Did Zodiac use a copying device?

Zodiackiller.com Message Board: Theories: Did Zodiac use a copying device?

By Lapumo (Lapumo) (p51-132.as1.clm.clonmel.eircom.net - on Monday, November 25, 2002 - 01:12 pm:

On the back of each envelope (original letters posted July 31st 1969) Zodiac wrote "Please Rush to Editor". Taking the Chronicle and Examiner envelopes and superimposing one over the other I find that the letters are an exact match.While the phrase itself on each is slightly out,I also find that when the individual words are aligned that the spacing is bang-on.Further measurements also show that the spacing between letters and words are identical.
I can only conclude that Zodiac used a copying device.Perhaps Tom would be kind enough to provide a link to compare.
If more examples can be produced it may prove that the handwriting was manufactured.

By Lapumo (Lapumo) (p51-124.as1.clm.clonmel.eircom.net - on Tuesday, November 26, 2002 - 07:38 am:

In relation to this I did make some other observations that I just want to put forward as a possibiltiy.One of the obvious characteristics of Zodiacs handwriting is the "Spacing" between words
that appears way off.However this "spacing" also looks suspicious between letters of individual words.Examples of this would be words ending in
"ing" and another in particular would be the word
"Missed" as written in the Mikado letter.There are many more.With words ending in "ing" these letters (more often than not)appear seperate from the rest of the word.Example LYE-ing.The n and g being almost joined.Consistent with the "Missed" example is that the "ED" is seperated.What appears most suspicious in this case is that the spacing is consistent.
If (and I say IF) Zodiac was perhaps working from a smaller pool of words and letters I imagine the task of tracing out individual letters would become rather tedious.Could it be that he began taking short cuts and taking letters from the same word? One's where such frequent combinations show up.I imagine I can see many more examples of matches particularly within the same letters.
Anyone want to have a look and see if you come to the same conclusions or not?

By Howard Davis (Howard) (dsl-gte-19167.linkline.com - on Tuesday, November 26, 2002 - 10:57 pm:

I brought out that concept some time back.I used the Riverside '67 notes and there were some overlay matches.
When Z wrote about the glue on his finger tips and his pen light he lessened any real inventivness on his part by saying "all it is" and "all I had to do was."
I think from these hints we might guess his tracing technique was fairly simple too.
In detective magazines and comics,etc., a small device that looked like a minature overhead projector sold for a few dollars and it showed how someone could copy anything on a separate piece of paper.'Become an artist' said one ad!
There was/is (in Aaron Brothers)another small copying unit that has mirrors and you can trace anything ,on one side, making a pretty good duplication.
Anti detection books in the 60's offered suggestions on how to disguise ones writing and they were never complicated.

By Lapumo (Lapumo) (p50-238.as1.clm.clonmel.eircom.net - on Wednesday, November 27, 2002 - 01:21 pm:

I do not have a copy of the Riverside letters to compare.However just looking at them here on the site I do not see an exact match in any instance.The sample provided though produces an exact match every time.Each individual letter
on the back of the Examiner envelope is identical (size and style)to that on the Chronicle.
Strange though that the entire "phrases" Please Rush to editor are not identical as a whole.
Take for example the word "RUSH" there is a space between the "R" and the "USH" as written.When the "R's" are aligned ,producing a perfect match the following letters "USH" are slightly off.
Same holds the other way around ,when the "USH's" are lined up again producing perfect matches the "R's" are slightly off. (Hope I'm making sense)It is as if the paper moved slightly.
He appears to have copied one letter at a time, with the exception of the "Ush" in Rush.
The impression I get is that not one but both are copies from a third "mastersheet".
Given the timing of the arrival of these letters one would imagine it would certainly have been picked up by the Handwriting experts.I am surprised this has not surfaced before.Having this match would surely have prompted authorities to look for other matches within the Zodiac letters.It would undoubtedly go a long way in determining if the writing in general was natural or manufactured.

By Tom Voigt (Tom_Voigt) (12-224-139-118.client.attbi.com - on Thursday, November 28, 2002 - 12:46 am:

Here's a link to an interesting comparison.

By Muskogee (Muskogee) (216-19-219-89.getnet.net - on Thursday, November 28, 2002 - 09:40 am:

Lapumo- great observation!
Thanks, Tom, for the side-by-side comparison.

By Jake (Jake) (cache-dr05.proxy.aol.com - on Thursday, November 28, 2002 - 05:23 pm:

The photoenlarger theory just got a whole lot more viable.


By Lapumo (Lapumo) (p51-40.as1.clm.clonmel.eircom.net - on Thursday, November 28, 2002 - 06:32 pm:

Tom thanks for posting the comparison.Have been trying to figure out what copying method may have been used here.Does anyone know if it is as it appears i.e.that this phrase was written after the envelpoe was closed/sealed?.Was it written across the flap?
As to the "photoenlarger" I do also note that the "a" in please ,on the front of the Chronicle envelope could be a smaller version of the "a" here.

By Douglas Oswell (Dowland) (200.philadelphia01rh.15.pa.dial-access.att.net - on Friday, November 29, 2002 - 01:12 am:

Before going off the deep end it might be worthwhile to ask ourselves whether some mistake might have been made in identifying and labeling the various envelopes.

By Tom Voigt (Tom_Voigt) (12-224-139-118.client.attbi.com - on Friday, November 29, 2002 - 01:15 am:

Doug, good point. However, I used FBI photostats to compare. There still could be a mistake I guess, however I seriously doubt it.

By Ryan Olesin (Ryan) (d150-160-190.home.cgocable.net - on Friday, November 29, 2002 - 05:05 am:

Here is another comparison of the Examiner Chronicle writings.

Chronicle-Examiner comparison

I did a bit of altering like spacing and thickness, but I don't feel this would have seriously comprimised it.

The only letter that seemed a bit out of place the 'E' in "Editor". The Examiner's 'E' is a bit larger.

However the rest of the letters look very much like they were traced. Even the lower right part of the letter 'o' is very faint on both letters.

By Brian_D (Brian_D) (sdn-ap-002txhousp0180.dialsprint.net - on Friday, November 29, 2002 - 06:02 am:

Jake, I don't think it was a photo enlarger, but a type of tracing device made of four pieces of narrow material joined at the ends like a expandable metal gate used to keep small children in an enclosed space. A stylus was at one extremity for tracing and a pen was mounted at the other extreme. I don;t know the name of it but I think it is the autopen device mentioned by Lapumo. It could also be used on a vertical surface, I.E. Hartnell's car door, since you could lock it in position. It would also make more sense than a photo enlarger set up at Lake Berryessa. Just a thought

By Lapumo (Lapumo) (p51-128.as1.clm.clonmel.eircom.net - on Friday, November 29, 2002 - 08:09 am:

Ryan, excellent comparison.
Doug I suppose anything is possible,however the thickness of the print is different in both cases and each in turn is consistent with the letters/envelpoes from which the samples came.
The idea I had focuses on the way "Rush" appears to have been written.To exaggerate slightly it appears as if the "R" was first written and then the author took a break before writing "ush" in "one go".The is also a gap between the "R" and the "ush".If you look through Zodiac other letters you will see plenty of examples of this
"suspicious" gap.It appears to occur more often than not,in words that have frequent combinations.
Examples Nig-ht, Lye-ing, Miss-ed.
I thought perhaps it pointed to someone tracing or duplicating from a "pool" of letters and words.
Copying a letter at a time in most cases until he came to frequent combinations, where he may have taken these combinations from the same word!.
If you look at the Mikado letter in particular,at the word "MISSED" one can see the consistent break'between MISS and ED.The capital letter "A" from the same letter also looks very close.

By William Baker (Bill_Baker) (lsanca1-ar16-4-47-000-194.lsanca1.elnk.dsl.genuity.net - on Friday, November 29, 2002 - 09:01 am:

Sorry to sound like a die-hard Allenite, casting a shameless spin on Lapumo's extraordinary find, but here's a suggestion: Although it's reasonable to think that ALA as Z would have stored any of his letter-writing implements in a safe place, along with other Z-related items which were never found in the police searches, in light of the strong suggestion of some manner of device being employed in the construction of all or part of the Z missives, I feel it would be important to have each of the officers involved in the various searches think back and try to recall if a such a mechanical contraption might have been seen, but not recognized at the time for what it was. It could have been any of the variety described here by our posters, or something of yet another design that served the same function, but innocuous in appearance, its function not readily recognizable.

It might be further useful to consult with experts in the study of forgery or similar fields, to offer suggestions as to what might have been used, and illustrations of what the devices could have looked like. These would serve to perhaps jog the memories of the officers who participated in the searches.

A stretch, I know, but if ALA was Z, it seems almost certain that Lapumo's discovery makes it highly likely a copying device of some type was in his possession at some point. We have no other searches conducted on our other suspects, with the exception of TK (a similar inquiry could be made of those agents involved), but I tend to doubt that he would have used a device, in light of what is known about his writings, and if such a device was used, it would have already been detected.

By Peter H (Peter_H) (dialup- - on Friday, November 29, 2002 - 09:23 am:

I beleive Brian takes first prize on this one. (After Lapumo for the initial catch: great job there.)The device Briqan refers to is a pantograph. Its used by engravers to duplicate with esxtreme precision lettering or figures from paper or a solid template onto a metal surface. It duplicates with remarkable precision in three dimensions, and can be adjusted to enlarge or reduce the size of the output. It normally holds a non-engraving stylus, which is guided by the engraver over the template, and an engraving tool which "follows" over the metal. It could easily be adapted to carry two pens.

This is the only thing I can think of that would account for the degree of precision in the duplication on the two letters, the difference in thickness, the missing sections, the slightly different alignment, missing sections, and most of all, the apparent duplication of pressure evident in the ends of certain strokes, such as the lower case "o" and capital "R".

I can't believe it was a photo device of any kind, because even with perfect optical reproduction, the degee of precision shown between the two samples takes almost as much skill as forgery.

By Peter H (Peter_H) (dialup- - on Friday, November 29, 2002 - 09:36 am:


The engraving pantograph is just one version, Devices designed to use pen are common, and the basic device has been around for centuries, and were known to have been used by such as Leonardo to duplicate drawings.

So Z need not have been familiar with engraving, just this relatively simple devise, which he could have come across in any number of fields using graphics.

By Tom Voigt (Tom_Voigt) (12-224-139-118.client.attbi.com - on Friday, November 29, 2002 - 06:19 pm:

Sure looks to me like a device was used, at least in the example above.

By Brian_D (Brian_D) (sdn-ap-002txhousp0429.dialsprint.net - on Friday, November 29, 2002 - 06:24 pm:

Peter H, thank you for your input. That is indeed what I waws trying to describe. I used to have one made of plastic as a child.

By Howard Davis (Howard) (dsl-gte-19167.linkline.com - on Friday, November 29, 2002 - 07:31 pm:

Good good- everyone-!With many thanks to Peter we can now go to Google and click "pantograph."
One in particular springs up "mr.science"where you are told how to make a homemade unit for copying!
Someone that is enterprising and a little inventive,like Ed N.,can make a pantograph and do some tracing examples and I am sure they will get posted!
These are some of the devices( I just didn't know one of them-there are several- as a pantograph,but thanks to Lampumo/Peter and others, we have some leads here)that I kept harping on in various posts that were in magazines,comics,artist publications and anti detection books,etc. of the 60s.
Z, as we know from his writings, was into the simple basic methods of anti detection.He was quite an eclectic person.
Lapumo,they do match.Hold the '67 copies to the light and you will find matches.I did envelopes some time back also and posted on this too,but no one was interested..There are suspicious similarites to be sure.
We still,as Doug said,need to excercise 'caution' as we aren't certain just how Z did his writing as there were so many methods available.
He could have modified some technique and/or device.
For example, my suspect knew a forger and learned from him,just what I can't say;but any of the suspects may have known someone that gave the right 'inspiration' and instruction to enable Z to do his wriitngs.This could have been coupled with info gleaned from publications as given.
Good idea from Bill to go back over Allen evidence and search for not only a device,but books and publications,etc.This can apply to everyones suspect.

By Brian_D (Brian_D) (sdn-ap-002txhousp0429.dialsprint.net - on Friday, November 29, 2002 - 07:57 pm:

Howard, here is a link regarding pantographs and another possible reference to geometry. I was struck by the authors noting it was used originaly for reproducing writing. I think who ever the Zodiac was he had a basic knowledge of this machine as the words and letters float and drift across the page, whereas no experienced draftsman would turn out such a product, either in writing or bomb schematics. Granted, he would try to alter his true writing, but I think skill and experience would make more of an apperance than seems to in the body of the Zodiac's written work. Yes, a pantograph would sufficiently alter his writing but not to such a slovenly extent, which leads me to believe he isn't very familiar with drafting tools and as with the codes was more imitative than experienced.

By Ed N. (Ed_N) (acc1f295.ipt.aol.com - on Friday, November 29, 2002 - 08:19 pm:

In other words: it looks like Graysmith was correct, but had the wrong method.

By Howard Davis (Howard) (dsl-gte-19167.linkline.com - on Friday, November 29, 2002 - 10:41 pm:

That gives an excellent view of the pantograph.

By Lapumo (Lapumo) (p50-114.as1.clm.clonmel.eircom.net - on Monday, December 02, 2002 - 08:20 am:

Ed, your remark does raise an interesting point.
Did this actually originate with Graysmith or did it come from Law Enforcement?.When we look now it seems so obvious it hurts.When we consider that these letters arrived together and undoubtedly came under the scrunity of handwriting experts,one would think this had to surface before now!
Furthermore,if this was recognised at the time one would think that a close examination of these and subsequent written communications,(by experts)could have confirmed the status of all the handwriting.
Regardless of which was the case,I have to wonder
why he chose to do this here.He almost had to have been telling us something.I do not see how he could count on this going unnoticed.
Howard,I have looked at the Riverside letters again.While there are similarities,I do not see a match.Perhaps we are not looking at the same thing.Can you be more specific or provide an example please?

By Sandy (Sandy) ( on Monday, December 02, 2002 - 05:25 pm:

Lapumo, Zodiac's ego is why he would do it here. Every day he can read about himself. I told Tom over a year ago that the z if he is still alive and I am sure he is, would love this site, along with other Z sites. Tom didn't think he would bother. I was contacted on this board by someone who was, or used the name Larry Kane. So far if it was Kane, he reads this board. That is the only live suspect that I know of, who has posted.

By Tom Voigt (Tom_Voigt) (12-224-139-118.client.attbi.com - on Monday, December 02, 2002 - 05:41 pm:

Sandy, exactly how do you know the person who used the screen name "Larry Kane" was actually the suspect of the same name? Do you think our own McGarrett2000 is actually Bob Lord?

By Peter H (Peter_H) (dialup- - on Monday, December 02, 2002 - 07:12 pm:


Jack, maybe?

By Tom Voigt (Tom_Voigt) (12-224-139-118.client.attbi.com - on Monday, December 02, 2002 - 07:48 pm:

Well it doesn't matter anyway; Jack, Bob...same likelihood.

People Kane's age can't figure out how to program a VCR. I highly doubt he's surfing the Internet.

Anyway, this is the wrong thread to continue this fascinating discussion. Back to...

Did Zodiac use a copying device?

By Ed N. (Ed_N) (acbf8863.ipt.aol.com - on Monday, December 02, 2002 - 10:35 pm:

Jack Lord died a few years back anyway... I don't think he cares.

Lapumo: If we are to believe RG, then on 8-5-1978, a little over three months after the 1978 letter was received, he discovered that Z used some form of copying device, which he thought was a photographic enlarger with a light table (Zodiac, pp. 217-219), probably because of the method he used to determine if the letter was a hoax or not. I suspect that's giving Z way too much credit for ingenuity and to have such a device at his disposal (he could hardly compose such letters at work, unless he stayed late to "work overtime" when everyone else left).

Here's something I posted way back on 9-7-2000 in the thread Other Suspects: Fingerprint Evidence:

In any case, wasn't it Mel Nicolai who wrote in Special Report: Zodiac Homicides, p. 7:

Pending receipt of any additional evidence, handprinting (italics mine) is the most positive method of identification or elimination of suspects.

It would seem that law enforcement wasn't too sure of the prints in the first place if that was their position.

One would think that law enforcement, had they even thought that Z somehow used a copying device, would not have said anything about handprinting. That suggests to me that they didn't know, and certainly did not take Graysmith seriously on that point. So, it looks like it might be a Graysmith original that happened to be correct after all, even if he got the method wrong; the pantograph or something similar seems far more likely than the cumbersome composite device Graysmith suggested (and it certainly wouldn't work at LB). How could Morrill and others have missed it? Even experts miss things once in a while.

By William Baker (Bill_Baker) (lsanca1-ar16-4-47-000-194.lsanca1.elnk.dsl.genuity.net - on Monday, December 02, 2002 - 11:09 pm:

Ed, you have echoed my own thoughts.

I spent some time both on the phone and in person with Mel Nicolai, and Dave Struve, at CI&I, on various occasions in the very early 70s. Mel was unquestionably the most knowledgeable about the Z crimes of any professionals assigned to the series, and his judgment was solid. He and Bill Armstrong were the first people to call me in 1971 after they read my teleptype on the 1963 case, and both conveyed their strong suspicions that Z could have done it. However . . .

Neither Mel nor Dave Struve were detectives with experience at the Z crime scenes or in the myriad investigative chores that followed, but were analysts. In other words, their findings and opinions were predicated on the work of others. If it was handprinting evidence, they relied on Morrill. If it was firearms evidence, they depended on the examinations of either the state lab or the FBI (or ATF). Similarly, the latent/visible print evidence, and the weight given to it, was evaluated by others.

As do you, I tend to think that if Morrill, or any other print examiner, had any notion that a mechanical device was used to produce any of the Z writings, that would have become known to Mel and Dave. Plain and simple, I think Morrill missed it. As for the print evidence, and its relative value to identifying/eliminating suspects, one can only speculate what factors rendered it of lesser value. And would that "lesser value" have achieved higher status if the copying device theory had been developed at the time?

By William Baker (Bill_Baker) (lsanca1-ar16-4-47-000-194.lsanca1.elnk.dsl.genuity.net - on Monday, December 02, 2002 - 11:45 pm:

It occurred to me that Z's use of a copying device might account for why he used a felt-tip pen when he wrote his letters. The freer flowing ink and more consistent contact with the writing surface would have made a felt-tip more conducive to the use of such a device, than say a ball-point pen, which would tend to skip if steady pressure was not applied throughout. And maybe the differences in boldness of the strokes in some sentences more than others within the same missive might be explained by variations in how the device was positioned as the letter was written, which probably took quite a while, requiring some dexterity and a lot of concentration.

By Ed N. (Ed_N) (acbf8863.ipt.aol.com - on Tuesday, December 03, 2002 - 02:12 am:

I've often wondered why Z chose a felt-tipped pen to write with instead of a regular ballpoint or even a pencil. I think you hit the nail right on the head, Bill.

By Douglas Oswell (Dowland) (204.philadelphia05rh.15.pa.dial-access.att.net - on Tuesday, December 03, 2002 - 03:42 am:

The trouble with the copying device scenario is that if Zodiac used such a device, he appears to have used it only once.

By Lapumo (Lapumo) (p51-36.as1.clm.clonmel.eircom.net - on Tuesday, December 03, 2002 - 04:41 am:

You could be right Doug, which begs the question, why here?. However I think it's much too early to draw that conclusion.
Ed,If for no other reason I think the mention of Caen and Toschi in the 78 letter to be highly suspicious.The letter appears,(in content)to be a reproduction of previous letters.Here is the only time a letter appears on the same line as his introduction, "This is the Zodiac speaking I",as in the Belli letter. The word "control" in both letters is almost identical including spacing.
The only time Caen and Toschi were previously mentioned was in Graysmith's 340 cipher and that's not right!!!!!!
Bill, excellent observation.Perhaps there is more evidence to back that up.If you look to the Chronicle sample in particular it appears as if a different pen was used(when compared with the address on the front).Also if you examine closely,
it appears as if the pen was on the verge of "skipping".The lines seem almost fractured.
The device I had in mind was a polygraph. Pens mounted on a frame,the tension controlled by springs!

By William Baker (Bill_Baker) (lsanca1-ar16-4-47-000-194.lsanca1.elnk.dsl.genuity.net - on Tuesday, December 03, 2002 - 08:02 am:

Doug, as far as what can be determined right now, yes, the duplication on the envelopes is the only clear example of the use of some type of copying method, but the lettering on the envelopes was a small sampling, and therefore relatively easy (easy??) to detect. I feel confident that Lapumo, and others, are hard at work discovering additional evidence of copying in some of the lengthier writings. I do think that some of Z's writings, particularly the ones where the writing seems to deteriorate, with the letters becoming more slanted, smaller, sloppier, and the lines drifting downward to the right, are not as suggestive of any copying method, indicating that it might not have been used consistently. And I have a hard time imagining that the Ghia writing was the product of a copying device; it just doesn't sound practical.

It seems to me that Lapumo's discovery (and, apparently Howard's as well, but we didn't pay it any mind when he first posed the idea) is the tip of the proverbial iceberg, providing a starting point from which much insight is going to steadily emerge. Some things take time . . . and perseverance.

Carrying my earlier thought regarding the use of a felt-tip pen a little further, since it was employed in Z's debut communications with the three papers, and it was on two of these envelopes that evidence of copying was discerned, I'd think that attention should initially be focused within the three letters for further evidence of duplication. The fact that he continued to use the blue pen, and not a ball-point or pencil in subsequent communications, could merely suggest that he used it as a signature characteristic, or it could mean more than that.

I feel that we are now on the cusp of a new font of discovery, and far more answers are just hanging there waiting to be plucked. I don't know about anyone else, but I find that exciting.

By Bruce Monson (Bruce_Monson) (co-ratlsnk-u2-c6a-80.clspco.adelphia.net - on Tuesday, December 03, 2002 - 08:36 am:

It occurred to me that Z's use of a copying device might account for why he used a felt-tip pen when he wrote his letters. The freer flowing ink and more consistent contact with the writing surface would have made a felt-tip more conducive to the use of such a device, than say a ball-point pen...

A very good point. However, one of the tools used by QDE's is pressure, or indentation, made into the paper itself by the pen strokes of the composer as he presses down on the pen. For example, when you write a note on a note pad and then remove that sheet, you can usually produce a negative of what was written on the second sheet by lightly rubbing a lead pencil over the top.

If Z were in fact using a copying device such as described above, then it stands to reason that there would be very little, if any, pressure marks on the receiving paper.

I wonder if ALL the Z writings display similar pressure or not (something we obviously cannot determine without the originals), and if the latter, which ones? If they differ significantly in pressure, then this could be used as a "measure" for determining what is and is not Z's TRUE hand printing, e.g., letters he actually composed without the use of such a device.

My feeling is that Zs TRUE handprinting is displayed in his literature, at least some of it, particularly considering the way some of his letters would begin in a uniform block manner and then gradually (not acutely) change back to the erratic hand we've come to recognize as Zs.

Also, if such a device were used on Hartnell's car door (something I find highly improbable for many reasons), then it must be a rather large contraption indeed. And are there crime scene photos showing where the killer stood (and/or knealed) while writing on the car door? If he used this tracing device one would think he would have had to have been knealing either to the right or left of the door, not directly in front of it.

Finally, most of Z's letters appear very fluid in their motion, produced without pause, so if Z were tracing from text he had previously composed using a template he had created from others' printing samples (students?), then it would be virtually impossible for him to create a fluid reproduction by tracing, and consequently this copying device, by design, would reproduce the "mistakes" or mechanical motion of his copying efforts.

Just some thoughts.

Bruce Monson

By Howard Davis (Howard) (dsl-gte-19167.linkline.com - on Tuesday, December 03, 2002 - 12:12 pm:

Try wrapping your writing hand with a gauze bandage then write some sentences.Next take it off and write the same sentences and there will be a difference.This is just one of many methods used to disguise handwriting.
Z knew his practiced'disguised' writing style so he could have used the bandage around the hand(to change muscle/tendon relexes to alter writing style)when he did the very small amount of printing on the Ghia door.Keep in mind he may have been wearing gloves(BH didn't remember if the perp was wearing gloves)so this alone would alter the form.
It should be noted that a felt tip pen gives one greater control while writing a certain style or form of writing.Try it.
If he were truly using a 'device'(like Peters excellent suggestion -a pantograph) then this would substitute for not using it on the door which would be too cumbersome in that kind of situation.
If Z 'invented' his style of wrting then he could 'copy' it better than anyone else if no device were employed.

By Ed N. (Ed_N) (cache-ntc-af07.proxy.aol.com - on Tuesday, December 03, 2002 - 02:05 pm:

OK: how about a master "dictionary" of sorts that Z had, from which he would use a mimeograph (much more common in the 60's and 70's than the copiers we have today, if I'm not mistaken) to copy the words he needed, then cut them out and pasted them onto another sheet? He would then use a pantograph/polygraph to copy and write his new letters; in that way, he wouldn't need to laboriously pick and choose what words and parts of words he needed as he wrote, which would account for the fluidity of Z's writing which Bruce noted. Good idea, or too far out (can't be much worse than RG's composite device)?

By Spencer (Spencer) (acc31e3e.ipt.aol.com - on Wednesday, December 04, 2002 - 01:26 am:

You know who had access to mimeographs in the 60's and 70's: teachers.

By Linda (Linda) (208-59-124-127.s127.tnt1.frdr.md.dialup.rcn.com - on Wednesday, December 04, 2002 - 03:33 am:

"You know who had access to mimeographs in the 60's and 70's: teachers."

SUSPECTS: Allen and Kaczynski

By Lapumo (Lapumo) (p51-134.as1.clm.clonmel.eircom.net - on Wednesday, December 04, 2002 - 09:05 am:

Would that not mean Ed, that all the Zodiac writing came from the same person? If so,that particular person would naturally have had to have written every word that appeared in Zodiacs letters.Would we then not expect to find many more exact matches to entire words.I'm not sure if this is an accurate deduction,so please correct me if I'm wrong.
I would agree with most of what Bruce had to say,if not all.However I would ask if we could possibly be confusing slant with fluidity.These letters were printed.I'm still highly suspicious of the consistent gaps within certain words( see above).There are other little tell-tale signs here.
Example 1. In the first "Examiner letter",look to no.4 "Girl was lye ing on her....."The final "upstroke" in the letter "W" has a small "blob" on top. This is consistent with many of Zodiacs W's.(there are also examples in other letters).This may give the impression the the writer "stalled" at this point.The use of the felt tip pen betraying this.
Example 2.Zodiacs use of words with a double t "tt".Again there are several examples of this.Taking one, the word "patterned" from the same letter we can see that the cross strokes while connected, are written seperately.If one was writing in a fluid motion I imagine the inclination here would be to cross the "t's" with one stroke.(given their proximity).
Again I am unsure if the conclusions I have drawn are accurate or could not be attributed to something else.Just throwing some ideas out there.

By Ed N. (Ed_N) (acc235d7.ipt.aol.com - on Wednesday, December 04, 2002 - 12:46 pm:

Lapumo: what I was getting at, but didn't state because I didn't want to appear to be drawing a definite conclusion as to culpability (ie, "This suspect must have done it, case closed!"), was what both Spencer and Linda wrote: teachers had easy access to mimeographs, therefore Allen and Kaczinsky would be the most logical choices for this theory.

A teacher would naturally have access to all of his students' writings and therefore have copied them to formulate his "dictionary," and used words here and parts of words there to construct his letters before using the pantograph/polygraph. Since Z would have been using the old style cut-and-paste (with scissors and glue, much like the ransom notes seen in old movies with cut out letters to form words), that might account for the odd spacing not only between words (as noted even by RG way back when) but within the words themselves, as you have noted.

The hesitation dots you noted on Z's w's are definite indications of copying; inexperienced forgers do this with various letters. I spotted a few in the 11-9-1969 letter, the Penn card, and the 6-26-1970 letter, and there are probably others. Now that I think about it, if the idea that Z used a simple copying device (not Graysmith's cumbersome suggestion) is correct, then what about the 1978 letter? Is it truly a forgery, or did Z, after having destroyed his "dictionary," put another one together and actually did write it? Since he would almost certainly have kept any and all newspaper stories about his crimes, maybe he simply copied what he needed from the newspaper reproductions of his letters! You wrote, "The letter appears,(in content)to be a reproduction of previous letters." Perhaps that might explain why. Maybe the 1978 letter is genuine after all.

If not, then who forged it? RG's an obvious suspect here, since he claimed he could forge Allen's writing (Zodiac, pp. 281-282); if so, then why not Z's writing?

By Lapumo (Lapumo) (p51-232.as1.clm.clonmel.eircom.net - on Wednesday, December 04, 2002 - 04:14 pm:

The only thing I can think of is that, it is a huge coincidence that "Zodiac" just happened to mention Caen and Toschi.Previously mentioned together only in RG "solution to the 340.Which is not correct!.When did Graysmith's solution appear in public for the first time?

By Ed N. (Ed_N) (acbed9e6.ipt.aol.com - on Wednesday, December 04, 2002 - 05:56 pm:

He claimed to have solved it in July 1979, some 15 months after the 1978 letter was mailed (Zodiac, pp. 238-244); he had been working on it for some 4 months. You are correct, it is suspicious, but who knows? Maybe it's just zynchronicity. I suppose if one looked at the cipher long enough, one can see just about anything one wants to. If RG hoaxed the 1978 letter, then his "solution" to the 340-cipher was perhaps a way of "authenticating" the letter. One thing is for certain, if Z used a copying device of some sort, then even he can't be ruled out as the author of the 1978 letter.

By Classic (Classic) (cache-mtc-ak04.proxy.aol.com - on Thursday, December 05, 2002 - 11:01 am:

Ed N. What about the "supposed" dna that was used to prove that the '78 letter was fake? That is what is so maddening about this case, there are so few "hard" facts.

However noble the idea of brining more attention to a case that was cooling down may be, if Toschi or Graysmith forged the letter, they did a tremendous disservice to everyone involved. Classic

By Ed N. (Ed_N) (acc01980.ipt.aol.com - on Thursday, December 05, 2002 - 11:29 am:

Even though the recent DNA testing indicated that Allen did not lick the stamps or envelopes, he hasn't yet been positively eliminated as a suspect; now, the theory has expanded to include an accomplice who did the writing while Allen did the killing. So, to use the same reasoning: unless the test of the 1978 letter definitely matched Toschi, how can we rule it out as a Z letter? Since Lapumo's observations indicate that RG may have been correct after all (despite theorizing the wrong copying device), all I'm suggesting is that perhaps we can't rule the 1978 letter out either.

By Warren (Warren) (w205.z064002105.hou-tx.dsl.cnc.net - on Saturday, December 07, 2002 - 10:34 am:

In looking at the April 30 '67 Cheri Jo Bates letters, especially nos. 1 & 3 on Tom's list, they almost look identical in spacing. Like a rough copying of one from the other. Obviously differences, but hold the two together up to a light and notice the slanting of the lines. Weird. To me its more evidence that the author of those letters is the author of the known Z letters

By Howard Davis (Howard) ( - on Saturday, December 14, 2002 - 12:09 am:

Good Warren,
See my old posts on the '67 notes and tracing.The writer enlarged and compressed letters.