Zodiac FBI Files Questions

Zodiackiller.com Message Board: General Zodiac Discussion: Zodiac FBI Files Questions

By Spencer (Spencer) (acb583f6.ipt.aol.com - on Friday, July 06, 2001 - 02:19 am:

In the FBI files regarding Zodiac that were released after a FOIA request (and are available at apbnews.com) there are several pages about which I have questions which some of the more experienced members of the board might be able to answer.

1. In 1982-1983 several letters were sent by a retired newspaper reporter living in Albion, CA who theorized regarding Zodiac and the occult (esp. Alistair Crowley). Does anyone know who this individual is/was (his name, the name of the paper he was with, and his address are all redacted)? If so, are we allowed to mention his name here without legal repercussions?

2. What, if anything, came of the postcard mentioned which came from Orinda, CA (postmarked in Berkeley, CA on 17 October 1970), beginning, "Mon, Oct 12, 1970 [redacted] The Zodiac is going to" (it contains no handprinting, according to the FBI Laboratory report, and is composed of clippings cut from various publications)?


By Spencer (Spencer) (acb583f6.ipt.aol.com - on Friday, July 06, 2001 - 03:01 am:

Another one:

Who wrote the 118 page document "Rules of Decoding the Mount Diablo Code" referred to in the FBI teletype dated 12-18-1991?

The text referring to the author and his suspect is as follows:
"Since 11/8/88, an individual who goes by the name of [redacted] (true name [redacted], DOB [redacted] has been contacting the San Francisco FBI claiming that [redacted] DOB of [redacted] San Francisco, is the Zodiac killer."
(Source: http://www.apbnews.com/media/gfiles/zodiac/zodiac_doc1.html?currentPage=1114)


By Bill Bratton (Willy) (c1465163-a.sttls1.wa.home.com - on Friday, July 06, 2001 - 06:20 am:

For interest's sake, I have sent out requests to at least a dozen cipher specialists and math experts regarding any of the Zodiac ciphers. Requests to help solve the ciphers. I have received one response:

"I'm probably not the guy to get interested, as I have much more than I can do already, and solving this sort of message is not the sort of thing I do.

On the other hand, I seem to recall that this has
been looked at, with the conclusion being that there was insufficient ciphertext to define a unique solution. That is, with this amount of ciphertext, many English-like phrasings could be produced which would each encipher into the given ciphertext by one or another simple hand scheme."

This situation is caused by "unicity distance": iit is simply not possible to uniquely solve ciphertext in this situation, no matter how smart anyone is. That may or may not be the case here, of course."

I offer this as info only to the researchers here, and I note that this person is seemingly aware that "this has been looked at" and that it revealed "multiple solutions". Who holds those solutions? If I saw five solutions to the cipher, I'm thinking that one would clearly be related to the Z man. Have these multiple solutions been accessed via FOIA?

By The Fife (Thefife) (host020.bro.capgroup.com - on Friday, July 06, 2001 - 12:34 pm:


I think the basic problem is what I mentioned before. We have a code with 32 characters and 29 of them are unique. There is no way on earth that this can be a substitution cipher and be decoded. You might as well just take 32 letters of your choice and fabricate anything that comes into your head. It was this realization that prompted me to think along different avenues.

You mentioned 5 solutions. I could sit down and make up 50 solutions in the next hour – if it is presumed to be a substitution cipher.

Somewhere, I do not remember where for it was long ago, I saw a scheme someone had come up with that told how you could get more out of a text than was on the surface. Maybe it was something like this 118-page report. It was debunked; I remember that. Shannon in one of his works on communication spends a lot of time talking about this subject of information being stored, concealed and compressed, etc.

I also have heard of schemes that people have come up with for mapping solutions of the other ciphers into this Mount Diablo cipher (all of them I saw involved the unsolved 340 cipher). I still prefer to think that each cipher is its own entity. If there is a link between ciphers, then the whole universe opens up.

I don't know. I just have not seen that kind of mentation out of the Zodiac. He seems not to be that deeply psychotic that he twists and turns and interweaves things that much. He seems to be a much simpler thinker.

Tom Fife

By Tom Voigt (Tom_Voigt) (acb6a6ab.ipt.aol.com - on Friday, July 06, 2001 - 01:22 pm:

Back to the thread...

Spencer, Dave Peterson is the retired reporter. Howard knows him well.

The Orinda postcard was one of hundreds of kook letters received by the police/press. How could it be authenticated without any handwriting?

The Mt. Diablo author was probably Gareth Penn.

By Spencer (Spencer) (acb60278.ipt.aol.com - on Friday, July 06, 2001 - 04:28 pm:

Thanks, Tom.

The only reason that I wonder about the Mt. Diablo thing is because Penn appears (with name redacted) in FBI reports in 1981 and 1982 which doesn't seem to jive with the 1988 date of first contact by the author of the report. Plus, Penn's suspect, O'Hare, doesn't live in San Francisco (does he?).


By Roger Redding (Roger_Redding) (user-33qs05b.dialup.mindspring.com - on Friday, July 06, 2001 - 06:40 pm:

I think think the author of the Mt Diablo thing was Penn. For one thing, it's only 118 pages.


By Spencer (Spencer) (acb62e2a.ipt.aol.com - on Friday, July 06, 2001 - 06:56 pm:

Times 17, Gareth Penn's original work on the Zodiac case (and his suspect, Michael O'Hare) was published by Foxglove Press in 1987, which wouldn't jive with anything seen in the 12/18/91 teletype that I referenced above.

Does anyone know who actually wrote the report "Rules of Decoding the Mount Diablo Code"?


By Boojum (Boojum) (10.new-york-06rh16rt-ny.dial-access.att.net - on Saturday, July 07, 2001 - 09:09 am:

Foxglove Press was Penn himself. Digitalis, get it?

By Howard Davis (Howard) (ont-cvx1-47.linkline.com - on Friday, July 27, 2001 - 01:48 am:

Spencer:As Tom posted the reporter was Dave Peterson who was with the case since 12/20/68.He did believe that Zodiac was into the occult. He is having health problems at this time and is forbidden by his doctor to engage in Zodiac research as it caused him great strain.Daves' wife is making sure those orders are obeyed!

By Howard Davis (Howard) (ont-cvx1-21.linkline.com - on Wednesday, August 22, 2001 - 01:52 am:

The Orinda(had some friends I used to visit there -a wealthy area)card is an FYI:Bruce Davis was arrested on 10/12/69 and the purported 'action' by Zodiac is to begin one year later or 10/12/70.

Tom is correct as there is no way to validate this card.We don't know what it even looks like.

By Howard Davis (Howard) (ont-cvx1-21.linkline.com - on Wednesday, August 22, 2001 - 02:21 am:

Another thing about the Orinda card.It seems to be a pure pasteup as opposed to a partial pasteup like the Halloween card and Pines card(I personally believe it is a Z deal others do not).There is pasteup mixed with handprinting.But on the 3 by 5 10/5/70(Davis' B Day or Z Day!)there is pure paste' front and back just like the Orinda card.No handwriting on both.

It would be of interest to check the type of glue used on all Zodiac pasteups and see if there is a match.This most likely was done,although it would not surprise me if it has not been analyzed.The cut pattern would be very tough.

By Bruce (Bruce_D) (pm3-01-03.sle.du.teleport.com - on Wednesday, August 22, 2001 - 08:06 am:

Orinda is super wealthy. A side note-Ken Dorsey,QB for Miami(Fla.), played at Miramonte High in Orinda.
Bruce D

By Howard Davis (Howard) (ont-cvx1-37.linkline.com - on Thursday, August 23, 2001 - 02:36 am:

I just kept thinking of the so called Zodiac/Orinda pasteup card(10/12/70-the '69 mo. and day of Davis'arrest).I went to the Orinda map-not too many streets for sure; but the first two that I saw were Bates BL and Davis RD as they are very close to each other and cross one another .At this crossing -Bates/Davis -the city has erected a railroad building -so it is historic.

I also kept thinking about the meaning of Orinda.One meaning is from a TEUTONIC source meaning "fire serpent"(the devil is called a "serpent" in the Bible)and the other meaning is "mountain".MT Diablo(devil or serpent?).

I also note that this card is post sandwiched in October 1970 in between Zodiacs 10/5/70(mo./day of Davis' B Day)postcard pasteup and the infamous Z Halloween pasteup/printing card(10/27/70-the'69 mo./day of the release of Davis).

I think possible Zodiac victim Cosette Ellison 3/3/70 was from this area-she was later found at the base or near there -of MT Diablo.Just musing an FYI...

By Tony (Mahalo) (1cust231.tnt2.wailuku.hi.da.uu.net - on Thursday, August 23, 2001 - 05:03 pm:

Provacative as always, Howard.There's alot of things about Davis that just won't make him go away.Can't close the lid on his involvment just yet.

By Howard Davis (Howard) (ont-cvx1-36.linkline.com - on Friday, August 24, 2001 - 01:29 am:

Tony:Also the postcard is postmarked Berkeley- this was the scene of the two girls whose VW was tampered with and a man popped up to 'offer help' and it was later found that the wiring had been pulled! Echoes of Bates.See my old posts on this incident.

A witness said he saw and spoke to Bruce Davis as he was in Berkeley December 1968-he remembered as it was near Christmas and he went there from L.A.in '68.

On the afternoon of Oct.17 the day of the postmark Assistant police chief Robert Houghton held a very important press conference and announced for the first time that the "initial part of the Tate investigation was OVER[EMP mine] and now the police would backtrack over the entire case and compare notes.More than 400 police interviews had been conducted to that date "wrote Ed Sanders.

As a point of interest the famed psychic -the "profit of specifics"Graysmith mentions in his book said "I keep getting the word 'Berkeley'...I don't see him [Zodiac]from Vallejo or living there.But I do get strong impressions he is living in Berkeley or recently lived there."What always fascinated me was that my guy and other elements fit his reading on Zodiac to a T-or Z!I cover this in my book.