The Writings of Zodiac Message Board: Theories: The Writings of Zodiac

By Linda (Linda) ( - on Monday, April 02, 2001 - 12:39 am:

Let's forget for a moment about any of the suspects and look at some of the things Zodiac told us about himself from his writings:

1. Zodiac is meticulous about detail (he likes to put things in order by numbering)
2. Zodiac likes accuracy (does not like to be lied about)
3. Zodiac is sarcastic in his tone
4. Zodiac is egotistical and sure of himself
5. Zodiac likes to prove himself
6. Zodiac likes to tease
7. Zodiac likes to riddle or puzzle
8. Zodiac likes to frighten
9. Zodiac likes to boast
10. Zodiac has a sense of humor
11. Zodiac is depressed
12. Zodiac likes greeting cards
13. Zodiac likes to be acknowledged
14. Zodiac likes to be in control
14. Zodiac likes to warn
15. Zodiac likes to show his superiority

Most perpetrators want to disassociate themselves from their crimes, let alone correspond with others 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. To me, this is his solace in the perpetration of his crimes, committed for his own reasons in which we can only speculate. 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.

In consideration of the numerous items of correspondences from him, although Zodiac may have been his pen-name, whoever he was (or is), we most assuredly will find that this individual had a need to communicate through writings probably all of his life…not just in association with the Zodiac crimes. 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, put things down in writing. I would suspect that he has written to others in his own right. Someone who needs to indirectly identify "himself" to the world after he commits a "crime," surely must have a history of writing on other "occasions" when he can identify himself.

My guess is if we ever find out who the real Zodiac is, we will find that whether in creative form through poetry, stories, etc. or through letters to the editor (maybe talking about a local issue, political or otherwise), friends or family, to businesses or companies (to make inquiries, complaints, etc.) or through a personal diary, the REAL person behind Zodiac will have found this his primary means of putting down his feelings on paper or communicating.

EVERY one of the key suspects has primary reasons for the potential of being the Zodiac, but based on what we KNOW of Zodiac's NEED to communicate, I would also like to know how EACH suspect's life involved written form of communication. (Not just exemplars taken through interrogation, incarceration or samples of handwriting taken from forms such as drivers license, application, etc.). Which of the suspects was adept in writing; whether through letters, education, poetry, stories, etc. The CONTENT (grammar and style) of each of the suspect's writings needs to be analyzed.

Arthur Allen, Michael O'Hare, Lawrence Kane, Bruce Davis, Ted Kaczynski, Richard Marshall... What were their writing habits?

We may eventually find that NONE of these suspects is the TRUE Zodiac, but I would be willing to bet that WHOEVER the Zodiac turns out to be, we will find that he has used written correspondence as a major means of communication throughout most of his life.

By Kevin (Kevinrm) ( - on Monday, April 02, 2001 - 11:46 pm:

Very good post. I like the "back to the basics, common sense" approach. Of the above mentioned folks, I'd say Kaczynski or Marshall were the more prone to written works, with Ted having the advantage by sheer volume. But from what I have read of Kaczynski's material, although I do believe Z was someone a lot like him, he doesn't "seem" to share the same style of writing.

By Howard Davis (Howard) ( - on Tuesday, April 03, 2001 - 12:05 am:

Linda- You are a very thoughtful and insightful person and your post is of great value no matter who is/was Zodiac.I hope you choose to continue posting -we need all the posters like you we can get!

You gave gave a very faceless person some humanity without forgetting the cruelty he inflicted on his fellow man.


By Douglas Oswell (Dowland) ( - on Tuesday, April 03, 2001 - 12:18 am:

Kevin, don't base your comparison of Kaczynski's writings with Zodiac on the basis of the former's anti-technology writings. Take a look at some of his everyday vernacular and you'll get a different picture:

"Dear, sweet Joe:
"You fat con-man. You probably think I treated you badly by quitting
without notice, but it’s your own fault. You gave me this big c ock-and
bull story about how much money I could make selling tires and all that
crap. 'The sky’s the limit' and so forth."

or this one, that really tickles me:

'The proximate cause of this latest change of plans is that those jagoffs
changed their minds about when they are going to do that logging. We
had a lot of snow recently and it seems they’re too sissy to work in the
snow. . . .'

By Linda (Linda) ( - on Tuesday, April 03, 2001 - 12:47 am:

Howard...Thanks for the kind words about my post. I do feel strongly that with the numerous items of correspondence received by Z, which give us many clues about him, that writing itself (to include style and content) is an extremely important "trait" which, although definitely not alone, must be taken into "serious" account in helping to identify the Zodiac.

By William Baker (Bill_Baker) ( - on Tuesday, April 03, 2001 - 12:55 am:

Linda, a very cogent perspective on Z. As Howard said, we need more of the same.

I touched on one of the points you made, having to do with looking at handwriting of the suspects that was produced without artifice or subterfuge. There seems to have been a tendency for Z to begin a letter with more precision than he used to finish it. That may have been attributable to growing intoxication or excitement, perhaps a combination of the two. But I do think that the so-called "scrawl" that characterized the close of most of his letters might well represent a more accurate gauge by which possible suspect's writing should be measured. If that means getting them drunk and excited before obtaining an exemplar, well . . .

By Douglas Oswell (Dowland) ( - on Tuesday, April 03, 2001 - 02:11 am:

I would suggest that if Zodiac's penmanship were indicative of drunkenness or other forms of intoxication we would see those qualities reflected in his style. We don't. He comes across as understating, controlled and quite tight in his grammatical usage, despite the obviously contrived misspellings. Compare his writings with those of Berkowitz.

Perhaps, as Graysmith suggested, he was masturbating as he wrote the letters. Maybe so, but I doubt it.

By Tony (Mahalo) ( - on Tuesday, April 03, 2001 - 06:24 am:

Graysmiths really streching for press on that one Doug.
In all of the letters confirmed to be from Z there seems to be a conistent 'tone' with many of the characteristics that Linda described above.(Great post, Linda).His sarcastic,wit tinged with smart-ass 'tone' just isn't the same as TK's or the 'Gaul' letter's author or the '78 "I'M BACK WITH YOU" letter, although the latter's a great attempt at duplicating the style & tone of zodiac,something about it just isn't right.(As many have agreed on). But,IMHO, Z's 'tone' is undeniable in the Riverside writings including desk top poem,the phone calls to police,'Badlands', 'Count Marco', and the Patricia Hautz letter also seems to have this certain additude or tone found in the confirmed letters.The envelopes too seem to be stamped(sorry)with Z's particular kind of egotistical tone.

By Douglas Oswell (Dowland) ( - on Tuesday, April 03, 2001 - 09:45 am:

Tony, many years ago (probably in the late 60s, early 70s) Kaczynski had his humorous works published in a well-known periodical. According to the editor, who dug up the articles years after the fact, the tenor of these articles was comparable with some of the finest American wits writing at the time. I've misplaced the article, but it was in National Review some time last year, and I'll try to find it.

I reiterate: if you're looking for comparisons in Kaczynski's Manifesto or other formal writings, forget it. Look at his everyday vernacular.

Here's a tiny example of Ted's sardonic nature as expressed in an interview for Montana's "Blackfoot Daily Dispatch":

BVD: Could you see out the window?

TJK: Pardon me?

BVD: Could you see out the window?

TJK: Yes. That's what windows are for ...

And of course, Kaczynski has always been a horrendous prankster, from writing phony letters (anonymously, of course) in July of 1969 to placing a cat skin in the locker of a girl in high school, to tricking a bunch of jocks into blowing up the chemistry lab.

And, of course, sometimes he gets serious.

By Michael (Michaelmc) ( - on Thursday, April 05, 2001 - 01:30 pm:

Does anyone else think that Z letters were written in more than one sitting? I have felt for a long time that the writing was a way to relive the crime, and he would want to "savor" it


By Douglas Oswell (Dowland) ( on Thursday, April 05, 2001 - 01:41 pm:

I don't think so, Michael. If he'd wanted a more intense experience he would have created one for himself. He had plenty of opportunity, especially at Lake B. Classical serial killers usually relive their experiences in their fantasies, and when the fantasies have finally grown stale, go out in search of fresh material.

By Michael (Michaelmc) ( - on Friday, April 06, 2001 - 06:04 am:

Good point, But i feel that taking several sittings to compose a letter may explain the anomalies in the writing.

Just a thought


By KC (Kc) ( - on Friday, April 06, 2001 - 09:32 am:

I think it is very likely that there are anomalies in the writing because Z wanted there to be anomalies in the writing.

By Douglas Oswell (Dowland) ( - on Friday, April 06, 2001 - 10:09 am:

Both scenarios are likely, in my opinion.

By Eddie (Eddie) ( - on Friday, April 06, 2001 - 12:28 pm:

Hi, my name is Eddie and I have been very much interested for a while with the Zodiac case. I've just recently started devoting much more time to reading all the info that is available about the case and find in my opinion someone who is much too smart for even himself. That is I don't think he did all the writting himself. I don't think he did all the killings himself either. I think it started off as fun and escalated as the press about the murders escalated. He very much enjoyed the press coverage. you can see that he followed it very carefully. The fun part or excitement for him was to see if the police could discover or find a pattern in his writtings that would lead to his identity. I feel he had a very close friend who was in on this as the case grew.
The letter he wrote claiming ownership of the Bates murder in Riverside was bogus. He did not commit it but read the press clippings and infused himself into the case to demonstrate that the fear he had created was statewide and not just local. He was a glory hogger. His misspellings were intentional and deliberate, I guess to show a lack of education but he really is quite intelligent. I believe that he in one way or another gave his identity away in some of his letters. I feel he had a good connection within the law enforcement agency(friend) Because he always seemed one step ahead. The letters sometimes were just gibberish just to keep him in the public eye.

By Zoe Glass (Zoe_Glass) ( - on Monday, April 09, 2001 - 05:58 pm:

eddie, i would agree, assuming he does not have super-hero powers he must have a friend or two in law enforcement. perhaps he had/has many spheres of influence.

By Howard Davis (Howard) ( - on Monday, April 09, 2001 - 08:36 pm:

Tony- You probably have not carefully compared, using the parallel method of analysis,the Gaul'69 letter with say, the '66 typed letter, as well as other Zodiac missives.

Here are a few:Both letters were typed all in caps;both were typed in November and delivered without stamps or postmarks ; one was in '66 the other in '69(reverse the 9 and you have '66!);the '69 Gaul letter says YOU ARE TO(note both letters use to when too should have been used!) BEAUTIFUL TO LIVE AND I MUST KILL YOU-and the Bates'66 says SHE WAS... BEAUTIFUL...AND DEAD-the writer of the '66 says a certain BLOND was BEAUTIFUL;the '69 I KNOW ALL YOUR MOVEMENTS AND THE TIME THEY ARE MADE with the '66 when he describes the girl that WALKS DOWN THE DARK ALLEY EACH EVENING ABOUT SEVEN...I AM STALKING YOUR GIRLS NOW; The notes that were sent in '67 say Bates "had to die"-the '69 says "I must kill you".The Gaul note threatens the intended victim with death as does Zodiac letters;the Gaul'69 speaks of time as does some of Z's writings;the Gaul '69 says that the killer can't be fooled-where have we seen that before?;a Z is used in the '69 and it us used by Zodiac, but only rarely;symbols are employed at the end of the Gaul '69 and of course, Z's letters have drawings, symbols, etc.;time is short in the '69 and ol' Z was always in a "rush" to the Editor plus the implication of there is not enough time -the 'set bomb '; Gaul 69 says to enjoy yourself, implying you won't soon- and Z telling the PD to enjoy themselves until the blast is an example; There are other parallels and connects to other Z letters both in tone and in reference to Z's crimes, but this is enough for now.I was trained in the comparative method so I saw these parallels early on.

One link or tie in clue was an i on the front of the '66 envelope with the circle/dot connected(instead of a space) to the top of the i.The Gaul note has a similar i only inverted!At the end of the Exorcist note there is the same dot connect! Always the subtle clues.

I think that, in all due respect, that your statement was in error. If I had time and space I could go into greater detail.This case is intricate and full of pitfalls we must move carefully or we fall in-and we means me!

By Tony (Mahalo) ( - on Tuesday, April 10, 2001 - 07:02 am:

Good points ,Howard.In Nov. of '69, Zodiac's letters had been widely publicized however, hence the possibilities of copycats in which the 'Gaul' letter still appears to me.I'd like to read your book for more info on this.Interesting the 2 rows of 'doodles' at the end.The right hand column looks like 'A b c D' but I can't make out the last 2 characters.The left hand column appears to be circles or doodles covering up something underneath. Any thoughts on this?

By Mark (Mark) ( - on Saturday, April 21, 2001 - 05:59 am:

Eddie-I think it's an extremely tough sell to claim that Zodiac had an accomplice, he was such an egomaniac why would he want to share something as exciting as the letter writing? He did take high risk chances but I doubt that he would include someone in his "world"-he had no intention of getting caught-that would up his "ante" too much.

By Mark (Mark) ( - on Sunday, April 22, 2001 - 03:50 am:

A P.S. to the above:
After I wrote "he had no intention of getting caught" I thought I might clarify that to "conscious intention of getting caught". What about subconsciously?! As Linda wrote he had a real need to communicate and when I thought of the Melvin Belli letter along with the aspect of "toying" there did seem to be geniune quality of "reaching out" to him. Maybe I got sucked in like Zodiac intended? As far as the subconscious aspect isn't it a common trait among serial killers who communicate via letters and/or phone to "push the envelope"? (No pun was intended!) And wouldn't that be the area where a potential mistake could be made that would cause detection? Maybe there is a glaring clue in the text of one of his cards or letters but of course the problem is the sheer number of his correspondences-where do you start?

By MDB (Michael_D_Brown) ( - on Tuesday, April 24, 2001 - 02:34 pm:

Zodiac most likely still employs cryptography.
Someday someone might find some and give us our best lead. I bet he still listens to Classical Music too.