A 3-stroke “k” is a rarity. Few people write a normal letter “k” with three strokes. A 2-stroke “y” is also rare. ZODIAC wrote in this manner. But ZODIAC also used a 2- stroke capital “M”– also seemingly quite uncommon.
It is sometimes hard to detect, but in every letter he made his capital “m” this way. When in 2008 Ricardo Gomez discovered that ZODIAC had imitated Mel Belli’s house address font on his letter to the flamboyant attorney, it revealed one of ZODIAC’s subtle touches in his game.
When ZODIAC wrote the LA Times and implicitly claimed the Bates killing as one of his ‘Riverside activity’ he wrote on the envelope in large letters AIR MAIL. It is the only example of his printing on a large scale. The “M” is 2-stroke, per usual. But what was his point? Was this another subtle touch?
The nasty “Bates Had to Die” notes that were mailed in April 1967 were all noteworthy for an 2-stroke “M”. They remain hotly debated as the work of ZODIAC. Few believe he had killed Bates. But there are those who believe he may have shown his taste for the macabre by writing the notes, a thrill he later fed by going out and committing murders so he could indulge in his bragging game of poison pen pal bragging.
If it is true it is a clue, of course. But it is also a clue that ZODIAC felt it could never be traced to the real him otherwise he would never have boasted of a link. Did he truly believe he was too clever for the police and could get away with this? Time has indicated he was. But did this belief blind sight him as well, leading him to make a clumsy mistake? ZODIAC will not prove too clever for history.
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Since 1990 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.