Three months after the Little List letter, on October 27th 1970, the Zodiac Killer mailed the Halloween Card to the San Francisco Chronicle.
The main focus of the correspondence appeared to be directed towards Paul Avery, a reporter at the San Francisco Chronicle newspaper and came in the form of a Halloween card. It depicted two skeletons, again using the incorrect spelling of the PARADICE word, surrounded by the five words of: by knife, by gun, by rope, by fire and crossed with the word SLAVES.
The card also contained the phrase 'peek a boo you are doomed !', a sort of veiled threat, and on the face of the card written on the skeletons hand was the number 14, possibly inferring Paul Avery was to become his 14th victim.
The Halloween Card envelope, either deliberately or inadvertently, contained the misspelled name of Paul Avery to Paul Averly and the LAV section of his name had been underlined.
Many theories have been put forward to the meaning of the symbol on the Halloween envelope and card. The Zodiac Killer throughout his correspondence, often declared how many victims he had claimed for his afterlife, so quite simply, the symbol could stand for ZVF, indicating a total of Zodiac Victims Fourteen, with the four dots alluding to this fact.
The picture above right, shows the front and back of the card, with the skeleton image and pumpkin forming the front face and the picture below this shows what is contained on the inside of the card once it is opened.
See also the comparisons attempted to link this card to the 340 cipher mailed to the San Francisco Cronicle on November 8th 1969. Click here
Kevin Robert Brooks has done extensive research into the Zodiac case and firmly believes he has identified the notorious serial killer as Donald Lee Bujok with numerous interesting 'coincidences' between Bujok's life and the Zodiac Letters, but below we will concentrate on his findings regarding the Halloween Card mailed on October 27th 1970 to Paul Avery, a reporter at the San Francisco Chronicle.
First of all Donald Lee Bujok had a military background, serving with the sixth infantry for approximately eight months in 1954 and while stationed there would have come across the California Veterans Association symbol which looks very similar to the symbol the Zodiac placed on the upper left of the envelope and at the foot of the card once opened.
Kevin Brooks draws you in to the symbol on the left side, believing the lined section with four dots to stand for ZV4F, decoded to: Zodiac is a veteran with 4F, regarding the medical grounds to which Donald Lee Bujok was released from the army. The medical release records indicated issues of mental health, to which Bujok suffered throughout his life. Also the familiar Zodiac crosshair symbol could be found at the garrison during the time Bujok was stationed there (see below right). It marked the spot for a helicopter landing pad and this is where he formulated inspiration, that he used in later Zodiac correspondence.
The author of the Halloween envelope also underlines the L, A and V of the misspelt name of Paul Avery, indicating he was a member of the Light Armored Vehicle Division, with the misspelling to Averley hinting towards his middle name of Lee.
The front of the Halloween card contains the message, 'I feel it in my bones, you ache to know my name, And so I'll clue you in' and once the card is opened it reveals the word BOO!, signifying his name BUJOK. The card was also 'sprayed' with multiple eyes, drawing the observer to another subtle hint left by Donald Lee Bujok, that he was a member of the sightseeing sixth infantry, which was used as their insignia.
He also served time in prison at Montana State Prison, Deer Lodge for 11 years. Incidentally the attacker of Bryan Hartnell and Cecilia Shepard claimed to have been an escaped prisoner from Deer Lodge, Montana, having killed a guard before tying up and brutally stabbing the couple at Lake Berryessa.
The skeleton positioning in the card was possibly portraying memories of his time in prison, in which prisoners were hung by their wrists to the cell bars, as a form of punishment and similar to how Paul Stine's body was laid out in the Presidio Heights murder scene.
The writing By Gun, By Knife, By Rope and By Fire represented methods employed by prisoners to taunt guards they had held captive during an uprising at the prison on 16th April 1959 which became widely known as Jerry's Riot. Another prisoner Ed Edwards, who had served alongside Bujok, later released a book called Metamorphosis of a criminal. This book mentioned another inmate, who Ed Edwards described, as his most uncomfortable memory from Deer Lodge Prison, a prisoner who held the belief, that anyone being killed by him would become his slave in the afterlife. This is possibly where the inception of the Zodiac Killer, along with his inspiration gathered momentum, eventually to be realized during later communications, such as the Little List Letter on July 26th 1970.
Finally photographs of Donald Lee Bujok wearing military issue glasses, which he often wore in later life, bears an uncanny resemblance to the famous Zodiac composite sketch.
For the full analysis of Kevin Robert Brooks breakdown and theory on why Donald Lee Bujok is a firm candidate for the Zodiac attacks visit here, he submitted his findings to the FBI and Napa County for tests but DNA and fingerprints held in storage in the Zodiac case files failed to provide any match to Donald Lee Bujok.
To view the envelope from the Halloween Card and a further analysis and theory about this correspondence by Robert Peter Ackerman,click here.
Paul Avery ( April 2nd 1934 - December 10th 2000 )
The Halloween card was widely assumed to be a direct threat towards Paul Avery, a reporter at the San Francisco Chronicle. Paul Avery found links indicating the Zodiac Killer may have been responsible for the murder of Cheri Jo Bates in Riverside on October 30th 1966 and to which the Zodiac either laid claim to, or part indicated his involvement in, by later stating ' I do have to give them credit for stumbling across my riverside activity', when he sent the Los Angeles Times Letter on March 13th 1971, five months after this card was received.
Whether or not the Halloween Card was misinterpreted is open to question, as no threat ever materialized, although Paul Avery took no chances, arming himself at all times around this period with a .38 revolver.
Paul Avery was also heavily involved in the reporting of the kidnap of Patty Hearst (19), a newspaper heiress, taken hostage on February 4th 1974 by the Symbionese Liberation Army, an urban militant group. She later was to be viewed as a sympathizer for the group, after her involvement in a bank heist along with other SLA members. She was caught on film on the banks cameras on April 15th 1974 brandishing a M1 Carbine and appearing a willing participant in the crime. She was later jailed for two years, before being pardoned. This did not appear to go unnoticed by the Zodiac Killer, who on Valentines day February 14th 1974 sent another communication to the San Francisco Chronicle, labelled the SLA Letter, after his mention of the Symbionese Liberation Army in a short, seven lined letter, although the Zodiac community is widely split on the authenticity of this correspondence.
It was interesting none the less, as on the Halloween Card envelope, the LAV in Paul Averly is underlined, which when reversed spells VAL, the Old Norse for slay/kill, and tying in with Valentines day, the date of the SLA letter, with Paul Avery being instrumental in both, that is, his stories of the Symbionese Liberation Army and the focus of the Zodiac's attention in the Halloween Card itself.