The hooded Zodiac " costume "

Cougar22again
Newbie
Joined: May 3rd, 2018, 7:33 pm

May 8th, 2018, 5:58 pm #1

Hello, longtime lurker here. I posted on Zodiackiller.com and kansas.com back in the BTK days ( Hi Tom! ), but I've not had much to say since that is until the capture of the GSK in Citrus Heights. Now that I am trying to catch up to the Zodiac case updates something stands out to me that I'd never before considered. If it's already discussed here, my apologies. Evidently, my search did not produce the right results. 

My question is, did the Zodiac wear the hood only at Lake Berryessa? And if so, why did he wear it at all if he intended to kill both victims and leave no witnesses? Unless it was simply to terrorize them before they were killed. 

I've read some theories re a park ranger who was at the Lake Berryessa scene. If indeed he was the perp behind the Hartnell/Shepard case, one could almost imagine him piecing something together during his long hours of solitary patrolling on the job, and having plenty of time to dispose of it between leaving the crime scene and then encountering Mr. Hartnell on the road as he attempted to flag down some help. Like the GSK, his need to preserve his identity would be a number one priority as he is visible to others while on the job. 

It's just an idea. I've only begun to read the threads and catch up. Thanks for your help! 
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ZteveMcQueen
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ZteveMcQueen
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Joined: January 20th, 2018, 5:30 pm

May 8th, 2018, 7:12 pm #2

Cougar22again wrote: My question is, did the Zodiac wear the hood only at Lake Berryessa? And if so, why did he wear it at all if he intended to kill both victims and leave no witnesses? Unless it was simply to terrorize them before they were killed. 
He only wore the hood at Lake Berryessa. Lots of people have speculated why he wore it.

It was still daylight out, and people have made the reasonable point that he needed something to conceal his face. Thing is, he could have done that with a ski mask. Too, he walked to the crime scene without the hood. People in the park saw him without it. Even Cecilia Shepard briefly saw him before he put on the hood. If the hood was to hide his face he didn't use it very well.

Unlike the mask, there's no practical purpose to explain the crosshair symbol on his chest. It was purely for show.

Some people think he wanted to scare his victims, but the plan he executed was exactly the opposite. He kept them calm and under control by telling them he only wanted their car to escape to Mexico. Wearing a scary outfit was counter to the plan.

I tend to think the costume wasn't for his victims, it was for him. With his crimes and his letters Z seems to have been playing a role or acting out a script in his head. I think of the Lake Berryessa costume as comic book supervillain cosplay.
Zodiac was a liar. There's no reason to assume anything he said was true.
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Cougar22again
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Joined: May 3rd, 2018, 7:33 pm

May 8th, 2018, 7:38 pm #3

Thanks for your reply, Zsteve. This makes perfect sense to me, as I also wondered why he would terrorize, then employ the ruse to keep them calm while he gained control of them. 

In reading about so many of these killers I have noticed that several of them ( BTK, Zodiac, GSK, ) use that same ruse to gain control. I often wonder if they are learning from one another or if it's their own personal experience that shows them what is effective. I'm afraid that if I were approached by a stranger in a hood, on a desolate piece of lakeshore, I'd lose my damned mind no matter how benign he tried to sound. 

Today I watched a Zodiac documentary ( wish I could recall title/producer ) and Bryan Hartnell was interviewed as well as Mike Mageau. I was impressed with Hartnell's recall with clear, concise, intelligence as he lay in his hospital bed, and then even more so many years later when interviewed again. ( early 2000's ? ) Mr. Mageau did not fare as well, the trauma to his brain leaving him somewhat confused at times. 

Thank you again. I know we newbies can create an atmosphere of redundancy. Doing my best to catch up and find new angles and/or ask new questions. 
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Tahoe27
DOJ
Joined: March 5th, 2007, 6:45 pm

May 9th, 2018, 3:03 pm #4

I've always wondered though, if he truly wanted to terrorize them, why no mention of him being Zodiac?  It doesn't appear he frightened Bryan too much.  If the symbol wasn't recognized, why not throw "Zodiac" in the mix?  Surely they would have heard of him.  
"Sometimes the questions are complicated and the answers are simple". Dr. Suess   
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TejasRob
VPD
Joined: May 1st, 2018, 2:33 am

May 9th, 2018, 3:48 pm #5

ZteveMcQueen wrote:
He only wore the hood at Lake Berryessa.
That we know of. It maybe the only time he wore it and someone lived to tell about it. 
It was still daylight out, and people have made the reasonable point that he needed something to conceal his face.
Someone had lived to talk after his last attack before Berryessa, that might have been a reason why he wore the hood, along with the LB attack being in the daytime.


Thing is, he could have done that with a ski mask.
Very true. It took time to make that hood, it meant something to him.

Too, he walked to the crime scene without the hood. People in the park saw him without it. Even Cecilia Shepard briefly saw him before he put on the hood. If the hood was to hide his face he didn't use it very well.
There's that theory, which I don't believe, but I suppose it's possible, that he filmed the attack and wore the hood so he would not be seen on the film.

Some people think he wanted to scare his victims, but the plan he executed was exactly the opposite. He kept them calm and under control by telling them he only wanted their car to escape to Mexico. Wearing a scary outfit was counter to the plan.
It would have failed with me. If I saw him walking toward me with that hood on, he would have had to shoot me in the back as I was running away, it would have scared the sheet out of me.
I tend to think the costume wasn't for his victims, it was for him. With his crimes and his letters Z seems to have been playing a role or acting out a script in his head. I think of the Lake Berryessa costume as comic book supervillain cosplay.
I believe you are spot on. He was really acting out his Zodiac alter-ego. Gave him a real thrill. I agree with Tahoe that it is a bit odd he didn't say anything about being Zodiac, but he might have thought they knew who he was and was surprised by their reaction. Hartnell was a cool customer, probably threw Zodiac off a bit.
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BugsMoran
DOJ
Joined: April 18th, 2007, 7:25 pm

May 9th, 2018, 3:58 pm #6

I often wonder if the Zodiac ditched the outfit because it was drenched with blood.
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Cougar22again
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Joined: May 3rd, 2018, 7:33 pm

May 9th, 2018, 6:14 pm #7

Tahoe27 wrote: I've always wondered though, if he truly wanted to terrorize them, why no mention of him being Zodiac?  It doesn't appear he frightened Bryan too much.  If the symbol wasn't recognized, why not throw "Zodiac" in the mix?  Surely they would have heard of him.  
Hi Tahoe,

Trying to jolt some Zcells and recall if he was already known as the Zodiac at the time he encountered Bryan and Cecilia. I know that he wrote the message on the door of Hartnell's Kharmann Ghia, and so from then on certainly his crosshairs symbol was known, as were his claim of responsibility for the other four victims he shot before them. After the Blue Rock Springs attacks he wrote letters to three different newspapers, all saying pretty much the same thing, claiming responsibility for the 4 previous victims. I just can't recall if he signed the letters with his Zodiac moniker and symbol. My point is that unless he did, and if the information was not known in the public sector, announcing himself as the Zodiac wouldn't have meant anything to Mr. Hartnell and Miss Shepard. 

I found an accounting of the first three letters written after the first 4 victims. Nowhere does he refer to himself as the Zodiac. However, on August 4, 1969 the Examiner received another letter and this time declared himself as the Zodiac: 

“Dear Editor - This is the Zodiac speaking. In answer to your asking about the good times I have had in Vallejo I shall be very happy to supply even more material.”

The letters to the three newspapers sent on July 31, 1969 were made public. Does anyone know if the August 4, 1969 letter was published? 
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TomVoigt
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TomVoigt
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Joined: February 21st, 2007, 4:35 am

May 9th, 2018, 7:30 pm #8

Tahoe27 wrote: I've always wondered though, if he truly wanted to terrorize them, why no mention of him being Zodiac?  
If you go by the content of the authenticated communications, excluding the ciphers, the symbol appeared 25 times, while the name "Zodiac" only 12. Not counting the symbol on both the costume and car door, which boosts it to 27 to 12 in favor of the symbol. And of course, he used the symbol in three letters before coming up with the name.

I believe the name was merely an afterthought.
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TejasRob
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Joined: May 1st, 2018, 2:33 am

May 9th, 2018, 11:07 pm #9

I'd say you could consider the symbol and the name Zodiac one and the same.
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ZteveMcQueen
Old Newbie
ZteveMcQueen
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Joined: January 20th, 2018, 5:30 pm

May 10th, 2018, 12:07 pm #10

TomVoigt wrote:
If you go by the content of the authenticated communications, excluding the ciphers, the symbol appeared 25 times, while the name "Zodiac" only 12. Not counting the symbol on both the costume and car door, which boosts it to 27 to 12 in favor of the symbol. And of course, he used the symbol in three letters before coming up with the name.

I believe the name was merely an afterthought.
I tend to agree. Anyone trying to make sense of Zodiac using astrology is on a snipe hunt, IMO. He doesn’t reference anything astrological in the authenticated letters. As far as I can recall none of the major suspects showed any interest in astrology.
Zodiac was a liar. There's no reason to assume anything he said was true.
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