"I like killing people because it is so much fun. It is more fun than killing wild game in the forest because man is the most dangerous animal of all." - The Zodiac Killer
I think one of my first "Investigating the Mysterious" posts was about Lizzie Borden. Well, today on #TerrifyingTuesday, I wanted to dive deep into the mind of the Zodiac Killer, a case that remains unsolved in California history.
So, let's learn about the murders:
HOW IT ALL BEGAN
David Faraday and his girlfriend Betty Lou were doing what most people did on Lake Herman Road: spending time together in a secluded part of the state on the outskirts of Vallejo, Calif. So, no one really thought it strange that the car hadn't moved. However, only an hour later, it was discovered that the teens had been shot to death near the car. This was only a few days before Christmas on Dec. 20, 1968.
But the killer didn't become known until nearly a year later when, in Aug. 1969, he sent a letter to the editors of the San Francisco Examiner, Vallejo Times-Herald, and San Francisco Chronicle. The letters were handwritten and no return address was provided.
The letter confessed to the murders of the two teenagers "last Christmas at Lake Herman." Investigators became rather certain that this letter was from the true murderer, because he knew things about the murders that only investigators had come across at the crime scene. His letter showed intent to commit even more attacks if the editors of the papers didn't print his gruesome letter on the front page.
the Zodiac Killer called the police department from a phone booth to report his killing. He also fessed up to being the person who "killed those kids last year."
In September of 1969, Cecelia Ann Shepard and Bryan Calvin Hartnell were picnicking near Napa, Calif. when a man carrying a gun approached them. They were tied and stabbed several times. A fisherman found them later and called for emergency service, which took more than an hour to arrive. Shepard died later in the hospital after she fell into a coma. The killer called, again, from a phone booth confessing to the murders and alerting authorities on where they might find them.
murder, but let him go shortly after. He also included a schematic for a "death machine" that could blow up buses and other large objects.
On Dec. 20, 1969, on the anniversary of his first killing, it is said that the Zodiac killer sent a Christmas card to the home address of Melvin Belli, a famous defense lawyer. The card included some more of Stine's shirt as well as the line "Please help me, I can not remain in control for much longer."
started to move forward, her tire fell off. The man offered to take her to a gas station, but he drove by several. She was able to escape when he stopped at an intersection. She claimed that she later saw a composite sketch of the Zodiac Killer and it looked like the man who kidnapped her, but her story continuously changed.
If you ask me, I think Johns was mistaken. She didn't fit the killer's M.O. which was normally couples (except in the case of Mr. Stine). I could be wrong because she was 22 when the attack happened, which fit the victimology. Who knows...I just know that most of the Zodiac victims, the women anyway, didn't tend to come out alive. Later in my research, I found that the Zodiac killer did fess up to kidnapping Johns earlier.
WEIRD FACTS YOU DIDN'T KNOW
- The Zodiac Killer kept score on how many kills he had made. He would leave his symbol at the bottom of his letter and give himself his score and put the SFPD= 0 beside it because he hadn't been caught for any of his killings.
- The Zodiac Killer has claimed to kill 37 people.
- The Zodiac Killer claimed his real name was hidden somewhere in the letters he had sent to journalists and police officers. There were about four letters that included ciphers, but only one was broken by a school teacher Donald Harden. Part of it read: "I like killing people because it is so much fun. It is more fun than killing wild game in the forest because man is the most dangerous animal of all."
- The cases were active until 2004, but they reopened in 2007 when new evidence was found.
- When he attempted to kill a couple, he wore a black executioners hood with his symbol on the front of it.
- The Zodiac Killer made regular references to movies that were popular at the time. He once called The Exorcist "the best satirical comedy I've ever seen."
WHAT'S HAPPENING NOW?
For now, the case is still being worked on. No match has been made in the identity of the Zodiac Killer, although one man said that he thinks his step father may have been the killer. He even had that executioner's hood and a knife with blood on it in his possession. I guess we will just have to wait and see if the serial killer is ever caught and ever has to pay for his crimes.
1. NARCISSISTIC PERSONALITY DISORDER: A narcissist is someone who has an excessive interest in or admiration of themselves. They are also great at manipulation and may even seem to be extremely likable.
It is obvious that the Zodiac Killer wanted everyone to know his name. He continuously demanded to be printed in newspapers and would even threaten to kill people otherwise. It is apparently was likable as he was able to lure many people to their deaths with a facade of kindness or helpfulness.
2. PSYCHOPATH: It is also possible that the Zodiac Killer was/is a psychopath. This means that he was BORN with tendencies toward violence. Sociopaths are made, meaning they continue to worsen, but psychopaths are born.
We can see this being a possibility because of the multiple murders and his extreme likability.
3. POSSESSION: It is possible that the Zodiac Killer was possessed. I know, it is the least probable, but it is always interesting to think about it. I mean, he called himself Zodiac, which just sounds demonic. It means "animal sign" in Middle English. Other evidence also includes the fact that he told someone he "can't remain in control much longer," which gives off possession vibes to me.
It is also interesting that he sort of disappeared. Sure, this could be because he died or he just didn't want to get caught, but it could also be something more...supernatural.
4. HE WAS DYING: Another theory is that the Zodiac Killer had some of these issues and was also dying. He may have wanted to die knowing that people would remember him for something, even if it was bad. Look at us now. It's been nearly 50 years and I'm still writing about him. This also goes to be a good theory because he kind of stopped communicating and no one has heard from him.
Today was a long one, but I hope you were able to get through it and read about one of the worst serial killers in American history. Do you have a theory? Let me know what it is in the comments below!
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