This is the Zodiac speaking. I hope that everyone is having fun in trying to catch me, but… I am sorry for the spoiler: you will never do so.
Let me introduce myself. I am an anonymous serial killer under the pseudonym of Zodiac, and I want to share with you my story.
Between the 60s and 70s I killed 37 people in Northern California. Yes, 37, you read well, in fact, I confessed so in one of my famous letters. I sent those letters in addition to some coded into cyphers ones to three different local newspapers: Vallejo Times Herald, San Francisco Chronicle and San Francisco Examiner.
Here you have one of my letters.
Mailed: July 31, 1969
Postmarked: San Francisco, Calif.
Sent to: San Francisco Chronicle
As you can see, I have always been honest. Not only did I prove that I had actually murdered those people, but I also left clues about my identity and I warned about the next attacks I had in mind to commit. Despite having provided all this information, the police was never able to catch me. And this is where the role of the linguist comes into play. Forensic linguists have also tried to find out who I am, or at least, to provide as accurate a description of my personality as possible. For instance, Gerald McMenamin provided a very interesting linguistic analysis of my handwriting and my words:
Not only him, but many other forensic linguists have tried to reach a conclusion. Unfortunately, all they managed to do was to get a little closer to my identity. However, I have to be honest I admire the fact that they have been able to create my linguistic profile. Different experts conclude that I am a middle-aged man with intellectual abilities which exceed the average. They state that I am quite a cultured person and that I am sophisticated and careful in the way I plan my murders and write about them. I guess that they are right, nobody knows who I am… It has also been concluded that I am trying to challenge you citizens and security forces, and that I am narcissist and manipulative, can you believe that? Well, I will never reveal it to you…
This is my facial composite. Those few people who survived my attacks remembered my face… these descriptions allowed the police to create it.
My facial composite along with my handwriting matched that of a man called Arthur Leigh Allen:
Allen was the prime suspect of this case, in fact, he did not have an impeccable past, as he was a teacher who bullied his students. Despite these matches, the police concluded that he couldn’t be the Zodiac because his DNA was not the one found in those multiple crime scenes.
Last but not least…
MISSPELLED: doo, buton, mistry, som.
SPELLED: do, button, mystery, some.
As I am a challenging person I produced in many of my letters an alternation of spelled and misspelled words. For example, I wrote the word ”do” and a few lines below, I wrote ”doo”; and so did I with the rest of the words that you can see in the table. Some linguists such as McMenamin and Labov state that, intentionally or not, I select the language forms that I am going to use.
Another thing that I want to tell you is that my calligraphy is characterized by being extreme right, and this reveals something about my personality: graphology identifies me as: lack of self-control, impulsive, unrestrained, intense, very expressive, low frustration tolerance:
If you are a curious person and you want to read all my letters, here you have a website, which not only contains my letters, but the envelopes and cyphers: http://www.zodiackiller.com/Letters.html
You can also watch David Fincher’s film: Zodiac (2007) , or Alexander Bulkley’s film: The Zodiac (2005).
And with all this… I think it is time to stop revealing things that concern me, lest you discover my identity… even though the FBI hasn’t been able to find me… can you? I don’t think so, however, good luck.