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The Ice Cream Romance

Chronicle Child bride-3

Chronicle Child Bride

Chronicle Avery-3

Chronicle Avery

Article Bourbon Street-3

Ice Cream Romance Ends on Bourbon Street

Strom article 1-3

Strom Article

Strom article 2-3

Strom Article

Sundae Bride Hunted-3

Sundae Bride Hunted

11) SF Chronicle September 1, 1962 Honeymoon Pic-2

SF Chronicle September 1, 1962

12) SF Chronicle April 20-2

SF Chronicle April 20

70) SF Examiner August 1, 1962-2

SF Examiner August 1, 1962

San Francisco Examiner April 20 1963-3

San Francisco Examiner

10) SF Chronicle Crop August 1, 1962-2

SF Chronicle August 1, 1962

Screen Shot 2015-02-16 at 3.37.48 PM

Halloween Card Zodiac sent Paul Avery, hinting at his ‘secret identity’, and giving the clue ‘14’ (in the skeleton’s hand signal) and ‘4-teen’ on the other side of the card.

Halloween Card Zodiac sent Paul Avery, hinting at his ‘secret identity’, and giving the clue ‘14’ (in the skeleton’s hand signal) and ‘4-teen’ on the other side of the card.

Zodiac Letters and Ciphers in the News

ciphers3

340 Cipher

408CipherArticleSFCEAug31969

408 Cipher

pic4

Zodiac Murder Case

pic5

Zodiac Murder Case

Ciphers and other evidence

408 Contrast Solved

408 Contrast

340

340

My Name Is Cipher Solved-2

The “My Name Is” cipher has the exact number of characters as the number of letters in Earl Van Best Jr.

 

Mugshot overlaid onto sketch

Mugshot overlaid onto sketch

EVB vs Zodiac Wanted Poster

EVB vs Zodiac Wanted Poster

Fingerprint comparison

Fingerprint comparison

Annette Divorce

The divorce filing in which Van’s first wife states that she experienced cruel and inhuman treatment (Page 1).

Annette Divorce 2

The divorce filing in which Van’s first wife states that she experienced cruel and inhuman treatment (Page 2).

April 19, 1963 01

Arrest

Adoption Record Page 1

Adoption Record Page 1

Adoption Record Page 2

Adoption Record Page 2

Adoption Record Page 2

Adoption Record Page 3

Adoption Record Page 4
Adoption Record Page 4

Adoption Record Page 5

Adoption Record Page 5

EV Best, Jr

EV Best, Jr

Page 2 of Adoption Record

Arrest

 Harry Lee rs6

Document Examination

Document examiner opinion – Copyright Mike Wakshull

Document examiner opinion – © Mike Wakshull

Handwriting Analysis – Copyright Michael Wakshull

Handwriting Analysis – Copyright Michael Wakshull

J_Handwriting

Document Examination – © Michael Wakshull

Compare letters ss

Document Examination – © Michael Wakshull

Handwriting Analysis – Copyright Michael Wakshull

Handwriting Analysis – Copyright Michael Wakshull

Compare letters est arial

Document Examination – © Michael Wakshull

Marriage Certificate

Marriage Certificate

Compare letter E 2

Document Examination – © Michael Wakshull

Document Examination – © Michael Wakshull

Document Examination – © Michael Wakshull

To access Forensic Document Examiner Mike Wakshull‘s full handwriting analysis, titled The End of the Zodiac Mystery: How Forensic Science Helped Solve One of the Most Infamous Serial Killer Cases of the Century,  please visit zodiacsolved.com.

More evidence, handwriting samples, articles, pictures and mysteries will be unveiled in the pages of The Most Dangerous Animal of All, available now at bookstores across the U.S.

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The Ice Cream Romance

Chronicle Child bride-3

Chronicle Child Bride

Chronicle Avery-3

Chronicle Avery

Article Bourbon Street-3

Ice Cream Romance Ends on Bourbon Street

San Francisco Examiner April 20 1963-3

San Francisco Examiner

Strom article 1-3

Strom Article

Strom article 2-3

Strom Article

Sundae Bride Hunted-3

Sundae Bride Hunted

10) SF Chronicle Crop August 1, 1962-2

SF Chronicle August 1, 1962

11) SF Chronicle September 1, 1962 Honeymoon Pic-2

SF Chronicle September 1, 1962

12) SF Chronicle April 20-2

SF Chronicle April 20

70) SF Examiner August 1, 1962-2

SF Examiner August 1, 1962

Zodiac Letters and Ciphers in the News

ciphers3

340 Cipher

408CipherArticleSFCEAug31969

408 Cipher

pic4

pic5

Zodiac Murder Case

Ciphers and other evidence

408 Contrast Solved

408 Contrast Solved

340

340

The "My Name Is" cipher has the exact number of characters as the number of letters in Earl Van Best Jr.

The “My Name Is” cipher has the exact number of characters as the number of letters in Earl Van Best Jr.

Mugshot overlaid onto sketch

Mugshot overlaid onto sketch

EVB vs Zodiac Wanted Poster

EVB vs Zodiac Wanted Poster

Fingerprint comparison

Fingerprint comparison

EV Best, Jr

EV Best, Jr

Annette Divorce

The divorce filing in which Van’s first wife states that she experienced cruel and inhuman treatment (Page 1).

Annette Divorce 2

The divorce filing in which Van’s first wife states that she experienced cruel and inhuman treatment (Page 2).

April 19, 1963 01

Arrest

Page 2 of Adoption Record

Arrest

Adoption Record Page 1

Adoption Record Page 1

Adoption Record Page 2

Adoption Record Page 2

Adoption Record Page 2

Adoption Record Page 3

Adoption Record Page 4

Adoption Record Page 4

Adoption Record Page 5

Adoption Record Page 5

Document Examination

Document examiner opinion – Copyright Mike Wakshull

Document examiner opinion – © Mike Wakshull

Handwriting Analysis – Copyright Michael Wakshull

Handwriting Analysis – Copyright Michael Wakshull

J_Handwriting

Document Examination – © Michael Wakshull

Compare letter E 2

Document Examination – © Michael Wakshull

Compare letters ss

Document Examination – © Michael Wakshull

Handwriting Analysis – Copyright Michael Wakshull

Handwriting Analysis – Copyright Michael Wakshull

Compare letters est arial

Document Examination – © Michael Wakshull

Document Examination – © Michael Wakshull

Document Examination – © Michael Wakshull

Marriage Certificate

Marriage Certificate

To access Forensic Document Examiner Mike Wakshull‘s full handwriting analysis, titled The End of the Zodiac Mystery: How Forensic Science Helped Solve One of the Most Infamous Serial Killer Cases of the Century,  please visit zodiacsolved.com.

More evidence, handwriting samples, articles, pictures and mysteries will be unveiled in the pages of The Most Dangerous Animal of All, available now at bookstores across the U.S.

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Comments

PLEASE NOTE: Due to the tremendous volume of comments and email we are receiving, there may be a delay in posting answers to questions. Thank you so much for your patience and your interest in The Most Dangerous Animal of All.


 


Comments

The Evidence — 184 Comments

  1. Dear Mr. Stewart,

    In the Halloween Card sent to Paul Avery, the Zodiac makes conspicuous use of the number “14” also expressed “4-TEEN.” If your biological father was the Zodiac killer, did you consider the possibility that this was a “clue” for Paul Avery because when he wrote about your biological mother she was 14 years old?

    Regards, David

    • Hi David,

      Yes, we did notice that. I do think it was a clue for Avery–a reference to the Zodiac’s connection to him. Check out the way the Zodiac signed that card, as well–the V at the bottom. If you flip one side of the V over the other, it’s an E. So that symbol could be EV, another clue for Avery.

      Thanks for commenting.

      • What once seemed meaningless had meaning. Yes why write to that editor unless their was a past and yep the clue 14 is the clue.

  2. Where are all the decoded ciphers you claim in the book? The1-3-letter name solving? The cipher with a letter from EARL VAN BEST JUNIOR on each line? Where are comparisons of all the victims who look like Judy? Where is the thumbprint comparison? This is clearly a hoax as none of these claims are revealed and would be first out the gate, if available. Such a shame that it boils down to something not too noble.

    • Hi Lindy,

      Thank you for your questions. This site is a work in progress, and in the coming days and weeks, we will update it continually. The 408 cipher is posted, and the 340 cipher will be posted soon. The 340 contains the name, Earl Van Best Junior, spelled backward across the cipher with one letter of his name in each column. If you look in all three sections of the 408 cipher, you will find Van’s name in each section in some variation, i.e. EV Best JR., Van, Earl, etc. We referenced the 13-character cipher because that’s the amount of letters in Earl Van Best Jr.

      The comparison of the identical stars are not the thumbprints. They are the index fingers and have been posted on this site in the Evidence section. The print from the Zodiac was bloody and could not be used for comparison for that reason, however, the similar scars were worth mentioning in the book.

      In the coming weeks, more and more evidence revealed in the book will be posted on the website.

      Thanks for commenting!

  3. I believe every word in this fascinating book, and hope the SFPD gets off their behinds and finally put closure to this case due to this book. Gary, referencing the above email, you are very kind.
    Why would you ever wish to make this a hoax? For what reason? To sell books? Gary has been successful in his own career so for what benefit would you wish to hoax people?
    I see a religious, southern good man who went to extraordinary lengths to do incredible ‘detective work’ because his heart was 100% involved.
    Gary, bless you and I commend you….look where your life began…and look at your life now. Amazing.
    Sincerely,
    Barry Goldstein

  4. I just finished reading the book and I must say, this is pretty compelling stuff! I have read both of Robert Graysmith’s books and I always thought Arthur Leagh Allen wasn’t smart enough to be Zodiac. Plus, at some point DNA and handwriting ruled him out. You guys have to find a way to get that DNA! SFPD needs to just suck it up and do it!. Maybe we could get a petition out to have it done…change.org does stuff like that. I really think Earl Van Best Jr. could really be Z.

    • Hi. This is all very interesting to me. I am only 32 and have recently been studying this as I watch a huge amount of criminal cases. Hard to conclude unless you have all the true evidence. I have found that many ppl have interesting points that seem not to have been picked up. I like many other have found it hard to look at the evidence against Lee Arthur but first thing I had thought with him, was that photo I had seen of him, he is bald. Was witnessed at the taxi murder that the killer had a buzz cut. I have also wondered if the pieces of a bloody shirt, that was sent by Zodiac was ever D.N.A tested. And why did it take so long to get the survivors to try to identify him.

      • Hi Darren,

        You should be an investigator! You’re spot on with your comment about the pieces of Stine’s bloody shirt and the DNA testing. What I can tell you for sure is that the shirt was scheduled to be tested for touch DNA two years ago. I’m guessing due to the poor chain of custody of that critical piece of evidence, that it probably produced several genetic profiles and likely not any genetic material left by my father because so many people handled that shirt over the years as a novelty. If that’s not the case, I would have been told differently.
        Thanks again for reaching out.

  5. I just finished the audio version of Gary’s and Susan’s book. They did a fantastic job of telling Gary’s life and research. The evidence is extremely compelling. Please seriously consider buying this book for your library as it will undoubtedly not only become a game changer of this long-standing mystery but a template of how to honestly research and present such important revelations. Kudos to the authors and for Gary to publicly reveal these difficult, personal truths.

  6. Dear Gary and Susan,

    I was very impressed with the book and could hardly put it down! The physical evidence and evidence of character was very convincing, though I do regret that you guys were unable to collect the mass of circumstantial evidence, such as there exists on Leigh Allen, due to the how late you were able to begin your search. I’ve been searching the news to see what the SFPD and Vallejo PD’s response is to your book and have yet to come up with anything. Has the DNA testing come back yet or have they contacted you at all concerning your book?

    Also, I thought the possibility of Leigh Allen and Van Best Jr. crossing paths in Atascadero to be quite compelling as it could possibly explain Allen’s alleged possession of Zodiac cyphers. What continues to stump me, though, is the fact that your book has Van in Atascadero in 1963 and the Graysmith book places Leigh working there from 1961-1962, suggesting to me that they just missed each other. Is there any stronger evidence that the two knew/met each other besides the fact that they were both in Atascadero at some point of time in their lives? Leigh was also incarcerated there in the 70s, but I couldn’t find anything in your book to suggest Van was back there at the same time. Your thoughts on the matter would help to put my mind to rest.

    Thank you for all your research and in advance for your response.

    Felicia

    • Hi Felicia,

      Thank you for writing. To answer your questions, Gary’s DNA was submitted to the SFPD crime lab 10 years ago, but he never got the results. We don’t know if it was tested or if it is still there on a shelf somewhere between the countless other DNA samples waiting to be tested. We have the request form from Lieutenant John Hennessey to the crime lab asking that Gary’s DNA to be compared to the Zodiac’s. The SFPD’s official stance as of today is “No comment.” They have not contacted us concerning the book, although we hope someone there has read it and is investigating.

      I think Arthur Leigh Allen and Van may have crossed paths, although you are right: Van was not incarcerated there at the exact time Allen was an intern. However, Allen worked at Atascadero just prior to Van being incarcerated there, and it is a possibility that Allen had friends who worked there and returned to visit. The fact that they were both there in such a short time span seemed a coincidence worth mentioning in the book.

      I hope this answers your questions.

      Susan

  7. The marriage cert was the most convincing evidence you have put forth. Why was it taken off the evidence enumerated above? Is it because of the reports in the pressthat are surfacing that are calling into its authorship?

      • Dear Ray,

        We have just uploaded the marriage certificate to the website, as that had not been done yet. We are a work in progress, so we appreciate that you brought this to our attention. We anticipated that the press and others would question its authorship, but there are several factors at play here.

        No. 1: Gary’s mother told him Van filled out all of the paperwork, and she was there.
        No 2: If Van didn’t fill out the paperwork, that would mean that Reverend Fliger was the Zodiac because the handwriting matches the person who filled out that certificate. And we certainly don’t believe Reverend Fliger was the Zodiac.
        No. 3: Check out the free-standing “M” in Fliger’s signature and the “M’s” in the text of the
        certificate.

        Thank you for your questions.

        Gary

  8. This is all very interesting but I’m going to be cautious. With all the evidence you claim to have, how could your site still be a “work in progress?” Just seems like you’d be prepared.

    • Hi Adam,

      Our website is certainly a work in progress. It is a supplement to the book, and we consider posting additional information when asked by the site’s visitors. The book provides the evidence, as well as all of the background information that was used to reach the determination that Earl Van Best Jr. was the Zodiac. If you are looking for more handwriting evidence, it is available in Forensic Document Examiner Michael N. Wakshull’s book, “The End of the Zodiac Mystery,” which is a step-by-step analysis of how he drew his conclusions. As visitors to the site ask for certain items, we will consider posting them if we can (privacy laws prevent us from posting some things, such as old letters, etc.). We will continually update the site, adding new material, blogs, and events surrounding the book.

      Thank you for your interest!

      Susan

      • I’m confused by your 340 cipher. You have the cipher in original form, and then pull letters out of it with no apparent pattern in order to form something like Earl Van Best Junior, in reverse. Can you explain the pattern?

        • Hi Adam,

          By the time my father wrote the 340 Cipher and the My Name Is Cipher, he was very confident that authorities would never catch him because he indicated that his ‘identity’ was hidden in the 408 Cipher, which it was. Because only the hidden ‘message’ in the 408 was revealed (leaving his name still hidden in the 408), he had to have been confident that the authorities were approaching these ciphers as if they all had ‘cryptic messages’ hidden in them. He chose only to hide his name in the 340 and the My Name Is Cipher. And it worked. Until now, his identity has remained unknown for nearly 50 years. I believe that my father hinted that he had hidden his name in the 340 beginning with the backward B right at the center of the puzzle…indicating to the world that his identity and his name would be discovered backward. Starting from the right column, you can clearly pick out one letter of his name (EARL VAN BEST JUNIOR) in each column moving backward across the cipher.

          Thank you,
          Gary

          • One thing I noticed: you say “the backward B right at the center of the puzzle”. There is no backwards B at the center of the puzzle. There is one sort of near the center of the puzzle, but I’m not sure that it being only near, and not directly at the center of the puzzle would indicate a clue. I do agree it’s interesting that the “my name is” cipher matches the number of letters in your father’s name, and that is probably the most compelling piece of evidence with regard to the ciphers. However, I don’t think you’ve offered us anything of value with regard to the (as yet) unsolved 340-character cipher. I feel that your interpretation is more than likely “finding what you are looking for”. Great case though. I’m 99% certain you have found the right man, but there are some details that remain a bit spotty.

          • Yes, my agent was looking for the name. The backward B stuck out as a clue that maybe his name might be there spelled backward. His hunch was correct and moving from right to left, one letter of my father’s name could be found in each column stretched across each of the seventeen columns. Try doing that with your name or anyone you know. Yes, some names can be found in the ciphers due to various combinations of letters, but we couldn’t find anyone’s name using this method that stretched completely across all of the columns from right to left. Thank you for your interest in the book. We appreciate it.

            Gary

          • Jon Day,

            I read your comment about the possibility of “finding what you’re looking for,” and I thought the same thing originally when I read about the cipher. So naturally I spent hours – HOURS – working with the cipher whilst specifically looking for the number 1 suspect, Arthur Leigh Allen. I was able to find the name Arthur once, Leigh twice, and Allen once, but the names were scattered and you had to skip columns. One name would be spelled backwards and another forwards. My amateur opinion is that, while you can find the name of someone you’re looking for, the fact that Earl Van Best Junior’s name is laid out perfectly, in the same direction, skipping no columns, etc. makes him more likely to have written it than, say, Allen.

  9. How were you able to verify that Avery wrote those Ice Cream Parlour Romance articles in the Chronicle and how were you able to verify that Avery interviewed Best in the Hall of Justice after Best was placed under arrest?

    Also Kevin Fagan was unable to determine who wrote those articles, so how were you able to determine Avery wrote them?

    These are 2 importent questions that need to be addressed.

    Thank you,

    Coleman Bihn

    • Thank you for your question, Coleman.

      Kevin Fagan asked me the same question when he called to interview me. Over the course of many years, I searched for every article I could find about my father and mother’s “Ice Cream Romance.” The articles in the San Francisco Examiner were bylined, while the articles in The Chronicle were not. I reached out to Lisa Hobbs, who wrote the Examiner articles, to discuss her memories of interviewing my father at the Hall of Justice while he was incarcerated. Back then, according to Hobbs, reporters were allowed to interview prisoners in jail. I contacted The Chronicle many times concerning this, eventually getting passed from one senior reporter to the next because they were the only ones who would have had any recollection of who might have written the articles about my father. I was informed by a senior reporter that there were only two reporters who worked the police beat at The Chronicle at the time these articles were written—Paul Avery and another reporter whose name he couldn’t remember. Both of them were deceased. He informed me that The Ice Cream Romance articles were written in the “style of Avery,” not the other reporter. I then contacted the library archivist for The Chronicle, who surprised me by sending me three articles I had not seen before. The archivist, as well, said that the Ice Cream Romance was the work of Avery and not the other reporter because they had “two totally different styles of writing.”

      The answer to your other question is simple—the quotes in The Chronicle article, headlined, “He Found Love in Ice Cream Parlor,” show clearly that Van was interviewed in jail. Avery writes, “At the moment, several sets of steel bars and more than a mile in distance separate Earl Van Best and his one-time wife, Judy Chandler.” Avery goes on to quote Van throughout the article, giving a description of his appearance, such as “balding,” which he could not have known if he wasn’t there. If you look at The Examiner article by Lisa Hobbs dated the same day, again, it is clear that she, too, interviewed him in person — “The mild-mannered, bespectacled son a of Methodist minister sat in his cell at City Prison yesterday and wept for his bride—14, blonde, ‘and pregnant.’”

      Gary

  10. Gary/Susan
    Great book, I couldn’t stop listening. This would make an amazing movie as I’m sure in the near future the general consensus will be that Van was the Zodiac. Whether or not it is to be proven for absolute certain that Van is Z I believe the circumstantial evidence is enough for the world to agree that he was. All the best in the future.

    PS do you think the man in the Darlene Ferrin picture is your father?

    • Dear Jacob,

      I do not believe my father is the man in the photograph with Darlene Ferrin. I appreciate your kind remarks about the book. I’m so glad you enjoyed it.

      Gary

  11. Mr Stewart,

    If, as you claim, your evidence such as prints & DNA that you have offered up to police is being ignored, or covered up, I can assure you that I have a good contact within NAPA PD that will definitely review your suspect’s prints.I would be happy to pass them along to them if you would like to provide me with a digital copy. They don’t have the funds to do DNA tests, so unless you can provide a completed DNA profile to pass along for comparison, it will be hard to get them or SFPD for that matter to do DNA testing. The offer is out there for you, I am curious to see if you will accept it.

    • Thank you, Mike, for reaching out. I am, of course, happy to cooperate with law enforcement regarding this matter in any jurisdiction and will provide all of the evidence I have to bring resolution to this case, including DNA and fingerprints. I do have a complete DNA profile of my father, which was discussed in the book. This evidence will only be given to police officials, but thank you for such a generous offer.

      Gary

  12. Over at Zodiackiller.com someone just posted a marriage application written by Earl V Best Jr. that would most likely be in his handwriting. It is distinctly different than the writing on the marriage certificate. There are also samples of Rev. Fliger’s handwriting produced from some type of log books. The writing by Fliger in his log books appears to match that on the marriage certificate. That makes it appear like that piece of “evidence” you site is invalid and that perhaps you did not do your due diligence in gathering sufficient information on the handwriting samples. It would be something indeed if in your explorations you uncovered the real Zodiac killer in Rev. Fliger.

    • Dear Lawrence,

      I have been made aware of the marriage application on the site, which is written in cursive, so, of course, it is distinctly different from the writing on the marriage certificate, which is printed. There is more involved in forensic document examination that a cursory look for similarities, as I’m sure you know. QDE’s are trained professionals who look for a plethora of variables when examining documents, so I prefer to leave that up to them to debate. I’m sure I, nor anyone who is not certified in the field, could not possibly comment with any authority on the intricacies involved in determining what matches and what doesn’t.
      Best,
      Gary

  13. I bought your book the day it came out and have been thinking about every word of it since. I certainly believe your father is the zodiac killer, his childhood and personality alone makes for a compelling argument!

    My one question is, since the police have had a sketch of the zodiac killer for years and years, and your father was in and out of jail and in the newspaper… How is it possible that NO ONE (aka the SFPD) ever noticed the similarities or questioned this, as you are doing today?! This is insane! Have you ever asked them this?
    Thanks!!! Alyssa

    • Dear Alyssa,

      My father’s criminal record began in 1962. By the time the Zodiac murders began, I can only imagine that my father’s face was long forgotten in the midst of thousands of other arrests, as he had been incarcerated and out of the spotlight for some time. I did not ask them this, but it’s a great question. Thanks for your comments.

      Gary

  14. Gary, thank you so much for responding to my query. I can now see how you reached your conclusion regarding the name of your biological father within the ciphers. My hope is that sometime soon, the S.F.P.D. will contact you and perhaps do another D.N.A. test. The families of the victims have a right to know. Unfortunately, there are many “experts” on the case who don’t want to be proven wrong and that will take time for them to get over.
    I also can’t tell you how touched I was at your willingness to forgive your birth father, and even tell him how sorry you were that he didn’t have the life you’d had. Being who he was, perhaps his abandoning you was the kindest thing he could’ve done for you. The fact that you could have such compassion for someone who’d done such terrible things, says something about your heart. In my mind, now it’s the time to pray for the victims families.

  15. I was wondering how it was determined that Paul Avery wrote the story? I did not see the author’s name in the byline.

  16. Hi

    I bought the book and thought it was a real page turner! I grew up in the Bay Area during the Zodiac’s reign of terror and have been interested in the case off and on ever since.

    You have a lot of fascinating evidence, but three things trouble me:
    1) How do you know Avery wrote the Ice Cream romance articles? There are no bylines.
    2) How do you know Avery visited your father in jail?
    3) I have seen samples of Reverend Fliger’s handwriting and they are an almost EXACT match to the marriage application. Can you explain this? Will we be able to see more samples of Earl Van Best Jr’s PRINTING — not cursive.

    Please don’t take this as an attack… I really wanted you to have solved it, and you may still have. But as a longtime follower of this case, I feel a need to raise my skepticism.
    Best Wishes

    • Hi David,

      Thank you for reading the book. The answers to your Paul Avery questions can be found in other replies to comments on my website. In answer to your third question about the handwriting, I’m going to leave that opinion to the qualified experts in that field. I certainly hope that more of my father’s printed handwriting is discovered. I do not view your questions as an attack. It is perfectly reasonable that, considering the amount of evidence I’ve presented about my father’s life, some of it will be questioned.

      Best,
      Gary

  17. I am about 2/3s through your book and find it riveting. I’m glad I found this site because I really like looking at all the other pictures you posted here and the exhibits. How amazing it must have been to discover all this information about your birth parents. Where is Citi Park? Do you have other book signings coming up? If you have one in my area, I would love to have you autograph my copy. I am a true crime buff.”

    Andy

    • Thank you for visiting the site and leaving a comment. It was very hard to describe all of the emotions I felt as I made those discoveries about my birth parents. Fortunately, I was blessed to have been place with such loving adoptive parents! CitiPlace is in Baton Rouge off of College Drive. We will post other book signings as they are scheduled. Hopefully, one will be near you, and I can sign your copy. I hope you enjoy the rest of the book!

      Gary

  18. Gary,
    I bought your book last night and just finished, I couldn’t put it down. I have been fascinated with the Zodiac Killer case for years, and until now nothing I have read or seen has seemed to “close the case.” It never seemed like they had the right guy, and I was honestly expecting to read this and still not be convinced. But that is not what happened. I had chills (and tears) throughout the whole book, and I can only imgagine what kind of emotional toll all of this has taken on you. I wish you all the best and I hope the DNA evidence comes through soon, and that SFPD acknowledges your evidence so you can truly put all of this beind you. If you have a signing in Austin, Texas I will definitely be there!

    • Thanks so much, Jennifer. I appreciate your wonderful comments. I don’t know what’s going to happen with the SFPD, but I, like you, hope they will finally investigate this further. Hope to see you in Austin one day!

      Gary

  19. I really enjoyed your book and I definitely belive, was was written there. I am from Austria, and because the book wasn’t available in German, I tried out to read in English. I had to look up for about 500 words, but I wanted to understand what you testified. And I just can say, I belive in your statements, I enjoyed this book a lot and I couldn’t lay it down till I finished it. Great work! And even if your DNA will be tested on day and there would be a match, this book was really worth to be read anyway, but I would look forward to a result.

    • Thank you Michael for your positive feedback. I’m sorry the book wasn’t available in German just yet and grateful for all of the work you went through to interpret from English. We feel that we have presented enough evidence to close the case and are hoping for cooperation from the authorities to review the evidence and do the right thing.

  20. Hello,

    Not trying to be harsh.

    The mugshot of your father is from 1962. He was about 27 or 28 in 1962. The Zodiac committed most of his murders in 1969. EV Best was 35 during the majority of the Zodiac murders.

    People can age alot from the age of 28 to 35.

    Earl could have been bald by the age of 35….wore different style glasses…ETC. Alot could change.

    So…..Where are the pictures from 1969????? Is a 1962 picture
    representative of what he looked like in 1969.

    Thanks,
    Ron

    • I cannot speculate how my father might have aged in seven years. I can only guess, judging by my own aging process during those years, that he may have looked the same, but I can’t say that with complete certainty. However, if you look at the overlay of my father’s face and the wanted sketch generated by Michael Wakshull, certain things like his ears, nose, lips, chin, and the shape of his eyes would not have changed. Thank you for the question.

      Gary

  21. Mr. Earl van Best Senior served in Japan. And the the was really important do code and to decode messanges…would you be able to supply such a proof? Sorry, now the questions are following me everywhere

    • Hi Michael,

      Hi Michael,

      I do have proof that my grandfather served in Japan, some of which is in the photo section of the book. His military records indicate that he served in the capacity of Intelligence Officer and Intelligence Educator, which included writing and breaking codes and teaching those techniques to subordinates, in addition to his duties in Spiritual Morale and Chaplaincy. Thanks for the question.

      Gary

  22. Great job on the book! Very impressive record keeping, rare to see such motivation and tenacity. Unlike most Z suspects, the story of Van reveals an actual motive of sorts (non-random) – betrayed by a young woman, embarrassed by SF Chronicle, and crossed by police. Bravo. Though I find one potentially troubling gap – why did Van never contact and/or hassle Judy anytime after they were separated – no contact at all from early sixties thru to 1984? Van spent so much energy reacting to Judy’s betrayal (ie targeting young women to kill), yet he never attempted to even contact his original source of all that pain (Judy)? Especially given they both lived in SF during significant periods of time over those two decades. Perhaps there is a simple explanation – and other than this potential gap I’m quite convinced and ready to provide some info on the DNA part of the story.

    • Thank you for your kind comments, and what a great question. Van did track Judy down and begged her to come back to him in 1965. She rejected him completely. After that, she never heard from him again. The next year, he killed Cheri Jo Bates, who resembled Judy. Many serial killers are motivated by revenge, such as Ted Bundy, who killed at least 30 women. It is believed that rejection by his high school sweetheart was the trigger for his later murders. Likewise, Rasu Miah, a Bangladeshi serial killer who confessed to the murders of 11 women, admitted that he began killing because of rejection to a marriage proposal earlier in his life. There is a laundry list of serial killers who began killing women after being rejected, yet they did not kill the object of their rage. A common theory is that serial killers enjoy their first kill the most, that moment when they experience their revenge, and then they kill again and again trying to recapture that moment.
      While there have been a few who have killed the object of their rage, for most, that person becomes like a fantasy. If they kill that person, the fantasy, the reason for the rage, is gone, and therefore the satisfaction they hope to get from killing would also be gone. In this case, the end came differently. Soon after Judy married SFPD detective Rotea Gilford, the Zodiac, as such, sent his last letter and would never be heard from again. Van, as Van, did call the police again. It makes sense that Zodiac, who had never seemed afraid of getting caught judging by the letters he sent, realized that the potential to get caught had become greater. It is my belief that the fantasy of Judy and the rage she inspired were replaced by the greater fear that things had just hit too close to home and this greater threat of getting caught is what ultimately stopped the Zodiac. I hope this answers your question.

      Susan

  23. Just finished the book and was a very interesting read. I apologize if I missed this either in the book or the website, but it would seem to me that the very first order of business in your search would be to track down the surviving witnesses and provide them with a picture of your father for identification. This would include Michael Mageau, the teenage kids who witnessed the Paul Stine murder, but most importantly, Kathleen Johns, since she spent 1.5 hours sitting right next to the Zodiac as a captive. It can be understood if they weren’t cooperative or able to be found or recently deceased, but the fact that these names were never referenced at all as part of your interview list seems particularly conspicuous. Can you shed some light on this?

    Thanks. Really enjoyed the book.

    • Thank you for your comments. Yes, I could have gone to Michael Mageau or the others you mentioned, although Kathleen Johns had already passed away. Instead, I went to the SFPD, hoping that my DNA would provide that answer. They did not test my DNA, nor did anyone other than Lieutenant Hennessey even attempt to investigate. Keep in mind, I wasn’t trying to prove anything. I was trying to disprove it. At the time, anyone I approached with my theory simply dismissed me as another in a long line of people who claimed they knew the name of the Zodiac. I did not want to bother those who had suffered at the hands of my father. I felt like that was the job of the police. Hopefully, this book will prompt an investigation, which is the reason I wrote it.

      Gary

  24. Great work. I heartily recommend the book. It does a great job of building the case for EVB being the Zodiac. I also noticed that the book contains certain “loose threads” that are possible to tie into others’ work. Some of these specific threads are Atascadero, Jim Jones, Bobby Beausoleil and the Montagus. I think these talents would have detracted from the story that was being told but I’m curious about whether you investigated these connections.

    Atascadero — You mention that Van came out worse than when he went in. Atascadero was reputed to be a site of Dr. Joly West MK-Ultra testing. Is there a suspicion that Van was a victim?

    Jim Jones — Gary’s grandfather seems to have been associated with the Disciples of Christ in Indianapolis roughly the same time as Jim Jones who later winds up in San Fran. Weird coincident? JJ winds up being very influential with the political peers of Rotea Gilford.

    Bobby Beausoleil — Van apparently moved in the same circles as Bobby to some degree. Dave McGowan’s very recent Weird Scenes Inside The Canyon does a great job at showing the 60s music scene’s unlikely connection to not only satanism but the military intelligence community. That same odd mix appeared in Van’s life.

    The Montagus — This raises the issue of the historical Hellfire Club, i.e. English Satanism. McGowan’s book, Maury Terry’s The Ultimate Evil (About Son of Sam), and Ed Sander’s The Family (about the Mason Family) all note a connection to a 20th century English satanist group — The Process Church — which seems to have had strong roots in 1960s San Fran (by way of New Orleans). You hint that Van was the worse for wear after returning from England. Is there a suspicion he was exposed to some type of sinister forces there?

    I guess these strange patterns lead one to wonder not whether EVB was Zodiac but whether any of these groups were loosely aware of what the others were doing?

    • Dear Clay,

      Thank you for the wonderful comments and very astute questions. As I attempted to piece together the details of my father’s life, I reached out to Atascadero more than once. I attempted to learn the specifics of Van’s treatment and the reported conclusions post-treatment. Because of HIPPA laws, I was given minimal information beyond the confirmation that he was, in fact, admitted and treated. That was also verified in his rap sheet. However, I have no confirmation that he was treated by Dr. West and could not speculate on that.

      I think my grandfather’s connection to Jim Jones through the Disciples of Christ is a coincidence, although I agree that the fact that they both attended Butler University is interesting. I have never been able to verify that they actually crossed paths.

      I know that my father had connections to LaVey and Beausoleil, but it seems to me he lived on the fringes, his attraction to Satanism more a philosophical debate than any real belief, as well as a means to rebel against his father., while his connection to Beausoleil was inspired by music. I know that he had an interest in the Hellfire Club; however, I do not know that he was exposed to sinister forces during his visit to England. William related to me that Van seemed different when he came back. I think the stories he heard fueled his imagination and fascination with the darker side of life. I do not believe that any of these groups were involved with what the others were doing, but Van’s connection to Beausoleil, and LaVey telling Paul Avery that he knew the Zodiac, certainly seem suspicious.
      Again, thank you for your great questions.

      Gary

  25. Hi Gary,
    Great book… Great thesis. I do want to throw a water on this “EARLVANBESTJUNIOR” decoding done by your literary agent. A lot of cheating going on there to make things work. (Delta’s used as “A” when there are perfectly clear As, crosses used as “T,” etc.) I decided to try my hand at this. Managed to do my own name, (well, I had to use one cross for a t)and then the woman who gave me your book (all letters perfect) and then a friend I was emailing to about it (again no problems), so 3 for 3. But more importantly, I tried doing your father’s name myself, and found I could do it, in about ten minutes mind you, without using bogus letters at all: NETSRBUJVENOAARLI

    My point is that while it might look like something rare, it really isn’t, particularly when you take into account how rare it is that anyone spells out the word “Junior” at the end of their name.
    Anyway, don’t mean this as a criticism. I loved the book.

    • Thanks Bob. I appreciate your comments. Yes, you can find names in the 340, but can you find the name of anyone you know that runs all the way across the 17 columns with one letter in each column and then find their name again in the 408? I understand that some might think the 340 is a stretch, but when combined with the 408, which has variations of Van’s name all over it, the odds of those names being there so clearly become indicative that my father wrote those ciphers.

      Gary

  26. Hello Gary,

    I read a book, written by “the father of the profilers” John Douglas called MIND HUNTER, which was the idol for “the silence of the lambs” boss of Clarice Starling.

    In chapter 13, which is called “the most dangerous game”, directly in the beginning of the chapter, Douglas refers to a short story of the author Richard Connell, called “The Most Dangerous Game”.

    In this story, the exact theme of the zodiac killings and the cipher refering to this phrase is given.

    For me it seems more properly, that this story had some influence on the zodiac,rather than altering a phrase from the black bible which is originally “Satan represents man as just another animal (sometimes better, more often worse than those that walk on all fours), who, because of his “divine spiritual and intellectual development,” has become the most vicious animal of all.”

    What do you think about this?

    Michael

    • Hi Michael,

      Yes, “The Most Dangerous Game” was very popular at the time, and many believe this story influenced the Zodiac. However, although my father was an avid reader, and I believe it’s possible he read that story, I have no proof of that. I do know for a fact that he knew Anton LaVey and debated his teachings with him. That’s the reason I focused on LaVey’s nine satanic statements as influencing my father’s statement that man is the most dangerous animal of all. Thanks for writing!

      Gary

  27. Regarding the 340 (which is clearly the best piece of evidence) are you getting frustrated the people on message boards poo pooing this? I think the 408 solution is not that great although it is something small to connect it with the 340. I think the 340 solution is amazing and Earl should be the number one suspect.as far as I know, all the other suspects have less or equal ammounts of evidence so the 340 is a huge added bonus.

    • Hello Jacob,

      I, too, believe the 340 cipher is a great piece of evidence, and when you look at the fact that my father’s name is in the 408 cipher, as well, the odds that he created those ciphers become overwhelming. Actually, some variation of my father’s name is in the 408 multiple times, i.e. Van Jr., Earl, EVB Jr, EVBest Jr. I’m surprised that among all of the amateur Zodiac sleuths out there, only one reader, who found it eight times, has mentioned it to me. To be honest, I expected criticism, considering all of the previous Zodiac books, so I’m not surprised by the message boards. I understand that everyone has his/her own person of interest and agenda. I have been pleasantly surprised, however, by the tremendous amount of support the book is receiving, and hopefully the SFPD will get involved and investigate my evidence. Thank you for your comment.

      Gary

  28. Dear Gary and Susan,

    I have always been fascinated by this case and was thrilled to read the brief article about this book in a recent copy of People (or US Magazine, sorry, I can’t recall which).

    After reading it, I immediately downloaded your book and am about 80% through it. I can’t put it down, and am absolutely awestruck by your story.

    First, I am absolutely blown away by the run-around you’ve gotten from the SFPD. I know there are a lot of layers to this “case,” but seriously, what more do they need at this point? Do you think the main reason for all of the cover-up and stalling is that Judy married Rotea? I understand there are politics involved in every police department, but one would think any detective in his right mind would WANT to solve this case officially. If not to bring closure (for the right reasons), then for the public adulation (ego reasons). You did the work for them.

    Van had unbelievable luck (unsure if this is the right word) on his side by alluding capture or discovery so many times. I wanted to throw my Kindle across the room when I read about how Van was approached by cops immediately after killing Stipe and how the dispatcher inaccurately stated the perp was black initially. That one tiny mistake and he got away again. How could such evil fall through the cracks time and time and time again?

    Also, are you continuing to research Van’s life in Mexico prior to his death? Have you found anyone that knew him at or around the time he died? Have you found any more details about what exactly happened to him in England? That whole encounter was unsettling to read about, especially the gifting of the mace.

    Thank you so much for sharing so many personal aspects of your life with the world in your book and on this website. You are a shining example of how our blood parents don’t define who we are as individuals. Your book reminded me of this on many occassions. It’s something I personally grapple with. We may be made from their DNA, but ultimately, we are the people we want to become. Upbringing, obviously, plays a vital role in how a person turns out, and your adoptive parents did one heck of an amazing job. They raised an amazing, warm, wonderfully tenatious son.

    Not only do you deserve the closure, so do the many victims and their families who fell pray to your biological fathers’ crimes.

    Respectfully,
    Tara in Denver, CO
    P.S. This is the first time I have ever written to an author, so I thank you profusely in advance if you have the chance to respond. God bless.

    • Dear Tara,

      Thank you for your kind remarks. I agree–one would think that police would want to solve this case. I do believe that Rotea’s involvement has something to do with why there has been no real investigation into my claims. I have presented more evidence than has ever been gathered on one suspect in this case, yet nothing has been done. As far as my father’s
      life and trips to Mexico, I’ve retraced his steps as best I could, and actually visited some of the places where he
      bought his books and other antiquities. But so many years have passed by, and now the once lucrative rare book trade
      is no longer a gold mine of opportunity, there is very little trace of Van’s participation, left anywhere. As far as finding anyone who knew Van, I tracked down the former building owner in Long Beach where Van lived at the time of his death, but no one remembered my father. With regard to Van’s visit to England, almost everything I’ve been able to find out about that trip has been revealed in the book. Although my father went to work in the book business at a very young age (he was already working in John Howell’s book store at age 15), I believe his obsession with other antiquities, as well as his obsession with the occult and medieval spirits, began while staying in that old English castle. Thank you for your understanding of the gift I was given with my adoptive parents. I have worried in the past about the traits I may have inherited from my biological father, but the love and values with which I was raised have certainly overcome anything I may have inherited. I think I am a very lucky man to have had such wonderful parents!
      Gary

  29. Gary, I just finished your book and it was fascinating.Funny, I had just started reading it and flipped ahead through to the photographs and was amazed how the first victim looked like Judy. I am intrigued as to why the SFPD is trying to keep this case underwraps. The victims families should have the right to some closure as to who killed their loved ones. I also wonder if they are trying to protect Rotea’s memory. I can’t believe he would have not checked Judy’s background before he married her. Its just natural for cops to be careful even in personal relationships. Is that what they are hiding, that he knew of her past? Rotea may have never said anything directly to Judy, instead waiting for her to share her past. Second, I can’t believe Van just stopped killing. Is it possible there are similar unsolved murders in Mexico since he was there frequently? Also, are there any DMV photos of Van? I look forward to seeing more evidence come forth. While this man was a monster,he was obviously very ill. He did make one right decision in his life by taking you to that apartment. He could have easily killed you so there was some light in that dark soul. Hopefully he finds peace.

    • Hi Kat,

      I don’t know why members of the SFPD tried to get me to drop my investigation, although my suspicion is that their reaction involved Rotea. Keep in mind that the people in the department I approached were Rotea’s best friends. I have a lot of questions about Rotea’s involvement in the Zodiac case. For example, did Harold Butler discover that Rotea was the officer who actually drew the short straw to interview Van and subsequently cleared him? Did Rotea discover Judy’s illicit affair with a Zodiac suspect? Were Butler and Sanders simply trying to protect their friend and his wife? I just don’t know. What I do know is that Butler and Sanders went to great lengths to discourage me from uncovering the truth. I have often wondered if my father killed anyone in Mexico. The Zodiac claimed 37 victims, but police were unable to positively link him to any more murders. Considering how much time my father spent in Mexico, that is certainly a possibility. I originally thought Van’s mug shot was his DMV photo because that’s what Butler told me. I have not seen any DMV photos. I agree, the best case scenario was that my father abandoned me in a stairwell. That in itself is horrifying enough, but I can only imagine what would have happened to me if he had kept me. Thank you for writing!
      Gary

      Gary, I just finished your book and it was fascinating.Funny, I had just started reading it and flipped ahead through to the photographs and was amazed how the first victim looked like Judy. I am intrigued as to why the SFPD is trying to keep this case underwraps. The victims families should have the right to some closure as to who killed their loved ones. I also wonder if they are trying to protect Rotea’s memory. I can’t believe he would have not checked Judy’s background before he married her. Its just natural for cops to be careful even in personal relationships. Is that what they are hiding, that he knew of her past? Rotea may have never said anything directly to Judy, instead waiting for her to share her past. Second, I can’t believe Van just stopped killing. Is it possible there are similar unsolved murders in Mexico since he was there frequently? Also, are there any DMV photos of Van? I look forward to seeing more evidence come forth. While this man was a monster,he was obviously very ill. He did make one right decision in his life by taking you to that apartment. He could have easily killed you so there was some light in that dark soul. Hopefully he finds peace.

  30. Hi Gary,

    Just finished your book which I found completely fascinating and I truly believe your father was the Zodiac. The evidence is, to me, is overwhelming.

    I have an observation and a question and I apologize if these have already been covered. The observation is regarding the Halloween card sent to Paul Avery. Since he had written all of the articles about the “Ice Cream Romance” I wonder if all of the eyes, which I believe I read on a Zodiac forum were hand drawn onto the card, were a hint to Van’s identity that only Paul Avery would understand. By this I mean “eye-scream, probably
    far fetched but this, coupled with “4-teen” written above the skeleton makes me believe even more so that it was from Van. Like I said, it’s probably a far fetched idea but I had to throw it out there.

    Okay, my question is would it be possible for Van’s body to be exhumed for DNA testing?

    Thanks for your time and I look forward to more information on your website.

    • Hi Janice,

      Thanks for writing. I believe Van left several clues for Avery on that card, but I had not considered the “eye scream.” Interesting. To answer your question, Van’s body does not need to be exhumed. I have his DNA.

      Gary

      • And the 14 on the skeleton hand. I mean who else would send that guy a card?! So strange that they never even considered him a suspect

    • Wow good observation Janice,never seen that 1..I’m New here but have been studying this case for a little while now and am very interested in Gary’s story..I truly think Earl Van Best Jr could very well be the Zodiac and I will be reading Gary’s book for sure..I have seen evidence of other suspects and the evidence about EVB is really really interesting to say the least but anyway I had to remark on your comment I don’t think it’s far fetched at all very good comment thanks Ernie

  31. Just finished your book – it is very well written and very interesting to reference the time periods by the things that were happening with famous people.

    I think the writing evaluation is convincing enough to be probable.
    And with the exception of the V in the cipher translating to the U in Junior (I looked for other U’s and it’s definitely a V) That is too spooky for words. That can’t be coincidence.

    As for the rest of it – it pretty much seems to work out.

    I am glad that you were able to grow up with great guidance in the face of such a history.

    • Thank you so much for taking the time to submit your feedback and for your comments. I appreciate that very much!

      Gary

  32. I just finished reading your book and I think you have solved the Zodiac mystery. I have lived in the Bay Area for 55 years and am very familiar with the Zodiac case.

    Have you had any contact with Kathleen Johns, the woman with the baby that accepted a ride from the Zodiac on Hwy 132 and escaped with their lives? It would be interesting to see her opinion.

    Excellent work.

    • Hi Kathy.

      Thank you for your nice comments. I’m sorry to say that I never met Kathleen Johns. She died in 2002 before I ever discovered that my father was the Zodiac killer.

      Gary

  33. Gary,
    Outstanding investigation and great book. I was in law enforcement for over 30 years, including 9 years as a homicide detective, in a municipality of 250,000 residents and we had much more than are share of homicides. I believe you have identified the Zodiac. I came across a website called Crime Lab which donates 39 pages to the Zodiac. One thing that impressed me was the amount of evidence held by Riverside PD; greasy latent palm and fingerprints; flesh under the victim’s fingernails, etc. I cannot believe they have not jumped onto the evidence provided in you book and try to bring the Zodiac case to a logical conclusion; yes EVB is the Zodiac; no he isn’t; can’t say one way or the other. And, what is the hold up with SFPD, Vallejo PD and Napa Co. S/0? If I was still working in homicide and this came to my attention I would be excited about getting on with the investigation. Hard to believe some folks are not. Best wishes to and Susan.
    Andy

  34. I wrote a more extensive review of the book here: http://bookwormalert1984.blogspot.com/2014/06/the-most-dangerous-animal-of-all-by.html

    I believe that this book has some very compelling evidence. We may have just found our Zodiac Killer. I’m extremely curious about the whole DNA thing and why the SFPD are being so secretive. There is too much evidence in the right place for this to all just be a coincidence.
    I detest people who claim the author is doing this for the fame. Who, in their right mind, would claim to be the Zodiac Killer’s biological son? I know some people are strange like that, but to be honest it only feels as if the author wants others to rally around and help push the SFPD to look more into this lead. It may take a while, but i’m sure we can make this happen.

    • It is not just the SFPD that needs to follow up on the evidence in this book. Vallejo, Napa County, and certainly the Riverside PD who reportedly has possible DNA source evidence and latent finger and a palm print evidence should have be putting a full court press on this matter. Hopefully they are, and they are not saying anything until they get the results? Personally, I would be shocked if EV Best Jr. were not the Zodiac! Andy

      • Hi Andy!

        Thank you for your comments. It is my hope that the authorities take a close look at the evidence I’ve provided. After all, I have
        delivered the most forensic, as well as circumstantial evidence that has ever been presented in the nearly 48-year history of the Zodiac case. I would like to think that authorities would be eager and anxious to pursue new leads in a half-century old cold case. However, the reality is that there has never been a time in all these decades when someone from the public hasn’t come forward with tips and leads about various suspects. Chasing those leads takes time and money, and if every attempt results in the same false alarm, I believe these departments become immune, or jaded regarding anything having to do with the case and tend to just hope the case goes away. It is my hope that my book inspires renewed interest from investigators in all jurisdictions involved. I’m ready to approach law enforcement to see if anyone is interested in reviewing my evidence and moving the case to closure.

        Gary

  35. Interesting how the police decided the Zodiac letters’ DNA is no good and tainted when their prime suspect, Allen fails to match! It would still be interesting to see if Earl Van Best Jrs’ DNA matched any of the DNA taken from the Zodiac letters! Just a thought!

    • I’m not certain if the authorities have confidence in their sample or not, but I do believe DNA technology has progressed significantly this past decade, and I feel confident that there is enough genetic material remaining in the case files to extract a full genetic profile from that evidence. I hope the police will utilize new technologies so that this case can be solved! Thanks for your comment.

      Gary

  36. I am curious if there is any evidence that EV Best Jr knew any of the Z victims?

    I apologize if this information is in the book, I have not had a chance to read it yet due to being so busy at work!

    I look forward to reading!

    • Thank you for your question, Nathan. It is likely that my father knew at least two of the victims, Darlene Ferrin and Paul Stine. There are other known relationships, Robert Vaughn and Earl Van Best, Jr., and Robert Vaughn and Darlene Ferrin, which in my mind, are more than consequential. I do hope you enjoy the book!

      Gary

      • Hi Gary,

        I’ve done a fair amount of Zodiac research myself, and the Bob Vaughn who was the silent movie organist is not the Vaughn listed in Darlene Ferrin’s address book. THAT Vaughn, who is coincidentally also named Bob, appears in her address book beneath a listing for the Mt. Shasta Ski Bowl. A few minutes of Google research reveals, via news clippings from the time, that the manager of the Mt. Shasta Ski bowl in the 60s was named Bob Vaughn. As far as Paul Stine is concerned, what evidence do you have that your father knew him? I have long been fascinated with the Stine murder and would love to hear what you have.

        Thanks,
        David

        • David,

          Thanks for your question. Unfortunately after 48 years and so many of the former inspectors on the cases now gone, it’s really difficult to make any conclusive statements about individuals (like Bob Vaughn or Darlene Ferrin) outside of the original files on the case. In The Most Dangerous Animal Of All, I present evidence, just as any investigator would tying those connections together. Solving any case begins with researching the evidence, and in any case, cold or hot, every single morsel of information – circumstantial, forensic, coincidence – needs to be assembled and considered with relation to Motive, Means, and Opportunity. I believe beyond any doubt that my father was the Zodiac Killer. I have spent 10 years trying to find one morsel that would disallow him as a suspect and have found not yet one. There are simply too many connections – Dee Ferrin, Paul Stine, Bob Vaughn, Harcourt Apartments … my father drove a cab. Paul Stine either knew the Zodiac Killer, or the Zodiac Killer let Stine know he had a gun from the time he climbed in the front seat. I have not been able to verify if my father drove for Yellow Cab, but it seems likely considering that Stine picked up the Zodiac a block from my father’s home and this was not a scheduled fare. Stine was on his way to pick up another fare when he made that stop. Yes, it’s circumstantial, but combined with everything else, it is the most likely scenario.http://themostdangerousanimalofall.com/wp-admin/edit-comments.php#comments-form

          Thanks again,
          Gary

  37. Great book. I think it would be appropriate if the San Francisco Chronicle would get after the SFPD to investigate the information in your book. If they would report and re-report that the SFPD is not doing anything about this new information, then maybe they would be forced to work on the case. Those of us who lived in the Bay Area while the Zodiac was killing, would like to have an official answer. The SFPD are really letting us down.

    • Thank you for you comments, and I’m so glad you enjoyed the book! You are absolutely right. Unfortunately, the case has gotten so old and each decade goes by, the reporters are farther displaced in time from the actual days of the terror the Zodiac caused. The San Francisco Chronicle has always maintained a reporter on the Zodiac beat. Beginning with Paul Avery, then Duffy Jennings, and now Kevin Fagan. Paul Avery was a ‘rock star’ when it came to journalism in general, including the ‘Ice Cream Romance’ saga, and the Zodiac Killer case. He worked every lead with and actually tried to solve the case. I wish that Paul Avery were alive today. I believe that if he saw the information I’ve presented, he would instantly recognize his ‘Secret Pal,’ and get his Dick Tracy watch on and dig in with the authorities to close the case. That’s just not the case anymore. I did reach out to the last two Zodiac Beat reporters, Duffy Jennings, who graciously referred me to Kevin Fagan. I contacted Kevin Fagan years ago and we spoke on the phone. Within two minutes, he basically brushed me off stating that, “If I look at every piece of evidence presented to me in this case, I couldn’t do my job as a reporter.” He didn’t ask for specifics. He told me that if I could see the boxes and boxes of evidence against other suspects in the Zodiac case, I would probably “‘brush me off too.” I don’t believe Paul Avery would have done that, or Duffy Jenkins for that matter. My case merits investigation, and if the police won’t investigate it, I had hoped a Chronicle reporter would. Unfortunately, that is not the case, and is, I think, indicative of a lack of interest in uncovering the truth. Thanks again for your question!

      Gary

  38. I admit I haven’y read your book yet, but why haven’t I seen what I think is proof that he’s your father. The Halloween Card. It has EARL VAN BEST spelled out hidden on the back of the card.

    E-in FIRE
    A-in PARADICE
    R-in PARADICE
    L-in SLAVES
    V-in SLAVES
    A-in SLAVES
    N-in GUN
    B-in BY
    E-in SLAVES
    S-in SLAVES
    T-the crossing of the words PARADICE SLAVES

    Maybe its in your book. I just ordered it.

      • I haven’t had the opportunity to read your book yet. But after watching the Fincher movie last week I haven’t been able to get my eyes of the evidence – especially the Halloween card. It says: You ache to know my name, and so I’ll clue you in…
        I therefore started looking for a name, and when I found your story Gary – the name Earl Van Best was very clear. I guess If Avery would have had a clue of who the Zodiac was (a secret pal – someone he met) this name would have been as clear to him.
        I can’t read the other side of the card, maybe someone will enlighten me?

        …but, then, why (…?)

        It must have been a bit frustrating for the Zodiac, giving all this information in a simpel coded form and still no one gets it.

        Best wishes

        • I believe it had just been long enough since the Ice Cream Romance that Avery had forgotten Earl Van Best, Jr. With all the shock factor he imposed on the Bay Area, no doubt Avery woke up daily looking for a new message from his secret pal for his headline. Certainly the Ill Fated Romance was thousands of by Bylines and brain cells too distant for Avery’s recollection.
          Thank you for the question.

  39. Gary,
    Are there any plans for a documentary or movie based on your book? One of those might get the attention of the public, and Law Enforcement.
    Andy

    • Thanks for your question, Andy. All of the details haven’t been worked out quite yet, but the short answer is yes to both. As more information becomes available, I’ll certainly post updates.
      Thank you,
      Gary

  40. I’m puzzled about the fingerprint evidence. Supposedly the various police agencies have between them dozens of latent fingerprint that they believe are from the Zodiac. On this basis they were able to exclude the leading suspects, Allen and Kaczynski. The record also shows that many of the fingerprints believed to be from Zodiac were sent to and analyzed by the FBI Laboratory, and presumably these were checked against the FBI fingerprint database–which presumably contained the fingerprints of Earl Van Best, Jr. taken by the SFPD in February 1962. Shouldn’t the SFPD or one of the other police agencies, or even the FBI, be able to make a determination on whether these fingerprints match those believed to be from the Zodiac? If so, this could obviate the need for a DNA analysis.

    • Yes, it does seem like a law enforcement entity should examine my father’s fingerprints and compare them to the Zodiac’s. Unfortunately, I’m not sure that this has or has not been done. It seems like Lt. Hennessey would have thought to do that, but he never mentioned anything about it to me. Hopefully, it will happen soon. Thanks for writing.

      Gary

  41. Dear Mr. Stewart,

    I read your book over my summer break (I teach Psychology in Pittsburg, KS) and I must say you’ve presented a very strong case. I actually teach a unit on Serial Killers and we look at the Zodiac case in depth. I am curious if you or your birth mother could comment on whether or not Van Best, Jr. had a unique gait to his walk? I don’t remember reading about it in the book if you did mention it.
    Thanks so much and know that this was a really good book! On a personal level I think God proved that he loves you and has really kept watch over you for a long time.

    Sincerely,
    D. Patrick Moss
    pmoss@usd250.org

    • Dear Mr. Moss,

      Thank you for your kind comments and questions. Based on the alleged ‘lumbering’ gait of the Zodiac killer, I did ask my father’s friend, William, about my father’s gait. He said that he didn’t recall any limp or strange pace to my father’s stride. I do have one picture of my father standing where he has one foot turned outward, but that could have been just the way he stood. Of course I considered all of the evidence when I did my research, including the ‘lumbering’ allegation. I do know that my father missed an entire semester a Lowell High School, and the reason given on the transcripts was “illness.” While I have not been able to obtain his medical record to find out what caused his absence, and while it is pure
      speculation on my part, I do know polio was a huge concern in the late ’40s and early ’50s. I know my father-in-law, who is actually the same age as my father would be today if he were alive, was partially crippled by polio and walked with a ‘lumbering’ gait all of his life, but that is only speculation. Also, in the three years between 1963 and the Cheri Jo Bates murder, my father was incarcerated in San Quentin. From what I’ve gathered about San Quentin, a pedophile wouldn’t have had an easy go of it behind those prison walls. But I don’t know for certain if Zodiac even lumbered at all.

      Thanks again for your question.

      Gary

      • Hello Gary I have not read your book yet but I will be ordering it very soon for sure..about the lumbering gate comment..if the suspect that police identified walking the night of the Paul Stine murder was described as lumbering or had a gated walk to him ..it has been speculated that the killer (Zodiac) had maybe moved from the back seat to the front in order to gain control of the taxi cab as if maybe the Zodiac had shot Paul Stine thinking the car was in park and could have very well possibly injured himself ..maybe giving the Zodiac a temporary limp..just my amateur opinion from some speculation I gathered in my findings..and I can’t wait to read your book.

        • Hello Ernie,

          Very interesting point about his gate. We may never know for certain, but I believe Paul Stine allowed my father to sit in the front seat because he knew him. I hope you enjoy my book!

          Sent from my iPhone

  42. Charles, In regards to your July 31 comment regarding the FBI having Earl Van Best, Jr’s fingerprints in their data base: Nine of the years I was in Law Enforcement I was assigned to Robbery/Homicide – early 1970s to early 1980s. During that time we had a latent fingerprint from the point of entry in a rape/burglary/robbery case. It was sent to the Cal. Dept. of Justice and there was no hit in their data base. There were no hits in federal or several local departments that retained a data base until it was sent to San Francisco City/County. They got a hit and identified the responsible person, and as it turned out he was currently in Folsom Prison for a crime out of our jurisdiction that he committed, getting arrested sometime after our case, and after CA DOJ checked the latent fingerprints. We learned at that time that San Francisco had their own data base, and they were not sending fingerprints to CA DOJ or the FBI as far as we could determine. The prints on this guy would have been sent to the FBI by CA DOJ if San Francisco had sent them to CA DOJ. It might be the FBI would not have Earl’s prints in their data base, and they would have to request them from San Francisco. San Francisco may now be sending the prints on arrested persons to CA and/or the FBI, but the question would be did they go way back and send in prints from their archives?
    Probably not.
    Andy

  43. Mr. Stewart,

    I am enjoying your book. I can’t imagine the hours of research you put into this. Please forgive me if you have answered some of these questions in your book or in this forum.

    Do you know what size shoe your dad wore?
    Do you think he had an accomplice? Who would you suspect?
    When he wore the black mask at Lake Berryessa, do you think it was satanic in nature? If so, why create a backstory of being an escaped convict?
    Where would your dad have become familiar with bombs and radians?
    The Riverside Police Department has a DNA profile of Cheri Jo Bates’ murderer. If your DNA matches, the case is solved. Do you think they would be more cooperative than the SFPD? Do we need to help with funding?
    Honestly I have a million questions, but I know you’re busy. With DNA recently solving the Jack the Ripper mystery, I feel like we are so close to solving Zodiac. It’s maddening and if I have trouble sleeping, I can’t imagine how you ever fall asleep.

    You certainly offer some specifics about details that have driven me nuts; the Avery obsession, British terminology, gifts from Mexico… Thank you so much for your hard work.
    All the best,
    Gary

  44. Dear Gary,

    I have seen your interviews but yet to read your book. My question is when he murdered Cecilia Shepard and her boyfriend Bryan Hartnell, Bryan described him as 200+ lbs. 6’1. Do you know your biological fathers description as height and weight. I hope this question makes sense to you.
    Mike

    • Hi, Samantha. Thank you for your question. And you have brought up something to me that I have never thought of before. I would tend to believe that my father had no intention of becoming ‘Zodiac’ when he named me ‘Earl Van Dorne Best’, as it was more than three years before the murders would start, and I believe his time in Atascadero, coupled with his years in San Quentin, all contributed to his decision to become a serial killer. While there is actually no way of knowing this for certain, I believe that the totality of my father’s life choices and circumstances combined fostered a serial killer, including things specifically after his giving me my name.
      Great question! Thank you very much.
      Gary

  45. My question is what about the birthday. Allen Leigh had his birthday on December 18th and called a mans house saying that it was his birthday also can you answer the other question from September on this website I have the same ones.

    • Thank you for your question, Allison. As far as Allen’s birthday is concerned, I’ve always felt that was a ‘stretch’ for a connection to the Zodiac case by the online Zodiac community. Allen’s birthday was December 18th. Nothing Zodiac related ever happened on December 18th. The closest event was the first Bay Area Zodiac murder of David Faraday and Betty Lou Jensen at Lake Herman Road, Benicia, but that was on December 20, 1968. So there is actually no correlation to Arthur Leigh Allen at all. However, what is most significant are the specific dates from the Zodiac case that directly correlate to specific dates in my father and mother’s ill-fated romance, all chronicled by Paul Avery. The first article The San Francisco Chronicle reporter Paul Avery ever published about my father and mother’s ‘Ice Cream Romance,’ appeared in the Chronicle on August 1, 1962. The debut of the first Zodiac letter to the San Francisco Chronicle, the Vallejo Times Herald, and the San Francisco Examiner, was received on July 31, 1969. In his letter to the SF Chronicle, Zodiac said ‘I want you to print this cipher on the front page of your paper. In this cipher is my identity. If you do not print this cipher by the afternoon of Fry First of Aug 69, I will go on a kill rampage Fry night.’ In the 1962 San Francisco Chronicle article about my father ‘He Found Love in an Ice Cream Parlor,’ Paul Avery definitely embarrassed my father with his follow-up jab at my father… ‘There was only one roadblock to the romance: His love was 14 years old.’ So Zodiac wanted his ‘new’ publicity in the Chronicle on the exact date, August 1st, seven years after he made Paul Avery’s headlines for the first time in his life, on August 1st. Note that my father always hinted that his ‘identity,’ his ‘name’ could be found in the ciphers.

      This is only one example of significant dates with regard to my parents’ Ice Cream Romance headlines, and significant events in the Zodiac case and his correspondence with the press.

      Thanks again for your question.
      Gary

    • Hi George,

      Thank you for your question. When The Most Dangerous Animal of All was released in May 2014, the SFPD was placed ‘on the spot’ without warning. According to their initial response, “[if] Mr. Stewart has any information on the case, he should come forward.” So I did…once again. Due to the fact that the case remains ‘open,’ I am not at liberty to discuss details shared with me or details of my conversations with the authorities. However, it is my belief that the ‘new Blue’ of the SFPD are committed to closing this case once and for all.

      Gary

  46. Hi Gary and Susan,
    I just finished your compelling and well-produced book. Thank you, Gary, for sharing what must have been a harrowing journey for you. My son’s father was adopted and has issues with abandonment, rejection and the like, which led to our relationships demise. Your story, whilst may have been cathartic for you, has taught me that it can oftentimes be far more difficult to find those answers.
    As a true crime afficionado, I must ask; have you had any contact with John E. Douglas, former FBI profiler? I noted in the bibliography of your book mention of ‘Mindhunter’ and wondered if this brilliant man has any thoughts on Earl Van Best Junior?
    Sincere wishes of love and light,
    Cat

    • Thank you Cat for reaching out and for your warm words. Although I didn’t personally reach out to John E. Douglas, his co-author on ‘Inside The Mind Of The BTK,’ Johnny Dodd, who is also a journalist for PEOPLE Magazine, was so intrigued with my story that he spent an entire day with me in Baton Rouge, even visiting my home to ‘get his story.’ I have a feeling that he likely discussed his visit and my story with John Douglas at some point in his investigative report on The Most Dangerous Animal of All, prior to the June 2nd 2014 PEOPLE Magazine Feature about my story.

      Thank you for the kind wishes and my best to you and yours.
      Gary

  47. This was a very well written, and documented book. By far, one of my favorite. I had succumb to neglecting my husband bc I could not put the book down. I have never finished reading a book as quickly as I did with this one. WOW!! I was always fascinated with Zodiac and have seen the movie countless times. I am so happy that I can add this book to my collection. I do agree that a movie is in order. Gary, please look into that. Thank you both very much for giving us the opprotunity to appreciate the book. I am very sorry Gary that you had to go through so much hardship in finding out the history of your father. But I am very happy that you found your birth mother. Awesome, awesome job again to the both of you!!
    Keng

    • Dear Keng,

      Thank you for reaching out. Comments like yours – kind, understanding, and encouraging–reinforce my belief that everything I’ve been through these past thirteen years has been worth it all.

      Thanks again,
      Gary

  48. Gary,

    Perhaps a family member of one of the victims will read your book, contact the SFPD and ask that they consider your bio father as being the Zodiac and request they look into the evidence you present.

    Am trusting the SFPD will look at all you have presented, regardless, and soon do their own investigation, using not only your evidence but adding to it the evidence they’ve had in their own possession for many years. In corroborating and comparing your evidence to their own, they will come to a final resolution in this case, once and for all, that it was in fact Earl Van Best Jr who was the Zodiac Killer. Perhaps, they are working on just that this very moment and will soon share with you, the victims families, and finally the public.

    God Bless you in your hard work and diligence and in your touching love and forgiveness.

    • Thank you for your post. I certainly appreciate your kind words. For the first time in my 13-year journey, I have complete confidence in the SFPD and their desire to prove, solve and close this case once and for all. And I am proactively working with them and am in dialogue with the Cold Case Inspector. Believe it or not, my story is one that ‘just won’t end’, and as it was with publication of my book, we just had to pick a stopping point and send it to the printer, new evidence keeps pouring in almost daily, as it was last February when HarperCollins said ‘no new information will be introduced after today’. That was over a year ago, and everything I’ve discovered since publication not only reinforces what I know in my heart and my gut to be profound truth, but has basically given me enough information to assist authorities in closing the Zodiac case once and for all.

      Thank you again for your kind words.

      Gary

  49. Dear Mr.Stewart,

    Please don’t see this comment as criticism, as I am also determined in finding the true identity for the Zodiac Killer. But I have a question that I might need you to answer.

    In one of the evidence photos you posted, it was a photo of the WANTED poster of the sketch and the mug shot. But since this evidence was only found quite recently, how did they find the photo in 1969?

    Please answer,
    Jason

    • Dear Jason,
      Thank you for reaching out. If you’re referring to the photo of the 1969 Zodiac Wanted Poster with my father’s mugshot next to the police sketch, I am the one who superimposed my father’s mugshot onto the Wanted Poster…only to show the remarkable likeness side-by-side. This isn’t something the SFPD put together. I only did it to make the point that my father looks exactly like the police sketch, more so than any other suspect in the history of the Zodiac Case.

      Kind regards,

      Gary

  50. Incredible. This is by far the best comment thread I’ve ever read online. Standing ovation. And waiting with bated breath as this continues to unfold.

  51. Gary,

    Your book presents some compelling evidence. Though circumstantial in nature, it is not easily ignored. As a Zodiac buff, I enoyed reading it for that reason alone. After finishing your book, I am still left with a nagging question:

    1. Don Cheney’s testimony. This has always been an unresolved question for me. Cheney was one of Allen’s closest friends and recounts conversations they had had prior to the murders in which Allen refers to not only the details of the crimes (such as ‘picking off kiddies as they come bouncing out of the bus’; word for word) but how he would do it (write letters to law enforcement, call himself Zodiac, etc.). All of this is on the bonus materials to Fincher’s 2007 film and I get the sense that Cheney is sincere.

    So, if Arthur Leigh Allen was innocent of these crimes (as the partial DNA test from the envelope in 2002 seems to indicate), then this presents us with one of three options: 1) Don Cheney is lying, 2) an extraordinary coincidence occurred in which the Zodiac events just happened to match Cheney and Allen’s conversations to the letter, or 3) Allen had these conversations with other people as well and someone else copied his idea or collaborated with Allen.

    Of course, people have also mentioned the possibility that Allen carried out the killings but did not handle the letters, which would leave him in the running. But given the nascent stage of DNA in the late 1960s, this would have been extraordinarily prescient on Allen’s part and thus unlikely.

    I’m curious how you wrestle with Cheney’s testimony?

    Thanks

    • Thank you for your question. I’ll tell you how I deal with the Don Cheney issue…I haven’t given it a second thought. Allen insisted he wasn’t the Zodiac. His DNA excluded him as a suspect. But more importantly for me is that Allen had absolutely no motive to commit murder. He was a twisted pedophile, not a killer. I believe Graysmith got really close, but I got it really right. We have no way knowing what Cheney’s motivation might have been for making those statements. Knowing what I know now, a year after my book’s release, I have never been more certain that there was one and only one Zodiac killer, only one Zodiac suspect with Means, Motive and Opportunity…and that was Earl Van Best, Jr. Thanks again for your comments.
      Gary

      • After reviewing the popular book on Lee Allen as Zodiac and your book, I believe that some of the kills attributed to Zodiac were not Zodiac, but were Lee Allen. I think that two cases were mixed up.

        • Hi Felicia,
          I may be in the minority in this category, but I just don’t believe that ALA was a murderer at all. I believe he was a troubled man with psychological issues, but I haven’t seen any evidence that he had motive to kill anyone. I believe those crimes the Zodiac wrote about and gave specifics were all committed by him. No specifics on those others he claimed, Me-37 SFPD-0 (37-5 known), so I don’t believe he committed any other murders. He was too narcissistic not to brag with details if he had perpetrated more.
          Thanks for writing!

  52. Gary, I am reading your fascinating book as part of the Istrouma Baptist Book club this month! You included the cipher from the letter to the San Francisco Chronicle on June 26,1970 had not been solved. You probably know this by now, but I found the letters for EARL VAn JR in there. The A is a triangle, and the n is the horseshoe, and you have to use the R twice.

    • I have to admit that once I saw my father’s name in the 408 and the ‘My Name Is_______’ ciphers, I actually quit looking at ciphers. I didn’t need anymore proof or evidence. Because my webmaster gets these emails and forwards to me, I actually can’t tell who wrote to the website, so when I had lunch with my mom Leona, I told her someone from the IBC book club reached out to me. I put her on a search to find out if she can locate someone in the book club. I also reached out to Jeff Ginn and offered to speak to the church and present my slide presentation that takes an intimate look behind the scenes of The Most Dangerous Animal of All, and bringing the listeners up to date on all news about the case since we sent the book to the printer over a year ago. I told Jeff that I’d be happy to speak to the book club and the entire congregation, because after all, my story is actually God’s story of mercy and grace in my life.
      Thanks for reaching out.
      Gary

  53. I see the letters of Earl Van Best Junior in each of the 17 columns of the “To Examiner” puzzle on page 296:

    BUSRRTIELNNVEAJOA

    the E is backward in row 8
    The A is a teepee with no cross bar in row 14

    Is that something you already knew about?

    • Thanks for contacting me. Actually, I did not know about your discovery. You can take full credit for that! I stopped looking at the ciphers as soon as I saw my father’s name in the 408 cipher and the ‘My Name Is_____’ cipher. I didn’t need any further convincing that I had solved the case.
      Best regards,
      Gary

  54. Gary,
    I loved your book and couldn’t put it down! I have been checking this site as well as the Facebook page for updates. I saw last week on the Facebook page that you were going to be on the news to reveal the 5 markers of the Zodiac’s DNA matched yours. The post has since been deleted and I haven’t heard anything on the news about it. What happened? Thanks.
    Your brother in Christ,
    Cory

    • Thanks for writing Cory. I’ve had nearly a year to think about ‘what to do about the DNA information I have?’ In January, my discoveries as told in The Most Dangerous Animal of All, received new, unsolicited attention and captured the attention national affiliates out on the West Coast. Having multiple opportunities for local network interviews here in Louisiana, I thought that it might be a good time to share the information I have about the DNA. At the time, I felt it was a way to get more people interested in my story, so that it would be shared on a wider scale, once again, as it was when my book was first released and I appeared in People Magazine and live on Out Front With Erin Burnett on CNN and on Inside Edition. Just prior to my local network affiliate interviews promoting speaking events and book signings, I thought back to my last conversation with the new inspector over the Zodiac case, and I made a decision that I would not share that information. As it turns out, one of the things that has hindered the solution of the Zodiac case is the voluminous amount of information on the Internet, that should have never been made public. Information that, had it not been such a ‘notorious’ cold case, and just a random case, the masses wouldn’t have cared, so no one would have leaked confidential and sensitive information to all of the Zodiac webmasters. Police often keep information about a crime scene, or a suspect, confidential so that when someone comes forward with information that would only be known by the perpetrator, or the victim, expedites solving the case. As far as the Zodiac case, anyone who is interested can find out anything (almost) they want to know about the case on the Internet, thus handicapping law enforcement. Considering all of this, knowing my ultimate goal is to help the SFPD bring this case to complete solution and closure, I could not in good conscience bring myself to reveal anything that the SFPD has that the rest of the world doesn’t, and most definitely interject more chaos, attention, and detriment to the tough job these guys already have. Revealing anything about those 5 markers the SFPD have for the Zodiac killer would absolutely do nothing for the case. It would only give the world one of the last pieces of evidence that is still confidential, that will ultimately solve the case, and completely undermine and compromise the case. And that is not why I chose to publish my story and share with the world. I wrote my book because I know that I’m right, and it is my responsibility to continue to assist the authorities in bringing this case to final closure. I know I’ve made the right decision.

      Thank you again for your question.

      Gary

  55. Gary,
    Thank you for you last post. It was exciting when reading you book because it seems this mystery is once and for all solved. That excitement is re-kindled after reading your last post. Keep up the the good work; you are right, so never give a inch. Best Wishes. Andy

    • Dear Andy,
      Thank you so much for taking the time to write and your kind comments. It’s heart-warming to receive such feedback from people who didn’t have to take time to share their thoughts, but chose to do so.

      My best,

      Gary

  56. Hi Gary, I read your book in one setting. The way you and Susan presented the evidence within the story of your life was very effective. I have been interested in this mystery for a long time, like many people, because everyone loves a good mystery. I also hope that the victims finally get some closure. I am also originally from Louisiana and went to school in Baton Rouge, and actually worked in Baton Rouge General and Our Lady of the Lake while at school there. Your story is stunning and even more incredible is how the truth has finally come out in the way. It all fits together and I do believe you have finally solved this mystery. It is a disgrace that SFPD will not do the right thing and follow up on this. You would think they would want to give their department some credibility and do the right thing. It is sad that most people who work for “the people” don’t understand that they are public servants and that they work for the public and should never forget that. I wish the victims would file suite against the SFPD and make them do their job. I also read Steve Holdel’s page where he claims he has proven that is not EV’s writing on the marriage certificate. It is obvious when you look at the minister’s writing at the bottom that he did no fill out the certificate. All of the evidence you have put together, I feel, would convince a jury it is so strong. I also over-layed the fingerprints in Illustrator and was stunned how the details of the borders of the scar lined up so well with murderer’s partial print. But I think the most incredible thing I read was that the date of the postcard to Avery was 7 years to the date of his article, making that motive ring with truth. I looked to the postcard again and saw the “fourteens,” including the fourteen females eyes on the card and it was completely obvious that your father was referring to the events of 7 years prior. He even included his initials in the symbol. It looks like he actually spells Earl Van in that symbol. E dot dot L…then V dot dot. The odds that all of this evidence is coincidence are even higher than a DNA match, in my opinion. I think what you have done has shown a huge amount of courage. I believe you are absolutely right and have proven his guilt beyond a doubt. I think, as you indicated, that his drives back and forth to Mexico were more about committing these and other murders while on the road, making it hard for him to get caught. I bet if you followed his route, there would be many similar ones that he did. I hope a great filmmaker will bring your story to the big screen, since so many people don’t read, and it will become a smash hit and cause the SFPD enough embarrassment to finally serve the public, instead of themselves. Great job! I wish you the best, Daniel

    • Hi Daniel,

      Thank you for taking the time to reach out to me. I am so happy that you ‘get’ it…the entirety of it all. Funny you mention Steve Hodel. I actually reached out to him right after his book Black Dahlia Avenger came out because I thought he did a good job providing evidence that his father might have been the perpetrator of the Black Dahlia murder. At the time, I had already discovered that my father was in fact the Zodiac killer, and reached out to Hodel for advice on how I should proceed to bring the case to closure. I don’t know if he was already working on Most Evil, where he paints his father as not only the Zodiac killer, but others (I can’t comment because I didn’t read it, nor will I ever), or whether he began that project after I corresponded with him and he found out that I was going to share my story that I was certain and had proof that my father was the Zodiac killer. Either way, Hodel self-published Most Evil after shopping it around to publishers, which almost made it impossible for The Most Dangerous Animal of All to find a traditional publisher. By the time I showed up, traditional publishers didn’t want to hear anything about the Zodiac killer because they had heard that ‘old song and dance’ before…until they heard my story…and saw my evidence. Steve Hodel commented publicly to my story that he has ‘skin in the game’, meaning he’s not wanting anyone to contradict his claims. I never viewed coming forward with my story as ‘skin in the game’. The moment I knew my father was the only Zodiac killer, and that moment came with finding his name in the ciphers perfectly, reinforced by my literary agent finding his name in the 340 perfectly and backward, as indicated by the backward B, and finally the fingerprint…I knew I had to share the truth…that my father, Earl Van Best, Jr. was, and is, the only Zodiac killer.

      Thanks for writing.

      Gary

  57. Hi Gary, has the SFPD given you a time frame
    On the DNA or finger printing analysis?

    Lastly, more importantly the Zodiac gave a women and her baby a ride one late night, she ran away, and he burned her car. Was she ever contacted to see if she can pick your fathers actual photo out of a line up? I know she indicated the sketch of the Zodiac was his, but she should be able to identify him directly.

    Enjoyed the book.

    Thanks,
    Shah

    • Hi Shah,

      The SFPD has not made any ‘time’ commitments on my DNA or my father’s fingerprints due to an overwhelming ‘current’ cold-case workload and more pressing recent cases that take higher priority over a 45 year old cold case. I don’t let that discourage me because I’ve waited 11 years now, and I sincerely believe that we are on the right track, much more so than under the old regime.

      As far as Kathleen Johns, she passed away in 2002, two years before I ever realized my father was the Zodiac Killer, so I never had an opportunity to speak to her. The same is true of Paul Avery. There is no doubt in my mind that both Kathleen Johns and Paul Avery (as did publicist Chris Harris, who met my father) would have both come forward and stated that my father was the Zodiac Killer.

      http://chrisharrispr.com/

      Thank you for your comments.

      Gary

  58. I’ve always been curious about the myths motivating zodiac since his letters are so influenced by demonology. On the one hand there is some aspect of demonic possession and influence he refers to that you can find consistent with popular american holiness/pentecostal belief (which a methodist church in ky would be consistent with) but the notion of slaves in the afterlife doesn’t really have a corollary in that vein. You mention in the book the Japanese block/artifact and I was wondering if you had any 3rd party background on this aspect of Japanese folklore and if you have been able to find artifacts similar to the one your father gave to William. I’m requesting 3rd party information on this simply because so much of the circumstantial evidence is based off of William’s testimony and as he is no longer able to corroborate it I’d like to confirm some aspects of his testimony with alternative sources.

    • Dear Hank,

      Thanks for writing. In answer to your question, I have not found an exact replica of that wooden box, however, much has been written about the subject of slaves in the afterlife. Throughout history, many cultures have held beliefs that their slaves should follow them into the afterlife to attend to their needs, most notably the Egyptians. In Japanese culture, the most notorious mention of slaves (or attendants, as they were called) being buried with their owners to continue their service occurs between 200 and 300 AD with the death of the Empress Queen Himiko, who, according to various accounts, was buried with 100 of her attendants. Some books about this subject that you might find interesting include, “Premodern Japan: A Historical Survey” by Mikiso Hane and Louis Perez; “Varieties of friendship: Interdisciplinary perspectives on social relationships”edited by Bernadette Descharmes, Eric Anton Heuser, Caroline Krüger and Thomas Loy; and “A History of
      Japan: From Stone Age to Superpower” by Kenneth Henshall.

      Gary

  59. Hi Gary,

    I have your book on order so I have not read it but I don’t want to wait for it to arrive before I ask you a question. My apologies if it answered in the book.

    I heard in an interview on youtube that Arthur Allen was trying to hire himself out as a hit man. With Allen being identified by one of the survivors as well, do you think it’s at all possible that EVB jr hired Allen for some of the murders? The evidence at least, according to the Graysmith’s version, seems to lead in one direction but ends at handwriting and DNA , etc. and perhaps that is where EVB jr. fills in the blanks? Perhaps, it was EVB jr at the Stine murder as his fingerprints seem a match and also was identified as looking like the drawing (I think). Also, Lee Allen admitted to meeting the Zodiac.

    Just some thoughts from a guy who’s looking forward to reading your book!

    Ian

    • Hi Ian,

      Thank you for your questions! As you know after reading Graysmith’s books, there is so much speculation and so many ‘conspiracy theories’ floating around the Zodiac case that it is extremely difficult to get down to the facts. Getting to the facts would mean getting a look inside each of the jurisdictions case files where Zodiac committed his crimes and being able to draw accurate conclusions. Because some allegations were submitted as ‘fact’, while some facts were written off as heresay, the world has a very fertile ground with which to sow any sort of conspiracy theory it desires…which only further complicates and clouds the truth. I know due to HIPAA laws, in some cases it’s impossible to get to some of the information people claim to ‘know as fact’. My contribution to any further speculation about my father’s ‘relationship’ with Arthur Leigh Allen would compromise my case and dilute the cold hard facts as I’ve presented in The Most Dangerous Animal of All. So I choose to stand my ground regarding those things I know as fact.

      I hope you enjoy reading The Most Dangerous Animal of All!

      Gary

  60. HI Gary , I posted a solution for Zodiac Halloween Card / z 408. On the website Zodiackiller.com ( I was hoping they would to proof it over their ) You can find this solution in the most dangerous animal section . It is in the code section of that thread. written by me FXBBY74 I’m 99.99 % positive the solution is correct and implicates your father further. I wanted you too see it. You Have my e-mail address contact me if you wish to discuss it.

    Thanks

    Mike H

    • Dear Mike,

      I’m sorry for your post falling through the cracks. It’s my fault because I totally lost my emails when my computer failed a few months back. Yes, you’re right on. I’m glad to know you and please keep up the good work!

      Gary

  61. Hello Gary
    I have listened to the interview/chat with Ed Opperman, it was very interesting, I also intend on purchasing your book this evening.
    I think the photo and sketch of the Zodiac are very close, has anyone ever thought of asking the survivor/s of the Zodiac to comment/confirm on the likeness? It might add one more string of confirmation to any skeptics!

    Kind regards

    Jens

    • Hi Jens,

      As you know, there are only two remaining survivors, Mike Mageau and Bryan Hartnell, and only Mike Mageau would have possibly seen his face. In Hartnell’s case, Zodiac was wearing a hood, and Hartnell did not see his face. Mageau has allegedly struggled with addiction most of his life and in the interviews I’ve seen, he would be an unreliable witness at best. I think the guy who got the best extended look at the Zodiac was Don Fouke of the SFPD who has stated that he saw the Zodiac killer (may have even spoken with him immediately after the Stine murder) while responding to the October 11th crime. I have tried to locate him with no luck, but he contributed to the ‘altered’ sketch, so I’m certain he would agree that my father is a ‘dead’ ringer for the police sketch.

      Thank you for asking, and I hope you enjoy my book.

      Gary

  62. Hi Gary,

    I have 2 questions:

    1. Is the SFPD not even willing to hand you the killers DNA profile in order for you to make a paternity test at a private clinic? Do the USA not have laws against such harrassment?

    2. Besides your fathers matching handwriting, how good is the partial fingerprint from Washington and Maplestreet, where Mr. Paul Stine was murdered, forensically speaking?

    I sincerely hope you will get to do the paternity test one day.

    Keep up the good work.

    • Thank you for your questions. Because the case is still considered ‘open and active,’ the SFPD will not share any specifics that should remain sensitive that will help them close the case, and if released to the public could jeopardize the integrity of the case they’re building to identify the Zodiac and close the case once and for all. I’m happy that they’re taking this position. As anyone familiar with the case knows, if the Zodiac case had always been handled this sensitive and professional way, there would be no sensitive information about it available on the Internet. As far as I know, there are no laws in the U.S. that allow an individual to gain access to sensitive information in an open criminal case. However, I’m quite certain that the California Department of Justice could easily step in and force disclosure to other agencies, but not individuals.

      For the fingerprints found at the Stine crime scene, for the first time in the history of the case, we have something … something very compelling that’s never happened before. We have a known print lifted from a Zodiac crime scene that has a prominent scar on his right index finger, that identically matches the prominent scar on my father’s right index finger. Other than having proven my father did as he said he would do, place his name clearly in the ciphers, the fingerprint evidence is, in my opinion, the second most damning of all of the evidence.

      Thank you again for reaching out.
      Gary

  63. Hi Gary,

    I have always been fascinated by serial killers, especially the infamous Zodiac killer. When I stumbled across your book, I was interested to see what you had to say, as I thought it could easily be some silly hoax. However, once I started reading, I couldn’t seem to put your book down!

    Throughout the whole book, I fought with myself about whether or not I believed this to be true, as some of the profiles of the other suspects (specifically Arthur Leigh Allen) seemed to add up quite well. After reading your book, researching the case, reading you dispute certain people’s doubts, it mostly seems to add up. You have a pretty strong believer here, if not simply because it is finally a decently believable suspect. The photo and the scar on the index finger are really what sold me, as well as the history about your father and how him and your grandfather would spend many hours decoding each others ciphers, even when he was young.

    However, one of the main things that casts some doubt is the Paul Stine murder. The theory that your father killed the other women due to their likeness to your mother seems to make sense, as you can find similarities between the women. The murder of Stine does not seem to fit with that theory which makes me a little dubious. I was also doubtful of the ciphers but after reading your responses to others’ doubts, I am a little less doubtful.

    If your father truly is the Zodiac killer, what do you believe his motive was to kill Paul Stine?

    As well, I would like to commend you for putting yourself out there and sharing so much personal information with the world. That takes a lot of courage and bravery to do so.

    Thanks!

    • Hi Sydney Thib,

      Thank you for your post and your kind words. Yes, Paul Stine is a one-off, but there are at least two connections. It is known that Darlene Ferrin and Paul Stine lived in the Harcourt Apartments in San Francisco at the same time, and there is evidence that they knew each other well. My father knew Stine well, which is why he allowed my father to get in the front seat of the cab. My father had an explosive violent personality. With all of the evidence I have and the SFPD has, there is no definitive motive for the Stine murder. My father was a very arrogant and narcissistic person. He was extremely braggadocious about his ‘accomplishments.’ Maybe he let is ‘slip’ about killing Darlene and chose to kill Stine so he wouldn’t go to the authorities. Maybe it wasn’t about Darlene at all. Maybe he didn’t plan on murdering anyone that night, and when he got in the car Stine said something that sent him off. Maybe there was more to it. It could be about any relationships surrounding both men and a personal vendetta by my father. The reason I tend to think it wasn’t planned is that he almost got caught by the police, and I feel it in my gut that he did get caught by his wife that evening when he returned back to their home on Bush Street. It only makes sense because she left the country immediately, even while 7 months pregnant. It is possible that there are more pieces to the puzzle in the Zodiac case file in San Francisco, but that’s not available for viewing by the public, so for now, we will wait.

      Thank you again for your kind words.

      Gary

  64. Hi Gary,

    It has troubled me for some time that Arthur Leigh Allen, who could not possibly have been the killer for obvious reasons, had SUCH a heavy burden on his shoulders for so many years. He was judged by so many despite lacking any resemblance with the killer. When all this gets sorted out and DNA confirms your fathers guilt, do you think that a ceremony or at least something is held in his recognition as innocent to the crimes.
    I think that the great injustice he lived through should be identified and recognized.
    May God bless and protect you.
    Peter

    • Hi Peter,
      Thank you for posting. I too feel sorry for ALA. Some people portray him as someone who achieved some satisfaction with all of his celebrity by being wrongly accused. And maybe he did … for a while. However, it is clear on his interviews at the end of his life that he really wanted his name cleared. I hope once this is all resolved that someone or some group exonerates him publicly, although he’s now deceased. Maybe it would be a good thing to find any surviving family members and extend that apology to them. Not sure, but it’s something we’ll keep in mind for the future. Thanks again for your kind words.

      Gary

  65. Not sure if anyone mentioned it before but I noticed something additional to the “clue in the bones” riddle on that halloween card. The fingers on the hand with the numbers on it are arranged as two more numbers .. building a 2 and a 6 .. accidently or intentionaly ?

    Now you have these:
    2 6
    1 4

    If you now build an ankh or crucifix around the center of PARADICE and SLAVES, take A as the middle and ignore the obsolete S at the end of SLAVES for a correct Center, start counter clockwise from the left.

    2: S(L)AVE
    6: ECiDA(R)AP
    1: (E)VALS
    4: PAR(A)DiCE

    LREA or EARL as I would call that skeleton.

    Usually our imagination forces us to logic around until it fits our desired goal and maybe I am totally wrong. .. But then again, I can even see all Letters of EARL in that Oki-Doki-Skeleton Hand, even without the numbers. I see a turned E, a double reversed R, a L and if I make my mind believe it I can imagine something like an A somewhere .. coincidense .. maybe.

    Greetings from Germany. Hopefully I am able to read that book soon too.

    Pi-Man .. 🙂

  66. Greetings from Germany, Gary. I admit that I hadn’t had the chance to read your book yet, as I heard about it just a couple of days ago but the evidence you brought to the table so far in this discussion thread made me look closer on the last couple of remaining riddles of the unsolved ciphers.
    I’m not sure if anyone else mentioned it before but I believe I noticed an additional information hidden in the halloween card that leads to your fathers name hidden in that card. So I clue you in …
    Everyone noticed the 14 in the skeletons hand but I see 2 more numbers not hand written, but displayed visual by the same hand. If you try to iminate the skeletons hand gesture you will notice that your fingers wont arrange the same way as the drawing does. That’s why I believe it was intentionally used to give use 2 more numbers to work with here. If you look closely you will notice two fingers showing a number two, while the other two and the thumb are arranged as the number six.

    Together with the Four-Teen you now have these:
    2 6
    1 4

    There must be a reason why the text on the left side of the card is building some sort of cross or ankh. If you now leave the last S of SLAVES for a perfect center of the cross and start counter clockwise on the left side to count the letters you will get these:

    read from West to East: 2 – S(L)AVE
    read the South to North: 6 – ECiDA(R)AP
    read from East to West: 1 – (E)VALS
    read from North to South: 4 – PAR(A)DiCE

    Which results in the letters LREA, an anagram for EARL.
    Maybe I’m misinterpreting that card and strongly try to believe in something which is not there but on the other hand it would fit the somewhat genius evil mind of Mr. Best to really hide his identity in the few given words in just another encryption as the card itself promises to reveal.

    Waiting for your thoughts about that card riddle, while waiting for a copy of your book .. 🙂

    Daniel Pi.

    • Hi Daniel,

      Thank you for taking the time to reach out to me. I think your wait is almost over, since I’ve been told that the German version of The Most Dangerous Animal Of All…Der Zodiac, will be released next Thursday, August 13th!

      I am often questioned by very intelligent people like you who dig deeper into all of the evidence available on the Zodiac killer and come up with some really good stuff, like your findings on the Halloween card. Of course I believe you’re right and my father was just that narcissistic with his ciphers and cards … he loved seeing his name. I didn’t choose to dig any deeper for many reasons, primarily because I personally didn’t need any more proof. I was sickened when I first had the hunch that my father was the Zodiac killer, and the more I looked the more distraught I became … to the point of not wanting to see any more. Once I knew that I was 100% correct, I stopped looking. I applaud you for your hard work and your amazing discoveries!

      Best wishes,
      Gary

  67. Hi Gary,

    Thank you for coming forward with your story. It is remarkable and very brave, regardless of the end result.

    I was amazed by the recent successes with solving the letters, so I tried my hand at the Exorcist Letter utilizing this new info. I may be way off, but was able to rearrange the bottom piece into ‘Earl Best Jr’. Though some elements needed to be connected (similar to the Zodiac’s mark).

    Animated GIF of the result:
    https://twitter.com/JoshuaFarkas/status/633146814363860992

    While I feel one could likely spell most things with such abstract shapes, and I couldn’t get Van in there for the life of me, I do think it continues to show Earl as a valid suspect. Thought it was interesting enough to share.

    Keep fighting the good fight!
    – Josh

    • Thank you Josh! I’m certain the more people dig into the evidence he left, including other ciphers, Earl Van Best, Jr. will become clearer and clearer. Thanks for reaching out!

  68. Gary,

    I applaud your bravery. This isn’t the only case Gilford and Sanders wanted dead, buried and forgotten.

    What do you mean Gilford pulled the short straw and interrogated Van? What date/year did that happen? Was that Gilford and Van’s first and only interaction? What date and year did Judy see Van for the last time? Thank you.

    • My reference to ‘short straw’ only reflected some of the thoughts that were running through my head regarding Gilford and Sanders and their involvement in the case, and with my father. ‘Thinking out loud’, as it’s sometimes referred to. Gilford isn’t here to answer those questions, and Sanders chose to avoid me when we was able to answer those question. Judy says she saw Van for the last time the night he returned from abandoning me in Baton Rouge, March 15th, 1963. I know from obtaining the New Orleans and Baton Rouge Police reports, that her claim is in fact, not true. She stayed with my father for at least another month after he abandoned me.

      Gary

  69. Hello Gary
    First of all please excuse me for my English language i am from Austria ..English is not my first language but i’ll do my best ..

    i read you book and it’s really amazing one ..i just had a few questions
    1- how people in California wasn’t able to recall or observe your dad after the sfpd published a sketch of the zodiac?they really look very similar

    2- do you have any explanation of that fact that the zodiac committed his crime only on holidays and weekends?do you have any idea what kind of work your dad used to have during the zodiac crimes?

    3-when do you expect the sfpd will compare your dad DNA to the one they have on file for the Zodiac?

    and thank you

    • Hello Isabella,

      Thank you for your email. The last known Zodiac murder was October 11, 1969 in San Francisco. Cab driver Paul Stine was the victim, and if you recall from the case, the Zodiac almost got caught by the SFPD that night. Several things happened as a result of him being seen by so many witnesses that night. First, the SFPD sketch artist produced an exact likeness to my father and the SFPD posted these posters all over the city. Secondly, my father’s third wife, also from Austria, left my father immediately and went back to Austria to be near her parents to help her raise their three children without my father in their lives. She was a licensed social worker and provided most of the income to pay their rent and food in San Francisco, while my father made some money as a cab driver (the Paul Stine connection), and selling antiquities, rare books. Once his wife was gone, he could not make his rent payments, and eventually moved into the William Penn Hotel in the Tenderloin. This is a very poor area of the city, and there are many homeless in the neighborhood.

      The William Penn Hotel is now operated as a shelter type housing establishment. With addiction being one underlying cause of homelessness, I can understand why my father migrated to the Tenderloin after his wife left him for Austria. The Tenderloin was a place where anyone could disappear, and with the exception of one incident that I’m aware of where my father was arrested by the SFPD/FBI for phoning in an assassination attempt on then President Gerald Ford in March of 1976, he did. When the police found him at the pay phone (sound familiar?), he was booked on a ‘drunk charge’. I believe my father stayed out of the public eye after that and eventually moved to Long Beach. I believe that his life condition was so deteriorated by that point that he didn’t look much like his former self, as happens to addicts who don’t get help.

      As far as the Zodiac crimes being committed on holidays, I believe it just happens to be coincidental that those dates were ‘around’ holidays. The most fascinating details surrounding the dates of his crimes and subsequent correspondence with the media/police, is that they happened on significant anniversary dates on the Ice Cream Romance, his time on the run with my mother and me.

      I have found out that the SFPD (Harold Butler/John Hennessey) did in fact run my DNA and compare it to the profile they have from one of the Zodiac letters. The next step is to try to obtain a full genetic profile (16 markers needed) from the Paul Stine case evidence so that all 16 markers can be compared. The technology exists today to make that happen. Now it’s up to the SFPD to schedule that lab work.

      Thanks again for your kind words.

      • I’m gathering, then, that the DNA run against the DNA on the letter didn’t match? How do you explain that?

        Note: I reviewed your book in contrast to the book on Lee Allen and found that it seems more probable that you are correct.

  70. Gary,

    I just finished your book for the 3rd time
    I have never in my life been intrigued by a story so much.
    I have read and studied so much about the Zodiac as well as various others (I really want to go to school for forensic psychology).
    Thank you for including every detail. You made this book come to life. Without a doubt I believe everything you have put forward. I hope one day you will get that last piece of the puzzle resolved (dna). That way you and everyone related to these crimes/personal relationships with your father can rest their hearts.

    Thank you again.

  71. Dear Mr. Stewart,

    I know Iam late but I just finished the book. Its available in German now. As Iam German myself, me and several others in my “peer group” (familiar with and interested in the case for years) read it in german. After reading we were all convinced by your story. Its almost incomprehensible to me how hostile the hobby-detective-communities react to your book. They lost one more mystery and instead of celebrate this, they cant believe that it was not them solving it. On the other hand, we saw a lot of freeloader and so-called-relatives in the past. (not only on this case) The credibilty has to be earned. Circumstancial evidences in your book are overwhelming. The most convincing you gave in my opinion were not the physical/forensic details, like fingerprints and letters but lay in the stunning similarities of the psychological profile. I will summarize what seemed to me as not likely coincidencial and convinced me early on. (I will shorten Zodiac to Z in the following list)

    – the code systems learned and enjoyed at an early age

    – the slave box he had as a child, where he collected the slave souls — Zs weird statements about collecting souls

    – the name Paul Avery in connection with the love affair considered his downfall and trigger for the dark turn in his life. — A personal feud against PA and journalists in general was build up in this moment, climaxed in the Z letters.

    – the intime LaVey connection and the studies of his work — influences we see in the letters of Z. In Addition: we all know about the Manson Family member Bruce Davis Suspicion as the Z killer. Its interesting to see that the real Z had a brief but intense connection to a Manson family member who killed also. (Bobby Beausoleil)

    – the overall appaerance of his character speaks in the Z letters and phone calls > f.e.: education, british accent, braggadocio

    – connection to long time Z suspect Arthur Leigh Allen whom he met in a mental health institution

    The strongest fact:
    – overkill violence against ( superficial concidered random) female victims, a lesser amount of hate/violence against men. the men were just there and had to be killed in order to eliminate witnesses except the taxi driver. The women had all similar looks and were the center of the attack. All of this could be a result of the hate he had against the unloving and neclecting mother as well as his first love, whom resented him as well. She resembled the victims and made them targets.

    I gave this brief summaration in order to argue the summarations/questions of the attackers from differents forums discussing the case. The people should have a deeper look inside these facts and decide than if its fair to shout oud loud: fake! from every corner of the internet.

    • Thank you for taking the time to write and share your thoughts! It means a great deal to me to have someone speak out supporting my conclusion, which goes against everything that online Z amateur sleuth community stands for! I’m grateful for people like you.

  72. Just finished the book, and I thought it was wonderful. My question is, if Earl Van Best Jr. did all of this business with rare booksellers all around California, isn’t there a way to track some of them down and see if there are any invoices or other paperwork with his hand writing on them?
    Also, did EVBest Sr. have anything saved of his son’s handwriting?…wouldn’t it be great if he had kept the practice codes that he and Van used to test each other with as is claimed in the book?

    • Hi Eric,

      You ask very good questions. I have in fact contacted every old and rare bookstore, what’s left of them, in San Francisco. Unfortunately the store where I’m told he did most of his trading and where he worked as a teenager, John Howell Books of San Francisco, has long since closed. I spent countless hours trying to find any survivors in not only San Francisco, but as well as the old book market areas of Mexico City, to see if anyone had any recollection and possible documents from my father. Unfortunately it’s been over 32 years since my father was active in the book trade, and I’ve not been able to locate any trace of his dealings, save a couple that are on the Internet. However, I realize that I haven’t exhausted all possible sources of documentation and handwriting of my father, and am happy to report that I will begin a fresh investigation into those untapped sources. Lastly, when I located the executor of my grandfather’s estate, it turns out that all correspondence between he and my father was shipped to my siblings in Austria after his wife Eleanor passed away in 1999, and as you know from my book, they’re not sharing anything. Thanks again for your questions!

  73. Hi Gary
    I will ask you a second time:
    Has anyone tried to track down any existing paperwork or correspondence of your father’s in regards to his years of selling antique books and papers up and down the state of California?? Surely there must exist in some ledger somewhere a few scraps of his handwriting or his signature, etc???

  74. Gary. I am having difficulty sending you reply or email. hope this gets to you. I loved the book!! Amazing research on your part! Did you know that your Dads name is on the front and inside of the Halloween card? E in secret. a in pal. r in secret. l in pal. B in but. e in the. s in spoil. and t in teen. I read many theories regarding hidden clues in the card but not this. Is this significant Gary? Again,the book was a riveting read! Let me know what your thoughts are on your Dads name in the Halloween card. Nice talking to you. Karen K.

    • Hi Karen,
      Thank you for contacting me! To be honest, there is so much evidence in the Zodiac correspondence that at some point in my research, I just ‘stopped looking’. First of all, thank you for sending your discovery information. Wow! You’ve found something no one else, to my knowledge anyways, has uncovered. I agree with you completely! Good catch!

      Gary

      • Thank you Gary for getting back to me regarding my finding your dad’s name in he Halloween card. I hope that helps you out! Any word on the movie yet? Or did I miss it? I hope not as I am interested in seeing it. If you ever need another eye in your research let me know! I’d love to help out if needed! Again good talking with you. Karen K

        • Hi Karen K,

          As you might expect, once you sell the film rights to your book, the acquiring entity then ‘owns’ everything about your life with respect to the book/movie, and you’re not allowed to discuss anything until they allow you to do so. They own the P & A rights and that includes any public announcements of any air date. If you consider how tight-lipped HarperCollins remained during the acquisition and development (well over one year) of The Most Dangerous Animal Of All, it is even more so with the development of a film version of the same, and the fact that the case is ‘open and active’. It has been nearly three years since we hit the ‘Print’ button on The Most Dangerous Animal Of All. With the passing of that much time, you can imagine that new information has come to light. The last ‘news’ in the Zodiac case was the story of my father, The Most Dangerous Animal Of All. I believe that the next real news in the Zodiac case will come from The Most Dangerous Animal Of All, and that news is possibly right around the corner. That will be determined by the production company.

          Happy New Year!

  75. sorry I want to clarify my last post , Daniel found EARL in the 408 cipher which helps complete EARL VAN BEST JR in the 408. and Haley found the letters ABEST in the busbomb letter. I explain how haleys Find and Daniels find work to the my name is solution in the other site.

    Gary you were right !!!

    thanks

    Mike

  76. Hi Gary,
    Almost finished with your excellent book. The similarity between the Zodiac sketch and your Dad’s photo is compelling to me. How old was he when that photo was taken? There’s another photo online of Van Best in court in 1963, his hairline looks to be receding and I wonder what he would have looked like at the time of the Stine murder. The sketch shows a man with (more or less) a full head of hair. Do you know of any later photos?
    Thanks!

    • Hello,

      Thanks for writing. That mugshot of my father was taken when he was 28 years old. Although I do have other photos of my father, I don’t have any that are of him at an older age. My hope was to get pictures from my half-siblings in Austria, who likely had photos of him during his Zodiac days, but you know from my book that they have refused to cooperate. As my work continues, I believe I will be able to uncover other mugshots of my father for his crimes post-Zodiac.

      Thank you for commenting.

      Gary

  77. Gary,
    I, like others, remain unconvinced by your finding your Dad’s name in the ciphers. However, some folks are misinterpreting this data point, I think.

    1. People are assuming a perfectly-designed code. Just because other names can be found, doesn’t mean that your interpretation is wrong.
    2. Conversely: if your interpretation IS wrong, doesn’t disqualify your Dad as Zodiac. Maybe his name is encoded differently, but it’s there in another form.

    Logically, the ciphers don’t prove your Dad is Zodiac beyond a reasonable doubt. But they also don’t prove your Dad is NOT Zodiac. We shouldn’t miss the forest for the trees though: your Dad had a known history of working with and understanding ciphers, which is more than 99.99% of the population can say. That is the most important thing to draw from the ciphers, I think.

    • Hello Mark,

      Many people, including a couple of friends (Mike and Daniel, they will know who I am referring to), believe that the Zodiac killer went to painstaking measures to design these highly complex and unbreakable ciphers. If I am correct, then I share genetic features with the author of these ciphers, that include everything from physical appearance, to thought and emotion. It is my personal belief that my father was ‘playing his game’ at his best, by giving the proof that he was capable of designing a complex cipher with not only a message to be revealed if de-ciphered, but a ‘hidden’ message…his identity. EV BEST JR. I believe that he got his audience wrapped up in this intellectual chess match, while he was merely playing a child’s version of ‘hide-and-seek’, but blasting his name clearly across his ‘puzzles’. It had been five years since my father made the headlines both with the newspapers, and the SFPD as the Villain Paramour of the Ice Cream Romance, and if the authorities didn’t pluck his name from the 408, he knew he was safe to broadcast every form of his name in the subsequent ciphers…and that he would likely never be caught. My friend Mike Halifax has since proven (if you fancy visiting the message boards at zodiackiller.com) in the most technical fashion possible, many mathematical solutions, based on advanced ‘code cracking’ technology, validating my discovery, that my father’s name, Earl Van Best Jr, is the solution to not only the 408’s, but the 340 cipher. I choose not to research and educate myself further in the understanding of ‘codes’. I believe I have revealed and uncovered the emotional, gut-wrenching arrogant display of my father’s narcissism…pasting his name all over the ciphers as simply as a ‘word-search’ game, and I believe that it was at least, as simple as that. I might be wrong about the ‘complexity’ of the codes and Mike Halifax might be ‘more right’ about this than me. Either way, there is only one name, who was ever a suspect in the Zodiac case, that appears in multiple ciphers when the writer himself insists that ‘if you crack this cipher you will have my identity’.

      Thank you for writing.

      • Gary. I am glad that I have not missed the movie and that it is still in planning stages. Looking forward to seeing it and hopefully by the time it goes into production the mystery will be solved. I believe that based on data gleaned so far your dad is the only viable suspect. I know this conclusion would represent a double edged sword for you; good to finally know the ID of the zodiac, but sad to know it definitely was your father. I imagine though that you have pretty much accepted that scenario. You have a lot of support from the zodiac amateur sleuths in your search for the truth. I continue to be one of them!

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