HorrorScope: “This is the ZODIAC Speaking”– Foreword

As it stands today, this is the newer, shorter introduction to HorrorScope— the foreword entitled “This is the Zodiac Speaking.” By yours truly, Gian J. Quasar.

 

Civilization had never seen such a thing before. The fabric of American society was viewed as coming apart. National curiosity was now dissolving into national disdain and even national jitters. 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, tie-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 and clumsy he is the second most famous serial killer in world history, ranking only behind London’s Jack the Ripper.

Fame in this case is based on his arrogance, not on ingenuity as in the case of the Ripper. The Zodiac was essentially a drive-by shooter. He stalked late night couples at rural lovers’ lanes, and from behind the bright splatter of a flashlight he fired away at his surprised victims. This bland truth does not diminish the evil that was Zodiac. On the contrary, it confirms his arrogance. The truth is 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. The portrait of arrogance 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 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.”

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 was 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.

When the San Francisco Bay Area newspapers warned a psychotic killer was afoot, the killer had a guaranteed large audience. He made sure of it. The newspapers headlined with intriguing cryptograms. Nothing excites our imaginations more than a puzzle. 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 enticed the public to uncover where he’d strike next. A metropolitan area sat down to try and figure it out. When the cipher was finally 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. 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.

Playing upon the fears of the time may have been his motive, but by writing letter after letter he was needlessly taking risks, potentially giving clues that could lead to his capture. None of this was necessary to cover his identity. Indeed, its only purpose seemed the creation of his alter ego “The Zodiac.” 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.

Such contradictions, red herrings, and false clues would pepper his crime spree, making it impossible to figure out the heads or tails of his actual motive. One thing can be figured about him— that alter ego he created in print came to possess him in real life. For his only slaying in daytime he hid his 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.

The Zodiac’s murder spree lasted for only a short time, but his love for terror (or for his alter ego) kept him writing these poison pen letters, claiming more and more victims. 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.

 

    Insert Zodiac symbol.

 

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.

Sadly, this has been the truth of the last 48 years. Zodiac not only escaped, he covered his trail beyond even his wildest dreams. Whether he intended it or not, his game evolved so inconsistently that he covered his trail effectively. One thing, however, has covered his trail more than anything. Despite only having attacked 7 and killed 5, Zodiac succeeded in creating a personality cult of crime far more successfully than he ever could have hoped or have even foreseen. In this folklore he is a worldwide arch villain who has never stopped killing.

Professional and amateur detectives alike have arisen to pursue Zodiac long after he bid farewell. None could believe that one who had sought and cultivated so much media attention could merely quit. The Zodiac therefore became a potential suspect in many other murders thereafter. The Zodiac had encouraged this himself by saying he was privatizing his game of murder and would make his victims look like they fell victim to accidents. The legend bought into it.

Part of the folklore of the master criminal Zodiac has proposed that if all the unsolved murders over the USA dating from the late 1960s to today were connected by an imaginary line they would form a giant Z— proof that the astrological assassin continued his crime spree in secret and killed his victims according to locations where he could create his astrological symbol.

Amateur detectives have examined his undeciphered cryptograms and poison pen pal letters with a metaphoric zeal usually devoted only to Biblical exegesis; each sure that the fateful clue to his goading, infamous identity lay therein. Mathematics has been done to try and find a code or sequence in the ciphers that would finger the culprit. Others have put together all the misplaced letters in the misspelled words in Zodiac’s nasty missives, trying to see if the misplaced letters would together form a coherent sentence or confession.

An entire subculture has developed, little different than the fans of a serial comic strip, who live each day as if it and they are integral in the continuing saga of the nefarious arch killer The Zodiac. In this franchise, college professors have been accused. Ted Bundy and Ted Kascinski seem perpetually suspected of every crime. Poor Leigh Allen reveled in the limelight over the years he was suspected. When he died in 1992 it even merited national news, billed as the passing of the man suspected of having been “The infamous Zodiac.” Cranks have offered relatives and old friends as suspects. Others have insisted on elaborate conspiracy theories. Those who were 50 years old at the time— doctors, car dealers and winos— have been accused in their 80s and 90s and in one case even DNA tested. None of these suspects were ever anchored to the Zodiac crimes by the actual evidence.

We are now on the cusp of history, that point where the crime spree will soon be beyond the reach of satisfactory solution, buried in time, that substance we cannot dig out of the way. It will take its place with Jack the Ripper and become a topic of suspects and folklore rather than actual investigation. Right now is our last chance to solve it, to place in order the facts and follow them through to the villain himself.

The truth is out there, though tenuous to extract. Those who view the killer 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 windbreaker. Strangely, he then added more incongruity by wearing high rim Air Force Wing Walker shoes, standard issue for cadets at Lackland Air Force Base 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. Other than the carnage he left behind, we have no other clue to his character than the ego he created in print.

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 sloppy 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.

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 and seemingly 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 leads 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.

*         *          *

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.

Autumn Tides & EAR/ONS Reflections . . .

For me the wait is a gripe. I am speaking about my previous post in which I said we will most likely have to wait until Halloween for DNA results on RAP. I thought it would be at most by the end of August, but the process takes time. The labs are processing much every month, and like the coffee business it is just a grind.

But with autumn tides approaching, that time of year of somber thoughts and wistful repose, it is perhaps best that the waiting time is used for reflections. I, for one, cannot resign myself to relax. I must be ready with much more of my investigation that has never been shared. If DNA is a negative match, then I will look like the Tasmanian Devil ripping into a hedge to get at the others. This does not make the prospect of a negative match a final word for me; only the beginning of much more intense operation that I do not look forward to.

There is no one more than me who is hoping the match is positive and the case is closed. Yes, I know it brings closure to many, but I must continue on beyond that. I remain in the hunt for others, some perhaps not so popular that they are the subject of much discussion. The web has proven ZERO help in trying to uncover the locations where NORCAL Rapist struck. With one of my trifecta’s solved, I have an edge to contacting the jurisdictions and asking the street name where the attacks occurred. That’s basically what I need to start. I can also contact the newspapers and see what they know. Without a major success, it is crickets. And I want NORCAL bad.

There are those who do not want the case solved. There are those who deeply do not want me to have solved it. I have been made aware of that for a couple of years. I did not know there was such a thing as active message boards anymore where alias names behind obsolete clipart icon profile photos could garner a measure of prestige by simply discussing the case and making claims they were on a grapevine with “LE”.  I thought Myspace long ago destroyed the anonymous world of such places, and in turn Myspace had long perished to Facebook, where you had to be a real person. It is apparently in this anonymous cyber world where I am hated.

There are those who forget the web is for presentation. It is not reality. I was the first to present a detailed, real life modern investigation of EAR/ONS. This apparently upstaged those who made web discussions the reality. Like the true crime books ushered off the conveyor belts there were people who had suspects, and their interest did not go beyond wanting to prove their suspect. Others enjoy the thrill. One radio host told me that it seems some out there are like the audience in the O.J. Simpson trial. They never want the case to end.

Victims and their family, many others who have followed the case, have approached me and expressed their frustration at how EAR/ONS had little publicity until Q Files. Then suddenly EAR’s true calculating mind was revealed and he even had an appropriate handle– the real life Michael Myers. I have received such warm praise from them that it has made all the negative chat about me worth it.

Halloweenstill-6

For some the crime spree of EAR replays and replays like someone watching their favorite fright night movie. I was not a welcome character in the story especially if I should be like Dr. Loomis and fire the last bullet. 

Unlike ZODIAC, EAR was never the subject of several high profiled investigative websites. Cliques hid behind those alias handles and obsolete clipart icon profile pictures. From those who had followed the case since the A&E message boards I have learned it was an incredibly vicious environment. There were and are many legitimate, sincere people on the message boards. There are those who have contributed significantly to solving popular questions that have arisen. Solving the  background sounds in the telephone recording are a case in point. But the cyber nature of such a world could never be as substantive as boots on the ground investigation.

Because I am out there for real, I have encountered other, real boots on the ground investigators. Most cold case is processing. It is comparing incoming data to a few pieces of evidence distilled by the original investigators that would conclusively identify the miscreant. This is not the case here. The FBI and Air Force are instituting an impressive dragnet, the likes of which I don’t think have ever been seen. I’d like to write about it but daren’t at the time. Names that were once a staple of discussion on the topic of the investigation are long gone, replaced by new guys and new departments. They’re not getting the news coverage, but they are the real characters following the scent in Haddonfield. One such jurisdiction came to me and wanted to pursue my avenue of approach. I breathed a sigh of relief.

Perhaps there are those who troll the internet who do not like that the investigation has mounted upward and become a real life pursuit and not merely a topic for cyber discussion. They can no longer act as if they are the chosen conduit for recent events. I was directed to posts on some message board where law enforcement was being condemned because the poster believed that I was being given restricted information. It sounded like little Hotwheels collectors arguing over who got the Treasure Hunt.

Bringing attention to a case was never necessary for family members of ZODIAC’s victims or many other famous crime sprees because of their fame. But The Night Predator devolved into the night and despite the magnitude of his crime spree it was nothing compared to the magnitude of the night’s darkness. There are quite a few family members who have gone through a lot to warn Haddonfield of who was once afoot and had ravaged their families. But they really didn’t have a powerful outlet to do so. Only recently, as the case surges upward in the public conscious, have they had that ability. They have been greeted appropriately for their courage, but strangely they have met with criticism in that world of cyber based discussions.

I am very grateful that Q Files has been an integral part of the new era. I said I would make this a public case. It would be only for the web. No book. The purpose of all the details and analysis was to solve the case. Period. For many the events on the web are an end in themselves, and they cannot conceive that much of what I post on here and Q Files is only a distillation of what I encounter and must go through behind the scenes.

EAR1977composite
The bogy man was real, and this may be the most accurate sketch of his dead expression.

After a day of investigating, in one case being shaken down by a cop, of court searches, lawyer gossip, reporters giving me their calling card, film analysis after long travel hours, to get home and receive a message telling me that some user on a discussion board claims to know my real identity and that I am an alias for a private investigator in Alta Loma who wrote a book called Hot Prowl, I just have to giggle.

The number of messages I receive from, frankly, psychotics is amazing. They have EAR chasing them with a machete. He is the man next door. The man supposedly menacing them cannot simply be a creep you wouldn’t say “bug off” twice to. He has to be the supreme night stalker. These people don’t see mere leprechauns. They see King Brian himself. He is the Visalia Ransacker and he is preparing a gang a la Dickens’ Fagan to assail Visalia. Equally bizarre are the machinations of people who by virtue of incessantly discussing the topic think they are experts. Believe me, they contact me via email and always try and contextualize me downward as having done very little. One finally warned me that she was psychotic and I was to ignore her.

On the whole one gets tired of it all. The subject matter for me is not a front for a social club. I do not mix on the web. This is for presentation. I am out and about and have many other topics to tackle, some delayed because of this ghastly case.

So for me there is much anticipation. This will be an anxious autumn. But if a solution comes about near Halloween, near the night of evil Michael Myers, the real life version of which EAR/ONS has become, it will only give the case the much needed nail in the coffin it needs. And I will be very glad if I pulled the trigger.

Halloweenstill-7

Most of all there are those who do not want me to succeed with my prime POI because he is dead. They want EAR to be alive. They want him to be alive so he can pay for his crimes in jail. I understand. There is little satisfaction for me in succeeding. There is little sense of triumph because all my investigation distills down to putting a name on a dead man. I will have removed no threat from the street. I have spared no one harm’s way.

If I fail, many more names will be submitted, and I have the satisfaction of knowing that the wrecking angle will be pursued.

The crime spree still causes disbelief, even at an official level. No one really can fathom that the bogy man was real . . .and that he got away.  No one wants the bogy man to escape. No one wants to see this turn into folklore and be the subject of book after book on suspects and personal journeys, each sitting next to books on Jack the Ripper, the ultimate cold case hidden behind the world of folklore.

There is indeed much for us to reflect upon. And I personally am aware many are reflecting because of me. They have seen the Q Files and my investigation. This has made RAP the most anticipated person of interest yet. My investigation was not a trite presentation used only to introduce some suspect. It was a massive undertaking presented first, and eventually the POIs went up. I do not relish the wait. But the result of the investigation on him were not lightly considered nor hastily presented.

Nil desperandum.

*         *          *

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.

A STRANGE IRONY– EAR/ONS & Halloween

I dubbed the East Area Rapist/Original Night Stalker “the real life Michael Myers.” It was the one time in my life I was good at promotion. It caught in people’s mind. It allowed them to envision and contextualize him. He needed this. His crime spree was so vast that it was essential there was a crisp, accurate handle to instantly bring him to life. By accident, which is usually the only way I am brilliant, I picked the right namesake.

Of course, it would not have worked if the truth of it had not been there in the real crime spree. Fortunately, I was able to reduce my years of hunting him to a coherent presentation on The Quester Files. Now close to 1.5 million people have read about him there. Several media outlets have used the site for a resource. Michelle Cruz directed CBS (48 Hours) to the site, and I was glad to see them call EAR the No. 1 serial predator in history, rather than just in California’s history. I made it plain on my site that he really was the No 1 that ever was when you analyze all that he did.

Cropped evidence2

I thank everybody for the compliments. There have been many, and considering the strange messages and, quite frankly, psychotic messages I get from people I truly appreciate the nice and encouraging messages sent my way. My investigation has added weight to the prime person of interest listed on my site under the initials RAP. Behind the scenes it has added much weight to alternates and even the general direction that should be followed if RP’s DNA comes back a negative match.

And, as I now understand it, due to backlog and routine, we will have a response around Halloween. The irony is obvious and perhaps a truly beneficial thing. If DNA comes back a positive match, which many are suspecting for a variety of reasons, it gives the news media, which has been following the case closely, their lead-in. At last Myers, unofficially known as the “bastard,” will be outed and the mask ripped off his face.

Haddonfield

Yet we must wait some more. The system grinds on but ever forward. However, I can confirm once again that the DNA has been identified and has been submitted. I have for my own reasons not mentioned the jurisdiction which secured it and submitted it. It has not been requested. I have simply done it to facilitate the ability of the official investigators to move silently and swiftly about their duties. I’d love to drop some names here since I know some of the lab people for CODIS follow the site and they could pick out the sample and put it forward in the queue, but that would probably be cheating.

Forty one years after he began in the summer of 1976, only a few years after attaining the image of the real life Michael Myers, it could be that EAR will be outed at Halloween. Instead of the mask being placed upon his face, it will finally come off. There are some who will be bitter if it is RP, or disappointed at the very least. I will address this in my next EAR post and present my own feelings.

*         *          *

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.

Night 2 of Mr. Cruel– Part II

In continuance of Part I of Night 2 of Mr. Cruel:

Mr. Cruel led 10 year old Sharon Wills into a domicile of sorts, or so it seemed. The entrance was one step up from the driveway, which was on the right side of the residence. Being blindfolded, more than this young Sharon could not discern. But she ended up in a bedroom and was placed upon a bed.

The ordeal to follow is too harrowing for anyone to imagine, but because Sharon was unusually collected and brave we have details. Mr. Cruel switched out her makeshift blindfold for a pair of sleepers and taped them to her head. As she lay there in the bedroom, she heard a bath being run in the adjoining bathroom. He returned and led her to a bathroom and ordered Sharon to bathe and clean her teeth. She could hear a radio on. It was Station 3TT.  When finished, she was led back into the bedroom and placed upon the bed. It was about 7 a.m. We know this because Sharon heard the 7 a.m. news on.

For 18 hours Mr. Cruel kept her in his lair. She remained on the bed, being sexually assaulted from time to time.  After he finished assaulting her, he went out and soon came back with a glass of milk and a stale vegemite sandwich. She ate and drank. When finished he told her he had to go someplace. He leashed her to the bed backboard by a harness around the neck.

Mr. Cruel left.

Despite the warnings that her life didn’t mean squat compared to his identity, Sharon snuck peaks under her blindfold. Gauche would be putting it mildly. The colors of the room were all on the orange to yellow side, including the drapes (possibly covering a glass slider door) and the wall paint color. What stood out the most were two things. There was a wood tripod past the foot of the bed– but no camera on it. Beyond that there was some kind of large cabinet or some piece of furniture covered by a towel in front of it.

So far by this time, Sharon had heard two planes pass over the house.

Mr Cruel--overalls
Like with attack No. 1, Mr. Cruel dressed in a way that left no forensic evidence at the house of the victim.

 

Mr. Cruel finally returned. He unleashed her and took her another bedroom (?) and assaulted her again., Afterward, she again had to go bathe. Then he took her to the main bedroom again and leashed her to the bed. He checked on her frequently. After the last time she was assaulted, he took her to the bathroom again and told her she had to shower and wash her hair this time.

It was time to go. He carefully dressed her with the extra pair of clothes and put a garbage bag on her head. It came down to her waist. She was led out and put on the floorboard of a car. It had trouble starting. Mr. Cruel told her that stolen cars sometimes had trouble starting. He got it started and she could sense they were backing out. He drove both slowly and quickly and finally came to a location and parked. He picked her up and carried her and sat her down when tired. He finally set her down for the last time.

He now told her how to get to a nearby Food Plus store and removed the garbage bag and blindfold. He warned her not to look as he left. She was eventually seen standing at the corner by a motorist and soon returned to her parents. 18 hours had passed. It was the dark of early morning of December 28. Her abductor was gone and had left no clues except how careful he had been.

. . . And this is significant.

One, he made young Sharon bathe first. He wanted her clean for the sexual molesting . . .perhaps . . . but he also didn’t want any forensic evidence from her and her residence being in this bedroom. He made her bathe the other times to remove any forensic evidence he might have left.

As for that covered piece of furniture– there must have been something unique about it or, if a glass case, something unique about what it contained that he feared it could give his identity away. This means he feared, however slightly, the child would sneak a peak.

Yet by contrast the bedroom seemed almost like it was a gaudy anodyne design one would expect in a cheap motel room.

Mr. Cruel was careful indeed. There was no forensic evidence on Sharon. We have only her testimony, largely from sensation, of where she might have been taken, and then we have the brief glimpses of the room and bathroom.

But the overall clues are tantalizing. The clue on the location of this evil lair is provided by the time element between the time Sharon was kidnapped and  when she heard the 7 a.m. news.  It was under an hour and a half from her home. The amount of driving about hither and thither also tells us something: his lair may have been on a fairly direct route with Sharon’s house. Recall, she lived on Hillcrest right by the onramps to major highways. A blindfolded girl could easily detect a direct route. Also, Mr. Cruel must have known the district by Bayswater High School where he had dropped her within miles of her home. He knew he could walk around here in the hours just around midnight with a kid with a garbage bag around her and not be seen. This, too, is a clue as to where he had parked here. It was less developed back then, but he probably parked near trails and park areas.

Bayswater

Top, left, the star indicates Hillcrest Avenue where Sharon was abducted. The star, lower right, marks the area where she was dropped off 18 hours later.

There are a few other things we can deduce. When Mr. Cruel left Sharon alone for the longest, he may have removed the camera and taken the tape to another room to check out the footage. He then later returned and shot the assaults from different angles.

The claim the car was stolen is probably bogus. He wasn’t using a very good car.

The police began to consider he must have lived near the Melbourne Airport, but that is a big area. So big that he must have felt this clue could not betray him. He was so meticulous, even excessively cautious, he must have known the airplanes could be heard overhead.

Most intriguing of all is that piece of furniture he had to cover. If there was something in there you’d think he would just remove it. The piece of furniture must have been very unique. . . . and perhaps this was not a residence but a business made up to be a bedroom for a night or two. A stale sandwich for the girl? Was there nothing better than that in a lived-in house?

These and many other clues must be considered.

*         *          *

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.

Hot August Wait– EAR/ONS

There is more to the EAR/ONS case that will not end with the positive DNA hit of the villain. I still wait, as you all do, for the results. But there is much more to consider. There is the Maggiore Double Murder. When EAR is identified, the investigators have to look into his past contacts. There is that second man at the scene of La Alegria on that tragic February night 1978. He and not EAR may have been the killer of Brian and Katie Maggiore.

I have officially (once) dropped the name of a possible POI who could fit being this other man, but the jurisdiction didn’t wish to tread into another jurisdiction. I have unofficially mentioned the same name with the jurisdiction that is currently spearheading the DNA test into RAP, my prime POI. It wasn’t official because they simply have no jurisdiction in Sacramento County. But if success comes with RAP, I think Sac. County will start spring-boarding from there.

The lead, as I have said, is probably someone in Brian’s background since the murderer seemed hard pressed to make sure both he and Katie died. I did recommend that a couple of local dopers be approached to see if they can remember someone who fits EAR’s description. For the local dopers, I think they would recall a customer who fit.

katie_brian_maggiore

Brian and Katie Maggiore.

However, at an opposite, if RAP is identified as EAR, then things must proceed from there to finally uncover any past contact, employee of the wreckers or some profession similar, who could have been the “other man” that night with the strange jacket. Remember, if EAR killed the Maggiores it might not have been because he knew them but because they knew the man with him. Thus EAR had to silence them because the police could get his accomplice to identify him.

The same still rings true today. So does the opposite. That “other man” out there that night can be identified by EAR/ONS, even if dead, just by finding a past association.

image_large-Maggiore suspet
This is the composite of the “other man.” It is not a composite of EAR, as is often said.

Identifying EAR/ONS doesn’t automatically solve the Maggiore Double Murder. No one knows who pulled the trigger that night, and two men were involved.

I am eager for it all to end, but after EAR is identified and the audience has walked away from the captivating mystique of the real life Michael Myers there is much investigation that still needs to be done in order to finally close the books on the last pair of murders associated with his evil crime spree.

*         *          *

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 ZODIAC– Final edit on HorrorScope

An except from part of Chapter 1 of HorrorScope— “The Sign of the Crimes” by Gian J. Quasar. I set the in place the times and seasons. . .

 

History moved on. Events came and went. The clock ticks slowly and we come forward. The Summer of Love was long over by the end of 1968.

Rural East Bay area hamlets were still mainstream. Hippies weren’t in large numbers here. Though they had been exiting the Haight for country communing and impromptu ashrams, Vallejo, an industrial, shipbuilding town was not an expected destination for them. Some of the locals may have begun to morph, but it was only appearances. These were known as “hippie types” because their hair was sprouting or they had a peace symbol necklace or some such other paraphernalia that middleclass youth adapted as fashionable. The average youth still looked like pre-antiestablishment teens. Guys had short hair. Their slacks were nicely fitting, their shirts had button-down collars. Some had long sideburns. Some had Beatle haircuts. Elaborate coiffures adorned mainstream gals; cat-eye glasses, miniskirts of bright colors— the full monty of 1966 was still vogue in 1968.

The Haight was only an hour away, if that, and Vallejo teens could sample the “far out” when they wanted. But pure hippie veneer was still too extreme for the mainstream, especially for high school kids with their sense of peer pressure. High schools forbade the extreme looks anyway. PTAs would not bend. Yet the new morality could be sampled behind any veneer. It didn’t require morphing into a hippie. Pot was smoked. Sex was free. Both could be sampled easiest at the lovers’ lanes.

vallejo-map-GJQ

Columbus Parkway was a significant northeast Bay Area road, even if your average metropolitan Bay Area resident didn’t know it. It was the first exit off Highway 80, the main highway coming to the Bay Area from Sacramento. It was just before Vallejo. It skirted the town by wending along the grassy foothills. But it wasn’t a dead end country road. It connected with Lake Herman Road. This was also a main country road. It connected this rural area with Highway 680 to the east of Vallejo. Coincidently, Lake Herman Road was likewise the first cutoff coming from Sacramento on Highway 680, on the outskirts of Benicia. These two highways formed a huge fork around Vallejo and Benicia, each coming from Sacramento to the Bay Area. They came together again at Highway 780 along the Carquinez Strait. Short of 780, these backroads were the quickest and easiest ways between these two highways.

Easy access made these roads perfect for lovers’ lanes; remote at night, dark, with turnouts and entrances to unattended ranchland in the rolling hills. Paradoxically, despite the convenience these roads offered they were not heavily trafficked. Most traffic along Lake Herman Road went to Lake Herman and the recreation areas. Most traffic on Columbus Parkway was for going to Blue Rock Springs Park or to the new golf course. This was Vallejo’s famous and beautiful country park situated in the foothills. While locals more than metros knew how these roads connected, tens of thousands who used the lake or visited the parkland would have learned over time how they were a major convenience.

From the peak of Lake Herman Road, at night, the only light was the distant and the bloodless halogen lights of the new Humble Oil Refinery on the outskirts of Benicia. They gave a faint indigo glow to the inky veil hanging over the Carquinez Strait. During the daytime this veil was a thin, milky haze, turning the silhouette of Mount Diablo far to the south into a transparent shade. Devil’s Mountain was like the island volcano rising high from the jungles. Every mountain range in the Contra Costa corridor cringed at its feet. Mt. Diablo was visible from every angle of the Bay Area, from San Francisco across the bay, looming over the Berkeley Hills as they genuflected on their knees before it. A particularly nice vantage point is at the end of Lake Herman Road, where it meets Highway 680. Here a special viewing area exists.

I do not belabor these points without reason. This area is indeed an integral part of the sign of the crimes. Not only was a time and season in history being assaulted, so was a place . . . but most of all a type of victim.

*         *          *

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.

Night 2 of “Mr. Cruel”– December 27, 1988

It was bold and highly premeditative. Mr. Cruel had meticulously planned the attack on Hillcrest Avenue in the Ringwood district of Melbourne, Australia. It was an enormous advance over what he had done in Lower Plenty on August 22, 1987. He had planned it for so long he knew that it would ruin this Christmas for his victim and perhaps many to come. But planning an attack to take place only a couple of days after Christmas ensured that his victim would be home.

Somehow he knew of the 10 year old girl, Sharon Wills. He knew her name. Some think it was because it had appeared in the newspaper about 6 months before, due to a report about a fire in their residence. But that can’t explain how he knew everything else. Somehow he had learned the routines of the household. He knew the father kept the front door key in the lock on the inside of the door. Mr. Cruel ingeniously figured out what to do. He brought paper and a device to gain entry, and he had prepared himself what to do inside.

For this attack was going to be very different from his first attack. He intended to kidnap the small, underage daughter and take her with him. His intent was to hide her in his home, in a specially prepared room, and there sexually assault her while filming it on camera.

Though Attack No. 2 was far quite different, Mr. Cruel was laying down a stalking pattern. Left, above, an overhead of Para and Main, Lower Plenty, Melbourne. The house is near a park and the main roads. Right, Hillcrest Avenue, Ringwood, Melbourne. The house was on a street next to a web of highways and their on- and off- ramps. Both areas were easy to access, surveille, and easy to escape.

Unlike other abductors who kidnapped kids and kept them stashed in a basement for months or even years in order to have one when they wanted to abuse them, he did not want the responsibility of feeding one and taking care of them for a long time. He wanted his own short thrill. Nothing more. He had to carefully work out how to make himself, the girl, and the surroundings so anodyne that no forensic evidence could be traced to him.  He intended to do his “thing” and then return her.

This is indeed a cold, calculating, arrogant and selfish mind. But one who had the self assurance and knowledge to get away with it.

In his first attack there was something about his outfit that seemed disposable. It was clothes that didn’t seem congruous– a sport blazer, tight denim jeans, basic running sneakers . . .and underneath a waterproof nylon windbreaker. Every bit of this outfit could simply have been recently purchased at a thrift store and then worn for the attack and then discarded.

For this night, Mr. Cruel selected blue overalls, gloves and a blue ski mask.

Mr Cruel--overalls

The attack had long been planned, but it must have almost seemed foiled. The night of December 26, 1988, the family returned home from shopping– the parents and their 4 daughters. They ate and went to bed. All 4 girls slept in the same room in a set of two bunk beds. Sharon Wills slept quietly with her sisters. But in the master bedroom the father, John, couldn’t sleep. He got up around 2 a.m. and started working on a jigsaw puzzle. About 10 minutes to 5 a.m. he finally turned off the light and went to bed.

Clad in his blue denim overalls, Mr. Cruel must have been watching, having waited who knows how long. Now he would have checked his watch and waited an appropriate period of time. In this case, about 30 minutes. He crept up to the house, to the front door. He slipped newspaper under the door and then pushed the key through the lock and it dropped onto the paper. He gently pulled the paper under the door. He wanted this kid badly. He unlocked the door and entered.

Mr. Cruel had no idea if one of the parents was still awake. The light had only been out about 30 minutes. Dawn was also coming soon. He wasted no time. He burst into the master bedroom. The parents bolted up. Julie, the mother, screamed, but Mr. Cruel put a gun to her head and told her to shut up. He then put the gun to John’s head: “You’re not going to be a hero, are you?” At his orders they rolled onto their stomachs.

The false clues began. As he viciously tied their wrists together with copper wire he demanded to know where John’s wallet was. John nodded to his pants. Greedily pulling out the cash, Mr. Cruel then he demanded the location of Julie’s purse. Curiously, he asked the location of the telephone. He left the room to go get the purse. He would then cut the phone wire. John and Julie were sure that they were only being robbed, but they worried over their 4 girls.

The house was silent for a while until they heard a scream from one of their daughters. This is what had happened:

Sharon had awakened when hearing her mother scream, but she had remained in bed. Now the door to their bedroom opened and man in a ski mask peaked in behind the blinding ray of a flashlight. She acted like she was asleep. He crept up to her and she could hear him breathing. He rolled her over and asked if she was awake. She continued to feign she was sleeping.

95d80289bd36cf80562ca0aa00ac09bb
Sharon was only 10 years old.

 

He left the room and quietly closed the door. What was up with this? He had called her by name?

Soon he quietly returned and shook her. “Wake up, get up.” She knew she had to awake. He called her by name again and made her get up. He went through her wardrobe and selected another complete set of clothes.

They went into  the living room. Mr. Cruel took one of her father’s shirts and wrapped her clothes in it. He also took his coat hanging nearby and made Sharon wear it over her nightie. They then took her to the back porch of the house. Here Sharon screamed, but he shoved a rubber ball in her mouth. He was quite prepared. He didn’t remove it until she agreed not to scream. He blindfolded her and put some kind of material over her head.

The predator was careful. From what Sharon could detect, the man picked her up and walked around to the driveway and then down a ways. He put her down, then he picked her up again and appeared to have changed directions. Soon they were at his car. He had been calming her by telling her that he wasn’t going to hurt her and he was going to send her parents a ransom note. As soon as the banks opened and he got the money, she would be released.

Hillcrest-overhead2

Hillcrest Avenue. The house is next to a corner lot. How did Mr. Cruel scope the area to begin with? He must have been lurking in the backyard. That power pylon corridor is interesting.  Where had he parked?

He set her down on the front passenger side and told her to get down. They traveled for some time and then he stopped. He asked Sharon if she could see, and she said yes.  He then used tape to blindfold her better and threw a blanket on top of her. They drove some more and she finally felt the car bounce up a driveway. Then it stopped. He got out, came around, opened the side door, and picked her up and led her one step up into a house.

The real nightmare was about to begin, but little Sharon was very brave and collected. She was making mental notes.

Continued in Part 2.

*         *          *

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.