HORRORSCOPE– Bringing to Life The Zodiac Killer

Above, the aerial is situated over Blue Rock Springs Park. From this angle we can see Columbus Parkway traced by the tall canopy of eucalyptus trees as it wends on its way to Springs Road and Vallejo.

Context is everything, and it is something that is often missing from the repeated rehash of cold cases in popular literature. Yet reenactment of the crime is an essential step to investigating it. It is the “French” method. I rely heavily upon it before I write anything on any case. I must know what the layout of the land was like. After all, we are tracking the human predator. We are on a hunt for the hunter.

This is so clear in the ‘Zodiac’ Killer case. Like with Jack the Ripper, economic rehash dominates. It is used merely to quickly get through the crimes in order to introduce an unlikely suspect.

The longest I ever spent on trying to re-visualize a case was on trying to reconstruct Blue Rock Springs Park parking lot– the scene of Zodiac’s second strike. Since July 4, 1969, Columbus Parkway has been greatly altered. The park’s parking lot was once a wide spot in a two lane road. Now the parking lot has been extended inward to the country park, and the road is a couple of meters higher than the parking lot, not lower as it used to be, and a 4 lane busy thoroughfare.

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The crime scene as preserved in the Vallejo PD report. This is as the parking lot used to be– open to Columbus Parkway and narrow.  The parkway was only 26 feet across!

The lot used to angle up from the road, and it even had a stand of trees on one side of it around which the cars parked. It was truly a country park, carved out of the natural topography. That atmosphere is gone. The clutching canopy of eucalyptus that used to line the parkway is gone. I’m trying to bring it all back in HORRORSCOPE so the reader can understand what things were like back then.

I want to give you a little taste here, with pictures and blow ups of photo blocks in the upcoming release.  This is made possible by Vallejo Historical Museum. As you might imagine few people go to a park to take pictures of the parking lot. But the parking lot exists as an incidental in the background of pictures centered on other events held at the park.

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In this blow up above from 1963 we see the angled parking lot and narrow Columbus Parkway behind it, then the white line marking the gutter and the extended parking on the other side. Dee Ferrin had parked at an angle near where those two white cars are parked. One of the two lamp posts can be seen.

BRSPL-2

This blow up from 1961 shows the other side of the parking lot and the stand of eucalyptus noted on the crime scene illustration. Columbus Parkway was so narrow that you can distinguish it only from the painted crosswalk. The furthest row of cars are actually parked in a dirt area on the other side of the road.

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This photo, taken in the 1970s, is centered at the crosswalk, and it shows Columbus Parkway in the direction from which Roger, Jerry, and Debbie, came from I-80. The cars in this shot are parked on the other side of Columbus Parkway. The parking lot is actually on the right of the photo, off frame.

With the photos above– the header showing the parkway traced by the tall eucalyptus back to Vallejo– and the others of the lot and road, we can begin to visualize this very rustic area back late night 1969.

Columbus Parkway terminated at a major highway at both of its ends, and in the middle it connected with Lake Herman Road, which also terminated at a major highway.  These were hardly your basic country roads. They were backroad arteries to 3 major highways and two local towns. They held two major attractions– Lake Herman and Blue Rock Springs Park. Zodiac did not have to be a local to know this. These were easy roads in and out in many directions. Perfect for the drive-by killer.

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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 or Q Man. “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.

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The Night Predator–EAR/ONS– and Circumstantial Evidence

My last dossier on a person of interest for the case of EAR/ONS was about 13 pages long. In all that there was no circumstantial evidence against him. In the 3 dossiers or theses I have submitted there has been no circumstantial evidence. This may surprise the reader, but if it does it is only because the term “circumstantial evidence” is flippantly used in popular parlance.

Circumstantial evidence is evidence that links the person of interest, suspect, accused, to the commission of the crime. A fingerprint on a smoking gun, for instance, is circumstantial evidence. It is not direct evidence. If you saw the person point the gun at the victim and fire away it is direct evidence. But a fingerprint on the murder weapon is circumstantial. Most people get sent over on circumstantial evidence. It is very powerful. I have stressed that before.

But to help in the search for EAR/ONS– a 40 + year old case– I thought I’d accentuate that you must have rational and valuable suspicion. Unless you have stumbled upon the stash of things he had lifted from his victims, all you are going to have against your POI is suspicion. It is best to hone this so you understand why official investigators will or, very often, will not react with any zeal against your person of interest.

There is NO circumstantial evidence against any person of interest ever submitted.

DNA alone constitutes circumstantial evidence. Has anybody out there submitted DNA to the task force? No? Then you haven’t submitted circumstantial evidence. The reason for turning in a POI is to establish suspicion, to give the investigators probable cause to pursue this particular POI.

This is why I call those “reports” I submit dossiers or theses. This is what they are.

EAR’s height, hair color, and other particulars are in dispute, as is his age. His eye color is known along a spectrum, but like the definite size of his size 9 shoes tens of thousands of people have these features. They don’t go anywhere. They may help refine, but they don’t lead.

How and why then can anybody suspect a person? How can you then convince the official investigators to pursue him? Well, they’re really quite broadminded because they can verify location, etc., for your POI, then if necessary pursue DNA testing. So I am not discouraging anybody. I just want the reader to understand that there is no circumstantial evidence against any person of interest. You must present rational suspicion.

This is why I said in my last post the entire case hangs upon the thin strand of DNA.

If you think about it, EAR could probably not have been brought to trial 30 years ago. There was no DNA testing. He left no fingerprints. If he destroyed his masks, got rid of his guns and his shoes, he was basically just a little guy against whom the law had suspicion. Had he not raped some of his murder victims, there would have been no link even today to pursue.

So what can cause one to be suspicious of a person? For me, you all know what clues I pursue. “Clue” is basically the word. There are lots of clues– MO, patterns, repeated descriptions of size and proportion, houses for sale, schools and canals nearby,  moving over the state, apparently at will, etc. Who could have fulfilled all the requirements?

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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 or Q Man. “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.

The Night Predator– Assessing the Target

No one is to underestimate their enemy. A first year cadet at any military school is taught this. It is a fundamental principle of the hunt. Every hunter knows never to underestimate his quarry. When it comes to the hunt for EAR/ONS there may have been an exception– an innocent one but an exception nonetheless.

Everybody who has examined the case in detail, and this includes official investigators, has expressed their amazement that EAR was never captured. And considering that about 650 people have now been DNA tested and eliminated, it seems certain he was never an original person of interest.

The amazement is justified. But I think we must qualify it. We have to go back and take things chronologically. In the last few years EAR/ONS has become the No. 1 supervillain in cold case. But contemporarily he was a housebreaking sexual terrorist who largely set only the Sacramento East Area on the edge. As I’ve reminded many times, it took 20 years to even link him to the murders down south, thus notching him up to the most deadly predator in California history.

EAR’s career in crime evolved so slowly that it was impossible for anyone to see the potential of the supervillain that he would become. Some original detectives have been explicit that “every asshole in Sacramento was turned upside down.”  It was standard procedure. Round up the usual suspects.

Time and only time would prove that the East Area Rapist was not the usual suspect.

It was unavoidable to categorize him as the sadistic rapist type back then. But the danger today is to overestimate his intelligence. We are overwhelmed by the enormity of the scope of what he did and continued to do over the length of time he was active. Add to this the fact there never was a prime suspect and we become even more impressed. After all, EAR’s MO was a hands-on MO. He carefully prowled many neighborhoods and spent hours in the home of his chosen victim. There are over 50 of them. Yet we have no one reliable composite. Nothing definite on age, even hair color. There is no definite fingerprint. There is DNA, but so far it has been traced to no one. The case hangs thinly upon DNA. Had this breakthrough in forensic science not come about, it would be impossible to ever out the worst serial predator in history.

Altogether this astounds all who study the case. But this should also cause us to be patient. It is going to take time to test the usual and unusual suspects. We– and I speak in terms of the collective of public knowledge– have no more evidence today than back then. We have his DNA and his pattern. A few clues have turned up, and this leads me personally on.

There are those who think he was the most intelligent serial predator in history. Some think he was the luckiest. I disagree with both.

EAR was a predictable mixture of repeating MO but unpredictable timetable. He struck in similar types of neighborhoods but he mixed up his timetable and expanded his turf— his ability to do so is one of the biggest clues.

Like a cat burglar he prowled quietly in the night, struck, and then disappeared back into the mantel of darkness. There really wasn’t much for the law at the time to do.  And lawmen reminded us that due to this MO there was no real way to catch him except in the act. And this was very unlikely. This would mean a homeowner had to get the jump on him. Thus EAR could be a successful wolf amongst the sheep.

Halloweenstill-6

Instead of overestimating EAR’s habit as intelligence, we have to contextualize it. We have to put his success into perspective. It actually constitutes being a clue. We have to do this to distill to the true, primary clue that leads us on.

Success in this case doesn’t mean just not getting caught. It is the fact he has remained ethereal. At first glance this seems impressive. But what is comes down to is this: He wore gloves– thus no fingerprints. He bound his victims– thus giving himself time to get to his car and get away before the law arrived and started to comb the neighborhood.

Not very original or ingenuous. But it was effective.

EAR’s ingenuity lay not in the basics of attack and retreat, but in how he so ghostly reconnoitered the neighborhood before the fact. The only way he could have done that was to prowl at night. We have to take all daytime sightings of a “suspicious person” with reserve. But the nighttime evidence we must accept.  Yet how to stalk a shadow– something that is just a darker cutout in the already inky veil of night?

I won’t attempt to do so. But I will stalk the tracks he left. For me it is a personal dragnet. You all know that, paradoxical to what I just wrote, I’m tracking a daytime clue– my chosen path is auto-wrecking. And as I said all of the most famous clues pertaining to EAR have been gleaned in daytime, and these are all potentially bad leads. But there is one nighttime clue that merges with dawn, that sunrise of clues! Dogs traced EAR’s scent to tire tracks and to the location where a strange car had been seen repeatedly parked during the days previous to the attack. In each case the bloodhounds revealed EAR had a different car.

THIS is ultimately the thin clue that justifies me accepting the many daytime reports of old jalopies cruising the neighborhoods before-the-fact. It allows one to have some assurance that those few times the plates were taken down they were a valuable and tangible clue. They were traced to dead ends or to wrecked cars that had been towed to various and far removed wrecking yards.

As I eliminate more of the potentials on my list, and refine those I have submitted for official review, I feel I am getting closer to EAR. If anything, if all my POIs check out, I have removed auto-wrecking as a viable lead to follow. But I really don’t think that is feasible. I don’t think EAR worked in a body shop and used customer’s cars overnight. He knew his size 9 shoeprints could never lead to him. But he also must have believed that likewise tire tracks could never lead to him. This I hope was his one mistake. Even 40 years later this led me to my network of POIs. Three stood out the most. One is eliminated. We still wait rather anxiously for the other two.

If not, it is back to the old tracks and to the various yards they lead. . . “Nil desperandum. We try, try again. . .”

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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 or Q Man. “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.

Phantom Family– EAR/ONS in the Gene Pool

Many have approached me, justly venting their frustration why no familial DNA profile has been done for EAR/ONS. It has always been presented to me as the shortcut to solving the Night Predator’s identity. This frustration has turned slightly conspiracy theory in light a public statement years ago (2011) in a Dork Forest podcast by one journalist who said there was an ethnic DNA profile for EAR. An ethnic DNA profile for EAR/ONS can easily be uploaded to all the databanks and show cousins, even 4th to 6th cousins, at least for those who have also had their DNA profile done.  There is a high probability, good probability, etc., rating for the relationships.

One of my cousin’s daughters recently did that and got her results. She showed me. I was surprised to see the links the ancestry databank made. In the 1st to 2nd cousins category I recognized all the names. There were two first cousins of mine (both of whom are in trouble for not telling me they had done this a long time ago) and the fourth name I recognized as one of these cousins’ daughter.  So, in essence, the relationship was determined perfectly. My cousin’s daughter who showed me her results was, in fact, the first cousin once removed of two of the names and the 2nd cousin to the other. In the 4th to 6th cousin category I recognized 2 more names by surname.

Geographically it was able to place my cousin’s daughter’s heritage during the right time spans in the Volga German colonies. My mother’s family (and hence my cousin’s family) was very prominent in the region. My Italian and Swiss ancestor went up to govern the land for Catherine the Great in 1786 and in 1787 wrote a book about his wanderings. He basically turned the Volga German colonies into a mirror of the Grisons, and with his family connections sustained the colony. In 1788 he had many prayer books shipped from Pressburg to be distributed throughout, and one copy is still in my possession with my grandmother’s entries in it. I was amazed to see how much my cousin’s daughter scored in percentage of Italian. I think we’re a bit inbred.

My point being is that DNA can really come down to some interesting nitty gritty, if you have the elements that allow you to interpret it.

Since there is Crime Scene DNA from EAR, we have his DNA. So why no profile? It would give us his relatives and this would narrow the field considerably. It wouldn’t be long to trace some and uncover his identity.

We have to deduce a couple of things. From my personal experience, there is no indication the task force operates under any prejudice that there is ethnic DNA for EAR. They do have DNA that proves certain physical features, and this remains restricted in order to prioritize tips. Had they an ethnic DNA panel, they could indeed upload it and find his family relations. And since they have his DNA, we must assume they would have done this years ago.

So what must we deduce: Well,

1, all the DNA was used to link the crimes and then identify crucial features.  Therefore there is no ethnic DNA profile.

2, they did do this and it turns out EAR/ONS is a phantom even in the human gene pool.

3, there is some legal restriction preventing them from uploading the DNA to an ancestry database.

The readouts I’ve seen divide people by groups of DNA profiles– Europe West, Europe East, Iberian, Europe South (Italy/Greece), Scandinavia, Asia South, Middle East, European Jewish, British, North Africa, etc. You get the idea.  A lot of Brits will carry the Iberian trace gene because the ancient Iberian Celts were thought to have colonized Britain. Europe West and Scandinavia are invariably linked with Germans, and lots of people get these hits.

My cousin’s daughter’s mother’s family is big time Bruce of Elgin, and they were stunned to see they were still essentially Norman and not Scottish. That was essentially a trace element.

I haven’t found a break-up of DNA that says “English-German.”

Of the 3 POIs that I have submitted for testing, it is unquestionable that the one with a French surname really excited some interest, though his heritage had lots of British names. His ethnic DNA would no doubt reveal Europe West, with the subcategory of French or Swiss, just as mine might show a heavy link to the Volga, Switzerland and Italy.

I also know that another investigator suspected someone with some heavy duty Italian heritage. When it comes down to it, an ethnic profile doesn’t seem to influence the official investigators. At least not the rumor of “English German.” There’s an awful lot of those.

Apparently, such an ethnic profile only influenced some amateurs who were trying to rule out some people’s POIs via ancestry.com pedigrees. I’ve already addressed that in a previous post.

We have to consider that EAR is a phantom in the gene pool. None of his close or even distant relatives have had their DNA profile taken and uploaded. For close relatives this is possible. But considering that 574 potential relations came back for my cousin’s profile, I would imagine that some 4th cousin could be identified. That’s a starting point at least.

We have one undeniable fact. EAR is not yet officially identified. This and experience tells me that ethnic DNA probably doesn’t exist or that it is so general that it really doesn’t help. Surnames don’t always indicate ethnicity. If there is a familial profile it has gone nowhere.

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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 or Q Man. “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.

EAR/ONS and The Love of the Game

A magazine cover is on display today headlining with the ghoulish title “raised by a serial killer.” It is meant to cause that visceral reaction– people are to shudder and their scalps to tingle. A Hannibal Lecter raised a child. It seems in the popular press that serial killers have a definite stereotype and one with a kid is cause for alarm.

As you all know, I’m not a fan or follower of the True Crime genre. I find nothing interesting in it. And sometimes that’s been part of my problem with some who are quite loud about some famous cases I am investigating– ZODIAC but especially EAR/ONS. The latter has yet to evolve into a cutout narrative. It is on its way and many in the audience are hungry for new installments in the budding franchise, and many by virtue of chatting about it think they are a force in its solution. I personally want the case closed. A recent post of mine on “Things to consider” was one of my most popular. In this post I offered avenues we must take if the auto wrecking angle plays itself out. The idea that the case will go on and on along a road with never ending forks in it delighted so many.

But back to the magazine cover– I have studied enough true crime cases in my long pursuit to see the common thread in those cases that go unsolved the longest. Almost anybody can see. The perps represent the exception.  Bundy was handsome and educated. Green River Killer was head of his own bible study group. Gacy was a respected  man in business and a precinct captain in the Democratic Party. BTK was the dog catcher and a part of his church council. All of them were the exception, though Green River Killer was on the original suspect list.

I have stated repeatedly we are dealing with that in the case of EAR/ONS. Almost everybody who follows ZODIAC believes the same applies there. But instead of tempering themselves with the accumulated knowledge in the field they opted to buy into the legend that he was some towering evil arch villain. There is a difference between intelligence and ingenuity, and the latter is a poor substitute for the former.

Those old cold cases eventually solved represent exceptions to OUR stereotype of the dreg unleashed because we continue to have that stereotype rehashed in the public forum. The fact is there was something quite stereotypically odd about all the perps. It was their station in life that protected them.  Bundy was strange, even in high school. A cousin of a friend of mine went to school with him and he even left her a “semi creepy” message in the yearbook. The Green River Killer was suspicious enough to be on the original suspect list. Evidence was hard to get against them because their MO worked, but they weren’t your basic stalwart citizen.

None of them were particularly intelligent. They displayed enough ingenuity to pull off their thrill. When they fell into an MO that worked, they stuck to it. This is not intelligence. This displays a utilitarian zeal and blind-sighting expedience.

Gacy went un-apprehended for so long because he foolishly buried his victims under the floorboards of his own house. Chicago police had only a vague sense of missing migratory young guys. When he ran out of room and started dumping them in the woods– the usual disposal method of serial killers— Chicago started the hunt and began to narrow down the common threads in the victims. It really wasn’t very intelligent of Gacy to have ever buried victims under his house. It was expedient. Nothing more. It caught up to him.

The same can be said for BTK. He foolishly believed the police when he asked them if they could backwork a CD. They said no. He sent them a CD. They found his computer via this and went and scooped him up.

Bundy was a maniac with little unique MO. He was simply unsuspected. This emboldened him to go on a rampage. He was hunted down with everything but wild dogs like in Frankenstein.

None were truly successful or intelligent in any meaning of those words.

EAR/ONS . . .

The Night Predator has outdone them all. He never went on a rampage. He never got so self confident that he let loose like that. He was forgotten because most of his crimes weren’t murder. When he turned murderer he displayed far more caution, not rampage.

But I do not think EAR was particularly intelligent. He was shrewd insofar as it served his thrill. He may not be the quintessential dreg, but he was unsuspected. But like the others he was lulled into leaving clue after clue because his MO worked. He didn’t change it because it worked and he couldn’t foresee that eventually it would deadeye him, just like Gacy could never accept that he would run out of room under his floorboards and have a house that was the biggest witness against him.

EAR could not foresee that enough clues would amass that would eventually make auto-wrecking like Gacy’s house for him. This is why I continue to pursue this angle relentlessly. I have the scent and no hound let’s go of the scent once he has it. I don’t think this case will go on and on. I know my angle has captured some official investigators.

On my part we wait on the results of 2 more POIs. How many other potential POIs are being tracked (some I know were already on my list) by other investigators I do not know. If one of my POIs is EAR we should hear in Spring. If not, I feel it will still be this year.

The process of elimination continues. I will try and keep the reader updated as much as possible. The game will not go on. It will end.

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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 or Q Man. “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.

EAR/ONS– Things to Consider

This winter I have hopes of updating Q Files, including a couple of pages to help round off the discussion on a more permanent basis on the investigation of EAR/ONS.

One, to put in place the article “There is No Golden State Killer.” So there is no doubt that moniker should never be used.

2, Elaborate on EAR’s weaving of several clues to give himself the appearance of a very complex Stalking MO.

3, The clues that favor an older EAR.

4, which is the subject of this article here– those clues which suggest bloodhounds follow an older scent on occasion.

Those who follow my Q Files close enough are fairly well aware of EAR’s general MO. He stalked a community from afar but on the night of the attack came in close and parked very near.

Examples of this include most noticeably opportunistic attacks–  No. 4 where EAR stole the victim’s car and parked it about a mile away. No. 11 where EAR did the same at Victim 11 at [-]10 Glenville Circle, and a couple of others such as No. 32 where the victim lived on Piedmont on the levee but EAR followed her down Casilada Way to her babysitting job.

Supposed EAR trails were uncovered by bloodhounds in Davis indicating that EAR had once parked close to the municipal airport and then walked quite a distance to the communities. It is, however, quite unlikely on the night of one of the attacks that he risked walking over a mile to the attack and a mile back to where he had parked.

At No, 22 in South Sac the victim’s house is close to the end of the block, and it would have been very easy to simply park behind their house. But it is said that the bloodhound tracked EAR’s scent, strangely, over a short fence and onto Highway 99’s shoulder where, from the tire tracks, it looked like a Porsche had once been parked.

This is bizarre since it implies EAR would risk being tagged by parking so conspicuously where the CHP would see the car. This is right by a major onramp onto Highway 99.

If this is true, the significance is obvious: what kind of person in what profession could park on the shoulder of a major highway during the day, not raise any suspicion or interest from CHP, and take the time to meander about and stalk a neighborhood?

Huge eucalyptus were said to once be in the location (the highway is widened now and there is little shoulder space left and the oleander in the median is long gone). Could someone with tree service? Curiously, someone from that profession lived on 4th Parkway.

There are other examples, but the one above is the most interesting.

Or are we and the dog following another drag?

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 or Q Man. “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.

The Lesson of Kingsbury Run

Everybody who is truly desirous of seeing cold cases solved should dread the diluted image given to us by such cold cases as the Mad Butcher of Kingsbury Run.  Not Jack the Ripper. The Ripper is so documented that it is still possible to solve the old murder spree. But there are a few cold cases where this is difficult if not impossible via the use of the gray cells. The Phantom of Texarkana comes to mind because it had the sensationalized (but folkloric) publicity later in its cold case life, but the Horrible Headhunter of Kingsbury Run is lost to time, and few realize that this case is truly the case of the American Jack the Ripper.

During the Depression some arrogant but very sophisticated killer set out to prey upon the downtrodden in the hobo villages of Kingsbury Run. And like Jack the Ripper he caused a sensation during the time (1930s) and even influenced local politics. And also like Jack the Ripper the perpetrator was thought to be a doctor. The reason: skill in dismembering some of the bodies.

With such little knowledge coming down to us today there aren’t too many details to reexamine. There are a few, however, that should challenge the regurgitation that a mentally disturbed and alcoholic doctor named Joseph Sweeney was responsible and because he was congressman Charles Sweeney’s cousin he was protected.

Conspiracy theories are always excuses. I think we can go beyond them here.

I also think we can go beyond toxic fandom’s clichés. Elliot Ness, immortalized because of his work against the mob in Chicago, was in charge of public safety in Cleveland at the time of the graphic murder spree. He came to feel that Sweeney was the man responsible. But Ness’ personal theory shouldn’t sway us. Toxic fandom likes brand name and Commissioner Gordon-like comic strip characters.  But in reality Ness wasn’t in a position to really investigate the series of crimes and as a former FBI revenuer he really wasn’t of detective caliber. He had fame and legend. And fandom likes reality to imitate art.

Sweeney’s alcoholic problems destroyed his practice and it seems he wasn’t sober enough to lift a dog’s tail let alone a scalpel at times.

Thus we must introduce one of the key victims around which the case revolves: Edward Andrassy. He was an early victim– the first or second. His body and head were found in proximity to another, both dumped along the side of Jackass Hill at the end of E 49th.

Andrassy

The mode of murder was unique in the annals of crime. He had been murdered by beheading. There were no hesitation marks. This is crucial. There was no starting point and stopping point. The neck bones were not scored.  Only a guillotine can cut that cleanly, but the national razor will crush the bones.

Dr. Sweeney did not have this skill, and there is no doctor or mortician who frankly can duplicate how it was done. It was done somewhere, in some facility, while Andrassy was apparently unconscious.  It was done with tremendous skill in excellent light.

Victim No 5, the “Tattoo Man,”  a young, handsome man who has never been identified, was later killed in Kingsbury Run at night near the railroad tracks. He too was killed by beheading, and in the darkness and struggling, several hesitation marks were obvious.

The same killer seems to have been afoot, but the circumstances were different and not as controlled as in the Andrassy murder.

Sweeney and conspiracy theories are a poor fit, but Sweeney got into the narrative and he is simply regurgitated with the general outline handed down to us today. If we only had more details and the police reports we could begin to open up the investigation into one of the most bizarre serial murder sprees in history. But, alas, too much has been lost to time and the filter of a limited narrative.

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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 or Q Man. “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.diluted