The 1986 publication of the best-selling book Zodiac created new interest in the unsolved crimes and, at the same time, launched a new wave of theorists, crackpots and kooks who claimed they had identified the elusive killer. The book, written by former cartoonist-turned-crime writer Robert Graysmith, presented a factually inaccurate, highly speculative and largely fictional account of the case, yet the media and the public accepted the author’s version of the story as fact. Newly inspired amateur sleuths relied heavily on Graysmith’s book and therefore marched into the Zodiac spotlight armed with facts and theories based on the revisionist history. Graysmith claimed that one of the victims had known the killer; theorists therefore connected the victim and the killer in their own presentations. Graysmith claimed he had solved one of the Zodiac’s codes; theorists then based their own interpretations of the killer’s codes on the author’s previous conclusions. Graysmith speculated that the Zodiac was responsible for other crimes; theorists worked to connect their suspects to these crimes. No credible evidence existed to connect the killer to his victims, FBI cryptographers and other experts had concluded that Graysmith’s code solution was invalid, and connections between the Zodiac and other unsolved cases had been exaggerated or distorted by those eager to increase the number of possible Zodiac victims. These facts did little to deter the true believers who remained convinced that they had finally identified the notorious Zodiac killer.
Months after the publication of Zodiac, a man in Northern California emerged with his own sensational story. In the late 1980s, “Blaine Blaine” (also known as “Purple Blaine,” “Goldcatcher” and “Zakatarious”) was unemployed and living in a van. Decades earlier, Blaine had worked for the underground newspaper The Good Times with a man named Richard Gaikowski. After reading Graysmith’s book and conducting his own “investigation,” Blaine was convinced that Gaikowski was the Zodiac.
Learn more about Blaine Blaine and the accusations against Richard Gaikowski at the following links: