Zodiac . . . Dead or Alive

Zodiackiller.com Message Board: Theories: Zodiac . . . Dead or Alive

By Mike Kelleher (Mike_Kelleher) (12-210-225-42.client.attbi.com - on Monday, March 31, 2003 - 07:34 pm:

I'm looking for some opinions based on the facts of the Zodiac case WITHOUT any prejudice for or against a particular suspect. In other words, throw out WHO you think Zodiac might be and, if you will, give me your opinions as to whether or not Zodiac might still be living. Good theories are what I'm looking for here -- something based on the facts of the case as much as possible. If you think he is still living, please tell me the details -- where, when, why, how . . . the usual. If you believe he is dead, the same.

This is an aspect of the case that I want to follow a little further, and one that might appear in print someday. However, for now, I'm interested in hearing your views.


By Peter H (Peter_H) (pool-141-154-23-8.bos.east.verizon.net - on Monday, March 31, 2003 - 09:46 pm:


Interesting idea. One approach might be to deal with probabilities, a sort of actuarial study. First, I think it is highly unlikely that his activities were ended by death. The killling stopped a relatively long time before the confirmed letters did, so we know that he was capable of stopping the killing on his own. This makes it more likely that he could stop all related behavior, including the writing, on his own, doesn't it? Isn't it easier to stop the writing than the killing? Ergo, it seems likely that his Z related activities were stopped by reasons other than death. I believe your own profiling analysis would put his age at perhaps 25-35 at the height of his killing, would it not? So it is likely that he would be perhaps in his early 60s if alive today. Life expectancies would tell us, I believe, that it is more likely than not that someone aged 30 in 1970 would survive to that age and is alive today.

So as far as we can tell from what is likely about his age and unlikely about death as the cause of the cessation of activity, I think an actuary would tell us it is more likely than not that he is alive.

By Zerlock Kolumbo (ip-24-197-136-043.spart.sc.charter.com - on Monday, March 31, 2003 - 10:01 pm:

The most obvious approach, short of digging thru the child-molester rap sheets, is to study similar cases, in other words, make a connection. It's like now, when they try to link GRK cases after 1984..... it's hooker-murders that will catch the eye. Peter, take what I consider your fairly accurate analysis one step further by saying that this chronic-publicity-seeker would have a hard time giving up on his game.

By Tom_Voigt (12-224-139-118.client.attbi.com - on Monday, March 31, 2003 - 10:51 pm:

"Studying similar cases" means lots and lots of research, at least if you want to do it right. During the course of the research, one might find themselves studying child-molester rap sheets. If that's a problem for you, maybe it would be wise to choose a new hobby.

By Tom_Voigt (12-224-139-118.client.attbi.com - on Monday, March 31, 2003 - 10:57 pm:

Mike, I'd say the odds are Zodiac either died or was almost identified sometime during the 1970s. Maybe he even had a taste of prison and it was sour enough to prompt some serious changes in his behavior.

In any event, if he were still alive I would think it to be very tempting to make contact with on of us Internet geeks, especially considering the perceived anonymity of the Web.

By Eduard Versluijs (iproxy1.kennisnet.nl - on Tuesday, April 01, 2003 - 12:28 am:


When a serial-killer gets a taste for murder it is unlikely he would stop all of a sudden.
Most serial-killers stop their killing because they are caught.

Knowing this the options in my eyes are:
A. The guy was died in the 70's
B: The guy was jailed in the 70's and isn't out yet.
C: The guy is still alive and still active in killing people (this is the most desturbing option).

I do not believe a serial-killer can change his behavior (not killing anymore) so sudden.
Son of Sam now being reverted into a priest-figure? I don't buy that!


By Douglas Oswell (Dowland) (pool-141-151-72-18.phil.east.verizon.net - on Tuesday, April 01, 2003 - 02:19 am:

Physically there's no reason why he wouldn't still be alive. Nowadays people routinely live into their eighties and beyond. I wouldn't expect to find someone who is especially content or happy with his present life. I'd expect to see him isolated and alienated, living a solitary life beyond the reaches of society. I'd also expect that he'd have developed one or more theories to excuse his social ineptitude and general failure as a human being; theories that elevate him to a position above his fellow man and denigrate everyday society as inferior to his own way of life. He might belong to a fringe movement such as environmentalism, or neo-facsism, but I don't think he'd be content to assume the role of a mere follower in such a movement. If he has been active in the work force I believe his antimonial personality and inability to socialize would have led to numerous firings and other unpleasant incidents from which he felt obliged to walk away and terminate his employment. Typically he would have spent most of his productive years either self-employed or unemployed. Any psychiatrist who evaluated him would want to conclude that he suffers from paranoia, though his intelligence and mental acuity would belie the diagnosis.

Apart from the obvious model provided by Ted Kaczynski, a good subject might be Brian David Mitchell, the abductor of Elizabeth Smart. I have no difficulty in perceiving his as the kind of personality that could created (in a different time) a Zodiac Killer. He appears to have found his niche in religious grandiosity; a philosophy that elevated himself above his fellow man and afforded an excuse for his criminal activities.

By Mike Kelleher (Mike_Kelleher) (12-210-225-42.client.attbi.com - on Tuesday, April 01, 2003 - 07:40 am:

Really interesting and perceptive, folks. So far, can we assume these things?

1. There's no obvious reason to assume that Zodiac is dead, given age, history, and the facts of the case.

2. I have to disagree with the view that serial killers never stop killing. In fact, it happens more frequently than most people realize. This is an old Ressler myth that seems to linger on needlessly. So, can we not assume (as mentioned above) that Zodiac went on to activities other than killing? In fact, could he not have changed these activities many times over the past three decades?

3. There's also no reason to believe that serial killers can't change their tactics and lifestyles entirely. So, can we not also assume that Zodiac could have changed his living patterns in some unexpected ways? Aren't a lot of options open here?

4. Isn't it unlikely that Zodiac was jailed for other crimes, at least for a long period of time? If he was, wouldn't it be more likely that his story would have come out on the jailhouse circuit? Remember how driven he was to tell his tales, true or not.

If I'm taking a wrong turn here, please say more.


By jane (dialup- - on Tuesday, April 01, 2003 - 08:33 am:

I think your right, some people do seek help or situations change. For instance, it may have been easier to get around in the 60's and early 70's, but then there was a gas war in the mid to late 70's. Maybe his parents always provided him a car, and their income became scarce.
One who had injured his hand or hands may not be able to use a gun or knife, the way he once could, or he could have seen a psychologist that holds a confidential file, and is only known to that doctor.
If he was part of a cult, he could have fulfilled his duties or the cult could have new leadership.

By majes (cache-ntc-ad10.proxy.aol.com - on Tuesday, April 01, 2003 - 09:43 am:

I guess I have a different perspective. I believe Zodiac was older than thirty in 1969-70. SFPD officers said 35 to 45 and VPD dispatcher said "mature" (BRS police report p.4) If he was forty-ish in 1969, he'd be seventy plus now. Given at least part of his life was full of unhealthy activities -think stress, mental anguish,paranoia, etc, I think he's most likely dead now. I agree Zodiac was probably never incarerated; in addition to the jailhouse curcuit there'd be fingerprints to cross-reference. (I think Zodiac's prints were found at one or more of the crime scenes) I also believe that Zodiac's "lifestyle" changed significantly and that he did stop killing if only because of age or infirmity or fear.

By Mike_D (Mike_D) (cache-dr05.proxy.aol.com - on Tuesday, April 01, 2003 - 07:40 pm:

Dead.I think his ego would have been tweeked by the New York Copycat Zodiac case of 1990.He would have wrote to the press to say"Hey it's not me'but I'm still in control."The fact he didn't says to me he couldn't.
Unless he was tired of it all and glad to pass the
torch to a younger generation....

By jane (dialup- - on Tuesday, April 01, 2003 - 08:49 pm:

Mike Kelleher
I just finished reading you Q&A page and just wanted to say , I like the way you think.

By obiwan (Obiwan) (ciw1.ciw.edu - on Tuesday, April 01, 2003 - 08:56 pm:

Conventional wisdom, as mentioned in Mikes #4 above, suggests: "either dead or in jail". Lets assume he's been in jail much of this time (presumably on a life sentance for some other murder). He obviously has not chosen to confess to the Z crimes which is a bit odd given his enormous ego. The Z letters indicate he was bostfully proud of having twarted police all this time and was constantly flirting with revealing his identity/seeking help.

This leaves two possible reasons he hasn't confessed. Either he enjoys his life in jail and is afraid of risking a death penalty or he is in some sense "ashamed" of being Z, possibly because he gave up the Z lifestyle and assumed a different persona

By Nick (Nick) ( on Tuesday, April 01, 2003 - 11:15 pm:

A man like this probably has ties to the California mental health system in some shape or form. Clever as he may have been, he would have been noticed for his ecentric behavoir. It most certainly would have spilled out into other aspects of his life. Perhaps he was committed by family or friends who were not even aware he was a killer. Perhaps he has spent the last 25 years in Atascadero munching medications that have suppressed his own knowledge of the past. Then again, maybe he screams "I am the zodiac" and nobody even bothers to listen.

By Kenny Kilgore (dialup- - on Wednesday, April 02, 2003 - 01:28 am:

Zodiac could be living like a hermit in fear because someone that knows him well has identified him. Zodiac could also be living like a hermit to prepare himself for prison. I believe Zodiac wanted someone to discover his identity, it just happened a little sooner than he wanted!

By Zerlock Kolumbo (cpe-66-191-53-101.spart.sc.charter.com - on Wednesday, April 02, 2003 - 01:56 am:

1.Jail a.removed from society 2.Dead a.badly injured 3. Gave up on his game. Three is unlikely. Society fueled his terrorist activity, so I'd assume if not dead, we're looking at number one around 1971. Remember, Zodiac was an immature bomber and terrorist, let's say when compared to someone like the Unabomber or Rudolph. (Un-carried out bomb threats and I'll kill you if you don't wear my button.) If Zodiac was only a lust-killer, I'd simply expect more of the same. However, as a developing, thinking terrorist, I'd look for a more-developed bomber and publicity-seeking terrorist post-1971.

By Ryan Olesin (Ryan) (d150-160-190.home.cgocable.net - on Wednesday, April 02, 2003 - 06:24 am:

Zodiac could have been in an accident which comprimised his ability to commit and flee the scene, however he continued sending the letters with the hopes that he would recover to kill again. He would have been on medication. Maybe he became frustrated because his injuries were not healing, or the pain got worse due to another injury and committed suicide. Or he accidently overdosed one day. Perhaps the depression got worse and accidently drank some booze too soon before/after taking his medication.

Either a crippling accident that comprised his aim/walk. Or a disfiguring/membering accident like scars on his face or losing a limb. This would make it much easier to identify.

the man was seen leaving washington and cherry. 5'8, crew cut, 25-35, only has right leg

Zelms and Foukes see a man matching the description except he only has his left leg not right leg so they keep driving... looking for a right legged man.

By Jose Manuel (pool805.ntrl.net - on Wednesday, April 02, 2003 - 07:27 am:

Hello MikeK,
My guess is that he can still be alive. I believe he stopped killings after he stopped writings. My impression is that he never had a big urge for killing - he only used the murders as a 'tool' for terrorizing the society. I guess he would prefer only to wound somebody and to use it against the police&society through letters to the newspapers than to kill 10 people just for 'pleasure', without letting somebody to know that. With other words - he was rather a Chessplayer-type than a Butcher-type. Of course, at LB he put that hood on himself with intention to kill the only ones who would see him - that probably says he enjoyed that ritual by itself. Still that murder was for him mainly a 'tool'.
Remember the way of signing the letters? First: Crossed-circle - number. At the last: "Me" - 37. Looks like he began to lose his taste for the game. I believe "Zodiac" died long time ago, but the person beyond "Zodiac" is probably still alive.

By Warren (Warren) (w205.z064002105.hou-tx.dsl.cnc.net - on Wednesday, April 02, 2003 - 07:29 am:

Or maybe he got a cat and was driven insane.

By Bookworm (Bookworm) (12-251-72-110.client.attbi.com - on Wednesday, April 02, 2003 - 10:09 am:

If no one really knew Zodiac's identity, then he had the opportunity to take his lifestyle in a different direction. Even if he did stop killing, he probably substituted killing with something as gratifying to him but less violent, and more low risk. Infiltrating the police, putting one over on them by becoming one of them would have been challenging.

John Douglas says some serial killers have an interest in law enforcement and some of them have actually been rejected for employment in that field (Mindhunter). Some of Zodiac's letters expressed hatred for police, and revelled in putting one over on them (Stine). Since Zodiac hasn't been caught, maybe he had some background in law or law enforcement (studies). Bundy did.

By Warren (Warren) (w205.z064002105.hou-tx.dsl.cnc.net - on Wednesday, April 02, 2003 - 12:52 pm:

Bookworm brings up an interesting comparison. Bundy would have never stopped killing as long as he was alive and not incarcerated. Never. It was his reason d'etre. I could easily imagine Zodiac voluntarily giving up killing as killing was not his primary objective. Terrorizing the public was his main motive. Terrorists can actually mellow to some extent over time (Arafat, Carlos the Jackal, your friendly SLA members, etc.).

By Lapumo (Lapumo) (p51-84.as1.clm.clonmel.eircom.net - on Wednesday, April 02, 2003 - 02:51 pm:

I don't think there's much doubt that this person "survived" the Zodiac.That is to say that I do not believe that the killings/written communications stopped beacuse he died or was killed.While we can't state as fact that the murders came to an end with Stine, it does appear to be most likely(at least in the guise of Zodiac).Subsequent letters would appear to suggest that this was a conscious decision.
Likewise, the Exorcist letter signals(to me at least)the end of Zodiac, another conscious decision.It does suggest to me that this person was conscious and capable of changing his ways to some degree.Perhaps the question of him being alive or dead at this point goes not to what changes he was capable of but rahter what he was incapable of changing.Most that have posted have alluded to his arrogance,egotism and compulsion to boast.Traits that existed before he was Zodiac and long after.Perhaps the most telling evidence is the period of silence between 71 and 74.
I believe he was capable of calling a halt to the killings,but that maybe the urge to boast or tell someone or even confess would not have left him.
I think this would have visited him many times on the road back to some kind of normal existence.
If he is alive all these years I expect we would have heard from him or perhaps we may hear when he does die.
I know this is not about particular suspects and my opinion thus far is not a biased one. However I do think that Allen (if Zodiac) could have existed in this scenario having ceased his activities as Zodiac but at the same time lived off the interest and attention given him by Law enforcement over the years.

By Mike Kelleher (Mike_Kelleher) (12-210-225-42.client.attbi.com - on Wednesday, April 02, 2003 - 02:25 pm:

Well, it seems as though the majority think that Zodiac is still among us. That's the same opinion I've received from professionals in the law enforcement biz, as well as writers and journalists who are familiar with the case, along with a few producers. So, assuming that Zodiac is still alive (admittedly, a big assumption), some other questions seem important:

1. Given Zodiac's need to dominate and control others, mostly on a large scale, how would he fulfill that need after he stopped killing or as he grew older? Or,

2. Would that need fade away with age, or under different living circumstances. How would he find that kind of fulfillment in his "senior years?" Would he even have that need in his 60s or 70s?

In other words, if one believes that Zodiac could still be alive, how would he be living? How would he occupy his time? How different would he be today than he was 35 years ago? His profile today would certainly be very different than so many years ago, but in which ways?

Opinions? It's a fascinating "mind game," if nothing else. As fas as I can tell, no one has ever progressed Zodiac's profile from his killing days to his older years. Perhaps it would be a worthwhile exercise.


By Douglas Oswell (Dowland) (pool-141-151-87-90.phil.east.verizon.net - on Wednesday, April 02, 2003 - 03:46 pm:

Mike, I don't think Zodiac would ever really be free of the need to assert himself. What's more, I don't think he'd be content to do so on a small scale, having once experienced the gratification of playing on a world stage. He might feel the need to formulate an original political or religious philosophy to which he could attract adherents, but I don't think he'd be content with a bit role, or making a cynical attempt at ministering to poor prostitutes, like Dostoyevsky's Underground Man. Having learned how to kill, I can perceive him as having the ability to kill again should the need arise.

By Peter H (Peter_H) (pool-68-160-60-214.bos.east.verizon.net - on Wednesday, April 02, 2003 - 03:52 pm:

1. Given Zodiac's need to dominate and control others, mostly on a large scale, how would he fulfill that need after he stopped killing or as he grew older?

a. He's a lawyer
b. He's a webmaster
c. He's running a private militia with a strong white supreemacist bent

2. Would that need fade away with age, or under different living circumstances?

a. Never: it gets better with age
b. Never: its an addiction
c. Never: delusions increase with the onset of dementia

3. How would he find that kind of fulfillment in his "senior years?"

a. Volunteering for the legal Aid program at the council on aging
b. Introducing wierder and wierder sidebar discussions on MBs, such as old sitcom pilots and political science
c. Sitting around talking about how great the old days were(pre 1864) and maybe shooting a domesticated animal from time to time.

4. Would he even have that need in his 60s or 70s?

a. especially in his 60's or 70's.
b. its better than sex
c. it IS sex

5. In other words, if one believes that Zodiac could still be alive, how would he be living?

a. In a condo in St. Barts
b. You call this living?
c. In a shack in Montana

6. How would he occupy his time?

a. Pina coladas, mostly
c. Besides talking about the old days and shooting stuff? what else is there?

7. How different would he be today than he was 35 years ago?

a. He looks like hell, bad heart, bad liver, bad conscience. the Picture of Dorian Grey.
b. Better toys. Wonders how he ever got any press before email.
c. See a. and b., except for the conscience.

His profile today would certainly be very different than so many years ago, but in which ways?

Maybe his profile wouldn't be so different. Still a maladjusted loner, friends, if any, that aren't too keen on seeing him much, but put up with himn from time to time, probably in socially safe situations, like bars or senior centers

By Mike Kelleher (Mike_Kelleher) (12-210-225-42.client.attbi.com - on Wednesday, April 02, 2003 - 05:52 pm:

Hi Doug:

Interesting take but I don't see it quite that way. I can't imagine Zodiac in a leadership position of any kind. I see him as a manipulator, a taunter from the sidelines, but not as an overt figurehead. I agree that he could/would kill again at a certain point and with certain motivation, but probably not in his later years. It does happen, but it's rare. Even the SRHM that came later can't be attributed to him (even remotely).

The more I think about it, the more I'd be looking for a pattern of manipulation throughout those quiet years. On a grand scale? I'm not sure. I don't think he could ever approach what he did in the late 60s/early 70s. It makes me wonder what kind of substitue form it would take. Since he was an impersonal manipulator -- someone who used an imtermediary resource (like the press) -- I wonder how that would play out in a less violent way? If the guy lived on past the early 70s, how would he get those same jollies? That's a really abrupt change of life circumstances that doesn't come easy to stable psychological types, assuming he was one of those ;-)

Then, again . . .

Anyway, just thinking "out loud" on this one.


By Douglas Oswell (Dowland) (pool-141-151-87-90.phil.east.verizon.net - on Wednesday, April 02, 2003 - 07:29 pm:

Mike, I was in no way trying to assume that he would have assumed a leadership role in anything--you're quite right on that point, I believe. It reminds me of Kaczynski's attempt in 1971 to start an anti-technology movement. At the end of his letter, which he sent to a number of prominent individuals, he wrote,

"I claim to have no particular qualifications for trying to start such an organization, and I have no idea how to go about it, I am only making an attempt because no better qualified person has yet done so. I am simply trying to bring together a few highly intelligent and thoughtful people who would be willing to take over the task. I would prefer to drop out of it personally because I am unsuited to that kind of work: in fact I dislike it intensely."

If you're looking to write a work of fiction based on Zodiac I don't think you're going to find a better model for the role than Kaczynski. I tried this myself, but unfortunately I couldn't keep Kaczynski out of it--nor his brother, who probably would have sued me if I'd been successful! It's a bit like trying to write a Christmas story--Dickens and his Scrooge have so thoroughly dominated the genre that you can't get away from them long enough to think of something original.

Speaking of his brother, David was probably the only person over whom Ted exercised any real influence, at least before he gained his notoriety as the Unabomber. Now, although he's in jail, his ego is getting all the gratification it needs. He's probably happier than he's ever been. Remember, too, that one of the things that makes him so intriguing as a true-crime character is the fact that the prop he created to hold up his ego was so well thought-out that many intelligent people have found themselves taken in by his worldview. For someone as intelligent as Kaczynski, that would have been an absolute necessity. Essentially it had to be good enough to convince him of its validity; to stand up to a reasoning process that was far superior to the average.

Assuming Kaczynski wasn't Zodiac, there are quite a few ways in which he could have diverted his energies toward other causes. He might, for example, have gotten religion, and used it as an excuse to crusade violently against abortion, as we've seen others do. If he discovered racism we might expect to see him committing violent and clandestine acts against minorities; perhaps joining a militia group, although I doubt very much that he would have been the "joining" type. He might well have taken to murdering homosexuals, especially if he were a latent homosexual himself. The possibilities are endless.

Or, he might have gotten his act together and settled down, although I think it highly unlikely!

By Linda (Linda) (208-59-124-213.s213.tnt1.frdr.md.dialup.rcn.com - on Wednesday, April 02, 2003 - 11:20 pm:

Mike… I believe Z is still alive. I think his need for self-preservation allowed him to step back from the type crimes he committed as Z; however, not necessarily entirely from a life of crime and certainly not by avoiding his desire and/or NEED to communicate.

Considering this, I have always believed that the key to solving this mystery is in the WRITINGS of Zodiac, himself, not by deciphering his codes, or in similarity of printing or lettering, but in content, grammar style and more importantly, Zodiac's NEED to write.

Most perpetrators want to disassociate themselves from their crimes, a far cry from corresponding with others and/or writing about them. But not Zodiac. To me, the continuing correspondences are the Zodiac's NEED to communicate. In his writings, he's describing himself to the reader. He wants desperately for someone to listen to him, he wants someone to understand him, he wants someone to show him respect…to show himself as someone worthy of being paid attention to - and not being put on the back burner. This is his solace, his gratification, in the perpetration of his crimes, committed for his own reasons. These are his cries for companionship or to be able to communicate with someone, anyone…just so long as he's able to be heard and acknowledged. The newspapers, the police, the victims; they were his pen-pals. Zodiac wanted acknowledgement of his existence…why, we can only speculate, until we know for sure who he is.

Zodiac may have been his pen-name, but whoever he was (or is), we most assuredly will find that this individual has had a need to communicate through writings probably all of his life (and not just in connection to the Z Crimes). If alive (which I believe he is), he continues to do so. The real person behind the Zodiac facade probably has had a hard time confronting others or having others understand him and as his form of communicating his feelings. I would suspect that he has written to others in his own right. Someone who needs to indirectly (just so he won't be caught) identify "himself" to the world after he commits a "crime," surely must have a history of writing on other "occasions."

My guess is if we ever find out who the real Zodiac is, we will find that he has continued his NEED to communicate through his writing abilities.

By Sandy (Sandy) (adsl-67-122-213-40.dsl.snfc21.pacbell.net - on Thursday, April 03, 2003 - 07:18 pm:

Mike I believe he is alive and is still killing,but not useing the name of Zodiac.He is staying one step ahead of the police,and that is what he likes to do. He is still getting attention from time to time in the papers, and on TV.and now a movie about him. It is still his game, we may never find out until he is dead,then the rest of the Paul Stine shirt will be in a box with a note saying I fooled you all, This is the Zodiac speaking for the last time. I think he should have a little note for Tom thanking him for all the interest in him for all these years.It gave his ego a boost,and something he enjoyed reading at night,when he wasn't looking for more victims.

By Ed N. (Ed_N) (acbf0450.ipt.aol.com - on Thursday, April 03, 2003 - 10:47 pm:

This is a big departure from what others have posited: I think Z is still alive, but did not stop due to incarceration, injury, death or burnout. Rather, I've wondered over the years whether Z was truly a serial killer or mass murderer at all, but rather approached his crimes from an intellectual point of view. In other words, he looked at various criminals and thought, "JTR, now, he was way cool and got away with it," and then looked at Heirens and thought, "What a fool, he got caught, I can do better than that."

With that attitude, perhaps then he decided to kill people just to see if he could get away with it, especially since he would go to some lengths to plan his crimes in advance to take care of every contingency. This is not unlike a hacker who manages to hack into the Pentagon, not because he wishes to steal and sell sensitive information to our enemies, but because it is a challenge and a rush and wants to see if he can even do it and get away with it. Thus, if Z was not driven by bloodlust, it was very easy to start and then stop. However, the reason he stopped killing was because he was very nearly apprehended after the Stine murder, and he thought, "I've made my point now. I can and did get away with it!"

As I assume everyone's noticed, Z only wrote 4 letters between 12-20-1968 and 10-11-1969, plus Hartnell's car door. Perhaps Z's original intention was to write only the first 3 letters, and did the 4th as an afterthought, along with the car door. After nearly being caught, he switched gears and started the letter-writing campaign, and rode the wave of terror he created until he either got bored, or something changed in his life that made it impossible to continue with. In other words, he took up a normal life again.

The reason he was never identified, or identified and immediately cleared, was that he didn't fit the typical profile as understood back in the day: I suspect he was around 35 in 1969, and may have even been married with kids and held a steady job. Today, if any of this idea is even accurate, he'd be around 70 and retired, and probably living in Vallejo under the very noses of the authorities, surrounded by grandchildren. And every once in a while, he snickers when he thinks about how he rubbed the cops' noses in their booboos and got away with murder.

Anyway, this is just one possibility I've been thinking about that might fit some of the facts, for whatever it's worth. Mike, and everyone else: does this have any merit, or is this way off?

By Mike Kelleher (Mike_Kelleher) (12-210-225-42.client.attbi.com - on Friday, April 04, 2003 - 04:39 am:

Sure, Ed, there's merit there. I have a little trouble with the credit you give him with such careful planning and consideration. However, barring that, the rest hangs together pretty well.


By MarkZ ( on Friday, April 04, 2003 - 08:10 am:

It's hard to say. Zodiac defies a lot of the conventional wisdom about serial killers--most notably for killing his victims in very distinct, often wildly different ways. When you add in his statement that he would continue killing but that he would make it look like accidents or other crimes, it's entirely possible that he's still alive and killing today, with a death toll well into the hundreds. Even if we consider his apparent love for publicity, he may have suspected that the police were getting close and thus changed his M.O. yet again in order to at least keep the thrill of killing, even if he couldn't publicly take credit for it. It does seem that it would be easier to stop writing letters (or at least mailing them) than it would be to stop killing for such a character. Given his delight in code, he may have continued sending letters to newspapers that contained unrecognized coded messages, masquerading as letters on completely other topics. The flavor I get from the known letters is that Z might just take sufficient glee in such letters being printed on occasion, without anyone recognizing what was in them, to make up for the publicity angle. I'm afraid there's just too little known about this character for sure to make any theory very credible at this point.

As far as The Suspect, Allen was my favorite until the DNA tests came out dubious. Now I think he's been demoted to a Zodiac wannabe, and I've elevated Someone You've Never Heard Of to the prime suspect position.

By Warren (Warren) (w205.z064002105.hou-tx.dsl.cnc.net - on Friday, April 04, 2003 - 08:18 am:

Agree with Ed. However, I think he is dead (even leaving ALA out). If he were alive I think he would have communicated with Tom or Ed and provided some irrefutable proof (but not Stine's shirt or wallet, those are long gone).

By Scott_Bullock (cache-ntc-ad10.proxy.aol.com - on Friday, April 04, 2003 - 08:35 am:


I'm not certain if this will be helpful or not, but I'm of the opinion that Zodiac is, if not dead, either in prison, a state hospital, a nursing home, or something of a similar nature. The one thing he isn't doing, in my opinion, is walking around 'free' in today's society. His need for attention and 'expression' was much to great for him to simply hang up the hood, set down the pen, and be done with it.

Personally, I believe he is dead, and I wouldn't be at all surprised to discover that the sob committed suicide; I honestly feel that he had such tendencies. And, while I doubt that he had a multiple personality disorder, I also wouldn't be surprised to learn that he had an undiagnosed bipolar disorder and was an alcoholic in every definition of the word. This may have been the situation that led to his death; I don't believe that either 'problem' had been firmly identified at the time that Z was "doing his thing." I think that the term for it today is "self medication." At any rate, it's very possible that this type of "suicide" may have been [incorrectly] labeled as "death by misadventure" or as an overdose.


By Scott_Bullock (cache-ntc-ad10.proxy.aol.com - on Friday, April 04, 2003 - 09:42 am:

Of course, my opinion doesn't make for good drama unless you are Bill Burroughs or Dave Cronenberg; not that that is a bad thing, mind you.

By tuesday ( on Friday, April 04, 2003 - 06:26 pm:

My thinking is that Zodiac is most probably alive at the moment. He would be doing what he has always done...preparing for the after life , a journey closer to him now. What might his final preparations be?

By Mike (Oklahoma_Mike) ( on Friday, April 04, 2003 - 06:55 pm:

Ah, the weekend and time to respond to Mike K's question re: dead or alive. Several thoughts.
Overall, Occam's Razor says he's dead or seriously incapacitated, and that's why he stopped. My own take on a 'profile' has been expressed previously in regards to imfluences by comic books. I think Z wanted to become not a superhero but a supervillian. He thought of himself as a real life Joker or Doc Octopus. His signature was spreading fear and terror through the community as a whole, that's why he used slightly different techniques and weapons, gradually become bolder and evolving to the point he created his own supervillian costume. That is also the reason for the letters, possible phone calls etc., as well as threats to further advance his schemes through explosives and mass murder. I hate to admit it but if this is the case, he succeeded magnificently.

If this 'profile' has any validity I cannot see him stopping voluntarily. Even if he did stop actual killing, I can't see him stopping all threats and efforts to continue casuing fear. For this reason, I agree with Scott, and others onthis thread that it would be unlikely for him to be alive and healthy and stop completely. He may have ben killed or seriously injured in an accident of some kind.
One possible exception was sugggested to me By Scott's post above. I have always thought that Zodiac likely had no full-blown diagnosible psychiatric illness other that psychopathic deviance. But, if there is any liklihood of any actual mental illness, I would have to go with bipolar disorder. This is not the time to state my reasons other than to say I used to work with a LOT of bipolar patients and there is an occasional flavor of bipolar signs at times in the crimes and writings. IF so, why did he stop? Probably another zynchronicity but it was in the early 1970's that lithium carbonate became widely used in the treatment of bipolar disorder, and, for the first time, offered a treatment which actually stopped the mood swings in most cases! I have wondered for a year or more if Z found a psychitrist who put him on lithium!

By Ed_N (acc73f31.ipt.aol.com - on Friday, April 04, 2003 - 06:56 pm:

Mike: I don't give him that much credit for planning his crimes; I should have been more clear. However, he did plan them to some extent, and probably didn't consider many aspects of the crimes beforehand since, if my idea has any basis in fact, he'd never committed anything like murder before. That would certainly account for his many slip-ups during the commission of his crimes and near-capture after his final murder.

By Howard Davis (Howard) ( - on Saturday, April 05, 2003 - 10:19 pm:

In researching Zs letter contents and canonical crimes-I would say there was a 'change' in November 1969.He clearly writes he will "change" the manner and means in which he kills.I believe it indicates some 'change' in his life(pick suspects life of your choice!) and possibly his surroundings.
Then after a gap of time he sends a letter with a non S.F. postmark and to a different newspaper-the L.A.Times,which seems to indicate another 'change' in early '71.
And with this another space of time until we reach 1974 and another 'change' this time,for the most part,in letter tone.Then after July of the same year silence(unless we accept the Lass Christmas card of '74-see posts- and the'78 letter which many do not).
We have four basic choices.Z is arrested for non Zodiac related charges and is, at least, incarcerated until early '71 or after July'74 and is released,or is placed in an aslyum at any point in time relative to the letter expressed 'changes.'Or, he decides to 'lay low' and just blend in to his surroundings for purposes of concealment.
Of course, the last option is death after the last '74 letter was written(unless you are a '78er).
I believe he could have been in or out of jail when he wrote from the 'change' in '71(both missives are short as are most of the '74 group)to '74 period.He certainly is 'mellowing'(counselling/pharmaceticals?) AFTER the January note of '74.
In looking at his crimes ,we don't really see any confirmed murders AFTER Stine on 10/11/69, so this represents,in my view, a 'change', which is expressed in the November '69 letter.
If we accept Lass as a Z victim 9/6/70 and the Johns attack as a Z on 3/22/70,then Z is still 'active' from an attack standpoint. .After this, it is really murky,except for the '70 letters and later the '71 and '74 group-which are only 'claims' of murders.
None of this shows us if Zodiac is dead or alive today,but this is part and portion of this mysterious case!

By Mike Kelleher (Mike_Kelleher) (12-210-225-42.client.attbi.com - on Sunday, April 06, 2003 - 05:45 pm:

Interesting comments. As Howard and others have pointed out, and as everyone familiar with the case knows, Zodiac clearly changed and evolved throughout his killing career. He obviously changed significantly after the Stine murder, yet he was still among us. There is no reason to believe that he did not continue to change and evolve, so long as he lived for some time beyond his last known letters. So, it seems reasonable to believe that Zodiac re-invented himself after Stine and may have done so in a less violent, or perhaps non-violent, way. It seems to me that one possibility is that he re-directed his sociopathic tendencies in some way that was less obvious.

That brings it back full circle, I suppose. If he continued to evolve, and he DID live on until now (or recently), what would he have evolved into? Doug gave us one possibility. I suppose there are many others. That's what I'm curious to hear about. I think there's a story in this part of the case, and maybe some potential to learn more about Zodiac himself.


By MarkZ ( on Monday, April 07, 2003 - 10:26 am:

In support of the notion that Z really did take to "performing" more anonymous murders, wasn't it the case that the Stine murder would have been considered a robbery killing had Z not taken credit for it and secured the bloody proof that it was his handiwork? That indicates to me that he was perfectly capable of pulling that transition off, though whether he could have been able to keep from blabbering about it somehow is open to question.

By obiwan (Obiwan) (ciw1.ciw.edu - on Tuesday, April 08, 2003 - 12:27 am:

If he continued to evolve, and he DID live on until now (or recently), what would he have evolved into?

Perhaps, as mentioned, he decided, for whatever reason to kill in a totally different manner after ~1970. Then perhaps he SAID he would make it look like routine crimes in order to hide the fact that he was in fact intending to pursue a string of highly non-routine crimes, which he did not want associated with Z.

By Classic (Classic) (cache-mtc-ak04.proxy.aol.com - on Thursday, April 10, 2003 - 09:51 pm:

My line of thinking follows Ed N.'s the most. I've always felt that z didn't enjoy killing, that it was just a means to an end. Maybe he got tired of the "game" because none could figure out what his grand scheme was.

I believe he could walk away and keep quite about it. Face it, for all intents and purposes, he got away with it. Why blab about it now and go from the "One that got away" category to the "almost got away but was to dumb to keep my mouth shut" category. z is at least smart enough to read, so he knows that plenty of criminals get caught by bragging.

There is always the exception to the rule. How many boxers stay retired, especially when a 10 figure payday is waived in front of them? None. Well, there is one, Marvin Hagler. Moved to Italy and has never worn a pair of gloves since the Leonard fight. It can be done. Classic

By Nick (Nick) ( on Friday, April 11, 2003 - 12:39 am:

I still believe that buried deep in the chamber of records at Vacaville, or perhaps Atascadero, is the diary of this madman. Unfortunately, we'll never know.

By Howard Davis (Howard) ( - on Friday, April 11, 2003 - 06:04 pm:

The strange references Z made to "slaves in paradise" and that he expected to be "reborn"and go (in spirit)to such a place- and his reference to the "afterlife,"etc.,seems to indicate,whether feingned/distorted (it certainly was!)or not, a possible real interest in the 'spirit world',which could have developed into Christian theology.I would suspect this could have been after the last Z missive was sent.This could have been ONE of the causes that kept him from continuing the 'Zodiac theme' and the crimes.If he were incarcerated, for any reason,then,of course, the overt crimes could not be committed.
I have seen this many times with serial killers.Once again,not to question the authenticity of their experience,but the fact they study the Bible,etc.
I will never forget when detective Bawart said on a special Zodiac televison show that 'perhaps Zodiac stopped killing because he got religion.'
This is one of the areas I thought about long before I even knew my suspects background and history,so please accept it as such.It was just a theory of mine from the beginning.I had read so many serial killer reference works and this would come up,like in the Son of Sam case.
Of course,just plain ol' dirt napping, would have brought a halt to his career of crime!FYI

By M (wc14.mtnk.rnc.net.cable.rogers.com - on Tuesday, April 15, 2003 - 09:15 pm:

Hey this is my first time posting so here it goes:

I honestly think the Zodiac is still alive and may even be a grandfather. Most people think he's in prision and maybe he did serve time in jail but i doubt it's for serious charges. Maybe just spent a year or 2 in prision, got out and lived a normal life and put his past behind him. I bet if he is married and a granfather that nobody around him knows that he was the Zodiac or even served time in prision. I remember watching TLC in the top 10 Unsolved Mystery's and this guy on his death bed confessed to his wife that he was Debbie Cooger (can't remember the spelling) for thos who don't know him he hijaked a plane and parashooted out with a lot of money. I think if he's still alive with the way i predicted it that Zodiac will do just that. When the time comes and he's lying on his death bed that the will confess to his family that he was the Zodiac.

By Jwu61281 ( on Thursday, April 17, 2003 - 06:59 am:

Dead or alive? What Im wondering is why did it stop? I have never thought throughout my years of study and research that he died and thats why the murders stopped. Whether hes dead or alive now, I dont see the point in that. I dont think that it has to do with a cult either. I know this might sound weird, but hear me out. This person is lonely, no one pays him/her any attention. There is no job, time is spent planning. All this person wants is the attention that throughout their life they should have had, but never got. Honestly, I think that the killing ended when the killer found a mate, weird I know. What I was thinking though, is that the mate didnt know he/she was the zodiac and that the mate gives him/her all the attention he/she needs. Weird thought process, you tell me??

By rickmiller ( on Thursday, April 17, 2003 - 09:37 am:


After reading many of the books and articles regarding the Zodiac case, I frankly find the overabundance of erroneous or innaccurate information to be extremely annoying. Perhaps if you set up a conference call or web cast with Graysmith, Penn and the other principal investigators, you might be able to pool your vast resources and uncover some of the more baffling mysteries that continue to haunt this case. It is possible to share credit with others(after all, you are all educated, articulate men).
At any rate, I enjoyed your book very much and I hope a sequel of some sort is in the works.


R. J. Miller

By Scott_Bullock (cache-ntc-ad05.proxy.aol.com - on Thursday, April 17, 2003 - 10:34 am:

Graysmith and Penn? I thought you wanted to "uncover some of the more baffling mysteries that continue to haunt this case"? Mr. Kelleher may as well share his expertise with Paul Rubens...

By Mike Kelleher (Mike_Kelleher) (12-210-225-42.client.attbi.com - on Friday, April 18, 2003 - 05:41 am:

Hi RickMiller:

I actually tried that sort of meeting before I wrote the book. Frankly, it didn't work out too well. Graysmith had (and still has) a clear agenda and believes wholly in his suspect. Penn wanted to test my IQ with a puzzle after discovering that I, too, belonged to Mensa. In short, they didn't want to discuss the case or share information. The fact that I didn't announce a suspect in public seemed to upset a lot of folks. I suppose, in the end, that's understandable. So, I just went off on my own.

Yes, I think there's another book to be written about Zodiac. I don't have any definite plans right now, but I'm interested in doing a follow-up, and I have a few ideas that may be interesting to readers. There's a lot to this case that hasn't yet seen the light of day. I think it should.


By Mike Kelleher (Mike_Kelleher) (12-210-225-42.client.attbi.com - on Friday, April 18, 2003 - 05:45 am:

Just reading over some of these posts. Interesting and diverse, as well as funny in some parts. Seems as though most folks here think Z is still hanging around.

I LOVE the "Debbie Cougar" deal. I wish I had thought of that for one of my fiction books. You can bet that name will appear in a future book.


Sorry, Tom. I know it's off-subject but it made me laugh.

By KKOJAK (Kkojak) (cache-rp06.proxy.aol.com - on Friday, April 18, 2003 - 01:48 pm:

Rick wrote: "After reading many of the books and articles regarding the Zodiac case, I frankly find the overabundance of erroneous or innaccurate information to be extremely annoying. Perhaps if you set up a conference call or web cast with Graysmith, Penn and the other principal investigators, you might be able to pool your vast resources and uncover some of the more baffling mysteries that continue to haunt this case."

Hi Rick - I certainly don't wish to be rude by imposing on Mr. Kellerher here with talk about a book I am working on, and I certainly have respect for both Mr. Kellerher and his book on this case.

I just thought I would comment on your remarks regarding Graysmith and Penn. Mike is correct when he says that Graysmith has an agenda. In fact, in my opinion, Mike was being extremely polite and generous to Graysmith.

It is my opinion that Graysmith has done more to obstruct the legitimate search for facts in this case than any other single human being on the face of this planet. To be blunt, he's an opportunist and a liar, and he deliberately deceives the public on many issues concerning his favorite suspect, Allen. I would not recommend that anyone turn to Graysmith in order to learn anything, except perhaps in order to learn how sensationalism and opportunism can drive police investigations, destroy lives and deceive the public.

As for Penn, I spent several years corresponding with Penn, and I have done a lot of research regarding his theories and suspect. I have also spoken and corresponded with his suspect at length many times.

My book will deal with Graysmith, Penn, and many other aspects of the Zodiac case. My book will debunk many myths, theories and claims made by Penn, Graysmith and others, and also seriously examine other theories which have become well known to those interested in the case.

Mr. Kellerher's book is an important contribution to the study of the Zodiac case, and whether or not you agree with all of his conclusions, it stands as one of the few responsible and accurate writings about this case in three decades. I can only hope that all of you will be able to say the same of my work when it is completed.


PS: Sorry to elbow in, Mike :)

By Mike Kelleher (Mike_Kelleher) (12-210-225-42.client.attbi.com - on Friday, April 18, 2003 - 03:20 pm:


Thanks for the kind words. I think it's only fair to point out, though, that we do owe Graysmith something. He was the first to write a book about Zodiac and bring the case to the attention of a wider audience than just the Bay Area. I won't defend his errors, which are obvious. Nor will I defend his second book, which speaks for itself. Still, personally, I am in his debt for his first book, which kept the case in my mind for many, many years before I decided to write my own.


By rick (proxys.sjc.marketscore.com - on Friday, April 18, 2003 - 04:01 pm:

I certainly would be interested in any book(s)that presented all the relevant information as it relates to Zodiac case, past and present. There have been far too many "Red Herrings" in previous books on the subject,and I hope that any and all future works will avoid these rather transparent and shoddy tactics as a way to generate publicity and book sales. I'm sure anyone following this case would greatly appreciate such a book.


By KKOJAK (Kkojak) (cache-rp06.proxy.aol.com - on Friday, April 18, 2003 - 11:57 pm:

Mike wrote: "I think it's only fair to point out, though, that we do owe Graysmith something. He was the first to write a book about Zodiac and bring the case to the attention of a wider audience than just the Bay Area...I am in his debt for his first book, which kept the case in my mind for many, many years before I decided to write my own."

Well, Mike, I can't argue that Graysmith's book certainly generated a lot of publicity about the case. And, in some ways, that may have been a good thing...in the first few months after it came out, perhaps. After that, I think it is clear that Graysmith's influence has been anything but helpful or productive.

The sensationalism of his book only spawned more ridiculous behavior, hoaxes, and more. And, it is my personal opinion that several people are dead, and others injured, in New York, due, in some part, to Graysmith's sensationalism. But that's just my opinion.

I guess I just believe that whatever good Graysmith may have done in bringing the case to the public is almost immediately cancelled out by his total lack of respect for the truth, the investigators, the victims and their families. To say that we owe him a debt is like saying we owe the Warren Commission a debt for keeping the JFK mystery alive. Imagine how different things would have been if Graysmith had chosen to simply be honest from the outset? Then we would really owe him a debt.

The Zodiac case was first brought to my attention before Graysmith's book, and I had already been following the case for several years when ZODIAC appeared. At first, I thought it was a great book, until I had read it about three times. Then, the obvious flaws, etc., were impossible to ignore. So, rather than a book than inspired interest, ZODIAC was really a huge disappointment for me.

Yeah - we all owe Graysmith something...like a nice right hook...But, I have strayed from the subject of this thread long enough. You all don't need me to tell you what an @$#!%$@%@ Graysmith is, right? LOL -- Thanks for letting me chime in.

By Tom_Voigt (12-224-139-118.client.attbi.com - on Saturday, April 19, 2003 - 12:05 am:

I, for one, would like to submit a vote in favor of Mike Kelleher's book becoming available in paperback.

By KKOJAK (Kkojak) (cache-rp06.proxy.aol.com - on Saturday, April 19, 2003 - 12:49 am:

Tom wrote: "I, for one, would like to submit a vote in favor of Mike Kelleher's book becoming available in paperback."

Funny thing about Mike's book - I didn't mind paying for it, even in hardback. And I didn't feel like I wasted my money afterwards. I wish I could say the same for the other books on the case. Bill Nelson's book cost me something like 17 bucks, and as I said before, it was about 26 dollars too much. The other Z books are hardly worth reading, let alone paying for. I must say that I felt as is if I had been mugged paying for ZODIAC UNMASKED. What a piece of garbage. In my opinion, the only other book on the case that has any integrity is Doug's book.

Of course, I haven't read the Beeman book(s). For all I know, it could be an overlooked true crime gem......

By Nick (Nick) ( on Saturday, April 19, 2003 - 02:49 am:

Despite the fact that I've always rifled through the true crime section at book stores and libraries, I had never really noticed Graysmith's Zodiac. My interest in the case came a few years back while doing an INFOSEEK search for unsolved muders in the Northern Bay area of California. I happened upon this and Jake Wark's site. I've since purchased ZODIAC. You can imagine my disappointment.

By Mike Kelleher (Mike_Kelleher) (12-210-225-42.client.attbi.com - on Saturday, April 19, 2003 - 05:36 am:

Tom wrote: "I, for one, would like to submit a vote in favor of Mike Kelleher's book becoming available in paperback."

I think that I owe an explanation on this point. I have a REAL problem with doing media interviews, book tours, etc. In fact, I usually refuse to do them at all. When TITZS speaking was being negotiated, I agreed to do ONE major interview and that was all. Of course, this kind of behavior doesn't sit well with publishers, publicists, and the rest of the the frenzy-feeding folks who make money on these things. So, sales were not what they could have been and, as usual, I left some frustrated publishing-types in the wake of my anti-media behavior.

The bottom line -- it's my own fault. Would I do it all over again? You bet. The fun is in writing the book, not selling it.

Sorry, Tom, to get off track here but that's a question that seemed to need an answer.


By Mick (cache-rp06.proxy.aol.com - on Saturday, April 19, 2003 - 06:50 pm:

G'Day All,

My vote is that the Zodiac has likely left this world.
The fact that his last confirmed letter was July, '74, and no further identified activities since then, lead one to conclude that he has gone. Possibly accidental or suicide or whatever (the Mikado suicide note could have been an indicator).


By Douglas Oswell (Dowland) (pool-141-151-89-113.phil.east.verizon.net - on Saturday, April 19, 2003 - 11:13 pm:

MB, thanks for saying nice things about my book. I think it's gotten somewhat dated over the years, but I plume myself that the information it contains, if not complete, is at least factual.

By Ryan Olesin (Ryan) (d150-160-190.home.cgocable.net - on Monday, April 21, 2003 - 11:58 am:

Mike, I tried emailing you but it returned with a delivery status failure notification. Do you have another address?

By Mike Kelleher (Mike_Kelleher) (adsl-63-195-44-210.dsl.snfc21.pacbell.net - on Monday, April 21, 2003 - 12:26 pm:

Hi Ryan:

I'm in the process of moving right now (and for the next few months), so email is very "iffy." Besides that, my inbox is nearly always full anyway, so stuff gets lost. Sorry. Best to try here for a while, at least until I get settled.


By Mike Kelleher (Mike_Kelleher) (adsl-63-195-44-210.dsl.snfc21.pacbell.net - on Tuesday, April 22, 2003 - 06:53 am:

For those of you who believe that Z is still alive, can you aruge for his whereabouts? Any ideas? For example, would he have strayed far from the Bay Area nor not? Why?


By Douglas Oswell (Dowland) (pool-151-197-119-198.phil.east.verizon.net - on Tuesday, April 22, 2003 - 09:35 am:

Mike, I think that the sporadic nature of his events and their "clustering" around certain, widely-separated dates indicates that he wasn't a native of the area to begin with. Given the mobility of today's society, it's very likely that he went elsewhere, even if he was a native.

By Sandy (Sandy) (000-139-794.area1.spcsdns.net - on Sunday, April 27, 2003 - 10:31 pm:

Mike I believe he is still alive and moves from state to state. I think he is still doing his thing,and returns back to the bay area. I also believe he loves reading the post on this site,his ego feeds on it. I also think he changes his mo as part of his game, to make the connection difficult.

By Tuesday (max60dial.pasn.evansinet.com - on Monday, April 28, 2003 - 02:04 pm:

He'd be here there and everywhere ( an international traveler) as long as he was able. He's a busy fun loving guy. Why not adventure a lot of travel? By the way my thinking is that he loved to kill. He would plan to kill even beyond his own death if he could. Give the devils his due , certainly he has the ability.
Perhaps he measures his wealth in how many slaves he'll collect for that after life. As we are just beganing to understand what one master-mind terrorist could do why not think of Zodiac as a terrorist with an estimated IQ of 250 imagine the damage he could do?

By Jennifer Adams (user16.net758.nc.sprint-hsd.net - on Wednesday, April 30, 2003 - 03:26 am:

PART ONE (message split due to excessive size)

1. It is within the realm of possibility that Zodiac could be alive today. If he were in his 30's in the late 1960's, he'd be in his late 60's or early 70's now, which is feasible. HOWEVER - Zodiac was described as a beefy fellow with a very round face, which could indicate a possible health problem. The possible health problem notwithstanding, his excessive weight could have caused him to suffer a heart attack at any point after his last officially acknowledged letter.

1a. If Zodiac IS still alive, he's most likely living a quiet and unassuming life in a rural area or small suburb. After all, he's an old man.

2. A study of similar cases would not necessarily produce desired results. There are many known cases of serial killers changing their modus operandi with alarming frequency, just to prevent comparison of "similarities." Also, other than Zodiac's letters claiming responsibility, his M.O. wasn't noteworthy. He killed convenient victims already in place in remote locations, for the most part. Shooting and stabbing are very common methods of murder.

3. Yes, "most" serial killers stop killing because they get caught. However, there are also quite a few who simply stop, for whatever reason. One very good reason a serial killer in the late 1960's or early 1970's would suddenly stop killing would be because of advancements in forensic science that would provide law enforcement with much more effective methods of finding killers based on evidence such as hair, fibers, and other such items. In 1969, the "perfect crime" was easy to commit, because the police had inferior crime scene investigation and analysis tools at their disposal. Today, the "perfect crime" almost doesn't exist due to technological advancements.

By Jennifer Adams (user16.net758.nc.sprint-hsd.net - on Wednesday, April 30, 2003 - 03:28 am:

PART TWO (message split due to size)

4. It is very unlikely that Zodiac's murderous activities ceased due to incarceration for an unrelated crime. If he were a criminal element entirely, he would have been apprehended (for non-Zodiac) crimes prior to or during the California killings. In all likelihood, the Zodiac murders are the only crimes the person behind the mask ever committed (unless he changed his M.O. and residence and picked off people elsewhere).

4b. If Zodiac were arrested on a non-Zodiac criminal charge, I very seriously doubt he would discuss his Zodiac activities with fellow inmates. Zodiac's self-aggrandizement was perpetuated only through the publicity he recieved upon the publication of his letters in public newspapers. A fellow inmate would not be Zodiac's choice for a confidante in his desire to have his "virtues" extolled.

5. I very seriously doubt Zodiac was ever noted by anyone for "eccentric" behaviors. Many serial killers go through the motions of having a "normal, sane" life without ever coming to the forefront of anyone's attention...until they get caught. Then, and only then, do people ever say, "Well, he was kinda strange..."

By Jennifer Adams (user16.net758.nc.sprint-hsd.net - on Wednesday, April 30, 2003 - 03:29 am:

PART THREE (message split due to size)

6. I don't necessarily think Zodiac had a "need" to dominate anyone, personally (i.e., standing in front of him as a victim). I think Zodiac's real thrill came from the attention paid to him by the media...that was his area of domination ("print this or else" type of thing). He wanted his "15 minutes of fame" and he got it by becoming front-page news. His "15 minutes" has lasted for decades. Those few years in California could certainly have provided enough "fuel" for his domination desire to last him a lifetime, since people still talk about him, still buy books about him, still make websites about him, and still fill up message boards with questions, information, and theories. If he still, at the age he would be today, had a need to "control" anyone, all he would have to do is spend 60 seconds HERE and find out he's still dominating people.

6b. If Zodiac did still have any "need" to dominate someone, he may have married a mousy, unassuming, socially inept introvert with no relationship skills.

7. It is extremely likely that Zodiac has kept fantastically detailed personal journals since the 1960's (or possibly earlier). This would be something reminiscent of the composition notebooks, shelves of them, shown in the movie "Seven" that were kept by Kevin Spacey's character. Zodiac certainly expressed a need to write, and by maintaining personal journals, he could fulfill that need.

8. To debunk Ed N.'s previous theorization, I firmly believe Zodiac was not married in the late 1960's and early 1970's (unless he got married in the early 70's). His late night excursions, as well as bloodied tools of his trade, and items that would clearly indicate HE was Zodiac, would not be so easy to conceal with a wife and children in the house.

By Jennifer Adams (user16.net758.nc.sprint-hsd.net - on Wednesday, April 30, 2003 - 03:29 am:

PART FOUR (message split due to size)

9. Zodiac was not in a cult. Other than his references to slaves, the afterlife, and paradise, which were singularly directed and aimed at HIS goals, there are no indications that his actions had a greater force behind them than himself.

10. It is within the realm of possibility that Zodiac committed suicide. I would say that there's a 40% chance that he did do just that.

11. Mike asks specifically for locations on Zodiac's possible current whereabouts, if he is indeed still living. I would imagine that he's either (a) still in Vallejo, California, or (b) living somewhere off the beaten path in Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, Colorado, or Utah...within 100 miles of a large metropolitan area, but not IN it, or (c) not in the United States at all, possibly in an English-speaking central European country.

By Linda (Linda) (208-59-124-79.s79.tnt1.frdr.md.dialup.rcn.com - on Wednesday, April 30, 2003 - 03:40 am:

Jennifer... I feel Zodiac did have a need for power to dominate; however, it was his vast reading audience, directed towards public sensitivity, through his use of correspondence and cryptic messages to threaten, taunt and hold at bay.

By Ed_N (acc0dacc.ipt.aol.com - on Wednesday, April 30, 2003 - 08:25 am:

Jennifer wrote:

8. To debunk Ed N.'s previous theorization, I firmly believe Zodiac was not married in the late 1960's and early 1970's (unless he got married in the early 70's). His late night excursions, as well as bloodied tools of his trade, and items that would clearly indicate HE was Zodiac, would not be so easy to conceal with a wife and children in the house.

I'd be tempted to agree with you, but for the fact that Gary Ridgeway, the Green River Killer, was married twice during his 19-year crime spree, and neither wife thought his behavior odd enough to consider he might actually be a serial killer.

By Warren (Warren) (w205.z064002105.hou-tx.dsl.cnc.net - on Thursday, May 01, 2003 - 07:57 am:

Ditto Peter Sutcliffe.

By Bargle (pcp03606092pcs.shrpsr01.tn.comcast.net - on Thursday, May 01, 2003 - 03:36 pm:

Jerry Brudos' wife found a preserved body part from one of his victims. Brudos told her it was plastic paperweight.

By ~YoungCriminologist~ (imasa210.geneseo.net - on Monday, May 12, 2003 - 05:50 pm:

I know serial killers kill in a pathic fashion, but isn't it possible that he could be linked to another case, possibly changing his ways to go on with out getting caught? Yes, I tend to state the obvious forgive me.

What I find most odd about this case..Is wouldn't a man as "brilliant" as this want to take credit for his work? I find it most hard for him not to have slipped up somewhere!!

But all I can say is wow. In an off whack way I admire his intelligence.

By Lester Mills (cache-ntc-ad05.proxy.aol.com - on Wednesday, May 14, 2003 - 12:37 pm:

If Zodiac was still alive, I would guess that he would have contacted Robert Graysmith in some manner (either to boast or taunt or threaten)about the Zodiac book, since it is the most widely read account of the case in pop culture (And since Z loved his publicity).

By Tom_Voigt (12-224-139-118.client.attbi.com - on Wednesday, May 14, 2003 - 08:59 pm:

"If Zodiac was still alive, I would guess that he would have contacted Robert Graysmith in some manner..."

If Zodiac didn't acknowledge a masterpiece like Dirty Harry, how could he use the yellow book for anything but uncomfortable toilet paper?

By Lester Mills (cache-ntc-ad05.proxy.aol.com - on Thursday, May 15, 2003 - 09:26 am:

What I meant was that since Graysmith's book was so popular (selling however millions of copies and printings) that it seems like Zodiac would have contacted Gray- even if it was to taunt him that his book sucks (which it obviously has problems) or to threaten him for writing it. Like it or not, the Graysmith book is considered a True Crime classic and to the laymen- the definitive work on Zodiac case. Of course, the mere fact that Zodiac did not contact Graysmith is hardly incontravertible proof that Z must be dead. It just seems that if he was alive, he would have contacted the author of the most popular and wide-selling book about his deeds.

By Sandy (Sandy) (12-233-119-238.client.attbi.com - on Thursday, May 15, 2003 - 10:21 pm:

Lester, Not if he wants most people to think that he is gone or dead. Maybe the only truth he told, was that he would no longer tell anyone who he has killed.

By Joshua ( on Friday, May 16, 2003 - 07:47 am:

While I think we can all agree that typical serial killers, if there are such things, cannot change the lust they have for killing. However it should also be brought up that, while I think Z is highly overated as a monster and should go down as the pee-wee herman of serial killers, he was very smart avoiding capture and his most remarkable characteristic is his ability to keep his mouth shut. It would seem that he is either a criminal genius, lesser criminals can't stop blabing about how great they are, or he is dead. Considering how weak his MO is, this should give credit to his pushing up a daisy. His signature is what makes Z infamous; his MO is very weak and beneath the wickedness of other more evil freaks. How he killed people is routine and even boring. It is how he conducted himself the rest of the time that is a thing of urban myth.

By Lester Mills (cache-ntc-ad05.proxy.aol.com - on Friday, May 16, 2003 - 10:07 am:

Refering to Joshua's post- We have truly become a desensitized culture when we start refering to the Zodiac and his crimes as "routine and boring". What do you want, the Green Goblin?

By Joshua ( on Friday, May 16, 2003 - 11:04 am:

Lester, While I apologize for what you felt was an inability to understand the seriousness of certain actions. That was not my intent. What I was trying to get across was that the myth of this creature was built up perhaps more than it should have. For example, Richard Ramirez murdered his victims with exponentially more brutality and rage. Yet since he was captured no one seems to have sites about him.
My point is we build this thing up to be beyond human. Within the realm of serial killers, while you have to do some pretty twisted things to be a member, Z was not all that terrifying. He killed, then left as quickly as he came. There was no dismemberment, no taking of a trophey, etc. What I think is important is why he is a thing of lore; his uncaptured status. He didn't appear to murder the majority of his victims with a great deal of rage as did the Night Stalker or Bundy yet he also didn't go off the deep end as did Dahmer. That is all that was meant by my previous post.
The Green Goblin is fictional and is perhaps the worst "vilan" in the history of film. If you want to debate a film or its genre, let us adjurn to a different site.

By Lester Mills (cache-ntc-ad05.proxy.aol.com - on Friday, May 16, 2003 - 11:37 am:

Joshua, on one hand I do see your point. However, Zodiac's crimes were hideously violent, although no dismemberment occurred. It is important to remember how terrible Zodiac's crimes were. People lost their lives in the most violent of ways. But I do see your point- a lot of other killers were far more brutal and you don't see the level of attention paid to them in the form of websites and message boards (Bundy,Dahmer et al.) It is because of Zodiac's "reduced" level of brutality (compared to the decapitation and cannibalism of others) that you do see websites like this. Afterall, how sick would you have to be to build and post on websites that pay homage to canibals and people that make lamp shades out of human skin? Also, as you touched on, it is the unsolved nature of the crimes that perpetuate the interest. It is a true mystery. Or, perhaps most are fascinated by the ciphers and communications of Zodiac and his bizarre behavior. Most likely, it is all of these elements that keep us interested.

By Joshua ( on Friday, May 16, 2003 - 12:13 pm:

Excellent points and I am glad we see more eye to eye. It is the worst thing that happened to those individuals and the animal that did that should be brought to justice. It has just always amazed me that someone who is such a psychopath, as well as a bit of a sociopath, could maintain their composure for so many years. He just doesn't have any apparent motive. The closest we can come to one is his hate for women. Something had to happen to him growing up that is certain. Another question I've had: Can anyone account for the differences in the "heavyness" of the faces between composites? Does anyone think it was consmetic or just an accomplice? The San Francisco pic differs quite a bit from the LB pic of the strange man "stalking" the area before the crime. I guess that in and of itself points to another question; does anyone disagree with the "stalker" being Z?

By Mark Z ( on Friday, May 16, 2003 - 02:22 pm:

Well, try the following on for size:
(watch for wrap)
There are plenty of folks making sites devoted to a fellow who dressed his victims out like deer, raided tombs, skinned corpses and made them into a "woman suit" that he wore while he danced in the graveyard.

By Warren (Warren) (w205.z064002105.hou-tx.dsl.cnc.net - on Friday, May 16, 2003 - 02:55 pm:

You had to be there. Many on the board are just too young to remember the terror he instilled. What at first glance appeared to be random killings became a bolt out of the blue when the letters began to arrive. Then ciphers and threats to kill entire school buses full of children. It was heavy, man. Then the disappearing act. Compare Son of Sam. Same public reaction, but then public apathy once he was caught. A few years ago, when Carlos the Jackal (the Bin Laden of his day), was caught, hardly a public ripple. Yet he had most of Europe and a lot of the U.S. in fear. It makes me very curious as to what the public reaction will be if it is 20 years or more before OBL is caught or killed.

By Joshua ( on Monday, May 19, 2003 - 08:57 am:

And there were also movies made about Dahmer, Bundy, and Ed Gein but it is almost as though once these individuals are arrested, they cease being a mythical folk vilan and we see the "human" side of them. I think many of us would agree that a serial killer is not born. They are often driven by an underlying factor whatever it may be. As an example, Ed Gein was so warped because of the control that was forced upon him by his mother that when she died he snapped. She kept "telling" him to kill. He went nuts and even though it happened around the 30's it still makes your skin crawl.
I couldn't imagine the fear that was running through the Bay area in the late 60's and I'm glad I don't have to. I still get chills whenever I get in my car at night. I do remember hearing about it when it happened but being in the Mid-west it was a story and little else.

Has there not been a good psychological profile created by the FBI or any other agency?

By Joshua ( on Monday, May 19, 2003 - 09:01 am:

After reviewing my post I wanted to make one thing clear. I DO NOT accept what they did. They are evil and should be delt with as such. I am merely saying it may not be naturally inherent in them to be so cruel.

By Lester Mills (cache-ntc-ad05.proxy.aol.com - on Tuesday, May 20, 2003 - 07:00 am:

Joshua in response to your question "Did the FBI put together a good psychological profile on this guy?" That technique wasn't really around at that time. But if you want a good laugh read the profile in the Zodiac chapter of the John Douglas book "The Cases That Still Haunt Us". It is so
"cookie-cutter" and generic and told in that "Pat Myself on the Back" style of Doulgas.

By Richard Pearce ( on Wednesday, May 21, 2003 - 04:41 am:

A bit off topic, but last November, I emailed Tom telling him of an even bigger breakthrough in DNA technology. Someone in Queensland Australia has improved the chances of getting a sample from an even smaller piece of material, so to speak. What this reportedly amounts to is an increase of 1 in 10 million, to 1 in one hundred million, which makes it virtually impossible not to leave any trace of your DNA behind, unless you are wearing a space suit. If that technology is now available worldwide, it should help enormously with Z letters that may not have produced anything so far, but it could depend on which cases are more important. Do they really want to put more pressing cases on hold, when there is not much to gain if they think Z is dead anyway?

By Tom_Voigt (12-224-139-118.client.attbi.com - on Wednesday, May 21, 2003 - 04:52 am:

I don't get it.

By Sandy (Sandy) (12-233-119-238.client.attbi.com - on Thursday, May 22, 2003 - 05:52 pm:

Richard P, Thinking he is dead and knowing for sure he is, are two different scenarios. It would be a big mistake for the police to assume he is gone, but then whats a few more boo-boo's. I believe DNA is what will prove who the Z is.

By Carol (p149.dialup4.community-web.net - on Friday, May 23, 2003 - 08:32 pm:

But all the letters from Z were lost or misplaced,the letters they have are the copy cat letters.How can they get Z's dna if the letters were lost or misplaced?

By Tom_Voigt (12-224-139-118.client.attbi.com - on Friday, May 23, 2003 - 08:37 pm:

Carol, where did you get the idea that all of the authentic Zodiac letters were lost or misplaced? That's simply not true.

By Bookworm (Bookworm) (12-206-165-69.client.attbi.com - on Saturday, May 24, 2003 - 10:48 am:

"I believe DNA is what will prove who the Z is."

There should be a national DNA data base. DNA is a form of identification just like fingerprints, and social security number. The benefits would outweigh the risks. It's not impossible. Everyone has a social security number.

By Tom_Voigt (12-224-139-118.client.attbi.com - on Saturday, May 24, 2003 - 10:57 pm:

Since this thread has gotten way off track, here's Mike Kelleher's original post to remind us of the original idea:

"I'm looking for some opinions based on the facts of the Zodiac case WITHOUT any prejudice for or against a particular suspect. In other words, throw out WHO you think Zodiac might be and, if you will, give me your opinions as to whether or not Zodiac might still be living. Good theories are what I'm looking for here -- something based on the facts of the case as much as possible. If you think he is still living, please tell me the details -- where, when, why, how . . . the usual. If you believe he is dead, the same.

This is an aspect of the case that I want to follow a little further, and one that might appear in print someday. However, for now, I'm interested in hearing your views.


By jeffrey (c-67-164-217-194.client.comcast.net - on Monday, May 26, 2003 - 12:23 pm:

Zodiac- Dead or alive?

Good question, and I guess one's answer would depend on which theory one buys into.

Throwing out my number 1 suspect as you instruct, I would have to say I believe Zodiac is dead. My reasons for this are as follows-
1. He loved the media attention too much to simply stop killing and disappear.
2. I don't believe the killings were just a way to gain attention by the media, as some others have suggested, I believe Zodiac was a very sick person(mental illness), and I believe his killings satisfied his urges, desires, etc. Therefore, people of this nature don't just stop killing because they simply can't stop.

I suppose Zodiac could have gave up that persona and moved somewhere else and continued killing, but I have a hard time buying into that because his Zodiac persona was so huge and terrifing. Ask yourself this question- If you were Zodiac, would you want to give up the spotlight? Remember, we are dealing with a sick person here- and if we can agree that he wouldn't stop killing can we so easily accept that he would walk away from the attention? In many ways,IMHO, he put more effort into his stardom(letters,codes,cards,etc.)than he did into the actual murders. So, to answer Mike's question- I believe Zodiac is dead, and probably died in the early 70's, because I don't feel he would have had the mental strength to just "walk away"


By Sandy (Sandy) (12-233-119-238.client.attbi.com - on Wednesday, May 28, 2003 - 05:25 pm:

I believe he is still alive and doing his thing. I think that most of the police today wouldn't make a connection in any new Z killingsunless he gave them proof.And he can't afford to do that after all he has a fall guy named A.Allen. Not long ago a young boy and girl were shot near here. This time the boy was shot out of the car and the girl was shot in the car. A third person got away, he discribed a older man stocky with wavey hair as the shooter. In Pittsburg Ca. a few years back we had a lot of young girls killed, it was believed to be one man. One girl who got away from him said he was a older man with salt and pepper wavey hair. He wore glasses and had a bad eye that moved around.He had her in his truck and pulled a long knife out from under his front seat. She jumped out of the truck while he had a hold of her hair and leather jacket.She slipped out of the jacket leaveing a hunk of her hair in his other hand. A police report was made. This same man was stalking my friend ( how I know it was the same man is both of these women ID a picture of the man). This man just by chance has been questioned as a Zodiac suspect over the years. This same man followed a young girl out of the resturant I was working Easter weekend 1988. Her name was Vicky Bell,the police didn't know who she was for a few days. A week or so later someone put all of the news paper clippings about her, neatly folded on my tray. Her body was positioned in a provocative way, yet she was not raped. She had on the same kind of clothes I was wareing that same day,as if the killer bought her those clothes. She and I had a conversation about it,the only difference was her blouse was low cut and pink, mine was lavender.He is a killer and I do believe he could be the Z. He sat there for days just watching me,when he left he walked across the street to another resturant. A phone call came in asking if Joyce "Ferrin" was in the room.

By Tom_Voigt (12-231-193-32.client.attbi.com - on Wednesday, May 28, 2003 - 05:48 pm:

Sandy, for at least the millionth time, is it possible for you to discuss the case without turning it into a thread about your personal experiences?

Here's a key segment of Mike's original post. The part in bold is for Sandy.

""I'm looking for some opinions based on the facts of the Zodiac case WITHOUT any prejudice for or against a particular suspect. In other words, throw out WHO you think Zodiac might be and, if you will, give me your opinions as to whether or not Zodiac might still be living."

By jeffrey (c-67-164-217-194.client.comcast.net - on Wednesday, May 28, 2003 - 10:54 pm:

Sandy, while I don't doubt your post the thing for me is the media attention. While I don't believe he started killing JUST to gain attention, I do believe he came to LOVE THE ATTENTION once it started. Like I've said before,IMHO, he started to put more effort into his media attention than his killings- "put me on the front page", "wear nice Zodiac buttons", "print this cipher or else"- see my point? We cannot conclusively attribute any victims to him after Stine(we know there probably are more- but proof is lacking). And he continued writing after Stine. IMHO, I don't feel he could have walked away from his "fame" and just left it all behind. Remember, Z always thought he was smarter than the "blue meanies". I also think killing would have been less satisfying to him afterward IF he couldn't boast about it. For these reasons, throwing out my prime suspect, I believe he died in the 1970's.

just thoughts,

By nick (host232.uboc.com - on Thursday, May 29, 2003 - 01:15 am:

>>we know there probably are more- but proof is lacking>>. I don't think so. I think Stine was the last. He was getting progressivly sloppy and he knew it. Committing a cabbie slaying on a busy street in SF probably seemed like the right thing to do at the time, but nearly ended his fantasy. He probably took stock of his senses after that and realized the real terror was in the taunt. He's telling the world (in his own mind), "I'm just getting started". In the end, though, he was already done.

By jeffrey (c-67-164-217-194.client.comcast.net - on Thursday, May 29, 2003 - 08:35 am:

Ok, let me say something here. While everyone is entitled to their own opinion(and I respect that), does everyone agree that Zodiac was a sick (mental) person? Sometimes I get the feeling that some posts look at Z as a RATIONAL person. He CLEARLY was not. "He was getting progressivly sloppy and he knew it". Your right, but look at Ted Bundy- he got very sloppy over the years- was arrested several times- had a great deal of police heat on him- and he couldn't stop. It's a well known fact that Bundy was very intelligent, as well. Bundy's illness drove him-even when he knew it was getting dangerous-he couldn't stop. His illness led to his capture, agreed? IMHO, Zodiac was just as sick- a sick mind cannot think RATIONAL thoughts on a consistent basis-certainly not for years and years with no slips. If we agree that Stine was his last victim, that means he wrote a few more letters-played with the "blue meanies" for a little while longer- and then gave it all up and walked away to live out the remainder of his life as a normal person. I can't buy into that- there are no miracle mental recoveries in my book- he had to have died(or jailed- but if that was the case I have a whole different theory on how he would have acted)sometime in the 70's.

just thoughts,

By Douglas Oswell (Dowland) (pool-151-197-216-173.phil.east.verizon.net - on Thursday, May 29, 2003 - 09:53 am:

I don't agree, Jeffrey. Neither his writings nor his actions give one the impression of an individual who is losing his grip on reality.

By jeffrey (c-67-164-217-194.client.comcast.net - on Thursday, May 29, 2003 - 10:38 am:

Douglas, I never said he was "losing his grip on reality". SOMEONE PLEASE answer this- was Zodiac a man who had mental issues? Zodiac killed people and then wrote to the press/police to brag about his deeds, Douglas, is that the actions of a rational person? Your post, no disrespect intended, makes me feel like you think this was just a weekend hobby for him, and when the heat got to hot, his rational mind told him he had to stop or he was going to get caught. I can't buy into that, sorry. He may have feared capture, but whatever drove him to start these crimes would have resurfaced- does this make sense to anyone else, or am I standing alone here?
As a last thought I will say- if he did just stop and walk away he will have had to have been the only serial killer in history to do so.
No disrespect intended Douglas!

just thoughts,

By George In MD (cache-mtc-ak04.proxy.aol.com - on Thursday, May 29, 2003 - 12:25 pm:

I say Allen.

Vallejo, while obvious, is the key. I like Ted K but can't see him doing LHR or BRS. Or LB.

Agree the killer was a very rare type; "serial killer" may apply but only with an asterisk.

Not unlikely the killer was a Leopold/Loeb-type narcissist who indeed may have been experimenting; may, in fact, have been consciously trying to improve on L&L's tenet that intellectually superior people should be allowed
to murder their "inferiors" at will and with impunity. LIKE L&L, Allen was a very organized planner but not so brilliant when carrying out the crimes. Zodiac was more
organized than they during his crimes but was lucky not to have been caught in PH. I recall that those "superior" geniuses, L&L, bungled their first attempt so sloppily and idiotically that it would be very comic by today's standards if it hadn't meant the murder of a boy.
So much for those I.Q.'s of 170 and 150.

Zodiac was functional but had significant mental illness. Hypergraphia fits TK but Zodiac too as a sign of mental instability. Hypergraphia can be a symptom of schizophrenia; Z, not schizophrenic, probably had a dissociative disorder which at times may have rendered him temporarily psychotic: Look at that Halloween Card; the eyes, "Peek-a-boo You are doomed," even the non-Zodiac rhyme, fits so well that Z's choice of it may be a red flag. Z's letters indicate a brain which is overrun with savage fantasies. Yet, in spite of disguised handwriting, the letters, or most of them, did often display a symmetry with spacing, alignment and so forth. Well crafted.

Slaves In Paradice remark means little. It was pre-planned. Nearly 35 years ago, the public perception of a murderer doing his thing with no rhyme or reason would almost "need" to have such bizarre references in his letters. Perhaps Zodiac foresaw this? If Z
really believed he was collecting slaves, he'd be delusional and unable to so skillfully plan anything, let alone his crimes and letters. ALA

By George In MD (cache-mtc-ak04.proxy.aol.com - on Thursday, May 29, 2003 - 12:34 pm:

jeffrey-- Ed Kemper, the Coed Killer, stopped on his own and even called the police, waited, and was taken into custody without incident. Uncommon, but it can happen.

By nick (host232.uboc.com - on Friday, May 30, 2003 - 12:36 am:

Don't get flustered Jeffrey. I agree that Z had some serious issues. This whole case, however, is about fitting square pegs into round holes.

You seem to feel the man could only have been stopped through death or imprisonment. Think California in the 60's and 70's. It's just as likely he found his way into the then monolithic mental health care system. He might have been committed by family or friends, he might have been placed there by the courts on a lesser charge. Regardless, an extended stint at Vacaville or Atascadero would have put a damper on things. And there's always the possibility he recieved the proper treatment and meds, and he simply gave it all up. Not a glamorous ending, but certainly possible.

By jeffrey (c-67-164-217-194.client.comcast.net - on Friday, May 30, 2003 - 12:57 am:

Excellent posts, by one and all. And I agree(with most). Now, I think It's time to reveal my prime suspect, whether he's dead or alive, and his motivations for "walking away". I don't want to do this on Mike's thread, so, let's start a new one and discuss it there. Let's call the new thread "motivations". Anyone who's interested I'll see you there!

just thoughts,

By jeffrey (c-67-164-217-194.client.comcast.net - on Friday, May 30, 2003 - 01:19 am:

hey guys and gals,

I had a long day today and am pretty tired. I can't seem to get my mind to string together my theory the way I want it to tonight, so I will post "Motivations" in the next day or so. I think you all will find it interesting. If anyone wants to start the post before me, please do. Mike, thank you for a very interesting thread!

too tired for thoughts,

By Douglas Oswell (Dowland) (pool-141-151-58-205.phil.east.verizon.net - on Friday, May 30, 2003 - 04:17 pm:

Probably best to start it in the "Other Suspects" thread.

By Algy LIttle (netcache-2002.public.lawson.webtv.net - on Monday, June 02, 2003 - 01:09 pm:

"Z" is both dead and alive. There was more than one. One for sure died in the early seventies. The other I believe is uh, out of circulation for quite some time. Whether he'll make any death bed confession, seems a long shot. There are still a few folks around who know things. Sometimes facts are deliberately hidden away!

By Tom_Voigt (12-231-193-32.client.attbi.com - on Monday, June 02, 2003 - 01:14 pm:

""Z" is both dead and alive. There was more than one. One for sure died in the early seventies. The other I believe is uh, out of circulation for quite some time. Whether he'll make any death bed confession, seems a long shot. There are still a few folks around who know things. Sometimes facts are deliberately hidden away!"

A fake name, no e-mail address and a cryptic message hinting of the Zodiac's identity.

Aren't 15-year-old boys supposed to be in school right now?

By Howard Davis (Howard) ( - on Tuesday, June 03, 2003 - 02:37 pm:

George MD,
You state Allen was a planner,but not in carrying out the Z crimes?Don't you mean you speculate,like all the rest of us,that IF ALA was the Zodiac,he did thus and so?Do you have solid evidence so that you can make a claim like this?This case is TOTALLY unsolved,period!
If you would have firmly claimed ANY of the 3,800 some odd suspects-including mine-which I have posted is the 'worst possible' Z suspect from various views,my response would be the same.
Who cares if someone 'converts' to a suspect,where is the convicting evidence?This is not church!We don't 'accept' so and so as Zodiac.I don't want anyone to 'accept' my suspect(I don't blame them if they don't-that's for sure!)or any suspect-what good would it do?Ego blast maybe?Actually it's a Zero.Posting WHY a person could be Zodiac is OK.I guess it is the way you phrased your sentence.Good overall post.Keep up the good work.The psychological references were interesting.Nothing posted was a jump on you-there's too much of that on this fine Board at times.

By Rick Miller ( on Wednesday, June 04, 2003 - 04:58 am:

I seems that some of the contributors to this board cannot accept the very real possibility that Zodiac is dead. I guess it's a whole lot more fun to play the "Killer still at large" game then it is to concentrate on the crimes and their ultimate impact on the lives of those individuals directly affected.

By Linda (Linda) (208-59-124-137.s137.tnt1.frdr.md.dialup.rcn.com - on Wednesday, June 04, 2003 - 06:56 am:

There is just as realistic a possibility that Zodiac is still alive. We just don't know. There has been nothing proven one way or the other. Until Zodiac is positively identified (hopefully the DNA they're now locating in known Z communications will provide the key), there can only be speculation either way.


By Tom Stout (Tom_Stout) (dialup- - on Thursday, June 05, 2003 - 01:06 pm:

Such a tortured soul to survive for so long?
Loneliness, Substance abuse, Cancer, Suicide..
Whoever Z was,
may he rest in Hell.

By Kevin A. Brown (cache-ntc-ad05.proxy.aol.com - on Friday, June 13, 2003 - 10:18 pm:

I really believe that this man is enjoying an ever growing 3+ decades of hard-core mystery.Just imagine...whats the chance that the 40-odd Santa Rosa co-eds are the ZODIAC'S work...very likely.

He declared a change in behavior...to no-more announce or claim his victims,leaving us to build
his legacy for him---with our undying allegiance to (HIS)life and story.This whole mystery could
still come back any day with a booming climax in the form of a confession and suicide to bring an end to the story.If he was/is a sexual-sadist...there's no telling to what broad dimensions he has developed the fantasy of holding the public in his grasp.......like a play thing!If such a scenario were to unfold,he would surely go down in history as the single most sadistic of beasts.What if it's true...what if he has established us as his heightened experience...even above that of actually killing any more.

By Richard inOz ( on Sunday, June 15, 2003 - 03:45 am:

Just a little dribbling before I say dead or alive. Firstly I've read Penn's book x17 twice just to try to understand it properly (if that's possible) and my thought is that he would not have got his suspects name from Napa Library or wherever. Dont know for sure, but he more likely got it from the Riverside Latitude-Longditude discovery and went from there, as Penn reckons Ohare's SS number is the same. There is possibly another hidden finding he has not published and therefore another reason why this could be so.
Penn's suspect would be just in front of Ted on my list, actually that is my list!
When one reads the info on Ohare and Ted, from the book I've read and the stuff on this board, it's hard to go past these two, and it's even harder to leave one or the other out of it. It's also hard to rule out that the killer would want to follow the notoriety and publicity trail for as long as possible, thats what would give him an added spice for life.
This is fun!