Hartnell's Weight Estimate

Zodiackiller.com Message Board: Cecelia Shepard and Bryan Hartnell: Hartnell's Weight Estimate

By Jake (Jake) (spider-wc014.proxy.aol.com - on Thursday, May 10, 2001 - 08:41 pm:

In his last known interview on the attack at Lake Berryessa, Brian Hartnell reiterated his equivocation on the Zodiac's weight. Though many early interviews have him describing Z as really big, Hartnell raised the point again that this description was based on a jacket that may or may not have been padded or lined. He recalled that most of the suspects the police showed him were bigger than the man who attacked him, and he wondered if he was too forceful in his description of a heavy man.

He also elaborated on his comment that there was nothing to rule Allen out by saying that, except for his age, there was also nothing to rule out the interviewer, who is about 75 lbs lighter than Allen.

Napa County Sheriffs Dept. reports put Z at 225 to 250 lbs, at the heavier end of the witness description spectrum. If his later retractions are correct, Z's true weight may be more around the even 200 area, in line with Mageau's 195 and Foukes' 180-210.

Take it away, Doug!

"This is the Zodiac Speaking..."

By Douglas Oswell (Dowland) (218.philadelphia01rh.15.pa.dial-access.att.net - on Thursday, May 10, 2001 - 10:37 pm:

I'd say anything between 160 and 200 would be within the range. Once again, it all hinges on the witnesses' ambiguity. Had he been egregiously large or egregiously small in appearance they wouldn't have had doubts or second thoughts.

I should point out, too, that Mageau gave a weight of 160 in his first newspaper interview. I'm not too sure when the 195 figure came out. And the first news report of the Stine killing (before Zodiac's complicity was known) put the suspect at 170, which I assume was the weight given by the teenagers.

Consider that a person attacked by, say, Wilt Chamberlain, isn't necessarily to be believed when he gives an exact height figure. But the first element of his description will surely be "a really tall man." It's hard to think that such a victim would have second thoughts about the height of his assailant.

By Ed N (Ed_N) (spider-ntc-tb052.proxy.aol.com - on Thursday, May 10, 2001 - 11:05 pm:

The one thing that's always bothered me about Z's weight and the compaction test at LB is that I don't weigh near what Z is estimated to have been, yet, when I have been to the LB site, in some places, my footprints appear to be deeper than his were. Perhaps I am mistaken, maybe it's because of the difference in footwear (boots versus tennis shoes), and I don't wish to impugn anyone, but, given that, I wonder just how accurate the compaction test was. Can we be absolutely certain that Z weighed 225-250 pounds?

By Howard Davis (Howard) (ont-cvx2-47.linkline.com - on Thursday, May 10, 2001 - 11:49 pm:

Ed/Doug/Jake:Good points! In old anti identification books one of the things you could do if there was soft soil was to take 'firm' steps in such a way as to indicate you were much heavier-and yes, heavy shoes/boots were recommended. You cannot rely on a "compaction"test!

Doug mentioned wearing 'loose clothing' to give the appearance of a larger person;well,this was what those books suggested!The witnesses did NOT have a set of scales with them,so "true" weight is out!

One book ,as I recall, suggested wearing some form of stuffing to give an overweight appearance. Easy.

Glasses were always encouraged as they too throw off accurate witness recall ,that is ,to ones' true appearance relative to facial features.Wigs, of course, were always suggested, and dying the hair or wearing it differently.

As far as facial hair goes,fake moustaches and beards were mentioned.

The heavy part is the suggestion to use spirit gum and latex strips on the face to either cover facial hair and/or to change the structure of the face. Its easy -I did just a few hours research and a talk with a makeup artist(if any of you straight guys-like me,want to meet him, I suggest you take a gun for protection ;and if I get any e mails for his phone # I will post your name!Just kiddin')from the 60's and you can change your whole face in a few minutes.Caesar Romero, in Batman, was able to cover his thick moustache with spirit gum and latex.

"I shall not tell you what my disguise consists of " said Zodiac. This is troublesome as a face ID may be useless relative to what he really looked like when Z did his "Thing.' "I look like what is passed out[wanted poster]when I do my Thing ,the rest of the time I look entirely different."

And what was Ed doing out at LB walking on soft soil? Were you wearing a hat or hood?A killer is supposed to go back to the scene to relive the event!HMMMMM!

By Douglas Oswell (Dowland) (14.philadelphia01rh.15.pa.dial-access.att.net - on Thursday, May 10, 2001 - 11:50 pm:

Ed, I think you can get widely varying results from any "compaction test" that isn't carefully controlled for all kinds of factors. Snowshoes, for instance, distribute the weight of an individual over a wider area, causing less sinkage, and the same could probably be said for varying kinds of street shoes. Then you have to take into account such factors as humidity, temperature and the precise characteristics of the soil in the exact place where the suspect print is located. There's also speed and impact to consider.

By Ed N (Ed_N) (spider-ntc-ta081.proxy.aol.com - on Monday, May 14, 2001 - 04:17 pm:

Many good ways for Z to mislead eyewitnesses have been mentioned before, but there's one thing that's been in the back of my mind for quite a while now: in addition to possible shoe lifts to make him appear taller, wearing oversize boots, padded/stuffed windbreaker to appear heavier, glasses, etc, etc, what if he actually wore a weight belt (of the scuba diving variety)? He could easily increase his weight significantly, which (assuming that the compaction test was accurate) could account for his estimated weight of 225-250 pounds.

By Douglas Oswell (Dowland) (46.philadelphia01rh.16.pa.dial-access.att.net - on Monday, May 14, 2001 - 05:15 pm:

Remember, too, that you can always disguise yourself "upward," but it's very hard to do the reverse. A light man can use clothing to make himself look heavier, but a heavy man is generally hard-pressed to make himself look lighter. The Graysmith account, supposedly based on the Hartnell account, has Zodiac wearing blousy trousers, tucked into his boots, and Hartnell described him as wearing a "puffed-up" jacket with some kind of shirt underneath. To my mind, blousy trousers and a puffed-up jacket indicate a possible (perhaps even probable) attempt at deception in terms of weight. Ed, the idea of a weight belt is intriguing, although I'm not too sure whether Zodiac, or any criminal, would anticipate a "compaction test." But glasses, of course, are almost a given.

Kaczynski used bulky clothing to mask his true build, and he also used such artifices as a wig, dark glasses, pieces of wax in one nostril and chewing gum in the cheek to give a false impression of his facial structure.

By Ed N (Ed_N) (spider-ntc-ta073.proxy.aol.com - on Monday, May 14, 2001 - 06:19 pm:

Most criminals might not anticipate such a test, but Z was not like most in many respects; I think most would agree that, while not necessarily a rocket scientist, he did plan his crimes beforehand.

If Z was local, as I've suggested before, he'd know to expect a basically undeveloped area at LB where he'd leave lots of footprints. Because the prints were plentiful and very clear (he obviously wasn't in a hurry when he left), I'm convinced that he purposely left footprints behind. If so, then he might have taken the time to secure a weight belt for the purpose of leaving deep prints behind to mislead authorities.

By Douglas Oswell (Dowland) (50.philadelphia01rh.15.pa.dial-access.att.net - on Monday, May 14, 2001 - 06:53 pm:

Could be, Ed, but you know, given that he probably couldn't fly, he had to leave footprints somewhere! It's just an occupational hazard. Although I'm not averse to thinking that he chose the Wing Walkers for just that purpose, and chucked them after the deed was done.

By Howard Davis (Howard) (dsl-gte-10407-2.linkline.com - on Monday, May 14, 2001 - 07:17 pm:

Shoe lifts can bring up height about 2-3 inches or more;plus the heel and sole itself. At LB we have Z in a hood that was probably hollow(like the head that was wearing it!) at the top. I suspect a graduation hat(those 'square corners') was used as a base and the black cloth sewn on ;so that would bring up height.

Hartnell said the man could have been as short as 5'8" and as tall as 6'+.So we have a short/tall Zodiac!

All you have to do is walk firmly and those Wing Walkers can make a good impression on the PD!If a criminal knows he is going to be on or around impressional soil a weight belt would give a "fake clew" just fine. I proposed that to an associate several years ago, but it was agreed it could never fly.Possible though.

Then I found it was easy to leave deep impactions as you walk in impressional soil by just doing a 'light stomping' motion with boots on-even street shoes can do this-not as good as Ed though!

By Douglas Oswell (Dowland) (73.philadelphia01rh.15.pa.dial-access.att.net - on Monday, May 14, 2001 - 08:57 pm:

I suspect a graduation hat(those 'square corners') was used as a base and the black cloth sewn on ;so that would bring up height.

Howard, do you mean like this?

By Sylvie (Sylvie14) (spider-mtc-td044.proxy.aol.com - on Monday, May 14, 2001 - 10:44 pm:

that's a great shot of Ted, looks just like my B.A. grad hat as well.

By Ed N (Ed_N) (spider-ntc-td032.proxy.aol.com - on Tuesday, May 15, 2001 - 12:13 am:

Douglas: of course he would leave footprints. My point is that I think he was familiar enough with the area to know that he could leave good impressions, and did so purposefully, unlike LHR, BRS and PH, where the surface didn't allow for such. Whether he chose Wing Walkers or not for that purpose, I don't know, but I don't think that Z was ignorant of the fact that he left behind a clear trail of footprints to be found. He could just as easily have worn old boots that left indistinct impressions, or even dragged a branch behind him to obscure his trail, but he didn't. That leads me to suspect that it wasn't just a fortuitous circumstance that the cops ended up with great pics and plaster casts of them. Z may have wanted that, but why? Maybe height, weight and shoe size were all disguised...

By Howard Davis (Howard) (ont-cvx1-28.linkline.com - on Tuesday, May 15, 2001 - 01:58 am:

Also, we do not even know if size 10 1/2 " was his true shoe size ,as they could have been oversizers!I am glad Ed brings all these things out as it stimulates thought.

By Howard Davis (Howard) (ont-cvx1-28.linkline.com - on Tuesday, May 15, 2001 - 02:02 am:

Doug: good shot(no pun)!I guess Ted didn't bomb out in school-now that was a pun! I always thought that a hat of that kind was used in creating Z's costume hood which looks like Ned Kelly's hood. See the various Kelly sites on Direct Hit.

By Ed N (Ed_N) (spider-ntc-tb014.proxy.aol.com - on Tuesday, May 15, 2001 - 01:12 pm:

I thought Ned Kelly's armor was metallic, and his helmet was cylindrical with a horizontal slit to see out of. It was a good ploy, but it ultimately failed, because he was eventually shot in the legs, which really had no protection below the groin, as I recall. In fact, one of his buddies was shot in the groin at just the right angle between the armor plates and bled to death. NK was arrested, tried, convicted and hanged in 1881, and as a memorial to him, the final part of a NK miniseries was broadcast on the evening of the 100th anniversary of his execution (needless to say, the miniseries was written by an apologist; NK is apparently considered by some to be something of a hero as I recall, because Australia didn't really have anything like the colorful outlaws that we did in the 19th Century).

By Bill Bratton (Willy) (c1465163-a.sttls1.wa.home.com - on Tuesday, May 15, 2001 - 08:24 pm:

Mick Jagger played Ned Kelly in the 1970 movie shot in the UK. Mick also provided a Moog synthesizer soundtrack for Kenneth Anger's eleven minute movie "Invocation Of My Demon Brother". The latter was shot in San Francisco, 1969, and acting in it were Bobby Beausoleil (as Lucifer) and Anton Szandor LaVey (as Satan). Zyncronicity?

By Sandy (Sandy) (c531918-a.ptbrg1.sfba.home.com - on Tuesday, May 15, 2001 - 08:38 pm:

It was a paper sack painted black . It sat on his shoulders. That is what made him look taller.The costume was in two pieces, the hood and the black cloth . He would have to put the cloth on first, then the sack. The hole in the cloth was just large enough to go over his head. He then tucked the bent edge of the paper sack under the cloth to hold it on. The clip on sun glasses also helped to secure the hood on. He may have used divers weights to make himself weigh more. Maybe the police had questioned him about Darlene, so he needed to throw them off his trail by doing this at Lake B?

By Sandy (Sandy) (c531918-a.ptbrg1.sfba.home.com - on Tuesday, May 15, 2001 - 08:55 pm:

Ed I just read your post about the weights, funny we are starting to think alike. (LOL) Read your mail!

By Howard Davis (Howard) (dsl-gte-10407-2.linkline.com - on Wednesday, May 15, 2002 - 11:50 am:

The much heralded "compaction test"was not performed properly.There should have been a total of seven men all wearing Wing Walkers with each man weighing :160,170,180,190,200,220 and a top out at 250 lbs.
Because soil moisture differences can occur rapidly depending on the weather and other conditons,the tests should have been performed ASAP on the same day. Each man should have walked paralell the Z footprints and compaction differences noted.I have already discussed the fact that some men have strong leg muscles with powerful /tendon/ligament activity in downward thrust motion while walking and are capable of deep footprint soil impressionseven though they don't weigh,say 220 lbs.
Any lawyer would stomp the "compaction test" into the legal ground at trial.You wouldn't have a footprint to stand on!

By Scott Bullock (Scott_Bullock) (spider-ntc-ta034.proxy.aol.com - on Wednesday, May 15, 2002 - 12:38 pm:

From my pov, it seems pretty uncanny that the results of the "compaction test" seemed to corroborate Hartnell's description of Z's weight. Also, with regard to timeframe, wasn't the test performed the following morning, 9-28-69?

By Lapumo (Lapumo) (p207.as1.clonmel1.eircom.net - on Monday, June 10, 2002 - 06:36 am:

A small point that's been bothering me about the Stine letter.In it, Zodiac writes, "I am the same man that did in the people in the north bay area".
I would have thought the LB would be outside the
"north bay area".Therefore it does strike me as odd that Zodiac does not mention the LB murders in this letter,coming as it did just two weeks later.Perhaps I am mistaken. Anyone!

By Peter H (Peter_H) (pool-141-154-17-67.bos.east.verizon.net - on Monday, June 10, 2002 - 09:59 am:

Not such a small point, Lapumo. And you are not mistaken. LB is certainly not in the North Bay Area. With all of the opportunities in which it would have been appropriate to do so, in all of Z's post-LB missives, Z does not make one claim of or reference to the LB attack. One would think he would refer to it at some point, whether he did it or not.

By Lapumo (Lapumo) (p22.as1.clonmel1.eircom.net - on Monday, June 10, 2002 - 11:15 am:

One also wonders about the time between the two attacks,just two weeks. It would appear that Zodiacs murders were well planned,the Stine murder especially,would have to be.Of course,an argument from your point of view would be that Zodiac was not at LB.Another argument would be that it was planned long before!
It does not bother me that he made no reference to the Lb murders in subsequent missives, however this one was crying out for it.

By Ed N (Ed_N) (acbe1ec8.ipt.aol.com - on Monday, June 10, 2002 - 04:51 pm:

Peter: I refer to just about everything from Napa and its environs in the north to San Jose in the south as "the Bay Area." I even think of cities as far east as Pittsburg and Antioch as generally being in "the Bay Area." Right or wrong, that's how I think of it, because all of these places surround and are relatively close to San Francisco Bay. So, when Z wrote, "I am the same man who did in the people in the north bay area," as far as I'm concerned, he was referring to LB as well.

If you really want to split hairs over what constitutes Z's (or anyone's) idea of what "the Bay Area" is or should be, we must discount LHR and BRS along with LB because, technically, Vallejo is between San Pablo Bay, Grizzly Bay and Suisun Bay, and is not on San Francisco Bay, and therefore his three Vallejo victims cannot be considered in Z's statement.

However, since he obviously refers to Vallejo generically as "the north bay area" (technically an incorrect term), he must also have been referring to his LB victims as well.

BTW, what does this have to do with Hartnell's weight estimate of Z anyway?

By Sylvie (Sylvie14) (spider-ntc-tc011.proxy.aol.com - on Monday, June 10, 2002 - 05:10 pm:

Okay Ed, off the thread but just to reply to your post - IMO this points to Z as NOT being a Bay Area native. I do not think a native would speak in those terms.
Instead, probably came from somewhere like, say Riverside or something.

By Ed N (Ed_N) (acbe1ec8.ipt.aol.com - on Monday, June 10, 2002 - 06:46 pm:

OK, so who isn't a Bay Area native then (besides me)? Allen, Beeman, O'Hare, Kane, Kaczinsky, Peter O., Davis, Marshall, the SFBM, Hunter... I wonder how many more there are???

By Sylvie (Sylvie14) (spider-ntc-tb033.proxy.aol.com - on Monday, June 10, 2002 - 09:17 pm:

Well, possibly the "as yet unknown perp" that Jake believes in. Oh and Davis.

By Sylvie (Sylvie14) (spider-ntc-td012.proxy.aol.com - on Monday, June 10, 2002 - 09:41 pm:

Sorry, I zipped thru your post, you mentioned Davis.
I consider myself from the Bay Area I suppose (I spent the first 12 yrs. in SF), and while I would not consider LB North Bay, I would consider Vallejo to be the Bay Area.

By Howard Davis (Howard) (ont-cvx2-16.linkline.com - on Monday, June 10, 2002 - 11:37 pm:

Zodiac could be very detailed to a fault or he could estimate or approximate"over by Washington st. and Maple st"; or "last christmass"when it was really the 20th of December.There are other examples.
So for Zodiac to speak of Vallejo,etc.,as Ed has pointed out,as "the north bay area"is an error;so why not include Napa,which is part of northern CA?The word "area" is the key.Z ,as has been shown, can speak in generalities (like in the Stine letter)at times,so he probably did the same here.And/or this could be another indication that Z was not a Bay area resident.He seems quite detached from the Bay area in his letters as evidencxed by the wordage.The murder sites could easily have been scouted out and he was capable of asking questions of certain locals and a with a little library research and a little driving to carefully check things out.Z gave directions in some of his missives,so he had an interest in such things.There were GAPS of time between each attack to travel about looking for the best spots to hit,or at least, in his view.Easy.
"Up to the end of Oct I have killed seven people":12/20/68-two;7/5/69-one;8/?/69 -two;9/27/69 -one;10/11/69 -one= seven victims.He states this in his 9/8/69 missive also.And don't forget the secret DOJ report which confirmed the door printing as Zodiacs!

By Ray N (Ray_N) (user-38ldeks.dialup.mindspring.com - on Wednesday, June 12, 2002 - 04:54 pm:

The only problem with that line of thinking is the statement referred to "I did in also did in the people in the north bay area". Well, he already claimed all Vallejo victims so he didn't need to claim them again, but he could have been refreshing the memory of SFPD on that. So one wonders why he said people since by that time he would certainly know the names of the LB victims and that Hartnell survived. That he used a plural kind of gives me the feeling that he was not talking about lake B. Doing someone in means killing them, and he did not accomplish that in the plural.


By Douglas Oswell (Dowland) (124.philadelphia-18-19rs.pa.dial-access.att.net - on Wednesday, June 12, 2002 - 09:12 pm:

Just as an aside, one might be led to wonder why he never referenced the victims by name, as Cheri Bates's killer did.

By Brian_D (Brian_D) (sdn-ap-003txhousp0085.dialsprint.net - on Thursday, October 31, 2002 - 04:04 am:

Douglas, in regards to your Monday, May 14, 2001 post, In the NSO incident report Bryan Hartnell described the hood as square. Has he ever clarified this to mean square looking down on it, which he wasnt, or "square" in the sense of looking up at it from the ground and noting that it came together at the top at 90 degree angles from the sides? I was wondering if it was made from a student's mortarboard or a paper sack was used to give it form as it's base w/ black cloth covering the "core". Both are possible and would explain the stitching across the top instead of a paper sack merely painted black as Sandy thinks. If it was a mortarboard, it would give an insight into his character as not many people save theirs after graduation. That of course is assuming he did graduate. If not, where would you go to get one? Not your typical Army/Navy surplus store item...

By Douglas Oswell (Dowland) (79.philadelphia01rh.16.pa.dial-access.att.net - on Thursday, October 31, 2002 - 04:11 pm:

Brian, I first proposed the mortarboard observation in "Dr. Zodiac," back in 1998, after seeing a photo of Ted Kaczynski in his Harvard regalia. Of course no one is in a position to know exactly what was under that hood, but based on every Hartnell description I've come across, I think a mortarboard is a fairly good guess. A graduate's gown would also fit the bill for the rest of the outfit; it would simply need to be built up around the top, using the extensive material available from the waist down.

Why would Zodiac have made such a costume? I think there's a consensus that the outfit had some kind of emotional significance for him. In the case of Kaczynski, at least, we can postulate that the use of the regalia would signify his renunication of academia, which he effected on June 30, 1969, just a few months prior to the Lake Berryessa event, and something that undoubtedly caused him deep psychological conflict.