Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

The Zodiac Killer

The Halloween Card

After a few months' silence, October brought two more cards from the Zodiac.  One, a postcard with a collage on its face and 13 holes punched through it, was postmarked on October 5, 1970.  In words and letters cut from magazines and newspapers it was addressed simply to "San Francisco Chronicle, S.F." and read:

Dear Editor,
You'll hate me, but I've got to tell you.
The pace isn't any slower! In fact it's just one big thirteenth
"Some of them fought it was horrible"
P.S. There are reports city police pig cops are closeing in on me. Fk I'm crackproof, What is the price tag now?


Though originally dismissed as a hoax, certain phrases from this card are repeated in later confirmed Zodiac letters, particularly the word "crackproof," which would appear in a letter to the Los Angeles Times five months later.  The juxtaposition of the letters "FK" also repeat in the Zodiac literature, frequently in the two long ciphers and in the hieroglyph that closes the "Exorcist" letter of 1974. Literary analysis notwithstanding, the card was soon judged to be genuine because it announced a body count of 13 -- the number given in the Zodiac's last letter, which had not been made public.

The Halloween greeting card
The Halloween greeting card

The other mailing, sent October 27, was a customized Halloween greeting card, and it was addressed personally to Paul Avery at the Chronicle, though his name was misspelled on the envelope as "Averly."  Inside the envelope, written twice very lightly in the shape of an X, was the comment "Sorry no cipher."  In addition to signing the card with a "Z" and the customary crossed-circle, the Zodiac drew an unusual symbol (also used as a return address on the envelope), 13 eyes, and the message "Peek-a-boo, you are doomed."  Kathleen Johns, the woman abducted on Highway 132, stated in an interview that she had received a similar card, ostensibly from the Zodiac, at about the same time: she claims to have forwarded the card to Avery, but no mention of a second card has ever been reported. 1  Johns attributes the card to a crank, since her name and address appeared in the newspaper shortly after her abduction, but the timing of the card and description that she gave of it suggest the strong possibility that it was genuine and somehow lost in the case's sea of details.


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