December 14, 2017
Los Angeles, California
“After comparing his handwriting to the original documents, we
are unable to eliminate Dr. George Hill Hodel as the author of the Zodiac letters.
We would like you to provide us with additional samples of his lowercase cursive handwriting. “
Qualified Handwriting Expert
California Department of Justice
I originally published the below blog in September 2010. I am republishing it now with important updated information, which I believe adds great weight to my original premise that the 1947 Black Dahlia and 1968-9 Zodiac crimes are SIGNATURE LINKED.
Two-page Zodiac Letter Mailed to newspaper on Dec 16, 1969
Filed and Forgotten for Forty-Years. Is It Legitimate?
Page 1 Zodiac Letter
Based on my recent examination (I was unaware that this letter existed until one week ago. (2012)
I believe this letter was written by Zodiac.
Further, based on the contents and characteristics included in this letter, I believe it adds important additional corroboration to my investigation pointing to the possibility that my father, in addition to being L.A.’s 1947 “Black Dahlia Avenger” did in fact, reinvent himself two decades later as San Francisco Bay Area’s, ZODIAC.
The following new exhibits are offered in support of that conclusion.
If I am correct, then the importance of the San Francisco Examiner mailing is not simply to add one more letter to the pile of known Zodiac writings.
Rather, I believe this new lead justifies having a criminalist examine, swab and analyze the San Francisco Examiner letter flap and stamp (if one exists?) for potential saliva which could aid law enforcement in obtaining a full DNA profile on Zodiac.
San Francisco Letter page 1 typed by author for easier readability:
1947 Black Dahlia Avenger – Crude Knife Drawing Signature No. 1
Below is a scanned excerpt from my 2003 book, Black Dahlia Avenger, pages 196-197.It details a February 11, 1947 incident where the Black Dahlia killer leaves a message and crudely drawn picture of a knife and pistol inside the glove compartment of a taxi cab with the message to immediately deliver the demand and drawings to the Los Angeles Examiner newspaper. (To my knowledge, the actual drawing of the knife along with the handprinted text were never published in the newspaper. Only a verbatim quote of what the killer wrote as shown below.)
Black Dahlia Avenger- Zodiac Signature No. 2- The Arrows, Exclamation Marks and “Ha! Ha!”
We know from our investigation that George Hodel as the Black Dahlia Avenger used the term “ha ha” coupled with exclamation marks on a letter he sent to the Los Angeles press. He also marked his messages with arrows. So did Zodiac.
Below are several samples of the 1947 handprinted “BLACK DAHLIA AVENGER” messages he mailed to the press using similar wording and arrows as seen in the San Francisco Examiner Letter.
The below exhibit shows some additional ZODIAC mailings where he has used arrows in his messages.
The bottom photograph was taken of my father and some of his business associates in Manila, Philippines- circa 1986. Note that he has marked the photo referencing “Man Ray” using a red felt tip pen. (Note- My father’s writing instrument of choice when not typing was very frequently a felt-tipped pen) The arrow points to an object on the wall which is a Man Ray sculpture created and given to George Hodel by his artist friend in Hollywood in 1948.
Zodiac unique cursive style “looped” lower case “d”
Perhaps this unusual handwritten lowercase cursive looped “d” has been referenced elsewhere in the various Zodiac investigations and research, but if it has, I haven’t seen it mentioned.
I find it particularly interesting because my sense is that it was a totally unconscious handwriting action. What makes it so unique is that Zodiac in the below handwriting samples has printed all of his letters with only one exception- the LETTER “d” which he writes as a cursive using a distinctive loop. Its absence in his writings is not particularly meaningful, but its presence IS.
Take a look at the two KNOWN and VERIFIED Zodiac handwriting samples below. Many of his letters contain BOTH types of lowercase “d”. He seems to use both styles with equal frequency but is consistent about not mixing both types in the same letter. (Due to the massive amount of Zodiac samples, I may have missed an example of this? Please correct me if I’m wrong on this point.)
Below we see this unique letter “d” used in Zodiac’s 1971 mailing to the L.A. Times:
And, in the below exhibit the unique characteristic appears again. This time on the April 30, 1967, Bates mailing to the Riverside Police Department. I know the Zodiac community is divided on whether this crime is an actual Zodiac murder, but those of you who have read my book know that I believe the evidence supports the probability that IT IS A ZODIAC CRIME. I think finding this distinctive cursive lower-case “d” increases that probability.
Below we see an enlargement of the December 16, 1969, San Francisco Examiner Letter showing what appear to be identically written cursive style looped “d’s.” Keep in mind that this letter was mailed two months after the Stine mailing.
SAN FRANCISCO EXAMINER 12.16.69 LETTER LOOPED CURSIVE “d”
Sample of Dr. George Hodel’s handwritten cursive looped letter d
As I have indicated previously, very few samples of my father’s cursive writing exist. He normally either typed or wrote using upper case block letters. Below is a rare example of his cursive. Due to space limitations in his typed 1980 letter to me, which he mailed from the Philippines, he was forced to write using small cursives. Take a look at his lower case letter “d” which I have enlarged for easier viewability.
FBI Handwriting Analysis Receipt for separate Possible Zodiac Letters
In their official report, the FBI cannot eliminate the San Francisco Examiner Letter as being authentic and written by ZODIAC.
Based on all of the above exhibits it is my belief that this San Francisco Examiner Letter of 12.16.69 is genuine and was written by ZODIAC. Further, I believe that there exists a strong likelihood that if the envelope still exists and is tested it could well yield ZODIAC’s full profile DNA which could then be entered into the CODIS system and potentially SOLVE THE CASE.
I would like to acknowledge the following A&E Community Link which first brought to my attention the new information related to the Zodiac/San Francisco Examiner Letter. Added thanks to TV and Seagull for sending me their separate hi-res copies of materials.
UPDATE FEB 20, 2010- Black Dahlia Avenger “Bleeding Knife Drawing”
In my original summary as detailed above I referenced the February 11, 1947 Los Angeles incident where the Black Dahlia Avenger left “a crude drawing of a knife and pistol” inside the taxi and ordered the cab driver to “take it to the Examiner” newspaper informing the driver “I’ve got the number of your cab.”
The fact that both George Hodel as the Black Dahlia Avenger, a serial killer and urban terrorist and Zodiac, a serial killer and urban terrorist both left crudely drawn “childlike “notes of knives is by itself highly unusual and certainly qualifies as a unique crime signatures.
In recent days, I have discovered that the linkage is much stronger than I originally reported. Here’s why:
The February 11, 1947, newspaper account of the Avenger Note was reported as containing a “crudely drawn knife and pistol.” But, without seeing the actual drawing (not published by the newspaper) it still remained a bit generic.as relates to the Zodiac drawing some two decades later.
In reviewing my investigation I discovered an earlier Avenger note, which I had forgotten about, which also was not published in the newspapers. .This one was mailed by the Black Dahlia Avenger to the Los Angeles Examiner on January 28, 1947. While the press speculated it could have been a possible “child’s crank” the homicide detective who received it, forwarded the note to the LAPD crime-lab for analysis.
Here is the original LA Times article:
Compare to Zodiac’s 1969 drawing of a crude drawing of a dagger dripping blood:
When it comes to signature linkage in criminal investigations–
“THERE ARE NO COINCIDENCES”
Why a crude drawing of a knife dripping blood
I expect this was just another example (among many) of George Hodel, the Ripperologist, first as the Black Dahlia Avenger, then as Zodiac, wanting to demonstrate his erudite knowledge of Jack the Ripper by copying that serial killer’s MO.
Jack the Ripper 1888 Boss Letter with bleeding knife compared to Zodiac 1969 Letter with the bleeding knife.
SKH Note- JtR used red ink to simulate blood in his taunting letters to the police and press and frequently used misspelled words and the term “Ha Ha.” George Hodel as the Black Dahlia Avenger used red colored medical Mercurochrome to simulate blood in his taunting letters to the police and press, and though highly educated feigned being illiterate and used the term “Ha Ha” in his taunts.