It was entitled Gilbert and Sullivan Clue to Zodiac, so it would come as no surprise that the Halloween Card opened with the line "I feel it in my bones, You ache to know my name, And so i'll clue you in". It would appear that the Zodiac Killer deliberately chose this particular card in regards to the use of the word 'clue,' to be considered as his response. But once again he disappointed, revealing very little. However, what could be garnered from this card was his use of the pumpkin to strategically mask the pelvic gender of the skeleton, unashamedly revealed on the card inner to the accompaniment of the word 'Boo' - while in reverse, masking the face of the skeleton and suggestive of a hidden identity. The question is, what identity are we looking for - a sexual identity or the killer himself?
Very little, if anything about the Zodiac crimes can be regarded as sexual, as no apparent interference took place in any of the four crimes, but could this in its absence tell us anything about the killer himself. It has been suggested that his savage attacks on young courting couples is an attack on something unavailable to him, either from a standpoint of confidence and inadequacy, or in terms of his repressed or closet sexuality. After all, the Zodiac did state that killing people was "better than getting your rocks off with a girl". In a previous article 'From Your Secret Pal' we examined the possibility that the Zodiac Killer was a latent homosexual as alluded to in the San Francisco Chronicle, authored by Paul Avery on October 18th 1969 - so here we will slightly expand on that idea.
Jose Sarria was a high profile advocate of the LGBT scene in San Francisco, becoming synonymous with the Black Cat bar at 710 Montgomery Street from 1945 to its closure in 1974, also founding The League for Civil Education to highlight acceptance towards homosexuality and even finding the time to run for office. Jose Sarria encouraged patrons to be proud of their homosexuality, while often dressing up - and as a performer often sang in opera based shows and torch songs. However, there was fierce opposition from society, with constant police intimidation and raids, with cross dressing patrons routinely arrested on the pretext of impersonating a woman. Jose Sarria encouraged the arrested to demand jury trials in an attempt to clog up the court system, forcing a rethink by authorities. Despite this, the names and addresses of those arrested were routinely published in the newspapers as a form of deterrent and shaming. This oppression was certainly cause enough to ignite a hatred towards the police and newspapers, two things the Zodiac seemed to revel in during his barrage of communication for nearly five years - but whether this was the incendiary is pure conjecture.
A button or label was created stating I am a boy, effectively negating deception as an intention. In response to the perceived threat on Paul Avery in the Halloween Card, colleagues would adorn buttons on their clothing similar to the I am a boy declaration, but on this occasion would read I am not Paul Avery.
The Zodiac Killer aligned himself with Melvin Belli for a brief period, even mentioning or inferring the attorney's name in the Dragon Card mailed on April 28th 1970, where the Zodiac declared "I would like to see some nice Zodiac buttons wandering about town. Everyone else has these buttons like, black power, melvin eats bluber, etc. Well it would cheer me up considerably if I saw a lot of people wearing my buton. Please no nasty ones like melvin's". The intention of Zodiac is rooted in the Irwin Weisfeld counterculture buttons of the 1960s, nevertheless the Sarria connection remains a viable influence. A further link exists in the maker of the Dragon Card (created by the Jolly Roger Card Company). After winning a court case, Melvin Belli would often raise a Jolly Roger flag over his Montgomery Street office building in the Barbary Coast district of San Francisco, returning full circle to the Halloween Card characteristics once more.
Mason and Geary Street, the supposed intersection where fate carried Paul Stine to his death, bisects the Nob Hill and Tenderloin districts, and combines both the LGBT and theater influences under one banner - but reference was made by Robert Graysmith, stating that Paul Stine picked up the Zodiac Killer from outside the Westin St Francis Hotel, situated at 335 Powell Street in Union Square. Jose Sarria was arrested at the Westin St Francis public restrooms for solicitation, a location often frequented by homosexuals, with police attempting to clamp down on such activities.
The Zodiac Killer liked dressing up, as we saw during his Lake Berryessa attack on September 27th 1969 and he apparently had access to disguises, that he alluded to in the Bus Bomb Letter on November 9th 1969, when in response to Chief of Police Martin Lee he stated "I look like the description passed out only when I do my thing, the rest of the time I look entirle different". The question is, how different did he look the rest of the time? The Halloween Card was taken as a perceived threat on the life of San Francisco reporter Paul Avery, but how serious a threat was it considered - after all, the Zodiac Killer apologized on the inside of the envelope addressed to Paul Avery with 'sorry no cipher' and sealed it with a kiss.