Z 148 Comments & Conclusions

From what we understand, letter and cipher had been considered as probably non-authentic for the following possible reasons:
The plain text handwriting style in block letters did not match the Zodiac’s typical writing style compared to other Zodiac letters and ciphers
2. The letter did not start with ‘This is the Zodiac speaking’
A large part of the cipher symbols used in the cryptogram were different to cipher symbols that the Zodiac Killer commonly used in other documents
The lines of the cipher were different in length and did not follow the 17-character-per-line pattern of the Zodiac Killer’s 340-character and 408-character ciphers
The writer of letter and cipher didn’t draw the crosshair sign in the same way as drawn in other Zodiac letters and ciphers, i.e. the + lines of the crosshair were not drawn beyond the line of the surrounding circle
Here are our reasons why we believe that all this deserves a second thought.
The contents of the Z 148 cipher solution and letter are fully consistent with authentic Zodiac Killer letters and ciphers, including but not limited to misspelling of the word ‘TOO’ as ‘TO’, skinning people, man as game, not giving his name, desire for public attention, and the threat doing something very nasty if the letter or cipher is not published on the front page of a newspaper.
It is correct that the handwriting style in capital letters does not match the style of other Zodiac Killer letters. However, here we would like to ask another ‘What If’ question. What if the whole document was initially intended to be a full cryptogram and somewhere in the middle, the writer decided to continue in plain text? This would explain the untypical flip of cipher and plain text, i.e. why the document started with a cipher while other Zodiac Killer letters started with plain text. The reason for switching to plain text may have been that the writer lost patience. As we found out ourselves very quickly, the symbols are not easy to work with. This would also be a possible explanation for some of the misspellings within the cipher.
The text of the document starts indeed with something very similar to the Zodiac Killer’s infamous introduction ‘This is the Zodiac speaking’. The word ‘TIS’ of ‘TIS THE ZODIAC SPEACKING’ [sic] is an ancient (Shakespeare) English form for ‘IT IS’ or ‘THIS IS’, adding further vocabulary to our Zodiac Killer ancient words collection. Now we have the ancient the words CHRIST MASS, ORIETEM, ETHHP, ITI, SLA and TIS. Please see our Z 408 cipher analysis and conclusion for comparison.
The Z 148 cipher text says ‘DON’T LISTEN TO PHONYS’ [sic]. Is this what a hoaxer would write in a cipher? Possibly yes, but in our opinion less likely than the Zodiac Killer writing this himself.
The writer reported a ‘Killing Score’ of 21. This would be fully consistent with ‘Killing Scores’ of previous (17) and following Zodiac Killer letters (37), on the condition that the ‘Forgotten Zodiac Killer Letter & Cipher’ has been sent after March, 1971 (please contact us if you know its exact date).
The majority of cipher symbols are indeed different to those commonly used in confirmed cryptograms of the Zodiac Killer. However, we have another letter and cipher from Fairfield, the ‘+ WILL BE A COP’ letter with the Z 38 cipher, postmarked December 7, 1969. This other Fairfield cipher contained cipher symbols very similar to those used in the Z 340 cipher. We know that this point does not sound very strong, but we see a possible triangular correlation. We will revisit this in our analysis of the Z 38 and Z 340.
Furthermore, the time difference between the 1969 ciphers and this 1971 cipher should be considered. If the Z 148 was indeed from the Zodiac Killer, he possibly wanted to try something new, particularly after he used his ‘old’ cipher symbols with different techniques in the Z 408, Z 340 and other ciphers already and variation possibilities had been mostly exhausted already.
While the other ‘+ WILL BE A COP’ Fairfield cipher was signed with even two ‘proper’ Zodiac Killer crosshair signs, the crosshair signs of the Z 148 are different. If the Z 148 was indeed written by the Zodiac Killer, why did he draw the crosshair differently? Did he do it to attract special reader attention to the crosshair sign in order to give a hint to the word ‘ZODIAC’ in the cipher text? Since the author wrote that he wanted the cipher published on the front page within one week this obviously required decryption of the cipher in even shorter time to be aware of the extortion.
After having worked with the cipher, it is indeed our impression that the author gave various hints, including the plain text letters “G” (this one even emphasized in bold) and “T” as well as the number “3”. Giving these hints would be consistent with the author’s need to have the cipher decrypted to have it published. However, these hints made the cipher more difficult to crack, possibly unintentionally.
In conclusion, we believe that there are a number of strong points why the ‘Forgotten Zodiac Killer Letter & Cipher’ should be reconsidered as possibly authentic. Kudos to Ed Neil for publishing it on his website.
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