Christmas Eve was rainy and cloudy here, and for some reason, though not in keeping with the holiday spirit, I ripped through three chapters in HorrorScope (in the rough) and now today I approach the Lake Berryessa attack. I’m pondering an appropriate name for the chapter. Hooded Approach?
From the updates here you will probably get an idea of where I am in HorrorScope. I am going to plow through Part I (the recreation) and then as much of Part II (my personal investigation) and up to the moment where I am now. By the time I am there hopefully the final bits will have come in to me to where I can prepare my dissertation and send to Napa and proceed with my own path.
As I get detailed and recreate (as much as possible in print) the circumstances of the crimes, I am amazed at how ZODIAC got away with these and wasn’t caught in the act by others. I think there is some reason to question Mike Mageau’s recollection that ZODIAC went back to Vallejo before he returned. Logically, he should have gone to the right toward the highway to mount the rise in Columbus Parkway to see if any traffic was coming. Apparently, he didn’t. He could have been taken by surprise easily from this direction. Blue Rock Springs Park lay in the cleft of the bosom of these foothills. If a car was just over the top of the rise on Columbus Parkway it could have been on the parking lot in seconds. Indeed it seems that the trio of teens just missed ZODIAC when they came on the park.
I haven’t found many pics of Columbus Parkway the way it used to look before it was redesigned with the emerging developments in the 1980s. I got a few scans of significant pics from Jim Kern at Vallejo Historic Museum. I took pics of the others, some clear, some perhaps I should get scans of. It was 4 years ago. I didn’t have my best camera with me. But let me share a few here.
From a bird’s eye view over the center of Blue Rock Springs Park we can see bits of Columbus Parkway when it was only a two lane road. It wends off toward Vallejo in between the stand of trees. There were two major groves of trees amidst the brown grassy hills– here at the park at the springs and then by the creek (those seen in the distance). In the clearing in between stood the clubhouse to the golf course. Here you can only catch glimpses of Blue Rock Springs golf course when young.
It is down this road that ZODIAC came and apparently went back once and then escaped down this way again. This direction leads to Springs Road, named of course from the old springs out there (you can see the ponds in the picture). The peacocks cry over this whole area. It can sound quite unnerving.
Taken near the entrance to the parking lot (on the right) this photo from the early 1970s shows us what Columbus Parkway looked like heading toward Highway 80. It is from this direction near midnight on July 4, 1969, that the trio known as Jerry, Roger, and Debbie, came perhaps moments after ZODIAC had gone the opposite direction. The beautiful rockwork can be seen along the side of the road, the extra parking area on the other side of the parkway, and how narrow the road was here.
Redevelopment has robbed Blue Rock Springs Park of its rustic atmosphere and rural ambiance. It was then a forested green oasis in a desert of brown foothills. Today Columbus Parkway is as wide as a highway and just as trafficked. The cry of the peacocks can barely be heard over the din. It is just a park amidst suburbia.
Taken in the early 1980s perhaps, it is still unaltered. The stand of trees in the center of the picture are those seen graphed in the police sketch of the parking lot in 1969. The parking lot had been built around them, so that they stood within it. The parking lot of which I speak, of course, is not the one in the foreground. It is the one in the back. Downloading the pic will reveal it to you in its large size. It is in that parking lot where the shooting occurred.
In 1986, I believe, everything would begin to change. Bulldozers came in and much has been widened. The parking lot was doubled, biting into the park, and the extra lot on the other side of the road (seen in foreground) was removed in preparation to widen the road.
ZODIAC was more than lucky here in his timing. But he didn’t realize he had made a terrible mistake. At the end of the month, he sent his first trio of letters and started playing his game. Then he replied to the Examiner. Then there was nothing until September 27 when he had to prove something. In this time he was fomenting his most brazen attack. But he would repeat his mistake at Lake Berryessa.
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For 25 years Gian J. Quasar has investigated a broad range of mysterious subjects, from strange disappearances to serial murders, earning in that time the unique distinction of being likened to “the real life Kolchak.” However, he is much more at home with being called The Quester. “He’s bloody eccentric, an historian with no qualifications who sticks his nose into affairs and gets results.” He is the author of several books, one of which inspired a Resolution in Congress.