The envelopes. Message Board: Letters: The envelopes.

By Esau (Esau) ( - on Sunday, January 07, 2001 - 08:36 pm:

One thing that has bothered me is that Zodiac's use of excessive postage has been explained by some that Zodiac wanted to make sure the letters were delivered. When you look at the addresses on the envelopes there is no numerical address for the Chronicle. Wouldn't that be a huge risk that the letters might not be delivered? I also saw one envelope that didn't even have the name of the street for the Chronicle. There is also no Zip Code but I believe that Zip Codes weren't required in 1969 and 1970. I wonder if Z is not the "evil genius" that some believe or if there is another underlying factor.

By Bruce Monson (The_Adversary) ( - on Monday, January 08, 2001 - 02:32 pm:

Good observation, Esau!

I think the additional postage definitely has intended meaning; exactly what that intended meaning IS, who can say for sure... Perhaps it was intended to be something as simple as a PROOF OF ID mark that would not be generally known to the public (at least at the time)?

Bruce M.

By Douglas Oswell (Dowland) ( - on Monday, January 08, 2001 - 02:56 pm:

It's especially interesting in that the Riverside writer pulled pretty much the same stunt. He must have been fairly well convinced that the letters would eventually be delivered.

By Hurley (Hurley) ( - on Tuesday, January 09, 2001 - 09:09 pm:

Does anyone know the amount of the postage? Maybe it's something with the numbers or pictures on the stamps?

By Jake Wark (Jake) ( - on Wednesday, January 10, 2001 - 07:31 am:

Hurley -- the Confession was sent unstamped, and the "Bates" letters were sent with two 4-cent stamps each. It's my understanding that this was double the required postage.

"This is the Zodiac Speaking..."

By Marbar (Marbar) ( - on Wednesday, January 10, 2001 - 03:40 pm:

Hurley, I don't think it is as complicated as that("something with the numbers or pictures on the stamps"). I believe there is a fairly simple reason why Z used double the required postage at times.

I believe he wanted to be absolutely sure that the letter reached its destination. Sometimes Z's letters consisted of several pages. He was probably not sure wether the ordinary postage rate would be enough, so he put on an extra stamp to be on the safe side.

He probably always mailed his letters through mail boxes. He would not go to the post office to mail them in order to know the exact amount of stamps needed. If he had done that, there would be the possibility that some employee might recognise the envelopes/handwriting from the newspaper articles on the case.

There is also the "psychological" aspect - I sometimes put on one stamp too many myself if I'm mailing an important letter (for reasons unknown)...

By Douglas Oswell (Dowland) ( - on Wednesday, January 10, 2001 - 04:07 pm:

Another factor is that he never used a zip code, which suggests that he wasn't from the area, was travelling at the time, and didn't know the zip codes off the top of his head.

By Michael Mc (Michaelmc) ( - on Thursday, January 11, 2001 - 02:45 pm:

Doug, that is an interesting observation.


By Chalandra (Chalandra) ( - on Thursday, January 11, 2001 - 04:53 pm:

Does anybody know what these 4 cent stamps looked like? I also feel there is a message in the double postage perhaps in the picture that is on the stamp.

By Esau (Esau) ( - on Thursday, January 11, 2001 - 06:07 pm:

I'm not positive but I think that in late 1969 zip codes were relatively new and weren't yet required. I think it was a transition period.

By Chalandra (Chalandra) ( - on Thursday, January 11, 2001 - 07:27 pm:

What about this theory.......

As you know, my suspects birthdate is 12-24-44.

On the Examiner and Chronicle envelopes dated 7-31-69, there was a total of 12 cents in stamps.

On the Vallejo Times Herald envelope dated 7-31-69, there was a total of 24 cents in stamps.

The post card with the two 4 cent stamps could be meant as 44.

That comes out to my suspects birthday.

Also, another clue of the same birthday is.....

The watch stopped at 12:24.

The Death Machine signature with the 5 x's at 6,8,9,10 and 11 on a clock, when you add all those numbers together, you get 44.

So there is your 12-24-44 once again.

It is interesting Pam posted on one of the threads about she thinks Darlene's death came from whatever link from Pennsylvania.

My suspect is from Pennsylvania. I wonder if this is all a huge coincidence.............

By Ed N. (Edn) ( - on Thursday, January 11, 2001 - 08:55 pm:

Chalandra: stranger things have happened in this case...

By Eduard Versluijs (Eduard) ( - on Friday, January 12, 2001 - 12:21 am:

Still an interesting theory Chalandra came up with!


By Howard (Howard) ( - on Friday, January 12, 2001 - 01:07 am:

Chalandra-Keep looking ,that's why we are all here -to look at the angles,etc.IF there be cause.My guy was born on 10/5-the same date as the 10/5 post card, so its all vey interesting.Tom has posted a lot of match ups in this regard to Allen.

By Lapumo (Lapumo) ( - on Friday, January 12, 2001 - 06:08 am:

I too,have a possible link to this case with a Pennsylvanian connection.It's only a name,so for obvious reasons I could not post it here at this stage.I suspect this link (initially at least)is
independant of those of Pam's and Chalandra's.It could of course also be one of those coincidences
that seem to dominate this case.
Chalandra could you go any further at this stage?

By Bruce Monson (The_Adversary) ( - on Friday, January 12, 2001 - 09:33 am:

I believe he wanted to be absolutely sure that the letter reached its destination. Sometimes Z's letters consisted of several pages. He was probably not sure wether the ordinary postage rate would be enough, so he put on an extra stamp to be on the safe side.

That's possible, but he also mailed single page letters for which it would be obvious that only one stamp (or correct postage) would be quite sufficient--so why double the postage it those circumstances?

By Bruce Monson (The_Adversary) ( - on Friday, January 12, 2001 - 09:40 am:

I'm not positive but I think that in late 1969 zip codes were relatively new and weren't yet required. I think it was a transition period.

That's correct. There were a lot of ad campaigns by the postal service encouraging people to use the Zip codes.

I was very young at the time, but I seem to remember seeing these ads on television in the early 70's. They were commercials with a postman chiming in with a catchy tune to "Don't forget the Zip code."

By Marbar (Marbar) ( - on Saturday, January 13, 2001 - 04:29 am:

Bruce commented that Z also used double the postage on letters consisting of only one page, where one stamp would be enough. Why?

Like I said earlier, I believe he wanted to be absolutely sure the letters reached its destination. Even though one stamp would be sufficient and even though the letter would not arrive any faster with more postage on it, he subconsciously thought so.

Like I said in my earlier post, thinking back, I have done so myself with important letters (for reasons unknown).

As to wether or not
the use of Zip codes were required in the late 60's or early 70's, I don't know since I don't live in the US, but that would be easy to find out! Someone on the board must know for sure?

Remember that the addresses Z sent his letters to were very well known (SF Chronicle etc), maybe (even if Zip codes were required) he felt the letters would still be forwarded. However, that would contradict the fact that I believe he wanted to be sure the letters reached their receivers. Therefore, I am pretty sure Zip codes were not required at that time... Please confirm this, anyone?

By Hurley (Hurley) ( - on Saturday, January 13, 2001 - 08:39 am:

I was just a wee bit too young to confirm your question on zips at that time Marbar but I just think Z was so cryptic that everything should be looked at as such.

By Edward (Edward) ( - on Saturday, January 13, 2001 - 09:39 am:

Zip codes started in 1963 but weren't widely accepted until the early seventies. In any event, a zip is not required to be on a letter when mailed. The post office frequently delivers letters that have no return address and addresses written on them to well known places. Chronicle, SFO; White House, DC; usually get to their destination. Santa, North Pole, well, you know...

By Lapumo (Lapumo) ( - on Sunday, March 04, 2001 - 07:33 pm:

We know Zodiac mailed from various locations,but were they ever able to establish the days and times of day Zodiac would have had to post?

By William Baker (Bill_Baker) ( - on Monday, March 05, 2001 - 01:30 am:

Color me lazy, for I know I could probably find answers to most of my questions either within this site or by reading the voluminous FBI Lab reports, but nonetheless I have a few questions about the envelopes and letters.

Regarding the envelopes sent to the various addressees, including the Chronicle:

What size were they: all the same size or varied (3 5/8 x 6 1/2, or 4 1/8 x 9 1/2 (legal size))?

Was the manufacturer(s) determined, along with possible retailers that stocked them? Certainly the FBI Lab has a comprehensive envelope source file.

Was any stationery (envelopes and paper) seized in any of the Allen searches, for comparison with the Z materials? Even if the manufacturer was different, they both may have had a common retailer.

Regarding the letters themselves:

How were they folded? Was it the standard two-fold method? If in a smaller envelope, were they then folded at one end to accommodate the envelope? (I know I've done that when I didn't have a legal-size envelope available.)

I know that some, if not all, pages were smaller than the standard 8 1/2 x 11. I also recall that the size and perhaps characteristics were consistent with teletype paper. Was there a determination by the lab that the pages had been manually pared down, rather than of original size and unaltered, with minute perforations on the edges? And, if unaltered, where would someone go to purchase this paper stock? (As an aside, what would have been the reason/motivation for Z to have used a rather unorthodox size of paper?)

Were any blue-ink felt-tipped pens recovered from the Allen searches? Again, the FBI should have been able, through the ink characteristics, to have performed a comparison with Z's missives. (And why was blue ink Z's color of choice?)

I would think that reputable graphologists would be able to ascertain from Z's letters whether the writer was using his right hand or left. I don't recall such a determination having been made. If the handedness was not evident, does this suggest that the writer wrote slowly, with deliberation, in order to evade detection (duh), even though his deliberation tended to degrade as the message progressed?

I realize that I am violating one of Tom's unwritten rules, asking for information that may be available within the site, but I've noticed a drastic decline in activity here, so I thought I'd try and stimulate a little discourse. Most of my questions may be rhetorical, knowing that no answer exists, but what the hell.


By Howard Davis (Howard) ( - on Friday, August 31, 2001 - 11:12 pm:

Dear Editors;In examining the Zodiac envelopes I noted some points of interest.The abbreviation for San Francisco bothered me for some reason.Of course, we know that in the majority of cases Zodiac wrote "San Fran".

While at work today it kept bothering me why this form of abbreviation?Was there a meaning?We know Z was into ciphers and mystical/symbolic thinking,etc.I suddenly flashed that my suspect was born(10/5 same date as a Zodiac postcard) in the Saint Francis Sanitarium in Monroe, LA. Saint or SAN and FRAN- cis - "San Fran!"Of course, Zs' fav' city to write was SAN FRANcisco!

Is that what the guy does at work?Lets tell the boss.FYIIIIII P.S. Go ahead -I am the boss-why do you think I can screw around with stuff like this?

By Peter H (Peter_H) ( - on Tuesday, September 04, 2001 - 08:50 am:


Again, there is a much simpler explanation that is therefore far more likely. "San Fran" is a very common abbreviation for the City, one much preferred by natives and neighbors over the taboo "Frisco". Use of the former indicates some familiarity with the city culture. Probably indicates that Z was at least a neighbor. Like a Vallejoan.

By Howard Davis (Howard) ( - on Sunday, September 09, 2001 - 09:23 pm:


It was an FYI.Actually there is more FYI to this case than any of us would care to admit!Again, like I stated to Scott today -it is not a matter of 'ease','easier'or'easy' with Zodiac-if he did something it was done -to blazes with 'ease'!If anything he took the hard course, except, possibly,at BRS.-even then a police patrol car could have driven by at any time or a resident like Borges(she was just minutes away from the '87),OR WORSE YET HUNTERS WITH GUNS AS SOME WERE THERE THAT NIGHT!

Zodiac was not concerned with any "taboo" relative to S.F.ites-after all he murdered one of their taxi drivers and a number of Northern CA residents, threatened their children,police and inhabitants in general-and boasted about it in letters to the Editor of their most respected paper!

There is NO TRUE FACTUAL indication where Zodiac was from or where he lived other than all of our FYIs of which this post-including yours- is one!

After reading and studying his letters hundreds of times since 1987-if anything he seems,from those letters and expressions,detached and distant from the entire North Bay area.FYI!!!

By Peter H (Peter_H) ( - on Monday, September 10, 2001 - 12:54 pm:


Actually, my post was not intended as an FYI. It was a direct response to your wodering why Z would use the abbreviation "San Fran". And the simple answer is "because that is the common local convention." Your question is like asking "why use 'LA' for Los Angeles?" I was not suggesting that Z eschewed "Frisco" because it is taboo, but simply because it is not used in the Bay area, except maybe by tourists. People who use it invariably don't know it shows ignorance rather than familiarity. Peopoe who use "San Fran" don't even think about it. I don't think Z would think anything of it, any more than anyone would think anything of using LA for Los Angeles.
I am curious to know wht it is about the letters that leads you to believe that Z was detached and distant from the North BAy area. Alienated, to be sure, but do you mean he was from somewhere else? I don't see it.

By Bruce (Bruce_D) ( - on Monday, September 10, 2001 - 01:10 pm:

People from the East Bay always used Frisco when I was growing up. I was born and raised in OAKLAND and we NEVER EVER used the term SAN FRAN. I had an aunt who lived in Frisco and she did not like me using that term,but I like everybody I knew said Frisco so I always and still refer to SF by that term.
We in the Eastbay always figured Frisco sucked and they felt the sme way about us. Actually they felt BETTER THAN!!
Bruce D.

By Esau (Esau) ( - on Monday, September 10, 2001 - 07:55 pm:

Bruce is correct. When I lived in the East Bay, San Francisco was "Frisco". When I moved to San Francisco and later on down the peninsula in San Mateo County, San Francisco was known as "The City".

By Howard Davis (Howard) ( - on Monday, September 10, 2001 - 08:27 pm:

Exactly -I grew up in the Gay I mean Bay area too.Thanx!

By Lapumo (Lapumo) ( - on Tuesday, October 09, 2001 - 02:27 am:

On several of the Zodiac letters the author uses
the abbreviation "Calif" for California.I wondered
if this was a usual and acceptable usage.Not being from there I would have assumed CA or CAL would be more appropriate!

By Esau (Esau) ( - on Tuesday, October 09, 2001 - 12:26 pm:

"Calif." was the standard abbreviation back then.

By Linda (Linda) ( - on Wednesday, October 10, 2001 - 12:45 am:

A far more intriguing similarity involving addresses on envelopes is the way in which BOTH Zodiac and Ted Kaczynski consistently fail to separate city and state through use of a comma. This, to me, is quite unique.

Are there known samples of others suspects' manner of form in writing addresses?

See Actual Zodiac Exemplars:

S. F. Chronicle
San Fran. Calif

S.F. Chronicle
San Francisco Calif

Mr. Melvin M. Belli
1228 Mtgy
San Fran Calif

S.F. Chronicle
San Fran. Calif

Vallejo Times Heald
Vallejo Calif

See Actual Kaczynski Exemplars:

Ted Kaczynski
HCR 30
Lincoln MT 59639

Mrs. Ire
Box 353
Lincoln MT 59639

Department of Health and Environmental Sciences
Cogswell Building
Helena MT

Teodoro Kaczynski
P.O. Box 524
Lincoln MT 59634

Theodore John Kaczynski
P.O. Box 8500
Florence CO 81776-8500

Theodore J. Kaczynski
HCR 30 Box 27
Lincoln MT 59639

Montana State Commerce Department
Consumer Affairs unit
1424 9th Avenue
Helena MT 59601

It would be great to see other suspects' address writing styles. Any samples out there?


By Lapumo (Lapumo) ( - on Wednesday, October 10, 2001 - 04:32 am:

Thanks Esau.
The reason I mentioned it in the first place was
an application made by Manson for credit cards during his trial.A copy of which can be found in the book..Helter Skelter.IMHO,the printing on this application is one of the closest likenesses
to that of Zodiac that I've seen.Not only does the printing have several similar characteristics but also numbers used,especially the "fours" and
"eights".Zodiac's were distinctive.All the way through (even from the Bates envelopes)the "4"used in Zodiac's communications are the same with the high vertical cross stroke.The "8" as used in his bomb components letter is open to the right in the top loop.
The address given...Los Angeles Calif is also very similar!

By Jena (Jena) ( - on Thursday, October 11, 2001 - 07:20 pm:

As far as the handwriting it has always struck me to resemble handwriting of a child who is practicing his alphabet. Any thoughts on this, could it be possible Z had a child write the envelopes for "practice" without the child knowing ...?

By Eduard (Eduard) ( - on Friday, October 12, 2001 - 12:39 am:


A very inventive thought...
Everything is possible in this case.

"The Zodiac-Batman Connection"

By Tom Voigt (Tom_Voigt) ( - on Friday, October 12, 2001 - 12:57 am:

Actually, I've been attempting to track down Allen's former pupils for some time.

By Peter H (Peter_H) ( - on Friday, October 12, 2001 - 10:26 am:

Weren't ALA's students a little old to be "practicing their alphabet"?

By Bookworm (Bookworm) ( - on Friday, October 12, 2001 - 02:34 pm:

Jena, in Graysmith's book Zodiac, he suggests that Zodiac used an enlarger to copy script from other persons for his letter compositions. That way his own writing wouldn't match in an analysis. He describes the process on p.218-219.

Maybe he did use children's script.

By Jena (Jena) ( - on Saturday, October 13, 2001 - 01:56 pm:

While we are on the topic of handwriting I thought I would throw this out too... About the odd markings Z would make , the thought crossed my mind I should check in a handwriting short hand book . It could be Z was using scribbled abreviations ? Just a thought... I'll do some checking on it...

By Douglas Oswell (Dowland) ( - on Saturday, October 13, 2001 - 02:03 pm:

My wife practiced Gregg shorthand quite extensively in the past, and claims that the symbol reads "you have not."

By Douglas Oswell (Dowland) ( - on Saturday, October 13, 2001 - 02:04 pm:

Of course, consider also the possibility that the writer's name might have been Greg.

By Ray N (Ray_N) ( - on Saturday, October 13, 2001 - 02:43 pm:

I've wondered about the envelopes being done by someone else too, but never considered the child angle. Of course, if Z had someone write the envelopes, then it's a reasonable bet that someone also applied the stamps. If a child did it, this could explain why the envelopes had various inappropriate measures of postage on them! (On that thread,we can certainly rule out a postal employee at the service counter being the DNA source.) If someone else put the stamps on, it could be a major blow to the case at this point, considering that DNA is about the only forensic card left to play. On the other hand, with this new angle in mind most of the children Allen frequently associated with are certainly still alive. If we could produce a short list of good candidates, genetics could yet prevail.

By Howard Davis (Howard) ( - on Monday, October 15, 2001 - 03:22 pm:

Of course, you have a good idea in that Zodiac could have used children's printing,etc. to compose his letters ,if he did ,indeed ,use some sort of a tracing system and there are several.
I do accept that Z wrote the rh poem and the door writing which were both done free hand.
Many of the same letters found in those two sets of writings are found in his mailed letters and all of this was confirmed by the late State Expert Sherwood Morrill.
Letters to God-in the 60's- were a series of cartoons with childlike characters(drawn and written by the adult cartoonist!) used for the captions and sayings.
There have been many speculations regarding this issue,but it shows your perceptive abilities.'Could be' is the theme in this case!