"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!
Since it’s blog-tober and I love a good scary story, I thought that I could post more of my “Investigating the Mysterious” blogs every Tuesday for what I’m going to call #TerrifyingTuesday!
This week, I wanted to talk about a haunted house that is supposedly ranked as America’s number one haunted location. Let’s talk about it:
THE STORY BEHIND THE WHALEY HOUSE
The Whaley House, located in San Diego, California, was home to the Whaley family. However, the home served as far more than a place for the family to lay their heads. According to the Whaley House Museum website, the home also served as a “granary, the County Court House, Sand Diego’s commercial theater, business … a ballroom, a billiard hall, school, and a polling place.”
That’s a lot of stuff to cram into this location, which doesn't seem to be all that big. Paranormal activity at this location is credited to centuries-old ghosts, ghosts that haunted the original owners.
It was said that Anna Whaley told local children about Yankee Jim Robinson, the 6-foot-four ghost who's troubled life had resulted in his untimely death. According to legend, Jim came into the town and began taking things that didn't belong to him. So the locals, being fed up with him, hanged him.
Several years later, Thomas Whaley purchased the property and built his home there. As it turns out, Yankee Jim wasn't the first person killed in that spot. Family members and friends began to share their concerns about Whaley's choice, but he didn't listen!
her cat and dog, which can both be seen chasing one another in the house and the garden. The house is also said to be haunted by Thomas, Thomas Jr., and Violet Whaley.
OTHER PARANORMAL ACTIVITY
- The sound of a gavel banging in the area that served as the courtroom.
- Laughter and music.
- Footsteps, of both adults and children. The children's footsteps are thought to be those of Thomas Whaley, Jr., who died in the home at 18 months of scarlet fever.
- The suicide of Violet Whaley. She is said to also haunt the home and bring with her a feeling of great sorrow. She was sad because her marraige to George T. Bertolacci ended in divorce. She killed herself at the age of 22 by shooting herself with her father's revolver. Her suicide note read: "Mad from life's history, swift to death's mystery, glad to be hurled, anywhere, anywhere, out of this world."
CHECK OUT BUZZFEED'S INVESTIGATION
So, is the Whaley House haunted? It certainly seems so. When doom follows a certain family for so many years, how could there not be something going on in their home? All I know is, I don't think I'll be paying a visit. What do you think, is it haunted?
LEGAL: All photos used in this post were found using Google's "free to use or share, even commercially" filter. Video sharing is completely copyright friendly, as the rightful owner will receive the money from clicks and views, not myself.
I've always loved the horror film genre, and I kind of got into the genre after watching the classic Amityville Horror films.
However, because of this new segment on my blog, I figured it would be wise to investigate the story to see what really happened, and I was shocked to learn that what I had already known about the paranormal activity in that house, may have been completely wrong.
In this installment of "Investigating the Mysterious," we will look into what happened in the Amityville Horror house that made it a multi-million dollar story that chills many to the bone to this day.
THE CASE OF THE AMITYVILLE HORROR HOUSE
want to make it your own. That's exactly what George and Kathy Lutz decided to do when the large home's list price sat well under market value. However, to their horror, the two would only stay in the house for 28 days before the terror of the home got to be too much. However, that's not the first time the Amityville Horror house made the news. It started only about a year prior when grisly murders were brought to light.
troubled past with his father and his family in general. He had several conflicts with his father that turned physical, so much so that the family sent him to a psychiatrist. However, it didn't seem to help. Instead, the DeFeos would reward Butch with gifts like a speedboat or cash to help appease him. However, Butch started using LSD and heroin and was expelled from his school at the age of 17 for violent outbursts.
who was hired for the prosecution proved beyond a reasonable doubt that DeFeo wasn't crazy, but had antisocial personality disorder. This meant that Butch knew what he was doing when he killed his family, but was motivated by his ego. Butch was found guilty of six counts of second-degree murder and sentenced to six consecutive life sentences at Green Haven Correctional Facility in Beekman, N.Y. He has appealed for parole, but they've all been denied. Check out this short interview with DeFeo:
So creepy, I know! But, where did the paranormal claims come from? That leads us back to the Lutz couple.
THE ALLEGED HAUNTINGS
About 13 months after the murders, the Lutz family purchased the home for only $80,000. It was discounted after the murders. However, the family lived in the home for less than a month before they claimed they had to move out.
and other paranormal phenomena. He actually claims to have called the Lutz family to warn them, but he couldn't actually get through. The interview was for a show called "In Search Of" which investigated paranormal sites and stories.
slime dripping from the walls and out of keyholes. They also supported the priest's claim that there were cold spots throughout the house. Other paranormal activities included a knife being knocked down in the kitchen, a creature that looked like a pig with red eyes staring at George and his son from a window, and members of the family levitating in their beds as they slept.
The one piece of evidence that they Lutz family managed to get was this photo of the supposed ghost haunting the home.
WHY PEOPLE ARE SKEPTICAL
the Lutz family a household name for a time. In addition, it is fair to say that Hollywood twisted the Amityville story beyond recognition. Here is an interview with Chris Lutz, one of the children who lived in the home.
Chris does admit that he did witness a shadow figure chasing after him, but that's all he will attest to witnessing while in the home, which was only his home for 28 days.
INTERESTING AMITYVILLE FACTS
- Each DeFeo family member Butch killed was found dead in their beds lying on their stomachs. It is just creepy that they ere all found in the same position.
- The DeFeo furniture was actually still in the house when the Lutz family moved in. They actually paid an extra $400 to keep the furniture, and all of the furniture was reportedly placed the same way it was placed the night of the murders.
- Police officers believed for a time that Butch had an accomplice because no silencer was used on the gun, but no one heard the shots, woke up, and tried to get away. However, the interview linked above of Butch seems to indicate that his mother grabbed a handgun, but still didn't overpower him.
- No one else who has lived in the Amityville house has experience paranormal activity like what the Lutz family claimed to experience.
- The home has been sold several more times and, even though it is now a Hollywood great, it still sold at a low price due to its jaded past.
From what I can tell from my research, I am pretty sure that, if the Amityville Horror house is haunted, it isn't nearly as bad as George and Kathy Lutz painted it to be. It seems that their child remembers the occasional shadow figure, but largely disputes the claims made by the movies and seemingly some made by his parents.
But, I guess we will never truly know if the Amityville Horror house is an actual haunted location, or just a hoax. I encourage you to delve further into research to decide what you think for yourself. If you have any ideas, leave them in the comments so we can discuss!
If you live in America, you've likely heard the story of Lizzie Borden, a young woman from Massachusetts who allegedly killed her step mother and father with an old hatchet.
I've heard the story of the Borden Murders all my life, but some of the details that were left out leave the case in a whole new rather mysterious light. So, without further ado, here is all that we know about the curious case of the Borden Murders
THE CASE OF THE BORDEN MURDERS
often addressed as "Mrs. Borden." The sisters were convinced that Abby was only after their father for his money. After everyone in the house came down with a mysterious illness, Lizzie seemed convinced that Abby had attempted to poison their food.
Andrew was killed a bit later in the day as he napped on the family's couch. Reports say he had about 11 axe wounds. But who was the killer? If you've heard the story, you likely think it was Lizzie, but the truth is that no one was actually convicted. The truth behind the murders remain a mystery. But, police, neighbors, and close family friends have reason to believe it was Lizzie.
Because police had no concrete evidence pointing to Lizzie Borden as the murderer, they had to let her go. Lizzie and Emma inherited tons of money and land from their father's estate. They lived together for years following the murders, and nothing new was revealed in regards to the case. She died in 1927 at the age of 67 of pneumonia.
ALTERNATIVE KILLER POSSIBILITIES
Because there was really no solution found in the Borden murder case, several other theories have come into the light. Here they are:
- It was the maid, Bridget, who was perhaps sick of taking care of the Borden patriarch and his wife.
- It was Emma, Lizzie's sister, who hated her father for marrying Abby after their mother's death.
- It was John Morse, the family member who came to stay with the Bordens (who stayed in the room where Abby's limp body was found). Perhaps his motive was hope of stealing the Borden fortune.
- It was an illegitimate son of Andrew's who was angry that he wouldn't cash out on his father's fortune.
But, as you can see, nothing compares to the evidence that Lizzie killed her father and step mother out of anger and possibly to inherit all of the family money and property.
INTERESTING FACTS ABOUT THIS CASE
father was "so discourteous to people." Aside from his attitudes toward his fellow man, Andrew Borden was also wealthy and affluent, which would have given many a motive to kill him off.
- Lizzie changed her name from Elizabeth to Lisbeth and was ostracized by the community following the trial.
- Lizzie's lawyer kept a journal. In it, the lawyer revealed that Lizzie grieved terribly following her father's death.
- While many think Lizzie may have done it for the money, she already had nearly $1,000 in her own account at the bank, thanks to the stock she owned and the $2 a week her father gave her from his pocket money.
- Despite her dismissal from the crime, many people still speculate she did it. There have been several movies, documentaries, YouTube videos, and paranormal research shows made about Lizzie Borden and her family.
So, now that you know all of the facts surrounding the case, who do you think committed the crime? I'll be interested to read your responses!
In this series, I dive head first into research regarding a paranormal or supernatural being or occurrence, or just investigate some of the world’s most infamous stories and people. This week, I investigate the mysterious Bell Witch of Tennessee.
But Batts died before she could see her vow through in the land of the living. By 1817, the Bell Family started to have terrifying experiences, almost always centering around Betsy Bell, one of John and Lucy’s daughters.
The hauntings were typical: weird tapping noising, vague whispers in an unfamiliar voice, and even the sighting of a peculiar dog-rabbit hybrid. Everything was unexplainable and began to escalate. The tapping sounds became deafening pounds, and the whispers became clearer. One of John’s friends, James Johnston, lent an ear to the Bell Family and wanted to experience the phenomena himself. He and his wife spent the night and could clearly hear the voice of quoting scriptures and singing hymns.
Only a year after the happenings began, the whole community had heard word of the Bell Witch and, thinking the Bell’s themselves may have something to do with the hauntings, John Bell was excommunicated from his church. Although the official reason for his excommunication was the charge of usury over a slave trade, it is widely believed that the hauntings had more to do with it.
Suddenly, the horses could pull the wagon again. And the Bell Witch kept her promise. Due to the nightly visits and frequent attacks from the witch, Jackson cut his week-long stay short to escape her grasps.
Lucy, Bell’s wife, was warned that the witch would return in seven years, and she made good on that promise too. At that point, which was the last supposed appearance of the Bell Witch, she told John Bell, Jr. about the Civil War before it happened!
"One weekend, me and my family from Texas went to Adams, TN. We stopped by the old school to see what was there. My daughter and myself went into the ladies’ restroom. I heard a lady’s voice call my name, it was a soft whisper. Immediately, I turned and asked my daughter if she heard it and she said no. My sisters were walking toward the steps going upstairs, they both started saying they felt like someone was poking them." -Carolyn
"A couple of years ago, a group of people (I was in that group) went to the Bell Witch cave in Adams, TN. After touring the cave, our group was talking right outside of the opening. I then decided to walk ahead to our car. Well, while I was walking alone, I suddenly heard a woman's voice coming from behind me say in a loud whisper "Linda! Linda!". As I looked around to see who from the group was playing a trick on me, there was no one to be seen. You see, it's an open field going from the cave to the parking lot of this property. Very unexplainable and very unnerving and made me feel numb with shock!" -Linda Thornton, producer of the movie "The Bell Witch Haunting"
OTHER INTERESTING THINGS
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