Driven by the art of humiliation and misdirection he led the investigative bodies on a piece of string, complimented by an inordinate amount of good fortune, to elude capture throughout his manifesto of evil during the late 1960s and early 1970s.
Although his correspondence to the newspapers eventually dwindled away, it may be that two of his later letters, despite being shorter by comparison, held the biggest key to unraveling, or at the very least guiding us into the very footprints of a killer.
The Exorcist Letter sent to the San Francisco Chronicle on January 29th 1974 was closely followed just five days later by the SLA Letter, postmarked February 3rd 1974 - and both letters seemed to offer very little in the way of clues - that is unless you know where to look.
Kevin Robert Brooks steps into the mind of the Zodiac killer, believing he is slowly drawing his suspect out of the shadows and into the light, as one and the same.
On the face of it, little can be gleaned from these two short messages, that is, until you compare these two letters to others, and place them alongside articles sent by Donald Lee Bujok to the Billings Gazette in the 1970s.
In a previous post it was shown that Donald Lee Bujok had mailed numerous literary observations on various social issues of the day to the newspapers, giving us a tantalizing glimpse into the psyche of what drove him and possibly indicated that the author was luring us into a game of 'cat and mouse', thereby toying with authorities, seeing if they could connect the dots between the Billings Gazette articles and the Zodiac paraphernalia that had streamed from the pen of a killer for virtually half a decade.
One of the most interesting letters he sent to the Billings Gazette was his reference to the Exorcist film, dated June 2nd 1974, approximately four months after the Zodiac mailed the Exorcist Letter to the San Francisco Chronicle on January 29th 1974.
In the article he ridiculed the idea of possession and thoughts of the supernatural, not unlike Zodiac's statement at the top of the Exorcist Letter, in which he wrote "I saw and think the Exorcist was the best satirical comedy that I have ever seen."
On March 22nd 1974, in another letter to the Billings Gazette, he seemed irked by a Dick Tracy horror strip apparently promoting poor moral values, mirroring the Badlands/Citizen Letter, mailed by the supposed Zodiac on May 8th 1974 just one and a half months later, in which he chastised the running of advertisements for the Badlands movie in similar poor taste, as well as parallels to the attack on columnist Marco Spinelli in the Red Phantom Letter on July 8th 1974.
In another article he moralizes over the issues of hunting and the rights of landowners.
However, there is another more revealing piece of correspondence he mailed to the Billings Gazette, dated Monday March 17th 1975, entitled 'It could be the octane rating,' and provided further and more interesting parallels to the Zodiac case, as well as to the apparently insignificant SLA Letter, that will now become the centerpiece of our focus.
The Zodiac presented us with symbols at the foot of the Exorcist Letter, thought to be the words 'To Kill', as Kevin Robert Brooks surmised this was the most reasonable assumption based on what we know about the killer. He then, as a form of prompt to the police, sent us the SLA Letter shortly thereafter, and in trademark Zodiac style continued his art of toying with authorities by stating
"Did you know that the initials SLA spell "sla", an old Norse word meaning "Kill". a friend", even stylizing his 'K' in typical Mikado fashion.
The SLA Letter was postmarked February 3rd 1974 Just over one year later, on March 17th 1975, came more high octane correspondence, in the form of an article Donald Lee Bujok crafted on the subject of a haunted Volkswagen, that was headed:
"It could be the octane rating",
In the article he placed two interesting features that spiked interest. Firstly, he mentioned "Mr Kolchak", the lead character from the television series Kolchak the Night Stalker - the first episode of which, is about a serial killer who writes to newspapers, entitled "The Ripper" (view on Youtube), and aired by ABC television on September 13th 1974.
The storyline is about a murderer who preys on women in Chicago, with Carl Kolchak played by Darren McGavin, strong in his belief that this was not a copycat, but actually Jack the Ripper himself, a ruthless killer who slaughtered five women in the Whitechapel district of London, England in 1888. He was an intimidating and fast talking character, strong willed with a dark sense of humor, who worked as investigative newspaper journalist for Chicago's Independent News Service, going to any lengths to nail down a story.
Two pilots were made in 1972 and 1973 based on an unpublished novel, called 'The Night Stalker'.
The series also included 'They Have Been, They Are, They Will Be' released on TV September 27th 1974, 'Firefall' released November 8th 1974, 'Horror in the Heights' released December 20th 1974, 'Legacy of Terror' released February 14th 1975, and ended with 'The Sentry' after twenty episodes on March 28th 1975, just 11 days after Donald Lee Bujok's most recent correspondence with the Billings Gazette.
The second interesting piece of the article is contained in only one word. Donald Lee Bujok signed the foot of the letter with the word 'Skoal', which is Danish Old Norse meaning cheers or good health, reminiscent of the SLA letter's unusual footnote, stating 'an old Norse word meaning "Kill".
On the face of it, these articles to the Billings Gazette appear insignificant, until you bear in mind their close proximity to known Zodiac correspondence and the subject matter involved.
This article is courtesy of Kevin Robert Brooks and this is the 'Montana Connection'.