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Zodiac

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“This is the Zodiac speaking…” (Charlisle 117). A bone chilling quote that can make anyone squirm in their seat with the remembrance of the cold-hearted killer, the Zodiac. A man that will make our history books and fascinate psychologists forever, the Zodiac Killer is truly a horror story and legend that will never be forgotten. The Zodiac Killer is one of the most disturbing and unsolved mysteries; murdering innocent people, never being brought to custody, writing cryptic messages, and the possibility of him still being alive, makes the Zodiac Killer not only a genius, but a ruthless, cutthroat criminal.

Zodiac began his killing rampage in North California, San Francisco area in October of 1966 (Innes 64). It all started with Cheri Bates, a student at Riverside City College, was brutally murdered outside the school’s library parking lot. The killer had pulled out her Volkswagen’s distributor cable and condenser. When Cheri couldn’t get her car started, a man offered to help. When he couldn’t “fix it”, he offered Cheri a ride. He coaxed Cheri into a dark alley between two houses owned by Riverside City College. They spent an hour and a half in the dark alley, where he eventually killed her. He sliced her neck seven times, almost decapitating her (65). He also cut her three times across the chest, once on the back, along with evidence of beating, choking, and cuts across her face. Eighteen-months later, Zodiac struck again, shooting two teenagers to death (66). Zodiac’s next victims were a young couple, two miles from his second murder (72). These murders started a long strand of at least thirty seven murders, scaring the citizens of the San Francisco area, and keeping the police on their toes. Out of all of the people Zodiac killed, only three survivors escaped the hands of the Zodiac.

The police had a physical description and some evidence to try to catch the man that called himself the zodiac. Police interviewed over 2,500 suspects, but only one really stuck out (truTV). That man’s name was Arthur Leigh Allen: an elementary school teacher who had a fascination with hunting people. Arthur lived in the area of the Zodiac’s murders, and talked to his friend about stopping women in their cars, telling them something was wrong with their tires, and kidnapping them. He had even gone as far as calling himself “the Zodiac” and having the circle-cross zodiac symbol on his watch. Another way the Zodiac’s and Arthur’s connection met was through the Zodiac’s anonymous letters sent to the police and newspapers. Some of Zodiac’s messages had been typed by a Royal typewriter with elite type. Two of the Zodiac’s letters were signed with a “Z” that looked like a “32” joined together. Arthur had a Royal typewriter in his home and he was 32 years old. He even fit the physical description of the Zodiac Killer. All this evidence backed up that Arthur was, indeed, the Zodiac. However, the finger and palm prints taken from the Zodiac’s messages were a no-go. Some of the DNA the investigators gathered from the Zodiac didn’t match Arthur’s either. In the end, Arthur was found not guilty (Voigt).

One might ask themselves, what caused the Zodiac to do such terrible things to innocent people? One theory, in The Dark Side of Serial Killer Personality, states that Zodiac became overly dependent on killing. Unfortunately, it did not satisfy him nor give him the high or thrill he wanted. When the Zodiac continues to kill, he can never get the thrill he wants. The crimes continue to get worse. He then doesn't like himself and hates what he is doing; but he feels lost and unsure too while the "thing" inside him wants more and more. However, the killer has full responsibility for his actions because he let the "thing" inside him get worse and out of control (Charlisle 117, 118).

The thing that really made the Zodiac Killer different from any other mass murderer was his demented and scary cryptic messages. His first anonymous confession letter was sent to the Riverside police after Cheri Bates’s murder in November, 1996. In fact, three other letters, all identical, were sent to the Riverside Press, the police, and Cheri’s father saying that “Bates had to die, there will be more” (Wark). In the letter admitting to Cheri’s murder, Zodiac warns, “Keep your sisters, daughters, and wives off the streets and alleys. Miss Bates was stupid. She went to slaughter like a lamb. She did not put up a struggle” (Wark). Zodiac goes on to explain how he killed Cheri and telling the police to publish the letter in the paper. He even explains, “I am not sick. I am insane” (Wark). Zodiac ends his letter with a very nerve-racking, “Beware… I am stalking your girls now” (Wark). The Riverside press wisely published this letter in their newspapers to warn everyone in the area. In a phone call after killing a taxi cab driver, the Zodiac admits to killing children and talks about “wiping out a school bus some morning” (Fisher). In another letter, the Zodiac sends out his drawn plan of planting bombs under school buses (Zodiac Letters and Ciphers). He even shows what supplies he will use and taunts the police (Voigt).
The letters that really made the Zodiac who he was, however, were his ciphers. Three of his ciphers still remain unsolved today. After the murder of a young couple in Vallejo, Zodiac sent out a cipher that was eventually cracked by two code-experts, Betty and Donald Harden. The cipher was supposed to reveal the Zodiac’s identity (Zodiac Killer Biography). Unfortunately, the cipher did not reveal his identity, but rather give an inside look at the troubled and psychotic mind of the Zodiac Killer. The de-coded cipher 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 TO KILL SOMETHING GIVES ME THE MOST THRILLING EXPERENCE IT IS EVEN BETTER THAN GETTING YOUR ROCKS OFF WITH A GIRL THE BEST PART OF IT IS THAT WHEN I DIE I WILL BE REBORN IN PARADISE AND ALL THE I HAVE KILLED WILL BECOME MY SLAVES I WILL NOT GIVE YOU MY NAME BECAUSE YOU WILL TRY TO SLOW DOWN OR STOP MY COLLECTING OF SLAVES FOR MY AFTERLIFE EBEORIETEMETHHPITI (Zodiac Killer Biography)."
The last 18- letters were never solved. One may wonder, did those 18 letters reveal the Zodiac’s identity?

Over-confident, taunting, self-absorbed, and smart are just some words to describe the Zodiac Killer. He was a genius, and one of the few “bad-guys” or “villains” who got away with killing so many people. Someday, maybe the case of the Zodiac will be solved. Maybe it will continue to remain a mystery. Yes, the Zodiac was an evil man, but he also made a huge dent in history. A man who made history, had an attitude of a cocky teenager, another Einstein, and the blood thirstiness of a cold-hearted killer; the Zodiac.





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Wes_CarpenterThis teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. said...
today at 7:58 pm
This a really good research paper. I really enjoyed reading it. I have been into the Zodiac myself. There are a few things about the Zodiac that I would like to point out concerning the case. The Zodiac has been a compulsive liar who has wanted to publicity by claiming that he has murdered 30+ people. But there's only 5 that we can confirm, and not one of them was Cheri Jo Bates. I thought that you should. Other than that it was a very interesting piece. Keep writing.
 
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