Zodiac Killer Christmas Card?
Images courtesy of Zodiackiller.com
Envelope from the 1990 Christmas Card

The 1990 Christmas Card - From the Zodiac Killer?

While preparing for an article about the release of the new film, employees at The San Francisco Chronicle discovered what appeared to be a long forgotten communication from the elusive pen pal. Postmarked in Eureka, California in December 1990, the red envelope was overlooked amid the many hoax letters and forgeries that plagued the newspaper after the release of Graysmith’s first book and the sensational media coverage surrounding the crimes of a “Zodiac copycat” killer in New York. If the card was an authentic Zodiac communication, the killer was still alive as late as 1990, still taunting, and still at large more than sixteen years after his brief appearance in 1974.

Addressed to The Chronicle in pencil and with an eerily familiar style, the envelope bore a 25-cent that depicted a Christmas tree and contained a holiday greeting card. On the front of the card, a Snowman wearing a Groucho Mark nose, moustache and glasses stands in a snowstorm as a small rabbit watches. The text of the card was reminiscent of the Zodiac’s Halloween card to reporter Paul Avery more than twenty years earlier.




The inside of the card read:



The writer had also included a Xerox of two keys on a chain attached to a small pen-like cylinder. Marked USPS for the United States Postal Service, the keys had identification numbers of undetermined significance, leading to speculation that the Xerox might lead to a post office box containing the identity of the Zodiac, or some other clue that could provide the solution to the case.

Tom Voigt, founder of the website Zodiackiller.com, attempted to track down the individual who had rented the post office box in December 1990. The investigation led Voigt to a man he dubbed ”Sam” and a list of circumstantial evidence which appeared to implicate the new suspect. “He’s either the Zodiac,” Voigt said, ”or he’s a perfect example of how easy it is to find a great Zodiac suspect.”. After completing his amateur investigation, Voigt turned his information over to authorities who then conducted a quiet yet official investigation. ”Sam” was eventually cleared as a suspect.

The authenticity of the 1990 Christmas card became the subject of debate. While many who followed the case believed that the Zodiac was responsible for the familiar writing on the red envelope, others believed that the card was the work of a forger. The San Francisco Chronicle consulted with a retired handwriting expert who had once worked with the Zodiac letters. The expert claimed that he had ”memorized” the killer’s writing and, based on his memory, he determined that the card was a forgery. The person responsible for the writing on the envelope had traced over the lines in several places and, according to the expert, the Zodiac never did so. The expert was apparently unaware that the Zodiac had traced over the lines of his writing in several communications.

The 1990 Christmas card remains a controversial and dubious addition to the long list of suspected Zodiac correspondence.

Close-up Envelope Handwriting

Post Mark Eureka, CA

Card Cover


Zerox copy of a set of keys

Close-up of keys