How Raymond Grant Invented the Zodiac Killer

As one who has followed and researched the Zodiac case for many years, I am accustomed to hearing and seeing some pretty stupid and shameful behavior. Each new Zodiac theorist leaps into the spotlight and then proceeds to disgrace themselves with sensational, unsubstantiated or even false claims and undeniably irresponsible accusations of murder. They are all peddling some book or website which claims to identify the Zodiac killer. They all seek attention and many are willing to do and say almost anything to get what they want. Watching this sickening spectacle, year after year, is understandably discouraging, and I am rarely surprised or shocked by the latest nonsense. The classic lyrics of the song I Heard It Through The Grapevine offered this wise reminder: “People say believe half of what you see, Son, and none of what you hear.”

After visiting one of Raymond Grant’s many websites, I must admit that, as the Grapevine lyrics so eloquently note, “I can’t help bein’ confused.” At his webpage titled, “ENOUGH ABOUT ME,” Raymond Grant offered this bit of self-promotion:

“It was none other than Ray who originally coined the term ‘Zodiac killer’ in his 1991 pamphlet, ‘The Zodiac Killer Lives! – In Brookline‘, which was sent to everyone who lived within a 3-block radius of his suspect. Prior to that, every public reference to the killer used the terms ‘Zodiac’ or ‘the Zodiac’. The new term did not become standard until it was used on the Internet, to filter out links to horoscope sites (i. e., searches for ‘Zodiac killer’ instead of ‘Zodiac’).”

One is left to wonder just how Grant arrived at this “fact,” as if anyone could make such a claim with a straight face let alone expect anyone to believe it. The first time I read Grant’s claim, I sat, blinking, staring at my computer, mouth agape, wondering if I was actually awake. I read the words, several times, hoping that Grant’s claim would somehow make sense. But, I was forced to the inescapable conclusion that Grant was not only wrong but that his failure to note that undeniable fact was troubling to say the very least.

In 1992, Zodiac suspect Arthur Leigh Allen stated that he was not “the Zodiac killer.” Perhaps Allen had seen Grant’s 1991 pamphlet. After Allen’s death in 1992, an FBI report stated that a psychologist “indicated that his experience would show that the Zodiac killer probably gained as much pleasure from taunting the police regarding his killings and reliving his killings as he did of the killing itself.” Perhaps the FBI agent who prepared this report also read Grant’s pamphlet.

Raymond Grant claimed that he coined the phrase “Zodiac killer” in 1991, raising disturbing questions about those individuals, entities, newspapers and others who used that phrase prior to its existence. Time travel then becomes the only logical explanation for the following events:

  • On July 24, 1990, the Orlando Sentinel published an article about the New York copycat “Zodiac” titled, “Police tune in the occult for clues to Zodiac killer.” Perhaps the Sentinel editorial staff invented this phrase, independently of Grant’s, solely in reference to the New York killer– or, they must have had a time machine.
  • In 1990, many other New York newspapers and other publications routinely referred to the New York AND California murderers as the “Zodiac killer.” Perhaps we are expected to believe that all of these references were simply inspired by the sudden appearance of the New York killer and that no one, anywhere, at any time, had ever coined the phrase “Zodiac killer” prior to Grant’s invention in 1991.
  • In the introduction to his 1986 book Zodiac, author Robert Graysmith wrote that he hoped to “present every scrap of evidence available so that someday someone might recognize the Zodiac killer.” In his chapter regarding suspect “Bob Hall Starr,” Graysmith wrote that the man’s family began to suspect “that he just might be the Zodiac killer.” Graysmith used the phrase many other times in his book, apparently due to his heretofore unreported access to a time machine. One would think that the ability to travel back and forth in time would make for a best-selling book, but, so far, Graysmith has apparently opted to keep quiet and publish more true crime tales instead.
  • The index for Melvin Belli’s 1976 book My Life on Trial features a listing for “the Zodiac killer” along with a reference to pages 293 through 296. There, Belli wrote about his “long-distance TV romance” with “the notorious Zodiac killer.” Belli also recounts his appearance at the Riverside University Law School, when the Dean asked a member of the audience, “Are you the Zodiac killer?” Belli’s book used the phrase “Zodiac killer” at least six times in 1976, raising more questions about the lawyer’s heretofore unexplained access to information from the future.
  • A 1969 newspaper article titled “An Invitation to Zodiac” described the grief of Joe Stine, brother of Zodiac victim Paul Stine. Joe challenged the Zodiac to come after him. The article stated: “The brother of murdered cab driver Paul Stine set himself up today as a target for the ‘Zodiac’ killer.” One might be tempted to ask questions about how the reporter knew of Grant’s invented phrase more than twenty years before its existence, but, if you look closely, you will note that the writer actually used the phrase “the ‘Zodiac’ killer,” placing quotes around the word “Zodiac” and thereby proving that the phrase has no connection whatsoever to Grant’s invention, “the Zodiac killer.”
  • A 1969 article, titled “Zodiac’s Graph: Impotent, Shrewd, Paranoid,” appeared in the San Francisco Examiner newspaper and began with this paragraph: “The ‘Zodiac’ killer is probably impotent, is afraid of women and hates them but he is no homosexual.” Again, writer Sam Blumenfeld placed quotation marks around the word “Zodiac,” so this is clearly not an example of someone using a phrase which would not exist until two decades later.
  • Many newspaper articles, television news broadcasts, radio broadcasts and books had used the phrase “Zodiac killer” before 1991. Twenty years earlier, a 1971 movie about the case was titled “The Zodiac Killer.” A 1979 fictional novel was also titled “The Zodiac Killer.”

Prior to Raymond Grant’s stunning revelation that he had coined the phrase “the Zodiac killer,” I foolishly believed (like so many others) that this term was actually created sometime shortly after a killer calling himself “The Zodiac” first appeared in 1969. After all, I had been reading about the Zodiac killer long before 1991, and I had seen that phrase many, many, many times, again and again, time after time, year after year. It never occurred to me that I should believe Ray Grant instead of my own two eyes. I guess that’s why the Grapevine song reminds us to believe only half of what you see.

Of course, the simple truth is that the phrase “the Zodiac killer” was first coined back in 1969, shortly after a killer calling himself “the Zodiac” first appeared and became the subject of news stories. No one could honestly claim to have coined this phrase in 1991, given the undeniable facts and decades of history which prove otherwise. The question isn’t how Melvin Belli, Robert Graysmith and hundreds of others somehow obtained a time machine to steal Raymond Grant’s coined phrase. The question isn’t even how anyone can take Raymond Grant seriously anymore– the real question is why anyone ever did in the first place.

Having observed Ray Grant’s behavior for some time, I am left to wonder if he is actually serious, seriously deluded, or just engaged in some very bad performance art. Or maybe we’ll be fed some excuse that this was all just a pathetic attempt at humor. Judging by his many websites, Grant’s primary goal seems to be seeking attention for himself– his main pages featured very, very large photographs of his smug, smiling face staring into the camera as if adoring fans exist somewhere on the other end. Grant refers to himself as “brilliant” and has repeatedly praised himself in many Internet postings. Now, Ray Grant wants people to believe that he coined a phrase which had already existed for more than two decades. Grant’s desperate ploy raises two very serious questions: 1) Did Ray Grant deliberately make a false claim? – or – 2) Does Ray Grant actually believe that he really coined the phrase “the Zodiac killer”? Either explanation only raises even more disturbing questions about Ray Grant, his research, his theories, his claims and his mental status. Grant has previously complained about criticisms regarding his behavior and thinking process, but his actions, statements and claims only serve as further evidence that those criticisms were valid. After all, if a person claimed that they had coined a phrase which had already existed for twenty years, that person cannot complain when people accurately refer to him as a crackpot (no quotes).

NOTE TO THE READER: This article was first posted at the message board on Friday, May 18, 2012. Grant’s false claim that he had invented the phrase “the Zodiac killer” remained posted at his website long after under the link titled “ENOUGH ABOUT ME.” In May, 2013, Grant was apparently embarrassed that his lie had been exposed and he finally and quietly removed that false claim from his websites without comment, correction or apology. An archived version of the original webpage can be viewed by clicking here–> Internet Archive Wayback Machine: ENOUGH ABOUT ME.