Welcome to ZodiacKillerFacts.com

Hello and welcome to the new ZodiacKillerFacts.com.

Some visitors to this site may be new to the case; therefore, I will take a moment to share some information about myself for anyone interested in the origins and owner of this site.

My name is Michael Butterfield. For more than a decade, I have conducted extensive research into the unsolved Zodiac crimes as I prepared to write a new book about the case. My research included a thorough examination of the official documents, original police reports, FBI files, autopsy reports, ballistics reports, death certificates and much more, as well as newspaper articles, magazine stories, Internet reports, television and radio broadcasts, and more. In the last ten years, I have interviewed many of those involved in the case, from witnesses, investigators, suspects, survivors, family of suspects and victims, and more, including investigators Ken Narlow, Ed Rust, Pierre Bidou, Tom Bruton, Mel Nicolai, Vince Repetto, Kelly Carroll, Fred Shirasago and others, survivor Bryan Hartnell, Dean Ferrin (husband of victim Darlene Ferrin), Sue Ayers (Dean’s cousin), Pam (Darlene’s sister), the family of Arthur Leigh Allen, Michael O’Hare, “Mr. X,” officer Armand Pelissetti, and many, many more. I have done my best to thoroughly research the Zodiac case as well as the many theories. Due to my research and public writings about the case, I have become a recognized expert on the unsolved crimes. As a result, I have acted as a source for media reports, and served as a consultant on the feature film ZODIAC. I have also appeared on television programs such as CASE REOPENED, COLD CASE FILES, and the History Channel documentary MYSTERYQUEST.

I created this site in 2007, in part as a response to the film ZODIAC and its revisionist history of the case. The film was based on the dubious books by author Robert Graysmith and resurrected the long-ago abandoned suspect Arthur Leigh Allen. The resulting public confusion, and the resurgence of Graysmith’s already-debunked theories and claims, proved that websites like mine are necessary in order to ensure that the interested public has access to reliable information about the case. In addition to a thorough examination of Graysmith’s career and claims, this website also offers analysis of other theories such as the Manson/Zodiac conspiracy theory, the work of Gareth Penn, and more. Readers will of course decide for themselves, but it is my opinion that none of the named suspects was or is the Zodiac. I do not endorse any theory or suspect in this case — as far as I am concerned, any rational, intelligent and objective observer would be forced to concede that no credible evidence exists to implicate any of the named suspects, and, further, that there is no legitimate reason to continue to consider these men to be viable suspects. Those who have made mini-careers out of accusing suspects and peddling theories are, in my opinion, nothing more than snake-oil salesmen; they are the reason there is so much public confusion about this case and the reason that those who attempt to research this case and care about this case are often perceived as kooks with no credibility.

The so-called “Zodiac community” has taken a turn for the worse, and a new wave of crackpots emerged in the public spotlight with sensational and bogus tales; Dennis Kaufman, Deborah Perez, Steve Hodel and Gary Stewart each claim that their own father was the Zodiac; several amateur code-breakers and others have received media attention for code solutions which were laughable at the outset; Blaine Blaine has reemerged to accuse another old suspect unworthy of note; and a host of others have jumped on the bandwagon with other absurd and baseless claims. I receive many emails from individuals who are certain they have solved the Zodiac’s codes and discovered the names of Arthur Leigh Allen, Richard Marshall, or Ted Kaczynski. All of these solutions proved invalid, as is so often the case, but these “code-breakers” are not interested in facts and continue to insist they have deciphered the true messages. Thanks to this endless supply of the mentally and morally ill, the public only hears about the Zodiac case when some shameless opportunist seeks and receives fifteen seconds of fame. As the Zodiac mystery turns forty years old, the public face of the case has become the face of a crackpot.

[SEPTEMBER 27th, 2009] Today is the 40th anniversary of the Zodiac’s attack at Lake Berryessa. I hope that those of you who care about this case will take a moment to remember the victims, Bryan and Cecelia; on this day all those years ago, they confronted a terror that most of us cannot even begin to imagine. These people and the others who have suffered and sacrificed are the reasons that I care about this case and, in my opinion, they deserve a lot better than they have received from the “Zodiac community.” They deserve better than sensationalism, opportunism, and exploitation. They deserve better than to have their private tragedy turned into public entertainment. And they deserve better than to have those who claim to care about this case out there in the public eye, coddling crackpots, promoting bad theories and endorsing bad suspects. In short, these human beings continue to be victimized year after year by the very people who claim to champion their cause.

As we recognize yet another passing year and yet another decade without the resolution to this case, I’d like to ask all of you a question: How can we make this year different? How can we make this year count, and make some sort of valuable contribution to this case? Can we join together in exposing the frauds who exploit this tragedy? Can we join together to help clear confusion about the crimes, the suspects, the evidence, the theories? Can we join together to further the study of this case? It may sound silly or over-dramatic, but I think we should all start looking at this case through a new perspective: Ask not what the Zodiac case can do for you, but what you can do for the Zodiac case. Can we find a way to unite in our common cause, for our common concerns, and work together to make a difference, even a small one? I think so. And I ask those of you who have joined this site to help make that goal a reality. We can do a lot to help further the study of this case and clear public misconceptions if we work together.

On that note, I’d like to take a moment to respond to some of the emails I have been receiving in the last few weeks since this new message board became available. As much as I appreciate the offers of donations, I cannot and will not accept any donations. If you feel the need to donate money, I encourage you to make a donation to your local police department, P.A.L. (The Police Athletic League), your favorite charity, or someone in need. And I would also encourage you to be weary of anyone who asks you for money. There is no charge for access to this message board, and I will not ask anyone for money at any time. I pay to maintain this site, and therefore I am paying money out of my own pocket so that visitors may have a free forum; all I ask in return is that you treat myself and others with respect, act with civility, and be responsible.

My thanks to all of you who have sent your kind words of support and encouragement. With your help, I believe that this site can serve a useful purpose while providing a sorely-needed alternative for those in search of thoughtful, meaningful discussion and the exchange of ideas. How successful this site ultimately proves to be depends far more on its members than on me, so I hope I can count on all of you as my partners in this effort. This site, and its message board, will only be as good as we make it, so, in the long run, it’s only as good as its members. Let’s make it the best. Thank you.


Michael Butterfield

Owner and Operator of Zodiackillerfacts.com

2 thoughts on “Welcome to ZodiacKillerFacts.com

  1. “As the Zodiac mystery turns forty years old, the public face of the case has become the face of a crackpot.”

    This is indeed true, a sad fact that hampers any serious investigators of any aspects of this unusual and compelling case.

    I’ve spent the last two years writing and researching a lengthy feature story about the decades-long Gareth Penn/Michael O’Hare saga.
    The two subjects themselves are easily the most difficult people I’ve ever interviewed as a professional science journalist.

    All the crack-pottery and buffoonery surrounding the Zodiac case has made this difficult task all the more trying.

    Good luck on your efforts to turn the dialogue around.

    — Mike Martin

  2. I watched the History show last night and I have to agree with everything you said about it. I was certainly not expecting a solution to the mystery but I was a little disappointed that so much time was spent trying to lend authenticity to a theory which even someone with no prior knowledge of the case would clearly see was a stretch, to put it politely.

    Still, I am always pleased to see new material on the Zodiac. You never know when something will inspire a new person into being interested in the case- a person who may someday make just the right contribution to unlock the mysterious secrets of this tragic piece of our modern history.

    I myself was dragged unwillingly into the world of the Zodiac by a college friend who was an enthusiastic follower of the case. I remember sitting with him in his room as he related countless stories, facts and theories, night after night; showing me charts, maps, photos, drawings- it seemed like he had all the information there was. I remember being horrified, disgusted and yet fascinated by what he was telling me. Ever since that time I have hungrily devoured every new scrap of information about the Zodiac. I wouldn’t call myself an expert, although I certainly know more about this case than the average person. Neither can I say I have made any sort of contribution to the case, but if my “moral” support for that college friend- who is now a recognized expert on the Zodiac case- did anything to encourage him in his endeavors, then that is enough for me. I have lost touch with him over the last few years, but I know he is out there tracking down clues.

    Thanks for the website. It’s rational, which is the highest complement I can pay it.

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