Bringing the Zodiac killer to bay
On May 19th last, the Riverside police announced to the world that they have determined the identity of the Zodiac murderer, basing their identification on certain recently-received handwriting samples and contemporary photographs of a certain individual, whose hand and likeness closely
match the Zodiac's. The person in question is the same one I referred to obliquely in these pages last December as "Mr. X." I know, because the handwriting samples and photo came from me.
[quoteright]While we are waiting for the other official shoe to drop, I thought Mensans might be interested in seeing a couple of examples of the way in which the murderer expressed himself in the body of letters he left behind.
Those who sent in for the supplement to the last Zodiac article* will recall that my digital solution to the so-called "340-character cipher" began with this passage: 0010010000111. Both the FBI and the UCLA mathematics department failed to identify it as the binary writing of the fraction of pi. The staff of the ECPHORIZER recognized it for what it was, which suggests that someone is holding the wrong job and goes a long way toward explaining why this puzzle has remained, for the last 13 years, 340 characters in search of an author.
Further on, this passage appears: 110010101100111, which is identical in form with the Morse spelling of the word MIKADO (the Zodiac quoted from the operetta of that title in two letters). The third distinct passage, 010100001111, is the binary writing of the reciprocal of the square root of ten. I'll come back to these passages presently, but let me adduce first another Zodiac document, the Exorcist Letter (29 January 1974), reproduced here for the first time in its unexpurgated form from an official photograph of the original.
Three of the five "misspellings" in this letter involve erroneous use of the letter "I". It was suggested to me that the dots on the I's might form a geometric structure. The suggestion was enormously productive. The first four dots, in the order of occurrence in the English text, express significant numbers when the distances between them are read in millimeters (the use of mm. as a means of expression is a Zodiac commonplace, richly represented not only in this letter, but also in the Bus Bomb Diagram of 20 April 1970). Dot 1 to Dot 2 is 76 mm. Dot 2 to Dot 3 is 38. Dot 3 to Dot 4 is 95. 38 is a Zodiac commonplace; 76 is its exact double (and the juxtaposition of numbers and their doubles is another Zodiac commonplace). 95 in binary is 1011111, identical in form with the Morse 1 011 111, TWO. Since the 76-mm. line is above the 38-mm. line, I believe that I am justified in reading this as "76 over 38 is TWO," which is true both mathematically and orthographically.
Other structures in the letter express other Zodiac themes, but one deserves special mention. The line formed by the dot of "Signed" to the upper dot of the colon following "truley" is 103 mm.
The digital spelling of MIKADO in the 340-character cipher begins with Character 104; it is preceded by 103 digits. Here, we have a quote from The Mikado which implies the title. It is preceded by another 103, in this case, millimeters. This is one of several instances in the Zodiac literature of the mathematical rebus, which uses the same logic that governs Roman numerals. I before X is X minus I; X before C is C minus X, etc. Here, we have 103 before MIKADO, digital spelling, 110010101100111. The underlined part is the binary writing of the number 103. If 103 before MIKADO means MIKADO minus 103, then by subtracting the 103, we are left with 11001010, which is identical in form with the Morse spelling of the given name MIKE.
I mentioned the reciprocal of the square root of ten, which appears in the 340-character cipher. The square root of any base number is identical in form with its own reciprocal, excepting the placement of the decimal point. Here, we have the reciprocal of the square root of one base (ten) written to another base (two). It appears to be a challenge to find the hidden form into which the number will transform itself when read as the reciprocal's reciprocal. Curiously, the square root of ten, when written in binary, 11.001010011000..., is identical in form with the Morse spelling of MIKE PI.
Finally, let me point out the origin of the figures drawn at the foot of the letter. They are excerpted from the John Tenniel illustration accompanying the first chapter of Alice, "Down the Rabbit-Hole (the Zodiac signed himself "r-h" in an early document). As with the quotation from The Mikado the title appears to be implied. To anyone who wonders why the Zodiac would want to imply the phrase, "Rabbit-Hole," I suggest reviewing the Morse alphabet and then taking a close look at the first 13 digits of pi quoted above.
Back in 1969, officers of Mensa tendered an offer of help to the police but were rebuffed. Twelve years later, I published in these pages a declaration that I had the key to reading the Zodiac literature. I expected a challenge and would have welcomed the opportunity to make a comprehensive presentation to skeptical Mensans. Apart from a number of well--wishings from people who seem to think I may be right, I have been left with the feeling of being stuck holding the bell while the cat is approaching. Mensa now appears not to be interested.
For almost two years, I have acted as gadfly to the police. Since they were not moved by mathematics (one cop of my acquaintance told me with considerable assurance that pi was 3.1), I even had to get the physical evidence myself (with the help of non-Mensans). There is now even documentary evidence connecting Mr. X with the Zodiac murders. But where the Zodiac investigation was waste motion for twelve years, it now resembles nothing so much as a massive logjam. Dynamite is called for, and I'm fresh out.
Mensa publications are filled with debate over the utility of high intelligence. The misuse of intelligence, the combination of genius with evil, should be of even more concern. While Mensa itself has no official opinion about anything, that neutrality surely does not extend to murder. There are many Mensans who have the background and credentials either to prove me wrong or to certify my findings to the ones who count: the police. That may be what it will take to hasten the long-delayed retribution which this fiend so richly deserves.
* THE ECPHORIZER, December 1981
Zodiac-hunter Gareth Penn appears to be zeroing in on his quarry. Stay tuned in these pages for further developments...
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