U.K. Sunday Times Matt Rudd's "Crimes Scenes" – The Zodiac Murders Part 2- Columnist Asks, "Could the 1940s Black Dahlia Avenger and the 1960s Zodiac be the same person–Dr. George Hill Hodel?

October 4, 2015

Los Angeles, California

The below article, “The Zodiac murders: Part 2” appeared in this morning’s London Sunday Times in the senior writer, Matt Rudd’s, “Crime Scenes” column.  (Part 1, backgrounding the Zodiac crimes published the previous Sunday, September 27, 2015.)

Matt asks:

“Could it be that the Zodiac killer of the 1960s and the Black Dahlia Killer of the 1940s were one and the same person? And could that one and the same person have been George Hill Hodel, a Californian doctor…?”

matt rudd final










Matt Rudd’s
Crime Scenes
Case No. 8

The Zodiac murders: Part 2

Last week on Crime Scene…

Could it be that the Zodiac killer of the 1960s and the Black Dahlia Killer of the 1940s were one and the same person? And could that one and the same person have been George Hill Hodel, a Californian doctor who was always in the right-ish place at the right-ish time?

Steve Hodel, son of our potential prime suspect, has linked his father to 25 serial crimes between 1943 and 1969, but the evidence has always been circumstantial. Now he thinks an email he received from a Frenchman might be the final piece of the jigsaw.

“Dear Sir,” wrote the Frenchman. “Have you ever noticed that Zodiac’s signature was a compound of two Ogham letters”? The letter on the left side is for ‘H’ and the letter on the right side is for ‘L’.

Hodel had never noticed.
On October 27, 1970, the Zodiac sent a Halloween card to Paul Avery, a reporter at the San Francisco Chronicle. “You ache to know my name and so I’ll clue you in,” he wrote, before finishing with his cryptic signature.

Hodel Junior used the ancient Ogham alphabet to crack the Zodiac’s signature. The upside-down L on the left is Ogham for H. The two dots in the middle represent O, the F on the right is D, the four dots together spell E, and the F on the right again, but backwards, is an L.

“The decryption is perfect,” says Hodel in his new book, Most Evil II. “No letters have been added or omitted. Convinced that his high genius insulated him from detection, George Hill Hodel signed his real name.”

Well, it’s not slam dunk. Why can’t they just test the DNA?
“It’s problematic,” says Hodel. “Law enforcement say that they do not have any confirmed Zodiac DNA. I do not want them comparing and eliminating George Hodel’s DNA to a sample that may or may not belong to Zodiac. That’s police procedure 101.”


Happy October 4th birthday to my brother, Kelvin. (Kelly) For one month a year, as “Irish Twins” we get to be the same age. Then, I fall back into my position as the older.  But, “wiser”?—highly doubtful.





  1. J.R. Neumiller on October 4, 2015 at 2:51 pm

    I want pressure on the SF writers, whose territory and story this truly is. Why have they not entered in?

    • Steve Hodel on October 4, 2015 at 3:10 pm

      J.R.: Good point. Not for my lack of trying. As you know from reading Most Evil II, six-months prior to any publication I wrote a letter to all the involved law enforcement agencies in the S.F. Bay area asking to meet with their assigned homicide detective(s) handling the Zodiac victims specific to their jurisdiction. I asked for a two hour meet where I would present my evidence and the solution to the Zodiac cipher well in advance of “going public.” Six letters to LE. Responses? ZERO. I then approached the go to guy on all things Zodiac at the San Francisco Chronicle. Sent him material and also asked for two hours of his time, advising I’d come up to his office on my dime and my time. He checked with his editor and advised that were currently “overloaded” with Zodiac information and maybe we could think about a get together sometime in the future. “Maybe next year?” The irony is as you say, San Francisco, especially the Chronicle, really owns this story. I think it’s mostly what I call “The Boy Who Cried Wolf Factor.” You know the story. A boy keeps telling the citizens of his small hamlet that “A Wolf is coming. A wold is coming.” (He loves to lie and make the townspeople afraid.) The boy keeps saying it so many times that the people stop paying any attention to him. Then of course, what happens? He runs to tell them “the wolf is coming” but no one pays attention, and the wolf comes to town. I think the S.F. Chronicle is so sick of hearing “Zodiac solved” that they no longer want to pay attention. Just white noise now. (Even with my professional credentials and track record.) So there it is. Even with a signed confession, written by Zodiac, providing his true name in known Zodiac handwriting, they still don’t seem to be able to find the time (two hour PowerPoint presenting the evidence) to hear it. Maybe once the word is out it will become a, “Can you hear me now?” Best, Steve

  2. Robert Sadler on October 5, 2015 at 10:26 am

    Steve: As always, I remain impressed with your fine work! May MEII finally move the SF Chronicle and SF area LE to act on your proffers.

    “There is an ubiquitous precision to clues: they are either found or overlooked. Some might say they never existed in the first place. In which case there would be no clues; however, there are always clues.” Michael Grant.

    There are so many metaphors about clues from ‘connecting-the-dots’ to ‘putting-the-pieces-of-the-puzzle-together’. Whatever your go-to metaphor might be, Steve has done it! Dogged and intrepid are synonyms for Steve Hodel’s investigative meme. Though there will still remain nay-sayers and purveyors of other suspects as Zodiac, I dare any of them to put their ‘fact’ up against Steve’s scrupulous investigation. His work has provided a set of facts so straightforward that people from the far flung corners of this globe have made their own connections which they have proffered to Steve for his validation. One of the latest, his French Connection, led to the ‘nail-in-the-coffin’ revelation of the arcane Ogham language as the key to the Zodiac’s real name! (As an aside, this proves that Steve has no misplaced agenda that GHH ‘has to be Zodiac, because I say so’. It was this unexpected clue that Steve happily received, considered and followed up on that is the piece de resistance revealed in “Most Evil II”. I congratulate Steve on his impeccable investigation and it’s conformational result: GHH was Zodiac. Doubters, read MEII… I dare you to refute it!

    All the best,

    Robert Sadler

    • Steve Hodel on October 5, 2015 at 10:52 am

      Thanks again Robert. Ever the trusty, “Dr. Watson.” I’m sure, with your own retirement, Dallas PD is sorely missing your own special skills at criminal detection. Best, Steve

  3. Leanna on October 8, 2015 at 3:50 pm

    Steve, wow. This is very interesting stuff!

  4. Justin Scannell on February 25, 2017 at 8:38 pm

    In order for this theory to have substance, it must first be confirmed that George Hodel was exposed to Ogham, and took the time to familiarize himself with it:

    (1) Do we know if he had any side-interest in languages and/or letter systems?

    (2) If so, did he consult reading material pertaining to such matters?

    (3) How far was he prepared to go to study Ogham? Would he have done so within the confines of California state, or did he travel farther afield?

    Under John V. Kelleher, Harvard University presided over a pretty lively Irish studies scene, but I’m not sure how much time/effort he devoted to Ogham, his primary Gaelic field having been that of Old Irish, rather than Primitive Irish (in which the great majority of Ogham inscriptions are written). So it’s unlikely that Hodel would have consulted his work. Aside from that, I don’t (as of yet) know a great deal more about U.S.-based possible authorities on Ogham during this period.

    However, if one were to do a bit of leg-work, it might just be possible to ascertain which of them might possibly have come into contact with Hodel (even indirectly). For instance, he may have sat in on a lecture by one of them.


    • Steve Hodel on February 25, 2017 at 9:13 pm

      Justin S. Thank you for your comment/observations.

      The link of GHH to Ogham is made in my book, Most Evil II. Suggest you read that for the full explanation of who and how my father used that secret “Tree Alphabet.” Like so many other of his “inspirations” it connects to his “Murder as a Fine Art” crime signature theme and reintroduces us to his personal obsession with surrealism. In this case, I connect him to a specific artist who used the Ogham alphabet to create his art and I believe was my father’s original source for the 1970 cipher. Best Regards, steve

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