"Paul Avery covered the Hearst case until the newspaper heiress-turned-bank robber was arrested in September 1975. Avery then holed up on his houseboat at Gate 5 in Sausalito with Boston writer Vin McLellan to write The Voices of Guns, a book on the SLA and the Hearst kidnapping." Wikipedia.
The 'Exorcist' letter has recently courted new attention with the publication of Mike Rodelli's new book 'The Hunt for Zodiac: The Inconceivable Double Life of a Notorious Serial Killer', pouring some doubt on the authenticity of this communication.
This letter, once again, appeared another response to a Paul Avery newspaper article, featuring the recently released Exorcist movie, an American horror film released in 1973, directed by William Friedkin and adapted for screenplay by William Peter Blatty, based on his 1971 book. The San Francisco Chronicle article entitled 'Weird Goings on at the Movies,' was published on January 11th 1974 and detailed the audience reaction to what they had just experienced. The opening lines of the article are extremely interesting when we consider the opening lines of the January 29th 1974 'Exorcist' letter, only 18 days later.
Since the day after Christmas, some 60,000 persons have endured a harsh winter's elements standing in lines - sometimes for as long as two hours - to see the see the current cinema rage playing at the Northpoint Theater near Fisherman's Wharf.
It is an experience that produces reactions ranging from vomiting to fainting, to one apparently jaded patron's demand for his money back because it was about as scary as Snow White".
The author of the 'Exorcist' letter apparently concurred with this disgruntled patron, beginning the letter with "I saw + think "The Exorcist" was the best satirical comedy that I have ever seen,"
The author also made sure to place "The Exorcist" in quotation marks, just like the article. If this letter was the Zodiac Killer, he would go on to use quotation marks around words in his following two correspondences - something he had never previously done in his communications from 1969 to 1971.
The middle section of the 'Exorcist' letter is signed yours truley 'Ko-Ko Lord High Executioner' by means of Tit-Willow from The Mikado's On a tree by a river. The same can be said of the 'Little List' letter on July 26th 1970, which also featured Ko-Ko in A more humane Mikado.
Then we travel to the most interesting part of the 'Exorcist' letter at the bottom of the correspondence, and its comparison to the first letters mailed by the Zodiac Killer on July 31st 1969. The 'Exorcist' letter was mailed to the San Francisco Chronicle, so we will take a look at the July 31st 1969 letter mailed to the same paper. This is what the killer signed off with: "I want you to print this cipher on the front page of your paper. In this cipher is my idenity. If you do not print this cipher by the afternoon of Fry.1st of Aug 69, I will go on a kill ram-Page Fry. night. I will cruse around all weekend killing lone people in the night then move on to kill again, until I end up with a dozen people over the weekend." It begins with a demand to print his material in the paper, and finishes with the threat "to kill" again if his instructions are not followed.
The foot of the 'Exorcist' letter begins with a demand to put this note in the paper, and finishes with a threat you know he is capable of. We know what the killer is capable of - it is "to kill" - as he threatened at the foot of the July 31st 1969 San Francisco Chronicle letter if his demands to print the cipher were not met. Even the decoded cipher rammed home the message "To kill something gives me the most thrilling experience". Therefore, by logical deduction, the strange characters at the foot of the 'Exorcist' letter should read "to kill". Thanks to the great work of Zodiac researcher Kevin Robert Brooks, this is exactly what he showed. Even more importantly, the beginning of each word began with an upper case letter, just like "The Exorcist" - forming the words "To Kill" with significant emphasis on the 'K' of "Kill".
His reformation now appeared complete in the May 8th 1974 'Citizen' letter, railing against the publication of advertisements for the "Badlands" movie starring Martin Sheen and Sissy Spacek, and based upon the real life events of spree killers Charles Raymond Starkweather and his girlfriend Caril Ann Fugate.
His final consternation would be reserved for Marc H Spinelli in the July 8th 1974 'Red Phantom' letter, calling for the cancellation of his Count Marco column. The murderer now seemingly devoid of the Zodiac persona after exorcising his demons subsequent to January 29th 1974, along with his inability to spell.
Had the Zodiac Killer returned after an absence of nearly three years, or was the return of the Bay Area murderer a demon that had to be resurrected for the sake of publicity in an ever dwindling case.