Did you know that? The same can be said for the crime spree of The ZODIAC Killer. Now near 50 years later, we have only a few dots of reference– the crimes, the postmarks, the letters, a few other things to which more attention should have been given. But the space must be interpreted too. July 1969, for instance, is one large space.
One of the interpretations is to recognize the immense amount of time ZODIAC put into his game.
Nothing becomes so clear to me on subjects until I start writing the book. As I write HorrorScope I must envision each move clearly, like a movie in my mind, in order to vividly place it on the page. It is then that so much comes forward.
It took a long time for ZODIAC to invent his code. It meant master sheets with the meaning of each symbol in the regular alphabet. It meant writing each cryptogram neatly. It meant writing each of the 3 letters. But did it take him the whole month of July? He posted the letters late, on the day before he demanded the newspapers comply with “frunt” page coverage. Did something prevent him from getting to San Francisco to do it, or did he hold back because of other events and had no choice but to go through with it late?
This is the other interpretation. It is based on something well-known– ZODIAC’s ego.
This was the tumultuous summer of 69. The “giant leap” for mankind began on July 16 with Apollo 11’s takeoff. The step occurred on July 20. Splash down on July 24. No news item could obscure this. For weeks it upstaged every news event.
This was the period between ZODIAC’s Blue Rock Springs Park attack (July 4) and his letters on July 31. Was the wait just because of the time involved in creating the cryptograms? Or did he not want any rivaling news?
We must remember that as tragic as any murder is, the shooting of 4 people with the resulting death of 3 of them over a 7 month period was not alarming compared to all the other killings ongoing over the Bay Area at this time. These were also out in the fringes– nothing that would send a huge metropolitan area into a panic.
Though essentially not very ingenious killings– essentially drive by shootings– ZODIAC clearly thought his murders were important. Not because the victims were real people who had lives and loved ones. It was because of his identity. The entire phrasing of his letters, the hook to publish the cryptograms, was to reveal who he was.
But who was he really? He was a beefy guy who had the guts to shoot unarmed teens at petting spots. His game reveals more of his character when contrasted with the utilitarian style of his murders. The killings were important to him only because they revealed he was afoot and capable of me.
Did he have something against teens at petting spots? Or were they merely easy targets– middleclass targets– in rural areas? Urban murders are sordid. The middleclass shakes its head lamenting the plight of the world of vice. But ZODIAC picked off Johnny and Suzie Q Citizen. Not so common targets. Then he started a publicity game with the mainstream– terror was his goal.
Perhaps we best look at the events of July in order to explain why ZODIAC waited so long to finally reveal his game. His letters reveal his self importance; his threat to kill more average citizens his desire to cause mainstream terror. Did his silence in July reflect his calculating desire for the best publicity?
He was silent all through most of August and most of September. Can you think of why?
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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.