In Quest of the Comte de Saint Germain

I do not speak of my heritage much. Usually it’s doting aunties and grass widows who prat on heritage, linking a randy (in the Scottish meaning of the word) nephew’s behavior to great, great, great uncle Henry’s strange propensity to be a drunken cad.

Americans also speak of some grand, thin connection to some old backstabbing Plantagenet they wouldn’t want to share the fence with today but suddenly boast about when they discover they are descended of him. For the English, nobility was and is a legal status, something they grabbed from the Norman sense of selling anything. Because the British regarded nobility as a legal concept on paper, marriage between members of noble and non nobles was commonplace. Those of British descent can tie their heritage in to some earl, from there to some Plantagenet, and from there to that parker Charlemagne, which so many brag about. I suppose it is because of his nifty name.

But for the Continent, nobility is and was a quality. It is not a legal status. Family is everything. Bloodline carries the quality. The adelgeschlecht, those families that went back to the German invasions of the Roman Empire, were the real deal. They carried the quality of nobility, as their accomplishments in hard times proved when they led their people in times of upheaval greater than anything in Lord of the Rings. These weren’t toadies given titles by a king. They were dynasts. Any titles they held were those of the Holy Roman Empire.

On the Continent the legal concept of nobility does not predominate, obviously. So I must tread carefully when suggesting that a link to the identity of the so-called and infamous Comte de Saint Germain should be sought in a very grand dynastic family from Genoa. I proudly descend of this family, and I am very mindful of its inherent qualities. Their name is Cattaneo della Volta. Along with the Grimaldi, Spinola, Doria, Brignole-Sale, they formed the power of Genoa, and Genoa was the power of the Mediterranean. The Palaeologus favored them, and eventually there was marriage– to my knowledge all branches of Cattaneo descend of the Palaeologus; the princes in the south of Italy openly carry the Palaeologo name on Cattaneo della Volta. Other branches descend through the Palaeologus of Montferrat.

The name and family comes from Ingo Della Volta, son of Conrad, a Lombard noble who like all the Lombards struck together to maintain the Holy Roman Empire. When he met with Barbarossa at Pavia, the great emperor gave him the name Cattaneo, meaning “captain of the Empire.” The family has used it since. They are a wonderful, adventurous, genuinely noble family . . . with a very tangible legacy as well. They carried the true longevity gene.

Even before the Renaissance, it is commonplace that a Cattaneo della Volta reached his 80s– 86 being the common age.  This longevity continues until the modern time. To my knowledge, it is in every branch, and in many of those families who descend from them, like mine. It has been over a century now since one of my ancestors held the Cattaneo name. It’s a bit relative, since I am only 5 generations from the 18th century (we breed far apart), but the gene is a strong one.  It is still with us.

My own branch started with Tomas, who tragically died young, but he had named his son John Baptist (Giovanni Batista) after so many ancestors and Doges.
Good ol’ John Baptist lived to be 86, a marvel for most men in the 19th century, especially for one who took it in his head to go up to the rugged Volga land and run it for Catherine the Great. That wasn’t exactly his charter, but he ended up doing it anyway, preaching, exploring, engaging in science and medicine. His grandson, my great grandfather William, lived to see 85, but was killed by Stalin in 1926 when he wiped out the Volga land. Mom told me stories about how grandmother received letters from relatives still there, the paper stained with tears around the writing telling how bad everything was.

Well, let’s not go there. We haven’t gotten to the subject yet of this blog post. But it is a subject that requires an introduction. My branch is not unique. There are many branches of Cattaneo, especially in Piedmont and Lombardy that tie in with the main line in Genoa. They were born of younger sons, and perhaps there was no real future in the political and trading ventures of the main family in Genoa. They still carried the Cattaneo traits, and the Cattaneo longevity.

Herein we come to a mysterious figure of the 18th century. He was dark and eccentric, educated well in Italy, seemed to have lots of money, and he was mysterious. He went by the name and title of Comte de Saint Germain. He spoke many of the languages of Europe, was an accomplished musician, amused to no end Louis XV, and was often considered a spy or a mountebank or an adventurer. One thing was undeniable. He had longevity.


No one is particularly sure when the Comte de Saint Germain was born, but he died in 1784 and was in his 80s at least. On his deathbed he claimed a Serbian princely background, but it really didn’t check out. One thing was certain, there was no such family or title of Saint Germain to which he was connected.

Yet he was such an educated and gallant, though at times foppish man. He died poor, under the protection of Prince Charles of Hesse-Kassel.

Who was the Comte de Saint Germain? The question has been asked for centuries. The title was bogus. But it was fad to take titles in the 18th century. They were used as aliases. If society believed you were from a great family, it was considered acceptable, even intriguing that you went by a fake identity but one that nevertheless indicated you were from the gentry.

The Comte de Saint Germain’s fluid occupation, however, did not indicate he was close to the stem of any great house still extant. Cattaneo  della Volta most certainly was. The main branch was still the power in Genoa. Other outlying branches were in Lombardy and Piedmont. Dominic had agreed to be Prince of San Nicandro  in the Neapolitan Court, and through marriage they prominently displayed  an amended Cattaneo coat of arms bearing the motto of the Palaeologus– “King of Kings, Ruling over Rulers.”  This wasn’t a family to mess with.

And it seems Comte de Saint Germain never really tread for any length of time within the reach of the Cattaneo family. He seems to have been educated in Italy but made his name more so in northern Europe. For someone who was a scion of this house, testified both in appearance and by the longevity and intelligence, there would be many disapproving cousins who could not only blow his cover but could soundly stop him– Princes of Francavilla, several branches of Cattaneo and several other Genovese and northern Italian houses.

It is highly unlikely he ever carried the Cattaneo name. But from my own searches I think it is very possible he tied in with this erudite and noble dynasty. They produced many adventurers, in the much more acceptable sense of the word, including my Giovanni Batista. He is probably a scion of several of these families. Perhaps some in these families knew who he was, or at least heavily suspected. Italian families stick together. They never forget an insult and they always stick together. Those who suspected he was some junior cousin from a junior branch living on his annuity may have preferred silence. He was famous and intelligent and went by a title that led nowhere to these great families.

If he was educated at Siena, then it is possible some starting point can be found that leads to a student from one of these great families, tied in with Cattaneo’s undeniable longevity gene, that can be traced only so far until he took another identity and made his way through Europe as a talented and mysterious count.

It is beyond my desire to spend the appropriate time to do this, but there may be someone out there who might want to take up the search for the Comte de Saint Germain. It is unlikely any of these great families would care anymore if some junior cousin made his way through notorious fame over 200 years ago. He is considered immortal by many who follow his teachings, but it won’t hurt if he is identified and his immortality fades to his identity with families whose nobility has proven more durable than mortality, one that has existed much longer than he, and will continue to exist for centuries to come.

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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.


BIGFOOT: “All I Want is Respect.”

How to accomplish this? How to take an anemic pursuit of 30 minute TV episodes and restore the hour and a half image of old Sun Schick documentaries in the 1970s? This is the perfect comparison: Peter Graves warning people that they are about to watch the most startling motion picture in their lives compared to today’s looking for love in all the wrong hominids.

Where are all the expeditions going deep into new territory? Where is the assault on the actual Saskahaua? Who is trekking to Morris Mountain?

Yet this is the impression of the mainstream. They think BIGFOOT has defied discovery and therefore must all be a joke. In truth there have been no attempts to discover BIGFOOT; only attempts to capitalize on the concept of looking for BIGFOOT. The mainstream believes that BIGFOOT is a carnival creature because so many fanboys of a real life comic strip got involved and wanted and, frankly, created a BIGFOOT in their own backyards. This made BIGFOOT all the more unbelievable. This made Bigfootery all the more a joke.

Very few out there remember the image of the old days– 1958-1985– when new tracks were reported by the mainstream media, when Bigfooters trampled the woods trying to find them, when a media circus ensued, where BIGFOOT most of all was in the Pacific Northwest.  Who remembers the days of funded expeditions deep into the woods, of woodsmen funded by millionaires trying to find more data and capture the beast? Who remembers a symposium at U of British Columbia? Contrast this with today’s monster conventions where BIGFOOT memorabilia sits next to posters of King Kong movie releases– the BIGFOOT stuff being just as much a fantasy as those movies.

In June 1978 U of BC held a symposium. When one anthropologist expounded his belief in BIGFOOT at a convention recently his peers wanted him bounced from their university.


Questers and anthropologists have given way to monster lovers.

Why shouldn’t the mainstream think ill of the whole pursuit? Why should any producer think of making a serious, critical documentary? David Wolper had to persuade the Smithsonian to sponsor a serious documentary in 1974, and it became the biggest TV documentary of all time, one that then inspired the granddaddy of BIGFOOT docudramas Mysterious Monsters with Peter Graves. But the image that all this helped create has long been erased by 30 years of frolic for “reality TV.” Those who pursue BIGFOOT pursue vampires and werewolves as well. Fantasy monsters, ardent fans who love the old Universal horror movies and now want to be an armchair Helsing.

Those who forsake the armchair do so only to prove the past. Expeditions today try and find the exact location of where Roger Patterson filmed his “Bigfoot” in 1967. Some try and recreate the walk and stride of the Bigfoot in the film for yet another “reality” camera watching them. Others go on a digging expedition to find where the cabin was situated at Mount St. Helens in 1924. All well and good, but this is more tourism and relic hunting. It is not following a new trail.

Where are the encounters with BIGFOOT? I mean the new ones in the last 35 years? None. Where are plaster casts of new prints? None. Where are the stories of going deep into the woods and encountering anything unusual. Few and very questionable.

There is little reason to have respect for the modern pursuit of BIGFOOT.

This, however, blind sights the mainstream to the truth that such real and new Bigfooters are out there, that new ground has been combed, that new expeditions are coalescing. A new era is coming, one of more encounters, more deep woods pursuits,  and one where expeditions will travel deep in with plenty of equipment to try and add more data and finally ignite a respectable pursuit back into the deep and dank woods of the most mysterious place in North America– the Pacific Northwest.

Too many have been motivated by Recasting Bigfoot not to believe that a genuine native American anthropoid exists, and that more than one type forms the backbone of frontier accounts of encounters with “animal humans.” To make the new era that is dawning poignant and relevant, let us restore respect to the hunt for BIGFOOT. It is not the hunt for a Facebook meme or Halloween suit. It is the hunt for truth. Legends have long spoken of a “hairy, giant man monster” of the PNW. Indian artwork has admirably reproduced features exclusive to South American primates. Old accounts vividly describe  encounters in the PNW with what old Spanish accounts describe as existing in South American jungles.

It is time to put away the comic book and take up the substance that inspired the anemic and self indulgent era that has dominated the pursuit. It is time to don the scotch flannel plaid shirt, the thick rimmed glasses, and tread deep into the woods of the Pacific Northwest.

Let’s look at a few key points of topography that will help us understand the PNW.

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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.


Following my pattern I left off HorrorScope for a couple of months so that I could forget it and so that it would then be fresh in my mind for a final edit. I am now back at it for a final edit. The Introduction below is set now to my content. It follows:

Chapter 1 “This is the Zodiac Speaking.”

Civilization had never seen such a thing before. National curiosity was now dissolving into national disdain and even national jitters. The fabric of American society was viewed as coming apart. A counterculture within the younger generation was spreading like a contagion. They cast off the conformity of the “establishment” to become dropouts, long-haired hippies, anti-war flower children and radical student yippies. San Francisco was the center. An elegant society tiptoed around the psychedelic flamboyance of peace, love, and drugs, wondering when this unnerving fad was going to ebb. Yet a year and a half after the momentous Summer of Love there was no end in sight. The river of youth had become a torrent, entering the city’s tenderloin and parks to reside in “Love-ins,” to adorn themselves in symbols, ty-dye, Indian feathers, to smoke hashish, and to hear the preaching of the Age of Aquarius.

There could be nothing more at a contrast to this mixture of giddy colors and staid culture, diamond tiaras, minks, and daisies behind the ear, than a midnight, lonely rural road near Vallejo, a utilitarian city across the bay. Shots rang out. Gun powder flashed. Two teenagers lay dead, a boy and a girl.

Now in December 1968 the mainstream youth still looked like their parents— clean cut guys with thick-rimmed glasses, and gals with elaborate coiffured hairdos. They still necked at petting spots. This was an accepted “taboo.” Lovers’ lanes were still unofficially designated. These were the victims. The victims were John and Jane Q. Citizen, not tunic wearing gurus and licentious members of “Love-ins.” Kids at a petting spot on a backroad. Here the terror began. Like a drop that starts a ripple, it began here in this drab, unlikely place and grew wider and wider until it sent San Francisco and the metropolitan Bay Area into a panic.

For 7 months the killer did nothing. He was fomenting his game. Then he killed again in the summer of ’69. Like a pompous comic strip villain he now proclaimed himself to the world:


This is the Zodiac Speaking


From this point forward this mysterious and egotistical villain made a very public game out of murder. Indeed he made such a success out of it that despite the fact his murders were, to be frank, largely unimaginative, he is the second most famous serial killer in world history, ranking only behind London’s Jack the Ripper.

History has shown us that in 1969 network news would be at its apogee. Whether this phantom killer’s publicity campaign of murder is a reflection of the times or inspired because of the massive stage news could give, his threats of a “killing rampage” rode the crest of a popular wave the likes of which have never to be seen again.

The colorful antiestablishment movement was part of the reason network news scored so high in American homes. Racial tensions in the nation, anti-war protests, and the latest news on the war in Vietnam were other factors. The moonshot had long been promised and in the summer of 1969 it would be fulfilled. Political assassinations had drawn Americans to the TV. It had only been 6 years since President Kennedy had been assassinated, 4 years since Malcolm X had been brutally gunned down, less than 2 years since Martin Luther King Jr, and then Bobby Kennedy’s assassinations. News was really happening, and it was news that had mattered. It was news at hand.

America seemed in a descending spiral. The young were angry and disillusioned by the preachers of change and peace being gunned down. The establishment had given them the Cold War. Their “new morality” reflected both rebellion and despair. The ramifications of more assassinations alarmed the establishment, and they were equally afraid of the strange morality of the counterculture entering the mainstream. The Manson Family murders would soon convince them that the hippie movement was a breeding ground of cult-like murder next door. Overseas, America was beset by a war with tens of thousands dead and nothing to show for it but fear it would escalate to Armageddon. The gritty, dark urban reality of the 1970s was fast approaching, a time when the apocalyptic atmosphere put news events right at one’s own front door.

In the San Francisco Bay Area, newspapers headlined with strange cryptograms. Under threat of a metropolitan wide “killing rampage,” this drive-by shooter manipulated the newspapers to print his ciphers of code symbols. He taunted police that his identity was concealed therein, and he intrigued the public to uncover where he’d strike next. A metropolitan area sat down to try and figure it out. When it was decoded, all and sundry read the gleeful but simple syntax: “I like killing people because it is so much fun.”

Jubilation at murder wasn’t his only motive. Months before the Manson Family outrages would convince Americans the counterculture was full of zombie-like cultists, this killer rejoiced over the fact his victims would be his slaves in his afterlife, thereby invoking some primitive, arcane religion that seemed inspired by the esoteric mysticism of the disturbing hippie movement.

With each new victim there came a jubilant boast in the form of a letter with a tally of victims. Sometimes a cipher was included, supposedly containing more information vital to unraveling his identity. For years he kept the Bay Area in suspense with his threats. “Be sure to print this part . . . or I’ll do my thing”— the threat not of a mystical maniac wanting more reincarnated slaves but paradoxically that of a cheap gunsel extorting fear. His murder spree lasted for only a short time, but his love for terror kept him writing these poison pen letters. Each new letter he sent was introduced as an oracle: “This is the Zodiac Speaking.” Each was sluiced with sarcasm, and with his dark humor each in its way was a sinister chuckle. Each in turn was signed by the symbol of the celestial Zodiac— a circle with a crosshair through it. It looked little different from a gunsight, and the double meaning was no doubt intended. Then he played the ultimate hand in his game. He vanished. To this day the San Francisco Bay Area has never forgotten, and the most bragged about murders in history remain unsolved.


This is The Zodiac Killer. He is inexorably linked with the summer and tumultuous autumn of 1969, but his legacy is decades of anxiety that he’d return, decades of frustration that a killer escaped justice; not just a killer, but the most boastful, haughty killer in the annals of crime. “The police shall never catch me,” he boasted in one letter, “because I have been too clever for them.” He won. He got away. The faded ink of his bragging rubs this fact into our face even today.

Who was this killer? Why did he suddenly stop? It wasn’t from penitence. For years he continued to write those bragging letters. He has been silent over 40 years now. It has been so long that Zodiac’s era and therewith the context of his crimes has been obscured by a folklore that has turned him into a master villain in the likeness of Dr. Moriarty, the nemesis of the redoubtable Sherlock Holmes.

Yet the truth is quite different, though tenuous to extract. Those who view him only through his letters and cryptograms see the evil genius. Those who see him only through the crime scenes view him as a spontaneous thrill killer. As always the truth lies in between. Zodiac was a dichotomous mixture of bungling perpetration and cerebral game playing, the latter seen in how he remained so consciously behind the alter ego he created that, amazingly, little was ever discovered of this villain. Enough was pieced together, however, to draw the portrait of an odd, festering but highly clever misfit.

In 1969, in appearance there was still a stark difference between the mainstream and the counterculture. Guys still wore their tight, sleek slacks, button-down collar shirts, short hair parted and combed to one side. Gals wore some elaborate hairstyle, often like their mother. Miniskirts came “in” in 1966 and were still “in” in 1968-69. Guys wore thick rimmed glasses; gals cat-eyes. If you were the mainstream you looked like the above; if you were a hippie, you looked “way out.”

Yet the Zodiac was neither. In age he was unquestionably between 25 and 30 years old— a difficult age to categorize. He was too young to be the establishment; too old to be the counterculture. Nevertheless, even for 1969 he was, for one of his age, a strange amalgam. His hair was stylized, a fashion that went out in the early ’60s. He wore baggy, pleated wool dress pants— the norm for the mid-1950s. He mixed this obsolete formality with a touch of current and casual— a thin cotton sport jacket. Strangely, he then added more incongruity by wearing high rim Air Force Wing Walker shoes, standard issue for cadets at Lackland AFB in Texas. He was under 6 foot tall but a heavy 225 pounds— chunky like a gorilla, a big face with high cheekbones.

It took quite a bit just to assemble this much information, and the final mosaic wasn’t in place until the crime spree was over. For the most part Zodiac‘s face was the mantel of the night, and from behind the bright splatter of a flashlight he fired away at his surprised victims. Other than the carnage he left behind, we have no other clue to his character than the ego he created in print.

But his true image tells us he was not the hippie cultist. The context of his crimes also tells us he was the antithesis of what he marketed. Despite declaring man to be the ultimate—“the most dangerous”— game, Zodiac was hardly the great white hunter in the bush. He only had the courage, if that word can be used, to pump full of holes kids at lovers’ lanes. As killers go, he wasn’t even very adroit. Three of his victims lingered before expiring. Two survived to go on with life as best they could. The reality of The Zodiac Killer was shot up cars and kids at remote petting spots.

It would be unwise, however, to judge Zodiac based on his awkward appearance and his clumsy MO. There was a cerebral quality to Zodiac that is belied by his clumsy modus operandi and it extended far beyond his gloating letters. For all of his uncouth look, for all of his amateurish execution, somehow, equally mysterious, that frumpy gorilla neatly managed to melt into the very different background of mainstream life and evade an enormous dragnet.

It would be equally unwise, and an even greater error, to think that the bland truth behind the boastful façade diminishes the evil that was Zodiac. On the contrary, it confirms his arrogance. The true image is all the more contemptable. The truth is that of a pudgy little man sniggering over his poison pen letters while his TV screen flickered with images of pall bearers carrying out his victims to the hearse. The truth is that he need only remain essentially a drive-by shooter because his victims were important to him only insofar as they were another ante in his game of death. So much was boasting important that from the bloodied, impromptu scenes of death he hurried to confess to police operators, or to his dark lair to scribble his bragging letters and set in motion his publicity campaign. His victims were the résumé by which he kept a metropolis in fear for years. The truth is that of a strange outcast who was so egotistical he was not only indifferent to the lives of others he was also completely untouched by the great events of his time.

Man’s first step on the moon, the Manson murders, the antiestablishment movement— nothing contemporary found place in his writings. Only once did he make reference to current events, and this was so his tongue-in-cheek humor could dovetail on it. Peace symbols were popular, he said; others wore “black power” or “Melvin eats bluber.” He wanted to see the Bay Area wear his Zodiac buttons. It would cheer him up and this would keep him from killing again. “Please no nasty ones like melvin’s. Thank you.”

Even Zodiac’s expressed motive for killing people— aside from enjoying it— was completely isolated from the times. He declared no moral indignation on wayward youth, no hint of the bitterness or revenge of a jilted lover, no indication they even deserved it, only that his victims would be his slaves in his afterlife.

But most unwise of all would be for us to believe there is any easy answer as to what motivated the Zodiac. For his only slaying in daytime he hid his round face under a sinister black hood. It hung down incongruously over his shabby appearance and thereon was neatly sewn the symbol of the celestial Zodiac. Since the victims were by no means meant to survive (one was stabbed 6 times, the other 21), we were never to know he had dressed like this. But one of them survived to give us the account. Obviously, this outfit meant something purely to him. The Zodiac’s crime spree was clearly a bit more complex than merely a means to publicity.

In fact, as this volume unfolds, the reader will discover that Zodiac devoted enormous time and effort to carry off what appeared to be very spontaneous crimes. Zodiac lived and killed to create his alter ego. He is, in fact, one of the few serial killers to ever give himself his own handle. It doesn’t reflect police categorizing or witty press sensationalism. It reflects his own megalomania as the celestial controller, the master of the game of fate.

What ultimately was Zodiac’s game?

The need to expose this killer is enormous. It is not for the narrow piety to bring closure to the victims’ families. Nor is it simply for the sake of closing the book on a case of crime. The ‘Zodiac’ Killer played a game with the public. He did not murder to merely give himself a thrill. The victims were a means to an end to glorify this frumpy gorilla’s much more imaginative alter ego. Such a braggart is unique in the annals of crime. He threw the gauntlet down and forced society to play his terror game. This gauntlet, as all gauntlets, must eventually be picked up and slapped in his face, even if that face is only the reputation of a long passed respected citizen.

I picked up that gauntlet. It is not boastful to say so. Many have done so, and it has come my turn. I have little interest in criminology, but investigative method is investigative method, whether the object is a truth of science or the identity of a serial killer, whether it is in the hand of a criminalist, journalist or biologist. I enjoy pursing mystery and solving mystery; and the identity of the Zodiac is one of the greatest mysteries in true crime.

What I have added to cold case is my approach. I treat a cold case like a hot case. I completely reinvestigate the crimes as though they just happened. In essence, I start all over. I visit the crime scenes. I examine the evidence and, more importantly, I look for clues. Contrary to what may be public perception, cold case is mostly processing, comparing any information that comes in to a few pieces of evidence distilled and preserved by the original investigators, evidence that is considered conclusive to identify the killer or exonerate an innocent man.

By reinvestigating from the very beginning, I plunge both myself and the reader back to a volatile and colorful era. The crimes and times shall unravel before us. Context is everything. Within context lie the clues, and often clues are more important than evidence, for upon investigation clues lead to evidence, and new clues lead to new evidence. And this case needs new evidence. Zodiac, in fact, made mistakes in his letters, and he made mistakes within the context of his crimes. Only by ignoring 40 years of folklore could these be uncovered again. Only by reliving the crimes and times of the Zodiac could that one kernel be uncovered that led to the identity of this cerebral braggart.

This is the complete chronicle of The Zodiac Killer crime spree. This is not an anodyne compilation of the history of The Zodiac Killer and of those events, sometimes decades later, engineered by people who have attempted to write themselves into it, together the above amounting to little more than a journal of urban folklore. This is the investigative thesis that vividly recreates the crimes and seasons of the Zodiac, and that leads to the outing of the man behind the mask, the killer behind the pompous preamble “This is the Zodiac Speaking.”

In this volume I will deliver the body of the Zodiac. But it takes more to get at the soul— why he killed and why he stopped. Was he a reluctant killer? Was the terror campaign a ruse to cover some other motive? Were the deaths necessary in some greater scheme or ritual? The questions may not seem as important after the killer’s hood is removed. To unmask the Zodiac is to reveal more than the soul of the killer. It is to isolate the pudgy, insecure madman from the pomp of his publicity. This will destroy his evil soul. The result is an empty hood devoid of any substance of the theatrical master controller that he created from dark shadows. It leaves us with his true image, the one he drew for himself in the cowardly barbarity of his crimes.

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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.

Jack the Dipper: A critical look at The Manchester Pusher and Smiley Face Killer Theories

Folks about Manchester, England, are sure there is a serial killer afoot right now who is craftily concealing his brutal hand at murder by tossing his victims into the elaborate canal system of this enormous industrial English city. GMP (Greater Manchester Police) have said no. Other criminologists disagree. With 84 bodies found throughout the canal system over the last decade or so, probability just seems to scream that some must be murders. From there it is natural to assume that some are the victims of a single serial killer with some horrid ulterior motive for killing his victims and wanting to make it look like accidental drowning.

Locally, the rugged Manchester citizens have dubbed this hypothetical killer the “Pusher” because he is viewed as pushing them in the canals. If he is real, however, his MO is probably far more complex than just pushing drunks into the canals and then allowing them to conveniently drown rather than shout for help.

Very little information is in the public realm. The lurid nightlife of the gay district of Manchester which seems to be the epicenter of the deaths has been documented most visually by “Curiosity” on his YouTube Channel.

But where are the details? The postmortems? Clues that chloroform may have been used? Signs of struggle? There are no logistics in any of the theories as to how and why this is being done, if it is murder.

Thrill killers kill for thrill. That’s not meant to be a stupid Facebook meme. It is a basic truth we must confront. What thrill is there is going up to a drunken partier and then tossing him into the canal? There seems to be little thrill. Another motive must be posited. This has inspired the theory that the killer hates gays, who seem to be the majority of victims. But it is also true that water destroys a lot of clues. Are the victims rather being taken somewhere else for some more elaborate death and then their bodies thrown into the canals in order to destroy all the evidence and hide the deaths as “accidental drowning”?

Yes, the victims are almost always a man. Women don’t seem to get as drunk and fall into the canals, if the police theory is correct that these drowned Manchester citizens are merely clumsy drunks. Their theory is that since most of these victims were last seen in a bar somewhere, then later walking away alone or with somebody else, that they simply got drunker somewhere else and eventually strolling along the dingy and utilitarian canals in the early morning hours just stumbled and fell in. Clearly only men get that stuporous, if the theory is to be accepted as fact.

But this is just all generality. Each opposite pole of reasoning– GMP and those who believe there is a Manchester Pusher– base their theories on the most broad generalities.  We need details, details, details, from the last known bar the victim was in, what they drank, who they were seen with, then the details of the location where they were found along the canal, then the postmortem details. The devil is in the details.

In America, there is a near identical theory, though the circumstances are much broader. The deaths are not grouped in a city but spread out over a definite track of the I-94 corridor between New York and Minnesota.

The Smiley Face Killer Theory is well known in True Crime because it was first proposed by 2 New York detectives. Unlike the victims of the supposed “Pusher” in Manchester, the victims are not gay. Yet they are of a similar type– athletic, college age men, often Catholic, and each one was last seen at a bar or walking away from a bar alone or with someone else, only then next to be found drowned. Unlike the Pusher victims, two of those within the litany of 40 victims have been shown to be homicides. Moreover, both were shown to have been slipped into the water to disguise their murders.


The detectives proposed that there was a single serial killer or gang because of the general circumstances– type of victim, similar circumstances before death, and that each young man was rather strong and yet somehow drowned.

But most likely the detectives proposed a serial was afoot because the first victim they had on the list was the one which they had personally investigated, and this is clearly a murder that was misidentified as a drowning. This was the strange death of Pat McNeill in New York City. Because of their findings here they were probably disposed to believe that some of these other young men– strong, college age, athletic– could not simply have drowned. All of them had been to a bar first, and the detectives discovered that this was true of McNiell too. The clues indicate he was the result of pre-selected intent to murder.

In McNeill’s case he seems to have been drugged in a New York city bar, then as he staggered down the street he was followed by a sedan with two people in it. That makes it conspiracy. That makes it a gang.

Although the subsequent deaths of young, intoxicated men were not confined to New York city, it seemed this could have been a traveling gang. They followed McNiell in a car after all. The link then? A painted smiley face was found at locations upriver from where some of the bodies were found. The detectives posited that this is where the bodies were slipped into the river and allowed to drift down with the current to the point where they were eventually discovered. This must be underscored here. The smiley face was not found near the body. It was found where the detectives estimated the body had to be placed in the river, allowing for drift computations and so forth.  More than anything, the smiley face formed a subtle link indicating a single serial killer or gang or, more accurately, motive was behind all the deaths.

The genuine similarity between the “Pusher” deaths and the Smiley Face Killer deaths is that they were all declared to be accidental drowning. That’s what they all appeared to be. Any “evidence” they are victims of a murderer comes from theory, except in two cases in America– McNiell being the first.

According to the theory, water was used to destroy the evidence of murder. This is logical, but it is the only point of the theory that is. And water does not destroy all evidence. No motive exists in the Smiley Face Killer Theory as postulated years ago; no other motive, that is, than a gang of killers wants to antagonize the police. If that is the case, they have proven themselves too sophisticated to get their thrill. No jurisdictions buys into the theory, and we are talking about a lot of law enforcement jurisdictions.  So if there is a Smiley Face Killer gang they have no known motive and the one proposed for them just doesn’t fit.

That is the true weakness with the Smiley Face Killer Theory. It requires a gang traveling along I-94 who have no known motive, who work the bars in each city or town where they strike, drug the young men, or just wait to select an appropriately drunk young man who fits their criterion, then drown him. A slight variation of this proposes they engage in some ritual in the interim, one that leaves no clues, and then drown him.

Where to go from there?

In short, we have two potential serial killers afoot– Jack the Dipper in Manchester and a Smiley Face Killer gang in America worthy of some Stephen King novel. Of the two possibilities, I would say there is more chance for Jack the Dipper than a Smiley Face Killer gang. The “Manchester Pusher” victims are grouped, and gays can be the object of a Simon Pure. Young college guys are not, though naturally there are those who believe a satanic group within the Catholic  Church is capable of doing anything heinous.

Both possibilities need more documenting, but nobody is doing it. The 2 detectives dropped their own theory years ago, and have released documentation only on Pat McNeill’s case. Some of the details on the other homicide, young Chris Jenkins,  have come forth only because of the energy of his parents. But no independent investigator has taken up the challenge and released enough convincing data to sway anybody to believe that even a fraction of the victims are the result of a single serial killer or gang working in concert.

More, more, more, details are needed. Both are a worthy subject to study and finally document so we can lay the ghost or hunt the true villain.

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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.

CODENAME Janos Borsky– Opposite Pole

“I can honestly tell you that I’ve walked every step of the way and it is hard for me to believe,” Chris Jenkins’ mother Jan Jenkins said.

Between New York and Minneapolis there have been recorded several deaths. These are of young men, all of them handsome, most if not all Catholic, all were last seen at a bar, each was intoxicated when he left, and each was found in circumstances that would indicate he merely died some natural death by falling in a creek, lake, or river.

These deaths would otherwise have been forgotten if it had not been for a sensational theory promulgated by 2 New York City detectives. Those who follow True Crime are familiar with the Smiley Face Killer Theory. It has brought forth these victims of death from the shadows, but sadly there is a Catch 22 to it all. The theory seemed so outlandish (at least elements of it) that it has helped obscure the cases as well.  There remains great skepticism whether as many as 40 victims of similar “natural death” could be the victims of a gang that seems to have no other purpose but to kill young, handsome, Catholic college men and make it look like drowning.

Upstream from a number of discovered drowned bodies, a smiley face has been found painted. According to those who believe in the Smiley Face Killer Theory, this is where the bodies were slipped into the rivers or lake and thus where the killer’s left their signature.


But what about 12 young men? What about just 5?  This does not minimize the tragedy. Five dead young men are 5 too many. But you get my point. After hearing about 40 victims of a massive plot, 5 doesn’t seem too many. Nevertheless, 5 victims is the tally of Jack the Ripper. We have within the litany of 40 victims of the Smiley Face Killer Theory the possibility that a serial killer/s had picked 5 or 6 off. He remains hidden because the Smiley Theory is written off as outrageous and therewith further scrutiny is not given to the individual cases. Yet if done so it could reveal a pattern does exist between a few of them, that is to say, a pattern far more intricate than the general one that formed the theory to begin with.

Of the many deaths, only the first death in New York and  the death at the other extreme of the corridor have been declared murders. This last one is the death of Chris Jenkins around November 1, 2002. His body was found about 4 months later floating in a thawing Mississippi River. At first he merely appeared to have drowned, though it would have taken a very amateur eye not to be suspicious. His parents didn’t believe it. They took it upon themselves to dig further and this got the case reopened and reclassified. It was obvious the young man had been murdered.

But there was no motive. He had last been seen at a bar near the Mississippi by the Hennepin Bridge. He was at a Halloween party inside, got a little smashed, and was ejected, cruelly, on a night where the temp was freezing. He only had his Indian costume on, no overcoat, no wallet.

No one is sure what happened thereafter. But when his body was found frozen months later in the Mississippi it was found in rather peaceful repose, rigid, arms folded in front, his loose moccasins still on his feet. Police first deduced that he had fallen or had jumped into the river the night he went missing. The position of the body in the river, floating face up and with the moccasins still on, however, was not reflective of the drowning position, which is preceded by much writhing under water, and a fall from the tall bridge would have taken off the moccasins. Further examination proved he had been drowned and gently placed in the river. Supposedly, some of his hair was found clutched in one hand.

This last clue was a tragic reminder of murder. It has been deduced that his head was forced under water and he was held there. In fighting to survive, he clutched at the hands of his attacker as they clutched his head. In grasping to rip his attacker’s hands off, he ripped some of his own hair out.

What Jenkins’ death proves is that someone murdered him for no known reason and tried to disguise (albeit poorly) his murder as a drowning. This same thing was done with the first victim, Patrick McNeill, in New York. Thus at the opposite polls of the major highway that connects both locations the Smiley Face Killer theorists have uncovered a similar MO. Both victims were last seen in bars, with the first possibly drugged and then followed. Both were placed in a river and both were found much later.

It is time to assess all those deaths in between New York and Minneapolis, in between the death of Pat McNeill and Chris Jenkins, to see what victims fit and do not fit the theory or, more importantly, to see which ones truly suggest a pattern. In doing so we can finally winnow down the cases to make for a believable theory that a serial killer/s is traveling the highways between New York and Minnesota, and selecting a very distinct type of victim for some unknown reason. In future posts I will try and get at this task.

If there is a cult of crime, it needs to be established succinctly and not given form merely from generalities and  theory based on nothing more than suspicion.

The next post will critically and logistically examine the Smile Face Killer Theory.

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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.

BIGFOOT For the Soul

It’s that time of year again. The holidays approach. Snow is coming. It’s the time of year in which we forgive all ruglizards for their ruglizardry. BIGFOOT season is now over. Always at its height in October, the season is marked by Bigfooters going out to partake of the woods or, more likely, to contemplate the days when this was done. Sadly, it has become a time to contemplate the past, but not to advance into a believable future.

BIGFOOT is the hairy nebulous chimera of the Pacific Northwest of Canada and the United States.  But because 150 years ago some old frontier reports declared some vision of a hairy manlike creature in Arkansas, New Jersey, or wherever, the pursuit has become one over the whole continent and not in the PNW. There are those who still seek “BIGFOOT” everywhere, including under their grandmother’s sofa in Pittsburgh.

Is this the result of credible analysis?

I have been declared the Father of the New Bigfootery and, as one friend recently told me, I am the “Prince of Apostates.”

The pot of controversy has never boiled over. It has not for a very good reason. No one wants to turn the heat up. You know why? There is only one way to do it: major expeditions converging and rivaling for turf. This is not Bigfootery, but it will be the New Bigfootery. Why? Because New Bigfootery has a believable goal. In substance, Bigfootery doesn’t even really exist. It is an audience still applauding an old performance. It is something to do until the aisles clear.

It began in the deep woods of the PNW. Hoaxes dovetailed on old stories of the “Kangaroo Man.”  Old journals repeatedly spoke of a hairy “animal human” or giant (7 foot tall) manlike animal. People went in search for the truth, but never excised the hoaxed elements from the developing montage. 


Today, Bigfootery is an armchair pursuit regurgitating past narratives, obsolete and without foundation. It has become holiday searches into boondocks that aren’t within asteroid strike of the right locations (Pacific Northwest). Theories are hobbled without any analysis to contradictory evidence. It is a pursuit purely of those who fell in love with a narrative set in stone in the 1970s. One can add to the narrative. One cannot erase any part of it.

I started erasing. I chipped away and started chiseling a new narrative. To the old this was an abomination. However, it restarted interest in thousands of others. I gave a believable form to the quest. The reason why Recasting Bigfoot and me became such a pariah is that my thesis required the substance of the glory days to return. It gave us a real goal. This requires dangerous expeditions into the heart of the PNW. It requires accepting more than one thing is involved, including humans. Most distasteful of all, it required archiving the last 35 years of comic book fascination.

Hundreds were inspired by my book Recasting Bigfoot to take the subject seriously again, with a number of these ready to put it into practice both in group outings and for those in the PNW on their own mini expeditions.


An old view of Mount St. Helens, home of the Skoocoom. The Pacific Northwest is still a vast, unconquered place.

In terms of public knowledge PNE&S is latent, but in terms of actions it is nearing the point of taking the field openly.  This means media. This means a high profile and a new profile to an old search.

Now in November it is time to contemplate the goals of PNE&S and the data gathered during another season. It is the time of year for BIGFOOT for the Soul– a time to contemplate the substance and the image needed to bring about the goal.

The image is a terrible one today. It is one of fanboys looking for a preposterous 9 foot tall walking gorilla in Illinois. Facebook memes show a man in a Halloween suit and the caption reads the “World’s reigning hide and seek champion.” The problem is no one has searched for the real thing in decades. The reality is BIGFOOT doesn’t need to hide and he doesn’t just gallivant across our highways.

Bigfootery deserves the false impressions and cynicism of the mainstream. It has done nothing but foster it with its own false impressions of BIGFOOT.

But if we bring the image of the hunt back to the original– the Rice-Burroughs novelette world of seeking the land that time forgot, it becomes an exciting, adventurous, and even at times an erudite pursuit.

As this chilly November progresses, I will post some of the evidence for the truth behind the real BIGFOOT, not the garish object of some monster quest.  You can also get Recasting Bigfoot at your local booksellers or online. It resets the foundation.  It makes it all easier to communicate the rest of the information.

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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.

Hunting Bigfoot

In its heyday it was OK to hunt Bigfoot. Bigfoot was Yeti, and the most respected anthropologists in Britain and America believed Yeti was a Gigantopithecus. A real survivor of a primeval time was still around, and this made it all an acceptable  hunt. Gigantopithecus was real and therefore Bigfoot could be real, despite the topic being surrounded by what was viewed as redneck machinations.

As Bigfoot evolved in the hands of hopeful Bigfooters, he became less believable, less animal and more some comic apeman that seemed inspired more from popular TV and novelettes. Most scientists bailed, shouldering the possibility that Bigfoot was Gigantopithecus or something close.

The Patterson Film finally did it in. It gave us a buxom but otherwise confusing chimera of the Pacific Northwest that didn’t match anything the old journals had spoken about, nor did it resemble anything the Indian tribes had mentioned.

Society, however, latched onto an image that could crystalize the pursuit. This became Bigfoot. A single species, a cone headed apeman/gorilla. Patt-Big-adj

But shouldering a theory doesn’t mean putting it away. You carry it with you, always on your back, always ready to unpack it when the time comes.

It is at this juncture that we find ourselves again. I unshouldered the pack again and pulled out Ameranthropoides Loysi. In Recasting Bigfoot I showed all the evidence suggesting that part of the legend of “animal humans” in the Pacific Northwest of the USA and Canada is based on the existence of a native American anthropoid.

Bigfootery was aghast. Zoology and anthropology were not. Even former humbugs of Bigfootery acknowledge there were serious field researchers now.

The substance behind the new Bigfootery is not high profiled. The horrid narrative of cheap monster quests still dominates the ether. It remains secretive because all Bigfooters guard their turf. It is as Jack W. Ondrack declared at the Western Society of Sociology and Anthropology in Banff.

“In the recent past, Sasquatch research has been conducted by poorly financed, untrained, dedicated men. A Sasquatch hunt with these people reminds one of a Humphrey Bogart movie in which a number of individuals having idiosyncratic and conflicting goals cooperate sporadically to bring a mutual goal closer to attainment. This goal however is mutual only in the sense that each man wants to find a Sasquatch, and not in the sense that each man wants somebody to find a Sasquatch.”

Soto voce though the voice may be, the substance of New Bigfootery exists. Slowly but surely, it is time we start speaking about the new quests. It is time we transpose back into the past, put on our flannel scotch plaid shirts and venture into the untamed wilds of the PNW– not as tourists of old legends that have become imbedded in Bigfoot lore, but to new places where many and exciting adventures wait to be born on a quest for the “ultimate hunt.”

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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.