Paranoia-a-Plenty in Penn's Plagiarism Preoccupation! Message Board: Theories: Paranoia-a-Plenty in Penn's Plagiarism Preoccupation!

By Jake (Jake) ( - on Monday, August 28, 2000 - 08:00 pm:

Hey guys, remember GP's one-off a few months back? Well, it looks like he has been visiting, and he is pissed! Check out the email I just received:

"Last fall, I sent you a review copy of a pamphlet titled "The second
power." If you will look at the verso of the title page, you will find
a copyright notice. This is not just a do-it-yourself notice; I sent a
copy of the pamphlet along with completed Form TX and a check for $30 to
the Register of Copyright at the Library of Congress, and I have a
certificate of registration. Now it has been brought to my attention
that you have posted the contents of that pamphlet on your web site
without the express permission from me required by the text of the
copyright notice. You may not be aware that copyright infringement is
both a civil tort and a felony, but you are on notice as of this moment
that if any material which I have copyrighted is not removed from your
web site by Friday, 1 September 2000, I will file a criminal complaint
with the U.S. Attorney's Office in San Francisco. I will also
contemplate retaining counsel to prosecute a civil suit in federal court

Thank you for your speedy compliance.

Gareth Penn"

Jeez, what a jerk! No wonder you guys all hate him so much! I've removed the Foreword that was posted at my site, and replaced it with a short statement, which you're welcome to check out at the "Second Power" page of my site.

"This is the Zodiac Speaking..."

By Bruce D. ( - on Monday, August 28, 2000 - 08:16 pm:

Hey Jake,
Seriously , you ought to show this to either O'Hare or O'Hare's attorney,and then maybe O'Hare will get off his a_s , and then Penn will wish he was never born!!!!!!
Bruce D.

By Ed N. ( - on Monday, August 28, 2000 - 11:44 pm:

Jake, I don't hate Penn, but there is something I've been wanting to take him to task for, and I'm surprised no one else has mentioned this:

Penn wrote, in Times 17, p. 230, concerning page 2 of the "Mikado" letter of 7-26-1970:

The scientific test of a theory is whether or not it is able to predict the outcome of data which the theorist has never seen before. To date, I have never seen a photographic copy of the letter postmarked in late July 1970...

I suggest that the number "13" is written in such a way that either the crossed circle preceding it or the zero of "SFPD = 0" appears graphically between the one and the three of "13" in such a way as to make the whole expression read "one zero three (103) before MIKADO" -- i.e., MIKE.

In the "pace isn't any slower" card from 10-5-1970, which has been attributed to Z, the author punched out thirteen holes in two rows, one with ten and the other with three holes. Penn wrote (p. 230):

Ten is written "one zero." "One zero" is followed here by three (holes). The total quantity expressed is thirteen, but the numbers expressed by each line read, in order, "one zero, three." These thirteen holes, in other words, can be read as expressing either the number 13 or 103. I wager that a photographic reproduction of the "Little List" Letter will show that the supposed box-score preceding the quotation from The Mikado is equally ambiguous.

The true test of a scientific theory is its ability to predict phenomena hitherto unseen by the theorist. I am predicting that the box-score in this letter can be read as expressing the number 103 -- before MIKADO. I am even willing to bet a substantial sum of money on it.

Any takers?

I take you up on that, Gareth Penn. How much are you going to lose on that bet? I direct interested parties to follow this link The Mikado Letter, Page 2 to see for themselves the actual photographic reproduction of page 2 of the "Mikado" letter here at this site, and see for themselves that it is not in any way, shape or form ambiguous in the way that Penn bet it was.

How substantial a sum is Penn willing to lose on this one?

By Ed N. ( - on Tuesday, August 29, 2000 - 12:42 am:

BTW, Jake... aren't we alliterating a little much in the conversation heading?

By Glen Claston ( - on Tuesday, August 29, 2000 - 01:11 am:

Could it be possible Gareth Penn has come to realize the folly of his path, and is attempting to remove the evidence? I didn't think so.

What I wouldn't pay for his e-mail address....

By Eduard ( - on Tuesday, August 29, 2000 - 06:14 am:

Ed, You can get yourself in a lot of trouble using phrases from a Penn's book.

By Jake (Jake) ( - on Tuesday, August 29, 2000 - 01:49 pm:

Ed quoted Penn:
"The true test of a scientific theory is its ability to predict phenomena hitherto unseen by the theorist. I am predicting that the box-score in this letter can be read as expressing the number 103 -- before MIKADO. I am even willing to bet a substantial sum of money on it.

Any takers?"

This was one of the points I raised with GP in my initial contact with him. As reported, he refused a Q&A session and answered in monologue form. Anyway, with his latest, I will be taking him up on the guarantee that appears on page 5 of T17: "I also guarantee unconditionally that it is all true."

Glen wrote:
"What I wouldn't pay for his e-mail address...."

You can try If that doesn't work, give a try. If he still doesn't answer, send your cards and letters to Gareth Penn, 4990 Shoreline Highway, Stinson Beach CA 94970.

"This is the Zodiac Speaking..."

By Jake (Jake) ( - on Tuesday, August 29, 2000 - 01:56 pm:

Sorry, that second address should read (not dot-com).


By Tom Voigt ( - on Tuesday, August 29, 2000 - 02:11 pm:

Anybody e-mailing Penn should ask if he's visited'm interested if any of the materials I've posted (that he wasn't allowed to see) have swayed him at all.
Probably not.

By Tom Voigt ( - on Tuesday, August 29, 2000 - 02:13 pm:

BTW, Penn was the only person ever to be "kicked out" of Ken Narlow's office. No wonder Penn portrayed Narlow as a bumbling goof in Times 17. Narlow is anything but.

By Ed N. ( - on Tuesday, August 29, 2000 - 05:06 pm:

Jake wrote regarding my earlier post:

This was one of the points I raised with GP in my initial contact with him. As reported, he refused a Q&A session and answered in monologue form. Anyway, with his latest, I will be taking him up on the guarantee that appears on page 5 of T17: "I also guarantee unconditionally that it is all true."

Granted, Penn claimed he never saw the "Mikado" letter, and made that bet because he was certain he would be correct. However, no one should bet on anything less than a sure thing, and someone who claims to be a member of Mensa should know better. In any case, he made plenty of errors, and I actually had a ball making a list of them, many of which were obviously incorrect but should not have been, had he actually bothered to take the time to research the facts properly.

Besides the obvious blunder about Stine being shot with a .38 instead of a 9mm (Times 17, pp. 32, 33, 164, 199 and probably others), here are a couple more:

Times 17, p. 27: Then Stine had parked his cab in front of a fire hydrant just before being shot to death.

This is patently untrue. Stine parked his cab on the northeast corner of the intersection of Cherry and Washington, and the hydrant is on the northwest corner. I have been there dozens of times, and have seen this with my own eyes. Had Penn bothered to check the scene of the crime himself, he would have seen it also.

Times 17, p. 140: In good weather, it (Mt. Diablo) is visible from all of the Zodiac murder sites.

This is also patently untrue. Mt. Diablo cannot be seen from Blue Rock Springs, Lake Berryessa, nor Riverside Community College. As for Cherry and Washington Streets, I've never seen it from that location, but it is invariably cloudy or foggy when I have been there, and while it's summit can be seen in some areas, it probably can't from that site because of intervening trees and houses. In any case, the fact that it cannot be seen from the other three sites shows his statement to be false. Had he bothered to go to each of the crime scenes himself, he would have made the same observation I did.

Since we seem to be having fun picking Penn's pet theory apart (there's that alliteration again!), maybe we can, once and for all, list the various errors that appear in Times 17. That way, all those adherents to his theory can get the straight stuff and see exactly what he has attempted to do: accuse an innocent man of serial murder. Especially since Penn wrote:

I hope that this book will help to clear up the confusion. Times 17, p. 368.

IMHO, Penn has done nothing but further confused the case by adding yet another suspect to the list (who should not be a Z suspect in the first place), particularly for those who have read his book first, then actually began to research the facts for themselves.

By Ed N. ( - on Wednesday, August 30, 2000 - 06:06 pm:

I have a copy of The second power, and hadn't bothered to start reading it until yesterday. Now I know why! The first few pages are rife with error, and Penn speaks as if it is a fact that O'Hare is Z. In his "errata" supplement, he makes the comment that he has a life. It is interesting that he would make such a claim, since he has spent nearly 20 years trying to prove an innocent man is the Zodiac killer. I'd be tempted to quote from his "pamphlet," but he'd probably try to sue me for not asking permission first.

By Bruce D. ( - on Wednesday, August 30, 2000 - 08:59 pm:

Ed, Penn is going to hate everyone of us on this Board.
Maybe he won't be so upset with us if when we refer to him we do so as such, Garth Penn-A.K.A. CARL THE SECOND.
Bruce D.

By Ed N. ( - on Wednesday, August 30, 2000 - 09:01 pm:

I should have mentioned that the basic idea behind The second power seems to be the Bible Code warmed over. He's rearranged Z's letters into columns 17 characters wide, and then starts looking for things that will "prove" that O'Hare wrote the letters, therefore he must be Z. Other than that vaguely different point of view, it's the usual Morse-to-binary redivision rubbish to elicit whatever he wants, but this time in a 17 column format.

On a different note, here's another morsel from Times 17, p. 169:

Here's a passage found on page 5-36 of Classroom utilization. The subject is matching grants.

... even an unnecessary building looks like a bargain if it does not cost anything. David understood this behavior when he awarded his son the first recorded matching grant (I Chronicles 13).

It was a good thing that this dissertation was in engineering and not in English. If it had been, someone on the dissertation committee would probably have noticed the error. I Chronicles 13 has nothing to do with matching grants whatsoever. It has to do with the fate of the unfortunate Uzza, who inadvertently touches the Ark of the Covenant and is blasted to smithereens by an easily irascible Jehovah, through no fault of his own. What the author refers to is found in I Chronicles 22.

Because of his sinfulness, King David was forbidden to constuct the Temple. But the prohibition did not cover the acquisition of building materials. Here is the "matching grant" to which Mike O'Hare refers:

Now, behold, in my trouble I have prepared for the house of the Lord an hundred thousand talents of gold, and a thousand thousand talents of silver; and of brass and iron without weight; for it is in abundance: timber also and stone have I prepared; and thou mayest add thereto.

This isn't a matching grant. A matching grant is a gift in which the beneficiary is required to put up something in a mathematical ratio to the gift. Typical matching grants are 50-50, or 90-10, or any of a number of other numerical ratios. But what David says to Solomon is just "thou mayest add thereto." Solomon may also not add thereto, if he feels like it. The main thing is that this allusion is inappropriate. It has been dragged in by the hair, in order to make some other point.

This Biblical reference also has another outstanding characteristic. It is a miscitation. "13" is not a typographical error for "22." It is intentional. It is just as intentional as the erroneous extensions of the shadow-angle in the Progressive Architecture photograph or the misspelling of "merry" as "mery." It is another example of error-tagging. The error draws our attention to what it adheres to, in this case, the word "chronicle," which is the title of the Zodiac's favorite correspondent in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Now the whole point of this:

1) King David was not forbidden to build the Temple because of sinfulness, but because he had shed blood (1 Chronicles 22:8, 28:3). Quite the contrary, David obeyed God's laws and commandments (1 Kings 11:34; cf. 1 Kings 11:38, 14:8). In fact, the only thing David did that was not in accordance with God's commands had to do with Uriah the Hittite (1 Kings 15:5);

2) The incident with Uzza in 1 Chronicles 13 does not record him as being "blasted to smithereens," but rather it says simply that he was killed for touching the Ark;

3) God is not "easily irascible," but rather is slow to anger (Nehemiah 9:17; Psalms 103:8, 145:8; Joel 2:13; Jonah 4:2; Nahum 1:3; etc);

4) "Jehovah" is not God's Name, rather, the Tetragrammaton, YHWH, is His Name (transliterated from Hebrew to English). Anyone worth his salt knows that ancient Hebrew did not have a "J" sound, and that the vowels in "Jehovah," as well as the modern pronunciation, are contrived;

5) The claim that this "miscitation" (1 Chronicles 13) was "dragged in by the hair" is only an assumption. It is more likely that O'Hare, in his zeal to add something Biblical to his piece, remembered the incident was somewhere in 1 Chronicles, but didn't bother to look up the actual chapter and thought it was 13, in much the same way that Penn didn't bother to pick up his Bible either before writing the tripe that appears on page 169 of Times 17;

6) I doubt an English dissertation committee would have noticed the "miscitation." Comparative religion, perhaps, but not English. They certainly would have recognized if a poem had been misattributed to the wrong poet, but a miscitation from the Bible would have snuck right past them, as did all of the above to Penn, member of Mensa.

I'm just wondering if it riles him up to have his nose rubbed in his boo boos?

By Ed N. ( - on Friday, September 01, 2000 - 11:55 pm:

I'm no legal expert, but I've been perusing the US Code, Title 17, which pertains to, guess what? Copyrights! I've been inspired to check it out by Penn's threatened legal action against Jake, and it seems that section 107 deals with what is and what is not legally considered copyright infringement.

While only a lawyer can tell us for sure, as far as I can tell from the plain text, the fair use of copyrighted materials extends to criticism, comments, and news reporting, among other things, none of which are considered copyright infringement. Thus, quoting select sections of his work in a public forum for the purposes of criticism and commentary should be protected by law, if I understand it correctly (legalese generally needs a legal expert to decipher). The following link US Code : Title 17 will take you to the main page. If there are any lawyers out there who specialize in this area, any input would be greatly appreciated! Especially if we take Penn to task for his latest effort (The second power) in accusing an innocent man of serial murder, since he has no particular interest in answering the myriad problems with his former work, Times 17.

By Glen Claston ( - on Saturday, September 02, 2000 - 01:30 am:

Even though this is a message board, possibly considered a newsgroup by definition, certain rights in presenting published material still stand. Those rights are the identical to those provided for in disclosure of any written copyrighted material.

When presenting copyrighted material not of your own creation, you must state publication, author, date of publication and page(s) the quote(s) are taken from, in bibliographic form, and offer that submission in the context of quotation for demonstrative illustration, or for the purpose of informative commentary and discussion. Any other use of copyrighted material may be considered illegal. Got it, Ed?

By Kevin M ( - on Saturday, September 02, 2000 - 03:04 pm:

Legal or not, taking someone to court on copyright infringement is an undertaking that would require huge sums of cash. He would have to show how he's been monetarily damaged too. In the case of Penn, I think he's either "bluffing" or thinks his material is actually worth something.

By Jake (Jake) ( - on Saturday, September 02, 2000 - 04:46 pm:

I personally encourage the distribution of my own written words, provided I receive proper credit and the reader is able to contact me somehow. I do understand, though, that someone charging $10 for their intellectual property has a legitimate beef about its being available somewhere else for free.

The fact remains, though, that what I posted on my site was essentially an advertisement for Penn, and the only thing he may have lost from it is a customer who thought he was protesting the Ted Kaczynski case too much. I think he was just being a snot over the fact that I've been less than supportive of the MOH theory lately. I'd hate for my actions to be seen as knuckling under, but the last thing I want to do now is advertise him further, so I took it down.

"This is the zodiac Speaking..."

By Anonymous ( - on Monday, September 04, 2000 - 04:21 pm:

People with eyes to "see", let them "see"!

By Ed N. ( - on Monday, September 04, 2000 - 05:02 pm:

Glen wrote:

When presenting copyrighted material not of your own creation, you must state publication, author, date of publication and page(s) the quote(s) are taken from, in bibliographic form, and offer that submission in the context of quotation for demonstrative illustration, or for the purpose of informative commentary and discussion. Any other use of copyrighted material may be considered illegal. Got it, Ed?

I got it, Glen. In fact, I've been doing something like that. The bibliography (title, author and date) appears in the "Zodiac Media" discussion under "Zodiac Publications," and I have never failed (as far as I can recall, that is) to list the page number and credit Penn for the quotation. Are all our bases covered? Especially considering that his work is being both criticized and commented upon?

By Glen Claston ( - on Monday, September 04, 2000 - 05:31 pm:

We're commenting on his work in a general forum, but even then he might take offense. Nevertheless, we have made due and honorary reference to him and his work, which means he hasn't got a bionic leg to stand on, much less a positronic matrix for a brain, or a neveready battery pack for a heart. Let the blame fall where it may, I always say.

By Ed N. ( - on Monday, September 04, 2000 - 05:56 pm:

Sounds good to me.

By Curt Rowlett (Curt) ( - on Monday, October 09, 2000 - 10:33 am:

Jake: My two cents on the recent Second Power "copyright" controversy and the angry e-mail you received.

Penn seems to be the kind of guy who enjoys shooting himself in the foot!

Like you, I believe that there is some merit in the radian theory as far as the whole "intersecting with the murder sites" part goes, anyway. The rest of Penn's theories, while intriguing enough, just seem a bit too far-fetched and not built upon a solid enough premise to begin with.

Many months ago I bought Penn's Second Power supplement through the contact information that was once available on your website, and one of the main reasons why I did so was because I was fascinated after reading the introduction that you had posted there! (That definitely made me want to read the rest of the book and which subsequently led to my buying his other book, Times 17).

It is quite obvious that you must have fallen out of favor with Penn for some slight or another as perceived by him, though I can't imagine what that could be. (I enjoy reading your musings on Penn's theories as they always seem to be quite balanced; and I read your Zodiac articles with great pleasure and have never seen you write a single word that was anything more than your own educated opinion).

I work in the legal field (in criminal law) and don't really know a whole lot about copyright laws, but as an amateur writer, I do know that when writing a review of someone else's work or while quoting another person's work within your own writing, that you are allowed to "cut and paste" up to 10% of an article/or introduction and be covered from the sort of legal action that Penn threatened you with in his e-mail. (As long as you cite the author by name, title of the book/article, and the page number in a footnote or other annotation and stay in the 10% range, you should never have to worry about a thing).

I find it incredible that anyone would threaten to sue a person who was giving them free publicity for an unpublished manuscript! But then again, I found it even more incredible that Penn could write a book accusing a man of being a serial killer without having been sued to the last dime!

Curt Rowlett,

By Jake (Jake) ( - on Monday, October 09, 2000 - 04:48 pm:

Hey, thanks for the kind words, Curt. I agree that Penn's actions were disingenious, given my probable status as his only advertiser, but people are odd all over, and GP is certainly no exception. Legally, he was within his rights to maintain control over his intellectual property, but a courteous note would have done the job just as well as a threat, and I would have been more inclined to maintain his address and information on my site.

Incidentally, Penn's second volley, in response to an email I sent him, was much nastier: it's no wonder that so few people have anything good to say about him.

Good luck with the site. It looks great.

"This is the Zodiac Speaking..."

By Edn (Edn) ( - on Thursday, October 12, 2000 - 12:43 am:

Curt: you must have read my various posts about Penn. Keep those (and everyone else's, of course!) in mind when you read Times 17.

BTW, I've been working on a really cool piece about part of Penn's "theory" (Penn wouldn't think so though), and I hope to have it finished (ie, happy with my writing) soon. Jake, Curt, et. al., keep your eyes open for it. I think it's a doozy.

By Curt Rowlett (Curt) ( - on Thursday, October 12, 2000 - 07:53 am:

Edn: Oh, I read Times 17 and The Second Power many months ago, so I'm ready to read anything new that comes along about Penn.

I'm pretty much in the camp that Jake built regarding Penn's theories: that the radian clue seems to mean something as far as connecting with murders sites goes. And I also believe that is where Penn's theories should have stopped.

And hey, if you ever write anything about the Z case that you would like to see published on the Internet, please consider sending it to me to add to my site. (And that goes for anyone out there who is reading this).


By Ed N. (Edn) ( - on Thursday, October 12, 2000 - 11:14 am:

Thanks for the offer, Curt, but there seems to be quite some interest in having me start a website, and I'm working on it. It's purpose is to supplement the others that now exist, not supplant them (which I couldn't hope to do anyway!). The main purpose is to publish a timeline of sorts about the newspaper stories that appeared back in the day, but I'm not sure how exactly I'll do it. Transcribing them seems to be the best option, considering the quality of many of the copies I have, but it will take time. To begin with, I'm thinking about establishing the timeline by date (logical, eh???), then by each paper any Z-related story appeared in, probably with commentary until such time as I can transcribe each entire story. Thus, it will aid any who do not have access to the microfilm, or who do and understandably do not wish to duplicate the research I've already done.

Reading Graysmith et. al. is one thing, but that's not how the public (us) got to know and understand Z. This effort might clarify our perception of Z, since by reading the books, that's akin to "insider information" that the public did not have back in the 1960's and 1970's.

Anyway, in the meantime, I'm working on it.

By Oscar (Oscar) ( - on Tuesday, October 24, 2000 - 03:39 am:

Dear Gareth,
I would like a refund. I purchased "Times 17" and I must congratulate you on your epic tome- it was about as much fun as a wheat germ enema on a cold tundra. Has Zodiac called you lately? If he has, would you kindly tell him that I'm thinking about him? The next time I want some mental stimulation, I'll go play with some punji sticks. Maybe I'll just blow my left foot off with a shotgun; this would be easier to do than read your book. You should consider an apprenticeship with Dr. Kervorkian- your book is a killer as well.
Well, toodle-oo, Gareth. I'm feeling ill and will probably have to resort to the O'Hare of the dog to get through the day (Hee Hee). What? Will I read your sequel? Well, that...dePenns.
Oscar (the alienated, disenfranchised reader).
p.s. Please refrain from any unlawful reproduction or transmission of this copyrighted message. No, you may not use this as a blurb for your next car wreck of a book.

By Oscar (Oscar) ( - on Tuesday, October 24, 2000 - 03:43 am:

Sorry to bother you again, but I have a quick question. As you can see from the above posting, I would like a refund after having purchased "Times 17". However, I am not sure how one goes about getting a refund from the author of a vanity publication. Can you help?
Your Friend in Math,
Oscar-2 Penn-0

By Jake (Jake) ( - on Tuesday, October 24, 2000 - 05:29 pm:

Here's a passage from the last email I received from Penn. It's in response to the request I sent for a refund, given the author's guarantee:

"Speaking of small sums of money, I once ordered a garment from Lands'
End as a Christmas gift. They guaranteed delivery by Christmas. By
Christmas Eve, it hadn't appeared. I called them to complain and
pointed out that they were violating the terms of their guarantee. I
asked what they were going to do to indemnify me. They said, "We'll say
we're sorry." Well, Jake, I'm sorry that I was wrong about the fire
hydrant. Will that do? If it won't, I will happily send you my
personal check in the amount of five cents, because I think that's about
all it's worth."

What a jerk!


By Dowland (Dowland) ( - on Tuesday, October 24, 2000 - 07:33 pm:

I certainly hope Penn has sired all the children he can handle, because he's probably long since laughed his nuts off.

Douglas Oswell