#AtoZ 1968 – “Z” is for Zodiac killer


“You’re going to get a concept that maybe this really is one world and why the hell can’t we learn to live together like decent people.” ~ Astronaut Frank Borman, on seeing the entire earth from outer space as he and the crew of the Apollo 8 returned from orbiting the moon.

Zodiac-killer

The ‘Zodiac Killer’ was a serial killer who operated in Northern California from at least the late 1960s to the early 1970s. The killer’s identity remains unknown.

The killer originated the name ‘Zodiac’ in a series of taunting letters sent to the local Bay Area press. The letters included cryptograms.

There have been suspects named by law enforcement, but there’s never been any conclusive evidence brought forth. The case remains open in San Francisco, as well as in the Vallejo, Napa County, and Solano County.  The California Department of Justice has maintained an open case file on the Zodiac murders since 1969. The first murders widely attributed to the Zodiac Killer were the shootings of high school students Betty Lou Jensen and David Faraday on December 20, 1968, just inside the Benicia city limits. The couple were on their first date and planned to attend a Christmas concert at Hogan High School about three blocks from Jensen’s home. The couple instead visited a friend before stopping at a local restaurant and then driving out on Lake Herman Road. At about 10:15 p.m., David Faraday parked his mother’s car in a gravel turnout, which was a well-known lovers’ lane. Shortly after 11:00 p.m., their bodies were found by Stella Borges, who lived nearby.

While officially connected to five murders and two attempted murders, the Zodiac Killer hinted that he had killed at least 37 victims. After taunting the police and the public with nearly two dozen letters, he seemed to vanish in the late 1970s. But his twisted legacy endures, having inspired three real-life copycat killers and dozens of books, TV shows and movies—including, most famously, Clint Eastwood’s nemesis in the film “Dirty Harry.”

(Sources: Wikipedia and History)

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BONUS MUSIC!

The #1 song from Billboard’s Top 100 Singles of 1968 was “Hey Jude” by The Beatles. This video runs a little over 8 minutes, but I can’t close out my A to Z posts from 1968 without including it. Enjoy!