See the Zodiac killer’s cipher hints (1969)

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Zodiac killer breaks silence via cryptograms

EDITORS: The spelling and grammar errors in the following on the Zodiac killer from San Francisco are faithful reproductions of the letter sent to the San Francisco Chronicle.

San Francisco — The “Zodiac” killer broke a month long silence Tuesday to announce by letters and cryptograms to a newspaper he will “no longer announced to anyone when I comitt my murders.

zodiac letters 1969 1The boasting slayer, previously connected with five killings in the San Francisco Bay area since last December, claimed seven victims.

In occasionally misspelled correspondence to the San Francisco Chronicle, Zodiac said his future murders “shall look like routine robberies, killings of anger, & a few fake accidents, etc.”

A postscript to one of his letters indicated he was displeased by a dwindling of public attention since he included a piece of a slain cab driver’s blood-stained shirt in a letter one month ago.

“Could you print this new cipher on your front page?” he asked. “I get awfully lonely when I am ignored, so lonely I could do my thing!!!!!!”

Then in a large, scrawled handwriting — which contrasted with his usual small printing — Zodiac added, “And I can’t do a thing with U!”

Latest correspondence

The latest correspondence included a page filled with strange ciphers, a rambling letter, a note on a comic greeting card–and another piece of the cab driver’s shirt.

“I though you would need a good laugh before you hear the bad news,” he wrote. He began the two letters with the usual, “This is the Zodiac speaking.”

“Up to the end of Oct. I have killed 7 people.” he said. “I have grown rather angry with the police for their telling lies about me. So I will change the way the collection of slaves.”

The passage about collecting slaves, which was followed by his statement there would be no future announcements, apparently was a reference to one of his previous cryptograms which said souls of his victims would be his slaves in the afterworld.

At the bottom of his message on the greeting card Zodiac printed, “Des July Aug Sept Oct equals 7.”

He previously had claimed responsibility for the killings of Betty Lou Jensen. 16. and her boyfriend, David Farady. 17, near Vallejo last Dec. 20; Darlene Ferrin. 22, near Vallejo. July 5; Cecilia Ann Shepard. 22. in Napa County Sept. 27, and San Francisco cab driver Paul Stein. 29. Oct. 11.

Did not specify killings

zodiac letters 1969 2The letters did not specify the two additional killings but the “Aug” reference corresponded with the deaths of two San Jose teenage girls Aug. 3. They died of multiple stab wounds.

Four of Zodiac’s alleged victims were shot and one was stabbed numerous times, but the San Jose slay ings had not previously been attributed to him.

San Jose Chief of Detectives Barton Collins said he doubted they were the work of Zodiac, because the boasting slayer would have wanted to take “credit” for stabbings of Deborah Gay Furlong, 14. and Kathleen Snoozy, 15, earlier.

In one of his previous notes, Zodiac warned that “sihool children are nice targets.” “I think I shall wipe out a school bus some morning.” he wrote. “Just shoot out the front tires and then pick off the kiddies as they come bouncing out.”

School buses throughout the area were under armed guard for weeks following the threat. “The police shall never catch me.” Zodiac said in his latest letter, “because I have been too clever for them.”


Original caption with the letters: The “Zodiac” killer broke his silence yesterday to boast in letters and cryptograms that he has now murdered seven persons. Two letters and a cryptogram to the San Francisco Chronicle starting with the now familiar salutation “This Is the Zodiac speaking,” said, “Up to the end of Oct. I have killed 7 people.”

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