I am grateful to Tom Voigt, Zodiologist and webmaster of Zodiackiller.com for a preview of the possible Zodiac missive discovered recently in the offices of the San Francisco Chronicle. Postmarked in December of 1990, this correspondence comprised an American Greetings greeting card, enclosed in a red envelope along with a photocopy of a set of USPS post office box keys bearing what appear to be the numbers 79498 and 58851.
Scans of the card and its accompanying photocopy may be seen at Zodiackillerfacts.com.
As can be readily seen, no aspect of this communication directly ties its author with the Zodiac. Nevertheless, certain elements combine to strongly suggest its authenticity. The handwriting on the envelope looks to all appearances similar to that on the front of the 1971 Pines Card.
Both specimens show re-traced lines, which probably represent an attempt to disguise the author's normal handwriting. Moreover, the general color of the writing appears strongly similar to Zodiac's Composite style, minus the slant associated with the Manic. The characters are drawn in the same way, with no undue embellishments, and a straight, copybook appearance. Readily visible are Zodiac's straight left margin, wide wordspacing and jumping baseline. There is the "sickle-f" with its low-placed crossbar, and small, "plus-sign" lower-case "t."
The communication itself is highly understated, with little derivative material other than its association with the "Secret Pal" Halloween Card of 1970. No attempt is made by the author, assuming him to be a forger, to convince his audience of his credentials as the Zodiac. The correspondence, however, contains a subtle clue in the form of the snow and tree motif that marked Zodiac's Pines Card of 1970, the Monticello Card of the same year, and the Donna (Lass) Card of 1974.
A Kaczynski Connection?
In 1997, U.S. News & World Report released an article about Kaczynski highlighting his years-long friendship with a Lincoln, Montana resident Mrs. Irene Preston by name. Included with the article was a photograph of Mrs. Preston holding an envelope and letter that were sent to her by Kaczynski in the first part of December, 1990. Shown below is a composite production showing the Eureka envelope, the Kaczynski Christmas note, the UPC sticker from the Eureka Card, and a snippett from the U.S. News & World Report article:
A careful scrutiny of the composite offers some interesting revelations. Both productions were mailed in early December of 1990. The handwriting on both missives is eerily similar, even to the point of the particular character formations, the relative x-heights of the lower-case characters, the numerals, and the qualities of base alignment and extra spacing between the lines of the addresses. A test comparison of the character formation and relative x-heights can be made by culling individual letters from the Kaczynski card and comparing them with a particular word or words from the suspected correspondence:
The stamps are identical, and in the inset Kaczynski is quoted as lamenting the increased price of a Christmas card: "A buck fifteen for a Christmas card!" he complains, "This is getting ridiculous." The price of the Eureka card, as indicated on the back near the UPC code, is exactly $1.15.
Kaczynski's Christmas note has two postmarks. The first of these, the smaller, is from Helena, Montana, about 55 miles southeast of Kaczynski's Montana home. It is dated December 1990 with an unreadable day number. The second, which cancels the stamp is from Canyon Creek, Montana, about 25 miles south of Kaczynski's home in Lincoln. It is clearly dated December 8, 1990. Lincoln is a city of approximately 28,000 people, which has a U.S. post office of its own. Even granted the vagaries of postal routing, the implication of the postmarks on the Kaczynski missive is that the note was mailed from somewhere outside of Lincoln, perhaps Helena, where it was forwarded to Canyon Creek for processing. Kaczynski is known to have used Helena as a stopping-off point between his own home in Lincoln and addresses northern California. His usual pattern was to hitch a ride from his friend Dick Lundberg, a contract postal carrier, on Lundberg's route between Lincoln and Helena.
An addendum to the Turchie Affidavit quotes a Kaczynski document from circa 1969: "I drove up to Humboldt county for deer hunting...." And while one can only speculate as to what Kaczynski would have been doing in Humboldt County, California in December of 1990, the year in question was the third in a six-year hiatus in which Kaczynski ceased bombing and applied himself intensively to developing new explosives and detonators which would allow powerful package bombs to travel inconspicuously through the mails. In his 1995 New York Times letter he observed, "It's no fun having to spend all your evenings and weekends preparing dangerous mixtures, filing trigger mechanisms out of scraps of metal or searching the sierras for a place isolated enough to test a bomb." The word "sierra" means "mountain range," and while the mountainous regions of Humboldt County are not located in the Sierras, they are very isolated, and the population density is low enough to afford suitably remote place for testing bombs.
A clue in the keys?
Accompanying the suspected 1990 missive was the above photocopy of two post office box keys attached by a small chain to a small pocket magnet. To date, no satisfactory explanation has been offered as to the significance of either keys or magnet.
Interesting, however, is the fact that the words "keys" and "chain" contain every letter in the name KACZYNSKI with the exception of a "Z."
Lest this be considered merely fanciful, consider that the word "Zodiac" contains five of the letters found in "Ted Kaczynski." Consider also that the name "Theodore Kaczynski" contains all the letters found in the words "the Zodiac," while every one of the letters in "the Zodiac," is found in "Theodore Kaczynski." Further, the salutation "the Zodiac speaking" contains every letter in "Ted Kaczynski" with the exception of a "y." Only four letters, "h," "p" "o" and "g" are superfluous.
Was Ted Kaczynski at Fort Bragg, California in the Summer of 1990?
The photograph at this link, taken at Fort Bragg, CA, during the 1990 "Redwood Summer" series of environmental protests, shows an individual looking exactly like Ted Kaczynski standing among a crowd of protesters.
In Unabomber: A Desire to Kill (Berkley Books, 1998) author Robert Graysmith claims to have seen a receipt, signed by Kaczynski, for a night's lodging at the Park Hotel in Helena, Montana, June 5, 1990. The Park Hotel was Kaczynski's stopping-off point for bus trips to Northern California.
If Kaczynski was indeed present at the Fort Bragg protest (which is strongly suggested by the photograph and the hotel records), it places Ted just south of Eureka the city from which the recent purported Zodiac card was mailed in the summer of 1990, attending a rally put on by an organization that had a base camp in Eureka.