Do The Newly Discovered Hodel Tea House Modern Art Tiles Have a Connection to Zodiac Letter?

June 13, 2022
Birch Bay, Washington
Let me be perfectly clear that the following observations are speculative at best, but curious enough to merit discussion as a possible link from the distant past (the 1930s) to the more recent past. (the 1970s). A potential THOUGHTPRINT if you will.
Let’s take a look.
A few days ago I got a heads up from my friend, Dr. Shiloh Catanese, a Forensic & Law Enforcement Psychologist who works for LAPD and with Dr. Scott co-hosts the True Crime Podcast, L.A. Not So Confidential.  Shiloh advised me she was going to do a drive-by of my father’s old Tea House in Highland Park to “check it out.” She also sent me a link where a large number of photographs of the George Hodel Jr. “Tea House” were on display on Zillow. Click on the video below for 1 min tour taken by Dr. Shiloh on her “drive-by.”
Hodel Residence and Tea House video
These photos showed the residence recently “sold” on 8/31/21 for $630,000. It described the home as “1bd 1ba 559sqft selling for $639,000.”  It displayed 27 photos of the exterior/interior.  Below are four of the twenty-seven shown on Zillow.

I would draw your attention to the above lower right photograph. That photo shows the underpinnings of my father’s deck and at the far end is seen an outdoor mural of turquoise tiles with white and black lines.  The design appears to be modernistic in style and I posit it was likely placed there sometime after the home was built (1922).  It is believed my grandfather sold the property (Main House and George Jr’s “Tea House”) sometime shortly after the death of his wife, Esther, who died in 1935 from tuberculosis.) It is entirely possible that my father, George Hodel Jr. created the tiles and affixed them to the wall sometime during his youth between the years 1923-1935. Below graphic shows enlargement.
Modernistic tile graphic enlargement courtesy of my good friend Robert Sadler


In seeing the tile design some days ago it reminded me of something I had seen before, but could not place. A few days passed, then it struck me. The strange lines were artistically reminiscent in nature to the 1974 Zodiac Exorcist Letter that bore strange signage at the bottom of the letter consisting of juxtaposed angular fat and thin lines. You might say, well fat and thin lines are not the same as black and white lines. Obviously, the strength of line is different vis a vis tile and paper. The difference could be that in the Zodiac letter the author/artist was using only ink of one color (blue) thus fat lines could substitute for white lines, or the reverse.

We do not know what the above strange linear tiles mean or signify? It is reasonable to assume the tile mural adorning the young genius’s private residence had meaning for George Hodel.
Similarly, we do not know what an older George Hodel as “Zodiac”, meant by including artistically reminiscent lines in his “Exorcist Letter” as they are yet to be deciphered.
Could the signage symbols be taken from his past?  Thoughtprints that contain some special significance to George Hodel?  Certainly, worth considering.



  1. Luigi Warren on June 13, 2022 at 7:25 pm


    Perhaps Charles Fisher, the historian who nominated the Tea House for conservation, could offer insight into the history of the tiles and whether they were the work of Alexander Zelenko. They seem very distinctive, and also suggest the “Flying V” Zodiac symbol — e.g., there’s a V and a slanted F in there. That symbol also recalls the Ws and zigzags of the Sowden House architecture, by the way.

    Best regards,


    • Steve Hodel on June 13, 2022 at 7:27 pm

      Good suggestion Luigi. I will see if I can contact him on this.

      • Luigi Warren on June 14, 2022 at 12:16 am

        Steve: Just noticed a new-ish building near me that has three tiled “murals” with quite similar if more structured two-color “stick” patterns, so I’m going to guess this a recent addition. Also doesn’t look that weathered, I think. Over at Esotouric, Mr. Fisher comments that Zelenko’s original artwork on the walls and ceilings appears to be gone now, unfortunately. -LW

        • Steve Hodel on June 14, 2022 at 8:59 am

          I’m confident it’s not Zelenko’s artwork. His was very fantastical and whimsy. (I had an opportunity to visit the main house and tea house a decade or more ago and photographed interiors documenting Zelenko’s artwork and unique fireplace. The tea house was in heavy disrepair back then. I didn’t look at the underpinnings and hence did not see the mural. But, it was protected from the elements, and I don’t believe it was done anytime recently.

  2. Patricia ONeill on June 14, 2022 at 1:25 pm

    Steve, as mentioned bfor……the tea house is one of the “oddities” that jumped out at me in reading The Early Years. Not a gift given to a very young teen by loving & caring parents😞! Who gives their child the opportunity, the almost complete freedom to explore their independence at the early age of 12-13?! The Tea House in reality was IMO the start of GHH’s descent into depravity. If GHH did create the tiled mural, it fits the limited “diagnosis” explained to me in professional seminars as a teacher in my Emotional Disability class! We were told to engage our students in art activities and encourage freedom of expression. Of course the art was saved and examined by our psychologists/social workers and discussed in seminars before given back to the students , unless very inappropriate. And yes, there were a fair amount of inappropriate ones, thereby assigning a student to heavier counseling or psychiatric care! I learned here (‘90-92) that geometric art can be quite healing/cathartic for the individual creating it. I am labeling that mural of blue tiles with strong brush strokes in black & white upon the blue tiles as such. And as far as I observe GHH continued with that style throughout his career & life. The style fits the deliberate strong cuts of surgeon. It also enables the artist to feel control by encasing within the boundaries of the tiles. As I see the mural, it also imparts (to me) the lack of emotion & empathy…..more revenge than anything else. GHH was unfortunately well on his way to becoming the serial predator & killer as factually revealed in your true-crime books! Your writings, Steve, have alerted an innocent public to “follow” that gut instinct. So many people, men & women, were dazzled by the engaging smile, good looks, tassled loafers that led to their demise!! PEOPLE, READ STEVE HODEL’S BOOKS!! Could be a lifesaver!😟🌵

    • Steve Hodel on June 14, 2022 at 6:18 pm

      Patricia O: Too kind Patricia. Your insights and observations through the years have been greatly appreciated. Not to mention your great HUMOR. This mural artist may turn out to be non-related, but from all that we know about GHH it has to be at least considered a possibility. So many of his crimes carry with them clues and thoughtprints to his PAST. Almost like he could not resist leaving some kind of personal imprint on his “work.” All Best, Steve

  3. Zodiac’s Halloween card with the Ogham (?) cipher/signature! on July 5, 2022 at 4:58 am

    Hi Steve .
    It’s always fascinating – like slowly peeling the layers of all onion.
    Upon seeing the mural i immediately flashed on

  4. Bob Schulenberg on July 5, 2022 at 5:07 am

    (Damn!) …………flashed on Zodiac’s Halloween card with its Ogham cipher/signature!
    (Sorry for the previous fumble.)

  5. Bob Schulenberg on July 5, 2022 at 5:10 am

    (I think my iPad is having a breakdown.)

    • Steve Hodel on July 5, 2022 at 9:56 am

      Bob S:
      Well coming from a highly skilled artist/illustrator like you, is significant.

      I agree, but hopefully, we can discover some additional evidence to connect.
      As you and others who have read my series know, these links “just keep coming.”
      All Best,

  6. Charles Pruett on December 9, 2022 at 12:39 am

    That “To Kill” solution belongs Zodiac: Tge Montana Connection.

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