Zodiac's Disguise

Zodiackiller.com Message Board: General Zodiac Discussion: Zodiac's Disguise

By Raewyn Ivory (tor58-20-119-77.dialup.sprint-canada.net - on Friday, August 29, 2003 - 07:58 pm:

I saw this topic on a board with non-public posting, so I thought I'd begin a new conversation here to get an even wider varitey of ideas on the subject... Just so you can't accuse me of not doing a keyword search. ;-)

I'll begin by stating my opinions of exactly what Z's costume consisted of. When not wearing his hood, I believe it was no more than a pair of reading glasses. I've seen other people write about him wearing/doing fairly elaborate things, such as dying his hair, wearing a wig during the crimes, wearing a longer wig while not commiting the crimes, putting lifts in his shoes, stuffing his jacket and putting cotton balls in his cheeks.

The thing I, personally, find the most flaw in is the whole thing about stuffing his clothes or wearing extra layers to look bigger and stockier. If he did this, then he'd have had to put at least one ball of cotton/piece of tissue/whatever in each cheek to have his face better match his body. Why is this important? Well, my thoughts are stronly based on my belief that Kathleen Johns and her daughter were, indeed, abducted by Zodiac.

Now, upon being escorted to the police station, Johns spotted the sketch of the man thought to be Z drawn after the Stine killing (Zodiac also verified that this was, indeed, him. My belief is that he was telling the truth or he wouldn't have mentioned the man's (His) run-in with the police after Stine's murder. He also said that he looked completley different the rest of the time, but I'm getting to that.) and said something along the lines of 'That's him; that's the guy!'. If the sketch was of Zodiac (And I strongly believe it is) in full costume, then, because Johns was up close with him, would she not have noticed something?

(Continued below)

By Raewyn Ivory (tor58-20-119-77.dialup.sprint-canada.net - on Friday, August 29, 2003 - 07:59 pm:

...I'm not talking about his appearance. I'm talking about the way he spoke. Zodiac, if he had worn extra clothing layers, would have had to balance that out with the cotton-in-cheeks theory, as mentioned above. If Zodiac in the sketches was in full-costume, so was Zodiac driving with Johns because she was able to recognize her abducter in the sketches. We know that Z spoke to Johns while in the car with her. If stuffing his cheeks and clothes to look bigger was his disgiuse, then his speech would have been impaired with the cotton. Would Johns not have noticed that?

(continued below)

By Raewyn Ivory (tor58-20-119-77.dialup.sprint-canada.net - on Friday, August 29, 2003 - 08:01 pm:

To test this out, I've actually put cotton (Only one ball in each) in my own cheeks and spoken to others without telling them. They noticed right away that my voice sounded muffled. If, even through her extreme fear, Kathleen Johns could remember what Z looked like enough to point out a sketch of him, then I think that that she would be able to remember weather his voice sounded muffled or not. I would have mentioned such a thing to the police; every bit of information counts, right? Well, Johns didn't, meaning his voice was probably clear and normal, which draws the conclusion that his cheeks were stuffed with nothing on the night he abducted her in his car.

I also doubt that Z would go so far as to wear a wig. My feelings are that for his crimes, he did nothing more than wear weak reading glasses, or possibly use shoe-lifts. As for what he said in his letter about looking entirley different when he 'did his thing', I discard this as a desperate lie (For lack of better terminology). What on earth was he supposed to say?

'Wow! Great sketch guys! Looks just like me. Compliments to the artist; now anyone with a copy of the picture and half a brain can go pick me out! In fact, I think I'll just go sit on a park bench and wait for that right now. Good luck, by the way, not that you'll need it this time around.'

See what I mean? I don't think Z's appearance changed much at the times at which he commited the murders.

(continued below)

By Raewyn Ivory (tor58-20-119-77.dialup.sprint-canada.net - on Friday, August 29, 2003 - 08:01 pm:

Now, I know someone is going to bring into question the credibility of the witnessnes who provided the sketch info. after Stine's murder, but Zodiac did I.D. the sketch as 'looking like him when he did his thing', which as I said above was most probably a lie.

Well, this was pretty much just me thinking aloud and I'm sorry if it seemed a bit too drawn out. However, I would like to get some new opinions as to what, exactly, Zodiac's disguise consisted of. I know that my theory relies on the belief that Kathleen Johns was a Zodiac abduct-ee, so if you don't share that opinion, you're not going to agree with me, at least not on the same base. Other thoughts?


By Tim Allen (ip-wv-24-159-113-058.charterwv.net - on Friday, August 29, 2003 - 08:24 pm:

If she didn't know him then how would she know what his actual speaking voice sounded like? Being scared half to death and just escaping death his voice was probably the last thing on her mind.In such a state, sight and sound can most times be distorted, as well as time.I don't know if he was lying or not about a disguise,or looking different,probably lying.I'm just saying two people in the same situation at the same time will remember completely different things about a suspect.And give different discriptions even.
I do believe Johns was with the zodiac that night
she did say thats him, so if the scetch is actualy of the zodiac then, she probably was abducted by him.

By Ann (Ann) (cache-dh03.proxy.aol.com - on Friday, August 29, 2003 - 10:49 pm:

Raewyn, You've made a point, an excellent point, something which I don't think has been mentioned before. If it was, I missed it.

You said:

"Now, I know someone is going to bring into question the credibility of the witnessnes who provided the sketch info. after Stine's murder, but Zodiac did I.D. the sketch as 'looking like him when he did his thing', which as I said above was most probably a lie."

Right you are. Zodiac did, in fact, admit that the composite drawn was none other...he made no attempt to deny it, which I think is interesting. My feeling is that he did have an encounter with the police. I think that his intense hatred for police led him to take this chance, his desire to show them how stupid, in his eyes, they were, because they certainly saw him and perhaps stopped him and had a few words with him. So, 'yes, that was me. You saw me. You talked to me. You idiots.' I don't think he could resist that opportunity. Of course, then he follows it up with "I only look like that when..." His desire to stay free was strong, but not moreso than his ego and quest to be one up on law enforcement.

I've read statements on the board here, something to the effect of, "the composite drawing is probably not accurate" however, as you point out, here we have Zodiac clearly admitting that the picture composite was in fact, him.

By Raewyn Ivory (tor58-18-114-145.dialup.sprint-canada.net - on Saturday, August 30, 2003 - 08:08 am:


Well, you're right that if she'd never met him (Which, of course, she haden't), she wouldn't have known what his voice sounded like. ...However, I think it would be a bit tough to understand even an only slightly muffled voice, and anyone, including Johns, would have recognized it as out of the ordinary.

I, myself know how hard it can be to note things about an attacker while you're scared out of your mind, believe me. But if something stands out enough, or seems important enough to note, then I'll be able to do it. When someone drives you around in a car, all the while claiming they're going to kill you, that he's a serial killer and that you're the next one, his voice is going to stick inside your head and you're going to remember it. If anything, you'd remember that voice more than anything else about the crime.

Also, on the Zodiac's Cold Case Files episode, it was said that while in the car with Johns, Z's voice was un-expressive and mono-toned. Kathleen Johns had to have been the one to remember that; the third person in the car was an infant.

So! if she could A) Remember his face well enough to point out a sketch of him and B) Remember that he spoke in a mono-tone, then I think it's safe to say she would have been able to recall either understanding Z clearly or not being able to make out certain words due to something in his mouth. To nobody's knowledge did she ever make such a statement.

By Raewyn Ivory (tor58-18-114-145.dialup.sprint-canada.net - on Saturday, August 30, 2003 - 08:09 am:


Thanks for letting me know that my post isn't just a subject that's been done-over a million times. 'Preciate it.

I also think you're right about how Z's ego and his will to be free were close rivals when it came to exposing the ignorance of law enforcement officials. Though I don't think he would have bothered to make up a story about him being the man that the cops spoke to... Making it up and only pretending Mystery-man was him would be too big a risk, I think, even for him to take. That's why I feel it did, infact, happen. I can only imagine the size of Zodiac's head while on his way home that night... It must have ballooned up to the size of Texas. ...Which makes me wonder why he stopped so suddenly. But that's a different topic for a different thread. Pretend I didn't say it.

By Douglas Oswell (Dowland) (pool-151-197-41-110.phil.east.verizon.net - on Saturday, August 30, 2003 - 09:10 am:

Raewyn, he probably stopped so suddenly because of the encounter, not in spite of it. Of course he would have experienced an initial sense of elation, but once he realized how close he had come (and seen the composites, which might have been fairly accurate) I believe he made the decision to lay low and substitute threats, backed up by the credibility fostered by his actual killings. Remember, Zodiac is not a classical serial killer who needs to kill to achieve sensual gratification or resolve unfulfilled fantasies. As I've argued elsewhere, he does it for publicity and vengeance. It would have been relatively easy for him to take the sensible route and stop killing, at least for the foreseeable future.

By Raewyn Ivory (tor58-20-123-150.dialup.sprint-canada.net - on Saturday, August 30, 2003 - 11:47 am:


Believe me; I know that it wasn't bloodlust that fueled his actions and that it was, in essence, the publicity and power over the communities that he really enjoyed. But he must have known that if he stopped killing and continued with threats alone that he would eventually begin to lose the mainstream publicity (Like the newspapers, which Zodiac loved to be in) and power that came with his violent actions. I can't help but think he knew that people would begin to think of him as having become nothing but a maker of empty threats. Of course, as you said, the most logical thing to do after the sketch and close run-in with the police would be to stop killing.

Going back to what I agreed with Ann on before, I think his ego and the desire to build it up very closley rivaled his desire to stay free and alive. I don't think he continued to kill after the letters stopped; I think he's dead today. I think he most likley fell into a pit of dispair when he realized he couldn't both kill and write letters at the same time, but that the letters would someday lose their effect on mainstream society if he didn't kill as Zodiac. He was stuck and couldn't go anywhere. I think he also knew he would be unable to live a proper, normal life like everyone else especially because he then knew what having true power over others was like and that he couldn't live without it. I could only picture him dying somewhere very remote and far-off the trail of almost everyone; probably after a severe binge or bout of drug abuse.

...But no, no, NO! That's off topic!

By Raewyn Ivory (tor58-20-123-150.dialup.sprint-canada.net - on Saturday, August 30, 2003 - 11:52 am:

Wow... Did I just answer my own question?

By Douglas Oswell (Dowland) (pool-151-197-41-110.phil.east.verizon.net - on Saturday, August 30, 2003 - 02:44 pm:

All pretty good observations, Raewyn, unless he's Kaczynski, in which case everything is wrapped up in a neat little package, complete with reams of documentation.

By Ed N. (Ed_N) (acc6925f.ipt.aol.com - on Saturday, August 30, 2003 - 09:26 pm:

Ann wrote:

I've read statements on the board here, something to the effect of, "the composite drawing is probably not accurate" however, as you point out, here we have Zodiac clearly admitting that the picture composite was in fact, him.

The problem with that is, and we've discussed it at length before, Z was a liar. Even though he "admitted" the composite looked like him when he did his thing, his words simply cannot be trusted unless they can be independently verified.

In other words, the sketch may or may not look like he did on 10-11-1969. I'd be willing to bet that it doesn't.

By Ann (Ann) (cache-dh03.proxy.aol.com - on Saturday, August 30, 2003 - 10:47 pm:

Ed, I don't disagree with you, because I know you're right. Zodiac was a liar. I do think though that the reason the composite has remained in question is because we don't know if it was true or not that the police actually stopped Zodiac and had a conversation with him. If it happened, they ain't sayin' My opinion: It very well may have happened. If it did happen, they got a fairly good look at him. It's just something we'll probably never know.

I would also like to say, I would submit, that had the composite looked anything like Arthur Leigh Allen...well, suffice it to say, this entire line of thinking might well be quite different.

By Douglas Oswell (Dowland) (pool-151-197-41-110.phil.east.verizon.net - on Sunday, August 31, 2003 - 12:01 am:

I wouldn't refer to him as a "liar" so much as a "prevaricator." When he tells the truth he generally does it in a very straightforward way, without any hemming and hawing. When fibbing he tends to be rather vague and indirect about it. For instance, he claims to have "shot a man sitting in a parked car," but never identifies the man. He coyily "hopes" that no one thinks he was the one who wiped out the blue meannie with a bomb, and, rather than flatly assert that he's going to kill schoolchildren he twists around it by wistfully saying "I think I shall wipe out a school bus some morning." (Note: this forms yet another close tie with Kaczynski, who in his threat letter of 1995 wrote that he was "planning to blow up an airliner," and of course had no actual intention of doing it.) When Zodiac baldly states something, I have a tendency to believe him. He's a liar indeed, but obviously uncomfortable about it.

By Linda (Linda) (208-59-124-198.s198.tnt1.frdr.md.dialup.rcn.com - on Sunday, August 31, 2003 - 04:04 am:

Zodiac believes he tells the truth, but as he said in one of his missives, he doesn't like people telling lies about "him!" Z conveniently skirts the truth using various language techniques to "protect" the truth of what he's actually trying to say; sort of like some politicians!

By Bucko (Bucko) (cache-dh03.proxy.aol.com - on Sunday, August 31, 2003 - 05:33 am:

Actually, this very thing about Z's I.D of himself was discussed previously in June 2002 in the thread "SFPD Composite. Useful or Useless Tool" which was started by Scott Bullock. I thought then, and now, that while Z admitted he looked like the composite, the fact that the drawing was amended by the two officers may be more important. The following is taken from my post of June 2, 2002.

" Their (the teenagers) composite drawing gains credibility when the two officers apparently feel it is close enough to the face of the man they saw, as to only slightly change the facial features in the amended composite. The officers apparently got a fairly good look, otherwise they probably would not have offered changes at all to the composite.

Z himself offers further credibility when he states in a letter, "...I look like the description passed out only when I do my thing,....". Now Z may have lied, but when all the above is taken into account, I believe the SFPD composite may be pretty accurate."

Of course it doesn't hurt to discuss things again.

By Ann (Ann) (cache-dh03.proxy.aol.com - on Sunday, August 31, 2003 - 09:08 am:

Bucko, thanks for pointing that out. I guess I didn't punch in the right words for the keyword search. I'm going to read through the thread. I agree with what you've said..

By Raewyn Ivory (tor58-18-113-111.dialup.sprint-canada.net - on Sunday, August 31, 2003 - 11:36 am:


Well, yes, if Z is Kaczynski, then just about everything I've written in that last post of mine is wrong. However, I'm obviously pretty sure that it's not Kaczynski... Though I really do agree with you when you say Z was uncomfortable about telling lies. He was, indeed, very direct and detailed with thruths. Z, when accounting how he'd spoken to the police, was pretty blatent with it and not vague at all. He didn't really leave much to the imagination with that bit of his letter, which leads me to belive he was being truthful.


I'm definitly going to go and read that thread, so thank you for letting me know about it. I agree with you, too. If the police hadn't gotten a good look at him; they would never have bothered to make such changes to the sketch.

As far as I'm concered, the credibility of the composite is, in a very big way, linked back to what I've written about the Kathleen Johns abduction above. If the man who talked to the police after the Stine murder wasn't Z, what are the odds he would be the same man to later abduct Johns? And if he wasn't Zodiac, would he not have come foreward and accused Z of being a liar?

By Ann (Ann) (cache-dh03.proxy.aol.com - on Sunday, August 31, 2003 - 10:30 pm:

One reason I have for believing that Zodiac was not in disguise and that the composite was fairly accurate, is quite simply because he stopped -- he stopped killing after the Stine murder, or at least, he stopped announcing the killings. He stopped doing what he had been doing. He was seen, and I think he more than likely decided that it had become too great a risk.

By Ed N. (Ed_N) (acc7fcf8.ipt.aol.com - on Sunday, August 31, 2003 - 11:12 pm:

When the Primetime episode was originally broadcast last year, Fouke mentioned something along the lines that he wished he'd stopped the man they saw and talked to him. There's been a lot of controversy about whether they spoke to Z or not, but his statement pretty much tells me that Z was lying when he said they did.

By Raewyn Ivory (tor58-21-125-35.dialup.sprint-canada.net - on Monday, September 01, 2003 - 09:07 am:

But Ed N, as much as I dislike saying it, police officers/forces all over North America do, at times, tell fibs to cover up blunders. Now, I'm by no means saying that that Fouke or any of the other officers who investigated the Stine killing and the other Zodiac murders aren't good cops, but considering Z's persona and what we currently know about the way in which he wrote, I'd say that his account of what happened after the Stine killing is pretty accurate.

I really don't think the controversy about exactly what happened that night will ever be resolved. Even if (And that's a gigantic 'if') Z is, by some insanley high amount of good luck and exellent investigation on the side of law enforcement, found alive, arrested and tried, people are always going to argue over his credibility. I could shoot myself for saying so, but as far as what happened on the night of Stine's death goes, I'm with Zodiac (For total lack of a better way to phrase it.).

By Sandy (Sandy) (12-233-91-30.client.attbi.com - on Monday, September 01, 2003 - 01:08 pm:

Ann , I believe you have hit the nail on the head ! I feel very strongly that he is still killing from time to time,and that some of the victims have been high profile unsolved cases. Getting away with it is his satisfaction for now,and the media attention these cases get. I feel he still travels from state to state,changing his Mo,so a connection can't be made.

By Ed N. (Ed_N) (acc2d2ec.ipt.aol.com - on Monday, September 01, 2003 - 02:24 pm:

Considering that Z's a known liar (or prevaricator, as Douglas says), I don't trust anything he says. Yes, cops have been known to fudge facts to cover up their blunders, but I have a hard time believing a lying killer over a cop.

By Tex Walker (203-96-93-232.dialup.xtra.co.nz - on Monday, September 01, 2003 - 09:09 pm:

I agree Ed. By saying he did look like the composite when he 'did his thing' would be the perfect way to throw investigators off track, if he looked nothing like it.

By Pax (cache-rp06.proxy.aol.com - on Tuesday, September 02, 2003 - 06:50 pm:

Hello All, I read the posts and want to add this. The sketch of zodiac works and works in a three-way manner. 1- the teenagers description....2- Foukes and Zelms'sketch...3- Kathleen Johns' Identification of a sketch on a police station house wall... See ? Here we have three sets of strangers(to one another) all pointing out basically (I believe) the same man. I think that the encounter with the SFPD cooled him off, but only from killing in San Francisco. I think he's alive. Not well, but alive. Sincerely, Pax1222@aol.com

By Howard Davis (Howard) ( - on Wednesday, September 03, 2003 - 10:21 pm:

The enigma is did they view Zodiac in or out of disguise?If IN we are out -if OUT we are IN!

By Pax (cache-rp06.proxy.aol.com - on Thursday, September 04, 2003 - 05:55 pm:

Dear Howard, Raewyn's post was great. Zodiac actually admitted he looked like the sketch ! He is a wise fool. And again, the universal mind is at work here. The info re: what zodiac looked like was right there in front of me, i missed it, but thanx to Raewyn, another piece of mystery is being shattered regarding zodiac. Sincerely, Pax1222@aol.com

By Pax (cache-rp06.proxy.aol.com - on Thursday, September 04, 2003 - 05:59 pm:

Oh, to add something about what zodiac looked like. On page 86 of "Zodiac", it states " the senior patrolman had seen the stocky man's left profile clearly.....". Where is a sketch of the subject's left profile ? If there is one, I didn't see it. Hmmm. Sincerely, Pax1222@aol.com

By Raewyn Ivory (tor58-21-124-3.dialup.sprint-canada.net - on Friday, September 05, 2003 - 01:42 pm:


I think Z said he looked like the sketch only when he did his thing to trow people off well, but in a much different way. As I said above, his desire to rub the faces of the cops in their own boo-boos was nearly as strong as his will to remain un-captured. He most likley looked quite a bit like that sketch every day of his life, and so after telling the police that they had seen him, he HAD To stress that he was in a disguise or SOMEONE would have recognized him.

And again, if the police saw a man other than Zodiac that night, would that man not have done SOMETHING upon seeing Z claim it was he who was seen? Would the man not have noticed that the sketch was just a wee bit too close to his own description to be pure coinsidence?

By Sandy (Sandy) (12-233-91-30.client.attbi.com - on Saturday, September 06, 2003 - 05:51 pm:

If he was smart,he would have changed the way he looked after the composit came out,(why would he use a disquise if he knew for sure his victim would be dead) He had no idea anyone would see him.I don't believe he had a disquise on that night.I think he shaved his head,grew a mustache,and got the heck out of Dodge for a while after Stine.Then came back to S.F.area using a different name,and looking very different.

By Raewyn Ivory (tor58-20-123-36.dialup.sprint-canada.net - on Tuesday, September 09, 2003 - 05:49 pm:

Ah, sorry for going off topic, but the new posts haven't been showing up for me. If someone could e-mail the latest couple of posts on this to me at rki_amoeba_rki@yahoo.com it would be great. Thank you!

By Tex Walker (210-54-66-167.dialup.xtra.co.nz - on Wednesday, September 10, 2003 - 04:41 am:

Raewyn, good points. I still can't understand why the police didn't notice any blood on Z that night. Did they have reversible jackets in 1969? If Z went out with the intention of killing a cabbie that night then he may have thought it pointless wearing a disguise.

The fact that Z didn't acknowledge specific victims after Stine might just mean that, yes, he does look like the drawing and felt he came too close to being nailed. Perhaps he used the hood again. Why go to the trouble of sewing that hood, and only using it once?

By Raewyn Ivory (tor58-18-112-20.dialup.sprint-canada.net - on Wednesday, September 10, 2003 - 04:59 pm:

Therrrre they go.

Tex, good thought about the reversible jacket. Yes, they did have them in 1969 (Along with paper clothes. Just let me staple up my pants...). If Z was indeed wearing one, he probably just reversed it after he'd walked out of sight of the teenagers. He probably didn't figure anyone would see him, but maybe wore the jacket so that no one would suspect anything as he walked home or to his car.

I still think he killed himself a while after Stine. I don't think he actually killed anyone after that last murder. Remember, he gave a supposed victem count of 37. If he did kill that many people (Or any number above the definite 7 for that matter), he might very well have used his hood (If only because he thought he looked cool), but left no surviving witnesses to account for it. My theory his he only accounted in detail his very favourite murders. He had to leave something up to the imagination; make people think that every unsolved murder case in the area was potential work of the notorious Zodiac killer. I could see him doing just that.

By Tex Walker (210-54-66-175.dialup.xtra.co.nz - on Thursday, September 11, 2003 - 04:29 am:

Yeh it's a double delight for Z - he not only has everyone wondering about who he killed, but by not claiming any specific one he eliminates the chance of witnesses recognising him. That is, of course, if he actually did kill anyone after Stine and we'll probably never know for sure.

I'll bet he thought twice about shifting his operations from remote places to busier areas though. If he killed again, I doubt it would have been close to populated areas, which is why the Sonoma killings are very interesting. But thats another thread.

BTW Raewyn, if he only accounted in detail his 'favourite' murders, I would have thought LB might have gotten a more significant play in his communications.

By Raewyn Ivory (tor58-19-117-166.dialup.sprint-canada.net - on Saturday, September 20, 2003 - 09:36 pm:

Tex, you make a very, very good point with your mention of LB. Being particularly horrific and quite out of his style as far as method goes, you would think that if he'd only mentioned murders which gave him a particular 'rush', LB would have been more significant to him. ...And that he'd have made that personal significance known.

Z could have had various reasons for keeping some of his murders secret, which leads me to believe he killed at least a few more people between the 'letter-worthy' murders that we know about.

I agree with you, Tex, when you say that if he did take any victems after Stine that he probably didn't do it in a populated area again. Being seen by the kids, spotted by the police and sketched into a composite drawing probably scared him half to death. If he remained alive and continued to kill, he would never have taken such chances as with Stine again.

By Howard Davis (Howard) ( - on Wednesday, September 24, 2003 - 09:35 pm:

Raewyn Ivory,
In answer to the 8/29/03 post and your other posts ,I would say that his outward view or disguise would have been more important to Zodiac as he was in a PUBLIC place or at PH 10/11/69.
On 132 3/22/70 where it was lonely,dark and just plain isolated, it would only be necessary to have the crewcut,glasses,blue Navy type jacket and baggy pleated Navy style pants(and in this case the shiney shoes KJ saw-the same kind that were found in RS as a heel impression FYI).
His height and weight appearance at 132 could have appeared somewhat different as Johns told me the driver looked to be around 5'9"and about 160lbs.She told me he looked like the second drawing in the Zodiac poster she saw that evening and was between 26-30 years old tops.
He had 'pock marks' on his chin.It was a full moon that night and KJ told me she could see him clearly.This,to me is a very interesting detail.
Just assuming this 'stranger' was Zodiac(I agree with you that he was),then he would be expecting to kill Johns and God forbid the "baby"as he wrote in his torture letter(probably with fire as the card said "By Fire"-he certainly had enough gas as he torched her wagon)and there would be no witness to his appearance out on 132.
No need to enlarge his size or height,so this could account for some 'changes' relative to other witnesses' estimates(although MM said he was 'short,young and stocky'-he had a background for his estimate which was the height of the Covair)and Johns lower weight and height estimates.
I am aware that MM and the teens saw Z as being around 5'8", so I guess the weight is my central focus here.
She didn't view this man as a 'really large' person and she was in the car with him for around two hours.He also walked in front of her car with the head lamps on-she told me this gave her a good view of the stranger.
Was this one of the reasons-besides any events going on in his private life,etc.- Z didn't claim
KJ as a potential victim until months later?
The voice of the driver matched that of other witnesses'(like BH and Stover)descriptions in that it sounded flat or monotone.
Again,as per your posts,there would be no need- to use your theory- of using stuffing in his mouth with cotton or even padding the chest or upper body area to appear larger than he was.
Compare 132 with PH,where he would have to depart the cab and walk down the sidewalk in public with cars and possibly other people going by him,etc.!

By J Eric (J_Eric) (dialup- - on Wednesday, September 24, 2003 - 11:30 pm:

If Zodiac INTENDED to kill someone when he started out driving, he might have his disguise at hand. But if he started out "normal" and along the way freaked out (such as hearing voices that commanded him to kill the next person he saw), he wouldn't have a disguise at hand to use. It's always been my thought that Z did not start out earlier in the day on 3/22/70 intending to murder, but that "something came over him" in the course of that day. Personal opinion is that he was foiled in trying to find a good place to set up his big bomb. Or perhaps some other intended victim could not be found...

Did anyone ever say what specifically caused the fire in KJ's car? What if, for example, Z had a leftover fire-bomb in his car and figured he could get rid of it and do an attention-grabbing crime in one easy move?

By Alan Cabal (Alan_Cabal) (cache-mtc-ak04.proxy.aol.com - on Thursday, September 25, 2003 - 11:16 am:

J Eric, your thesis is based on Z having problems with impulse control. I'd submit that his impulse control was well beyond normal. If anything, it was overdeveloped --- hence his problem.

By Nsync (rrcs-west-24-199-13-34.biz.rr.com - on Monday, September 29, 2003 - 08:18 pm:

After studying the AMW video I have concluded this person was self conscious of his appearance and whatever caused his lack of social life he sought to mitigate by such things as glasses. Such was the differentiation between him and Allen who had no particular feature from front or side to make him self conscious. Google Harvey Hines and follow that line of thought a seasoned investigator would have no reason to focus on one individual if he didn't feel he was one.

By Sandy (Sandy) (12-233-91-30.client.attbi.com - on Tuesday, September 30, 2003 - 07:49 am:

Nsync, That has been my thought for a long time now. The only suspect who became disfigured was Harvey's suspect in 1962. He must have been very vain,because even after the accident he was still a good looking man I thought. Harvey told me the suspect had a lot of work done on his face,and had some brain damage.

By Sandy (Sandy) (12-233-91-30.client.attbi.com - on Tuesday, September 30, 2003 - 08:14 am:

Blood on the jacket ? Unless Stines blood glows in the dark,I don't think you could see it on a dark jacket some 10 feet or so away, on a dark night.

By Nathan R. (cache-ntc-ac12.proxy.aol.com - on Tuesday, September 30, 2003 - 07:46 pm:

This is a little off topic, but regarding Z saying he only looked like that(composite sketch), when he "did his thing". I have come to the conclusion that Z did were glasses all the time, not just durring "his thing". I recently heard Graysmith say that this statement by Z further proved Arthur L. Allen as a suspect even though he didn't were glasses, because he could have only worn non-perscription glasses when he commited the murders, but that makes no logical sense. If the only reason that Z wore glasses was to hide his indentity, then why at Lake Berryessa did he were the glasses OVER HIS DISGUSE! The only conclusion is that the killer at Lake Berryessa needed the glasses to actually see straight after putting on the hood. Also one must remember that back then contacts being made of glass where much more exspensive, harder to maintain, and didn't work as well as real glasses. Basically, contacts never became that popular untill the 1980's when the developed plastic disposable contacts. And also just maybe Z was smart enough to realize this conflict of disguses and only wore the glasses over his hood to further confuse cops into thinking he really did were glasses all the time, while he didn't. Was Z really that clever?

By Sandy (Sandy) (12-233-91-30.client.attbi.com - on Wednesday, October 01, 2003 - 07:11 am:

If that was so, he would have worn only the sun glasses,not clip-on's on top of the glasses.He may have been clever, but not that clever.He had a lot of luck,I say "had" because I think he has just about run out of it. It is time for the victims to have justice !

By William Baker (Bill_Baker) (user-2ivfmf6.dialup.mindspring.com - on Wednesday, October 01, 2003 - 10:29 am:

One of several reasons discussed here and in similar threads as to Z's reasons for wearing the hood, etc., pertained to his "hiding" behind it. At LHR and at BRS, he engaged in so-called blitz attacks, under the cover of darkness, with minimal contact with his victims. It has been theorized that Z felt uncomfortable in any face-to-face interaction with the people he was about to kill, especially conversational exchanges with them. At LB, he was not only talking with them, it was also in daylight and for an extended period.

Wearing the clip-on sunglasses did not allow his victims to see his eyes. It could be one means of denying any surviving victim a critical point in being able to identify him later, as eyes are probably more distinctive than any other single facial feature, but I tend to think that it was simply because he didn't want them to see his eyes, his expression, even perhaps the anxiety he was experiencing, which his eyes would have revealed/betrayed. He was interacting with his victims in a manner which allowed some semblance of concealment and anonymity, not from any later identification, but during his contact with them. In short, he was hiding behind the disguise.

Sandy said: "If that was so, he would have worn only the sun glasses,not clip-on's on top of the glasses." From the description and artists' renderings of the hood, it doesn't appear that Z could have worn regular sunglasses outside the hood, over the eye holes, with the ear pieces in place. And who's to say that the clip-ons weren't clipped to the hood material with no glasses underneath?

I seem to recall that Ed at one time mentioned, while he was wearing a mock-up of the hood at LB earlier this year, that the hood tended to twist around on his head, often obscuring his vision as the eyeholes moved out of position. Perhaps Z, while rehearsing for LB, discovered this same problem, and elected to kill many birds with one stone by clipping the sunglasses on the outside of the hood to glasses underneath, and thereby securing the hood in proper alignment with his eyes.

I believe that the disguise did serve several purposes for Z (terrorizing the victims, for example), but it seems to me that its most utile function was to give him protection from normal social interaction, something he had difficulty in doing with people he planned to kill.

By Raewyn Ivory (tor58-19-115-43.dialup.sprint-canada.net - on Wednesday, October 01, 2003 - 04:04 pm:

It's always been my opinion that if *anyone* ever saw Zodiac's real face, it was Kathleen Johns. When he picked her up, he did not intend for her to survive in any sense of the word. As Howard said, it was a dark, isolated place. Z knew that. Why would he be in full costume if he were going to an isolated location at night with no one but his next murder victem (So he thought) with him? He wasn't prepared for her survival.

Sandy, you're absoloutly right. Blood on a dark jacket wouldn't show from 10 feet away. However, I'm of the beleif that the police acutally spoke to Z on his walk away from the crime scene. I think they'd most likley have noticed then; making the reversable jacket theory completley plausible, at least for me.

Bill, I like your train of thought on the reasoning behind Z's hood at LB. I couldn't imagine him being very socially capable even while not 'doing his thing'. He couldn't possibly look his victems in the eye while he murdered them; especially at LB where he really conversed with them before their deaths. ...However, I'll also always think that the hood was, to one degree or another, for his own entertainment.

By Ray N (Ray_N) ( - on Wednesday, October 01, 2003 - 08:54 pm:

I always wondered, especially since whipping out a long knife and going to town on a young girl would be difficult to deal with mentally, compared to shooting, if Zodiac was in fact, in engaging the potential victims in conversation, simply building up his courage to actually go through with what he had planned. In my mind, this would be supported by some evidence:

1. The hood. It would make it easier for the attacker to maintain control, as they would likely be afraid of the hood, but less so of a frightened expression on his face. If he was unable to complete the attack, he would have preserved his anonymity.

2. The conversation was initially steered somewhat by Zodiac, as he claimed to be an escaped convict in need of transportation. This armed robbery ruse would also allow him to exit the scene gracefully without commiting murder, should he elect to "bail out", as he would simply take the keys and essentially strand the pair in the area while he made his escape.

3. The writing on the car door indicating the time of the attack also supports this thinking, since he conversed with them for awhile. The fact that he wrote the time might be a means of affirming to himself as well as the world, "Yes, see, I did it!" This may well have been his boast as he wrote on the door with pride in his accomplishment, having impressed even himself with his ability to overcome his apprehension and follow through with this psychologically difficult attack. He understandably would have been extremely hesitant to discharge a firearm in this area as discovery of the victims combined with a roadblock would have coiled it for him for sure. Hence the necessity of a quiet, up close and personal means of dispatching his victims.

4. This possible "lack of complete resolve" hypothesis fits with my overall theory of Zodiac not being a compulsive serial killer, but rather one who killed as a means to an end, to engage the authorities and perpetuate his game of "catch me if you can."

By ScottN (pool0825.cvx5-bradley.dialup.earthlink.net - on Thursday, October 02, 2003 - 09:29 am:

Great work, Ray. What I like about your theory is that it explains the "ex-con/escapee" ruse, which has bothered me for a long time.

It seems apparent that "the means to an end" behind his killings was the ability to boast about them and the concomitant publicity he gained.

If that's true, the thought of him committing any murders after Stine seems remote, since it wasn't the killing itself but the PR campaign that fed him. Obvious stuff, I know, but good to reiterate.

By the way, how's your ankle?

By Sandy (Sandy) (12-233-91-30.client.attbi.com - on Thursday, October 02, 2003 - 10:49 am:

Bill,I do believe you are correct about his hideing behind the hood, and the sunglass theory could be correct also. But don't forget that Harnell saw that dark curly hair,which tells me the hood did exactly what the mock hood did on Ed. The glasses alone helped somewhat on the outside on the hood.

By Ray N (Ray_N) ( - on Friday, October 03, 2003 - 05:46 pm:

Scott N,

Ankle is badly twisted, but not broken. Doc says it will heal up just fine, though. Thanks so much for your assistance during my mishap.

Also, I didn't mention that thing about Z allegedly pulling up behind Mageau/Ferrin and then driving off only to return a short time later. We have no survivors to report whether he may have done something like this at LHR.

The point is, if he was unsure of himself, a disguise would definitely be in order for these attacks, and at LB a secondary disguise would be called for as well, and if I may be so bold, this would logically include a hairpiece of some type if he was likely to have been seen at all by witnesses when he was not in the executioner costume. Then he could just get rid of everything and would not fit any attacker description if questioned by police or be identified if presented to an eyewitness.

By J Eric Freedner (J_Eric) (dialup- - on Friday, October 03, 2003 - 09:47 pm:

After squinting at the setting sun at the LB crime scene, I'm convinced the hood/sunglasses were also needed to keep the glare out of Z's eyes in the event he had to face the setting sun. Sunglasses would be of no use to him a half hour or so later. So--Z planned to kill before nightfall--during sunset.

Let's see: Darlene and Mike, Kathleen Johns, attacked at midnight. Hands on the Zodiac watch are up. Brian and Cecelila, 6:30. Hands on Zodiac watch are down. According to Graysmith, on 3/15/70, women in cars were chased at around 3:15 a.m. Maybe these musings should be on a different thread, but does anyone start to see "zynchronicity" in the murder of Paul Stine at about 9:45 p.m.?

By Ed N. (Ed_N) (acc39368.ipt.aol.com - on Friday, October 10, 2003 - 11:43 pm:

Bill wrote:

I seem to recall that Ed at one time mentioned, while he was wearing a mock-up of the hood at LB earlier this year, that the hood tended to twist around on his head, often obscuring his vision as the eyeholes moved out of position. Perhaps Z, while rehearsing for LB, discovered this same problem, and elected to kill many birds with one stone by clipping the sunglasses on the outside of the hood to glasses underneath, and thereby securing the hood in proper alignment with his eyes.

Tom mentioned that when the LB reenactment was filmed for AMW (I believe it was), the guy behind the mask found that it was not secure and did slip around a bit. When I put on Sandy's mask at last year's TFM (which was a duplicate of the one she found in her car in late September/early October 1969), the sunglasses held the paper bag "hood" on quite snugly, since I slipped them through the eyeholes rather than wearing them underneath. The problem I had was the stuff (was it shoe polish?) Sandy used to blacken the hood; it made my eyes burn after just a minute or two...

Ray wrote:

He understandably would have been extremely hesitant to discharge a firearm in this area as discovery of the victims combined with a roadblock would have coiled it for him for sure. Hence the necessity of a quiet, up close and personal means of dispatching his victims.

That's always possible, but remember that the teens apparently heard no gunshot when Z murdered Stine even though they were only some 50 feet away, since he held the barrel firmly against his head when he pulled the trigger. That tells me the reason Z stabbed Hartnell and Shepard was because that was his intention all along, not because he was afraid of gunshots being heard by witnesses at LB, since he could very easily have murdered them execution style by pressing the barrel to the backs of their heads and shooting as he did only two weeks later. He used the gun only as a means of gaining control over his victims, but would have it on hand to use it as a last resort if needed.

By Raewyn Ivory (tor58-21-124-226.dialup.sprint-canada.net - on Monday, October 13, 2003 - 04:00 pm:

Ed, I also think that Z had his heart set on an up-close & personal attack at LB. That ties in with the possible reason behind his hood for this particular crime- That he didn't want his victims to see his face if he couldn't go through with the murder after talking to them & conversing with them. That also connects to what you said about the gun as a last resort- Are you referring to a situation in which Z simply couldn't kill them in such a personal way as a stabbing, or are you saying that he might need it if one of them managed to begin an escape? Or both?

...And I nearly forgot, happy Thanksgiving (Or Columbus day in the U.S.) to you all; hope you're having as much fun as I am!

By Howard Davis (Howard) ( - on Tuesday, October 14, 2003 - 11:56 am:

When I thought about Zs costume it is the hood that bothers me.The slits used for viewing greatly constricted Z's visual acuity.His peripheral vision was close to nil.
Why would Zodiac use such a visually restrictive disguise device when he knew that he planned to kill two people.We are saying that he concealed his face from view in case he had to abort his mission too.He, no doubt, had his past victim,MM,in mind too.That was only about two months back.
Being in such close proximity to them and knowing how difficult it was to see through the slits in the hood properly(I think Hartnell sensed this as he told Ceclia he could 'easily' grap the gun) and that any kind of a rushed attack,especially one of them going around to his rear,would put him at a great disadvantage.It was not a very wise idea on Zs part.
What struck me for the first time was that he may have been USED to constricted seeing at a job.
Mike Kelleher in his book on Zodiac surmises,based on his analyzation of the known facts about Z, that he,at least at some point in his life, may have worked in a blue collar position.Now, this could include a welder.Welder trainees become,over time, accustomed to wearing a large welding hood or helmet.I tried wearing one and it is amazing how anyone could get used to wearing one for hours on end.The ones in the 60's were quite heavy and cumbersome-not to mention the dark viewing surface.
Not only are these welders able to adjust to the visual confinments,but they can see well enough through the heavily tinted tempered glass to weld even miro joints to correct tolerance levels!They even read blueprints,which they use, with the hood on!
Z not only had those confining slits to get used to,but those clip on sunglasses as well.Excluding the sunglare factor,they certainly didn't assist his eyes to see better-from the side or otherwise!
We know that Kathleen Johns mentioned that the drivers glasses were affixed with an elastic band,the kind welders use.
I know there are other professions that require covering of the head in some manner,but they are limited.
It is possible that the clip ons were used to help hold the hood in place,but I can't see,no pun,how,if they were clipped on the EDGES of the slits as our lone witness describes.I am open on that one though.Another idea is that if the hood were fashioned from a grad' cap(see the retangular description of the top of the hood in the NPD reports)then this could give a false impression(?) as to his height(weight too(?)the very 'baggy' pants and 'puffy'jacket as described by BH,etc.)but, also assist in holding the hood in position to retain what little viewing abilities it could offer.Two-sided tape could help hold the hood in place too.All FYI big time!

By Julia (Julia) (user-2ivflk7.dialup.mindspring.com - on Wednesday, October 15, 2003 - 10:04 am:

Howard, that's a nifty idea about a graduation cap possibly forming the underpinning for the hood. Obscure question: how much was Velcro used in the 60's? I know it was invented in the late 50's, but I sure didn't hear much about it until, I'd say, the late 70's. Of course, I don't sew.

I have always thought he probably attached the lower portions of the hood to his jacket somehow, whether by snaps, double-sided tape, whatever. I mean, anyone going to the trouble of making the contraption to begin with would surely have tried wearing it (in his basement?) and come up with the need to anchor it to his garments.

Hook-and-eyes would be good too, and both those and snaps would be small and easy to attach to his jacket and then remove later if he wanted to. I assume the jacket would've been so splashed with blood from the stabbing that he'd have gotten rid of it anyhow. Or kept it in the legendary stash of souvenirs we all wonder about.

Just thoughts. By the way, I regretted not getting to meet you at Lake Berryessa! You do terrific work; I really admire your zeal and persistence, as well as your kindly attitude towards other posters.

By Peter H (Peter_H) (pool-129-44-183-70.bos.east.verizon.net - on Wednesday, October 15, 2003 - 10:40 am:


I have spent some time puzzling over the LB garb, too. I wonder how much of the information about the "hood" we are going on is actually based on Hartnell's description and how much has simply evolved over the years from drawings and second and third hand accounts. Two or three points in particular raise this question. First, the hair:

" I got kind of a look at his hair"
"I looked through his hair. I[t] kind of looked like it was combed, you know, like this. It was brownish, you now, dark brown hair."

What does this suggest about how much of the killer's hair Brian could see? He saw enough to describe how it was combed.

Then, the mask itself:

"Four corners at the top, like the top of a paper sack".

Got that? The TOP of a sack, not the bottom.

"Came down with the front panel about to here [where?] and a kind of a thing tha5t came over the shoulders . . . and then the same thing down the back, straight down"

"That little mask"

ANd the hair? How could he see the har?

"I saw it from where those goggles fit".

Now sure, this may all be consistent with the square hood we have all seen in drawings, but its so vague and general, its also consistent with a lot of other possible configurations that are a lot different.

And the clip on sunglasses: hpow did they clip on to the mas, exactly? All the clip ons I have aver seen ( and have used) clip to the lenseds and frame between the eyes on either side of the nose. CLipping them to a cloth mask or hood allows them at that point allows then to flop around wildly. Ive tried it.

Anyway, I don't have any particular conclusons about this, but i think the ususal depiction of how the killer was disguised and how much and how Hartnell saw his hair doesn't exactly add up.

By Lapumo (Lapumo) (p50-132.as1.clm.clonmel.eircom.net - on Wednesday, October 15, 2003 - 11:03 am:

For what it's worth,Ive seen Ed try an experiment with Hood and glasses.The hood went on first and the glasses fitted through the eye slits.The advantage here is that the glasses helped keep the hood in place.Could also give the appearence that the glasses were clipped on. Worked for me!

By Sandy (Sandy) (12-233-88-14.client.attbi.com - on Friday, October 17, 2003 - 10:12 pm:

The holes for the eyes were not slits,they were cut out round holes. The black paper sack had four slits cut on each corner about 2in. at the bottom of sack,and bent to rest on his shoulders.The other half of the costume was like a poncho,that sat on top of the corners of the sack hood. That also helped to keep the hood on. The logo was not on the hood,it was on the poncho. The length of the cotton poncho was about 1 1/2 yrds long and 36 in wide. It was not elaborate. Wareing this paper hood would make him sweat, because it can't breathe like a cotton hood would have.The hair that Hartnell discribed was sweaty looking wasn't it ?

By Howard Davis (Howard) ( - on Saturday, October 18, 2003 - 01:22 am:

Peter H.,
Howdy.I know what you mean.In all due respect to a living Zodiac witness and we have precious few of them,Hartnell evidently had a communication problem that was episodical.At certain points,in an interview,he would be detailed and his wordage seemed stable and truly literal,then he will use the wrong adjective("little mask"for example- your post) or he just fails to properly make his descriptions clear and to the point.Legal field day I know!
I obtained all of the PD reports and studied each line by line,over a long period of time.I placed all of BHs depictions of Zs apparel-for example-together and carefully paralleled them.
After some time I came to the conclusion that his account- taken while he was sedated for pain-overall,is acceptable considering what he went-through,including losing Ceclia,and an inability to use proper word selection and phraseology,etc.
In the past, I deliberately challenged and debated Zs height,weight,etc.,to stimulate accepted norms relative to Z and his true dimensions,which,in my view, are subject to discussion based on the quality of information and ambiguities we obtain from BH.
I note you have debated whether this was even Zodiac in the first place,so I am inserting my personal view in my post that it was,but I am trying to focus on BHs witness status and the questions you posted.
No real blame on Hartnell,but it's just these fluid factors are present when we enter this particular crime scene at LB.
Just focusing on the hood, I think that in the main ,there is enough stereo-like consistency in all the reports ,to accept the traditional view that the hood was rectangular on top(and that he meant the bottom of the bag!)was black cloth with slits or holes for viewing along with clip on sunglasses, that even Ceclia related to the person assisting her before she was taken away.Of course,his statements that the hood had a frontal bib-like portion extending over the chest area and that in the middle it had a white, carefully embroidered (through time it has been women that have exhibited this kind of sewing skill FYI)cross with an extended circle sewn on this bib. He considered it"ingeniously" sewed.
To me,the whole bizzare costume smacks of occultic leanings.
From what I have learned the hoods description in all the reports was based solely on BHs accounts.Good post Counselor.

By Howard Davis (Howard) ( - on Wednesday, October 22, 2003 - 09:38 pm:

Saw your post-a little late!Yes,Velcro(trade name)was invented-with a lot of serendipity- in the 1940s and was used universally in by the 60's.
We have no proof,of course,if Z used it(or any other kinds of fastening devices)in the construction and for possibly holding his hood in place.I am just speculating too.
You are the first to post about it, so really good thinking there!