Copyright 2011 Walter Bosley and Richard B Spence
Those who have read our recent book, Empire of the Wheel: Espionage, The Occult and Murder in Southern California (Corvos 2011), will be familiar with the ancient goddess Hecate and her arguable role in seven questionable deaths in and around 1915 San Bernardino. This presents new findings relevant to Hecate’s association with the 1915 case and, more to the point, her connection to the notorious Zodiac Killer who terrorized California in the mid-1960s and early 1970s.
Chapter 23 of Empire of the Wheel explores a possible association between The Zodiac Killer and the seven 1915 deaths which we have dubbed the San Bernardino Working. The book also lays out the curious connection of telluric currents, commonly (if inaccurately) considered ‘ley lines’, to both sets of crimes. Basically, according to our consultant on geomorphology, Sesh Heri, all the victims in the San Bernardino Working were killed on or in close proximity to identified telluric “lines.” So too were all the known Zodiac Killer victims. This suggests an occult, heretofore unrecognized, link between the San Bernardino deaths and the Zodiac slayings, despite them being a half century apart. As unlikely as this may seem at first glance, it is important to recall that the Zodiac’s claimed second attack, the murder of Cheri Jo Bates, occurred the night before Halloween 1966 in Riverside, California, right next door to San Bernardino.
However, further research has turned up more evidence suggestive of a San Bernardino Working-Zodiac connection, all of it connected to the goddess Hecate. And the clues come from the Zodiac himself.
We point out that what we reveal here is drawn from facts of the case, as much of the controversy among Zodiac Killer enthusiasts often rises from whether researchers are presenting speculations on what they think The Zodiac Killer might have meant in his writing or whether they are analyzing what The Zodiac Killer actually said. What we present here is analysis of The Zodiac Killer’s own words.
As discussed in EOW, the central symbol of Hecate is the wheel or, to put it another way, a circle divided by lines or “spokes.” That, of course, basically corresponds to the wheel of the astrological zodiac, source of the very name chosen by the mysterious killer. Continuing with this theme, the Zodiac’s personal logo was a circle supplanted by what looked to be crosshairs. But the Zodiac’s symbol is also the ancient sign of the Quartered Circle which is represented in such things as the Celtic Cross. As pointed out in EOW, Zodiac’s crosshairs-over-a-circle logo is tilted at roughly 17 degrees, orienting it to Magnetic North. Oddly enough that same orientation can be found in the great Arrowhead which looms over San Bernardino from a nearby mountainside. But that, of course, is simple enough still to dismiss as pure coincidence, if you choose.
If so, here’s another curious one. The Zodiac Killer boasted a total of 37 victims, though he’s formally credited with only a fraction of that However, whether the claim was genuine or pure exaggeration, the fact remains that he picked the number 37 -- not 27, 47 or a 107. Given that the Zodiac seems to have done nothing without careful calculation, it is improbable that he picked 37 out of thin air. It must have had some arcane significance to him. But what?
It just so happens that in Act 3 Scene 5 of Shakespeare’s MacBeth, we have an appearance of Hecate herself. More interesting is that following a speech by Hecate, Line 37 has the First Witch stating “Come, let's make haste; she'll soon be back again.”
It certainly may be a big stretch to think that the Zodiac picked 37 as a subtle clue to a devotion to Hecate, but again, he certainly picked it for some reason.
And yet, that’s not all there is to it.
On 27 October 1970, the Zodiac sent a Halloween card to reporter Paul Avery of the San Francisco Chronicle (below). The creepy missive features the words ’PARADICE’ and ‘SLAVES’ forming a cross. In the four surrounding quadrants (as in a Quartered Circle?) are the following phrases: ’BY GUN, BY ROPE, BY KNIFE, BY FIRE’. Of course, there were no guns in the ancient world -- but the venerable rope, knife and fire are symbols directly associated with Hecate.
The rope represents Hecate’s umbilical cord of rebirth and renewal, the knife her role in midwifery and ritual sacrifice, and the fire the torchlight by which she illuminated the darkness of the Underworld. How odd that they show up in the Zodiac’s little message. Or, once more, perhaps it is absolutely deliberate. He claimed to be carrying out the killings to collect slaves for the afterlife, or at least his notion of “paradise.” The intersection of the two key words is symbolic of Hecate’s role as “Queen of the Crossroads,” in effect, of intersections. But she was also “Queen of the Underworld” or “Queen of the Dead,” mistress of the shadow realm where the Zodiac hoped to dwell for eternity with his slaves. And for good measure he put it all on a Halloween card, a celebration commemorating the dead and the Otherworld.
And there is more.
And there is more.
The Zodiac Killer is known to have used both a gun and a knife to attack his victims, and in at least one case he bound one with rope. Did the above card also hint how he may have slain others? Perhaps one of the most intriguing tie-ins between the Zodiac and the mystery explored in Empire of the Wheel, is his claim that some of his unknown victims were dispatched so as to appear to be suicides. That cuts to the very heart of the San Bernardino Working.
The Zodiac Killer attacks and murders remain unsolved and continue to be the focus of controversy. One problem is that no single suspect has ever fit all the available evidence. Physical descriptions of the killer, such as they are, differ widely enough to question the lone perpetrator dogma. This raises the possibility, albeit not a popular one, that there was more than one killer, or that the slayings were even the work of a group pretending to be a lone psychopath. Keeping with the theme of Hecate, the 'Three-Faced' or 'Triple-Aspect Goddess', might there have been a trio? Like the three witches in MacBeth? And then there are the three assassins of the Masonic Hiram Abiff, but that takes us in yet another direction. Or, like crossing roads, do they all merge at a single point?
In the book The Dark Worship by Toyne Newton, there is presented a case investigated by Andrew Collins which dealt with a Hecate cult active in modern day England. It was allegedly led by a trio: two women and a man. According to Collins’ investigation, a group calling itself ‘Friends of Hekate’ was organized in a structure of concentric circles, the outer devotees/operatives knowing none of the identities of those in the inner circles. Notably, this group took a special interest in “conjunction of planets or their corresponding zodiacal signs.” Everything they did was “linked to astrology.” In that light consider the Zodiac’s suggested, some say rather obvious, fascination with astrology, represented by yet another segmented circle.
Last, but by no means least, The Zodiac Killer mailed three letters on July 31st, 1969 to the San Francisco Chronicle, the San Francisco Examiner, and the Vallejo Times. He insisted they be run on August 1st. Scholars of occult will recognize this day as Lammas or Lughnasadh, a traditional sabbat in witchcraft and a pagan festival associated with sacrifice and Hecate. Again, are we to assume that the Zodiac simply drew the date out of a hat? And how about Hecate's triple aspect in the content: The three letters confessed to the murders of three victims (Faraday, Jensen and Ferrin) and, admittedly, the wounding of a fourth. The preponderance of threes here is significant.
It is all this which we argue provides the strongest evidence yet that The Zodiac Killer was possibly motivated by occult philosophy, specifically influenced by themes associated with the goddess Hecate, thus linking his acts to themes suggested by available evidence in what we named The San Bernardino Working of 1915. We must ask: was The Zodiac Killer aware of the 1915 events and was he emulating something about them?
Then again, maybe it’s all just coincidence...
Empire of the Wheel: Espionage, the Occult and Murder in Southern California, Walter Bosley & Richard B Spence, Corvos Books, 2011
Shakespeare, William. Macbeth. Ed. Thomas Marc Parrott. New York: American Book Co., 1904. Shakespeare Online. 10 Aug. 2010. (accessed by Bosley on 3 October 2011) < http://www.shakespeare-online.com/plays/macbeth_3_5.html >.
The Dark Worship: The Occult’s Quest For World Domination, Toyne Newton, Vega, 2002