Z is for ...the Zodiac Killer
The Zodiac Killer first caught my youthful attention in an article in Argosy magazine.
The concept of a 'serial killer' was unknown to me, even a 'single time' killer did
not exist in my child's world. The only killers I knew of were mean and hungry
beasts who occasionally got into the hen house and killed one of my friends.
Movies of that time were not obsessed with violence. Westerns and Vincent
Price movies had horror, but they did not have gore. My first introduction to
gore was Hitchcock's "The Birds", which really scared me, as no movie
had done before, and it has only one gory scene.
Then came the Zodiac. A killer cloaked in a black hood ( thankfully far away)
who sometimes used a gun, sometimes a sword, who sometimes killed at night,
and sometimes killed in the warm light of day.
He killed most of his victims for no discernible reason other than to make the
police seem inferior. He may have known his first victims, but many were strangers
he chose for his game. A game of clues and ciphers contained in letters written to
local papers. He wanted attention, indeed he was angry if they did not print
his story on the front page. He wanted to taunt law enforcement because
they had not caught him. Even as his killing ended (as far as we know) in
1969, he continued to send letters to newspapers, leaving more cryptic
clues...or perhaps they were deliberate leads that would lead nowhere?
They never did catch him, although there have been potential suspects
identified and investigated through the years. If he is still alive, he must
be an old man. Perhaps he is dead, otherwise he probably could
not resist responding to the books and movies about him.
He would bask in the attention.