June 21, 2017
Los Angeles, California
George Hodel 1923 South Pasadena Year Book
Los Angeles Daily Times June 5, 1923
In the early 1920s teenager, George Hodel attained the highest Public School test scores of any student in the State. Based on those results he became part of one of the most famous psychological testings of that day. George was selected to be one of the students included in Stanford professor, Dr. Lewis Terman’s “Genetic Studies of Genius.” The test students became colloquially known as “Terman’s Termites.” (Over the past 90 years, five separate books have been written on this study which had the students send in “progress reports” every five years during their lifetimes. GHH was still sending in his at age 85.)
Samples of George Hodel Feigning Illiteracy in Chicago Lipstick, Black Dahlia Avenger, and Zodiac Notes
“Get $2,000 Reddy & waite for word… Chicago Lipstick Killer (1946)
“To Hearld Express, Los Angels…” Black Dahlia Avenger (1947)
“…we went to gether …I went to investigaate…” LA Avenger (Gladys Kern, 1948)
“I first pulled themiddli wire…her lips twiched…” Zodiac (Cheri Jo Bates, Riverside, 1966)
” I am mildly cerous as to how much money you have on my head .” Zodiac, SF, 1969)
UPDATE: 6.21.17 9:00 p.m.
From Black Dahlia Avenger, Chapter 13: THE LAPD AND THE PRESS: THE AVENGER MAILINGS
January 29, 1947
The Examiner engaged questioned-document expert Clark Sellers, considered by most to be one of the nation’s leading forensic handwriting experts of the day, to review and analyze the hand printing on the postcards it had received from the purported suspect. Sellers had gained public notoriety as one of the chief forensic experts who testified for the prosecution in the Lindbergh baby kidnapping trial, in which he connected handwriting samples from the suspect, Bruno Richard Hauptmann, to the ransom note and helped the state win a conviction.
In his expert analysis, Sellers told the Examiner:
“It was evident the writer took great pains to disguise his or her personality by printing instead of writing the message and by endeavoring to appear illiterate. But the style and formation of the printed letters betrayed the writer as an educated person.”
The Examiner also revealed that Sellers had conducted “microscopic tests” on the Black Dahlia message and made “several important discoveries the nature of which is being withheld.”
A second questioned-document expert, Henry Silver, was also contacted to analyze the original note the killer had sent with the victim’s belongings, as well as some of the later postcards received by the press. Silver said:
The sender is an egomaniac and possibly a musician. The fluctuating base line of the writing reveals the writer to be affected by extreme fluctuations of mood, dropping to melancholy. The writer suffers from mental conflict growing out of resentment or hatred due to frustration of sex urge. Because the last letters of many words are larger, it reveals extreme frankness. The writer is telling the truth. Furthermore, he can’t keep his secret and feeds his ego by telling. There is a fine sense of rhythm present, showing the penman to be either a musician or possibly a dancer. He is calculating and methodical.
In my 2003 investigation I hired my own independent court-certified Questioned Document Expert, Ms. Hanna McFarland, who conducted her own handwriting analysis and confirmed in her expert opinion that at least four of the handwritten notes were authored by George Hodel. She also examined an original handwritten sample of my father’s writing in my possession and opined:
“…It appears that all three handprinted letters (TEV, in the handwritten word STEVE) were highly connected, this is unheard of, and would indicate the type of exceptionally high intelligence and forethought that might be found in a master chess champion such as a Boris Spassky or a Bobby Fischer.”
GHH handprinted STEVEN showing the TEV connection as described by QDE Hanna McFarland.
Comment from LW re. Zodiac “Red Phantom” Letter mailed to San Francisco Chronicle on July 8, 1974:
Steve: Despite the zany spellings and wackiness of the Zodiac missives, the “Red Phantom” note implies the killer was in fact perfectly literate, possessing an artistic hand, a musical sense of rhythm and cadence, and the easy authority of a physician dashing off a script. The Phantom’s focus on SF Chronicle sex columnist Count Marco, a dandy and faux European aristocrat with links to 1940s Hollywood, offers yet another “clew” as to the Zodiac’s real identity. -LW
Below is a copy of that letter which I do believe was written by GHH and mailed some six years after the first SF Bay Area Zodiac crime was committed in the summer of ’68. In my sequel BDA II I make the comparison (below) to the unusual letter ‘h’ seen in the 1948 BD Avenger Glady’s Kern Note which appears identical to the “h” letters in the Red Phantom Note some twenty-six years later.
Author Prepared Zodiac Lexicon of Misspelled & Unusual Words
(From 24 Zodiac letters over twenty years – 1969-1990)