Is there a Zodiac/British connection? Message Board: Theories: Is there a Zodiac/British connection?

By Ed N (Ed_N) ( - on Friday, February 15, 2002 - 10:54 pm:

I realized that there was no thread dedicated to this theory, and that discussion of it has popped up just about everywhere else, so I thought I'd start this thread...

By Ed N (Ed_N) ( - on Friday, February 15, 2002 - 11:02 pm:

One thing that always puzzled me was Z's reference to his "electric gun sight" (11-9-1969 letter); what an odd way of referring to what amounts to a primitive laser sight. After reading The Titanic Disaster Hearings: The Official Transcripts of the 1912 Senate Investigation, one thing leapt out at me when Senator Smith was questioning Fourth Officer Boxhall on 4-22-1912 concerning the steamer (the Californian) that Boxhall was attempting to signal while the Titanic was sinking:

Mr. Boxhall: Yes sir. She got close enough, as I thought, to read our electric Morse signal, and I signaled to her; I told her to come at once, we were sinking; and the captain was standing--- (p. 140; emphasis mine)

That phrase kinda struck me as Z-like, which made me wonder if it is typically British or not. If so, this is yet another morsel which might support the theory that Z had a British background.

By Douglas Oswell (Dowland) ( - on Saturday, February 16, 2002 - 12:09 am:

Not necessarily, Ed, and I'll give you a reason from my own perspective. My writing has a particular English twinge, and that, I believe, is because virtually all of the literature I read while growing up was either English in origin or translated by an English translator.

Incidentally, the FBI noted Ted Kaczynski's use of British spellings, and used them in their linguistic comparisons. His mother was a working-class intellectual who was said to have been steeped in the classics of literature.

By Ed N (Ed_N) ( - on Monday, February 18, 2002 - 12:27 am:

Of couse, there's always more than one way to look at things, and since this thread concerns a possible British connection, here's another reason from my own background.

The more I think of it, the more I suspect that Z's use of the term "radian" does not imply that Z had any form of college education, or not much anyway. As I'm sure everyone's figured out by now, I lived in Australia for a number of years, and their school system is by far superior to ours (in a word, the American school system "sucks"). By the end of 12th grade, I had the equivalent of two years of college under my belt. I also learned what a radian was between 7th and 9th grade, which is why when I first read Zodiac back in 1993, I was not in the least bit surprised at all. In fact, I didn't even raise an eyebrow when I read it, because based on my own background, I knew precisely what it was.

Now, back to Z. If he was educated in any British Commonwealth country (assuming their school systems are more-or-less the same as Australia's), he knew exactly what a radian was by 9th grade (unless he was in the bottom class, but I think it's pretty much accepted that Z was fairly intelligent, so that's highly unlikely). Therefore, his use of the term is not necessarily unusual if he has a British or Australian background, and, as I've pointed out in another post (Thursday, November 23, 2000 - 03:23 am), radians are a far more logical unit of measurement to use than degrees if one wishes to encrypt something and use as few characters as possible to make it more difficult for cryptographers to decipher.

Thus, a term that might seem mysterious here (and is supposedly not used by perhaps 98% of the population, if Penn is to be believed), might be quite commonplace or at least well known in another country, and is indicative of nothing more than perhaps the user of said term was in the top math class. In other words, I'm thinking now that Z's use of the term "radian" is another tidbit which indicates a possible British connection.

By Mike (Oklahoma_Mike) ( - on Monday, February 18, 2002 - 08:56 am:

To sort of cross-index topics with the WEAPONS thread, where this comment has been made, the use in the late 1960's of the Browning Hi_Power 9mm handgun hints at a posible Canadian (thus British Commenwealth) connection. While American Made and availible here the gun for some reason did not 'catch on' in popularity. But they were the standard issue pistol in the Canadian armed forces for many years all the way back to world war 2. The fact that Z chose this gun hints to me at a Canadian background

By Ed N (Ed_N) ( - on Monday, February 18, 2002 - 03:53 pm:

That makes more sense, considering that there are a number of Canadians that live here (it's a lot closer than England). I wonder how many suspects have links to Canada?

By Douglas Oswell (Dowland) ( - on Monday, February 18, 2002 - 04:09 pm:

At some point in the summer of 1969 Kaczynski and his brother traveled to Canada to find a plot of land to buy. (This was the famous "Canada trip" during which the two brothers traveled through Montana and remarked on what a nice place it was.) Before '69 he had planned to find a place in the wilds of Canada and live off the land, returning later to kill "people he hated."

By Ed N (Ed_N) ( - on Monday, February 18, 2002 - 04:26 pm:

Douglas: for Kaczinsky, that's not really relevant, because he knew what a radian was without being educated in a Canadian/British/Australian school. I was thinking more along the lines of living there rather than visiting. But I see your point, he certainly does have a connection.

Mike: I re-read your post, and you mentioned that the

Browning Hi_Power 9mm handgun hints at a posible Canadian (thus British Commenwealth)
connection. While American Made and availible here the gun for some reason did not 'catch on' in popularity. But they were the standard issue pistol in the Canadian armed forces for many years all the way back to world war 2.
(emphasis mine)

Now, here's a thought: there's a possible Canadian (thus British) connection, and a possible military connection as well. Hmm... could Z have lived and been educated in Canada, and even served in the military there? Maybe we're looking at everything the wrong way. Maybe that's why he was never identified...

By Howard Davis (Howard) ( - on Tuesday, February 19, 2002 - 06:27 pm:

As I posted before and it's only a point of interest;Danny De Carlo was a gun/muntions expert including bombs,etc.He was from Canada and served in the Canadian military as did his father.He was close friends with my suspect.Thereafter, my guy tried to kill De Carlo!They both bought weapons in July of '69,with both guys using an alias.My guy got a 9MM and De Carlo got a .45 and "other weapons."Danny had a great number of various kinds of weapons that he illegally(two sick birds-ill eagle!)obtained through firearm 'deals' and magazines.It is of interest that after DeCarlo taught Davis bomb making(another associate named Hendrix,knew bomb making as well) one associate said"Davis was always saying he was 'going to blow up someone' or dynamite them,but never did-it was all talk."

By Ed N (Ed_N) ( - on Tuesday, February 19, 2002 - 10:15 pm:

Good point, Howard. Davis had a connection to England, and De Carlo to Canada. Curiouser and curiouser...

By Scott Bullock (Scott_Bullock) ( - on Wednesday, February 20, 2002 - 09:32 am:

Ed, you wrote, ". . . here's a thought: there's a possible Canadian (thus British) connection, and a possible military connection as well. Hmm... could Z have lived and been educated in Canada, and even served in the military there?"

I'm not sure about the gun laws in Canada, but I'd assume there is no way of obtaining a military issue firearm unless it was stolen from an armory. Also, isn't Canada inundated with the French as opposed to Brits?


By Ed N (Ed_N) ( - on Wednesday, February 20, 2002 - 09:51 am:

Scott: what I was getting at was, a Canadian is not English, but they are members of the British Commonwealth. There will be some British influence there (TV, etc), as there was in Australia (I'd be very surprised if there wasn't). So, it's not so much that Z had ties to England, maybe those ties were in fact to Canada. And, if Z was in the Canadian military, maybe when he got out, he so liked his firearm that when he moved here, he bought one.

By Scott Bullock (Scott_Bullock) ( - on Wednesday, February 20, 2002 - 11:42 am:

Ed, interesting. I see where your coming from now. Very curious, indeed.

By Howard Davis (Howard) ( - on Wednesday, February 20, 2002 - 11:57 am:

As you know, one of the guns that Z used could have been made in Canada.Hence, my reference to De Carlo who was in the Canadian military(as was his father) and was a criminal type.The main point of the discussion was a Canadian produced firearm.The Browning 1935 High Power (FN GP35)was made since WWII!It could be had!Getting a gun "illegally" is not a problem for criminal types.I have met many people, that otherwise,were not criminals, over the years, yet they obtained weapons and other things from the military illegally.Not a problem.

By Ed N (Ed_N) ( - on Wednesday, February 20, 2002 - 12:59 pm:

Well, if this line of reasoning is anywhere near correct, the perceived "British" ties Z had were not British, but Canadian. If there are any Canadians out there, maybe they can enlighten us about this idea...

By Ed N (Ed_N) ( - on Wednesday, February 20, 2002 - 01:12 pm:

Looking back in the old posts, I discovered that Jake made a reference to Z hinting he might have been from Canada on Monday, November 20, 2000 - 08:07 pm. I guess it's not a new idea then, but it was something that we all glossed over and forgot about. In any case, maybe we're on to something...

By Mike (Oklahoma_Mike) ( - on Wednesday, February 20, 2002 - 05:44 pm:

Ed and Scott: You each perceived my point exactly regarding the Browning Hi-Power and the "British-Canadian" connection. I did not mean that Z used a gun property of the Canadian Military but that hecould havebecame familiar with the weapon while serving in the Canadian Military or by knowing a close friend who served.
Cross-referencing with the weapon's thread again, if the police reports are accurate, he used 2 DIFFERENT Browning Hi-Power pistols in two different crimes. He either had a handy supply or really liked that make of gun. Few Americans of that time (at least in Oklahoma or Kansas) showed much interest in it. Of the dozen or so people who i shot with off and in the early to mid '70s only ONE had ever owned a Browning Hip-Power, while almost everyone owned some variation of .38/.357 revolver or .45 automatic. The British connection made me think about the gun and it's use by Canadians.
I'm curious Scott, you have hinted at being a gun fancier, is your experience of the low percentage of H-Power owners similar to mine?

By Ed N (Ed_N) ( - on Monday, June 03, 2002 - 07:58 pm:

Tom, Douglas, Howard and I got an e-card from an old poster here today: Is Zodiac Australian?. It'll be available for the next 15 days...

By Howard Davis (Howard) ( - on Tuesday, June 04, 2002 - 01:32 pm:

I have posted several times that Z could have gotten some inspiration from Ned Kelly the Irish /Australian outlaw and folk hero.Neds much publicized(including books and movies) costume with out stretched arm holding a pistol is sugestive.Kelly,writing at least one letter publically challenged the police,is of interest.His fame as a folk hero was widely known in Great Britain also.See the many sites about Kelly using Google and Teoma.
In ZU it says that a A.U.C.Berkeley professor believed Zodiac was of Welsh or English extraction.He made this determination by studying Zodiac's vernacular as found in his letters.
Jim Unger,a cartoonist and former British officer thought that Zodiac was "from the north of Great Britain."As discussed in the past,Ford made a car that was used as a police car in Britain called the"Zodiac" and its insignia was a crossed circle.
An English author told GS that "Tit Willow"is sung by English moms to their children instead of Rock-a-bye Baby."When Zodiac wrote "phompfit",said the writer,he really meant pomfits,which means candy-violet and lavender squares.Pomfits are found in Alice in Wonderland.
Couple this with all of the other British/Australian expressions in Zodiacs letters,which shows he was from there or had an interest(even a mystical one) in those countries.Even the military Timex that was ripped off of Bates'killer was purchased from a PX in Great Britain!
Although I can't say how I know this,the RPD has 'information' that shows British connections,if this evidence is truly from Zodiac.
For me, it of interst to note, that Bruce McGregor Davis had a "very fanatical" interest(as did Manson)in 'all things' British and had even travelled there in '63;68(end of December);69 and to other countries.
I say old chap,the beat goes on and on!

By Douglas Oswell (Dowland) ( on Tuesday, June 04, 2002 - 01:49 pm:

Howard, it's "comfits," not "pomfits." At least in Alice in Wonderland.

By Howard Davis (Howard) ( - on Tuesday, June 04, 2002 - 02:30 pm:

Thanks much for that and for reminding me what I forgot to post!I was trying to focus on the British connection,but accuracy is needed too and you nailed it.I was following author Nancy Ashbaughs statements in regard to Alice in wonderland and 'pomfits'(comfits)!GS may have put the p in there instead of a c-otherwise it's the same spelling excluding the p.
Ed,In Scientology and the Process they read Alice in Wonderland and derived 'messages' from it.My suspect studied both cults and their systems and litrature.

By Lapumo (Lapumo) ( - on Thursday, March 06, 2003 - 10:22 am:

On the issue of a British connection (lived there or had a parent that did)I just wondered if we need to look that deep to explain
some of the terms that Zodiac used.If this guy was a film buff(as seems likely) could he not have been influenced by the films of the day/old classics etc.Even when we read/hear the script from such classics as "the most dangerous game" the dialogue is essentially British as were many in early cinema. "I shall" as opposed to "I will" etc.Would this be enough to explain it?
Also,in the limited amout of time Zodiac was actually heard speaking isn't it curious this "Britishness" was not evident?
Just a thought!