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Is "Zodiac" Author Also the Killer?

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posted on Apr, 17 2008 @ 05:32 PM
Most people that are interested in the ZODIAC case are aware of Robert Graysmith's book Zodiac (from which the film was derived), but how many have ever read Times 17: The Amazing Story of the Zodiac Murders in California and Massachusetts? This tome came out in 1986 and was penned by an intriguing individual by the name of Gareth Penn. Penn's book added much to the ZODIAC investigation in that he introduced the "radian theory" to the public. (It is also interesting to note that the "Jack the Ripper" killings also seemed to have been designed according to a radian theory) Penn also named his suspect, architect Michael Henry O'Hare.

But is Penn more than he seems?

Penn has been held as a person of interest by quite a few ZODIAC investigators purely because of certain traits that he has in common with the killer.

Police profilers considered the Zodiac killer an "extremely shrewd, methodical planner" who would have had knowledge of cryptography, guns, map reading, meteorology, astronomy, drafting, and a probable military background. [32]

Self described as the son of an Army cryptographer and former employee of the California Attorney General’s office, Penn has written that he had a "checkered career" as a “medievalist, artillery surveyor, free lance writer, economic researcher, reference librarian, and receptionist in a robot factory.” [33]

In Times 17 Penn writes that he received artillery training at Fort Sill, Oklahoma during the mid-1960's. A U.S. Army artillery surveyor performs astronomical observations; measures azimuths, grid coordinates, and angles on maps; and operates/maintains vehicles, radios, weapons, and other survey equipment in support of artillery operations. [34]

Amateur investigators have noted that in Times 17, Penn audaciouly lays out a scenario whereby, as duty person in charge of daily roll call, he could have falsified an entry and left Fort Sill in October, 1966, taken a military hop to March AFB, and killed Cheri Jo Bates in nearby Riverside. [35] [36]

Based on his dates of service, Penn would have served during the Vietnam War.[37]

[edit] Writing style
A prolific letter-to-the-editor writer, Zodiac used British phrasing that incorporated numerous references to theatrical, literary, or linguistic works.

Recurring Zodiac themes included Gilbert and Sullivan’s Mikado; Old Norse limericks and poetry; epigrams, acrostics, and cryptograms; and high-handed word play intended to baffle and belittle the authorities.

Gareth Penn’s proclivity toward astute, officious, and often biting letters to the editors of the world’s top intellectual periodicals -- such as Scientific American, Nature, The Economist, and at least 15 letters over the years to National Public Radio -- has tantalized amateur sleuths as another similarity between Penn and Zodiac [42]

In an Ecphorizer article entitled Lima Riki, Penn notes that "in a previous incarnation," he used to write limericks "in Old Norse." A Zodiac letter mentions Old Norse writing, an issue Penn subsequently addressed.[43] [44] [45]


Last year, Christopher Farmer of OPORD Analytical issued a report in which he believes to have finally cracked the serial killers complex series of codes, and they go far beyond the cyphers submitted by the killer.

Farmer came to the conclusion (beyond doubt, to his mind) that the killer was none other than Gareth Penn!

The report is far too complex for me to give a summary of here, so I here is a link to the report in full, for those that are interested.

OPORD Analytical: The Zodiac Killer

So, has Farmer got it right? Will we see an end to one of the most enigmatic murder cases in American history?

[edit on 17/4/2008 by Beelzebubba]

posted on Apr, 19 2008 @ 12:28 AM
I read Robert Graysmith's book, Zodiac, years ago and remember it as being one of the most chilling true crime books I have ever read. Stories about people like the Zodiac killer reach right into one's reptilian brain and resonate in a very disturbing way.

The report by Christopher Farmer that you linked to is fascinating. I kind of skimmed through it because I'm not really brainy enough to do more than marvel at his cypher solving skills. Even when set out so clearly by him, this kind of evidence will fail to impress people who lack a component of subtlety in their mental makeup. Many people will fail to recognize the accumulation of logical connections presented as an accumulation of evidence. But the connections are more than coincidence.

Do you know if the authorities have undertaken any forensic examination of the area photographed at 3141 Paradise Drive., Tiburon, California?

posted on Apr, 19 2008 @ 11:22 AM
Hmm,very interesting.Cheers Beelzebubba.
This struck me as rather strange, on Wikipedias page of Gareth Penn it links to a Zodiac killer forum (reference no 57)where people are discussing him.He sounds like a bizzare man and seems to tick all the right boxes of the elusive killer.

By Mike Kelleher (Mike_Kelleher) ( - on Tuesday, July 30, 2002 - 05:59 am:

A little piece of history to add . . .

Back in early 1998 when I was beginning to put the Zodiac book together, I contacted Penn (among others). By that time, I had read "Times 17" although I wasn't quite sure that I understood much of it. Anyway, I wanted to offer Penn a forum for his ideas, if they made sense for the book. At first, he was very becoming, so I put forward a few questions about Zodiac and his theories. He replied by giving me a puzzle to solve, telling me that he would answer my questions only if I could solve his puzzle.

posted on Apr, 19 2008 @ 12:18 PM
Having grew up in the area as the events were taking place I have studied this case extensively throughout my life.

I have come to the conclusion myself that there was more than one person involved (at least 2 but, could be more?). That is how they got away with it. The person who did the murders was not the person who wrote the letters - that way, if the killer (the active, outdoorsy guy) were fingerprinted, or had his handwriting analyzed, they would clear him - and if they ever checked the house of the writer (the reclusive, loner type), they would not find all the murderous paraphenalia etc...

I could be wrong on the specifics, but im willing to bet my empire that there was more than one person involved. I am always interesting in reading new data and theory on the Zodiac, whether i believe it or not.

I havent read the entire link yet but Im going to sit back and relax and read it for the next little while, it sounds interesting and I appreciate you posting it.

[edit on 19-4-2008 by Grock]

posted on Apr, 19 2008 @ 12:53 PM
I'm a bit of a crime buff and I follow many unsolved murders closely and Zodiac is one of my favorites. I'm almost positive that Gareth Penn was nothing more than an obsessed follower of the case, I dont believe for a second any one but Arthur Leigh Allen and possibly an accomplice to him commited the Zodiac killings. As someone said about two people being involved, the killer and the writer, I believe this is somewhat what went on with Leigh being the killer.

posted on Apr, 20 2008 @ 06:08 AM
I was of the opinion that Arthur Leigh Allen was the killer as well. I also believed he had an accomplice that donated his penmanship to the letters.
The only reason I believed this was because of Robert Graysmith's books; Zodiac and Zodiac Unmasked. Graysmith provided very convincing evidence that seemed to condemn Allen.

When I discovered that Graysmith had probably done more harm to the case than good, I was shocked and disappointed.

Graysmith was so sure that his man, "Bob Hall Starr" (Allen) was guilty, he didn't let a little thing like the truth get in the way.

Most serious ZODIAC researchers dismiss Graysmith's evidence out of hand. After reading through this site, I too was convinced that Allen was not the ZODIAC Killer.

Some snippets:

The author's efforts to implicate his suspect continued in the years since the publication of ZODIAC. Graysmith spread an unsubstantiated rumor that Allen had received a speeding ticket near the scene of Zodiac's Lake Berryessa attack. This rumor eventually appeared as a verified fact in a book written by former FBI profiler John Douglas.

Graysmith claims in one quick sentence, "Sherwood Morrill confirmed my theory." (pg. 219). Yet he states that in 1981 he "dropped in on Sherwood Morrill "to compare handwriting of a suspect with the Zodiac's (Zodiac, pg. 298, paperback edition). If Morrill actually believed that Graysmith's projector theory was true, he would not continue to exclude or include suspects based on their handwriting. Graysmith seems oblivious to this blatant contradiction.

Official documents and media interviews, as well as the expert's family, demonstrate that Morrill's opinions never changed throughout his many years on the case. Until his death, Morrill stated that he was certain the Zodiac used his normal handwriting when writing the letters and the expert was unwavering in his belief that he could identify the killer using little more than a bank deposit slip.

Graysmith also attempted to revise Vallejo geography on page 425 of Zodiac Unmasked. The author claimed to have discovered a "hidden road" that led him "in a dead straight line" from the crime scenes to Allen's home. Graysmith claimed the road was so well hidden that he had to make an "abrupt turn" to make this sensational discovery.

In June of 2003, several Zodiac researchers drove the streets of Vallejo in an attempt to locate the road Graysmith described but were unable to do so using the information provided in the book. Telephone requests for assistance from the author went unanswered. Further research proved that Graysmith's phantom road does not appear on maps from the 1960s or today, and, in fact, never existed.

On page 200 of Zodiac Unmasked, Graysmith presents a drawing he claims Karen Allen produced while under hypnosis using "automatic writing." The drawing allegedly proves that Allen was in possession of Zodiac-like codes long before the killer's codes appeared in the newspapers. Karen Allen was never hypnotized, and she never produced the drawing shown in Graysmith's book.
Zodiac Killer Facts

I too believe that Gareth Penn was obsessed with the case, maybe even more than Graysmith.

ipsedixit is so very correct. These cyphers that Farmer has cracked go beyond the realm of coincidence. They also go beyond the machinations of some crack-pot that is creating evidence to implicate himself. If Farmer is correct, and he provides compelling evidence, he is showing us the inner workings of a person that is so sublime and brilliant as to be terrifying. A person that couldn't help but brag of his crimes in some way.
Times 17 gave us insight, for the first time, into the radian theory, and a lot of red herrings too.

The radian theory is interesting but it is flawed. If we look at a simplified view of these radians we get a more convincing picture.

Another interesting point about radians that arguably strengthens this position is the following. The vast majority of the time one uses radians as a unit of measure, the angles involved are a fraction (possibly improper) of π, e.g. π/6, π/4, π/3, π/2, π, etc. Rarely does one encounter whole-number multiples of one radian.

Having said that, the choice of the term radians may possibly have been a carefully calculated move on the part of the Zodiac. Although it's not clear whether the Zodiac deserves credit, just look at the result of him having used the term radians instead of degrees. Since Penn’s discovery in 1980, there has been a significant focus on the arguably unfamiliar unit. This clearly has diverted time, effort and focus away from other aspects of the case, including angles considered unrelated to radians. Numerous people have spent substantial amounts of time looking for one-radian angles throughout the geographic details of the case.
Two New Theories Regarding the Zodiac Case

[edit on 20/4/2008 by Beelzebubba]

posted on Jun, 10 2008 @ 05:12 PM
reply to post by Beelzebubba

Why hasn't the FBI or any Law Enforcement investigated Farmer's theory?

posted on Jun, 14 2008 @ 03:05 AM

posted on Jun, 17 2008 @ 11:32 AM
I agree. Why haven't we heard of the new information that Farmer has discovered? Have the FBI, Police etc.. done anything in the way of DNA testing, fingerprint testing etc.. to follow up on Gareth Penn. Is he the Zodiac? Farmers report is amazing and even as a lay person, he has written it in such a way that you can easily understand and put it together. It makes sense. What Farmer didn't discuss was the large cipher dated Nov. 69 (dripping pen). He didn't say one way or the other whether it was solved. What it says? Does anyone know?

posted on Jul, 6 2008 @ 10:54 PM
reply to post by Anonymous ATS

I think without a doubt that Gareth S. Penn is the Zodiac.

posted on Aug, 17 2008 @ 08:21 PM
reply to post by Beelzebubba

I think Mr. Farmer has found Zodiac! Gareth Penn's background fits, as doed his places of residence during the Zodiac killings. Penn truly fits the Zodiac profile and used some things in his writings to Mensa that were used in Zodiac's letters. Law Enforcement should be questioning Penn.

posted on Aug, 18 2008 @ 03:42 PM

posted on Sep, 24 2008 @ 11:32 AM
PENN IS ZODIAC --- There is no doubt in my mind after reading Mr. Farmer's report. Now if Law Enforcement will only act on this and question Penn and do DNA testing.

posted on Sep, 24 2008 @ 11:56 AM

Originally posted by Beelzebubba
I was of the opinion that Arthur Leigh Allen was the killer as well

[edit on 20/4/2008 by Beelzebubba]

I know the Allen family. They believe he is the killer as well.

posted on Oct, 1 2008 @ 01:37 PM

posted on Dec, 14 2008 @ 07:41 PM
Zodiac was a conspiracy of three people: The actual killer who was good friends with the Manson family, Gareth Penn who was behind the letters, and a third person who did the actual writing of the letters.

I know this because the person who did the writing of the letters told me and has already gone to the FBI. Look for the Zodiac case to be solved within the next year.

posted on Dec, 26 2008 @ 05:18 PM
reply to post by Grock

In reply to your theory on there being more than one person involved with the Zodiac murders you are right.

The Zodiac killings were a conspiracy of three people:
1. The killer who was a friend of the Manson family.
2. Gareth Penn who was behind the Zodiac letters.
3. A person who did the writing of the letters.

The Zodiac killer died in 1983, however it seems Gareth Penn may have continued killing. Penn has possibly killed a young couple at Jenner Beach in Aug 2004 and also two women near Seattle, WA in 2006.

Penn is presently living in Seattle and is going to soon be investigated by FBI.

posted on Dec, 27 2008 @ 02:03 AM

I heard a Man, who was a Police Investigator, and worked on the Zodiac Case...

Its like a 20 min interview...

The Guy called in, about a curious death of a man in San Fransico, and it got off topic onto the Zodiac..

Its good stuff...
Said the Zodiac is in Solano County...

The Case of the Mystery Death is big one... i couldn't post it here, and found nothing about it here, and all Youtube martial on it has been removed.

A Jewish Activist, who happen to be Gay, was found dead in the elevator of a building where he was taking Arabic classes.

The Lead Investigator came on the Radio show, and then was imideitly was taken off the case. And the Case was called an acidental death.

And thats it...

Dr. Daniel Kliman... and i cannot even find a single story about it now... less then 2 weeks ago... this happen...

All Youtube vids of this, are gone... besides this bit where the show went into the Zodiac...

Articles, gone...

When i FIND the stuff i want, then, this is a big story...

and i cannot belive it is not on here..

[edit on 12/27/2008 by TheSavageTesla]

posted on Jan, 3 2009 @ 12:48 PM
reply to post by TheSavageTesla

Hi Savage Tesla, do you realize that the person who called in is none other than Gareth Penn himself? He just mentioned he was a Police Investigator to divert people's attention to who he really is. anyone can call in at anytime and say they're anybody. The voice you hear is Gareth Penn, who now lives in Seattle. He may have been calling to front himself as someone else just to give false info. about a high-ranking official blah blah blah to divert attention away from him being a suspect for quite some time. Seriously, his voice is eerily reminiscient of the one recorded by an investigator that was examined on the show "Haunting Evidence - The Zodiac Killer". Check it out on Youtube; as it is a 5-part series. The last part has a man, who is actually Gareth Penn, speaking about Codes on an is the link, Definitely, look into this.

posted on Jan, 4 2009 @ 04:17 AM
TheSavageTesla & Anon.

Thank you very much for what has been added to this thread.
The voice on both of your posts is definitely the same individual.
Anon, how do you know that this is actually Penn on the audio and on the talk-back show? When was the Zodiac programme produced? As they say on it that the audio is of a suspect who has only recently come to the attention of authorities. That would seem to point to Penn, as there has been quite a bit of serious attention thrown his way since Farmer's report.

The talk-back show was quite strange. The information offered did seem a bit fishy. Perhaps a bit too conspiratorial, involving corruption from within the police force as well as local government. Even the radio host must have has his suspicions aroused when he flat-out asked him if he's the Zodiac.

Is Penn cracking?

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