1) THE CODED MESSAGES:
Much has been written by authors too numerous to list about clues that can be found in Zodiac's coded messages that point to various named suspects. For that reason, and because these codes can serve to be a "reflecting pool" of sorts in which anyone can seemingly see the face of their own suspect staring back at them, I will only point out very obvious and simple minded clues that I believe Qvale may have left for us to find as to his true identity as the Zodiac.
Zodiac stated in his August 1969 letter that when his “Three-Part Cipher” was solved, we’d have his “idenity” [sic]. Most people associated the word “identity” with “name” and accused the killer of lying when one didn’t magically pop out of the coded message. However, expecting a killer to tell you his name in a coded message is likely a naïve notion. People then created anagrams of the eighteen characters of “gibberish” at the end of the coded message. Someone can provide clues to his identity, on the other hand, in many more subtle and cryptic ways. While it is possible that Zodiac did not give his actual name in that cryptogram, it is possible that he provided us with a few clues to his identity.
In the “Three-Part Cipher,” Qvale's initials (KQ) appear on lines two and three at position #13. (Exhibit) When the code is solved, those letters translate to "SF". So what we end up with are Qvale's initials translating into his hometown, or: "KQ=SF”, or “Kjell Qvale (from) San Francisco." (Zodiac once again did emphasize that you first had to “crack” the “Three-Part Cipher” in order to learn his identity, not just find a name or nickname in the characters used to encode the message.)
Every code the Zodiac sent is comprised of exactly seventeen columns of characters. Qvale's name begins with the seventeenth letter of the alphabet (Q) and his entire name (Kjell Hammond Qvale) contains exactly seventeen letters.
At the end of the code are eighteen characters of "gibberish." (Exhibit 34b) I was able to learn in 2000 that before Qvale emigrated from Norway, his given middle name was "Hammiond." When he arrived in Nova Scotia in 1929, they apparently "Canadianized" his name to "Hammond." (Exhibit 35) Therefore, his original given name in Norway had eighteen letters thus matching the number of letters of “gibberish” at the end of this cipher.
In the “340 Character Code”, the first character of the block of code is an "H". The crossed out symbol on line 6 is a "K" (which was replaced by a “backwards K”). That is the only character that Zodiac ever crossed out in any of his meticulously constructed coded messages making it unique, as well (and at least hinting at it as being of significance). Finally, the only normal, forward-facing alphabetic character missing from the 340 encryption is a "Q". No other letter is missing, making the "Q" unique, as well. These three letters comprise Qvale's monogram, "KHQ." This may represent a very subtle way for Zodiac to have signed his work...
Given Zodiac’s ironic sense of humor, his love of Scrabble-like arrangements of letters, cryptograms, and especially keeping in mind the fact that he told us he was scattering clues to his true identity throughout his letters (and possibly through the locations where he committed his crimes), it is also interesting to note that nearly the entire name “K-J-E-L-L Q-V-A-L-E” is anagrammed in the city in which Zodiac repeatedly stated he committed his first two attacks— “V-A-L-L-E-J-O”. The only letters missing from the anagram are his first and last initials, or “K-Q”. In simply writing the word “Vallejo” on the door of Hartnell’s car, Zodiac may have amazingly been essentially autographing the car with his first and last names below the crossed-circle that also spelled out his last name. (This is similar to the building in Modena, where the name “QVALE” appeared above a crossed circle symbol, from which the letters “Q-V-A-L-E” can also be obtained.)
When I first received the police reports from the Solano County Sheriff’s Office in 2001, I immediately noticed that by carefully interviewing the various eyewitnesses to the Lake Herman Road murders, the police had been able to determine that the Jensen-Faraday murders took place within a very narrow window of opportunity from about 11:14 to 11:20 PM. I also noticed that sitting right in the middle of the narrow time window for the Lake Herman murders of 11:14 PM to 11:20 PM is 11:17 PM. The 11th letter of the alphabet is “K” and the 17th is “Q.” Therefore, the time of the Lake Herman attack may give us the initials we need in order to complete the Zodiac killer’s real name by adding those initials to the appropriate letters from the name of the city he mentioned several times in his first letters to the press: “K-Q” + “V-A-L-L-E-J-O” = “KJELL QVALE”. (Exhibit) And keeping in mind the date of the Lake Herman murders of December 20, 1968 and that Qvale’s home town of Trondheim, Norway was at that time the only “sister city” of Vallejo it is quite shocking to note the following:
The December 20, 1968 date of the Lake Herman Road murders when added to the name of the city the killer cited as the place where the murders occurred (Vallejo) plus the time at which they are likely to have occurred (11:17 PM) give us Qvale’s first and last names, a clue to his home town (as the sister city of Vallejo), and a clue to the date of his mother’s death (which took place on December 20, 1939). Zodiac indeed may have been telling us a lot more about himself than anyone previously thought and in ways that few could have imagined.
3) The “Batwing" Symbol on the Avery Halloween card
As discussed in Chapter 14, the return address symbol on the Avery card appears to be comprised of two Norse runes, “Laguz” and “Ansuz,” which, taken together, define both the Zodiac killer and Qvale through such traits as communication/letter writing, the wealth of the Norse god Njord and the aloofness of the Norse god Odin. (see discussion in Chapter 14) It also appears to be a Norse bumerke.
4) The Two Bus Bombs
As I discussed in Chapters 15 and 16, the two “bus bomb” diagrams may represent the most brazen clues a serial killer has ever sent to his pursuers. One of Zodiac’s “bus bomb” diagrams may be a map to his home and the other tells us who he was by creating a rebus puzzle or pictogram representing his unique interests—golf, skiing, imported cars, track and field and (in the subsequent letter) horse racing.
5) The Modena Building
In 1999, Qvale purchased a plant building in Italy in which to build the Mangusta sports car. On the façade of the building he juxtaposed his last name to a crossed circle symbol, which contained all of the letters of his last name, and which Zodiac had used to sign most of his letters. He then proceeded to intentionally wrap a “Giant Q” around that crossed circle. That “Q” was a replica of the form of that letter that you would derive from a crossed-circle symbol—one where the down stroke of the “Q” went directly towards the six o’clock position.
Then when I asked him about his intentional placement of the “Giant Q” around the crossed circle in 2006, he could not bring himself to tell the truth about how that symbol came to be: He told me that I was only “seeing what I wanted to see.” But his own quote in the 1999 Road and Track article from Chapter 19 proved that he was lying and that the “Giant Q” was there because that is what he intended.
As a power-assertive killer, Zodiac desperately wanted to brag about his crimes and tell us who was actually behind them. But to do so outright would have been a fool’s game. So he took ownership of the murders and put his imprimatur on them by telling us who he was in cryptic ways—in the bus bombs, in the clues he left in the cryptograms, in the clues discussed about Lake Herman, in his purchase of Jensen Motors (which bore the name of one of the victims), by autographing Hartnell’s Karmann-Ghia and by placing the Giant Q/crossed circle symbol on his Modena plant.
6) Zodiac’s Use of the Word “Basement” to Describe the Possible Location of his Bus Bomb:
In his November 9, 1969 “Seven Page Letter,” Zodiac stated that the police did not know if his “infernal device” was on site and ready to kill schoolchildren, or if it was being stored in his basement for future use.
The word for “basement” in Norwegian is “kjeller” and has as its root Qvale’s first name, “kjell.” This provides yet another potential clue to the killer’s identity.
7) Magnetic North
When Zodiac asked the readers of his June 26, 1969 “Mt. Diablo Letter” to set the “indicator” to “magnetic north,” he may also have provided us with a clue to his identity. As stated in Chapter 6, magnetic north was 17 degrees east of true north in the Bay Area in 1969. As noted in the code discussion above, seventeen is the number of letters in Qvale’s full name and his last initial is the seventeenth letter of the alphabet.
All of the above references, while they cannot be proven objectively to be what Zodiac intended, may well represent clues to Qvale’s identity in various forms. Clues to his true identity that Zodiac may therefore have disseminated throughout those communications, as well on a building on a different continent over the course of thirty years.
In contrast to the “hard” facts discussed in Chapter 14 and bullet-pointed facts in this chapter that can be completely documented, these possible references to Qvale’s name in the coded messages, his hometown, mother’s death, the location of his home in the bus bomb, his key traits as defined by the “batwing” symbol, and his identity via a “rebus puzzle” of his interests in the second bus bomb are certainly and admittedly “soft evidence.” However, while I cannot prove they are actual clues, I was able to demonstrate in great detail in the foregoing discussion the reasoning and logic I used in deriving each one of them, and in doing so defend my own belief that they actually do represent clues to Zodiac’s identity that he intentionally planted in his letters, coded messages, etc.
Despite the fact that I cannot prove that these references are actual clues, they do give one pause to marvel at the potential scope of the criminal genius and boundless daring of this killer and how Zodiac may have been ramping up his feelings of power like no other killer in history by upping the stakes of his “cat-and-mouse” game to unprecedented and almost unimaginable levels. He may have told the police and public nearly everything about himself and still was able to laugh at his pursuers because they were unable to even recognize these clues for what they were, let alone assemble them to develop a larger picture that may have led to his identification. And isn’t that the greatest thrill one can derive from a cat and mouse game: Telling your pursuers as much about yourself as possible and still not getting caught? It would truly be a case of a killer toying with the police and daring them to catch him in ways that literally boggle the mind. For a killer like Zodiac, whose goal was power, this game of “chicken” with the police where the stakes were basically his own freedom and reputation, and in which he told you not only who he was but where he lived may well have given him the ultimate power rush possible from his crimes.
Can I prove that any of the above was intended by Zodiac to mean what I am saying? No. Can I provide references or documentation that proves that this is actually evidence against Qvale, as I do with all of my factual statements? No. That is why I did not include most of it in my book and provide it simply as food for thought as to what mindbending clues the killer MAY have been providing about himself very quietly and without anyone even realizing that they were, in fact, clues at all.