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Old Norse

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morf13
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Been some discussion about ‘old Norse’,so I wanted to start a thread about it. Just posting one little think I found interesting.Did Z learn this factoid from a newspaper Editor? Or,was he a newspaper Editor spilling factoids to his readers?

There is more than one way to lose your life to a killer

http://www.zodiackillersite.com/
http://zodiackillersite.blogspot.com/
https://twitter.com/Morf13ZKS

 
Posted : June 12, 2015 2:51 pm
Norse
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As stated elsewhere, Penn was right when he claimed that the writer didn’t know quite what he was talking about.

Slá does not mean “kill” or “slay”. It is a word which can be traced back to the Indo-European root “slak”, and it means to hit, strike or throw.

The compound “slá í hel” can be translated as “to strike (someone) dead”, but on its own “slá” does not mean to kill, or slay. The same word survives in slightly different spellings in modern Danish, Swedish and Norwegian and is used in the same way today.

If I say “Check it out, I’m about to hit my brother”, most people would take that as meaning I’m going to punch him, throw something at him, or the like, not that I’m about to kill him. And if I say that I’m about to hit the road, hardly anyone would assume I was about to commit murder. The exact same applies to “slá”. It is a word which can be used in many contexts and compounds and – precisely therefore – it makes no sense whatsoever to translate it as “kill”. In modern Norwegian “slå plenen” means to mow the lawn. “Slå av en prat” means to shoot the breeze. And so forth.

The writer probably thought "slay" and "slá" means the same thing, but he was wrong. Slay and slaughter can both be traced back to the "slak" root, but that’s general etymology. Old Norse for "to slaughter" is "slátra" and the most common term for "kill" is "drepa" (another word which derives from a root form which means to strike, hit, throw, smite, etc.).

The point is that nobody who actually knew his stuff would claim that "slá" means to kill. That would be equivalent to a Frenchman claiming that the English "to strike" means "tuer". It clearly doesn’t when it stands alone.

 
Posted : June 12, 2015 6:12 pm
Tahoe27
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From what I read "slay" come from the Dutch. Of course we use the term slay as to kill, which wouldn’t surprise me as to the reasoning the S.L.A. came up that acronym.

That said, why would Zodiac write a letter about the S.L.A. and it’s association with old Norse? To me, it’s someone from the S.L.A. just reiterating a threat.


…they may be dealing with one or more ersatz Zodiacs–other psychotics eager to get into the act, or perhaps even other murderers eager to lay their crimes at the real Zodiac’s doorstep. L.A. Times, 1969

 
Posted : June 12, 2015 10:01 pm
morf13
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From what I read "slay" come from the Dutch. Of course we use the term slay as to kill, which wouldn’t surprise me as to the reasoning the S.L.A. came up that acronym.

That said, why would Zodiac write a letter about the S.L.A. and it’s association with old Norse? To me, it’s someone from the S.L.A. just reiterating a threat.

If you were right,I would hope they would know the correct definitions of words associated with themselves

There is more than one way to lose your life to a killer

http://www.zodiackillersite.com/
http://zodiackillersite.blogspot.com/
https://twitter.com/Morf13ZKS

 
Posted : June 12, 2015 10:54 pm
Norse
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That said, why would Zodiac write a letter about the S.L.A. and it’s association with old Norse? To me, it’s someone from the S.L.A. just reiterating a threat.

Why indeed. He goes from promoting himself, threatening, taunting – demanding that the people in the Bay Area wear Zodiac buttons…to this.

The idea that he wrote this because he was annoyed that the SLA were stealing his thunder doesn’t make much sense, IMO. The letter is about THEM (and this ill-informed Old Norse nonsense), not about HIM.

 
Posted : June 12, 2015 11:03 pm
Tahoe27
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From what I read "slay" come from the Dutch. Of course we use the term slay as to kill, which wouldn’t surprise me as to the reasoning the S.L.A. came up that acronym.

That said, why would Zodiac write a letter about the S.L.A. and it’s association with old Norse? To me, it’s someone from the S.L.A. just reiterating a threat.

If you were right,I would hope they would know the correct definitions of words associated with themselves

A lot of people believe it though, and it’s still being argued. The folks in the S.L.A. weren’t all there…so to speak.


…they may be dealing with one or more ersatz Zodiacs–other psychotics eager to get into the act, or perhaps even other murderers eager to lay their crimes at the real Zodiac’s doorstep. L.A. Times, 1969

 
Posted : June 12, 2015 11:04 pm
AK Wilks
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The Old Norse word "sla" is defined as "strike", but also as "smite". "Smite" means to "severely wound or kill". So I agree Zodiac was somewhat imprecise in saying "sla" is simply "kill", but I think he generally had the right idea.

IMO most people don’t know any meanings or near meanings of any Norse words. So along with the probable use of runes, the Luger comment, etc., think maybe it tells us something about some of Z’s interests and knowledge.

The SLA was getting a lot of headlines. Maybe Z didn’t like that? Or he did not like their politics? Or actually thought it was a tip that could help police?

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Posted : June 13, 2015 12:47 am
Norse
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I just don’t see the logic in Z deciding to write a helpful note to the police. Nor was it addressed to the police, for that matter. Furthermore, I don’t see the logic in Z – being jealous of the SLA – attempting to regain territory by writing a letter which could only serve to boost THEIR notoriety, further diminishing his own.

My take on this is that we have to presuppose that Z turned into a different sort of correspondent if he did, in fact, produce either SLA or Red Phantom. He no longer sought to promote himself at all. He no longer taunted or threatened. He ceased to take credit for his own work, no longer signed his missives, etc. How do we explain this? Was he repenting? Somehow, that strikes me as plain ridiculous.

I don’t know exactly why they thought it was him, but I have a hard time agreeing with them. Handwriting? Morrill? No comment. I’ve had enough of that – and of him.

I’d like to see something else – like a fourth piece of the Stine shirt which was enclosed, but not made public. Give me that and I’ll be happy. If it’s just handwriting – meh, as the kids say.

 
Posted : June 13, 2015 3:37 am
(@chet-desmond)
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As far as I know these final three letters were confirmed after Morrill had retired, so you’d have to find a different document examiner to distrust ;)

 
Posted : June 13, 2015 10:02 am
morf13
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As far as I know these final three letters were confirmed after Morrill had retired, so you’d have to find a different document examiner to distrust ;)

Just distrust em all ;)

There is more than one way to lose your life to a killer

http://www.zodiackillersite.com/
http://zodiackillersite.blogspot.com/
https://twitter.com/Morf13ZKS

 
Posted : June 13, 2015 1:13 pm
morf13
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This article ran in the 3/10/74 Santa Cruz sentinel,less than 30 days after the SLA letter was received. The article was accompanied by a cartoon. The timing was interesting. It got me thinking about something Graysmith wrote about in his book. Just after the Zodiac used the name, Zodiac, a comic strip came out called the ‘zodiac gang’, about a group of criminals or villains outsmarting Police. Some people thought that the Zodiac may have used this comic for his name. The issue was, how could Z have known about it? Graysmith wrote that weeks in advance of the comic running in the paper, the cartoon dept has these comics,and therefore, if Zodiac was working at a newspaper,he could know about this stuff well in advance. Wondering if there’s any way Z could know about this article in advance? Perhaps, he worked at the paper?

There is more than one way to lose your life to a killer

http://www.zodiackillersite.com/
http://zodiackillersite.blogspot.com/
https://twitter.com/Morf13ZKS

 
Posted : June 13, 2015 2:12 pm
Norse
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As far as I know these final three letters were confirmed after Morrill had retired, so you’d have to find a different document examiner to distrust ;)

:D

Even better! I actually like old Sherwood a bit, so it’s nothing personal.

 
Posted : June 13, 2015 11:24 pm
AK Wilks
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I just don’t see the logic in Z deciding to write a helpful note to the police. Nor was it addressed to the police, for that matter. Furthermore, I don’t see the logic in Z – being jealous of the SLA – attempting to regain territory by writing a letter which could only serve to boost THEIR notoriety, further diminishing his own..

AK Wilks: Well, I don’t see the "logic" in gunning down teens in lover’s lanes, or sending letters to newspapers which give police some info about you – handwriting, word usage, etc. I am sure these things don’t make sense to you either. But they made sense to him. Though he is a bit of a self promoter, I actually found reading the books of former FBI Special Agent and serial killer profiler John Douglas interesting and helpful in some respects. he talks about the difference between "MO" method of operation, and signature. MO is HOW the crime is done – luring victims by posing as a person with a broken arm, luring kids into a van with candy, bind up a victim. Signature is more why the crime is done – what the offender is expressing about himself in the crime. He notes that MO may change over time with successes and failures, need to adapt, need to avoid being caught, etc. But he states signature rarely changes. How the offender lures the victim (MO) may change, but the signature of torturing and photographing the victim does not. One offender tied bows around his victims bodies. The killer of Domingos and Edwards (1963) and the Robison family (1968) posed the victims one atop the other. Ted K often picked victims with wood, tree and nature related names and streets, and put bits of redwood and maple bark in his bombs. Why? It was his signature. Douglas noted another offender who painted bombs black. He stated "Why did he do it? It didn’t make the bombs any better. But he did it anyway. He felt the need to do it."

If Z hated the SLA or their politics, maybe he thought he was giving a small but helpful clue to the idiot (in his view) press, police and FBI.

As far as referencing other criminals, Manson called Ted Bundy a "momma’s boy". Ted K felt compelled to do a bombing right after the OKC bombing, and to mention in a letter that he found that action "deplorable". At the time police and the press speculated that the Unabomber was jealous of the OKC bombers and how much death they caused and front pages they got.

Either that or the Unabomber wanted people to know he thought OKC was "deplorable" and did not want people to think he went from targeted killings to blowing up buildings with women and children. Zodiac himself mentioned a bombing at a SFPD station, to say he did not do it.

So why did Z mention the SLA, who were getting much more headline space than him in 1974? I don’t know. He felt the need to do it.

My take on this is that we have to presuppose that Z turned into a different sort of correspondent if he did, in fact, produce either SLA or Red Phantom. He no longer sought to promote himself at all. He no longer taunted or threatened. He ceased to take credit for his own work, no longer signed his missives, etc. How do we explain this? Was he repenting? Somehow, that strikes me as plain ridiculous…

AK Wilks: Well after the near capture on the Stine murder, Z said he would no longer announce his crimes. He was absent, then I think around 1974 the Zebra killings heat up in SF and the SLA is big news. Do these things draw him back, if not to murder at least to write letters? In the SLA, Red Phantom and Citizen (Badlands) letters he does not even use his name. Who knows? Maybe he is teasing – is this from Zodiac or not? The 1974 Exorcist letter he makes it pretty clear it is from him.

I don’t know exactly why they thought it was him, but I have a hard time agreeing with them. Handwriting? Morrill? No comment. I’ve had enough of that – and of him.

I’d like to see something else – like a fourth piece of the Stine shirt which was enclosed, but not made public. Give me that and I’ll be happy. If it’s just handwriting – meh, as the kids say.

Well both Cal DOJ and the FBI identified the 1974 letters as Z. I agree with you handwriting ID is more art than science, so I guess we each give it what weight we feel it deserves. But when Cal DOJ expert and the FBI expert agree, I give it some weight, and then apply my own inexpert knowledge, opinion and instinct.

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Posted : June 14, 2015 1:01 am
(@pinkphantom)
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I believe IMO that after the Lake Tahoe Card Zodiac toned down the complexity and aggressive nature of his correspondence as well as murders because he was under some sort of supervision for his criminal behavior or mental illness. I believe the last 3 letters in 1974 are his attempts at taunting the public while under some sort of supervision (which is why he didn’t make direct threats or claim anyone in those last 3 letters in 1974). He was somehow inhibited in those letters (which I believe are his last letters he sent).

I believe he somehow had access to the news during the SLA/Hearst fiasco and the letter was sent on the day that botched bank robbery happened. He simply used the event as an excuse to taunt the public and tie himself to a terrorist attack (perhaps he was living vicariously through the SLA fiasco bc he wasn’t able to carry out his terroristic murder sprees in reality). And I think he noticed SLA reminded him of the word slay and tried to reference the etymology to old Norse without fully being aware of its specific meaning. It wasn’t about him being right, it was about them getting the letter and him hinting through its creepy nature that it was Z.

Maybe during the last 3 letters in 74 Z had someone watching him. There’s a reason why his last few letters are a little more ambiguous – in case someone supervising him were to read them before they were sent off.

 
Posted : June 14, 2015 1:32 am
Norse
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Generally fair points as per usual, AK.

The one thing I do not agree with, is how we should – if one can put it like that – treat the “logic” of Zodiac’s behavior.

I think you’re going too far in a certain direction here, suggesting (as I read it) that because Z was a crazy killer (and he was, of course) what he opts for doesn’t have to make any sense. This is a slippery slope, in my opinion, as it makes it possible to claim that he was capable of anything. Based on his “canonical” behavior, however, he wasn’t. There is a certain pattern one can recognize – and then, in this particular case, a distinct break with that pattern.

He moves on from promoting himself, and issuing threats and taunts – to something very different in the three letters following Exorcist. The difference is so distinct that it requires an explanation. And I don’t think what you refer to above qualifies as a good enough explanation. Just my opinion, of course – and I do respect yours, as you know.

 
Posted : June 14, 2015 1:41 am
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