to use that hood for purposes of covering his face.I think his main idea was to put fear in his victims(Cecilia cried out when she first saw the hooded figure and his gun)and then the fantasy element came into play.He knew that blood splatters when one stabs a victim and was this another reason for the 'face cover'?
Of final interest to me is Sanders' statement that "Charlie had his earhacking sword at hand and told Bruce[Davis]...he should be willing to cut and slash until he had blood and guts up to here...["M pointed to his chin].This took place on August First '69(an occult day -Druid Feast of the first fruits!)Zodiac's deadline published in the Vallejo paper and just before 9/27/69!stabbing at LB.See my posts on the '27th day' starting from July,August to September.

By Howard Davis (Howard) ( on Monday, October 01, 2001 - 02:46 am:

Along with DAY Tripper see Hey Bulldog from the Yellow Submarine album.See if anything applies to LB Zs first daylight deal since 12/20/68.

By William Baker (Bill_Baker) ( on Monday, October 01, 2001 - 02:49 pm:

It has long been my belief that Z, being the asocial coward that he was, eschewed face-to-face interaction with his victims. All of the known cases except LB took place at night, and the Stine killing, while at night, required some personal interaction prior to the shooting, which was accomplished from behind the victim.

Although it may or may not have been his primary motivation for wearing the hood, I am of the opinion that Z wore it to hide behind during his interaction with the victims.

By Howard Davis (Howard) ( on Monday, October 01, 2001 - 05:49 pm:

Greetings!We do see Zodiac interfacing with Stine in the beginning of the trip and even openly speaking with the two S.F. Officers from the side walk.Of course, it was dark,but many criminals do choose the cover of darkness, especially someone as infamous as Zodiac!
If it be accepted(I and Dave Peterson certainly do)that Ms. Johns was a Zodiac victim then we do find him seated right next to a victim for a prolonged period of time(some two hours)and speaking,albeit sparingly.
Since his face and general appearance was so well known it was only fitting he use the evening hour for partial concealment.
Even then as soon as Johns saw the Zodiac wanted poster she told me she recognized him immediately as the man that abducted her!
It is quite possible that your'63 couple found Zodiac-if it was Zodiac(and again I lean towards Z as the perp)confronting them face to face and engaging in some measure of dialogue in broad day light.
We do not know if Z-if indeed it was Z- was utilizing a hood or other form of concealment during that crime.My guess is that he was not and the LB costume is an expansion of fantasy from acquired experience along the way(there was some effort put into the hoods creation and as Hartnell remarked the cross/circle/hood was 'skillfully sewn') and experience from failing to conceal his face in the past(like the BRS '87.
You could be right ;he just may have been of a cowardly character,but I just wanted to present both angles.
For those that are new to the Board det.Baker was an Investigator for many years and was one of the finest and most conscientious detectives in the country!This according to Zodiac Expert Dave Peterson and others in law enforcement.He investigated-along with many other tough cases-the well known Santa Barbara couple murder in '63 and some believe that the perp was Zodiac.
See his excellent detailed posts of the past and references to that enigmatic case.Sorry Wm.,I just had to say it!Now give me the 100 bucks you promised!

By William Baker (Bill_Baker) ( on Monday, October 01, 2001 - 06:13 pm:

Howard, coming from you, the words of praise are indeed elevating, especially in my post-retirement period of intro/retrospection. As for the 100 bucks, let me just hold onto that until the case is solved, and it will go towards the down payment on our bar bill.

By Kevin (Kevinrm) ( on Monday, October 01, 2001 - 07:20 pm:


First of all, I can see it's no use discussing this with someone who shoots his mouth off so easily as you. You have no problem in contradiction yourself from one post to the next. Please don't bother putting words in my mouth, that's old and obvious. I never once claimed that his ritualistic use of the hood was his ONLY reason for using it, just his primary reason for doing so. If his primary reason was for concealment, no need for an executioners hood as there are much easier ways. Actually, why would he even need to conceal himself when the victims were supposed to die? I see you are unable to grasp this reletively simple concept. You on the otherhand were claiming that hiding his identity was it's primary purpose. NOW it's "dual purpose, one of which was to conceal his identity"... how convenient. Way to backpeddle!

Uh huh, he's going to wear this square bag with a target in the middle of it so that the folks around him, while sticking out like a sore thumb, wont know who he is. What a theory. If you can't see that the hood would attract unwanted attention in and of itself, it's not my fault you are thick up there. Oh, I forgot, you also said that it was to "perpetuate his public identity", hah hah. Which is it, to conceal his I.D. or to perpetuate his identity? Gimme a break.

Now that I've lost all respect for your posts, from here on out I'll just skim over them and file them with "Zodiac kills Jon Benet" and "Zodiac's been stalking me for 30 years!" posts.

By Ed N (Ed_N) ( on Monday, October 01, 2001 - 07:50 pm:

Scott: in answer to your question from Updated 9-27-01, 32nd Anniversary of Lake Berryessa Attack (more relevant to this thread), Zodiac Island was in shadow, not darkness, so I don't imagine the hood was much less visible than broad daylight; it might not have been as noticeable, however. With three trees providing cover on the island (two at the north end under which Hartnell and Shepard were lying), it was probably quite difficult to accidentally spot anything happening there anyway.

I think Bill brought up a good point: since Z was apparently waiting for something (as evidenced by his approximately 15 minute interaction with his victims), perhaps the hood made him more comfortable during that time, considering that two of his three other known crimes were blitz-style attacks which took place in just a couple of minutes, in which he didn't spend much time looking at his victims, much less conversing with them. Perhaps the psychological "safety" of anonymity he felt using it was his intention rather than mere concealment of his face in case he was somehow identified.

By Douglas Oswell (Dowland) ( on Monday, October 01, 2001 - 07:55 pm:

He might also have thought that his face wasn't imposing enough to frighten the victims into compliance.

By Douglas Oswell (Dowland) ( on Monday, October 01, 2001 - 07:56 pm:

Or, he might not have had the nerve to show the victims his face.

By Howard Davis (Howard) ( on Monday, October 01, 2001 - 11:06 pm:

My question is why go through creating that hood and sew,by hand, with great detail and care, the cross/circle and the entire get up just to conceal his face?A good ol' Tom Mix handkerchief would do!Heck a Lone Ranger mask would fit the bill nicely.I think there's a lot more to this than simple concealment in front of two kids.

By Scott Bullock (Scott_Bullock) ( on Tuesday, October 02, 2001 - 12:05 am:


I have never "backpedaled" whatsoever. I have not wavered from my original assertions at all. You asked, "Which is it, to conceal his I.D. or to perpetuate his identity?" Let me answer this in a way that even my 10 year old niece would understand: Both. IMHO, he wore the hood to conceal his personal identity and also to perpetuate his public identity in the advent that there were any potential eyewitnesses. I can't put it any simpler than that. If you read my previous posts, you'll see that I've maintained this line of reasoning from the beginning.

Look, we've both been acting like juveniles over the last couple of days. I apologize for shooting off my mouth so easily. I'm the first to admit that, at times, I'm guilty of such actions. Sometimes I just get frustrated with this medium, and my posts become so convoluted that people become confused. That's not your fault, it's mine. I apologize for acting like such a jackass. Can we just call a truce? Seriously, I'm waving the white flag, okay?


Thanks for answering my question from the other thread. I also agree that Det. Baker makes a good point. Zodiac was a coward, and it makes sense that he would feel more comfortable attacking Bryan and Cecilia while wearing the hood. Lake Berryessa is perhaps the most confusing of all the Zodiac crimes. I'm confident that there is something about this particular crime that we are all overlooking. We are either confusing this issue more than necessary, or dancing around the one clue that will break it wide open. I need to figure out a way to step back and look at this particular crime more objectively. It can't be as perplexing as it seems, can it?

Det. Baker, Howard, Douglas:

All three of you deliver ideas and opinions that are as solid as rocks. Why is Lake Berryessa so baffling? I don't believe for a second that Zodiac was smarter than any of you, and the same can be said for a number of people on this board, especially Tom V, Ed N, Tom F, Peter H, and Spencer. If Zodiac were still alive, which I doubt, he'd be laughing his head off at us. This can't possibly be as hard as it seems. I'm convinced that the missing pieces of the puzzle are right in front of us. What in God's name are we overlooking? Does it have something to do with the hood? Or, are we putting too much emphasis on this singular aspect of the case?

Frustrated but determined,


Ps. There are many other intelligent people on this board, so please don't feel left out if I didn't mention your name.

By Scott Bullock (Scott_Bullock) ( on Tuesday, October 02, 2001 - 12:32 am:

Howard wrote: "My question is why go through creating that hood and sew,by hand, with great detail and care, the cross/circle and the entire get up just to conceal his face?"


That is not what I'm implying at all. I agree that there was more to the hood than to just conceal his identity. Please read my previous posts on this matter. Geez, why is everyone stripping that particular assertion from its context and ignoring everything else that I've written?


I wrote, "Let me answer this in a way that even my 10 year old niece would understand . . ."

Looking back, I realize how condescending that sounded. You'll just have to take me at my word when I say that that was not my intention.


By Tom Voigt (Tom_Voigt) ( on Tuesday, October 02, 2001 - 12:44 am:

Scott, you should apologize in a way that even your 10 year old niece would understand!
(Just kidding...hahaha)

Regarding Zodiac's wearing a costume at Lake Berryessa, the only scenario that really makes sense is Pam Huckaby's snuff-film theory. And since that theory is almost certainly absurd, the solution to Zodiac's costume wearing is this: it doesn't make sense. Ever.

By Scott Bullock (Scott_Bullock) ( on Tuesday, October 02, 2001 - 12:58 am:


You're right, it doesn't make sense. Why would Zodiac break-away from his established pattern at LB and then break-away from it again at PH? Geez, I'm in desperate need of another ALA thread to concentrate on.


By Peter H (Peter_H) ( on Tuesday, October 02, 2001 - 08:17 am:

There is an important difference between something's not making sense and our being unable to make sense of it. The apparent contradictions are often solved by reexamining assumptions. Like Einstein and the Cosmological Constant. Tom, I'll betcha a case of Coors 40's that if the cases are ever solved, everything about Berryessa, especially the hood, will make perfect sense.

Peter H

By Lapumo (Lapumo) ( on Tuesday, October 02, 2001 - 09:38 am:

Since Zodiac's costume also displayed the crossed circle symbol,I wonder if he was entitled to believe that his intended victims would recognize this and therefore know who they may have been dealing with? One would assume that anyone could have approached or passed by without raising too much concern.However approaching them in full costume is another story.While I believe the purpose of the hood and costume was ritualistic in nature,one must believe that Zodiac was fully conscious of his surroundings and the dangers of being identified.Zodiac did not waltz across the countryside in full costume,he waited until he was close enough and in cover before "gearing up".The fact that he also used a gun(I suspect without an intention to use it unless absolutely necessary)to get his victims to comply suggests that,among other things,he was mindful of the undue attention the sound of gunfire may bring.I also wonder why Zodiac did not reveal his identity to the victims just before he stabbed them.By that I mean ..only that he was "the Zodiac".

By Ed N (Ed_N) ( on Tuesday, October 02, 2001 - 12:34 pm:

If Z was the author of the SB murders in June 1963, then maybe the answer lies there, as I've opined before. LB may have been his "absolution" of sorts, as sick as it sounds.

Lapumo: Since he apparently followed the papers to see what was written about him, Z must have known that the news (as far as the printed medium goes anyway) was not exactly saturated with stories about him, although there were many in the 12 weeks since BRS, especially in the period following August 1st. Now that I think of it, since both Hartnell and Shepard had been elsewhere during that time, I'd be surprised if they'd even heard of Z, which very well might have surprised him considering his symbol was in plain sight and there'd be no mistaking him, at least as far as locals would be concerned.

By Kevin (Kevinrm) ( on Tuesday, October 02, 2001 - 04:42 pm:


Truce accepted. Glad that one is over.

Well, at least now people are posting here again. I figure we can take some credit for that, right?!?!.


By Ed N (Ed_N) ( on Tuesday, October 02, 2001 - 05:11 pm:

Here's a thought: maybe the hood had no meaning at all. Perhaps Z thought he'd throw the investigators a curveball by using it, so they'd waste time and effort trying to figure it out...

By Howard Davis (Howard) ( on Tuesday, October 02, 2001 - 07:54 pm:

My post wasn't directed towards anything you posted.There are some points in each message from the posts that could address the 'mysteries' at LB.
I personally feel satisfied that it was Manson/Davis inspired -it was just something they would do;if you know their background-thoroughly,that is.Fits perfectly.
When I first read about LB it didn't even startle me as it seemed just like something they would devise.My ex Family member witness thought the same way as he knew what they were into and capable of.He saw the hood being sewn by Sandra Good and even threatened to inform the authorities(he despises the "pigs" as he calls them, but he would "rat" if they tried to hurt him or his girlfriend).See his letter on my also spoke to him by phone and got quite a lot of info on the Family,Zodiac and Bruce Davis' involvement in the crimes.See my recent post on this subject.
"Do the unexpected and bizarre-no sense makes sense" said Manson as he instructed his followers on how to start his 'Revolution' or on "killing random victims."
I was informed by,at the time,a person in the DAs Office that "they came across the Zodiac hood"-replete with the cross/circle and taped knife,etc.(a pretty big etc.!)and "other evidence"and it was no real surprise to them as they well knew what the Family or certain ones in the Group were into -they spent thousands of hours on that case,so they just knew!
As I have told a few others it was supressed.A long ,long story.I know how this all sounds,but I don't really care as I was made privy to a conversation in '74 only because of my 'association' at that period ;and as a hard core researcher since '63 I have slowly verified the statements that were made to me since 1987 based on some questions I had about the Zodiac,as I was brought up in Northern CA and was curious about 'why Zodiac stopped killing and why he stopped writing.'This was based on my not knowing about the '74 Z communications.
I would not have spent thousands of dollars and hours on this case if I even remotely thought my source was not in a position to know what he was talking about.I merely attempted to validate or disprove his statements.
And this goes for the detectives that coffee heir Peter Folger hired to come to the same conclusions as I did.
There is a lot more that I have not shared with others and at the right time I will.I do what I want relative to my research projects based on what I think is beneficial to me and all concerned.
Others can say or do what they please with my research as this is part of my world of research and I love it!Controversy and real disagreement engender insight and that solves mysteries.We all have a "story "and I thought I'd share a little-a very little- of mine, and why I am on this most challenging case.It's just one of many projects as I am not a monomaniac-just a nut!

By Classic (Classic) ( on Tuesday, October 02, 2001 - 11:32 pm:

Is it possible that z's persona kept growing until he saw himself as a super villian.(tying in with the batman connection) What self respecting super villian would not have a costume even if only for his personal amusement and gratification? But Hartnell lives and his detailed account might have scared z, since Mageau's Id wasn't anything to get worried about. z might have been "progressing" but thought different of it after LB. Classic

By William Baker (Bill_Baker) ( on Wednesday, October 03, 2001 - 01:11 am:

Ed, it goes without saying that my raison d'etre on this board is wholly predicated on the premise of Z being the "author" of our 1963 killings. And that premise, moreover, has credence only by virtue of the similarities between our case and Lake Berryessa, for without LB there would have been little cause to link our case with Z.

It has occurred to me that the dissimilarities between our case and LB only serve to reinforce my long-standing belief. And those differences all seem to point towards a refinement of tactics, based upon prior lessons learned, but still rooted in his core MO. An absolution? No doubt in my mind. He sought to redeem himself for past screwups, only to screw up yet again. That led to Stine, which I think he knew would be his swan-song killing, direct attribution-wise.

I have given considerable thought as to whether our killer, vis a vis the Z personna, would have worn a ritualistic/concealing/sheltering mask. I tend to think he did not, although I can't seem to articulate why, except perhaps that LB, along with his other exploits, may represent the consequential result of his having suffered a dose of vulnerability/fallibility in 1963. In my mind, it begs the question as to what he may have done, what crimes he may have committed, prior to 1963. . .

If I was to be pressed to give my opinion as to the significance (to Z) of the mask, I would probably say that it was of manifold purposes, the first being to shelter his "shyness" at having to interact with his intended victims, thereby affording him both anonimity and avoidance of eye contact. The second, and very close in importance so as to be nearly tied with the first, would be the ritualistic significance that was his inspiration. Lastly, albeit easily interchangeable in order with any of the other two, would be his need to hide his identity for whatever perceived threat to his anonimity he may have envisioned, whether from passersby or surviving victims.

The order of importance, with respect to his reasons for wearing the hood, is subject to individual interpretation, but I feel certain that there are three, count 'em, three reasons for his construction and wearing of the hood, whether Z understood it at the time or not. I doubt that he had formulated his Z identity as early as 1963, but his murderous inclinations were no less manifest, and his natural tendency to avoid capture would have readily adapted, after a hibernative period after the 1963 fiasco, to killing scenarios that served to protect his identity.

As with everyone else on this board, my opinions are just that.

By Scott Bullock (Scott_Bullock) ( on Wednesday, October 03, 2001 - 10:17 pm:


Yeah, I believe that we did help to get people posting again. Nothing like a good ol' fashioned dog fight to attract the members of the board! I'm glad that we were able to resolve our differences.

Det. Baker:

Your posts are making a lot of sense -- they always do. What do you think about my idea that Zodiac wore the hood to perpetuate his public identity in the event that there were any eyewitnesses? This might explain why he didn't write a letter to take credit for the Lake Berryessa crime; he realized that Hartnell had survived and had provided testimony with regard to the hood. This, compounded with the message on the car door, was probably -- in Zodiac's mind -- enough validation of his presence at LB. Does this seem logical to you?


By William Baker (Bill_Baker) ( on Wednesday, October 03, 2001 - 11:22 pm:

Scott, I tend to think that Z had no intention of having eyewitnesses to his hooded presence at the lake, other than the victims, and choreographed his approach and exit accordingly. Having the victims see his Z regalia was sufficient for him, however brief, knowing that they would (expectedly) take that knowledge to their graves. In my opinion, despite his propensity for publicity, the hood was intended for the private "benefit" of the victims and himself only.

At the time he wrote the message on the car door and made the phone call, he believed the victims were dead, as evidenced by the phone message. The fact that Hartnell survived is probably why he made no later reference to the crime in his letters. He let his car door message and phone call stand as testament to his involvement. I'm hesitant to bring it into this post, but I can't help but to mention that our 1963 case was a fiasco for the killer, and he was far from being proud of his deeds. There were no ensuing letters or phone calls taking credit for the crime. If, as I believe, Z was responsible for the 1963 killings and LB, and that LB was an intended means for Z to redeem himself for the sloppy work 6 years before, then it makes sense that he would not have felt inclined to gloat in writing about his failed mission at Lake Berryessa. I also think that his less-than-bravura performance at LB, aggravated by its link to his piss-poor commission of the 1963 murders, led to his last self-attributed killing of Stine.

Scott, more often than not I agree with your lines of reasoning. Please stay the course.

By Eduard (Eduard) ( on Thursday, October 04, 2001 - 07:07 am:

Hey Bill,

Glad your back!

"The Zodiac-Batman Connection"

By Eduard (Eduard) ( on Thursday, October 04, 2001 - 07:09 am:


Correction: Glad you are back!


By Sandy (Sandy) ( on Thursday, October 04, 2001 - 10:47 am:

I am with Bill and Ed. Z being the coward that he is,would hide behind a mask, along with instilling the fear he lived for, looking in his victims eyes.He is not comfortable interacting with people,Kathleen Johns gave me the feeling that this guy was a man of few words.Hartnell said he had a long conversation with him. It seems the only times he would do any amount of talking, was on the phone or behind a mask, confirming what Bill told us. The man I have encountered over the years who "just happens to be a suspect" is very much like that. When he would come into my work place, I would say hello to him ,he would just glare at me.The only time he did any talking to me,he wore a disguise.He would say very few words on the phone, most of the time he would just stay on the line. Once he was leaving a message on my recorder, when I picked up the phone and started to speak to him, he hung up fast! His mood seems to change from bold,to fearful.I have spoken to someone that worked with him in construction in 1990. That person told me this guy is a very angry man, and has very little to do with the people around him.The only workers he seems to get along with are Hispanic.If in fact this suspect is the Z,the profile fits. Note to all bashers: I should be off line for a week or so, so save it until then ok? I would like to read what you think.

By Tom Voigt (Tom_Voigt) ( on Thursday, October 04, 2001 - 11:41 am:

Sandy, would you please stop turning every thread in which you post into a discussion about these suspects of yours?

By Mike (Oklahoma_Mike) ( on Thursday, October 04, 2001 - 08:49 pm:

I'd like to add my voice to the chorus welcoming Bill back to the posts! Let us all be honest, he's hands down the truest professional among all of us (no insult meant to any of us, we've got sharp people on this board) with his detective experience.
I'd like to point out one fact about Z wearing the hood at lake Berryessa: The question as to why would he wear the hood if he did not intend to leave witnesses misses the most obvious fact that he intended there to be one surviving witness, HIMSELF! HE knew he wore the hood, and that was what was really important to him. I like the idea the hood could have had more than one use, to satisfy Z to his own ends and to conceal if needed.

By Scott Bullock (Scott_Bullock) ( - on Thursday, July 11, 2002 - 12:34 am:

Ed and I discovered something about the Lake Berryessa crime scene that has been a source of debate for quite some time: Whether or not it was possible to have determined the Zodiac's weight by using "compaction" tests.

While at LB on my trip, Ed and I did some comparisons at various spots on "Zodiac Island." Amazingly, despite the fact that I weigh some one hundred pounds more than Ed does, the depths of our respective prints were identical. Granted, the soil conditions were probably not the same as they were in September of 1969, but I'm not sure it makes much of a difference. I'm of the opinion that another myth has been put to rest: the compaction tests done in '69 don't mean squat. Ed?


By Peter H (Peter_H) ( - on Thursday, July 11, 2002 - 09:23 am:


You and Ed wear the same shoes that day?

By Ed N (Ed_N) ( - on Thursday, July 11, 2002 - 10:49 am:

Peter:, no, we didn't, just like the cop who did the compaction test back in September 1969 didn't wear the same Wing Walkers that Z did. The point is, as I've mentioned here and demonstrated before to Tom and others, one cannot sink very far into the ground there, and so shoe prints appear to be the same depth no matter who made them; in fact, one can barely make an impression. I couldn't make an indentation in the ground by the picnic bench where Hartnell and Shepard lay even when I jumped up and down several times. So, IMHO (for whatever it's worth), and apologies to Narlow, but today, such a test is worthless because of the hard-packed nature of the ground in much of the area. The only way such a test might have worked is if Z walked right by the water in the soft ground by the little bay to the west of Z Island, and they did the compaction test right there. Otherwise, it's just not going to work. Granted, conditions might be very different today than 33 years ago, but that's what Scott, myself and others have observed at the site.

By Scott Bullock (Scott_Bullock) ( - on Thursday, July 11, 2002 - 10:52 am:

Nope, but we both had similar style shoes: sandals. And if you don't believe me, go there and try for yourself.

By Scott Bullock (Scott_Bullock) ( - on Thursday, July 11, 2002 - 11:05 am:

Cool, Ed! Zynchronicity! However, we were wearing sandals, though not of the same brand, and when we did leave (faint) impressions in the loose dirt, it wasn't deep enough to discern any difference.

By Peter H (Peter_H) ( - on Thursday, July 11, 2002 - 12:46 pm:

Scott & Ed:

The point is not just the style. Compaction is a function of weight AND surface area. A large weight on a large shoe can produce the same compaction as a smaller weight on a smaller shoe. There was a California off road vehicle group years ago that had great fun pointing out that hiking boots do more damage than tires because the weight per square inch is greater on the boot and the treads dig deeper. I don't know if this is literally true, but the principle is correct.

Point is, the difference would not be evident in the depth alone, but in the ratio between depth and surface area. Betcha Ed's feet are a lot smaller than Scott's.

By Ed N (Ed_N) ( - on Thursday, July 11, 2002 - 05:34 pm:

Peter: I understand what you're saying, however, you missed my point. Yes, Scott and I have different size feet and therefore shoes, but how can we be certain that the original compaction test was good? True, the officer that did the test in 1969 weighed over 200 pounds, but did he wear size 10 Wing Walkers at the time? If the answer is no, then the original test may have absolutely no validity whatsoever.

By Tom Voigt (Tom_Voigt) ( - on Thursday, July 11, 2002 - 05:36 pm:

I'd put more emphasis on the eyewitness descriptions at Lake Berryessa than the compaction test.

By Tony (Mahalo) ( - on Thursday, July 11, 2002 - 09:18 pm:

Also, for those of you not from No. Cal, Aug.,Sept.,& early Oct. are called 'Indian Summer' there: the hottest & dryest time of year. Unless there was a freak storm, it's amazing they got the prints they did.

By Scott Bullock (Scott_Bullock) ( - on Thursday, July 11, 2002 - 11:43 pm:

Tom, it does seem strange that Hartnell's testimony seems to corroborate the results of the compaction test done in '69. However, being the Allen advocate that I am, that is fine by me.

By Peter H (Peter_H) ( - on Friday, July 12, 2002 - 08:03 am:

I don't think I missed your point at all. Do you know exactly how the compaction test was done? The officer only compared the depth of his own prints to the wing-walker prints? No other measurements? Shoe size? Surface area? Soil characteristics? If we don't know the test protocol you can't be certain that it was any good, but you can't reject it on the basis of your and Scott's observation.


Really? In the face of all the criticism of eyewitness accounts?


What's strange about consistent evidence?

By Howard Davis (Howard) ( - on Tuesday, July 16, 2002 - 03:54 pm:

As I brought out in a previous post there was NO true professional compaction test done!They did NOT use men that varied in weight,starting at say,150;170,190,220lbs,etc.
Downward thrust, depending on leg strength,not just mass or weight,can make a deep impression on soil too.When one is wearing boots it can add to the impression or the depth,especially if the person is going uphill and more leg strength is needed.HOW the person is walking/thrusting must be taken into account when looking at soil impresssions also.
The car/young man seen by the three young women was different(I believe),by tire comparison distance measurments(see posts)than the tire treads left some 20 feet behind Hartnells car.
This shows,in my opinion,that it was a different car/person than the'66/7 Impala seen by the three girls and most probably must have been the real perp.
Why change cars?Did Z bring two cars that day?Did he drive,to God knows where,to exchange cars and drive all the way back to find the couple?
I hope Tom gives his info about Hartnells car on the day of the attack.It is very interesting.I think it best if he gives it,if he hasn't already.It adds a Zodiac like dimension to the case if correct.

By Scott Bullock (Scott_Bullock) ( - on Wednesday, July 17, 2002 - 12:37 am:

"I hope Tom gives his info about Hartnells car on the day of the attack.It is very interesting.I think it best if he gives it,if he hasn't already.It adds a Zodiac like dimension to the case if correct."

That's true, Howard. However, it may also lead one to believe that a connection could be made between LB and Cheri Jo Bates and, in my opinion, such a connection is tenuous at best.


By Howard Davis (Howard) ( - on Wednesday, July 17, 2002 - 01:13 pm:

Don't forget Johns,as the perp tampered with her car also.The 1968 incident on Telegraph AV. in Berkeley(see posts)when two girls' VW was disabled( by pulling the middle distributor wire) and a stranger approaching them to offer'assistance' is suggestive.
If a link forms to Bates/Johns/LB,as to similar methodology ,it doesn't subtract from the possibilty that all three are connected and hence,the possibility it's the same perp or Zodiac.It moves towards,not away from the possibility of Z as author of the crimes.
What I am really saying is that it could show that Hartnell/Shepard were followed and/or were selected the day of the attack.This could change,in some details,our perspective of the crime picture at LB and that it wasn't a random crime per se.That we all could(well maybe!) agree on.
Hows the foot?Guess we can call you Big Foot at 6'10"!Ready for a compaction test?Great meeting and speaking with you!You certainly know the case.

By Scott Bullock (Scott_Bullock) ( - on Thursday, July 18, 2002 - 02:31 am:

Good points, Howard. However, I have a hard time believing that the Zodiac stalked and/or followed Hartnell and Shepard that day for one basic reason: how would Z have known that they were going to an isolated area instead of some social function where tons of people would have been? Also, I'm very reluctant to ascribe any of the methodologies used by Cheri Jo Bates' killer and Kathleen Johns' attacker to the Zodiac. Until those two incidents can be confirmed as having been committed by the Zodiac, I feel it is unreasonable to make any suppositions to the contrary.

My foot is doing much better now; thanks for asking. It was great meeting you as well. Also, I love your book!


By Howard Davis (Howard) ( - on Thursday, July 18, 2002 - 11:42 am:

In a revaluation we must consider that it was not a matter of Z stalking the couple and somehow knowing they would end up where they did,in an isolated area(BH said he had gone there before-I think more than once too FYI)but that with the 'Tom info' about the car trouble,he could have been trying a sabotage job on the engine and then he comes by and offers help,but BH defeated this by fixing the problem.
Of course,this engine tampering theory is highly speculative and could be dismissed by BH if we find it was a recurring problem.If the middle wire of the distributor was pulled,then it offers some tempting possibilities.
The thing is,if Z was trolling for victims as it appears,then he could have spotted the couple at any point in their journey and began following them at a distance.
Ed knows that area very well(like the back of his gloved hand!) and he has not ruled out that possibility.
Z could have been parked at any side road and when BH drove by he could have began following them;maybe even at the college after the car problem.
This is all speculation to be sure,but it is interesting.It was that previously unknown car problem incident that Tom brought out that started me to thinking about looking at LB with fresh eyes.
Of course,I maintain that Bates/Johns was a Z and that will be two possible(there's enough evidence,in my view, to at least say "possible") Z links until more info surfaces.
The element of deception(like with Bates/Johns) was employed by Z at LB as he told them he was an 'escaped convict and needed money,and I will have to tie you up' and so on.
Glad about the foot -I thought you would have to call a toe truck!Thanks for the feedback.

By Scott Bullock (Scott_Bullock) ( - on Friday, July 19, 2002 - 04:19 am:

Howard, you wrote, "The thing is,if Z was trolling for victims as it appears,then he could have spotted the couple at any point in their journey and began following them at a distance."

I'm more inclined to believe that scenario than the "tampered car" idea. I know Tom was simply pointing out a possibility, which was an observation from someone who knew Bryan and Cecilia, but, in my opinion, it just doesn't stand to reason for the very reasons I've stated above.

Additionally, I'm actually more inclined to believe that the Zodiac was trolling Lake Berryessa, came across a parked car, got out to investigate, and happened upon Bryan and Cecilia. As I've stated, if the Z put a tail on them, how would he have known they were going to stop in a remote area?


By Howard Davis (Howard) ( - on Sunday, July 21, 2002 - 12:12 am:

Remember that peeping Ed,I mean Tom,er the guy at A&W?Later,when the girls were sunbathing, some distance away from the A&W,they spotted the same guy watching them.This means he had to have followed them not sure where they were going and yet there he was!
I have studied many serial killers and some will simply follow a victim/s and see where it leads-it's part of their excitment in stalking the victim/s.
We don't know for certain just what Z did as far as his manner of stalking that day at LB,but all of our speculations do help us gain a perspective.
The most important thing is the attack itself,but of course,all the LB features of the incident are part of the whole picture.

By Scott Bullock (Scott_Bullock) ( - on Monday, July 22, 2002 - 08:37 am:


I understand your point entirely: Yes, it's very possible that Zodiac followed them once they had entered his kill box, so to speak. This would be the area that Zodiac was trolling on 09/27/69: Lake Berryessa. What I don't buy is that the Zodiac followed them to Lake Berryessa from Napa, that's all. His "kill box," in my opinion, would then have been much too large to troll effectively. Besides, if ALA was the Zodiac, it makes more sense that he would have driven to LB from the opposite direction than did Bryan and Cecilia.


By Tom Voigt (Tom_Voigt) ( - on Wednesday, July 24, 2002 - 12:35 am:

I agree that Bryan and Cecelia were random victims. Maybe one day the facts will show otherwise, but not today.