November 13, 2021
Just as I anticipated, readers of The Early Years have begun to send back potential linkage and “thoughtprints” that I missed during my initial investigations into the almost two dozen suspected serial crimes from George Hodel’s 1920s and 1930s.
Here’s the first return from my good friend, “LW”, Dr. Luigi Warren who has just finished both books and right out of the gate presents us with two powerful links (that I missed).
They were hidden in several 1921 articles reporting the murder of Father Patrick Heslin. Here is LW’s email message and observations:
Steve: Just found an SF Examiner article from the day of Hightower’s
conviction about the role the number 13 played in his undoing. “It’s just one big thirteenth. “-LW
Excellent observation by LW. And, while I find the newspaper reportage of the various “13’s” that played a role in the Hightower prosecution, very subjective in themselves, still it is the published article that is important. Of course, the press had no way of knowing that the number “13” also had direct meaning to the killer in that he was “13” at the time he killed Father Heslin in August, 1921. (George turned 14, on Oct. 10th, just four days prior to the article’s publication.)
George Hodel in emphasizing the number “13” as Zodiac and for no apparent reason placed the sign of the cross directly below the large numeral “13.” Was he subtly referencing and “clewing us in” that he killed a priest when he was just 13? Further, it was reported that this cross under the number 13 was made with blood. Does it still exist? Was it ever tested for DNA? The card was mailed by Zodiac to his former employer, The San Francisco Chronicle on Oct. 7, 1970, just three days before his 63rd birthday. (George was a columnist for the Chronicle in 1932)
With George Hodel’s perfect photographic memory and pathological need to leave hints of his crimes in his messages, I find LW’s discovery very much on point.
However, it is LW’s second discovery that really jumped out at me as a definite thoughtprint!
The Bleeding Knife
LW included a portion of an article from August 11, 1921, that was written by the killer and sent to Constable Landini, who was the investigating officer on the Father Patrick Heslin kidnap. The killer’s message read in part:
…: Don’t try to get Heslin any more. He is done for. This is the text of a letter received yesterday by Constable Landini. Then follows the imprint of a black hand, made with a soft lead pencil. “This is how we did it.” follows with a picture of the knife dripping with blood.
As many of my readers familiar with George Hodel’s later crimes are aware, this is an important crime signature that GHH drew and sent to the press “crude drawings of a knife dripping blood.” He did it both as the Black Dahlia Avenger and as Zodiac. (As mentioned in prior blogs I believe his “inspiration” was his knowledge and familiarity with the drawing of a crude knife dripping blood, sent to the press and police by “Jack The Ripper” in 1886.
See December 2017 blog addressing earlier “bleeding knife” linkage HERE.
Attached below is a two-page PDF recounting the full story as reported in the Red Bluff Daily News on Aug. 11, 1921, headlined: LOST PRIEST MURDERED; BODY FOUND IN TINY CAVE.
Huge KUDOS to LW for both of these additional links to the Father Patrick Heslin murder, which I believe was my father’s first murder and the precursor to his later “Zodiac Murders.”
Author Note: A number of you have inquired as to when/if a Ebook version will be available on The Early Years parts I and II. The answer is yes. Hope to have it out within the next four days.
Author Update 11/13/21